J.R. Harkness-Architect-Biloxi

Mayors of Biloxi

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Biloxi Daily Herald

October 31, 1934

MAYORS OF BILOXI — The earliest records available begin with the ‘50’s. L. E. Pradat was “president of the town” and “selectmen” served with him in 1857. The next record now at City Hall states that James Fewell was mayor in 1861 and James Blythe served as mayor protem  during that year, and the selectmen had become “aldermen.” Other mayors of which there are records are:

1866 – John L. Henley

1868 – Lyman B. Holley

            (There is a loss of records for a few years)

1875 – H. J. Meaut

1877 – Lyman B. Holley

1878-1880 – R. Caillavet

1881-1882 – F. W. Elmer

1883-(part) – J. R. Harkness

1883-1884 – Emile Laudner

1885-1886 – J. A. Bousquet

1887-1888 – Emile Laudner

1888 – John Walker

1889-1890 – Harry T. Howard

1891 – F. W. Elmer

1893-1894 – John A. Bousquet

1895-1913 – Edward Glennan

1914-1933 – John J. Kennedy

1933-1934 – R. Hart Chinn

 


 

Mayor J. R. Harkness was my Great Great Grandfather:

Capt. John Rankin HARKNESS (1830 – 1903)
2nd great-grandfather
Edna Irene HARKNESS (1880 – 1952)
daughter of Capt. John Rankin HARKNESS
John Harkness MORRIS (1901 – 1965)
son of Edna Irene HARKNESS
Janie Lucille MORRIS (1935 – 2013)
daughter of John Harkness MORRIS
Me

Early Biloxi Socialites and Philanthropists, “The Misses Harkness”

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Biloxi Sisters Stella & May Harkness

My Great Great Aunts – The Misses Harkness

Capt. John Rankin HARKNESS (1830 – 1903)
father of Stella and May Harriet Harkness
 
Edna Irene HARKNESS (1880 – 1952)
daughter of Capt. John Rankin HARKNESS
 
John Harkness MORRIS (1901 – 1965)
son of Edna Irene HARKNESS
 
Janie Lucille MORRIS (1935 – 2013)
daughter of John Harkness MORRIS
 
Me
The daughter of Janie Lucille MORRIS

 

Estelle “Stella” Harkness

Birth 12 NOV 1874 Biloxi, Harrison, Mississippi, USA

Death 21 MAR 1961 Biloxi, Harrison, Mississippi, USA

May Harriet Harkness

Birth 30 AUG 1883 Biloxi, Harrison, Mississippi, USA

Death 17 SEP 1967 Biloxi, Harrison, Mississippi, USA


 

Early Biloxi Socialites and Philanthropists, “The Misses Harkness” – Stella and May

My maternal grandmother, Rosie Smith Morris, was married to John Harkness Morris, one of the nephews to Stella and May Harkness.  John Harkness Morris was the son of David Edmund “Ed” and Edna Irene Jordan Morris.  I remember we visited Aunt Stella and Aunt May quite a few times that I can recall in an older Victorian-type home in Biloxi.    When they passed, my grandmother inherited a few of the beautiful antique furnishings they had in that home.   I recall the home was close by, if not in the downtown Biloxi area in a beautiful neighborhood.

I have collected numerous newspaper clippings about her and May from the Daily Herald Newspaper in Biloxi in which they were very active in the social scene and philanthropic circles all their lives.  Stella and May had beautiful voices and entertained gatherings of all types by recitations.  They read poems, stories and historical pieces for audiences gathered for charitable organizations, Civil War veterans at Beauvoir, church gatherings, weddings, showers and birthday parties.  Many performances were given both together and apart as they sang as well as played piano.  Their talents were well documented in the news articles I read.  It seems the girls were born into a life of faithful servitude to the finer aspects of civilization, as well as a dedication to improve the lives of the unfortunate and took their involvement seriously.  As young girls they were known to entertain the veterans at the old soldiers home at Beauvoir as members of their Sunday School group visited the grounds often. 

