James Harris (circa 1739 - circa 1778)
James Harris was one of the original signers of the Meckenburg Declaration of Independence.
His father, Samuel Harris, came from Scotland, and died at sea before reaching New York. His sons buried him in Manhattan. Other sons had already come to America and had settled near Carlisle, PA. Around 1750, many or all of the relatives came to Mecklenburg County, in what is now the Rocky River section of Cabarrus County.
He was too old to serve in the Revolutionary War, but he may have served at the Mecklenburg Convention due to his age and influence in the community. Harris served as a judge on the Court of Inquiry set up by the Mecklenburg Resolves on 5/31/1775, according to a letter by John McKnitt Alexander.
His first will was dated 10/14/1778, and he lists seven children and a wife. His second will was dated 10/14/1779. This family has many repeated naming patterns, and it is difficult to discern all information relevant to each individual. Although there are several notations in other records as to others named James Harris who may have been the signer, this is the most likely person to have signed the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence. He was an elder at the Rocky River Presbyterian Church and is probably buried there.
King, Victor C. Lives and Times of the 27 Signers of the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence of May 20, 1775. Charlotte, NC, 1956.