George Harper was born in Berks county, Penn., a son of Henry Harper. George Harper received but limited schooling, chiefly in the German language, and was reared to farming pursuits.
In Brush Valley he married Elizabeth Kreamer, who was born, in 1804, in Bethel township, Berks county, Penn., a daughter of Jacob Kreamer, who came to Brush Valley in 1814, and where Mrs. Harper was reared from the age of ten years.
Her youth was passed amid pioneer times and scenes, and she was well fitted to endure the hardships and trials destined for her later life. At the time of their marriage, her husband had little or no means, and his parents were not in a position to aid him. However, nothing daunted, Mr. Harper bought a farm, at Spring Bank, in Brush Valley, going heavily in debt for the same; but he prospered, and with the help of as noble a wife as ever lived, the debt was soon decreased. He died May 20, 1843, at the comparatively early age of forty-one years, leaving a widow with a family of children. He was buried in the cemetery at Rebersburg.
The following is a brief record of the children: Sarah married George Weaver, and lives in Rebersburg; John, a farmer, died in Potter township; Mary A. married Jonathan Gramley, and died in Brush Valley; Jonathan, by occupation a merchant, died in Bellefonte; Isabella is the widow of Philip Royer, of Nittany Valley; William is retired, and makes his home in Bellefonte (he served three years, during the Civil war, in Company A, 148th P. V. I.); Rebecca married Absalom Harter, and died in Millheim, Centre county; Jared, a merchant, lives in Bellefonte; Simon comes next; and George, the youngest in the family, died in infancy.
Dying a comparatively young man, George Harper had not opportunity to pay off all the indebtedness on the farm, and his dying request to his wife was that the homestead should not be sold, as he felt certain that by her careful and frugal management the debt thereon would before long be cancelled. It was a heavy undertaking for her, the widowed mother of a large family, none of whom yet out of their "teens;" but her husband's dying words inspired her with fresh hope and courage, and with a will she went bravely to work. Early and late she "kept her shoulder to the wheel," doing a man's labor in the fields, and in the evening returning to the home never so wearied but that she would complete the domestic duties of the day.
In course of time her self-denying efforts were crowned with success, and this noble woman found herself and children under a roof free at last of all encumbrance. The homestead property remained in the family until 1856, in which year they moved to Rebersburg, and there Mrs. Harper resided until May 18, 1866, when she removed to Bellefonte with her son Simon, to whom her attachment was very great, along with his two brothers, Jonathan and William. Simon started the general mercantile business, with which he was identified some fourteen years.
In March, 1880, Simon took up his residence in the village of Centre Hall, where he recuperated, buying a nice home, to the improvement of which he spent no little time and money. At this time there were but two stores in Centre Hall, and after four years Simon Harper decided to open a third, trusting to his previous experience and natural business qualifications for success of his venture. It required enterprise and energy, both of which characteristics he amply possessed, and possesses, and in 1884, in partnership with H. W. Kreamer, he opened a general merchandise store, which ere long became the leading one of the kind in the Vicinity.
Mrs. Harper passed her declining years with Simon, dying September 27, 1892. She was laid by the side of her husband in Rebersburg cemetery, an elegant monument, erected by their son, Simon, marking their last resting place. Mrs. Harper was a true Christian woman, a constant reader of the Bible, in both English and German, while during the later years of her life a great part of her time was spent in prayer.