Appointed: August 10, 1857 – March 1858
George Shadford Harden was born in Barnwell District, South Carolina in 1821. Harden came to California in 1849 to participate in the Great California Gold Rush.
The Federal Census of 1850 notes the presence of George Harden in both Los Angeles and Santa Barbara counties. The current Sheriff-Tax Collector William Bradly and then Deputy Collector of Foreign Miners Licenses George Harden appeared before the Board of Supervisors on May 6, 1857.
The purpose of their appearance in front of the Board of Supervisors was to discuss pay issues. The Board of Supervisors decreed that George Harden or any other deputy collector appointed by the county Sheriff was to be allowed a 22 percent cut on all Foreign Miners Licenses collected. Such payments were to be made by the County Treasurer in gold dust, with a fixed value of $14.00 dollars per ounce.
The minutes of the Board of Supervisors dated August 10, 1857, record the following: "On motion of Supervisor Rankin that George S. Harden, be and is hereby appointed Sheriff of Fresno County until the next general election in September 1857 and fill the vacancy occasioned by the resignation of W.C. Bradly, esq. and that he file Bonds immediately." This motion was made as a result of the resignation of the previous sheriff, Sheriff William Bradly, who also serving as the county Tax Collector, had failed to have followed legally mandated procedures, nor had he maintained proper tax records.
George Harden left Fresno County soon after his abbreviated term of office, and no further reference to him has been found. Harden never returned to South Carolina and never married. George S. Harden, also a professional gambler, died in Boise City, Idaho, in 1896. He is recorded as Fresno County's second sheriff.