Transcribed from "An Illustrated History of The Big Bend Country, embracing
Lincoln, Douglas, Adams and Franklin counties, State of Washington",
published by Western Historical Publishing Co., 1904.
WILLIAM SAULSBURY HARPER.
Among the first settlers of Virginia, and a founder of the historic town
of Harper's Ferry, was Thomas Harper, who came to America from Scotland.
Thomas was the father of Robert Harper, and he of Robert, Jr., who fought
throughout the Revolutionary War as a scout and spy under General Anthony
Wayne. Robert, Jr., was father of Matthew Harper, a soldier under
General Hull during the War of 1812, a son of whom was John M. Harper,
who came from Ohio to Vigo county, Indiana, in 1835, where he was an early
pioneer, and where he purchased from the government a tract of eighty acres
of land at one dollar and twenty-five cents an acre, upon which he made
his home until he died, February 22, 1888. He was born in Ohio, near
the city of Cincinnati, July 19, 1816, and was the father of William Saulsbury
Harper, the subject of our sketch, who was born May 21, 1838, near Terre
Haute, Indiana, and is now living on a farm fourteen miles northwest of
Davenport, on Indian creek, with the city just named as his postoffice.
The mother of William S. Harper was Eliza
(Wythe) Harper, born near Brookville, Franklin county, Indiana, May 9,
18l7. She was the daughter of Elisha Wythe, granddaughter of Joshua,
and great-granddaughter of Ebenezer Wythe, who was brother of George Wythe,
one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. The American
family of Wythes is in direct line of descent from Nicholas Wythe, who
came to America from Glasgow, Scotland, in 1692, and settled at Dorchester
Heights near Boston, Massachusetts. Joshua Wythe was a member of
the famous Boston "Tea Party" and was an artilleryman under General Washington
throughout the Revolutionary War. Mrs. Harper died February 20, 1888,
two days prior to her husband's death. The two were buried the same
day, and interred in the same tomb. Our subject was their only son,
and the eldest of a family of seven, two of whom, besides himself, are
now living: Mrs. Maria Turner, Clay county, Indiana; and Mrs. Sarah Hyde,
Vigo county, Indiana.
William Saulsbury Harper was reared on a farm
in the state of his nativity. October 1, 1861, he enlisted in Company
G, 43rd Indiana Volunteers, served in the Trans-Mississippi department
during the Civil War, and was discharged October 18, 1864. During
his time of service he was engaged in the battles of Island Number Ten,
New Madrid, the nine-weeks bombardment of Fort Pillow, the taking of Memphis,
Tennessee; Devall's Bluff and Helena, Arkansas; Yazoo Pass, Mississippi;
Little Rock, Prairie D'An, Elkins' Fork and Marks' Mill, Arkansas; and
was taken prisoner at the battle of Jenkin's Ferry, Arkansas. Owing
to his having been severely wounded at the battle of Marks' Mill, five
days before, he was paroled, and a few days later was given an honorable
discharge from further duty in the ranks. His army experiences were
unusually severe; he suffered extreme hardships, and many times was forced
to march when weary and footsore without a bite to eat. Upon his
discharge he returned to his farm, where, November 25, 1865, he was married
to Laura E. Lawrence, born near Columbus, Ohio, July 26, 1848.
Mrs. Harper's father was Elias Lawrence, born
November 19, 1819, in Ohio, later removed to Clay county, Indiana, where
he died in 1878. His father, Lyman Lawrence, was a pioneer settler
of Marietta, Ohio. The mother of Mrs. Harper was Sarah (Hobart) Lawrence,
was born at Granville, Ohio, October 23, 1819, and died June 19, 1896,
in Clay county, Indiana. Her father was Noah Hobart, direct in lineage
from the old family of Hobarts who came from Holland and settled at New
Amsterdam, now New York City, in 1609. Mrs. Harper has one brother
and one sister: Noah M. Lawrence, Clay county, Indiana; and Mrs. Lucy Jeffres,
Mr. and Mrs. Harper lived in Vigo county until
January, 1890, when they came to Almira, near which town they took a homestead
where they lived until 1897, when on account of ill health on the part
of our subject, they were compelled to leave the prairie. They came
to their present home in the spring of the year mentioned, where they have
eighty acres, upon which Mr. Harper makes a specialty of raising vegetables,
fruit and berries. They have a good house, complete improvements
and plenty of water for all purposes.
Mr. Harper is a member of the Masonic fraternity
and the G. A. R., of Davenport, and both he and Mrs. Harper are affiliated
with the Methodist Episcopal church.
They are parents of four children: Charlotte,
widow of John Latta, Vigo county, Indiana; John L., married to Martha M.
Sanders, Davenport; Victoria, Vigo county, and Wilson Harper, who makes
his home with his parents.