Latham E. Harrison, banker, of St. Francis, and one of its foremost citizens, having been the first mayor of the town, a pioneer merchant, and legislator from Cheyenne county, was born August 5, 1866, in Tama county, Iowa, near Marshalltown, son of Rev. David and Margaret (Adair) Harrison, natives of Ohio, who came to Iowa in 1853, where Rev. Harrison was engaged as a minister of the Methodist Episcopal church. In 1878 the Harrison family came to Kansas and located in Jewell county, at Jewell Center, now the town of Mankato. The piece of ground where the subject's sister once lived in a sod house is now in the center of Mankato, and his father's house now occupies the same site.
Rev. Harrison preached in sod churches and dug-outs in the early days; is a veteran of the Civil war, and at present still lives in Mankato. The name of the town was changed from Jewell Center to Mankato about three years after the Harrisons located here, and our subject received his education in the schools of that city.
After leaving school Mr. Harrison went to work on the Mankato "Jewellite," a newspaper of Mankato, and later was with the Burr Oak "Herald," Jewell County "Review," and "Monitor," a paper still published in Mankato. After two years in newspaper work, he traveled one year for his brother, who owned a music house in Mankato. He was then employed in the general mercantile business of L. M. Butts, where he remained until the winter of 1888. At this time he removed to Cambridge, Neb., continuing in the mercantile line for a short time, until his brother, who had located in St. Francis, called him to this town on pretended sickness in order to induce him to locate here. He was prevailed upon to handle a stock of goods that had been taken over by a bank, and for that purpose located in St. Francis in 1889. He worked one year as manager of the store for the bank, at the end of which time he and his brother bought out the party who had bought the stock and embarked in the mercantile business under the firm name of Harrison Bros. They remained in partnership until 1896, when Latham Harrison bought his brother out. He continued in business and today he is the leading merchant of St. Francis. Two years ago Mr. Harrison took his two sons into the business, which is now known as the Harrison Mercantile Company.
In 1896 Mr. Harrison organized the Cheyenne County State Bank, and has been its president since the organization. He was the first mayor of St. Francis and for nine years was president of the Cheyenne County High School. In 1904 he was elected representative of Cheyenne county to the legislature, in which body he served on the following committees: County lines and county seats, penal institutions, banks and banking, and irrigation. He introduced House Bill No. 123, relating to sugar beet bounty, and Bill No. 599, relating to the city of St. Francis. Mr. Harrison is a member of the Bankers' Association of Kansas, of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, the Ancient Order of United Workmen, the Modern Woodmen of America, and of the Methodist Episcopal church.
Mr. Harrison was married June 27, 1888, to Cora Tippin, daughter of G. M. and Jennie (Montgomery) Tippin, of Mankato, Kan. Her father was a native of Indiana and her mother of Ohio, and they took a homestead in Jewell county, near Mankato, in 1880. Here Mr. Tippin engaged in farming and stock raising. Mrs. Harrison was born in Page county, Iowa, where she began her education, finishing in the schools of Jewell county. She was a teacher before her marriage. Mr. and Mrs. Harrison have four children: Benjamin G., Harry D., Hollis and Manette. Benjamin G. and Harry D. graduated from the county high school and attended the Kansas Wesleyan University, after which they engaged in business with their father. Hollis is now attending the Kansas Wesleyan University and Manette is a graduate of the county high school, in the class of 1913. The family are members of the Methodist Episcopal church and all take an active part in church work.Pages 90-91 from a supplemental volume of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar. Transcribed October 2002 by Carolyn Ward. This volume is identified at the Kansas State Historical Society as microfilm LM196. It is a single volume 3.
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