Miami County, Ohio Genealogical Researchers -- Sponsored by the Computerized Heritage Association


    James Hardesty is numbered among the pioneer settlers of Miami county and through many years has been connected with the upbuilding of Piqua. He is now a retired contractor, enjoying the well earned rest which has come to him as the merited compensation for years of earnest toil. A native of the Old Dominion, he was born Loudoun county, Virginia, March 6, 1824. His father, John Thomas Hardesty, was also a native of Virginia, and acted as overseer on extensive plantations. He died when about sixty years of age. His wife, who bore the maiden name of Hannah A. Palmer, was also a native of Virginia, and lived to an advanced age, dying in Piqua, where she took up her abode in 1837.

    Mr. Hardesty, of this review, was a lad of only seven years when his father died, and in the fall of 1835 he accompanied his elder brother, John, to Piqua. They made the journey with the family of Ezekiel Trenary. Mr. Hardesty was then only eleven years of age. The next spring he began carrying the mail between Piqua and Fort Wayne, Indiana, a distance of about one hundred miles. He made the journey on horseback, his way being through the dense wilderness, and about one week was required to make the round trip. He also carried the mail for the towns of Defiance, Sidney and Dayton for four years, and the last year he drove the stage to Dayton. During a part of the time he eagerly availed himself of the opportunity to gain a more advanced education by attending school. He there pursued his studies for about one year. After being in the mail service for four years, he determined to fit himself for other work by learning the carpenter's trade, and when he had completed a year's apprenticeship he entered the employ of a Mr. Walkup, who was to pay him five dollars per month for his services during a year. On the expiration of that period he entered into partnership with Mr. Nolan, his first employer, the connection being continued for two years, when he formed a partnership with a Mr. Parks, and their relationship was maintained for a year, at the end of which time Mr. Hardesty began contracting and building alone. He was not associated with any one again until 1861, when he entered into partnership with David Spellman, and for twenty years the firm of Hardesty & Spellman engaged in general carpentering and contract work. They conducted a shop and also took contracts for the erection of buildings throughout this section of the county. Mr. Hardesty was then actively associated with the material development and improvement of the county through his building interests until two years ago, when he put aside business cares and has since lived retired. He has probably assisted in building or has taken contracts for the erection of more houses than any other man in Piqua, a fact which indicates his excellent workmanship and his fidelity to the terms of contracts. He has also purchased land, improved and sold many properties in the city.

    On the 23d of November, 1847, Mr. Hardesty was married to Miss Lidia Nigh, who was born in Spring Creek township, Miami county, a daughter of Jacob and Orcia Ann (McCann) Nigh. Her father was born in Maryland, in 1800, and during his early boyhood days came to Ohio with his parents. He worked in a sawmill for many years and made his home in Piqua until his death, which occurred at the age of eighty-one years. His wife, who was born in Ohio, in 1807, came with her parents to this state from New Jersey. She was a consistent member of the Christian church and lived to be about seventy-three years of age. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Hardesty have been born six children, who are yet living: Laura, wife of John Davis, of Piqua; Frances, widow of Marcus Atattler: Anna, at home; Osborn, who is engaged in the coal business in Piqua; Jennie, wife of William Anderson, of the same city; and Gertrude, who is employed in a drygoods store in Piqua. They also lost four children.

    Mr. Hardesty votes independently at local elections, but at national elections supports the principles and measures of the Republican party. He served as township trustee for twelve or fourteen years, proving a capable officer. He and his wife have long been members of the Baptist church, and he has also been a member of the Odd Fellows lodge of Piqua for forty-five years, this record being equaled by only one other member of the lodge.

    Return to the Biography Index

    Return to Main Page

    Copyright © 2000 by Computerized Heritage Association.
    All Rights Reserved.