JOHN HARPER was born in St. Andrews, N. B.. May 23, 1844. His mother died when
he was five years of age; his father soon after went to Australia, where he died, and from the time of his father's
departure until the outbreak of the Civil War young Harper lived with his aunt in Calais, Me. September 4, 1861,
at seventeen years of age, he enlisted in Company A, Ninth Maine Regiment, and served until the close of the war.
He was with his regiment in every engagement in which it took part, and when mustered out of service had attained
the rank of Sergeant.
After the close of the war, he moved to Lewiston, Me., and engaged in the manufacture of short lumber. He carried
on this business until i88o, when he went into the coal and wood business with Mr. M. J. Googin, of Lewiston. The
name of the firm (which has an office on Bates Street and coal and wood yards on Bates Street and Whipple Street)
is Harper & Googin. Mr. Harper married, in 1869, Miss Estelle G. Knowles, of Troy, Me., who is still living.
Mr. Harper is a staunch Republican in politics. He was a member of the Maine House of Representatives, from Lewiston,
in 1887 and 1889, and State Senator, from Androscoggin County, in 1891 and 1893: and his popularity with the voters
of his city is shown by the fact that he has run ahead of his ticket every time he has been a candidate for any
elective office. As Representative and Senator he made an enviable record. He made no pretensions to eloquence
or skill in debate, but his tact and shrewdness in approaching and handling men, his inexhaustible fertility in
expedients, his capacity for organization and combination, made him a remarkably effective worker in legislative
contests. Few men could win more votes for any measure than he. In 1887 Mr. Harper was chairman of the Pension
Committee, and served on the Military and Labor Committees. He was instrumental in securing the passage of chapter
102 of the laws of that year, repealing the provision that a deceased soldier or sailor must have died "from
wounds or injury sustained in the service while in the line of duty'S to entitle his widow, orphan children, or
dependent parent or sister to a State pension. In 1889 he introduced a bill giving a State pension to the dependent
children of a deceased soldier, one providing for the payment by the State of the burial expenses of ex-soldiers
and sailors of the Rebellion who died in destitute circumstances, and one forbidding the selectmen of any town
from removing any old soldier, who might become a public charge, to the poor-house. That all of these measures
became laws was largely due to his untiring efforts in their behalf, and the same may be said of the large pension
appropriations made by the Legislature for the years 1887 to 1893 inclusive.
Mr. Harper took a prominent part in the light over the "Ten Hour Bill" in 1887. Mr. W. H. Looney. of
Portland, the author of that measure, acknowledged his obligations to Mr. Harper, for his valuable and effective
support. in an open letter to the Lewiston Journal, and his constituents have to thank him also for his persistent
and successful work in favor of the appropriation of 1891 for the Central Maine General Hospital. of Lewiston,
which enabled that institution to enter at once upon its l)eneficent work, and the appropriations of 1893 in favor
of the same Hospital, the Sisters of Charity. and the Orphans' Home.
In January, 1889, Mr. Harper was appointed Inspector-General upon the staff of Governor Burleigh. with the rank
of Brigadier-General. This position he held, with credit to himself and the service, until January. 1893, when
his successor was appointed by Governor Cleaves. He was chairman of the Militia Board of Inquiry, before which
Col. John J. Lynch. of Portland, was tried for alleged neglect of duty and disobedience of orders, in July, 1889.
In August of the same year he was one of the live members of the Governor's staff who were selected to receive
President Harrison upon his visit to Maine. In Grand Army circles, and in the Ninth Maine Regiment Association,
of which he has been President, General Harper is prominent and popular while in private life his wellknown integrity,
his disposition to stand by those who have helped him, his cordial manner, his kindly temper, and unostentatious
charity have won him a host of friends.