April 11, 2003


To: All Harper Descendants

From: Harper Cemetery Association Board of Directors

Subject: 2003 Harper Reunion

Date: Sunday, May 25, 2003


Dear Family and Friends:

Spring is finally arriving after a long hard winter and we are planning for our 2003 Reunion. The family will gather on Sunday of Memorial Weekend, May 25, 2003, at the Harper Pavilion located on the Harper Farm located 2.2 miles East on US Route 33 from Harman, WV. Turn in at the Jacob C. Harper Cemetery sign and continue on a gravel road bearing right to the white farmhouse. The pavilion is located to the right. The cemetery is located on the road to the right of the big barn. Follow the gravel road through the gates (4) and you will arrive at the cemetery. The gates are generally closed to maintain livestock control but they are not locked, for your access. You are welcome to come at any time. If you find the gates closed, please return them to that same position as you go through. Thanks and enjoy your stay.

The picnic lunch is a covered dish dinner to begin at 1:00 pm. Bring your favorite dish, and a hearty appetite, to join in great fellowship in renewing our family ties. If you are traveling and cannot fix anything, come anyway. There is always more food than we can eat from some of the best cooks in the world. When you arrive, please register and get a name tag and a door prize ticket. The door prizes have been graciously donated every year by Nela Manning. If there are changes in your address, or if this is your first time, it is essential to get your complete address recorded. For those of you with email addresses the newsletter will be sent electronically in order to cut expenses in postage. We have a web page that can be accessed at www.fred.net/mfuller . Marsha Fuller, a member of the Board of Directors, is maintaining this site and has been responsible for collection of the family history and pictures that are on that site as well as the annual newsletter.

      The Board of Directors will meet later in the afternoon to discuss the business of the family. Donations are accepted for the care and upkeep of the Cemetery, Pavilion, and road. We are working toward making the Jacob C. Harper Cemetery a perpetual care cemetery with donations going to expenses and investment annuities. Descendants are encouraged to consider the Cemetery in their estate planning. If you cannot attend the Reunion and wish to make a donation, you can mail your donation to our treasurer, Eleanor Nestor at HC66 Box 10B, Hendricks, WV 26271.

      The weather is always something to think about in coming to the mountains. We have dodged rain the last two years by having pretty weather with only a small sprinkle last year. However, it is sometimes breezy and cool in the pavilion, and up at the Cemetery, so bring something warm.

We hope to see you there and know that it will be great to visit and get to know all of our family all over again.


The Harper Family Newsletter


Volume 8                                                                                         Spring 2003


First-time Attendees at the 2002 Reunion were:

Will this be your year??


2002 Harper Reunion


Call for Help:

Greg Adamson is collecting donations to fence in the Susan (Skidmore) Harper Cemetery.  Susan was the mother of Dr. Eli Akim Harper.  The supplies will cost about $300. Send checks to 2723 Ottobine Rd., #2, Dayton, VA 22812. He also needs helping hands to work on it over the Memorial Day weekend.  Anyone coming in for the reunion could help!  Contact him at:  540-879-2461  or 304-567-2286.


Farm for Sale:

Greg Adamson writes: “the historic Harpers Mills farm, south of Seneca Rocks, WV, is up for sale.  It contains 180 acres. This is the farm where Dr. Eli Akim Harper was born, and his brother, Sylvanus Harper, inherited this part of the original farm. It has a native trout stream flowing through it, from west to east, into the North Fork of the South Branch of the Potomac. The North Fork River is one of the best trout streams that West Virginia has to offer.  The portion of the farm on the River Knob east of the North Fork River is good deer hunting. The asking price for the farm is $700,000 but the owner will take $500,000.  The farm has a lot of river bottom land, plus one barn, and a large garage with a huge storage space overtop. There are two houses on the farm. The house by US 33 has traditionally been rented. The structures, bottom land and stream frontage probably make the price not far out of line.”

