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Jay County Indiana Biographies

Palmer W. HARPER, a well known and substantial farmer and landowner of Knox township, former trustee of that township and former member of the county council, was born in the neighboring county of Wells and has lived in that county and in Jay county all his life. Mr. HARPER was born on a farm in Nottingham township, Wells county, November 2, 1853, and is a son of William and Lydia Catherine (WATTS) HARPER, both of whom were born in Ohio, the former in Montgomery county and the latter in Columbiana county. William HARPER was about thirteen years of age when he came to Indiana with his parents, about the year 1840, the family settling in Wells county, where his father, William HARPER, Sr. had entered from the Government a half section of land, and on that pioneer farm the junior William HARPER grew to manhood. After his marriage he established his home there and was living there when the Civil war broke out. He enlisted his services as a soldier of the Union and went to the front as a member of Company A of the 47th regiment, Indiana Volunteer Infantry, with which command he served for more than four years, participating in numerous battles and campaigns, including the siege of Vicksburg, and was mustered out as a first sergeant. Upon the completion of his military service William HARPER returned home and remained in Wells county until 1870, when he came with his family down into Jay county and located at Pennville, then Camden, where he bought the hotel and livery barn and became one of the leading business men of the town. He also secured the contract to haul the mail on two "star" mail routes and became widely known throughout that section of the county. For eleven years he remained at Pennville and then returned to Wells county, locating at Geneva, where he bought a hotel and general store and his last days were spent there. He and his wife were the parents of nine children, the subject of this sketch the only one of these now a resident of Jay county. Palmer W. HARPER was about seventeen years of age when his parents came to Jay county and his schooling was completed in the schools at Pennville and two terms at Winchester [ Randolph Co.]. As a young man he clerked for his father in the hotel and general store at Pennville, marrying when he was just past twenty years of age, and when his father moved to Geneva he accompanied him and assisted in the management of the hotel and store at that place, remaining there several years, at the end of which time he returned with his family to Jay county and has since been a resident of this county. In 1903 Mr. HARPER bought the quarter section of land on which he is now living in Knox township and has since resided there. When he bought the place but forty acres of it had been cleared and the job of clearing, draining and fencing which faced him was a big one, but he got it accomplished in time and now has a well improved and profitably cultivated farm and a pleasant home. Mr. HARPER is a Republican, as was his father, and served as trustee of Knox township for the term 1894-99. He also has served for two terms as a member of the Jay county council from his district and in other ways has rendered a good citizen's duty in public service. He is past noble grand of the local lodge of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows at Pennville, a member of the local grange of the Patrons of Husbandry and he and his wife are members of the Methodist Episcopal church, which he has served as a steward. Mr. HARPER has been twice married. On November 16, 1873, he was united in marriage to Elizabeth GIBSON and to that union were born seven children, Harry; Ida L.; Goldie; Walter A. , who died at the age of fifteen years; James M.; Grant Leslie and Edward. The mother of these children died on May 20, 1899, and on February 12, 1902, Mr. HARPER married Amanda STANSBURY, a member of one of the old families in Jay county. To this union two children have been born, Frederick William and Mary Catherine, who are at home with their parents. Harry HARPER married Ethel JONES and has six children, Rachel, Walter, Ralph, Dorothy, Elizabeth and Warren. Ida L. HARPER married John BRANSTETTER and has two children, Edward and Robert. Goldie HARPER married Louis GINTHER and has one child, a daughter, Ruth. James M. HARPER married Flossie BUNKER and has four children, Palmer, Helen, Marjorie Nell and John. Grant L. HARPER married Addie IRELAND and has two children, Margaret and Wilma Dean. Edward HARPER, who married Dorothy THORNBURG, served as a soldier in the American army during the World war and was in service more than two years. He was a sergeant in the 302d Sanitary Train, overseas, and was wounded during the battle of the Argonne

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