Cerro Gordo County Iowa
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BIOGRAPHY - William E. Gildner

Throughout northern Iowa the name of Gildner is synonymous with thrift, enterprise and prosperity, and standing in the front rank among the leading merchants of this part of this commonwealth is the firm of Gildner Brothers, who have mercantile establishments in Cerro Gordo, Floyd, Jones, Delaware, Hancock and Taylor counties. William E. Gildner was born in Cerro Gordo county, Iowa, January 6, 1877. His parents, Henry and Mary (Brunner) Gildner, natives of Canada, were reared and married in the United States. Settling in Cerro Gordo county, Iowa, in 1876, they resided here until 1903, when they located at their present home in Nora Springs. They are the parents of five children as follows: William E., the subject of this sketch; John H., of Anamosa, Iowa; Edward E., of Manchester, Iowa; Alfred J., of Nora Springs; and Lucy, living at home.

William E. Gildner was brought up on a farm, and after leaving the district school took a commercial course at the Nora Springs Academy. Beginning life for himself in 1897, he became clerk in a clothing store at Nora Springs. At the end of six months, having made himself familiar with the details of the business, he bought a half interest in the establishment, for two years being junior member of the firm of Mitchell & Gildner. In 1902 he purchased his partner's interest in the business, and soon afterward removed to Manchester, Iowa, where he established another clothing store. He has since, in partnership with his brothers, all of them business men of ability, established clothing stores in various places, under the firm name of Gildner Brothers, their stores being located in Nora Springs, Manchester, Anamosa, Mason City, Charles City, Bedford and Garner. Mr. Gildner established his present store at Mason City in 1907, and has here built up an extensive and lucrative trade.

Mr. Gildner is emphatically a self-made man. He started in life with barely a hundred dollars of his own, received but eighteen dollars a month wages as a clerk, and when he purchased a half interest in the Nora Springs store was forced to borrow two thousand dollars. The Mason City store alone carries a stock valued at thirty thousand dollars, while the Gildner stores as a whole represent and investment of one hundred and thirty-five thousand dollars.

Mr. Gildner married, October 6, 1903, Anna Buckman, who was born at Nora Springs, Floyd county, Iowa, April 4, 1878, and they have one child, Eleanor C. Mr. and Mrs. Gildner are members of the Methodist Episcopal church. Mrs. Gildner belongs to the Rathbone Sisters, and Mr. Gildner is a member of the Ancient and Free and Accepted Order of Masons, and Knights of Pythias. Politically he is a Republican.

SOURCE: Wheeler, J. H. History of Cerro Gordo County, Iowa. Vol. II. Pp. 714-15. Lewis Pub. Co. Chicago. 1910.

Transcription by Sharon R. Becker, November of 2013



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