Washburn Co. WIGenWeb

People Histories

George W. Harmon
 (22 Feb 1861 - 1942 1)


by J. H. Beers & Co., Chicago, IL, 1905

pages 298 - 299

George W. Harmon, a prominent real estate dealer of Spooner, Washburn County, is one of the oldest settlers in that locality. He is a son of Jonas W. and Susan (McDowell) Harmon, natives, respectively of Pennsylvania and Ohio.  About 1872 Jonas W. Harmon settled in a portion of Chippewa county, Wis., now included in Sawyer county, where he followed the occupation of lumberman throughout his active life.  He died Oct. 20, 1901, at the age of sixty-five.  Mrs. Susan Harmon died near Beaver Dam, Wis., Oct. 20, 1865, at the age of twenty-five years, and Mr. Harmon married for his second wife Jennette Lathrop, who is living in Spooner with George W. Harmon.

George W. Harmon was born Feb. 22, 1861, in Dodge county,Wis., where he pass the first six years of his life.  He then moved with his parents to Winnebago county, Wis., where he received his early education in the public school.  Later he was a student for one term in the Eau Claire high school, the remainder of his education being obtained by study at home, and observation.  As a boy he helped to build the first school house in Sawyer county.  As a youth he was greatly interested in surveying, and for years was employed in locating lines, becoming an expert at his business, gaining a good technical knowledge of the subject, and being often called upon for a decision in the matter of disputed lines and boundaries.  In the fall of 1894 he was appointed by Secretary Hoke Smith to a position in the United States Interior Department, as surveyor and examiner of lands, remaining in that office five years.  This work gave Mr. Harmon a wide experience and extensive knowledge of the nature of the soil and topography of the region from Eau Claire to the lakes - embracing the land districts of Eau Claire, Ashland and Warsaw.  As a young man he had learned the trade of carpenter, and also served an apprenticeship at bridge-building, with Winston Brothers, at Minneapolis.  Settling in Spooner in 1885, he occupied himself at carpentry for nine years, building more than half of the houses constructed int he town during that period.  In the summer of 1899 he opened a real estate office in Spooner, and since then has given that business his undivided attention.  He has probably sold more land, and located more settlers, is Washburn county than any other person, his wide knowledge of the county enabling him to do this successfully.  Perhaps no other man could have succeeded in locating the regularly organized and incorporated colony which he settled at Sarona, Washburn county, selling them 3,200 acres of land.  On June 15, 1901, Mr. Harmon was one of the organizers of the Spooner State Bank, and one of its original directors, as well as builder and owner of the bank building, a brick structure erected especially for that purpose.  He has taken a great interest in building up Spooner, making the official survey and plat of the incorporated village in 1901.  He also platted and mapped Washburn county in 1896, making revisions on these maps in 1902 and 1904.  He owns considerable land in Washburn county, and is one of the stockholders in the Starks, Levis Land Co., of Madison, Wis., which at one time owned 21,000 acres in Washburn and Barron counties, and 16,000 acres in Bayfield county.

On Dec. 25, 1881, Mr. Harmon married Charlotte Thompson, daughter of John W. Thompson, of Eau Claire, and they have nine children, namely:  Carl, Kate, Jonas, Alphonso, Matilda, Charlotte, George, henry and Lacey.  Fraternally Mr. Harmon is connected with Spooner Lodge, No. 260, A. F. & A. M.; Triumph Lodge, No. 152, I. O. O. F.; Spooner Lodge, No. 126, A. O. U. W.; and the M. W. A.  In politics he is a Republican and probably exerts more influence in local affairs than any other citizen of Spooner.  Though away from home at the time, he was elected the first assessor of the town, and has filled that office several terms.  He has also served as county surveyor, but he is most distinguished by the active and disinterested efforts he has made to advance the interests and progress of the public schools of the village.  For a number of years he has been a member of the school board, and has contributed freely of his time and substance toward securing the establishment of a free high school.

1 - Editorial Note -   There is no death record on file in Washburn Co. for George W. Harmon Sr.  His burial location is in the Spooner Cemetery, where his stone states that he was born in 1862 and died in 1942.


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