Gardner, Henry Joseph
From: One of a Thousand. A Series of Biographical Sketches of One Thousand Representative Men Resident in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, A.D. 1888-89. Compiled under the editorial supervision of John C. Rand. Boston: First National Publishing Company, 1890.
[note: Gardner lived in Dorchester on the side of Jones Hill sloping toward Hancock Street in a house later owned by Dexter]
Gardner, Henry Joseph, son of Henry and Clarissa (Holbrook) Gardner, was born in Boston, June 14, 1819. His father was born in the Old Province House, Boston, and his mother was a native of Milton.
Mr. Gardner?s early education training was received in prifate schools, Boston, and in Phillips Academy, Exeter, N.H., he having been graduated from the latter institution in 1831. He was graduated from Bowdoin College, Brunswick, Me., in the class of 1838.
He began his commercial life as a dry-goods merchant in the firm of Denny, Rice & Gardner, remaining in this business for many years; afterwards changing to Read, Gardner & Co., Gardner, Dexter & Co., and Henry J. Gardner & Co. He retired from the dry-goods business in 1876, and is now actively engaged in the life-insurance business as resident agent in Boston of the Massachusetts Life Insurance Company.
He was a member of the Boston Common Council, 1850, ?51, ?52 and ?53, and in ?52 and ?53 was president of that body. He was a member of the House of Representatives, 1851 and ?52, and member of the Constitutional Convention of 1853.
He was governor of the Commonwealth in 1855, ?56 and ?57, being elected as the representative of the American Party.
In Boston, November 2, 1844, Mr. Gardner was married to Helen E., daughter of Richard and Elizabeth (Wood) Cobb, of Portland, Me. Elizabeth Wood was a native of Wiscasset, Me. Of this union were seven children: Henry G., Frederic W., Herbert, Helen C., Elizabeth, Clifford and Maud Gardner.
Mr. Gardner received the degree of LL. D. from Harvard University.
During his administration as chief magistrate of the Commonwealth, much healthy and long needed legislation was accomplished, and many laws enacted which time and experience prove were founded on right and reason, and which remain on the statute-books to-day?notably the homestead act, the alien pauper act, an act to regulate the appropriation of school money, an act regulating the membership of the General Court, and acts relating to the curtailment of the powers of the governor, reform in special election laws, and the ?reading and writing? clause in the naturalization laws.
Mr. Gardner was always alive to the fact that many acts are passed during hasty legislation, when great majorities are the result of some great issue, and never hesitated to use his veto power when he considered it for the best good of the Commonwealth.
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Created: November 23, 2005 Modified: November 23, 2005