submitted by Shirley Plumb, November 27, 2007

The City Mourns the Death of Dr. J. Hardman

With scarcely a premonitory rumor of his illness, the city was painfully shocked yesterday afternoon by news from his home of the alarming sickness of Dr. J. Hardman, and an hour later the tidings came of his death! Warned by no shadow of even the softest cloud floating in the blue sky which we all had come to believe canopled the serene and beautiful life of our friend, the fatal bolt descends! He had talked of being indisposed from an attack of the prevailing influenza, like everybody else, during the last six weeks, but he had taken quite a journey during this period, and on returning home had continued his office work up to Tuesday. On this day we learn that he felt very feeble, though he was able to be about at home, and Wednesday found him in about the same condition. He was very restless during Wednesday night, and went into a comatose state early Thursday morning. He gradually sank in the morning hours, and was unable to see or recognize anybody by his bedside. At noon he took a couple of swallows of nourishment and this seems to have been his last conscious act on earth. He died at 4 o’clock.

Deceased was born in Columbian county, Ohio, July 16, 1824. He spent his youth in labor on his father’s farm, attending the district school in winter, until the age of fifteen, when he entered the Cottage Hill Seminary at Ellsworth, Ohio, which he left to follow the vocation of teacher. In 1847 he entered the office of Dr. J. W. Parker, of Columbiana, Ohio, as a student of medicine, and supplementing these studies at a course of medical lectures at Cleveland. In 1950 he began the practice of his profession at Elkton, Ohio. An asthmatic trouble became aggravated by his frequent exposures in country practice, and compelled to abandon his profession, he took up the study of dentistry. In May, 1855, he emigrated to Iowa, and purchased the business and office of Dr. Hurd in this city.

For thirty-five years Dr. Hardman has not only been one of the best-known and most respected citizens of Muscatine, but his culture and skill in the art and practice of his profession have adorned our state. It was in his office that the State Dental Society was organized. He lent his zeal and influence to the establishment of the dental department of the State University, and on the passage of the dental law of Iowa in 1882, was commissioned by Gov. Sherman as one of the State Dental Examiners, and continued a leading member of the board to the day of his death. In recognition of his services to the profession, the Ohio College of Dental Surgery of Cincinnati conferred upon him the degree of Doctor of Dental Surgery.

But thus endeared to the profession and complimented with its highest honors, it is as a citizen, neighbor and friend that Dr. Hardman made the proudest and most enduring record of his life. As a public-minded citizen he took great interest in the conventions of his party, and he was a familiar figure at meetings called for promoting the interests of the city. It was only in one direction, however, that he was willing to assume the responsibilities of public office. As a member of the Muscatine School Board he rendered invaluable service to the cause of education, and could always be counted upon as a Minute Man in whatever work would advance the interests of the public schools. Dr. Hardman’s special penchant outside of his professional studies, was a taste for natural science, and one of the founders of the Muscatine Academy of Science, no member stood before him in personal devotion to the society, the charm and value of his contributions, or the love and esteem of its membership, which delighted t honor him with its most important offices. The Academy has received a dire blow in the death of one who as president, trustee, curator, essayist and debater magnified every honor and trust and work assigned him by the society.

Dr. Hardman was united in marriage July 17, 1851, with Miss Mary C. Farmer, daughter of Dr. William Farmer, of Salineville, Ohio. Of this union there were five children, three of whom as living—Mrs. He. E. Barber, of Minneapolis, Dr. Joseph H. Hardman, and Mrs. S. S. Morehouse, of Kansas City. No home in our city was hallowed with sweeter and purer domestic virtues and happiness, and none surpassed it in the riches and charm of its hospitality. The hearts of its multitude of guests, and of all who came within the spell of its friendships, share in deepest sorrow the bereavement of her who was the dual grace of the noble life now closed.

We leave to another day the reflections which naturally arise over the bier of Dr. J. Hardman. No better man has walked this earth. What shall be said of the present and future of this unique life? Our friend believed in no creeds or faiths, save the creed he gave to others in a life so noble that Christianity bowed in respect before it, and found its standard difficult to attain.

The funeral appointments have not been arranged and will be announced later. -- 1890. --

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