Okay for decades family researcher's have tried to find our elusive ancestor. We started with G. Hardy in Santa Rosa county in 1850. I thought it was George and put it on my tree as that way. It's been that way on way too many tree's ever since. Our first breakthrough was finding the death record of one of his daughter's that named him as Gardner Hardy.
After that we were able to expand the information by just a bit. We found four land patents in Coffee county, Alabama in 1841 and one in 1858 in Covington County, Alabama. And we found him in the 1840 census. The only other thing I found was a superior court case summation that named him in the case in 1843. That's it. Nothing, Nada, Zilch.
So I worked on his children. It took me a while and working with a few of my cousins (thanks Christy and Helen) to fill in the blanks. Then I worked on his grandchildren and great grandchildren. I looked everywhere I could for something on Gardner or his wife Harriet. Still nothing for the last 10 years or so.
And so I tested Gardner Hardy's descendants. I wanted to identify my father's DNA that was Hardy and hoped it would lead me somewhere. We have three great granddaughter's of Gardner Hardy who have tested and I have access to the results of two of them. The only thing I have gotten is that we all, my Dad included, are matching descendants of Tillman Bobo and his wife Beulah Yarborough. Given it's on the x for some, I think this is a clue on Harriet.
And for some reason when I googled Gardner the other day, I got a new hit. From a transcription done by Jeannette Austin in her Interstate Georgia book. Gardner Hardy was the son of Robert Hardy and had a guardian named Robert Kelly in 1821 in Bulloch County, Georgia. I had long ago looked at the descendants of Thomas Edward Hardee because he names a son Gardner Sheppard Hardee. The only one who uses the name Sheppard other than my family in the South until 1883 when a descendant of Andrew Hardee (NC to Horry County, SC) is given the name Sheppard and lives in Florida. I checked the Hardee matches for the four Hardy's on ancestry. All had several matches to descendants from Pitts county, NC. (Most notably, descendants of Andrew Hardee, Jemima Hardee Smith and descendants of Thomas Hardee and Susan Croom). And some strong matches showed up for Thomas Edward Hardee descendants too.
So I was looking into Gardner Sheppard Hardee again and found that a Sheppard Williams in Bulloch was the guardian of Thomas Hardy in 1814. (Georgia Genealogical Magazine which also had the Gardner bit I found). Okay. Sheppard Williams. Hmm.
So I googled Sheppard Williams and found a transcription of the estate records for Isaac Hardy in 1809 in Craven County, NC that had testimony take place at the home of Cornelius Sheppard Williams in Bulloch County, GA. Bingo. I found the originals on Ancestry.com too. So Penelope the widow of Thomas Williams was the mother in law of Isaac Hardy. It also states his sons were Thomas and Robert Hardy. Oh, and the testimony was done in Bulloch County, GA at her son Sheppard's home.
Okay, so Sheppard names a son Morgan Gardner Sheppard Williams. Okay.. now that's just a bit too much, so I started looking at what I could find (transcriptions mostly) in Pitts County, North Carolina, which also led me to New Berne District records and Dobbs County, North Carolina. I found that a Col Abraham Sheppard Sr. served with Major Thomas Williams (named that way in estate records too) in the American Revolution. His wife was Catherine Gardner and he had a son named Morgan Gardner Sheppard. I found a deed book transcription too where Abraham Sheppard gave something to Thomas Williams and his wife. Okay so that explains the name Gardner Hardy and Sheppard in my family.
On the Hardee side, I think that Isaac Hardee is a son of Robert Hardee Sr who also had sons Josiah (Joseph) and Robert Hardee Jr and appears on the 1762 and 1763 tax lists of Pitts county, NC. I suspect that Robert Sr is a brother to John Hardee the father of Jemima and that Andrew Hardee is a son or nephew of Robert. No proof and the tree's on ancestry are a mess. I don't know who the father of Thomas Hardee is, the researcher's who have been working at it for years can't tell you either, but he is most likely a first cousin to my Isaac Hardee. Isaac Hardee is probably the ensign who served in Col John Hardee's regiment in the American Revolution. The Lt who served named Isaac Hardee is a brother of Abraham Hardee. All are likely first cousin's, which makes it all so confusing because the names Thomas, Isaac, and Joseph keep coming up.
Yet now we know. We still have Harriet to figure out, but now we have an answer on Gardner Hardy. It's about time.