Vardaman History Project - The Hardins of Reid

The John Hardin Family of the Reid Area

Extracted from The Cherry Hill - Poplar Springs - Reid Community
in Calhoun County, Mississippi
  by Monette Morgan Young.

Pioneer Recollections

The Calhoun Monitor, March 2, 1905

My father moved to this locality (Reid near old Rocky Mount Church) in 1839. We stretched our tent under a post oak tree and 14 of us lived in it while the menfolks went a mile and built a house to live in.

Johnny Hardin beat us here about two weeks and there was also another family who lived on the creek by the name of Bates, after whom this creek was named. He lived on what is now known as the Peter Kuykendall place, southwest of the creek. In 1840, Azor Henderson bought him out and moved his family here in a frock wagon. John Craze lived then at what is known as the old Grocery Place, 4 or 5 miles east of Pittsboro. Martin Murphree settled at Old Town in 1840 and Ransom Murphree on Bates Creek about the same time. Gid Austin settled near the latter. Austin was a peculiar character. He was a soldier of the War of 1813, disinclined to work, loved liquor, was a good story teller and was good on a practical joke.

Then the Brashers, Lantrips, and Collums moved in and settled up and down Schoona (River), mostly on the north side. "Red" Brasher settled west of Bates Creek, near where T.W. Hill now lives. The range was fine about this time and game of every sort was plenty. There was but little undergrowth and you could see deer on the ridges a long way off. In the bottoms the cane was fine everywhere and cattle wintered there without other feed.

People went 10 or 15 miles to help each other roll logs and raise houses. Steel mills and graters were the chance for bread.

We had no preaching at first, but without our consent, or knowledge, one James Martin came to us from the East. he was sent to organize churches and his labors were wonderfully blessed. Then in rapid succession, came Elders Medid White, McMath Minter and Akens. The first Methodist were Thompson, who settled on the west of Old Town, where Mr. John Bryant lives now and the creek (Thompson) was named for him. Thompson was related to the Baileys, among who were two or three preachers of the Methodist persuasion. In the early 1840s, came Tommy Lowry and we began to hear preaching pretty regular. At an early date, Rocky Mount Church liberated E.A. Crocker and John Sanders to preach the Gospel, and later on, six others were licensed from this old church.

John Hardin (1789 - 1880)
Gilly Bennett Hardin (1789 - 1877)

One night in the year 1839, the first wagons in a long train of oxen-drawn wagons which had started out in Pickens County, Alabama, creaked to a stop in a flat area of land in what is now Calhoun County, Mississippi. There were several of these wagons in this first group. There was John and Gilly Bennett Hardin [her name was pronounced "Gilly" but various spellings of it include Gilla, Gillia, Ghillie, and Gillie] and their fourteen children. Six of these children were grown young men and women, some with children of their own. Three were teenagers, and five were younger. In addition to the Hardin group, the Stribling and Henderson families were also in the train. Matthew Stribling, in his recollections above, said that "Johnny Hardin beat us here by about two weeks."

Census records and family researchers give us a fair amount of data on Gilly's family, the Bennetts; but little is known of John's ancestry.

John and Gilly were married in Jackson County, Georgia, and several of their children were born there. They moved from there to Pickens County, Alabama, where they lived for several years and then they moved on into north Mississippi after the Treaty of Pontotoc allowed the former Chickasaw Indian land to be sold. The log house that John built for Gilly and his family was located in the general area, within a few hundred feet, of where Von Hardin later built his home. John and his sons cleared the rich Skuna bottom land and began making good crops.

Hardin families with ties to the Reid and Rocky Mount area are probably descended from John and Gilly Bennett Hardin. They are buried in the Poplar Springs Baptist Church Cemetery. Link

Most of the information given here is extracted from Monette Morgan Young's book, The Cherry Hill - Poplar Springs - Reid Community in Calhoun County, Mississippi. The box on the right is a link to it.

