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929.2 f^M 



Records of the' 
Harper Family 

Compiled by 

Jane Cowles Ford 

Edited by 

Carrie Harper White 


The A. C. Rogers Co. 



Part. Page. 

I. A Short Biographical Sketch of Jane Cowles Ford . 7 

II. Origin and Dimensions of the "Western Reserve" . 9 

III. Incidents in the Life of Capt. Alexander Harper . lO 

IV. An Historic Spot ...... H 

V. Incidents in the Life of Elizabeth Harper, Wife of Capt. 

Alexander Harper . . . . . • ^5 

VI. Elizabeth Harper Tappan ..... 20 

VII. Extracts from a Letter Written by Electra Tappan to 
Her Cousin, Miss Ellen Harper; also Brief Family 
Records ....... 24 

VIII. "Shandy Hall" ("Illustrated") .... 29 

IX. A Sketch of the Early Settlement of Harpersfield Town- 
ship ... 
X. Brief Records of the Brothers of Capt. Alexander Harper 39 

XI. The Harper Centennial Celebration and Tenth Annual 

Reunion at Unionville, Ohio .... 45 

XII. The Harper Family Record .... 59 



Oliver Wendell Holmes, once said, and he said it with a gentle 
emphasis all his own that, "every thing else being equal, the man of 
family was the man for him." Nobody knew better than this keen 
observer, and uncompromising aristocrat, what is meant by a man of 
family. We remember, when we come to talk on these matters, 
the brave and honest trades people, who came over here from Holland, 
in the early days and founded many a fine family. Bravery and hon- 
esty are two good things to start with. As the years go on and per- 
haps money and leisure are gradually won, we see more and more 
that to have had a sturdy, self-respecting ancestor is something to be 
thankful for. Then there were the skilled mechanics and workmen 
from France, who sought refuge on our shore from persecution on ac- 
count of their religion. Of what good stuf^ they were made, we all 
know. They may not have claimed the ascent from some princely 
house, neither did the resolute little band of Englishmen, who came 
over to found a colony and live a life of freedom, but they were not 
either as, alas! may be recorded in many instances the descendants 
of robbers and cut-throats. Many a pretentious family would seek the 
shade of obscurity if the search-light of true history was turned upon 
the beginnings. Of course here and there, all over our beautiful 
and hospitable land, there were many gentlemen — using the word in 
its olden sense — and many really noble men, such as we now have to 
do with. 

Elizabeth A. Davis 


In preparing this history or record as it may more properly be 
called, the writer makes no pretension to originality, as her work 
has been merely to gather up from various sources such facts and 
incidents of the family history as were thought to be of interest to 
their descendants, and to put them in form for preservation before the 
hand of time had placed them beyond our reach. The sources of in- 
formation from which these facts have been gleaned have been from 
two books, "Border Warfare of New York During the Revolution," 
by W. W. Campbell and "Romance of the Revolution," published by 
Porter & Coates of Philadelphia, Chiefly, however, from reminis- 
cences gathered by the grandchildren from their mothers and grand- 
mothers who related to them the stories of the thrilling scenes and 
hardships, through which they passed during the War of the Revolu- 
tion and their subsequent pioneer settlement in their wilderness home; 
also from papers read from time to time at the various Harper 
Reunions held in later years. 

Jane Cowles Ford, 



In 1894, Mrs. Jane Cowles Ford was appointed "Historian of 
the Harper Family"; and in 1899, after much conscientious and pains- 
taking labor she presented the manuscript which she had compiled 
to the Family Association. A Publishing Committee was appointed, 
consisting of Mr. Robert A. Austin, of Chicago, as Chairman, Cap- 
tain E. R. Palmer, of Omaha, Neb., Mr. E. R. Harper, of Denver, 
Colo., and Carrie Harper White, of Colorado Springs, Colo. The 
manuscript was placed in their hands for further action. At the re- 
union of the following year 1900, the Chairman of the Committee 
reported that, owing to the fact that the Records were received from 
so many different sources and that there was so much repetition, it 
would be impossible to print the work in book form until it had been 
largely re-written. 

Carrie Harper White was appointed to assume this task, which 
she has performed to the best of her ability, with the material at her 

It seems quite eminently fitting that this short sketch of the life 
of Jane Cowles Ford, who compiled the material for the following 
"Records of the Harper Family" should have an important place. 
This sketch is a tribute of Mrs. Ford's daughter, Carrie Ford Searle. 




Jane Cowles was born Januaty 22nd, 1829 — at the old 
"Cowles Homestead," on the south ridge in Harpersfield, Ohio. She 
is not a member of the "Harper Clan," but very narrowly escaped it, 
since her father's first wife and her mother's first husband were Har- 
pers. She was the connecting link between the two families, having 
thirteen half brothers and sisters with Harper blood in their veins. 
Her mother died when she was but three years of age and her father 
passed away when she was seven. She was then left to the care of 
her brothers and sisters from early childhood, and found a home with 
first one and then another of them. However, Sister Mary (Mrs. 
Dr. Cowles) was often spoken of as the one who mothered her. 
Her education began when she was four years old. At this time she 
attended an infants' school in Elyria, Ohio, while living with one of 
her sisters there. Her education was completed in the district schools, 
with the exception of one term at the Kingsville Academy, and two 
at "Select School" in Unionville, teaching a few classes the last term 
to pay her tuition. She taught her first term in a district school when 
she was fourteen, receiving 75 cents a week as wages. When she was 
sixteen she worked in a millinery shop in Cleveland, Ohio. On 
December 15th, 1847, just a few weeks before her nineteenth birthday, 
she was married to James Ford, and went with her husband to the 
old Ford Homestead on the Middle Ridge in Madison, Ohio, and for 
forty years she lived the quiet busy life of a farmer's wife. To her 
four children she was a model mother and home maker. As her 
children look back in after years, with a broadened view of life, they 
realize that this was a home of rare Christian culture and refinement 
with a saintly father and a gifted mother. In 1873 came the first sor- 
row in the death of the youngest child Nellie, a bright beautiful girl of 
ten years. In a few years the children were all scattered and in 
homes of their own, but the busy life in the old home went on, and 
every year saw children and grandchildren spending a few weeks 
there for rest and inspiration. In 1887, came the sad breaking up, 
the husband and father dying on January i8th. Only a few weeks 
previous a little granddaughter, Nellie Ford, had died, and in the pre- 
ceding August, the eldest daughter, Mrs. Althea Hills, passed away 
very suddenly. These afflictions were ver^' grievous and the mother 
never recovered from the shock. The home was rented to strangers, 
and she went to live with her only son, Albert J. Ford, in Geneva, 

Ohio, dividing her time between his home and that of her daughter 
in Nebraska. Unable to overcome the habits of a lifetime of cease- 
less activity, she has thrown herself into all of the daily cares and 
responsibilities of these homes. However, with increasing leisure and 
opportunity, she has developed those rare qualities of mind and heart, 
which in spite of the limited advantages of her youth and the busy 
life of a home maker, led her to keep abreast of the times in general 
information and study, until in her old age she has a broader mind 
than many a college graduate. A natural taste for writing and public 
speaking have made her a valuable helper to her beloved church and 
its various branches of activity; but now at last the busy life has 
been lived and the infirmities of age have laid their hand upon her. 
The bright mind still finds pleasure in reading and study and in a 
large correspondence with relatives and friends. Her soul is sustained 
by the pure and deep religious life which has been the foundation of 
her whole being from childhood and she awaits in peace her Lord's 
"Well Done." 


When the original grants of land in the new world were made 
to companies or colonies by the monarchs of Europe its geography 
was very little known. As a result, there were many conflicting 
claims. After the close of the Revolution those lying west of the 
Alleghanies, had to be readjusted. While most of the States readily 
conceded their titles to the general government, Connecticut was very 
tenacious of one. She held to a strip embracing all the lands between 
41 degrees and 42 degrees 2 minutes north latitude, and extending 
west through the state of Pennsylvania to the Mississippi. On the 
14th day of September, 1786, however, she released all this territory 
to the United States, excepting that portion lying east of line parallel 
with the western boundary of Pennsylvania and extending 120 miles 
west of the same. This soon became known as the "Western Re- 
serve," or as it was about the size of the State, New Connecticut. 
Its dimensions are 120 miles in length by 71 in its greatest breadth and 
comprises the counties of Ashtabula, Trumbull, Portage, Geauga, 
Lake, Cuyahoga, Medina, Lorain, Huron and Erie, also parts of Ma- 
honing, Summit, Ashland, and a portion of Ottawa, including Kellys 
Island, Put in Bay, and contiguous Islands. The survey of this 
territory was not commenced until the Spring of 1796, and was not 
fully completed until 1806. This brief sketch will give the readers 
an idea of the origin of the name so often mentioned in connection 
with this history, the facts having been taken from the Western 
Reserve Centennial Souvenir, published by H. M. Johnson. 

Note. — It has been a subject of inquiry by some of our citizens 
of the present day w^hy the site of these pioneer residences should 
be called Unionville. The village being built upon the line which 
later divided the two counties and also the townships of Harpersfield 
and Madison, it was found necessary to give it a distinct name inde- 
pendent of either township. The Rev. Roger Searle, who was then 
our Episcopal Clergyman, craved the privilege of giving this place its 
name. He accordingly called it Unionville, as he thought the term 
Union to be synonymous with the disposition of its inhabitants. 



Captain Alexander Harper was born in Middletown, Conn., 
February 22nd, 1744; and was the ninth child of John Harper, 
whose father, James Harper, was the first Harper who came to 
America. The birth of Alexander Harper is recorded in the Court 
House at Middletown, Conn., and he was baptized by the Rev. Rus- 
sell. In 1754 he moved with his parents to Cherry Valley, N. Y. 
He received an education according to the times and, judging from 
the remains of his library, one might suppose that he possessed quite 
a taste for literature. In 1768, Alexander, William, John and Jo- 
seph Harper, with eighteen other individuals, obtained a patent for 
twenty-two thousand acres of land in what is now the County of Del- 
aware, N. Y., whither they moved in 1770, and founded the town of 
Harpersfield. In 1771, Alexander married Elizabeth Bartholomew, 
who had recently immigrated from New Jersey. Eight children were 
born to them. Nothing unusual occurred until 1777, when Mrs. 
Harper and her family became refugees of war. They returned to 
their home the following winter, but were obliged to flee the next 
spring to Middlefort, Schoharie, for safety. In the same year Alex« 
ander Harper was appointed first lieutenant and served under his 
brother. Colonel John Harper, who commanded one of the forts in 
Schoharie. The two succeeding years \\ere spent by him in scouting 
parties, incident to a frontier invested by Indians and Tories, and 
March 3rd, 1780, he received a Captain's commission. 

In the month of April, in 1780, it was the intention of Captain 
Brant, the Indian Chieftain, to make a descent upon the upper fort 
of Schoharie, but which was prevented by an unlooked for circum- 
stance. Colonel Vrooman had sent out a party of scouts to pass 
over to the head waters of the Charlotte River, where resided cer- 
tain suspected persons, whose movements it was their duty to watch. 
It being the proper season to manufacture Maple Sugar, the men 
were directed to make a quantity of that article, of which the garrison 
were greatly in want. On the second of April, this party under the 
command of Captain Harper commenced their labors, which they 
did cheerfully and entirely unapprehensive of danger, as a fall of 
snow some three feet deep would prevent the supposed moving of 
any considerable body of the enemy, while in fact they were not 
aware of any body of the armed foe short of Niagara. But on the 
seventh of April, they were suddenly surrounded by a party of forty 
Indians and Tories, the first knowledge of whose presence was the 
death of three of their party. The leader was instantly discovered 


in the person of the Mohawk Chief, who rushed up to Captain Har- 
per, tomahawk in hand, and said: "Harper, I am sorry to find you 
here." "Why are you sorry. Captain Brant?" replied Captain Harper. 
"Because, replied the Chief, 1 must kill you although we were school- 
mates in our youth" — at the same time raising his hatchet. Suddenly 
his arm fell, and with a piercing scrutiny, looking Harper full in the 
face, he inquired : "Are there any regular troops in the fort at 
Schoharie?" Harper caught the idea in an instant. To answer truly 
and admit there were none, as was the fact, would but hasten Brant 
and his warriors forward to fall upon the settlement at once and 
their destruction would have been swift and sure. He therefore in- 
formed him that a reinforcement of three hundred continental troops 
had arrived to garrison the fort only two or three days before. This 
information appeared very much to disconcert the chieftain. He pre- 
vented the further shedding of blood, and held a consultation with 
his subordinate chiefs. Night coming on, the prisoners were shut up 
in a pen of logs and guarded by the Tories, while among the Indians 
controversy ran high, whether the prisoners should be put to death 
or carried to Niagara. The captives were bound hand and foot and 
Harper, who understood the Indian tongue, could hear the dispute. 
The Indians were for putting them to death, but Brant exercised his 
authority to effectually prevent the massacre. On the following 
morning. Captain Harper was brought before the Indians for ex- 
amination and the chief said that he was suspicious that he had not told 
him the truth. Captain Harper, however, although Brant was eye- 
ing him like a basilisk, repeated his former statements, without the 
improper movement of a muscle, or any betrayal that he was deceiv- 
ing. Brant, satisfied of the truth of the story, resolved to retrace his 
steps to Niagara; but his warriors were disappointed in their hopes 
of spoils and victory, and it was only with the greatest difficulty that 
they were prevented from putting the captives to death. The march 
was forthwith commenced, and was full of pain, peril and adventure. 
They met on the succeeding day with two loyalists who both dis- 
proved Harper's story of troops being at Schoharie, and the Captain 
was again subjected to a piercing scrutiny; but he succeeding so well 
in maintaining the appearance of truth and sincerity as to arrest the 
glittering tomahawk. On the same day an aged man named Brown 
was accidentally fallen in with and taken prisoner, with two youthful 
grandsons; the day following, being unable to travel with sufficient 
speed, sinking under the weight of the burden laid on him, the old 
man was put out of the way with the hatchet. The victim was 
dragged behind, and when he saw preparations made for his doom 
took an affectionate farewell of his little grandsons and the Indians 
moved on, leaving one of their number with his face painted black — 
the mark of the executioner — behind with him. In a few moments the 
Indian came up with the old man's scalp dangling from between the 
ramrod and the muzzle of his gun. They constructed boats and sailed 
down the Susquehanna to the confluence of the Chemung, at which 
place their land traveling commenced again. Soon after this a severe 


trial and narrow escape befell the prisoners. During his march from 
Niagara on this expedition Brant had detached eleven of his warriors, 
to fall once more on the Minisink settlement for prisoners. This 
detachment, as it subsequently appeared, had succeeded in taking 
captive five athletic men, whom they secured and brought with them 
as far as Tioga Point. The Indians slept very soundly and the five 
prisoners had resolved on the first opportunity to make their escape. 
While camf)ed at this place during the night, one of the Minisink 
men succeeded in extricating his hands from the binding cords and 
with the utmost precaution unloosed his four companions. The In- 
dians were locked in the arms of deep sleep. Silently without causing 
a leaf to rustle, they each snatched a tomahawk from their uncon- 
scious enemies and in a moment nine of them were quivering in the 
agonies of death. The two others awakened and springing upon their 
feet attempted to escape. One of them was struck with the hatchet 
between the shoulders, but the other fled. The prisoners immediately 
made good their own retreat and the only Indian who escaped unhurt 
returned to take care of his wounded companions. As Brant and his 
warriors approached this point of their journey, some of his Indians 
having raised a whoop, it was returned by a single voice with a death 
yell. Startled by this unexpected signal. Brant's warriors rushed for- 
ward to ascertain the cause. But they were not long in doubt. The 
lone warrior met them and soon related to his brethren the melancholy 
fate of his companions. The effect upon the warriors, who gathered 
in a group to hear the recital, was inexpressibly fearful. Rage and a 
desire for revenge seemed to kindle every bosom and light every eye as 
with burning coals. They gathered around the prisoners in a circle 
and began to make preparations for hacking them to pieces. Harper 
and his men gave themselves up for lost. While their knives were 
unsheathing and their hatchets glittering, the only survivor of the 
murdered party rushed into the circle and interposed in favor of the 
prisoners. With a wave of the hand, as of a warrior entitled to be 
heard — for he was himself a chief — silence was restored, and the 
prisoners were surprised by the utterance of an earnest appeal in their 
behalf. He eloquently and impressively declaimed in their favor, upon 
the ground that it was not they who murdered their brothers; and to 
take the lives of the innocent would not be right in the eyes of the 
Great Spirit. His appeal was effective, the passions of the incensed 
warriors were hushed and their eyes no longer shot forth the burning 
glances of revenge. True, it so happened, that this Chief knew all 
the prisoners — he having resided in the Schoharie Cafion of- Mohawks 
during the war. He doubtless felt a deeper interest in their behalf 
on that account. Still it was a noble action, worthy of the proudest 
era of chivalry'. The interposition of Pocahontas in favor of Captain 
John Smith, before the Court of Powhatan was, perhaps, more ro- 
mantic; but when the motive which prompted the generous action of 
the princess is considered, the transaction now under review exhibits 
the most of genuine benevolence. Pocahontas was moved by the 
tender passion — the Mohawk by the feeling of magnanimity and the 


eternal principles of justice. It is a matter of regret, that the name 
of this high souled warrior is lost, as have been too many that might 
serve to relieve the dark and vengeful portraits of Indian character 
which it has so well pleased the white man to draw. The prisoners 
were so impressed with the manner of their deliverance that they 
justly attributed it to direct interposition oi Providence. After the 
most acute suffering from hunger and exhaustion, the party at last 
arrived at Niagara. The last night of their journey they encamped a 
short distance from the fort. In the morning the prisoners were in- 
formed that they were to run the gauntlet and were brought out 
where two parallel lines of Indians were drawn up, between which the 
prisoners were to pass, exposed to the whips and blows of the savages. 
The course to be run was towards the fort. Captain Harper was 
the first one selected, and at the signal sprang from the mark with 
extraordinary swiftness. An Indian near the end of the line, fearing 
he might escape without injury, sprang before him, but a blow from 
Harper's fist felled him as he sped with utmost speed toward the fort. 
The garrison when they saw Harper approaching opened the gates 
and he rushed in, only affording sufficient time for the gates to be 
closed ere the Indians rushed upon them, clamoring for the possession 
of their prisoner. The other prisoners taking advantage of the break- 
ing up of the Indian ranks took different routes and all succeeded in 
reaching the fort without passing through the terrible ordeal that was 
intended for them. 

