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  • Writer's pictureKatharine Korte Andrew

Henry Alanson Gardner: Long-Time Hinsdale Lawyer

Henry Alanson Gardner was born on 7 September 1845 to Henry A. Gardner Sr. and Sarah Rice Morgan1 in Lisbon, Kendall County, Illinois.2 His father, Henry Sr., was a well-known engineer, and at the time of his death in 1875 was in charge of the engineering department of the Michigan Central Railroad.3


Henry A. Gardner Jr., circa 1880. Photograph taken in Chicago.
Henry A. Gardner Jr., circa 1880. Photograph taken in Chicago.

Through his mother, Sarah Morgan Gardner, Henry Jr. was the great-grandson of the noted Unitarian minister George Cadogan Morgan.4 In an autobiography he wrote for his grandchildren, Henry Jr. stated:

“My grandfather, Richard Price Morgan, was of English birth although Welsh upon his father’s side. He had grown nearly to manhood when he left England for America… His father, George Cadogan Morgan, was a Unitarian minister and also a scientist of some note, but always with his uncle, Richard Price, a leader in all the reform movements of the latter part of the nineteenth century. Further information in regard to them is easily obtainable and I need only add, there are few persons in America who can boast a greater ancestry than I. This may seem egotistical but the fact is easily substantiated.”5

He received his education in the common school in Dwight, Illinois, and the University of Chicago, which he graduated from in 1868.6 He later graduated from the Harvard Law School in 1870.7 Henry was a member of the law firm Gardner, Carton and Gardner and had practiced law in Chicago since 1870.8


After entering the practice of law, he became interested in a number of business practices. For a time he was the President of the Morgan-Gardner Electric Company of Chicago9 and was a director of the Iowa Central Railroad.10


At the time of his death, he was the President of the Hinsdale Trust and Savings Bank.11 He was an organizer of this institution, which was chartered in April 1910, with a capital stock of $50,000 and surplus of $16,000.12


Henry was a member of the University Club of Chicago, the Hinsdale Club, and the Hinsdale Golf Club.13 He was active in the building of the Hinsdale Golf Club.14

“Politically he was independent but liberal in his views, recognizing the fact that all parties contain some good elements.”15

On 20 June 1878, Henry married Deborah Chandler Fessenden in Stamford, Connecticut.16 Deborah was the daughter of Hon. Samuel C. Fessenden of Maine, a former member of the U.S. Congress and abolitionist.17


Deborah Fessenden Gardner, circa late 1800s or early 1900s.
Deborah Fessenden Gardner, circa late 1800s or early 1900s.

Henry moved the family to Hinsdale around 1884.18 The Gardner family lived in a house which stood on the northwest corner of Maple and Madison in Hinsdale: 505 West Maple, which has since been demolished.19


Gardner Family Home, depicted in "Hinsdale the Beautiful," circa 1890.
Gardner Family Home, depicted in "Hinsdale the Beautiful," circa 1890.

Henry and Deborah had five children: Mary Abbe, Sarah Morgan, Henry Alanson, Grace Fessenden, and Robert Abbe.20


Deborah Chandler (Fessenden) Gardner and her 5 children - Mary, Sarah, Henry, Grace, and Robert. Circa 1920s.
Deborah Chandler (Fessenden) Gardner and her 5 children - Mary, Sarah, Henry, Grace, and Robert. Circa 1920s.

Their children were great athletes. Mary was a bridge champion as well as winner of the Women’s Western Golf Championship. Bob was a National Golf Champion and a champion pole vaulter.21


Henry Alanson Gardner was a resident for about thirty years. He died on 5 February 191122 at Michael Reese hospital from blood poisoning following an operation.23

“He was a valued and greatly esteemed citizen, counting his friends by the score.”24


References

1 "Cook County, Illinois, U.S., Death Index, 1878-1922", online database, Ancestry, (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/2552/ : 2024), death record, Henry A Gardner, 5 February 1911; citing “Illinois Statewide Death Index, Pre-1916,” Illinois State Archive, Springfield, Illinois.

2 Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of DuPage County. 1913. Chicago: Munsell Publishing Company. 875.

3 A History of the City of Chicago. 1900. Chicago: Inter Ocean. 404.

4 A History of the City of Chicago. 1900. Chicago: Inter Ocean. 404.

5 Henry Alansin Gardner, “To All My Children,” p. 6, A.24.04.01, 1901, Gardner, Series Biography Files, Hinsdale Historical Society, Hinsdale, Illinois.

6 Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of DuPage County. 1913. Chicago: Munsell Publishing Company. 875.

7 Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of DuPage County. 1913. Chicago: Munsell Publishing Company. 875.

8 “Mr. H. A. Gardner Dies,” The Hinsdale Doings (Hinsdale, Illinois), 11 February 1911, p. 1, col. 1.

9 Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of DuPage County. 1913. Chicago: Munsell Publishing Company. 875.

10 “Mr. H. A. Gardner Dies,” The Hinsdale Doings (Hinsdale, Illinois), 11 February 1911, p. 1, col. 1.

11 Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of DuPage County. 1913. Chicago: Munsell Publishing Company. 875.

12 Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of DuPage County. 1913. Chicago: Munsell Publishing Company. 875.

13 Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of DuPage County. 1913. Chicago: Munsell Publishing Company. 875.

14 “Notes on Gardner Family,” Series Biography Files, Gardner, A.23.05.025.002, Hinsdale Historical Society Archives, Hinsdale, Illinois.

15 Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of DuPage County. 1913. Chicago: Munsell Publishing Company. 875.

16 Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of DuPage County. 1913. Chicago: Munsell Publishing Company. 875.

17 A History of the City of Chicago. 1900. Chicago: Inter Ocean. 404.

18 “Henry Gardner’s Mother is Death; Funeral Today,” Chicago Tribune, 13 September 1934, p. 16, col. 2.

19 “Notes on Gardner Family,” Series Biography Files, Gardner, A.23.05.025.002, Hinsdale Historical Society Archives, Hinsdale, Illinois.

20 Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of DuPage County. 1913. Chicago: Munsell Publishing Company. 875.

21 “Notes on Gardner Family,” Series Biography Files, Gardner, A.23.05.025.002, Hinsdale Historical Society Archives, Hinsdale, Illinois.

22 "Cook County, Illinois, U.S., Death Index, 1878-1922", online database, Ancestry, (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/2552/ : 2024), death record, Henry A Gardner, 5 February 1911; citing “Illinois Statewide Death Index, Pre-1916,” Illinois State Archive, Springfield, Illinois.

23 “Mr. H. A. Gardner Dies,” The Hinsdale Doings (Hinsdale, Illinois), 11 February 1911, p. 1, col. 1.

24 “Mr. H. A. Gardner Dies,” The Hinsdale Doings (Hinsdale, Illinois), 11 February 1911, p. 1, col. 1.

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