J. E. Harmon is well known and highly esteemed in southern Crawford county, where he can claim pioneer citizenship dating back to the year 1869, when there was not a railroad in the county and this section of the state was mainly valuable as a fine cattle range. Industrially the county had not aspired to any activity whatever when he arrived, and he was among the first men to mine coal. His first place of residence was in Baker township, where the town of Litchfield now stands, and it is to his credit that he mined the first coal at that locality, which is now one of the large producing places for coal in the county. For some nine years he mined coal in this vicinity on a custom basis, coal mining not becoming a profitable or extensive industry until the late seventies. He has been interested in the various phases of the industry ever since, and is recognized as one of the best judges of coal, coal mines and coal lands in Crawford county.
Mr. Harmon was born in Clark county, Missouri, in 1852, a son of Levi and Matilda (Sears) Harmon, the former a native of Kentucky and of Dutch descent and the latter of Scotch ancestry. The parents brought their family to Crawford county in 1869, settling in Baker township, where the father continued his life occupation of farming, dying when past sixty. He was a Democrat in politics, and he and his wife, who lived to be eighty years old, were members of the Christian church and were noted for their kindness and hospitality to all with whom they came in contact. Eleven children made up their family, five sons and three daughters growing to maturity. Mr. J. E. Harmon is the only one now living in this county, and his sister Ida Kendall lives in Galena, Kansas, and another sister, Mary Henderson, is in Oklahoma territory.
Mr. Harmon passed the first seventeen years of his life in Missouri, during which time he was able to attend school only at intervals, and his education and business training have been gained mostly in the school of experience and by his own reading and observation. He lived at Black River, Arkansas, for two years but on account of sickness returned to Kansas and lived at Litchfield for twenty-two months. He then moved over into Cherokee county, living in Garden township near Galena, for some sixteen years. He has bought and sold large amounts of coal land in this part of the state, and has always enjoyed success in his connection with the coal industry. He now owns a fine farm of one hundred and sixty acres not far from the towns of Bruce, Monmouth and Cherokee, and this land is especially valuable for its coal deposits. He has opened up the surface vein and taken out some fine coal, this particular vein being located just eighty rods from the Bruce Deep Vein coal. Mr. Harmon has a good house, barn and other improvements on his place, which is located on Wolf creek, and he has met with satisfactory prosperity in his various enterprises.
Mr. Harmon was married in 1872 to Miss Lucy Clinkenbeard, of this county. She died leaving four children, William A., Matilda J., John H. and Mary. Mr. Harmon was married to his present wife in 1896Susie A. Harrisand they have one daughter, Velva L.Pages 449-451 from A Twentieth century history and biographical record of Crawford County, Kansas, by Home Authors; Illustrated. Published by Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago, IL : 1905. 656 p. ill. Transcribed by Carolyn Ward, in November, 2003.
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