After many severe conflicts with the British foe Captain Harper 
was taken prisoner, carried to Quebec in irons and placed in a gloomy 
prison and subsequently in a more gloomy prison ship. He endured a 
painful captivity of two years and eight months. In 1783, after his 
release, he returned with his family to Harpersfield. N. Y., and there 
they remained leading members of society, until they saw the wilder- 
ness turned into a fruitful field, and the places which they had found 
solitary made glad for them. Churches were erected, schools es- 
tablished and society enjoyed blessings, social, literary, civil and 
ecclesiastical. In June, 1798, they moved to the wilds of New Con- 
necticut or the Western Reserve, and were one of the first three fam- 
ilies to settle in Ashtabula County. The township in which they 
settled was called Harpersfield, as Captain Alexander Harper was the 
leader of the expedition. After a summer of hardships, peculiar to 
the settlement of a pioneer in a new country, Captain Harper con- 
tracted malarial fever and died Sept. 10, 1798, leaving a courageous 
wife and family to continue the work he had begun. Endless inspira- 
tion has been handed down to his descendants by the memory of the 
self-sacrificing example of Captain Alexander Harper, and although 
his deeds might well have been a sufficient monument to his name, It 
will be interesting for us to reprint a short sketch which appeared in 
a well known newspaper just one hundred years after his death: 



In the old Country Churchyard, just south of the square in the 
old village of Unionville, Ashtabula County, Ohio, lies the remains 
of many of the old settlers, buried there in the early part of the nine- 
teenth century. Among the many interesting monuments reared to 
mark the graves of distinguished persons of northern Ohio, there are 
few around which cluster associations of more striking interest than 
some of these located here in this secluded spot. As wandering 
through this pioneer City of the Dead, you will notice several sand- 
stone slabs of a rather peculiar and uncommon pattern. One of these 
bears the date 1798 and marks the resting place of Captain Alexander 
Harper, pioneer of the Western Reserve, who after the Revolutionary 
War, in which he took a prominent part, was among the first to pene- 
trate the depths of the then unknown forest of this section, and do his 
part to open it to the growth and prosperity to which it has now at- 
tained. Selecting the name of Harpersfield for his claim he pro- 
ceeded to choose and clear ground for building. One day while 
traversing the trackless forest, where Unionville now stands, he 
noticed that this spot (now the graveyard) was higher and more 
sandy than the rest and marked it for their burying ground, probably 
little thinking that he would be the first to occupy it. In the 
hardships and exposure connected with the improvement of a new 
country he contracted malarial fever and died, about three months 
after his arrival here, and was buried on this spot in a coffin hewn 
from a log. His descendants number most of the highly respected 
families of this village and vicinity. The grave being dated 1798, is 
therefore the oldest authentic burial on the Western Reserve. The ode 
on the slab reads as follows: 

"Around this monumental stone, 
Let friendship drop a sacred tear. 
A husband kind, a parent fond, 
An upright man lies buried here." 




Elizabeth Bartholomew, the wife of Captain Alexander Harper, 
was the daughter of John Bartholomew and his wife Dorothy Ent. 
The maternal grandmother of Elizabeth Harper was a 'Trench 
Huguenot" and at the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes, in 1685, she 
was sent in a chest from Paris to Germany. The journey occupied 
twelve hours, and was made in safety by the girl of twelve years. Her 
name is not known but her parents evidently expected immediate 
death, and took this way of saving their daughter. They afterward 
made their escape from France and joined her in Mentz, Germany, 
where she married a man named Ent, a native of Berne, Switzerland. 
From Mentz the family moved to Munich and their daughter,Dorothy 
Ent, married John Bartholomew and emigrated to Germantown, Pa., 
where they soon after induced their respective parents to join them. 
From Germantown they moved to Bethlehem, N. J. It was here that 
their sixteenth child, Elizabeth, was born February 13, 1749. She 
had one sister (Mrs. Skinner) younger than she. Elizabeth Bartholo- 
mew was married to Alexander Harper, in Wooster, Otsego County, 
N. Y., July 30, 1 77 1. They went immediately to their home in Har- 
persfield, Delaware County, N. Y., her husband's parents residing 
with them. In course of time eight children were born to them. 
Elizabeth is described as being small of stature, with very black eyes 
and great resolution. When the Revolutionary War broke out, the 
Harper brothers immediately espoused the American cause, and the 
husband of Elizabeth was commissioned to act as Captain of a Com- 
pany of Rangers during the war. The exposed situation of the coun- 
try made it necessary for the Whig families to seek the protection 
of the fort at Schoharie and thither Mrs. Harper repaired, taking her 
husband's parents with her. In times of comparative security she 
would return to her home which was only about one mile from the 
Fort, and I have heard her say that on a sudden alarm, she would 
harness her own horses and with her children and her husband's 
parents, flee to the Fort where she would remain until the danger was 
past and then return to her occupation on the farm. 

Later the old people were sent to a place of greater security. 
While she was thus living alone, the alarm gun was fired in the 

She had four children and a "Bound Boy." She took one child in 
her arms, and one on her back while the two older ones clung to her 
skirts, the bound boy running behind, crying, "don't leave me;" but 
she reached the fort in safety. She then concluded to remain in the 
Fort, but as she scorned to be idle she baked all the bread for the 


garrison for six months. While she remained in the fort, it sustained 
a siege from the Indians and Tories, commanded by British officers. 
Messengers were dispatched to the nearest garrison for assistance, but 
the commander being either a coward or traitor determined to capitu- 
late, and hoisted a Flag of Truce for that purpose. The women of the 
Fort, among whom M'rs. Harper was the leading spirit, had been 
engaged from early dawn in making cartridges and preparing ammu- 
nition, also serving rations to the wTary men, and now they determined 
to make one more effort for liberty. The men were almost in a state 
of weeping and one among them agreed to fire on the Flag if the 
women would protect him. To this the women gladly assented, and 
as often as the flag was run up it was fired upon, until reinforcements 
arrived and the enemy retreated. In the Spring of 1780, Captain 
Harper was taken prisoner and at the same time Mrs. Harper's sister's 
husband was killed by the Indians. Captain Harper was taken to 
Canada through the wilderness and, although his exchange was effect- 
ed soon after, he was not released till the close of the war, the British 
offering him large bribes to espouse their cause. His wife was en- 
tirely ignorant of his fate and had long mourned him as dead. Her 
motto was, "Never Give Up." So she had collected her family again 
and was doing what she could to improve their shattered fortunes 
when her husband returned. In 1798 she moved with her husband 
and family, to what was then called "New Connecticut," now known 
as the "Western Reserve." Her eldest daughter who was married to 
a Mr. Wheeler remained behind and her eldest son was in Canada, but 
four sons and two daughters came with her. They landed from small 
boats at the mouth of the Creek now known as Cunningham Creek 
in the present township of Madison, Ohio, having come from Buffalo 
in a schooner the only one on Lake Erie at that time. Immediately 
after landing, Colonel Harper accompanied by the women of the 
band, comprising Mrs. Harper and two daughters, one aged 14 the 
other 12 years, Mrs. Gregory and two daughters of the same age. 
Captain Harper's sister, Mrs. McFarland, and an adopted daughter 
started for what was to be their new home, near the site of the pres- 
ent village of Unionville, each one carrying in her hand what she 
could of provision and table furniture. Mrs. Harper carried a 
small copper teakettle which she filled with water from a way-side 
spring before arriving at their destination. Their path was a wilder- 
ness untouched, save by the surveyors' lines, but they followed it 
four miles, when finding a storm would soon burst upon them they 
halted at the line of the township which now bears the name of Har- 
persfield. Here the women busied themselves in starting a fire, put- 
ting on the teakettle, etc., while Captain Harper felled a large tree 
from which he peeled the bark which the women placed on poles, thus 
forming a shelter from the storm. During the summer there was 
some sickness among the men, and in September Captain Harper was 
taken sick of a fever and died. His coffin was dug from a tree and 
a slab hewn from the same for a top. This event would have proved 
disastrous to the little pioneer band had not Mrs. Harper's energy 


and resolution restored that confidence which the death of their 
leader had nearly destroyed. Although, herself, the principal sufferer, 
she would not for a moment entertain the proposition to abandon the 
enterprise, and when a kind invitation was extended to herself and 
daughters to spend the ensuing winter in Pennsylvania, she and her 
oldest daughter feared it would dishearten those coming and those 
already here. Consequently they decided to remain and share the 
hardships of the first winter in their new home. During this winter 
the settlers were reduced to great straits, but the utmost harmony 
and kindly feeling prevailed, and whatever provisions or gain any one 
family obtained was freely shared with the other two. There were 
no deer in the country at that time, but there were large droves of elk, 
whose flesh was like coarse beef, and bears whose flesh was much more 
oily and palatable, raccoons were also plentiful and easily obtained 
and although the flesh was considered eatable at that time, they in- 
variably lost all relish for "coon meat" in after years of plenty. 
Hickory nuts were abundant that year, and aided materially in sus- 
taining life when other provisions failed. Mrs. Harper was fruitful 
in expedients and at one time in the spring when the men had gone 
after flour and were detained by contrary' winds, she gathered leeks 
from the woods and boiled them. This was all the food they had 
for some days. It was during this spring that she went out one 
morning to find the cows which had strayed away, but not yet having 
learned the north side of a tree by the difference in the bark (a specie 
of woodcraft she afterwards came to be familiar with), she became 
lost and wandered on the banks of a stream all day. The family be- 
coming alarmed by her absence blew horns at intervals, but it was not 
until night that she heard them and found her way home. In the 
summer, the sons had brought some hogs from Canada and were 
obliged to watch them closely on account of the bears. The men being 
fully occupied in clearing the land, and procuring provisions, various 
outdoor employments were assumed cheerfully by the women. One 
evening Mrs. Harper and her eldest daughter, Elizabeth, went to 
look up the hogs, taking the path that led to the nearest family. They 
had not proceeded far before a small cub crossed the path immediately 
in front of them; they stopped when another cub followed and di- 
rectly behind it came the old bear taking no notice of the women 
who turned about and went home. The hogs came in afterwards 
unharmed. This year a brother of Captain Harper joined them, and 
a relative with some other families commenced a settlement at Con- 
neaut, about thirty miles down the Lake. In the fall these families 
were nearly all sick and Mrs. Harper went down to take care of 
them. After staying some weeks, she prepared to return home the 
last of November. The only mode of traveling was in open boats on 
the lake or upon horse back. The lateness of the season precluded the 
first mode, so accompanied by her relative, Joseph Harper, she started 
early one morning on horse back, their only road being the Lake 
Shore, and obliging them to ford the streams where they emptied into 
the lake. They rode some fifteen miles when they came to the mouth 


of Ashtabula Creek, which had been banked up with sand during the 
summer but was now flowing into the Lake. Not knowing its depth, 
Mr. Harper rode in and found his horse swimming to the opposite 
shore. Anxious to reach her family, Mrs. Harper followed him, un- 
heeding his remonstrances, and crossed in safety with the exception of 
being wet up to her shoulders, and in this condition she rode home, 
which they reached a little before midnight. During all these trials, 
privations and starvations, she was never known to despond but with 
unflagging energy she strove to encourage all who came within her in- 
fluence to make the best of a home in the wilderness. It was not until 
the hardships of pioneer life had passed away that her family knew 
of her sleepless nights and anxious solicitude during the dark days in 
their new home. Her older children joined her and she had the hap- 
piness of having them all married and settled around her before death 
again entered the family. 

During the war of 1812 the Harper brothers were actively en- 
gaged, both in Civil and Military capacities. William was a member 
of the State Legislature the second year of the war, while James 
accepted a Captain's commission. The two j'ounger brothers were 
in actual service in the Northwestern A.rmy. Nor did my revered 
grandmother remain entirely an idle spectator of the times. She 
found many opportunities of turning her tactics of the Revolution 
to advantage, by instructing our volunteers in the science of making 
cartouches and other equipments for the campaign. This war lasted 
two years and eight months, terminating by the Treaty of Ghent, 
signed December 24, 1814, and ratified by Congress February 17, 
1 81 5. Comparatively speaking, this was a mere cipher of a war 
compared to the Revolution, but as it answered all the purposes which 
our United States expected, we must not rob our Statesmen and Gen- 
erals of any of their well earned fame on account of the briefness of 
strife and bloodshed. Although a number of log School Houses had 
been erected in Harpersfield, the year 181 7 was destined to witness the 
erection of the first frame building of this kind, which was situated 
upon the cross roads which are now the line dividing the Counties of 
Ashtabula and Lake. This building consisted of two stories, the 
upper part being built for a Masonic Hall, and served the double 
purpose of hall and academy, as our preceptor taught, besides English, 
both Latin and Greek. Perhaps never did a new country afford 
greater facilities for acquiring a knowledge of the branches which 
must constitute the scholar than did our place at the time of which I 
am writing. Certain it is that this and the few succeeding years were 
our "Golden Days." Ceremonious fashion had not yet fastened her 
clamps upon our society. It was not in those days a matter of in- 
quiry who made the first or last call, or who dressed in the latest 
style. Who were the stranger and the sufferer were the inquiries 
worthy of those days, while moral worth and talent were duly ap- 
preciated whenever they were found, without the least reference 
whatever to either the quality or fashion of the coat in which they 
might chance to be arrayed. 


Sketch of Elizabeth Harper Tappan, daughter of Captain Alex- 
ander and Elizabeth Harper, copied from a book entitled "Pioneer 
Women of the West," and published by Chas. Scribner. The name of 
the writer is not given but we have reason to believe it was from the 
pen of her daughter, Miss Electra Tappan. It contains some inci- 
dents and vivid pictures of the life in that day which will be of 
interest to all. 

