Curtis D. Gardner, vice president of the Farmers National Bank of Bryan, the judicial center of Williams County, was born and reared in this county, with whose history the family name has been prominently identified for nearly seventy years. Those influentially concerned in banking enterprise represent composite business more than any other class of workers, and their attitude can form public opinion to a greater extent in any community than can any other one agency. Mr. Gardner has not only become one of the prominent figures in banking enterprise in his native county, but continues as one of the representative factors in agricultural industry in this part of the state, his finely improved farm property being partly in Williams County and partly in Defiance County. Appreciative of the manifold advantages of this favored section of the Buckeye state, he is signally loyal and public-spirited in his civic attitude and as one of the representative men of his native county he is entitled to special recognition in this history.
On the old homestead farm of his father, in Center Township, Williams County, Curtis D. Gardner was born March 2, 1852, a son of Moses and Jane (Taylor) Gardner, who were born and reared in Pennsylvania, where their marriage was solemnized and whence they came to Williams County, Ohio, within a short time thereafter. Their arrival in the county occurred in 1843, and the father secured a tract of unimproved land in section 33, Center Township. With characteristic vigor and judgment he set himself to the task of clearing away the timber on the land and making it available for cultivation. His first house was a log cabin of the true pioneer type, and, with increasing prosperity, he later erected the substantial frame house which is still standing on his old homestead, in excellent preservation. Here he continued to reside until his death, which occurred when he was about seventy-one years of age, and his widow passed the closing period of her life at Bryan, where she died at the venerable age of seventy-three years. Mr. Gardner developed and improved a valuable farm property of 540 acres and was one of the substantial and highly honored citizens of the county. His political faith was that of the democratic party, and while he had no ambition for public office he served a number of years as treasurer of Center Township, his election to this position having been a concrete testimony to the unqualified confidence and esteem in which he was held in the community in which he long maintained his home and to the social and material advancement of which he contributed his due share. Mr. and Mrs. Gardner became the parents of eight children, of whom four are living: Mary, the widow of Marion Brannon, died April, 1920; Curtis D. is the immediate subject of this review; William H. resides at Bryan, where he is living virtually retired; and Isaac E. is a resident of the City of Toledo, this state.
Curtis D. Gardner was reared to the sturdy discipline of the old home farm and in the meanwhile profited fully by the advantages afforded in the village school at Williams Center. He continued to be actively associated with the work of his father’s farm until the time of his marriage, and he then began independent operations on a farm of eighty acres, in Farmer Township. Industry and good management brought to him cumulative success, and the most tangible evidence of this is that given in his ownership at the present time of a valuable farm estate of 280 acres in Defiance County, besides his fine farm of 160 acres in Center Township, Williams County. Though he continues to give his personal supervision to his farm enterprise, Mr. Gardner has given his financial co-operation in the furtherance of numerous institutions that have been influential in furthering the prosperity and progress of his home county. In addition to being vice president of the Farmers National Bank of Bryan he is a stockholder in the Union Trust Company of Bryan, is vice president of the Bryan Hardware Company, and a director of each the Bryan Motor Service Company and the Bryan Plumbing & Heating Company. In politics he is found aligned as a loyal supporter of the cause of the democratic party, but he has had no desire to enter the arena of so-called practical politics. In the time-honored Masonic fraternity he is affiliated with Bryan Lodge, No. 215, Free and Accepted Masons; Northwest Chapter, No. 45, Royal Arch Masons; Bryan Council, No. 101, Royal and Select Masters; and Defiance Commandery, No. 30, Knights Templar.
In 1874 was solemnized the marriage of Mr. Gardner to Miss Ida J. Mills, a daughter of the late Hugh Mills, of Williams County, and they have two children : Clarence is a representative buyer and shipper of livestock in Williams County; Laura J. was graduated in the high school, later attended a leading academic school in the City of Detroit, Michigan, and finally, after completing a course in pianoforte work, she was graduated in the celebrated musical conservatory of Oberlin College; she is now director of Camp No. 19, at Asheville, North Carolina, where she is also director of music and has general supervision of the camp cafeteria.
Source: Bowersox, Charles A. ed. A standard history of Williams County, Ohio: an authentic narrative of the past, with particular attention to the modern era in the commercial, industrial, educational, civic and social development , 2 vols. Publisher Chicago: Lewis Pub. Co. 1920.