Part of the Harding Clan ended up in Richland County, Ohio--one of the Nation's hotbeds for the Anti-Slavery movement. The Harding children attended The Parkman Academy School for fugitive slaves. In 1803 Ohio was the first state carved out of the Northwest Territory where the ownership of slaves was illegal. In 1803 the ultimate destination for run-away slaves was Ohio.
The Clermont Academy (or Parker's Academy, as it was familiarly known), located at Clermontville near New Richmond, Ohio, enrolled Colored students in its first class in 1839 and continued to do so until it closed after the public high school system replaced it.
Sarah Preston Baker Parker writes, "A Brief History of Clermont Academy, Together with a Few Items from the Lives of its Founder and Principal." The manuscript was written in 1889 on the 50th Anniversary of the academy's establishment. The founders of the school were James K. and Sara Parker. Mrs. Parker referred to the student register and commented on each student--"some were young; some were old; some were Colored." The school register includes Colored students with the surname Harding who are direct descendents of Warren G. Harding and the author.