Harpham Brothers Co. History


Lincoln, Nebraska
1884 - 1928 & 1934 - 1950s

Julius C. Harpham

On a Farm in Wayne County near Richmond, Indiana Julius Caesar Harpham was born on February 14, 1855 to Henry Harpham and Elise Cooper Harpham who married in 1853 at Ohio County, Indiana. At the age of 6 in 1861 Julius C. Harpham lost his Father Henry Harpham to Typhoid Fever leaving Elise Harpham a widow with 4 boys Julius Caesar Harpham, Charles Frank Harpham, John N. Harpham and Henry Harpham Jr. there was an eldest Daughter that died unnamed at birth. In 1861 Julius C. Harpham went to Indianapolis, Indiana he was raised by his Uncle and Aunt in Indianapolis where he received his early education. Julius C. Harpham left school at 16 years of age 1871 taking a Saddle Apprenticeship with another Uncle John Harpham in Sterling, Illinois and he maintained a 3 year apprenticeship at this compensation $25 per year the first year salary, $50 for his second year salary and finally $75 for his third year salary. Although beyond his apprenticeship Julius C. Harpham continued working with his Uncle in Sterling, Illinois for an additional 2 years making a total of 5 years as a Saddle & Harness maker by ' the time he was 21 years old in 1876. It was in 1876 that Julius C. Harpham went back to Indianapolis, Indiana where he went into the employ of Gordon Kurtz & Company which was a Wholesale Saddle Company, as a traveling salesman he maintained that position 6 additional years until 1882 learning the business thoroughly and now a 27 year old man. Although at 25 years old in 1880 Julius C. Harpham married Ms. Elizabeth Hubbard unfortunately she died just 2 years later on September 19, 1882 from reasons which are unclear to me now. In late 1882 Julius C. Harpham went to Peoria, Illinois to open his first business a Saddlery and Harness Shop in Peoria, Illinois which he owned and operated for 2 years until 1884. In 1884 Julius C. Harpham packed his tools and his entire stock and moved to Lincoln, Nebraska. Upon arriving in Lincoln, Nebraska Julius C. Harpham went into a Business Partnership with A. J. Gustin a Retail & Wholesale Saddlery & Harness Company. The business was located at 833 and 835 O Street in Lincoln, Nebraska the business was renamed Harpham & Gustin from The A. J. Gustin Company. The Building they occupied in the early days was three stories high and 25 x 100 in shape full of inventory at most times until 1900 when they built the Harpham Building at 808 P Street in Lincoln, Nebraska. The Business continued to thrive and in 1888 when Charles F. Harpham moved to Lincoln, Nebraska he and his Brother Charles F. Harpham bought A. J. Gustin out from the Business which in 1888 was renamed The Harpham Brothers Company. The reported sales for the Saddlery were just shy of $100,000.00 in 1888 and interestingly enough they obtained the Saddles, Saddle Hardware and Harness Equipment they bought from independent contractors and had the makers add the Harpham Brothers cartouche therefore as jobbers they did no manufacturing. On March 26, 1886 Julius C. Harpham married Clara B. Gustin Harpham Niece of A. J. Gustin and they had 3 children Edna May, James Huston and Dorothy Maude. Sometime between 1888 and 1900 the Company became a strictly Wholesale Saddlery & Harness Supplier, also in 1900 the Company filed their articles of Incorporation under the name Harpham Brothers Company. Listed as the officers of the Business were Julius C. Harpham President and Treasurer, Charles F. Harpham Vice President and Secretary although Henry Harpham Jr. worked for the Company as well there was no mention of Henry in the Corporate Filing. By 1915 Harpham Brothers Company was the largest manufacturer of Saddlery & Harness Equipment in the State of Nebraska with a traveling sales force of 7 men who traveled throughout the nation. The newly formed Wholesalers Saddlery Association held a convention in Chicago, Illinois Julius C. Harpham was elected Association President, he was also re-elected in 1915 at the San Francisco, California Convention. If the responsibilities of Julius C. Harpham we not enough already he also served as director of the Central National Bank of Lincoln, Nebraska. In Politics Julius C. Harpham served 3 consecutive terms and 1 additional term on the Lincoln Excise Tax Board which maintained control over the Police Regulations, Liquor Interests, Saloons and the Health Department for the City of Lincoln, Nebraska. Also in 1914 Julius C. Harpham ran on the progressive ticket for the State Office of Railway Commissioner consenting to win the race solely from the standpoint of Patriotism. Throughout his life Julius C. Harpham maintained membership in such organizations as Scottish Rite Masons, Mystic Shriners, Elks, Royal Highlanders and The Modern Woodman of America also maintaining positions of responsibility in each organization listed. Lastly but not least important were Julius C. Harpham's work in the Charities in which he maintained the office of Vice President of the Lincoln Nebraska Charity Organization Society. On May 1, 1925 after a bout with pneumonia, Julius C. Harpham died from complications of his illness at the age of 70 years old.

