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History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925
William A. Gardner

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[This information is from Vol. III, pp. 81-82 of History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925, edited by Nelson Greene (Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1925). It is in the Reference collection of the Schenectady County Public Library at R 974.7 G81h. This online edition includes lists of portraits, maps and illustrations. As noted by Paul Keesler in his article, "The Much Maligned Mr. Greene," some information in this book has been superseded by later research or was provided incorrectly by local sources.]

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The principles of honor, quality, strength and service ever lead the world of business forward to greater efficiency and sounder development. These principles have guided William A. Gardner of Amsterdam in his operations as a manufacturer and upon them he has based his success. He is one of the industrial leaders of Amsterdam and has also achieved prominence in other walks of life, doing valuable work in the field of public service. He was born in Utica, Oneida county, New York, February 26, 1868, and was but a year old when his parents, Peter B. and Mary (Remore) Gardner, established their home in Amsterdam.

William A. Gardner attended the public schools and also completed a course in a local business college. His first work was in the broom factory of John D. Blood & Company, and there he mastered the business which he has made his life work. In 1891, when twenty-three years of age, he formed a partnership with his brother, Herbert P. Gardner, and his father also joined them in the undertaking. They started on a small scale, gradually expanding the scope of their operations, and the Gardner Broom Company, manufacturers of high-grade brooms and whisk brooms, is now controlling an industry of extensive proportions. Herbert P. Gardner is still a member of the firm, which bears an unassailable reputation for integrity and reliability, and in quality, durability and workmanship their output is unsurpassed. They are manufacturers of broom handles and dowels and also own and operate the Stony Creek Handle Company of Stony Creek, New York. William A. Gardner is also a director of the Amsterdam City National Bank and in the conduct of his business affairs displays keen sagacity and executive ability of a high order.

In 1889 Mr. Gardner was married to Miss Leah Johnson, a daughter of David Johnson of Conklingville, New York. Mr. and Mrs. Gardner became the parents of three children: Gertrude, who was born in 1890 and is now the wife of Hamilton A. Derr of Marietta, Ohio; Vestah, who was born March 4, 1900, and married Theodore M. Clark, of Amsterdam; and a son, Herbert P. Gardner, who died at the age of one year.

Mr. Gardner is an adherent of the democratic party and gives much thought to political problems, being a strong advocate of direct primaries. His civic spirit is of that vital and forceful nature which finds its best example in public service, and his work in this connection won for him high commendation. He was the people's choice for mayor of Amsterdam in 1902 and appreciation of his efforts for municipal growth and betterment led to his reelection in 1904. He became state senator in 1908, and in 1910 was recalled to that office. He studied closely the needs of the commonwealth and aided in securing the passage of much constructive legislation. He was appointed commissioner of the state court of claims in 1910 and served in that capacity until 1916, ably discharging the duties devolving upon him. Along fraternal lines Mr. Gardner is identified with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, the Masons and the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks. He belongs to the Antlers Country Club, the Kiwanis Club, the Amsterdam Board of Trade, and is a director of the Young Men's Christian Association. Mr. Gardner is a broad-minded man, deeply interested in the work of reform and improvement, and his influence upon the civic life of his community has been of the highest order.

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