Children of John and Gilly Bennett Hardin

HARRIET ELIZABETH HARDIN, born June 4, 1809, was Gilly's oldest child. She married Fielding Rickman and they would move to the Gaston Springs or Oak Springs area. Harriet and Fielding Rickman would be the parents of Jim Rickman who would marry Mary Elizabeth Hardin, David W. Hardin's daughter. Harriet and Fielding were also the parents of Mary Elizabeth Rickman who married James Todd Morgan. Jim Rickman and his sister Mary Elizabeth Rickman Morgan would die early in life and Mary Elizabeth and James Todd Morgan would be married. Harriet and Fielding were also the parents of the Rickman boy who helped Uncle Bennett (Stephen Bennett Morgan), get home from the Civil War after the surrender when Uncle Bennett was too sick to walk alone. There were other Rickman children.

GEORGE WASHINGTON BENNETT HARDIN, born 1811, was Gilly's second child. He married Emily Frances Ramsey, probably before the Mississippi emigration. They had no children. He bought the Stribling place, down southwest of Poplar Springs church and lived there until late in life. His wife became an invalid in their early middle years. He got on his horse and went to Memphis to the slave market to buy a house slave. He bought a young black woman and she was holding in her arms a baby of a few months. When the slave trader started to take the baby from her arms, she began such pitiful screams that Wash couldn't stand that. Wash paid his last $100 for the baby. She and the baby rode horseback behind him back to Calhoun county.

She was "Aunt" Ann Bennett Gordon (married to Joe Gordon). Of course, in a few years she would be freed by the Civil War. Uncle Wash gave her and the son, that baby, a house and land. She was a loved and respected member of the community. In Eudie Murff's history of Reid, she says that "Aunt" Ann attended Poplar Springs church as long as she lived and is buried in the Poplar Springs cemetery. The baby was named Frank Bennett, and Uncle Wash and his wife took care of him while Ann worked. When he grew up, he married several times and had many children. He died in Memphis.

ABRAHAM HARDIN, born October 5, 1813, was the third child. He married Martha Ann Graham. He moved to Lafayette County, Mississippi. He died there and is buried in a cemetery about twelve miles east of Oxford, MS. He had eleven children in all. We are not able to trace the descent of them too well. It is told that Abe killed a bear with a pocket knife once. Several men were out hunting. Dogs "treed" a bear. The bear had backed up against a tree, was slashing and hitting at the dogs as they leaped at it. Abe came behind the tree and reached around with the knife and slashed the bear's throat. Abraham and Elizabeth's children were Prudence, Harriet L., Gillia A., James W., Charles, John T., Jane, Elizabeth, Mollie, Adaline, and Iona.

STEPHEN EDWARD HARDIN, born 1815, was the fourth child. He married Nancy Smith. He went back to Alabama after the initial emigration but came back to Mississippi. They were the parents of fourteen children. So many families in Calhoun county are descended from or are connected to that large family. Steve Hardin's daughter, Gilly Ann, would marry Stephen Bennett Morgan. Another daughter, Nancy Adeline, married Joseph Lucas. The Lucas's had a son John who was the father of Clytee Lucas Edmondson. They had a daughter Mallie who was married to Felix VanHorn. They were Vivian Perkins' parents. Another daughter Maudie married a Whittle. These latter were Lois Whittle Aven's parents. Another Lucas daughter, Cordie, married a Ramage. The Ramages were parents of Jimmie Ramage who once lived at Vardaman. Stephen Edward had a son whom he named David Wilson, after his brother. Stephen Edward's son was called "little Dave". Little Dave was married to Addle Stewart first, and second to Brother Hartley's sister. Lonnie and Hartwell Hardin were two of his sons. A daughter was Beulah Hardin Mitchell. Bob Hardin and Bunk Hardin and Mary Ethel Mounger were grandchildren of Little Dave and there were other grandchildren. Stephen Edward had a daughter named Pernecia Eveline, named after his sister. The younger Eveline married Huey Brannon. They were the parents of the first Mrs. Lethal Ellis.

DAVID WILSON HARDIN, born 1818, was the fifth child. He too would return to Alabama; and while he was there, he married fifteen-year-old Barbara Jane Samantha Vaughn. He also returned to Mississippi and bought land and built a house where the Vardie James place would later be. David Wilson Hardin was a Baptist preacher. one of the first pastors of the young Poplar Springs church. He was said to have been a man who spoke clearly and enunciated well. He later sold that farm and moved east to Chickasaw County about five miles west of Old Houlka, in the Shiloh Church community.

