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Below is a family biography included in the Biographical Review Volume of Biographical Sketches of The Leading Citizens of Hampshire County, Massachusetts published by Biographical Review Publishing Company in 1896.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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CHARLES N. HARLOW, senior member of the firm of C. N. Harlow & Co., of Northampton, Mass., well-known contractors and builders, is a native of Cummington, Hampshire County, born May 13, 1836, son of Charles and Orissa (Mason) Harlow and grandson of Matthew Harlow, born in Abington, Mass., in the year 1770.

Matthew Harlow, having been reared in Abington, removed to Cummington, where he bought land, and became quite an extensive farmer. He was twice married. His first union was with Rachel Thompson, who died comparatively young, leaving him four children; namely, Matthew, Hattie, Hannah, and Lydia. He afterward married Persis Parker, widow of Benjamin Parker, and who had two children, Jacob and Benjamin Parker. Of this second union five children were born; namely, Charles, father of the subject of this sketch, Rachel, Asa, William, and Joseph, all of whom are now deceased. Grandfather Harlow died in 1842, having outlived both of his wives, who had passed away on the Cummington homestead.

Charles Harlow, born in Cummington in the year 1817, spent his early years on his father’s farm. When old enough, he learned the tanner’s trade of William Hubbard. In 1841 he removed with his family to Amherst, Me., where he worked at his trade as an employee for five years. He was afterward in business for himself for two years in tanning in Murival, Me., remaining there until he was burned out by a fire that was caused by lightning. In 1848 he returned to the place of his nativity, and, purchasing the William Hubbard farm, containing five hundred and twelve acres, engaged in the manufacture of lumber, using the mill on his farm for manufacturing purposes. He also undertook bridge building, and erected thirty of the bridges that cross the Westfield River. Another of his enterprises was a barrel factory, which supplied the Berkshire Glass Works with barrels. He was an important factor in the industrial interests of Cummington, was esteemed for his business capacity and good judgment, and served the town as Selectman for ten years. In 1835 he was united in marriage to Orissa Mason, who was born in Cummington in 1819, being the daughter of Jesse Mason, another pioneer farmer and lifelong resident of Cummington. She had been a schoolmate of the Hon. Henry L. Dawes and of the beloved poet, William Cullen Bryant. Eight children were born to them, of whom a son died in infancy; and a daughter, Sarah J., died when twenty-one years old. Those living are as follows: Charles N., of this sketch; George W.; Ozro F.; Orrissa I., wife of F. E. Brown; Persis O., wife of Charles O. Gloyd; and Willis E. All are residents of this city. The brothers, who have inherited the mechanical ability of their father, are in the building business. Neither of the parents is living, the mother having passed away in 1881 and the father in 1886.

Charles N. Harlow received a substantial common-school education, attending the district schools in Amherst, Me., and in Cummington, Mass. He early turned his attention to mechanical occupations, working with his father until he came of age. Then he went to Detroit, Me., where he made and stamped leather for the F. Shaw Brothers and for the Detroit and Plymouth tanners. In 1859 he went to Roxton Falls, Canada East, and conducted a tannery for F. Shaw & Brothers for three years. He went west in 1866 to Hebron, Ill., where he had charge of a busy dairy farm until 1868, when he returned to Cummington. Soon after he purchased the old store of Elisha Mitchell in West Cummington, and ran it for eight years. He then went to Northampton, forming a copartnership with his brother George; and they have since built up a business as flourishing as any in the city. In 1881 the firm purchased their present establishment. Mr. Harlow bought his residence in 1888, having previously paid rent for it for seven years. In politics he is identified with the Republican party, but has little time for official work. He was elected to the Common Council in 1888, but resigned after serving nine months. He belongs to the Masonic fraternity, being a Knight Templar.

Mr. Harlow was married March 14, 1860, to Lovina S. Howes, a daughter of Henry and Lucy Ann (Simons) Howes. Mrs. Howes died in July, 1887, aged sixty-seven years, and Mr. Howes April 28, 1889, in the seventy-sixth year of his age, leaving seven of their ten children, eight of whom grew to maturity. Of the union of Mr. and Mrs. Harlow five children were born, one of whom, Linus E., died when two years of age. The others are as follows: Lillian L., residing at home, engaged in the millinery business; Charles N., Jr., a salesman in Springfield, married to Lila A. Hannah; Emma P., wife of Alfred B. Montville, a travelling salesman of Northampton, having two daughters; and Henry Howes, a carpenter, a promising young man of nineteen years.

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This family biography is one of the numerous biographies included in the Biographical Review Volume of Biographical Sketches of The Leading Citizens of Hampshire County, Massachusetts published in 1896. 

View additional Hampshire County, Massachusetts family biographies here: Hampshire County, Massachusetts Biographies

View a map of 1901 Hampshire County, Massachusetts here: Hampshire County Massachusetts Map

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