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Harrison T. Payne

Submitted by Pat Asher, Jan 2013
Source: History of Parke and Vermillion Counties, Indiana; (Indianapolis, Indiana: B. F. Bowen & Company, 1913) p. 445.


That life is the most useful and desirable that results in the greatest good to the greatest number and, though all do not reach the goal of which they are ambitious of attaining, yet in some measure each can win success and make life a blessing to others. It is not necessary for one to occcupy eminent public positions to do so, for in the humbler walks of life there remains much good to be accomplished and many opportunities for the exercise of our powers and influence which in some way will touch others with whom we come into contact, making them better and brighter. In the list of worthy citizens of Vermillion county occurs the names of Harrison T. Payne, formerly a well known educator and business man, and who has for the past eight years discharged the duties of county auditor in a manner as to bring forth the praise of all concerned. In his career there is much that is commendable and his life forcibly illustrates what one can accomplish, even in the face of obstacles, if one's plans are wisely laid and his actions governed by right principles, noble aims and high ideals.

Mr. Payne was born near Pimento, Vigo county, Indiana, on May 4, 1868. He is a son of Thomas J. and Adeline (Jewell) Payne, natives of Vigo county and Kentucky, respectively. The father spent his active life in agricultural pursuits. During the Civil war he enlisted in Company C, Eighty-fifth Indiana Volunteer infantry. Six brothers of the subject's mother were soldiers in the Union army during the war of the Rebellion.

To Thomas J. Payne and wife were born the following children: Frank B. is engaged in railroad construction work at Weiser, Idaho; Martha J. married John H. Richey, a farmer of Eureka, Kansas; Nancy J. married Daniel B. Stark, and they live in Colorado; Riley is farming at Howard, Kansas; Sarah J. married Thomas Forster, of Vermillion, Illinois; Harrison T. of this review; Felix B. is a merchant of Clovis, New Mexico.

Politically, Thomas J. Payne is a Republican. For some time he was justice of the peace in Edgar county, Illinois. He is a member of the Christian church and is a deacon in the same.

Harrison T. Payne was educated in the common schools of Indiana and Illinois. Thereafter he taught school for a period of fifteen years in a most successful manner, his services being in great demand. Finally tiring of the school room, he entered the business arena and was local agent for the International Harvester Company, at Clinton, Indiana, for some time, and he also engaged in the general mercantile business there. Taking an interest in public affairs, he was elected assessor of Clinton township, which position he held in an acceptable manner for six years. He was treasurer of the school board at Clinton for a year. For two years he was secretary of the Clinton Home Loan & Savings Association. He taught for some time in the Clinton schools, and in 1904 was elected auditor of Vermillion county, and, making a most commendable record, he was re-elected in 1908, serving eight years in all, his term expiring December 31, 1912. He was conceded by all to be one of the best officials the county has ever had, and he discharged his duties so ably, honorably and conscientiously that he ever enjoyed the confidence and good will of all.

Mr. Payne was married on April 12, 1896, to Carrie B. Fuqua, daughter of Marshall D. Fuqua, of Sandford, Indiana, and to this union three children have been born, namely: Rheocus T., Lucille, and Mabel.

Mr. Payne is a member of the Christian church. He belongs to the Modern Woodmen of America. Politically, he is a loyal Republican and is chairman of the Republican county committee.

After the subject was twenty-one years old he paid tuition to attend a country school during the winter and summer months, which was conducted by his sister west of Sandford, Indiana, just over the line in Illinois. When Mr. Payne was seventeen years old he went to Kansas, where he remained for two years and seven months, and engaged in carrying a star mail route, in the employ of his brother-in-law, who held the government contract, carrying the mail between Climax and Nealville, Kansas. He was one of the first rural mail carriers in the country, leaving mail for farmers, charging them fifty cents per month.