Thursday, July 10, 2014

Marion, Ohio's #President: Warren G. Harding

Marion, Ohio’s Own:President
Warren G. Harding

My mother’s family came to this county before the United States existed. My ancestors fought in the Revolutionary War. After the war ended we travelled into the Ohio Wilderness where my family settled into the Ohio Territory. We were there when Ohio became a state. We were there to help form Marion County, Ohio and we were there when Marion, Ohio became a town. My family has seen Marion, Ohio grown from a small town into the small city it is today. We have seen Presidents come and go from President Washington to President Obama but none have lived closer them than President Warren G. Harding.

Warren G. Harding was born the eldest of eight children, on November 2, 1865 in Marion, Ohio to Dr. George Tyron Harding, Sr. and Phoebe Elizabeth (Dickerson) Harding. At the age of 10, Warren began to work with his father on the small family owned and operated local newspaper, The Argus. There he fell in love with the newspaper trade. Harding attended the Ohio Central College in Iberia, Ohio where he studied printing and newspaper trade. In 1882, at 16 years of age, he graduated with a Bachelor of Science. He was an accomplished public speaker. Four years later, he bought the Marion Daily Star, one of three newspapers in the city for $300. The strongest read paper at the time was The Marion Independent. Harding worked hard to unset the paper and move his own into its position. The effort took its toll on Harding. In 1889, he suffered from exhausted and nervous fatigue but his paper was one of the most popular newspapers of Marion County. After spending several weeks at the Battle Creek Sanitarium, Harding returned to his beloved paper. In 1891, Harding married Florence Kling DeWolfe, the daughter of his newspaper nemesis, Amos Hall King. By 1896, the Marion Daily Star became so popular his rival newspapers had gone out of business. It became so strong; Harding and his wife were able to travel around the country, which exposed Harding at political gatherings.

The following years, Harding moved out of the newspaper business and into politics. In 1889, he served two terms on Ohio State Senate for the 13th Senatorial District then was awarded the Lt. Governorship of Ohio from 1904 to 1906. In 1910 he ran for Ohio State Governor but lost the race to the incumbent Judson Harmon. During his presidential campaign of 1920, Harding held many speeches from railcars and his front porch. Many came from all over to hear him. He won the election and served as U.S. President from 1921-1923. President Warren G. Harding died in mid conversation with his wife at 7:35pm on August 2, 1923 from a heart attack. President Harding was buried in Marion, Ohio on August 10, 1923. His wife died on November 21, 1924. On December 20, 1927 both the President and his wife’s bodies were reburied at the new Harding Memorial. You can visit both their graves and their house.