Taken from "Two Centuries in Elizabethtown and Hardin County, Ky 1776-
1976" by Daniel E McClure, Jr.
The Hardin family is of special relative interest to our readers, Hardin County
being named to honor Colonel John Hardin. Information for this sketch has been
found in the private files of Mr. John L. Helm (IV) of Louisville, Collin's History
Kentucky and the History of Lafayette County, Pennsylvania, by Franklin Ellis
(1882) and a sketch prepared by Miss Lucy T Robertson in 1939 for the "Who
Was Who in Hardin County" series published by the Hardin County Historical
Society in 1944.
According to tradition and some family records, the Hardins are of Norman
French stock, of the Hugenot (French Protestant) faith. Three brothers fled
France of the Massacre of St. Bartholomew's Day (August 24, 1572), and later
came to Canada, but not liking the weather there, moved to the British colony
Another family source tells that the Hardin family, consisting of Mary Hardin,
wife of Governor Gorgas, her brothers John, Richard and Joseph, came to A-
merica with Governor Gorgas in 1623. John Hardin held some office under the
crown and was of the Church of England while his brothers were of the Con-
Martin Hardin, a descendent of one of the above brothers, was born about
1720. Known as "Ruffled Shirt Martin," he is said to have operated an ordinary
(tavern) on or near Elk Creek, in Virginia, and he served in the French and Indian
War. Following that, about 1765, he moved his family, consisting of his wife,
Lydia Waters, and their four daughters and three sons, all born in Virginia be-
tween the years 1741 and 1760, to George's Creek, on the Monogahela River
in that section of Pennsylvania that is presently Fayette County. He had mar-
ried Lydia Waters about the year 1740.
The children of Martin Hardin were: Mary, born October 4, 1741; Sarah,
born March 16, 1743, married Ben Hardin (they were married about 1766, were
parents of Ben Hardin, the famous lawyer, who married Elizabeth Barbour, pa-
rents of Mrs. John L. Helm); Lydia, born April 10, 1748, who married Charles
Wickliffe; Mark Hardin, born April 10, 1750, was eighty-three years old when
he applied for his Revolutionary War pension January 28, 1833; his widow
Susanna received a widow's pension; John Hardin was born October 1, 1753
and killed by Indians in Ohio in May 1792. He married Jane Davis, who with
three sons and three daughters survived him; Martin Hardin II, born Feb. 1,
1757 and died in Kentucky at age ninety-two, 1849; and Rosanna Hardin; no
Mark Hardin and his brother John Hardin, Sr. were among the earliest settlers
mentioned in the Monongahela Valley. (They settled in what they thought was
Virginia territory but when the boundary line was run they were located in that
southwestern corner of Pennsylvania that was disputed for some years until the
line, which was an extension of the Mason-Dixon project, settled the matter).
The Hardins came from Fauquier County, Virginia, where they were born. The
land which they settled on in Pennsylvania is in present Nicholson Township
of Fayette County.
John Hardin, Sr. settled on a tract of three hundred and nineteen and a quar-
ter acres, which he called "Choice"; the warrant for the land was dated April
17, 1769. His brother, Martin, located a tract, named "Harbout," containing
two acres fewer than his brother's land; warranted the same date, but surveyed
May 22, 1770.
According to the Ellis "History of Fayette County, Pennsylvania", Martin
din married Elizabeth Hoagland, by whom he had seven children, in addition to
Colonel John Hardin. (This is at variance with other date listing Martin Hardin as
marrying Lydia Waters, and having seven children, including John.)
In Lord Dunmore's War (1774), John Hardin served as an ensign and was
wounded in a fight with the Indians. It is said that he was back in action even
before the wound had healed. With the outbreak of the Revolution, young Hardin
entered service as a second lieutenant in the Eighth Pennsylvania Regiment. He
was attached to General Daniel Morgan's Rifle Corps, which greatly distinquish-
ed itself in the series of actions that resulted in the surrender of General Bur-
goyne at Saratoga.
The Eighth Regiment was ordered to Pittsburgh for defense of the western
frontiers, which included Indian fighting, in 1777.
John Hardin is listed as a first lieutenant in the Eighth Pennsylvania Regiment
July 13, 1777. On November 1, 1777 he returned as on command with Colonel
Morgan and resigned in 1779. He was in the fighting around Philadelphia. An
incident has been told of Hardin, who captured two or three British soldiers and
a Mohawk Indian while on a scout. The Indian attempted to shoot Hardin when
he turned his head for a moment. Hardin shot and killed the Indian, who manag-
ed to get off a shot as he was falling, the powder flash from his gun burning
Hardin's face. Hardin is said to have been an expert rifle shot.
When Hardin resigned from service he is said to have been offered a commis-
sion of major in an attempt to have him remain. His men's terms of enlistment
were up, however, and he left the army. He had taken measures to obtain land
in Kentucky. In 1784 he was chosen as sheriff of the newly organized county
of Fayette. As early as 1781 he had sent a younger brother to Kentucky to have
his entries surveyed, but hearing of Indian troubles he became apprehensive that
the surveying might be postponed and came himself to follow up matters.
In April 1786, with his wife and children, John Hardin came to settle on lands
on Pleasant Run, then in Nelson County, but now Washington County. His
father, Martin, and the others of that family had preceded them. The families
settled, with the exception of Rosanna, who married John McMahon, in a cir-
cuit of about ten miles about the site of present Springfield.