George W. Harner, a prominent and influential citizen and large property owner of Allen County, residing in section 23, German township, was born April 22, 1850, in Mercer County, Ohio, and is a son of Ruhel and Sallie (Ryder) Harner.


Ruhel Harner was born and reared in Mercer County where he was married.  He was the soul of loyalty and patriotism, and when the Civil War cast its dark cloud over our country, he was among the first to enlist in the 31st Regiment, Ohio Vol. Inf.  However the company had more than its quota and he was sent home.  He reenlisted in the same regiment but was sent home from Columbus, Ohio, on account of sickness. he then tried enlisting as a teamster, but was no more successful than before and his fourth enlistment  resulted as the previous ones had done.  Soon after the fourth failure he again enlisted as a teamster and was sent to the front where he forfeited his life in behalf of the country and the flag he loved so well.  On New Year's Day, 1864, while out foraging at Cumberland Gap, the entire company of 35 men, except two were taken prisoners by the enemy and sent to Libby Prison, the "Inferno" of the Rebel stronghold where so many brave boys in blue suffered agony and death.  Not one of this party of 33 ever breathed the air of freedom again.  Of the two who escaped capture, one was Miles  Ryder, an uncle of our subject, and the other a sick man whom Mr. Ryder managed to hide from the enemy.  After three weary days of hiding and untold hardships, they succeeded in returning to the camp in safety.


George W. Harner was reared in Mercer County and attended district school until his 13th year, when he left the school-room to learn his lessons in the larger school of experience.  The family owned 130 acres of land in Center township, Mercer County, and it was here he first engaged in farming.  After several years devoted to agricultural pursuits, he became a commercial traveler and for 10 years was engaged in selling farm machinery for the McCormick, Deering and International harvester companies.  He has made a success of whatever he has undertaken and has been able to accumulate considerable property, being constantly engaged in buying and selling land.


On August 25, 1870, Mr Harner was married to Charlotte Walker, daughter of Samuel and Susan (McMullin) Walker, of Wayne County, Ohio, and nine children have been born to them, namely: W. V., born February 8, 1871; B. F., born December 8, 1872; C. O. born September 11, 1875; Harry, born August 28, 1877; Edward, born April 26, 1881; Lillie May, born September 9, 1883, deceased October 27, 1902; Elden, born July 1, 1889; Oscar, born July 9, 1892; and Hershell, born March 17, 1897.  W. V. Harner married Ida Turner, of Indiana and resides at Montpelier, Indiana, where he is a driller in the oil field.  B. F. Harner, who resides at Van Buren, Indiana, and is working in the oil field, married Mary Shillinger of Lima and has four children.  C. O. Harner, who resides near his father's place, married Pearl Wooster and has four children living and one deceased.  Harry Harner, who resides at Van Buren, Indiana, and works in the oil field, married Annie Blaize, of Lima, and had four children, one of whom is dead.  Edward Harner married Louie Judkin.  Mr. Harner is a member of the I. O. O. F.  lodge at Elida and a member of the United Brethren Church at Lima.  He was a church trustee for 15 years while residing in Mercer County.