Bio: Harding, William (History - 1821)
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----Source: 1918 History of Clark County, Wisconsin

WILLIAM HARDING, a pioneer, was born in St. Johns, N. B., Jan. 25, 1821 the son of Abel G. and Ann (Nace) Harding, the former of whom was born April 11, 1790, and died April 3, 1881, and the latter, of whom was born Feb. 23, 1799, and died Nov. 20, 1888. Abel G. Harding, hotelkeeper in New Brunswick, removed with his family to Wisconsin, locating at Racine, and it was there that his, son, William, grew to manhood and received his schooling. The latter subsequently engaged in the lumber business, which in those days was a highly flourishing industry, and it was that occupation that brought him to Clark County, where he employed sometimes as many as 150 men. For a number of years he made his home at Necedah, Juneau County. In 1873 he located on a forty-acre tract of land in Section 10, Fremont Township, then a wilderness, and with the assistance of his sons, George and Roswald, erected on it a log shanty of one room, into which he moved with his wife and family.


He and his wife then had nine children--Ida, George, Roswald, Edith, William, Homer, Edward, Abel and Henry. Two others, Dana B. and Agatha were afterwards born on the place. William had brought two cows with him from Necedah, but had no team nor any farm machinery. The journey from their old home in Necedah, a distance of over 100 miles, was made in the winter, through the woods, and they had arrived in a wagon, or other conveyance on December 27. The Rollins family lived a little to the north, and the home of Thomas Taxbox (Tarbox ), where they ate their first supper after arriving, was just across the river. The next summer he began the work of clearing the land. Supplies had to be carried from the logging camps down the river. The first crops were grubbed in, but Mr. Harding soon got an ox team, using a jumper instead of a wagon. The woods were then infested by wolves, who would sometimes disturb the family by howling around the cabin at night, occasionally climbing onto the roof, and often trying to rob the family of its food. Soon after coming here William Harding began logging again, operating on contract throughout Clark and Wood counties, his sons in the meanwhile clearing the farm.


In 1877 they built a two-story house of hewn logs, which was regarded as the finest in the county at that, time and which is still standing. William Harding and wife were members of the Presbyterian Church, Mrs. Harding being also a Sunday school teacher and religious services were often held in both of their log cabins. Mrs. Harding also spun and carded wool, and made stockings, caps and mittens for the family. During one entire year they had so little wheat that they could only make eleven loaves of white bread, and had to use cornmeal. With the assistance of the sons progress was made on the farm, and in time a barn 40 by 50 feet was erected. William Harding became a prominent citizen of the township, serving as a member of the side board, as assessor and treasurer, and for many years as a member of the school board, helping to organize the school at Heathville, two and a half miles northwest, the first building being constructed of logs and having board seats. He had served one year in the Civil War as a member of Company 1, Third Wisconsin Heavy Artillery, and belonged to the Grand Army Post at Marshfield.


He was also more or less active in politics and several times was sent as a delegate to political conventions. After a long, active and useful career, he died at the age of 82 years, April 4, 1903.


His wife, Sarah Tarbox Harding, the date of whose birth was April 25, 1836, passed from this life about four years before her husband, on Jan. 27, 1899. They had lived in happy wedlock for over forty-seven years, having been married Dec. 4, 1852. She was a daughter of Byron Tarbox, a lumberman who, in early days, coming West from Maine, located at Quincy, Wis. Though she and her husband have both passed away, they played well their part in life's drama, and their memory will remain green for many years to come.

The two photos from the late 1880s (that's our best guess, anyway) are of the Harding family on their farm in Fremont Township, Clark Co., Wisconsin. The house is still there although it has been added onto and covered with siding.

In the photo above: standing in front, first name (we think) is Madeleine, surname unknown. (She was taken in and raised by the Hardings when the rest of her family perished in a nearby house fire. We would love to know more about her if anyone has more information.) Seated behind her, Homer Harding; in doorway, Old Jack the dog, Edward Kent Harding (who went on to become a veterinarian), Sarah Tarbox Harding, and William Harding. Sarah and William are buried in Windfall Cemetery in Granton.



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