“Long-term cashier at the First National Bank of Sharon, S.C.”
The Yorkville Enquirer reported on Jan. 14, 1891 – “A swinging lamp in the hallway of Mr. John B. Ross’s residence burst last Thursday but the flames were extinguished be for serious damage of done.”
City Directories and History: John S. Hartness was replaced as railroad agent by J. Frank Brown of Waco, N.C. in June of 1891. Hartness went somewhere in the lower part of the state, but was back in Sharon within a year announcing he would open a mercantile store. He was a member of Sharon Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church and would serve on the finance committee when the church was considering building a new church. In 1893, after a few months of his return the town of Sharon began the year with newly elected leadership; J. A. Hope had been elected mayor with John B. Ross, W. T. Shillinglaw, J. A. Brown and John Hartness as Wardens or Councilmen. Hartness at the time of buying lumber for a new house he was completing as “one of the prettiest houses in town.”
In 1922 John Hartness was one of the Road Commissioners (also John S. Wilkerson, Dr. Benjamin Miller and Hugh G. Brown) for the townships for the West Road Project–a road that would run from York to the Cherokee County line. At one point Hartness wondered what good he and the other commissions worth to the project. “…we have nothing to do with State Highway projects except look on. The fact is I do not see what our commissioner is for anyway. The engineers are running the whole thing. They don’t ask us about routes, grades or anything, and I don’t see we have any way of helping ourselves, I can’t say that I like it either. Looks to me that the bond commission is getting about twice as much work done as we are getting as we are getting with the same money, and it is about as good too. We have only about five thousand dollars now, and how we are ever going to get the road finished between Hickory Grove and Sharon unless the bond commission comes in and helps us out I don’t see.” In December 1923, Hartness, J. R. Duncan and John A. McAliley were elected Directors of the Farmer’s Mutual Telephone Company that served Sharon. The Directors offered to sell the company to Southern Telephone & Telegraph Company in York but they declined the offer sighting profits
would be minuscule.
Mrs. Hartness died in 1933 of a long and incurable illness. In September 1935 Hartness began overhauling the old John B. Ross house that he now owned, which he was preparing to rent to F. M. Mellette who had been hired as the schools first agriculture teacher and who would be coaching the football team. Within a month Mellette resigned to take a federal joy in Sumter. At a meeting with the school trustees he agreed to stay when he was offered fifteen gallons of gasoline a week at the school’s expense. It was in 1937 when John Hartness was still employed by the bank as Cashier, it was discovered that some experience safe crackers had broken into the bank. They made off with over $5,000 in cash and more than $4,000 in negotiable securities. Several large safety deposit boxes were broken into, but the only thing missing was $17 in gold coins that belonged to Susie Hartness, a daughter of John Hartness. It was never reported by the FBI that the robbers were captured. [Courtesy of J.L. West]
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