Moses Harbison

From: "Biographical Review of Cass, Schuyler and Brown Counties, Illinois 1892", by Biographical Review Publishing Company, Chicago, Illinois; pages 470-471, a reprinted by Stevens Publishing Co., Astoria, Ill., 1971, is sold by the Schuyler County Historical Society, Rushville, Illinois.
  Moses Harbison, an intelligent and progressive farmer of Cass county, Illinois, numbered among the substantial men of this section, was born in Barren, now Metcalfe county, Kentucky, September 3, 1831.
  His parents were Adam B. and Hannah (Rhea) Harbison, the former a native of Virginia, who, when a young man, operated different mills and also did teaming. In 1831, he came to Illinois with his wife's people, although at the time unmarried, his union taking place in the latter State. Accompanied by his wife, he shortly afterward returned to Kentucky, where they resided for a year or two, after which they removed to Washington county, Missouri, in which place he farmed for about five years. He then sold out and returned to Illinois, settling in Mason county, where he entered 200 acres of good land, and built a log house. Here he died two years later, at the comparatively early age of forty-four years. He was twice married, his first wife being the mother of the subject of this sketch. She died on the farm in Missouri, at the early age of twenty-three years, leaving three small children to the care of her bereaved husband.
  The subject of this sketch is the only survivor of these children. He lived at home until his father's death, after which his stepmother bound him out to a farmer. Two years later, however, at the age of thirteen years, he took "French leave," and started out in life for himself. He first worked for $2.50 a month, which was in 1845. At the end of five months, he bought a sow and pig which was his first speculation in pork. Out of his small income, he provided them with corn, and, like Jacob's kine, they waxed strong and beautiful. This was only the beginning of his schemes for advancement. In 1848 he rented sixteen acres of land, which, with one horse, he started to improve. The following year, he bought another horse, and thus continued to rent land and work it until 1853, when he and a brother came to where our subject now lives, and bought 160 acres of land. An old house was on the place and ninety acres were under cultivation. This land they industriously improved, and, in 1868, Mr. Harbison erected on it his present substantial farm house. He has recently sold some of his land, but still retains 342 acres, most of which is under cultivation.
  He was first married, January 7, 1857, to Miss Mary A. Davis, an intelligent and energetic lady, and a native of Cass county. This union was destined to be of short duration, the devoted wife and mother dying at the age of twenty-three years, leaving a child to the care of her bereaved husband, which afterward died, aged nineteen months. Her people were very old and esteemed settlers of this State.
  March 13, 1863, Mr. Harbison was again married, his second wife being Miss Lydia F. Mason, an estimable lady, and a native of Culpepper County, Virginia. She was a daughter of John and Emma (Milliner) Mason, also natives of the Old Dominion. They came to Illinois in 1856, settling first in Cass county, whence they removed to Joplin, Missouri, where the mother died, aged seventy years, the father still surviving. This worthy couple were the parents of eleven children, ten of whom are living.
  Mr. and Mrs. Harbison have ten children: Virginia S., married and has one child, a daughter; Charles C., who is at home; Mary C. is married and has one son. The other children are still at home and are as follows: Arthur J., Robert F., Estella, Alice, Martha C., Emma and Nancy A.
  Politically, Mr. Harbison is a Democrat, and cast his first presidential vote for General Pierce. His constituents have recognized his ability and integrity of character, and have sought to gain the benefit of these traits by electing him to various local offices, in all of which he has served the best interests of the community. He has been an efficient member of the school board for twenty-two years, which fact of itself speaks volumes in favor of his excellent judgment and moral force of character.
  Mr. Harbison's life would furnish an inspiration to many poor, young men, who, alone and unaided, are starting in life, with no compass by which to guide their course. Happy are they, if, like the subject of this sketch, they keep their eyes steadily fixed on the North Star of Truth, while industriously spreading their sails to the breezes of prosperity, which will eventually waft them to the desired haven of comfort and happiness.

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