Harvey Wesley Hardy was born in 1825 in New York state, attended Wesleyan Seminary in Lima, New York, and graduated from Genesee College. After teaching for eight years Hardy became the superintendent of schools for a 206-school system. In 1868, he moved to Aurora, Illinois, where he operated a furniture store before moving to Lincoln in 1870. Although initially a Whig and Republican, he became a follower of William Jennings bryan and a Democrat while also becoming a strict prohibitionist and joining the Methodist Church.
On April 1, 1871, Hardy bought half-interest in Lincoln’s only furniture store, which was in a small false-fronted, one-story frame building on “the west end of O Street,” which would later be numbered 800 O St. The following year the firm was incorporated as Hardy & McCumber. As Lincoln grew to nearly 1,000, the store prospered and moved to larger quarters at 147 S.10th St., the northwest corner of 10th and N streets, while the family lived at 1825 M St.
In 1876, Hardy was elected to the Board of Education and the following year was elected mayor, receiving 617 votes over J.M. Burks with 517 and George Forbes who had 1 vote, presumably his own. Mayor Hardy “contributed the first $300 of his salary to the library fund” and pushed for high liquor license fees, which, when adopted, caused the number of saloons to drop from 25 to five. The prohibitionist move proved so successful that the following year it was copied by the Nebraska Legislature. During his second run for mayor, the pro-saloon faction left a coffin on his doorstep as a warning to stop his attacks. Hardy calmly sold the coffin for $13, donated the gain to the W.C.T.U. and was re-elected, receiving 442 votes, while attorney John Ames received 408 and Rufus Yard 383. Mayor Hardy was also able to leave office with a city surplus of $5,000.
In 1878, Hardy bought out his partner but in 1880 again sold half the corporation to A.A. Hartley, with the firm advertising itself as Hardy & Hartley Undertakers and Furniture. Hardy again ran for mayor, this time coming in a distant third and, in 1886, became the Prohibition party candidate for governor, but again losing decisively.
— Data located by Adam Seaman (Source: JournalStar)