History of Aultman & Taylor, Part IV

Continuing the story Aultman & Taylor, focusing on biographical narratives of important people in the company


| May/June 2001



Elizabeth Aultman Harter

Elizabeth Aultman Harter, the only woman who served as a member of the board of directors and a stockholder in Aultman & Taylor; also, the only member who served during the entire existence of the company.

This issue of the Album presents the fourth installment of the late Dr. Bixler's history of the Aultman & Taylor Company. The Album is serializing Dr. Bixler's book. Upon his death, Dr. Bixler, a professor at Muskingum College in New Concord, Ohio, left his major work unpublished. The manuscript found its way to the Mansfield/Richland County Public Library. George W. Richey of Norwich, Ohio, alerted Dr. Robert T. Rhode to the book's whereabouts. Dr. Rhode edited the manuscript and prepared it for publication in the Album. Now, Dr. Bixler's painstaking research and lively writing are being shared with Album readers. In this installment, Dr. Bixler begins a series of biographical narratives depicting the people who helped to make the Aultman & Taylor Company one of the foremost manufacturers of agricultural equipment in the United States.

Click here for part I of the history of Aultman & Taylor.
Click here for part II of the history of Aultman & Taylor.
Click here for part III of the history of Aultman & Taylor
 

CHAPTER 4

The Harter Family

To convey a true and altogether accurate portrait of the Aultman & Taylor Company requires ... due recognition ... to the Harters, since their participation and influence were preeminent in the affairs of the [firm]. In many respects it was truly a notable family imbued with those attributes of character and personality that make for greatness. Six members of that distinguished family were active in the business ... All of the family presented here at one time or another held official positions in the company ... [I]f all of their years of association with the [firm] were combined, [they would] total ... approximately 165 years. ... Biographical sketches are presented in the chronological order in which each became affiliated with the [company].

Elizabeth Aultman Harter

Elizabeth Aultman was born on May 14, 1847, in Greentown, Ohio, where her father began his business of manufacturing water wheels and harvesting machinery. Her education was acquired in the public schools of Canton.

She was united in marriage to George D. Harter on March 3, 1869, when the family was residing in Mansfield. Immediately following their marriage, they went to Canton and [lived] on South Cleveland Avenue near where the Canton Public Library is now located. After living [there] for several years, they moved to the home that was later ... occupied by President McKinley. Following [Cornelius] Aultman's death in 1884 they moved into the mansion that he had built. There they lived for the remainder of their lives, and this dwelling became familiarly known as the George D. Harter residence.1 

None of [Elizabeth's] business interests did she regard more highly than that of the Aultman & Taylor [Company]. She became a stock holder and a director in [Aultman & Taylor] at the age of nineteen, when it was founded.2 As pointed out earlier, [it] was almost unheard of in that day for ... a person so young and a woman at that [to] become connected with a business enterprise. Moreover, she held the distinction of being the only stockholder and director who was with the [firm] during the fifty-six years that [it was] in business. The minutes of the directors and stockholders indicate that she was regular in her attendance at ... meetings and was an influential participant. Her advice ... was always sought, when action of any significance was about to be taken. Following the death of her father she became the largest stockholder in the company, and so her votes in large part determined the policies and course of the company. Whenever it was impossible for her to attend meetings, she usually appointed as her proxy Henry W. Harter and occasionally Isaac Harter, Jr. ... [F]rom 1908 to 1923, [Elizabeth] served as Vice-President without salary.3