The Story of Liberal, Missouri – O. E. Harmon, Biographical Sketch

THE STORY OF LIBERAL, MISSOURI
BY O. E. HARMON
Published by THE LIBERAL NEWS, J. P. MOORE PRINTER, LIBERAL, MO, 1925

O. E. Harmon, Biographical Sketch

O. E. Harmon was born in Kalamazoo County, Michigan, December 3, 1854. His father, Asa Harmon, was a native of Vermont, and descended from John Harmon, a native of England, who settled in Springfield, Mass., about 1640. John Harmon was the first Harmon to settle in America, and his descendants are widely scattered over the United States. Among them may be mentioned ex-Governor Harmon of Ohio, and Mrs. Cleveland, the wife of President Grover Cleveland.

A short time before the breaking out of the Civil War, Asa Harmon removed to Van Buren County, Michigan. Here he lived when the fire on Fort Sumter sounded the beginning of the war. He enlisted in the Union Army, first in the 2nd Michigan Cavalry, the regiment of which Phil Sheridan was the colonel; and later was transferred to the 3rd Michigan Cavalry, of which regiment he became chaplain.

He was mustered out of the service in the spring of 1866, and in that year moved to Union County, Illinois. Here

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O. E. Harmon lived with his parents until the spring of 1881, excepting a period (1874-1876) which he spent in Colorado. O. E. received his education in the district school and in the high school at Anna, in Union County.

In 1878 he began the study of the law, and in June of that year married E. Viola Noyes, the daughter of James A. Noyes, and sister of Ray Noyes, who lives near Liberal.

He was licensed to practise law by the Supreme Court of Illinois in October, 1880. After a few months spent in the practice of the law at Anna, he moved to Washington, and after teaching school in Lewis County one year, settled at Chehalis, the county seat of Lewis County. This was in the spring of 1882. Here he practised law, and at different times served as deputy in the offices of County Auditor and County Clerk. He lived in Lewis County until the spring of 1897. He became interested in Astronomy in 1888, and his calculations on the solar eclilpse of June, 1891, drew complimentary letters from the astronomical staff of the Lick Observatory located at Mount Hamilton, California. He contributed articles to the publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, and to “Popular Astronomy” published at Northfield, Minn. He furnished

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the planetary predictions to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer for five years (11893-1898). Besides the above astronomical work while a resident of Washington, he brought out in 1886, a little volume of poems entitled, “Voices from the Cascades.”

The cordial reception his astronomical writings received encouraged him to look forward to the career of the professional astronomer, and he planned to take a course of special training for that purpose. But in the winter of 1896-7, his health failed and he was obliged to give up his plans. The doctors advised a change of climate, and this brought him to Barton County, Missouri, in the spring of 1897. Here he has lived ever since with the exception of three years (1916-9) spent in Louisiana. During his residence in Barton County, he has lived on a little farm southeast of Liberal, which he has named “Lyrian Farm.”

His later writings have been published in the St. Louis Globe-Democrat, Springfield, (Mass.) Republican and Shreveport Times. He has also contributed to the local papers of Barton County, both on astronomical and literary subjects.

Among his literary writings may be mentioned “The Astronomy of Shakespeare” in which knowledge

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of the great poet relating to astronomy is very fully developed. This work was published in “Popular Astronomy.”

Mr. Harmon has always been a close student and has ever taken a deep interest in educational matters. His addresses to the schools and teachers’ meetings in Barton County bear ample testimony to this feature of his character.

J. P. Moore, Publisher.

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