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Source: Album of Genealogy and Biography, Cook County, Illinois with Portraits 3rd ed. revised and extended (Chicago: Calumet Book & Engraving Co., 1895), pp. 106-107

WILLIAM SOESBE HARBERT.  Most of the people of Cook County are familiar with the name of this gentleman, who has become known to them in one or more of the numerous capacities in which he is constantly making himself useful to the community.  But while his worth and ability are recognized by all his associates, comparatively few of those who know him in social or professional life are acquainted with the manifold attributes which make up his admirable character.

Extended notice of the parents of Mr. Harbert, Solomon and Amadine A. Harbert, will be found in another place in this work.   He was born at Terre Haute, Indiana, October 17, 1842.  He completed his education at Wabash College, Crawfordsville, Indiana, and the University of Michigan, graduating from the law department of the latter institution in the Class of 1867.   He had in the mean time, however, done valuable and valiant service to his country in the War of the Rebellion.  He enlisted in 1862 as a member of Company C, Eighty-fifth Indiana Volunteer Infantry.  He entered as a private, was soon promoted to be Lieutenant, and later was brevetted Captain.  He served on the staff of Gen. John Coburn, Major-General Ward and Gen. Benjamin Harrison.  He took part in the battles of Thompson’s Station and Franklin, Tennessee, and in Sherman’s march from Atlanta to Savannah, including the fights at Resaca, Dallas Woods, Burnt Hickory, New Hope Church, Golgotha, Kenesaw Mountain and Peach Tree Creek.  With twelve hundred others, he was captured by Generals Price and Forrest, at Thompson’s Station, and sent to Libby Prison.  He remained two months in that den of horror and torment, and when he came out was carried on a stretcher to City Point.  His weight at that time was ninety-seven pounds.

Before entering the army he had taken up the literary course at Ann Arbor, but the loss of time occasioned by his military service caused him to change his plans, and he took up the law course, as before indicated.  In 1868 he went to Des Moines, Iowa, where he was five years engaged in practice as a member of the law firm of Harbert & Clark, and during this time was appointed Assistant United States Prosecuting Attorney.

Mr. Harbert became a resident of Chicago in 1874, and since that time has given his attention to corporation, real-estate, and insurance law, and enjoys a large practice in all the courts.  The present firm of Harbert & Daley, of which he is the head, was formed in 1887.

October 18, 1870, Mr. Harbert led to the marriage altar Miss Elizabeth, daughter of William and Abbie (Sweetzer) Boynton, old residents of Crawfordsville, Indiana.  Mrs. Harbert is President of the Woman’s Club of Evanston, numbering over three hundred members, and was for many years on the staff of the Inter Ocean, in charge of the “Woman’s Kingdom,” a department of that admirable family journal.  She has published several volumes on topics of interest to women, and is a lecturer of national repute.  The name of Elizabeth Boynton Harbert is a familiar one to all the reading people of this country.

Three children have blessed the home of Mr. and Mrs. Harbert.  Arthur, the eldest, is a student of astronomy, who is fitting for special work in astronomical research.   Corinne, the second, has already achieved considerable reputation as an elocutionist.  Boynton is now a student of the Northwestern University at Evanston.  Since 1874 the family has lived at Evanston, though the summers are spent at their pleasant cottage on the shores of Lake Geneva, Wisconsin.

Mr. and Mrs. Harbert are members of the Central Church of Chicago, and were among the most ardent admirers of its late pastor, Prof. David Swing.  They are interested in numerous philanthrophic [sic] and institutional work, and are always designing means to relieve the mental and physical sufferings of mankind.  In political views and actions, Mr. Harbert is unbiased by considerations of partisan advantage, but is governed solely by his judgment and conscience.  His independent and manly course in life has inspired the unanimous approval of his associates, and he has reason to feel gratified with the character of the friends whom he has attracted.

                                -- Submitted on March 22, 2000 by Sherri Hessick ( )