Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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HARDING, Abner Clark, soldier, born in East Hampton, Middlesex County, Connecticut, 10 February, 1807; died in Monmouth, Warren County, Illinois, 19 July, 1874. He was educated chiefly at Hamilton, New York, academy, and after practising law in Oneida county for some them removed to Illinois. In that state he continued to practise law fox' fifteen years, and to manage farms for twenty-five years. In 1848 he was a member of the convention that framed the constitution under which Illinois was governed from 1848 till 1870. He also served in the legislature in 1848-'9 and 1850. During the ten years preceding the civil war he was engaged in railway enterprises, in 1862 he enlisted as a private in the 83d Illinois infantry, and rose to the rank of colonel. For bravery at Fort Donelson he was promoted to brigadier-general, and in 1863 had command at Murfreesboro, Tennessee. In 1864 he was elected a representative in congress, and was reelected in 1866, serving from 4 December, 1865, till 3 March, 1869. General Harding early entered with zeal into the construction of railroads in central Illinois, and was one of the projectors and builders of the Peoria and Oquawka railroad, now a part of the Chicago, Burlington, and Quincy. He left a fortune of about $2,000,000, no small part of which he had amassed in railroad enterprises. Several years before his death he endowed a professorship in Monmouth college.
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