Colonel Charles Harper


Charles Harper, 1795-1863, came to Shepherdstown via Alexandria, Virginia and operated an apothecary as early as July 1816, when he put an advertisement in “The American Eagle”, which was the local newspaper of the day.


He was a grandson of a famous Quaker sea captain, John Harper, who hailed from Philadelphia, and had over twenty children with his first wife, Sara Wells.


Although believed that “Colonel” was an honorary title; Harper was indeed a Captain of a mounted artillery company located in Shepherdstown during the 1820’s.  He was also a First Sergeant in Captain J.F. Hamtramck’s Potomac Rifles when it was organized in 1835.


Mr. Harper was also a Justice of the Peace during the period of 1841 until 1860, and a member of the Shepherdstown Town Council in 1848.


He married Eliza Buckles on April 6th, 1830 and she bore seven children.  Although many died in early youth; one daughter, Fanny, became a much loved teacher at a Seminary and Synodical College for Women in Fulton, Missouri.  Their son, Robert Goodloe Harper went on to serve in Otley’s Battery, 13th Virginia Light Artillery Battalion during the Civil War and later became a Presbyterian minister in Berkley County.


Charles Harper, who along with his wife were devout Old School Presbyterians, and he was commissioner to the Presbytery in April 1845.


Upon his death in 1863, was buried in the old Presbyterian graveyard, which is now part of Elmwood Cemetery.


*info obtained from: “Prominent Men of Shepherdstown During it’s First 200 Years”, pp 62 & 63, by A.D. Kenamond, and published by the Jefferson County Historical Society, 1963.

Article By: Bro. Stuart Younkin

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