William Harmon Harden Personal History

This report generated using Reunion 9 genealogy software for the iMac G5.

Page 118 of History of Irwin County by J. B. Clements (Atlanta: Foote & Davies Co., 1932). Photo titled: "Group of Confederate Veterans of Irwin County, Georgia."

Bottom row, left to right:  Daniel Tucker, T. J. Stapleton, W. J. Philips, Rev. W. H. Harden, S. J. Bruce, William Henderson,  William Henderson, Jr. (child in uniform), W. M. Seymore, Peter Solomon.

Top row, left to right:  J. W. Kendrick, Daniel Purvis, Wiley Whitley, Godfrey Purvis, F. T. Smoot, T. A. Owens.  Note that WHH is wearing the six stripes of a Sergeant Major.

Birth:    24 Apr 1836, Pike County, GA

Death:    2 May 1913, Irwin County, GA

Burial:    Whitley Cemetery, Irwin County, GA

Occupation:    School Teacher, Veteran, Minister

Father:    Hilliard Judge Harden  (1810-1876)

Mother:    Mary Pollyanna Cook (1816-1898) 


Also addressed as Elder Harmon Harden (Primitive Baptist Church Minister of the Gospel for 27 years).

Mason. Member of Montgomery Lodge No. 31, Zebulon, Pike County, GA, in 1863.

Census of 17 Jul 1860 (Pike County) lists him as "Teacher Com[mon] School."

School teacher at Flat Rock School, Zebulon, GA.

Pastor in Pike, Jasper, Irwin, and Ben Hill Counties.

Flat Rock Primitive Baptist Church, Zebulon, Pike County, GA organized 12 Nov 1869.  Charter members included William H. Harden and wife [Nancy Jane Jones], also Ginnie Harden [possibly his sister, Sarah Virginia Harden], and W. P. "Wash" Harden [his brother, Washington Poe Harden].  Services were held in the Flat Rock School (named for a large flat rock located nearby) from 1869 to 1898.  Church is member of Towaliga Association (named for local river) founded 1838. In 1845 it included 1,166 members from 28 churches. Primitive Baptist denomination split into two groups that either favored or opposed foreign missionary work.

1870 Census of Pike County, GA enumerated 10 Jun shows family #112:

William H. Harden, age 34, farmer, born GA, $200 real estate

Nancy J. Harden, age 27, keeping house, born GA

Willie E. Harden, age 5, at home, born GA

Nancy A. Harden, age 3, at home, born GA

Frances M. Harden, age 1, at home, born GA

1880 Census of Enumeration District 71, Grubbs and Niblett township, Jasper County, GA enumerated 1 Jun by James W. Holland shows William Harden family:

William Harden, 44, farmer, preacher

Nancy J. Harden, wife, 36, keeping house

Willie E. Harden, 14, female

Nancy A. Harden, 12,  female

Frances M. U. Harden, 8, female

Seaborn J. T. Harden, 7, male

Washington W.Harden, 5, male (may or may not be son)

Living in Winfred, on the road to Jackson, 4 miles due west of Monticello, Jasper County, GA on 10 Sept 1880, 18 Aug 1882, 17 Feb 1884, and 13 Aug 1884 per letters to brother Washington Poe Harden.  Jasper County created in 1812 from Baldwin County.

Moved to Irwin County, GA in 1885. 

Irwin County Tax Digest of 21 July 1885 (G. G. Henderson, C.T.C. [County Tax Collector?]) shows William H. Harden in River Militia District No. 432, Dorminy’s Mill Post Office.  He had 490 acres of Lot 197, District 4 valued at $800 with aggregate value of entire property at $947 for which he was taxed $1.  Also shown in Irwin County Tax Digest of 1886 as Wm. H. Hardin.

Sturgeon Creek Church, Ben Hill County, GA, was organized in Aug 1885 with Elder William Harmon Harden as the church's first pastor until 1912.  It is located between two branches of Sturgeon Creek.  Church is member of Brushy Creek Union.

Living in Minnie, Irwin County, GA on 14 Oct 1887 per letter to brother Washington Poe Harden.

From Hawkinsville [GA] Dispatch and News, Thursday, January 23, 1890: “…on the 9th instant, Mr. William Williams and Miss Mary McCook were happily married, Rev. W. H. Harden officiating.”

From Hawkinsville [GA] Dispatch and News, Thursday, January 30, 1890: “A large party of relatives and friends witnessed the marriage of Mr. F. G. E. Paulk and Miss Rhonie A. Fletcher, at the residence of the bride’s father, Mr. Elbert Fletcher, on the 16th instant. The ceremony was performed by Rev. William H. Harden.”

From Ocilla Dispatch, Thursday, March 2, 1899, Elder W. H. Harden married George E. McMillan and Miss Annie Garrison on Thursday evening last week.

Dorminy's Meeting House, Irwin County, GA, called W. H. Hardin as pastor on June 21, 1891 upon the death of Elder Jacob Young.  Also called as pastor on Jan 15, 1892, Jan 19,1894.  Called as assistant pastor to J. A. Sutton on Jan 18, 1895 and Jan 17, 1896.  Called as pastor on Jan 15, 1897, Jan 13, 1899.

