This information is part of the Champaign County ILGenWeb Project. If you have reached this site by means other than The USGenWeb Project, The ILGenWeb Project, or directly, please visit the main Champaign Co, ILGenWeb site for more information regarding Champaign County, IL ancestors. Information contained here was transcribed by Celia Snyder. Please do not repost this information without the express written permission of Celia Snyder.

Champaign County, Illinois

Biography of James Harmison

SOURCE: "Portrait and Biographical Album of Champaign County, Illinois," Chapman Brothers, Chicago, 1887


JAMES HARMISON. The subject of the following sketch has been a resident of the Prairie State for over thirty-five years. Arriving in this State from Ohio, the place of his nativity, he settled first in Danvers, McLean County, where he built a hotel and officiated as "mine host" for one year. He next bought a farm near Bloomington, which he sold, and then purchased a half section of land near Saybrook, and made that his home until coming to this county. Mr. Harmison became a resident of his county in 1873, locating in Urbana. There he purchased ten lots, upon which he put up seven houses, and from the income thus received has lived comfortably since that time. His present residence is on the corner of Lincoln and Clark streets.

Our subject is a native of Muskingum County, Ohio, born in 1818, and the son of Matthew and Fannie (WHITCLOCK) HARMISON, both natives of Virginia. They went into Ohio in 1827, and located upon a tract of land in Muskingum County, which they occupied however but a short time, and becoming homesick returned to their native State, where they spent the remainder of their lives. Of their seven children, James of our sketch is the only one living. He remained at home in Ohio until nine years old, at which time the death of his mother occurred. Young Harmison was then bound out to a farmer, Mr. H. Harris, with whom he lived until twenty-one, receiving only his board and clothing, and worked so hard for his master in a coal bank that he became a cripple. After a day’s work in the mine he was obliged to walk half a mile and feed twenty-five to thirty head of cattle, fifth sheep, and six to eight head of horses. He would often return to the house with his shoes and stockings frozen on his feet, and his other clothing consisted only of a pair of linsey pants, a vest and a shirt. After serving out his time he engaged in peddling for a year and then hired out on a farm one year for $15 per month and board.

Mr. Harmison was married in 1841, to Miss Sophia WILL, of Licking County, Ohio, and the daughter of Samuel and Margaret (GABLE) WILL, natives of Pennsylvania. They removed from their native State at an early day, and locating upon a farm within four miles of Zanesville, there spent the remainder of their lives. They had a family of eight children, seven now living, namely, Lewis, Samuel, George, Alfred, Abraham, William, and Sophia, Mrs. Harmison.

Our subject and his wife have three children: Samuel married Miss Rebecca KRIST, and they have ten children—Nettie, Hattie, William, Eugene, James, May, Frank, John, Elmer and Grace; they are living in Kansas. George married Miss Ellen DUNLAP, and they have five children—Parkhurst, Charles, Lincoln, May, and an infant unnamed; they are living in Dakota. Rosetta became the wife of Alfred COVERDALE, and they have three children—Allie B., Grace and James—and live in Mt. Carmel, Ill.

Out subject has always voted the Republican ticket, and with his wife has been a member of the Baptist Church since 1843. He is a member of the I.O.O.F., and held the office of Supervisor while a resident of McLean County.

Return to Links Page

Return to Main Page