“The order of birth of the children of Major John Hardin is not known. The records indicate that at least some, if not all, of his children had been given their respective shares prior to his death , and that in his will he gave the residue of his estate to his favorite grandchildren, leaving his living children only the nominal sum of five shillings each. In remembering his children in this wa y, it might be assumed that the list given was intended to be complete, but not necessarily so, as the early Kentucky accounts state that William Hardin (Indian Bill) reared an orphan nephew, Daniel H ardin, and his sister, Mary.”
“William Hardin — ‘Big Bill,’ ‘Indian Bill’ — was a son of Martin [no, John! These early biographies confuse the brothers John & Martin, and their descendants] Hardin, lineal descendan t of one of three brothers who after the massacre of St. Bartholomew fled France on account of their Huguenot principles and settled in Canada, soon afterwards moving on the milder climate of the Engl ish colony in Virginia. Some say they were of Scotch descent. Martin [John] Hardin’s three [at least four] sons and four daughters were born in Faquier [Prince William] county, Virginia. About 1 765 he removed with his family to Pennsylvania and settled on the Monongahela River. Besides William, the sons were Col. John Hardin [no, Col. John was William’s cousin, and son of Martin Hardin] f or whom Hardin county was named and who was killed by the Indians (1792) in the Northwest territory where he had been sent on a peaceful mission by General Wilkinson, military commander of the West; a nd Martin Hardin [no, this Martin Hardin was a grandson of Martin Hardin], who died about 1849 in his ninety-second year [no, he was not that old — the age error is caused by the identity error]. [ I will not go on refuting the author’s ‘facts’ — all of the relationships cited are mixed up!] Of the daughters, Sarah married her cousin, Ben Hardin, and became the mother of the celebrate d lawyer of that name; Lydia married Charles Wick-liffe, Governor of Kentucky, the grandmother of Robert C. Wickliffe, Governor of Louisiana, and the greatgrand-mother of J. C. W. Beckham, Governor o f Kentucky. Each of these Governors at some time resided in the stately Georgian mansion known as ‘Wickland,’ at Bardstown, built in 1813, and said to be the only house in the United States wher e three Governors from one family came from one home.
“William Hardin with a few companions came down the Monongahela in a flatboat and descended the Wabasha (as the Shawnees called the Ohio), but not liking the swamps about ‘the falls’ (Louisville ), floated on down in search of a likely location to establish a ‘colony.’ They landed near the mouth of Sinking Creek (Stephensport), in what is now Breckinridge county. They had not proceede d far inland until they discovered they were followed by Indians, and realizing they were cut off from the boat, struck through the wilderness for Fort Hynes (Elizabethtown). At the Big Spring (onc e a stopping-place on the old trail to Shawneetown) they were overtaken and a fight ensued in which one of their number, a young Scotchman named Sinclair, and three of the Indians were killed. Reachi ng Fort Hynes, they spent some time there and at ‘the falls,’ and in the spring of 1780 (not 1781) Hardin, with Christopher Bush and Michael Leonard, located a site at a spring and cave about a qu arter of a mile southwest from the present court-house in Hardinsburg, and established Fort Hardin. Some years later Bush returned to Elizabethtown, where he reared a large family, and at one time se rved as captain of a company of ‘patrollers’ one of whom was Thomas Lincoln who later married one of his daughters.
“General Hardin was a noted pioneer and Indian fighter, a man of the finest courage and great physical strength and endurance. He had many narrow escapes. On one occasion a strong brave, leaping f rom cover and aiming his gun directly at Hardin only a few feet away, was so sure he had him that he paused to tantalize him with ‘Ugh! Big Bill!” But the pause was fatal; knocking the gun aside , Hardin clubbed his brains out with his gun. On another occasion he was fired upon and severely wounded while standing picket for some settlers working in a cornfield near his fort, and was saved b y the heroism of Miss Sallie McDonald who risked her own life to assist him into the fort. This brave girl became the wife of Henry Dean, an early settler. When the Indians started building a town o n Saline Creek in what is now Illinois, Hardin set out to dispel them with eighty picked men, and although shot through both thighs in the engagement, sat on a log and continued in command and won on e of the fiercest of Indian fights. The Indians feared him as ‘Big Bill,’ and once when they thought they had killed him and he later reappeared they scampered wildly from the fury of ‘old Hard in’s ghost.’
“He once owned large tracts of land in the present counties of Breckinridge, Hardin, Meade, Grayson, Ohio, and Hancock, but many of his title papers, not having been put to record, were destroyed i n the burning of his house and his losses were heavy. He was born in 1747 and died in 1821. He is buried in an unmarked grave just across the highway from the site of the old fort. A monument has b een erected to his memory in the court-house yard at Hardinsburg. He was one of the first justices of the Hardin county court.
“General Hardin’s first wife was Winifred Holtzclaw, whom he married in Virginia, and by whom he had eight children: Winnie Ann, who married William Comstock, member of the first town board of Ha rdinsburg; Henry, a farmer who lived on Sugar Tree Run and died about 1855; Malinda, who married William Crawford, brother of Mrs. Joe Allen; William, junior, first sheriff of Breckinridge county [no , Benjamin Huff was], served several terms in the Legislature and removed to Frankfort where he became postmaster; Elijah, who as a man shot and wounded Isaac Bush, son of Christopher Bush, resultin g in a judgment of $1500 in damages against General Hardin (April term, 1804, Hardin Circuit Court), and who was afterwards himself shot and killed at Hardinsburg by Friend McMahon in 180(?); Amelia , who married Harace Mers 1808; John E., who died near Brownville, Pa., in 1850; and Jehu, who lived and died at Hardinsburg. It is said of Winnie Ann that she ‘grew, picked, carded, spun and wov e cotton into cloth for her wedding gown.’ General Hardin’s first wife died in 1808 and he later married Susannah McGee. Besides his own children he reared a nephew and a niece — Daniel Hardi n and Mary (Polly) Hardin. The latter married Benjamin Huff, who presided over the first court held in the county 1 January 1800. The incidents related in this sketch prior to December 1799, occurre d within the original Hardin county.”
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