WILLIAM J. GARNER is one of the rising young farmers of Pike County and was
born on the estate which he now operates in Derry Township, his natal day being
January 10, 1868. His childhood and youth were passed in the manner customary to
the sons of well-to-do farmers, a portion of his time being devoted to such home
duties as were suited to his years and the remainder to the studies and
recreations of boyhood. He acquired a practical education and a thorough
understanding of the various details of agricultural life and was thus fitted
for the position he has assumed as manager of a large estate. Since the death of
his father he has operated the homestead, four hundred and eighty acres,
devoting a large acreage to the cereals and also raising horses, cattle and
swine in large numbers.
Mr. Garner keeps himself well informed on all topics of general interest, paying particular attention to National and State politics and weighing carefully the principles and policy of the parties. He is a stanch Republican, quite capable of holding his own in any argument which may arise regarding political affairs. He is honorable in his dealings with his fellow-men, possessed of good social qualities, and enterprising and progressive in the conduct of his business affairs. He is therefore highly respected and his many friends will watch his future career with interest.
Our subject is a grandson of Jonathan Garner, a Kentuckian who came hither in 1840, settling on section 33, Derry Township. He was a gunsmith by trade and followed that occupation more or less throughout his life, but after coming hither he farmed quite extensively for that time and owned a large amount of land. In politics he was an old-line Whig, and in religious belief a Methodist. He died in his seventy-seventh year, his widow surviving him but six months and being also quite old when called hence. They reared five children.
James H. Garner, the father of our subject, was born in the Blue Grass State December 27, 1824, and came hither when a youth. He attended the old fashioned log schoolhouses, becoming quite well informed, and as he grew older being exceptionally industrious. On the death of his father he inherited the homestead of eighty acres, and prospering in his affairs, accumulated other land, owning six hundred and forty acres at the time of his death. In 1870 he erected the frame house of eleven rooms which is now occupied by our subject, its cost being $3,000. His farm was one of the finest in the county as regards improvements. Mr. Garner was one of the most influential citizens of this vicinity. He held some official positions in the township and voted the Republican ticket. His death took place November 9, 1887, and he left behind him a record upon which his children can look with just pride.
The mother of our subject bore the maiden name of Mary E. Williams and became the wife of James Garner June 2, 1864. She was born in White County, February 5, 1842, but in her early childhood was brought to Pike County and was reared in Derry Township. She is still living on her deceased husband's homestead and tenderly cared for by her son, our subject, and the other members of her family who are still at home. She has had six children, named respectively, Vina, William J., Otto, Ida, Anna and Herman. The eldest is now the wife of William P. Vose and Ida is deceased.
The maternal grandfather of our subject was Isaac Williams, who was born in Kentucky in 1800 and was twenty-two years old when he came to this State, settling in White County. In 1848 he removed to Pike County, locating on section 4, Atlas Township, where he died when seventy-three years old. He was a very pious man and had been a member of the Primitive Baptist Church from the age of twenty years. His father, Stephen Williams, was one of the pioneer ministers of the church in this State and bore an important part in promulgating Christianity among the early settlers. A more detailed account of his life and work, as well as that of his father, Edward Williams, is given in the biography of Rev. Stephen S. Williams, on another page in this volume. There also will be found the record of Henry Coleman, Senior and Junior, who were ancestors of the mother of Mrs. Garner.
Extracted 08 Dec 2016 by Norma Hass from Portrait and Biographical Album of Pike and Calhoun Counties, Illinois, published in 1891, pages 200-201.
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