Person:Edwin Harkness (1)

  1. Mariann HarknessAbt 1847 -
  2. Edwin Daniel Harkness1850 - 1919
m. 5 Nov 1877
Facts and Events
Name Edwin Daniel Harkness
Gender Male
Birth? 8 Dec 1850 Raisin Center, Lenawee, Michigan, United States
Marriage 5 Nov 1877 Batavia, Branch, Michigan, United Statesto Jennie May Field
Death? 18 Apr 1919 Coldwater, Branch, Michigan, United States


Reasons why Edwin wasn't the son of Person:William Harkness (4) even though he is listed in that household in 1860 US Census

  • According to his obituary, Edwin was orphaned at age 3 and raised by his aunt and uncle. William and Betsy Harkness were his aunt and uncle, not his parents. Edwin set out to make his own way at 13, which corresponds to the death of his uncle in the Civil War.
  • Betsey, William's wife, has two children according to her obituary. See Person:Betsey Unknown (35) Those are Phillip and Emma (Harkness) Butcher.
  • In an article on the death of Person:Philip Harkness (1), Edwin is explicitly identified as Phillip's cousin, not his brother. Phillip is stated to be his sister's only brother, according to the article.

Reasons why the Edwin in William's household in 1850 is a different person than the Edwin listed in William's household in 1860. (I have not determined anything about the older Edwin's parentage.)

  • There is a significant age difference. The Edwin J (or L) Harkness listed in 1850 is age 1 and would have been age 11 in 1860. The Edwin of this page was born 8 Dec 1850, and would not even have been listed in the 1850 census taken in June of 1850. But he would have indeed been age 9, as is the Edwin that is listed in William Harkness' household in 1860.
  • In 1870 there are two Edwin Harkness listed in US Census of Lenawee County. The older one is 20 years old and is a farm laborer in the household of Horace S Heir of Palmyra. The younger one is 19 years old and is a laborer in the household of Ezra Hoxie of Raisin Twp. This corresponds closely to the age difference noted above.

Reasons why Edwin's parents are not David and Sarah Harkness as stated in his obituary.

  • Person:David Harkness (2) left for California in March 1849 and died there. He could not have fathered a child born 8 Dec 1850.
  • Edwin was orphaned at the age of 3. But David's widow, the former Sarah Marie Laing, married for the second time on 12 Sep 1855 to Riley Harris. So she clearly did not die when Edwin was 3.
  • Edwin is not listed as an heir in David Harkness's probate documents. The heirs are David Smith Harkness, Mary Jane Harkness, and a Joseph John Harkness who died after David's death 13 Jan 1850 and before Sarah's petition filed 14 Jun 1850.

Reasons why Edwin's parents are probably Daniel W and Sarah Harkness.

  • Person:Daniel Harkness (2) died 6 Dec 1850, 2 days before Edwin was born. There is a Sarah Harkness who d. 1853 buried in the Raisin Valley Cemetery. Thus, Edwin was orphaned as age three.
  • There is no explicit mention of Edwin in Daniel's probate documents. Daniel's will dated 2 Dec 1850 only mentions "my child or children", a surprisingly ambiguous phrasing that would seem to indicate a child was expected. The executor's petition 16 Dec 1850 names as heirs "Mariam Harkness and an infant" besides the widow. This is very consistent with the birth date of Edwin on 8 Dec 1850 that is listed in his obituary.
  • Mariann/Miriam is listed as the only child in Daniel's household in 1850, since the 1850 census occurred in the summer of 1850, before Edwin was born. Edwin and Mariann/Miriam are both listed in William Harkness' household in 1860, suggesting an effort to keep the family together.


From Coldwater Republican, April 27, 1883
Edwin Harkness named clerk of Batavia Township, supervisor is George Miller.

1870 US Census: Palmyra, Lenawee County, MI
Harkness Edwin, age 19, laborer, born in MI
in household of Ezra Hoesie [as transcribed, probably Hoxie], 52 yr old farmer.

1880 US Census, Batavia, Branch Co, MI
Field, Sidney, 45, NY/VT/CT, Carpenter
Field, Mary, 40, OH/NY/NY
Field, Cora, 15, MI/NY/OH
Field, Jennie, 21, MI/NY/OH
Harkness, E.D., 29, MI/?/?, Farmer, son-in-law

1900 Census, Batavia, Branch Co, MI
Harkness, Edward [sic] Dec 1850/49 Mich NY, married=22, kids=2/2, occ=trainman???
Harkness, Jennie Aug 1858/41 Mich NY
Harkness, Burnese July 1883/M-16 Mich
Harkness, Lillian A. Mar 1893/F-6 Mich

1910 Coldwater, Branch Co, MI Census (Notation: 79 North Clay St.)
Harkness, Edwin D. 59 MI/NY/NY, married=32, kids=2/2
Harkness, Jennie M. 51 MI/NY/NY
Harkness, Lillian A. 16 MI/MI/MI


From Coldwater Daily Reporter, Thurs. April 24, 1919.


Edwin Daniel Harkness was born to David and Sarah Harkness Dec. 8, 1850. His father and mother having passed away before he was three years old, his childhood was spent with an aunt until 13 years of age, when he went to Chicago and began taking care of himself.

Most of his earlier manhood was spent as a steamfitter. He worked on the State Capitol buildings at Lansing during their construction, also State buildings of Ionia.

Dec. 5, 1876, he was united in marriage to Jennie May Field and settled on the Sidney Field farm, Batavia township, where he remained until about fourteen years ago, when he came to Coldwater to make it his home. The wife, one son and one daugther survive him - Burneses S. and Lillian A., also one granddaughter, Verba E.

Soon after the marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Harkness they were baptized and united with the Batavia Baptist church where he was a faithful and active worker.

The same interest and willingness to serve his Master was manifested while his health permitted, in Coldwater. His life was an inspiration to all who knew him. Mr. Harkness passed away at his home, 209 North Clay street, Coldwater, Michigan, April 19, 1919, after an extended illness of about five years.

From Coldwater Daily Reporter, Sat. April 19, 1919.

E.D. Harkness Passes Away

Edwin Daniel Harkness passed away at his home, 209 North Clay Street, last evening. Mr. Harkness was 68 years old and has lived in the city 14 years. Previous to this he lived in Batavia township, where he was a prosperous and influential farmer. The remains will be taken to the Baptist church of this city, Monday afternoon, where they will be in state from 2 until 2:30, the hour of the funeral. Rev. W. S. Cole of Colorado, formerly Baptist pastor of the Batavia church, will officiate. Burial will take place at Oak Grove.