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A very special event to celebrate the LITTLEPORT HARLEY connection &
100 + YEARS
of
HARLEY-DAVIDSON

The History & Planning of LITTLEPORT HARLEY 2003

A great deal of research was done, and eventually we proved conclusively that Mary FYSON (nee HARLEY) was the sister of William HARLEY, and therefore the aunt of the co-founder of the motorbike company. Thus the link was established between this small English Fenland village and that world famous International Company. The extensive research by Bruce Frost, resulting in some 1,400 documents clearly demonstrated that the William Harley born in Littleport on 2nd May 1835 was indeed the father of William Sylvester Harley. 
Briefly the HARLEY Story is as follows - William HARLEY was born in Victoria Street, Littleport on the 2nd May 1835, the son of William HARLEY (a labourer) and Hannah (FREEMAN), and he was baptise in St. George’s Parish Church, Littleport, on the 15th May 1835. The cottage where he was born is no longer standing, but it was in the vicinity of the junction of Hawthorn Close with Victoria Street. William was married at St. George’s Parish Church on the 7th October 1859 to Susan SCOTTING, the daughter of William SCOTTING (a farmer) and Frances [known as Fanny] (SOUTH); she had been baptise at St. George’s on the 22nd April 1838. There is no record of any children of William and Susan HARLEY being baptise at St. George’s, nor of any burial of Susan or of any children.
Although we do not know on which ship he travelled, we do know that William HARLEY “removed from England to Owego, Tioga, New York, in 1860, and remained in that city until the winter of 1862/63”.

The Gravestones of Mary and William Harley
He enlisted in the Army on the 2nd January 1863 to fight in the Civil War, and he was honourably discharged on the 6th August 1865, returning to Owego after Service in August 1865. He died on the 24th February 1916 at 647, 36th Street, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA.
In 1903, William’s son, 21-year old William S. Harley and 20-year old Arthur Davidson make available to the public the first production Harley- Davidson® motorcycle. The bike was built to be a racer, with a 3-1/8 inch bore and 3-1/2 inch stroke. The factory in which they worked was a 10 x 15-foot wooden shed with the words “Harley-Davidson Motor Company” crudely scrawled on the door.
Arthur's brothers Walter and William later join their efforts.

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DISCLAIMER: 'This event is not part of the official Harley-Davidson Centenary celebrations'
Harley-Davidson, Harley and H.O.G. are amongst the trademarks of H-D Michigan Inc.'