Col. Thomas Hardeman, Jr.

Col. Thomas Hardeman, Jr.

1825-1891


HARDEMAN, Thomas, Jr., A Representative from Georgia; born in Eatonton, Putnam County, Ga., January 12, 1825; was graduated from Emory College in 1845; studied law; was admitted to the bar in 1847; abandoned his profession and engaged in the warehouse and commission business; served in the State house of representatives in 1853, 1855, and 1857; elected as an Opposition candidate to the Thirty-sixth Congress and served from March 4, 1859, until January 23, 1861, when he withdrew; captain of the Floyd Rifles; during the WBTS was major of the Second Georgia Battalion and, later, colonel of the Forty-fifth Georgia Infantry of the Confederate Army; again served in the State house of representatives, in 1863, 1864, and 1874, and was speaker during these sessions; delegate to the Democratic National Convention in 1872; president of the State convention and chairman of the Democratic State executive committee for four years; elected as a Democrat to the Forty-eighth Congress (March 4, 1883-March 3, 1885); chairman, Committee on Expenditures in the Department of State (Forty-eighth Congress); died in Macon, Ga., March 6, 1891; interment in Rose Hill Cemetery.

Excerpt from Biographical Directory of the United States Congress


Source:  Memoirs of Georgia Vol. 1

Containing Historical accounts of the state's civil, military, industrial and professional interests  and personal sketches of many of its people.

Atlanta,  Ga. The Southern Historical Association 1895

Page 340-350

 

THOMAS HARDEMAN, JR., as he was popularly know (his real name being John Thomas), was born in Putnam county, Ga., Jan 12, 1825, at what is known as the Brooks place, a few miles from Eatonton.  His Hardeman ancestors were Welsh and settled in Virginia.  Three brothers spread from these.  Thomas Hardeman followed Daniel Boone into Kentucky, Hardeman county , Tenn.  being named for him.  Isaac Hardeman went west, and was one of the defenders of the Alamo, Hardeman county, Tex., being named from him; the Confederate general W.  P. Hardeman, was a son of this one.  The other brother, John came to Georgia and settled in Jackson county, in the part which afterward became Oglethorpe.  This John  the grandfather of the subject of our sketch, was one of the earliest clerks of the superior court of Oglethorpe county.  He was the father of one daughter and five sons: Thomas; Jack, who moved to Mississippi; Robert V., a state senator in 1845 from Jones county and twice judge of the superior court of the Ocmulgee circuit;  Benj. Franklin, state senator from Oglethorpe in 1851, and twice solicitor general of the northern circuit; and Isaac, who died in childhood.

    Thomas Hardeman, Sr. was born in April 1797, in Oglethorpe county.  He was married Oct. 16, 1821, to Sarah Blewett Sparks, they being the parents of Thomas Hardeman, Jr., and also of Robert Ulla Hardeman, the present state treasurer, who has held his position since 1884, having opposition i  his own party only once.  Faithful and pure, Robert. U. has more warm personal friends than any man in the state.  They lived for many years in Putnam, Thomas. Hardeman, Sr., being several times sheriff of that county, a position he resigned rather than execute a negro that had been sentenced  to be  hanged, and afterward became clerk of the superior court.  In 1832 they moved to Macon, soon settling in Vineville.

    Thomas. Hardeman, Jr. graduated at Emory college in 1845.  Beside leading in his literary society he stood high in the class of that year, which has long been considered the banner class of the institution. He studied law at Clinton under his uncle, Robert V.  Hardeman, and was there admitted to the bar April 29 1847, by R. W. McCune, who was then the incumbent. This so discouraged him that he soon abandoned the profession of law and turned his attention to the business of a commission merchant which he followed almost uninterruptedly up to his death. In 1846 he had an assistants position in the clerical department of the house of representatives to which he was re appointed in 1849 and 1851.

    In 1853 he first entered political life with the following announcement:

    To the Citizens of Bibb County:  The time for selecting those who shall represent you in the state legislature is rapidly approaching, and at the solicitation of m any friends of both political parties, I offer myself as a candidate for your support.  Questions involving the future interest of our city, and thereby of our county, will command the attention of our next general assembly, and with a view of advancing that interest, independent of party obligations and caucus requirements, I have been induced to offer myself a candidate to represent you, pledging myself, if elected, to represent your interests independent of such obligations."

