John Paley Harsha

John P. Harsha, was five years of age when his family moved from Pennsylvania to Washington county, Ohio and he received his elementary education in the local schools of his home neighborhood, supplementing the same by a course in Bartlett College at Plymouth, Ohio, from which he graduated. In 1869, he then being twenty years of age, entered the service of the road, now known as the Baltimore & Ohio Southwestern, as secretary to the superintendent of construction with headquarters at Shawneetown, Illinois, and remained with that company for eighteen years, eventually becoming traveling freight and passenger agent with jurisdiction over business originating at Ohio, Mississippi, and Cumberland river points. In 1882 Mr. Harsha came to Reno county on a visit to his father and was so highly impressed by the possibilities then presented in land investment that he bought twelve hundred acres of land in Salt Creek and Center townships. In March 1887, he moved to Hutchinson and opened a retail grocery store near the corner of Sherman and Main streets under the firm name of Harsha & Duval which firm sold out in 1888, after which he was instrumental in the organization of the Hutchinson Wholesale Grocery Company. In 1894, Mr. Harsha became president of the same, a position he retained until April 26, 1915, at which time he retired from active business, though still retaining some of his former business connections, and is still president of the Antheline Manufacturing Company of Hutchinson.

Mr. Harsha, has taken an active interest in political affairs and has given valuable service to the public in a civic capacity. For three years he served as a member of the city council and then in 1897, was elected mayor of Hutchinson on the Republican ticket for a term of two years. He was re-elected upon the expiration of that term and thus served four years. In 1903 he again was elevated to the office of the city's chief executive and was retained in office three successive terms, thus making a service of ten years in the mayor's office a distinction accorded no other man in the political history of Hutchinson. During Mayor Harsha's incumbency many notable improvements were made in Hutchinson. Mr. Harsha has proved his enterprise and public spirit and the people of this community gladly accord to him the credit of having been the means of accomplishing much in behalf of the common good.

On September 14, 1873, he married Aletha A. Campbell, who was born in New Cumberland, Hancock county, Virginia, daughter of John and Ruth (Swearengen) Campbell.

(History of Reno County, Kansas: Its People, Industries and ..., Volume 2. By Sheridan Ploughe)

John Paley Harsha's father was Dr John M. Harsha,  a practicing physician at Harshaville who in 1854 moved to Washington county, Ohio locating near the town of Marietta, where he laid out the town of Cutler, upon the completion of the railroad now operated by the Baltimore & Ohio Southwestern Railroad Company, and also was the owner of other extensive land interests. In 1872 he moved to Shawneetown, Illinois, and made his home there practicing his profession until 1872, in which year he came to Kansas locating in Reno county, where he bought twelve hundred acres of land in Lincoln township, and lived there until 1878, when following his election to the office of county surveyor he moved to Hutchinson, the county seat where he spent the rest of his life, his death occurring in 1885, at the age of sixty six.

Doctor Harsha not only was a practicing physician of wide reputation, but was a civil engineer of much ability, having learned surveying under his father John Harsha, who was one of the best known civil engineers in Pennsylvania in his day. He was a Whig originally, but upon the formation of the Republican party became a Republican and was thereafter affiliated with that party. He was a member of the United Presbyterian church and ever was active in good works. Doctor Harsha was twice married. His first wife, Mary Dawson died in 1860, at the age of thirty two years, leaving three children.

(History of Reno County, Kansas: Its People, Industries and ..., Volume 2. By Sheridan Ploughe)