Hardeman Giddens (1843- 1910) led an active life that often caught the attention of citizens in Berrien County and beyond. In March of 1884, the Georgia Gossip was about the horse racing at Alapaha, GA, and whether Hardeman’s black stallion was as fast as he believed. The Challengers were W.N. Fiveash, Dr. Fogle, and Mr. Henley. William Newton Fiveash, a young man of Magnolia, GA and later of Ocilla, GA entered his bay pony. Dr. James A. Fogle, a surgeon trained during the Civil War, put his sorrel horse into the race. (Fogle was the original proprietor of the Alapaha hotel later known as the Schockley Hotel) The winner for the evening was Mr. Henley’s sorrel mare.
The Atlanta Constitution 25 Mar 1884, pg 2 Alapaha is now engaged in the pleasures of the turf. In a recent race — half mile heat – between Mr. W. N. Fiveash’s bay pony and Mr. Hart Gidden’s black horse, the bay came under the string two lengths ahead. The next race was between Dr. Fogles’s sorrel horse and Mr. Henley’s sorrel mare. The horse was beaten by a neck. Then, Mr. Giddens still believing in his black, a race was arranged between the black and Dr. Fogle’s sorrel. The sorrel was again the winner. The last race of the evening was between Fogle’s sorrel horse and Henley’s sorrel mare. Henley’s mare came under the string ahead, but it was claimed that if a good start had been obtained the horse would have won. The races were quite exciting and proved that Alapaha contains some good horseflesh.
Hardeman Giddens, born MAR 1844 in Lowndes (nka Berrien) County, Georgia , was a son of Jacob Giddens and Sarah Ann “Annie” Sirmans. The 1860 Census shows he was a resident of Berrien County at the time, Berrien having been cut out of Lowndes in 1856. During the Civil War, Hardeman Giddens joined the 29th Georgia Regiment, Company D, the Berrien Minutemen, enlisting for 12 months. He mustered in at Sapelo Island, GA on 4 November 1861 as a private in Captain John C. Lamb’s Company D (later Company K) . Records show in 1862 he was on duty at Camp Young, near Savannah, GA. In October he was on extra duty there as a mail carrier. He was documented on payroll record rolls for April 1862, December 1862, and January – March 1863 at a rate of 25 cents. In September 1863, Hardeman Giddens was at the Battle of Chickamauga. His war experience and amazing good fortune in battle were the subject of a previous post: Civil War Bullet Dodger Hardeman Giddens Finally Catches One in 1887
After the war, Hardeman Giddens returned to Berrien County, GA. On the day before Valentines Day, February 13, 1870 he married Martha J. Gaskins. She was a daughter of Harmon Gaskins & Malissa Rowland Rouse, born on February 16, 1838 in Lowdnes Co, GA. Martha had been widowed twice. Her first husband was Thomas N. Connell, who died in the Civil War; her second was William Parrish. After marriage, the Giddens made their home in the 1148th Georgia Militia District, where Hardeman was farming land valued at $225 dollars. His father Jacob Giddens, age 68, lived in Hardy’s household and assisted with farm labor. In the census of 1880, Hardeman Giddens was enumerated in Georgia Militia District 1148 with his wife Martha, and sons James and Lyman. In 1900, Hardeman Giddens and Martha, now his wife of 30 years, were living on the family farm near Ray City, GA. The Giddens owned the farm free and clear, and their two sons, Lyman and William, lived with them and helped their father work the farm. It seems Martha Giddens must have had a hard life. She birthed 9 children, only four of whom were living in 1900. Martha J. Gaskins died in Berrien Co, GA on 26 February 1910 at age 72. The 1910 Census shows in that year Hardeman Giddens was living with his eldest son, Lyman F. Giddens, who was a prominent citizen, barber, and (later) mayor of Ray City, GA. Hardeman Giddens died later that year on October 2, 1910 and was buried in the Harmon Gaskins Family Cemetery, Berrien County, Georgia. Related Posts:
- Hardeman Giddens and the Big Fishing Frolic
- Civil War Bullet Dodger Hardeman Giddens Finally Catches One in 1887
- Mayor Lyman F. Giddens Brings Electric Plant to Ray City ~ 1922
- Boys Lost in the Swamp
- Early Berrien Settlers Traded at Centerville, Georgia
- DAN CUPID WINS OUT AFTER FOURTY YEARS
- Me and Mrs. Jones: Harmon Gaskins Had A Thing Going On – Twice
- More Forensics of Fiction (on the old hotel at Alapha by Cynthia Shearer)
- Fogle-Shockley Hotel, 1886, Alapaha (Vanishing South Georgia photographs by Brian Brown)