Elizabeth Harper was the second daughter of Alexander 
and Elizabeth Harper, and was born February 24, 1784, in Harpers- 
field, N. Y. She was in the fifteenth year of her age when she ac- 
companied her parents to Ohio in 1798 and was the oldest daughter 
who went with them, her eldest sister having been married some 
years previous and remaining in their old home. The labor and perils 
of commencing a settlement in an almost unbroken wilderness en- 
countered by all who took part in this enterprise, were shared by the 
young girl, to whom fell of course no small part of the work of the 
household and the care of the younger children. The novelty of their 
mode of living and the wild forest scenery with incessant occupation, 
caused the time to pass speedily and pleasantly through the first 
summer; but the approach of a more vigorous season, their hardships 
commenced and the death of her beloved father brought before the 
bereaved family the realities of their situation, far from early friends 
and isolated from the comforts of civilization. Elizabeth suffered 
much at this time of gloom and distrust, with a longing for home 
and fears for the future ; but the fortitude and resolution with which 
the mother sustained herself under the pressure of all these calamities 
had a due influence on the minds of her children, and the feeling of 
discontent was soon subdued. During the absence of her brother 
James, who went to Canada to procure provisions, another brother, 
William, broke his leg the other brothers were seven and nine years 
of age and as they could do nothing of consequence, the work of pro- 
viding fire wood for the family devolved entirely for some four weeks 
upon Elizabeth and her youngest sister Mary, It was no easy task 
to cut, split and haul the fuel consumed, as the cabin was very open 
and large fires were required. The prospects for the approaching 
winter were very dark, owing to the scarcity of provisions and the 
want of comfortable quarters; and Mrs. Harper thought it best to 
send her youngest daughter to stay with some friends at a settlement in 
Pennsylvania. She determined not to accept the invitation for herself 
and Elizabeth decided to stay with her mother. The winter proved 


one of unusual severity, and the settlers suffered greatly the want of 
provisions, as after the wreck of the only vessel on the southern shore 
of Lake Erie their supplies had to be brought from Canada. Twice the 
little community was reduced almost to the point of starvation, hav- 
ing to relieve the cravings of hunger with strange substitutes for 
food. On the last occasion when the men sent for supplies returned, 
they brought with them a small supply of coarse Indian meal, boiled, 
which was called samp. Mrs. Harper warmed a portion of this, and 
making some tea, called her family to partake of the simple meal, 
then a luxury privation had taught them to appreciate. Most of the 
children felt sick from absolute want and disinclined to touch the 
food ; but after tasting it they were so eager for more that it required 
all a mother's firmness to restrain them from taking more than they 
could bear in so weakened a condition. The grain for the family 
bread that first winter was brought from Pennsylvania, a distance of 
fifty miles, on the backs of the two older brothers or drawn on hand 
sleds on the ice following the Lake. This grain was ground in a 
small mill brought by the colonists to their new home. It was 
Elizabeth's work to grind that for the family. She would take a peck 
of common wheat and walk two miles and a half to grind it, then 
carry home the meal and make it into bread. Many of the cattle be- 
longing to the settlers died during the winter, and some of the 
oxen disappeared, supposed to have been killed and carried off by the 
Indians. Another misfortune was added to the list by the breaking 
of the little mill in which their grain had been ground, necessitating a 
substitute. A hole was burned and scraped in the top of an oak 
stump large enough to hold a quantity of corn, which was then 
pounded as fine as possible with a pounder attached to a spring pole 
resembling a well sweep, the heavy end being fastened to the ground. 
This contrivance was called a mortar. Their ovens were equally prim- 
itive. As neither brick nor stone were to be had, a stump was hewn 
perfectly flat on the top, and a slab of sandstone laid upon it. On 
this the women spread a layer of clay and placed upon it wood in the 
form of an oven, covering the whole, except an opening at one end 
with a thick layer of clay. After standing a short time to dry, the 
wood was set on fire and burnt out. The oven thus manufactured 
proved an excellent one for use, and served as a model for all ovens 
in the country for some years afterw^ard. 

In the autumn of the second year of the settlement, Mrs. 
Wheeler, Mrs. Harper's eldest daughter, came with her husband and 
family and took up their residence in the cabin which they built 
half a mile from that of the mother. They were joined by several 
other families soon after. Some anecdotes of the wild beasts of the 
forests are remembered in family tradition. One night while Eliza- 
beth was staying with her sister, Mrs. Wheeler, in the absence of her 
husband, she was alarmed by an attack by one of these ferocious ani- 
mals. A crazy woman belonging to the settlement had come to 
spend the night in the house. Late in the evening they heard a noise 
among some fowls roosting upon the projecting logs of the cabin and 


going to the door they distinctly saw a large bear standing on his 
hind legs trying to reach the fowls that crowded together in terror 
above the range of his paws. It required all of Elizabeth's presence of 
mind and energy to prevent the lunatic from rushing out, but bj 
alarming her fears she persuaded her to be quiet and fastened the 
doors. A more severe encounter took place some years afterwards, in 
the house of her brother Alexander, when a hungry bear broke into 
the yard and attempted to catch a goose. Mrs. Harper, the sister-in- 
law, hastily called to her children to come in and barred the door, but 
the fierce creature had heard the sound of her voice and bent on secur- 
ing his prey he sprang through the window, and attacked her. Her 
clothes were much torn and her arms were much scratched ; but her 
husband and a man who chanced to be with him came to the rescue 
and with clubs succeeded in beating ofi the bear and killing him with- 
out any serious results except a good scare and some very uncomfort- 
able flesh wounds. When the school was established in 1802, the first 
on the Western Reserve, Elizabeth Harper was employed to teach it. 
The following winter Abram Tappan was appointed to take charge 
of it, and some of the scholars came from other settlements. The 
school was taught alternately by Mr. Tappan and Miss Harper dur- 
ing the winter and summer, for several years. Religious meetings 
were established at the same time and place. In 1806 Elizabeth was 
married to Abram Tappan, then engaged as a surveyor and employed 
in equalizing the claims of land holders. His duties compelled him to 
be absent from home during a great part of the time, and after they 
were settled, the labor of superintending and clearing a new farm 
devolved upon the wife. The work was done, however, with an 
energy and cheerful spirit worthy the daughter of such a mother. A 
substantial foundation was thus laid for future comfort and pros- 
perity. For a few years the youthful couple lived in a small log house 
containing one room, in which it was necessary very frequently to en- 
tertain company, as Mr. Tappan's acquaintance and business associa- 
tion with land owners and land agents brought strangers continually 
to his house, and the duties of hospitality were esteemed sacred in the 
most primitive settlements. Mrs. Tappan was often obliged to spread 
the floor with beds for the accommodation of her guests; and the 
abundance of her table and the excellent quality of her cooking 
could be attested by many who from time to time were the chance in- 
mates of this cheerful home. 

At that early period an unaffected kindness of feeling, poorly re- 
placed in the more advanced stage of society by the conventionalities 
of good breeding, prevailed among the settlers, and some families were 
sincerely attached to each other. Good offices were interchanged be- 
tween neighbors every day, and friendly intercourse maintained by fre- 
quent visits. These were often paid from one to another, even when 
a journey of fifteen miles on horseback, occupying a whole day, had to 
be performed. The alarms and accidents to which a new settlement 
is liable tended also to bind the emigrants together for mutual assist- 
ance and protection. One of a number of similar incidents which oc- 


curred in i8ii caused much trouble to the Harper family. A son of 
Mrs. Wheeler, nine years of age, had gone out alone to gather chest- 
nuts. The afternoon was sultry, and he was thinly clad, it was not 
long before a terrible storm of wind and rain came on, prostrating 
acres of forest, and swelling the streams in a little while to torrents. 
Just before dark, Mrs. Tappan received a hasty summons to go to her 
sister, whom she found half frantic for her missing boy. The alarm 
quickly spread, the neighbors assembled and people came from a dis- 
tance of fifteen or twenty miles to aid in the search, which was con- 
tinued through the next day and the following one, without success, 
till near the close of the third day, when the child was found in such 
an exhausted condition that in attempting to rise he fell upon his 
face. His limbs were torn and filled with porcupine quills. Not very 
long afterwards a boy belonging to the settlement, was lost in the 
woods and the members of his family called his name aloud repeatedly. 
It may not be generally known that the panther, which at this time 
frequently came near the dwellings of man, emits a cry resembling a 
cry of a human voice in distress. The calling of the boy's name was 
several times answered as his friends supposed, and after following the 
sound halloing for some time, they discovered that the voice was 
not human. In a state of torture, anxiety and apprehension, they were 
obliged to wait for daylight when the boy made his appearance. He 
had wandered in an opposite direction from the panther and had found 
shelter in a house where he remained for the night. 

After about three years the Indians began to visit our pioneers 
periodically. They were mostly Ojibwas, and belonged to Lake 
Superior in the summer, but came down annually in the fall of the 
year in their bark canoes and landing at the mouth of the stream 
they would carry their canoes on their heads across to Grand River, 
some seven miles from the lake, where they would take up their quar- 
ters for the winter, and return to the west in the same manner in the 
spring. They were friendly and as the pioneers extended a helping 
hand to them in sickness and privation, they would show their grati- 
tude by bringing the choicest piece of any large game they might kill. 
Many a choice piece of bear and elk meat, carefully wrapped in a 
piece of blanket, has Mrs. Harper's family thus received. One day a 
party of drunken Indians were seen approaching, and Mrs. Harper 
had time to hide a small keg of liquor under the floor before they came 
in. There were no men at home, and the Indians demanded whisky, 
and on being told they could not get any, they commenced a search 
until finding a barrel of vinegar they wished to know if it would 
make drunk come, if so it would answer their purpose. Finding it 
would not they insisted on treating the women from a Calabash of 
muddy whisky which they carried with them and then left the house. 
The experience of Mrs. Tappan during her residence in the back 
woods was full of such incidents. But the forests around them gradu- 
ally receded before the ax of the enterprising immigrant. The country 
became cleared and cultivated, and with the progress of improvement 
the condition of the early settlers became more safe and comfortable. 


After taking so important a part in the pioneer life of her time, 
and bearing her burden so nobly and cheerfully, Elizabeth Harper 
Tappan lived a long and useful life. She passed away August 2, 
1885, and her devoted husband, Abram Tappan, followed her the next 
day. In death they were not divided. Abram Tappan came to the 
Western Reserve in company with Judge Walworth, from the State 
of New York, either in 1801 or 1802, Judge Walworth after a year or 
two moved to Cleveland, and Mr. Tappan and a man named Sessions 
who resided in Painesville made a contract with the Connecticut 
Land Company, to survey the lands of said Company lying west of 
the Cuyahoga River in the Connecticut Western Reserve and Tappan 
and James Harper as surveyors entered upon their labors under said 
contract in the year 1806. In the same year Abram Tappan was 
married to Elizabeth Harper and purchased the farm of John A. Har- 
per at Unionville, where he lived for many years beloved and re- 
spected by all w^ho knew him. 




Also Brief Family Records. 

Dear Cousin Ellen: I got your Christmas letter all right and 
it was so strange to be remembered by any of my relatives that it 
nearly took my breath away, but it w^as not the less welcome for that. 
The school that you inquire about was established in the summer of 
1802 in a log house near Mr. Osborn's on the South Ridge in Har- 
persfield, and was taught by Elizabeth Harper that summer and by 
Abram Tappan the next winter and so they continued to teach for 
some years. This is supposed to be the first school on the Western 
Reserve, the scholars in the winter coming from a distance of 
thirty miles. Religious meetings were commenced in grandmother's 
house, and afterwards held in the log school house, and consisted of 
singing and reading sermons as there was no one to pray. (It was 
considered at that time improper for any one but a minister to pray in 
public.) Elizabeth Harper was a good reader and speller and she 
took her turn in reading the sermons. I wrote out a history of the 
settlement of Harpersfield many years ago, for the historical society 
of Ashtabula County, but when the Court House was burned the 
records were lost. I afterwards contributed some things to other 
societies. Some time ago the "Western Reserve Historical Society" 
calTed on me for papers in behalf of their society, but at that time I 
was unable to comply with their request owing to sickness in the 
family. I don't know for what purpose or how much history you 
want, but when the days get a little longer and brighter I shall tran- 
scribe my notes and put father's papers in order for the Society in 


Cleveland, and if you will let me know what you want I will prepare 
it for you. I am sure I have tried your patience so I will bid you 

Electra Tappan. 

We cannot learn that any further communication was sent from 
Miss Tappan but the following reminiscences ; also the communication 
with which this chapter is commenced were sent by her sister, Mrs. 
Converse, to our Secretary, Mrs. Cowles, after her death. The notice 
of her death copied from the Wyandot Herald, reveals the following: 
Miss Electra Tappan died March 2ist, 1896, at the home of her 
sister, Mrs, L. P. Converse. She was born in Unionville, Ohio, No- 
vember 25th, 1808. Her father, Abram Tappan, surveyed most of 
what is known as the Western Reserve, Miss Electra recording the 
field notes. At the request of the "Western Reserve Historical So- 
ciety of Cleveland," she forwarded these notes to them just prior to 
her death. We regret that so much valuable history which she might 
have communicated has been lost, as her long and intimate associa- 
tion with her mother and grandmother rendered her more capable 
than any other person with the exception of Mrs. Sherwood, to reveal 
facts concerning the pioneer life of the Harper family. 

The year 1820 brought our pioneers fresh cause of sorrow. 
It was March 30th of this year that William McFarland died. He 
was a connection of the Harper family by marriage, and he and his 
wife were one of the pioneer families in the year 1798. His wife had 
died in the year 18 13. Uncle Mack, as he was familiarly called, was 
buried with Masonic honors, which was the first burial of this kind 
that took place here. James Harper at this time was Master of the 
Lodge. The next burial of this kind that occurred was that of 
James Harper himself [Samuel Wheeler, Esq., officiating as Master 
on this occasion], who died September i8th, 1820, in the 45th year of 
his age. Captain Harper had engaged himself in the construction of 
a wharf at the mouth of Cunningham Creek which was then called 
Madison Dock. He had become very much interested in his dock, 
and had removed his family to the lake for a time, where he was at- 
tacked by a fever, from which he died in about ten days. This melan- 
choly event struck home to the Harper family. William lamented his 
brother as one kindred spirit ever laments another. James Harper 
left a wife and six daughters, of whom only the youngest survives. 
She is the sole representative of her father's family. Mary Harper 
Cowles, youngest daughter of Elizabeth Harper's family, died May 
9th, 1825. She left a numerous family, some of whom are still living. 
Adna Cowles, her husband died September 4th, 1837, in the 58th 
year of his age, and might be said, strictly in truth, to have been an 
honest man, which Pope says, "Is the noblest work of God." Mr. 
Cowles will long be remembered by his family and acquaintances. In 
the years 1823 and 1824, Mr. Gregory and his wife died, leaving my 
revered grandmother the only surviving head of the pioneer families. 
Mr. Gregorj^ had located on the Grand river in Harpersfield, where 


many of his descendants now reside and constitute a part of the old 
settlers, who are at this day nearly lost in the wilderness of settlement 
and change, which brings us up to the present time. William A. 
Harper had become a contractor in the year 1825, for a considerable 
job on our western canal, in which business he engaged heart and 
hand. His constitution previous to this undertaking had become 
much impaired but he hardly seemed conscious of the fact. In the 
month of August, 1826, he was obliged by reason of general sickness, 
to suspend his business. He came home an invalid, being attacked by 
the fever (now known as tuberculosis), which destroyed so many that 
were engaged in this kind of business and was so verj^ ill that for a 
time his life was despaired of. By unremitting attention and the 
blessing of Providence he was spared a little longer. He arose from 
this bed of sickness with a constitution utterly crushed, \vhile his 
native resolution of purpose seemed to gather strength and bid defiance 
to his failing powers. Owing to a great anxiety to complete his con- 
tract and be at home once more, he returned to his work as soon as he 
was able to walk ; but much too soon as he continued to decline until 
Charles, his eldest child, a boy of seventeen, grew so much alarmed 
that he sent for his mother and the doctor. As may be supposed, she 
was not long in setting out with the medical aid. She arrived at 
Ncwburg in the course of twenty-four hours, where she found her 
husband sick unto death. His lungs were fatally diseased and his 
bodily strength quite gone. All that could now be done was of no 
avail, excepting so far as his comfort was concerned. He seerned well 
aware that his life was fast ebbing and spent his remaining intervals 
of ease in giving instructions for his family to be guided by when he 
should be no more. He survived a fortnight after the arrival of his 
wife and the physician, and expired in the arms of his youngest 
brother, Robert, on the second day of January, 1827, in the 40th year 
of his age, leaving his blessing and his love to all his friends and ac- 
quaintances. His remains were brought home for interment, and 
never was a family more bereaved than his. The burial took place on 
the 5th of January, and the muffled drum rang a symphony to the 
utter desolation of the mourners' hearts. William A. Harper left a 
wife and six children. In a eulogy after his death it was written that 
his talents were of a high order and although neither academic or 
college bred, yet he possessed a truly intellectual mind. He was a 
close observer of men and manners, and a liberal patron of literature 
and science. In public life he might sometimes appear stern and in- 
flexible of purpose. We will turn to his private life for an index to 
his heart. There he might have been seen discharging the duties of a 
son with filial homage, and as a husband and parent affectionate and 
indulgent, as a friend faithful and sincere, while towards an enemy he 
was ever just, never forgetting, that "To err is human, to forgive di- 
vine." Ever more bent to raise the wretched than to rise, he was 
benevolent to a fault, so that even his failings leaned to virtue's side. 
After the death of this son, my honored grandmother resided with the 
youngest son, Robert, the rest of her life. She not only lived to lament 


the loss of her own children, but many of her grandchildren, among 
whom was the Honorable Samuel Wheeler, who died November 
8th, 1 83 1, in the 40th year of his age, and was not only an irrepar- 
able loss to his own family, but to the community at large. "Death 
loves a shining mark." Esq. Wheeler was indeed cut off in the prime 
of his usefulness. But such are the decrees of Providence. This 
eminent man of his time studied the profession of the law, and after 
admission to the bar, settled at Unionville in its practice. He rose 
rapidly in his profession and in a short time had acquired an enviable 
reputation as a lawyer and a public speaker. He was several times 
elected a member of the Legislature of Ohio, and at one session he be- 
ing at the time a member of the Senate, was chosen Speaker of the 
Senate. At the time of his death he was a nominee for the Governor 
of the State. It was said of him that he was the property of the 
State which was honored by him. 

