SAMUEL S. HARKNESS. This history of Adams County is being published just ninety-five years after the first member of the Harkness family located here. Their first settlement was in Fall Creek Township, and in that community both his father and grandfather lived. Samuel S. Harkness has spent most of the years of his life in Burton Township, with enduring honor and with that esteem which is paid a man faithful to duty, hard working, and a concientious citizen. Mr. S. S. Harkness’ home is seventeen miles southeast of Quincy.
His birth occurred in Fall Creek Township January 21, 1850. His parents were Loren and Sarah (Tibbitts) Harkness. The grandfather, and the pioneer in this county, was Ebenezer Harkness, who was born in the State of Maine about 1785. He came to Adams county and settled in Fall Creek Township in 1824. Two of his brothers also came to the county. Ebenezer Harkness at one time kept a tavern near the Mississippi River, where a ferryboat transported passengers across the river, and he also drove a stage between Quincy and Atlas and Naples. Ebenezer Harkness had three sons: Lyman, who married Mary Avis and lived in Hancock County, where he died in advanced years; Loren; and Daniel, who never married and died at the age of fifty. A daughter, Laura, married Willard Keyes, a well known pioneer citizen of Quincy.
Loren Harkness was born at Springfield in Bradford County, Pennsylvania, February 9, 1816. He married, October 8, 1840, Sarah Tibbitts, who was born at Cincinnati, Ohio, September 7, 1818. Loren Harkness died April 15, 1865, and his widow survived him thirty years almost to the day, dying April 14, 1895. After his marriage Loren Harkness lived at home with his father operating the old farm, and in 1860 moved to Burton Township and acquired the land now owned by his son, Samuel S. Ebenezer Harkness also lived here until his death in 1863, at the age of seventy-eight. Ebenezer Harkness was a member of the first grand jury in Adams County. He voted as a whig and later as a republican.
Sarah Tibbitts, mother of Samuel S. Harkness, was a daughter of Samuel, a granddaughter of David and Betsy (Wright) Tibbitts. David Tibbitts was a son of Samuel and Sobriety (Drew) Tibbitts, and Samuel’s father was Joshua Tibbitts, who came to America about 1685 and settled at Dover in Stafford County, New Hampshire. Sarah Tibbitts lost her parents when she was a child and she came to Adams County with her aunt and uncle, John and Betsy Bean, who located in Fall Creek Township. Loren Harkness did not live long after coming to Burton Township, but did much in that time to clear up and improve his farm. He was only forty-nine when he died. He had seven children: Oscar, who enlisted at the age of eighteen in the Seventy-eighth Illinois Infantry, saw active service until the close of the war, and is now living in an old soldier’ home in California; Samuel S.; Eugene Bell, a farmer at Lakin, Kansas; and James Edward, who died March 20, 1900, at Quincy. These were the sons of Loren Harkness and wife.
Samuel S. Harkness was fifteen years of age when his father died. His brother Oscar on returing from the army took charge of the old farm, and Samuel S. Harkness had the privilege of the local schools of Camp Point and Payson. At the age of twenty-two he married Elizabeth Rhodes Young, who was born in Orange County, Virginia, May 20, 1851. They lived happily together for over thirty years, until Mrs. Harkness passed away April 5, 1905. She had come to Adams County as a child with her parents, Columbus L. and Nancy Young, who settled in Burton Township and later lived on a farm adjoining that of the Harknesses. Before his marriage S. S. Harkness had taken charge of the old home stead, after his brother Oscar moved out to Kansas to become a home steader. He has looked after that farm ever since, his mother living with him, and at her death he bought out the interests of the other heirs. The old homestead comprised 155 acres and he still owns all of it except five acres. This is a well improved and valuable farm, productive of all the staple crops and grain, and Mr. Harkness has always raised and grown a number of stock. He served as school director about fifteen years, and as a republican has allowed his name to go on the ticket a number of times as candidate, through the democratic majority in that township has always been very strong. Mr. and Mrs. Harkness were active members of the Baptist Church at Newtown, and he served as superintendent of the Sunday school for ten or twelve years. Since the death of his wife he has lived rather retired and not so closely identified with the church and other affairs as formerly. Mr. Hrkness has always been a peace loving man, and has never had a law suit. However, he is familiar with court procedure, since he has sat on a number of local juries and on grand juries. He as been connected with the County Farm Improvement Association.
Mr. Harkness had five children: Oscar T. is connected with the Fairbanks-Morse Company at Portland, Oregon. The daugher Lucy died in infancy. Herbert is a farmer in Burton Township and married Lena Wells. William is the manager of the homestead farm and married Mary Meyer, of Burton Township. They have three children, Margaret Elizabeth, Wilfred and Harold. William Harkness was for five or six years a rural mail carrier, but is now giving all his time to general farming and the raising of good cattle and hogs. Columbus Loren, the youngest of the children, is a graduate of the Payson High School, took the full course of mechanical engineering in the Illinois State University, but instead of following his profession entered Young Men’s Christian Association work as general secretary at Lincoln, Nebraska, also performed similar duties at Louisville, Kentucky, but is now inspecter for the Prudential Insurance Company at Louisville. He married Mabel Knight of Decatur, IL.
File contributed by Mary Love Berryman
Source: Quincy and Adams County History and Representative Men, pp 1100-1102; by David Wilcox. Chicago: Lewis Publishing, 1919.