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Capt William Harris Hardy

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Capt William Harris Hardy

Birth
Lowndes County, Alabama, USA
Death
19 Feb 1917 (aged 80)
Gulfport, Harrison County, Mississippi, USA
Burial
Gulfport, Harrison County, Mississippi, USA
Memorial ID
9310356 View Source

Captain Harris Hardy was born in Lowndes County, Alabama, in the com­munity of Coffirene on February 12, 1837. His first job was that of teacher in Jasper Co., MS, at Montrose School. His spare time was spent studying law, even as he was founding Sylvarena School in Smith County. He left the teaching profession at the age of twenty-one to begin practicing law in Raleigh, MS, county seat of Smith County. In 1860 he married his first wife, Sally Johnson.

With the coming of the Civil War, he raised a company of volunteers, the Defenders of Smith County, who elected him their cap­tain. The Defenders of Smith County were attached to the 16th Mississippi Regiment and saw action in most of the major battles of the eastern campaigns. Near the end of the war Hardy was made aide-de-camp to Gen. James A. Smith. When the war ended Captain Hardy returned to Mississippi to the practice of law, this time settling in Paulding, Jasper Co., MS. In 1872, his first wife, Sally, died.

Captain Hardy's law practice carried him often to Mobile, AL, where he met and married Hattie Lott. With his second wife, and his six children he moved from Paulding to Meridian, MS, where he first became interested in buil­ding railroads. Captain Hardy was the chief promoter and builder of the new railroad connecting Meridian with New Orleans. Today, the N. 0. & N. E. is a part of the Southern Railway System.

In the middle of the piney woods of South Mississippi Captain Hardy built a town on the new railroad and named it for his second wife, Hattie. So it was that Hattiesburg was born. About this time he conceived the idea of a railroad from the interior of the state to the Coast carrying the abundant long leaf yellow pine to the water's edge, where ships could transport it to the lumber-hungry markets in New England and Europe. He secured the property interests of the defunct Gulf and Ship Island Railroad, which included tens of thousands of acres of forestland between Jackson and the Gulf Coast. The projected road was moved westward several miles at its southern terminus when it was determined that Missis­sippi City, would not be satisfactory as the location of a harbor. The new terminus was at Gulfport, but sufficient capital was lacking for the venture and the railroad ended up in the hands of receivers.

Hattie died in 1895 and the following year Hardy ran for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives but was defeated by John Sharp Williams. He did serve from 1896-1900 as a State Senator from Lauderdale Co. In 1904 Gov. Vardaman appointed Hardy a mem­ber of a commission charged with the task of recodifying Mississippi's laws. Later, he came to serve the town he had founded on the Coast when he was appointed Circuit Judge in Gulfport, a post he resigned in 1910 when he left public life to try his hand at building one more railroad.

World War One began and the railroad was never built. Captain Hardy died at 80 years of age in Gulfport on February 18, 1917, and was buried in the Evergreen Cemetery.



Captain Harris Hardy was born in Lowndes County, Alabama, in the com­munity of Coffirene on February 12, 1837. His first job was that of teacher in Jasper Co., MS, at Montrose School. His spare time was spent studying law, even as he was founding Sylvarena School in Smith County. He left the teaching profession at the age of twenty-one to begin practicing law in Raleigh, MS, county seat of Smith County. In 1860 he married his first wife, Sally Johnson.

With the coming of the Civil War, he raised a company of volunteers, the Defenders of Smith County, who elected him their cap­tain. The Defenders of Smith County were attached to the 16th Mississippi Regiment and saw action in most of the major battles of the eastern campaigns. Near the end of the war Hardy was made aide-de-camp to Gen. James A. Smith. When the war ended Captain Hardy returned to Mississippi to the practice of law, this time settling in Paulding, Jasper Co., MS. In 1872, his first wife, Sally, died.

Captain Hardy's law practice carried him often to Mobile, AL, where he met and married Hattie Lott. With his second wife, and his six children he moved from Paulding to Meridian, MS, where he first became interested in buil­ding railroads. Captain Hardy was the chief promoter and builder of the new railroad connecting Meridian with New Orleans. Today, the N. 0. & N. E. is a part of the Southern Railway System.

In the middle of the piney woods of South Mississippi Captain Hardy built a town on the new railroad and named it for his second wife, Hattie. So it was that Hattiesburg was born. About this time he conceived the idea of a railroad from the interior of the state to the Coast carrying the abundant long leaf yellow pine to the water's edge, where ships could transport it to the lumber-hungry markets in New England and Europe. He secured the property interests of the defunct Gulf and Ship Island Railroad, which included tens of thousands of acres of forestland between Jackson and the Gulf Coast. The projected road was moved westward several miles at its southern terminus when it was determined that Missis­sippi City, would not be satisfactory as the location of a harbor. The new terminus was at Gulfport, but sufficient capital was lacking for the venture and the railroad ended up in the hands of receivers.

Hattie died in 1895 and the following year Hardy ran for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives but was defeated by John Sharp Williams. He did serve from 1896-1900 as a State Senator from Lauderdale Co. In 1904 Gov. Vardaman appointed Hardy a mem­ber of a commission charged with the task of recodifying Mississippi's laws. Later, he came to serve the town he had founded on the Coast when he was appointed Circuit Judge in Gulfport, a post he resigned in 1910 when he left public life to try his hand at building one more railroad.

World War One began and the railroad was never built. Captain Hardy died at 80 years of age in Gulfport on February 18, 1917, and was buried in the Evergreen Cemetery.




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  • Created by: Cindy
  • Added: 12 Aug 2004
  • Find a Grave Memorial ID: 9310356
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/9310356/william-harris-hardy: accessed ), memorial page for Capt William Harris Hardy (12 Feb 1837–19 Feb 1917), Find a Grave Memorial ID 9310356, citing Evergreen Cemetery, Gulfport, Harrison County, Mississippi, USA; Maintained by Cindy (contributor 46624152).