Biography of Henry Harms


Cook County
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HENRY HARMS, builder and contractor, popularly known as "Farmer Harms," was born at Mecklenhurg-Schwerin, in 1832. Immigrating to the United States in 1851, he worked at farming, near Chicago, for the first three years, and succeeded in getting the rest of the family, with the exception ot an elder brother, to this country in 1856. He purchased a farm in 1854 and was married, in 1855, to Louisa Nicholas, of Mecklenburg, by whom he had eleven children, four boys and five girls of whom are still living. He has held many important offices, first as Constable, in 1855, next as Commissioner of Highways. In 1860 he was elected Supervisor, which office he held till the Board of Commissioners was established, in 1871. He was nominated for the office of County Treasurer in 1871, but the fire defeated his election, He was appointed by Gov. Beveridge as Cook County Drainage Commissioner, which office be held till that body passed out of existence. He is at present Commissioner of Highways. In the fall of 1875 he took the contract for building the foundation and sub-basement of the Chicago Court-House, which he finished in a highly satisfactory manner in 1876. Owing to a change of plans the work was largely increased, and the Commissioners refused to pay Mr. Harmsís just claim. An appeal to the law followed, anl after extensive litigation, his full claim was allowed, although not until 1883. In addition to the above, Mr. Harms was the originator of the Lincoln Avenue and Niles Centre gravel road, was Postmaster at Niles Centre for about twelve years, and the founder of three school districts east of the river. He kept a store in Niles Centre for six years, and was a stockholder in the C., M. & St. P. R. R. The drainage of Niles Township was conducted under his supervision, as was the construction of nearly all the public roads.

History of Cook County, Illinois
From the earliest period to the present time.
BY: A. T. Andreas
A. T. Andreas, Publisher
Chicago 1884.