Thursday, March 3, 2011

Happy Birthday, Shawn Harper!

The character of Shawn, played by Joe Larson in our upcoming film project He Leadeth Me, was born March 21, 1915. In 1932, during the Great Depression, Shawn would have turned 17 years old March 21! Because the 2011 calendar matches the 1932 calendar exactly, he would have celebrated his birthday this month!

- Born March 21st, 1915 in Sioux County, Iowa
- Son of: Orrin Wilson Harper (deceased 1932) & Fanny Hazel (Bradley) Harper (deceased, 1923)

 Baby Harper, male born 1913 (deceased 1913)
 Baby Harper, male born 1914 (deceased 1914)
 Baby Harper, male born 1923 (deceased 1923)

- Occupation: farmer
- Location: Rock Valley, Iowa (Sioux County)

- Personal interview: “My pa drowned himself. My ma died awhile ago, and I don’t blame her. He was a drunk…he hated both of us. But I got the land.”
- Character profile: Shawn was raised on the family farm. The site was originally settled in the 1870s but was purchased by Orrin Harper in 1910 after his marriage to Fanny Bradley. After many unsuccessful attempts at farming, Harper allowed the farm to fall into disrepair and became an alcoholic, illegally distributing bootleg liquor to pay the bills. Shawn, the sole surviving child of four, only attended school for two years. He took over management of the farm when his father began spending all of his time with his illegal business. Fanny Harper died in childbirth in 1923. Following her death, Orrin Harper became increasingly violent. On a Sunday in 1932, the gravedigger, John Schmidt, found Harper’s body in the Rock River. The man left behind one son and an insurmountable pile of debt.

"Shawn Bradley Harper" - Joe Larson
Photo provided by Larson Photography