William H. Gardner, BiographyPorter County biographical sketches . . . .

Transcribed biography of William H. Gardner

WILLIAM H. GARDNER. Recognized as a man of sterling integrity and pronounced business acumen, and also as one who has materially contributed towards the advancement and growth of Valparaiso, his home city, William H. Gardner, president of the Farmers National Bank at Valparaiso and of the Hobart Bank, at Hobart, holds a position of importance in the financial circles of Porter county. The only child of the late Joseph Gardner, he was born August 20, 1861, at Little York, California, in a mining camp.

His paternal grandfather, Robert Gardner, Jr., was born in 1784, in Ireland, a son of Robert Gardner, Sr., a native of Scotland, who settled in Ireland as a young man, and there spent his remaining years. Brought up in Ireland, Robert Gardner, Jr., married, in Belfast, Martha Maine, and in 1818 immigrated to the United States, settling in Chautauqua county, New York. Buying a tract of land, he was there engaged in farming until his death, June 5, 1855. Six years later his widow came to Indiana to live with her son Joseph, and died at his home in 1864.

The seventh son in a family of nine children, Joseph Gardner was born June 10, 1821, in Chautauqua county, New York. An industrious, ambitious boy, he began life for himself when but fifteen years of age, for three summers sailing on the Great Lakes. Coming then to Indiana, he was employed in a warehouse in Michigan City until the spring of 1844, when he made his way to Mackinac, where for five years he was engaged in fishing and coopering. On February 6, 1849, in company with five other adventurous spirits, he started for the gold fields of California. Arriving in that state, the little band mined on Bear Creek, near what is now Little York, for a few weeks, each man clearing about sixteen dollars a day. At the end of two months the five comrades went to Sacramento, where the company was dissolved. Going to Nevada City in 1850, Joseph Gardner mined there for two years, and then returned to Little York, where in addition to mining he subsequently engaged in ditching, in that business investing $100,000 which he had made as a miner.

Returning to Indiana in 1868, Mr. Joseph Gardner spent three years farming in Morgan township, Porter county. In 1874 he established the Valparaiso Savings Bank, which was merged in February, 1870, into the Farmers National Bank, of which he continued as president until his death, October 29, 1906. Succeeding well in that venture, he established a few years later a private banking institution at Hobart, Porter county, and conducted both banks the remainder of his life. In 1890, in company with George C. Morgan, he organized the Chesterton Bank, and after the death of Mr. Morgan, in 1894, managed it for eight years, when, in 1902, he sold his interests to the cashier of the bank, Charles L. Jeffrey.

Mr. Joseph Gardner married, in 1858, Sarah M. Hill, whose death occurred at her home in Valparaiso, Indiana, November 4, 1894. Their only child, William H. Gardner, is the special subject of this brief sketch.

A lad of eight years when his parents settled in Porter county, William H. Gardner received his early education in the public schools, and after his graduation from the Valparaiso high school completing the course of study in the business department of the Indiana Normal school, now the Valparaiso University. Thus fitted for an active career, he began work as assistant cashier in the Farmers National Bank in 1880, later being promoted to the cashiership. On the death of his father, Mr. Gardner succeeded to his position as president of the Farmers National Bank, and likewise of the Hobart Bank, of which he is the sole proprietor, its capital stock being $10,000.

The Farmers National Bank is capitalized at $50,000, and has a strong and able corps of officers, as follows; President William H. Gardner; vice-presidents, W. G. Windle and P. W. Clifford; cashier, E. J. Gardner; assistant cashier, A. N. Worstall; directors, H. B. Brown, P. W. Clifford, James McFetrich, W. G. Windle and William H. Gardner.

Actively interested in public affairs, Mr. Gardner served for six years as a member of the Valparaiso board of education. Fraternally he is a member of Valparaiso Lodge, No. 500, Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, which he has three times served as exalted ruler.

On May 10, 1883, Mr. Gardner was united in marriage with Estella Jeffrey, who was born in Richmond, Indiana, a daughter of Charles A. and S. (Davis) Jeffrey. Mr. and Mrs. Gardner have one child, Ethelyn Louise Gardner.

Source: Lewis Publishing Company. 1912. History of Porter County, Indiana: A Narrative Account of its Historical Progress, its People and its Principal Interests. Chicago, Illinois: Lewis Publishing Company. 881 p.
Page(s) in Source: 543-545

This biography has been transcribed exactly as it was originally published in the source. Please note that we do not provide photocopies or digital scans of biographies appearing on this website.

Biography transcribed by Steven R. Shook


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