John HARMON 1
- Born: 1807, TN 2
- Marriage (1): Stacy WITT
- Died: 13 Jul 1893, IA at age 86 3
- Buried: Oakland Cem, Keokuk, Lee Co, IA
Came to Keokuk, IA by boat in 1841.
CIVIL WAR: Comp C, 37th IA "Grey Beards"; enlisted Sept 15, 1862 (age 55) and mustered out Oct 27, 1862, due to disability.
NEWS ARTICLE: Keokuk Chief - about 1890:
Over Forty Years in Keokuk - Brief Sketch of an Ages Resident of West Keokuk
On a day when, throughout the nation, the first flowers of spring are spread upon the graves of the dead Keokuk of the war to commemorate their valor, in a little house in West Keokuk another event will be commemorated on that day, should he live. John Harmon will have reached the eighty-fifth year of a life well spent. A representative of the "Chief" called on a recent sunshiny day at his home on the corner of I and Reid Street, and found him out in the yard trimming trees. He is not a large man. Perhaps of medium stature, a head covered with hair that is white, sharp piercing eyes, and a step that is firm although assisted with a cane. This is a description of a man some of the events of whose career appear below.
Born in East Tennessee near Jonesboro, May 30, 1807, he was taken to Indiana and raised in Harrison county while the state was yet a territory. The place was what was then on the frontier and there was no school. Those were hard days and Mr. Harmon remembers when the Indians got into the neighborhood and killed nine families. It was at a time when Governor Harrison and General Tipton had picked up all able bodied men for duty guarding against the Indians, and had left the settlement unprotected when the Indians slipped in and committed the depredation.
Mr. Harmon's father was named Abraham Harmon and his mother Kate Catherlas both being Germans.
In 1829, Mr. Harmon married Stacy Witt in Harrison County, Indiana. She bore him six children, three of whom are living, as follows: Will and Leroy and Mrs. Jane Mefford. The first wife having died in 1840, Mr. Harmon took unto himself another in the person of Nancy Bunch, also of Harrison County, who died in this city two years ago. Five children were born to them, two of whom are living, in the persons of Mrs. Kate Criswell of this city and Mrs. Sadie Hicks, at whose home Mr. Harmon lives.
In 1841, one year after his second marriage, Mr. Harmon determined to come west and loading his possessions on a steamboat, came down the Ohio River and up the Mississippi, stopping at Keokuk. It was not the place then that it is now. There were four houses when he came and they were log houses with one exception which was a frame not yet completed and he helped finish that. As near as he could remember it was located at Third or Forth and Johnson Streets. Mr. Harmon settled on a site that is now the Wells School Building which was surrounded by timber and had a cornfield there. Of the persons here at that time, they are A. B. Chittenden and Valencourt Van Arsdall.
At the breaking out of war Mr. Harmon enlisted in the 37th Iowa Volunteers which bore the title "Gray Beards". E. A. M. Swasey was the Captain; Joel A. Hall, first lieutenent; and reed L. Barnum, second lieutenant. The company was made up at Keokuk of recruits from Fort Madison, Farmington and Keokuk and was mustered into service Dec. 15, 1862 at Muscatine and was mustered out at St. Louis. Mr. Harmon lacked theree days of nine months service, being exposed to severe weather and was given up for dead several times. No remarkable event remarkable to him during this service, but lying in the quiet cemetery near the battle field of Shiloh are two of his sons who gave their lives for the Union cause. Isaac was killed in action and Bertsall died from brain fever. The war recalls many memories to him, the saddest of all which are those two sons.
Mr. Harmon had a military experience prior to the Civil War. He served fifteen years under the military law of South Carolina and drilled in a rifle company. At the time of the secession of South Carolina and when General Jackson called for volunteers he had to turn out with his company, much as a member of a militias company of these days would do. The company was never in action, however.
In politics, Mr. Harmon is uncompromisingly Republican. He voted for General Jackson and voted the Whig ticket as long as that party was in existence and voted Republican ticket ever since that time.
"During the whole eigthy-five years of my life," Mr. Harmon said, "I have lived loyally to the laws of the county and laws of God and have never been in a law suit, suffering loss rather than entering into one."
(Submitted by Paul F. Jones.)
REGISTER OF DEATHS - Keokuk - reports he was born in OH, died of old age and was buried Oakland Cem. Keokuk
John married Stacy WITT. (Stacy WITT was born on 23 Sep 1806.)