William Littleton Harris

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William Littleton Harris (1807–1868) was a Mississippi jurist.[1]

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.[2] 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.[3] 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.[4]