Obit: Harvey, Lillian Belle (1859 - 1945)

Contact: Stan

Surnames: Harvey, Fox, Wilson

----Source: Clark County Press (Neillsville, Clark County, Wis.) 07/26/1945

Harvey, Lillian Belle (21 June 1859 - 23 July 1945)

Lillian Belle Harvey died Monday evening, July 23, at the home of her son, Wells F. Harvey, in Neillsville. Death was due to the infirmities of age. She was 86, having been born June 21, 1859.

Mrs. Harvey was the daughter of Wells B. and Tryphena Fox. Her father was a country doctor and Civil War surgeon. Ranking as a major, he was chief of a division field hospital in the Wilcox division of the Ninth Army Corps. Major Fox brought his daughter up in an atmosphere of intense patriotism. As a child she saw him in his uniform, mounted upon a box in the street of their home village of Parshallville, Michigan, urging local men to join the fight for the Union. She saw many of them enlist, and later saw some of them listed as casualties in his memoirs. Among her early recollections was the colored freedman, whom her father sent from the South to help with the work on the place. And her eye often fell upon the legend, "Lincoln and the Union," inscribed upon a gift to the Surgeon from the officers and men he had served.

In Mrs. Harvey’s childhood railroads were in their feeble beginnings. As they developed, they neglected Parshallville, and Dr. Fox with his family moved to railroad towns, first to Byron and then to Bancroft. His daughter Lillian Belle supplemented Bancroft schooling with attendance in Owosso; taught in a little red school house not far from Bancroft; married Ezra Wilson Harvey, a young doctor, who was intermittently partner and competitor of her father. She bore him two sons, one of whom is Wells F. Harvey of Neillsville, Wis., newpaperman, and the other died in infancy. Her husband died in 1893.

In Bancroft Mrs. Harvey became a member of the Congregational church, and in 1896 moved with her son to Olivet College, Michigan, a Congregational school. Upon the graduation of her son, she made a study of the administration of college rooming and boarding halls, and in 1904 became matron of the college dining hall and girls’ dormitory at Yankton College, Yankton, South Dakota, a Congregational school. There she demonstrated marked capacity in business administration. She was a friend to hundreds of students now scattered through South Daktoa and Nebraska. After more than 15 years of this service, physical weakness forced her retirement. Until 1942 she continued to live in Yankton, among her friends. With infirmity, she went to Neillsville, to be with her son and his wife in her last years.

The span of Mrs. Harvey’s life witnessed the development of practically all the mechanism of modern times. Her husband never had a telephone. She received the summonses for him, welcoming by day or night the worried prospective father who drove in from the county line to get the doctor for the impending birth. Many a time she held the kerosene lamp, while her father or husband used the knife. She looked upon a dining table as a logical place for an operation. She and he knew what better facilities were, for he had studied twice in London, England, and she had gone with him to St. Thomas hospital there. But at home she helped him improvise. The stormiest nights were quite sure to bring a call to a distant emergency, and many a night she lay awake, listening for the sound from the barn which told her that Polly or Nellie had brought the Doctor safely home. It was after his death that she saw telephones become common, and long after that she became familiar with electric lights, automobiles, radios, moving pictures and electric refrigerators.

But the contrivances of a mechanical age did not distract her. Her interest centered in her Bible, which she read daily. She was a follower of "The Upper Room," a magazine of religious thought and meditation, with a program for each day. Her favorite Bible passages were the Twenty-Third and Ninety-First Psalms, which were read in the final service in her memory. These and others she had memorized.

Services were held at Neillsville Wednesday evening, July 25. Internment will be in the family plot in the Fremont cemetery, near Bancroft, Michigan, where her husband, son, father and mother are buried.

Mrs. Harvey had a sister, Addie, who has been dead many years. She is survived by her son, Wells F., editor of The Clark County Press, by six grandchildren and five great grandchildren.



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