Hardin, William Barnett (1806–1885)

By: Howard N. Martin

Type: Biography

Published: 1976

Updated: June 9, 2020

William Barnett Hardin, a participant in the siege of Bexar and unofficial advisor to the Alabama-Coushatta Indians, was born in Tennessee on April 20, 1806, the son of Benjamin and Martha (Barnett) Hardin. His grandfather was Col. Joseph Hardin, a veteran of the Revolutionary War and a member of the general assemblies of North Carolina and Tennessee. In 1826 Hardin left Tennessee and headed for Texas. From the San Augustine area he traveled sections of the Alabama Trace and the Coushatta Trace to the wilderness a few miles west of the site on which the town of Moscow, Texas, was established at a later date. Here he developed a farm on land that was subsequently patented by members of his family. Before 1835 he made annual trips back to Arkansas and Tennessee to visit relatives. On August 20, 1829, he was married to Ann Holshousen, daughter of John and Annece Holshousen. In November 1835 Hardin volunteered for service in an East Texas army unit for duty in the Texas war for independence from Mexico. He began his military service as a sergeant in Capt. Martin B. Lewis's company, recruited from the territory of present Jasper, Tyler, and Polk counties. This company assembled near the Neches River and on November 16, 1835, began the long horseback trip to join the revolutionary army assembled outside Bexar. Sergeant Hardin entered San Antonio on December 6, 1835, and participated in the bitter house-to-house fighting that occurred during the next few days. On December 9 he received a leg wound that left him slightly crippled for the remainder of his life. He continued his army service for several months after the capture of San Antonio, and by September 1836 he was promoted to first lieutenant. After Texas gained its independence, Hardin returned to his East Texas home and resumed his activities as a farmer and surveyor. In 1846 Polk County was organized, and Hardin served in several official positions. He was deputy surveyor and an election judge. He served as an unofficial advisor to Alabama-Coushatta Indian chiefs Long King, Colita, Antone, Tempe, Long Tom, and Bill Blount. He helped to prepare and circulate a petition to the Texas legislature asking that a reservation be established for the Alabama Indians in Polk County. His signature appears first on this petition, which is dated October 29, 1853. In 1855 Hardin moved his family to a new home on Long Tom Creek in Polk County, about four miles northwest of Livingston. Nearby Barnett Creek was named for him. He helped to organize a Methodist church in Livingston, and his name is included on the original board of trustees. He died on July 28, 1885, and was buried in the Holshousen Cemetery on the Coushatta Trace west of Moscow.

Adjutant General's Records, Texas State Archives, Austin. Comptroller's Records, Texas State Archives, Austin. Legislative Records, Texas State Archives, Austin. Thomas L. Miller, Bounty and Donation Land Grants of Texas, 1835–1888 (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1967).

Time Periods:
  • Texas Revolution

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Howard N. Martin, “Hardin, William Barnett,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed June 26, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/hardin-william-barnett.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

June 9, 2020