Harden Family Cemetery
Transcription compliments of Robert R. "Randy" Harden
Photos compliments of Anthony Harden
DIRECTIONS: 1/4th mile east of the Harris-Austin deer club on Gun Club Road (between Hwy 63 and Hwy 133 on Gun Club Road).
HISTORY: William D. Harden grew up in White County Illinois. He fought in the Civil War four years. His regiment was stationed in Pine Bluff part of 1864 and 1865. Towards the end of the war Corporal Harden met Mary Ann Elizabeth Case of Star City. They married January 30, 1867 and had four sons and a daughter. Their children were named Charles William, Thomas Aaron, Logan Edgar, James Duncan and Mary Ellen.
After moving several times over a 20 year period William D. and Mary bought the Howard Covey place in Cleveland county, Bowman township. They paid $200 for 160 acres. The land was purchased in 1888 but the Deed of conveyance was not executed until August 3, 1891. William D. and Mary (also called Mollie) lived the remainder of their lives on this property.
In 1897 Thomas Aaron Harden died with an uncurable fever. He was a young man of some 27 years of age. His parents, William Dunk (Dunkin) and Mary Ann Elizabeth Case, picked a spot not far from their house and started the Harden Cemetery. Cedar Trees, honeysuckle, rose bushes, jonquils, etc, were planted to beautify the cemetery. Family records and recollections say that at least 12 people were buried there.
Thomas Aaron Harden 1870 - 1897
Sylinda Harden 11-28-1896 - 11-7-1899
Thomas W. Harden 7-17-1902 - 2-2-1903
Mary A. Harden 9-10-1837 - 11-3-1911
William D. Harden 1-17-1842 - 12-12-1926
Four Harden infants
As the years went by fewer and fewer kinfolk that tended to the cemetery lived in the area. Somewhere in the 1950's renegade loggers drug logs through the site. Vernon Harden remembers his mother, Hallie Virginia Harris Harden, being very upset that the cemetery was torn up. She could not believe that God fearing people would do such a thing.
March 19, 2005, an effort was undertaken to reclaim the long neglected cemetery. Vernon Harden, a great grandson of William D., remembered the location and general layout of the cemetery. Vernon and his wife Bobbye, and their three children, Anthony Harden and his wife Beverly, Cindy (Harden) and her husband Steve Fell and Randy Harden spent the day cleaning up the cemetery area. Only one intact headstone, that of Mary A. Harden, and two headstone bases could be found. The iron fence that once surrounded the cemetery was nowhere to be found. Since that day a memorial fence and sign have been erected in honor of those that are buried there. Two more headstones have been added and other improvements are gradually taking place.
Much gratitude goes to Alma Jean Ratliff Tiner and Claudie Eddith Harden Woods for their genealogy notes and shared memories. Mr. Edgar Colvin is appreciated for providing the headstones for Thomas Aaron and William D. Harden.
The Harden Cemetery is located 1/4th mile east of Harris-Austin deer club on Gun Club Road.
Written and Submitted by Robert R. "Randy" Harden