    He was a Whig, and though the parties were evenly divided in Bibb County, in the election he let all competitions by 75 votes over the leading democratic candidate, leaving his brother Whig 125, Bibb being entitled to two representatives.

    In those days each county was entitled to one senator; so in 1866 he was a Whig candidate for senator, defeating Leroy Napier, the democratic candidate, and being again far in the lead among his own party candidates.  In 1857 he was again elected to the house, still leading the ticket.  He at once took a prominent stand upon first entering the legislature, devoting his energies to the advancement of the people and to the up building and fostering of all public institutions, especially the academy for the blind and the Georgia military institute, so much so that in 1859, when he was he Whig (or American, as it was then called) candidate for congress, he was fought most bitterly for the interest thus displayed, but nevertheless, he was elected to congress over Alexander M. Speer, a democrat who afterward became judge of the supreme court of the state. He was the only Georgia Whig, with the exception of Joshua Hill, elected to that congress the other members of the delegation being all democrats, Robert. Toombs and Alfred Iverson being in the senate, Martin J. Crawford, Peter Love, Lucius J. Gartrell, John W. H. Underwood, James Jackson and John J. Jones being in the hours.  The Americans believing strongly in the south were nicknamed "South Americans".  All of this delegation have passed away except John Jones of Burke; Hill and Hardeman, the only Whigs, dying within a few hours of each other on the night of March 7, 1891.

    From Dec. 7, 1859 to Feb. 1, 1860, there was no organization of the national house of representatives.  The republicans coming into power all elements of the opposition fiercely fought them for the speakership.

    On the first ballot Bocock, the democratic candidate, led  with John Sherman, republican, a close second, Mr. Hardeman alone voting for his colleague, Mr. Hill.  He then alone on the second ballot supported Mr. Boteler, of Virginia, whose vote afterward reached as high as forty nine.  On the twenty eight ballot Mr. Boteler, Zeb Vance and Hardeman voted for W. M.  H. Smith of North Carolina AND from these three he gradually grew until the forty first ballot the vote then being Pennington, republican, 115; Smith, 113; necessary to a choice 117.  Pennington on the 44th ballot gained two votes and was elected.

    Early in the session in a short speech Mr. Hardeman said: " It has been charged here by a portion of the members on my left, that the responsibility for not organizing rests on the opposition members from the south.  Now, I wish to state distinctly that I am opposed to and shall oppose from now till Christmas next year the election of a republican candidate for speaker.  At the same time I will not and cannot support a man who indorses the opinions of Judge Douglas, which opinions are I think, subversive of Southern interests and Southern rights, to wit that the organic act confers on the people of a territory while in a territorial condition the power to exclude slavery by unfriendly legislation".

    This was a stormy session of congress, the southern members of all banding together regardless of politics.

    On Jan 19, 1861, when Georgia seceded from the Union he, although strongly opposed to secession, with all of the Georgia delegation except Mr. Hill withdrew from congress, not resigning, but contending that the secession of Georgia vacated their seats, Mr. Hill holding a different view of his obligation of the state's position, formerly resigned.  Mr. Toombs was afterward expelled from the senate.  By this time the preparation for war had begun in earnest.  Mr. Hardeman, being captain of the Floyd Rifles, a position he occupied since Jan. 5, 1856, at once tendered the services of his company to Gov. Brown.  In April that company, together with the Macon volunteers and City Light guards of Columbus, were ordered to Norfolk and on April 22 arrived at Portsmouth navy yard, while it was still burning, having been fired by Unites States officials on evacuating the place, they being the first troops from any state, except Virginia, to appear in the Old Dominion in behalf of the Confederacy.  They together with the Spalding Grays of Griffin, which arrived a day or two later, were at once organized into the Second Georgia battalion by the election of Capt.. Hardeman as major.  On March 15, 1862, he was promoted to the colonelcy  of the Forty fifth Georgia regiment; at Frazier's farm on June 30, 1863, while nobly encouraging his brave men, was severely wounded
General Anderson's official report) from which wound he never recovered, suffering seriously until the day of his death.  Being discharged on account of physical disability, he returned to Macon and was elected a member of the house of representatives in October, 1863, and upon its organization was made speaker, defeating the Hon. B. H. Bingham by a vote of 86 to 58.  He was appointed major to take charge of a conscript camp in 1863, which commission he returned, declining to accept the position.  On July 19 1864 he was appointed lieutenant colonel and aide de camp to Gen. G. W. Smith,  who commanded state troops and was serving with him when the war closed.

