Hardman quickly began buying up farming property in nearby counties. He founded the Harmony Grove Mills in 1893 for the purpose of stimulating economic growth in Harmony Grove and, by extension, rural north Georgia.
In 1899, L.G. Hardman, in partnership with his physician brother, William B. Hardman, opened the Hardman Sanitorium in Harmony Grove, the most advanced hospital facility in northeast Georgia at that time. It was soon claimed that Hardman had become a nationally renowned physician.
During his time as physician in Harmony, Hardman experimented in the field of anesthesiology, being influenced by the work of Crawford Long, a pioneer in the field of anesthetics from nearby Jefferson, Georgia.
By the turn of the century, Lamartine Hardman was widely regarded as one of the wealthiest men in north Georgia. He owned 10,000 acres (40 km²) of peach and apple orchard in over seven Georgia counties and Florida. He was active in agricultural experimentation, developing many new methods that he generously shared with the farming community.
His commitment to agricultural innovation was reflected by his active service as a trustee of the Georgia State College of Agriculture in nearby Athens (now the College of Agriculture of the University of Georgia). He also sat on the board of trustees for Shorter College in Rome; Mercer University in Atlanta; and the Southern Baptist Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky.
In 1901, Hardman had been introduced to the 19-year-old daughter of a socially prominent family from Valdosta, Emma Wiley Griffin. They began courting in 1907, and after six months, at the age of 51, Hardman married the woman who would become the mother of their four children: Lamartine Jr., Josephine, Sue, and Emma.
Hardman served as the Federal Fuel Administrator for the state of Georgia in 1914-1917, during the "Great War" (now known as World War I). His was the responsibility of enforcing the nationwide rationing of coal, especially to evaluate and dole out fuel to those industries that were essential to the war effort.
He was the oldest elected governor in the state's history, being 71 at the time of his first election.
The 1926 race for governor between John Holder and Dr. L.G. Hardman created a bitter political split between the neighboring cities of Commerce and Jefferson, the two largest in Jackson County. (It is said that the rivalry lives on in the athletic rivalries of the town’s two high schools.) Hardman made efforts to remove John Holder from the chairship of the Highway Department, but Holder, much better connected to the legislature than Governor Hardman, was able to keep his post. Highway work progressed slowly during this time while the two rivals continued their political feud.
Two years later he was elected for a second term, again opposite his rival, John Holder.
As governor, Hardman oversaw the renovation of the Georgia State Capitol building in Atlanta, the procurement of the Rhodes home as a depository for the state archives, and a plant to produce license tags.
One of his most significant contributions to the state while in the office of governor was the establishment of a study in governmental efficiency, called the Allen Commission on Simplification and Coordination, headed by prominent Atlanta businessman, Ivan Allen Sr. However, the findings of this commission were not implemented until after Hardman had left office; the Great Depression dampened any support for the sweeping changes he might have garnered with the General Assembly. The findings paved the way for the sweeping governmental reorgnizations of Hardman's gubernatorial successor, Richard Russell, Jr..
An interesting anecdote has been told about Governor Hardman: Two men had been convicted of murder and sentenced to death. A third person then confessed that she and the male confederate had actually committed the fatal crime. Lawyers for the two condemned men begged Hardman for a stay of execution until the new evidence could be evaluated. The governor settled the matter by studying photographs of the two men, concluding that they were definitely criminal types, and permitting their executions.
Due to his age, Hardman's terms as governor were plagued by ill-health and fatigue. After completing his two terms, he spent his final years in his home in Commerce (he was none-too-pleased that Harmony Grove had changed its name some three decades before), he died of heart failure at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta on February 18, 1937.
He is buried in Gray Hill Cemetery in Commerce, Georgia.
Preserving the entrepreneurial spirit: a LEED Gold-certified project demonstrates that historic restoration and green building principles go hand in hand.
Apr 01, 2012; A beautiful 19th century Italianate farmhouse has in many ways become a true historic preservation project. One of 18 historic...