No man in Brown county is better known or more favorably regarded than Eldred Harrington, of the town of Baker. For more than a third of a century he has been a resident of Brown county and prominently identified with its business, political and social interests. He is a native of Walworth county, Wisconsin, and was born October 23, 1842. His father, Perry G. Harrington, was one of the early settlers of Walworth county coming there in territorial days.
The subject of this sketch was raised on the farm and early became acquainted with the arduous task of the cultivation of the land in a frontier settlement. He received the advantages of the public school of those days which were later supplemented by a course in Milton Academy. Like many other young men of his age he dropped his school work to answer his country's call for volunteers and enlisted in Battery L, of the First Wisconsin Heavy Artillery, and served in the Army of the Potomac until hostilities had ceased; receiving an honorable discharge he returned to Walworth county, where he resided until 1868, when he came to Kansas, settling on a raw prairie farm seven miles south of Hiawatha. This land was a part of the Kickapoo Reserve and had just been thrown open for settlement and Mr. Harrington was the first man to locate in this neighborhood. Here he resided until 1882, when the town of Baker was laid out. He then moved to Baker and commenced to deal in grain and live stock. Soon afterwards he added a lumber yard and coal yard to his business. Here he easily held prestige as the leading business man of the town.
Mr. Harrington owns two fine farms near Baker, consisting of six hundred acres of choice land, well improved with good houses, barns, orchards and other conveniences. He raises cattle and hogs extensively on these farms. Much of the land is in grass and every year he feeds from one to two hundred head of cattle and several car loads of hogs.
Mr. Harrington was married, in 1864, in Walworth county, Wisconsin, to Miss Amorette Powers, a daughter of Soldon Powers, also one of the pioneer settlers of that county. Four children have been born to them: Grant W., who is the editor and proprietor of the Democrat at Hiawatha; Wynne P., a successful stock raiser of Grove county, Kansas; Jessie O. and Roscoe E., who are still at home with their parents. The family is one of prominence in the community, its members occupying a leading position in social circles.
Mr. Harrington has always been a Democrat. His first vote was cast while still in the service of his country and was for George B. McClellan for president. In 1874 when the Reform movement swept over Kansas, Mr. Harrington was chosen a delegate from Brown county to the state convention. Here he was made the nominee of the Reform party for lieutenant-governor. He made an active canvass of the state, winning for himself the reputation of being the best campaign orator on the ticket.
In 1884 he was the Democratic nominee for state senator in the district composed of the counties of Doniphan and Brown counties, against Sol Miller, the Republican nominee. In this race he polled eight hundred and fifty votes more than did the head of the ticket, Mr. Cleveland. Two years later he was the nominee of his party for the legislature in Brown county, and again led his ticket by a handsome vote, but the Republican majority in the district was too strong to be overcome.
Mr. Harrington has always been recognized as a public spirited citizen. He has been identified with the county fair association for more than a quarter of a century. For six years, from 1890 to 1895, he was the president of the association. He has represented the county many times at the meetings of the state board of agriculture and has been vice-president of that association. He also helped to organize the Farmers Institute in Brown county and has been president of that institution.
Mr. Harrington is a member of the Christian church at Baker and of Hiawatha Post, No. 130, of the Grand Army of the Republic. A public-spirited, progressive citizen, a reliable business man and an earnest Christian gentleman, he ranks among the leading residents of Brown county and his name is enrolled on the list of those whose efforts have been most effective in the development and progress of this section of the state.