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Past and Present of Livingston County
Volume 2. Biographies
by Major A. J. Roof. 1913
Through a long period of active identification with mercantile and milling interests of Mooresville Gustavus A. Bernard holds the respect and confidence of all with whom he was associated and won a success which placed him in the front ranks of progressive and representative business men. His energy and industry in former years have been rewarded by a comfortable fortune, enabling him to spend the evening of his life in rest and retirement. Mr. Bernard has been in Livingston county since 1877 but was born in Virginia, March 14, 1844. His parents were Silas G. and Lucinda (Pullen) Bernard, the former for many years county surveyor of Franklin county, Virginia, and also for two terms a member of the state legislature. He was very prominent in business circles of his section, where he owned a saw and grist mill, which he operated until his death, in 1875. He was survived by his wife until 1881 and both are buried in the same cemetery. The family on the paternal side is of French-German origin.
Gustavus A. Bernard acquired his education in the public schools of Franklin county, Virginia, and also in a private subscription school, attending during the winter months and spending his summers working in his father's mill. He laid aside his books at the age of about twenty-two and in 1865 enlisted in the Seventh West Virginia Cavalry Regiment, serving until the close of the Civil war. After receiving his honorable discharge he came to Missouri and obtained employment in the Union mill on the Platte river. He resigned this position after three years and with a partner established himself in the grocery business at St. Joseph, an enterprise which he sold out after a short time. Returning to Virginia, he took charge of his father's mill, but after one year's able management returned to Missouri and settled in Savannah, where he spent three years in a mill. At the expiration of that time he went to Colorado and mined for twelve months, settling in Mooresville upon his return. Here he obtained a position in the Mooresville mill and held it until 1881, in which year he turned his attention to mercantile pursuits, opening a wholesale and retail flour and feed store and finally adding a line of groceries. For twenty years he retained his active identification with this concern, conducting his store in a businesslike and able way along progressive lines and winning a large and representative patronage as a result of his courteous service, honorable business methods and reasonable prices. Mr. Bernard has lived retired in his pleasant home in Mooresville since 1902 and gives his time to the supervision of his valuable property interests.
Mr. Bernard married in Franklin county, Virginia, April 6, 1870, Miss Virginia P. Bennett, a daughter of Stephen and Mary Bennett, the former a prominent farmer and tobacco manufacturer. Both have passed away and are buried in the Bennett burial ground. Mr. and Mrs. Bernard became the parents of four children; James W., who died at the age of twenty months and is buried in the Hugh cemetery, Andrew county; Silas P., who passed away at the age four years and was laid to rest in the Mooresville cemetery; Mary E. whose death occurred when she was twenty-one years of age and is also buried in the Mooresville cemetery; and Verona P., who married George T. Walters, of Leasburg, Missouri.
Mr. Bernard formerly belonged to the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, having passed through all the chairs of that organization, and lie was for twenty years a member of the Ancient Order of United Workmen. He is a republican in his political views and eminently public-spirited and active in all matters of citizenship. He served as mayor of Mooresville, giving to the city a straightforward, businesslike and progressive administration and accomplishing during his term of office much constructive work for the public welfare. He is recognized as an active force in matters pertaining to the general, interests of the community and has a host of friends throughout Livingston county.