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Below is a family biography included in The History of Jefferson County, Missouri published by Goodspeed Publishing Company in 1888.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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Alonzo T. Harlow, a well-known and successful commission merchant in St. Louis, is a native of Harrisonville, Ill., born in the year 1840, and the eldest of seven children born to Noah B. and Nancy (Husky) Harlow. Alonzo T. received his education at Harrisonville and at Shurtleff College, at Upper Alton, Ill., also graduating from Jones Commercial College, at St. Louis, in 1860. He then joined his father in the mercantile business at Harrisonville, Ill., and the same year (1860) married Miss Rhoda, daughter of Basil Israel, formerly of Morgan County, Ohio, but who was then a resident of St. Louis. The same year the father moved to Alton for the purpose of educating the younger children, and left Alonzo the business, together with about 1,000 acres of land to manage, which he operated successfully until 1864, when, on account of the ill health of his wife, he closed out business at Harrisonville and removed to St. Louis. His father then retired from business in the latter place, where he had been for several years, and Alonzo T. then became a member of the Merchant’s Exchange, and engaged in the commission business in St. Louis, under the firm title of Harlow, Clark & Co., which he successfully followed for two years, when Mr. Clark sold to Samuel H. Brown. The firm title was then Harlow & Brown for three years, when Brown sold out to T. H. Gelston, and the firm name became Harlow, Gelston & Co. which continued for about five years, when Mr. Gelston died. C. H. Spencer and J. E. Carpenter were then admitted, and the name was Harlow, Spencer & Co., and they were by far the largest receivers of wheat in St. Louis. Mr. Harlow was never in robust health, and he was quite frequently compelled to spend the winter in the South. In 1881 he was obliged to retire from business, and from that time until 1885 resided at his fine residence at Kimmswick, and on his farm, in Monroe County, Ill. In 1885 he became interested in the well-known house of Billingsley & Nanson Commission Company, at St. Louis, with which he has since been connected. During his connection with the Merchant’s Exchange at St. Louis he has seen it grow from a membership of about 500 to over 8,600. He has always taken an active part in its management, and has passed through all its committees, the directory, and was vice-president of it when he retired in 1881. He has always been an active worker for the Mississippi River improvements, and has served as a delegate from the Exchange to a great many commercial and river improvement conventions, viz.: those at Keokuk, St. Paul, Kansas City, St. Louis, New Orleans, Washington City, and others. In 1870 he erected an elegant and costly residence at Kimmswick, which commands a fine view of the Mississippi River and the surrounding country. He is politically a Republican, and his first presidential vote was for Lincoln, in 1864. He has several times been chairman of the congressional committee of his district, and is at present a member of the Republican State Central Committee. He is a member of the I. O. O. F. and K. of H. Mrs. Harlow died April 20, 1885, leaving one child, a son. In September, 1886, Mr. Harlow married Miss Letta B., daughter of Israel and Sarah (Johnson) Waters, and a granddaughter of Capt. George W. Waters, one of the pioneers of Jefferson County, and a graduate of the West Point Military Academy. Mr. Harlow’s father was born in Maine, February, 1811, and in 1815 removed with his parents, Sylvester and Ruth (Ward) Harlow, who were born in Maine, in 1789 and 1770, respectively, to the American Bottom, in Illinois, and in 1818 settled in Kaskaskia, when that city was the principal settlement in the Upper Mississippi Valley. After about six months in that neighborhood they moved to Harrisonville, then the county seat of Monroe County, Ill., where the mother died in 1847, and the father in 1848. Noah B. was married in 1836. After farming for several years, he made his first start in trading in grain in 1848, which he continued on a large scale. He afterward established a store at Harrisonville, where he remained for about twelve years, when he left the business in charge of his son, A. T., and removed to Alton, Ill., but soon after to St. Louis, where he remained for about three years. He afterward (1865) purchased a fine residence on the banks of the Mississippi River, where he spent the remainder of his life in retirement. He died August 2, 1887. His life was marked by a long, active and successful business career, the foundations of which were industry, economy and punctuality. Mrs. Harlow is still living, and is over seventy-five years of age. Her father was one of the early settlers of Jefferson County, living for a time where Windsor Harbor now is.

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This family biography is one of 224 biographies included in The History of Jefferson County, Missouri published in 1888.  For the complete description, click here: Jefferson County, Missouri History, Genealogy, and Maps

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