Biography of Eli E. Hardridge
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Eli E. Hardridge was born in February 1858, the son of Jonathan Hardridge (or Hardage), who was a son of Josiah Hardage, a half-breed. His mother was a full blood, named Lucy New. Jonathan Hardridge came to this country and settled at the mouth of Cane Creek, where Eli was born. The young man was at first sent to the Checotah neighborhood school, and afterward went to Tallahassee Mission, where he remained nearly five years, defraying the expenses of his own clothing and other incidentals by laboring during vacation. For this Eli is entitled to great credit. After leaving Tallahassee he was sent, at the expense of the nation, for three years, to Wooster College, Ohio, where he went through his freshman course, but was obliged to leave before graduating, owing to the failure of his health. Young Hardridge, with his mother, father, aunt and cousin, John Berryhill, refugeed in Texas, south of the Red River line, at the outbreak of the Civil War. His father built a log house and planted a small patch of corn, which, with the assistance of game, was their main support during the long years of exile. Eli’s father at one time manufactured a pair of shoes and traded them off to a United States citizen for a cow, which they killed and ate. In 1866 the family returned to the Creek Nation and settled at High Springs, near the old council grounds, and farmed for some years, his father dying in 1868. In 1884 Eli was appointed clerk to Judge Dick Bruner, at Tuskegee, which office he held one season. In 1885 he was elected by the council as janitor to both houses, and held the office during the next year. In 1886 to 1887 he was appointed to do special work for Judge Harlan at the Muskogee courts, and in 1888 filled the same place under Judge George Sowers for a period of twelve months. In 1890 he was called to fill the unexpired term of Cussetah Micco in the House of Kings, and was one of the youngest members that ever served in that body. On September 1st he was elected to the House of Warriors, to represent Cussetah Town. Mr. Hardridge has a farm in cultivation, which he tends himself. He has, also, a small stock of cattle and ponies. His mother, who learned the English language at Tallahassee, is now residing at Okmulgee, while her son takes charge of the farm. The subject of our sketch is a young man of intelligence, is bright and ambitious, and speaks English fluently.