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William J. Harvey

As published in the "Commemorative Biographical Record of Prominent and Representative Men of Racine and Kenosha Counties, Wisconsin containing Biographical Sketches of Business and Professional Men and Many of the Early Settled Families", The J. H. Beers & Co., Chicago, 1906.

Transcribed by Michelle Laycock

William J. Harvey, president of Harvey Spring Company, No. 1700 Phillips Avenue, Racine, Wis., is one of that city's progressive and enterprising business men. Mr. Harvey's birth ocurred June 11, 1846, in Leeds, Yorkshire, England, son of Thomas and Jane (Payne) Harvey, the former a native of Guernsey, and the latter of Jersey.

John Harvey, the paternal grandfather of our subject, was a native of England, having been born in Cornwall, where he lived until a few years after his marriage, when he removed to Guernsey, where he died at the age of forty-five years. His wife, Elizabeth (Guille) Harvey, lived to the remarkable age of ninety-nine years, five months; she came of a family whose members were noted for their longevity, one daughter reaching the extreme age of one hundred and eleven years, dying April 4, 1903, while another passed away at the age of ninety years, and still another was eighty-nine at the time of her death. The maternal grandfather was Francis Payne, a native of Jersey. A justice of the peace, he was known as Judge Payne, and he died in Jersey at an old age. He and his wife, who was a Miss Journeaux were the parents of thirteen children.

Thomas Harvey was a merchant of Leeds, and came to the United States in 1849, locating in Racine, where he engaged in the planing-mill business for some years. Some years prior to his death he retired from active work, and lived so until his death in 1876, in his seventy-third year, his wife having passed away in 1860 aged fifty-one years. Both were members of the Church of England. He was a member of the Guernsey militia. Mr. and Mrs. Harvey had four children: Elizabeth, deceased, who was the wife of James Bennett, of Portland, Ore.; Thomas F., deceased; Edward G., of Republic, Wash.; and William J., of Racine.

William J. Harvey was but three years old when brought to America by his parents, who made the trip on the sailing vessel "The New World," the trip taking six weeks to accomplish. Mr. Harvey has been a resident of Racine, Co., Wis., ever since. He grew to manhood in the village of Thompsonville, where he attended the public schools, and later Racine College. He started out in life on his own account by keeping a general store at Thompsonville, where he remained in business twelve years. The next twelve years were spent in farming, and he then started to manufacture bolster springs for wagons, which business has since developed into the manufacture of all kinds of high-grade vehicle springs. A large factory is situated at No. 1700 Phillips Avenue, where forty persons are employed, and the business, which was started by Mr. Harvey doing all the work himself, is constantly increasing.

In 1871 Mr. Harvey and Miss Catherine Schickel were united in marriage, she being the daughter of Joseph Schickel, and to this union have been born eight children: Jane, who died aged about three years; William, who has an interest in his father's business and is secretary and treasurer, and who married Jane Briggs; Richard, a lawyer of Racine; Edward, superintendent of the spring manufactory; Miss Harriet, a teacher; Elizabeth; Harold; and Ruth. William, Richard, Edward, Harriet and Elizabeth are graduates of the University of Wisconsin.

Mr. and Mrs. Harvey are members of the First M.E. Church of Racine. Politically he is a Republican. He has been a member of the board of education for twelve years, and while in the country was clerk of the school board. He is a director of the First National Bank. Mr. Harvey makes his home at No. 1806 Washington Avenue, where he has built a fine home, and he also owns other property in Racine.

A few facts concerning Mrs. Margaret Ann Neve, the aunt of our subject, will no doubt be of general interest to the public and to her descendants and relatives in particular. She was born in Guernsey Island, England, May 18, 1792, and died on Saturday, April 4, 1903, lacking only forty-three days of being one hundred and eleven years old. She had enjoyed the remarkable experience of living in three centuries. When Mrs. Neve was born Turner had not yet begun to paint, nor Walter Scott to write. Since then what generations of poets, painters, musicians, statesmen, scientists have been born and died! With the advent of science the world has altered. Steam and electricity have spread a network over the earth and knit its uttermost parts together. Mrs. Neve's father and mother were married at the early age of nineteen years, on Dec. 20, 1790. They resided at LePollet, Guernsey, where Margaret Ann, their eldest daughter was born and passed the morning of her life. Her father died Dec. 4, 1820, and she continued to reside with her widowed mother until Jan. 18, 1823, when she was married at the Town Church by the Rev. F.D. Durand, from Rouge Huis, to Mr. John Neve, of Tenterden, County Kent. After a quarter of a century of married life, Mrs. Neve, in 1849, became a widow, and returned to Rouge Huis to reside with her mother and sister.

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