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Spring 2009, NO. 34 - Contents


Harlan & Hollingsworth – The Fish Car Era

by John G. Nickum

History becomes more interesting when there is a personal connection to events and/or people from the past. Likewise, genealogy takes on new life when it leads to connections to historical figures and events. I enjoy researching my family roots and the discovery of connections to historical events and people who previously had been nothing more than names in the history books. As I have traced these family roots, I have found individuals and events that produced feelings of pride in being related to them. I have also found people and situations that were less than honorable. I have adopted the statement that, “I take neither credit, nor blame for my ancestors and their relatives.”

My professional specializations in the fields of zoology and microbiology are fish culture, fish health, and fishery management. These specialties are not the material of great moments in world history. I never expected to find a family connection to something of historical importance within even fisheries history, let alone national or world history. But, the railcar building firm of Harlan and Hollingsworth provided a connection to one of the better known periods in the history of fish culture and fisheries management in the United States.

A period of time from 1870 to the end of World War II is known as the “Fish Car Era.” What was the “Fish Car Era,” and how does it relate to the firm of Harlan and Hollingsworth? First, let’s look at the Fish Car Era.

When European settlers first arrived in America, fish and game supplies seemed unlimited. However, by the mid-19th century, it was clear that habitat destruction, pollution, dams, and unregulated exploitation had taken a serious toll on fish and wildlife populations. In addition, people from the eastern United States had moved west in large numbers. Many of these former “easterners” longed for fish they had enjoyed in the East. The result was a political decision to replenish depleted fish populations with hatchery-reared fish and to transplant native eastern fish to western waters. Some western fish, such as the rainbow trout, were transplanted to the East.

The first attempt to transport fish from coast to coast occurred in 1873, when Dr. Livingston Stone of the U.S. Fish Commission loaded 35,000 young American shad into open milk cans, placed the fish-laden cans in a railcar, and headed west. Several days later, with frequent changes of water in the fish cans (every two hours when possible), Dr. Stone and the fish arrived safely in California. The American shad was introduced successfully into western waters and the seeds of demand for widespread stocking with hatchery-reared fish were planted in the minds of the public.

Fish CarBy 1881, the U.S. Fish Commission decided to purchase a baggage car specially equipped for hauling fish, and the “Era of the Fish Car” began. Over the next 50 years, 10 railcars, each one more technologically advanced than previous models, would be added to the fleet of fish cars. Harlan and Hollingsworth built several of these fish cars, including Car #3, which has been restored to its original condition and now is on display at the D.C. Booth Historic National Fish Hatchery in Spearfish, SD.

Given the fact that the fish in transit needed nearly constant attention to be sure that the water maintained appropriate temperature, had essential levels of dissolved oxygen, and wasn’t polluted with wastes, a crew of men was required. As a result, the fish car had to accommodate human, as well as fish needs. Fish cars typically carried a crew of five people: a captain, a cook, and three fish caretakers. The captain had a small cabin to himself, while the rest of the crew had bunks suspended over the fish tanks and small closets for personal belongings.

In addition to tanks, or space for fish cans, the fish cars had large insulated boxes for ice. Ice was used to keep temperatures relatively low because fish handle better when cool, dissolved oxygen is more plentiful, and the potential for disease is lower.

The first fish cars were made entirely of wood, except for the steel carriages upon which they rode, and were quiet impressive examples of woodworking arts. Later models were made of steel, except for the interior woodwork.

Careful records of the number of fish transported and the number of miles traveled were maintained. By the early 1920s, when the use of fish cars started to decrease, over 72 billion fish had been distributed and the fish cars had traveled more than a million miles. Because railroad tracks did not go to many of the lakes and streams that were stocked, “messengers” met the fish cars at designated sidings and hauled the fish to stocking sites, first by horse and wagon, then in trucks. The local messengers traveled an additional 8 million miles.

By the 1930s many more hatcheries had been built so the need for long distance hauling of fish was reduced greatly. Heavier trucks with enclosed tanks gradually replaced the fish cars. By 1940 only three fish cars were still operating. The last fish car, Car #10, the pride of the fleet, was retired in 1947. At least three of the fish cars have been saved from the salvage yards, but most have simply disappeared, probably dismantled and sold as scrap. In addition to the Federal fleet, several states bought fish cars. Wisconsin has initiated plans to restore these pieces of history, but for now, the best place to observe one is at the D.C. Booth Historic National Fish Hatchery in Spearfish, S.D. The restored historic hatchery also provides visitors with a good understanding of life at a fish hatchery in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

A Personal Connection to the Company

Learning that I have a family connection to the railcar company that built the fish cars (see page 1) inspired me to “dig into” the history of Harlan and Hollingsworth. Actually, I have a double connection to this corporation. My great-greatgreat- grandmother was Sarah Hollingsworth, wife of Aaron Harlan (#41). I am not a direct descendant of Samuel Harlan or Elijah Hollingsworth, principal partners in the firm. My family connection to these two men must be traced back to the original immigrant families, George Harlan & Elizabeth (Duck) Harlan, and Valentine Hollingsworth & Ann (Calvert) Hollingsworth. Though distant, it’s still a connection. We’re all part of the great heritage of these two families who shared so much in the early history of our nation. The number and variety of connections in these two families is truly impressive. It’s almost a surprise when a family member married outside of these families.

