John Harding (Southern planter)

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John Harding
John Harding by W. B. Cooper.gif
Portrait of John Harding by Washington Bogart Cooper, 1846
Born November 2, 1777
Goochland County, Virginia
Died September 16, 1865
Nashville, Tennessee
Nationality American
Occupation Planter
Spouse(s) Susannah Shute
Children William Giles Harding
Parent(s) Giles Harding

John Harding (1777-1865) was an American Southern planter and thoroughbred breeder .[1][2][3][4][5][6][7]

Early life[edit]

John Harding was born in Goochland County, Virginia on November 2, 1777.[1] His family moved to Davidson County, Tennessee in 1798.[1] His grandfather had owned slaves in Virginia, and his father, Giles Harding, brought several with them to Tennessee.[3][6]


In 1807, Harding purchased a 250-acre farm and log cabin from Daniel Dunham called Dunham Station at Richland Creek on the Natchez Trace, six miles west of Nashville.[1][2][4][5][6][7][8] By 1820, he expanded the farm to 3800 acres and constructed a brick Federal style home.[1] He invested in thoroughbreds, and turned it into the Belle Meade Plantation.[1] In 1823, he registered with the Nashville Jockey Club.[2] The plantation also included a blacksmith shop, a grist mill, and a saw mill.[1][5]

Harding also owned four other plantations in the South: a sugar plantation in Louisiana, cotton plantations in Mississippi County, Arkansas, Alabama, and also in the Pennington bend between the Stones and Cumberland rivers in Nashville.[1][6]

Harding invested in the Nashville Female Academy and sent his two daughters there.[6] By 1839, he turned the Belle Meade Plantation over to his son William Giles Harding and moved to a townhouse at 85 Spring Street in Nashville.[1]

Personal life[edit]

Harding married Susannah Shute on August 6, 1806.[1][6] They had six children. Only three survived infancy: one son, William Giles Harding (1808–1886), and two daughters, Elizabeth and Amanda.[6]


Harding died on September 16, 1865 in Nashville.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Tennessee Portrait Project
  2. ^ a b c Belle Meade Plantation: History
  3. ^ a b Civil War Landscapes Association
  4. ^ a b UNC Harding and Jackson Family Papers, 1819-1911.
  5. ^ a b c Ridley Wills, II, Belle Meade Plantation, The Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture, December 25, 2009
  6. ^ a b c d e f g Belle Meade Plantation: The Hardings & Jacksons
  7. ^ a b Perky Beisel, Rob DeHart, Middle Tennessee Horse Breeding, Arcadia Publishing, 2007, p. 14 [1]
  8. ^ Mark Zimmerman, Guide To Civil War Nashville Nashville, The Battle of Nashville Preservation Society, 2004, p. 68