Interactive Harris Family Tree

Joel Chandler Harris ardently loved his home and family, rarely leaving for visits or vacations. He preferred the company of his loved ones, writing on his front porch or in the family room rather than in the upstairs study set aside for that purpose, just to be closer to them.

This is the full Harris family tree, including descendants living today. Hover over or click the green circles with plus signs to find out more about the associated family member in this educational interactive. The Harris offspring are fascinating in themselves and include one who shared the first Pulitzer Prize ever awarded to a Georgian.

Information about later generations will be coming soon.

Joel Chandler Harris

1848-1908

Joel Chandler Harris lived at The Wren’s Nest with his family from 1881 until he died in 1908. He was a lifelong journalist, working at The Atlanta Constitution for 24 years as both a humorous “paragrapher” (or editorialist) and an editor. He was also a popular author, famously compiling the Brer Rabbit stories he heard as a young boy into books that became international bestsellers. After Harris’s death, his fans and supporters rallied together to make his home a museum to preserve his legacy, making The Wren’s Nest the first historic house museum in Georgia. You can find out more about Joel Chandler Harris here.

Mary Esther LaRose

1834-1938

Mary Esther LaRose Harris, or “Essie,” was a small, dainty woman with an alert mind, a dauntless spirit, and a keen sense of humor. Born a French Canadian, she came to live in Georgia when she met Joel Chandler Harris on a trip to Savannah with her parents, Esther DuPont LaRose and Pierre LaRose, a ship captain who plied the south Atlantic coast. The two were married on April 21, 1873, and throughout their marriage, Essie was a constant, effective influence in her husband’s life. She was also his protector, keeping fans and press away from the chronically shy author. Essie was a religious woman, volunteering with the local Catholic Church and helping to found St. Anthony’s parish in the West End neighborhood.

Julian LaRose

1874-1963

Julian LaRose Harris was Esther and Joel Chandler Harris’s first born. He quickly followed in his journalist father’s footsteps, becoming the news editor for The Atlanta Constitution before his twenty-first birthday and the managing editor at twenty-four. He married Julia Florida Collier Harris in October 1897. The talented writer and his wife later became the owners and editors of The Columbus Enquirer Sun. In 1926, the couple won a Pulitzer Prize for Public Service for their coverage of the Scopes Monkey Trial (the famous trail about teaching evolution in schools), their “brave and energetic fight against the Ku Klux Klan,” and their public stance against lynching.

Lucien LaRose

1875-1960

Lucien LaRose Harris was Esther LaRose and Joel Chandler Harris’s second son, born just 18 months after his older brother Julian. His family affectionately called him “Tootsie” growing up. Eventually, “Tootsie” became an insurance executive, vice president of the Atlanta Park Board, and the youngest Fulton County Treasurer. He was also the first of the Harris children to marry, wedding Aileen Zachary in December 1895. The couple had six children, four boys and two girls - just like Esther LaRose and Joel Chandler Harris.

Evan Howell

1876-1878

Evan Howell Harris, Esther LaRose and Joel Chandler Harris’s third son, was named in honor of the then editor-in-chief of The Atlanta Constitution, the newspaper at which Joel Chandler Harris worked. His namesake was “to become one of [his] father’s warmest and stanchest friends.” Sadly, in May 1878, Joel Chandler Harris caught the measles, which all three children then contracted, and baby Evan Howell did not survive.

 

Evelyn

1878-1961

Evelyn Harris (or sometimes “Ev”) was born in Upton, Quebec, Canada, while his mother, Esther LaRose Harris, was visiting her parents there. The self-proclaimed “Mamma’s Boy” spent more time with Esther than with his older brothers growing up and eventually wrote a booklet entitled, “Little Book About My Mother,” which shares stories about Esther LaRose. Like his brothers and father Joel, Evelyn worked for The Atlanta Constitution newspaper for a time as their city editor. In 1906, he left the Constitution to become the “advertising man” for the Bell Telephone Company in the South’s (or Southern Bell) Telephone News. In 1913, he became one of the four founding members of the Atlanta Rotary Club.

Mary Esther

1879-1882

Mary Esther Harris, or “Rosebud,” was the first daughter of Esther LaRose and Joel Chandler Harris. The parents were thrilled, particularly Joel, who “had ardently wished for a little girl.” Her father took her birth as a sign of “good luck” since his wish for a daughter was granted at the same time that he was beginning to have success as a writer. Tragically, though, Mary Esther died suddenly of diphtheria shortly before her third birthday.

Lillian

1882-1956

Lillian Harris was born shortly after the Harris’s first daughter died. As their son, Evelyn, later explained, “Both mother and father welcomed each baby as a gift from heaven, but both were definitely more partial to girls.” Joel Chandler Harris even dedicated his book, Tales of the Home Folks in Peace and War (1898) to Lillian. The dedication reads: “To My Daughter Lillian who will know why I included in Tales of the Home Folks the little skit about our friends in St. Valerien.” Lillian’s nickname was “Billy Ann,” “Billy,” or “Bill.” She was the daughter who loved dolls - in contrast to her tomboy sister, Mildred. Eventually, Lillian married “Fritz” Wagener and they had two children.

Linton Edward

1883-1890

Linton Edward Harris was described as a boy with a “gentle, affectionate, endearing nature” and whose “little soul was sensitively attuned to all that was lovely around him.” Linton died just after his seventh birthday when he suddenly contracted diphtheria. The Harris family was deeply affected by Linton’s death. His oldest brother, Julian, was devastated as Linton was his favorite sibling, his “partner,” and the younger son passed while Julian was at school in Canada. Joel Chandler Harris was also heartbroken and wrote a tribute to Linton in The Atlanta Constitution entitled, “The Death of a Little Boy.”

Mildred

1885-1966

Mildred Harris was the “tomboy” Harris daughter, hence her nickname “Tommy.” She was fun-loving and energetic, galloping across the yard on the family’s donkey, Nelly, and pulling pranks on her younger brother, Jake. Mildred and her sister Lillian attended St. Joseph’s Academy, a boarding school, and later attended Agnes Scott College. While they were at school, Harris wrote them numerous letters filled with stories of home and advice on everything from writing and school to friendship and boys. Mildred married Edwin Camp and they had two daughters. When Esther LaRose Harris moved out of The Wren’s Nest so it could become a museum, she lived with Mildred until she passed in 1938.

Joel Chandler Jr.

1888-1964

Joel Chandler “Jake” Harris Jr. was Esther LaRose and Joel Chandler Harris’s youngest child. He was born at The Wren’s Nest and as a young boy was a prankster (just like his father), playing jokes on his sister Mildred. When he was 13 years old, he “became considerably stuck on the game” of baseball, begging to go to all the Georgia Tech games. Fittingly, Jake later became the sports editor for The Atlanta Constitution. He then was an advertising executive, president of the Atlanta Rotary Club (1934-35), and the District Governor of Rotary International (1936). Jake was married twice, first to Hazelle Pancoast and then to Dorothy “Dot” Cooke Dean after Hazelle died. He never had any children.