The firm of Harlan and Hollingsworth traces its origins back to 1836, when Mahlon Betts and Samuel Pusey formed a partnership to build railroad cars in Wilmington, DE. Samuel Harlan, a skilled cabinetmaker, joined the partnership in 1837, and the firm became Betts, Pusey, and Harlan. A stock market panic in 1837, followed by an economic depression, undoubtedly provided a struggle for the new firm, but nevertheless they prospered. Their eight-wheeled wooden cars gained a following, and by late 1839 they had delivered 39 passenger cars and 28 mail/baggage/freight cars. Around 1840 the firm expanded into the repair of wooden ships. In 1841, Elijah Hollingsworth, Samuel Harlan’s brother-in-law, bought out Pusey’s share of the company and the name was changed to Betts, Harlan, and Hollingsworth.

The company started to diversify in the early 1840s. For several years they produced “hand tub” engines for fire fighting. In 1841, they became the first of Wilmington shipbuilders to manufacture iron ships, a new concept. In 1844, Betts, Harlan, and Hollingsworth launched the Bangor, the first propeller-driven iron-hull steamship in the United States, then quickly moved on to the production of twin-screw steamships for ocean travel. By 1850, Betts had left the company and it became known as Harlan & Hollingsworth, engine builders and machinists. J. Taylor Gause became a partner in 1858, and the name was changed to Harlan, Hollingsworth & Company.

Although the firm continued to build railroad cars, shipbuilding was dominant. Charles Morgan, owner of the Southern Steamship Company, was a particularly good customer. By 1860 he had purchased four steamships; over time, he bought 28. The compartmentalized hulls of these ships were apparently an especially desired feature. During the Civil War, Harlan, Hollingsworth, & Co. was considered the preeminent shipbuilder in Wilmington, and this city was the national leader for shipbuilding.

I find it interesting that it took several years before anyone thought of steel railway cars and roughly 50 years before steel railway cars became accepted. Acceptance was slow, but Harlan, Hollingsworth, & Co. continued to pursue this innovation. A number of steel freight cars were built, but steel passenger cars did not appear in substantial numbers until the late-19th century. Elijah Hollingsworth did not live to see the acceptance of steel railroad cars. He was killed in a shipyard accident in 1866. Apparently, the loss of his partner and brother-inlaw was very depressing to Samuel Harlan. He lost interest in the business soon after Hollingsworth’s death. In 1867, the partnership was dissolved and the company was incorporated in Delaware as The Harlan & Hollingsworth Company.

The company prospered for many more years, continuing to build ships and railroad cars until 1926. The shipyard reopened in 1942 and built approximately 440 landing craft during World War II. The railcar aspect prospered through the 1920s, being second only to the Pullman Company* in the number of cars produced. Railcar production ceased around 1940; parts were produced until 1944.

Ownership of the company becomes murky after 1900. Some records indicate that it remained independent into the 1940s, while others claim it became part of Bethlehem Steel, and eventually U.S. Steel, in 1904 –1906. Whatever the actual case, it seems clear that our family connection essentially ended with Samuel Harlan’s departure from the business.

There is no doubt that the firm of Harlan & Hollingsworth played a major role in the development of the U.S. transportation industry. The “Fish Car Era” is one small part of the history of the company and of the United States. However, it is a bit of history with a very personal connection for me.

* Editor’s note: The Pullman Company also had a Harlan connection, since Mary Harlan Lincoln’s husband, Robert Todd Lincoln, was for several decades president, and then chairman of the board.


President - Robert R. Harlan
1716 Clark Ave., Yuba City, CA 95991

Vice President - Junior F. Harlan
6218 Betty Elyse Ln.
Scottsdale, AZ 85254

Secretary - Gerry Harlan Lundgren
2517 - 190th, Stanton, IA 51573

Treasurer - John R. Harlan
422 Aumond Rd., Augusta, GA 30909


Pat Fluetsch (CA)
Joe Hannon (CA)
Katherine M. Harlan (PA)
Robert A. Harlan (PA)
William K. Harlan (CA)
Becky Hines (FL)
Ruth Harlan Lamb (MO)
Mary Harlan Murphy (PA)
Liz Harlan Sly (VA)


Dan Harlan (NC)

The Harlan Record is published semiannually by

The Harlan Family in America
P. O. Box 1654
Independence, MO 64055
a permanent organization established to document the historical contributions made by Harlans in America. Submissions of articles are welcome. They are subject to editing and may be held until a future issue if space is limited.