It was upon another day in the month of June that a funeral 
procession was to be observed, bearing one of the children of mortality 
to the house appointed for all the living, and by the various groups of 
different ages, who seemed to stand in near relation to the deceased 
it might be conjected that it was a grandparent who was being con- 
veyed to the silent tomb. On this occasion the Reverend Man of 
God rehearsed with touching pathos, the various vicissitudes of life 
which had been the share of the deceased, describing her as being the 
wife of a pioneer, as bearing the various trials which had checkered 
her career in life, with that Christian fortitude and resignation which 
ever bespeaks the firm reliance of the Christian's hope and trust in the 
wisdom and goodness of the All Wise Disposer of human wants. Like 
the clinging joy, she had adorned the ruin of her hopes, and fondly 
cherished the memory of her husband, in the persons of her children. 
Although many of her goodly branches were lopped off, yet with the 
true devotion of woman's love, her affections descended to her orphan 
grandchildren as the next heirs to her heart's best affections. Finally, 
as a shock of corn fully ripe, she was gathered to her fathers, the last 
of the pioneers. Mrs. Elizabeth Harper, relict of Captain Alexander 
Harper, departed this life June nth, 1832, in the 84th year of her 

Alexander Harper, Jr., died on the 12th of September, 1833, o^ 
consumption in the 47th year of his age. 

John A. Harper it is believed was the first person who held a 
civil office within the territory now constituting the township of 
Madison ; also owned the first farm upon which any improvements 
were made, it being the same occupied for many years by Hon. 
Abram Tappan of Unionville. He was appointed to the office of Con- 
stable by the Court then sitting in Warren, under the authority of 
the Territorial governm.ent, prior to the organization of the State 
government. Soon after the State government was organized he 
was elected to the office of Justice of the Peace ; and upon the organi- 
zation of Geauga County was elected one of the County Commis- 
sioners. Thus in many ways he was identified with the early history 


of this section of the State. He died of typhoid fever October 31st, 

The youngest child of Alexander and Elizabeth, Robert Harper, 
with whom our pioneer grandmother spent the last years of her life, 
was a Captain in the war of 18 12, and a progressive member of the 
community in which he lived. It was Captain Robert who built 
"Shandy Hall," the old house now known as the "Harper Home- 
stead," and occupied by his daughter, Jane Harper, and her husband, 
Alexander J. Harper, the son of Captain Robert's brother, John Har- 
per. Robert Harper died December 15th, 1850. Margaret Harper 
Wheeler, the eldest child, died June 27th, 1856, at the ripe old age of 
84 years, the last of all the children of our pioneer ancestors. Cap- 
tain Alexander Harper and his wife, Elizabeth Harper. They have 
earned without exception their Lord's "Well done good and faithful 
servants." May the coming generations be a credit to them. 

In tracing this history we have been impressed with the thought 
of what it cost these early settlers to purchase for us the rich heritage 
which we today enjoy. The Western Reserve has from its early 
settlement been known for its intelligence, enterprise and morality of 
its inhabitants. It is because those who laid the foundation for such a 
state of things were men and women who realized that the perpetuity 
of our National Life depended upon the character of our homes, our 
schools and churches or in other words virtue, intelligence and true 



With the exception of "Shandy Hall," the old Harper Homestead 
at Unionville, all of the early homes of our pioneers have long since 
been destroyed. This historic old residence occupies a rare place in 
the hearts of all the "Harper Clan," and deserves a place of its own 
among these Records. It was built by Colonel Robert Harper (a 
Colonel in the war of 1812), youngest son of Captain Alexander 
Harper, in 181 5, and has been in the possession of his family up to the 
present time, 1905. It is pleasant to know that the house is still the 
home of his daughter, Jane Harper, and her husband, Alexander J. 
Harper, who was the son of John Harper. Thanks to the excellent 
care which has been bestowed upon the old place by "Aunt Jane" and 
"Uncle Alexander" and their family. It is in a state of perfect pres- 
ervation and will doubtless outlast many of our modern homes. The 
exterior is not especially noticeable, as many homes in the neighboring 
country, built years later were along the same lines of architecture. 
The location, however, is of exceeding beauty. The house stands on a 
hill at the foot of which is a living spring. It overlooks fertile fields 
and vineyards belonging to men whose grandfathers tilled the same 
soil; for Unionville holds as much tradition as its hundred years of 
growth will yield. Tall locusts sway their branches over "Shandy 
Hall," and we are told that one day when Miss Ellen, a sister of 
Aunt Jane, came in from a ride, she laughingly broke the branch 
which she had been using for a riding whip in pieces and stuck them in 
the ground to grow, and that is how the locust trees came to shelter 
the house with their shade. Built as it is upon a hill, the house partakes 
of the various grades, and the rooms, of which there are seventeen, 
are built upon diflferent levels. So much so, that sometimes it is 
necessary to go up three or four steps from one room into another. 
The door latches and all of the fixtures are hand wrought, and it has 
taken continual vigilance to preserve the various furnishings from 
the hands of enthusiastic collectors of antiquities. The "Banquet 
Hall" stands out preeminently in the minds of all who visit the 
house as it is remarkable in so many ways. This room is exceedingly 
large and built in colonial style with a low coved ceiling. The old 
fireplace and the wainscoting are black with age. The wallpaper in 
this room is its most striking feature. It is said to have been imported 
from Paris for use in a large hotel in Philadelphia about 1830; and 
through a failure of some kind was purchased by Colonel Robert Har- 
per for his dining hall. The paper, which is put on the wall in eigh- 
teen inch squares, represents a continual panorama, no two parts being 
alike. Trees, castles, architectural ruins, fountains, shady walks, 


A View ot "Shandy Hall," lookin- northeast 

A View of "Shandy Hall,'" looking northwest, with "Uncle Alexander 
and "-Aunt Jane" standing on the porch 

where men and maidens stroll, a bay with ships sailing in and out, and 
above all a blue sky flecked with light clouds, are all included in this 
vastly artistic decoration. Time has softened the colors until the 
whole effect is beautiful in the extreme. Long may it be spared by 
the hand of time. The round table in the dining hall was made from 
two pieces of board, sawed from a tree seven feet in diameter. It is 
beautifully polished and a rare piece of furniture. Many a goodly 
company has gathered around this hospitable board, and been served 
from the beautiful old blue porcelain and silver, which stand in 
brave array in the closet by the fireplace. Another closet is com- 
pletely filled with cut glass. There are liquor sets, glasses and 
dishes of all shapes and sizes in the most charming designs. Among 
the others we notice a quart tumbler, from which it is supposed that 
Washington drank when a guest at the house of Captain Alexander 
Harper, in Harpersfield, N. Y., during the Revolution. The Millen- 
nium plate occupies the shelf over the old fireplace and hand wrought 
andirons grace the hearth. Colonel Robert's daughters had their gov- 
erness and writing master, and two old pianos tell their story in their 
own way. Old furniture galore is to be found here and rare old 
books rest on the shelves of the quaint old bookcases. There were 
parties and merrymakings of all kinds in the great old banquet hall 
and the portrait of Colonel Robert smiles kindly at us from the wall, 
as much as to say, they had very pleasant times in those days, too. 
The following poem, written by the son of Robert A. Austin, of Chi- 
cago, and read at the eleventh Annual Reunion, went to the hearts of 
all present: 

(A Reverie.) 

In the twilight, Shandy Hall, 

When the silent shadows flit 

O'er my tired busy brain. 

In a reverie I sit. 

From those quaint, old pictured walls 

There come echoes of the past. 

Of the days when pleasure reigned, 

Of the days when sorrow came, 

And I would not change the picture if I could. 

For the hearts that beat within thee. Shandy Hall, 
In those olden days, were just the same as now. 
Where the woof was grey with sorrow 
They wove a brilliant warp of love, 
And looked cheerfully towards tomorrow 
Placing trust in Him above. 


I greet you, Shandy Hall, 
Ami the memories that you bring, 
Long may you stand 
As a monument to them, 
Who a hundred years ago, 
In the forest wild, alone 
Struggled on with sturdy hearts 
For a future, happy home. 

Aye, they won you, but through hardships, 

Shandy Hall; 

And we hold you now through hardships 

Shandy Hall; 

But while loyal hearts do stand 

We will all lend a helping hand. 

And no alien shall possess you. 

Shandy Hall; 

Morris Austin, 

Chicago, II 




It was a bright summer day toward the close of June, in tlie year 
1798, that a small schooner appeared on the waters of Lake Erie. It 
spread its canvas, not to a habitable port, but for the boundless forests 
of Ohio, or what was then called the Western Reserve. As the winds 
and waters were propitious, the little bark neared the shore at a point 
since called Madison dock, but then termed Ellensburg, to which place 
it was bound, containing a small band of pioneers, who, filled by the 
spirit of enterprise, had deserted their own good halls and chosen the 
far wilds of Ohio as their future abode. 

This little band numbered about twenty-three souls, of which 
the majority were minors, as they composed the whole number of 
their families who now sought a new home in the gigantic forests of 
what was then termed "The Far West." 

As I have said, there were twenty-three souls, all of whom came 
from Harpersfield, N. Y., which they had founded eighteen years 
previous. They were the very personifications of the "Spirit of the 
Pioneer." Especially their leader. Captain Alexander Harper, who 
brought with him his wife, Elizabeth Harper, and six of their chil- 
dren, four sons and two daughters. The other members of the 
little band were Captain Harper's sister, Mrs. McFarland, her hus- 
band and children, and Mr. and Mrs. Gregory and their children 
with two men. 

Capt. Harper might be denominated as rather past the meridian 
of life, but the firm and measured step at once announced him as a 
veteran of "The times that tried men's souls." He had fought and 
bled in the cause of liberty, and now stood forth the pilot to almost a 
new world accompanied by the wife who had ever shared his joys 
and sorrows; who, like him, had braved the storms of war and now 
that peace was restored, she was content to accompany her family on 
their weary pilgrimage. 

Behold our little company landed, with not an opening on which 
the eye could rest and no guide save the chain and compass or the 
waters of the lake. It would have been no marvel if women's hearts 
had cast one longing lingering look to the homes which they had left 
behind ; but it is no part of a sensible woman's nature to give undue 
scope to useless regret, thereby rendering herself obnoxious to all who 
may chance to cross her path. Rather, on the contrary, she will be the 
consoler in affliction, supporting an encouraging man in his hours of 
despondency; and actuated by this feeling, she can share with the ob- 


ject of her affection a palace or a prison without repining. But to 
proceed with my narrative. It is since the writer's recollection that 
a tree of giant growth was pointed out to her as worthy of her obser- 
vation, for it was underneath its shade that her forefathers had formed 
their first habitation in the forest, which was constructed of bark 
peeled and set up so as to form a temporary abode, and quite a spacious 
mansion it was. I believe it numbered twenty rooms, for by the as- 
sistance of blankets the partitions were soon formed. This man- 
sion was erected about one mile north of where the little village of 
Unionville now stands. Here was spread the first hospitable board, 
and for want of guests they were constrained to be content with their 
own social glee. To be sure the bear, the wolf and the catamount 
had no serious objection to looking in upon them, and forming an 
acquaintance if they liked ; they were a sort of people similar in dis- 
position to a certain class which infests every society in proportion to 
its advancement. You must be extremely cautious in your inter- 
course with them or you may be severely bitten. The red man was 
extremely distant in his courtesy, for he thought that the presence 
of this little party boded no good to his hunting ground. 

Just here a chapter is missing and we take the liberty of re- 
placing it to preserve the continuous record. After living a week in 
the bark house which had been so hastily constructed, the three fam- 
ilies separated and went to their own claims, where they had pro- 
vided temporary shelter for themselves. The rest of the summer 
was occupied in making clearings around their houses and preparing 
in various ways for the winter. The fore part of September, what 
promised to be a fatal blow to the little community, occurred in the 
death of the leader. Captain Harper, who had contracted malarial 
fever, and passed away September loth, three months after the land- 
ing in the new country. His coffin was hewn from a log and his 
was the first authentic grave on the Western Reserve. Had it not 
been for the firm resolution and courage of his wife, Elizabeth Har- 
per, the little band would doubtless have given up the undertaking. 
As it was, Mrs. Harper held them together with a firm hand and by 
her example made it possible for us to receive the rich heritage which 
is ours to-day. 

Returning to Mrs. Sherwood's own words — 

As autumn waned our little party began to turn their thoughts 
t6 the approaching winter. The oldest Harper brother James, get- 
ting very discontented, proposed taking the horses which they began 
to ascertain could not subsist on wild hay, back to Canada, which he 
accordingly did in company with some men of the party, leaving 
the number of twenty-one souls in the wilderness consisting of one 
sick man, an old man, and three of the Harper brothers, besides the 
women and children. Indeed, the two younger brothers were mere 
children, Alexander being but ten and Robert eight years. James 
Harper, the second son of Captain Harper, was twenty-one years of 
age and his brother William was nineteen, as the burthen of the 
times fell on these two brothers, I shall describe them as they ap- 

he OKI Fireplace in the Banquet Hall 

A corner in the Diiiini; Hal 

peared in after life, James was tall, rather exceeding the height of 
six feet, but slender in proportion, so that the observer might have 
pronounced him framed to endure actual hardship while the general 
cast of his countenance denoted much firmness, resolution and daring, 
yet, over all might be seen by the close observer a slight shade of 
melancholy, which might serve to notify Dame Fortune that her 
missiles could not always be hurled at him unscathed by her malice. 
William, though not quite so tall as his brother, possessed a much 
more athletic frame, his features if not strikingly handsome might be 
said to possess much manly beauty while his countenance emphatically 

"Forward and frolic — glee was there. 
The will to do, the soul to dare," 

And now it was that a new and unexpected calamity appeared 
which threatened our pioneers with the horrors of actual starvation. 
Captain Harper had on his way to this wilderness country pur- 
chased a supply of provisions in Canada, and chartered the schooner 
which landed himself and family to bring his winter's supply of eat- 
ables in the fall. For some cause or other the contract was never ful- 
filled while the sickness and death of Captain Harper engrossed the 
attention of his family so entirely that other matters were forgotten, 
and it was with dismay that our colony saw the winter fast approach- 
ing, and the expected winter's supply of food not arriving. Their 
cattle had strayed away and probably perished for they were never 
found, so that man's strength alone could be depended upon. It 
was with feelings that almost amounted to horror that our little party 
saw their provisions dwindle away, and winter having now set in they 
could no longer expect relief from that quarter. And now what plan 
were they to devise in order to escape want, worldly want, hunger, 
that meagre fiend who was already close at their heels and followed 
them In view? In the midst of these darkened prospects there 
gleamed a ray of hope. It amounted to a knowledge of an opening 
having been commenced below Elk Creek the previous year, whereon 
a crop of corn had been raised. Thither then, the two brothers, 
James and William, bent their footsteps and after a toilsome journey 
they arrived and told their story. The stranger listened to their 
narrative attentively, and when they had done speaking, he en- 
quired with some emotion what their father's eiven name had been, 
and upon being told, he exclaimed, "Yes, I shall certainly divide with 
you for your father's sake." It appeared that this gentleman had 
been a prisoner of war with Captain Harper. He w^as but fifteen 
years of age at the time, and of course the rigors of confinement bore 
very hard on him, which Captain Harper perceiving, strove by every 
possible means in his power to mitigate. The boy became very much 
attached to him, and upon their being exchanged would gladly have 
accompanied Captain Harper to his home, but this could not be. 
They accordingly separated and never met again, but It was the grate- 
ful remembrance of other years which was to preserve Captain 


