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.

  • 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.

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

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