WILLARD M. HARSH. In one of the most attractive suburban homes near the City of Sandusky, Mr. Harsh is now living
virtually retired, after a career of signal activity and influence in connection with railway affairs and other
business operations of important order. Beginning his independent career as a telegraph operator, Mr. Harsh rose
through his own ability and efforts to positions of great responsibility in the executive control and direction
of railway operations, and his energy and initiative found other effective exemplifications in the domain of industrial
activity, as later paragraphs in this article will indicate more specifically. He has been a man of much constructive
and business ability and after years of earnest and fruitful application he has relieved himself of the exacting
responsibilities that so long rested upon him, and in his beautiful home, on South Columbus Avenue, just without
the city limits of Sandusky, he is enjoying to the full the rewards of former years of earnest endeavor. He is
finding satisfaction and recreation in the developing of an excellent peach orchard on his rural estate of twelve
acres and is engaging also in the cultivation of other fruits, so that the attractions of his suburban residence
will be greatly enhanced when his orchards attain to maturity. Mr. Harsh is one of the substantial and highly esteemed
citizens of Erie County and is specially eligible for representation in this history.
On the homestead farm of his father in Carroll County, Ohio, Willard M. Harsh was born on the 22d of January, 1853,
and he is a son of Nicholas and Jemima (Leslie) Harsh, the former of whom likewise was born in Carroll County,
where his parents settled in the pioneer days, and Mrs. Harsh also having been born and reared in Carroll County,
a member of one of its old and honored families. The paternal lineage of Mr. Harsh traces back to stanch German
origin and the maternal ancestral line finds derivation in fine old Irish stock. Nicholas Harsh was one of the
representative agriculturists of his native county for many years and both he and his wife continued to reside
on their old homestead farm until their death, when well advanced in years.
Willard M. Harsh found the period of his childhood and early youth compassed by the conditions and influences of
the home farm, and in the meanwhile he profited duly from the advantages afforded in the public schools of the
locality and period. In 1874, soon after attaining to his legal majority, he initiated his apprenticeship to the
trade of telegraph operator, and his initial service in this connection was in the station of the Pennsylvania
Railroad at Oneida, a village in his native county, where he devoted two years to perfecting himself as a telegraphist.
For five years thereafter he held the dual office of operator and station agent at Dellroy, Carroll County, in
the service of what was then the Cleveland, Canton & Southern Railroad, now a part of the Wheeling & Lake
Erie, in the employ of which company he was later transferred to the position of station agent at South Cleveland,
where he remained about five years. His next position was that of general agent of the Lakeside & Marblehead
Railroad at Marblehead, Ottawa County, and after retaining this position about three years he served seven years
as superintendent of this road, of which he then became the general superintendent, a responsible office of which
he continued the incumbent about ten years, at the expiration of which he was appointed assistant general manager.
His efficient administration of several years in this position led to his advancement to the dual office of general
manager and local treasurer of the company, the affairs of which he continued to direct with much of circumspection
and progressiveness until he resigned his office and severed his association with the company, on the 1st of May,
1913. At this juncture he removed to Sandusky and purchased his present fine suburban home, where he and his family
have since continued their residence.
In 1891 Mr. Harsh became associated in a financial and executive capacity with the Kelley's Island Lime & Transport
Company, of which he was superintendent for about a decade, with headquarters at Marblehead, Ottawa County. A period
of about the same duration thereafter found him in tenure of the position of general superintendent, and he then
became assistant general manager, in which office he had full charge of all new construction work, repairs and
general operations at the plants of the company at Clay Center, Kelley's Island and Marblehead, Ohio, and at Akron,
New York. He severed his active connection with this important corporation in September, 1912.
Liberal and public spirited as a citizen and taking loyal interest in all that concerns his home community, Mr.
Harsh is found aligned as a stanch supporter of the principles of the republican party, though in local affairs
he maintains a somewhat independent attitude and gives his support to men and measures meeting the approval of
his judgment, irrespective of strict partisan lines. He is prominently identified with the time honored Masonic
fraternity, in which he has received the thirty second degree of the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite, his present
York Rite affiliations being principally with the Masonic bodies in the City of Sandusky. Both he and his wife
hold membership in the Presbyterian Church in Sandusky and are popular figures in the representative social circles
of the community, the while their spacious and beautiful residence is a center of hospitality. Mr. Harsh has made
various investments in Erie County aside from the purchase of his fine home property, and he has been a member
of the directorate of the Commercial National Bank of Sandusky from the time of its organization.
On the 17th of May, 1881, was solemnized the marriage of Mr. Harsh to Miss Davis, of Dellroy, Carroll County, and
they have three children: Earle C., Dwight B., and Wilda V. Earle C. Harsh is a graduate of the Case School of
Applied Science, one of the leading technical institutions of the Middle West, in the City of Cleveland, and he
is now established in the work of his profession as a consulting engineer, with residence and business headquarters
at Carey, Wyandotte County, this state. Dwight B. Harsh remains at the parental home, and the only daughter, Miss
Wilda, is a member of the class of 1916 in the Woman's College of historic old Western Reserve University, in the
City of Cleveland.
A Standard History of Erie County, Ohio
By: Hewson L. Peeke
Assisted by a Board of Advisory Editors
The Lewis Publishing Company
Chicago and New York 1916
Erie County, Ohio
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