E-mail to: C. J. King, Editor

or Ruth Harlan Lamb, Layout/Mailing

or mail to the organization’s address shown above.

If you want an electronic version of The Harlan Record, e-mail your request to: harlamb@aol.com. The e-mail newsletter will be sent close to the time that printed newsletters are mailed. The Harlan Record is also available on the Harlan Web site: www.harlanfamily.org under the link “Newsletter.”

Contributors to The Harlan Family in America

Donations received from Aug. 1, 2008 - Feb. 1, 2009

AZ - Joye Kohl
FL - Richard & Carolyn Harlan
IA - Duane C. Griggs; Phyllis Luckenbill
IL - Ellen L. Davis
KY - Frank Corum
NC - Frank M. Harlan
PA - Joseph B. Smith
TX - Mr. & Mrs. Tom F. Harlan
VA - Juanita G. Creighton; Max. B. Harlan

Your support of the Harlan Family in America is greatly appreciated.



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Remembrance Fund

in memory of.....

Wayne & Elizabeth Harlan
by their son, William S. Harlan - NM

Gloria Harlan Peter
by her daughter, Dianne King - CA

Reminders . . .

For The Harlan Record, send postal and e-mail address changes to

The Harlan Family in America
P. O. Box 1654
Independence, MO 64055

or e-mail harlamb@aol.com. If you’d like to be on the Harlan e-mail registry, send your address and any changes to Junior Harlan at harlanjay@cox.net. Addresses are kept confidential unless permission is granted.

Blue Ridge Harlans in Texas Celebrate 150th Anniversary

Blue Ridge Baptist Church will host its annual May Sing on Sunday, May 3, 2009. This year the church members and Blue Ridge Harlan descendants will also celebrate the 150th Anniversary of the church. While the May Sing began in 1887, the church was established in 1859 and sits, modestly, in a clearing of trees on land donated to the Blue Ridge Community by George Harlan. The sermon, singing, and sharing of church history will certainly afford those who attend a wonderful opportunity to worship and walk in the footsteps of their ancestors. All are invited.

10:00 a.m. - Service.
12:00 Noon - Lunch
(meat and drinks provided)
Visit www.blueridgetx.com for directions.

New book features Mount Pleasant connections to Harlans and Lincolns

A new book by Iowa City author Paul Juhl provides a visual history of the Harlan and Lincoln families’ ties to Mount Pleasant.

The James Harlan and Robert Todd Lincoln Families’ Mount Pleasant Memories is available for sale through the Iowa Wesleyan College Archives.

Juhl describes the spiral-bound keepsake book as “the story of four generations of the Harlan and Lincoln families.” It begins with Senator Harlan’s arrival in Mount Pleasant in 1853 and continues through the death of the last Lincoln descendant in 1985.

The book centers on photographs from throughout the 180- year period, with “a lot of stories interwoven,” according to Juhl. He is an author with a lifelong interest in Iowa history. He has a large collection of early Iowa images and is an expert on stereographs, an early photographic form. He has had articles published in several magazines and has authored other books, most recently Grant Wood’s Clear Lake Summer.

The cost of The James Harlan and Robert Todd Lincoln Families’ Mount Pleasant Memories is $20, with proceeds benefitting the continued development of the Harlan-Lincoln House. Mail orders should include $2.50 for shipping. Make checks payable to “The Harlan-Lincoln House” and send to Lynn Ellsworth, Iowa Wesleyan College Archivist, Iowa Wesleyan College, 601 N. Main Street, Mount Pleasant, Iowa, 52641.

Lynn may be contacted by e-mail: iwcarch@iwc.edu To reach Paul Juhl, call him at 319-354-9356 or by e-mail: lhujpc@aol.com

The Harlan-Lincoln House, located on the north side of the Iowa Wesleyan College campus, was given to the College in 1907 by Mary Harlan Lincoln. It is a museum of Harlan and Lincoln family artifacts.

Update on Organ Restoration

The Harlan Family in America’s donation in memory of Ridge Latimer Harlan has funded the restoration of an organ purchased by Robert Todd Lincoln for his family, now located in the Harlan-Lincoln House on the Iowa Wesleyan campus.

