George A. Harbaugh. That the sterling and popular citizen whose name introduces this paragraph is distinctively one of the representative and influential business men of the thriving little City of Alva, county seat of Woods County, needs no further voucher than the statement that he is here president of the Central State Bank and also of the Alva Roller Mills, which represent two of the most important business enterprises in Woods County.
Mr. Harbaugh was born on the homestead farm of his father in Washington County, Iowa, and the date of his nativity, August 27, 1870, shows that his parents were numbered among the pioneers of that section of the Hawkeye State. He is a son of Eli and Catherine (Engle) Harbaugh, both natives of Ohio, where the former was born in 1825 and the latter in 1827; both were reared and educated in the old Buckeye State and there their marriage was solemnized in the year 1848. The parents of Mr. Harbaugh were early settlers in Washington County, Iowa, where they established their home in 1850, when that section was on the very frontier of civilization, and where the death of the devoted wife and mother occurred in 1872. In his native state Eli Harbaugh learned in his youth the trade of cabinetmaker, and after his removal to Iowa, within about two years after his marriage, he there found demand for his services as a skilled artisan at his trade, the while he was giving close attention to the reclamation of his frontier farm. In 1884 he removed to Barber County, Kansas, where he purchased a farm and here he continued his residence until his death, in 1907, at the venerable age of eighty-two years.
George A. Harbaugh acquired his rudimentary education in the schools of his native county and was a lad of about fourteen years at the time of the family removal to Barber County, Kansas, where he was reared to adult age on the homestead farm and continued his studies in the public schools. He was associated with his father in the work and management of the home farm until 1893, when he became one of the many ambitious young men who participated in the "run" into the newly opened Cherokee Strip or Outlet of Oklahoma Territory. He entered claim to a tract of Government land seven miles distant from the present City of Alva and thus gained the distinction of becoming one of the pioneer settlers of Woods County. He vigorously instituted the improvement of his embryonic farm, to which he eventually perfected his title and upon which he continued his residence five years, in the meanwhile acquiring an entire section of adjacent land and developing one of the extensive stock ranches of the county. He thus aided materially in the initial stages of civic and industrial progress in Woods County, and his energy and circumspection enabled him to achieve definite success and prosperity through his association with the agricultural and live stock industries in the county to which he has continued to pay unswerving loyalty.
In 1898 Mr. Harbaugh removed from his ranch to Alva, where he engaged in the live stock and grain business and became one of the leading representatives of this line of enterprise in this section of the territory. He was a staunch supporter of movements advanced to obtain statehood for the territory and in the meanwhile gained precedence as a steadfast and influential business man and public spirited citizen. In 190C, the year prior to the admission of Oklahoma to the Union, Mr. Harbaugh purchased the controlling interest in the Alva Rolling Mills, of which, as president of the company, he has since maintained the active management. In 1914 this corporation purchased and shipped 3,500,000 bushels of wheat, the enormous shipments having been handled from its chain of thirty elevators, at eligible points in Oklahoma, Kansas and Texas. The Alva Roller Mills are essentially modern in equipment and facilities, the products find a wide demand and are known for superiority, and the business, as conjoined with the extensive grain trade controlled by the operating company, represents one of the most important industrial enterprises of Northern Oklahoma.
In 1913 Mr. Harbaugh became associated with Henry E. Noble and others in the organization of the Central State Bank of Alva, of which he has since been president and of which Mr. Noble is cashier, individual mention of the latter executive being made on other pages of this volume.
In politics Mr. Harbaugh is aligned as a staunch supporter of the cause of the democratic party, but he is essentially a business man and has manifested no predilection for the honors or emoluments of political office. He is still the owner of one of the large and valuable landed estates in Woods County and is one of the substantial capitalists of the state to which he came as a young man of worthy and ambitious purpose. He is affiliated with Alva Lodge, No. 1184, Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, and it may consistently be said that in his home county his circle of friends is limited only by that of his acquaintances.
At Alva, on the 1st of November, 1899, was solemnized the marriage of Mr. Harbaugh to Miss Mary Devin, who was born at Princeton, Gibson County, Indiana, in which state were also born her parents, Alexander N. and Melissa Devin. Mr. and Mrs. Harbaugh have three children, whose names and respective dates of birth are here noted: Paul A., September 7, 1901; Melissa Kathryn, October 8, 1905; and Helen E., February 2, 1912.