Daniel William Harmon
Coventry History
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Daniel Harmon
Daniel Harmon
There were four Harmon brothers, and three of them made their mark on Coventry. The youngest, Daniel William Harmon, probably has the most extraordinary story to tell of them all.

He was born on February 19, 1778 in Bennington, Vt., son of a tavernkeeper. His patriotic father lived, worked, fought, and brought up his four sons in the midst of the revolutionary turmoil that was Bennington, Vermont in the 1770's. Around 1795 the Harmons moved to Vergennes, Vt. and became one of the prominent merchant families in that town operating a number of stores and selling downtown real estate. The father Daniel operated a corner store apparently the best location in town. The two brothers Calvin and Argalus arrived a few years later. They were known as merchants and distillers and operated a store on Main St.

The youngest son however was cut from different cloth. At the age of 22 in the spring of 1800, young Daniel William Harmon took off for Montreal to begin a 19 year sojourn across the wilds of western Canada. Daniel signed on with the North West Company as an apprentice in the fur trading company.

Daniel Harmon's Journal
From Daniel Harmon's Journal

His first job was as a clerk and he was assigned to the Swan River Department of central Saskatchewan where he stayed for 5 years. Next he was sent to posts along the Saskatchewan River at New Fort and Cumberland House. It was here that he met his future wife Lisette.

Daniel Harmon's Journal
From Daniel Harmon's Journal

Elizabeth Laval, or Duval, was the Metis daughter of a French-Canadian voyageur and a woman of the Snare people, whose country lies along the Rocky Mountain. She was born circa 1791 in the western Canadian Rockies. At the age of 14, Lisette was given as a country wife or femme du pays to Daniel Harmon a la facon du pays (in the custom of the country, or in common law) at South Branch Fort, Saskatchewan, on October 10, 1805.

Together they spent the next 14 years in the Canadian wilderness, travelling from post to post and raising a family. They returned to Vergennes in 1819 and then made the move to Coventry a few years later where they spent the next 20 years living in the burgeoning new village. In March of 1843 the family moved to Montreal. Daniel died a few weeks after the move. Lisette lived on until 1862 when she died at the age of 72. Both are buried in the city at Mount Royal cemetery.

References:
- Daniel Harmon, A Journal of Voyages and Travels in the Interior of North America, between the 47th and 58th degreee of N. lat., extending from Montreal nearly to the Pacific, a distance of about 5,000 miles : including an account of the principal occurrences during a residence of nineteen years in different parts of the country. George Morang & Co., 1904, Toronto, Canada
- "Daniel Harmon, The Winterer", Episode 6 of The Pathfinders, CBC History

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