SARATOGA COUNTY, NEW YORK.
by NATHANIEL BARTLETT SYLVESTER
HON. HOWELL GARDINER.
Portrait of Hon. Howell Gardiner
Few men were better known or more highly esteemed in the town where he resided than the subject of this sketch. He was the youngest child and the only son of Jeremiah Gardiner, and was born at West Hampton, Long Island, January 6, 1776. At the age of sixteen he went to Amenia, Dutchess county, and there learned the trade of a cabinet-maker, removing with his employer, at the age of twenty, to Schagticoke, Rensselaer county, where he changed his occupation from cabinet-making proper to the manufacture of fanning-mills.
In 1798 he married Eleanor Groesbeck, of Schagticoke, and in 1799 came to the town of Greenfield, Saratoga County, where, with the savings from his trade, he purchased a small place adjoining the present family homestead. For many years he carried on the business of making fanning-mills, keeping a shop and employing several hands - the invention being then new, and the business profitable.
In 1866 he purchased the present homestead, consisting of 106 acres of land, where he resided until his death, adding to his trade, for many years, the occupation also of a farmer.
In early youth Mr. Gardiner's education was quite limited, but he possessed a mind eager for knowledge, and gratified his inclination by extensive reading. He became one of the best-informed men of his time, especially in politics, the principles of which he thoroughly studied, and, upon deliberate conviction, adopted those of Jefferson, or the Democratic school. His first vote was cast for Thomas Jefferson for president. He was first appointed a justice of the peace by the council of appointment, under the old constitution, and in that manner held the office for sixteen consecutive years. He afterwards held the same office for four years by election, and in the discharge of its duties was an efficient, courteous, and faithful magistrate. He was elected to fill nearly every office in his town, and represented his district in the legislature in 1815, 1828, and 1831, in which public service he made an honorable record. His private life was equally honorable and above reproach. He closed his long and useful career at his residence in the town of Greenfield, on the 26th of February, 1866, aged ninety years and twenty days.
Mr. Gardiner left two sons and two daughters, who still survive him, viz.: Joel B. and Henry L. Gardiner, farmers, occupying the homestead and the adjoining farm; Juliet, his eldest daughter, who resides in the house which he built in 1815; and Sarah Ann, wife of B.N. Loomis, Esq., of Binghamton, N, Y.
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