Benjamin Hardin I
Sarah Hardin

Benjamin Hardin Jr.


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Elizabeth Pendleton Barbour

Benjamin Hardin Jr. 45

  • Born: 29 Feb 1784, Westmoreland, PA 45,735
  • Marriage: Elizabeth Pendleton Barbour in 1806 734
  • Died: 24 Sep 1852, Bardstown, , KY at age 68 45,734,736
  • Buried: Springfield, Washington Cty, KY Family Cemetery 45,731

bullet  General Notes:

HARDIN, Benjamin, (cousin of Martin Davis Hardin), a Representative from Kentucky; born at the Georges Creek settlement on the Monongahela River, Westmoreland County, Pa., February 29, 1784; moved with his parents to Washington County, Ky., in 1788; attended the schools of Nelson and Washington Counties, Ky.; studied law; was admitted to the bar in 1806 and commenced practice in Elizabethtown and Bardstown, Nelson County, Ky.; settled in Bardstown in 1808; member of the State house of representatives in 1810, 1811, 1824, and 1825; served in the State senate 1828-1832; elected as a Republican to the Fourteenth Congress (March 4, 1815-March 3, 1817); reelected as a Republican to the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Congresses (March 4, 1819-March 3, 1823); elected as an Anti-Jacksonian to the Twenty-third and Twenty-fourth Congresses (March 4, 1833-March 3, 1837); secretary of state of Kentucky 1844-1847; member of the State constitutional convention in 1849; died in Bardstown, Ky., September 24, 1852; interment in the family burying ground near Springfield, Ky. -- source: Biographical Directory of U.S. Senate

From a book entitled, "Nelson County," p. 646 & 647

BENJAMIN HARDIN, one of the great lawyers of Kentucky, was born in 1784, in Westmoreland county, Pennsylvania; was the son of Ben. and Sarah Hardin, cousins, the latter a sister of Col. John Hardin. He was brought , in 1787, to the neighborhood of Springfield, Washington county, Ky.; received his early education from Ichabod Radley, and then, at Bardstown, and at Hartford, Ohio county, From Daniel Barry, an Irish linguist; studied law in 1804, at Richmond, Ky., with Martin D. Hardin, and in 1805 at Bardstown with Judge Felix Grundy; in 1806 was licensed, married to Miss Barbour, and settled at Elizabethtown, where he remained not quite two years. Some friends of Wm. Bray, under arrest on a charge of murder, employed young Hardin to dend him "until the big lawyers came down from Bardstown." The full meaning of that expression and qualified employment flashed upon Hardin at once: going immediately home, he told his wife they must pack up forthwith and remove to Bardstown, or he would never be called a big lawyer; and before Bray was indicted, at spring term 1808, Mr. Hardin was a resident of Bardstown, and continued to live there until his death; yet in about 46 years, he was not absent from more than six terms of the Hardin circuit court and frequently attended the county court. He was an indefatigable practitioner in the counties of Nelson, Washington, Hardin, Bullitt, Meade, Grayson, Marion, Breckinridge, and sometimes Spencer, and in winter-time in the court of appearls, and at special calls in Louisville and in the state of Indiana. His practice yielded him a handsome revenue and a consequent handsome furtune, in spite of the extremely low fees he charged. At full prices for his services, his fortune would have been immense, for he had one side or the other of nearly every seriously contested case. His consultations with his clients were very brief; he seemed to catch the points and facts of a case by intuition; this enforced brevity sometimes gave offense, but on the trial no client ever complained that he did not fully understand his case. His memory was extraordinary, and was cultivated and relied upon; he steadily refused to take a single note, and yet, in the concluding argument, was often known to trace correctly the evidence of a dozen witnesses, repeat what each witness swore, and answer all the points made by the two opposing counsel. He seldom dealt in figures of speech or fancy sketches; his force lay in his perspicuity, in clearly arraying facts and fitting the evidence to sustain each fact in its proper place; he was an animated speaker, always commanding the closest attention, even if not carrying conviction.
Mr. Hardin served his county in the house of representatives of Kentucky in 1810, 1811, 1824, and 1825, and in the senate from 1828 to 1832; and represented his district in congress from 1815 to 1817, from 1819 to 1823, and from 1833 to 1837 -- ten years in all. From Sept., 1844 to Feb., 1847, he was secretary of state, under Gov. Owsley, with whom he had one of the most heated controversies which has ever taken place among the public men of Kentucky; his speech defending himself before the senate committee on executive affairs, in Jan., 1847, was remarkable for its length, power, and keenness. His last public service was in the convention that formed the present constitution of Kentucky, in 1`849-50; where he and his colleague, Charles A. Wickliffe, made more than four times as many speeches as any member excpet two -- Squire Turner, of Madison, and Beverly L. Clarke, of Simpson. In the summer of 1852 Mr. Hardin was badly crippled by a fall from his horse, which confined him to his house; he died soon after, Sept. 24, 1852, aged 68 years. Throughout his life he was a firm believer in the Bible; during his last illness, he made a profession of religion in connection with the Methodist E. Church South, and gave some bright evidences of a change of heart.
While in congress, few occupied higher rank as a debater than Mr. Hardin. His style was peculiar, pungent, sarcastic, pointed, and energetic -- making him an antagonist to be feared. The eccentric John Randolph, of Roanoke, in allusion to Ben. Hardin's peculiar style of oratory, used to call him the "Kitchen Knife," rough and homely, but keen and trenchant. His person was tall and commanding, his eye remarkably keen and penetrating, and his countenance exhibited striking indications of decided talent. In politics he was a Whig.

