from Past and Present of Mahaska County, Iowa by Manoah Hedge The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co. 1906
Jacob Harper has, since 1837, been a resident of Mahaska county. Almost a half century has passed since he came and great changes have occurred. His mind bears many pictures of early pioneer days and experiences and he is well informed concerning the events which have shaped the history of this part of the state. He was born in Licking county, Ohio, September 23, 1824, and has therefore passed the eighty- first milestone on life's journey. His father, Abraham Harper, was born in Virginia and married Catherine Criger, a native of Pennsylvania. Both died when about seventy years of age, passing away in Muchakinock, this county. In the family were thirteen children, of whom seven are now living: Mrs. Betsey Titcomb, who is now living in Montezuma, Iowa; Sally, the widow of Benjamin Gibbons, of Eddyville, Iowa; William, of Muchakinock; Mary, the wife of Arthur Masters, a resident of Albia, Iowa; Archibald, living in Muchakinock; George, of Monroe county, Iowa; and Jacob. When quite young Jacob Harper began working as a farm hand for ten dollars per month. He was seventeen years of age at the time of his parents' removal from Ohio to Indiana and later he drove a team, hauling pork to the Wabash river. As a companion and helpmate for life's journey, he chose Rebecca Harper, who, though of the same name, was not a relative. They were married May 6, 1849, Mrs. Harper being at that time only sixteen years of age. Her birth occurred in Ohio, April 14, 1833, her parents being Joseph and Mary Harper, both of whom died in Ohio, when their daughter was a small girl. She had one brother, John, who was killed in the battle of Vicksburg. In the fall of 1857 Mr. and Mrs. Harper drove from Indiana to Iowa, being four weeks on the road. He purchased forty acres of wild land at a dollar and a quarter per acre, near Muchakinock and split rails at fifty cents per hundred in order to pay for the property. Upon the little claim he built a log cabin, in which he lived for several years and the children were all born in that pioneer home. He broke his land with five or six ox-teams and a twenty-two-inch plow. The hazelbrush was as high as the backs of his cattle, and there was no evidence of improvement at that time, but soon his earnest and persistent labors wrought a marked change in the appearance of his place, which within a few years brought forth bounteous harvests. He lived in the log cabin until war times, and later he added eighty acres to his farm, which he cleared and improved with the aid of his eldest son. In 1883 he sold this property for one hundred dollars per acre to a coal company and came to Prairie township, where he purchased one hundred and sixty acres, upon which he now resides. This was improved with a good house and barn, while the fields had been cultivated, the farm giving every evidence of modern progress. He also purchased two hundred acres farther north for his son William and bought one hundred and sixty acres for his son Sidney adjoining his own place. Afterward he and his son Sidney purchased one hundred and sixty acres more, so that there is now three-fourths of a section in one body owned by the father and son. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Harper were born four children, of whom three are yet living, namely: William, who is mentioned elsewhere in this work; Mary, the wife of J. H. Williams, living elsewhere in this township, Mr. Harper having assisted them in purchasing a farm; and Sidney T., who married Ora Stevenson and resides upon the farm adjoining his father's. One daughter, Clara B., died when only three years old. Mr. Harper is in many respects a model man, for he never uses tobacco nor liquor in any form, and is a good neighbor-honest and upright. With meager advantages in his youth, he has been a hard worker and his labors have been attended with success. At all times he has received the able assistance of his estimable wife and they have labored together earnestly as the years have gone by until they now have a comfortable home and a valuable property. Mrs. Harper belongs to the Methodist Episcopal church. Mr. Harper exercises his right of franchise in support of the men and measures of the republican party and their standing in public regard is indicated by the fact that it has been said of them, "They have not an enemy in the world."
Past and Present of Mahaska County, Iowa
Mahaska County, Iowa Genealogy