Lee County Biographies



Dennis C. Harden farms, raises stock and carries on a profitable dairy business in Nelson Township of which he is a leading citizen. His farm comprises a quarter of a section of land, which is well improved, is supplied with a good set of buildings, convenient in their arrangements and roomy in dimensions, and it is fully stocked with cattle, horses and swine of excellent breeds.

Born October 4, 1849, our subject first took up the burden of life in the State of Pennsylvania. His father, Jacob Harden, a well-known pioneer and honored citizen of Nelson Township, is likewise a Pennsylvanian by birth, born and reared in somerset County, his parents being also natives of Pennsylvania. After attaining manhood Jacob Harden selected a wife in the person of Miss Catherine Cook, who has since shared his fortunes and has been of real help to him in securing the comfortable competency which they are now enjoying together, in the declining years of lives well spent.

Catherine Cook was a daughter of one of the respected old families of the Keystone State, where she had her birth and up-bringing. After four children had been born unto them, of whom our subject is the eldest, Mr. and Mrs. Harden emigrated to this State to begin life anew on its wild prairies. They located on a tract of Government land on section 23, Nelson Township, and Mr. Harden labored long and hard to transform it into the fine farm that it is today. He and his good wife still make it their home and are surrounded by every comfort that heart can desire. They are Christians of the stanch Lutheran type and are members of that church.

Dennis C. Harden was a child of four years when his parents brought him to this county in 1853, and he has ever since lived in Lee County. His boyhood days were passed on his father's farm, where he learned many a useful lesson that afterward helped him to success when he began the life of a farmer on his own account. In 1873 he purchased the farm which is still his home, and has greatly increased its value by the fine improvements he is constantly making. He is systematic in carrying on his work, employs the methods of cultivation best adapted to the soil, wherein lies the secret of his success in a great measure, and he understands how to handle his stock to the best advantage. He is well fitted out for the dairy business, which is a source of profit as he conducts it.

Mr. Harden was married in this township to Miss Kate McCleary, a native of Pennsylvania and a daughter of William and Salinda (Morehead) McCleary,who were pioneers of Lee County. Her parents were born in Pennsylvania but were of Scotch lineage. They came hither when she was young, and at first lived on a farm in Nachiusa Township. Later the father purchased a farm in Nelson Township, to which he removed his family and here he died in 1884 at the age of three-score years and ten. Religiously, he was a Presbyterian and, politically, he was a Democrat. Mrs. Harden was fourteen years old when the family came to this State, and she remained one of the parental household until her marriage. She died here in the home in whose uphuilding she had assisted her husband, December 3, 1889, at the age of thirty~ eight, and was mourned far beyond the home circle, as she was a woman of rare merit, of a sweet and wholesome nature, and all who came under her influence found her to be kind and true. By her death the Lutheran Church lost one of its most esteemed members. She was a devoted wife and fond mother, and her happy marriage with our subject that was saddened only by her death, was blessed to them by three children: Eva J., at home with her father; William J., and Lawrence D., who is being reared by an aunt.

Mr. Harden is a whole-souled, warm-hearted, genial man, of generous impulses and frank, even temper, who is a general favorite throughout the township where he is well known; and not only this but he is honorable and manly, and irreproachable in his personal habits. He has held the various local offices, and always manifested proper public spirit in regard to all feasible plans for the improvement of township or county. In religion he is a Lutheran. His political sympathies are with the Republican party.

Portrait and Biographical Record Pg 199


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