The history of Tarrant county would scarcely be complete without mention of John Hardisty, a veteran of the Confederate army, a pioneer settler of this section of the state and a prominent settler of this section of the state and a prominent and successful agriculturist who for many years has resided near Birdville. His landed possessions are now extensive, his home farm comprising 670 acres devoted to general agricultural pursuits and stock raising, while in addition to his he had other landed interests that make his holdings reach the sum of six hundred acres.
Kentucky has furnished to the Lone Star state many of its worthy and representative men, and to this class belongs Mr. Hardisty, whose birth occurred in Henderson county on the 22nd of June, 1840, his parents being James and Julia A. (Kelly) Hardisty, who were likewise natives of the Blue Grass state, the father being of Scotch lineage, while his wife was of Irish descent. The maternal grandfather, Frederick Kelly, was a leading agriculturist and extensive slave holder of Kentucky. James Hardisty followed farming throughout his entire life and in the year 1854 he removed with his family to Texas, settling in Tarrant county, where he operated his farm. His home was near Birdville, the family being among the early settlers of this portion of the state and contributing in substantial measure to pioneer development and later progress and improvement. James Hardisty continued a resident of the county up to the time of his death, which occurred in 1876. He had given his political allegiance to the Democracy and was at all times a champion of measures and movements for the public good. His wife survived for about three years and of their nine children five are yet living: Charles, who resides in this county; James S., who is living at Fort Worth; John, of this review; Elizabeth; and Sarah, whose home is in Fort Worth. The fist three members of the family, Susan, Henry and English, and the eighth child, Thomas, have all passed away.
From his youthful days John Hardisty has lived in Tarrant county and was reared to manhood here. He pursued his education, however, largely in the schools of Kentucky, but practical experience has added greatly to his knowledge and made him a man of good business ability and keen discernment. When a youth he was trained to the labors of the farm and also instructed concerning the best methods of raising stock and throughout his entire life he has carried on general agricultural pursuits and stockraising. In early manhood, however, he put aside all business and personal considerations in order to become a soldier of the Eighth Louisiana Infantry at the time of the Civil War. The regiment was assigned to the army of Virginia. He was in the first battle of Virginia and Maryland, and at Gettysburg, being under Hayes and “Stonewall” Jackson, also in several battles with Longstreet, and seeing hard service throughout the whole of war. He was never wounded, although he often in the thickest of the fight. At Rappahannock Station he was captured, was carried from there to Washington, and thence to Point Lookout, Maryland, where he was held as a prisoner four months. At the expiration of that time, he, with others, was taken to Richmond for exchange; but terms of exchange not being agreed upon, the Confederate prisoners were paroled for thirty days, or until exchanged. Mr. Hardisty ran the blockade of the Mississippi river and came home at this time, but returned to Virginia. He afterward joined his command again and continued on active duty until the war was over.
When Mr. Hardisty became a member of the army he was engaged in farming in Louisiana and, following the cessation of hostilities, he resumed his labors as an agriculturist in that state, but when a year had passed he returned to his father’s home in Texas accompanied by his wife, for in the meantime he had married. His possessions in that year were extremely limited. He owned a wagon and yoke of oxen, while his cash capital consisted of but fifteen dollars. During the first year he worked as a cattle driver for sixty dollars per month and his board, and, saving most of his earnings, he was thus enabled to engaged in business on his own account by cultivating a tract of rented land. His attention has since been given to farming and stock-raising and year by year he has prospered until he is now one of the substantial residents of Tarrant county. He made his first purchase of land in 1870 and with the exception of a tract of sixty acres received from his father all of this extensive holdings have been acquired entirely through his own labors. At one time he owned nine hundred acres but he has since given some of this to his children and upon them has bestowed property in Fort Worth to the value of ten thousand dollars. During the early years of his residence here he purchased from the other heirs the interest in the old homestead and has since resided thereon. Here he cultivates various cereals and also raises good grades of stock.
As before stated, Mr. Hardisty was married in Louisiana to Miss Mary Best, a native of t hat state, and they became the parents of thirteen children, but two died in early life. Other children are: Mrs. Ida Haun, now living in Mexico; Cora, the wife of Isaac Sansberry, a resident farmer of Tarrant county; Edward,who is living at Fort Worth; Christopher C. also of Fort Worth; John H. of Birdville; Gertrude, the wife of John Naylor of Tarrant county; Alice, the wife of Herman Dumpk, living in Tarrant county and a veteran of the Spanish American war now in the government service; and Frank, who is a member of the United State navy. On the 17th of November, 1889, the mother of these children departed this life. She was a member of the Missionary Baptist church and was an earnest Christian woman, devoted to her church, her family and her friends. On the 1st of November 1891, Mr. Hardisty was again married, his second union being with Miss Annie Wilson, was born in Ingham county, Michigan, and is a daughter of Isaac Wilson, who removed from that state to Texas with his family about 1885, locating a farm five miles north of Fort Worth. His death occurred in August, 1898, while his wife, Mrs. Ada Wilson, now resides about four and a half miles north of Fort Worth. Unto the second marriage of Mr. Hardisty have been born six children: Thomas W., Lois A., Julia E., Eleanor, Ethel, and one dead, George, who died when about eight months old.
Mr. Hardisty is a member of Grand Prairie lodge, A. F. & A. M. at Smithfield and belongs to R. E. Lee camp of the United Confederate Veterans at Fort Worth, while his political allegiance is given to the Democracy. He has a wide and favorable acquaintance in the county where so many years of his lief have been passed and where he has so directed his labors as to win and retain the confidence and esteem of his fellowmen.
Source: B. B. Paddock, History and Biographical Record of North and West Texas (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1906), Vol. I, pp. 136-138.