|Alfred E. GARDNER is a son of Alfred and
Mary Ann (Stovall) Gardner, and was born near Dresden
January 12, 1849. The father was born in Tennessee in
1805, and was a farmer by occupation. He came
to Weakley County in 1826, and was married in
1832. He was a man of determination and
energy, and eventually became the owner of 10,000 acres of
land, notwithstanding the fact that he suffered many of
the privations and hardships incident to pioneer
life. He was one of Weakley County s most
enterprising and influential citizens, and from 1829 to
1835 was sheriff of the county. He represented
Weakley County in the State Legislature in 1835, and
served several terms, giving universal
satisfaction. He was a skillful rifleman, and
was a great lover of hunting the various wild animals that
infested the country in early times. He died in
1882, full of years and honors, having lived a long,
useful and conscientious life. He was a man of
excellent habits and was the noblest work of God---an
honest man. He was the father of eight children, six of
whom are living: Carrie, Eugenie (wife of Oscar Turner,
who is a lawyer of Ballard County, Ky., and an ex-member
of Congress), William H., Mary Russell (Mrs. T. N. Jones),
Nora Lee (wife of W. F. Smith, of Evansville, Ind., a
lawyer and prosecuting attorney), A. E. and Metta Ann
(wife of John R. Thomason). Their mother was born in
Virginia in 1819, and is residing on the old home place
with two of her children. Alfred E. Gardner, our
subject, was educated in the Dresden schools and made his
home with his parents as long as he remained single.
October 30, 1873, he married Miss Annie Edwards, daughter
of Dr. Thomas and Mary Edwards. She was born in Tennessee,
in 1854, and is the mother of three children: Lee, Mary
Metta and Lillian Louise. After marriage our subject
located one mile from Dresden, where he lived until 1885,
following agricultural pursuits. At the latter date
he erected a beautiful frame residence in Dresden and
there now resides. He owns 700 acres of land and is a
young man of fine business qualifications. His
father, Alfred Gardner, immediately after the war was
appointed agricultural correspondent of the United States
Government from Weakley County, and after his death our
subject was appointed in his place and now holds the
office. He is a Democrat.
A. C. GARDNER was born in Dresden, in 1841, and is one of five children born to Col. John A. and Maria Gardner. Our subject was educated in the schools near his home and in the Nashville University. In 1861 he enlisted in Company G, Ninth Tennessee Infantry, and after the battle of Shiloh was promoted to the office of captain,and held that position until the close of the war. He was in twenty-three engagements, many of them being the hardest battles of the war. He was a brave soldier and rendered valuable service to the Confederate cause. He received only a slight wound and returned home May 25, 1865, and the same year married Josephine R., daughter of Joseph and Henrietta Johnson. Mrs. Gardner was born in Rutherford County, Tenn., in 1844, and became the mother of seven children, five living: Mary E., Ada B., John A., Algernon and Joe. Immediately after marriage Mr. Gardner located where he now resides. He owns 200 acres of valuable and well improved land, and is a successful businessman. He is a Democrat in his political views and he and Mrs. Gardner are members of the Baptist Church.
Col. John A. GARDNER, attorney at law, was born in Robertson County, Tenn., in 1809, and is one of two surviving members of a family of nine children born to the marriage of John Gardner and Patience Whitehead, which occurred about 1796. Both were of English descent and natives of Virginia, and left the Old Dominion for Tennessee immediately after their marriage, being among the pioneer settlers of Middle Tennessee. The father died in, 1845 and the mother in 1846. Our subject was reared and educated in Robertson County, and resided with his parents until seventeen years of age. In 1826 he came to Weakley County, and the following year went to Paris, Henry Co., Tenn., and established a weekly paper, The West Tennessean, editing it for one year. He then sold out and returned to Dresden and entered upon the study of law, his preceptor being Hon. William Fitzgerald. In 1829 he was admitted to practice law before the courts of Tennessee, and immediately opened a law office in Dresden. He soon won the confidence and esteem of the people and after a brief period became one of the leading lawyers of the Weakley County bar, and has practiced law for fifty years. In 1838 he edited the Jacksonian in Dresden for a few months. In 1841 he was elected to the State Senate and served six years. He delivered a speech of seven hours length before the State Senate, on the manner of electing United States senators, and was called one of the "Immortal Thirteen." In 1847 he was a candidate for Congress on the Democratic ticket, his competitor being William H. Haskell. He was defeated, however, as the Whig majority was 2,400 against him, which he reduced 1,400. In 1848 he was elector for Gen Cass, and in 1870 was a member of the Constitutional Convention. In 1878-79 he was a member of the lower house of the State Legislature. In 1828 he married Maria Terrell, daughter of Jephtha Terrell. Mrs. Gardner was a native of North Carolina, and is the mother of four children: Algernon C., Ada B. (wife of Hon. W. P. Caldwell, ex-member of Congress), Laura (wife of James Gardner) and Lou M. (wife of M. Z. Hankins). Mrs. Gardner died in November, 1848, and in 1850 Mr. Gardner married Agnes H. Cowardin, of Nashville. She was born in 1830 and is the mother of five children: Almus H., Ernest M., Percy W., Fannie G. and Josie Lee. Mr. Gardner resided on his 510-acre farm during the war, having purchased the same in 1840. He at one time owned 7,100 acres of land. Since 1865 he has resided at Gardner Station. In 1852 he organized the Nashville & Northwestern Railroad Company, and served as its president four years. The road passed through his farm and Gardner Station was named in his honor. Col. Gardner is one of the old settlers that yet remain. He has spent an active and useful life and has been a leader among men. He is a shrewd business man of superior social qualities, and very conscientious in the discharge of his duties. He is a Mason, and his wife is a member of the Episcopal Church.
