One hundred years ago Warren G. Harding, owner of the Marion Daily Star newspaper in Marion, Ohio, was elected as the 29th president of the United States. President Harding died suddenly in San Francisco on August 2, 1923 leaving behind his surviving widow Florence Kling Harding. The couple had no children together. Several years after President Harding’s death, his mistress Nan Britton published a book revealing that President Harding was her daughter Elizabeth’s father. President Harding’s surviving relatives denied Ms. Britton’s claims. In the intervening years, the descendants of President Harding’s siblings, particularly his brother George Tryon Harding II, have assumed the Harding family mantle. In 2015, James Blaesing, the son of Nan Britton’s daughter Elizabeth, collaborated with two willing members of the extended Harding family to submit DNA for the purpose of establishing a family connection. The testing results provided by Ancestry.com confirmed that President Harding’s grand-niece and grand-nephew share a common ancestor with Mr. Blaesing. Most believed that the common ancestor was President Harding’s father, George Tryon Harding. Mr. Blaesing hoped that the new scientific evidence would pave the way for the extended Harding family to acknowledge his status as the President’s grandson and honor the legacy of his mother and grandmother. Unfortunately, despite the 2015 testing results, Mr. Blaesing remained largely excluded from planning and participation in the Harding 2020 project . The project includes a complete restoration of the Harding Home, Press House and grounds to their 1920 appearances, as well as the construction of the Warren G. Harding Presidential Center adjacent to the Harding Home. This exclusion prompted Mr. Blaesing to find a way to honor his mother and grandmother and ensure that their story is preserved for future generations. To that end, Mr. Blaesing joined forces with Magilla Entertainment, a New York production company, to tell his family story through documentary film. As part of that project, Mr. Blaesing filed an application to disinter President Harding with the Marion County Ohio probate court. Numerous members of the extended Harding family filed objections to Mr. Blaesing’s application. Mr. Blaesing maintains that the legal factors used to evaluate good cause for disinterment in Ohio weigh in his favor, and that he is entitled to disinter President Harding to obtain conclusive scientific proof of his ancestry and provide the public with additional information about the 29th president of the United States. BHH attorney Natalie A. Harris and local Marion, Ohio attorney Blaine Brockman of Darby Legal represent Mr. Blaesing and Magilla Entertainment. The applicable Ohio statute requires the court to conduct a hearing before ruling on a disinterment application. Read more on this story in the Columbus Dispatch and the New York Times.
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Ohio Probate Court Will Decide BHH Application For Presidential Grandson To Unearth Family Legacy