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GARDNER, Darius 1818-1879


Posted By: Karon Velau (email)
Date: 5/7/2023 at 13:13:51

Darius Gardner
(April 1, 1818 - March 1, 1879)

Obituary of Darius Gardner
To the Old Settlers Association of Worth County: In memory of Darius Gardner, who died March 1, 1879, at his residence in Union Township, aged sixty years and eleven months. Twenty years ago next fall, in moving to this county, Mr. Gardner was the first man whose acquaintance I formed, and with your permission I will give a short sketch of his life, and also of his residence among us. He was born in the town of Bozrah, New London County, Connecticut. He was for several years a resident of Norwich, Connecticut, where he was engaged in trade as a merchant; receiving injuries which resulted in severe spinal affection and poor health, he sought a home and health on the prairies, of the then far west. He arrived in Worth county the 5th day of April 1856; being, as near as I can learn, the first permanent settler in the whole southeast quarter of the county. He lived the first summer in a cabin in the southeast corner of what is now Lincoln Township. During the summer, he built the house in which he lived and died; it being on the old State road and main thoroughfare through the county to Osage, the then land office for this and several adjoining counties. He moved into this house on the 10th day of November, but a few days before the noted hard winter of 1856-1857 closed in upon him, a cripple, and four miles from the nearest neighbor, which was J. M. Molsberry, and who had during the summer built and moved where he now lives, thereby becoming the first and Gardner the second settler of Union Township. During this unparalleled hard winter he soon found himself without fuel and three miles from timber. It being impossible to get a team to the woods, he had to haul his fire wood on a hand sled on the crust, with no company but his faithful dog; and Mr. Gardner himself informed me that he had no doubt but the dog saved his life by leading him home during the many storms and blizzards of that terrible winter. Living on the main road to the land office, his cabin was frequently crowded to its utmost capacity, and “Gardner’s” was soon almost as well and far known as the Astor House of New York City, and the string was always found hanging on the outside of the door. And this was truly emblematic of the man; the latch-string to his heart always hung on the outside, and instead of grasping for the last penny of the poor settler and homesteader, he was always more ready to give than to receive. For the past few years he has moved among his fellows with great pain and difficulty, seldom leaving his home. About one year ago he visited us for the last time, staying overnight, and remarking that he was not going to be in a hurry, as it would likely be his last visit. He left a wife, son and daughter to mourn his loss. And true to the fact that the mind makes the man, instead of money, and also that “education forms the common mind” he denied himself the much needed help and company of his children in order that they might obtain an education; his daughter having graduated and his son well advanced at the Cedar Valley Seminary before he left them. His was buried near Plymouth, and the large audience attending his funeral obsequies gave evidence to the esteem in which he was held by his friends and neighbors. By his friend, S. P. Cravath
Source: History of Mitchell and Worth Counties, Iowa, 1884, p.688


Worth Obituaries maintained by Karon S. Velau.
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