New York, USA
|Death: ||Jun. 27, 1864|
The second of six sons of Ira and Corinna Harmon, Oscar Fitzalan Harmon grew up on a farm in northwestern New York state. He started off as a schoolteacher, but then turned to law and was admitted to the bar in Albany, New York, in 1850.
In 1853, he moved to Illinois and settled in Danville, continuing to practice law. It was here he met Elizabeth Catherine McDonald Hill, or "Bess," as she was affectionately known, the young widow of Dr. Hardy Wallace Hill. On Feb. 21, 1854, about a year after first being introduced, Harmon and Bess were married by Enoch Kingsbury, a Presbyterian minister, at the home of her aunt and uncle, Hezekiah and Mary Cunningham, on Hazel Street in Danville. They honeymooned in Crawfordsville, Indiana for two weeks. Two years later, they purchased a brick mansion and 30 acres near Stony Creek, which Col. Harmon affectionately referred to as their "little farm." In addition to Elizabeth's two daughters by her first marriage, Eleanor ("Ellen") and Lillia, the Harmons would add several more children to their family: Lucy, Charles (Charley), Fanny and Corinne. Each child had their own pony, saddle and riding habit, and often rode with their father.
Harmon formed a partnership with another Danville attorney, O.L. Davis, which lasted until 1861 when Davis was elected judge in circuit court. The Harmon and Davis families were close with another attorney who frequented Danville on the circuit: Abraham Lincoln. Harmon was elected state representative in 1859 and served one term, but decided against running again.
When Lincoln called for troops to assist in the Union effort, Harmon and another attorney friend, James Langley, answered by recruiting and formed the 125th regiment of the Illinois Volunteer Infantry; Harmon was elected colonel and Langley, lieutenant colonel. Although many thought Harmon was better suited for politics and urged him instead to run for Congress, Harmon felt his place was on the battlefield. His first battle was at Perrysville, Kentucky in 1862. Two years later, Colonel Harmon was killed at the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain, where many of Vermilion County's sons would also perish including Ellen's fiancee, Capt, William Fellows. In all, 3,000 Union troops and 1,000 Confederate troops died that day.
Col. Harmon's body was brought to Danville on July 8. A solemn parade met the funeral train and he was returned to his beloved farm, where he would lay in state for the next two days. His funeral was held on July 10. Because the Presbyterian Church was not completely constructed yet, the service was held at the Methodist Church and led by Rev. P.D. Hammond; between 2,000 and 3,000 mourners remembered him as a loving husband, devoted father, genial neighbor, brave soldier and dear friend. Flags around the city were flown at half staff, his funeral hearse was decorated with the Union flag and his own black horse, Billy, was led riderless behind the hearse. A brass band played "Harmon's Funeral March," which had been composed specifically for the Colonel. He was interred in the Old Williams Graveyard, at Seminary and Madison streets, until the cemetery was closed; his body was reinterred in Spring Hill. His original stone at Springhill has been enveloped by a tree, so a plaque was installed to note his burial place. His name has also been placed on the family stone as well.
Colonel Harmon's spacious farmhouse, located at 522 East Main Street, still stands today and houses a restaurant. Harmon Street in Danville is also named after him.
Elizabeth Catherine McDonald Harmon (1823 - 1906)*
Charles Harmon (____ - 1871)*
Lucy Harmon McPherson (1855 - 1925)*
Frances Harmon Newman (1861 - 1940)*
Corinne Harmon (1863 - 1901)*
Spring Hill Cemetery and Mausoleum
Plot: Block 1
Created by: Vermilion County Saving ...
Record added: Nov 07, 2006
Find A Grave Memorial# 16541463
Thank you for the service to our country and keeping the country as one.|
Added: May. 10, 2016
We salute you Colonel, a brave and good man who served his country well, and gave his life while leading his men toward that Dead Angle at Kennesaw on this day, so many years ago.|
Rhea and Larry
Added: Jun. 27, 2012
Thank you and God Bless...|
Added: Dec. 3, 2009
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