Harper's family from perishing in the wilderness. The bo3^s were 
furnished with corn — to be sure they were obliged to pack it upon 
their own shoulders, but this they were sure they could do, so they 
pursued their journey homeward with burdened shoulders, but lighter 
hearts. Now, while our travelers are on their route, we will just 
take a peep at the family they had left at home. The last morsel of 
corn which amounted to sixteen kernels apiece had been parched and 
divided among the colony. Night closed in, accompanied with all 
the horrors of winter, the driving sleet beat upon their bark roof 
while the raging blast threatened destruction to all things without. 
Day broke drearily on their troubled view; the boys had not re- 
turned, and as may well be supposed Mrs. Harper's anxiety was 
dreadful; afternoon came and found the good lady sick, she could 
not rise and now the sister kept lonely vigil, often did she strain her 
eyes hoping to catch a glimpse of her wandering brothers — despair 
was fast settling upon her heart when the joyful cry of William broke 
the spell. With his characteristic glee he bade her throw away her 
leeks for he had got much better food than they would make. But 
what so suddenly reanimates the mother? surely it must be some 
potent charm to revive the good lady so soon. She sprang from the 
bed and welcomed the boys at the door. And now all was busy, the 
corn was ground on a shipping mill which had been brought with 
them. After resting the brothers prepared for another journey to this 
Egypt in the wilderness, and brought all the corn which was eaten 
during the winter on their backs, except what little they could sled 
by hand on the lake. The ice did not prove solid enough to afford safe 
footing, indeed the first experiment which they made of this kind 
proved unfortunate, and I have often heard William say that his 
getting angry saved the party from perishing, and as it may serve to 
illustrate the different temperaments of the brothers the story will 
not come amiss. It was somewhere about the latter part of winter 
that the brothers had made their journey after the corn accompanied 
by the sick man, who had so far recovered that he thought himself 
able to accompany them. They had constructed a sled and loaded it 
with their stores, and were coming along finely when the ice suddenly 
gave way letting their sled into the water. The sick man exclaimed, 
"What shall we do now?" "Let it go," was James' reply. "No," 
said William, "it will never do to let it go but you two go into the 
woods and strike a fire while I get the grain." With much trouble 
William secured the grain but during the operation immersed him- 
self completely, and the cutting wind soon coverted his wet clothes 
into ice, not a verj' comfortable appendage to one's garments on a 
cold day. His next business was to find his brother and the fire which 
he had ordered. His brother he found, but no cheering blaze saluted 
him. It was then his good nature forsook him ; he snatched the flint 
and tinder while he inquired, why they had not built a fire? The 
reply was, that they were sleepy and could not. William was not 
many minutes in striking a fire, and then converted hmself into a nurse 
for the other two were deadly sick on getting warm. Here the party 


encamped for the night, and when they were rested they pursued their 
dreary journey homeward, where in course of time they arrived with 
their stores, which brought reh'ef to. tjliq^e/istiiii&^id helpless pil- 
grims of the forest, X t' •JOtJ«.}t:> 

Perhaps never in court, or camp, or ladies' bower, was the genial 
warmth of spring hailed with more rapture than by our pilgrims of 
the forest. The opening violet and budding leaf promised not years 
and plenty but they charmed the eye, with all the silence of reanimat- 
ing nature, they added new vigor to the heart, stimulating it to un- 
remitted action, which alone must conquer the lonely destiny which 
now surrounded them. William being professionally a descendant 
of Vulcan, erected a temporary forge and managed to manufacture 
and renew such farming utensils as would serve their purpose, the axe 
and hoc being all that could be of any use at this stage of the countn^ 
The brothers now set themselves about felling the sturdy forest, which 
employment they pursued with indefatigable zeal. They chopped 
and logged by hand about three acres of ground, whereon they planted 
corn, their hoes having to answer the place of plows, in this, their first 
attempt at agriculture on their forest home. But providence seemed 
to smile upon their labors, for the soil yielded them an abundance. 
Their harvest was infinitely beyond their highest expectation, and 
the prospect of bread in the wilderness renovated every heart. As we 
of modern times, who have been bred in the city, town and country 
have but little knowledge of the necessary equipments for a stroll in 
the forest, I will name them as they have been named for me : They 
were then a dog, a gun, powder horn, bullet pouch, a hatchet and 
pocket compass, with flint, steel and tinder for fire works. These 
were as necessary appendages to our pioneers and much more essential 
as far as safety was concerned as our umbrellas, etc., are to us in the 
present day. With these equipments our company many times held 
parley with the bear, the elk, catamount, and many other animals 
which would generally terminate in a defeat of their four-footed 
neighbors; and while I am in the mood I will just relate one bear 
story as it was told to me years afterwards. It was in the fall of 
1769 that as William was returning from an excursion, and had 
arrived within about three-quarters of a mile of home, congratulat- 
ing himself he should not be caught in the dark, when his dog sud- 
denly gave notice of an attack from an enemy, which proved to be a 
bear of the largest kind. Master Bruin and the dog had com- 
menced hostilities which William perceiving came to the rescue. He 
fired upon the foe, which immediately diverted his attention from the 
dog to himself and now came the tug of battle. Darkness had 
closed in, and no sure aim could be taken. William, after discharg- 
ing his gun, had no other way but to encourage his faithful dog to keep 
the bear at bay while he could reload which he did, and discharging 
his piece, in the meantine retreating backwards, while he could reload ; 
the bear all of the time pursuing him, his teeth alone serving for a 
mark to aim at. Surely this was no enviable predicament. As there 
was no prospect of a truce being granted in this engagement, all he 


could do was to load and fire as fast as possible. His dog had given 
out and he and the bear were left alone in their glory, or rather in 
the dark, the one pursuing with gnashing teeth while the other kept 
stepping back loading and firing. Just as the last round of am- 
munition was exploded and William was preparing to fight hand to 
hand, a sickening groan announced that his adversary was about 
striking his colors; at the same time the sound of voices gave hope 
of assistance from another quarter. His mother had heard the re- 
port of his rifle, and concluding by its frequency that he was in dis- 
tress, after considerable delay, had succeeded in starting some of the 
company to his relief. Upon a light being brought it was found that 
the bear was dying, and upon examination they found that out of 
twelve shots eleven had hit about the head and neck, but so glancing 
as not to prove fatal. The dog was carried home almost lifeless, and 
did not recover for three months. 

The fall of 1799 was much enlivened by the arrival of Mrs. 
Wheeler and family, also Major Joseph Harper, brother of Cap- 
tain Alexander Harper. The meeting of the friends was both 
joyous and mournful. Mrs. Wheeler is the eldest of the three 
Harper sisters, and I believe was a general favorite in her father's 
family, so that her arrival was hailed with joyful gratitude. 
The fall of I799 also brought our pilgrims some neighbors, for Col- 
onel Nathan King, a bachelor, and two other families came and lo- 
cated themselves in what is now the township of Conneaut. As we 
now have some neighbors, we must give our place of residence a 
name, therefore we shall call it Harpersfield. The winter of 1799 
was spent by our colony in the best manner they could devise, chop- 
ping, hunting, etc. To be sure it was rather lonesome and dreary, 
but the actual horrors of desolation were so much less than the pre- 
ceding winter, that our pioneers felt quite contented. The game 
which they hunted furnished them meat, and their corn field yielded 
them bread and their cattle fodder, so that they were quite rich. As 
for my grandparent, she said that the dust of her husband had ren- 
dered this wilderness sacred to her, and she should never leave it. 
She was as good as her word, she never did leave it but lived to see her 
wilderness blossom with fruit and flowers of every kind. The spring 
of 1800 brought fresh motives to our pioneers, and found them clear- 
ing, planting and making as much progress towards a settlement as 
circumstances would allow ; and this year they were assisted by cattle 
in their agricultural pursuits. While the men were employed in 
tending their corn and running out roads, or chasing the elk, Mrs. 
Harper busied herself in planting and weeding an orchard. She 
raised from the seed, plants for two orchards, one of which stands 
about a half a mile north of the village of Unionville, and is the old- 
est orchard on this part of the Western Reserve. This year like- 
wise brought our settlers more neighbors. General Paine, Judge 
Walworth, and two or three more families came to Painesville or as 
it was then called, the mouth of Grand River. Also two more fam- 
ilies came to Harpersfield; and another family by the name of 


Stephens located in Morgan, and a settlement was commenced at 
Burton. In 1800 Trumbull County was set off from Washington 
County and Warren made the County Seat, which made things seem 
in a much more progressive state. This year the first Court of Jus- 
tice was organized at Warren, in the month of August. Aaron 
Wheeler, Calvin Austin, John Walworth and Torrin Kotland were 
chosen as Judges of this first judicial court, and of the four Aaron 
Wheeler was the last survivor. In 1801 Eliphet Austin and family 
came to Austinburg. The population of the whole Western Re- 
serve numbered 1,144 persons, of all ages and sexes. When Trum- 
bull County was organized in 1800, but 106 went back at the com- 
mencement of winter. And here, I will remark that the first pioneer 
house in Cleveland was erected in 1796, but abandoned the following 
winter, as the family went down the Ohio river. Of the next at- 
tempt at a settlement I am not possessed of any particulars, how- 
ever, it is now the empire city of the Lake Shore. In 1802 Ohio 
was received into the Union. In the month of November of this 
year the Harper brothers and sisters made a party. They had just 
finished a new house, and of course wanted to share its comforts with 
their neighbors. 

As their neighborhood comprised Painesville, Burton, Austin- 
burg, Morgan, Warren, Mesopotamia, Windsor and Conneaut the 
young people were gathered from these places. Burton and Con- 
neaut are the two most remote places. The Misses Minor, of Bur- 
ton afterwards became the wives of John and James Harper. Where 
our young people found music, I can not say, but that they danced 
right merrily I am quite sure. My revered grandmother was a noble 
singer, but from my after knowledge of her I am very sure they would 
not be accommodated with vocal music to keep time to with their 
feet, at her expense, so that I must presume that they mustered a 
fiddle somewhere. I believe the good old lady's portion of the dance 
was to make fried cakes. This she could do as she now had flour and 
plenty of bear's oil. The brothers had sent to Canada and procured 
food and liquors and spread quite a bountiful repast here in the 
wilderness. This was the first assembly which was given on this 
part of the Western Reserve as the chronicles of those times will tell. 
In the year 1804 Mrs. Harper's sister, who was a widow with one 
son, a blind man, in company with several other families came to Har- 
perstown. In the year 1805, in the month of June, the Indian title 
was extinguished to the part of the Western Reserve which lies west 
of the Cuyahoga, General Champion being commander for the Con- 
necticut Company. In 1806, Harperstown was set off from Richfield, 
and by common consent named New Harpersfield, which since my 
remembrance was called New Harpersfield to distinguish it from the 
Harpersfield in the State of New York. The first town meeting 
was held April, 1807. 

We regret that this is all we have from the pen of Mrs. Sher- 



It is our misfortune to know very little of the brothers of our 
ancestors, Captain Alexander Harper; however it seems best to pre- 
serve what little knowledge we have. Captain Alexander had four 
brothers, William, James, John and Joseph Harper. William was 
born Sept. 14th, 1729, on Noddles Island, near Boston, and married 
Margaret Williams. He was one of the pioneers of Harpersfield, 
N. Y., and an active member of the provincial congress. After the 
Revolutionary War he was several times a member of the New York 
State Legislature and when Otsego County was formed he was ap- 
pointed one of the assistant Judges. We are told that he attained a 
great age but we do not know the date of his death. 

James Harper was born March 26th, 1721, in Boston, and died 
of smallpox March 22nd, 1760, in Cherry Valley, N. Y. 

Joseph Harper was born in Middletown, Conn., Feb. 4th, 1742, 
and married Isabelle McKnight. He was also a pioneer in Harpers- 
field, N. Y. In 1799 he joined the pioneer band on the Western 
Reserve and from narratives we must conclude, that he was of great 
assistance to his brother's wife, Elizabeth Harper and her family. 
He died May i6th, 1905. 

Colonel John Harper was born in Boston May 31st, 1734. He 
married Miriam Thompson and eight children were born to them. 
His wife died at the Mohawk river Sept. 25th, 1778. Dec. 26th, 
1784, he married Isabelle McKnight, widow of his brother Joseph, 
and one child was born of this marriage. He died Nov. 20th, 1810, 
in Harpersfield, N. Y. 


Archibald Harper, first child of John Harper and Miriam 
Thompson, his wife, was born in Cherry Valley, N. Y., June 14th, 
1764. Died Sept. 25th, 1825. 

Margaret Harper, second child, was born Jan. 8th, 1766. 

James Harper, third child, was born Oct, ist, 1767; died Sept 
1 6th, 1828. 

Mary Anne Harper, fourth child, was born at East Windsor, 
N. Y., April 2ist, 1769; died May 3rd, 1830. 

Abigail Harper, fifth child, was born Feb. loth, 1771 ; and died 
March 30th, 1779. 

Rebecca Harper, sixth child, was born Jan. 8th, 1773; died July 
26th, 1826. 

John Harper, Jr., seventh child, was born at Harpersfield, N. 
Y., July loth, 1774. 

Ruth Harper, eighth child, was born in Harpersfield, Sept. 24th, 

Miriam Harper, wife of John Harper, departed this life at the 
Mohawk River, Sept. 25th, 1778. John Harper was married to Isa- 
belle McKnight, widow of Joseph Harper, at East Windsor, Dec. 
26th, 1784. 


A section of the Panorama Paper in the Banquet Hal 

A section of the Panorama Paper in the Banquet Hall 

Abigail Harper was born to said John and Isabelle Sept. 8th, 

FROM "border warfare." 

The following account of a successful exercise of Colonel Har- 
per was furnished by the Rev. Mr. Fenn, who received the informa- 
tion from him. He informed me that in the year 1777 he had the 
command of a fort in Schoharie, and of all the frontier stations in this 
region, under the direction of Governor Clinton. He left the fort 
in Schoharie and came out through the woods to Harpersfield in the 
time of making sugar, and from thence made his course for Cherry 
Valley, to investigate things there. As he was pursuing a blind kind 
of Indian trail, and was ascending what are now called Decature 
Hills, he cast his eye forward and saw a company of men coming 
directly towards him, who had the appearance of being Indians. 
He knew that if he attempted to flee from them they would shoot 
him down ; so he resolved to advance right up to them, and make the 
best shift for himself that he could. As soon as he came near enough 
to discern the whites of their eyes, he knew the head man and several 
others; the head man's name was Peter, an Indian with whom Colonel 
Harper had often traded at Opuago before the Revolution began. 
The Colonel had his great coat on, so that his regimentals were con- 
cealed and he was not recognized. The first word of address of 
Colonel Harper's was, "How do you do, brothers?" The reply was, 
"Well! how do you do brother; which way are you bound, brother?" 
"On a secret expedition: and which way are you bound, brothers?" 
"Down the Susquehanna, to cut off the Johnston Settlement." (Par- 
son Johnston and a number of Scotch families had settled down the 
Susquehanna, at what is now called Sidneys Place, and these were the 
people whom they were about to destroy.) Says the Colonel, "Where 
do you lodge tonight?" "At the mouth of Schenevas Creek," was 
the reply. Then shaking hands with them he bade them good speed 
and proceeded on his journey. He had gone but a little way from 
them when he took a circuit through the woods, a distance of eight or 
ten miles, on to the head of Charlotte River, where there were a num- 
ber of men making sugar; he ordered them to take their arms, two 
days' provisions, a canteen of rum and a rope, and meet him down 
the Charlotte at a small place called Evans Place, at a certain hour 
that afternoon ; then rode with all speed through the woods to Har- 
persfield, collected all the men who were making sugar, and being 
armed and victualled, each man with his rope, he laid his course 
for Charlotte; when he arrived at Evans Place he found the Char- 
lotte men there, in good spirits ; and when he mustered his men there 
were fifteen, including himself, exactly the same number as there 
were of the enemy; then the Colonel made his men acquainted with 
his enterprise. They marched down the River a little distance, and 
then made their course across the River to the mouth of the Schen- 
evas Creek ; when they arrived at the brow of the hill where they 