The Harkness name was well known and the family was instrumental in the social organizations to improve life for the citizens of Biloxi.  They started and supported the fire department, the Masonic organization, the churches, the ladies clubs, the Kings Daughters and numerous other Biloxi institutions.  The were the architects, builders, ministers and founders of the city of Biloxi.  They served on the school board, as aldermen and teachers.  To say they were influential would be an understatement.

Both Stella and May sang in the church choir.  They were active curch members at the Methodist Episcopal church in Biloxi.  I recall memberships in the Order of the Eastern Star and the United Daughters of Confederacy.  There were mentions of several other organizations they were members of in the newspaper.  “The Misses Harkness” visited extensively along the Coast of Mississippi and most of it was recorded in the Daily Herald.  They visited my great grandparents David Edmund “Ed” and Irene Morris and their children, and relatives in nearby Moss Point, New Orleans and Mobile.  This was during a time you had to take a horse and buggy or, later on, the train.  If there was weddings, illness or death in the family, they were there.  It appears Stella had an affection for travel and visited New York with her mother and Washington D.C. for conventions. 

What I recall most was their dedication to family.  Neither Stella nor her sister, May ever married.  Despite having no children of their own, both sisters were highly involved with nieces and nephews.  Various trips were taken with those nieces and nephews to visit other relatives.  The children often visited their home in Biloxi and could be found accompanying them to social functions and church activities.

Stella and May Harkness both worked as postal clerks in Biloxi.  They were described as very efficient and if they took off time from work, the newpaper recorded their welcome back to work as they were highly regarded and very popular clerks.

Although, back in their day, they might have been called “spinsters” or “old maids” they were so much more than a choice to marry.  They were part of the tightly woven fabric of life when family and civil responsibilities were a serious priority for  women, married or not.  I know that in our family these two women were well respected members of society providing a strong family link from the past to the future.  The women in my immediate family have been and continue to be involved in some of the same organizations we knew Stella and May to have participated in and organized.  They encouraged and facilitated the joining of these groups by providing important family history to gain access to those memberships such as United Daughter of Confederacy and the Order of the Eastern Star.  They inspired us to be strong members of those organizations.

When Aunt Stella passed away, she left several beautiful Victorian pieces of furniture from her home to my grandmother, Rosie. When I was growing up, I slept in the “Tester” bed with my grandmother that belonged to Stella. She also had another ornate dark wood bed with dresser that Stella gave her that I loved. I believe the time I spent with Aunt Stella in her home in Biloxi inspired my love and appreciation for the Victorian era home decor we all admire today.

The Misses Harkness were part of a family that built the homes, businesses, fire department and many, many other important part of the society that formed the Biloxi of yesteryear, a legacy that sustained their home town for the future.

Stella and May Harkness left behind them a legacy of strong women who have passed that strength on to future generations.

— written 06 Sep 2008 by Tenderly


Stella Harkness Photo-Eastern Star
Stella Harkness in photo from book “Images of America-BILOXI” by Jamie Bounds Ellis and Jane B. Shambra

Biloxi Daily Herald 18 July 1921:

“After patiently suffering for several months, Louis J. Harkness (John L. Harkness), aged 48 years, a native and lifelong resident of Biloxi, died at his home here yesterday at 12 o’clock noon. Deceased was well known in Biloxi where he was employed as a contractor for a number of years. Mr. Harkness, who was a member of the Methodist church, was also prominently identified with Magnolia Lodge No. 120 F. & A.M., members of which organization attended the funeral in a body. Funeral services were conducted by Rev. M. B. Sharbrough this afternoon at 5 o’clock from the late residence 123 Croesus street, with interment in the Biloxi cemetery. Mr. Harkness is survived by a wife, four children, three sisters and a brother. His sisters are Mrs. D. E. Morris and Misses Stella and Mae Harkness. His brother is W. T. Harkness.”


