Fred C. Gardner, a Kansas educator of wide experience and exceptional qualifications, is now superintendent of the city schools of Howard, Kansas. Though a native of Missouri he had spent most of his life in Kansas and is a product of Kansas institutions of higher learning.
He was born at DeKalb in Buchanan County, Missouri, August 25, 1888, and as he is still a young man much may be expected of him from the work that he had already accomplished. He represents a branch of the Gardner family that was established in Kentucky during the pioneer days and is of Scotch-Irish ancestry. His great-grandfather, John Gardner spent all his life as a farmer in Kentucky. Professor Gardner’s grandfather, Isom Gardner was born in Kentucky in 1814, and died in Buchanan County, Missouri, in 1890. He was one of the very early settlers in Northwestern Missouri, locating on a farm not far from St. Joseph and paying $10 an acre for land that is now worth many times that price. He married Mary Therman, who was born in 1817 and died in Buchanan County, Missouri, 1903. A record of their children is briefly as follows: James, deceased, who spent most of his years as a farmer and merchant at Carthage, Missouri; Elizabeth, who died at Kansas City, Missouri, married James Hillix, deceased, who was a farmer and later a carpenter; George, who was a farmer and carpenter and died at Leavenworth, Kansas; Tabitha, who died at Leavenworth, married for her first husband William Norris, a farmer, and her second husband was Thomas Norris, a huckster and merchant, both of whom are now deceased; Harrison B., father of Professor Gardner, was the fifth in age; Warren, who still occupies the old farm at DeKalb, Missouri.
Harrison B. Gardner, who now lives in Atchison County, Kansas, was born at DeKalb, Missouri, October 16, 1854. He grew up and married in the same vicinity, took up farming as his vocation, and in 1900 moved to Kansas. He was a farmer in Leavenworth County, in the spring of 1907 removed to Gove County, and in the fall of 1913 went to his present home farm in Atchison County. He is a democrat, a member of the Wesleyan Methodist Church and was formerly affiliated with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. He married Ella N. Gabbert, who was born near Easton, Kansas, July 18, 1862. Olive, the oldest of their children, after the death of her first husband, Ed Clinkinbeard, who was a farmer, became the wife of Al Wire, a gold miner, and they lived at Elkton, Colorado. Elmer is a farmer near DeKalb in Buchanan County, Missouri. William is a section boss for the Union Pacific Railway, living at Delia, Kansas. The fourth in age is Fred C. Raymond, who had spent several years on a farm with his brother Elmer is now prospecting for a farm of his own in the Dakotas. Eunice is the wife of Orlando McNutt, who is a machinist and connected with a foundry at Kansas City, Kansas. Ivan died at the age of fourteen years. Fay is now in the sophomore class of the high school at Kansas City, Kansas. Wyatt, the youngest of the family, is still at home with her parents in Atchison County.
Fred C. Gardner gained his first instruction in the rural schools of Buchanan County, Missouri. After coming to Kansas he entered the Emporia State Normal School and spent altogether 3¾ years in that institution. During that time he finished his high school course and in 1912 completed the two years college course and received his diploma. In the meantime he had been teaching school a part of each year, his work in the state normal being done in the spring and summer terms. After graduating at Emporia he was superintendent of schools at Grenola from 1912 to 1914, two school years, and in the fall of 1914 became superintendent of city schools at Howard. Mr. Gardner had under his supervision three modern school buildings, a staff of eleven teachers, and an enrollment of 300 students.
Mr. Gardner is an active member of the Kansas State Teachers Association and is a thorough believer in the values derived from association with other workers in the educational field. In politics he is a republican, is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and is affiliated with Hope Lodge No. 155 Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, and with Howard Chapter of the Eastern Star. On July 26, 1916, at Howard, he married Miss Nettie Dolen, daughter of William and Sarah (Collins) Dolen. Her father, now deceased, was one of the pioneer farmers in Elk County, having homesteaded the 160 acres where his family still reside.