John Spafford Harris

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John Spafford Harris​​

(Politician in Louisiana and thereafter Montana)

In office
July 9, 1868 – March 3, 1871
Preceded by Judah P. Benjamin
Succeeded by Joseph R. West

Born December 18, 1825​​
Truxton, Cortland County
New York​​​​
Died January 15, 1906 (aged 80)​​​
Butte, Silver Bow County, Montana​​

Resting place:
​​ Forestvale Cemetery in Helena, Montana​​

Nationality American​​​​
Political party Republican

John Spafford Harris (December 18, 1825 – January 25, 1906) was a native of New York who was a Republican U.S. Senator for Louisiana during Reconstruction.

Harris was born in Truxton in Cortland County in southern New York State and educated in the common schools. In 1846, at the age of twenty-one, he relocated to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to work as a clerk in a mecantile establishment, a job he filled for three years. In 1863, he moved to Natchez in Natchitoches Parish, where he became at the close of the American Civil War as one of the largest cotton planters in Louisiana. [1]

In 1868, he was elected to the state constitutional convention and appointed to a committee of seven to handle state affairs until the new constitution could be written. He briefly served in the state Senate in 1868.. Upon the readmission of Louisiana to the Union, Harris was elected by the state legislature for a partial term in the U.S. Senate and served from July 9, 1868, until March 3, 1871.[1]

In 1881, newly-installed President Chester Arthur named Harris as the surveyor general for Montana, where he resided thereafter.[1] Harris died at the age of eighty in Butte in Silver Bow County in western Montana. He is interred at Forestvale Cemetery in the capital citi of Helena.[2]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Harris, John Spafford. A Dictionary of Louisiana Biography: Louisiana Historical Association. Retrieved on April 15, 2020.
  2. John Spafford Harris. (1950). Retrieved on April 15, 2020.