John Albert Harter was born in Oswego, Indiana on April 8, 1893. In 1917 he was working as a photographer for F. C. Stalley in Jamestown, North Dakota. He served in the U.S. Army during World War I. After his discharge in 1919 he moved to Fargo, where he is listed in the 1920 census as a photographer. He, his wife Mary, and their daughters Evelyn and Helen lived at 101 8th Street. Sometime after 1920 he moved to Corinth, N.D., where he was the post master. Sometime after 1930 he moved to Milton Freewater, Oregon where he died in April 1971.