Stephen Selwyn Harding (1808 - 1891)

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Death: Died
Managed by: Faustine Humphris
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About Stephen Selwyn Harding

Stephen Selwyn Harding (February 28, 1808 – February 12, 1891) was the Governor of the Utah Territory for the Liberal Party in 1862 and 1863 and was chief justice of the Colorado Supreme Court from 1863 to 1865. Harding was an ardent abolitionist.

Early years

Harding was born in Palmyra, New York on February 28, 1808, the eldest son of David and Abigail Harding. In 1820 he moved with his family to Ripley County, Indiana. He studied law in the office of William R. Morris in Brookville, Indiana and became licensed to practice law on March 17, 1828. He then opened a law office in Richmond, Indiana which remained open for six months when he opened one in Versailles, Indiana. He married Avoline Sprout on October 31, 1830. The couple had ten children.

Political career

He stood unsuccessfully as a candidate for Lieutenant Governor of Indiana in 1842 and for Governor of Indiana in 1846. He was appointed Governor of Utah Territory by Abraham Lincoln in 1862. Soon after he took office he issued a blanket pardon for all Morrisites ( convicted in connection with the Morrisite War ( He also initially tried to appease the Mormon community but soon became critical of church leaders and the practice of plural marriage. This resulted in a successful petition for his removal from office. He was then appointed as U.S. consul at Valparaíso, Chile; he decided instead, for domestic reasons, to serve as chief justice of the Colorado Supreme Court. In 1865 he was removed from office for alleged incompetence and immorality. He died on February 12, 1891 in Milan, Ripley County, Indiana and was buried in Old Milan Cemetery.

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Stephen S. Harding, 4th Governor of Utah Territory's Timeline

October 31, 1830
Age 22
Age 30
Age 34
Age 36
Age 83