Transcribed from E.F. Hollibaugh's Biographical history of Cloud County, Kansas biographies of representative citizens. Illustrated with portraits of prominent people, cuts of homes, stock, etc. [n.p., 1903] 919p. illus., ports. 28 cm. Scanned from a copy held by the State Library of Kansas.
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Interior of the Harrison-Nelson Grocery Company.
Interior of the Harrison-Nelson Grocery Company.

The Harrison, Nelson Grocery Company is one of the leading business houses and one of the most up-to-date enterprises in the city of Concordia and one that would do credit, both in magnitude and character, to a much larger city. Their store contains everything that is good to eat, and their manner of exhibiting goods appeals to the appetite of the customer. The firm is composed of J.M. Harrison, William Harrison (a son) and Walter Nelson, all of whom are exceptionally well qualified to cater to the needs of the inner man, by furnishing all the delicacies of the seasons - staple and fancy. The senior member, J.M. Harrison, has been a resident of Cloud county since 1880, when he bought unimproved land four miles south of Concordia, paying eight hundred dollars for it. He sold this land, which he had improved, six years later and opened a general merchandise store in the little town of Rice, and was also postmaster there. Mr. Harrison was very successful, having made two farms from the proceeds of his business. He sold the rice store, came into Concordia and in the year 1900 engaged in their present business, which was formerly the McCrary stock of groceries. They removed the store to their present stand in the Iron block. Their investment of seven hundred dollars each was wisely expended; their annual sales now reaching forty thousand dollars, often taking in from four to five hundred dollars in one day. The members of the firm have each drawn out two thousand dollars. The room they occupy is twenty-six and one-half feet in the clear by one hundred feet and is filled to the ceiling with everything imaginable that is good to eat, and the most epicurean appetite could be satisfied here. They employ four men steadily, with a larger force on busy days.

J. M. Harrison is a native of the Hoosier state, born in 1849. Concerning Mr. Harrison's war record there is a bit of interesting history which gives expression to the patriotism he evinced in early life. He was ambitious and sought for admission into the service of Uncle Sam twice ere he was acccepted, owing to his extreme youth, but there were other things to be considered in the estimation of Colonel Straight, one of the men who dug out of Libby prison, for he remarked with considerable emphasis, "I would rather have one little man than two drafted big men," and Mr. Harrison was taken into the ranks of Company C, Fifty-first Indiana Volunteer Infantry, October 24, 1864, at the age of fifteen years, and is the youngest veteran living in Cloud County. Mr. Harrison's parents were William Henry and Mary A. (Hanna) Harrison. The paternal ancestry are of the same lineage as the late ex-President Harrison. Our subject's parents still live where they settled - when there were but a few cabins where the beautiful city of Indianapolis now stands - in Noblesville, Indiana. Mr. Harrison is the eldest of five sons, four of who are living, himself being the only member of his family who emigrated westward. Mrs. Harrison, before her marriage, was Miss Isabel Cochran. To their union ten children have been born, only four of whom are living. Their eldest daughter, Olive, the deceased wife of Arthur Carter, died, leaving a little son, now fifteen years of age; he is with his father in Neosho county, Kansas. The second daughter, Lutitia, is the deceased wife of Owen Davis, the station agent at Rice; she left a little daughter, Estella, who is about eight years of age. Hattie is the wife of Elmer Shanks and resides in Marshall, Oklahoma. William Harrison is a member of the firm, bookkeeper and accountant. The son did not need to start at the foot of the ladder as his father before him had to do, but has grown up with the mercantile career, and being well adapted for the business, all the chances for success are on his side. However, he took his position in the firm without a dollar, but prospered with them. He was happily married to Flossie, one of the estimable daughters of A.B. Pennock, in January, 1903, and owns his home, a handsomely furnished cottage. Gertrude is a member of the Harrison & Messall millinery parlors, one of Concordia's recognized headquarters for fashionable and attractive millinery. The youngest child is Mabel, aged fifteen years. She is developing special musical talent and performs well upon the piano. The family are members and attendants of the Methodist Episcopal church.

Mr. Harrison is a Republican politically. He takes, an interest in matters pertaining to the general welfare of the community and especially in educational affairs.

Walter Nelson, the junior member of the firm, enjoys the distinction of having been born and bred in Cloud county and having been reared in the city of Concordia. His father, Andrew Nelson, was associated with Mr. Benson, under the firm name of Benson & Nelson, and established a blacksmith shop in Concordia soon after the founding of the town. His parents, Andrew and Mary (Roswell) Nelson, are still residents of Concordia, comfortably enjoying the returns of well-spent lives, having earned a competency. Our subject was born December 12, 1878. He received a high school education, graduating in 1897. He began his career as a clerk in the Concordia grocery and later in the grocery department of H.N. Hanson's general merchandising store. Young Harrison was employed in the former at the same time; they were close friends and realized their fitness for business association, and from this suggestion their present quarters developed and has proved advantageous to all concerned. Mr. Nelson is a young man of fine ability and a pleasing address that wins friends for him from people in every station of life, and these traits, coupled with the trinity of energy. industry and spirit, will make life a success. Mr. Nelson's parents are of Swedish birth. His mother's family located in the settlement known as "Gottland."

Our subject is one of three children, all sons: Albert is a mail clerk on the Burlington & Missouri Railway, running between Kansas City and Omaha. The youngest, George Nelson, is aged eight. Politically Mr. Nelson is a Republican. He is a member of the Woodmen and Maccabee Orders.