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Posted By: STurner (email)
Date: 6/10/2018 at 17:35:35

Robert Ainsley Gardner, postmaster at West Point and a rising and popular young man of this community, is a native son of Lee county, having been born at Dover, Franklin township, September 16, 1874, a son of James M. and Amanda Gardner, an account of whose lives and ancestry appears upon another page of this work. It was in the district schools that Mr. Gardner received his early education, which he has since supplemented, however, by wide reading and study, and in 1892 he matriculated in the Gem City Business College at Quincy, Illinois, from which institution he was graduated in 1893 with the degree of Master of Accounts. He began his independent career utterly without capital or other resources except his own native ability, borrowing money to pay the expenses of his college course, and has always depended solely upon his unassisted personal efforts for the success which he has achieved.

After his graduation from business college Mr. Gardner entered the photographic business in partnership with a Mr. Courtright, under the firm style of Gardner & Courtright, with studios both at West Point and Fort Madison, and lived at West Point until 1895, following which he removed to Fort Madison, but returned, at the expiration of a period of one year, to West Point, where he has since resided. Here he continued in the photographic business for a number of years with very gratifying success, but in 1900 he sold his interest to his partner, and purchased a half interest in a drug store at West Point in association with Dr. W. S. Carpenter. This relation continued for only six months, however, and was terminated by his election at the end of that time to the position of superintendent of the West Point public schools, whose many and complex responsibilities he met with eminent credit to his own ability and satisfaction to the public until the spring of 1901, when he resigned to accept the office of postmaster, which he still holds. He took the oath of office on April 1, 1901, and it was in July of that year and under his administration that the three rural delivery routes were established which have added so materially to the efficiency and satisfactory service of the West Point office. On December 17, 1895, he was united in marriage to Miss Belle Courtright, whose family history is given in full under the name of J. C. Courtright elsewhere in the present volume, and to them have been born two daughters, Gertrude and Violet. Mr. and Mrs. Gardner are members of the Methodist Episcopal church of West Point, in which they are active workers, and contribute to the support of its regular work and numerous charities and philanthropic movements, holding the advancement of ethical ideals to be equally important with the attainment of material success in life.

In fraternal circles Mr. Gardner is recognized as occupying a leading position, sustaining membership relations with Claypoole Lodge, No. 13, of the Masonic order at Fort Madison; with the Modern Woodmen of America at West Point, of which he is Past Venerable Consul; and with the Woodmen of the World in Rover Camp of Omaha, of which he is Past Counsellor Commander of the West Point Camp, now out of existence. He has occupied a prominent place in all organizations of which he has been a member for any considerable time, and in 1896 was vice-president of the Photographic Association of Iowa, while he was the first president of the Commercial League of West Point, a club of which he is a charter member, and held that office during the first two years of its existence, during which time the organization was placed upon a firm footing and started well upon the road to that prosperity which it now enjoys. Politically, he is a believer in the principles of the great Republican party, for whose success he has worked with unfailing energy, tact and judgement, and the weight of his personal popularity and influence has been of distinct advantage to the part in this section, while it has made his name known throughout Lee county as a positive force in affairs of local government. In 1904 he served as delegate to the state convention at Des Moines, and has also served several terms as township committeeman with signal ability. Mr. Gardner is one of those young men characteristic of America who, working their way upward from humble beginnings, have attained honored places among their fellowmen by the practice of the old-fashioned virtues of perseverance, integrity and courtesy, and while his present standing is in all respects an enviable one, it is safe to predict for him still greater things in future.



Transcription typed/proofed as article was originally published in 1905


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