Frank Gaines Harris

Frank Gaines Harris

Columbia, Boone County, Missouri, USA
Death 30 Dec 1944 (aged 73)
Columbia, Boone County, Missouri, USA
Burial Columbia, Boone County, Missouri, USA
Memorial ID 81822996 · View Source
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Lieutenant-Governor Frank G. Harris

Frank was the second of Robert Graham & Mary Elizabeth (Proctor) Harris's eight children. His siblings were: Eugenia Frances, Mary, James H., Proctor, Gertrude, Laura, & Anna Mark.

Frank, a Democratic politician, gained notoriety when he became Missouri's 33rd Lieutenant-Governor and held that office from January 9, 1933 to December 30, 1944. At the time of his death in Columbia, he was the only man to serve more than one term as Lieutenant-Governor.

He received his higher education at the Kirksville Normal School (now known as Truman State University). In 1898 he graduated from the University of Missouri with a degree in law. After passing the bar, he established a law practice in Columbia and served as Boone County Prosecuting Attorney for six years.

He married Grace Sims in Prairie County, AR on March 12, 1901. They had three children: Elizabeth, Virginia, & Frank, Jr. (More about them on Grace's memorial)

The Harris home, shown on the right, is located at 707 W. Broadway in Columbia. Frank bought the land in 1907, and hired the Phillips Construction Company in 1908 to construct it. During its construction, he was the Prosecuting Attorney of Boone County & served three consecutive terms. Their son, Frank, Jr., was a only few days old when they moved into their new home. (In 1941 Frank & Grace deeded the property to their son, who had grown up in the house. He & his wife, Helen, lived there until his death in 1980. A photo of the house was included in Columbia the Coming City pf Central Missouri. It was owned by the original family more than 70 years.)

After serving as prosecuting attorney, Frank was elected to the Missouri General Assembly & first served in the House of Representatives and then as State Senator from the 10th district between 1915 and 1932.

In 1932 he was elected to the first of three consecutive terms as Lieutenant Governor. He became known as a strict presiding officer, maintaining such decorum and rigid observance of the rules that the Missouri Senate became famous as one of the most dignified, smooth-working legislative bodies in the nation.

The following article was published in the Jefferson City Post-Tribune on Jan. 4, 1933:
Farm youth, son of Modest Boone County Family, Rose to Political Significance by Sheer Will Power.

Frank G. Harris of Columbia, who will be sworn in as Lieutenant-Governor of Missouri today, has pulled himself out of what might have been a hum-drum existence to political prominence by sheer will power.

As a farm youth, he was reared in a modest pioneer Boone County family. His father and grandfather were native Boone countians. His great-grandfather, James Harris, a native of Kentucky settled there in 1817.

Ambitious to become a lawyer, Harris was forced to look to other professions to make money to get law books and institutions. He directed his efforts toward country school teaching, dividing his time between instructing rural school children and studying law at the University of Missouri. He graduated from the University Law School in 1898, having two years previously been admitted to the bar in Audrain county.

He chose Centralia, in Northern Boone County, to 'hang out his shingle.' Meanwhile, he mixed his practice with local politics, becoming a police judge when 27 years old. After three years a a police judge he went in for county politics, serving as prosecuting attorney of Boone from 1903 to 1909. He served later as representative from his county in the lower house of the general assembly and as a state senator two terms from the Tenth senatorial district.

His vigorous farm life and aptitude for gold makes him seem much younger than his 61 years. His interests outside his work are his family, church and golf. He takes long walks to keep physically fit.

Harris has always been a Democrat, but independent. Four years ago he was the only Democratic state candidate without the backing of the powerful Pendergast organization in Kansas City. This year, however, he had the full support of the Kansas City organization.

He is married and has three children, Fran G. Harris, Jr., a student in the University of Missouri Law School; Virginia, secretary to Ambassador Fred Dearing at Lima Peru, and Elizabeth, wife of Clay Stark, of Louisiana, MO."

Jefferson City Post-Tribune
April 25, 1933
The senate today unanimously adopted a resolution congratulating its presiding officer, Lieut. Gov. Frank G. Harris, upon his sixty-second birthday and praising eminently just and fair decisions during the session. The resolution, offered by Senators Joffee, Clayton and Henry, wished for the lieutenant governor 'many more years of a life full of service to his fellow men and happiness and contentment for himself.' 'Nothing warms my heart so much as the good wishes of this body,' Harris said in reply to the tribute to him."

Frank & Grace were living on Dec. 30, 1944, when he died at 4 p.m. in their home on 605 W. Broadway. His death was due to "Uremia." He had lived 73 years, 8 months, & 5 days. He was buried Feb. 2.

The following is only one of many obituaries that were published about Frank's death.

Frank G. Harris, 73, lieutenant-governor of Missouri, who was nearing the end of his third term, died at his home in Columbia, Saturday night following an illness of three weeks.

He had announced plans for retirement from public life at the end of his present term. Born on a farm, Harris often missed classes in country school to help with the work at home. Older than the ordinary freshman when he went to Centralia high school, he asked permission to take a special examination, following which he was placed in the junior class and proceeded to finish high school in one year.

Harris was the only man to serve more than one term as lieutenant-governor of Missouri. He was noted as a strict presiding officer who maintained such decorum and rigid observance of the rules that the Missouri senate became famous as one of the most dignified, smooth-working legislative bodies in the nation.

Lieut-Gov. Harris is survived by his widow, the former Miss Grace Sims, and three children, Frank G. Harris Jr., Columbus attorney; Mrs. Clay Stark of Louisiana, Mo., and Mrs. Aubrey Casardi of London, England.

Funeral services were held at the First Christian church in Columbia, of which he was an official. Tuesday afternoon Burial was made in the Columbia cemetery."

The Sikeston Herald
Thursday, January 4, 1945

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  • Created by: Virginia Brown
  • Added: 11 Dec 2011
  • Find A Grave Memorial 81822996
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Frank Gaines Harris (25 Apr 1871–30 Dec 1944), Find A Grave Memorial no. 81822996, citing Columbia Cemetery, Columbia, Boone County, Missouri, USA ; Maintained by Virginia Brown (contributor 47053782) .