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John Harvey

Submitted by: JP Smith
Hamilton County

John HARVEY, 9 July 1810- 17 March 1896, homesteaded a tract of rich land in the northeast part of Hamilton County, Indiana, the deed for which was signed by the then President of the United States, Andrew Jackson.

He married Malinda CANADAY in 1833. She was the seventh of the ten children of his father's friend from Wayne County days, Charles CANNADAY. The four children of their marriage, when grown, all lived on adjoining or nearby farms.

For their final home, John built a very substantial two-story brick house on his farm. The walls were a foot thick, and the bricks used in its construction were made on the property. It remains in the family to this day, the home of Carolyn Johnson who compiled much information about Malinda CANADAY and her descendants. A glass compote originally belonging to Malinda, is a prized possession of the Carolyn.

In many ways, John was a stern man, but apparently loving with his children and grand- children. The stories recalled by the family about this patriarch of the Hamilton County HARVEYS are legion.

John HARVEY was one of the most progressive and successful farmers in the community. For instance, he owned the first reaper in the township. A story is told that while demonstrating the machine he severed the end of a finger except for a strip of flesh. He asked that someone finish cutting it off with his pocket knife. When everyone demurred, he said "If thee will not, I will." And he did.

John and Malinda HARVEY lived their lives conscientiously according to the strictest precepts of the Society of Friends. They were pillars of a Meeting organized in 1837 and held in the home of John's brother Caleb until 1840. At that point, a small log meeting house was built on John HARVEY's land; it was called the West Grove Meeting. At first, the church had a partition through the middle, the men sitting on one side and the women on the other. The service held there consisted of one hour of silent meditation. John's grandson, Cyrus, recalled attending this church as a boy and having to sit quietly on the straight, hard wooden benches until his legs went to sleep. Not a word was spoken for what seemed to him an interminable time. His main interest was in heedfully watching his grandfather, for church was over when John HARVEY rose put on his hat and walked out.

A story often told illustrates how devoted John was to his austere Quaker philosophy. It concerns Jessie Kimmel HARVEY, wife of his grandson Cyrus. Jessie, a pert curly head, was an accomplished pianist, having studied in Chicago before her marriage. She owned a beautiful black walnut Steinway piano, the only one in the neighborhood. Naturally, many young women in the community implored her to give them lessons, to which she agreed in order to supplement her young husband's income. This was a grave concern to John who adored Jessie but felt she was wronging both herself and her students, as music to him was the work of the devil. Being fond of him and wishing to respect his beliefs, she always stopped the lessons whenever she saw him coming. But one day he surprised her, and she never forgot the look of infinite sadness on his face as he put his arm around her and said, "Jessie doesn't thee know that thee are going straight to hell?"

As John and Malinda grew older and the new generation became more liberal in its thinking, including songs and other forms of expression in worship of which they could not approve, they withdrew from the meeting house to their own sitting room for meditation. Each evening, when he came in from the fields, they spent a time sitting opposite each other in front of the fireplace with hands held in a position of supplication and deep in spiritual thoughts.

They had a granddaughter who, perhaps because her mother had died when she was only six weeks old, became a special favorite. Her name also was Malinda, and she loved to cross the field from her home for a daily visit with them. But if she came at their time of meditation, she was required to come in and sit quietly until it was over. Although only a very young child, little Malinda soon learned to peek in the window before making herself known. She wore very long dresses, and if the tops of her high-buttoned shoes inadvertently showed, her grandmother admonished her with "Linnie, put thy dress down." The bond of affection was very strong between the two, but Linnie could never remember being kissed by her grandmother because "It would make thee vain."

An accident later in life left John with a frozen knee, which required him to use a cane. Then one day, when he was opening the barnyard gate to let his horses to the water trough, some of the colts ran over him. The trampling broke loose his still knee joint, allowing him to throw away the cane.

Over the years, John became increasingly deaf. He learned to read lips, but men speaking to him had to be clean shaven.

After Malinda's death in her 68th year, John Harvey became a very lonely man who rarely left his home. He missed her very much and could not hear, so most of the time he sat in meditation. A rigid Quaker to his last day, he ordered that at his death, no ceremony be performed, no silver or bright metal be on his casket, no flowers be brought, and his body be taken to the cemetery in a wagon rather than a hearse. He died at age 82.

With his death, an era of the strictest social, moral and religious discipline was closed. John HARVEY and his antecedents were peaceable people of plain dress, who tolerated no dancing, frivolity or music, nor were they permitted to marry a non-Quaker or enter a church of another persuasion. Often the victim of religious persecution because of their unique beliefs, they wished to be left alone to worship in their own way, allow others to do the same, but not to impose a doctrine or intermingle.

Despite the rigidity of their beliefs, John and Malinda were progressive, prosperous and happy.

From " A Family History: The Ancestors of Thomas Wilson Faust," 1997 by Don Faust.