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Past and Present of Livingston County
Volume 2. Biographies
by Major A. J. Roof. 1913
Among the most honored and respected citizens of Chula is numbered George A. Gardner, who has been a resident of Livingston county since 1883 and who since that time has been a force in the agricultural and business development of this part of Missouri. He today occupies an enviable position in financial circles, not alone by reason of the success he has achieved but also owing to the fact that his business methods have been straightforward and honorable. He has ever utilized his opportunities to the best advantage, making steady progress in the business world, and has reached a position of prominence and influence, being president of the Exchange Bank of Chula. He was born in Muskingum county, Ohio, October 3, 1843, and is a son of Adam and Elizabeth (Smith) Gardner. The father was a native of Germany and there learned the weaver trade, which he followed in the fatherland but which he abandoned after coming to America. He here followed farming for a number of years but enlisted in the United States Army for the Mexican war and died during that conflict. His wife had previously passed away, her grave being upon the banks of the Muskingum river.
George A. Gardner acquired a very meager education in the district schools, attending only a few weeks, out of every year. When he was seventeen years of age he offered his services to the Federal army, enlisting in the fall of 1861 and participating in many important campaigns and hotly contested engagements, being sometimes on the line and at other times on detached service. He received his honorable discharge from Company A, Fifteenth Ohio Volunteer Infantry, December 25, 1865, and immediately afterward began his career as a farmer, renting land in his native county. This he continued to operate until 1893, when he removed to Livingston county and purchased two hundred and twenty acres of land which he continued to develop with great success for a number of years.
In 1891 Mr. Gardner abandoned farming and turned his attention to business pursuits in Chula, associating himself with a few others in the organization of the Chula Exchange Bank, with which he has been connected since that time. For a short period he was also engaged in the flour-milling business and was for three years the proprietor of a large hardware concern, but he has now sold both of these enterprises and is giving all of his attention to his banking affairs. He was the first vice president of the Chula Bank, and from that office became president, in which position he has served ably and successfully since 1910. He has largely helped to make the institution one of the substantial financial concerns of the county, capably controlled along conservative lines, every means being employed to protect the depositors and at the same time to give them the benefit of a progressive business policy.
At Zanesville, Ohio, on the 23d of October, 1866, Mr. Gardner wedded Miss Tena Ganter, a daughter of Andreas and Frances Ganter, the former a farmer in Ohio, who passed away in 1873 His wife survived him ten years and both are buried in the Catholic cemetery at Zanesville. Mr. and Mrs. Gardner have three children: Frances, who became the wife of R. L. Taylor, a carpenter and contractor in Chula; Louise, who married Joseph Uhrmacher, a farmer in Cream Ridge township; and Elizabeth, who resides at home. The family are well and favorably known in Chula and have an attractive home here which they have made the center of a charming social circle.
Mr. Gardner is a republican in his political beliefs, and fraternally is identified with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. He is also connected with the Chillicothe chapter of the Masonic order. There are few men in Chula more widely or favorably known than lie, for his business enterprise, frugality and sound judgment have carried him into important financial relations, while his honorable and upright life and high principles have gained him the warm and lasting regard of all who come into contact with him.