Grandson of Harding and His Lover Wants Body Exhumed

James Blaesing makes his case in Ohio
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 13, 2020 3:00 PM CDT
Grandson, Lover Want Harding's Body Exhumed
In this June 16, 1931, file photo, thousands gathered about the Grecian Tomb of President Harding and Mrs. Harding, as President Herbert Hoover, center, delivers the dedication address at the memorial in Marion, Ohio.   (AP Photo)

The grandson of US President Warren G. Harding and his lover, Nan Britton, went to court in an effort to get the Republican's remains exhumed from the presidential memorial where they have lain since 1927, the AP reports. James Blaesing told an Ohio court that he is seeking Harding’s disinterment as a way "to establish with scientific certainty" that he is the 29th president's blood relation. The dispute looms as benefactors prepare to mark the centennial of Harding's 1920 election with site upgrades and a new presidential center in Marion, the Ohio city near which he was born in 1865. Blaesing says he deserves to "have his story, his mother's story, and his grandmother's story included within the hallowed halls and museums in this town."

A branch of the Harding family has pushed back against the suit filed in May—not because they dispute Blaesing's ancestry, but because they don't. They argue they already have accepted as fact DNA evidence that Blaesing’s mother, Elizabeth Ann Blaesing, was the daughter of Harding and Britton and that she is set to be acknowledged in the museum. Harding had no other children. When the test was conducted in 2015, Blaesing said he was delighted, but five years later he tells the AP his mother's legacy as the daughter of a US president is shaping up to be little more than a footnote in the new museum. "I'm not a part of anything. Nothing. My brothers, myself, no one," he said. "We're invisible." Blaesing said he is hopeful that a match directly to the president’s own DNA would change that.

(More Warren G. Harding stories.)

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