Albert Harris, son of Henry and Mary Harris



The following biographical sketch is taken from ‘History of the State of California and Biographical Record of Coast Counties, California: An Historical Story of the State’s Marvelous Growth from Its Earliest Settlement to the Present Time’ by Prof. J.M. Guinn, A.M., The Chapman Publishing Co., Chicago, 1904.   (Santa Clara City Library call number: GR 979.4 G96)


ALBERT HARRIS.  With the possibilities and progress of the Santa Clara valley, where he has been a lifelong resident, Mr. Harris is thoroughly conversant.  A number of its industries have received his co-operation, and this is especially true of the fruit industry, with which he has been identified for many years.  In the Cured Fruit Growers’ Association he has maintained an interest, as in other organizations and movements for the development of the principal occupation of the people of the valley.  Besides being a director in this association, he is a director in the Santa Clara Bank, the San Jose Water Company and the Safe Deposit Bank of San Jose.


Mr. Harris was born in San Jose August 12, 1852.  His father, Henry Harris, was a man who visited many lands and acquired knowledge of the customs of many nations.  Born in London, England, he shipped from there to Australia at an early age and soon left that country for Chile, South America, later spending a short time in Mexico.  From the latter country he came to the United States and settled in California in 1846.  Gold had not yet been discovered and the population consisted largely of Mexicans, although in the towns and through the mining regions white men were occasionally to be found.  In the various countries where he visited he had earned a livelihood by following the cabinetmaker’s trade, but after coming to California he prospected and mined for a time and then settled on a farm six miles from San Jose.  In 1864 he came to Santa Clara and lived retired from business pursuits.  His last days were spent in San Jose, where he died in March of 1898, at the age of almost four score years.  His wife, who bore the maiden name Mary Murray, was born in Aberdeen, Scotland, and accompanied her parents to the United States, settling in California.  At the age of seventy years she died in Santa Clara in 1884.  Of the son and daughter born to her marriage Albert was the younger.  On the completion of his public school course he entered the University of the Pacific, where he acquired a broad and thorough education.  Since 1864 he has made his home in Santa Clara, where he now occupies the old homestead of eight acres, a well-kept and valuable property.


The marriage of Mr. Harris was solemnized in Santa Clara and united him with Miss Ada M. Jordan, of this city, a native of New York.  They are the parents of an only child, Miriam Alice, who is now a student in the Santa Clara high school.  Always interested in educational matters and a friend of the public school system, Mr. Harris has served efficiently as a school director for thirteen years, during which time his time and attention have been carefully given to the promotion of the standard of scholarship and the securing of capable instructors.  He was elected a member of the board of town trustees and remained in that position for two years.  No resident of Santa Clara is more interested in Masonry than he.  His connection with the fraternity includes membership in Liberty Lodge, No. 299, F. & A. M.; Howard Chapter, No. 14, R.A.M.; San Jose Commandery, No. 10, K.T.; and Islam Temple, N. M. S., of San Francisco.  He is also identified with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, being a member of True Fellowship Lodge in Santa Clara and Encampment, No. 32, of the same order.  The people of his home city and county unite in testifying as to the business ability, upright character and high principles of honor that form noticeable attributes of this native born son of California.