    In 1865, upon the assembling of the first legislature after the fall of the Confederacy, he was again elected to the legislature and   upon the organization of the house was elected speaker, defeating Judge E. H. Pottle by a vote of 117 to 17.  Upon taking his seat he delivered the following address:

    "We are convened today under circumstances of no ordinary character.  Our difficulties are many and threatening, yet, as the pillar of fire guided the children of Israel through the perils of the wilderness so may the star of patriotic duty so shed its light upon our pathway as to conduct our people to the land of deliverance and of hope.

    The political status of our state depends in a great measure upon our actions  here.  May I be permitted to hope, in view of the great interests at stake, we may so shape our legislative action as to secure for our people a restoration of civil saw and insure for our state a position and representation in the council of the nation.

    "It were useless to disguise the fact, gentlemen, that all the dreams of a southern Confederacy and a separate nationality have passed away, and having qualified ourselves for citizenship by swearing to support the constitution of the United States, it becomes us in good faith to comply with this obligation and so legislate as to convince even our enemies of the sincerity of our intention and the purity of our motives.  This can be accomplished without servile submission or sycophantic protestations that belie the action of our people during the struggle through which they have so heroically passed, by a manly regard for principle and faithful observance of the constitution which we have sworn to support.  Now that the carnage and strife of war are over,  it were vain to spend our time in idle regrets for and crocodile tears over the events of the past. Action, bold, enterprising action, is necessary for our success in the present and our hope for the future to enliven the home made desolate, to rebuild our ruined cities, to revive our drooping commerce, to vocalize our streams with the music of machinery to fill our furnaces with the fruit of honest industry and our granaries with the rich harvest of our fertile fields.

    "I know our prospects are as drear as a winter scene.  A dark cloud obscures our political horizon and n bow spans its mantling gloom' but Southern energy and Southern enterprise will not bend before the storm that gathers in its bosom, but outliving its fury will be all powerful in rebuilding the broken fortunes of our people and restoring our stat to the proud position she occupied before the war desolated her happy hearthstones or its results marred her hitherto untarnished escutcheon.

    "to facilitate these results, gentlemen, wise, prudent, economical legislation will be required of this general assembly; protection to person and property will be required of this general assembly; protection to person and property should be given to that unfortunate class who have been left homeless and unprotected in our midst; and protection  should be secured against that spirit of lawlessness and vice that mistake notions of freedom have engendered in their bosom.

    "Our agricultural pursuits, now languishing for want of a proper system of labor, our mechanical interest so essential  to the complete development of our greatness, especially need oru fostering care and support.

    "Liberal arrangements should be made for the education of our poor children, and above all we should provide for the maimed soldier and the orphaned little ones of those gallant men who evinced their devotion to their cause by shedding blood.    

                That so holy was,

                It would not stain the purest heart

                That sparkles in the grove of bliss

and who by their gallant deeds and heroic bearing have created in the hearts  of their countrymen a monument as lasting as the foundation of their own granite hills.

    "In the discharge of our duties let no jealous bickering or party strife mar the harmony of our actions.  Forgetting the animosities of the past, burying with our noble dead those old issues that have been effaced by their blood, let us with one accord renew our allegiance to the state and to the Union, and by our legislation  here and actions elsewhere convince the world that Georgia, thought prostrate, will rise again: though desolated, her fields will gladden once more with waving harvest the hearts of her husbandmen; though stricken with poverty, her hills will enrich with their hidden treasure and her commerce whiten with her sails her ocean waters, and though her schools are deserted and her colleges suspended, learning will decorate her brow with the wreaths of science and religion rekindle her fires upon the desecrated alters of her faith.  Though joined to the rock of an irritable destiny, she will sever the cords that bind her, and with stately step and graceful men resume her onward upward march to glory and greatness.

    "Invoking upon our deliberations the wisdom of divine agency, let us now proceed to the duties confided to us by a generous constituency, humbly praying that our labors will rebound to Georgia's interest and to the nation's glory."

    And here he thus early sounded the signal for the fighting that he ever afterward kept up.  Public education, liberal provision for the Confederates and for the orphans of those who had been killed, justice to the negro,  but supremacy for his own race.

