Biography - OLIVER ALBERT HARKER
A quarter of a century on the bench of the higher courts of Illinois and
many years as an educator in the field of the law, have earned for Hon.
Oliver A. Harker, of Carbondale, a most substantial eminence in all that
concerns the highest prestige of his profession. In 1897 he commenced his
influential identification with the College of Law of the University of
Illinois as a lecturer, and since 1903 has served as dean of its faculty.
Judge Harker is a native of Newport, Wayne county, Indiana, born on
the 14th of December, 1846, to Miflin and Anna (Woods) Harker. He obtained
his earlier education in the schools of Florid and Wheaton, Illinois, and
was a student at Wheaton College from 1860 to 1862. In the following year,
then only a youth of sixteen, he enlisted in the Union army as a member of
Company D, Sixty-seventh Illinois Volunteer Infantry and with that command
concluded his military service at the cessation of hostilities.
his return to Illinois he located at Lebanon as a student at McKendree
College, from which he graduated with high honors in 1866. To his regular
Bachelor's degree was added that of A. M. in 1869. In the meantime (1866-7)
he had pursued a law course at the University of Indiana, and in 1867-8
taught various private schools at Vienna, Illinois. Admitted to the bar in
1869, Judge Harker commenced the practice of his profession in that place,
where he continued for some eight years, or until his first appointment to
In August, 1878, Governor Cullom appointed Judge Harker
to the bench of the first circuit, and he continued thus to serve, by
elections in 1879, 1885, 1891 and 1897, until 1903. During that period he
acted as judge of the Appellate court for the second district from 1891 to
1897, and of the third district from the latter year until 1903. As stated,
he was appointed dean of the law school of the University of Illinois in
1903, and still honors the position. In 1895-6 Judge Harker was president of
the Illinois State Bar Association; he is also a leading member of the
American Bar Association, and for many years was identified with the
Illinois Council of the national organization. His high standing was further
emphasized when the Supreme court of Illinois appointed him as a delegate to
the International Congress of Lawyers and Jurists which assembled at the
Louisiana Purchase Exposition, St. Louis.
By virtue of his service
in the Civil war Judge Harker is identified with the Grand Army of the
Republic; he is also a member of the I. 0. 0. F. and of the fraternities.
Phi Delta Phi and Theta Kappa Nu.
Married on the 3rd of March, 1870,
at Vienna, Illinois, to Miss Sidney Bain, the Judge is the father of three
children George M., a practicing attorney; Oliver A., Jr., a farmer, and
Winnifred, wife of Frank M. Hewitt, a druggist of Carbondale. Judge Harker
has been a resident of that city since 1880.
Extracted 11 Nov 2018 by Norma Hass from 1912 A History of Southern Illinois, by George W. Smith, volume 3, page 1100.