HENRY C. GARDINER. Most of the families in Western Kansas seem to represent the newer migration from eastern states. They came attracted by the boom period of early development of the '70s and '80s and only now and then is a family encountered whose residence in the state goes back to Civil war times or earlier. One of these exceptions to the general rule is furnished by Henry C. Gardiner, a pioneer farmer and stockman just north of Ashland in Clark County.
The Gardiners have been Kansans for over sixty years. Kansas was "Bleeding Kansas" when the Gardiners came within its borders, and as a family they have witnessed the passing of the buffalo and the old time trails and roads, the coming of the railroads, and every other phase of development that has brought Kansas such enviable fame and position among the states.
Even Henry C. Gardiner cannot remember the time when Kansas was not his home. He was born near Barry in Platte County, Missouri, December 14, 1855. In December just a year later his parents came to Kansas and settled in Jackson County.
The Kansas Gardiners are descended from a member of the titled nobility of England, Lord Gardiner, who in colonial times came to America and founded a colony in Maryland. Mr. Gardiner's grandfather, James T. Gardiner, was born in Maryland, moved from there to Kentucky, and soon after the government acquired the western section of Missouri known as the Platte Purchase he moved into that country. Some fifteen or twenty years later he and his wife came with some other members of the family into Kansas and James T. Gardiner died at Winchester in Jefferson County in 1875, when about ninety-eight years old. He married Sarah Trimble. Their children were: William M., John T., James Merton, Benjamin, Marian, Pinckney D., Joseph Barton, Mary E., who married A. E. Brownley, and Peter R. Three of the sons were soldiers in the Civil war, Joseph B. and Marion being Union men and Benjamin in the uniform of a Confederate.
Rev. John T. Gardiner, father of Henry C., was born in Ralls County, Missouri, and grew to manhood in a day when country schools furnished a very meager and restricted curriculum. He learned the trade of carpenter and on moving from Platte County, Missouri, to Jackson County, Kansas, located on a pre-emption near Denison. He was there in the wilderness days and from his claim developed a good farm and on it spent the rest of his days. He died June 22, 1894, at the age of sixty-seven. Along with farming he followed his trade in Kansas and his services here availed in the improvement of Jackson County in the shape of residences, barns, schoolhouses and other work. During the Civil war he was a member of the Kansas Militia as a private. He was never conspicuous for his political connections, though he was a democrat and began voting in 1850. Most of his public service was rendered as a very active churchman. He was a minister and elder of the Christian Church. He was born in August, 1829. He married Mary J. Conway, who was born in Dearborn County, Indiana, April 15, 1834, daughter of William Conway.
William Conway in early life became a personal friend of General, afterwards President, William H. Harrison, and they spent a great deal of time together visiting and in discussion of public affairs. William Conway, however, was a democrat, a leader in that party in Platte County, Missouri, and held a number of offices in the gift of his fellow citizens. He was a farmer and died in Platte County.
Rev. John T. Gardiner and wife, who was closely associated with him in his church work as well as in performing the duties of a good wife and mother, and who died May 2, 1896, had ten children: Sarah E., who married Alfred Taylor, spent her life in Jackson County, Kansas; John T., who died in infancy; Henry C.; Andrew J., who died in Jackson County, Kansas; John Walter, who died in childhood; Anna M., who died young; Thomas Preston, who occupies the old Gardiner home at Denison, Kansas; Jesse, who died in infancy; George, a farmer at Denison; and Mattie, wife of George Runkle, of Denison.
The early training of Henry C. Gardiner was largely in the intelligent use of his hands and growing strength on the home farm, supplemented with the opportunities of the country schools. As soon as old enough he began handling much of the work of the farm while his father was away working at his trade. He stayed with his parents until they were comfortable in a good home and free from debt, and in the meantime having married he then took up his own affairs as a renter.
Mr. Gardiner arrived in Clark County, Kansas, April 5, 1885, when there were only a few scattered homes over the county. He and his wife and one child were members of a party consisting of five families who shipped their household goods to Dodge City. He and his wife and child drove overland with a team and wagon. Mr. Gardiner entered his claim in section 18, township 34, range 23, and there started to make a home among the pioneers. On leaving Jackson County he had $50 in cash and, as Mrs. Gardiner says, "that lasted a long time." They brought with them a store of meat, lard and canned goods. Their first home was a dugout-soddy containing one large room, floored and with dirt roof and with plain, unadorned dirt walls. It served as shelter for the family and also as storage for their provisions. A few years later they were able to build a modest frame house.
