William Harman
Contributed by Jody Doran and B.J. Kemme

  				William Harman

				By Jody Doran

		Staff writer for Rogers City Advance & the Onaway Outlook

           		 Pages from the past  No date given.


Today�s story tells of one of Onaway�s pioneers, William Harman, who owned
Harman�s Big Department Store during the early years of Onaway. He was born in Ireland, January 2, 1831, the eldest of 12 children. After the death
of his father, the family moved to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. At the tender age of 15, he
enlisted in the regular army as a musician. He served in the Mexican War under General
Winfield Scott, participating in several battles and the storming of the citadel of
Chapaullepec, resulting in the surrender of Mexico City. He was also present when
General Santa Anna surrendered his army. He then fought in Indian campaigns in Kansas and Nebraska, becoming a trader
with the Indians after the Indians wars were over. When the Civil War broke out, he
commanded a scout detachment for the Union Army. He marched with General Sherman
on his famous march through Georgia and fought in many battles. After the war he went back to trading on the frontiers until finally settling down in
Newaygo County to open a store. Eventually he came to Onaway in 1899 to start a
business. In the space of a year and a half he had to increase the size of his building to
accommodate his growing business. It grew from averaging $8,000 to over $45,000 per year, engaging at least eight
people to work for him. The store carried everything a person could want or need and
had a large warehouse 24x100 feet to keep extra stock. Upon his death of his wife in 1916, he retired from active business letting his son
Louis W. take over the day-to-day trade. He then spent his remaining years traveling the
United States and spending time in Washington, D. C., listening to the debates in
Congress before war was declared in 1917. He passed away at the age of 95 while at his
daughter�s home in Florida on February 24, 1916. Mr. Harman seemed to be a man with �larger than life� characteristics and
Onaway was very luck to have him settle in the area.