Joshua GARDNER's birth occurred in Robertson County, Tenn., March 30, 1800, he being one of seven sons and two daughters of John and P. Gardner, both born in South Hampton County, Va., about 1775. The father came to Tennessee about 1796, and after following a farmer's life in Robertson and Weakley Counties, died in the latter place about 1851. His wife died three years later. Joshua received such education as could be obtained in the primitive log schoolhouses of Robertson County and February 28, 1829, married Sarah C., daughter of James and Esther Donelson. Mrs. Gardner was born in Iredel County, N. C., in 1808, and departed this life in 1873. To them were born two children, both of whom are now dead. May 1, 1875, Tempie Delap, Hugh and Lucy Delap's daughter, became his wife. Mrs. Gardner was born in Davidson County, N. C., in 1821. Until 1840 Mr. Gardner was a resident of Henry County; at that date he moved to Weakley County and purchased 288 acres of land in the Third District. He at one time was the owner of 1,300 acres of land; but has only 150 acres in his possession at the present time. Mr. Gardner was a hard working, energetic man before he became too old for manual labor. He is a man of good business principles and lends his hearty support to all enterprises for the public weal. He was magistrate of Henry County a number of years and is a Democrat in his political views. He belongs to the Masonic order and he and Mrs. Gardner are members of the Missionary Baptist Church.
Dr. J. Almus GARDNER is a native of Dresden, Tenn., born January 12, 1827, being the first male child born in the town of Dresden. He is one of six children of Jephtha and Emily Gardner. The father was born in Robertson County, Tenn., September 27, 1801. He and six brothers moved to Weakley County in 1825, being among the early settlers. He was a farmer and held the office of magistrate and kept hotel for about thirty years. He died in 1865. The mother was born in North Carolina, and was a few years younger than her husband. Her death occurred in 1832. Our subject acquired his education in the district schools and was a medical student two years in the office of Drs. Edwards & Gardner. He then entered the medical college known as the University of Louisville (Ky.), and graduated from that institution as an M. D. in 1848. He practiced in Dresden until 1866. In 1850 he wedded Martha, daughter of Hillary and Unity Bondurant. Mrs. Gardner is a native of the county, born in 1833. They became the parents of three children, two now living: Inez, Charley (deceased) and Eunice (wife of Warren Baker). After leaving Dresden, Dr. Gardner located at Gardner, a village taking its name from his uncle, Col. Gardner. He has been a very successful practitioner and is one of the first physicians of the county. He is a Democrat, and his first presidential vote was cast for Lewis Cass, of Michigan. He is a member of the Masonic fraternity and his wife is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church.
W. A. GOODWIN was born in Calloway County, Ky., in 1850, where, till he was nineteen years of age, he worked on his father's farm. Having had but few educational advantages, his acquisitions are the result of his own toll. At the age of nineteen he entered Murray Institute, in his native county, which he attended one term and so distinguished himself that he was employed the following year as assistant instructor. His efforts as an educator were crowned with satisfaction to those whom he served; but brighter prospects rising before him, he left Kentucky in 1876 to take charge of Spring Hill Academy , Henry County, Tenn., where he served with that success that has ever characterized his efforts. During the second year of his connection with this school, 1877, he married Cora, daughter of W. E. and A. A. Pybas, of Trenton, Tenn. Having been educated at the Peabody High School at this place, she was eminently qualified to enter upon the work of educating the youth, which she did, in connection with her husband, immediately after their marriage. In 1879 they moved to Weakley County, Tenn., where they took charge of Central Academy. The school, under their skillful management, was raised to a degree of perfection never before reached. A new educational interest was awakened among the people, and the standard of education was raised to the first rank in the county. In 1883 they were called to take charge of the Martin School. They found the building poorly furnished and in bad repair; the school ungraded and in a state of disintegration, but under the management of Prof. Goodwin and wife the work of reconstruction commenced and continued, until now a nine-years high school graded course of study has been established; the building furnished and improved in a most creditable manner, a general plan for the upbuilding of the school having been vigorously prosecuted. Three years have passed under the new system, and the results have been gratifying to all. The government, in many respects, is peculiar.
Rewards and punishments are not suspended upon single acts, but upon the aggregate of a sufficient number of acts to form a character. The pupils are led to engage in the study and work of character-building. The secret of good government is to make the pupils thoughtful builders; for there are few who are so depraved that they will thoughtfully and intentionally build a bad character. "Vigilance is the price of good discipline" only when it applies to habit, and not to single acts. When we consider its present excellent standing as the result of but three years work, we are constrained to say that the Martin School sprang into being, as it were, "at a touch of the magician's wand." It is the leading school of the county, its average daily attendance having increased from about sixty to 107 pupils, and requires the services of three teachers. The next term opens on the first Monday in September, 1886, and the outlook is even more flattering than the past has been.