Aileen Zachry

1876-1958

Aileen Zachry Harris was the daughter of William Inus and Mary Harris Zachry, “pioneer settlers” of Atlanta. In a letter to Lucien, Joel Chandler Harris said, “the great thing about [Aileen] is her independence… there is nothing small, or mean or foolish about her.” Aileen and Lucien were married in 1985 and spent their first year of marriage at The Wren’s Nest. Aileen was active in local civic and church activities. She was also a member of the Joel Chandler Harris Memorial Association (which ran The Wren’s Nest after it became a museum).

Virginia Louise

1920-1922

Virginia Louise, daughter of Lucien Harris Jr. and Louise Nicholas, was named for her mother. She was never far from the sight of her parents, but shortly before her 2nd birthday, tragedy struck. According to the family folklore, Virginia was left with the next-door neighbor for a short time and, since it was close to her birthday, the neighbor baked Virginia a surprise birthday cake. Unfortunately, the toddler became sick and died just two days before her 2nd birthday on June 16, 1922. The family believes Virginia was allergic to either the eggs or milk in the cake.

Charles Collier

1899-1903

Charles Collier (pictured above, on the right) was named for his grandfather Charles Augustus Collier. But according to his mother, Julia Collier Harris, he was more like his grandfather Joel Chandler Harris. He was “the only grandchild who had the red hair and bright blue eyes of his Grandfather Harris, and he resembled his grandfather, too, in disposition, being endowed with that combination of gentleness, mischievousness, and whimsicality so often found in red-haired boys. He and his grandfather were on very loving terms.” Unfortunately, just days after Christmas in 1903, Charles was taken ill and never recovered. He died when he was just four years old.

Elizabeth Camp Chapman

1912-1996

Elizabeth Camp Chapman was the daughter of Mildred Harris and Edwin Camp. Her family lived next door to the Wren’s Nest and Elizabeth remained in Atlanta for most of the rest of her life. She married Matthew M. Chapman and they had two sons. Elizabeth was a graduate of the University of Georgia, a lifelong member of Christ the King Catholic Church, and a claims analyst for Equifax. For 15 years, she was a volunteer tour guide at The Wren’s Nest. Although she never met her grandfather, Joel Chandler Harris, Elizabeth shared family stories and letters about the famous author on her tours. The former Executive Director of the museum, Carole Mumford, said Elizabeth “had this wry, wonderful sense of humor, a great laugh, and she loved a good story.”

Julia Collier

1875-1967

Julia Collier Harris pursued a career as an illustrator until her mother’s death in 1896, when she returned home to help her father care for her six younger siblings. She married Julian Harris in October 1897. In 1902, the couple moved into a new home just down the road from The Wren’s Nest with their two young sons, two of Julia’s sisters, and one of her brothers. She began her journalism career in 1907, contributing articles to the Uncle Remus Magazine. She went on to become an accomplished journalist and writer. She and Julian co-owned the Columbus Enquirer-Sun, using the newspaper to further Progressive reform. In her writing, Julia courageously spoke out against illiteracy, corruption, racial injustice, and anti-evolutionists. She covered both the Treaty of Versailles and the Scopes Trial. In 1926, she and Julian won the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service. Julia also wrote two biographies of her father-in-law. She retired from journalism in 1936 but continued to advise and encourage young writers up until she died in 1967. She was inducted into the Georgia Writers Hall of Fame in 2019.

Lucien III

1923-1996

Lucien Harris was born in 1923, the son of Lucien Jr. and Virginia Louise Nicholas. He became a Navy aviator, fighting in WWII. After the war, Lucien graduated from Emory University Business School and then became a banker. However, Lucien III’s passion was for art. He taught himself to paint and his work primarily featured natural subjects like birds and butterflies, heavily inspired by his father’s own love of nature as a lepidopterist. The majority of his paintings are now housed at The Bascom Center for Visual Arts in Highlands, N.C. - where Lucien lived from 1981-1996.

Lucien IV

1953-1970

Lucien Harris IV was the only son of Lucien III and Mary Jane Harris. His nickname was “Buzz” or “Buzzy.” He and his family lived in Orlando, Florida. Unfortunately, when Buzzy was 17 years old, he died during a skin-diving accident at the Clearwater Pass Bridge. He was a student at Edgewater High School where he was a member of the National Honor Society, was the president of the Spanish Honor Society, and played on the soccer team. Buzzy was the last male of Joel Chandler Harris’s descendants to bear the Harris last name.

Lucien Jr.

1899-1983

Lucien LaRose Harris, Jr. was born September 9, 1899, in Atlanta, Georgia. The third son of Lucien Harris and Aileen Zachry, he was a storyteller extraordinaire with an infectious laugh and a gentle spirit. He sold textbooks for McMillan, traveling the state and talking to schoolchildren about his memories of his grandfather, Joel Chandler Harris. Lucien Jr. was a naturalist at heart, collecting butterflies, mounting and preserving them in cases until he amassed such a collection that he built a special “butterfly room” behind his home. He eventually turned his avocation into a book called Butterflies of Georgia, published in 1972.

Pierre LaRose

Pierre LaRose Harris was named for his great-grandfather (Esther LaRose’s father). Joel Chandler Harris once said Pierre was the “finest baby [he] ever saw” and described him as “such a pink and white baby, as clean as a bowl of rice.” According to his mother, Julia Collier Harris, he had the same coloring as Mary “Rosebud” Harris. Like Rosebud, he also died young, at just under three years old and only four months after his only brother, Charles, died.

Remus Anthony

1916-1979

Remus Anthony Harris was the youngest child of Lucien and Aileen Harris. Remus distinguished himself as a songwriter with seven #1 hit songs. This included, “Cry Baby Cry” in 1939, which was Judy Garland’s first record and sold millions of copies, and “So Long” in 1940, which was recorded by Ella Fitzgerald and featured on “The Kate Smith Hour” radio show. Remus married Frieda Ackermann in 1941 and the couple moved to their 5th Avenue apartment in New York City shortly after. When Remus was 31, he became one of the top advertising executives in New York.

Mary Harris Rowsey

1908-1979

Mary Harris Rowsey was the second daughter of Aileen and Lucien Harris. She married Frank Rowsey and the couple never had any children. Like many members of her family - including her grandfather Joel Chandler Harris - Mary pursued a journalism career. She was the society editor of The Atlanta Constitution until 1953. Her recurring column, called,“Just Ramblin’,” launched in 1943, reporting on social and cultural events like fashion, weddings, births, and local gossip. Also, like Joel Chandler Harris, Mary’s home was known by a clever name: the “Briar Patch,” a nod to Brer Rabbit’s home in her grandfather’s famous books.

Lillian LaRose

1908-

Lillian “Rose” LaRose, daughter of Lillian Harris and Fritz Wagener, was born at The Wren’s Nest in 1908. Lillian married James Nicholas Grant, moved to North Carolina, and raised their son James “Jim” Jr. while also teaching kindergarten out of their home. After Jim went to college, Lillian volunteered at the Sunshine Day Nursery, established when a growing number of women began working. Lillian eventually became the school’s director, a position she held for 30 years. The Charity League later established The LaRose Grant Award in her memory, which honors a member every year for exceptional service. The League remembered Lillian for her “high standards in the nursery, the kindness and stability that she provided the children, and of course, her collection of rabbit figurines.”

