Hardy’s research, writings bring local legends to life

Sharon Vickers Hardy loves to do research – especially for individuals wanting to discover their family history spanning the era from the American Revolution through the Civil War.  To Hardy, the long hours of research involved in searching the internet and tracing geneology isn’t tedious work.

“It’s like going on a treasure hunt.” Hardy exclaims.  “It is a rewarding journey because I’m learning about some of the families in this area – it takes me back in time and I learn about their personal lives and what they endured during the Civil War.  Many were kin or married into each other’s families – most all were connected somehow.  It’s just fun to learn about all the families I had heard about growing up in Dublin and how they intertwined. I went to school with the kids whose ancestors I am now researching.”

Much of her recent interest in local research occurred when Hardy was a member of a committee for the Pulaski County Civil War Sesquicentennial in 2011.  The mission statement of the committee was “To educate and ignite interest in all aspects of life during the Civil War and its effects on Pulaski County and its citizenry.”  Hardy, along with Chris Hanks and John Lowman were appointed to a sub-committee assigned to compile a burial register of Civil War soldiers buried in Pulaski County.  The register was to be placed in the County Courthouse where interested parties could read it.

“Our whole sesquicentennial committee visited the New Dublin Presbyterian Church because it has the greatest number of Civil War soldiers buried in it – 25 to be exact; and two of those soldiers (James Randall Kent Bentley and Henry Charlton Wysor) were from Pulaski,” explained Hardy.  There is also a local legend that a mass grave of Civil War soldiers from the Battle of Cloyd’s Mountain are buried there.

Hardy gives credit to several others who assisted with research and documentation.

“John D. Lowman documented thousands of graves, but we used only 220 of his documentations because these were soldiers buried in Pulaski County.  Chris used some of Lowman’s information and research to record close to 300 gave sites for the burial register,” she said.

This extensive research resulted in several books compiled by Hanks, containing the forms for each soldier; and each is in a page protected notebook.  These books will be placed with the (soon to be) new military exhibit at the Old Stone Pulaski County Courthouse. The exhibit will be on the third floor of the courthouse and will feature historic war items and artifacts from all wars and conflicts beginning with the Revolutionary War. The focus of this exhibit will be on local soldiers and how each war or conflict impacted Pulaski County citizens.

Realizing that families might want more information than just where their relative was buried, Hardy asked a friend to create a self-populating Grave Record form to include: the name of the soldier, rank, company, enlistment and discharge dates, birth and death dates, cemetery name and location, spouse information and names of children.  Later, Hardy added information to the Grave Record to include biography, family history, documents and photos.

It was at this point she decided to compile 25 of the records into a book, entitled “Civil War Soldiers Buried at New Dublin Presbyterian Church Cemetery, Dublin, Virginia.”  Hardy dedicated the book in memory of John D. Lowman, Sr. who spent years visiting local and surrounding county cemeteries and documenting thousands of graves.

“Through his contributions, John played a key role in preserving a piece of Pulaski County’s history,” adds Hardy.

Hardy was contacted in February 2017 by Lynn Reed, whose Hamilton Wade Chapter #949, United Daughters of the Confederacy, was planning a ceremony to honor and place Southern Iron Crosses on the graves of all 25 Civil War soldiers buried in the New Dublin Presbyterian Church Cemetery. Because of Hardy’s in-depth research, she was able to provide significant information for Reed to share with interested family and friends.

While doing the family research for others, Hardy discovered some of her own local history connections.  One interesting connection was a family that was a former neighbor of her parents.  The former neighbor’s granddaughter, now living in the house that belonged to the former neighbor, asked Hardy to help her with a Daughters of the American Revolution application.  Through the research, Hardy discovered they had the same great-great-grandfather who fought in the American Revolution.

Hardy also discovered that her great-grandfather and great-great grandfather were members of the historic New Dublin Presbyterian Church during the 1800’s.  The Church is celebrating it’s 250th Anniversary in July.  Hardy will be donating one of her Civil War books to the church during their celebration scheduled for July 28.

As a member of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution, the Pulaski County Courthouse Exhibits Committee, the Wood’s River Chapter Colonial Dames XVII, Chairperson of the Pulaski County WWI and WWII Commemoration Committee, it is apparent that Hardy has an abiding interest in family and local history.  She is currently working on her next project, researching several of the 23 Civil War soldiers buried at Oakwood Cemetery in Pulaski.  She will be compiling a book on soldiers buried there – like the book she just completed of Civil War soldiers buried at New Dublin Presbyterian Church Cemetery.

Hardy says she enjoys “meeting people” in many different parts of the country as she assists them with their geneology through e-mails, phone, text, etc.

“Although I may never meet them in person, we keep in touch – we have a common connection.  One person was so appreciative that she sent a big box of Omaha Steaks to me.  It was a total surprise,” Hardy said.

Pulaski County is fortunate to have many individuals and organizations who are passionate about sharing our local history and dedicated to preserving it for future generations.

Copies of Hardy’s book can be purchased by contacting Hardy at hardy@sv@gmail.com or 540-320-1413.

By DANIELLE REID, The Patriot

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