RALPH C. HARPER              

Independence Daily Reporter, Friday Evening, August 16, 1907:


Founder of the Reporter Victim of Heart Failure


            Ralph C. Harper, aged 67 years, for many years one of the prominent residents of Independence, and the founder of the Independence Reporter, died suddenly this afternoon of heart failure at his home on West Poplar street.

            Mr. Harper had been in failing health for some time, but his condition was not considered serious.  He was up and about his home early this morning and did not complain of feeling ill.  Shortly after 2 o’clock he was stricken with heart failure and died before a physician could reach the house.

            Mr. Harper was one of the best- known newspapermen of the old school of journalism in Kansas.  He was a pioneer in Montgomery county newspaper circles and was generally respected and esteemed for his many excellent qualities.

            Decedent is survived by his wife and two children, Charles of Salina, Kan., and Mrs. Harry G. Stentz, of Independence.


Independence Daily Reporter, Monday Evening, August 19, 1907, Pg. 4:



R. C. Harper, Whose Funeral Occurred Yesterday,

Spent Many Years in Business


            R.C. Harper was one of the early settlers of this city, having come to Independence in May, 1873.  He worked as a journeyman printer in the city, holding positions at some time or another on every paper that was published here after his arrival until the present time, except the Times and the Daily Star.  He established the Reporter in September, 1881, and the paper was in the family for about four years, being conducted for more than a year by C. H. Harper, son of the deceased.  In 1885 the plant was sold to T. N. Sickels and Mr. Harper again worked as a journeyman on the Tribune and other Independence papers.  About 1893 he retired from active work.

            During the last twenty years of his life e was a Republican in politics.  He served two years as the chairman of the Republican Central Committee of Montgomery county.  He served six years as a member of the city council from the Third ward, and for four successive years he was the city assessor for Independence.  Failing health several years ago compelled him to retire from all kinds of work.

            The deceased was a newspaper man from his boyhood days, having learned the printer’s trade in the Republican in Lima, Ohio.  In 1860 he established the Jay County Torch Light at Portland, Ind., which was the first paper published in that county.  He sold the Torch Light plant early in 1862 and recruited a company for the Eleventh Indiana Cavalry and entered into the service.  The following year he returned to Portland and recruited a second company for the same regiment.  When the war closed, the deceased was mustered out at Fort Riley, this state, he had been commissioned first lieutenant.

            R. C. Harper was born at Milford Center, Ohio, in 1840, but his boyhood days were spent at Lima.  On November 7, 1861, he was married to Miss Harriet E. Craig at Wapakoneta, Ohio.  To the union three children were born, Charles H., who now resides at Salina, Kan.  Minnie W., deceased and Mrs. Perry C. Stentz of this city.  A widow and the two children survive him.


 South Kansas Tribune, Wednesday, August 21, 1907, Pg. 5:


Lieut. R. C. Harper Mustered Out


            Last Friday the death messenger came to Ralph C. Harper, a well known early settler of this city, at his home.  For several years he has been in poor health, but able to walk up town almost every day—in fact was up town Wednesday evening but that night had severe palpitation of the heart.  Next day Dr. DeMott visited and gave him some medicine, but informed his wife of the weak condition of his heart.  Friday he remained in bed and soon after the noon hour he failed rapidly.  He was nearly 67 years of age and had lived in the city since the ‘70s.

            In the ‘60s he lived in Indiana and established the Portland Torchlight in 1861. The next year he recruited two companies of soldiers and was appointed a Lieutenant in Gen. Lew Wallace’s Eleventh Indiana Cavalry, and received promotion, and was discharged at Fort Riley at the close of his enlistment.  After returning home in 1865 he established the Jay County Republican, the first paper in that county at Jay Court House.  He came here in the latter ‘70s and worked in the printing offices and in 1881 established The Daily Reporter of which his son Charles continued until it was sold to T. N. Sickels.  Of late years he had lived a very quiet life.

            He was born in Milford Center, Ohio in 1840 and was reared in Lima, Ohio.  In November 1861 he was married to Miss Harriet E. Craig, at Wapakoweta, Ohio.  To this union was born Charles H., of Salina, Minnie W., deceased and Mrs. Perry C. Stentz who with the mother survive him.  Funeral was conducted by Rev. J. A. Longston and interment made under auspices of the Odd Fellows.


Harper, R. C. Bio

Cutler’s History of Kansas, 1883


 R. C. HARPER was born at Lima Ohio, October 13, 1840. At the age of thirteen, began to learn the printer's trade, which he followed until entering the army, in 1863, enlisting in the Eleventh Indiana Regiment. Entering the army as Second Lieutenant, he was promoted to Captain at his discharge, having served two years. Following this, in 1867, he began traveling as salesman for a wholesale boot and shoe house, at Dayton, Ohio, in which he continued two years. He came to Kansas in May, 1872, and was engaged in the hardware business, working at his trade, etc., until in the fall of 1881, in company with Wassam, he started the Evening Reporter, at Independence, as a daily paper.

Contributed by Mrs. Maryann Johnson a Civil war researcher and a volunteer in the Kansas Room of the Independence Public Library, Independence, Kansas.