He was interested in education and tried to educate his children. He sent his oldest daughter Mary Elizabeth Hardin to a Female Academy in Oxford, Mississippi. He sent my Grandmother (Gilly Hasseltine "Tinie" Hardin) to school in Okolona. That was after her mother, Barbara Jane Samantha had died and he had married an Okolona woman. Tinie stayed at the stepmother's family's home in Okolona one year and went to school.

In summers when he would go to churches away from home to hold protracted meetings. Tinie, who was the only child still living with him, would go too and spend the time with young ladies in the community. He was invited to come to Poplar Springs for one such meeting and Tinie went too. A young man named Jeff Murphree rode up every day. He was living with his parents in a house on the very edge of Oldtown, as the Lloyd community ended. They were married the next February and lived on the western edge of Lloyd, south of Rocky Mount. David Wilson Hardin's daughter Samantha married Tom West and they went to Texas. David Wilson Hardin is buried in the Halsell cemetery near Shiloh Church. His grave is unmarked, but it is beside Barbara Jane's and she has a monument. Houlka Lake covers the bottom fields that he once cultivated.

GIDEON J. HARDIN, born 1819, was the sixth child. His second marriage was to Martha Ann Freeman. They lived in the Pine Ridge area nearer Poplar Springs. (There is another Pine Ridge settlement, but it is northwest of Big Creek about six or seven miles). There is a story of a first marriage to a woman and there were children, but she deserted him and left and went away to Memphis. Nothing is known of that first set of children. Two children were born in his middle years during this second marriage. Gideon Hardin had a son Tom, and Tom's daughter Mae was married to Mike Martin. They were the parents of that large Martin family, thirteen children in all, who lived in Vardaman. Those are all descendents of the first John and Gilly Hardin.

THOMAS HARDIN was the seventh child. He went back to Alabama, as did David Wilson and Stephen Edward, but he did not return. He married a woman named Charlotte and we know of two children, Sarah and Obadiah.

WILLIAM HENRY HARDIN was the eighth child. He married Mary Elizabeth Henderson, one of the Hendersons who had come when the Hardins did, and they are the ancestor of the Hardins at Reid and of some of the Hardins at Calhoun City. One of his sons, John, married Martha Morgan. She was my grandfather Morgan's sister. John and Martha would move to Texas.

William Henry had another son, James Henry, who was the father of Kay and Chester Hardin, merchants in Calhoun City at one time. James Henry had a son James Robert (Jim) who stayed in the Reid community. He married Etta Pope. Etta's mother had been Lydia Black, daughter of Hood Black and Lucretia Todd. Lydia married a Mr. Graham. A Graham daughter would marry Mr. Billy Murff. Cora and Eudie would be born of that union. Their mother would die. He would remarry Mittie Morgan Phillips. Lydia Black Graham would then marry a Mr. Pope. Etta would be a daughter of theirs. Mr. Pope would die and she would remarry a Todd, a distant cousin.

Anyway, Jim and Etta Hardin had sons Glenn, Elmer, and Rex, and daughters Lura and Robbie. Robbie married James Albert (Ab) Burt and they had a daughter Doris Etta Burt. Robbie taught school in Calhoun County and in Columbus and was my son's third grade teacher in Vardaman. Glenn had sons. They live in another place. Elmer had several children. One son was named James Robert. One is Von. There are more. These are the now numerous "Reid" Hardins, that large group. Elmer married Myrtle Murphree. Bettie Edwards is a daughter.

As we go down the hill toward Rocky Mount from the Hardin homes in Reid now, at the foot of the hill, the road curves to the right and goes a curving way to reach to top of the next hill which in my day was the beginning of Rocky Mount community. At the foot of the hill before we begin ascent if we looked to the left we saw that the hill we were about to climb had a cleft in it. The old road, long ago, went up there. When I was small, I could still see the erosion scars. Henry Hardin lived there once. He was the father of Kay and of Chester and of James Robert (Jim), the latter was Von's grandfather, as I've mentioned, as well as the grandfather of numerous others. He was also the father of Rena Hardin Landreth, Wint's mother. After Uncle Wash Bennett was old and no longer able to take care of himself, he lived there with his nephew Henry's family and died there.

