Frank E. Harwi

FRANK E. HARWI, only son of the late Alfred Jonathan Harwi, founder of the great wholesale hardware house at Atchison, is now president of the Harwi Hardware Company as successor of his father and is also president of the Exchange State Bank of that city.

Mr. Harwi is a young man. Unusual and heavy business responsibilities devolved upon his shoulders when most men are merely in their business apprenticeship. He has succeeded admirably in the executive role, and has made a reputation on his individual account.

He was born at Atchison October 11, 1884, was educated in the public schools and in the noted preparatory school at Andover, Massachusetts. From that school he entered the freshman class of Yale University, but could not continue his studies long on account of being called home by an illness of his father. During the next year he worked faithfully as assistant to his father. In 1905 he entered the sophomore class of the University of Kansas. He again abandoned this course, in 1906, and forthwith took a practical part in his father's great establishment. With the death of his father he became president of the Company. Recently Mr. Harwi was elected president of the Exchange State Bank of Atchison.

He was also one of the organizers of the Atchison Commercial Club, which he served as president in 1913 and now as a member of the board of directors. He is one of the trustees of Midland College, a member of the Atchison City Board of Education and has served as a trustee of the Atchison City Hospital since its establishment. Politically he is independent.

On September 30, 1908, Mr. Harwi married Miss Florence Cain, daughter of John M. and Lucy Cain. They have three children: Alfred J., born August 22, 1909; Lucy E., born January 12, 1912; and Frank E., Jr, born September 19, 1916.

Mr. John M. Cain, father of Mrs. Harwi, was born July 30, 1839, at Castletown, Isle of Man. He grew up on his native island, attended the select schools, and learned the trade of carpenter. At the age of seventeen, in 1856, he immigrated to America and identified himself with the territory of Kansas. Here he lived a very useful and prominent career. He was successively a farmer, soldier, merchant and banker. During the period of bitter border warfare he was a volunteer in the company organized by A. S. Peck and Asa Barnes.

In 1862 he entered Captain P. H. McNamara's company and was elected sergeant. With the organization of regiments of colored troops he was appointed first lieutenant of a company in the Eighty-Third Regiment Colored Infantry, and afterwards was commissioned captain. He served until the close of the war and made a splendid record as a soldier and officer. When the war was over he began farming in Atchison County. From his farm he applied some of his capital to the establishment of a store, and later became connected with the old Atchison State Bank and owner of the Cain & Harthorn Mill Company. The death of this Kansas pioneer occurred in 1897.

He was married May 16, 1879, to Miss Lucy Neerman, daughter of Frank and Isabella (Rust) Neerman. The children of Mr. and Mrs. Cain were: Eva, wife of Foster Branson, of River Forest, Illinois; Ralph R., a banker at Ada, Oklahoma; Florence, Mrs. Frank E. Harwi; John Milton, connected with the A. J. Harwi Hardware Company; William Q., an attorney in Atchison; and Alfred Neerman, now deceased.


A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. Chicago: Lewis Publishing Company, copyright 1918; transcribed October, 1997.
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