William Littleton Harris
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William Littleton Harris (1807–1868) was a Mississippi jurist.
Harris was born in Georgia and educated at the University of Georgia. Harris moved to Mississippi in 1837 and lived in Lowndes County. He served as a circuit judge, helped write the Mississippi code of 1857. In 1858 Harris joined the Mississippi High Court of Errors and Appeals (now known as the Supreme Court of Mississippi). His best-known opinion was Mitchell v. Wells, decided in 1859. The case prohibited a formerly enslaved woman from inheriting from the estate of her white father. In essence it held that once someone was a slave in Mississippi she would always be considered a slave, even though her father (and owner) had taken her to Ohio and freed her. The case illustrates the extreme southern position; it illustrates the uncompromising nature of southern law on the eve of Civil War.
Harris served as a commissioner to Georgia during the secession winter and delivered an address to the Georgia legislature supporting secession.
- William L. Harris http://genealogytrails.com/miss/benchandbar.html#wmharris
- The Revised Code of the Statute Laws of the State of Mississippi http://books.google.com/books/about/The_Revised_Code_of_the_Statute_Laws_of.html?id=u1qwAAAAMAAJ
- Mitchell v. Wells, 37 Miss. 235 (April term, 1859) http://books.google.com/books?id=tfkLAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA235&lpg=PA235&dq=mitchell+v.+wells+mississippi&source=bl&ots=bqFg_-VLoW&sig=_KC5UtMr6-QJRhfyKXUB_vqpyg8&hl=en&sa=X&ei=lL3rUsSrHM-2sAS9qoCIBQ&ved=0CD8Q6AEwAw#v=onepage&q=mitchell%20v.%20wells%20mississippi&f=false
- Address of William L. Harris http://civilwarcauses.org/wharris.htm