C J HARDING
C. J. Harding is a native of the Lone Star state, his birth having occurred in Williamson county, Texas, December 25, 1853. His parents were Thomas and Margaret (Robinson) Harding, the former of Lancashire, England, and the latter of Butler county, Ohio. The paternal grandfather was James Harding, a native of England and a cabinetmaker and carpenter by trade. In fact he possessed excellent mechanical ability and could do any kind of wood work. His last days were spent in Peoria, Illinois, where he died when well advanced in years. In religious faith he was an Episcopalian. In his family were six children: Mary E., the wife of Dr. Powell; Ann, the wife of James Ramsey; Mrs. Elizabeth Waldron; Mrs. Ellen Powell; Thomas; and William, a farmer.
Having come to America with his parents, Thomas Harding was married, in Tazewell county, Illinois, to Margaret Robinson, daughter of James Robinson, a native of Pennsylvania and of Scotch-Irish descent. He was a cooper by trade and also followed farming. In 1835 he cast in his lot with the pioneer settlers of Tazewell county. Illinois, where he took up land and improved a farm and there lived for many years. He died while visiting in Missouri. His children were: Margaret, the mother of our subject; Mary, the wife of George Anderson; and M. G., a farmer living near Carthage, Missouri. Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Harding began their domestic life in Illinois, remaining upon a farm in Tazewell county until 1848, when they removed to Arkansas and four years later to Texas. They lived in Hays and Williamson counties, where the father engaged in farming and stock raising until 1857, when anticipating the war, he returned by team to Tazewell county, Illinois. While there he engaged in agricultural pursuits and in the manufacture of sorghum molasses.
In 1866 he removed with his family to Kansas, locating in Hamlin township, Brown county, where he purchased a tract of land, on which was a log cabin and a few trees. The tract comprised eighty acres, of which about forty acres had been broken. Later he added to this and at the time of his death the homestead comprised two hundred and forty acres, and in addition he had two hundred and eighty acres elsewhere in the township. All was under a high state of cultivation and as a result of his well-directed efforts at general farming and stock raising he acquired a handsome competence. Honesty characterized all his business dealings and his reputation in trade circles was above question. Although he came to the county in limited circumstances he left to his children a good estate. His political support was given the Republican party. He died September 1, 1897, at the ripe old age of seventy-six years and nine months. His wife still survives him and is living on the old homestead in Hamlin township. She is a consistent member of the Methodist Episcopal church. In their family were five children, as follows: Mrs. Nancy Cruse C. J.; Lawrence, who died in childhood; R. J., who is living on the old homestead and Mary, the wife of T. Reed.
Mr. Harding. of this review, accompanied his parents on their various removals until they ultimately arrived in Brown county, where he was reared to manhood, remaining under the parental roof until twenty-five years of age. He was then married, in 1878, to Miss Anna Tilley, a lady of intelligence, who was born in Atchison county, Kansas, April 17, 1861, a daughter of Thomas and Chloe (Larkin) Tilley, the former a native of Rhode Island and the latter of New York, the marriage being celebrated in the first named state. The father was a cabinetmaker by trade and on leaving the east removed with his family to Iowa. In 1857 he went to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, and afterward to Monrovia, Atchison county, Kansas, where he engaged in farming and worked at his trade. In 1865 he removed to Brown county, where he followed farming until 1880, when he began bridge building in the employ of a railroad company. During the war he joined a regiment of Kansas cavalry, raised to intercept the progress of Price. While engaged in bridge building he fell from a bridge and was injured. He was sent to a hospital in Sedalia, Missouri. and there died September 18, 1882. His wife survived him until January 28, 1891, when she, too, was called to her final rest. She had been left an orphan at a very early age, her parents having died of consumption. She had but one brother and no sisters, her brother, Samuel, having been a resident of Bridgeport, Connecticut, where he died. He was a patentee of improved attachments of the Wheeler & Wilson sewing machine and acted as the overseer of their factory for many years. Later he went to South America in the interest of a plow factory, spending two years on that continent. He then returned to Bridgeport, Connecticut, where his death occurred. He reared an interesting family of six children, all of whom are in New York, their business interests being along mechanical lines. Mrs. Tilley was a member of the Baptist church and by her marriage she became the mother of four children: Anna, now Mrs. Harding; George, of Oklahoma; Emma, now Mrs. Stornbraker; and Mrs. Mary Banister, who by a first marriage had one child and by her second marriage four children.
After his marriage Mr. Harding purchased land in Nebraska and improved a farm, which he sold in 1879. He then came to Brown county, where he purchased unimproved land, from which he developed a farm. He is now the owner of a valuable property of one hundred and sixty acres, on which he has built a commodious two-story frame residence, a large barn and substantial outbuildings. He has also planted a good orchard and grove and has made permanent improvements upon his place, so that it is now one of the most desirable farms in this section of the county, his home being conveniently located about two miles southwest of Morrill. He has given to his business his strict attention, carrying on stock raising in connection with general farming. The stock he feeds and sells to the home market and his income therefrom is materially increased. He is also a stockholder in the Farmers' Bank, of Morrill.
Unto Mr. and Mrs. Harding have been born five children: Roy C., born February 25, 1880; Clara, born December 2, 1881; Lulu, born December 17, 1884; Edgar T., born October 20, 1892; and Emma J., born June 29, 1895. Mr. Harding is a member of the Masonic fraternity and both he and his wife belong to the Knights and Ladies of Security. Mrs. Harding is also a member of the Missionary Baptist church. In politics he is a Democrat and keeps well informed on the issues of the day, but has never sought office. During the years of his residence here his career has been attended with prosperity and, though many obstacles and difficulties have been in his path, he has steadily worked his way upward, reaching a position of affluence. Industry has been the keynote to his success and his life history should serve to encourage others who are forced to start out in life for themselves empty-handed.