Steven Zuraff sent an email:

“In an attempt to discover a potential, more ancestral connection between the Harper lines in Pendleton County, I was wondering if, in your next Harper newsletter, you might mention Y-chromosome testing.  That is, you might ask if any Harpers out there plan to have their DNA analyzed on their own initiative (as opposed to being a participant in a Harper surname project).  It would be useful if they would communicate their results to me. Then, as Harpers from the same or other lines get tested, we can slowly compile a database which ultimately MIGHT determine if these lines are related or not.  It would be preferable to do this as a surname project because you derive some benefits such as discounts on the testing costs, but I don't know if there is much interest in such a project at present. That is why I suggested the long-term compilation of a database.  You can contact Steven at :  sjz@sprintmail.com


Ø      The Dr. Eli Akim Harper ranch near San Diego, California has been purchased by the Anza Borrego Foundation and merged with the Anza Borrego Desert State Park and the Cuyamaca Rancho State Park.  Photos and memorabilia from the Harper family will be on exhibit there yearround.  A photo of the original Harper homestead in 1865 was in their Spring 2002 newsletter.  More information can be seen on their website at:      www.theabf.org


Ø      RESEARCH TIPS:  Using Death Records

If you’re looking for the parents of any of your Harpers, check to see if they have a death record.  The State of Virginia has kept death records since 1853 (with certain gaps).  Information typically recorded on these was names of parents, date of birth, date of death, and cause of death.

Annual Harper Reunion

May 25, 2003 1:00 pm

Covered Dish Dinner

Harman, West Virginia

Ø      There are 7 of the original 136 grandchildren of Jacob C. and Susan (McDonald) Harper still living.  They are:  June (Harrison) Reed of Los Angeles, CA, Sally (Harper) Head of Akron, OH, Albert Harper of Dryfork, WV, Nela (Harper) Carter of Akron, OH, Madge (Harper) Bottom, of Claremont, CA, Neal Harper of Lawton, OK,  and Erma Montoney Teal of Dublin, OH.




Newsletters sent to the following people were returned with “Forwarding Order Expired” last year.  Does anyone have current addresses for:


Barbara Neil                              Bruce Alan Leitner

Edward & Fern Muse          Jacklyn F. Valentine

Karen Eye                           Louise Harman Bower

Margaret Andrews               Mark Stephen Thornberry

Michael & Nancy Roder       Dale Lacy

Mrs. Jack Marzano               Troy Brown




·         Alexzandria Jai Hershberger, daughter of  John Harper & Sharla (Larsen) Hershberger , born June 28, 2000.  John is the great-grandson of George Harper, 9th Child). 

·         Aidan Nathaniel Hart, son of Doug & Diane (Goldenberg) Hart, on June 30, 2002.  Doug is descended from Malinda (Harper) Carr, sister of Jacob C. Harper.

·        Shane Myles McClain, son of Kent & Kris (Harman) McClain, arrived at 7:51 am, March 6, 2003.  He weighed 7 lbs. 7 oz. and is 20 in. long.  Kris had a C- section because the baby was in a breech position.  Shane has strawberry blond hair, beautiful skin and blue eyes.  Kris is the great-granddaughter of Elmira (Harper) Harman, 12th Child).



Ø      Helen Marie (Harper) Johnson, granddaughter of Albert Harper (4th Child), on January 26, 2002 in Tempe, Arizona.  Her ashes were sprinkled over the Pacific Ocean.

Ø      Harold R. (Major) Hershberger, grandson of George Harper (9th Child), on November 29, 2002 in Ashland, Kentucky.  He was born November 23, 1923, in Akron, Ohio. 

Ø      Kathleen “Kitty” (Harper) Wade, granddaughter of Minor Harper (11th Child), on Friday, December 27, 2002 at her home in Morgantown.  She was born July 29, 1921 in Dry Fork, WV.


If your email address changes, be sure to send the new address to me, so you don’t miss out on the newsletter.


Marsha L. Fuller, CGRS, Editor


Harper Family Website:  www.fred.net/mfuller



Ø      Kathryn (Degler) Arbaugh, granddaughter of Henry Harper (10th Child), on June 17, 2002 in Ohio.  She was born September 4, 1912.