    The keynote to all of his future efforts was: "Georgia, though prostate will rise again"

    In 1853, he rendered signal service to the academy of the blind securing an appropriation to erect the building and was a great friend to the Georgia Military institute at Marietta, and strove hard for the removal of the capital from Milledgeville to Macon.  The bill for the removal was introduced by Wilde Cleveland of Crawford, but a substitute of Mr. Hardeman's was adopted and omits final passage the vote was 51 to 51, when the speaker, John E. Ward, voted "aye".  This bill provided for a submission of the question to a popular vote at the regular election of 1855, when it was defeated by a vote of 49,781 to 34, 545.  He also opposed the bill for the sale of the state road, as he did again in 1855 and 1857

    In 1855 a strong effort was made to require all free persons of color to leave the state in a given time.  Senator Hardeman was not noted for  the fairness of his complexion, nor was a certain other senator who was serving with him.  The house had passed this bill, and on its third and final reading viva-voce vote had been taken in the senate, but before it was announced, Mr. Hardeman moved to amend the same so that the bill should read "to require all free persons of color to leave the state, except the senators from the counties of Kinchefonee and Bibb."

    Not appreciating the joke the other senator at once made his way to the senator from Bibb,  demanding explanations, much to the amusement of all the senate.  Taking advantage of the opportunity, Mr. Hardeman at once moved to indefinitely postpone the bill,  which motion was carried.

    He secured from a special committee on the Georgia military institute a bill to appropriate $15,000 for  two years which passed by a vote of 48-46, he being at that time one of the committee.  In 1857 he succeeded in having passed a bill to erect a monument in Macon to Capt. Isaac Holmes, who commanded the Macon  Guards in the Mexican war and who died while in that country.  He strenuously tried to obtain an appropriation of $3,000 to the military,  which he failed to do.  He again championed a bill to remove the capital to Macon  or Atlanta an d to submit it to the voters.  In each of these three legislatures he had a prominent place on the committees on banks, finance, internal improvements, etc., and at each session was on the committee that had charge of the inaugurals of Govs. Johnson and Brown.

    In 1863 and 1864  he still performed military duties at all  times, except when the legislature was in session.  The legislature meeting in Macon Feb. 15, 1865 Mr. Hardeman urged upon the people, the citizens of Macon, to do all in their power to secure the location of the capital there, but leading men of the city did not approve it.  In the sessions of 1865 and 1866 he championed state aid to the Macon and Brunswick railroad, and the woman's bills, of one of which he was the author.  These were making wife shipping or mal treatment a misdemeanor, the wife to be a competent witness; and the other to allow a woman to own  and inherit or buy property in her own right, whether feme covert of feme sole.

    He was the last speaker of the Georgia house of representatives under the Confederate government, and the first under the United States in the new regime.

    He earnestly favored the rehabiliment of Georgia as a state in the Union, and at the same  time lifted his voice in two thirds of the counties for his race to stand together.  He voted to accord to the nero his legal rights, but eloquently battled for the supremacy of the white race.

    Having been in congress  prior to the war, and being in the Confederate army brought upon him disabilities.  President  Johnson granted him the following pardon under the great seal of the United States:

"Andrew Johnson, President of the United States of America.

"To All to Whom These Presents Shall Come Greeting:

"Whereas, Thomas Hardeman, of  Macon, Ga., by taking part in the late rebellion against the government of the United States, has made himself liable to heavy pains and penalties;

"Now therefore, be  ti known that I,  Andrew Johnson, president of the United States of America, in consideration of the premises, and divers other good and sufficient reasons to me thereupon moving, do herby grant to the said Thomas Hardeman a full pardon and amnesty for all offenses by him committed, arising from a participation, direct or implied, in said rebellion, conditioned as follows, towit:  This pardon is given to take  effect from the date on which the  said Thomas Hardeman  shall take the oath prescribed in the proclamation of the president, dated May 29, 1865, and to be void and of no  effect if the said Thomas Hardeman shall hereafter, and anytime, acquire any property whatever in slaves or make use of slave labor, and thagt he first pay all costs which may have accrued in any proceedings hitherto instituted against his person or property up to the date of the acceptance of this warrant;

    And upon the further consideration that the said Thomas Hardeman shall notify the secretary of state in writing that he has received and accepted the foregoing pardon.

