John H. Harris was born in Akron, Ohio, on May 26, 1887, the son of Lawrence Harris and Anna Cavanaugh. He had at least four siblings: William, Daniel, Helen, and Clancy. On April 28, 1918, he enlisted in the United States Army at Camp Meade, Maryland. Harris briefly served with the 316th Infantry Regiment before his transfer to Camp Lee, Virginia, on May 30, 1918, where he joined the 148th Infantry Regiment. On June 6, 1918, he became a member of Company B, 145th Infantry Regiment. Harris served in France and Belgium between June 1918 and March 1919, and participated in several battles during the war's final months. He received a promotion to corporal on October 26, 1918. After his discharge in mid-April 1919, Harris returned to Akron, where he worked as a house painter. He never married. John H. Harris died in Broadview Heights, Ohio, on January 19, 1943.