Benjamin Watson Hardin, early settler and political figure, the first son of Swan and Jerusha (Blackburn) Hardin, was born in Franklin County, Georgia, on March 25, 1796. By 1807 he was living in Maury County, Tennessee, with other family members and managing the family farm. Because of an affair between his brother's wife, Mrs. A. B. Hardin, and Isaac Newton Porter, of which Porter bragged about publicly, Benjamin accompanied his brothers to a meeting with Porter and William Williamson in Columbia, Tennessee, on October 1, 1825. During the ensuing confrontation Hardin's brothers Augustine and Benjamin Franklin Hardin fatally shot Porter and Williamson. After being indicted with his brothers, including William Hardin, in December 1825, Hardin fled to what is now Liberty County, Texas, in 1827 in order to avoid a possible conviction for murder and to join other family members who had similarly made themselves scarce in Tennessee.
On January 8, 1828, Hardin married Adelia Coleman in Liberty County; they had four children, two of whom lived beyond childhood. Hardin received a league of land in 1831 and served as sheriff of the Liberty District. He was elected Liberty county sheriff in 1839 and served until 1845. On December 2, 1844, he began his term as Liberty County representative in the Ninth Congress (1844–45) of the Republic of Texas. He was a prominent rancher and farmer in Liberty County and a founding member of the Liberty Masonic Lodge in 1849. He died on January 2, 1850, at his homestead and was buried in the Hardin family cemetery, on his original land grant north of Liberty. Hardin County and Hardin, Texas (Liberty County), were named in honor of the Hardin family. The Texas Centennial Commission erected a monument at Benjamin W. Hardin's grave in 1936.