This column is part of a feature series which focuses on a different Centre County family each week. Five new columns will be released each month unless some technical difficulty enters the picture.
This column's focus is on Harper. An effort has been made to identify all persons carrying that name in the 1890 U.S. Census, using the Centre County business directory which was formed from a preliminary review of that census before the larger set of 1890 U.S. Census records was destroyed by fire. (Sadly, the postal directory does not typically provide the ages of females, but it's the best record we've got).
Two books in the Pennsylvania Room of the Centre County Library in Bellefonte apparently deal with the Harper family. They are: Marguerite Adams' The harper, Reeder, Dolan Line Out of Pennsylvania (1989) and John Harper's The Harper Family of Centre County, Pennsylvania (1953).
There are several different first-name entries for Harper in John Blair Linn's History of Centre and Clinton County (1883). In addition, there are many references to the name in Beers' Commemorative Biographical Record of Central Pennsylvania (1898).
And, now, your ancestors' HARPER neighbors in 1890:
In BELLEFONTE Borough:
Jared, 51, merchant--3 S. Thomas Annie C. John, 84, retied--21 S. Thomas Mary John C., 34, attorney--149 E. Linn Laura Clarence G. 9 Helen J. Arthur 6 Jonathan, 57, merchant--118 W. Linn Marinda Lula Jerome 19 Edwin 15 Maud Jennie William, 53, merchant--5 S. Thomas Chestie A. Carrie B.
In CENTRE HALL Borough:Simon, 49, merchant Maggie E. Henry W. 8 Elizabeth
In FERGUSON Township:George E., 33, laborer--State College Mary E. Myrtle V. Clara A. George E. Jr. 3 George W., 12--Rock Springs Isaac, 82, retired--Pine Grove Mills Mary Gordon 17
In GREGG Towsnhip:Amelia--Spring Mills
In HAINES Towsnhip:Thomas, 64, farmer--Aaronsburg Sarah
In LIBERTY Towsnhip:John W., 44, laborer--Blanchard Laura L.
In PHILIPSBURG Borough:Annie M.--Spruce St. John H., 35, laborer--3rd St. Harry 21 Ada B. William L., 65, liveryman--3rd St. Isabella A.
In POTTER Township:Jane--Centre Hall John B. 58, laborer--Potters Mills Catharine
In RUSH Township:Amos W., 60, laborer--Philipsburg Susan Harry 23 John F. 20 Lula M. Myrtle L. Jay C. 10 Edith P.
In SPRING Township:Etta--Bellefonte
In TAYLOR Township:Wesley T., 41, farmer--Port Matilda Jennie L. Horace M. 12 John L. 10 Harry E. 8 Sallie John P. 84