Ø      Pierpont Morgan "Dutch" Harman, 87, on January 14, 2003, in Morgantown, WV.  He was born February 16, 1915, in Davis, WV, a son of the Elmira (Harper) Harman (12th Child).  He was an avid golfer, a loyal Mountaineer, Pirates and Steelers fan.

Ø      Wilma Jean (Corrick) Wilt, daughter of James Leo & Maud (Wimer) Corrick.  Maud was the daughter of Susan (Harper) Wimer, 18th Child.

Re-prints of the original The Harper Family History 1713-1995 are available for $46 from:  Marsha Fuller, P.O. Box 3623, Hagerstown, MD 21742

Family members who own an original copy of The Harper Family History 1713-1995 often ask me if they should buy a copy of the re-prints.  There aren’t really enough changes to warrant buying another copy.  However, it occurred to me that I have added about 30 pages of new photos, so I am publishing a 60-page photo booklet with ALL the photos from the old and new editions.  Just send check or money order for $25, made out to Marsha Fuller, at the address above.


1st Annual Harper Hero Award

goes to




for his amazing dedication to bringing the

Dr. Eli Akim Harper Papers back into the family.  Greg spent thousands of dollars of his own money, and hundreds of hours of his own time, in buying these items from the eBay website where an antiques dealer had put them up for public auction.


Harper Christmas Letters

From Doug Harper, Biloxi, MI:  “Travel was a big part of my year's activities including two cruises, an Air Force unit reunion, NSSAR and other visits.   The first cruise was on "Royal Princess" from Manaus, Brazil down the Amazon and back to Ft.  Lauderdale, FL.  This completed my circuit of South America that I began last year in Chile around Cape Horn to Rio de Janeiro. 

      Cindy Harper Davis and her husband were on vacation in Biloxi and we had a nice visit about the Harper Family in Texas.  Isobel Harper, Nevada, sent me a large box of papers and photos from Aunt Grace Harper which included a great deal of information about Grace and Berta Harper's careers as teachers.  There were also pictures of Jacob and Jemima Rose Harper which I did not know existed. 

      I continued my work on the history of First United Methodist Church, Biloxi having completed a series of 99 monthly articles. We did a study of the Book of Daniel and are in the process of studying Revelations at the end of the year.  The MOWW chapter elected me for another term as Commander and I insist it is the last term.  The circus came to town in June and I went for the very first time in my life.  My car would not start twice and it seems to have been security system that shut everything down. Glad to find out the system does what it is supposed to do.  I have notified the Mississippi Society SAR that when my term of Secretary is over in March I will no longer serve in any elected position.  My plan is to get back to my genealogy and get more of it done for all my families and on a full time basis.” 


      From Wilma (Montoney) Lund, California:  “On December 26th, my daughter and I fly to Ft. Lauderdale to begin a 15-day cruise of Brazil, the Amazon, and Caribbean.  The month of May was real fun as I toured around showing the sights to my visiting first cousin, Myra (Golightly) Ott.  The highlight of her trip was the family reunion that my daughter put together on June 1.  Myra had not seen or met many of the family in many years.   We also had the great pleasure of a too-brief visit from Jerry (Montoney) Leitner from Florida.”


      From Myra (Golightly) Ott, Cumberland, MD:  “I think I already told you that I missed the 2002 Harper Reunion due to being in California for my granddaughter’s college graduation.  Katherine Harman Lally graduated cum laude from Scripps College in Claremont, CA.  During the 2 weeks I was there, my cousin, Wilma’s daughter, and husband threw a Los Angeles area family reunion – 31 people in attendance and 29 of us were related.  It was great!  Two of my 2nd cousins had moved to California in 1950 and I had not seen them in all that time.

    Then, on June 29th, my granddaughter and Peter Ernest Bergeron were married at St. Ann's Episcopal Church, in Kennebunkport, ME. The happy couple are currently living and working in Hollywood, CA.” 