Annie Louise Hawkins Harris

1879-1954

Annie Louise Hawkins was born in Georgia. She married Joel Chandler Harris’s son, Evelyn, in October 1903 and the couple celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary the year before Annie died. Throughout their marriage, Annie was actively engaged in the civic and social affairs of Atlanta. She was the President of the Service Group and a member of the Barclay Mission, which was dedicated to Atlanta welfare work. Annie was also a founding member of the Peachtree Garden Club, which was established in 1923 and was the first garden club in Atlanta. She and Evelyn had no children.

Fritz Wagener

1882-1964

Frederick “Fritz” Wagener was a successful architect and contractor. In newspaper advertisements for his business, he said he could “furnish you plans, specifications and bill of all necessary material cheaper than anybody else in town.” Fritz married Joel Chandler Harris’s daughter Lillian at the Wren’s Nest in January 1908. The wedding ceremony took place in the drawing room of the house with food served in the dining room and punch served on the covered front porch. Featured on the reception spread table were ice sculptures of Brer Rabbit, Brer Bear, and Brer Fox. He and Lillian had two children: a daughter and a son.

Edwin Camp

1882-1955

Edwin Camp was born in Powder Springs, Georgia, but grew up in Atlanta. He married Mildred Harris, Joel Chandler Harris’s daughter, in 1909, and the couple had two daughters: Mildred and Elizabeth. Like his father-in-law, Edwin was a journalist. He began his 29-year newspaper career as an editor for the University of Georgia’s student paper. After working at other papers, he became best known for his sports reporting at The Atlanta Journal. He wrote under the pseudonym “Ole Timer” as he greatly valued his privacy. Edwin was also a pioneer in Southern broadcasting as one of the first newscasters for WSB-TV when it launched in 1948.

Hazelle Pancoast White Harris

1888-1919

Hazelle Pancoast White Harris was born in Leesburg, Virginia, to Elijah White and Rosa Lee Pancoast White. The family owned Selma Plantation in Loudoun County, now a historic site called Selma Mansion. Her father was the president of the People’s National Bank and the owner of White’s Ferry. In October 1911, she married Joel Chandler Harris Jr. at her home. Unfortunately, Hazelle died of pneumonia in February 1920 at the couple’s home in Atlanta at the age of 32.

Dorothy Cooke Dean Harris

1898-1996

Dorothy Cooke Dean Harris was the daughter of Herbert H. and Callie Law Dean. Dorothy graduated from Brenau College, where she was the president of her senior class and a member of the Tri Delta sorority. After college, Dorothy helped with the World War I effort by volunteering with the Red Cross. By the time she married Joel “Jake” Chandler Harris Jr. in 1922 (his second wife after his first wife, Hazelle Pancoast White, died in 1920), she had traveled extensively both in the U.S. and in Europe. According to a wedding announcement, Dorothy was beautiful and “her pleasing personality [was] combined with admirable traits of character.” She and Jake had no children.

Andrew Stewart Harris

1896-1986

Andrew Stewart Harris (called Stewart) was Lucien and Aileen Harris’s first child and Joel Chandler Harris’s first grandchild. His grandfather nicknamed him “Toodly-bo and Toodle” and described him in a letter to his daughter as “really smart. His memory is as long as a wire fence.” In June 1918, Stewart enlisted in the Navy aviation unit. After the war, Stewart, his father Lucien, and his brother Joel Chandler Harris III founded an insurance company called Lucien & Stewart. Stewart was also a director of the First Mutual Building & Loan Association. He never married and had no children.

Joel Chandler Harris III

1897-1966

Joel Chandler Harris III was the namesake of his grandfather, who called him “Chandler” or “Chubby” in his letters. According to his family, Joel was “sweet and quiet.” Like his brother Stewart, during World War I Joel attended officers training school in naval aviation. After the war, he worked with his brother and father at the insurance company Lucien & Stewart. He later went on to become the president of the Farmers National Life Insurance Co. and the Eastern National Financial Agency. In 1920, he married Willie Greene Chiles and in 1928, he remarried Bessie White, with whom he had one daughter named Beverly.

Bessie White Harris

1907-1999

Bessie Virginia White was born in Atlanta in 1907 to Mr. and Mrs. William Henry White. She was a direct descendant of Lieutenant Colonel Robert Wooding on her father’s side and the Metcalf and Odell families (famous jurists) on her mother’s side. She attended Washington seminary and then graduated from Ward-Belmont college in Nashville. Bessie was a popular “belle” in the 1926-1927 Debutante club. She married Joel Chandler Harris III on February 1, 1928. As a testament to her popularity, the couple had four different parties thrown in their honor surrounding their wedding, including a luncheon at the Atlanta Biltmore hotel. She and Joel had one daughter, Beverly.

Aileen Harris Scruggs

1904-1984

Aileen Harris Scruggs was Lucien and Aileen Harris’s eldest daughter and Joel Chandler Harris’s first granddaughter. As a young girl, Aileen was crowned May Day Queen at the annual pageant that used to be held on the Wren’s Nest’s grounds. When she married Edward DeLeon Scruggs in 1925, she was the first bride to have a reception at the house after it had become a museum. The couple were married on December 9th, her grandfather’s birthday. On the day of her wedding, The Atlanta Constitution ran a poem called, “To Aileen Harris” by Myrta Lockett Avary. The poem uses the dialect style for which her grandfather was famous and in it, the Brer Critters congratulate Aileen on her wedding. She and Edward had one son, Edward Jr.

Edward DeLeon Scruggs

1901-1964

Edward DeLeon Scruggs was from Brewton, Alabama. He was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Daniel Gillis Scruggs, both members of prominent Southern families - his father’s in Virginia and his mother’s in Alabama. Edward graduated from Cornell University, where he was a member of the Phi Delta Theta fraternity. He married Aileen Harris, Joel Chandler Harris’s first granddaughter, in December 1925. Ten days before the wedding, when he was en route to Atlanta from Alabama, Edward lost the wedding ring! Despite a desperate hunt to find it -- reportedly with Brer Rabbit and Brer Fox’s help -- it was never recovered and a second ring had to be purchased.

Fritz Wagener Jr.

1911-1976

Frederick “Fritz” Wagener Jr was the only son of Frederick and Lillian Harris Wagener. He was Joel Chandler Harris’s grandson but was born after the author had already passed. A fun tidbit from Fritz Jr.’s childhood is that in 1915, his Eskimo dog won second place in its category in the Atlanta Kennel Club’s Dog Show. Like other members of the Harris family, Fritz Jr. worked in the insurance field. Specifically, he was the assistant manager of the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company. He married Miss Myrtle Irene Weaver in December 1937. The couple lived in LaGrange and then Tocca, Georgia. They had one son, Fritz III.

