Air Mail Pioneer Jess C. Harris served the U.S. Air Mail Service as a mechanic nearly from its beginning in 1920 to 1927 when it contracted airmail to private carriers. He moved from Elko, Nevada, to Burbank, California. He worked as a cycle sergeant on the police force for twelve years, then, having obtained his pilot's license in 1931, flew as a test pilot for Lockheed from 1940 to 1945. Moving back to Elko, he worked as an under sheriff until 1950 when he was elected sheriff for six more terms until 1974. His father was elected sheriff in 1909 until he died in office in 1936. The county airport in Elko was named JC Harris Field in 1975, in honor of both Jess and his father.
Jess was known in the state of Nevada as "The Flying Sheriff," and was written up in two flight magazines and an FBI bulletin. Flying two prisoners to the state penitentiary in Carson City, Nevada, two weeks before he retired, he was caught in a snow storm and hit the side of a mountain. He didn't need a flight plan because he knew the area so well with 13,000 hours to his credit. He was seriously injured and one of the prisoners was later pardoned for helping to keep him alive until the search party found the plane. The other prisoner was not seriously injured but lost vision in one eye. Jess died in 1980 as a result of the accident.