Ohio Biographies

Thomas Harper

There was born in Jasper township, Fayette county, Ohio, seventy-seven years ago, a lad who was destined to become one of the most substantial men of his township. Born in a rude log cabin near the present village of Octa, Thomas Harper, a gallant soldier of the Civil War and one of the largest land owners of Jasper township, has lived such a life as to merit the hearty esteem and respect with which he is held by every one with whom he is acquainted. His father was one of the early pioneers of this county and a worthy citizen who was deeply interested in the welfare of his community. It is needless to state that the man who accumulates a farm of seven hundred acres solely through his initiative and effort is deserving of a great amount of credit. It takes close economy, good business methods and management as well as incessant industry to bring this about and these have been the characteristics which have marked the career of Mr. Harper. He still retains an unusual amount of energy, and although he is now seventy-seven years of age, he worked in the harvest fields in the summer of 1914, performing a very satisfactory day's work. It is such men who have made this county what it is today.

Thomas Harper, the son of James and Christina (Rankin) Harper, was born September 10, 1837, in a log cabin in Jasper township. His father was born in Virginia and came with his parents, also natives of Virginia, to Fayette county, Ohio, shortly after its organization in 1810. James Harper died in 1848 when Thomas was a lad of eleven years of age, leaving his widow with a family of six children, Mrs. Mahala Allen, Thomas, John, Mrs. Barbara Pierson, Mrs. Elizabeth Allen and Cyrus. Of these children, John and Barbara are deceased, while the others are still living.

Thomas Harper received the limited education which was afforded by the primitive schools of his day, although he was fortunate in being able to attend a select school in his home neighborhood. He was married before the Civil War and started in life on a farm of forty-three acres, most of which was covered with brush and water. From this small beginning he has risen to a prominence which justifies his inclusion among the most substantial men of the township. His extensive land holdings of seven hundred acres bear ample witness of the prosperity which has attended his efforts and show that he is a man of more than ordinary ability. During the Civil War he and his brother, Cyrus, enlisted in the service of their country. Cyrus was a member of the cavalry branch of the service, and Thomas was a member of Company G, One Hundred Sixty-eighth Regiment, Ohio Volunteer Infantry. He served one year and then returned to his farm where he has since resided.

Mr. Harper was married in 1859 to Rachel Hargrove, the daughter of Hubert and Millie (Oliver) Hargrove, and to this union have been born six children, Wallace, James, Charles, Lucinda, Christina and Estelle, all of whom are still living with the exception of James.

Mr. Harper is a loyal member of the Grand Army of the Republic and deeply interested in everything pertaining to the welfare of the old soldiers. He and his family are loyal and consistent members of the Methodist Episcopal church, in whose welfare they are greatly interested.


From History of Fayette County Ohio - Her People, Industries and Institutions by Frank M. Allen (1914, R. F. Bowen & Company, Inc.)