      From Gary Johnson, Tempe, Arizona:  “In May, I had the opportunity to go on vacation in the Philippines with my cousins, Steve and Keith Marshall.  I had a terrific time, especially since this was the first time I had ever been in the South Pacific.  Again, I saw the sights, swam in the ocean, got sunburned, and ate way too much.

      In March, I visited my youngest niece, Victoria Yett, and her 3 sons, at their home in Norfolk, VA.  The boys are growing like weeds, and they are great little guys and very well-behaved.  We saw the sights, including Monticello (Thomas Jefferson’s home), and the aircraft carrier, Theodore Roosevelt, right after she returned from the Arabian Sea.

      My large German Shepard, Zeus, and I continue to make a home for ourselves – or, at least, I make it after he tears it up.  But somehow I still love the contrary monster.”


From Erma (Montoney) Teal, Dublin, OH:  “It has not really been a good year since I lost my sister, Annabell, followed by her husband, Raymond, a few months later.  She was my last living sibling, so that leaves me as the last child out of eleven.  It would be terribly lonely if not for my daughter, Susan, who lives with me, and for my son, Brian.

      I have been well, considering my age.  Just a few of the old age complaints, but I thank the Lord that I can get out of bed in the mornings and walk around.”


      From the family of Sylvia Harper (daughter-in-law of Walter Harper, 15th Child), Harman, WV:  “What a birthday bash!  Ninety-five years old!  Praise the Lord!  On September 28th, we all gathered at the Harman VFW to celebrate Mom’s birthday.  She had must come home from Ohio the day before.  She was so happy to see all her family and friends.  She was feeling well, so it was a joyful day for her.  We had over 100 people in attendance.  We had lots of good food and, I think, everyone enjoyed it very much.  It is hard to get to talk to everyone the way you would like because more people keep coming up to talk.  Mom was so happy to see everyone.”


      From Muriel & Mac Hart, Hendersonville, SC:  “In 2002, we had some very special joys to celebrate.  We spent a week in Connecticut helping our daughter, Liz, move excitedly into her first house.  She teaches at the University of Connecticut.  She and Cameron, aged 8, have settled happily into their new neighborhood and are learning the joys of yard work, summer, and winter.

      In April, we enjoyed celebrating with the Agnes Scott College Class of ’52 at our 50th class reunion. 

      In mid-May, we flew to New Mexico and spent a week in Santa Fe.  While we were there, Muriel’s much-loved cousin, Betty Rupp, came in from California for a couple of days.  That was good for the soul.  Little did we know then that we would be back in New Mexico in October for an elderhostel to Chaco Canyon – one of those sights we have always wanted to see.  We met a Harper 3rd cousin, Sue Major Holmes, during this trip.  Her great-grandmother was a sister to my great-grandfather Harper in West Virginia.  This is the sister who moved West with her family in the 1880s.  Sue is a writer in Albuquerque for the Associated Press.  She has the wonderful eyes and eyebrows that run in the Harper family.

      Our big event for ’02 was celebrating our 50th wedding anniversary in August in New England where 3 of our 5 children live.  Everyone came – all the grandkids, too – some of whom we had never met.  It was a fine week of being together again.  Those times are so rare.”    


Dating Tombstones:  One way to help find the era your ancestor was buried is to examine the material from which the tombstone is made.  If your ancestor has a stone made of slate or common fieldstone, chances are that the stone dates from 1796-1830.  For more info:   www.gravestonestudies.org


Harper Cemetery Association

HC 66  Box 10 B

Hendricks, WV 26271
J  Harper Cousin Bill Armstrong from Colorado wrote me in his December 2000 Christmas card:  “I will probably never get to Hagerstown or to West Virginia for the Harper Reunion.”   He made himself into a liar when he and his daughter showed up for the May 2001 Reunion!




Philip Harper the Pioneer





Philip, Jr.


1. Henry

1. Adam

1. Henry

2. George

2. Philip, III

2. Adam

3. Peter

3. Elias

3. Jacob, Jr.


4. Peter

4. Nicholas



5. Moses



6. Leonard


©2003 Marsha L. Fuller, CGRS, All Rights Reserved.