Hattiesburg Area Historical Society Museum
Backstory and Context
In addition to its galleries, the museum offers a website that includes a brief overview of the history of Hattiesburg. The area was inhabited by Native tribes for many centuries while the townsite was established by Captain William Harris Hardy, who was born on February 12, 1837 in Collirene, Alabama. Hardy received training in law, education, and surveying. During the Civil War, he served as Captain of Company H in the 16th Mississippi Regiment. In 1868, Hardy worked to promote a plan to build a railway from Meridian to the town of New Orleans, including efforts to conduct and release a preliminary survey in 1872. Hardy spent the next few years organizing plans with investors and builders.
Hardy's first wife passed away, leaving him with six children. In April of 1873, he met and began courting Hattie Lott. The couple married on December 1, 1873 and established a home in Meridian, Mississippi where they had three children.
Hattie died in 1895, and her husband preserved her memory by naming the city of Hattiesburg in her honor. Hardy later helped establish two more Mississippi communities, Laurel and Gulfport. He was also elected to the Mississippi State Legislature in 1985 and served as a circuit court judge. He also practiced law and held law offices mainly in Gulfport, Mississippi. After remarrying and having three more children, he died of a heart attack on February 17, 1917, in his Gulfport home.
Hattiesburg Area Historical Society. Hattiesburg-The Beginning, Hattiesburg Area Historical Society and Museum. Accessed May 4th 2021. http://www.hahsmuseum.org/hist.htm.
Mississippi Digital Library. Hattiesburg Area Historical Society & Museum, Mississippi Digital Library. 2015. Accessed May 4th 2021. https://msdiglib.org/hahs.