    In testimony whereof I have hereto signed my name and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.

[Seal]                                ANDREW JOHNSON

By the President                WM. H. SEWARD, Secretary of State

Done at the city of Washington this, the 28th day of August, A. D. 1865 and of the independence of the United States Oath.

The United States congress fettered all of those of the South who had held any position of prominence by imposing pains and penalties from which congressional action alone could free them.  Despite the fact that no political honors or preferment could be in store for him, Col. Hardeman kept up the fight for democracy traveling  over more counties and making more speeches in 1872 and 1874 and prior thereto than any man in Georgia.

    He was put upon the state democratic executive committee in 1872 and served for years as chairman.

    On April 3, 1874 by a special act, congress removed his political disabilities, he being one of the very last in the state to have this ban set aside; in three months thereafter he was nominated by the democrats of Bibb county to the legislature, again leading the ticket, as he afterward did in the election.

    On the assembling of the  legislature on Jan 13, 1875, Col. Hardeman was elected speaker over Hon. A. O.  Bacon, the speaker of the last house, by two votes, Capt. Bacon being then elected speaker pro tem.  Thomas J.  Simmons, of Bibb was elected president of the senate.

    This house was rich in its membership.  A. R. Lawton O. Warner, H. G. Turner, A. O. Bacon, J. L. Warren, W. D. Anderson, H.  H. Carlton, Allen D. Chandler, W. T. Wooford, L. F. Livingston, Patrick Walsh, A. M. Speer, W. M. Hammond, T. M. Furlow, J. C. C. Black,  and a host of others who, since that time have made not only sate but national  reputations.

    In this legislature he took an active part in securing aid to the Marietta and North Georgia R. R.,  he prior thereto having stumped that section of the state to arouse the people to the importance of having this road.

    In 1876 he was a candidate for the democratic nomination for governor, being the chief opponent of Gen.  Colquitt; there existing between them the warmest personal friendship, the friends of one, were, as a rule, the friends of the other.. The rule for the democratic nomination was the two  thirds rule.  As soon as Colquitt delegates had been selected in enough of the counties to indicate a majority vote, Col. Hardeman,  never having believed in the two thirds rule, but in majority vote, Col.  Hardeman,  never having believed in the two thirds rule, but in the old Whig doctrine of a majority, retired  in Gen. Colquitt's favor and in the campaign devoted all of his energies to the election for the full democratic ticket.

    In 1880, he was against a candidate for the nomination. Gov. Colquitt not receiving the two thirds but approaching it so near and harmony being the watchword of Co.  Hardeman,  he ceased opposition to Colquitt and advised all of his friends to do the same,  which advice only a few followed.

    In 1882 the state by the nee appointment being allowed another representative in congress there, having been no redistricting, without being a candidate he was nominated by an over whelming vote by the democratic state convention for representative from the state at large, Hon. George T. Barnes, John I. Hall and H. H. Carlton being among those receiving high votes.  In the election he received 81,443 votes against 24,930 from C. D. Forsythe, the republican nominee, this being 14,220 votes against 24, 930 for C. D. Forsythe, , the republican nominee, this being 14, 220 more than the combined votes of Hons. John C. Nichols, H. G. Turner, C. F. Crisp, Hugh Buchanan, N. J. Hammond, J. H. Blount, J. C. Clemments, Seaborn Reese and Allen D. Candler the district democratic candidates, he running ahead of the ticked i every district, thus showing his popularity, not only within ghe party, but among its opponents; and this despite the fact that in 1870 and 72 and 74 of all the democratic campaigners in Georgia, he waged the most persistent warfare against independents and Republicans and had stumped those districts where in was their stronghold more thoroughly than anyone else.   

    In this congress he was chairman of the committee on expenditures in the department of state.  He was in congress when the republicans elected their first president and there again when the democrats elected their first after their long absence from power.  At the expiration of his term he was by President Cleveland appointed postmaster at Macon for four years.

    In 1890 the democrats of Houston county petitioned that he become a candidate for governor.  Hon.  W. J. Northerner been in the field for some time, and  the farmers alliance seemed to be flocking to him.  Col.  Hardeman consented to enter the race, but after making two speeches his health   completely failed him owing to heart disease, and  his physicians primarily ordered him to give up the candidacy.

