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Dr. Nehemiah Henry Harding (1794-1849)




Dr. Nehemiah Henry Harding
Dr. Nehemiah H. Harding
(Click Photograph for Larger Image)
  • Born 1794 Maine
  • Pastor Milton Presbyterian Church
  • Founder Yanceyville Presbyterian Church
  • Died 1849 Milton, N.C.
  • Buried Cedars Cemetery (Milton, N.C.)


Biographical Sketch

History of Henry Harding

As William Powell's History of Caswell County indicates, Dr. Nehemiah Henry Harding, a native of Maine, was pastor of both the Milton Presbyterian Church and the Yanceyville Presbyterian Church. The enclosed character sketch of him is from the 1884 Encyclopedia of the Presbyterian Church of the United States of America.

Harding, Nehemiah Henry, D.D., was born in Brunswick, Maine, October 1794. In early life he went to sea, and in time became captain of a vessel trading with Newbern [sic], N.C. One stormy night, while walking the deck of his tempest-tossed ship, Harding was convicted of sin, and his conviction soon ripened into hopeful conversion. Quitting the sea, he entered into business in Raleigh, N. C., and soon began preparation for the ministry. He studied two years at the University of North Carolina. In 1826 he went to Princeton Seminary and studied two years there. He was licensed by Orange Presbytery, November 6, 1828 and ordained by the same, April 18th, 1829. He was installed pastor of Oxford Church, July 10th 1830 and in December, 1835, became stated supply to Milton Church, where he remained till the close of life. He was the founder of the Yanceyville Church, and preached at Bethesda part of the time. He received his Doctor's Degree from the College of New Jersey. He died February 17th, 1849.

Dr. Harding was a man of commanding appearance, and the tone of authority imbibed on shipboard never left him in after years. In consequence of this he was sometimes suspected of trying "to walk the quarterdeck of Orange Presbytery." Earnest, decided, courageous, he did nothing by halves. His sermons were plain, pointed, evangelical. He was an impressive speaker; a talker, not a declaimer. He seldom preached without shedding tears, and was in the habit of keeping two handkerchiefs in use in the pulpit. His tearful appeals were deeply impressive, verifying the old maxi, si vis me flere, flendum est tibi.

As an instance of his decision it is related that upon a certain occasion, Dr. James Phillips was assisting him at a communion, and as the forenoon services had been long, Dr. Harding request Dr. Phillips to limit the afternoon services to an hour. Not willing to be hampered, Dr. Phillips said he did not know whether he could finish in an hour, or not. "Then,' said Dr. Harding, "I can, and I will." And he did. Dr. Harding left one son who entered the ministry, Rev. Eph[raim]. H. Harding, D.D., now of Kentucky.

(Courtesy The Caswell Messenger, where the above article was published February 16, 2000)(links added)

Following is an abstract of Nehemiah H. Harding's will, which was written 28 January 1849, and submitted for probate April 1849:
Wife Hannah Harding to have the use of all property for her life; after her death all property is to be sold except the servant Henry and stock in Manhattan Bank in New York City. Income from stock for wife then to all surviving heirs. Executor: friend George Williamson "beseeching him in the name of Christ not to deny this my last request." James M. Fowler of Raleigh, North Carolina, and James R. Callum of Milton, North Carolina, to serve as counsellors. The children are: Abraham V. Harding; Priscilla Harding; Ephraim H. Harding; and Hannah S. Harding. Witnesses: N. M. Lewis; and Willie Jones.
Source: Caswell County North Carolina Will Books 1843-1868, Katharine Kerr Kendall (1986) at 33.


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Last Revised: 5 January 2007