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Below is a family biography included in the Biographical Annals of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania published in 1904 by T. S. Benham & Company and The Lewis Publishing Company; Elwood Roberts, Editor.  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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HARRY B. HARMER, one of the leading business men and one of the most prominent citizens of Cheltenham township, Montgomery county, Pennsylvania, was born in Abington township, March 9, 1858, his parents, Henry S. and Tillara (Bitting) Harmer, having resided at that time in the old village of Mooretown, now Abington.

The Harmer family are descended from Quaker ancestors who came to America from England in the time of William Penn, about the date of his second coming to Pennsylvania. There are said to have been four Harmers, brothers, one of whom settled at Winchester, Virginia; one at Harmersville, Salem county, New Jersey, the town taking its name from the family; one in Germantown, Pennsylvania; and one in Cheltenham township, Montgomery county, Pennsylvania. The last named is said to have received a grant of one thousand acres of land from William Penn, on a portion of which the borough of Jenkintown and vicinity is now situated.

James and Mary Harmer, great-grandparents of Harry B. Harmer, were the parents of a son, Samuel Harmer (grandfather) , whose wife, Deborah Ann Harmer, bore him the following named children: James, who died in infancy; Hannah, who became the wife of Ephraim Miller, and had six children: Carrie, John, Alfred S., Annie, William and Emma; Caroline, who became the wife of Christian Ottinger, and had three children: Hattie, Sadie and Harry; Henry S., mentioned hereinafter; Harriet, who became the wife of Samuel Gilbert, and had two children: Jesse and Harmer Gilbert; she married for her second husband George Waterfield, and their children were: Laura and George Waterfield; David, who married Susan Tustin, and their family consisted of three children: George, Hattie and Samuel; Mary, who became the wife of Charles Unruh, and they are the parents of five children: Emma, George, Charles, Abraham and James; James, who married Kate Oldfield, and they had one son, James; John, who married Mary Michener, and their children are: Annie, Emma, Samuel and James; Samuel, who married Mary Germon, no issue.

Henry S. Harmer (father) was born March 4, 1830, in Cheltenham township, near Glenside, close to what has been known for many years as the Harmer Hill Methodist church. He was educated in the public schools of his native township, residing at home with his parents until seventeen years of age, when he went to what was then known locally as Guineatown, now Edge Hill, and learned the trade of wagon and carriage building. After completing his apprenticeship he went to Anderson, Indiana, and obtained employment at carriage making, continuing there about three years. He then returned to the east and located at the village of Three Tuns, Montgomery county, Pennsylvania. He engaged in business at that place on his own account, but after a short residence removed to Mooretown, Pennsylvania, where he continued in the same line of business. He then removed to Hilltown, Bucks county, where he engaged in the occupation of farming, returning later to Three Tuns, where he resumed his former calling. He was located at the last mentioned place from 1861 to April, 1867, when he removed to Flourtown, in the picturesque valley of Wissahickon, in Whitemarsh township. He continued in business there until 1902, when he retired, although residing there. Mr. Harmer married, March 10, 1853, Tillara Bitting, and they were the parents of two children: Charles, who married Elmira Leister, and the issue of this marriage was one daughter, Florence; and Harry B. Harmer.

Harry B. Harmer was educated in the public schools of Whitemarsh township, having been one of the pupils in 1873 and 1874 of Ellwood Roberts, who was principal of the school at that time, along with Senator John A. Wentz and others, who have since attained prominence in various pursuits of life. He left school at an early age to learn the trade of carriage building with his father. After acquiring a thorough knowledge of all the details, he left home in order to engage in the saddlery and hardware business in the city of Philadelphia, entering what was then the largest establishment of the kind in America, that of George D. B. Keim & Co. In 1893 he severed his connection with this establishment and became connected with another world-renowned firm, that of the Frank Miller Company of New York and London, England, and he now has charge of the business interests of that firm in the east. Throughout his business career Mr. Harmer has been very successful, diligent attention to business and natural ability having achieved remarkable results.

Mr. Harmer has been a member of the Cheltenham township school board since 1892, and treasurer of the board since 1900. He has been very actively interested in educational progress and in the work of the Directors’ and Teachers’ Association of the Lower End of Montgomery County He is a member of the Ashbourne Presbyterian church, and has been secretary of its board of trustees since 1894. He is also a member of the Masonic order. In politics he is a Republican, and an active worker in behalf of party success. He is a self-made man, universally recognized as a valuable member of the community in which he lives.

Mr. Harmer married, May 3, 1883, Emma Jones, daughter of William S. and Sophia Jones, who were also descended from an old Quaker family that came to Pennsylvania in colonial times. They had three children, as follows: William H., born September 18, 1885; Walter J., born July 15, 1889; Ellen M., born December 13, 1891. The mother of these children, Emma (Jones) Harmer, died April 14, 1904.

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This family biography is one of more than 1,000 biographies included in the Biographical Annals of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania published in 1904 by T. S. Benham & Company and The Lewis Publishing Company.  For the complete description, click here: Biographical Annals of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania

View additional Montgomery County, Pennsylvania family biographies here: Montgomery County, Pennsylvania Biographies

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