"HISTORY IS BASED UPON BIOGRAPHY, AND BIOGRAPHY IS BASED UPON GENEALOGY."
Gordon S. Harmon
Word had reached "back East" that lands would be opening up in Indian Territory. The opportunity was apparent that a new beginning was on the horizon for the Harmon Family. Joseph Harmon and Family migrated from Posey County, Indiana to Indian Territory ca. 1893. We know that Wilson Harmon, Joseph’s father, and Family had preceded his son in a westward migration. Wilson Harmon and Family are located in Carrollton Township, Boone County, Arkansas in 1880.
The earliest evidence to date of the Joseph Harmon and Family in Indian Territory is the Choctaw Nation Renters List. White settlers were required to register with the Choctaw Nation upon settlement in the Indian Territory. If they did not, they were considered intruders. Joseph Harmon is shown on several Choctaw Nation Renters Lists for Skullyville County, Choctaw Nation. In 1894 and 1895, he was renting from John Taylor. In 1900 and 1901, Joe Harmon was renting from W. L. Henderson. Renters generally, but not always, farmed the land they rented in what is often referred to as share-cropping. Whites/non-Indians had to have permits to work in Indian Territory and they worked for a citizen/Choctaw. The two types of non-Indians in Indian Territory before Oklahoma Statehood were non-Indians in the Territory with permits and intruders, non-Indians, in the Territory without permission.
The Department of Interior, United States Indian Service, Townsite Commission for the Choctaw Nation, Indian Territory and as authorized by the United States Congress on June 28, 1898 and July 1, 1902 conveyed to Thomas C. Collins for the sum of $20.00 Lot No. 1 and Lot No. 2, Block 7, Town of Shady Point, Choctaw Nation, Indian Territory on May 19, 1904. On December 2, 1907 the aforementioned property was conveyed to Joseph Harmon for the sum of $300.00. It was here that the Harmon Family had established new roots in the newly created State of Oklahoma. Walter L. Harmon and Ira Earl Harmon had been born here on March 1, 1893 and November 19, 1898 respectively.
Arthur Samuel Harmon often spoke to his children and grandchildren of his memories of moving with his family from Indiana to Oklahoma Indian Territory in a covered wagon. He also told the story after seeing the movie, "Wild Wild West" that he was there as this movie depicted.
It was also here where Arthur Samuel Harmon grew up. At a later age, he began to help his father, Joseph, in the farming aspects of their family life and also as a carpenter as shown on a later U.S. Census. When Arthur was approximately 24 years old years old, he began working for the Witteville Railroad near Poteau, OK as a fireman. The old Witteville Railroad bed is now Mockingbird Lane in Poteau where Eugene and Frances Harmon lived until their deaths in 1989 and 1990, respectively. Arthur Samuel Harmon, while working for the Witteville Railroad, met Mary Cecilia Cenotto. Mary lived in Witteville with her father, Lorenzo Cenotto and brothers Alex and Lawrence and her sister Lucy. Mary Cenotto spoke of their first meeting in Calhoun, OK at the Harmon Family Reunion in 1977 at Lake Wister, OK. This story and others as told by Mary Cenotto Harmon is perserved on tape for all Harmon generations present and future to enjoy. Arthur Samuel Harmon and Mary Cenotto were married in Ft. Smith, Arkansas on September 6, 1913. From there, Arthur and Mary moved to Leflore, Oklahoma where they began their new life together and began raising their family.
Joseph Harmon and Family are shown on the U. S. Census for 1900, 1910 and 1920 in Shady Point, Indian Territory and Shady Point, Oklahoma. Joseph Harmon died on March 20,1922 and Nevada Ann Hughes Harmon died on April 19,1935. They are buried at the Shady Point Cemetery along with their children Ira Earl Harmon who died on January 7, 1944; Delmer Oliver Harmon who died on June 12, 1951; and Charles Wilson Harmon who died on April 14, 1967.
The property remained in the Harmon name until May 23, 1944 when it was sold to Joel E. Brooks. The property had been passed on from Joseph Harmon to his son Delmer Harmon and then on to Charles Harmon. These records are on file in the Numerical Index of the Grantor/Grantee Records at the Leflore County Courthouse, Poteau, OK. These records also show the complete conveyance of owners of this property from the Choctaw Nation to the present day.
The Joseph Harmon Homeplace remains standing today, with little change of the exterior and it is occupied. It is located at the intersection of Whellus and Waterfield Streets, Shady Point, Oklahoma.
SHADY POINT, IT
NOTE: It is quite possible that the Harmon Homeplace was built prior to the purchase of the land by Joseph Harmon on December 2, 1907. As was a common practice during pre-Oklahoma Statehood, and knowing that Joseph Harmon was a farmer, he could have been living on the site, working as a sharecropper, and a renter on Choctaw Nation land. If this were in fact the case, the Homeplace could date prior to 1907. However, from the appearance of the records that have been obtained, it is believed that the Joseph Harmon Family Homeplace was built after Joseph Harmon’s purchase of the land on December 2, 1907.