About this Famous Person
Warren G. HARDING
29th President of the United States
Source : Tim DOWLING
Warren Gamaliel Harding was born in Blooming Grove, Ohio. His paternal ancestors, mostly ardent Baptists, hailed from Clifford, Pennsylvania and had migrated to Ohio in 1820. Nicknamed "Winnie", he was the eldest of eight children born to Dr. George Tryon Harding, Sr. (1843–1928) and Phoebe Elizabeth (Dickerson) Harding (1843–1910). His mother, a devout Methodist, was a midwife who later obtained her medical license. His father, never quite content with his current job or possessions, was forever swapping for something better, and was usually in debt; he owned a farm, taught at a rural school north of Mount Gilead, Ohio and also acquired a medical degree and started a small practice. It was rumored in Blooming Grove that one of Harding's great-grandmothers may have been African American. Harding's great-great grandfather Amos claimed the rumor was started, as an attempted extortion, by a thief caught in the act by the family. Eventually, Harding's family moved to Caledonia, Ohio, where his father then acquired The Argus, a local weekly newspaper. It was at The Argus where, from the age of 10, Harding learned the basics of the journalism business. In 1878, his brother Charles and sister Persilla died, presumably from typhoid.
Harding continued to study the printing and newspaper trade as a college student at Ohio Central College in Iberia, during which time he also worked at the Union Register in Mount Gilead. In college Harding became an accomplished public speaker and graduated in 1882 with a Bachelor of Science degree at the age of 17. As a youngster Harding had become an accomplished cornet player and played in various bands. In 1884, Harding gained popular recognition in Marion, when his Citizens' Cornet Band won the third place $200 prize at the highly competitive Ohio State Band Festival in Findlay. The prize money paid for the band's snappy dress uniforms Harding had bought on credit.
Upon graduating, he had stints as a teacher and insurance man, and made a brief attempt at reading the law. He then raised $300, in partnership with others, for the purchase of the failing Marion Daily Star, the weakest of the growing city's three newspapers; Harding was complete owner of the Star by 1886. Harding revamped the paper's editorial platform to support the Republican Party, and enjoyed a moderate degree of success. He became an ardent supporter of Governor "Fire Alarm Joe" Foraker; however, his political stance put him at odds with those who controlled local politics in Marion. When Harding moved to unseat the Marion Independent as the official daily paper, he was met with strong resistance from local figures, such as Amos Hall Kling, one of Marion's wealthiest real estate speculators. The editorial battle with the Independent became so heated that, at the inevitable mention of Harding's questionable bloodline, father and son proceeded, with shotgun in hand, to demand, and get, a retraction.