5 Sept 1896

Biloxi Daily Herald – Biloxi, Harrison, Mississippi, USA

WEDDING BELLS

Harkness-Stilphen

The marriage of Miss Sadie A. Stilphen and Mr. William T. Harkness, both of this city last Wednesday, at 8:30 p.m., at the residence of the bride’s parents, was the occasion of much rejoicing among the two families. The couple are both well-known in Biloxi and are members of society in high standing. The bride is the only daughter of Capt. and Mrs. John H. Silphen who reside at West End. The groom is Biloxi’s well-known architect, contractor and builder, and is the eldest son of Mr. and Mrs. John R. Harkness. The wedding was a quiet and select affair, with only the relatives of each family present and a few chosen guests. The officiating clergyman was Rev. D. L. Mitchell. The attendants were Miss Abbie Harkness, a sister of the groom, and Henry N. Stilphen, a brother of the bride.

At the appointed hour the contracting parties took their position under a large floral bell, while Miss Estelle Harkness, presiding at the organ, performed Mendelssohn’s Wedding March, the execution of which was fine. The words that made the beautiful couple one were soon said, and they were the recipients of general congratulations from those present. Among these were Mrs. S. M. Stilphen, mother of the bride, and Henry N. Stilphen. The Captain was not present owing to duties on his vessel. There were also in evidence Mr. and Mrs. John R. Harkness, Giles A. Harkness and wife, Misses Estelle, Abbie, Edna and May Harkness, and J. Louis Harkness. Reve. D. L. Mitchell and wife, Misses Priscilla and A. Mitchell, Miss Alice Cousans, G. M. Robertson and wife, Mrs. T. J. Rosell, Harry and Miss Una Suter, Miss Jennie Gillen and others.

As it was the intention of the couple to immediately depart after the ceremony on the 10:04 p.m. train for a brief stay at Mobile and Point Clear, the bride was joined to her choice arrayed in a very fine and elaborate travelling gown of a soft, gray color, with hat and gloves to match, carrying a magnificent bouquet of natural flowers, and, as she stood beside the man she had selected, they formed a beautiful picture. After a short time spent in congratulations, the party entered hacks and were conveyed to the depot, where the train was boarded and, amid a shower of virgin rice, the handsome couple sped on their way with the gates of life open to them, and their friend’s best wishes following them. The trip will naturally be a short one owing to the manifold duties of the husband and which just at present can not be neglected.


12 Jun 1903

Biloxi Daily Herald – Biloxi, Harrison, Mississippi, USA

JOHN R. HARKNESS

Died at His Home Yesterday Evening.

Mr. John Rankin Harkness died yesterday at 8:55 p.m., at his home on north Delauney stree, after a lingering illness which made him an invalid for several years and confined him to his room for the last few months of his life.

Mr. Harkness was born in the state of Massachusetts seventy-three years ago. He has been a resident of Biloxi for the past thirty years having, as architect and builder, built many of the homes and business houses in this city and county.

He was a member of Magnolia Lodge No. 120, A.F. and A.M., and of Iberville Lodge No. 51, Knights of Pythias. The funeral took place from his late residence this evening at 4:oo o’clock. The funeral services were conducted by Rev. W.H. Van Hook. The interment was with Masonic honors. A large number of the friends of the deceased and members of the fraternal orders to which he belonged attended the funeral. The deceased leaves a wife, three sons and four daughters to mourn his loss. His surviving children are Messrs. W. T., Giles A. and J. L. Harkness, Misses Stella and May, Mrs. James L. Booth and Mr. (i.e. Mrs.) Edw. Morris. The Herald extends its sympathy to the bereaved family.


Stella Goes to Washington

1 Jun 1917

Biloxi Daily Herald – Biloxi, Harrison, Mississippi, USA

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Stella Harkness Goes to Washington – 1 Jun 1917 – Biloxi Daily Herald – Biloxi, Harrison, Mississippi, USA

Easter 30 Mar 1907 Stella and May Harkness-Biloxi MS
Easter 30 Mar 1907 Stella and May Harkness-Biloxi MS

May Harkness - Clerk at Post Office
Miss May Harkness – Clerk at Post Office 19 Dec 1913, Biloxi Daily Herald

