Biography of William M. Garner

WILLIAM M. GARNER. This gentleman is a substantial citizen of Quitman, Arkansas, of which city he has been a resident since 1858. His uncle, W. W. Garner, was the first resident of the town, having located there in 1856. William M. Garner was born in Lawrence County, Arkansas, in 1844, his father, Isaac C. Garner, having been a native of South Carolina. On coming to Arkansas he first located in Jackson County, then moved to Lawrence County and finally settled in Scott County, where he died. He was a farmer and stockraiser and in 1854 took a drove of stock across the plains, the journey to California occupying ten months. He sold his herd and returned home via the Isthmus of Panama, and here, in 1856, he was called from life at the age of forty-two years. His first wife, who lived but a few months after their marriage, was a Miss Williams and his second wife was Elnora Garner, who is still living at the age of seventy-three years. She is a member of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, as was her husband. Of six children born to them three are now living: William M.; Mrs. Sarah Leigh, of Choctaw, Arkansas, and Mrs. Mary T. Allen, who resides at Sugar Loaf, Sebastian County, Arkansas.

The subject of this sketch received his education in an old-time log school house of Lawrence County, and also attended school for some time in Scott County. His father died when he was but eleven years old and at the age of thirteen he began to do for himself. His first work was in his uncle’s store in Quitman, where he remained until in July, 1861, when he enlisted in Company A, Tenth Arkansas Infantry, as orderly sergeant, with which he served until the war closed, receiving his parrol at Jacksonport in May, 1865. He was at the battle of Shiloh, where he was wounded by a musket ball in the leg; the siege of Port Hudson, where he was captured and later paroled, the Missouri raid from Ironton to Fayetteville; Marks Mill, where he was wounded in the thigh, and other engagements of less importance. At the close of the war he had about $200, with which he wisely paid his way through a commercial school (the well-known Bryant & Stratton), then returned to Arkansas and located at Quitman, forming a business association with W. W. Garner at Eglantine, where he remained four years, then bought his uncle’s interest in business, and for about eleven years conducted a business of his own at that place and also in Quitman. In 1874 he returned to Quitman and here has made his home ever since. He has done a very extensive business and in 1879-80 shipped 1,008 bales of cotton, the greatest number ever shipped from the county by any one man in one season. His trade extended over Van Buren, Searcy, White and Faulkner Counties also. He started in business life without means, and his success has been the result of good management and business ability. In 1875 he was elected a member of the Board of Trustees of Quitman College, of which his uncle, W. W. Garner, was one of the founders, and he has been connected with the board ever since and has for some time been secretary and treasurer. He has taken an active interest in many enterprises for the good of his section and has ever been very public spirited. May 16, 1867, he was married to Miss Pearson of this county and the following are their children: Guy, who is the manager of a coal and wood yard in Fort Worth, Tex.; Minnie, wife of G. T. Rollow, of Nevada, Tex. Mr. and Mrs. Garner are members of the M. E. Church, of which he is one of the stewards, and he is also a Royal Arch Mason. He represented his lodge in the Grand Lodge of the State and is a member of Quitman Chapter No. 30. Mr. Garner is a Democrat, and up to the time of Harrison’s administration was postmaster at Quitman.


A Reminiscent History of the Ozark Region: comprising a condensed general history, a brief descriptive history of each county, and numerous biographical sketches of prominent citizens of such counties. Chicago: Goodspeed Brothers Publishers. 1894.

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