Biography of Capt. James Berrien Harper

CAPT. JAMES BERRIEN HARPER. He whose name heads this sketch is one of the substantial citizens and successful agriculturists of Barren Creek Township, Baxter County, Arkansas, but was born in Franklin County, Ga., November 17, 1833, a son of Andrew Knox and Anna (Little) Harper, natives of Virginia and Georgia, respectively.

When a young man the father went to Georgia and was married in Franklin County, and in 1839 moved to Pontotoc County, Miss., where he made his home until his death in 1851, at the age of fifty-six years, his wife having died in Pontotoc County when forty-one years old. The father was a successful business man, was original and independent in his views, and was an active and earnest member of the Methodist Church. Six children were born to himself and wife, only two of whom are now living: James Berrien and Hattie T. (Bacon). the latter residing on Florida coast. The Harpers are of Irish origin.

Capt. James Berrien Harper was educated in the common schools of Pontotoc County, and since his sixteenth year he has had the cares of a family on his shoulders, for after the death of his father, he took his place as well as he could and cared for the younger members of the family. In January, 1862, he enlisted in Company E, of the Third Mississippi Infantry, but after the capture of Ft. Donelson he became a part of the Forty-third Mississippi Infantry, and was elected first lieutenant of Company E, just before Gen. Grant closed the lines around Vicksburg. He was also at Corinth. Abbeville and Grenada, was in all the engagements of the Atlanta Campaign, Jonesboro, Columbia, Franklin and Nashville. At the close of the war he was with Capt. Gamble. He was captured twice during the war but succeeded in making his escape each time, and was not wounded during his service. He returned home to find himself totally without means and once more had to begin at the bottom of the ladder. Instead of being discouraged he at once began the work of hauling cotton to Memphis, at which time that commodity brought a large price. In that humble way he once more secured a start in the world, and in 1866 he made a fair crop.

He then sold out and came to Arkansas, locating on the farm where he is now living, where he owns 240 acres of fine farming land, of which 135 acres are under cultivation, although at the time of his purchase but twenty acres were under the plow. Aside from this all the improvements on the place have been made by him and are of such a nature that the place has been greatly increased in value. On May 20, 1856, he led to the altar Miss May C. Little, who was born in Georgia, and to them seven children have been given: J. K., who is a tiller of the soil and makes his home with his parents; C. B., is in the stock business in Marion County, Arkansas; Crawford Winston is a farmer of Ellis County, Tex.; Lily Maud is the wife of Lee Gardner, of Laclede County, Missouri; Anna Dora,is the wife of Ham Strait, of Johnson County, Tex., and Minnie, is the wife of Hiram Irvin, of this county. Lula (deceased), was the wife of L. E. Hopper, of Mountain Home. Capt. Harper and his wife are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, in which he is a steward, and politically he has always been in sympathy with the Democrat party.


A Reminiscent History of the Ozark Region: comprising a condensed general history, a brief descriptive history of each county, and numerous biographical sketches of prominent citizens of such counties. Chicago: Goodspeed Brothers Publishers. 1894.

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