Mildred Camp Wright

1910-1989

Mildred Camp Wright was the daughter of Mildred and Edwin Camp. She was Joel Chandler Harris’s granddaughter and was born at the Wren’s Nest in 1910. Mildred was crowned the queen at the 1922 annual May Day Festival held on the Wren’s Nest grounds. She also seemingly inherited her family’s talent for writing as in 1926 she won the United Daughters of the Confederacy gold medal for an essay about the Confederate Flag. She married Richard Henry Wright in 1934. Esther LaRose Harris, Mildred’s grandmother, had been living with the family and was bedridden at the time so the ceremony was performed in Mrs. Harris’s room. Mildred and Richard had three daughters: Mary “Lyn,” Kathryn, and Mildred “Missy.”

Frank Rowsey

1906-1961

Frank Rowsey was born in Albany, Georgia, in 1906. He attended Emory University, where his journalism career began with some notoriety. In 1925, when he was editor-in-chief of The Emory Phoenix magazine, his story “Strangers of Parnassus” led the student council to ban that month’s issue as “indecent.” Frank’s career recovered and he wrote for The Atlanta Journal and The New York Sun before he became the editorial director for Walter Brown Publishing Co. He was best known for his work with the Coca-Cola Company, where he was an executive and edited and published the Coca-Cola Bottlers magazine. Frank was also a World War II Army veteran. He married Mary Harris and the couple had no children.

James Nicholas Grant

1909-1976

James Nicholas Grant was born in Durand, Georgia, to Irene Mitcham and Nicholas Luther Grant. He attended Georgia Tech, where he was a member of the Pi Kappa Theta fraternity and studied special textiles. He married Lillian LaRose Wagener in 1931 and the two moved to Charlotte, North Carolina, where James had a job working in the textile business. Later, he was associated with the American Cyanamid Company, which originally produced agricultural chemicals but expanded its products to include synthetic fibers, surgical products, plastics, and more during World War II. James and Lillian had one son, James Nicholas Jr.

Richard Henry Wright

1908-1988

Richard Henry Wright was born in Mississippi. The youngest of six children, he was the son of Henry and Mary Wright. His nickname was “Buster.” He graduated from Monroe A&M. University, where he was a member of the Kappa Sigma fraternity. He married Mildred Camp in 1934 and the couple had three daughters: Mary “Lyn,” Kathryn, and Mildred “Missy.” Richard was a sales representative for Georgia Steel Company and served in the Marine Corps during World War II. 

Matthew McGuire Chapman

1910-1957

Matthew McGuire Chapman was born in Rutherford County, North Carolina, to George M. Chapman and Annie Bliss Ford. Matthew attended Duke University and then Georgia Tech. He settled in Atlanta to work as an engineer and belonged to a number of engineering societies, including the American Society of Civil Engineers and the Georgia Society of Professional Engineers. He was a charter member of the Georgia Engineering Society and later became the sales manager of the pipe and pumps division of the Grinnell Company. Matthew also served in World War II. He married Elizabeth Camp in New Orleans, Louisiana in 1940. The couple had two sons: John and Gerard.

James Robin

1925-1989

J. Robin Harris was an important, progressive figure in Georgia politics. A World War II veteran, he received undergraduate and law degrees from Emory University and went on to represent DeKalb County in the state legislature for the better part of a decade during the 1960s and ‘70s. He served as chairman of the House Judiciary Committee and helped write a new state constitution. He was also chairman of the Decatur Federal Savings and Loan Association and was active in the nonprofit world as chairman of the fundraising campaign to create the Fernbank Museum of Natural History and as a member of the Wren’s Nest’s board. Robin married Rheta Helble Harris and the couple had two daughters, Linda and Annette.

Edward Scruggs Jr

1927-2016

Edward Scruggs Jr. was the only son of Aileen Harris and Edward DeLeon Scruggs. He was an avid outdoorsman from a young age, winning the Georgia State Junior Fly Fishing championship for accuracy and distance. Later, he helped found the Peachtree Rod and Gun Club and the Georgia Game Hawks Club. Edward was a falconer and also enjoyed quail and dove hunting. He even wrote a book in 1983 called The Bird Dog. Edward served in the Army Air Corps and worked in the insurance field at his grandfather’s agency, Lucien & Stewart Harris Insurance. He was married twice, first to Jane Blair Dickinson (with whom he had his three sons) and then to Carolyn Chastain Scruggs.

Mary Jane Gentry Harris

1921-2010

Mary Jane Gentry was born in Birmingham, Alabama, to Mr. and Mrs. James Roy Gentry. After graduating from the University of Georgia, she worked for the Coca-Cola Bottling Co. in New York City. She married Lucien III in 1948 and the couple lived in Florida until 1970 when their only son, Lucien IV, died in a skin-diving accident at age 17. The family then moved to North Carolina, where the couple focused on their artwork. Lucien painted and Mary Jane did stitcheries. She was a small woman at 4-foot-10 but tough, a stickler for grammar and honesty. She actively supported many conservative causes, loved listening to opera, and reading P.G. Wodehouse.

Linda Louise Harris

1951-

Linda Louise Harris was born in Decatur, Georgia, and is the elder of James Robin and Rheta Harris’s two daughters. Growing up, she remembers walking to the Decatur Library and the Decatur Theater, having banana splits at the drugstore, and taking the bus to the Fox Theatre downtown. She earned her BA in English from Agnes Scott College and her masters degree in communications from Georgia State University. Linda’s love for her city developed into her profession. She started working for the City of Decatur in 1988 and in 2019 became assistant city manager. Linda also has a deep love for her family history, designating herself the “keeper of the stories” for her family. She has served on the Wren’s Nest board and is still involved there, working to keep her great-great-grandfather’s legacy alive.

Annette LaRose Harris Shakespeare

1953-

Annette “Rosie” LaRose Harris Shakespeare is the younger daughter of James Robin and Rheta Harris. Her middle name, “LaRose,” is a nod to her great-great-grandmother, Esther LaRose Harris. She earned a BA in sociology from Queens College in Charlotte. She is a member of the Chi Omega sorority and is still close with many of her sorority sisters today. Annette works as a bookkeeper and is actively involved in the Wren’s Nest. She has one daughter, Susanna Kathryn Shakespeare, and one son, Jonathan Lain Shakespeare Jr., who is a former executive director for the Wren’s Nest. In her free time, Annette plays guitar in the Tom Hill Trio, a blues band that plays throughout the Atlanta area.

Jonathan Lain Shakespeare Jr

1983-

Lain Shakespeare grew up visiting the Wren’s Nest. After graduating from Kenyon College, he became executive director of the museum at age 23. It was 2006, and the Wren’s Nest was deeply in debt. He revitalized the museum, launching a new website, writing regular blog posts, continuing the house’s restoration, and creating the Scribes writing program in local schools. In 2011, Lain left the Wren’s Nest to become a brand manager at Mailchimp. Eventually, he created the company’s corporate citizenship initiative that now invests $2 million a year in more than 75 nonprofit organizations in the Atlanta area (including the Wren’s Nest). Now the senior director of corporate citizenship, Lain also created the MailChimp Community College, a leadership program for the company’s employees. In 2020, Lain was named one of the members of the Leadership Atlanta Class of 2021.

