Biography - Joseph Harsook

JOSEPH HARSOOK was born in Berkley county, Virginia, on the 22d August, 1814. He was naturally of an ingenious turn of mind, and at an early age commenced working in wood and iron. In these branches, as well as in brick and stone, without any instruction whatever, he soon became an adept. His education was limited, owing to several reasons, among others, the distance of the schools, and his oft detention at home to assist in the labors on the farm. In 1837 Mr. H. emigrated to Illinois, and settled in Macoupin county. Remaining there only a short time, he removed to Greene county. On the 5th September, 1837, he was married to Miss Elizabeth Ann Studley, daughter of Solomon Studley, Esq., and old resident of Macoupin county. Eight children have been the result of the union. Only two have died, and these in the spring of 1872. For several years Mr. H., in connection with his sons, has been running a steam saw mill not far from Greenfield, and located on Taylor Creek. He also has worked as a master carpenter, and many of the buildings in Greenfield and vicinity are evidences of his handiwork. For about seven years he also had teams traveling over the country furnishing dry goods, groceries and notions to the citizens. At another time he had quite an extensive cabinet manufacturing establishment at Greenfield. In all these branches he worked with a will, and earned a reputation as an honest and skillful business man. With a pure character, and a life unblemished by a single crime, yet his reputation has suffered somewhat at the hands of gossips. But they who know him best regard him as an honest, upright, and generous husband, father, and friend. He has been engaged in several law-suits, but if the general public would take the trouble to examine the records they would see the reason of his so acting. He never, in a single instance, proceeded to legal redress till he had exhausted all other means. We understand that the very idea of law is "to secure justice, and to prevent the strong from trampling upon the weak." Nevertheless, when a man endeavors to follow the path of rectitude and the occasion arises in which his rights are trampled upon, and he is liable to lose the hard earnings of years, is he to remain a silent spectator and not avail himself of all advantages of legal redress? We think not. There were three noted cases in which he was engaged. Two of them were on the court docket for years, and cost for fees of lawyers and court expenses a very large amount of money. We will not go into the details of these causes. Parties who were conversant with the facts at the time assure us that they were plainly in favor of the subject of this record. Yet, for his conduct in manfully standing up for his rights he was shamefully maligned, and suffered much in the way of personal insult. We have talked with many of the old citizens who have known him since his entry into the state, and they all concur in saying that there is not a better man in the country as regards honesty, industry, and morality, than he of whom we have just spoken. If by these few words we shall give the people a more clear and just conception of his character, actions, and life, we shall feel amply recompensed. He has been a warm friend of the educational cause, and has aided in a substantial manner, also, the moral and religious institutions of this section. Of a kind and generous disposition, he is endeared to a large circle of friends.

Extracted 11 Jul 2018 by Norma Hass from Atlas Map of Greene County Illinois, 1873, page 43.

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