JOSEPH W. HARSHBARGER, one of the Southern born citizens of Girard Township, had his nativity one mile from Dayton, Rockingham County, Va., June 4, 1827. His father, John J. Harshbarger was a Pennsylvanian by birth and the grandfather of our subject, Henry Harshbarger was formerly a resident of Pennsylvania and moved from there to Rockingham County, Va., where he bought a farm and made his home until 1851. He then sold out and moved to Montgomery County, Ohio, where he bought a farm and resided until his death.
The father of our subject was reared in Virginia and there learned from his father the trade of a wagon maker, and followed it in connection with farming. After marriage he bought a farm two and one half miles south of Dayton, Rockingham County, and resided there for several years. This he sold after some time and bought another farm near Cross Keys in the same county and still continued at his trade and farming. He resided in that neighborhood until his death.
Margaret Early was the maiden name of the lady who became mother of our subject. Her native home was Rockingham County, Va., and she was the daughter of Jacob and Magdaline (Wenger) Early, who were natives of the Keystone State. She died on the home farm at Cross Keys some years before her husband's demise. Their son Joseph received his training in farm work from his father and resided with him until he had reached his majority, after which he bought a fine tract of two hundred and forty acres of land in Augusta County, Va. In this purchase he was joined by his brother-in-law, George Hollar, and they farmed together for ten years. One roof sheltered both families and during that time fifteen children gathered in the double household. Joseph Harshbarger then sold out his interest and returned to Rockingham County where he bought land one mile east of Dayton and reside don that farm all through the period of the War of the Rebellion.
The district where our subject lived during the years of the Civil War was run over by both armies, North and South, and was considered a base of supplies for both. They subsisted on that part of the State and anything that was eatable was quickly seized by them and what they could not carry away they frequently destroyed. He and his family endured great hardships all through those days and were subject to frequent raids upon their property. In 1864 he took his family to Dayton, Ohio, and he was given free transportation by the Government. There they remained for one year and when they returned to their old home found it a sad and desolate place. The buildings, including a handsome brick house that had cost $1,500 were heaps of ashes. All his stock had been stolen and everything about the place destroyed. With undaunted courage he went to work and rebuilt and stocked his farm, and resided there until 1870, when he sold out his property and came to Macoupin County, Ill. Here he rented a farm for a year and then bought the property on which he now resides on section 19, Girard Township. Here he now has a prosperous and attractive farm and carries on general farming.
It was January 25, 1849, when Catherine Flory became the wife of Joseph W. Harshbarger. This lady, like himself was a Virginian by birth and had her nativity near Dayton, Rockingham County. She was the daughter of Michael and Sarah Flory and died December 11, 1873, leaving her husband seven children to mourn her loss. Her children bear the names of Sarah, Elizabeth, Mary A., Rebecca B., Amanda C., Isaac J. and Abraham S.
The second marriage of our subject took place November 23, 1884, and he was then united with Mrs. Barbara (Brubaker) Frantz, who was born in Clark county, Ohio, October 14, 1814, and was a daughter of Jonathan and Barbara Brubaker of whom the reader will learn more at length in the sketch of Jonathan Brubaker which appears in this Record.
She was married in her native county January 30, 1859, to Michael Frantz who was born in Ohio and was the son of Michael and Susannah (Neher) Frantz. In `869 he came to Illinois and settled in the eastern part of Girard township, where he bought a farm and made a home. Afterward he sold this and bought eighty acres on section 19, which was his home until May 22, 1877, when he was called hence. By this first marriage Mrs. Harshbarger had six children - Jonathan, Martha, Susan, Jacob, Peter and Ezra. Both our subject and his wife are earnest and active members of the German Baptist Church, in the communion of which they find true fellowship and abundant opportunity for usefulness.