could look over the Schenevas Valley, they cast their eyes down to 
the flat, and discovered the fire around which the enemy lay in camp. 
"There they are," said Colonel Harper. They descended with great 
stillness, forded the creek, which was breast high to a man, and after 
advancing a few hundred yards they took some refreshments, and 
then prepared for the contest as daylight was just beginning to ap- 
pear in the east. When they came to the enemy, they lay in a circle 
with their feet toward the fire, in a deep sleep ; their arms and all of 
their implements of death were stacked up according to the Indian 
custom when they lay themselves down for the night. These the 
Colonel secured, by carrying them off a distance, and laying them 
down; each man taking his rope in his hand placed himself by his 
fellow; the Colonel rapped his men softly, and said, "Come, it is time 
for men of business to be on their way," and then each one sprang 
upon his man, and i*fter a very severe struggle they secured the whole 
of the enemy. After they were all safely bound and the morning had 
so far advanced that they could discover objects distinctly, says the 
Indian Peter, "Ha! Colonel Harper, now I know thee; why did I 
not know thee yesterday?" "There is some policy in war, Peter." 
"Ah ! me find it so now." The Colonel marched the men to Albany, 
delivered them up to the commanding officer, and by this bold and 
well executed feat of valor he saved the whole Scotch settlement 
from a wanton destruction. In the year 1778 McDonald, a Tory of 
some enterprise and activity, had collected about three hundred In- 
dians and Tories, and was committing great depredations on the 
frontier. He fell down upon the Dutch settlements of Schoharie, 
with all his barbarity and exterminating rage. Colonel Vrooman 
commanded in the fort at Schoharie at that time. They saw the 
enemy wantonly destroying everything on which they could lay their 
hands. The garrison was so weak they could spare no men from the 
fort to protect the inhabitants, or secure the crops. "What shall be 
done?" says Colonel Harper. "Nothing at all," says Colonel Vroo- 
man ; we are so weak we can not do anything." Colonel Harper or- 
dered his horse, and laid his course for Albany; he rode right down 
through the enemy, who were scattered over all the country; at Fox 
Creek he put up at a Tory tavern, coolly demanded a room, and with- 
out apparent fear or apprehension retired for the night. Presently 
there was a loud rapping at the door. He demanded what was 
wanted. "We want to see Colonel Harper," was the reply. The 
Colonel arose, unlocked the door and taking his sword and pistol 
seated himself on the bed to receive his visitors. In stepped four men. 
"Step one inch over that mark and you are a dead man," said the 
Colonel. After talking a little time with him, they left the room ; he 
again secured the door, and sat on his bed until daylight appeared; 
he then ordered his horse, mounted, and rode for Albany, strange to 
say, although surrounded by the enemy no one dared to molest him. 
An Indian, however, followed the Colonel almost into Albany; and 
when he would wheel his horse and present his pistol, the Indian 
would turn and run with all his might. When the Colonel arrived 


at Albany, he called on Colonel Gansevoort, stated the distressed situa- 
tion of Schoharie, and asked for help. A squadron of horse was im- 
mediately provided, who rode all night and appeared in Schoharie in 
the morning. The first knowledge the people had that any relief was 
expected, they heard a tremendous shrieking and yelling, and on look- 
ing out saw Colonel Harper with his troop of horse welting up the 
enemy. The men in the fort rushed out, and joined in the attack. 
The country was soon cleared of the enemy, and the inhabitants had 
a little peace and rest, and collected their harvest in safety. The fol- 
lowing description of Colonel Harper's charge, in verse, was recited 
by Miss Georgia Cowles at the Harper Reunion, held in Conneaut 
June 27th, i8g6. When or where first published is unknown, but it 
so graphically portrays the scene it seems fitting to insert it here : 


A Ballad of Schoharie. 

As eastward the shadows were steadily creeping. 

Fair wives were at spinning, stout husbands at reaping. 

Loud chattered the children with no one to hush them; 

None knew that the thunder was stooping to crush them. 

But soon from the forest the hill and the dingle, 

Came footman and horsemen in bodies and single. 

Wild, painted Cayugas relentless and fearless. 

More barbarous Tories, black hearted and fearless. 

To hearthstone and roof tree destruction to carry. 

The cruel McDonald came down on Schoharie, no mercy was 

offered, no quarter was given ; 
The souls of the victims departed unshriven. 
Their requiem only the shrieks of the flying. 
The yells of the slayers, the groans of the dying. 
Too weak in our numbers to venture a sally. 
We sat in our fortress and looked on the valley. 
We hear the wild uproar, the screaming and yelling. 
The fire and crashing, the butchery telling. 
No tigers imprisoned in iron bound caging. 
Felt half of our fury or equaled our raging. 
Yet what could we hinder? revenge was denied us. 
While ten times our number defied us. 
Though wild was our anguish, and deep our despairing. 
To fight with three hundred was imbecile daring. 
But Colonel John Harper, who chaffed at the ravage. 
The pillage and murder by Tory and Savage, 
Urged us on to the combat and angrily showered 
Hot words on our chief as a cold blooded coward. 
We heard all his raving of anger in sadness ; 
We never resented but pitied his madness. 
John Harper looked round him and said he scorned favor, 
He'd seek for assistance from men who were braver. 


He called for his horse, and defied us to stay him, 

And scoffed at the cowards who dared not obey him. 

His foot in the stirrups, he harkened to no man, 

Sank spurs to the rowels and charged through the foeman. 

He scattered them fiercely and ere they could rally, 

Away like an arrow he shot through the valley. 

He broke through the circle created to bound him, 

The bullets they showered fell harmless around him, 

When fair in the saddle, he never was idle ; 

He rode through the darkness and kept a loose bridle. 

On, on through the darkness, till daylignt was over him. 

And Albany's houses rose proudly before him. 

We heard the shots rattle ; we saw his foes rally. 

And thought that his life blood had moistened the valley. 

Meanwhile in the fortress, through all the night dreary, 

We watched till the sunrise, disheartened and weary. 

Noon came in its splendor, we saw them preparing to storm our 

rude ramparts, and laughed at their daring. 
For we were in shelter and they were uncovered. 
There was work for the buzzards that over us hovered. 
Each step they took forward with eagerness timing. 
We handled our rifles and gave them fresh priming. 
But stay, is this real, or only delusion? 
What means their blank terror, their sudden confusion? 
The whole of the foeman seem stricken with one dread, 
'Tis Colonel John Harper with horsemen a hundred. 
We gazed but a moment in rapture and wonder. 
Rides Harper like lightning, we fall like the thunder. 
To saddle McDonald, your doom has been spoken. 
The tigers are on you, the bars have been broken. 
Whose horse is the swiftest may ride from the foray, 
No hope for the footman of savage or Tory. 
The heart shuts on pity where vengeance is portress ; 
And husbands and fathers come forth from the fortress, 
As the wails of our wives and our babes we remember, 
The bright flame of mercy goes out the last ember. 
They meant but a visit, we forced them to tarry, 
But few of the foemen went back from Schoharie. 

Thomas Dunn English. 

All of the Harper brothers were active in the Revolutionary 
War and Colonel John attained the highest rank. We herewith pub- 
lish an extract from a very interesting paper, written by a member 
of our own generation, Jonathan Dorr Norton, of Topeka, Kansas, 
and read before the Kansas Society of "The Sons of the American 

This extract is taken from Mr. William W. Campbell's work 
entitled "Annals of Tryon County," published by J. & J. Harper 
(Harper Brothers), New York City, in 1831. In 1768, William, 


John, Joseph and Alexander Harper with eighteen other individuals 
obtained a patent for twenty-two thousand acres of land now lying 
in the County of Delaware. The Harpers removed from Cherry 
Valley soon after and made a settlement there, which was called Har- 
persfield. Colonel John Harper had command of one of the forts in 
Schoharie. "In the Archives of the State of New York," subject, 
Revolution, Volume I, Page 158, under the "Proceedings of the Pro- 
vincial Congress," Alexander Harper was appointed First Lieutenant, 
July 17th, 1777; also on page 297, same volume, referring to the 
"Fifth Regiment," the records do not show when this regiment was 
first organized. The Council of Safety, on the 17th of July, 1777, 
ordered two Companies of Rangers, to be raised in the Counties 
Tryon, Ulster, and Albany for the protection of the frontier inhabi- 
tants; one of these companies was to be commanded by Colonel John 
Harper, with Alexander as first lieutenant. This may have been 
the nucleus of the Fifth Regiment, Tryon County, which does not 
appear in the minutes of the council of appointments until March 
3rd, 1780, when the following appointments were made: 

John Harper, Colonel. 
William Wills, Lieutenant-Colonel. 
Joseph Harper, First Major. 
Thomas Henry, Second Major. 
Saint Ledger Crowley, Adjutant. 
Alexander Harper, Captain. 

References are also made on page 545 of the same volume to the 
pay-roll of the Officers, who were prisoners in Canada, upon which 
is found the name of Captain Alexander Harper, from April 7th, 
1780, to Nov. 28th, 1782; A. A. B. 225. The capture of Captain 
Harper, by the celebrated Indian Chieftain, Captain Brant, is also 
recorded in a work entitled "Historical Collections of the State of 
New York," by John W. Barber & Henry Howe, published in 1841, 
a copy of which is now in the library of the Kansas State Historical 
Society. A more particular description of the capture of Captain 
Harper is found in a work entitled, "Romance of the Revolution B. 
T. S. of the Days of '76," published in 1780, by Porter and Coates, 
of Philadelphia. 


In 1888 a few of the descendants of Captain Alexander Harper 
gathered together for a Reunion, and every succeeding year has seen 
or heard from a larger number of "Harpers." The Reunions are 
held June 28th commemorating the landing of Captain Harper in 
1798. These Reunions, started in a small way by John A. Harper, 
of Perry, Ohio, have become established gatherings, and a permanent 
"Harper Family Association" has been formed. As the reports of 
the Reunions are very lengthy and a great deal of repetition occurs 
it seems best to omit them, with the exception of the report of the 
"Centennial Celebration," June 28th, 1898. 






June 28th, 1898, so happily anticipated by descendants of Cap- 
tain Alexander Harper, to the joy of all who had labored untiringly, 
that all arrangements might be complete, proved to be bright and 
cool. From an early hour until noon the happy guests were re- 
ceived at the "Old Homestead" at Unionville. Never was welcome 
more cordial than that extended to all by the genial host, Mr. A. J. 
Harper, and the motherly hostess, M'rs. Jane Harper, and their warm 
hearted daughters, the Misses Anne and Stella, giving each an "At 
Home" feeling from the first. The kindly attentions and unbounded 
hospitality extended to all throughout the day were seldom excelled. 
The old mansion, so well preserved and neatly kept, gave no thought 
to any that it had stood for nearly two-thirds of a century, with its 
ancient relics and curios. The wide open doors of its many rooms, 
its familiar furnishings and its very walls seemed to breathe a glad wel- 
come to old and young. Of the latter there were large numbers, a 
happy omen for future Reunions, and the children flitted everywhere 
with curious, joyous faces. The morning hours passed swiftly in the 
greeting and converse of kindred and friends. Of the latter there 
was a large number especially invited to share the social joy. At the 
good old-fashioned hour of noon by the sun, the older members of 
the assembled "Family of Harper," were invited to the charmed room 
of the house, the ancient dining hall. It still remains intact, long, 
bright and cheery, with the same linoleum on the floor, wallpaper 
and furnishings as in the long ago. A most bountiful table was 
spread, with decorations of June lilies, and center pieces of fruits. 
Thirty-one guests sat down to a veritable chicken pie dinner. More 
than three times was the table seated again with guests, for the Har- 
per kindred alone numbered one hundred (was the number signifi- 
cant?) and the especially invited guests were nearly a score more. 
The children who politely waited until the last table, as in the good 
old times, found still a great abundance remaining, for the good things 
seemed to grow no less, and no one went hungry away from the quaint 
old dining hall. The names of those present during the day were 
as follows: Mr. and Mrs, A. J. Harper, Miss Anne Harper, Miss 
Stella Harper, Mrs. R. J. Harper and four children, Henry, Julia, 
Mary and Susana, Mr. and Mrs. Alexander Harper, Chas. A. Har- 


Samples of the ilifFcrent Liquor Sets, also the Q_iiart Tumbler in the foreground 
from which George Washington Jrank when a guest of the famil\ 

A Gin Set 

per, Mildred Harper, Mr. and Mrs. I. C. Cowles, the Misses Millie 
and Georgia Cowles, of Unionville, O.; Mrs. T. M. Foran, and 
daughter Wanda, Buffalo, N. Y. ; Mr. and Mrs. Lewis Harper, Miss 
Sadie Harper, Mr. and Mrs, Arthur Simonds, Mrs. Laura Ford, 
Miss Mary Ford, Mrs. J. C. Tyler, Clark Tyler, Mr. and Mrs. B. 
F. Thompson, Conneaut, Ohio; Mr. and Mrs. J. A. Harper, Rice 
Harper, Mrs. Nora HuUet, Mrs. Caroline Harper, Miss Eliza Har- 
per, Perr>', O.; Mr. and Mrs. J. T. Gregorjs Carl, Fannie, Bessie, 
Eva and Anna Gregory, Mrs. J. C. Ford, Harry Ford, Florence 
Ford, Mrs. Sophia Cowles, Mr. and Mrs. Robert Cowles, Mr. 
Horace Cowles, Mr. and Mrs. E. R. Cowles, Miss Winifred Cowles, 
Mr. N. B. Cowles, Miss Mary K. Cowles, Miss Louise North, 
Geneva, O. ; Mr. and Mrs. Homer Harper, Mrs. Emma H. Gaylord, 
Painesville, O.; Mfary E. Harper, Miss Carrie A. Harper, Mrs. Amie 
Pasco, Cleveland, Ohio; Mr. Orrin S. Harper, Torres Sonora, 
Mexico; Mr. and Mrs. W. R. Harper, Hattie Harper and Ethel 
Harper, Burton, O. ; Mr. and Mrs. Louis M. Harper, Bessie and 
Willie Harper, Mr. and Mrs. Samuel N. Castle, VAmcr \V. Mann, 
Ashtabula, Ohio; Mr. and Mrs. Loyd M. Harper, Fred, Edward, 
Burt, Roy and Jay Harper, East Plymouth, Ohio; Rev. and Mrs. 
George E. Green, Edmund Green, Canova, S. D. ; Mrs. Cornell, Mr. 
Jarvis Harper, Erie, Pa.; Mrs. Wilbur Mann, Lisbon, Ohio; Mr. 
and Mrs. G. W. Phelps, Mr. and Mrs. E. B. Whitney, Austinburg, 
Ohio; Mr. Erastus R. Harper, Mrs. Amelia L. Harper, Chas. J. 
Meachem, Akron, Ohio; Mrs. Ella Cowles Robinson, Mrs. F^mma 
Cowles Forgee, William, Emma and Chas. Forgee, Oneonta, N. Y., 
and Mrs. Mary Anne Woodruff, Madison, O. At one thirty o'clock 
the Harper relatives were called together to seats upon the pleasant 
lawn, by the chairman, A. J. Harper, for the informal transaction of 
the business of the Reunion before the hour for the Public Celebra- 
tion arrived. Reports of Officers were received, and much necessarily 
omitted for lack of time. After the treasurer's report, a collection 
was taken to cover the necessary expenses. Mr. A. J. Harper was 
re-elected Chairman. The Secretary and Treasurer, Mrs. Pluma 
Cowles of Geneva, announced that in justice to her duties as Secretary 
to the National W. R. C. Home Board, she must be excused from 
longer acting as Secretary of the Harper Reunion. Regrets were ex- 
pressed and a vote of thanks returned for her interest and faithful 
work of four years. Mrs. Laura Ford of Conneaut was elected Sec- 
retary and Treasurer. Mrs. J. C. Ford, historian and Chairman of 
the Publication Committee of the Harper Family History, reported 
the compiling of the same nearly completed. As heretofore planned, 
it was to contain all the family history and records, as known ; to con- 
tain sketches of the life of Captain Alexander Harper and his wife, 
Mrs. Elizabeth Harper, and the history of the settlement of this por- 
tion of the Western Reserve; also a full account of the Centennial 
Celebration of the Landing of Captain Harper, with the addresses 
upon that occasion. It had been suggested that it should be em- 
bellished by Miss Carrie A. Harper, an artist member of the family, 


also a member of the Publishing Committee. The Committee, Mrs. 
J. C. Ford, Historian and Chairman, Captain H. E. Palmer, Mr. E. 
R. Harper, and Miss Carrie A. Harper, were re-elected and in- 
structed to present the matter to the kindred and others interested, 
that if possible the required number of subscribers may be secured to 
publish these valuable Historic Records. Mr. Lewis Harper pre- 
sented a much needed new Record Book for the use of the secretarj^ 
It was accepted with thanks. Action was taken that hereafter on 
the day of the Reunion of the Harper Family the graves of Captain 
Alexander and Mrs. Elizabeth Harper be suitably decorated in honor 
of their memorj^, by a committee annually appointed. Thanks were 
returned to Mrs. I. C. Cowles and daughters, and her guests, 
Mrs. Robinson and Mrs. Forgee for decorating the graves with flags 
and flowers on this Centennial Day, The Secretary announced let- 
ters of regret received from the following persons: William Rainey 
Harper of the University of Chicago ; J. D. Norton, Topeka, Kan. ; 
Captain H. E. Palmer, Omaha, Neb. ; Hon. S. A. Northway, Jeffer- 
son, Ohio. These gentlemen were all invited to speak at the Cen- 
tennial Celebration, but were detained by business and previous en- 
gagements. W, H. Harvey and family, Conneaut ; Mrs. Eva I. 
Winchell and family, Seattle, Wash. ; Mrs. Minnie McClure, Paw- 
nee, 111. Mrs. McClure highly prizes some relics she possesses, a set 
of steelyards and a book that belonged to Captain Alexander Harper, 
two letters written by William Harper to his wife while he was a 
member of the Ohio Legislature, when the Capitol was at Chillicothe, 
a picture in water colors by Melvina Harper, the mother of Dr. 
William Sherwood, Mrs. Maria Cowles Croly, Lincoln, Cal. ; 
Laura W. Demmon, LaCrosse, Wis. ; Mrs. M. E. Crandell, Sumter, 
Minn.; Mrs. Nettie Sharp, Lane, Ohio; Mrs. C. T. Watterson and 
daughters, New York City, N. Y. ; M'rs. Lettia Cornell, Brooklyn, 
Long Island; Mrs. C. S. Cowles, Chippewa Falls, Wis.; Mrs. J. C. 
Martin Williamston, Mich. Mrs. Martin at 83 years of age gives 
many pleasant reminiscences of her former home in Unionville. 
Adelaide Wheeler Dudley and family, Pomona, Cal. ; Robert A. 
Austin, Chicago; Nellie Cowles Wood, Fond du Lac, Wis.; Miss 
Ellen Harper Wheeler, Prospect Park, Cal. Miss Wheeler was 
named after Aunt Ellen, the only other member of her family, a 
brother now living, is W. S. Wheeler, Quartermaster of the Fifth 
Regiment Missouri Volunteers, now at Chickamauga. Miss Harper 
is a great-great-grandaughter of Captain Alexander Harper. Mrs. 
Lydia Porter and family, West Springfield, Pa. ; Helen E. ToUiff, 
Plattsmouth, Neb. ; George Whitaker, Harper Caldwell, Lynn 
Brook, Long Island, N. Y. ; Mr. Samuel and Mrs. E. E. Harper, 
New Concord, Ohio. The aged mother and father of President 
Harper of Chicago University, w^ere ill and unable to attend for 
which they expressed many regrets. David Z. Norton, Cleveland, 
Ohio; C. B. Harper, Akron, O., a nephew of Alexander Harper, of 
Unionville, congratulates the relatives upon the preservation of the 
name. He expresses the wish that another Century may find it the 


