On Nov. 14, 1850, William H. Harlan, the son of a prominent physician, was born at Darlington.
He graduated from St. John's College in Annapolis in 1872. During 1870-1871, he had taught at Holy Trinity Church school, and upon graduation he was appointed principal of Bel Air Academy.
In 1876 he became examiner of schools for Harford County. He studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1881. He relinquished his position as head of the school system and in 1882 began a career in law that lasted 60 years.
When Judge Van Bibber died in 1911, Harlan was appointed to fill the remainder of the term. That year he was elected as judge for 15 years. Harlan was so highly regarded that the legislature passed an act allowing him to finish his term past retirement age. One of Harlan's most notable achievements was the organization of a juvenile court as an advocate for the welfare of youth.
[ Source: Our Harford Heritage by C. Milton Wright; research by Harford County Public Library.]