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Below is a family biography included in Portrait and Biographical Album of Greene and Clark Counties, Ohio published by Chapman Bros., in 1890.  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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ROBERT B. HARBISON. The results of plodding industry are nowhere better illustrated than in the career of him with whose name we introduce this biographical record. He has been content to pursue the even tenor of his way, making little stir in the world, but doing his duty as far as he knows how, and living at peace among his neighbors. He was born in South Carolina, October 11, 1820, and is the son of John and Jane (Bigham) Harbison who were likewise natives of South Carolina, the father born May 13, 1782, and the mother December 28, 1787.

The maternal grandfather of our subject served as a soldier in the Revolutionary War and received an honorable wound in the arm; he spent his last years in South Carolina. John Harbison emigrated to Ohio in 1826, and settled on the farm which his son, Robert B., now owns and occupies. The country around was a wilderness, with only the cabin of a settler scattered through the woods. Mr. Harbison cut away the timber, grubbed out the stumps, prepared the soil for cultivation and after years of arduous labor, found himself the owner of a comfortable homestead. He occupied a log cabin for two years, and then put up the substantial brick structure which still remains the family residence and is in an excellent state of preservation. It bears the honor of being the oldest brick house in the township. John Harbison and his estimable wife were the parents of ten children, only three of hom are living. The father departed this life at the old homestead March 28, 1862. The mother survived her husband two years, dying August 17, 1864. Both were members of the Seceders Church in which the father officiated as an Elder and wan one of the chief pillars. He took a lively interest in politics and was a lifelong adherent of the Democratic party.

The subject of this notice was born October 11, 1820, in South Carolina and was a lad of six years when his parents came to this State. He has spent his entire life at the farm which he now owns and occupies. He was reared amid the wild scenes of pioneer life and at an early age was taught the habits of industry which have followed him from his boyhood. He assisted in the development of the farm and attained a very limited education in the primitive schools. These were conducted in a log schoolhouse on the subscription plan and under the methods of instruction corresponding to those times.

Mr. Harbison remained a bachelor until twenty-nine years old and was then wedded, in 1849, to Miss Jennette, daughter of James and Matilda (Wallace) McMillan. Mrs. Harbison, like her husband, was a native of South Carolina and came with her parents to Ohio in 1830, when a child of four years, having been born in April, 1826. She remained the faithful and affectionate companion of her husband for a period of over thirty years and departed this life at the homestead in 1881. Of the six children born to her and her husband only two are living. Martha Jane died when about twenty-one years old; Elizabeth died at the age of twenty-two years; James A. married Miss Nettie Cooley and is now in Colorado, in the hopes of restoring his failing health; he makes his home at the farm and is the father of two children, Julia and Howard. Lydia Ellen died when about twenty-three years old; Mary Ann became the wife of William Tarbox and they live in Cedarville; John died at the age of fifteen months.

In due time Mr. Harbison contracted a second marriage to a lady bearing the same name as his former wife — Miss Jennette McMillan, who was likewise a native of South Carolina and born in 1828. Her parents, David and Nancy (Wright) McMillan, spent their last years in Cedarville Township. Mr. and Mrs. Harbison are members in good standing of the Reformed Presbyterian Church, in which Mr. Harbison has served as a Trustee for many years. He has also served on the School Board of his district almost since the regular establishment of the present school system. He cast his first Presidential vote for Gen. Cass, but his warm interest in the success of the temperance movement led him, in 1884, to identify himself with the Prohibitionists. His son is also a strong advocate of temperance and a member of the Prohibition Committee of the township.

The Harbison homestead comprises one hundred and seventy-acres of choice land in Miami Township, Greene County, which yields a very comfortable income. Without making any pretentions to elegance, the Harbison family live comfortably, and enjoy the association of hosts of friends. Mr. Harbison has the deep sympathy of his neighbors in the many afflictions which have visited him in the loss of children and others dear to him.

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This family biography is one of the many biographies included in Portrait and Biographical Album of Greene and Clark Counties, Ohio published by Chapman Bros., in 1890. 

View additional Greene County, Ohio family biographies here: Greene County, Ohio Biographies

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