His namesake college in north Georgia is small. Its effect has been anything but.
Young Loftin Harris was born in Elbert County around 1812. He became a lawyer, judge, and state representative, but he made his money in the insurance business. Harris joined the Southern Mutual Insurance Company in 1849. Over a 45-year career, he rose to be its president. Harris was a devout Methodist. In 1887, minister Artemus Lester asked him for financial help with a small school he’d established the year before in Towns County’s Brasstown Valley. Harris liked the idea and gave generously, both while he lived and in his will.
Lester named the school in his honor, and Young Harris College continues to flourish in the north Georgia mountains. It counts among its more famous alums actor Oliver Hardy, poet Byron Herbert Reece, Governor and Senator Zell Miller, and singer Trisha Yearwood.
The benefactor of one of Georgia’s premier liberal arts colleges died on April 28, 1894, Today in Georgia History.
Today in Georgia History is a joint collaboration of the Georgia Historical Society & Georgia Public Broadcasting.