Alexis Henry Harper
In recording the life history of any man it is always interesting to know what were the elements of character that made it possible for him to attain an independent place in the world and in studying the personal qualities of Alexis Henry Harper we find that he possesses the requisite amount of energy, ambition and application that go to make success.
Born in Utica, New York, February 26, 1850, he is a son of James Henry Harper. His mother died when he was but three years old and all trace of her and her family have since been lost. His only sister, Sarah Jane, married James Wiley, but nothing has been heard from her since 1873, at which time she was supposed to be living in Bolivar, Missouri. When Alexis H. was six years of age his father took him and his sister to Racine, Wisconsin, and there left them while he continued his journey to California in the quest of gold. He met with his death on the westem plains in 1861 on his way back to Racine.
Alexis Henry Harper pursued his early education in the public schools of Racine, making that city his home until 1869, when he went to Cedar county, Iowa, and located in Springdale township, residing there until 1874. In that year he came to Washington township, Crawford county, and here purchased a farm, upon which he lived for two years, at the end of that period returning to Cedar county, where he resided the following two years. Once more coming to Crawford county he located in Boyer township, rented land until 1881, and then moved to his present location on sections 19 and 20, Union township. Here he improved his farm, consisting of one hundred and twenty acres of land, besides which he owns two houses and three lots in Dow City, all of which he has acquired as a result of his individual efforts and tenacity of purpose.
In 1873 Mr. Harper was married to Miss Marianna Bonsall, who was bora in Chester county, Pennsylvania, a daughter of Joseph W. and Sarah (Hunt) Bonsall. Her parents were both natives of Pennsylvania and removed to Cedar county, Iowa, in 1861, remaining there until 1878, when they came to Crawford county, where they spent the rest of their lives. They were the parents of six children, of whom but two survive, Mrs. Harper and Chester, the latter being a rural route mail carrier residing in Dunlap, Iowa. Mrs. Bonsall's death occurred in 1903, her husband passing away in 1907.
In politics Mr. Harper has always supported the principles of the republican party and locally is known as a "standpatter." Fraternally he is a popular member of the Masonic order and the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and with his wife also holds membership in Rebekah chapter. They are both worthy members of the Baptist church, in which he serves as a trustee, while she holds the office of clerk. Mr. Harper's life has been one of continuous activity and he has made good use of his business opportunities, carrying forward to a successful completion whatever he undertakes. He deserves much credit for his splendid record, whereby he has advanced from a humble position in life to a place among the prominent and prosperous agriculturists of Crawford county.
Source: History of Crawford County, Iowa. Vol. II. Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1911.