GEORGE W. GARDENHIRE, one of the pioneers of Cowley County, Kansas, where he has been living with his family ever since the spring of 1871, is located in the valley of Grouse Creek, in Windsor township, in section 32, township 31, range 7, east. Mr. Gardenhire was born in Marion County, Tennessee, 18 miles south of Chattanooga, October 4, 1841, and is a son of Jacob and Martha (Welsh) Gardenhire. He is of Scotch descent on his father’s side,–his great-grandfather having come from near Glasgow, Scotland.
Thompson Gardenhire, the grandfather of George W., with three brothers,–William, Adam and Jacob came to America and located in Virginia. His son Jacob, was born and reared in Tennessee, and became a river pilot. He moved to Lawrence County, Arkansas, in 1853 and died there in 1859, at the age of fifty-four years. He married Martha Welsh, who was born in Arkansas. Her father was a Welshman and her mother a lady of German nativity, who journeyed to Arkansas with a French colony, and settled nine miles above the city of Memphis. Mrs. Jacob Gardenhire died about the year 1862, having given birth to seven children: America; George W.; Pearlee (Hawkins); Benjamin; William Garret; Susan; and Thompson.
George W. Gardenhire was reared in Tennessee until he reached the age of twelve years, when he went with his parents to Lawrence county, Arkansas. He was brought up on the frontier, and became inured to the hardships incident to that region. During the Civil War, he served in the Confederate army for four years, in Company E, Arkansas Mounted Riflemen. He was in the Department of Tennessee, under Generals Bragg, Hood, and Joseph Johnson. Joseph Wheeler Park, of the Old Soldiers and Settlers Association of Eastern Cowley County, comprising about 15 acres, is located upon his land. He moved to Franklin county, Kansas, near Ottawa, in 1869, and first passed through Cowley county in that year, going to the mouth of the Chikaskia River, Indian Territory, where he camped in wagons with seven others. After a month’s trip, during which he met Col. E. C. Manning and Judge T. B. Ross, at Winfield, he returned to Ottawa about December 1869. He remained in Franklin county until the spring of 1870, and in May and June of that year took his family, and 300 head of cattle,
to Cowley county, and located upon his present farm in the valley of Grouse Creek. They made the trip with ox-teams, and drove the cattle. Besides himself, his wife, three children, and his uncle, Van Gardenhire, composed the party. Dr. Stanley had taken the claim where Cambridge is now, and Mr. Gardenhire purchased of Mr. Rabell, the northeast quarter of section 32, township 31, range 7, east. He has since acquired the 80 acres west, and now owns one of the finest bottom farms in the valley. There was a log claim house on the place, and into this he moved his family, and lived there for two years. He had all his money invested in cattle, and for a time had bright prospects, but during the first year 265 of the 300 cattle died of Texas fever. After two years, he secured a team of mules, which he sold at Wichita for $200, which he paid Mr. Drew to
prove up on the 80 acres referred to above. Subsequently, with the assistance of neighbors, he moved the old claim house from the center of the farm to the site of his present home, with 15 yoke of oxen. His large nine-room house was erected in 1885.
Mr. Gardenhire also owns at the present time a quarter section of pasture land in sections 30 and 31, which had been deeded to Peter Dorwin. The first market for his community was Ottawa, and at a later period, Wichita and Emporia became the markets. At the outset, Mr. Gardenhire raised wheat, corn and some hogs, and he still raises wheat for winter pasturage. For many years he produced corn and hogs extensively and fed large numbers of native cattle, brought from a ranch in the territory. He prefers Shorthorn cattle and Poland-China hogs, and, aside from the first disastrous year, he has been very successful in stock raising. He breeds a large number of horses, including Clydes, Normans, and Hambletonians, and owns some very superior
animals. He has one fine Hambletonian, which has gone a mile in better than three minutes and has been tracked but once. On April 22, 1889, he went to Oklahoma and made the run at the opening, getting a claim in Payne county, which was deeded to him, and on which his son now lives. When in Oklahoma, he was made a national organizer of the People’s party, having been state organizer in Kansas, and was well qualified for that duty. He was elected to the senate in Oklahoma and served as president of the council 120 days. A feature of his service in that body was the speech made by him when accepting the presidency. He leased his Cowley County property during his absence, although he had been offered $40 per acre therefor; he returned to it in 1898. He has cleared about 30 acres of timber along Grouse Creek,–one walnut tree measured 65 feet to the first limbs. He assisted other neighbors, with teams, in moving Mr. Gann’s sawmill from Cherry Vale; it was the first sawmill in that section. Grouse Creek traverses the eastern portion of his farm, and he has an excellent water supply, furnished by three springs in the pasture. He also has an unusually fine orchard of three acres, consisting of a large variety of fruit
Mr. Gardenhire was united in marriage with Rebecca Jones, in Lawrence County, Arkansas, in 1866. She was of German-Irish parentage, and was reared in Grantville, North Carolina. She died June 23, 1889, at the age of fifty-five years, having raised seven children as follows: Laura A.; Jacob, Jr.; Clyde; Charles A.; Albert Sidney; Rosa Estella; and James T. Laura A. (McCaleb) lived for a time in the Cherokee Nation, but died at the home of her father,–leaving two children. Jacob, Jr. died in Oklahoma. Clyde, who lives at Stillwater, Payne county, Oklahoma, has been twice married; his first wife was Miss Pickett, who died leaving one son, Horace; he subsequently married Miss Lewis, by whom he has a daughter, Julia Rebecca. Charles A. is a railroad man, and lives near the home of his father in Cowley county; he married Miss Bacon and they have two children, Malcolm H. and Osalinia. Albert Sidney, who is now at home, has been married for six years. Rosa Estella, wife of J. T. McCaleb, has three children, –Versa, Adria, and Alwilda,–and keeps house for her father. James T., who married Nina A. Woods, resides in Windsor township, and has two children, Gladys Fern and Gertrude R. Politically, the subject of this sketch has been a Democrat until recent years, when he helped in the organization of the Populist party in Cowley county. While
in the senate, in Oklahoma, he procured for Payne county the agricultural college and experimental stations. Fraternally, he is a member of the lodge of the A. F. & A. M., at Burden, having been admitted from the lodge at Stillwater, Oklahoma. He belongs to
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the Shrine, at Oklahoma City, and also the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, at Burden. Religiously, he prefers the Baptist church, but his family belong to the Methodist Episcopal church, South. Mr. Gardenhire never sued a man, nor was he ever sued.
(This sketch taken from 1901 BIOGRAPHICAL RECORD published by BIOGRAPHICAL PUBLISHING COMPANY, Chicago, Illinois).
[“Biography is the only true history”–Ralph Waldo Emerson]