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Colonel William McTyiere Hardwick and Hardwickburg History

Colonel William McTyiere (Mack) Hardwick and his wife, Lucy Ann Richards Searcy Hardwick, are among the prominent pioneer families whose lives and influence lend color to the history of Henry County. They were the parents of Watt Carter, Eddie Mack, Oscar, Robert, Gordon, James C. (Jim), Ninna C., Maggie Eloise, Mattie Estelle and Janie Hardwick.

Prior to her marriage to Colonel Hardwick in 1868, Lucy was married to Captain Marion C. J. Searcy who was killed in December 1863 in the War Between the States. They had one son, Thomas Marion (Buddy) Searcy who was reared by her and the Colonel.

Colonel Hardwick had also been married once before. He married Sonia Jane Richards, a sister to Lucy, who died during childbirth in 1857. After the war, he returned to the home of Thomas and Lucy (Carter) Richards and stole Lucy Ann and young Buddy Searcy from the same window through which he had escaped with Sonia Jane. His children were always amused when he would relate that his mother-in-law, a woman of much temper, used a buggy whip on him on both occasions.

Although the colonel was not a native son of Henry County, he lived most of his 85 years on her soil. His parents, Robert M. (1/5/1811 - 11/5/1888) and Sarah (Watt) (4/3/1815 - 8/4/1877) Hardwick, lived in Jasper County, Georgia at the time of his birth on February 10, 1834. They moved to upper Henry County some time later and are buried at County Line Baptist Cemetery in Barbour County.

The year that Colonel Hardwick moved to the area of Hardwicksburg, of which he was the founder, cannot be ascertained. He entered service at Cedar Bluff, Alabama in 1861 in the 7th Alabama Regi­ment, Company H. After the Battle of Corinth, Mississippi, he mustered out and re-enlisted as a private in the 48th. Regiment, Alabama Infantry, Company H at Auburn, Alabama. He was later captured at Sharpsburg, Maryland and put in prison in Baltimore. He was exchanged and returned to his same company and regiment. He was captured again at Lookout Moun­tain and was placed in prison for four months at Johnson Island. He escaped and participated in several more battles in the course of the war. His gallantry and leadership abilities are evidenced by his rise to the rank of 1st. Lieutenant and shortly thereafter to Major in 1862. He received the appointment to Lt. Colonel in April of 1863. When the war closed, he was at Horseshoe Bend, Alabama and returned to Henry County at that time.

Colonel Hardwick acquired a large tract of land and built a colonial style house for his rapidly expanding family. In time he owned and operated a general store, which was one of the three stores, a saloon, and a Post Office, which com­prised the lively trading post that Hard­wicksburg had become. He also served as postmaster for twelve years.

Colonel Hardwick possessed a congenial disposition. His children inherited his amiability and hearty handshake. One of his great grandsons laughingly tells that two of the colonel’s sons met each other so frequently and shook hands and talked for such lengths of time that both of them lost their crops to the grass one year. A gross exaggeration but the joke signifies the warmth and friend­liness that was evident in their natures.

Granny Lucy, an 1860 graduate of An­drew College, Cuthbert, Georgia, is best remembered for her benevolence. She was constantly sharing burdens of others less fortunate, whether the need was physical, spiritual or emotional. She was very devout and is always shown holding the Bible in all the family pictures. She was instrumental in attaining two chairs and a table for the pulpit at Adoniram Church. (These were stolen when the church was burglar­ized about five years ago). She is also mentioned in the church minutes as the first lady treasurer of the church.

The Colonel was also a devoted member of the church and gave unstintingly of his time, talents and money.

Today, only a ghost of Hardwicksburg remains. The colonel and Granny Lucy are buried in the Adoniram Cemetery in close proximity to the graves of six of their seven sons and three of their four daughters. Surrounding the cemetery are the sprawling acres of peanuts and corn, tall pine timbers and verdant pastures that are owned by the couple’s grandsons, granddaughters, great-grand­sons, and the great-great grandchildren. They have kept the land intact, which the colonel originally bought and tended, carving out the community of Hardwicksburg.

This Page was Created November 2007 | Last Modified Saturday, 29-Nov-2014 21:20:18 EST