Thomas Hardy married Elizabeth Margaret Pierce on August 3, 1831 and together they had 14 children, including Mary Hardy. On his maternal grandmother’s side, Douglas MacArthur’s ancestors had been residents of Norfolk prior the Revolutionary War. Elizabeth Pierce’s father, David Pierce, a Norfolk merchant, married her mother, Margaret Martin Pierce, on March 3, 1810. Margaret Martin Pierce was also the daughter of a Norfolk merchant, Andrew Martin, whose substantial holdings were destroyed when Dunmore torched the city in 1776.
After attempting to recover from his losses during the Revolutionary War, Andrew Martin married Margaret Pierce’s mother, Margaret Mohun, on May 15, 1784. Margaret Mohun was the daughter of a prosperous Norfolk blacksmith who had emigrated to the colonies prior to the Revolution. On his maternal grandfather’s side, MacArthur’s Hardy roots went deep in Currituck County, possibly as early as 1695.
Several of MacArthur’s Hardy ancestors, including his grandparents, are buried in Norfolk’s Cedar Grove Cemetery.
In responding to Duckworth’s proposal for the memorial General MacArthur was quoted as having said:
As Virginian myself, whose mother came from a long line of Virginians and whose mother and father were married in the present City of Norfolk, I accept as a great honor the invitation of the city to place my papers, decorations, and other mementoes of my military service in its perpetual care and keeping
Although MacArthur was actually born in Little Rock, Arkansas, he is quoted in the Ledger Dispatch October 1, 1963 as having interrupted the speaker at a Masonic ceremony in his honor:
It was intended that that I should be born in Norfolk, my mother’s home. But my father, being an Army man, was suddenly ordered to Little Rock, Ark. where I was born. But the Norfolk papers were loyal and in the paper’s headline it said Douglas MacArthur was born while his parents were away.
In addition to housing his papers and possessions, MacArthur requested that he and his wife be buried at the Memorial. MacArthur was close to his mother who had accompanied him during much of his career including his years as a cadet as West Point. No doubt he was happy to rest in the city of her family.