CHARLES W. HARVEY is one of the veteran business men and residents of El Dorado, and in recent years has been a leader in the oil development work of Butler County and that vicinity, and has shared in the prosperity that has attended the development of these resources.
Mr. Harvey was born in Appanoose County, Iowa, May 10, 1868. His father, Elijah E. Harvey, was a pioneer Kansan and a man of great usefulness both as a minister of the Gospel and citizen. He was of English descent, and some of his forefathers fought in the Revolutionary war. A distant relative of the same branch was former Governor Harvey of Kansas. Elijah E. Harvey was born in Virginia in April, 1829, and when a small boy he enlisted for service in the Mexican war under the noted Jim Lane, then of Indiana and afterward of Kansas. He went in as a drummer boy, but after getting enrolled took up and performed the duties of a private. He was with General Taylor's army from the battle of Buena Vista until that short but glorious struggle was terminated. He was a vigorous Unionist in sympathy and in action, and at the beginning of the Civil war he formed a company in Iowa which subsequently became Company B of the Sixth Kansas Cavalry. He saw much active service along the border during the war. It was his company that found the old man Younger, who had been shot, and turned over his body to his wife. Elijah Harvey was in the Civil war three years, six months, eighteen days, and was mustered out at the close of the struggle.
After the war he engaged in the mercantile business at Seymour, Iowa, but in 1872 came as a pioneer to Kansas. He and his family traveled overland in a prairie schooner, and in the spring of that year located on a claim in Bloomington Township of Butler County. There he endured all the hardships of pioneering. He was a minister of the Christian Church, and was the first preacher of that denomination in Butler County. He held pastorates at Leon and El Dorado, and in 1880 was elected register of deeds of Butler County, filling that office two terms. As a minister he frequently made long journeys, and the payment for his services frequently consisted of only a piece of beef or bacon. From his homestead claim he moved to the City of El Dorado in 1876, afterward went to Dighton in Lane County, and in 1887 settled on another claim, which he occupied seven years. He then moved to Wichita, and lived there until his death in 1909, at the age of eighty years, one month. Rev. Mr. Harvey was a man of unusual character, devout and devoted to his church and his people, and his warmth of sympathy made him loved by all.
Elijah E. Harvey married Marilla Flynn, who was born in Boone County, Indiana, and died one year after her husband.
Charles W. Harvey recalls some of the early experiences of the family while living on a claim in Butler County. He received his education in the public schools of El Dorado, and finished a preparatory course in Garfield School at Wichita. He first engaged in the drug business at Dighton in Lane County, where he remained until 1891. Then for a short time he was employed in a drug store at Walsenburg, Colorado, but in 1892 returned to El Dorado and was employed for a year by C. H. Selig, a druggist. In the fall of 1893 Mr. Harvey went to Oklahoma, at the opening of the Cherokee Strip, but not finding a favorable location he returned to El Dorado and for six years was in the employ of W. Y. Miller.
Since 1898 Mr. Harvey has been in the real estate business at El Dorado. He was first associated with L. L. Kiser. He has also been interested in the drug business, and at different times has owned two stores. When the big strike of oil was made in Butler County he gave up the drug business and has since devoted himself entirely to the development of oil properties and the sale and handling of real estate.
In politics Mr. Harvey is now a progressive. He was formerly a prominent republican and represented his party in city, county and state conventions, and for eight years was chairman of the Republican County Central Committee and for four years was treasurer of the Eighth Congressional District Committee. As a progressive he has been chairman of the county committee since 1912, and in 1916 was an alternate delegate in the national convention. While prominent in behalf of the party he has never sought or held any elective office. Mr. Harvey is a member of the Knights and Ladies of Security, the Fraternal Aid Union, is secretary of the El Dorado Commercial Club, and since he was twenty years of age has been a working member of the Christian Church. For many years he has been an officer on the church board at El Dorado and is now a deacon.
On June 23, 1897, he married Miss Cora Taylor. Mrs. Harvey is a native of Kansas and a daughter of James A. Taylor. Her father was a New York State man and about 1874, seeking a climate more suitable for his ill health, came to Kansas and located in Spring Township of Butler County where he took up a homestead. In search of health he lived at several other places but died at Elba, New York, in 1877. Mr. Harvey has two children. C. W. Harvey, Jr., born December 5, 1898, is now assisting his fattier in business. The daughter, Alice Carolyn Harvey, was born September 2, 1909.
A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written & compiled by William E. Connelley, 1918, transcribed by students from USD 508, Baxter Springs Middle School, Baxter Springs, Kansas, March 15, 1999.
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