Biography of Edward K. Harding
Sagadahoc County, Maine Biographies





Edward K. Harding. - From the Boston Traveller we take the following notice (published soon after his death) of our late respected citizen, who was well known, through commercial and social intercourse, in Boston, New York, and New Orleans:

"Edward Kelloran Harding, son of Capt. Nehemiah Harding, was born in Bath, Me., in September, 1816. His father was an extremely energetic and successful ship master, and sailed from that port over forty years. He attended the usual schools of the town, and at 13 entered a store at some trivial rate of wages, all of which, however, he saved for a year and expended in a silk dress for his mother (then and there an uncommon article, even among the wealthy families of the district). He then entered the counting room of Messrs. Clapp & Boynton, ship builders, where he remained four or five years, when, with letters of recommendation from Messrs. Clapp & Boynton, he went to New Orleans and entered, as clerk, in the ship chandlery and cordage house of Messrs S. S. Green & Co. Here he rapidly rose to a position as one of the firm, and purchasing the interest of one of the partners, the firm name was changed to that of Green & Harding. Here his large Northern acquaintance and many friends increased the business to many times the original amount.

"In 1841 he married Miss Louisa H. McLellan, daughter of Gen. James McLellan, of Bath, and in 1853 finally retired from the New Orleans house and permanently returned to his early home. Here he formed a partnership with C. S. Jenks, and commenced the building of ships which he continued until 1857 or 1858, under the name of Jenks & Harding, building a number of very fine ships and barques. Besides his ship building he held very large contracts with the City of New Orleans for granite paving blocks, of which and pressed hay he shipped immense quantities.

"For some years before his final retirement from his New Orleans firm he passed much of his time in the North, and in 185o he organized the Bath City Grays, a company composed of leading citizens of Bath, which company held their organization as such until the breaking out of the war, when they became Company A, of the Third Regiment, Maine Volunteers. This company was uniformed similarly to the Boston Tigers, and were the " crack" company of the State. They participated in the great Boston Railroad Jubilee, in 1851 or 1852. Besides his commission as Captain of this company, in 1850, he was commissioned aide-de-camp to Governor Crosby in 1853, with rank of Colonel, and Colonel Second Regiment, Second Brigade, Fifth Division, Maine State Militia, in 1855.

"At the breaking out of the war he desired to offer his service to the government, which his fondness for and familiarity with military command would have rendered invaluable at that juncture, but yielding to the desire of the Governor and Adjutant General of the State he accepted the position of Acting Quartermaster General of the State of Maine, and equipped every regiment that left the state during the war, personally superintending all details and correspondence. To illustrate his business activity, in addition to his state duties at this time he was also the largest supplier to the general government of forage, and shipped largely from the ports of Bangor, Wiscasset, Belfast, Bath, and Portland, besides having buyers all over the state.

"He was at one time president of the City Bank, president of the Marine Mutual Insurance Company, president of the Boston & Maine Steamship Company, president of the International Telegraph Company, Hinkley Knitting Company, Nequasset Lake Ice Company, and had been prominently identified with many other local interests.

"He was the most energetic business man of his time always prompt, always to his word, and although he was generally considered one of the most "wide awake" business men, yet no person ever heard it intimated that he had ever over reached to the amount of a single penny. He had not an enemey in the world.

"As a husband and a father he seemed to his family perfection, never even an angry word or look. The latter years of his life he was not actively engaged in business, except in occasional ventures. He died of dropsy, August 21, 1874, aged 57 years and 11 months, after an illness of three months."

Colonel Harding married Louisa, daughter of Gen. James McLellan, an estimable young lady, and still living. The children of Colonel Harding are: George Edward, who went through a course of education in the Bath schools, graduating at the High School, and graduated at the Columbia College, New York, became an architect and civil engineer, and commenced business in New York, where he has continued with the success that has placed him in the front rank of his profession. He married in that city and has two children. Mr. Harding was the architect of the Bath Public Library building, the drafting of which was a valuable gift to the city, and is a model of adaptedness and beauty of design. Henry McLellan Harding, having received his early education at Bath, ending with the High School, graduated at Yale College in 1875, and is by profession an electrical engineer, was one of the first to introduce electric railways in the United States, being associated with F. J. Sprague, of New York, and George Westinghouse, of Pittsburg, Pa. He married Florence Agnes Powers, of Boston, Mass., and has one child, Marion Powers Harding. The daughters are Mrs. D. W. Russell, who lives at Brookline, Mass., and has three children; the younger daughter married Fritz H. Twitchell, of Bath, and they have one daughter.

From:
History of Bath and Environs,
Sagadahoc County, Maine.
1607-1894
BY: Parker McCobb Reed
Lakeside Press, Printers
Portland, Maine, 1894


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