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Below is a sample of a family biography included in the Carroll County, Missouri History published in 1881 by Missouri Historical Company.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details in a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

JOHN T. HARMON (Farmer and Stock-raiser, Post-office, Kearney). Mr. Harmon was next to the eldest in the family of children of Jacob I. Harmon, additional reference to whom is made further along, and was born in Garrard county, Kentucky, December 15, 1843. He was a lad six years of age when his parents removed to Clay county, Mo., where they made their permanent home, and young Harmon was accordingly reared here. His school advantages were quite limited, and his father not being a man of large means, he was compelled to start out in the world for himself without a dollar. When the war broke out in 1861 he was a youth about eighteen years of age, and at once enlisted in Co. D, Fourth Iowa infantry, under Capt. Burton, of Col. Dodges' regiment, and was afterwards out in the active service for nearly two years. In 1863, however, he was honorably discharged on account of physical disability. He then went West, across the plains, principally for the benefit of his health, and returned in 1864. The following year Mr. Harmon was married to Miss Sarah, a daughter of George and Louisa (Brooks) Oder. At the time of his marriage, Mr. H. had a good team and three mule colts, which was all the stock he possessed. Nevertheless, he went resolutely to work, and made a good crop the first year. He was soon able to buy the necessary farm stock to carry on farming; though he owned but 65 acres of land when he married. From that beginning he has steadily prospered, and is now one of the substantial citizens of the county. He owns over 500 acres of fine land in different tracts, and in his home place, which is well improved, has 347 acres. This was the T. T. Bevins farm which he bought in 1881. He is a remarkably hard working man, and possessor of unconquerable energy. What he has now he has made by his own hard labor, economy and good management. Although he has been successful by honest daily industry, it still looks a little hard that some who never did a hard day's work in their lives should be able by a simple dicker or trick or twist in the grain market to make five times as much, and five times five, as Mr. H. has succeeded in gathering together by a lifetime of labor and self-denial; in other words, the farmer works in the rain and burning sunshine, and in all the changes of weather to raise a bushel of wheat, while the gain speculator makes as much as the price of thousands of bushels in two minutes, and without even ungloving his delicate, tender hands, a condition of affairs which renders such an anomaly and wrong as that not only possible, but the regular rule must necessarily be radically wrong; and some day the people will become educated up to the point of seeing it and remedying it. Mr. and Mrs. Harmon have six children: James H., Mary F., wife of Adam Foreighner, Lizzie B., Sarah T., Walter D. and Louis. Three others they lost in infancy. Mrs. H, is a member of the Christian Church. The Harmon family is of German descent. Mr. H.'s great grandfather, Jacob Harmon, was reared in this country and served in the War for Independence. Jacob J. Harmon, the father of John T., was a son of Reese and Nancy (Nelson) Harmon, originally of Pennsylvania. Her father, Wm. Nelson, also served in the American army during the Revolution. He was of Irish descent. Jacob I. Harmon was born in Garrard county, Ky., December 13, 1819, and in 1838 was married to Miss Mary Conn, daughter of Rev. John and Elizabeth Conn, of Kentucky. In 1849 Mr. H. came to Missouri, and settled in Clay county. Two years later he went on the plains, and afterwards, for about seven years, followed teaming in the far west, either on his own account, for private parties, or for the Government, generally coming home, however, to raise a crop during each cropping season. Ever since that he has followed farming exclusively, in this county. During the war he was in the militia for a short time; and in 1865 he was absent from the county some months on account of the unsettled condition of affairs. Since then he has been engaged in farming, and has served as deputy sheriff of the county and as constable of the township. He and wife are members of the Presbyterian Church, and he is a member of the Blue Lodge and the Royal Arch Chapter, A. F. and A. M. He has a good farm comfortably improved and is pleasantly situated in life.

This family biography is one of 468 biographies included in the History of Carroll County, Missouri published by Missouri Historical Company in 1881.  For the complete description, click here: Carroll County, Missouri History, Genealogy, and Maps

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