Biography of Charles H. Gardner
Cuyahoga County, OH Biographies

CHARLES HERBERT GARDNER initiated his business career in the City of Cleveland with most modest financial resources, but his vital energy, his initiative ability, and his progressive policies eventually gained to him substantial success and a place of prominence and influence as one of the representative men of affairs in the Ohio metropolis. A more genial and engaging personality and a character expressive of greater integrity and loyalty that significantly marked this sterling and honored citizen, would be difficult to find, and from boyhood until the close of his life Mr. Gardner manifested the qualities that ever beget the supreme measure of popular confidence and good will. It has consistently been said by one of the friends and comrades of Mr. Gardner's youth, that his personality was such that his every acquaintance was destined to be his friend for all time.

Mr. Gardner was a native son of the county to which this publication is devoted. He was born in the historic old town of Chagrin Falls, Cuyahoga County, on the 26th of August, 1855, and was a son of Albon and Sarah (White) Gardner, who there continued their residence until their death, the father having had large real estate holdings in and about Chagrin Falls and having for many years been there engaged in the insurance business, in connection with the supervision of his real estate interests.

After having duly profited by the advantages of the public schools of his native place Mr. Gardner further fortified himself by completing a course in the Spencerian Business College in the City of Cleveland. His first employment was in the private bank conducted at Chagrin Falls by E. B. Pratt, and he was about twenty five years of age when, with very limited capital, he organized in Cleveland the Globe Oil Company, of which he became president and manager. By close application and indefatigable energy he developed for his company a substantial and prosperous business in the buying and distributing of oil, and eventually the concern was merged with the National Oil Company, with which he continued his alliance until he sold his interest in the corporation and business. He then turned his attention to the wholesale and retail flour business, purchasing the interest of Donmeyer, Gardner & Company corporation, of which he continued the president and general manager until his death, which occurred December 6, 1920. He made this one of the leading concerns of its kind in the Cleveland metropolitan district, and became interested also in other local business enterprises of important order. He became a stockholder and executive of the City Ice Company about the time of its organization, and was active in the development of this company's extensive business, now one of the largest of the sort in the entire United States. He was a member of the first Board of Directors of the Dow Chemical Company, and became the first president of the Federal Mortgage & Finance Company, with both of which corporations he continued his connection until the close of his life.

Mr. Gardner, ever loyal and liberal in his civic attitude and well fortified in his opinions concerning political and economic affairs, had no ambition for public office, but was aligned staunchly in the ranks of the republican party. He was a most earnest, zealous and liberal member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, as is also his widow, and it was in their home, at 14965 Euclid Avenue, where Mrs. Gardner still resides, that the Windermere Methodist Episcopal Church was organized, the new church edifice having been dedicated in 1908. Mr. Gardner was called upon to serve in virtually all of the laymen's offices of his church, and was for a long term of years chairman of the Board of Trustees of the same. With the finest of social instincts and with deep appreciation of the ideals that represent the best in human thought and motive, Mr. Gardner enjoyed greatly his association with his fellowmen, but his interests ever centered in his home, every relation of which was of idyllic order.

On the 28th of May, 1885, was solemnized the marriage of Mr. Gardner and Miss Hattie E. Vaughn, daughter of the late William A. and Sarah (Mossman) Vaughn, of Greenville, Pennsylvania, and she has long been a loved figure in church and social circles in the community that has represented her home for more than thirty five years. Mr. and Mrs. Gardner became the parents of four children, three of whom survive the honored father: Lawrence, who resides in the City of New York, married Miss Percita West, of that city, and they have one daughter, Fernande; Eugene, who likewise resides in the national metropolis, married Miss Mary Oughton, of Chicago, and they have two children, Dana and Eugene, Jr.; Marjorie is the wife of Mills G. Clark, and they reside in Cleveland; and Grace is at home

A History of Cuyahoga County
and the City of Cleveland
By: William R. Coates
The American Historical Society
Chicago and New York, 1924

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