On Saturday, April 21, 2018, the extended Hart-Herrington family gathered for the dedication of a Hardin County Historical Commission marker.
The ceremony took place at the site of the Providence Baptist Church, established in 1852, through the efforts of two of the founding families of Hardin County.
In tribute, William Henry Hart and his wife Sarah Granberry Herrington Hart gifted the land to establish the first settlement, church, and school called Providence.
James McKim III, Historical Commission Chairman, opening ceremonial remarks reminded listeners that it “happens to be a historic day, April 21, 1836.”
"The decisive victory at San Jacinto led “Sam Houston and his army (to win) independence, but it was up to the settlers of Providence to build this state,” he said.
Settlement meant bringing institutions of faith and government to the region as the Harts and Herringtons did.
Hardin County Commissioner Chris Kirkendall provided the invocation for the event and Donna Dzierlenga gave reading of the History of Providence Baptist Church from the history compiled by author Renee Hart Wells.
When Hardin County was established in 1859, William Hart was elected the first County Treasurer, and Hampton J. Herrington was elected the first County Judge and Chief Justice.
McKim recounted a story about William Hart’s early spring planting, which turned out to be the sole surviving crop in the drought year of 1860.
Perhaps by providence, Hart was able to offer his neighbors all the corn they needed, asking only for a promise for replacement with the next good crop.
William Hart passed away in 1861, but Sarah continued to support the Providence Church until her death in 1896.
Even today, the Harts and Herringtons remain important residents of Hardin County.
For anyone interested in visiting the historical markers: The Providence Baptist Church marker is on Woodard Road, and the Hart-Herrington Historic Cemetery is located on FM 420. Both locations are north of Kountze.