UX Librarian: The History of Harman?

Thursday, August 9, 2012

The History of Harman?

West Virginians have a proud and rich history, and I can prove it. My home state of Maryland has maybe a couple of songs that reference the state or Baltimore. The state song, "Maryland, My Maryland", is an out of date, pro-Confederate ditty sung to the tune of what we now know as "Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree."

But West Virginia has many songs singing the praises of the Mountain State. "West Virginia" by Hazel Dickens, "Country Roads" made popular by John Denver, "West Virginia" by They Might Be Giants, and "West Virginia Man" by David Allen Coe. There are many more songs about WV and just this abundance of musical tribute is artistic proof of West Virginia's self pride of history and heritage.

So I was surprised that Harman, West Virginia doesn't have a written history, even a small summary of its history, anywhere that I can find online or in the Pioneer Memorial Public Library.

In researching the history of Harman, West Virginia, here is what I have found:

"Asa Harman born October 31, 1834; was educated in the common schools; became a farmer and also was one of the most prominent German Baptist ministers in his state. He resided on a farm at what is now known as the town of Harman, Randolph County. W. Va., the town being named in his honor. He was one of the most prominent men in his section of the state, but met with financial reverses in the later years of his life, greatly interfering with the education of some of his children whom he had attending the university of his state. Died 1902. He married (1) Elizabeth Cooper and (2) Barbara Cooper, sisters."

This is from "Harman-Harmon: Genealogy and Biography" by John William Harman of Parsons, West Virginia, 1928.

In talking to local Harman descendents, the town of Harman was never a timber boom town like many small towns in West virginia, though they did have a train depot where the post office stands today. Harman was never a coal mining town either. Harman was founded by a farmer and minister as a farming town and the agricultural trade kept the trains of the Dry Fork Railroad full and moving.

Do you live in Harman, West Virginia or have kin from here? Please write or email what you know to the Pioneer Memorial Public Library. We could love to add it to our growing history of this charming West Virginia town in Randolph County.


  1. Hello, I am a descendent of the Harman family and I am looking for more information on that branch. Here is what I know (some of this conflicts with your information above); My great, great grandfather was Samuel Harman, married to Mary Ellen Judy. He owned and operated the largest timber mill in the area. His youngest son was Edward Clarence Harman, born November 21(?) 1893 and married Virginia Roby Groves. They had 4 children, the first daughter died in infancy and is buried in W. Virgina, Reva Harman born 1917 - 2012; Leo Harman 1919 - 2012; and my maternal grandmother, Mildred Eileen Harman born 1921 - 1994. Now, here is where our stories differ. According to our family history, Samuel Harman owned the largest lumber mill in the area; Edward and Virginia owned/lived on the Harman family farm which was still standing as of 1991 (last time we visited W. Virginia). Our family history as told through the years, was that Samuel founded Harman Town. According to your information Asa Harman founded the town, so perhaps Asa was Samuel's father? We would like to find out how Asa is related to Samuel. Any information you have to help us clear this up would be wonderful! Here is my email: llweyn@hotmail.com Thank you for your time,
    Sally Moon

  2. Interesting... I wonder if Asa Harman from Germany was originally Asa Hermann from Wuttemburg Germany, or is he the second generation of his family in America? There is a branch of the Harman clan in Elkridge, Maryland. They arrived in 1752 and still have many living descendants in that area. There was a spoken tradition in the Elkridge Harman family that some of their family went to Virginia in the early days. I wonder if there is anyone who can fill in the blanks on this?

  3. Edward, I know your post is over a year now. I am wondering about this settlement you mention and any connections to Harford County MD. I am researching Daniel John Harman born abt 1829 (PA?) married Mary A. They appear in the census there mid to late 1800’s. There are many Daniels born 1828 thru 1830 and even some of his verified ones conflict.