Harvey was born on August 16,
1851, on a farm near Buffalo in what is now
West Virginia. The son of a farmer and
one-time member of the Virginia legislature,
he was educated in a log schoolhouse during
the Civil War, then went to the Buffalo
Academy for two years.
This deeply ambitious
young man was a teacher by the age of 16.
While teaching school, he studied law and
briefly attended Marshall College. At the
tender age of 19 he was admitted to the West
He practiced first in Barboursville and then
in Huntington, West Virginia. While in
Barboursville he successfully defended a
white man on trial for marrying a black
woman (interracial marriage was then a crime
in most states) by asking, “can anyone in
this courtroom prove that this man has not a
drop of colored blood in his veins?”
Birthplace marker, courtesy of the
West Virginia State Archives.
Main at Marshall College circa 1870,
courtesy of the James E. Morrow
Library Special Collections
Department, Marshall University.
Top, Cabell County
West Virginia, circa 1870; bottom,
on the far left, is the
home Harvey built in Huntington in
images courtesy of the James E.
Morrow Library Special
Collections Department, Marshall
Then in 1875 Harvey moved his law practice
to Gallipolis, Ohio, where he met Anna
Halliday. The couple married a year later.
Over the next decade the Harveys were
constantly on the move.
Two of their
children were born in Cleveland, Ohio. Then
Harvey moved to Chicago, where he was
attorney for a millionaire banker. A third
child was born during a return to
Gallipolis. But Harvey still was not
In 1883 he made a business trip
to California for a client. Harvey combined
this trip with a vacation in Colorado.
Impressed, he decided to give up law and
move his family to the mining country of