Thomas Maley Harris

Prominent Men of West Virginia
By George W. Atkinson and Alvaro F. Gibbens
(Wheeling: W. L. Callin, 1890)


In military, political or civil history of Western Virginia, no more prominent individual has appeared in the arena than General Thomas M. Harris. He was born in Wood county, Virginia, June 17, 1813. From a howling wilderness, he has marked every change in political and industrial development. He was reared a farmer, attended winter schools from ten to sixteen, and then taught others. He practiced medicine from 1842 to the beginning of the war; was a Whig, but the war issues forced him into the Republican party; was always anti- slavery in sentiment, and in a Fourth of July oration, in 1849, boldly attacked the evil, on both moral and economic grounds, and insisted that the Virginia Constitutional Convention of 1850 should provide for gradual emancipation. For this expression the leading papers of tlie State declared him a dangerous man. In August, 1861, he recruited the 10th West Virginia infantry, served as its Colonel, and for bravery and merit, was promoted, in 1865, to Brigadier General, and afterwards to Major General by brevet; was a member of the House of Delegates in 1867; was commissioned Adjutant General for West Virginia and served from March 4, 1869, to January 1, 1871, when he resigned, and was immediately by the President appointed United States Pension Agent, and located at Wheeling, serving until the Centennial year. He has been a prominent candidate before the Republican Convention for Congress; is a strong advocate of prohibition, and now resides at Harrisville, Ritchie county.

Civil War

West Virginia Archives and History