May Harkness - Postal Clerk
Biloxi Post Office Clerk Miss Stella Harkness on Vacation, Miss May Harkness Fills In – Biloxi Daily Herald 4 Jun 1914

 

Stella and May Harkness - Old Biloxi Cemetery

 

Irene (Jordan) Harkness 1845–1916

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Birth 30 Nov 1845 Mississippi, USA

Death 15 Nov 1916 Biloxi, Harrison, Mississippi, USA

my great great grandmother

Irene JORDAN Harkness (1845 – 1916)
Edna Irene HARKNESS (1880 – 1952)
daughter of Irene JORDAN
John Harkness MORRIS (1901 – 1965)
son of Edna Irene HARKNESS
Janie Lucille MORRIS (1935 – 2013)
daughter of John Harkness MORRIS
Me
the daughter of Janie Lucille MORRIS

Irene Jordan
Irene JORDAN Harkness (1845 – 1916) of the Mississippi Gulf Coast
When Irene JORDAN was born on November 30, 1845, in Mississippi, her father, William, was 30 and her mother, Nancy, was 24. She married Capt. John Rankin HARKNESS on November 19, 1868, in Harrison County, Mississippi. They had seven children in 14 years. She died on November 15, 1916, in Biloxi, Mississippi, at the age of 70, and was buried there.
Irene “was the daughter of Wm. M Jordan and Nancy Bond Jordan.”
Bradford O’Keefe Funeral Home records.

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Irene JORDAN Harkness (1845 – 1916), Biloxi, Harrison County, Mississippi Obituary

Irene is buried with her husband, John Rankin Harkness and daughter (also named Irene) in the old Biloxi Cemetery.

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Biloxi Pioneers – John Rankin Harkness and his wife, Irene Jordan Harkness. Old Biloxi Cemetery, Biloxi, Harrison County, Mississippi

Pioneers of Biloxi Mississippi

Irene Jordan Harkness’ father, Rev. William Millard S. Jordan, 
  founded Biloxi’s first Methodist Church in abt 1842.
Her mother Nancy Bond Jordan’s family history includes a locally famous pioneer of the Mississippi Gulf Coast listed in the . Irene’s great grandfather was John Bond of Wiggins, Mississippi. He was an American Revolutionary War officer.  He and his father is listed in “The Order of the First Families of Mississippi 1699-1817” ancestor roster.

Capt. John Rankin Harkness 1830-1903

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Capt. John Rankin Harkness 1830–1903 / Biloxi Pioneer / Architect and builder of many homes, the school and businesses in Biloxi. Harkness was street commissioner on the Biloxi City Council and was a member of the school board as evidenced in The Biloxi Herald newspaper at the time.

 

 


Capt. John Rankin Harkness

 

1830–1903

Birth 26 Mar 1830 Pelham, Hampshire, Massachusetts, USA

Death 11 Jun 1903 Biloxi, Harrison, Mississippi, USA

my great-great grandfather

 


Edna Irene HARKNESS (1880 – 1952)
daughter of Capt. John Rankin HARKNESS
 
John Harkness MORRIS (1901 – 1965)
son of Edna Irene HARKNESS
 
Janie Lucille MORRIS (1935 – 2013)
daughter of John Harkness MORRIS
 
Me
the daughter of Janie Lucille MORRIS

J.R. Harkness is a descendant of two proved Mayflower passengers:
Francis Cooke and John Turner

 

When Capt. John Rankin Harkness was born on March 26, 1830, in Pelham, Massachusetts, his father, William, was 37 and his mother, Abigail, was 36. He married Irene Jordan on November 19, 1868, in Harrison County, Mississippi. They had seven children in 14 years. He died on June 11, 1903, in Biloxi, Mississippi, at the age of 73, and was buried there.

 

Capt. John Rankin Harkness Family Chart
Capt. John Rankin Harkness of Biloxi, Harrison County, Mississippi. Biloxi Pioneer.

J.R. Harkness resided in Biloxi.

