Benjamin F. Harding

Benjamin Franklin Harding (January 4, 1823  June 16, 1899) was an American attorney and politician born in Pennsylvania. He held political offices in the Oregon Territory and later served as a United States Senator from the state of Oregon.

Benjamin F. Harding
United States Senator
from Oregon
In office
September 12, 1862 March 4, 1865
Preceded byBenjamin Stark
Succeeded byGeorge Henry Williams
Secretary of the Oregon Territory
In office
January 27, 1855  March 3, 1859
Preceded byGeorge Law Curry
Succeeded byLucien Heath (under state government)
2nd Speaker of the Oregon House of Representatives
In office
Preceded byWilliam G. T'Vault
Succeeded byJoel Palmer
Personal details
Born(1823-01-04)January 4, 1823
Tunkhannock, Pennsylvania
DiedJune 16, 1899(1899-06-16) (aged 76)
Cottage Grove, Oregon
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Elizabeth Cox (d. 1868)
F. W. Bush

Early life

He was born near Tunkhannock, Pennsylvania on January 4, 1823.[1] Harding was educated in the public schools before he studying law. He passed the bar in 1847, and then set up practice in Joliet, Illinois in 1849.[1] In 1850, he moved first to California, and then to the Oregon Territory.

Oregon politics

Harding was elected to the Oregon Territorial Legislature in 1850 to represent Marion County.[2] Two years later he returned to that body and served as Speaker of the House of Representatives.[3] Harding was then selected as United States district attorney in 1853. From 1854 to 1859 he served as the Secretary of the Oregon Territory, predecessor to the office of Oregon Secretary of State.

In 1858 Harding was elected to the Oregon State Legislature, but as Oregon had not yet been admitted to the Union, the assembly only met briefly before disbanding until 1859, when a special session was held and Harding served at the session.[4][5] In 1860, he was elected again as a Democrat representing Marion County.[5] At the next session of the legislature Harding was elected as Speaker of the Oregon House of Representatives, and this would be his final session in the state legislature.[6]

Harding was elected to the United States Senate to fill Edward D. Baker's seat after the latter had died.[1] He served from September 12, 1862, to March 4, 1865.

Later life and family

Harding was married twice, first in 1851 to Elizabeth Cox, with whom he had several children. After she died in 1868, he married F.W. Bush, a relative of Asahel Bush.[7] After serving in the Senate, Harding retired to his farm near Salem.[1] A few years later he moved to Cottage Grove, Oregon where he died on June 16, 1899 and was buried at Cottage Grove Cemetery.[1]


  • "Benjamin F. Harding". Find a Grave. Retrieved March 24, 2009.
U.S. Senate
Preceded by
Benjamin Stark
U.S. Senator (Class 2) from Oregon
Served alongside: James W. Nesmith
Succeeded by
George H. Williams
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