Charles F. Harpham

It was on farm in Whiteside County, Illinois that Charles Frank Harpham was born on June 10, 1857 to Henry Harpham and Elise Cooper Harpham who were married in 1853 at Ohio County, Indiana. At the age of 4 in 1861 Charles F. Harpham lost his Father Henry Harpham to Typhoid Fever leaving Elise Harpham a widow with 4 boys Julius Caesar Harpham, Charles Frank Harpham, John N. Harpham and Henry Harpham Jr. there was an eldest Daughter that died unnamed at birth. At that time 1861 Elise Cooper Harpham took Charles F. Harpham back to Ohio County, Indiana where the family originated from a few years earlier before moving to Illinois. The early years for Charles F. Harpham were spent primarily on a farm or in the village of Hartford in Ohio County, Indiana and his early education consisted of going to public schools 3 months of each winter until he was 18 years old approximately 1875. At this time Charles F. Harpham returned to the city of Sterling Whiteside County, Illinois where he went to work for his Uncle John Harpham who owned a Wholesale & Retail Saddlery and Harness Shop. In 1876 Charles F. Harpham worked as a Clerk and Apprentice for his Uncle John in Sterling, Illinois until 1881 working there for 5 years exactly as his Brother Julius C. Harpham had done before him. In 1881 Charles F. Harpham moved to Indianapolis, Indiana and went to work for Gordon Kurtz & Company A Wholesale Saddle & Harness Company as a Traveling Sales man maintaining that position for 4 years same as his Brother Julius C. Harpham. In 1885 he resigned his position in Indianapolis, Indiana and he relocated to Lincoln, Nebraska and he entered into the employ of Gustin & Harpham a Wholesale / Retail Saddlery & Harness Company in which his eldest Brother Julius C. Harpham was a Partner. In 1887 after 2 years Charles F. Harpham along with his Brother Julius C. Harpham bought the Saddlery & Harness Business the half interest A. J. Gustin had in the business and the Firm of Harpham Brothers Company came into existence. On February 4, 1891 Charles F. Harpham was married to Miss Ella Mae Hoddy a native of Matoon, Illinois also later in 1891 they had one son Julius V. Harpham. Sometime between 1888 and 1900 the Company became a strictly Wholesale Saddlery & Harness Supplier, also in 1900 the Company filed their articles of Incorporation under the name Harpham Brothers Company. Listed as the officers of the Business were Julius C. Harpham President & Treasurer, Charles F. Harpham Vice President & Secretary although Henry Harpham Jr. their Brother worked for the Company as well, there was no mention of Henry in the Corporate Filing. By 1915 Harpham Brothers Company was the largest manufacturer of Saddlery & Harness Equipment in the State of Nebraska with a traveling sales force of 7 men who traveled throughout the nation. Also Julius V. Harpham now 24 years old in 1915 was working in the Central National Bank of Lincoln, Nebraska where his Uncle Julius C. Harpham was Director of the Bank. Like his Brother Julius C. Harpham the younger Charles F. Harpham was a staunch Republican and although always well informed in politics he never sought public office. He also maintained memberships in such orders as The Lincoln Commercial Club; He was fraternally affiliated to The Knights of Pythias, The Royal Highlanders and The Modern Woodmen of America. The circumstances of the death of Charles F. Harpham are unclear and I have not found any documentation to date clarifying the reasons although Charles F. Harpham died March 31, 1937 in Lincoln, Nebraska of Cardiac Decomposition. The wife of Charles F. Harpham, Ella Mae Hoddy Harpham was born on May 8, 1865 and she died on February 29, 1944.

