Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Hardy family Part 1- The mystery

When I started genealogy, my Aunt Leahmanda gave me a disc with the research on the family. Years prior, Leahmanda had taken the Barnes side, and my Aunt Patt had taken the Hardy side. So when I started on my father's family, I already had a wealth of information. Aunt Patt and Aunt Leahmanda visited old cemeteries, dug through paper records at the library, and spoke with family members. A lot of the information on the Hardy's came from their grandmother, Lula Bell "Mama" Hardy. As in previous posts, I will devote one post to each generation.

We start out with Gardner Hardy, previously mislabeled as George Hardy, an assumption based on the 1850 Santa Rosa census where the family is found as G. Hardy. I figured out his name was Gardner when I found a George Gardner Hardy, a grandson of George Fleming and his wife Nicey Pyburn. I did a google search, and found an interesting piece of information on Gardner Hardy found here. In 1843, Gardner Hardy was charged with assault with the intent to commit murder. In 1844, he failed to appear, this case is all I could find on the subject at this time.

It turns out that Gardner Hardy, born about 1811 was a resident of Dale County, Alabama. From the locations of the births of his children, we know that when he ran from Dale County, he briefly resided in Louisiana. The entire family then came to Santa Rosa County, Florida, where they are found in 1850.

Land records show that in December 1841, Gardner purchased land in Coffee County, Alabama totaling about 162 acres, or 4 quarter sections, 2 in township 5N range 21E (the NW 1/4 NE 1/4 and NE 1/4 NW 1/4 of section 5) and 2 in township 6N and range 21 E (SW 1/4 and NE 1/4 SE 1/4 of section 33). The plat map shows that the section 5 portion had the Yellow Water river and the Section 33 is just north of it, with the Pea river just to the East. Based on maps, it appears that Gardner and his family lived in about the center of Coffee county, just North East of Shiloh, and North West of Richburg.

The 1840 census shows Gardner age 20-29, a wife the same age, and a male and female both under 5. His nearest neighbors are include several Parrish families, John B. Calling or Callway, and Henry Nobles. The 1850 census in Santa Rosa County, Florida show Gardner Hardy as G. Hardy, and his wife Harriet, and children William, Rebecca, Harriet, Jane, Frances, Robert, and Martha. Frances age 6 was born in Louisiana (1844) while Robert age 3, was born in Florida. The family is living with what appears to be John S. King, but from land records is John F. King, and his wife, Margaret A, age 16. Gardner, Harriet and Margaret King are all born in Georgia, so it is possible that Margaret, is a sister to Gardner or Harriet.

Others on the page are Samuel Foster, Wilkins Neely, Madison Hall, and W.B. Guish. From land records, we know that Gardner and his family are living somewhere in Township 4 N, range 26 W. Later family member associations are strongly associated with this area, which includes Munson, Bear Lake and the Sweetwater River.

In 1860, we find Harriet Hardy in Santa Rosa County, Florida. In her home are Harriet, Jane A. M., Sarah F. (Frances), Robert, Martha, Mary and Ephraim. Neighbors are Benjamin Knotts, Jona Grantham, Jeremiah Covington, John Roberts, George Wathen or Wather, John Foster, Elizabeth Nelson and James Strength. Land records for John Roberts and her son William Shepard Hardy Sr are both found in township 4N range 27 W, about 10-15 miles west of the 1850 location.

In 1858, Gardner Hardy buys 320 acres of land in Covington County, Alabama which is the last record for him, however in 1851 he is the assignee of Elizabeth Hollingsworth, heir of William H. Esom for his military land warrant from the Florida Wars, for 160 acres in township 3s, range 26 W.
There is no 3S range 26W for Santa Rosa County, and the BLM site does not give one.

Since we have no clues on Gardner Hardy, or the surname of his wife Harriet, let's look at the other's who seem to be associated. Elizabeth Hollingsworth and John F. King.

There is an Elizabeth Hollingsworth in 1850 in Caddo, Louisiana, wife of James Hollingsworth who was born in 1809 in SC, her family was born in Alabama. There is also a deed from 1860 from a Henry Hinote to an Eliza J. Hollingsworth, in Macon, Bibb County, Georgia. Given that the sale was for a business, it would be that Elizabeth Hollingsworth, age 43 born in SC, wife of James Hollingsworth, merchant, in Santa Rosa County, Florida, is probably the same as the Elizabeth Hollingsworth that Gardner is assignee for. The question remains, is he a relative, or did he just purchase this land from her?

As for John F. King, as before stated he lived in Santa Rosa, was born 1828 in South Carolina per the record of 1850, had a wife Margaret and daughter Marianna. There is a genealogy for a John F King who was married to a Martha Covington online. The trick though is in 1850 there are two John F. Kings in the census. One born 1828, the other 1819. The second John F King was married to a Sarah in 1850 with daughter Elizabeth, in 1860 he is widowed, with a son John G King and a daughter Tempy Ann King living in the same area as the Hardy's and the other John F. King. Since both John F. King's are born in South Carolina, it doesn't appear to get any easier. And there are two  King's in Santa Rosa on the 1867 census, John F. King, the man discussed whose not the man the Hardy's lived with, and a Jones F King, single and over 21. Thus far I have found no other documentation of the mysterious John F or S King from 1850.

For the family of Gardner Hardy and his wife Harriet (born about 1823 in Georgia and apparently died 1860-1867 in Santa Rosa County, Florida) we have the following children
1. William Shepard Hardy Sr born in 1837 married Sarah "Sally Nelson
2. Rebecca E. Hardy born 1838 married James Mathew Foster
3. Harriet Hardy born 1839/40 married James "Jim" McCraney
4. Jane A. M. Hardy born 1841 married an unknown Fleming during Civil War and James Butcher.
5. Sarah Frances Hardy born 1846 married James Curtis and Charles Williams
6. Robert Hardy born 1847 presumed to have married Elizabeth "Lizzie" Fleming and Laura Olean Hawkins
7. Martha Hardy born 1848 married Michael Welsh
8. Mary Hardy born 1851.
9. Ephraim Hardy born 1852 married Mary Brake.

Though some researchers have rumors that Harriet was a Nelson, I have never been able to find any information confirming or not confirming that.


  1. My name is Timothy Daniel Williamson. My mother is Sandra Nell (Baggett) Williamson. Her mother was Cornelia Estelle (Peterson) Baggett. Her mother was Bama (Boyington) Peterson. Her mother was Nancy Jane (Hardy) Boyington. Her father was William Shephard Hardy, Sr.

    All that to say, hey cuz!

    And to ask, do you know where Shep Hardy Sr. is buried? Thanks in advance for any help you can provide. These articles on the Hardy side of your family are fascinating.

    1. no idea where he is buried, though the family was living in Baldwin County at the time. I think they are in an unmarked Grave, likely near where some of the kids are buried.

    2. I knew it was a long shot. I've been trying to find graves for as many of my ancestors as possible, going back about five generations. Shep has been the first real n'er-do-well I've found. My aunt found something that led her to believe that the train he was killed by may have been a train he was attempting to rob.

      I have a death date for Nancy Jane, and where she is buried.