The life of John Harris (1820-1884)
Between 1853 and the year of his death in 1884, he had fifteen volumes of poems and an autobiography published. One of these, the first, called ‘Lays from the Mine, the Moor and the Mountain,’ went into a second edition.
During his lifetime, he only once left Cornwall, to visit Stratford-upon-Avon
after he had won the Shakespeare Tercentenary Prize in 1864, having competed successfully against other national and international, entries. 
John Harris, a Cornishman born in the village of Bolenowe, near  Troon, Cornwall , started work at the tender age of ten as a surface worker at Dolcoath Mine, and two years later, was working underground with his father. He continued working underground for the next twenty five years. This experience inspired many of his finest poems.
John Harris was largely self-taught, having received only a rudimentary education. He would use discarded wrappers to write on with the aid of Blackberry juice and a nail. While working at Dolcoath, he read Shakespeare, Milton and Byron. He was encouraged by the first Vicar of Treslothan, the Reverend George Bull. He was helped by Dr. George Smith of Trevu, Camborne, to have his first poems published. He dedicated volumes of his poems to many of his well connected patrons.
He married Jane Rule of Troon on September 11th 1845, and settled in Troon for twelve years. He moved to Falmouth in early 1858 working there as a scripture reader, and ‘Town Missionary’ for the Scripture Readers Society. After the toils and tribulations of Dolcoath, his later poetry reflected the cosmopolitan society of Falmouth.
He died in 1884. He was buried in Treslothan Churchyard, Troon, with his beloved daughter, Lucretia who had died aged six years. On his gravestone the following epitaph can be read:-
Blessed are the peacemakers: For they shall be called the children of God.
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