  • Joel Chandler Harris

    1848-1908

    Joel Chandler Harris lived at The Wren’s Nest with his family from 1881 until he died in 1908. He was a lifelong journalist, working at The Atlanta Constitution for 24 years as both a humorous “paragrapher” (or editorialist) and an editor. He was also a popular author, famously compiling the Brer Rabbit stories he heard as a young boy into books that became international bestsellers. After Harris’s death, his fans and supporters rallied together to make his home a museum to preserve his legacy, making The Wren’s Nest the first historic house museum in Georgia. You can find out more about Joel Chandler Harris here.

  • Mary Esther LaRose

    1834-1938

    Mary Esther LaRose Harris, or “Essie,” was a small, dainty woman with an alert mind, a dauntless spirit, and a keen sense of humor. Born a French Canadian, she came to live in Georgia when she met Joel Chandler Harris on a trip to Savannah with her parents, Esther DuPont LaRose and Pierre LaRose, a ship captain who plied the south Atlantic coast. The two were married on April 21, 1873, and throughout their marriage, Essie was a constant, effective influence in her husband’s life. She was also his protector, keeping fans and press away from the chronically shy author. Essie was a religious woman, volunteering with the local Catholic Church and helping to found St. Anthony’s parish in the West End neighborhood.

  • Julian LaRose

    1874-1963

    Julian LaRose Harris was Esther and Joel Chandler Harris’s first born. He quickly followed in his journalist father’s footsteps, becoming the news editor for The Atlanta Constitution before his twenty-first birthday and the managing editor at twenty-four. He married Julia Florida Collier Harris in October 1897. The talented writer and his wife later became the owners and editors of The Columbus Enquirer Sun. In 1926, the couple won a Pulitzer Prize for Public Service for their coverage of the Scopes Monkey Trial (the famous trail about teaching evolution in schools), their “brave and energetic fight against the Ku Klux Klan,” and their public stance against lynching.

  • Lucien LaRose

    1875-1960

    Lucien LaRose Harris was Esther LaRose and Joel Chandler Harris’s second son, born just 18 months after his older brother Julian. His family affectionately called him “Tootsie” growing up. Eventually, “Tootsie” became an insurance executive, vice president of the Atlanta Park Board, and the youngest Fulton County Treasurer. He was also the first of the Harris children to marry, wedding Aileen Zachary in December 1895. The couple had six children, four boys and two girls - just like Esther LaRose and Joel Chandler Harris.

  • Evan Howell

    1876-1878

    Evan Howell Harris, Esther LaRose and Joel Chandler Harris’s third son, was named in honor of the then editor-in-chief of The Atlanta Constitution, the newspaper at which Joel Chandler Harris worked. His namesake was “to become one of [his] father’s warmest and stanchest friends.” Sadly, in May 1878, Joel Chandler Harris caught the measles, which all three children then contracted, and baby Evan Howell did not survive.

     

  • Evelyn

    1878-1961

    Evelyn Harris (or sometimes “Ev”) was born in Upton, Quebec, Canada, while his mother, Esther LaRose Harris, was visiting her parents there. The self-proclaimed “Mamma’s Boy” spent more time with Esther than with his older brothers growing up and eventually wrote a booklet entitled, “Little Book About My Mother,” which shares stories about Esther LaRose. Like his brothers and father Joel, Evelyn worked for The Atlanta Constitution newspaper for a time as their city editor. In 1906, he left the Constitution to become the “advertising man” for the Bell Telephone Company in the South’s (or Southern Bell) Telephone News. In 1913, he became one of the four founding members of the Atlanta Rotary Club.

  • Mary Esther

    1879-1882

    Mary Esther Harris, or “Rosebud,” was the first daughter of Esther LaRose and Joel Chandler Harris. The parents were thrilled, particularly Joel, who “had ardently wished for a little girl.” Her father took her birth as a sign of “good luck” since his wish for a daughter was granted at the same time that he was beginning to have success as a writer. Tragically, though, Mary Esther died suddenly of diphtheria shortly before her third birthday.

  • Lillian

    1882-1956

    Lillian Harris was born shortly after the Harris’s first daughter died. As their son, Evelyn, later explained, “Both mother and father welcomed each baby as a gift from heaven, but both were definitely more partial to girls.” Joel Chandler Harris even dedicated his book, Tales of the Home Folks in Peace and War (1898) to Lillian. The dedication reads: “To My Daughter Lillian who will know why I included in Tales of the Home Folks the little skit about our friends in St. Valerien.” Lillian’s nickname was “Billy Ann,” “Billy,” or “Bill.” She was the daughter who loved dolls - in contrast to her tomboy sister, Mildred. Eventually, Lillian married “Fritz” Wagener and they had two children.

  • Linton Edward

    1883-1890

    Linton Edward Harris was described as a boy with a “gentle, affectionate, endearing nature” and whose “little soul was sensitively attuned to all that was lovely around him.” Linton died just after his seventh birthday when he suddenly contracted diphtheria. The Harris family was deeply affected by Linton’s death. His oldest brother, Julian, was devastated as Linton was his favorite sibling, his “partner,” and the younger son passed while Julian was at school in Canada. Joel Chandler Harris was also heartbroken and wrote a tribute to Linton in The Atlanta Constitution entitled, “The Death of a Little Boy.”

  • Mildred

    1885-1966

    Mildred Harris was the “tomboy” Harris daughter, hence her nickname “Tommy.” She was fun-loving and energetic, galloping across the yard on the family’s donkey, Nelly, and pulling pranks on her younger brother, Jake. Mildred and her sister Lillian attended St. Joseph’s Academy, a boarding school, and later attended Agnes Scott College. While they were at school, Harris wrote them numerous letters filled with stories of home and advice on everything from writing and school to friendship and boys. Mildred married Edwin Camp and they had two daughters. When Esther LaRose Harris moved out of The Wren’s Nest so it could become a museum, she lived with Mildred until she passed in 1938.

  • Joel Chandler Jr.

    1888-1964

    Joel Chandler “Jake” Harris Jr. was Esther LaRose and Joel Chandler Harris’s youngest child. He was born at The Wren’s Nest and as a young boy was a prankster (just like his father), playing jokes on his sister Mildred. When he was 13 years old, he “became considerably stuck on the game” of baseball, begging to go to all the Georgia Tech games. Fittingly, Jake later became the sports editor for The Atlanta Constitution. He then was an advertising executive, president of the Atlanta Rotary Club (1934-35), and the District Governor of Rotary International (1936). Jake was married twice, first to Hazelle Pancoast and then to Dorothy “Dot” Cooke Dean after Hazelle died. He never had any children.

  • Aileen Zachry

    1876-1958

    Aileen Zachry Harris was the daughter of William Inus and Mary Harris Zachry, “pioneer settlers” of Atlanta. In a letter to Lucien, Joel Chandler Harris said, “the great thing about [Aileen] is her independence… there is nothing small, or mean or foolish about her.” Aileen and Lucien were married in 1985 and spent their first year of marriage at The Wren’s Nest. Aileen was active in local civic and church activities. She was also a member of the Joel Chandler Harris Memorial Association (which ran The Wren’s Nest after it became a museum).

