Harry O. Harmon
Posted By: Karon Velau (email)
Date: 3/3/2023 at 00:20:32
HARRY O. HARMON
Harry O. Harmon is now living retired in Northwood but for many years was actively connected with agricultural interests in Worth county and brought his farm under a high state of cultivation, indicative of the productiveness of Worth county land when properly tilled. Mr. Harmon has passed the seventieth milestone on life's journey, his birth having occurred September 21, 1847, in Norway, not far from the towns of Bergen and of Saugen.
His parents were Ole and Guila (Hove) Harmon, their farm name in Norway being Numedal. The father was born December 24, 1804, in the same place as his son Harry, and the mother's birth occurred in the same locality June 24, 1809. They were married in the land of the midnight sun and there the father followed the occupation of farming until 1853, when at the age of forty-nine years he emigrated with his family to the United States, hoping to find better business opportunities on this side of the Atlantic. The voyage was made in one of the old-time sailing vessels and after seven weeks spent upon the ocean they arrived in New York city, from which point they made an overland trip to Boone county, Illinois. There they took up their abode and the father purchased forty acres of land, which he continued to develop and improve for eight years. He then removed to Faribault county. Minnesota, taking up his abode near the city of Blue Earth in the spring of 1861. He carried on farming in that locality for three years, during which period the family passed through many hardships incident to the settlement of a new district. Many times they were badly frightened by the Indians and at one time were obliged to leave their home because of the hostility of the red men, driving with ox teams to Northwood, Iowa. Later, however, they were able to return to their Minnesota farm. In 1864 they became residents of Worth county, Iowa, settling in Brookfield township, where they purchased one hundred and sixty acres of land which the father continued to cultivate and improve. Again he and his family had many hardships and privations to endure. He had to drive to McGregor to market his grain and purchase provisions, and many arduous tasks devolved upon him in connection with the cultivation of new land. He persevered in his undertakings, however, and remained upon the farm until he retired from active life. Soon afterward he passed away, his death occurring in 1884, when he was eighty years of age. His widow then went to live with her son Albert in Northwood and remained with him until her demise, which occurred on the 19th of July, 1906, when she had reached the notable old age of ninety-seven years. The parents, with their children, were all members of the Norwegian Lutheran church.
Harry O. Harmon spent the first seven years of his life in Norway and then came with his parents to the United States. He spent his youthful days under the parental roof and acquired his education in the schools of Illinois, Minnesota and Iowa as the family removed from place to place. In the meantime he assisted his father in the development and improvement of the home farm and when his textbooks were put aside he continued to assist his father for many years in the further cultivation of the fields. While thus engaged he carefully saved his earnings until he was able to purchase eighty acres of land in Iowa, which he continued to operate for some time. At length, however, he sold that property and in 1871 bought one hundred and twenty acres of land in Worth county. To this he added from time to time until he had three hundred and twenty acres of valuable land, which he further developed and improved. He likewise cultivated three hundred and eighty-six acres of land which belonged to his wife and which was situated across the road from his own farm. He thus extensively carried on general agricultural pursuits until he retired from active life in 1912. In that year he took up his abode in the city of Northwood, where he has since made his home. He occupies a beautiful residence, attractively and pleasantly furnished, and both he and his wife are enjoying excellent health.
On the l0th of June, 1871, Mr. Harmon was united in marriage to Miss Rosie Ellingson, a daughter of Erick Ellingson and Kari Swenson. Mrs. Harmon was born in Norway, as were her parents, and there her father followed the occupation of farming until 1857, when he came with his family to the United States. Mrs. Harmon was at that time seven years of age, her birth having occurred March 10, 1850, at Hallingdal, Norway. The voyage across the Atlantic was made in one of the old sailing ships and they reached Quebec after five weeks and three days spent upon the water. They then proceeded westward by way of the Great Lakes to Lansing, Michigan, and across the country to Worth county, Iowa, establishing their home on section 25, Silver Lake township. The father purchased about two hundred acres of land, for which he paid a dollar and a quarter per acre, save for a part of the tract, which he secured merely by paying the taxes due thereon. To his original purchase he added from time to time, as his financial resources increased, until his landed possessions comprised about four hundred and eighty acres of very rich and productive land. This he cleared and developed, successfully carrying on general agricultural pursuits, although in the early days he experienced the usual hardships and privations which come with the settlement of a new country and the development of a new farm. He hauled his grain to McGregor. Iowa, and on such trips brought back the needed provisions. It would require two weeks to make the trip with oxen. He also made trips across the country to Austin and Owatonna, Minnesota, and to Cresco, Iowa, and while he was absent his family at home anxiously awaited his return, knowing something of the hardships of the trip and the dangers to which one was subjected on such a journey. On one occasion Mr. Ellingson erected a house and before it was completed or before the doors and windows were in, they had to occupy the place, for it was November and cold. They therefore nailed up blankets and used other substitutes to keep out the cold. Such were some of the hardships which the early settlers met, but as the years passed on they overcame all such obstacles and their labors brought about changes which wrought for prosperity and in due course of time brought to them all of the comforts and conveniences known to the older east. Mrs. Ellingson passed away in 1872, at the age of fifty-three years, and Mr. Ellingson continued upon the farm until he reached the age of ninety years and then spent his last four years in the home of his daughter and son-in-law, Mr. and Mrs. Harmon, passing away August 15, 1916, at the notable old age of ninety-four years, two months and seven days. He and his wife were members of the Norwegian Lutheran church and were prominent and influential people of the community in which they resided.
To Mr. and Mrs. Harmon have been born eleven children: Mrs., Carrie Nysteum; Eddy G.; Martin; Albert; Mrs. Helma Menus, residing in Hartland township; Charles B : Martin, who died at the age of six years; Albert, who passed away when four years of age; Tena, who died at the age of six months; Tena, the second of the name, who passed away when a year and a half old; and Mrs. Dena Mellem, whose demise occurred on the 20th of March, 1916.
Mr. Harmon and his family are members of the Norwegian Lutheran church and he has guided his entire life by its teachings. His has been an honorable and upright career and all who know him speak of him in terms of high regard. While he has retired from active farm life, he is still identified financially and officially with several important business interests. For years he has served as a director of the Northwood Telephone Company, also of the Northwood Elevator Company, and for nearly fifteen years was a director of the Hartland Creamery Company, of which for two years he acted as president. He is a man of undaunted energy and persistency of purpose and whatever he has undertaken has been successfully accomplished, while the measures that he has pursued have brought to him the respect and honor of his fellow townsmen. He belongs to that class of substantial citizens that Norway has furnished to Worth county-a class that has made most valuable contribution to the upbuilding and progress of the county in which he has so long resided.
SOURCE: HISTORY OF MITCHELL AND WORTH COUNTIES, IOWA, 1918, VOL. II; Pages 211-213
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