Daniel Hardesty, the eighth child of Edmund Hardesty and Ruth Chaney was born in Washington Township, Ohio, 1812. At this time Washington Township was not much more than a small Indian settlement and was made up of military and congress lands. We have no records of Daniel's early life in Ohio.
On December 25, 1836, he married Abigail Ferguson who was one of the youngest of seven children. Her father was Rev. Ferguson, a Methodist minister. At some time prior to 1849, Rev. Ferguson cam to Illinois and settled. It is thought on the same land that Daniel later acquired. Rev. Ferguson left with the 49'ers to search for gold and was never heard of by his family after that. His fate is unknown.
In the spring of 1852, Daniel and his wife Abigail with their family of eight children emigrated to Illinois in a covered wagon. Hattie Hay, a granddaughter, can recall several interesting things her grandmother had told her about the hardships of this trip and early pioneer life in Illinois. Evidently other families came with them at this time, as Hattie can recall her grandmother telling that when they stopped to make camp the wagons were placed so as to form a circle. A huge wood fire was built in the center so the heat would protect the children from snakes of which there were many through the area.
Dan and Abigail settled on a farm in Lafayette Township, section 5, which was government land at this time. This farm is about seven miles west of Flagg Center. Daniel built a house on "Rag Street" the road to Ogle which is now Ashton. Later the road was changed to follow the section lines and this put Dan's house about 80 rods south of the road. He then built a new home which is on the present Washington Grove road. Dan and Abigail had three more children while living on this land. After his death his son Franklin owned and farmed it. When Franklin retired, his son, Fred, took over the farm. Fred remodeled the home Dan built. Fred sold the farm to his son, Robert, who is now operating it. Robert Hardesty, or Bob as he is more familiarly known, is the 4th generation of Hardesty to have this land. For over a century, it has been Hardesty land.
We are told Dan was a huge and powerful man as were many of the Hardestys. It is said that when Dan took wheat to the mill to be ground he carried three sacks at a time, where as the average man carried only one. He always wore his coat and shirt open at the throat and never wore a hat. He was unmindful of the severe Illinois winters and weather did not bother him. Pictures of Dan show he was a giant of a man as were his sons.
We are told he was a very religious man and never missed a prayer meeting or church service. He had two large cross dogs which most people feared and which were his constant companions, and obeyed him perfectly. He was a practical joker and because of this and his dogs, Dan has become a legend through the Washington Grove area.
Submitted by Sue Cramer
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