1900 Census of Irwin County, GA enumerated 12 Jun 1900 shows William H. Harden family [Dwelling #145, family #145, District G. M. 432 & 518, Supervisory District 11, Enumeration District 46, Sheet 8, Jos. R. Paulk, Enumerator]:

W. H. Harden, age 64, born April 1836, farmer, owns farm free and clear, married 38 years to,

Nancy J. Harden, age 56, born [12-30] Jun 1843, mother of 8 (? living),

J. S. Harden, daughter, age 18, born Dec 1881,

John Harden, son, farm laborer, age 16, born Sep 1883,

Webster Jones, brother in law, age 46, born May 1854, farmer, married 2 years to

Franny S. (or Fannie F.) Jones, sister in law, age 32, born Apr 1868, no children

 A. M. Jones, relation?, age 14, born July 1885, farm laborer, single.

Henderson Chapel, five miles east of Ocilla, GA was organized 30 Nov 1906 with Elder William Harmon Harden as the church's first pastor until his death in May 1913.

1910 Census of Irwin County, GA enumerated 28 April 1910 shows dwelling 147, family 146 (Ocilla and Osierfield Road) of William H. Harden

[Military District 1643 Osierfield, Supervisory District 11, Enumeration District 8, Sheet 11B, A. D. ?, Enumerator]

William H. Harden, age 74, minister, owns farm free and clear, married 49 years to

Nancy J. Harden, age 66, mother of 8 (4 living),

John Harden, son, age 23,

Willie E. Myers, daughter, age 47, widow, mother of 6 (5 living),

Winnie(?) M. Myers, grandaughter, age 12,

Mary Z. Myers, grandaughter, age 8,

Edna L. H. Myers, great grandaughter, age 1

Survey of Irwin County Georgia Cemeteries by Jessie Herbert Paulk and Delma Wilson Paulk, 1993, says (presumably taken from tombstone):  born 12 Mar 1843, died 22 Feb 1908, GA CPL Co G 63 Rgt Ga Inf CSA.  This conflicts with Census and other data. 

Military Notes:                                                                                                                                           There is a conflict of sources regarding the date of enlistment. The seven Company G Muster Rolls found in the National Archives show WHH enlisting on 24 Jan 1863. I believe the year to be a systematic error by the Copyist, George Graves, because WHH wrote nine letters home from the Savannah area, all dated 1862.Thus, I conclude William Harmon Harden was enlisted as a private on 24 Jan 1862 in Griffin, GA, by Lt. Council for 3 years or the duration of the war.                                                                                Promoted to Full 3rd Corporal on 1 Mar 1863. This is verified in his letters. He was later promoted to full Sergeant. I consulted Lillian Henderson’s work, Roster of the Confederate Soldiers of GA, 1861-1865 and found  W. H. Harden, Sergeant, 63rd Regiment, Spalding & neighboring counties. When William Harmon Harden was taken prisoner of war, he was listed as a Corporal.  See Irwin County Pension Roll, 1895-1914 below.

William Harmon Harden played Townball as described in a letter to his wife, May 16-17, 1863. They were in uniform of course, and his team won the game.

You can see a video of Townball at


A Report of Prisoners, April 30, 1865, from Headquarters, 1st Brigade, 2d Cavalry Division, US Army, says William Harmon Harden was captured as POW in Macon, Bibb County, Georgia.

William Harmon Harden was in charge of a battery of heavy artillery near Macon, GA and was paroled there (less than 50 miles from Pike County).

General Howell Cobb surrendered 350 officers, 1,995 men, and 60 artillery pieces in Macon, GA on Apr 20, 1865.

A report by Marguerite Willcox Harden (Mrs. Seaborn James Turner Harden) distributed at August 10, 1980 Harden Reunion in Fitzgerald, Georgia said William Harmon Harden was a Confederate Chaplain, but I found no official records to confirm this.

Irwin County Pension Roll shows W. H. Horden served in Company G, 63rd Regiment, Georgia Volunteer Infantry, Sept 1862.  Private, Corporal, Sergeant, then officer in Coast Artillery.  Sent to hospital May 1864.  Paroled at Macon, Bibb County, GA.  Also shows on August 7, 1909 that the Commissioner of Pensions decided W. H. Harden was not entitled to an Indigent Pension based on his new testimony that he gave his property to his children; therefore, they are chargeable with his support to the extent of the value of said property.

Attended United Confederate Veterans Reunion, 30 May - 3 Jun 1907, Richmond, VA.

Attended Blue and Gray Reunion, 11-13 Mar 1909.

Awarded Southern Cross of Honor in 1909 by Ben Hill Chapter No. 1137, United Daughters of the Confederacy.

Delegate to United Confederate Veterans Reunion, 16-18 May 1911, Little Rock, AR. Source is delegate button in possession of William Charles Harden and conversation with Russell Baker, 501-682-6900, of the Arkansas Historical Commission (1 Capitol Mall, Little Rock, AR) which has a wealth of information and photographs on the convention.  It was also extensively reported by the Arkansas Gazette and the Arkansas Democrat at the time.

Attended reunion in Macon about 1912.