The organ will be dedicated at an open house on Sunday, April 26, 2009, at 1 p.m. Restorer Bill Layne will talk about the organ and play it to demonstrate its revitalized sound.

Ridge Harlan was president of the Harlan Family organization and coordinator of the 1997 Harlan reunion in Mount Pleasant, Iowa.

Remembering a Talented Harlan

PlateWhile clearing out her mother’s possessions after her death, Laura Turner found an article from the Shreveport Times about the death of her step-father, Monas Harlan, and submitted it to The Harlan Family. The exact date of the publication is not known, but the year is believed to be 1986. Laura’s mother, Vivianne, was married to Monas for almost 20 years, but they were divorced at the time of his death. The article reads:

Monas Harlan, noted performer at area concerts and music instructor at Centenary College for nearly two decades, died Sunday in his native Pennsylvania.

Harlan joined the college in 1959 and soon became a familiar face—and voice—at area and regional operas, concerts and oratorios. When he retired in 1977 as professor emeritus of music there, he was feted with a free public musical going-away party.

Small wonder. In his 74 years, Harlan sung under such conductors as Pierre Monteux and Alfred Wallenstein and performed with such groups as the St. Louis Opera Company, the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the San Francisco Symphony. He also made several European tours with the All American Chorus under the direction of James Allen Dash. He also performed with the Shreveport Symphony’s string section as a cellist and was director of music for Lakeview Methodist Church.

Harlan began his career with formal studies at Juilliard School of Music in New York City, the University of Southern California and at Westminster College in Pennsylvania.

Before his employment at Centenary, he was a soloist at the First Presbyterian Church in Hollywood, Calif., as well as instructor at universities in Kentucky and Montana.

Monas was awarded the Purple Heart after serving in Korea.

Laura also found a 1958 commemorative church plate featuring Unity Baptist Church (founded 1808) of Harlansburg, Pa. If anyone is interested in owning this plate, please let Ruth Harlan Lamb know harlamb@aol.com, or write to The Harlan Family in America, using the address above.

Sergeant George Harlan

By Kenneth L. Bandy

Abridged with permission from the author and the editor of Timeline, a publication of the Ohio Historical Society. The full-text version was published in the April- June 2007 issue and can be read at http://www.ohiohistory.org/resource/publicat/timeline. Ken Bandy’s article tells the story of a Harlan soldier’s heroic action; some readers may be reminded of a similar moment at Iwo Jima.

Shortly after the completion of the autumn harvest of 1861, a 19- year-old Columbiana County, Ohio, man named George Washington Harlan enlisted in the Union army. Six feet tall and of lean, muscular build, he was the oldest of five children and his father’s right-hand man on the family’s one-hundredacre farm in Knox Township.

Harlan and his neighbors from the area formed an outfit that would eventually be designated as Company B, 65th Ohio Volunteer Infantry. The 65th’s first colonel was a 25-year-old West Pointer named Charles G. Harker. George Harlan was appointed third corporal.

Sgt. George HarlanIn 1862, Harlan and his comrades became seasoned soldiers, being present at Shiloh, Corinth and Perryville. On December 31, 1862, during the battle of Stones River, the 65th Ohio engaged in severe and extended combat. Harker’s brigade suffered heavy casualties defending the critical Nashville Turnpike. Of the 43 men of Company B who were engaged that day, 34 were killed or wounded. Remarkably, George Harlan was one of the nine men who remained unscathed. He was promoted on the field to sergeant.

The brigade’s history, written by Wilbur Hinman, states that the 65th Ohio received new national colors in late April 1863. Harlan was entrusted with these as color sergeant on May 2, just prior to the Tullahoma and Chattanooga campaigns.

On the second day of the battle of Chickamauga, on September 20, 1863, Harker’s brigade was part of General Thomas Wood’s division, which received the fateful order to support another part of the battle line, leaving a critical gap in the Union center. Rebels hit that gap, shattering the second of Wood’s two brigades. Harker’s regiments immediately turned back and delivered a counterattack, driving back the Rebels, then halting in a single line extending from a copse of trees on their left to a prominent knoll on their right. As the rightmost regiment of the line, the 65th occupied this relatively open knoll.

In front of them was a scene of violence and confusion, dust and smoke, disorganized units and fleeing men. Harker and Wood, not knowing the extent of the disaster, were expecting to see Union troops appear from that direction; thus they were at first not alarmed by the sight of a strong line of battle moving parallel to theirs and seemingly dressed in blue. The unknown soldiers were South Carolinians who recently had received new uniforms consisting of dark bluish jackets and light blue trousers.

To avoid firing on their own troops, Harker and Wood ordered their men to cease firing and lie down while their regimental color bearers were told to “keep the flags well up” and wave them from side to side to positively identify Harker’s men. The most prominent of the national colors along the line were those flaunted from the height of the open knoll by Sgt. George Harlan.