The Secretary then announced the names of the beloved kindred 
who have passed from earth since the last Reunion: Mr. Fabius 
Robbins, Walnut, Kan., died September 20th, 1897, ^g^ 77! '^'^''■ 
Herman Harper, Akron, O., died March 25th, 1898, age 44 years. 
Mr. Harper w^as present at the ninth Annual Reunion and greatly 
enjoyed meeting the kindred for the first time. He will be greatly 
missed by them. Mr. E. R. Harper, his brother, Mrs. Amelia Har- 
per, his widow, and Chas. J. Mechan, his stepson, were present at 
the tenth Annual Reunion. Mr. Andrew Sharpe, of Lane, O., died 
June 5th, 1898, aged 52 years. Mr. Sharpe was a great grandson of 
John Harper. His mother's name was Dunbar, and her mother was 
the daughter of John Harper. The marriages as reported for the 
year were as follows: In Unionville, Ohio, November 4th, 1897, 
Mr. Chas. A. Harper to Miss Fannie Olden, of Harpersfield. In 
Perry, Ohio, November nth, 1897, M.Y. Robert C. Hulett to Miss 
Nora Harper. The meeting was then adjourned till after the 
Centennial Exercises. All had looked forward with the greatest of 
pleasure to this hour, to which the general public had been invited. 

The Local Committee of arrangements had been very busy to 
make ready for the festive occasion. The large well shaded yard was 
seated with camp chairs. Close to the old mansion, just east of the 
front door, a platform had been erected. It was neatly carpeted and 
upon it were the organ and seats for the Singers, Chairman and 
Speakers. The edge of the platform and organ were festooned with 
red, white and blue streamers which formed a canopy above. Be- 
tween two stately old trees at the front of the yard floated a beauti- 
ful Flag sent for the occasion by Robert A. Austin, of Chicago, and 
not far away floated Old Glory again. A very representative audi- 
ence of interested citizens joined with the Harper family and were 
seated upon the lawn. It is estimated that three hundred and 
fifty people were present. Later many remained standing or remained 
seated in their carriages. Among those seated in carriages were 
members of the family from the National W. R. C. Home and Mrs. 
R. H. Frater, the assistant superintendent, of Wisconsin, in another 
was Mrs. A. Wheeler Woodruff of the Harper family. Quite a 
number of the near towns were represented by her citizens, noticeably 
members of the Patriotic Organizations, G. A. R., W. R. C, and 
Junior O. U. A. M., who had received special invitations. There 
were present from a distance, Mr. Winchester Fich, of Ashtabula, 
and his mother, Mrs. Edward Hubbard Fitch, Jefferson, Ohio; Re- 
gent of the D. A. R. The singers of the occasion were a quartet 
from Geneva, composed of Ex-Mayor Henry Means, Mrs. Hattie 
Clark, Miss Winifred Cowles, and Mr. Franklin White. Miss Lelia 
Angell was the accompanist. Mr. E. R. Harper, ex-Mayor of 
Akron, Ohio, had been appointed to preside; he had also been ap- 
pointed by President McKinley, a Member of the United States In- 
dian Commission in Utah, and came from Fort Duchesne, Utah, to 
be present. Promptly at two o'clock Mr. Harper took the chair and 
the following program was carried out: 


Music — "To Thee, O Country" Quartet 

Introductory Address Mr. E. R. Harper, Utah 

Address of Welcome Mr. A. J. Harper, Unionville, Ohio 

Response Mrs. Pulma L. Cowles, Geneva, O. 

Music — "Mother's Prayer i. .Quartet 

Sketch of the Life of Captain Alexander Harper 

Mrs. J. C. Ford, Geneva 

Centennial Poem Laura Rosamond White, Geneva, O. 

Music — "Beautiful Land of Liberty" Quartet 

Address Mr. E. C. Godard, Unionville, Ohio 

Impromptu Address Mr. Homer Harper, Painesville, Ohio 

Address Mr. Henry Means, Geneva, Ohio 

Music — "A Hundred Years to Come" Quartet 

Music — "America" All joining 

Benediction Rev. George E. Green, Canova, S. D. 

The attentive listeners to the program, the music and speeches, 
the festive Centennial Occasion, and the beautiful surroundings made 
a scene never to be forgotten. It is impossible in this brief report to 
give justice to the addresses of the day. The beautiful Centennial 
Poem, written by Laura Rosamond White, was greatly appreciated. 
The sketch of the life of "Captain Alexander Harper and the ac- 
count of his settling this wilderness June 28th, 1798, by Mrs. J. C. 
Ford, was fine. The address of Mr. Godard was an able one, show- 
ing what it meant to pave the way for civilization and what it had 
accomplished for the Western Reserve; also the true meaning of 
Americanism. Mr. Homer Harper was called on and gave a most 
pleasing impromptu address. He thought a pioneer who blazed the 
way for civilization should have a history imperishable. The ad- 
dress of Mr. Means reviewed the changes of the Century closing and 
the possibilities of the new one, upon the threshold of which we are 
standing. The introductory address of Mr. E. R. Harper was full 
of the true spirit, and this, with his closing words as he thanked the 
audience for their interest and presence, were most fitting and won 
the hearts of all present. The impressive Benedictory Prayer of Rev. 
George E. Green, of South Dakota, closed a never to be forgotten 
occasion. At the adjourned business meeting that followed, thanks 
were returned to E. R. Harper for his presence and the able manner 
in which he had presided ; to the singers for their inspiring music, 
to the speakers and all who had taken part or had assisted in any way 
to make the Centennial a success. Thanks were returned to A. J. 
Harper and family for their unbounded hospitality. Before separat- 
ing a photograph of the Harper relatives was taken, grouped in front 
of the old home. Reluctant goodbys were spoken as the kindred de- 
parted for their various homes. June 28th, 1898, passed away in 
glowing sunset, and will be memorable in historj'^ and precious in 



A tew pieces of the Famous Old Blue and White China 


It takes not long to tell in song 

The story of a hundred years, 
But if the toil from virgin soil, 

To what before our sight appears. 
Were measured by its mighty worth, 

The wariness and hope of heart, 
There'd not be space upon the earth 

To pen the legend — Limn the chart. 

When June was in her summer guise, 

A century passed the legends say, 
A pioneer with purpose wise 

Came with a little band this way 
And in the wilderness where God 

Had led his sturdy steps to roam 
He set the stakes upon the sod 

Of Harpersfield, and called it "Home." 

The annals of Ohio show 

How brave and forceful was the man 
Who dared to enter and bestow 

The primal forests on his clan ; 
For him the groves held luring charms, 

He read in every leaf a sign, 
The triumph of the settler's arm. 

Fulfilling destiny divine. 

His strength of courage we admire. 

The wolf, the bear, dwelt 'neath the sky, 
No kirk bell rang, no factory's fire 

Proclaimed that vigilance was nigh, 
No school adorned the country new, 

No field of wheat, or mansion fair 
Greeted the glance — the vast, wild view 

Was such that weakness might despair. 

But cheerfully he sought this spot, 

Before the first fierce storm could brake, 
Builded a humble, bark roofed cot. 

Where his small flock could refuge take ; 
And since that far Centennial hour. 

Through magic such as white men use, 
The rose has learned that it may flower, 

And brighter pictures gem the dews. 


This beauteous western world was not made 

To be a crude, uncultured waste, 
Mere hunting ground and wigwam shade 

For dusky tribes, that only graced 
The green wood with untutored ways; 

In grief too historical for tears, 
"The nations six," with mournful gaze 

Retreated ere that hundred years. 

A race must grow ordained to last, 

A birthright bred of elder stock 
Leaves but tradition of the past — 

While angels wrote on Plymouth rock 
A thousand warriors by joint will. 

Resigned the lake shores rich domain ; 
In dreams like foot falls echo still 

That vanished with the Indian's reign. 

Blest with this ample heritage 

The book of Harper opened then ; 
And on the lonely preface page 

We see this hero among men, 
The vanguard Alexander bold, 

Who thrust the underbrush aside. 
And wooed the sunlight's precious gold 

To kiss and call the land his bride. 

The colonists on July 4th 

Planted a garden's plain estate. 
Content to labor for their store 

Upon the day we celebrate. 
No independence rocket fired 

Illumined the eve, excepting where 
Swift meteors crossed the rest of night, 

And left a trail of radiance there. 

A transient time the pioneer 

Survived to be a guide and stay. 
And when the autumn dim drew near. 

His work well wrought, he went heaven's way. 
Here were the forked poles of his nest, 

Near is the grave that veils his dust. 
And garlands beautiful invest 

The place where memorj^ shall not rust. 

He was the Harper — minstrel first 

That touched rich strings that vibrate yet 

In airs sublime — and nature versed 
In melody, reveals her debt; 


His sylvan note has merged to sob 

With patriotic diapason grand, 
It started mid Ohio's bond, 

And reaches unto Cuba's strand. 

This lake shore realm is history's now, 

From here what noble tales are read. 
Of muse that laurels "Edith's" brow, 

And Howell's torch in mortal lives lit 
In kindred town of wealth and wit 

And majesty of Giddings, Wade, 
And Garfield — Yea, the chords are fit 

By choirs celestial to be played. 

As one cons the tome in love. 

Commenced one hundred years ago, 
I seal the century's close; above 

The volume is a rainbow glow 
Of shining deeds and beauteous words. 

Here struggle, fate and conquest blend, 
And women's gentle patience girds 

The story to a quiet end. 

Ohio greets the Harper band, 

Her thanks on this "Centennial Day" 
Are due the hero heart and hand 

That added to her honor great. 
How glorious is the vision spread ! 

How different from the century's dawn 
The same sweet dome is overhead, 

The dreary' wilderness is gone. 

From June to June may every year 

Bring meads of gladness, peace and fame. 
And name of Harper we revere. 

Become a still more lauded name. 
May lineage that has made this shore 

An Erie Eden rare and relate 
When second Century shall be o'er, 

History of 1998. 

Written by 

Laura Rosamond White. 


By the Secretary, Mrs. Pulma L. Cowles. 

Mr. Chairman, Mr. Harper, and Mrs. Harper, daughters and 
friends — In behalf of the descendants of "Captain Alexander Har- 
per," and the citizens of this and adjoining towns, I desire to thank 
you for your most hearty words of welcome. By your kind and cor- 
dial invitation to the Reunion of the Harper Family, and the Cen- 
tennial Celebration, of the coming of your noble sire to this port in the 
long years gone by, we are here. Not only should I thank you in be- 
half of those present, but for the very large circle of those whose 
letters of regret, state that their hearts are with us to-day. We arc 
here then in presence and in heart from our grand State of Ohio, the 
mother it is said, of many Presidents, but just now one who will 
crown with glory the closing of this Century, our own William Mc- 
Kinley. We are here from the Keystone and Empire States, from 
the free air of Kansas and the transatlantic plains of Nebraska, from 
the cities and fertile lands of Michigan, Wisconsin and Indiana, from 
the golden harvest fields of Minnesota and South Dakota; from the 
mines of Colorado, and from far off Washington, and the golden 
flower and sun-kissed land of California, from the Indian lands of 
Utah and not the least from Chicago, now the center of the world. 
In behalf then of this goodly number of Harpers I thank you for your 
invitation and welcome. No such glad welcome and festive scene, 
with beautiful landscape and happy homes greeted your grandsire, 
with wife and children, one hundred years ago to-day but, the rocking 
pines of the forest roared, this was their welcome home. Ay, call it 
holy ground, the spot where first they trod. On this sacred spot 
you still keep his memory green in the Old Homestead where for 
nearly a Century, have those who have seen the forest changed to the 
fertile field, and the wondrous growth of the Century. In behalf of 
their kindred I again thank you for the warm greeting to the old 
home, as glad as those who have passed out of these doors to their 
long rest, will give us all, "To the Mansions not made with hands." 
Again in behalf of the citizens who are here by cordial invitation to 
share in the Centennial joy I thank you for your cordial welcome. 

Some aged ones are here perhaps who remember when these walls 
were reared and are familiar with all the changes since the new Har- 
persfield began to show fertile fields and happy homes they have seen 
you march away to the defense of our Country's Flag that waves 
above us to-day and have greeted you at the return of peace with not 
a star of our banner lost. To-day they hear again the rumbles of 
war, not of rebellion but in a righteous cause and they see side by side 
with the Sons of Veterans in blue marching the sons of the foe you 


faced a generation ago. And the children who are here to-day who 
salute "Old Glory" will find a new meaning to the words they re- 
peat, One Country, One Language, One Flag. 

Address of Mr. E. C. Godard at the "Centennial Celebration," 
June 28th, 1898. 