  • Virginia Louise

    1920-1922

    Virginia Louise, daughter of Lucien Harris Jr. and Louise Nicholas, was named for her mother. She was never far from the sight of her parents, but shortly before her 2nd birthday, tragedy struck. According to the family folklore, Virginia was left with the next-door neighbor for a short time and, since it was close to her birthday, the neighbor baked Virginia a surprise birthday cake. Unfortunately, the toddler became sick and died just two days before her 2nd birthday on June 16, 1922. The family believes Virginia was allergic to either the eggs or milk in the cake.

  • Charles Collier

    1899-1903

    Charles Collier (pictured above, on the right) was named for his grandfather Charles Augustus Collier. But according to his mother, Julia Collier Harris, he was more like his grandfather Joel Chandler Harris. He was “the only grandchild who had the red hair and bright blue eyes of his Grandfather Harris, and he resembled his grandfather, too, in disposition, being endowed with that combination of gentleness, mischievousness, and whimsicality so often found in red-haired boys. He and his grandfather were on very loving terms.” Unfortunately, just days after Christmas in 1903, Charles was taken ill and never recovered. He died when he was just four years old.

  • Elizabeth Camp Chapman

    1912-1996

    Elizabeth Camp Chapman was the daughter of Mildred Harris and Edwin Camp. Her family lived next door to the Wren’s Nest and Elizabeth remained in Atlanta for most of the rest of her life. She married Matthew M. Chapman and they had two sons. Elizabeth was a graduate of the University of Georgia, a lifelong member of Christ the King Catholic Church, and a claims analyst for Equifax. For 15 years, she was a volunteer tour guide at The Wren’s Nest. Although she never met her grandfather, Joel Chandler Harris, Elizabeth shared family stories and letters about the famous author on her tours. The former Executive Director of the museum, Carole Mumford, said Elizabeth “had this wry, wonderful sense of humor, a great laugh, and she loved a good story.”

  • Julia Collier

    1875-1967

    Julia Collier Harris pursued a career as an illustrator until her mother’s death in 1896, when she returned home to help her father care for her six younger siblings. She married Julian Harris in October 1897. In 1902, the couple moved into a new home just down the road from The Wren’s Nest with their two young sons, two of Julia’s sisters, and one of her brothers. She began her journalism career in 1907, contributing articles to the Uncle Remus Magazine. She went on to become an accomplished journalist and writer. She and Julian co-owned the Columbus Enquirer-Sun, using the newspaper to further Progressive reform. In her writing, Julia courageously spoke out against illiteracy, corruption, racial injustice, and anti-evolutionists. She covered both the Treaty of Versailles and the Scopes Trial. In 1926, she and Julian won the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service. Julia also wrote two biographies of her father-in-law. She retired from journalism in 1936 but continued to advise and encourage young writers up until she died in 1967. She was inducted into the Georgia Writers Hall of Fame in 2019.

  • Lucien III

    1923-1996

    Lucien Harris was born in 1923, the son of Lucien Jr. and Virginia Louise Nicholas. He became a Navy aviator, fighting in WWII. After the war, Lucien graduated from Emory University Business School and then became a banker. However, Lucien III’s passion was for art. He taught himself to paint and his work primarily featured natural subjects like birds and butterflies, heavily inspired by his father’s own love of nature as a lepidopterist. The majority of his paintings are now housed at The Bascom Center for Visual Arts in Highlands, N.C. - where Lucien lived from 1981-1996.

  • Lucien IV

    1953-1970

    Lucien Harris IV was the only son of Lucien III and Mary Jane Harris. His nickname was “Buzz” or “Buzzy.” He and his family lived in Orlando, Florida. Unfortunately, when Buzzy was 17 years old, he died during a skin-diving accident at the Clearwater Pass Bridge. He was a student at Edgewater High School where he was a member of the National Honor Society, was the president of the Spanish Honor Society, and played on the soccer team. Buzzy was the last male of Joel Chandler Harris’s descendants to bear the Harris last name.

  • Lucien Jr.

    1899-1983

    Lucien LaRose Harris, Jr. was born September 9, 1899, in Atlanta, Georgia. The third son of Lucien Harris and Aileen Zachry, he was a storyteller extraordinaire with an infectious laugh and a gentle spirit. He sold textbooks for McMillan, traveling the state and talking to schoolchildren about his memories of his grandfather, Joel Chandler Harris. Lucien Jr. was a naturalist at heart, collecting butterflies, mounting and preserving them in cases until he amassed such a collection that he built a special “butterfly room” behind his home. He eventually turned his avocation into a book called Butterflies of Georgia, published in 1972.

  • Pierre LaRose

    Pierre LaRose Harris was named for his great-grandfather (Esther LaRose’s father). Joel Chandler Harris once said Pierre was the “finest baby [he] ever saw” and described him as “such a pink and white baby, as clean as a bowl of rice.” According to his mother, Julia Collier Harris, he had the same coloring as Mary “Rosebud” Harris. Like Rosebud, he also died young, at just under three years old and only four months after his only brother, Charles, died.

  • Remus Anthony

    1916-1979

    Remus Anthony Harris was the youngest child of Lucien and Aileen Harris. Remus distinguished himself as a songwriter with seven #1 hit songs. This included, “Cry Baby Cry” in 1939, which was Judy Garland’s first record and sold millions of copies, and “So Long” in 1940, which was recorded by Ella Fitzgerald and featured on “The Kate Smith Hour” radio show. Remus married Frieda Ackermann in 1941 and the couple moved to their 5th Avenue apartment in New York City shortly after. When Remus was 31, he became one of the top advertising executives in New York.

  • Mary Harris Rowsey

    1908-1979

    Mary Harris Rowsey was the second daughter of Aileen and Lucien Harris. She married Frank Rowsey and the couple never had any children. Like many members of her family - including her grandfather Joel Chandler Harris - Mary pursued a journalism career. She was the society editor of The Atlanta Constitution until 1953. Her recurring column, called,“Just Ramblin’,” launched in 1943, reporting on social and cultural events like fashion, weddings, births, and local gossip. Also, like Joel Chandler Harris, Mary’s home was known by a clever name: the “Briar Patch,” a nod to Brer Rabbit’s home in her grandfather’s famous books.

  • Lillian LaRose

    1908-

    Lillian “Rose” LaRose, daughter of Lillian Harris and Fritz Wagener, was born at The Wren’s Nest in 1908. Lillian married James Nicholas Grant, moved to North Carolina, and raised their son James “Jim” Jr. while also teaching kindergarten out of their home. After Jim went to college, Lillian volunteered at the Sunshine Day Nursery, established when a growing number of women began working. Lillian eventually became the school’s director, a position she held for 30 years. The Charity League later established The LaRose Grant Award in her memory, which honors a member every year for exceptional service. The League remembered Lillian for her “high standards in the nursery, the kindness and stability that she provided the children, and of course, her collection of rabbit figurines.”

