Gulf and Ship Island Railroad Co. Signed by William H. Hardy - 1890 dated Autographed Stock CertificateInv# AG2640 Autograph
Stock signed by W. H. Hardy as president.
William H. Hardy (February 12, 1837 − February 17, 1917) was an American businessman who founded the Mississippi cities of Hattiesburg, Laurel, and Gulfport. Born to Robert W. and Temperance L. (Toney) Hardy in Todds Hill (in Lowndes County, Alabama) on 12 February 1837, William Harris Hardy attended country schools and eventually Cumberland University in Lebanon, Tennessee for three years, withdrawing before graduation due to contraction of pneumonia. Following his convalescence, Hardy agreed to a cousin's proposal to start Sylvarena Academy, a boys' primary school affiliated with the Methodist Church. During his year at Sylvarena in Flowers, Mississippi, Hardy read law, and when he departed the Academy in 1856 for Raleigh, Mississippi, was able to easily pass the Bar. In 1858, he opened his own law practice. In 1859, he met, and in 1860, he married Sallie Ann Johnson, with whom he had six children (Mattie, Willie, Ellen, Elizabeth, Thomas, and Jefferson Davis) before her death in 1872.
In 1861, Hardy raised Company H of the 16th Mississippi Infantry Regiment, of which he was elected Captain. He served with this unit until October 1862, when illness forced his resignation. In April 1864 he was appointed an Aide de Camp by General Argyle Smith, in which capacity he served until the end of the war. In 1868, Hardy became involved in a plan to build a railroad from Meridian, Mississippi to New Orleans, Louisiana: the New Orleans and Northeastern Railroad (NO&NERR). He later became General Counsel for the company, although his legacy with that railroad centers on two things in particular: Hardy's engineering work to construct the bridge spanning Lake Pontchartrain and his efforts to secure funding once the road went into receivership during the economic Panic of 1873.
In 1870, Hardy worked sporadically with his brother-in-law and board of directors member, Milton Lott, on the narrow-gauge Alabama Southern Railroad. Hardy's work there ended in much the same way as his involvement in the NO&NERR, he eventually secured partial funding from the British banking house of May before departing the railroad and ending his official involvement in 1873. Hardy's increasing involvement in the day-to-day operations of the NO&NERR, eventually as that road's General Counsel, necessitated a move to Meridian, Mississippi in 1873. While on a business trip to Mobile he met Hattie Lott, and they married in 1874. Hattie moved to Meridian soon after; she had three children (Lena Mai, Lamar, and Toney) with Hardy before her death in 1895. Read more at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_H._Hardy