PERNECIA EVELINE HARDIN, born February 15, 1825, was the ninth child. She was called Eveline or Ebeline. She married George Poteete. The Poteetes had settled in the old community which became Lloyd. They lived near the Bob Free place. It is a landmark of area historians. If, when you have passed the last house or building in Lloyd now, and when you drive up a long steep hill (the Bob Free Hill) and after you crest the top you look to the left (you will of course be headed toward Oldtown), you will see the Bob Free place now grown up in trees and bushes.

George Poteete's father is buried in an unmarked grave in Lloyd cemetery. Tom Griffin once showed Cousin Nan Poteete Thomas where it was but she forgot. Maybe that taught her to pay very special attention to unmarked graves since she had forgotten where her grandfather's grave was.

Aunt Ebeline and George moved into Poplar Springs community. She helped to set out the cedar trees around the cemetery. I heard so much about her that I thought I knew her, though she died two years before I was born.

She was the mother of Nancy Jane Poteete Thomas (Cousin Nan). Aunt Ebeline had attended all the early funerals in the cemetery and she and Cousin Nan, who was a child then, knew where the unmarked graves were. She passed this information on to Clarence Morgan for use in his Poplar Springs Cemetery listing. [This listing is included in Monette Young's book mentioned above.]

JAMES HARDIN, born 1827, was the tenth child. He married Lilly Alepian(?). He was the one who had the liquor store. He moved to Panola county and is buried in the McIvor cemetery there. He had one son, Henry Scott Hardin. Nothing is known of the descent of him.

JOHN T. HARDIN, born 1829, was the eleventh child. He first married Sarah Hughes and then Mary Crocker. He had ten children. One daughter married Joe Foshee, brother of Julius and Champ. A descendent tells us that John T. and some Foshee grandchildren, I think, and a child of John T.'s are buried (or were buried) where Marks, Mississippi, now is. It was said that when the town was started they used machinery to push the monuments in a ditch and streets or buildings were built over the old graveyard.

CHARLOTTE HARDIN, born 1831, was the twelfth child. She married George Stacy and they moved to Arkansas. They had seven children. Not much is known of them.

ELIZABETH (BETTY) HARDIN, born 1832, was the thirteenth child. She married William Bryant. One Bryant daughter, Eveline, married "Uncle" Jerry Hayes, and they were the grandparents of Lawrence Hayes at Calhoun City. Jerry Hayes had come from Ireland at his mother's urging to try to find his brother, a former Catholic priest. The brother had once studied at the Vatican, he was so promising. Something there disillusioned him and he left and "defrocked" himself. He came to America and lost contact with his family. Jerry came to try to find him, but never did.

Jerry and Eveline had a son Mack (I don't know his full or real name) who married Clara Parker, sister to Cliff Parker’s dad. They had many children. The Calhoun County Hayes and those in several other states are their descent. Another of Jerry and Eveline's sons was Darby. He was a salesman of some kind over a large area.

One of Bettie Bryant's daughters, Millie, married Henry Schwalenberg (his first name may have been spelled Enrii when he was given it in Germany, for he was born there and his initials were 'E.S.') He was a Civil War veteran who had emigrated from Germany and had enlisted in the Union Army from Illinois. The war ended with him in the south and he stayed on and married here. Mr. Bryant died and Bettie married Johnnie Maine. He lived on the Johnny Maine Mountain, named for him, and he ran a Social House there. A place, I think I’ve ascertained, that they played cards and served liquor. I guess like an Irish Pub back in his native country. These three, Johnny Maine, Jerry Hayes, and Henry Schwalenberg being newer immigrants than the other residents, were close companions.

MICAJAH HARDIN, born 1835, was the fourteenth child. He married Rachael Fortson. Uncle "Cagey" lived below Center Point, nearly to Thorn. It was said that Micajah was a happy and kind man. Wild turkeys came almost to his door, and when company came, he would go out and shoot one for dinner.

Unrelated Hardins

There were other Calhoun County Hardins at Hardintown, south of Derma. Dr. Allen Hardin at Derma (and later Calhoun City) who had twin sons was one of those. There was another family of Hardins that I knew long ago, and the old father of the family was named John, another John. Long ago there was the story told that the heads of the three Hardin families in the county were third cousins. We have never been able in recent years to find any basis for that.

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