  • Annie Louise Hawkins Harris

    1879-1954

    Annie Louise Hawkins was born in Georgia. She married Joel Chandler Harris’s son, Evelyn, in October 1903 and the couple celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary the year before Annie died. Throughout their marriage, Annie was actively engaged in the civic and social affairs of Atlanta. She was the President of the Service Group and a member of the Barclay Mission, which was dedicated to Atlanta welfare work. Annie was also a founding member of the Peachtree Garden Club, which was established in 1923 and was the first garden club in Atlanta. She and Evelyn had no children.

  • Fritz Wagener

    1882-1964

    Frederick “Fritz” Wagener was a successful architect and contractor. In newspaper advertisements for his business, he said he could “furnish you plans, specifications and bill of all necessary material cheaper than anybody else in town.” Fritz married Joel Chandler Harris’s daughter Lillian at the Wren’s Nest in January 1908. The wedding ceremony took place in the drawing room of the house with food served in the dining room and punch served on the covered front porch. Featured on the reception spread table were ice sculptures of Brer Rabbit, Brer Bear, and Brer Fox. He and Lillian had two children: a daughter and a son.

  • Edwin Camp

    1882-1955

    Edwin Camp was born in Powder Springs, Georgia, but grew up in Atlanta. He married Mildred Harris, Joel Chandler Harris’s daughter, in 1909, and the couple had two daughters: Mildred and Elizabeth. Like his father-in-law, Edwin was a journalist. He began his 29-year newspaper career as an editor for the University of Georgia’s student paper. After working at other papers, he became best known for his sports reporting at The Atlanta Journal. He wrote under the pseudonym “Ole Timer” as he greatly valued his privacy. Edwin was also a pioneer in Southern broadcasting as one of the first newscasters for WSB-TV when it launched in 1948.

  • Hazelle Pancoast White Harris

    1888-1919

    Hazelle Pancoast White Harris was born in Leesburg, Virginia, to Elijah White and Rosa Lee Pancoast White. The family owned Selma Plantation in Loudoun County, now a historic site called Selma Mansion. Her father was the president of the People’s National Bank and the owner of White’s Ferry. In October 1911, she married Joel Chandler Harris Jr. at her home. Unfortunately, Hazelle died of pneumonia in February 1920 at the couple’s home in Atlanta at the age of 32.

  • Dorothy Cooke Dean Harris

    1898-1996

    Dorothy Cooke Dean Harris was the daughter of Herbert H. and Callie Law Dean. Dorothy graduated from Brenau College, where she was the president of her senior class and a member of the Tri Delta sorority. After college, Dorothy helped with the World War I effort by volunteering with the Red Cross. By the time she married Joel “Jake” Chandler Harris Jr. in 1922 (his second wife after his first wife, Hazelle Pancoast White, died in 1920), she had traveled extensively both in the U.S. and in Europe. According to a wedding announcement, Dorothy was beautiful and “her pleasing personality [was] combined with admirable traits of character.” She and Jake had no children.

  • Andrew Stewart Harris

    1896-1986

    Andrew Stewart Harris (called Stewart) was Lucien and Aileen Harris’s first child and Joel Chandler Harris’s first grandchild. His grandfather nicknamed him “Toodly-bo and Toodle” and described him in a letter to his daughter as “really smart. His memory is as long as a wire fence.” In June 1918, Stewart enlisted in the Navy aviation unit. After the war, Stewart, his father Lucien, and his brother Joel Chandler Harris III founded an insurance company called Lucien & Stewart. Stewart was also a director of the First Mutual Building & Loan Association. He never married and had no children.

  • Joel Chandler Harris III

    1897-1966

    Joel Chandler Harris III was the namesake of his grandfather, who called him “Chandler” or “Chubby” in his letters. According to his family, Joel was “sweet and quiet.” Like his brother Stewart, during World War I Joel attended officers training school in naval aviation. After the war, he worked with his brother and father at the insurance company Lucien & Stewart. He later went on to become the president of the Farmers National Life Insurance Co. and the Eastern National Financial Agency. In 1920, he married Willie Greene Chiles and in 1928, he remarried Bessie White, with whom he had one daughter named Beverly.

  • Bessie White Harris

    1907-1999

    Bessie Virginia White was born in Atlanta in 1907 to Mr. and Mrs. William Henry White. She was a direct descendant of Lieutenant Colonel Robert Wooding on her father’s side and the Metcalf and Odell families (famous jurists) on her mother’s side. She attended Washington seminary and then graduated from Ward-Belmont college in Nashville. Bessie was a popular “belle” in the 1926-1927 Debutante club. She married Joel Chandler Harris III on February 1, 1928. As a testament to her popularity, the couple had four different parties thrown in their honor surrounding their wedding, including a luncheon at the Atlanta Biltmore hotel. She and Joel had one daughter, Beverly.

  • Aileen Harris Scruggs

    1904-1984

    Aileen Harris Scruggs was Lucien and Aileen Harris’s eldest daughter and Joel Chandler Harris’s first granddaughter. As a young girl, Aileen was crowned May Day Queen at the annual pageant that used to be held on the Wren’s Nest’s grounds. When she married Edward DeLeon Scruggs in 1925, she was the first bride to have a reception at the house after it had become a museum. The couple were married on December 9th, her grandfather’s birthday. On the day of her wedding, The Atlanta Constitution ran a poem called, “To Aileen Harris” by Myrta Lockett Avary. The poem uses the dialect style for which her grandfather was famous and in it, the Brer Critters congratulate Aileen on her wedding. She and Edward had one son, Edward Jr.

  • Edward DeLeon Scruggs

    1901-1964

    Edward DeLeon Scruggs was from Brewton, Alabama. He was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Daniel Gillis Scruggs, both members of prominent Southern families - his father’s in Virginia and his mother’s in Alabama. Edward graduated from Cornell University, where he was a member of the Phi Delta Theta fraternity. He married Aileen Harris, Joel Chandler Harris’s first granddaughter, in December 1925. Ten days before the wedding, when he was en route to Atlanta from Alabama, Edward lost the wedding ring! Despite a desperate hunt to find it -- reportedly with Brer Rabbit and Brer Fox’s help -- it was never recovered and a second ring had to be purchased.

  • Fritz Wagener Jr.

    1911-1976

    Frederick “Fritz” Wagener Jr was the only son of Frederick and Lillian Harris Wagener. He was Joel Chandler Harris’s grandson but was born after the author had already passed. A fun tidbit from Fritz Jr.’s childhood is that in 1915, his Eskimo dog won second place in its category in the Atlanta Kennel Club’s Dog Show. Like other members of the Harris family, Fritz Jr. worked in the insurance field. Specifically, he was the assistant manager of the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company. He married Miss Myrtle Irene Weaver in December 1937. The couple lived in LaGrange and then Tocca, Georgia. They had one son, Fritz III.

