Politician, businessman, and philanthropist Young Loften Gerdine Harris was born in Elbert County sometime in 1812. Harris was admitted to the bar in 1834. Harris represented that county in the Georgia House in 1841. After moving to Athens, he served as justice of the inferior court of Clarke County for five years, and as a state representative for three terms. Harris was also a Clarke County representative to the constitutional convention of 1865. He had begun working with the Southern Mutual Insurance Company in 1849; by 1866 he was its president and would remain so for the rest of his life. Harris, a devout Methodist, gave generously to further the education of north Georgia’s youth. Two buildings at Emory were constructed through his donations. In 1887, a minister running a small institute for educating children in the Brasstown Valley of Towns County approached Harris for help in funding the school. So generous was Harris’s donation that the school and the town that grew up around it were named in his honor. When Harris died, he left a large cash donation and valuable stock to Young Harris College. Harris died in Athens, Georgia on April 28, 1894, and iss buried in Athens’ Oconee Hills Cemetery.