George Harris was born on 24 March 1850 in Liverpool, Merseyside, England. He emigrated to the United States in 1870 (according to the 1900 census).
He was married circa 1875 to Mary Simmons. Mary was born on 25 April 1853 in Ireland.
On 12 June 1880, George and Mary and their daughters Rachael (born April 1876) and Agnes R. (born 1877/1878) lived in Stamford, Connecticut. George was working as a gardener while Mary was keeping house. George and Mary had two more children, Susan, born in May 1882, and Alfred James, born 30 October 1888.
Mary died on 27 August 1889 in Middleton, Connecticut: The Stamford Advocate reported: HARRIS. In Middletown, August 27, Mary Harris, formerly of Stamford, aged 36 years.
George was married second circa 1890 to Mary Jessup. Mary was born in October 1850 in Connecticut, daughter of Edward Jessup.
On 11 June 1900, George and Mary lived at 6 Division Street in Stamford with their daughters Rachael and Susie. Son Alfred is not listed with the family and was apparently living somewhere else. George was working as a gardener. In April 1910, George and Mary lived at 15 Cottage Street in Stamford. He was working as a gardener for a private family.
Mary died on 12 February 1911 in Stamford. Her obituary appeared in the Daily Advocate, a Stamford newspaper, on 15 February 1911:
The funeral of Mrs. Mary Harris, who died at her late residence, 15 Cottage Street, Sunday, was held this afternoon, at 2:30. Mrs. Harris was 61 years of age, and leaves her husband, George Harris, and her mother, Mrs. Ed Jessup. The funeral service was held from the house of her mother, Mrs. Edward Jessup of Riverside, Rev. C. M. Addison of St. John’s parish officiating, in the presence of friends and relatives of the deceased. Interment was in Sound Beach Cemetery.
George boarded the Titanic at Southampton after staying at 41 Claredon Street, Pimlico, London SW, England (Ticket SW/PP 752, £10 10 shillings). His cabin was toward the stern. He was asleep on the night the ship struck the iceberg and slept through the event, only to be awakened shortly afterward by people shouting. He made his way to the deck and was able to enter Lifeboat 15 (he thought it was Lifeboat 13) when someone asked if there were any more women, no one responded, and he climbed in. He reported that he rowed for hours. He later claimed that he could see people trying to climb over the rail separating first and second class passengers, the rail broke, and the people fell into the water. He would arrive home in Stamford on 19 April 1912 and was interviewed by the local newspaper.
George died on 3 March 1919 in Stamford. He had been living at his daughter Rachel (Harris) Coulter’s home in Stamford. The Daily Advocate reported on 4 March 1919:
TITANIC SURVIVOR DEAD.
George Harris Never Recovered from Shock of the Disaster.
George Harris of 76 Garden Street died last night, in the Stamford Hospital, after a short illness. He is survived by two daughters, Mrs. F. W. Coulter of 76 Garden Street and Miss Agnes Harris of New York, and a son, Alfred Harris of New Haven. He was a member of the Sons of St. George and of the Maccabees.
He was, on April 15, 1912, a passenger on the Titanic, and was asleep in his berth near the stern of the vessel. He was not awakened by the collision with the iceberg, but ten minutes after the accident was aroused by the cries of those on deck. It happened that Mr. Harris was one of the fifty in boat No. 13, picked up by the Carpathia. In his boat there were no sailors, and Mr. Harris, although then over sixty years of age, pulled an oar for hours. On April 18 he arrived at his home in this city. Since the Titanic experience, his health had not been good. He frequently said his nerves were never the same after his experience in the lifeboat. Of the 715 passengers that the Carpathia rescued; five died from exposure before the Carpathia made port.
George was buried in the First Congregational Church Cemetery in Greenwich, Fairfield County, Connecticut, with both his wives Mary Simmons (1853-1889), Mary Jessup (1850-1911) as well as daughter Rachel Harris (1876-1962)
George’s daughter Susan died prior to 1919. His daughter Rachel was married around 1905 to Frederick W. Coulter, was the mother of three daughters (Mabel, Dorothy, and Hilda), and died on 29 December 1962. Daughter Agnes was unmarried in 1919 in New York. Son Alfred James Harris was married to Amelia C. (--?--), they had a daughter Evelyn, and he worked as a machinist in New Haven, Connecticut.