"History of Huntington County, Indiana"1914 By Frank S. Bash pg. 759-60
Harvey W. Elser. As a contractor and builder, probably no Huntington business man has fulfilled a more important and valuable contract than Harvey W. Elser. Mr. Elser is still young in years, but has had a broad experience in business and in life generally, and is one of the leading men of his home city of Huntington. He represents an old Huntington county family.
Born in Clear Creek township of Huntington county, September 26, 1871, Harvey W. Elser is the third son of Eli and Charlotte (Emley) Elser. His father, who was born in Mahoning county, Ohio, in April, 1837, was reared on a farm, and some time after reaching manhood went out as a soldier of the Civil war with the Forty-seventh Indiana Volunteer Infantry, and gave three years of faithful service, during which time he fought in a number of battles with the Southern army. In one he was taken prisoner, and spent some time in the notorious prison of Andersonville, which at that time was commanded by the tyrannous and much hated Captain Worze. The mother, Charlotte Emley, was a daughter of Samuel Emley, of the pioneer family of that name in Clear Creek township. She was born in Clear Creek township, in April, 1847, and she and her husband are still living, enjoying fair health. Their children are: Clem V.; George E.; Harvey W.; Anna M., wife of Edward Snyder; and Jessie, unmarried.
Harvey W. Elser spent his youth on the home farm, and his education was acquired largely by attending the district schools, during the winter months, while in the summer and spring and early fall he performed the various tasks allotted to farmer boys. This was the mode of life until about eighteen years old, when he started out to see the world for himself, visiting different states and localities, and earning his living as he went. He took up the trade of carpenter, and his work as a journeyman gradually gave him a larger outlook in business affairs. At the beginning of the Spanish-American war, he enlisted in Company K of the One Hundred and Sixtieth Indiana Volunteer Infantry, under Col. George W. Gunder. With his comrades he spent some time in rendezvous, was then sent to Chattanooga, Tennessee, in June, 1898, was moved to Newport News, Virginia, thence to Lexington, Kentucky; on November 6, the regiment was ordered to Columbus, Georgia. On January 12, the command was sent to Matanzas, Cuba, and after some service on the Island returned to Savannah, Georgia. Mr. Elser was in the army one year and one month and gave a faithful account of himself as a volunteer. After getting his honorable discharge he returned home, and took up work again as a carpenter. He was employed for a time by J.M. Wood, of Goshen, Indiana. Gradually he began taking contracts on his own account, and his success in this line soon led him into a large and important field of operations, in the construction of dwelling houses, churches, and other structures. For several years Mr. Elser did more business in the construction of theatres than in any other line. He has to his credit the construction of the Lyric at Cincinnati, one of the finest and most attractive show houses in the United States, and which cost two hundred and sixty thousand dollars. He also built the Star Theatre at Toronto, Canada, which is one of the most costly theatres in the Dominion of Canada. After the completion of that contract he returned to Huntington, and has since done a large local business as a carpenter and contractor. During 1913 Mr. Elser was engaged in making improvements on the First National Bank Building of Huntington, and on the Huntington County Bank, contracts which amounted to many thousand dollars.
In 1900 Mr. Elser married Miss Clara E. Mosslander, a daughter of George and Hettie (Stewart) Mosslander. They are the parents of four children: D. Young, Wilbur W., Chester A. and Elser. Mr. Elser affiliates with the Knights of Pythias, the Improved Order of Red Men, the Modern Woodmen of America, and with the United Veterans of the Spanish-American war. His home in Huntington is at 1902 North Guilford street.