Jefferson County Historical Society

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Alonzo T. Harlow, a well known and successful commission merchant in 
St. Louis, is a native of Harrisonville, Ill., born in the year 1840,
and the eldest of seven children born to Noah B. and Nancy (Husky)
Harlow.  Alonzo T. received his education at Harrisonville and at
Shurtleff College, at Upper Alton, Ill., also graduating from Jones
Commercial College, at St. Louis, in 1860.  He then joined his father
in the mercantile business at Harrisonville, Ill., and the same year
(1860) married Miss Rhoda, daughter of Basil Israel, formerly of 
Morgan County, Ohio, but who was then a resident of St. Louis.  The
same year the father moved to Alton for the purpose of educating the
younger children, and left Alonzo the business, together with about
1,000 acres of land to manage, which he operated successfully until
1864, when on account of the ill health of his wife, he closed out
business at Harrisonville and removed to St. Louis.  His father then
retired from business in the latter place, where he had been for
several years, and Alonzo T. then became a member of the Merchant's
Exchange, and engaged in the commission business in St. Louis, under
the firm title of Harlow, Clark & Co., which he successfully followed
for two years, when Mr. Clark sold to Samuel H. Brown.  The firm title
was then Harlow & Brown for three years, when Brown sold out to T. H.
Gelston, and the firm name became Harlow, Gelston & Co., which continued 
for about five years, when Mr. Gelston died.  C. H. Spencer and
J. E. Carpenter were then admitted, and the name was Harlow, Spencer &
Co., and they were by far the largest receivers of wheat in St. Louis.
Mr. Harlow was never in robust health, and he was quite frequently 
compelled to spend the winter in the South.  In 1881 he was obliged to
retire from business and from that time until 1885 resided at his fine
residence at Kimmswick, and on his farm in Monroe County, Ill.  In
1885 he became interested in the well known house of Billingsley &
Nanson Commission Company, at St. Louis, with which he has since been
connected.  During his connection with the Merchant's Exchange at St.
Louis he has seen it grow from a membership of about 500 to over 3,600.
He has always taken an active part in its management, and has passed 
through all its committees, the directory, and was vice president of
it when he retired in 1881.  He has always been an active worker for
the Mississippi River improvements, and has served as a delegate from
the Exchange to a great many commercial and river improvement conventions, 
viz.: those at Keokuk, St. Paul, Kansas City, St. Louis, New Orleans, 
Washington City, and others.  In 1870 he erected an elegant and costly 
residence at Kimmswick, which commands a fine view of the Mississippi 
River and the surrounding country.  He is politically a Republican, 
and his first presidential vote was for Lincoln, in 1864. He has 
several times been chairman of the congressional committee of his 
district, and is at present a member of the Republican State Central 
Committee.  He is a member of the I. O. O. F. and K. of H.  Mrs. Harlow 
died April 20, 1885, leaving one child, a son.  In September, 1886, Mr. 
Harlow married Miss Letta B., daughter of Israel and Sarah (Johnson) 
Waters, and a granddaughter of Capt. George W. Waters, one of the 
pioneers of Jefferson County, and a graduate of the West Point Military 
Academy.  Mr. Harlow's father was born in Maine, February, 1811, and in 
1815 removed with his parents, Sylvester and Ruth (Ward)Harlow, who were 
born in Maine, in 1789 and 1770, respectively, to the American Bottom, 
in Illinois, and in 1818 settled in Kaskaskia, when that city was the 
principal settlement in the Upper Mississippi Valley.  After about six 
months in that neighborhood they moved to Harrisonville, then the county 
seat of Monroe County, Ill., where the mother died in 1847, and the father 
in 1848.  Noah B. was married in 1836.  After farming for several years, 
he made his first start in trading in grain in 1848, which he continued 
on a large scale.  He afterward established a store at Harrisonville, where 
he remained for about twelve years, when he left the business in charge of 
his son, A. T., and removed to Alton, Ill., but soon after to St. Louis, 
where he remained for about three years.  He afterward (1865) purchased a
fine residence on the banks of the Mississippi River, where he spent the 
remainder of his life in retirement.  He died August 2, 1887. His life was 
marked by a long, active and successful business career, the foundations 
of which were industry, economy and punctuality. Mrs. Harlow is still 
living, and is over seventy-five years of age.  Her father was one of the 
early settlers of Jefferson County, living for a time where Windsor Harbor now is.