Harmon Family Roots
On July 24-25, 2001, Craig & Dorothy, Tom & Esther were in Saunders County, Nebraska, looking for Harmon family
roots. Here are some of the things we found:
In Jeri's Café in Yutan, Nebraska, Tom visited with Mr. Glen Hollst (407 2nd St., Yutan) who directed us to the home where Gene Harmon grew up, 1 ¼ miles west of Yutan on the north side of Highway 92. It is in Union Township, Saunders County. Frederick Scheele got this 80 acres by patent from the U.S. Government in 1877. Frederick died in 1911, leaving the property to son Henry, daughter Amelia, and granddaughter Isabelle. Before his estate was probated, Henry died in 1913. Amelia and Isabelle ended up with all of it. Amelia had the 40 acres with house, and Isabelle had 40 acres farmland. At some point Isabelle's property was transferred to Amelia.
We learned that the house has been moved closer to the highway, and that in the 1950's the house was enlarged. It has been occupied by people named Putnam and Speckmann, and now a Debbie Mannino. Here is a picture of the house as it looks today:
For more information about the town of Yutan, click here.
In the café various people advised us that Mrs. Emily Mumm knows lots of history, and they were right! When Craig and Tom knocked on her door (303 3rd St.), they were excited to find that she not only remembered their father Gene Harmon but also could recall the names of his younger brother George and older sisters Ruth and Frances. She was a classmate of George, graduating from Yutan High School in 1928. Gene had graduated in 1926 and the sisters earlier. She had a picture of the entire high school taken in 1926. This digital image of the photo is not very clear, but you can recognize Gene in the back row at our right. George has a large pompadour hairdo, in the second from the back row, second from the left.
Mrs. Mumm was extremely helpful and a sweet lady, who had just 3 days previous celebrated her 90th birthday. She remembers traveling by car with Frances and Ruth to Yellowstone in 1930. Here she is:
We visited several cemeteries, and we found that Rachel's and Becky's memories were clear that we needed to be in Valparaiso though it is some distance from Yutan and Mead. Ruth, Frances and their parents, Daniel E. Harmon and Amelia Scheele Harmon, are buried in the Valparaiso Cemetery. Frances' gravestone puzzles us. It says she was born in February, 1908, but we believe Gene (Dad) was born in August of 1908. Later information from Mrs. Mumm indicates that Frances graduated from Yutan High School in 1920, a class of three, so it is likely she was born in 1902 or '03, maybe even '04 if she was quickly advanced through school. But if Ruth was born in 1903, was Frances older or younger? Any help here would be appreciated. Aunt Frances had not wanted to tell us how old she was, and maybe she left this earth without letting us know!
We learned that Amelia Scheele Harmon's parents were Fred and Henrietta Scheele. In the Hollst-Lawn Cemetery near Yutan we found a stone for W. Frederick Scheele, Civil War veteran, born 1836, died 1911. Mrs. Mumm's records indicated that his wife Henrietta (1867-1911) and their children Clementine (1864-1887) and Henry (1869-1913) are also buried there, but we found no stones marking their graves. Henry died March 23, 1913, and we were able to confirm that was the date of the tornado that killed so many in that area. Click here for more information on the deadly Easter Sunday tornado. Gene had mentioned his uncle who was killed by the tornado, so those pieces fit together.
From records in the Saunders County Courthouse in Wahoo, we learned that Isabelle Huddleston (a.k.a. Hudson), who lived with the Harmon family, was the daughter of a daughter of Frederick and Henrietta Scheele, and that Isabelle's mother was deceased by or before 1915. We believe her mother was not Clementine, as records indicate that Clementine died August 10, 1887, and we believe Isabelle was born in 1901 or later. Mrs. Mumm has written in a letter that the cemetery records show that Ida Scheele (daughter of Fred and Henrietta) was married to a Rob Hudson (or Huddleston?). Apparently Isabelle was the daughter of Ida and Rob. Another of their children was also named Ida, born 4/11/1907, died 4/20/1907. Isabelle moved to Omaha and later married, according to Mrs. Mumm.
Also in the Hollst-Lawn Cemetery we found the graves of Fred F. Hirsch (1876-1913), wife Julia Hirsch (1878-1978), daughter Eleanor (1907-1908), and daughter Marion (1908-1978). We remember Julia and Marion and believed they were our relatives, but we do not know how they fit into the Harmon or Scheele families. Mrs. Mumm thinks they were friends, not relatives.
We also found that George W. Harmon and wife Jenny were the parents of Zena Gray and Nora Stickney. We remember the names of those two ladies. Could George W. have been a brother of Daniel E. Harmon? A relative of Harvey Speckmann, whose parents lived on the former Harmon place, told Mrs. Mumm that there was a George W. Harmon in South Dakota. They had found old papers in the house confirming this, but there was no clue as to whether he was a brother of Daniel Harmon. We also know the name of a Dick Tracy who lived in Mitchell, South Dakota. Does anyone know how he was related to the Harmons or Scheeles?
In Mead, Nebraska, we took a picture of the home where we visited Aunt Frances after her retirement. We learned from County records that this home was bought in 1947 for $2000 by Amelia and Ruth Harmon, from a dentist named William Kling. After Amelia's death, it was deeded to Ruth and Frances. Frances sold it in 1979 for $7250 to Randy Johnson, and he later on sold it to an Anderson. It is now owned by Mitch Zaugg.
At K's Short Stop Cafe in Mead we were served by Connie Simons, an interesting lady who remembered Aunt Frances and knew that Travis Charter was her special young friend. She got word to him that the Harmons had inquired about him, and he soon called and left a message at Craig's office. Travis is a masseuse living in Omaha.
Any further information that anyone can supply will be appreciated.
Below is a picture of Craig waving from the Caboose where we spent the night in Two Rivers State Park near Venice, Nebraska. This is only a few miles east of Yutan but is in the next county. There are ten retired cabooses in a line there, and all can be rented, sleeping six people each. We thought of all the Harmon clan and wished for a day when we could all stay there together.
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