|Phebe as a young woman|
She was born Phebe Ann Vaughn on the farm in Spring Prairie in 1838, before Sam and Sarah had even built the frame house on the property, so she was probably born in the log cabin. She married Rufus Harriman on March 31, 1864. Rufus was the son of a Canadian logger who brought his family to Walworth County in 1846 and eventually owned a large piece of land here where he raised stock.
It seems likely that Rufus initially took over the operation of his father's stock farm. Then in 1876, Rufus (along with Delia's husband LeGrand Latham) became partners in a meat market in Elkhorn, (probably drawing on Rufus's extensive knowledge of quality meat from his upbringing on a stock farm). Eventually Rufus bought out his brother-in-law and became sole owner of the market.
Unfortunately, it seems that Rufus suffered from a chronic illness (possibly rheumatoid arthritis) that forced him to retire in 1883. The following newspaper clippings appear in Corinne's scrapbook:
- Thursday, June 28, 1883: It is understood that Mr. Harriman has sold the lower meat market, business, building and all, to a new firm composed of Messrs. Hale Foster and Henry Ketchpaw. Mr. Harriman has done well by his customers, who will part from him with real regret, and but for his ancient and relentless enemy, inflammatory rheumatism, he would have done well enough for himself by remaining in the business.
- 1883: Mr. Harriman's cigars were passed about on Saturday among some of his friends. It would not be easy to reach all of them with cigars. It was a sort of acknowledgment, as far as that simple set could go, of his grateful sentiments toward the people who, he says, have stood by him in his successful seven years career as a businsessman in Elkhorn. The business was profitable as he could wish, and it was his hard infirmity, and not his free will, that had at last made him pass it over to other hands. Could he have heard on Saturday half the kindly-spoken regret, dropped naturally and unaffectedly from the lips of friends, who sincerely wished it had so been ordered that friendly sympathy might mend his pain and release him from his wearying captivity, he would have felt some of the satisfaction that an honorable man must feel at finding that generous manhood and upright dealing do not always pass on unnoticed or unappreciated.
In 1872, four years before Rufus entered into the meat business, Phebe gave birth to their only child, a girl named Rispah May.
|Rispah as a young girl|
At the time of Rispah's birth, they were still living in LaFayette (between Elkhorn and Spring Prairie), but when Rufus went into the meat market business, they moved into Elkhorn, where they made a wide circle of friends and became pillars of the community. A clipping from 1884 recounts the incredible story of their surprise 20th anniversary party:
- 1884: "The friends of Mr. and Mrs. R.D. Harriman chanced to remember that Monday was the twentieth anniversary of their marriage, and that it behooved them to appropriately celebrate the event. Consequently after Col. Copeland's lecture, the friends, to the number of at least a hundred and fifty [Ed. note: 150 friends in ONE town!], preceded by the band, wended their way to Mr. Harriman's commodious home on Walworth Ave, and without so much as a "by your leave," took summary possession thereof, much to the surprise of the man of the house and his estimable wife, and a merrier company seldom gathers anywhere than was there that evening. Mysterious baskets and packages indicated that a still further surprise awaited the victims, and when silence was proclaimed, and Rev. Mr. Barrett presented to Mr. and Mrs. Harriman in behalf of the friends assembled, a handsome, gold headed cane and a natty white "tile" to the former, and to the latter a beautiful set of decorated china, then they understood that the mission of the intruders was one of good will and peace. After the presentation and congratulations, requisition was made on the contents of sundry other baskets, and the company were served with a bountiful collation. Delightful music by the band, jokes and chit-chat filled in the balance of the only too short two hours, which intervened ere the commencement of another day, and about midnight the guests folded their wraps about them and not altogether silently stole away, all with one accord declaring that the evening had been well spent, and wishing Mr. and Mrs. Harriman many joyous returns of the day."
|Rufus, or as he was known around town, "Ruff"|
Despite Rufus's illness, he and Phebe seem to have had a full life. The following announcement appears in the scrapbook:
- 1885: Mr. R. D. Harriman and wife; Miss Ruth Wales, Miss Jessie Wiswell, Mr. Charles Ellsworth, Mr. John Hare, Mr. Ogden T. Hubbard, and Mr. Geo. W. Wylie, left on Tuesday last, Feb.17, for New Orleans. May they have a pleasant season and a safe return.