That Harlan did his dangerous duty well is evidenced by at least three Confederate reports. General Joseph Kershaw, commanding the South Carolina brigade, reported that the Federal “colors were ostentatiously displayed along the lines.” General Bushrod Johnson saw “upon the eminence … the United States flag now floating …” Years later, Private John Coxe of the 2nd South Carolina recollected in the Confederate Veteran that the Yanks were “on the top of the knob and waved their flag as if to say, ‘Come on.’” Initially, there was indiscriminate firing from the Confederates. Then, they opened with a heavier fire, directed at the exposed color bearers, who began to topple. Harlan “bravely faced the storm of bullets that greeted him on every side,” according to senior captain Thomas Powell’s after-action report.

Once the identity of the advancing Confederates was clearly established, Harker’s brigade returned fire, and the two brigades locked in desperate combat for approximately 30 minutes. Both sides suffered heavy casualties before the Federal line was outflanked and forced back. But the sacrifice of Harker’s brigade was not in vain. They had bought with their blood the critical time necessary for General George Thomas to organize the defense of a strong position on Snodgrass Hill and Horseshoe Ridge.

Some of the blood was George Harlan’s, who was, according to the brigade’s historian, “severely wounded in the arm but clung to the flag, which was soon stained with his blood.” Captain Powell wrote that Harlan, “even after being severely wounded, stood at his post till ordered to the rear.”

Harlan’s left forearm was broken by a rifle ball, which coursed down into the elbow joint. Company muster records show him in a field hospital at Stephenson, Alabama, and later in Nashville.

Recovery was slow. Harlan returned to his company the next September while still partially disabled. He was left with a crooked, stiff arm.

He was discharged at the end of his term, a few months later, on December 14, 1864, and received a permanent disability pension of four dollars per month. Ironically, the government did not have to pay this for very long. On September 21, 1865, while helping in the fields back home during harvest, he was killed in a threshing machine accident. He was 23.

The news of Harlan’s calamitous death must have touched the hearts of his comrades with an especial poignancy. The Grand Army of the Republic post in Alliance, Ohio, was named for “brave, stalwart Sergeant George W. Harlan … who bore the colors of the 65th.” The post charter stated that “he was an exemplary young man in every respect.”

It was this post’s duty to conduct Memorial Day observances and participate in parades, reviews, and receptions. In the course of these events, or at special ceremonies held at Quaker Hill Cemetery, where Harlan was buried, succeeding generations heard the story of a brave color bearer. That was how they believed it should be, for a man does not really die until he is forgotten.

Kenneth Bandy is an attorney in Damascus, Columbiana County, Ohio. He has edited many Civil War manuscripts. His great-greatgrandfather and George Harlan were boyhood friends who grew up on adjoining farms, and both enlisted on Oct. 23, 1861, in the same company of the regiment.

Ken orchestrated the effort to restore the grave of George Harlan in 1991, by obtaining a new Civil War stone from the government to mark the place of Sgt. Harlan’s burial. Words on the stone say: “Cited for bravery while carrying unit colors at Chickamauga Sept. 20, 1863.” Harlan is buried next to another of his boyhood comrades, Jonathan M. Johnston, one of the Company B soldiers killed at Stones River.

Owners of the Original Alpheus Harlan Book

If those of you with original copies of Alpheus Harlan’s book have an interesting story to tell about acquiring it, let us know.

The late Enoch “Skip” Lewis Harlan, Jr., of Taneytown, Md., owned an original print of the book because his grandfather, Enoch Harlan (#9535) was in charge of the committee that raised money for Alpheus’ research and travel.

Skip and his wife, Nancy, were married 57 years. She says that every time a visitor came, Skip would bring out the book and search for a connection. He was very proud of his heritage and the fact that he was the sixth Enoch Harlan in a row. The couple attended both of the Delaware national reunions.

As a teenager in the 1940s, John R. Harlan, Augusta, Ga., and treasurer of The Harlan Family in America, asked his father about the family history and was told not much was known except two brothers, George and Michael, came to America in the late 1600s.

His father said a book about the family history had been published, so John set out to obtain a copy when possible. While he was stationed in Ankara, Turkey, in 1968, John obtained the address of a used book merchant in Baltimore, Md., and inquired about the availability of a book on the Harlan family history. The merchant had a copy and shipped it to John for $25. The front cover was missing, so he took it to a book binder in Ankara and had it bound.

This copy of Alpheus Harlan’s book was used for reprinting the green book the Family association has been selling since 1987. To date, more than 2,500 copies have been printed, and the profits have been used to support Harlan Family activities.

