David Harris, son of John and Mary (Richardson) Harris and brother of William Plunkett and John Richardson Harris, was born in New York, probably in 1795. Whether he came to Texas with John R. Harris as early as 1823 or joined his brother in Texas in 1827 is not certain. As one of Stephen F. Austin's Old Three Hundred colonists, he received title to a sitio of land in what is now Harris County on August 19, 1824. On April 7, 1830, he was granted a tract of land on the west side of the San Jacinto River. The Harris brothers established a trading post at Bell's Landing on the Brazos River and plied their sloops and schooners between Texas and New Orleans. Sometime after December 26, 1828, Harris married Tabitha Kincade, widow of John Iiams; they lived at Harrisburg until they built a home between Red Bluff and La Porte. When John R. Harris died in 1829, David became administrator of his brother's estate; as such he operated a sawmill on the J. R. Harris property southeast of Bray's Bayou.
In 1832 Harris was in command of the Rights of Man when it transported the Mexican garrison from Texas to Tampico after the Anahuac Disturbances. William Barret Travis was his attorney when Harris sold the schooner Nelson to G. F. Richardson in 1833. In 1835 Harris advised the men at Harrisburg not to make threats against the Mexican garrison at Anahuac lest the safety of Stephen F. Austin be jeopardized, but later in the year he commanded the sloop Ohio in an attack on that garrison. He died sometime after November 1841, at the home of a son on Middle Bayou. His own home subsequently became a Baptist recreation center.