J F HARPSTER
This gentleman is now serving for the fourth term as the mayor of Wathena and his administration has been at once progressive, reformatory and practical. His name is so closely connected with the social, intellectual, material and moral development of the town that the history of Wathena would be incomplete without the record of his life. He came to this place in 1891 and through the intervening years he has been a potent factor in all measures tending toward the public good.
Mr. Harpster is a native of the Buckeye state. In one of his witty after-dinner speeches Chauncey Depew said: "Some men achieve greatness, some men are born great and some men are born in Ohio." The last statement is applicable to Mr. Harpster, whose birth occurred in Sandusky county on the 16th of April, 1862. He was reared and educated there, his preliminary educational privileges being supplemented by a course in the State Normal School at Ada, Ohio. In 1883 he came to Kansas, locating in Doniphan county, where he has since remained. He accepted the position of cashier in the bank at Severance and acceptably discharged the duties of that office until 1891, when he came to Wathena and organized the Wathena State Bank, of which he is the cashier. The president of the institution is John A. C. Jordan and the vice-president is O. C. Jones. The bank is one of the most popular in this section of the county and the volume of its business has reached extensive proportions. Its high standing is largely attributable to the untiring efforts of its cashier, who is thoroughly familiar with the banking business in all its departments and conducts the enterprise in a conservative and reliable manner.
While residing in Severance Mr. Harpster was united in marriage to Miss Bertha Robb, a lady of culture and refinement, whose father, Captain George H. Robb, is one of the popular and well-known citizens of Severance. Their union has been blessed with one child, Ruth Marie, a little maiden of six summers. Their home is celebrated for its hospitality and their circle of friends is very extensive.
While comparatively a young man Mr. Harpster has gained a most enviable reputation, for excellent business and executive ability, and in this, as in other regards, is accounted one of the leading citizens of Wathena. His efforts have not been confined to one line but have been extended to various enterprises and industries, and his counsel has proved a potent element in the successful conduct of the concerns with which he is associated. He is now the president and treasurer of the Black Mountain Mining & Investment Company, of Black Mountain, Colorado, a company which was incorporated in 1897 with a capital stock of one hundred thousand dollars. He was also an organizer and is vice-president of the bank at Denton, Doniphan county.
Although actively associated with these various interests he yet finds time for social and literary work, and his influence has been most marked in promoting the intellectual status of the community. He is an officer in the Wathena Midsummer Society, organized in 1899, and he is a much valued member. Socially he is identified with the Masonic order, belonging to the blue lodge of Wathena. He is also a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and the Knights of Pythias and heartily indorses all societies which have for their aim mutual benefit and helpfulness. He is a prominent worker in the orders with which he holds membership and is therefore numbered among their valued representatives. In his political affiliations he is a Republican and for the fourth term is serving as the mayor of the town. He handles the reins of city government with great care and gives a conscientious and loyal support to all measures which he believes will prove a public benefit to the community or will advance its welfare along any lines that may contribute to its upbuilding and prosperity. He occupies an eminent position in social and business circles and enjoys the high regard of all with whom he has been brought in contact. In his business career he has attained more than an ordinary degree of success, but this has been won through the legitimate channels of commercial activity. His keen discernment, sound judgment and ability to form his plans readily and to execute them with determination have brought to him prosperity that he well merits.