John C. Bernhardt Sr. is likely the person corresponding with Ruby Lanier on the family history of the Harper-Rankin Family. John Sr. (1906-2003) was the son of John Matthias and Ellen Harper Bernhardt. His father built the famous Green Park Inn of Blowing Rock, North Carolina, and founded the oldest furniture company in the state in 1889 in Lenoir. His grandfather, Major G.W.F. Harper, fought in the Civil War and founded the Bank of Lenoir and the Pioneer Library. John Sr. owned the first automobile in Lenoir, driving it over Staircase Mountain in reverse since Model T fuel ran by gravity from the back seat. He also purchased a white Corvette at 65, 75, 85, and 90 to "avoid being old."
Ruby Jeanne Lanier, Ed.D. is Professor Emerita of History from Appalachian State University.