In 1841 on June 16 & 17, from "Annals of Kentucky" pg. 46 it says Ben Hardin addressed the 66th anniversary of the settlement of Kentucky celebration in Harrodsburg. Between 7,000 and 10,000 persons were in attendance.

In 1845, he was part of the presidential electoral college which went on to vote James K. Polk as president, although Kentucky went of Henry Clay.

His death cert was signed by W.A. Hickman.

He is called "the sage of Bardstown," and "probably the best known of all the Hardin. His speeches have been handed down and preserved as models of oratory and statesmanship, by Lucius P. Little." -- from "The Hardins in the Footsteps of the Boone Trail" by Faustina Kelly, found in The Register of the Kentucky State Historical Society, Vol. 16, Issue 47.


bullet  Noted events in his life were:

Occupation, 1806, Elizabethtown and Bardstown, KY. 731 Admitted to the bar and practiced in Elizabethtown and Bardstown, KY before going into public office.

Occupation: member, state house of representatives, 1810, 1811, 1824, and 1825. 731

Occupation: member of state Senate, 1828-1832. 731

Occupation: member of the U.S. Senate from Kentucky, 1815-1817. 737 "[He] was dubbed by John Randolph as a 'kitchen-knife whetted on a brick.' The eccentric Virginian characterized Hardin as being 'rough and homely but keen and trenchant.' "

Occupation: member of the U.S. Senate from Kentucky, 1819-1823. 731 Member of the 17th Congress.

Occupation: member of the US Senate from Kentucky, 1833-1837. 731 He was a member of the 23rd Congress, known as the "Star Congress" because five members afterwards became president of the U.S., five VPs, and 25 governors of states. -- source: Register of the Kentucky State Historical Society, Vol. 16, Issue 47.
Elected as an Anti-Jacksonian -- source: Biographical Directory of the U.S. Congress

Occupation: Secretary of the State, 1844-1847, KY. 731

Honor: Nomination as Attorney General, 11 Dec 1820, Kentucky. 738,739 Confirmed by the Senate. "Mr. Hardin will of course, if he accepts the appointment, resign his seat in congress..."

Religion: Methodist. 734

Politics: He was a Whig. 734

Physical Description. 734 "Tall and commanding, his eye remarkably keen and penetrating, and his countenance exhibited striking indications of decided talent."

Residence: Nelson Co., KY, 1850. 45

Death, 24 Sep 1852, Nelson County, Kentucky. 734,736 In the summer of 1852, he had a bad fall from his horse and was confined to his house. He died shortly thereafter. His death cert was signed by W.A. Hickman (doctor and his wife's niece's husband). Cause of death: Injuries from a fall from his horse, resulting in fever.


Benjamin married Elizabeth Pendleton Barbour, daughter of Col. Ambrose Barbour and Catherine Pendleton Thomas, in 1806.734 (Elizabeth Pendleton Barbour was born in 1788 in Culpeper County, VA 45 and died on 2 Aug 1852 in Elizabethtown, KY 45.)

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