Stephen Harding (1723 - 1789)

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Birthplace: Warwick, Kent, Rhode Island, United States
Death: Died in Exeter, Luzerne, Pennsylvania, USA
Managed by: Rachel Lehman Groessel
Last Updated:

About Stephen Harding

A Patriot of the American Revolution for CONNECTICUT with the rank of Captain. DAR Ancestor #: A050314

Stephen IV and Amy's children were: Thomas the 7th, Esther, Elisha, Amy, Lydia, Jemima, Stephen, Benjamin, Stukely, William, Israel, Micajah and John. Both Stephen IV and Amy are buried at the Jenkins-Harding Cemetery, West Pittston, PA. In 1749 the family went to Waterford, CT and was later a resident of Colchester, CT. Stephen IV served in the French and Indian War in 1760 and was commissioned Captain of the 7th Co. 24th Regiment, Connecticut Militia, formed in Wyoming Valley, Luzerne County, PA during the revolution and served throughout the war.

On July 11, 1754 Stephen IV signed the Indian deed, which conveyed title to the Wyoming lands to the Susquehanna Company of Hartford, CT. He was a member of the original company who came in 1762 to make settlement and in 1769 was one of the "First Forty Settlers." His name appears on the tax lists after 1770. He settled in Exeter Township, Luzerne, PA in 1774.

Two of his adult sons, Benjamin and Stukely were cruelly murdered by the Indians on June 30, 1778, just prior to the Wyoming Massacre. The story, as told by Elijah Harding to his children, is that the two young men left the fort against the advice of others. The two set out by boat to tend their corn fields around the bend of the Susquehanna River. The younger boy, Thomas, went on horseback across the neck of land. They finished their hoeing and put their tools in the boat. They stuffed the bell on the horse and put the boy on it's back and started him toward the fort. After they had pushed off, one remembered his shoes. When they went back for the shoes, the indians attacked and killed them. Thomas was Elijah's grandfather. The fort surrendered July 5, 1778. The indians had murdered almost all of those in the fort.

  • **"At Jenkins fort, about a mile above Wintermoot fort, were gathered the families of John Jenkins, Capt. Stephen Harding, the Hadsalls, John Gardiner, and others. On the morning of June 30, and before Capt. Hewitt's return, Benjamin Harding, Stukely Harding, Stephen Harding, Jr., John Gardiner, and a lad named Rogers, aged eleven, James Hadsall and his sons James and John, and his sons-in-law Ebenezer Reynolds and Daniel Carr, together with Daniel Wallen and a negro named Quocko, a servant of William Martin—twelve in all, went up the river to Exeter to their farm labors. It is only known that Benjamin and Stukely Harding took their guns with them, though some of the others may have had theirs. The Hardings, with Gardiner and the boy Rogers, worked in the cornfield of Stephen Harding, Jr.; the Hadsells and the others, part in Hadsall's cornfield on the island, part in his tanyard, close at hand, on the mainland.

"Late in the afternoon two suspected tories approached these men at work and offered to stand guard for them. This aroused suspicions, and Stephen Harding at once went for the horses, and when he returned his companions had quit work and started homeward, and he followed. On the way down was a deep, narrow ravine. This spot is near the Baptist church, between that and the river. As they passed this spot they were fired on; Benjamin and Stukely Harding were wounded. The Indians now rushed upon them, and the men fought for their lives, but fell. Here John Gardiner, having no arms, was taken prisoner. The dead Hardings had left all about their mutilated bodies the abundant evidences of their unconquerable bravery. In the meantime another party of Indians had captured James Hadsall, his son-in- law Carr, and the negro, at the tannery. Those on the island came off in canoes, and as they ascended the bank were ambushed and fired upon, killing James Hadsell and wounding Reynolds, who fled with Wallen. The boy, John Hadsell, had remained at the canoe, and, on hearing the firing, fled to the woods. He was the first to arrive at the fort and give the awful news. The elder Hadsell, Gardiner, Carr and the negro were taken up the creek two miles to the Bailey farm, where Hadsall and the negro were put to death, horribly tortured to give an evening's entertainment."

Source: Bradsby, H.C. History of Luzerne County, Pennsylvania. S.B. Nelson & Co., 1893. http://www.rootsweb.com/~usgenweb/pa/luzerne/1893hist/ch4.htm, accessed November 13, 2005.****

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Stephen Harding's Timeline

1723
March 11, 1723
Warwick, Kent, Rhode Island, United States
1743
March 6, 1743
Age 19
Clouster, New London, Connecticut, USA
1745
May 29, 1745
Age 22
Colchester, New London, Connecticut, USA
1747
February 13, 1747
Age 23
Colchester, New London, Connecticut, USA
1748
May 31, 1748
Age 25
Warwick, Kent, Rhode Island, USA
1749
July 13, 1749
Age 26
Colchester, New London, Connecticut, USA
1751
April 13, 1751
Age 28
Colchester, New London, Connecticut, United States
1753
May 16, 1753
Age 30
Colchester, New London, Connecticut, USA
1755
March 27, 1755
Age 32
Cloucester, New London, Connecticut, USA
1756
April 18, 1756
Age 33
Colchester, New London, Connecticut, USA