Biography of Dr. William P. Gardner
Washington County, IA Biographies





Dr. William Porter Gardner is now living retired but his investments include bank stock and farm lands which are valuable and return to him a gratifying annual income. He is a man of resolute purpose, successfully accomplishing what he undertakes and as the years have gone by his intelligent appreciation and utilization of opportunity have brought him to the enviable position which he now fills in the life of Wellman and the county.

One of the native sons of Washington county he was born in Seventy Six township, October 30, 1858. His father, Abel M. Gardner, was a native of Madison county, Ohio, his life covering the intervening days between the 24th of July, 1830, and the 30th of April, 1903. He was of German lineage and a farmer by occupation. Coming to Iowa in 1853 he located in Washington county and entered a tract of land in Seventy Six township. With characteristic energy he began to develop the place which he converted into rich fields, remaining thereon until 1863 when he traded that property for a farm adjoining Lexington on the north. There he lived until 1891 when he retired from active business life and removed to the city of Washington, where he spent his remaining days, being called to the home beyond on the 30th of April, 1903. He was eminently successful as a farmer and stock raiser, and when he retired, was in possession of a handsome competence. At the time of his death he owned over three hundred acres of Iowa's best farming land and derived therefrom a substantial annual income. He built a beautiful residence in Washington, where he spent the evening of his days in quiet and contentment for he could look back over the past without regret as he had made good use of his opportunities and in seeking his own success had wronged no man. He was a lifelong Methodist and for years was a steward and trustee of the church. In politics he was a staunch republican, but had no aspiration for office. A firm believer in the worth and advocacy of education, he gave all of his children ample opportunity to secure good mental development through the medium of schools and thus become equipped for life's practical and responsible duties. He was very charitable and a great lover of children, finding in their innocent prattle and sports a constant source of delight and interest. He was very firm in his convictions, his position ever being an unequivocable one and though men might differ from him in opinion they never questioned his honesty and ever respected his fidelity to his belief. He stood high in the esteem of his neighbors and friends and on the whole was a man of many admirable qualities of heart and mind. His wife, who bore the maiden name of Susan Martin, was born in Madison county, Ohio, July 15, 1829, and is now living with her son William. She is a lady of marked physical strength and vigor. Her girlhood days were spent in the home of her father, William Martin, who was a farmer by occupation and in September, 1853, she gave her hand in marriage to Abel M. Gardner, coming to Iowa in a wagon on her wedding trip. She has been a lifelong member of the Methodist church and her Christian faith has been a dominating influence in her life. In the family were five children: Charles C., who is mentioned elsewhere in this volume; William P.; Mary Ellen, deceased; John, who died in infancy; and Frank P., a shoe merchant of Newton, Iowa.

Dr. Gardner, whose name introduces this record, was reared to farm life and in the country schools acquired his early education which was supplemented by study in the Washington Academy and State University of Iowa. He was graduated from the medical department of the latter institution on the 3d of March, 1886, and at once located for practice in Lexington. After a year's practice there, he removed to Wellman and enjoyed a growing patronage that made him one of the most successful physicians of the county through the years of his active connection with the profession there up to the time of his retirement, which occurred in August, 1906. He lives in a beautiful home in Wellman, enjoying the fruits of his years of honorable activity. He has valuable invested interests, owning farm lands in this county, a business block in Wellman and stock in the Wellman Savings Bank, of which he is a director, having thus been officially connected with the institution from the time of the organization of the bank.

On the 9th of September, 1886, Dr. Gardner was married to Miss Nettie Josephine Gassner, who was born in Birmingham, Iowa, December 21, 1861, a daughter of Joseph Gassner, who was a minister of the Methodist Episcopal church and died in 1889 at the age of seventy seven years. He occupied pulpits in connection with the Iowa Conference for a long period and was well known in connection with the moral development of this section of the state: He married Harriet Housel, who was born in Pennsylvania and died in 1876 at the age of fifty four years. They were the parents of eight children of whom Mrs. Gardner is the youngest. She was graduated from the Mount Pleasant high school in 188o and the Iowa Wesleyan University, at Mount Pleasant in 1884. Dr. and Mrs. Gardner had three daughters: Susan Harriet, the eldest, born June 17, 1887, is a member of the junior class at Iowa Wesleyan University. She had graduated from the Wellman high school with the class of 1904 and from the Musical Conservatory of Iowa Wesleyan University in 1906 and is now pursuing a classical course there. Lavanda, born February 10, 1889, graduated from the Wellman high school with the class of 1905, and is a junior in Iowa Wesleyan University, and both daughters are members of the Pi Beta Phi sorority with which their mother became connected when she was a student in the same institution. Ellen, the youngest daughter, born September 15, 1898, is now attending the home schools. The family are members of the Methodist Episcopal church. Dr. Gardner belongs to the Masonic fraternity and both he and his wife are members of the Eastern Star. He is also connected with the Knights of Pythias and other fraternal organizations. He was at one time president of the Washington County Medical Society and occupied an honored place in the ranks of the profession. In politics he has long been a stanch republican and has served as county coroner, as a member of the school board and of the town council. In these connections his work has been gratifying as an effective force in the advancement of the best interests of the community. While he stands today as a splendid representative of the prominent and successful business man and physician, his business interests were ever but one phase of life to him and have never excluded his active participation in and support of the other vital interests which go to make up human existence.

From:
History of Washington County, Iowa
From the First White Settlement to 1908
Vol II
BY: Howard A. Burrell
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co.
Chiago 1909


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