Mark Bernard Hardin

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Mark Bernard Hardin (photo property of Clemson University)

Mark Bernard Hardin was Clemson's first Chemistry professor and was acting President of the Agricultural College in 1897, 1899, and 1902. Hardin Hall is named in his honor.

"Major Mark Bernard Hardin, now Professor of Chemistry in Clemson College, S.C., was born in Alexandria, Va., August 14, 1838. He is the son of Laureston B. Hardin, Clerk and Registrar of the Navy Department from the administration of Andrew Jackson to the time of his death in 1858. Major Hardin was reared to the age of sixteen in Washington, D.C., and in 1854 entered the Virginia Military Institute, from which he was graduated in 1858 [at the head of his class of nineteen - Ed.]. Immediately after his graduation he was appointed an assistant professor in this institution and in 1860 was appointed adjunct professor, in which capacity he continued to act until the beginning of the war. During his connection with this institution in the ante-bellum days he was intimately associated with General "Stonewall" Jackson, both as his student and as his co-professor. A warm friendship sprung up between the two; and this relation continued until the death of that gallant chieftain in 1863. In the beginning of the war Mr. Hardin was offered a position on General Jackson's staff; but this he declined, preferring the line. Accordingly he joined the Thirty-third Virginia Regiment as acting Major, and fought with his command in Jackson's brigade in the First Battle of Manassas. In October, 1861, he was appointed Major of Artillery, in the active volunteer forces of Virginia, and assigned to duty at Craney Island, where he remained until the evacuation of Norfolk, on May 10, 1862. While on this island he was an eye-witness of all the stirring scenes enacted in that vicinity, and among other historic happenings the destruction of the Cumberland and the Congress, and the fight between the Merrimac and the Monitor. In June, 1862, he was appointed Major of Artillery in the Provisional Army of the Confederate States, and assigned to duty as Commander of the 18th Virginia Battalion of Heavy Artillery, in the defences of Richmond. He continued in this capacity, being in charge of a considerable portion of the line, until the evacuation of Richmond. While in this service, in the fall of 1864, he was sent to Fort Harrison to take command of troops at Chaffin's Farm in the place of Major Dick Taylor, who had been captured. While here he was wounded in the left arm. He had received one wound prior to this in the Kilpatrick raid. When the evacuation of Richmond became a certainty, his battalion was placed in Cruchfield's brigade, Custis Lee's division, for the retreat. In an effort to reach Gen. Robert E. Lee's army they were overtaken by the enemy at Sailor's Creek, where a desperate battle ensued, in which General Cruchfield was killed and his entire brigade captured. Major Hardin was taken a prisoner to Old Capitol Prison, Washington. On the evening of his arrival there President Lincoln was assassinated, and this created such intense feeling that, for safety, he, together with other Confederate officers, was taken to Johnson's Island, Lake Erie, where he was held prisoner of war until July 3, 1865. For two years after the close of the war he was an analytical chemist in New York City. In 1867 he returned to the Virginia Military Institute as full Professor of Chemistry, which position he held until 1890. In October of that year he was appointed Professor of Chemistry in Clemson College, S.C., which position he still holds. He is also Chief Chemist of the South Carolina Agricultural Experiment Station, located at the college.

"He was elected a member of the American Chemical Society upon its organization, in 1876, and has continued a member ever since. In 1886 he was elected a member of the Lyceum of Natural History of New York (which is now the New York Academy of Sciences), and became corresponding member of the same society in July, 1897.

"He was married August 26, 1869, to Miss Mary M. Payne, of Warrenton, Va., who has since died, leaving eight children, four boys and four girls, to his care."

- The Oconeean, Volume Two, 1904, pages 6-7

On January 18, 1916, The Tiger published an article stating that "For several weeks, Col. M. B. Hardin, Professor Emeritus of Chemistry, has been confined to his bed. We are very sorry to announce that his condition during the last few days has not improved. Col. Hardin is missed most at chapel services upon which he has long been a constant attendent since long before most of us boys heard of Clemson. The entire corps of cadets join in wishing him a speedy recovery." (The Tiger, "Col. Hardin Very Ill", 18 January 1916, Volume XI, Number 14, page 2.)

Mark Bernard Hardin, Professor Emeritus of Chemistry, dies, April 26, 1916, and is interred with military honors in the churchyard at the Old Stone Church. (McKale, Donald M., "The Trusted Substitute Mark Bernard Hardin, 1897, 1899, 1902", "Tradition: A History of the Presidency of Clemson University", McKale, Donald M., editor, Mercer University Press, Macon, Georgia, 1988, ISBN 0-86554-296-1, page 77.)


Preceded by: Henry Simms Hartzog Presidents of Clemson Succeeded by: Patrick Hues Mell