    In doing so he appeared his last in public life, although he was a member from the state at large on the democratic state executive committee at the time of his death.

    Having succeeded his father in the firm of Hardeman and Sparks, which at one time had the largest cotton warehouse business in middle and upper Georgia he was thrown most intimately with the farmers [southwest Georgia then being altogether tributary to Macon] so in 1876 it was no surprise that he was elected president of the Georgia State Agricultural society, and was re elected annually to 1883, when he declined further election.  His addresses to that body and on other agricultural occasions, together with his efforts in the legislature and in congress in behalf of farmers, kept him in close touch with the agriculturists.

    In 1876 he was grand commander of the grand commander Knights Templar of the state of Georgia.

    In 1874-75 and 1875-76 he was grand chancellor of the grand lodge Knights of Pythias of Georgia.

    In 1870 Gov. Bulloch appointed him a delegate to represent the state at the southern commercial convention at Cincinnati.

    In 1872, upon the formal reorganization of the Floyd Rifles, he was again elected captain, resigning in less than two years.  In 1875 he was appointed by President Grand Georgia's commissioner for the Centennial celebration at Philadelphia.

        In 1883 President Arthur made him the state commissioner to the World's Industrial and Cotton centennial exposition at New Orleans.

    It is not necessary to speak of the condition of affairs in Georgia in 1865-67, and what is known as the  reconstruction perisd.  The dark clouds hung low, but he faltered not in endeavoring to lend his people.

    In July 1866 a call signed by A. W.  Randall, J. R. Doolittle, Thomas A. Hendricks and others was issued for a national union convention of two from each district four from the state at large, to assemble in Philadelphia on Aug. 16 [to be elected by the state electors] to sustain the administration in maintaining the union of the states under the constitution our forefathers established and to take action for the rights, dignity and equality of the states; that there is no right to dissolve the union; that slavery is abolished; that each state shall have the right to establish the qualification of its own electors, and no international power can or ought to dictate; to maintain inviolate the rights of the state and that all  resistance to the general government being at an end war measures should be abolished.

    At this time there was no party organization or head, in Georgia; so Col. Hardeman at once issued a call for the citizens of Bibb county to meet and act.  In that meeting, on July 12 presided over by Eugenius A. Nisbet [the author of the ordinance of secession] Col. Hardeman introduced the following resolutions:

    That we approve of the call for an national union convention at Philadelphia Aug. 16.  Resolved. that counties of this and other districts be, and  they are hereby requested to meet at the earliest practical time and appoint delegates to a convention of their respective districts, to be held for the purpose of electing delegates to the national union convention, in conformity with a call for that convention.

Resolved, that in the event there should be no convention held, on account of  the shortness  of the time and absence of postal communication then we request the governor of the state to appoint delegates for the state at large, and  also for such congressional districts as fail to appoint.

    Resolved, That the people of the counties of this district be requested to meet and endorse this action calling for a convention of the fourth district on July 25, at Macon.

    J. J.  Gresham, Thomas Hardeman and W. S. Hold were appointed the county delegates.

    This congressional district was the first to hold a meeting.  They elected Thomas Hardeman and P. W.  Alexander as delegates to the national convention and voted for A.  H. Stephens, H.  V.  Johnson, D.  A. Walker and A. H.  Chappell as delegates from the state at large.

    All the districts soon held meetings and ratified the delegates from the state at large, electing the following as the district delegation; First Judge W. G. Flemming and Gen. John  B.  Gordon; second, Gen. Eli Warren and Col. J. L. Wimberly; third, Judge Hiram Warner and Judge E.  H. Worrill; fourth Thomas Hardeman and P. W. Alexander; fifth, Linton Stephens and Gen.  A. R. Wright; sixth J.  H. Christy and Robert McMillan; seventh R. F. Lyon and James Milner.  Much good resulted from that convention.

