JUDSON E. HARRISS, although his admission to the bar dates back no longer than February, 1911, is already making a name for himself as a brilliant young lawyer, and in his service as city attorney has made a reputation as a clean, straight-forward man. He has the valuable heritage of a fine home training, where he has been always surrounded by influences that would tend to give him the highest ideals and the strength to live up to those ideals. His future career will be eagerly
watched by many eyes, for his father is one of the best beloved men in the county, and both for his sake and for that of the son himself the people of Perry county hope for his continued success and feel certain that the insidious influence that undermine the characters of so many of our young lawyers today may find no crack in the moral armor of Mr. Harriss.
Judson E. Harriss belongs to a family who have been closely identified with the affairs of Perry county since the years immediately following the admission into the Union of the state of Illinois. The family was founded in this state by Jordan Harriss, who was born in Laurens district, South Carolina, in 1800. From that state he went to Tennessee, and about 1829 came further north to Southern Illinois. He settled down on a farm northwest of DuQuoin, and devoted himself to agriculture until his death, which occurred in 1874. Five sons and four daughters were born to him. These sons were Johnson C., John H., Hiram M., Marion and J. Carroll, and the latter is the father of Judson E. Harriss. He was born in Perry county, Illinois, on the 8th of September, 1840, and his long life has been filled with the most interesting and varied experiences. As a boy he attended the common schools and helped as much as his youthful strength would permit in the work of the farm, but when he was old enough to go to college his father determined that his son should have the advantage of this kind of an education, so he was sent to Shurtleff College, at Upper Alton, Illinois. He did not graduate from this institution, however, for before he had completed his course the Civil war broke out and with all the fervor of youthful enthusiasm he insisted on joining the army. He enlisted in the Eighty-first Illinois Infantry, Company A, Colonel Dollins, of Benton, being in command of the regiment. His corps was commanded by J. B. McPherson, John A. Logan, division commander. His regiment was in many of the most serious battles fought in Mississippi and Louisiana, including the battle of Guntown, Mississippi, and here with a part of his regiment Mr. Harriss was captured. It was his horrible fate to be taken to Andersonville prison, that dark spot on the pages of the Confederacy, and he spent about eleven months in that pen of filth and disease before he was released.
After the war he entered politics and in 1866, running under the auspices of the Republican party, he was elected sheriff of Perry county. He served one term, acquitting himself so well in what was a trying position during the years following the war that the people elected him county clerk, in which office he served for four years. Turning from the political life to the world of business, he became a grain merchant, at the same time operating a farm near DuQuoin. He later went extensively into farming, and followed this occupation for a number of years, also dealing in, and breeding fine stock. He was as successful in these lines as in the others that he had followed, and by the time he reached middle life he found himself with a comfortable fortune.
Having felt a call to enter the field of active religious work as an evangelist, he entered the ministry. He was made a member of the Missionary Baptist church when a young man and was ordained to preach. For thirty years he followed this calling, preaching in many different states and bringing into a communion with their Maker many people. He was known everywhere as a forceful speaker, and his sincerety and real spirituality gave him dominion over the forces of evil. His own and other churches are indebted to him for scores of their members. His long life having been a strenuous one, he felt that after he had passed his seventieth birth day he might resign the reins to some
one else, so a few years later he gave up his work and retired to his quiet home in DuQuoin.
Rev. Harriss first married Valeria Thornton, a daughter of Rev. William Thornton, who came to Illinois from Kentucky, following the occupation of a farmer and minister till the end of his life. Mrs. Harris became the mother of Mrs. Aaron King, of Ewing, Illinois, and Clarence W., of the law firm of Webb and Harriss, of Mount Vernon, Illinois. Rev. Harriss married for his second wife Eliza A. Strait daughter of Judge H. H. Strait, and the children of this marriage are: Rev. Walter H., of Benton, Illinois; Herschel, who died at the age of seven years; Alva, who died in infancy; Grace, who is the wife of W. O. King, of Blue Island, Illinois; Willford C. died at the age of thirteen years; Judson E., and Earl B., a rancher in South Dakota.
Judson E. Harriss was born on the 5th of November, 1884, near DuQuoin, Illinois. Here he grew up and received his early education. After having passed through the high school he attended the University of California, at Berkeley, for a year. He then returned to Illinois and entered the University of Illinois. In 1910 he was graduated from the law department of the above institution. In February, 1911, he was admitted to the bar at Ottawa, Illinois, and opened an office at DuQuoin the same year. The people evidently had no doubt of his qualifications for office, for he was elected city attorney in April of that year.
Having been a close thinker on political and economic questions, he has concluded that the Republican party holds the views that will soonest bring out of the chaotic condition into which the public affairs of the country seem to have fallen, so he holds allegiance to the above party. He is a candidate for the office of representatives in 1912 for the Forty-fourth district. He is a member of the Elks and of the Modern Woodmen, while his religious beliefs are naturally those of his father, and he is a member of the Baptist church. He is an active fraternity man, belonging to Beta Theta Pi and to Phi Delta Phi, the former a college fraternity and the latter a law fraternity. He is not married and his time is very fully taken up with his numerous professional engagements, his studies and the active aid that he gives his father in the care of the family interests.