"A Twentieth Century History of Berrien County", by Orville W. Coolidge was published in 1906 in Chicago by the Lewis Publishing Company.In this work, on page 256, you can read under the section about Lake Township:“The first permanent settler so far as we can ascertain was John Harner, who settled in section twenty-five near the Oronoko line about the year 1834.”
The Harner family name comes from the German name Hörner.In America it was transposed into Harner due to its pronunciation. The name Horner was spelled with two dots (umlaut) above the "o" giving it the sound as in Herner.
John Harner was born about 12 Aug 1803 in what became Snyder County, Pennsylvania.In 1803 this was still Northumberland County.In 1848 it appears on the maps as Union County and later became Snyder County.I have also seen his birth date as 1798 and 1805?John Harner married Susana Haney, also from Pennsylvania.Susana Haney was born about 10 Jun 1799 but perhaps as late as 1801.She was four years older than John.John Harner died 04 Jun 1884 when he was 80 years 10 months and 27 days old.This would make his birth date 07 Aug 1803.His wife Susan died 14 Nov 1886. John and Susana Harner's children were:
Caroline Harner born 20 Nov 1825 Pennsylvania married George Smith
Michael F. Harner born 23 Jan 1830 in Northumberland County, Pennsylvania and married Francis Morris
Elizabeth Harner born 1831 married Moses Feather
Susanna Harner born 1832 in Ohio married Joshua Feather
John Harner born 1834 in Ohio, died in 1914 married Elizabeth Quick
Levi Harner born 1836 married Katherine A. …
Note:Caroline Harner married on 08 Mar 1846 in Oronoko Township George Smith.Present were John Harner and Peter Smith.Caroline was 23 years of age and George was 32 years of age.The 1850 census of Berrien County shows George Smith 37 years of age with daughter Mary A. Smith 3 years of age and in the same household were Michael Smith 73 years of age, Mary Smith 71 years of age and Joshua Hartline 15 years of age.All were born in PA except for Mary who was born in Michigan.Caroline (Harner) Smith does not appear in this census.By looking in the cemetery records for Storick Cemetery you can find Caroline Smith B. 20 Nov 1825 d. 20 Mar 1849.Mary was George and Caroline’s first child and was born about 1847.She was about two years old when her mother died.There is also a Smith, infant daughter buried here with no dates.This may have been George and Caroline’s second child.There is also a Henry Smith who was b. 13 Feb 1849 and died 05 Mar 1849 and he may have been the second child?Caroline and the second child both may have died of complications in childbirth?Death records were not kept in Berrien County until 1861.There is no death record for Caroline (Harner) Smith.
Levi Harner served in the Michigan 12th Infantry in Company “I” during the Civil War.He later lived in Portage Township of St. Joseph County, Indiana.
This Harner family lived in Summit County, Ohio (1830's) prior to coming to Michigan.Summit County separated from Stark County about 1835.John and Susan Harner are buried in the Hinman Cemetery near Baroda, Michigan, which is in Lake Township.John Harner (1803) settled in Lake Township in 1834 on section 25 on Hills Road, north of Mt. Tabor Road.John Harner is recorded as the first settler in Lake Township.Some of John and Susan Harner's children were born in Pennsylvania and the rest in Ohio.Levi Harner was probably born in Michigan.John Harner’s original land grant in Lake Township of Berrien County, Michigan reads:
THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
To all to whom these Presents shall come, Greetings
WHEREAS John Harnar of Berrien County Michigan
has deposited in the GENERAL LAND OFFICE of the United States, a certificated of the REGISTER OF THE LAND OFFICEat Kalamazoo whereby it appears that full payment has been made by said
according to the p…
the Act of Congress of the 24th of April, 1820, entitled “An Act making further provision for the sale of the Public Lands
the North of the South East quarter axis theSouth half of the North East quarter of Section twenty five in Township six South Range nineteen West, in the District of Lands subject to the sale at Kalamazoo, Michigan, containing one hundred and sixty acres
according to the official plat of the survey of the said Lands, returned to the General Land Office by the SURVEYOR GENERAL, which said tract has been purchased by the said
NOW KNOW YEA
United States of America, in consideration of the Premises, and in conformity with the several acts of Congress
Such case made and provided, HAVE GIVEN AND GRANTED, and by these presents DO GIVE AND GRANT
the said John Harnar
and to hisheirs, the said tract above described: TO HAVE AND TO HOLDthe same , together with an…
privileges, immunities, and appurtenances of whatsoever nature, thereunto belonging, unto the saidJohn Harnar
and to hisheirs and assigns
In Testimony Whereof, *, Martin Van Buren
PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, have caused these Letters to be made PATENT…
SEAL of the GENERAL LAND OFFICE to be hereunto affixed.