    In 1867 a constitutional  convention controlled and governed by the republicans  had adopted a new constitution for the state which was to be submitted to the people.  Notes on the situation by Benjamin H.  Hill had aroused the people, Great discussion was being carried on to keep the white voters from voting in the election to be held under the new constitution.  New congressional bills had been passed affecting the status of Georgia, so a voluntary convention assembled in Macon on Dec. 5 1867, composed of 253 delegates, representing seventy counties, Mr. Hill was chosen president, and his address on taking the chair was not only characterized by great ability, but was calculated to arouse the people to opposition. A committee of two from each congressional  district was appointed to express the views of the convention.  On this committee may be found George A. Mercer, C. H. C. Willingham, C. B. Richardson, Gen. Phillip Cook, T. M. Furlow, P. W.  Alexander, D. E.  Butler, Judge Bottle, L.  J. Glenn and J.  D. Stewart, while the committee from this district  were Thomas Hardeman  and Dan Hughes, the Hon. J. J.  Gresham, of Bibb county being chairman of the committee.  This committee shaped the action of that convention which was expressed in the address of a special committee composed of Herschel V. Johnson, A. H. Chappel, B.  H. Hill, Warren Aiken and T. L. Guerry.  In their preamble and resolution may be found such expressions as these;  The season for honest discussion of principles, and for lawful opposition to existing abuses and their growth is ever present and pressing.

    The southern people are true to constitutional liberty, and ready to acquiesce in any policy looking to the honor and good of the whole country and securing the rights  of all classes of people.

We regard the effort of the present ruling power to change the fundamental institutions of the United States government as false in principle impolitic in action ,  injurious in result injurious to the south and detrimental to the general government.  Silence under wrong may be construed as endorsement. Be it therefore,

    Resolved First that we recognize the duty to sustain law and  order and to support truthfully all constitutional measures of the United States government, and maintain the rights of all classed under enlightened and liberal laws.

    Resolved, Second that the people of Georgia accept in good faith the legitimate results of the late war and renew their expression of allegiance to the union of the states and reiterate their determination to maintain inviolate the constitution framed by our fathers.

    The third resolution was to protest dispassionately yet firmly against what was known as the reconstruction acts of congress and against the vindictive partisan administration of those acts as oppressive and ruinous to the states of teh south as well a hurtful to the true welfare of every portion of the country.

    The forth resolution protested against the policy of the dominant party in congress to inflict upon the states of the south bad government as wrong, not only against all races of the south,  but as to the  people of all parts of the Union and as crime against civilization, which was the duty of all right minded men to discountenance  and condemn.

    On June 26, 1872 the state democratic convention assembled in Atlanta.  A. H. Stephens was opposed to Horace Greely,  who was at that time  an independent republican candidate, for president and ought any action being taken that would commit the democratic party to his support but the following delegates to Baltimore we elected from the state at large; Gen. Henry L. Benning, Col.  Julian Hartridge, Gen.  A. R. Wright, Col.  Thomas Hardeman, Col. C. T. Goode  and Col. I. W. Avery who attended the Baltimore convention and  participated in the nomination of Greely.

    On July 24, 1872, the state democratic convention was  called, over  which Thomas Hardeman presided, which ratified the nomination of Greeley and  Brown.

    On Feb. 23, 1848 he was married in Eatonton  to Jane S.  Lumsden, by whom he had three children one dying in infancy and their only daughter Jessie dying in June 18887.

    In a few days after the death of the daughter [an affliction from which he never recovered] he wrote the following;

Asleep in Jesus; cease to weep;
Our children with the Savior sleep.
Side by side, they safely rest,
Sweetly sleeping on his breast.

Asleep in Jesus; years long gone
The Savior took our first born  home'
Ere earthly sorrow racked his breast,
Our angel boy was with the blest.

Asleep in Jesus; chastening love
Has called another child above
Our daughter dear, our  pride, our joy,
Has gone to meet our b aby boy.

Asleep in Jesus; life's troubles o'er.
Eternal rest, joys evermore;
The conflict fought, the battle won.
The conqueror's shout, the victor's crown.

Asleep in Jesus; dearest Lord,
Support us with they precious word
For thou has said "In deep distress
Your every sorrow I  will bless"

Asleep in Jesus; oh, how sweet,
The precious promise, " You may meet
The much loved lost ones in that home
where death and parting never come."

Asleep in Jesus; make us feel
Submissive to thy sovereign will:
In every thought and  act and  word
Say "Blessed be thy name, O Lord."

 

    On Jan 14, 1891, he was partially paralyzed and died in the  only home he ever owned, in Vineville on March 7, his wife following him to the grave in October, only one member of the family surviving J. L. Hardeman who is now judge of the superior court of Macon circuit.

