GARDNER, GEORGE W. (7 Feb. 1834-18 Dec. 1911), businessman, councilman, and mayor of Cleveland, was born in Pittsfield, Mass. to James and Griselda Porter Gardner. The family came to Cleveland in 1837. Leaving school at 14, Gardner sailed the Great Lakes 5 years before returning to Cleveland to work for the private banking house of Wick, Otis, & Brownell (1853-57), after which he became a junior partner in Otis, Brownell & Co., grain dealers. Gardner joined grain merchants M. B. Clarke and JOHN D. ROCKEFELLER to found Clarke, Gardner & Co. in 1859. Two years later, with Peter Thatcher, Geo. H. Burt, and A. C. McNairy, he built the Union Elevator, the largest grain elevator in the area. Later the firm became Gardner & Clark and added the manufacture of flour to their elevator business with the purchase of Natl. Flour Mills in 1878. Gardner was an incorporator of the Cleveland Board of Trade, which later became the Chamber of Commerce, and its president in 1868. He also was president of Buckeye Stove Co., Buttman Furnace Co., and Walker Mfg. Co., as well as a director of Merchants Natl. Bank. Gardner was an organizer of the CLEVELAND YACHT CLUB, and was active in Republican politics, serving as city councilman 1863-64 and 1876-81 and as council president 1879-81. He was mayor in 1885-86 and 1889-91. He died in Dayton, Ohio, but is buried at WOODLAND CEMETERY in Cleveland. He married Rosaline (or Rosilda) Oviatt in 1857, and had 7 children: Ellen, George, Burt, James, Anna, Kirtland, and Ethel.

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