Biography of David Harpster
Pitt Township, Wyandot County, OH Biographies

DAVID HARPSTER, one of the most successful farmers in the State, is a native of Muffin County, Penn., born December 28, 1816. His parents were George and Catharine (Thomas) Harpster, natives of Pennsylvania, and of German ancestry. His grandfather Harpster came to America and was a soldier in the Revolutionary war. His father died when David was but eight years of age, and he removed with his mother to Wayne County, Ohio, two years later. He attended school but fifteen months, but has since acquired a good business education. After two years farming with his brother in the above county, he came to this locality in 1828 or 1829, and the following year accepted a clerkship in Bowsher & Green's store at Bowsherville, this township, where he was employed three years. He then became a member of the firm, and continued the business till 1836, when he sold his interest and engaged in the cattle business with Barnet and Thomas Hughes and James Murdock two years with excellent success. From 1838 to 1840, he drove cattle to Detroit, but in the latter year he formed a partnership with David Miller. their object being to fatten cattle in Illinois and drive them to Eastern markets, which business they conducted six years, Mr. Harpster continuing the business four years on his own responsibility. In 1845, he purchased 700 acres at the Government land sales, and to this he has subsequently added till he now owns in this township 3,100 acres, and in Muffin Township, 1,300; besides these tracts he has eighty acres in Van Wert County, 600 acres in Nebraska, 240 acres in Iowa, and in the counties of Ford, Campaign and McLean, Ill., 2,240 acres, all more or less improved and under fence. In 1850, Mr. Harpster settled on his present farm, and has since engaged largely in the sheep business, shearing 900 the first year, and increasing that number annually till he had clipped as many as 8,200 in a single year. His usual flock numbered about 7,000, but he is now disposing of his sheep, and stocking his lands with cattle. In 1871, he erected his handsome and commodious mansion one half mile north of Fowler, at a cost of $15,000, and is still actively engaged in superintend. ing his large possessions. His marriage to Rachel S. Hall occurred April 6, 1847. She was a daughter of James Hall, a soldier in the war of 1812, and an early settler in Pickaway County, Ohio. Three children were born to them, two yet living, Sarah A., wife of Col. Cyrus Sears, and Ivy, wife of William L. Bones, a wholesale dry goods merchant of New York City, with residence on Staten Island. In September, 1867, Mrs. Harpster's death occurred, and Mr. H. was married, in 1877, to Miss Jane Maxwell. daughter of John Maxwell, and grand daughter of William Maxwell, who edited and published the first newspaper of Cincinnati, his wife setting a portion of the type. Mrs. Harpster is a refined and accomplished lady, and a member of the Baptist Missionary Church. In politics, Mr. U. is a strong Republican without political aspirations. In selling lots for Fowler City, he has a clause inserted in each deed stipulating that intoxicating liquors shall not be sold thereon. He is one of the most highly respected citizens of the county, and has an extensive acquaintance throughout the State. He began life a poor boy, and under very unfavorable circumstances; but by his energy, perseveranee and business tact, has amassed a fortune not exceeded by that of any one in the county, owning at the present time 7,520 acres of land, and a large amount of other stock of various kinds. Besides attending to his personal business affairs, Mr. Harpster has given some attention and contributed from his means to public enterprises, in all of which he has shown the same energy, and his efforts have been crowned with the same success. The C, H. V. & T. R. R., which has brought into the county many valued conveniences, had no firmer friend nor warmer supporter during its contemplated and constructive period than Mr. Harpster, and the people of this community owe more thanks to him than to any other one man, for the location and construction of that road. At the time of one of the first surveys, the line from Marion to San dusky passed through Pitt Township, some distance east of where the road is now located. This was something of a disappointment to those living in the western part of the township, and as Mr. Harpster and others came home from visiting the sur veyors on said east line, while passing along the Little Sandusky and Bowsherville road, and as it happened within the present limits of the C., H. V. &. T. right of way one of the party asked Mr. Harpster what he would give to have the railroad pass at that point. He replied, the right of way three and one half miles, and a wool clip. And he proved as good as his word, for when the road was built he gave the offered right of way and took $10,000 stock, which he increased by purchases, until when the road changed hands, he received about $23,000 for his interest. He was the founder of Fowler City, named in honor of Mr. C. R. Fowler, and has encouraged and supported the business interests of that village. He gave generously toward the construction of the Methodist Episcopal Church at Fowler.

The History of Wyandot County, Ohio
Liggett, Canaway & Co.,
Chicago 1884

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