Warren G. Harding

Warren G. Harding

Twenty-Ninth President of the United States

b. November 2, 1865 —- d. August 2, 1923

Family Home & Tomb in Marion, Ohio
County Seat of Marion County

Harding Memorial

Warren Harding was born in Corsica (now known as Blooming Grove), Ohio on November 2, 1865. His family lived in Caledonia, Ohio until they moved to Marion when he was 18 years old. Eventually acquiring the Marion Star newspaper, he became a popular businessman, public speaker, and Republican politician. He married Florence DeWolfe (her second marriage) in 1891. She was five years his senior and was, for her day and age, a very strong willed, well educated, and very inde- pendent woman. She ran the circulation depart- ment of the Marion Star for her husband. Harding called her “The Duchess.” Their marriage was not a happy one. Harding had numerous affairs even risking liaisons in the White House. They had no children. Harding had one illegitimate child, Elizabeth Ann Christian, by his mistress, Nan Britton.

Harding conducted his presidential campaign from the front porch of his home in Marion. A conser-
vative Republican, his campaign emphasized a “return to normalcy” after the progressive politics of Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson. The national press corp stayed on the site during the campaign using the Press Office behind the Harding home.

The Harding administration is infamous not only for the Tea Pot Dome Scandal but for the general corruption of his administration. He was most unprepared to be President even though he had served in the state senate, as Lieutenant Governor, Governor, and Senator from Ohio. He did not have the physical stamina or the strong character required for leadership in the White House. Like U.S. Grant’s administration, blind party politics and bad appointments led to vast corruption.

Harding died in San Francisco during a political tour of the far west. Florence was with him. Almost immediately after his death, the false rumor began that Mrs. Harding had murdered her husband because of his endless affairs. As he lay dying, the Tea Pot Dome Scandal was coming to press. His administration’s corruption was on the verge of full public exposure. He had been ill from food poisoning on July 28th during the train trip back from Alaska. Exhaustion, stress, and pneumonia led to his death on August 2nd. He was buried in Marion, Ohio on August 10th.