  • Mildred Camp Wright

    1910-1989

    Mildred Camp Wright was the daughter of Mildred and Edwin Camp. She was Joel Chandler Harris’s granddaughter and was born at the Wren’s Nest in 1910. Mildred was crowned the queen at the 1922 annual May Day Festival held on the Wren’s Nest grounds. She also seemingly inherited her family’s talent for writing as in 1926 she won the United Daughters of the Confederacy gold medal for an essay about the Confederate Flag. She married Richard Henry Wright in 1934. Esther LaRose Harris, Mildred’s grandmother, had been living with the family and was bedridden at the time so the ceremony was performed in Mrs. Harris’s room. Mildred and Richard had three daughters: Mary “Lyn,” Kathryn, and Mildred “Missy.”

  • Frank Rowsey

    1906-1961

    Frank Rowsey was born in Albany, Georgia, in 1906. He attended Emory University, where his journalism career began with some notoriety. In 1925, when he was editor-in-chief of The Emory Phoenix magazine, his story “Strangers of Parnassus” led the student council to ban that month’s issue as “indecent.” Frank’s career recovered and he wrote for The Atlanta Journal and The New York Sun before he became the editorial director for Walter Brown Publishing Co. He was best known for his work with the Coca-Cola Company, where he was an executive and edited and published the Coca-Cola Bottlers magazine. Frank was also a World War II Army veteran. He married Mary Harris and the couple had no children.

  • James Nicholas Grant

    1909-1976

    James Nicholas Grant was born in Durand, Georgia, to Irene Mitcham and Nicholas Luther Grant. He attended Georgia Tech, where he was a member of the Pi Kappa Theta fraternity and studied special textiles. He married Lillian LaRose Wagener in 1931 and the two moved to Charlotte, North Carolina, where James had a job working in the textile business. Later, he was associated with the American Cyanamid Company, which originally produced agricultural chemicals but expanded its products to include synthetic fibers, surgical products, plastics, and more during World War II. James and Lillian had one son, James Nicholas Jr.

  • Richard Henry Wright

    1908-1988

    Richard Henry Wright was born in Mississippi. The youngest of six children, he was the son of Henry and Mary Wright. His nickname was “Buster.” He graduated from Monroe A&M. University, where he was a member of the Kappa Sigma fraternity. He married Mildred Camp in 1934 and the couple had three daughters: Mary “Lyn,” Kathryn, and Mildred “Missy.” Richard was a sales representative for Georgia Steel Company and served in the Marine Corps during World War II. 

  • Matthew McGuire Chapman

    1910-1957

    Matthew McGuire Chapman was born in Rutherford County, North Carolina, to George M. Chapman and Annie Bliss Ford. Matthew attended Duke University and then Georgia Tech. He settled in Atlanta to work as an engineer and belonged to a number of engineering societies, including the American Society of Civil Engineers and the Georgia Society of Professional Engineers. He was a charter member of the Georgia Engineering Society and later became the sales manager of the pipe and pumps division of the Grinnell Company. Matthew also served in World War II. He married Elizabeth Camp in New Orleans, Louisiana in 1940. The couple had two sons: John and Gerard.

  • James Robin

    1925-1989

    J. Robin Harris was an important, progressive figure in Georgia politics. A World War II veteran, he received undergraduate and law degrees from Emory University and went on to represent DeKalb County in the state legislature for the better part of a decade during the 1960s and ‘70s. He served as chairman of the House Judiciary Committee and helped write a new state constitution. He was also chairman of the Decatur Federal Savings and Loan Association and was active in the nonprofit world as chairman of the fundraising campaign to create the Fernbank Museum of Natural History and as a member of the Wren’s Nest’s board. Robin married Rheta Helble Harris and the couple had two daughters, Linda and Annette.

  • Edward Scruggs Jr

    1927-2016

    Edward Scruggs Jr. was the only son of Aileen Harris and Edward DeLeon Scruggs. He was an avid outdoorsman from a young age, winning the Georgia State Junior Fly Fishing championship for accuracy and distance. Later, he helped found the Peachtree Rod and Gun Club and the Georgia Game Hawks Club. Edward was a falconer and also enjoyed quail and dove hunting. He even wrote a book in 1983 called The Bird Dog. Edward served in the Army Air Corps and worked in the insurance field at his grandfather’s agency, Lucien & Stewart Harris Insurance. He was married twice, first to Jane Blair Dickinson (with whom he had his three sons) and then to Carolyn Chastain Scruggs.

  • Mary Jane Gentry Harris

    1921-2010

    Mary Jane Gentry was born in Birmingham, Alabama, to Mr. and Mrs. James Roy Gentry. After graduating from the University of Georgia, she worked for the Coca-Cola Bottling Co. in New York City. She married Lucien III in 1948 and the couple lived in Florida until 1970 when their only son, Lucien IV, died in a skin-diving accident at age 17. The family then moved to North Carolina, where the couple focused on their artwork. Lucien painted and Mary Jane did stitcheries. She was a small woman at 4-foot-10 but tough, a stickler for grammar and honesty. She actively supported many conservative causes, loved listening to opera, and reading P.G. Wodehouse.

  • Linda Louise Harris

    1951-

    Linda Louise Harris was born in Decatur, Georgia, and is the elder of James Robin and Rheta Harris’s two daughters. Growing up, she remembers walking to the Decatur Library and the Decatur Theater, having banana splits at the drugstore, and taking the bus to the Fox Theatre downtown. She earned her BA in English from Agnes Scott College and her masters degree in communications from Georgia State University. Linda’s love for her city developed into her profession. She started working for the City of Decatur in 1988 and in 2019 became assistant city manager. Linda also has a deep love for her family history, designating herself the “keeper of the stories” for her family. She has served on the Wren’s Nest board and is still involved there, working to keep her great-great-grandfather’s legacy alive.

  • Annette LaRose Harris Shakespeare

    1953-

    Annette “Rosie” LaRose Harris Shakespeare is the younger daughter of James Robin and Rheta Harris. Her middle name, “LaRose,” is a nod to her great-great-grandmother, Esther LaRose Harris. She earned a BA in sociology from Queens College in Charlotte. She is a member of the Chi Omega sorority and is still close with many of her sorority sisters today. Annette works as a bookkeeper and is actively involved in the Wren’s Nest. She has one daughter, Susanna Kathryn Shakespeare, and one son, Jonathan Lain Shakespeare Jr., who is a former executive director for the Wren’s Nest. In her free time, Annette plays guitar in the Tom Hill Trio, a blues band that plays throughout the Atlanta area.

  • Jonathan Lain Shakespeare Jr

    1983-

    Lain Shakespeare grew up visiting the Wren’s Nest. After graduating from Kenyon College, he became executive director of the museum at age 23. It was 2006, and the Wren’s Nest was deeply in debt. He revitalized the museum, launching a new website, writing regular blog posts, continuing the house’s restoration, and creating the Scribes writing program in local schools. In 2011, Lain left the Wren’s Nest to become a brand manager at Mailchimp. Eventually, he created the company’s corporate citizenship initiative that now invests $2 million a year in more than 75 nonprofit organizations in the Atlanta area (including the Wren’s Nest). Now the senior director of corporate citizenship, Lain also created the MailChimp Community College, a leadership program for the company’s employees. In 2020, Lain was named one of the members of the Leadership Atlanta Class of 2021.

This educational interactive was made possible by a generous grant from Georgia Humanities.

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