“John Gideon Harris, State Superintendent of Education in Alabama, is a native of this state, and was born in the thirties in Hale County, then a part of Greene County. He was educated at Greene Springs, under PROF. Tutwiler. He taught school for five years and then proceeded to Cumberland University, Lebanon Tennessee, and in 1858 graduated there in law. He opened a law office in Greensboro, Alabama.
He joined the Confederate army as a member of the Greensboro light artillery guards and proceeded to Fort Morgan. Later he raised a company of volunteers, Planter Guards, that became a part of the 20th Al infantry. He saw service with the western army and took part in nearly all the bloody battles of the memorable campaigns through Kentucky, Tennessee and Georgia. He was promoted to the rank of major in the winter of 1863. Returning home, he took up his residence at Livingston in Sumter County and resumed the practice of his profession. In 1870 he was an unsuccessful candidate for Congress in a district overwhelmingly Republican before that time. He reduced his opponent’s majority to less than 900. In 1876 he was an alternate elector at large; in 1880 he was a district elector, and in 1884 he was again alternate elector at large. In 1886 he received the appointment at the hands of President Cleveland of register of the land office at Montgomery. He administered this post with signal ability; cleared up neglected business and left it in perfect shape to his successors, in 1889. In 1890 Maj. Harris was by a flattering vote, nominated by the Democratic Party for State Superintendent of Education. He was elected at the ensuing election and was re-nominated and re-elected in 1892.
Maj. Harris was a prominent Mason, having been at one time Grand Master of the Grand Lodge in this state. He was also a devoted member of the Baptist church, and was a pulpit lecturer while the regular minister had been detained away.
Maj. Harris was married in 1861 to Miss Mary J. Brown of Sumter Co. He had two children, both daughters, Mrs. L. G. Dawson and Mrs. J. T. Rushin , of Elmore Co. He served as president
of the YMCA convention of Al and was chosen president of the International Sunday School Convention that was held at Pittsburgh, Penn. in June 1890.”