Harbison, J. S. (John S.)

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John Stewart Harbison was born to William and Margaret (Curry) Harbison in Beaver County, Pennsylvania on September 28, 1826. Harbison followed in his father's footsteps and became interested in beekeeping and the nursery trade. In 1854, he settled in Calaveras County, California where he began searching for gold. His quest for gold did not last long and in early 1855 he relocated to Sutterville, near Sacramento, where he started the first nursery of fruit and shade trees in the Sacramento Valley. Harbison returned to Pennsylvania in 1857 with the intention of shipping bees back to California. His first shipment of bees arrived in San Francisco on November 30, 1857 aboard the Sonora. Since this endeavor was successful, he obtained a second supply of bees from Pennsylvania the following year. During 1857-1858, Harbison created a bee hive with a section honey box. The hive, which was patented by Harbison, is described and illustrated in his book, The Beekeeper's Directory (1861). Harbison formed a four year partnership with R.G. Clark in 1869 for the purpose of introducing and keeping bees in San Diego County. Harbison agreed to furnish one hundred and ten colonies of bees, bee supplies, and the necessary financing to transport and keep the bees in San Diego County, while Clark had complete charge of the apiaries. The partners equally divided the surplus honey and any increase in the colonies. By 1873, Clark & Harbison had sold three hundred colonies of bees to the residents of San Diego County. When their four year contract expired in November 1873, they split the bees and apiary sites evenly and operated their apiaries separately. Harbison continued his nursery and apiary business near Sacramento until February 1874 when he moved to San Diego. He passed away on October 12, 1912.

From the description of John S. Harbison papers, 1857-1920. (University of California, Davis). WorldCat record id: 56958228

Biography

John Stewart Harbison was born to William and Margaret (Curry) Harbison in Beaver County, Pennsylvania on September 28, 1826. Harbison followed in his father's footsteps and became interested in beekeeping and the nursery trade.

In 1854, he settled in Calaveras County, California where he began searching for gold. His quest for gold did not last long and in early 1855 he relocated to Sutterville, near Sacramento, where he started the first nursery of fruit and shade trees in the Sacramento Valley.

Harbison returned to Pennsylvania in 1857 with the intention of shipping bees back to California. His first shipment of bees arrived in San Francisco on November 30, 1857 aboard the Sonora. Since this endeavor was successful, he obtained a second supply of bees from Pennsylvania the following year.

During 1857-1858, Harbison created a bee hive with a section honey box. The hive, which was patented by Harbison, is described and illustrated in his book, The Beekeeper's Directory (1861).

Harbison formed a four year partnership with R.G. Clark in 1869 for the purpose of introducing and keeping bees in San Diego County. Harbison agreed to furnish one hundred and ten colonies of bees, bee supplies, and the necessary financing to transport and keep the bees in San Diego County, while Clark had complete charge of the apiaries. The partners equally divided the surplus honey and any increase in the colonies.

By 1873, Clark & Harbison had sold three hundred colonies of bees to the residents of San Diego County. When their four year contract expired in November 1873, they split the bees and apiary sites evenly and operated their apiaries separately.

Harbison continued his nursery and apiary business near Sacramento until February 1874 when he moved to San Diego.

He passed away on October 12, 1912.

Source:

Watkins, Lee H. "John S. Harbison: Pioneer San Diego Beekeeper." The Journal of San Diego History. 15.4 (1969): 17-26.

From the guide to the John S. Harbison Papers, 1857-1920, (University of California, Davis. General Library. Dept. of Special Collections.)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Harbison, J. S. (John S.). John S. Harbison papers, 1857-1920. University of California, Davis, Shields Library
creatorOf John S. Harbison Papers, 1857-1920 University of California, Davis. General Library. . Dept. of Special Collections
Role Title Holding Repository
Direct Relationships
Relation Name
associatedWith Online Archive of California. corporateBody
associatedWith University of California, Davis. Library. Dept. of Special Collections. corporateBody
Place Name Admin Code Country
California
Subject
Bees--California
Bee culture
Beekeepers
Bee culture--California
Bees
Beekeepers--California
Occupation
Function

Person

Active 1857

Active 1920

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