Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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HARRIS, John Woods, jurist, born in Nelson county, Virginia, in 1810; died in Galveston, Texas, 1 April, 1887. On arriving at manhood he accumulated money sufficient to enable him to pursue a collegiate course and study law. He removed to Texas in 1837, and began practice in 1838. In the same year he was a member of the first congress of the republic, which met at Austin, and in 1841 proposed abolishing the Mexican laws, and engrafting the common law on the jurisprudence of the republic. In 1846 he was appointed attorney-general of the new state, and was reappointed for a second term. In 1854 he was one of a commission to revise the laws of the state. He was a Democrat of the strictest Jeffersonian school, and was opposed to secession, but accepted it, and gave his support to the cause of the Confederacy. After the war, his private fortune being large, he confined his practice chiefly to important cases in the higher courts.
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