A Narrative History of The People of Iowa with SPECIAL TREATMENT OF THEIR CHIEF ENTERPRISES IN EDUCATION, RELIGION, VALOR, INDUSTRY, BUSINESS, ETC. by EDGAR RUBEY HARLAN, LL. B., A. M. Curator of the Historical, Memorial and Art Department of Iowa Volume IV THE AMERICAN HISTORICAL SOCIETY, Inc. Chicago and New York 1931
JOSEPH LAWRENCE HARMAN was a resident of Ottumwa for over forty years. That community came to know and respect his business judgment, his helpful spirit in all civic matters, and his earnestness and probity in all the varied relationships of life.
Mr. Harman was born in Highland County, Ohio, July 21, 1840, a son of David and Esther (Lawrence) Harman. David Lawrence was a native of the Shenandoah Valley, Virginia, and after living in Ohio for many years came out to Iowa and spent his last years in Wapello County. Joe L. Harman was reared and educated in his native state, and joined an Ohio regiment for service in the Civil war. He was a brave and dutiful soldier until the end, coming out with the rank of first lieutenant.
Shortly after the war closed he came west and settled at Ottumwa and engaged in the insurance business. He was well educated, had a superior knowledge of accountancy, and he brought his skill and judgment to an increasingly successful business career. Mr. Harman passed away December 16, 1907.
He married, September 10, 1867, Miss Maggie Zollars, who survives him and resides in Ottumwa. Mrs. Harman was born in Carroll County, Ohio, January 17, 1846, daughter of Danile and Mary Ann (Druckemiller) Zollars. Her father was a native of Pennsylvania, lived in Ohio for some years and in 1854 came out to Iowa and settled on a farm on the outskirts of Ottumwa in Wapello County. He afterwards accumulated a large body of land, and eventually turned the farm into additions to the City of Ottumwa, numbering six additions in all. The Zollars home in early days was widely known for its hospitality. Mr. and Mrs. Zollars were devout Christians, members of the Methodist Episcopal Church.
Mrs. Harman for forty years has been an earnest member of the Christian Science Church. She is a recognized practitioner, and she spent a great deal of time in Boston as a student in the Christian Science institution there. Mrs. Harman was the mother of two children. Her daughter, Lillie, who has passed away, was the wife of Ben S. Benson, and is survived by a daughter, Mary Katherine, who has always lived with her grandmother, Mrs. Harman. The son of Mrs. Harman is J. Frank, who married Flora Kurtzaborn, of St. Louis, and has two daughters, Dorothy and Marjory.