Henry Harpham Jr.

It was on farm in Whiteside County, Illinois that Henry Harpham Jr. was born on April 2, 1861 to Henry Harpham Sr. and Elise Cooper Harpham who were married in 1853 at Ohio County, Indiana. At the age of less than 1 year old in 1861 Henry Harpham Jr. lost his Father Henry Harpham Sr. to Typhoid Fever leaving Elise Harpham a widow with 4 boys Julius Caesar Harpham, Charles Frank Harpham, John N. Harpham and Henry Harpham Jr. there was an eldest Daughter that died unnamed at birth. There is no real history available on Henry Harpham Jr. beyond that which can be accounted by his brothers Julius C. Harpham and Charles F. Harpham. Although I was able to find out that in 1936 Henry Harpham Jr. was killed after being struck by a car on June 23, 1936 in Lincoln, Nebraska. Henry Harpham was married to Edna Harpham Born February 8, 1878 and died on June 17, 1974.

James H. Harpham

The Birth of James H. Harpham took place on April 12, 1889 in Lincoln, Nebraska the only son of Julius C. Harpham and Clara B. Gustin Harpham. In Lincoln, Nebraska where his Father Julius C. Harpham had known great success as the President of The Harpham Brothers Company James received the benefits of a private education in his early life. Later attending a Public High School fittingly named Lincoln High School and then he attended College at The University of Nebraska pledging fraternity Delta Upsilon Sigma Tau and Graduating with a Bachelor's Degree in 1911 at which time he went to work for the Harpham Brothers Company. At the outbreak of World War I James H. Harpham Volunteered for military on July 1, 1917 assigned to The Ordinance Department as Purchasing Officer for Leather Equipment and Commissioned 1st Lieutenant July 31, 1917. After just six months at his position James H. Harpham was promoted in January 1918 to the Rank of Captain QMC Washington, D.C. Upon discharge from the military at the close of World War I James H. Harpham went back to work for the Harpham Brothers Company in Lincoln, Nebraska where he maintained a position within administration in the Company until 1925. In May of 1925 Julius C. Harpham died from complications due to pneumonia and from May 1925 James Huston Harpham became the President and Treasurer of The Harpham Brothers Company. On February 4, 1928 James H. Huston married Myrtle V. Loy a native of Minnesota and later that year the Harpham Brothers Company merged with Askew Brothers Saddlery and Atchison Saddlery forming General Leather Industries. As his father was before him James H. Harpham was very active in various Clubs and Associations Trade and otherwise. Listed are but a few in 1926 - 1927 James Huston Harpham was listed actively with the American Legion, He was Director of the Chamber of Commerce in Lincoln, Nebraska from 1936 - 1939, and most impressively like his Father Julius C. Harpham in 1914 and 1915 was James H. Harpham was President of National Saddlery Manufacturers Association 1934 and 1935 which was exactly 20 years after his Father. The history of General Industries has been difficult to find as is additional history on James H. Harpham other then these details. His hobby surprisingly was Horseback Riding, His offices were located at the Harpham Building 808 P Street in Lincoln and his Home was Located at 3300 Franklin Street in Lincoln, Nebraska across from a Golf Course and Large Public Park which allows horseback riding on the trails. The life of James Harpham was a full and productive life and on September 16, 1952 James Harpham died from Cardiac Complications.

Harpham Brothers makers mark 1888-1900
Harpham Brothers Company 1888 - 1900 Maker Mark
Harpham Brothers makers mark
Saddlery goods made with H. B. Brand are the best made.
This mark was used from 1900-1928.
Another mark was used in the later years.
Harpham Brothers makers mark 1900-1928
Harpham Brothers Company 1900 - 1928 Maker Mark
Harpham Brothers makers mark 1934-1950s
Harpham Brothers Brand 1934 - 1952 Maker Mark
Julius Harpham Excise Tax Board Chairman
Annual Lincoln City Report listing Julius C. Harpham Excise Tax Board Chairman
Capt James Harpham 1918 WWI
Captain James H. Harpham World War I Photo on the lower right
Harpham Building Lincoln, Nebraska
Harpham Building 808 P Street Lincoln, Nebraska