GEORGE HARVEY. Mr. Harvey's ancestors were residents of New England. Amos Harvey, his grandfather, was captain of a vessel which was lost in a storm and never heard from. He left three daughters and three sons, the youngest of whom, Solomon Harvey, was the father of the subject of this biography. He was born near Boston, and in Connecticut married Mary Stearns. The family figures far back in the history of New England. Capt. John Stearns fought bravely in the revolutionary war. He purchased from the State of Connecticut fourteen hundred acres of land in the Western Reserve of Ohio, within the present limits of Medina county, and there settled his children. When Mr. Harvey's father and grandfather reached Cleveland in the year 1815, they found only three or four log houses. From Cleveland the pioneers cut their way through a dense forest twenty one miles south. Mr. Harvey's mother, at that time, with one or two possible exceptions, was the only white woman from her home west to the Pacific ocean. Mr. Harvey was born in Medina county, March 23d, 1817, and was he first white male child born in the township where the family resided.
He was raised in Medina county; attended the common schools, and the preparatory department connected with Hudson College in Cuyahoga county, Ohio. At twenty-one he entered on an active business career which gradually developed into unexpected proportions. He had secured a little capital, with which he opened a store in Loudonville, Richland county, Ohio, in 1837. A year afterwards, with a capital of a thousand dollars, he went to Cincinnati. He sold goods at various places in Indiana, and in 1841 established with Charles Woodruff in Cincinnati the auction house of Harvey & Woodruff. In 1842, at Indianapolis, he opened an auction and jobbing house in partnership with A. G. Morten, who afterward became his brother-in-law. March 15th, 1843, he married Tabitha A. Morten, daughter of Henry Morten. She was born in Cincinnati. Her maternal grandfather was Col. John Armstrong, a colonel in the revolutionary war, who settled at Columbia, near Cincinnati. He was a man of considerable wealth, and owned large amounts of land in Ohio and Kentucky. Her father, Henry Morten, died near Cincinnati in 1837.
In 1844 Mr. Harvey resumed at Cincinnati the old partnership of Harvey & Woodruff. In 1848 he embarked in the jobbing business at St. Louis. In 1849, with Robert Stewart, he founded the auction and jobbing house of Harvey & Stewart. In 1851 this partnership was dissolved, and the firm of Harvey & Whedon, subsequently so well-known in St. Louis was established. For sixteen years this firm transacted an auction and commission business amounting annually to eight hundred thousand or a million dollars. The war caused great activity in the auction and commission business in St. Louis. The annual profits were from twelve to sixteen thousand dollars. Sales were held regularly three times a week, and each time the counters were cleared to start again with a fresh and complete stock. During the war Mr. Harvey and his partner embarked largely in outside operations. They bought cotton, and established a store at Fort Pillow, Tennessee, under government permission, paying five per cent commission for protection. Large quantities of goods were sold to the soldiers and residents between the lines. At the capture of Fort Pillow by Gen. Forrest, a complete stock of goods and a steamboat fell into the hands of the rebels, and at one stroke they lost $41,000.
His farm residence north of Bunker Hill was purchased in 1862, and his family have since resided there. The firm of Harvey & Whedon was dissolved in 1868. Mr. Harvey was engaged in no active business till 1870, when the firm of Harvey & Tyler was established, and fitted up the old Centenary Methodist Church, at the corner of Fifth and Pine streets, St. Louis, for the general auction and commission business at an expense of ten thousand dollars. July 4th, 1871, Mr. Harvey suffered a stroke of paralysis in St. Louis. He was removed to Bunker Hill. After his recovery he found his eyesight somewhat impaired, and decided to altogether relinquish active business. His interest in the firm of Harvey & Tyler was sold to his former partner, E. H. Whedon. His children are Kate, the wife of Basil H. Dorsey; May C., wife of S. Pepper, cashier of the Surveyor of Customs Office, St. Louis; and two sons, Charles M. and Willard B. Harvey. He has handled millions of dollars in money and property belonging to others, and to his credit it may be said that never an imputation of dishonesty rested on his character, nor ever has he failed to render to every man his exact due. Nature gave him a strong physical institution, which enabled him to undergo hardship and exposure with immunity, and his energy and business qualities fitted him to undertake enterprises of more than ordinary magnitude. T Bunker Hill he has been engaged in farming and the raising of fine horses. His stables contain some excellent stock. He is the owner of Nino, at one time considered the most promising horse in America, but wh unfortunately was injured while traveling by rail from St. Louis to the East.