James W. Harnden

James W. Harnden

Among the residents of Cascade who are now living retired, his present comfortable financial position being the direct result of former activity and enterprise along agricultural lines, is numbered James W. Harnden. His loyal service as a soldier in the Civil war makes it especially meet that honorable mention should be made of him in a history of Sheboygan county and he is given place among the valued and respected citizens of his community.

A native of Upper Canada, Mr. Harnden was born on the 25th of April, 1836, and is of Irish descent, his father, David Harnden, having been born on the Emerald Isle in 1804. The latter came to America in early life, establishing the family in Canada, where it was long identified with agricultural pursuits.

After bringing his family to the United States in 1847 David Harnden located in Lyndon township, Sheboygan county, Wisconsin, where he took up two hundred and forty acres of land, all of which was covered with timber. He at once set about clearing the land, however, introducing many improvements and bringing it under a good state of cultivation. In 1854 he went on a visit to Canada and while there passed away. When leaving the Dominion to take up his residence in the United States he had married Miss Diana Churchill, who was also born in that country, and unto them were born four children, of whom James W., of this review, is the eldest. The others are as follows: Lucy Ann, the deceased wife of George Peterson, of Cascade; John, a resident of North Dakota; and Sarah, the deceased wife of John Wiggins, also of Cascade.

James W. Harnden was a lad of eleven years when removal was made to the United States and his education, which had been begun in the schools of Canada, was continued in Sheboygan county, Wisconsin. When not busy with his text-books he received practical training under the direction of his father, early becoming familiar with the tasks that fall to the lot of the country lad. He continued to assist his father in the cultivation of the home fields until nineteen years of age, when he went to Canada and was married. Returning at once with his bride he again took up the operation of the old home place, in the conduct of which he continued until 1858, when he purchased eighty acres of land on section 19, Lima township, and took up agricultural pursuits independently.

He was thus engaged at the time the Civil war broke out and, laying aside all personal interests, he offered his services to the Union, becoming a member of Company E, Thirty-sixth Wisconsin Infantry. He took part in the various engagements of that command and was present at the battle of the Wilderness, and that of Cold Harbor, Spottsylvania and Strawberry Hill, being wounded in the latter engagement. At the close of the war he was honorably discharged and at once returned home, resuming his operations in the agricultural field. Industry, energy and perseverance were the qualiries which were brought to bear in the conduct of his farming enterprise and his progressive methods and able management were soon manifest in the neat 'and prosperous condition of his property. Success in large measure was his and as a result he was able at a comparatively early age to withdraw from active pursuits and take up his abode in Cascade, where he has since lived in honorable retirement.

In 1855, in Canada, Mr. Harnden was united in marriage to Miss Sarah Thompson, who was born in that country on the 4th of March, 1838, a daughter of Robert Thompson. Her father, who was born in Ireland, crossed the Atlantic to Canada and there passed his remaining days. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Harnden were born the following children: Melissa, the wife of L. D. Vetter, of Racine, Wisconsin: Diane! Eliza, who married Ralph Towne, of Michigan; William W., residing in California; Charles J., living in Montana; Minnie M.; the wife of John Wiggins, of Montana; Sarah E., deceased; Electa, who makes her home in Montana; Hattie J ., who wedded Mr. Sales, of Montana; and George R., who has also passed away.

The mother of this family died on the 18th of January, 1879, and on the 10th of October, 1885, Mr. Harnden was again married, his second union being with Mrs, Sarah (Cooper) Hogue, who was born in England on the 21st of September, 1848. She is a daughter of William and Sarah (Randall) Cooper, both parents representing families which for many years had been established in Lincolnshire, England. The father, William Cooper, came with his family to America in 1854 and settled in Buffalo, New York, where he passed away. Later his widow continued the journey westward, locating in Lyndon township, Sheboygan county, Wisconsin, where she reared her family and where her death occurred when she was eighty-one years of age. Her daughter Sarah, previous to becoming the wife of Mr. Harnden, had been married to Calvin Hogue, whose family came to this state at a very early day. Unto them were born five children, as follows: Milton, of Cascade; William, of Lyndon township; Henry, of Scott township; Lillie, the wife of Thomas Long, of Lyndon township; and Mary, who married William Zelm, of Cascade.

Mr. Harnden and his family belong to the United Brethren church and occupy a prominent position in the social circles of Cascade. He belongs to the Grand Army of the Republic and his political support is given to the republican party. He has never sought to figure in public life, however, the honors and emoluments of office having no attraction for him, but he has ever been public spirited in his citizenship, at all times proving as loyal to the interests of his country as when he fought on southern battlefields for the preservation of the union. He has now passed the seventy-sixth milestone on life's journey and the intervening years have witnessed the progress of a life characterized by successful achievement and actuated by high ideals and noble purposes.


Information gathered and adapted from History of Sheboygan County, Wisconsin, Past and Present
Carl Zillier, Editor
Pubished by The S.J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1912, Chicago, IL