Welcome to the History Corner!
Celebrating the rich history of Port Byron, New York, an old Erie Canal village in the Town of Mentz. This site is dedicated to the legacy and heritage of our community as well as a variety of regional historical tidbits. I hope you enjoy your visit and will stop by again.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Capt. Joseph Harker

Another Revolutionary War Soldier Discovered at Port Byron

Capt. Joseph Harker was born 9/28/1743 in Morris County, NJ. He served in Capt. Abraham Lyon's Company, 4th NJ Regiment commanded by Col. Ephraim Martin. His wife was Mary Walling. Joseph died in September of 1815.

After the war the Harker family moved to Stillwater, NY in Saratoga County. This is the same area where Seth Higley and Philip King lived before they came to Port Byron. I was very surprised to find this soldier in the Harker-Higley genealogy as he has never appeared on our soldier list. The book describes his burial place in Port Byron as the old cemetery near the Erie canal. It also reports that a brick wall was constructed by Joseph's son James Harker before he moved to Illinois in 1829. This certainly fits the description of our Old Port Byron Cemetery, today known as King Cemetery.

The book indicates that their headstones were in poor condition, so today I walked the cemetery to see if I could find any remains of their headstones. I am sad to report that their head stones have not survived the fate of time. However, thanks to this book, I will now be able to order a military marker for him. King Cemetery is a tremendous challenge because there are no burial records or maps. The only record that exists are previous headstone inventories and the Harker name has not appeared on our lists.

Reading the history of this family was fascinating. As I mentioned, our soldier had a son named James. James was married twice. His first wife was Mary McColom. His second wife was Puella Higley, a widow of Josiah Partridge and daughter of Seth Higley. Puella was born at Half Moon in Saratoga County, NY. They moved to Peoria County, Illinois in 1829. Their settlement would be named "Harker's Corner" after their namesake.

The family genealogy is important because without it, we would have never known that Capt. Joseph Harker was buried here. You can read more about this family by visiting:

Harker-Higley Ancestry by Margaret P Brown