GIVEN under my hand, at the CITY OF WASHINGTON, the fourteenth day of August in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and thirty nine
INDEPENDENCE OF THE UNITED STATES the Sixtyfourth.
BY THE PRESIDENT: Martin Van Buren
ByM. Van Buren Jr.
Jos T. Wilson,actingRecorder of the General Land Office
Berrien County Probate Court Deceased files: # 1264 for John Harner Sr.
John Harner Sr. left a will and it states:
“I John Harner of Lake Township of the County of Berrien County State of Michigan being of sound mind an memory and realizing the uncertainty of life do make this as my last will and testament hereby revoking any and all former wills made by me
First I desire all my just debts and expenses of my funeral be paid
Second to my grand son William son of my deceased daughter Caroline I have already advanced about $ 925 and now bequeath unto him the further sum of seventy five dollar
Third to my grand daughter Mary Ann Parketon wife of Gordon N. Parketon the sum of two hundred dollars.The above named bequest to be paid out of the proceeds of my personal estate within six months after my decease
Fourth all the remainder of my Estate both personal and real I give devise and bequeath
To my five children Michael Harner Elizabeth wife of Moses Feather Susannah wife of Joshua Feather John Harner and Levi Harner share and share alike
Fifth I hereby nominate and appoint Moses Feather my son in law as the Executor of my last will and direct him to sell the real Estate and Execute deed or deeds for the same at such price or prices as he may deem just and fair and divide the proceeds of sale Equally among my five children as herein before named
In Witness whereof I have hereunto Subscribed my name and affix my seal this 10th day of June A.D. 1881
Subscribed by the testator in the presence of Each of us and acknowledged by him as his last will and Testament on this the 10th day of June AD 1881
Roscoe D Dix Berrien Springs Michigan
John F. Wilkinson Berrien Springs Michigan”
The total amount of personal property was $ 1569.10
Minus expenses of -767.35
Total Cash in hand $ 801.75
This cash was divided and each of the five children received $ 160.35
Moses Feather file a petition for expenses for board, care and nursing of the deceased who had stay with his family during his final days for $ 252.The court awarded him
$ 200.00 for this claim.
The property was sold and several notes were owed to the estate totaling $ 1466.00.There is no document showing the distribution of this money but if $ 200 went to Moses Feather, $ 75 went to Caroline’s son, William and $ 200 went to Mary Ann Parketon that would leave another $ 991 to be divided amongst the five living children.
The will appears to have been read on 30 July 1884 in the Presence of:
Jeremiah Wetzel Jr. Michael Harner
David Sassaman John Harner Jr.
Frances Harner Mary Ann Parketon
Laura Feather Susanna Feather
Sarah Feather Elizibeth Feather
? Bouir? Levi Harner
These individuals all signed their names except John Harner Jr. who made his “X”.Note the signature of John Harner as it is written in the German form with the umlaut.
In the 1840 census of Oronoko Township of Berrien County you can find:
John Harner and he was between 30-40 years of age, his household had one male under 5 (Levi), one male 5-10 (John) and one male 10-15 years of age (Michael).There were also two females from 5-10 years of age (Elizabeth and Susanna) one female10-15 years of age (Carolyn) and his wife 30-40 years of age (Susan his wife).
When John Harner died in 1884 the Niles Democrat, a Niles, Michigan newspaper carried a short obituary in it’s “Our Neighbors” section.It was on page 8 and reads “John Harner, an old resident of Oronoko township, died suddenly of heart disease on the 7th inst.”The Niles Weekly Mirror, another Niles newspaper, also carried a short obituary “Mr. John Harner, a resident of this county for nearly half a century, died of heart disease, at the residence of his son-in-law, (Moses Feather) on the 14th of June, aged 81 years. Both these dates are incorrect as his death record indicates he died on 04 June.The Feather family came to Berrien County from “Selin’s Grove”, Pennsylvania about the same time as John Harner did.