Bailey Hardeman: Matagorda’s Republic of Texas statesman

Bailey Hardeman

   Bailey Hardeman, War of 1812 soldier, Santa Fe trader, mountain man, a founder and officer of the Republic of Texas, thirteenth or fourteenth child of Thomas and Mary (Perkins) Hardeman, was born at the Thomas Hardeman station or stockade, near Nashville, on February 26, 1795. 
   His father was a prominent frontiersman who served in the North Carolina convention that considered ratifying the United States Constitution at Hillsboro, North Carolina, and in the Tennessee state constitutional convention of 1796.  
   Bailey spent his early years in Davidson and Williamson counties, Tennessee. 
   He was a store proprietor, deputy sheriff of Williamson County, and lawyer in Tennessee. 
   At eighteen he served as an artillery officer in the War of 1812 under his father’s friend Andrew Jackson in Louisiana. 
   On June 19, 1820, he married Rebecca Wilson, also of Williamson County. The next year he joined his father and his brother John on the Missouri frontier west of Old Franklin. 
   There he met William Becknell and became involved in the early Santa Fe trade. Hardeman was in the Meredith Miles Marmaduke expedition to New Mexico in 1824–25. 
   He and Becknell trapped beaver along the Colorado River north and west of Santa Cruz and Taos and narrowly escaped starvation during the winter of 1824–25. 
   On his return trip to Missouri, he lost two horses and a mule to Osage Indian attackers, but his overall trading profits must have been considerable. 

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