ebook  History of Watertown, Wisconsin


Alex H. Hardie

b. 1889, d. 1962


Son of Alexander A. Hardie





Hardie’s cottage on Lake Koshkonong and small farm/fishing scene in rural Watertown (Koshkonong ?)

Same cabin appears in both paintings.





It is seldom that a man attempts to do work in the sewing line even for himself, but A. A. Hardie, of this city, has been experimenting in that line and has made a success of the undertaking.  He recently conceived the idea of making a United States flag and after selecting the material set to work.  The result of his labors was thrown to the breeze over his place of business to-day, and it would be a credit to any seamstress.  "Old Glory" is depicted in all its colors, and is seven feet in length.  Mr. Hardie selected the goods and with the aid of his sewing machine finished the flag himself.  It is a creditable piece of work and he has been highly complimented by his numerous lady friends.   WR




A heart-rending accident occurred Thursday afternoon at 3:30 o’clock near the Washington Street crossing of the Milwaukee Road, the result of which was that Alex Hardie, the 11-year-old son of A. A. Hardie, lost portions of both of his arms.  The boy, in company with two young companions, had climbed on an eastbound freight train at the Junction and was taking a ride when ordered off by one of the train crew.  In jumping to the ground Alex fell in some manner as to throw his arms across the rail, the wheels of the car passing over them and horribly mangling them.  He was carried to the home of David Waterhouse nearby and given medical attention.  It was found necessary to amputate both members, one above and the other below the elbow.  The little fellow withstood the operation manfully and is getting along splendidly. He will no doubt recover, although the shock must have been terrible for one so young.  He was removed to his father’s home on Fourth Street the following day.  The sad occurrence has been a severe trial to the fond father and in his trouble he has general sympathy.   WR



Postmaster Gruetzmacher is having good success in soliciting funds for the purpose of buying artificial arms for little Alex Hardie, who recently had his arms cut off by the cars.  Charitably-inclined persons who wish to donate for this purpose can leave their contributions at the post office with Mr. Gruetzmacher or at his store on Main Street.  WG



May          "THE PENNY MAGAZINE" / Alex Hardie publisher

"The Penny Magazine" was published here by the Crown Printing Co., 110 S. 4th Street, back along about 1900.


In fact, the copy we have is dated May, 1901 and we've discovered that the publisher, editor and entire staff was none other than Alex Hardie.


The magazine measures 6 x 3 inches and was typewritten.  It contains several short literary sketches and there is one advertisement informing the public that flags for Decoration Day could be obtained at A. A. Hardie's.


Hardie was quite a remarkable character.  The last we heard of him he was making his home at Lake Kegonsa near Madison.  He was the subject a couple years ago of a feature article which appeared in a number of state newspapers.  Hardie, who lost both arms in an accident years ago, is a graduate of Watertown High School and the article said he was probably the only man in the nation who paints with a brush held tightly between his teeth.


He has overcome his handicap so well that everyone who meets him marvels at his ability.  He lost both arms when he was a boy of 11 back in 1900.  With the use of an artificial arm he shaves himself, feeds himself and does many things which he has been able to train himself for.  But when it comes to painting he places the brush between his teeth and turns out his pictures that way.  He was in the 4th grade in a Watertown school when he fell from a freight car and was crushed under the wheels.


Despite his handicap he learned to write with a pencil held between his teeth and kept up with his classes.  At the blackboard he held the chalk between his teeth.


After graduating from high school in 1909 he attended the Chicago Art Academy for a year, then 3 years later graduated from the Kent School of Law in Chicago and in 1915 was admitted to the Bar in Illinois.  In 1920 he went to the Carnes Artificial Limb Co., where for 12 years he was salesman and office manager.  In 1932 the office was closed and Hardie moved to his cottage at Lake Kegonsa.


For some years he has been a salesman of greeting cards and has been building up a trade that extends as far as he can walk. That extends to an 8-mile radius from his home.


WDTimes, Times Square of 05 21 1948




At the regular meeting of the Webster Debating Society held last week at the High School the following officers were elected:


President—Alex Hardie

Vice President—Cyrus Casey

Secretary—Zeno Walthers

Assistant Secretary—John Seager

Treasurer—Henry W. Krause      WG


03 19       Alex [A.] Hardie purchased of H. H. Parkhurst lots 4 and 5, block 19 in the First ward, the consideration being $1,500.    WG




Description automatically generated with medium confidence     NOTICE TO WORKERS


The attached drawing was made by Alex Hardie in June, 1909, shortly following the old factory fire. 


The drawing brings out two important things:


First, that there is great danger in jumping on to moving trains, for this young man was thrown under the wheels of a freight train and both arms were cut off. 


The drawing was made by holding a pen in his teeth.


Second, the cause of this fire was never known, but may have been due to the carelessness of some one who may have dropped a match that a mouse or rat may have gnawed and thus ignited.  Don't drop ordinary matches on to the floor, or leave them where rats or mice can gnaw them.


L W Parks / G B Lewis Works Manager.


c.1910   PAINTING     1910c, White Owl Club clubhouse painting, 110 N Fourth St




Alex. Hardie, aged 20 years, several years ago had both his arms cut off within an inch or two of the armpits in a railway accident.  He is now attending Kent College of Law, Chicago, and he recently purchased an artificial arm from a firm in Kansas City, Missouri, and when he visited in the city last week he carried his suitcase from the depot with his artificial arm and he can use it nearly as well as anyone can a natural arm and hand.  He is very proud of his artificial arm, and all his old friends and schoolmates here were greatly pleased to see how naturally he handled it.  He expects to get another one in a short time for right arm.   WG




Alexander Hardie, a former resident of Watertown, son of Mr. and Mrs. A. A. Hardie of Fort Atkinson, recently took the examination for admittance to the bar in Milwaukee.  He was admitted to the bar of Illinois in 1915.  The young man, who is 28 years old, lost both hands when a lad by falling under a train.  He later took up the study of law and also attained proficiency in painting and drawing.  He has mechanical hands which enable him to do many things, but he writes by holding pencil or pen in his teeth.  He operates a typewriter with a pencil tightly held between his teeth   WNews


1946       PAINTING


The old G. B. Lewis Plant, barber shop on Main Street bridge seen in the distance ["The Bridge" barber shop, John Seager] (1946).  Shop taken out by March 26, 1904 flood.



A painting of a sailboat in the water

Description automatically generated 


1956       PAINTINGS


City dam near Milwaukee Street (1956).



City dam near Milwaukee Street, view from east bank (1956). Globe Mill, left; G.B. Lewis center. 

Fire destroyed the Lewis Water St. building in June of 1909.



Globe Mill, left; Alex Hardie 1905 picture, used in his painting, 1956 

Alex Hardie drawing of Lewis fire 1909



Cross References:

Oak Hill Cemetery burial 



Alexander A. Hardie (father of Alex H)

1901:  Alex A. Hardie (father of or brother to Alex H.?) elected Assistant Fire Chief (year of G.B. Lewis fire)

1903:  Pallbearer, double funeral of Anna and Orlena Moak

1908:  Hook and Ladder Co officer

1908:  Watertown Retail Grocers' Association





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History of Watertown, Wisconsin