Born: 1814-XX-XX Ireland, United Kingdom
Flourished: Morgan County, Illinois
Harkness was living and farming in Morgan County, Illinois, as early as 1840. A supporter of the Whig Party, Harkness represented Morgan County at a district convention of Whigs in Pekin in May 1843 to nominate candidates for the 1844 federal elections. He was also a member of the vigilance committee of the Jacksonville Clay Club. In June 1850, he represented Morgan County at a state railroad convention in Decatur. In 1850, he was farming near Jacksonville and owned real estate valued at $7,000.
Proceedings of Whig Convention at Pekin, Illinois regarding Candidates for Congress; Sangamo Journal (Springfield, IL), 11 May 1843, 2:5, 15 February 1844, 2:4; Illinois Daily Journal (Springfield), 10 June 1850, 2:1; U.S. Census Office, Sixth Census of the United States (1840), Morgan County, IL, 465; U.S. Census Office, Seventh Census of the United States (1850), Jacksonville, Morgan County, IL, 177.