Biography of Dennis C. Harden

Dennis C. Harden is a prominent figure in Nelson Township, engaging in farming, stock-raising, and dairy business on his quarter-section farm. Born in Pennsylvania in 1849, he moved to Illinois at four, where he honed his agricultural skills on his family’s land. His successful farm, acquired in 1873, showcases his adeptness in cultivation and livestock management. Marrying Miss Kate McCleary, he’s recognized for his contributions to local development, holding various offices and supporting township improvements. A Republican and Lutheran, Harden’s life reflects a blend of hard work, community service, and family legacy, making him a respected citizen in Lee County.

Dennis C. Harden farms, raises stock, and carries on a profitable dairy business in Nelson Township, of which he is a leading citizen. His farm comprises a quarter of a section of land, which is well improved and supplied with a good set of buildings, convenient in their arrangements and spacious in dimensions. It is fully stocked with cattle, horses, and swine of excellent breeds.

Born on October 4, 1849, our subject first began life in the state of Pennsylvania. His father, Jacob Harden, a well-known pioneer and respected citizen of Nelson Township, is also a native of Pennsylvania, born and raised in Somerset County, with his parents also being natives of Pennsylvania. After reaching adulthood, Jacob Harden married Miss Catherine Cook, who has been a real help to him in securing the comfortable competency they now enjoy in their declining years. Catherine Cook came from a respected old family of the Keystone State, where she was born and raised. After four children were born to them, of whom our subject is the eldest, Mr. and Mrs. Harden emigrated to Illinois to begin life anew on its wild prairies. They settled on a tract of Government land in Nelson Township, where Mr. Harden labored long and hard to transform it into the fine farm that it is today. He and his wife still make it their home and are surrounded by every comfort. They are staunch Christians of the Lutheran denomination and are members of that church.

Dennis C. Harden was four years old when his parents brought him to Lee County in 1853, and he has lived in Lee County ever since. His boyhood days were spent on his father’s farm, where he learned many useful lessons that later helped him to succeed when he began farming on his own. In 1873, he purchased the farm which is still his home and has greatly increased its value with the fine improvements he constantly makes. He is systematic in his work, employing methods of cultivation best adapted to the soil, which contributes greatly to his success. He understands how to handle his stock to the best advantage and is well suited for the dairy business, which is a profitable venture under his management. Mr. Harden married Miss Kate McCleary in this township, a native of Pennsylvania and daughter of William and Salinda (Morehead) McCleary, who were pioneers of Lee County. Her parents were born in Pennsylvania but were of Scotch lineage. They moved to Illinois when she was young and initially lived on a farm in Nachusa Township. Later, her father purchased a farm in Nelson Township, where he passed away in 1884 at the age of seventy. Religiously, he was a Presbyterian, and politically, he was a Democrat. Mrs. Harden was fourteen years old when the family came to Illinois, and she remained with her parents until her marriage. She passed away in 1889 at the age of thirty-eight, leaving behind a legacy of kindness and truthfulness. Mr. Harden is a beloved figure in the township, known for his warm-heartedness, generosity, and even temper. He has held various local offices and has always shown proper public spirit in regard to plans for township or county improvement. He is a Lutheran in religion and supports the Republican Party in politics.


Biographical Publishing Company, Portrait and biographical record of Lee County, Illinois, containing biographical sketches of prominent and representative citizens, together with biographies of all the governors of the state, and of the presidents of the United States, Chicago: Biographical Publishing Co., 1892.

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