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Below is a family biography included in Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Pope County, Arkansas published by Southern Publishing Company in 1891.  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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Capt. J. M. Harkey, a prominent citizen of Russellville and Senator for the Fourth Senatorial District, was born in North Carolina on June 11, 1832, and was the eighth of eighteen children born to David and S. Elizabeth (Shinn) Harkey, both natives of North Carolina. David Harkey, familiarly known as “Old Uncle Davy” Harkey, was born in Montgomery County on June 29, 1797, and died at Palmer, Tex., on June 10, 1884. He moved from North Carolina in December, 1839, and settled within a mile and a half of the present flourishing town of Russellville, Ark., then a wild prairie waste, with only one or two families living within its present corporate limits. He married Miss S. E. Shinn, who preceded him to the grave in 1859, and by whom he had eighteen children— seven sons and eleven daughters—seventeen of whom, by a kind Providence, he was permitted to rear to manhood and womanhood. At the time of his death, which occurred when he was about eighty-seven years of age, he had 121 grandchildren, ninety-nine of whom are now living, and eighty-three great-grandchildren, sixty-eight of whom are living. He was a worthy and exemplary member of the Lutheran Church for many years, or until about his eightieth year, when, in consequence of there being no church sufficiently near him in his new home, with no probability then for one in the near future, and regarding it as an indispensable duty devolving upon him to attach himself to some organized religious body, he connected himself with the Christian Church, of which he was a devout and worthy member until the time of his death. Many of the old citizens of Pope County well remember “Old Uncle Davy” Harkey, his noble, generous nature and disposition, his social, friendly relations with all, and his kindly welcome to those who visited his hospitable home. He had one son, Silas Monroe, who volunteered for the Mexican War and who was taken sick and died at San Antonio, Tex., on his way to Buena Vista. He had two sons, Dr. George W. Harkey and Capt. James M. Harkey (our subject), who are now living at Russellville. The former is a physician of some prominence, though not pursuing his profession as a business, and is a local preacher in the Christian Church, and the latter we will learn more of farther on. “Uncle Davy” has five daughters living in Pope County, namely: Mrs. John M. Bradley, Mrs. J. E. Shinn, Mrs. A. Reed, Mrs. G. A. Reed and Miss Vina Harkey. He has three sons and four daughters living in Texas: John, Jacob and Henry Harkey, and Mrs. W. H. McKeever, Mrs. William Davis, Mrs. Joel Epps and Mrs. H. S. Maddux. Capt. James M. Harkey was reared to the duties of the farm and had limited educational advantages. He planted fourteen seasons for his father. At the age of twenty-two years he began farming for himself, and was married in 1855 to Miss Elizabeth P. Walker, a native of Pope County. In 1859 he engaged in the drug business at Dover, and was thus engaged at the outbreak of the war. In 1862 he enlisted in the army, but was petitioned to return by the citizens, as a druggist. In the spring of 1863 he again entered the army, assisted in raising a regiment, and was elected second lieutenant of Company B, Caffee’s regiment. He participated in the battles of Arkansas and Missouri, and in the fall of 1864 he was promoted to the rank of captain, serving in outpost duty in Southern Arkansas until the termination of hostilities. He at once resumed farming, in which he continued until 1868, and then came to Russellville where with his brother, G. W. Harkey, he started a drug store in that town. For many years this firm thrived and prospered, as Harkey Bros., and had a good jobbing trade, putting up many of their remedies as Harkey’s Ague Pills, Chill Tonic, Liver Medicine, Pile Remedy, Eye Tonic, Diarrhea Cordial, Granger Liniment, Vegetable Liver Pills and Cough Syrup, all proprietary medicine and belonging to the firm, which they still prepare and sell wholesale throughout Western Arkansas. During that time, the firm erected two brick buildings, but on March 20, 1890, they sold out the business and the store house, but continue the manufacture of the above named remedies. Capt. Harkey bought a farm of 220 acres near town, has 100 acres under cultivation, and has a very pleasant home, owning also other lands elsewhere. He is a raiser of blooded horses, and has a stallion “Coldeck,” one of the best horses of this section, and seven brood mares. He has a good stock farm. He is one of the prominent men of the county, is a prosperous merchant and a good citizen. He was nominated by the Democratic party as State Senator for Pope and Johnson Counties, and was elected on September 1, 1890, by a majority of 1,368 votes. He was chairman of the Democratic Central Committee of Pope County for many years, and has done much by his honesty and integrity to strengthen that party locally. The family are members of the Christian Church. Capt. Harkey has been a member of the Masonic fraternity since his twenty-first year and has been district deputy grand master for many years. He was also most puesant grandmaster of the Grand Council of the State of Arkansas, and served two years as worthy grand patron of the Grand Chapter Eastern Star of the State, and is now district deputy grand patron of the Twelfth District. To his marriage were born five children, one of whom is deceased: Alice P., Mary Scathie, Charley D. (who was scalded to death at the age of three years), Reuben M. and Floy Lee. Alice P. Harkey is thirty years old, is married and has four children; Mary Scathie Harkey is twenty-two years old, married, and has one child; Reuben M. Harkey is nineteen years old, and is now attending medical college; Floy L. Harkey sixteen years old, is now in Glasgow, Ky., at school. Capt. Harkey was twice taken prisoner during the war. The first time he was soon exchanged; the second time he was led out with a rope around his neck to be hanged. While his captors were tying a rope to the limb of a tree he gave the sign of distress as a Mason, and was rescued by a second lieutenant of Federal troops, who was a Mason and a friend. Mr. Harkey says: “He said he was raised in Indiana, but I have forgotten his name and post-office address; I would be very glad to meet him in some Masonic lodge or Grand Lodge. I would most assuredly tell him that the latch string of my door hangs on the outside, and I would be glad if he would pull it and walk in at any time and sup with me and I with him. If I meet him no more in this world I hope to meet him where parting will be known no more.”

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This family biography is one of 96 biographies included in Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Pope County, Arkansas published in 1891.  For the complete description, click here: Pope County, Arkansas History, Genealogy, and Maps

View additional Pope County, Arkansas family biographies here: Pope County, Arkansas

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