Thursday, September 12, 2013

Ahnentafel series - Charles Gordon Garner

I have decided to do at least a weekly post just working up through my Ahnentafel.  Since the point of this blog, among other things, was to let me see the gaps in what I know or have documented, at least some systematic approach, once in a while, is a good idea.

I'm skipping my parents (nrs 2 and 3 in my report), so the first one I come to is #4, my Grandfather Charles Gordon Garner.  Gordon, or C.G., Garner as he was known was born on 1 January 1893 near Sparta, Georgia, to parents Green Lee Garner and Hattie Gheesling.  He was the youngest of 4 boys born to them, but he also had an older half-sister Minnie, from his father's first marriage.  They were a farming family, which is probably significant considering Gordon's later choice of career.   Green Garner owned the family farm where Gordon grew up, but with 4 boys apparently did not need to hire outside help, at least according to the 1900 census.

By 1910, Green and Hattie had moved off the farm and were renting a house, still in Hancock County, Georgia.  Gordon was the only son still at home.  His father was working as a carpenter and Gordon was listed as a "carpentering laborer."   This was probably in the Granite Hill area, just outside Sparta, since that is where Gordon claimed to be from in college.

 In 1914, Gordon enrolled the University of Georgia.  There was no obvious reason for his enrolling at a fairly advanced age (21).  He was not in the military.  Considering that he was already known as "Co-op Garner" by his sophomore year, my speculation is that he was working in agriculture, became interested in the nascent co-op system and realized that he needed a university degree to work in that field.

 From the various yearbooks, it is apparent that he was active in student life.  He was noted as a photographer, as a member of the YMCA, as a Bible study member, as a member of the track team, and as an officer in the honorary agriculture fraternity, Alpha Zeta.  He was already known as "Co-op" Garner, and would be nicknamed that for the rest of his life.  In 1917, he received a bachelor's degree in Agriculture at the University of Georgia and was apparently hired almost immediately as a County extension agent, since he was working in Stephens County by June of that same year.

In the 1920 census, he is shown again with his parents, but listed as an agricultural demonstration agent.   He was still active in the State's efforts in agriculture, being listed as one of the delegates at a March 1920 conference which established the Georgia Association, a union of the chambers of commerce, farm bureaus and other industrial entities.  In newspapers from the era, it is obvious that he quickly established himself as an expert in agricultural marketing.  He was first interested in beef marketing with UGA.  Then after becoming a county extension agent in Lyons, he traveled throughout the state, appearing as a marketing expert in various meetings and agricultural gatherings.  About 1931 he started working directly for the  University, moving his family to Athens.  In 1940 he got his Masters from the University and spent the early 40s advising farmers on efficient ways to get their goods to market, taking into account shortages and rationing caused by the war.

In December 1920, Gordon married Mattie Irene Hendrix, who was working as a demonstration agent in Emanuel County.  They settled in Toombs, Lyons County, while he was the extension agent there and then moved to Athens, Clark County, where they raised 4 sons and where he lived until his retirement in 1955.   At that point, he joined Mattie in the Gaddistown, Union County area, where she had grown up and where she had moved with the boys some years earlier.  Sadly, he died less than a year later of a heart attack.

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