Having come to this region with very limited means Mr. Gardiner had to seek much of his support beyond what the land would produce. He did teaming chiefly, freighting from Dodge City until the railroad was built to Ashland. Perhaps the most profitable source of his income in those days was hay contracting. It was the money earned from this source that helped defend him against want and hard times soon after he arrived. Later he contracted to put up 600 tons of hay for the American Land and Cattle Company at $1.50 a ton. After all expenses were paid this contract netted him some ready money. The next spring he furnished two teams to haul hay for the same company to Englewood, and this also was a piece of work which stands in his memory as one of the resources that enabled him to tide over a critical period in his affairs. While he was away working his wife stayed on the claim, milking, gathering the eggs and selling butter, and her industry and thrifty management enabled her to accumulate almost as much cash as he had to show for his hay contracts and teaming. In the meantime their little stock of cattle was growing and increasing and was bringing them nearer to independence.
Mr. Gardiner remained with his claim until 1894, when he exchanged it for a bunch of cattle and took them back to his old home in Jackson County. After a year and a half he hungered for the west and in 1896 returned to Clark County. This time he occupied a new home, where he still resides, in section 1, township 33, range 23. When he bought the land it had on it a four room house, ready to be occupied except for the plastering of the walls. During the past twenty years farming and stock raising have combined to keep him on the up grade of prosperity. Now Mr. Gardiner has a ranch and farm of 1,120 acres, and has also contributed liberally towards the acquirement of 1,000 acres for his son. Not far from his own home stands a splendid residence which he furnished his daughter. Mr. Gardiner's stock industry has been carried on chiefly with the Shorthorn grades. There has seldom been a time when it was necessary to buy meat for his table. As a farmer his chief crop has been wheat. The Gardiner home is a comfortable dwelling of eight rooms, and that together with the barn and other improvements reflect the thrift and also his enthusiasm for doing something substantial toward the decoration of Kansas soil.
Mr. Gardiner has the family trait of leaving office holding to others. As a voter he is a democrat, and cast his first vote for Samuel J. Tilden in 1876. He has for many years been an elder in the Christian Church, with which he and his wife united after their marriage. Besides his farm and ranch interests he is a director of the Citizens State Bank of Ashland, a stockholder in the Midwest Glass Casket Company of Wichita.
March 14, 1883, just two years before he came into Western Kansas, Mr. Gardiner married Miss Louisa Hafer. She was born in Jackson County, Kansas, February 23, 1863, daughter of Godfrey B. and Mary (Philips) Hafer. Her father was a native of Germany but was brought to the United States at the age of eight years and was reared and married in Pennsylvania. Throughout his life he was a farmer. He was also one of the Kansas territorial pioneers, coming west in 1856 and spending the rest of his life in Jackson County. He died in June, 1882, at the age of sixty-three, his wife having passed away in 1873. Their children were: Benjamin, who was a soldier in the Civil war and afterwards died near Bridgeport, Oklahoma; James, who died in Roger Mills County, Oklahoma; George, of Oxford, Kansas; William, of Caddo County, Oklahoma; John, of Mayetta, Kansas; Mrs. Gardiner; Christina, who died in childhood; and Emma, who married A. M. Breneman and died in Houston, Texas.
Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner are deservedly proud of their three children and their grandchildren. Ethel, the oldest of the family, married George T. Wilson, and they live near Ashland and have four young children, Jerome, William R., Henry F. and Louisa Priscilla. The only son, Ralph Wilburn Gardiner, is now with his father on the farm. He has a brilliant record as a scholar, having graduated with honors equal to any ever achieved at Washburn College in Topeka, and is well qualified for the practice of law. The other daughter, Ida B., is the wife of Bert T. Broadie, of Ashland.
Transcribed from A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. [Revised ed.] Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1919, c1918. 5 v. (xlviii, 2530 p.,  leaves of plates): ill., maps (some fold.), ports.; 27 cm.
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