SAMUEL P. HARDWICKE, who has the reputation of being one of the leading criminal lawyers at the bar of western Texas, and who is one of the oldest representatives of the legal fraternity in Abilene, was born in Pittsylvania county, Virginia, October 18, 1858, a son of John B. and Martha (Dews) Hardwicke, who were also natives of the Old Dominion. In their family were eight children, four sons and four daughters. The father was a minister of the Baptist church and in October, 1860, he removed with his family to Petersburg, Virginia, and in 1864 to Fayetteville, North Carolina. After the war they went to Goldborough, North Carolina, and from 1868 until 1873 lived in Parkersburg, West Virginia. Their next home was in Atchison, Kansas, and in 1876 they removed to Bryan, Texas.
In the public schools in these various places Samuel P. Hardwicke obtained his education and while living in Bryan, Texas, he took up the study of law and was admitted to the bar in 1880. Later he lived in Waxahachie, Texas, and since 1882 he has made his home in Abilene, where he has since remained. He had visited this section in January, 1881, before the town was started and the following year he took up his permanent abode here. Buffalo Gap was then the county seat of Taylor county and at that time there was much litigation heard in the courts there. Mr. Hardwicke soon secured a liberal share of the public patronage, and the favorable judgment which the world passed upon him at the outset of his career has been in no degree set aside or modified, but on the contrary has been strengthened as the years have gone by and he has demonstrated his power to successfully solve intricate legal problems and handle complex questions before the bar. On the 1st of January, 1901, he formed a partnership with his brother, A. S. Hardwicke, under the firm style of Hardwicke & Hardwicke, a relation that has since been maintained. For six years, from 1884 until 1890, Judge Hardwicke held the office of county attorney. His connection with the Abilene bar antedates that of almost any other practitioner here. He now has a clientage that is large and of a distinctively representative character. He is regarded as one of the leading criminal lawyers not only of his immediate county but of western Texas as well. He is an exceptionally fine speaker and his gifts of oratory enable him to present with power his logical deductions and to cite facts and precedents with a clearness and force that never fail to impress court or jury and seldom fail to gain the verdict desired.
Judge Hardwicke was married in 1888 to Miss M. C. Deter, of Sacramento valley, California, and they have two children, a son and daughter. The family is prominent socially and in matters of citizenship Judge Hardwicke is looked upon as a leader, being known as a public spirited man who champions every measure that tends to promote the intellectual or material welfare of his community or uphold its legal status.
Source: B. B. Paddock, History and Biographical Record of North and West Texas, (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1906), Vol. I, p. 624.