Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Walter J. Harmon and Fanny Arnold

Walter Harmon and Fanny Arnold are my great-great-grandparents, through their son and eldest child, Edward Joseph Harmon.

Walter was born February 1857 in Whiteside Co, Illinois, likely in or near the community of Round Grove.  He was the son of Porter J. Harmon and Rebecca Armstrong, and one of six children.  When Walter was 19 his mother passed away, leaving some younger siblings without a mother in the house.

Fanny was born in Berkswell, Warwickshire, England on 7 November 1856, the daughter of Edward Arnold and Mary Arnold.  When Fanny was only about 4 years old, Mary died, leaving four young children.  Edward remarried to Emma Smith and had several more children.  At about the age of 10, Edward and Emma brought their children to Niagara, Ontario, Canada.  They settled in this area and as of current research, Fanny is the only child that I have found to have left Canada.  In about 1881, Fanny arrived in Whiteside Co, Illinois though by what route I do not know nor do I know the reason she came.

On the 16th of February 1882, Walter and Fanny were united in marriage.   Their first child, Edward, was born in 1883 and as a two-month-old infant the family relocated to Dakota Territory.   Walter and Fanny homesteaded property in Clark Co, Dakota Territory, in what is now Clark County, South Dakota.  It appears that Walter's sister, Adaline, and her husband Almon Zimmer, as well as their father, Porter Harmon all came together from Whiteside Co, Illinois.

Walter and Fanny had five children:
  1. Edward Joseph, my great-grandfather, born 9 Jan 1883 in Whiteside Co, Illinois
  2. Edna Barbara born 16 Feb 1885 in Clark, Clark Co, Dakota Territory (now South Dakota)
  3. Ida Elizabeth born 13 Jul 1890 in Clark, Clark Co, Dakota Territory (now South Dakota)
  4. Fannie Mary born 21 Mar 1892 in Clark, Clark Co, Dakota Territory (now South Dakota)
  5. Morris Walter born 25 Apr 1896 in Clark, Clark Co, Dakota Territory (now South Dakota)
Their original homestead was in Mt. Pleasant township in Clark Co.  Research indicates that Walter's father, Porter, likely lived with Walter and Fanny on their farm until his death in 1897.  By 1910, the family had moved into the town of Clark and lived their until Walter's death on 6 Jun 1921.  According to Walter's obituary, he had suffered a stroke some years prior that left him unable to continue farming.  He died within days of my grandfather Fred's birth.  I always have wondered if Walter ever saw his grandson through which the family middle name of Joseph was passed along.

Fannie Arnold Harmon - July 1944
As a result of Walter's death, Fanny was a widow for over 20 years.  During her later years, she lived with her son Edward.  My grandfather Fred was the youngest of the children in the house, so he spent some of those years at home with his grandmother Fanny living with them.  Because she was only 4'10" tall, Fred had coined the term "Little Grandma" and I remember as a child hearing him refer lovingly to his "Little Grandma".  She died 12 Jun 1945, just mere months before my grandpa Fred returned from his military service in her home country of England.  I remember him speaking with regret that he didn't make it home in time to see her before her death.

Walter and Fanny are buried together in Rose Hill Cemetery, north of the city of Clark, Clark Co., South Dakota.  On my mother's recent trip to South Dakota, she photographed the headstones of her great-grandparents.

Photo taken June 2010

Please contact me for more information, especially if you descend from Walter and Fannie.  Please note that I have seen Fanny's name also spelled Fannie. 

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