Harper, Martha Matilda
- Jane R. Plitt
Harper, Martha Matilda (10 September 1857–03 August 1950), businesswoman and inventor of the franchise system, was born in Munn's Corner, Oakville, Ontario, Canada, the fourth child of Robert Harper and Beady Gifford. The Harpers had ten children and two, Nellie and James, died in infancy. Robert was a tailor by trade but struggled to support his large family. He invested his money and dreams into a failed development. Subsequently he bound out Harper, at age seven, to help support the family. While this was common practice for poor teenage girls, it was highly unusual for young children....