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25 Feb 1888 The Biloxi Daily Herald – J.R. Harkness, Biloxi, MS

 

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23 Jun 1888 The Biloxi Daily Herald / Mississippi / J.R. Harkness

In 1888 the state of Mississippi began providing pensions to former Confederate soldiers and sailors, as well as their widows and wartime servants residing in the state.

1888 JR Harkness designed this building. Howard Memorial School-Biloxi, Harrison County, Mississippi

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J.R. Harkness – Architect – Biloxi, Mississippi 1888
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John Rankin Harkness – 23 Jun 1888 Biloxi, Harrison, Mississippi, USA – Newspaper Article from the Biloxi Daily Herald-Contractor & Builder

 

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John Rankin Harkness-President of Mechanics Steam Fire Engine Company No. 2 – 19 Sep 1891 Biloxi, Harrison, Mississippi, USA Newspaper Article from the Biloxi Daily Herald, Also show W.T. Harkness as 2nd Assistant.
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Confederate Veterans-J.R. Harkness is listed as part of committee of arrangements for a barbecue for ex-Confederates, their families and friends. 8 Oct 1892

Biloxi Herald – November 19, 1892 states J.R. Harkness ran for Alderman.

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1893 John R. Harkness & Sons Planing and Milling Co. of Biloxi, Mississippi Daily Herald Newspaper, Biloxi, MS

 

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Capt. J. R. Harkness Contracted to Repair Damages-The Daily Herald, Biloxi, MS 24 Feb 1894
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The Harkness Boys Have Always Been Sailors 7 Aug 1897 Biloxi, Harrison, Mississippi, USA Daily Herald Newspaper, Biloxi, MS Note: Their boat was named the May H. (May Harkness?)
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William Harkness Family in History of Pelham History of Pelham, Page 421. Mention of John Harkness in Pelham as William Harkness’ son.

J.R. Harkness was a member of the Freemasons

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Downtown Biloxi 1902-Photo from The Daily Herald Twentieth Century Coast Edition-Historical and Biographical 1902 Biloxi, Harrison, Mississippi, USA The building on the right side of this photo, on the corner, is one built by J.R. Harkness and his son.
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J. R. Harkness – Biloxi Street Commissioner 1902 Biloxi, Harrison, Mississippi, USA Twentieth century coast edition of the Biloxi Daily Herald … historical and biographical: “one of the oldest and most respected citizens”

 

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List of Biloxi Pioneers – “HARKNESS” is on the list.
John R. Harkness born-Massachusetts Town and Vital Records 1620-1988
John R. Harkness born-Massachusetts Town and Vital Records 1620-1988 / Biloxi Pioneer
John R. Harkness born-Massachusetts Town and Vital Records 1620-1988  2
John R. Harkness born-Massachusetts Town and Vital Records 1620-1988 Zoom
U.S. City Directories 1822-1995 Biloxi Mississippi Listing for J.R. Harkness' Widow Irene
U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 Biloxi, Mississippi listing for John R Harkness’ widow, Irene.

The Carson edifice at Belle Fontaine, was designed and built by John R. Harkness & Sons of Biloxi.  John .Rankin Harkness (1827-1903), a native of Amherst, Massachusetts, had commenced his contracting business at Biloxi in 1868.  The two-story residence cost $5000 and was shingled from the ground to the cone.  Mr. Harkness and his family and friends occasionally sailed to the construction site, often referred to as “New Chicago”, for a days outing.  J.R. Harkness & Sons completed the Carson home in October 1892.(Dyer, 1895, “Biloxi”, The Biloxi Herald, April 9, 1892, p. 4, July 30, 1892, p. 4, and September 28, 1892, p. 4)

http://www.oceanspringsarchives.com/osfamilies.htm taken from several issues of the Biloxi Daily Herald 1892


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John R. Harkness / Irene Jordan Biloxi, Harrison, Mississippi, USA Old Biloxi City Cemetery
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John Rankin Harkness Death Notice 12 Jun 1903 Biloxi, Harrison, Mississippi, USA Newspaper Notice from the Daily Herald

 

Memorial on Find-A-Grave for John Rankin Harkness:

http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=29276167&ref=acom