Frances Pickin Florio, greatgranddaughter of Alpheus Harlan, has a very personal story to tell:

“As far as I am aware, the last six unbound copies of the Harlan Genealogy from (I am guessing) the second printing done in the 1930s are in my father’s basement in Madison, New Jersey. The Genealogy was initially distributed by Alpheus’ son and daughter, my Great Uncle William Harlan and Great Aunt Maude Harlan, from the 1920s to the 1950s. After William died in 1955 and Maude in 1959, the responsibility for the Genealogy passed to their brother Thomas’s daughter, Ruth Harlan Leist, and their sister Flora’s son, John Harlan Pickin (my father).

“After Aunt Maude passed away in 1959, my father and his cousin Ruth went through what had survived the flood waters that had filled the first floor of the house in New Burlington, Ohio. My father came home to New Jersey with unbound pages of the Genealogy as well as books from his grandfather’s library, a daguerreotype of Alpheus’s brother Thomas (in whose memory the Genealogy is dedicated), some of the letters that Alpheus must have used to write the Genealogy, and other Harlan memorabilia – including ribbons and programs from some of the early Harlan reunions in the 1910s.

“The Genealogy was shipped from the printer as unbound pages; Ruth had them bound depending upon demand. I remember in the 1960s that we in New Jersey had most of the remaining unbound pages, and Dad would mail off a package with ten “books” to Ruth in Miamisburg, Ohio, at odd intervals. She took care of sales and, guessing from what I have read in this publication, sold the copies to the people who got this organization going.

“Dad was interviewed in 1969 by a newspaper reporter, John Baskin, who was writing a book about New Burlington. After my father passed away in 2005, I found that some of the chapters of that book are posted on the Web: <http://www.aliciapatterson.org/APF 001973/Baskin/Baskin.html>

One of the photographs with this article is one from around 1900, showing Alpheus in front of the house in New Burlington, with his wife, his two daughters and son, and their cousin John Haydock and his wife and their son.

“When Ruth died in 1986, my father went through the bound copies and unbound pages that remained and threw out the ones that had been damaged by exposure to the Ohio floods as well as by one rainy period in New Jersey when my father, realizing that our basement was collecting water, ran down and frantically grabbed the boxes with the Genealogy and brought them upstairs. For several weeks afterwards, the damp pages were draped over a clothes line and I was told to not touch them until they were thoroughly dried out!

“My father passed away in October 2005. During his retirement he was active in a men’s club that was chronically lacking speakers so Dad would happily volunteer to do a talk on New Burlington every couple of years or so. I never met my grandmother or my grandfather, but I feel I know them from the stories that Dad told. And through all of them was how we are all related. On my 21st birthday, he gave me my own copy of the Genealogy. It was a wonderful present.

“As far as I can recall from what my father told me, the first printing of the Genealogy was of something like 100 copies and was paid for by subscription. I believe they cost $10. There was a funny story about one relative asking why he should pay out so much money (remember – this was 1913!) and he wanted to know what famous people he was related to. Alpheus said that as far as he was aware, there were only five horse thieves in the family! Good put down! I wonder if the relative bought a copy?”

If interested in one of the six unbound copies, contact Fran by e-mail at avffrp@aol.com or write to: 101 Reservoir Avenue, Randolph, NJ 07869.

To order a reprint of Alpheus Harlan’s book, History & Genealogy of the Harlan Family, contact Peggy Harlan Talley, 104 Fern, Poteau, OK 74953. The cost is $60, postpaid. Make check payable to The Harlan Family in America.

Next National Harlan Reunion

Make a note somewhere that will remind you of the 2012 National Harlan Reunion dates—July 5-8, 2012—at the Marriott Plaza Hotel in San Antonio, Texas. We hope to see you there.

There are many tourist attractions to visit in the San Antonio area besides taking in the Harlan reception on Thursday evening, a Friday night barbecue picnic, a banquet on Saturday and Sunday’s church service and brunch. There will also be seminars and other gatherings of interest.

Share Your Stories

The Harlan Family in America is an organization of many diverse voices and points of view. We love sharing stories of our relatives at Harlan reunions and get-togethers; The Harlan Record is another opportunity for that.

Story ideas are welcome, and each issue offers the opportunity for several contributors to be published. Have you uncovered some interesting details about the life of a Harlan, perhaps about an unusual career, a special journey, an invention, a social impact, or something else?

If you would like to share your research, we would love to hear from you! See page 2 for the e-mail and postal addresses for Editor C.J. King and Co-Editor Ruth Harlan Lamb.

Please submit by August 1.

In Memory of ...

