Biographical Sketches of Leading Citizens
Lawrence County Pennsylvania 1897


[p. 79] the city attorney of New Castle, and a prominent citizen and lawyer of the county, was born Jan. 12, 1843, in Butler Co., Pa., just across the Lawrence County line, on the old homestead of which the larger portion lay in Lawrence County. His great-grandfather, John Gardner, was born near Belfast, Ireland, and immigrated to this country soon after his marriage with Jane Anderson. He bought a tract of land just at the edge of the county, which was at that time Beaver County, and followed the pursuits of agriculture the rest of his life, his death occurring at the advanced age of ninety-three years. He became a very well-to-do farmer, and by hard work and excellent judgment and foresightedness he accumulated considerable property, and at his death left the homestead intact to his son James Gardner, who lived on it all his life, filling his place in the community as a farmer, and dying at the age of niniety. His wife, Catherine McComb, reared him the following children: John; George W.; William; Robert A.: Jane (Stewart); Martha (Frazier); Isabella (Burnside); and Eliza A. (Frew).

John Gardner, the eldest son, and the father of our subject, inherited that portion of the homestead that lay in Butler County, where he was engaged in farming and in following the occupation of a drover until his death at the age of thirty-three. He married Jane Vance, daughter of James Vance of Lawrence County; she was born in 1820, and died in 1864. Five children were born of this union, as follows: James A., our subject; John V.; Mima (Gardner), deceased; Theodore L.; also George R.

James A. Gardner attended the district school, select schools and the academy, and put the education thus obtained to good service in teaching two terms of school. On July 21, 1861, he enlisted for the war in Battery B., First Reg. Art. of the Pennsylvania Reserves Volunteer Corps, which battery was commonly known as Cooper's Battery, and was attached to the Army of the Potomac and belonged first to the First Corps, and then to the Fifth. He was engaged in the following of the principal battles of the Army of the Potomac, viz.: Drainsville, Mechanicsville, Gaines Mills, Glendale, or Charles City Cross-Roads, Malvern Hill Gainesville, Groveton, Second Bull Run, Chantilly, South Mountain, Antietam, Fredericksburgh, Fitzhugh's Crossing , Chancellorsville, Gettysburgh, Mine Run, Wilderness, Laurel Hill, Po River, Spottsylvania C. H., North Anna River, Bethesda Church, Tolopotomy, Cold Harbor, Petersburgh, Weldon Railroad, siege and capture of Petersburgh, Appomattox C. H., his battery having been in nine out of twelve of the greatest battles of the war, and has the record of having lost more men in the service than any other volunteer battery. Our subject entered the army as a private, and served until the close of the war, being mustered out June 9, 1865, as a first lieutenant. Returning from the scene of fratricidal strife, Mr. Gardner became interested in the mercantile business at Princeton, Pa., and kept a store for six years. He served as a justice of the peace, and his introduction to legal forms and legal procedure in that position created a desire on his part to study law. In 1874, he gave up his mercantile business, and became a student of law under Judge John McMichael, and J. M. Martin of New Castle, and was admitted to the bar of the State of Pennsylvania in 1876. He immediately began his practice, opening an office at 136; East Washington Street, which has continued to be his headquarters ever since for the reception of his many clients and for the transaction of such business as usually come before a leading lawyer. He has been very successful in his profession, and the court records of Lawrence County, and of other neighboring counties of the State, bear eloquent testimony to his skill, and to his intimate acquaintance with legal procedure. He is a thorough Republican, and has served eight years on the school board and seven years in the city council, four of which years mark the period when he officiated as president of the latter municipal organization. He has also served as city attorney several years, and is serving in that capacity at this writing.

Mr. Gardner married Mary E. Frew, daughter of David Frew of Slippery Rock township. There have been born to them the following children: David A.; Flora M. (Vance); Nancy; and John M.

Biographical Sketches of Leading Citizens Lawrence County Pennsylvania
Biographical Publishing Company, Buffalo, N.Y., 1897

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Updated: 21 Apr 2001