Harding Smith was born in 1822 in Steuben County, New York.
Harding was married to New York native Margaret (b. 1824), probably in New York, and they had at least three children: Wallace H. (b. 1848), Emma S. (b. 1853) and David (b. 1860).
They moved from New York to Ohio around 1848, and back to New York by 1850 when “Harden” was working as a wagoner and living with his wif eand son in Tyrone, Steuben County, New York. The family eventually settled in Michigan sometime before 1853 and by 1860 Harding was a wagonmaker living with his wife and children in Portland, Ionia County.
He stood 5’7” with blue eyes, light hair and a dark complexion and was 39 years old and still living in Ionia County when he enlisted in Company D on May 13, 1861. (Company D was composed in large part of men who came from western Ionia County and Eaton County.) He was discharged for general debility on July 29, 1861, at Hunter’s Farm, Virginia.
Harding returned to Portland where he reentered the service in Company D, Fifth Michigan cavalry on August 18, 1862, for 3 years, and was mustered on August 27 at Detroit where the regiment was being organized. The regiment left Michigan for Washington on December 4, 1862 and was attached to the Provisional Cavalry Brigade and participated in the deffenses of Washington through the summer of 1863. The occupied Gettysburg, Pennsylvania on June 28, 1863, was in action at Hanover, Pennsylvania on June 30 and at the Battle of Gettysburg from July 1-3. They also participated in the pursuit of Lee’s forces to Williamsport and back into Virginia. It is not known for certain if Harding was serving the regiment during this period. He was reported with the Fifth Corps from August of 1863 through October, was stationed at the dismounted camp in November and on detached service at Camp Stoneman, Virginia, from September of 1864 through December. He was taken prisoner on March 16, 1865, paroled on March 26, subsequently absent sick in Michigan and honorably discharged on June 12, 1865, at Camp Chase, Ohio.
Following his discharge Harding returned to Michigan and settled in Saginaw, Saginaw County where he lived most of remainder of his life, and for many years worked as a wagon-maker. By 1870 he was working as a wagon-maker and living with his wife and children in Saginaw village. (Curiously, in 1891 there was one Harding Smith working a farm in Steuben County, New York.)
It appears that Harding married a second wife named Nancy who may have been from Ohio.
In 1882 he applied for and received pension no. 515,256, drawing $12.00 per month.
Harding was admitted to the Michigan Soldiers’ Home (no. 200) as a single man (either a widower or divorced) on January 26, 1886. He was discharged at his own request on September 18, 1892, and subsequently readmitted on June 18, 1893, discharged on November 15, 1894; readmitted on August 29, 1895, discharged on August 3, 1896, and admitted for the final time on August 1, 1898.
Harding died of “senile debility” and “La Grippe” (influenza) in the Home hospital on January 31, 1899 and was buried in the Home cemetery: section 2 row 6 grave 4.
In April of 1902 a woman named Nancy applied for a widow’s pension (no. 760204).