Carolyn M. Bowman passed away February 14, 2008, in Branson, Mo. She was born September 25, 1930, in Matfield Green, Kansas.

Carolyn was a grade school teacher in the Kansas towns of Russell and Hutchinson. She and her husband, William Warren Bowman, were both wood carvers and retired to Kimberling City, Mo., and attended many of the wood carving exhibitions at Silver Dollar City, Mo. Her husband survives her.

Virginia Covey, the youngest of six siblings, passed away December 2, 2008. She was born in Riverdale, Calif., on a ranch homesteaded by her grandfather, Elisha Harlan, who crossed the plains in 1846 by wagon train in the company of the Donners but came over the Sierra Mountains ahead of them and the snows.

Virginia worked for the telephone company in Fresno and for the Lemoore Army Air Base during World War II, while her husband, Robert, piloted A-20 attack bombers in the Philippines.

The couple later lived in Cambria, Calif., for 35 years. She is survived by her husband of 66 years, two daughters, one son, five grandchildren, one great-granddaughter and a sister.

Gene Graber, 77, passed away February 12, 2009. He lived in Ann Arbor, Mich., with his wife, Judi Harlan Graber. For many years they maintained the Harlan mailing list and prepared the mailing labels for The Harlan Record. He is survived by Judi, a son and a daughter, and their families.

Douglas Sloan Harlan, San Antonio, Texas, died November 7, 2008, after a long illness. He was a prolific writer and speaker, gifted teacher and administrator, mentor and outdoorsman. He held a B.A. from Rice University, an M.A. from Duke, and a law degree and Ph.D. in political science from the University of Texas at Austin.

He bequeathed over $2.2 million to Rice University to establish a new program for the study of political campaigns.

Enoch “Skip” Lewis Harlan, Jr., died August 14, 2008, at age 79. Skip was born in Baltimore, Md., and was an engineer and in sales with the insurance industry. He was a member of the American Legion Post 297, Emmitsburg; former Gideon; and longtime member of the Walkersville Christian Fellowship. He is survived by his wife, Nancy; three daughters and one son; 39 grandchildren and 26 great-grandchildren. Another son, Enoch Andrew Harlan, preceded him in death.

Skip was the sixth in a line of Enoch Harlans going back to #471 in Alpheus Harlan’s book.

New Ninety-Plus Club Member

Cherry Starr Hein, 97, is the newest member of the Ninety-Plus Club. She was born in Braggs, Okla., and moved as a young adult to the Southern California area. She currently lives with family in Simi Valley, Calif.

Cherry and Henry had three children (all living at this time).

She is the last of her siblings, some of whom have also had long lives. Her youngest brother, Charles T. Starr (b. 1913), died one day before his 91st birthday, and an older brother, Jack R. Starr (b. 1905), died at the age of 89.

Her ancestors are:
George Harland # 3, m. Elizabeth Duck, Ezekiel Harlan # 5, m. Ruth Buffington, Ezekiel Harlan #23, m. Hannah Osborn, Ellis Harlan #121, m. Kati (Catherine Kingfisher, Nancy “Nannie” Harlan # 497-a (bc1777), m. Caleb Starr, James Starr Sr. (b. 1796), m. Nellie Maugh, Fields Starr (bc1820), m. Polly Reese, Henry Clay Starr (b. 1840), m. Jennie Lind Starr, Charles “Chute” Starr (b. 1877), m. Georgia Madden, Cherry Starr (b. 1911), m.Henry Hein, Sr.

Lee O. Harlan First to Fly Historic Atom Plane

The story of Lee O. Harlan, pilot, is excerpted from The Canyon (Texas) News, February 21, 1963. He descended from George #3, James #11, John #44, Isaac #207, Isaac #797, Washington #2717, Josiah #6807, William J.

It was a bright June afternoon when test pilot Lee Harlan walked out across the Offutt Field runway at Omaha toward the big aerial monster he was about to put through its paces. Harlan noticed two things about this particular B- 29 that were different from the other B-29s he had test flown.

The four propellers, powered by giant Wright engines, had reverse pitch. This would permit a pilot to land the plane safely with an unexploded bomb, even if the brakes were burned out. He noticed, too, that there was something remarkably different about the bomb bay.

Harlan jotted down the aircraft’s number—86292—a number that would live forever in history. He climbed into the big plane, made his way to the cockpit, turned several switches and studied a maze of dials intently. A man with a fire extinguisher stood by as he revved up the engines and taxied to the apron. He heard, “You may take off now! You are cleared to take off,” from the tower.

The big Wrights roared to crescendo. The colossal plane trembled from nose to tail fin. She eased forward at first, then faster and faster. Harlan pulled the wheel gently toward him. Offutt’s runway fell away and Lee Harlan became the first man to fly the Enola Gay.