    His wife, the daughter of John G. and Malinda [Sanford} Lumsden was truly a helpmate in all things.  His equal in intellect and culture, she was most ambitious for him.

    On the night of March 4, 1861, she with two female relations made a Confederate flag from a telegraphic description received from Montgomery as soon as the stars and bars were adopted and represented it to the Floyd rifles before sunrise on the morning of the fifth, when a salute was fired to it by the company. It being the first military salute received by the flag of the young republic of Georgia. She was president of the Soldiers' Relief society during the war and of the Ladies' Memorial association for a time  afterward.

    As an orator Col. Hardeman had no superior in the state;  the agricultural population flocked to him; the merchant and mechanic were charmed, while on literary occasions  his audience was held  spell bound, and on the stump he was almost matchless,  but his great forte was as an extempore and social orator.  He delivered literary addresses at numbers of colleges, male and female, in Virginia, North and South Carolina, Georgia and Alabama, and the oration on laying the cornerstone of the academy for the  blind.  In fact there is no class of addresses of which he did not deliver a great number in Georgia.

    Among the best of his orations were those delivered at the centennial of the battle of King's Mountain in North Carolina; presenting the Ross-Gettysburg medal to the Floyd Rifles; the commencement oration at Emory college in 1866 [in which he advocated industrial education in colleges, and for which he was condemned by some of the trustees,  this being a new departure]; his eulogy on the dead of Macon lodge; his eulogy on the death of President Garfield as a Knight Templar,  and his various memorial addresses.

    His was a cheerful, happy disposition; sunlight hovered around him where ever he went  and his hearty recognition of every person whom he ever met endeared him to the people.  Firm in his opinion of right, he was never combative to an opponent.  Generous to a fault, his endorsement of the farmers papers in 1873 bankrupted him.  He was a Bible scholar and much study, he was apt in his illustration and quotations every time and never failed to touch hearts of is hearers.  Georgia was his idol,  not only his home,  but his heaven.

    The traits of his character were perhaps better set forth by the Rev. Dr.  E. W.  Warren at his funeral than we could well do here;

    We have assembled here to day to bury a friend;  your friend and  my friend, the friend of the good man and friend of the bad man, a friend of the rich and a friend of the poor, the friend of  those who were prosperous and of the needy the large hearted, philanthropic friend of all men who from his young manhood and through its bright days down to the present lived among you in the city of Macon as a prominent man, and in his business, political social life, always enjoyed the deepest affection and the most implicit confidence of the people of this city as well as the state of Georgia.

    Whether he floated on the unruffled tide of prosperity or whirlpool of adversity and financial depression no suspicion of his integrity ever rested upon the mind of a single man.  Never unduly depressed by misfortune or elated y success, his wonderfully balanced mind was one that could speak peace  to the angry passion of man at all times, with a voice not clothed intones of authority, but with the power to sooth, control and raw men toward him in the strongest bonds of affection.  This friend of ours had ambition without jealousy and grand ambition but never so strong as to induce him to rob a man of his rights. If success was to be gained by a loss of his integrity or by any method that demanded a compromise of his sense of honor or his God given manhood, he cast it from him as an unholy trifle not worthy of his possession.  His character can be judged from the fact that for the greater  part of his life he occupied high positions where the closest critics could examine  into his life add almost into the inmost recesses of his heart, and with all this, who ever  heard or saw a character more spotless or a life more full of all that makes life bright and fair?  Whose had ever tried to smirch that stainless reputation, and who among the men of Macon does not love the memory of this man.

    With the workingman he was always friendly, kind and cheering and for him he always had a warm and kindly greeting. In society he was ever welcome.  Every door was open to the man whose spirit was so cheerful, whose manner so courteous and whose power to please and attack so  remarkable.  He was indeed a star that shone  ever bright, beautiful and constant  upon earth. In his home he was the same man as abroad, to the guest he extended the hand of welcome  and among his friends gathered around him in that home his heard shed forth a happy influence.

    Nurtured by the most pious parents, rocked as it were, in the cradle of religion he never made  public profession of the religion of Christ, but when stricken with disease a short time ago he expressed a wish to recognize the church and he lived to accomplish his desire.

 

 

This site last updated 01/16/2011                                      Col. Thomas Hardeman, Jr.  UDC Chapter 2170 Macon, Ga.

 

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