Ladies and gentlemen — Perhaps no event in the history of a coun- 
try is fraught with more conspicuous and lasting results than the 
period of its early settlement; or that arise from the character and 
enterprise of its pioneers. Great changes may eventually come, Revo- 
lutions may take place, but permeating all after, and running through 
the whole, a source of strength or a phantom of weakness, will be 
found the personalities of its organizers. There is a divine law, more 
imperishable and unchanging than written statute whose decrees are 
graven in the hearts of men, and later are shadowed forth in the 
destiny of nations. A republican form of government having been es- 
tablished, could not long be perpetuated ; grasping as it does a variety 
of local interests saved by an intelligent, charitable and conservative 
people. Of such a class were our pilgrim fathers, hopeful, stalwart, 
adventurous, yet restrained by religious convictions well nigh as im- 
perious as the monarchies from which they came (and this religious 
sentiment was intensified by the solemn wideness of the ocean which 
separated them from their native land, as well as by the gloomy and 
unexplored forest into which they came), faced the future. And 
though darkness, mystery and a degree of despondency may have veiled 
the spirts of the pilgrims as they stepped forth on Plymouth Rock, 
yet over all and above these the speculations or the trembling and 
faltering of human hearts, a divine hand was leading, and a divine 
mind was organizing the vanguard of a new and revolutionary Civic 
Nation which was to enlighten and elevate mankind. There are no 
broken links or unfilled spaces in the trend of events that brought this 
Republic from the Monarchical form of Europe. In the early in- 
dividual experiences in a new country and from the narrow field of 
personal observation, it may be impossible to comprehend results, 
which may flow from humble conditions to the aggregation of states 
or the unification of empires, wherein they may occur. In the plant- 
ing of our Western Colonies which sprang from Puritan stock it may 
be truly said, that the latter sifting of New England enterprises 
brought forth the best expression, and the most striking traits of the 
early pioneers and at the same time opened to them broader fields and 
more ample opportunities than the rugged hills of New England had 
offered. It is often observed that the population of a new section of 
the country, and especially if its growth has been largely from in- 
ternal sources, partaking more or less of the mental tendencies, the 
peculiarities and even the idiosyncrasies of its founders. I speak this 
in honor of the noble pioneers of the Western Reserve. Bancroft, 
our most distinguished historian, had occasion to remark in substance, 
that there was no rural section of country on the globe, the people of 
which were more intelligent or better informed than those on the 
"Western Reserve" in Ohio. From my own personal observation and 


experience in all the New England States, and holding them in con- 
trast with our western section, I venture nothing when I remark, that 
the purest transplanted types are to be found in northeastern Ohio and 
decidedly the most characteristic in old Ashtabula County. Faces, 
forms, idioms of speech, matter of salutation, with us are even at this 
late day almost identical with those of Connecticut, New Hampshire 
and Massachusetts, from which localities our ancestors came. We are 
here to-day under the shadow of a social inspiration, the counterpart 
of that which in the Colonies in New England laid the foundations of 
this Republic, and which introduced to the world a new and pro- 
gressive nationality. Who is not proud of his Puritan Ancestry and 
who is not moved by the inspiring thought that we are the children 
of our Revolutionary fathers who planted and so gallantly defended 
our emblem of liberty, the Stars and Stripes, "Old Glory," against all 
who dare to assail it. And what shall I say now of the pioneers of 
our immediate locality, who first opened the dense forest to the in- 
spiring sunlight and who laid the foundations of these homes. What 
can I say less than that they were the noble sons and daughters of 
noble fathers and mothers whose grand achievements they would for- 
ever seek to perpetuate in the homes and in the hearts of their chil- 
dren. In closing may I suggest that possibly the crucial tests of 
democracy are yet to come. A patriotism and devotion not inferior to 
that of our historical past may be required to reorganize the structural 
system of our liberties and reinstate the emergencies of justice into 
which ambition and avarice seem determined to involve our country. 
Education and a broad comprehension of Americanism as it was and 
as it must be, should be instilled in the minds of the young and rising 
generation. Should one inquire what is meant by the word "Ameri- 
canism," such a one might be pointed to Bunker Hill, to Valley Forge, 
or to Saratoga, but if this were not enough, their attention might be 
called to the fact that from center to circumference the Monarchies of 
Europe are just now filled by the absorbing word, Americanism and 
not only Europe but all the world have felt the pathos and tremor of 
that word, the deeper notes of which have just now been heard in the 
booming of Dewey's cannon before Manila. Americanism, means the 
uplifting of the oppressed and downtrodden of the world and the 
establishing of justice among men. And we the children of Revolu- 
tionary fathers and descendants of the pioneers of the Western Re- 
serve, should to the last extent of our ability seek to perpetuate the true 
principles of "Americanism" as against the assaults of selfishness, 
which would if possible subvert our noble democracy, and in its place 
build the foundations of a financial imperialism. 


Mr. Harper was a great-grandson of Colonel John Harper, 
whose heroic deeds are chronicled in another chapter of this book. 

A worthy son of a worthy sire. Surely President McKinley 
made no mistake in appointing him as Indian Commissioner. 


Mr. President and Friends — It has been my good fortune to 
receive recognition and favor at the hands of my friends and fellow- 
men far more than I deserve. I had been privileged to participate in 
gatherings of importance. For all of w^hich I am trully appreciative 
and thankful. But, Mr. President and friends, let me assure you that 
at no time and under no circumstances have I been so honored or fa- 
vored as I am to-day. No recognition of the past compares with that 
of being selected to preside on this occasion, and I take this oppor- 
tunity to return my sincere thanks to the Committee of Arrangements 
for so greatly favoring me. If there be any doubt of my pleasure and 
appreciation of being with you to-day it should be dispelled by the fact 
that I traveled nearly three thousand miles in order to be with you 
to-day. My sojourn with my "Tribe," the wild Ute, has been of 
such duration that I fear that I have lost the little qualification I ever 
possessed to do my part properly in the presence of this gathering of 
pale faced brothers and sisters. I have so long been accustomed to an 
interpreter by whom my thoughts and ideas may be placed in proper 
form for expression, that I am at a loss for such valuable aid to-day. 
If this gathering should take the form of a Bear Dance with its sub- 
dued quiet ceremonies or a Buffalo Dance with its more startling pro- 
ceedings or some other style of an Indian powwow I presume I would 
feel more at home. During all the ages divisions of the human fam- 
ily have assembled at times for the purpose of paying tribute and re- 
spect to the memory of one held in high regard, one whose life work 
was such as to be a lasting benefit to those who should follow him. 
Hence has there been long pilgrimages to distant lands that due rev- 
erence might be shown at the shrine. Hence the anniversary of men 
of great achievements are appropriately celebrated; words of admira- 
tion spoken and magnificent monuments to their memory and work 
erected. What a noble, pleasant act it is; how it inspires those as- 
sembled with an elevating and ennobling spirit of full appreciation of 
the labors and achievements of great men. 

Under such circumstances and in such spirit are we assembled on 
this beautiful June day, to celebrate the one hundredth anniversary of 
the completion of a part of life's splendid work, by one whom we are 
proud to know and claim as our ancestor. Captain Alexander Harper 
was a great man and performed a splendid life's work. A large part 
of that work gives unmistakable evidence that he was of the highest 
type of an American citizen. "One of God's noble men." He not 
only gave his services to the establishing and maintenance of this glo- 
rious Republic, sacrificed time and means and faced the sufferings and 
perils of the great conflict, but he did more than that, he demon- 
strated his full confidence in the possibility and stability of this Nation 
when he took his all and came out to this, then unknown region, and 
established his home and the homes of those who followed him. That 
my friends was a courageous act, and stamps him as a strong, brave 
man. To show our appreciation of his work, to commemorate that 
important event in his life — his landing here one hundred years ago 
to-day is the purpose for which we are here assembled at this time. 
When I see and study the existing characteristics of the Indian of to- 


day, and understand that the influences of civilization and the power 
of our government have been at work upon them for one hundred 
years, and also observe some of the hardships of the pioneers in the 
far West at the present time, and contemplate that Captain Harper 
was compelled to associate and treat with that class of people, to 
associate and deal with the Indians of that day and meet the hard- 
ships and privations of the pioneers I am better prepared to appre- 
ciate what he and his had to experience when they began their life 
in this then far western region. What a contrast were the conditions 
under which he labored and those given to us. How appreciative and 
thankful ought we to be that we are so favored as to have our ex- 
periences and our work here in this beautiful land in this lovely Ameri- 
can Republic, in these closing hours of the Nineteenth Century which 
has seen so much accomplished for the lasting benefit of mankind. To 
be allowed the great privilege of standing here at the threshold of the 
Twentieth Century and looking out upon the brightness of the new 
day with its almost unlimited opportunities, from which shall be 
wrought even greater achievement, and more far-reaching and per- 
petual for the benefit of mankind. 

How it thrills the heart to contemplate the possibilities of the 
future. With what confidence and assurance of glorious results can 
we contemplate the work of our children and our grandchildren. 
How gratifying to know of the increased opportunities and added ad- 
vantages delivered to them. What a contrast is the present with the 
past. Wonderful as is the strife of the world to-day yet my friends 
at no time and under no circumstances in the world's history has there 
been more brave and self-sacrificing effort made, that went so far 
toward the advancing and uplifting of the human race than the period 
in which Captain Harper lived, and we are proud of the fact that he 
shouldered his full responsibilities, made his share of the sacrifices, 
and did his whole duty during those memorable and important times. 
At this very hour it is being again demonstrated to the whole world 
that the principles for which he fought were right then, are right 
now, and shall forever prevail. To-day upon the altar of freedom to 
all mankind is our beloved Country pouring out its vast treasures of 
wealth and far more precious treasure of life, to maintain and extend 
the sacred principles of liberty for which he whose memory we to-day 
commemorate, did so much to help establish. In the future with its 
splendid possibilities, there may be some descendant of Captain Har- 
per who will be widely known, highly honored, and a great man. If 
such there be it is to be hoped that in his favored and exalted position, 
the time will never come when he will forget his full duty to his 
fellowmen, his sacred obligation to his country, that he may at all 
times comprehend the rights of his fellowmen and at all times grant 
those rights in their fullness. That he may understand fully the value 
of his country's free institutions and lose no opportunity in their pro- 
tection. However, there may not be one who will stand out on the 
horizon of public opinion as a leading man of science or of letters; 
there may not be a great statesman, there may not be given to us one 
great man as judged in the world's affairs; be that as it may, of what- 


ever rank or station, high or low, rich or poor, let us hope that every 
descendant of Captain Harper may fully justify his being held in 
high regard by his neighbors and fellowmen for the good he may do 
even in the humblest walks of life. Realizing that no station is more 
to be desired, more to be honored. We most sincerely hope that the 
angel of peace may soon lead, not alone our own loved country, but 
all nations for all times, and that dread conflict of arms may forever 
cease. Still should the unfortunate occasion occur that our free insti- 
tutions are assailed or the triumphant march of liberty be staid by the 
grim hand of oppression and misrule, it is our earnest hope that what- 
ever be the loss of any of our kin, there M^ill not be one who will not 
be ready and willing at all times and under all circumstances to sacri- 
fice wealth, and life if need be for the maintenance and perpetuity of 
that priceless liberty for which Captain Harper labored so earnestly 
to assist in establishing. 



The first members of the "Harper Family" of whom we have 
any authentic record were : 

James Harper and his wife, Jannet Lewis; the dates of their birth 
and marriage are unknown. They had five children, three sons and 
two daughters, and with one exception, the dates of their births are 
unknown. Anne, the first child, married James Miller, in Ireland. 
Joseph, the second child, married Miriam Thompson, in Milton, Mass. 
William, the third child, died unmarried. Sarah, the fourth child, 
married John Montgomery, at Hopkinton, Mass. John Harper, our 
ancestor, the fifth child, was born August loth, 1705, at Linnivady, 
Parish of Newton, County of Derry, Ireland. 

In 1720 James Harper brought his wife and family to America. 
They landed at Casco Bay, on the coast of New England, but as the 
Indians became very troublesome two or three years after their ar- 
rival, the family moved to Boston, with the exception of John, who 
served nearly four years against the Indians, and then went to Boston 
also. On the 8th of November, 1728, John was married by the Rev. 
Samuel Barrot to Abigail Montgomery, daughter of William Mont- 
gomery and Mary Aken, in Hopkinton, Mass. The Montgomerys 
came from Killallo, in the County of Mayo, Ireland, and landed at 
Casco Bay, the year previous to the arrival of the Harper family. 
They were driven away by the Indians, as were the Harpers, and 
settled in Hopkinton, near Boston, where John and Abigail were 

The children of John and Abigail Harper were: 

William Harper, first child, was born Sept. 14th, 1729, on 
Noddles Island, near Boston, and was baptized by Rev. Mr. Clark. 
He was married in Albany, N. Y., April 13th, 1760, by Rev. Ogilvie, 
to Margaret Williams. 

James Harper, the second child, was born in Boston, March 
26th, 1 73 1, and baptized by Rev. Moorehead. He died of smallpox, 
March 22, 1760, in Cherry Valley, N. Y. 

Mary Harper, the third child, was born in Boston, June 23rd, 
I733> ^"d baptized by Rev. Mr. Moorehead. Her married name was 
Moore. She died at Millford, Otsego County, N. Y., April loth, 

John Harper, the fourth child, was born in Boston, May 31st, 
1734, and was also baptized by Rev. Moorehead. (He became a 
Colonel in the Revolutionary War, and his history will be found else- 
where.) He died Nov. 20th, 18 10, in Harpersfield, N. Y. 

Margaret Harper, the fifth child, was born in Boston and died 
in her second year. 


Margaret Harper, the second, the sixth child, was born in Bos- 
ton Feb. 7th, 1739. and was baptized by Rev. Moorehead. Her mar- 
ried name was Gait and she died in Cherry Valley Aug. 23rd, 1787. 

Joseph Harper, the eighth child, was born in Middletown, Conn., 
Feb. 4th, 1742, and baptized by Rev. Russell. He died May i6th, 
1805, in Harpersfield, Ohio. ,^.j,, . 

Alexander Harper, the ninth child, was born in Middletown, 
Conn., Feb. 22nd, 1744, and was baptized by the Rev. Russell. He 
is known to us as Captain Alexander Harper. He died at Harpers- 
field, Ohio, Sept. loth, 1798. . 

Abigail Harper the 10th child, was born in Middletown, Conn., 
in July, 1745, and was baptized by Rev. Russell. We have no fur- 
ther record. . ^ 

Miriam Harper, the eleventh child, was born in Windsor, Uonn., 
Feb. 14th, 1749, and was baptized by Rev. Mr. Edwards She mar- 
ried William McFarland and died April 28th, 1813, m Harpersfield, 

'^ohn and Abigail Harper, mother and father of this family, 
moved from Windsor, Conn., to Cherry Valley, near Albany, N.Y., 
with their family in 1754- Abigail Harper, the mother, died at 
Beaver Dam, Cherry Valley, Dec. 20th, 1767, of consumption. John 
Harper, the father, died April 20th, 1785, at Harpersfield, NY. 
This completes the record of the family of the father of Captain Alex- 
ander Harper. 


Names of the Children, Date of Birth and Death. 
Margaret Harper, eldest child, born June 12th, 1772. She mar- 
ried Aaron Wheeler, and died June 27th, 1856, in Portage City, Wis 
John Harper, second child, born March 30th, 1774. Married 
Lorain Miner, and afterward Cynthia Harmon. Died Oct. 31st, 
1 84 1, of typhoid fever. ^ tvt • j c u 

James Harper, third child, born May 6th, 1776. Married Sarah 
Miner. Died Sept. i8th, 1820, of typhoid fever. 

William Harper, fourth child, born Jan. 19th, 1779- Married 
Sarah Robertson. Died Jan. 2nd, 1827, of consumption. 

Elizabeth Harper, fifth child, born Feb. 24th, 1784. Married 
Abraham Tappan. Died Aug. 2nd, 1855 ; her husband died the next 
day. In death they were not divided. 

Mary Harper, sixth child, born March 24th, 1786. Married 
Adna Cowles. Died Mlay 9th, 1825. j 00 a/t 

Alexander Harper, seventh child, born Sept. 3rd, 1788. Mar- 
ried Electra Martin. Died Sept. 12th, 1833- , ^^ • j 
Robert Harper, eighth child, born May i6th, 1791. Married 
Polly Hendry. Died Dec. 15th, 1850. 

NOTE As we have not been able to obtain the records of the 

families of these children we will give the names of each respective 
family in the order of their birth as nearly as we can. Should any 
errors occur it will be for lack of proper information. 



According to their respective Families. 

The names of Margaret Harper Wheeler's children: 

Samuel Wheeler, 

Aaron Wheeler, 

Alexander Harper Wheeler, 

Elizabeth Wheeler Emory, 

Edwin Wheeler, 

Chas. Wheeler, 

Margaret Wheeler Hand, 

James Wheeler, 

Ottile Wheeler Johnson. 

The names of John Harper's children : 

Rice Harper, 

Lucia Harper Robbins, 

Julia Anne Harper, 

Aaron Harper, 

Orrin Harper, 

Adeline Harper Vesey, 

Caroline Harper Norton, 

Lorain Harper Church, 

Alexander J. Harper. 

The names of James Harper's children : 

Angeline Harper Waters, 

Emeline Harper Gleason, 

Margaret Harper, 

Elizabeth Harper, 

Mary Harper, 

Sarah Anne Harper Hutchinson. 

The names of William Harper's children : 

Chas. Harper, 

Melvina Harper Sherwood, 

Henry Harper, 

Robert Harper, 

Sallie Harper Edmonds, 

Polly Harper Lamberton. 

Names of Elizabeth Harper Tappan's children : 

Electa Tappan, 

Alexander Tappan, 

Cornelia Tappan, 

John Tappan, 

Sallie Tappan Converse, 

James Tappan, 

Elizabeth Tappan, 

Walworth Tappan. 


Names of Mary Harper Cowles' children; 

Horace Cowles, 
Alexander Harper Cowles, 
Franklin Cowles, 
Lucian Cowles, 
Orinda Cowles, 
Mary Cowles, 
Dr. C. Cowles, 
Elizabeth Cowles Palmer, 
Adna Harper Cowles. 

Names of Alexander Harper's children: 

Eliza Harper, 

Louise Harper Martin, 

Edward Harper, 

Armelia Harper, 

Cordelia Harper Parker, 

James Harper, 

Amy Harper Pasco, 

Alexander Harper. 

Names of Robert Harper's children: 

Ellen Harper, 

Stella Harper Miner, 

Anne Harper Austin, 

Jane Harper Harper.