That was June 11, 1945. Two months later Harlan learned that the plane he had tested had dropped a bomb on Hiroshima, Japan, and opened the nuclear age. This bomb and the one dropped three days later on Nagasaki by Enola Gay’s sister B-29, had ended World War II many months earlier than Allied leaders had anticipated and without the loss of many thousands of American lives which an invasion of Japan would have cost.

In Harlan’s black-bound pilot’s log book, itself a legal document, the test flight of 86292, the Enola Gay, is duly recorded. In the page margin is a penned notation—atom bomb, Hiroshima, Japan, 8-6-45.

Harlan began flying in 1927 — the year Lindbergh crossed the Atlantic Ocean solo in the Spirit of St. Louis. He did much of his flying around Amarillo, Texas, and in Missouri and Oklahoma. “We didn’t have airfields in those days,” he remembers. “We landed in cow pastures.”

Harlan got his pilot’s license in 1940. For a time he was a civilian flight instructor for the Army giving pre-glider instruction. Flight experience which won him his license all was prior to his army service. He went to work for the Glenn L. Martin Company in April of 1943 as a test pilot. The first plane he tested was the old B-26, sometimes known as the “Widow Maker” or the “Flying Coffin.” The B-26 was a hot ship with a high landing take-off speed, as compared to aircraft of its day. Harlan took the bombers off the assembly line for their initial flights to iron the “bugs” out before they were turned over to the armed forces.

How did he feel about the atom bombing of Hiroshima? “I just wish it could have fallen on the heads of war mongers who started the war instead of on innocent people at Hiroshima,” he commented.

Editor’s Note: Lee Harlan closed out his test pilot log book October 1, 1945, but never quit flying. He went on to become an Allis Chalmers tractor dealer, car dealer, crop duster and ambulance plane pilot, retiring in Clarinda, Iowa.

Lee was born in 1905 north of Salisbury, Mo., to William J. and Dora Adams Harlan, and grew up with four brothers and a sister.

He married Wynelle Persons in 1929, and they had two daughters, Donna Lee and Lois Ann. He died in 1990 in Iowa at the age of 84.


You never know where you are going to meet another Harlan relative. While attending a conference in Scottsdale, Ariz., in September 2008, conversation around the table was about genealogy. Since the conference was a colonial lineage group, genealogy tended to be a topic that was very popular. I mentioned having attended a reunion in Reno in 2007, and the lady to my immediate left very animatedly said, “Are you a part of the Harlan family?”

As my new “cousin” and I began to chat, it was interesting to find out what she knew about the Harlans. She had not attended any of the reunions but had wanted to do so. I encouraged her to go to the Harlan Web site to learn all about our reunions and then plan to attend the next one in 2012. As a widow who might be uncomfortable traveling alone, I encouraged her to get her children to take her to the next reunion, which in turn might get more people involved and who will hopefully catch the bug.

Attending the national reunions is just one way to gain more interest in the Harlan lineage and current descendants. And who is more interested in that knowledge than another Harlan? Those who attend the reunions have different interests. Some go to meet with extended family members; some go to meet and socialize with people from various walks of life; some go looking for answers to questions about their ancestors. Then there are those who go to meet old friends they have acquired since these reunions began in 1987.

But in the end it all boils down to the fact that you never know when or where you’ll meet another Harlan! My new “cousin” is Dorothy Baumgartner of Missouri. I’m from Indiana.

Cynthia Rhoades,
Director of Genealogy


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Harlan Record No. 34, Spring 2009
Harlan Record No. 33, Fall 2008
Harlan Record No. 32, Spring 2008
Harlan Record No. 31, Fall 2007
Harlan Record No. 30, Spring 2007
Harlan Record No. 29, Fall  2006
Harlan Record No. 28, Spring 2006
Harlan Record No. 27, Fall  2005
Harlan Record No. 26, Spring  2005
Harlan Record No. 25, Fall  2004
Harlan Record No. 24, Spring  2004
Harlan Record No. 23, Fall  2003

Harlan Record No. 22, Spring  2003
Harlan Record No. 21, Fall  2002
Harlan Record No. 20, Spring  2002
Harlan Record No. 19, Fall  2001
Harlan Record No. 18, Spring 2001
Harlan Record No. 17, Fall  2000
Harlan Record No. 16, Spring 2000
Harlan Record No. 15. Fall 1999
Harlan Record No. 14, Spring 1999
Harlan Record No. 13, Winter 1998
Harlan Record No. 12, Summer 1997


Send comments or suggestions to Ruth Harlan Lamb harlamb@aol.com
P.O. Box 1654, Independence, MO  64055