ABIjAHAM BRODKINS GARDN
BORN SEPTEMBER 2, 1819.
DIED NOVEMBER 23, 1881.
E'DITED BY :^, l\ CHIL^DS^'^'^''''^
ABRAHAM BROIINS GARDN
BORN SEPTEMBER 2, 1819.
DIED NOVEMBER, 23, 1881.
l).-ri'.-i FU'njM^RED BY ROjW GEO. W. }1:>1RM:^1X,
Citiaa.g- .^^-a-tliOxit^T- Tla.erefor.
Abraham Brodkiiis Gardnur wa.s the oldest child of David and Eunice
(Wright) Gardner. — J?. J, Gardner.
He was horn in Pownal, Vt., Sept. 2d, 1811).— A. P. Chii i)s.
He partly Htted for College at Union Academy in Bennington, and was
noted for his close attention to and proficiency in his studies. — Isaiah
He was graduated from Union College in July, 1841. — E. L. SiBr.ioY.
He studied law with Hon. Isaac T. Wright, at Castleton, Vt. — G. W.
He was admitted to the Bar of Rutland Comity Courtatits April terni>
He was admitted to the Bar of the Supreme Court at its February
term, 1847, in Bennington county. — Docket.
He was register of Probate the most of the tinje from Dec. 1, 1848, to
Dec. 1, 1857 — about seven years. — Probate Uecohds.
He was Bank Commissioner from about 1855 to 1867.
He was State's Attorney from Dec. 1, 1855 to Dec. 1, 1857, two years. —
He represented the town of Bennington in the (ieneral Assend)ly from
October, 1860, to October, 1865, five years. — House Journals.
He was Speaker of the House of Representativesi from Ocfober, 1863,
to October, 1865, two years. — Session Laws.
He was Lieut.-Governor from October, 1865, to October, 1867, two
years. — Session Laws.
He was State Senator from October, 1870 to October, 1872, two years. —
He was Judge Advocate General fnjm to
He was President of tne Betmington and Rutland Railway, and coun-
sel of the Troy and Boston 1?. R. Company.
He died in Bennington, Nov. 23d, 1881.— A. P. Childs.
ABRAHAM BRODKINS GARDNER ;
His Life and Character.
FROM THE REFORMER, DECEMBER. 2, 1881.
No mere hoihIs can fully and clearly set forth a just estimate of this
man of impressive bearing, of noble qualities, of great abilities. His pub-
lic and private career was such that his bier was surrounded — last Satur-
day — by a throng of mourners whose countenances betokened the deep and
painful anguish of their sorrowing hearts. This was no momentary sem-
blance of sadness — which comes and goes in a day — but it was profound,
universal and enduring, over a loss that can never be repaired, for a coun-
sellor, neighbor and friend, the like of whom a century will not replace-
It may justly be affirmed that no other citizen of our county, in all the
varied relations of life, filled so large a place in the hearts, homes and busi-
ness life of our people. His seniors as well as juniors in years feel that
the loss of his counsel and his friendship is irreparable.
The life of Abraham Brodkins Gardner, though only a span of three
score years, was crowded to repletion ; a busy, toilsome one; he performed
four score years of labor within a score less of lifetime. Repose he seemed
to have, yet it was the repose that comes to a student mind, filled with
problems for solution requiring ceaseless activity of thought and analysis.
To those who knew Mr. Gardner most intimately, the wonderful fertility
of resources which he brought to the consideration and discussion of any
cause or topic, evinced his great power, and confirmed the great and be-
neficent influence of the man. As we have said, mere words are too un-
meaning and insignificant to convey the measure and stature of such a life
and character. His potential influence in community upon the masses of
the people, however high or humble, was traceable to the sincerity and
manly expression of intelligent convictions of duty.
In his chosen profession he ever sought to prevail through the merits of
his cause, rather than through a resort to legal quibbles or pettifogging
stratagems. In his political aspirations and associations the same loyalty
to earnest convictions led hira to often espouse the cause of the minority,
striving to persuade his fellow citizens through manly argument and fair
reasoning, never seeking to subvert tlie manhood of a voter by those subtle
and degrading arts which too often appeal to the pocket i-ather than tin-
He will long be missed among good and true men and women wherever
he was known, because his ability and influence was ever exerted for good,
never for evil; because all his methods and purposes were in the line of
faithful and honorable service for his fellow men. The lessons of his val-
uable life of industry, culture, sobriety and integrity upon those who are
to follow ii) his honored pathway, who can imj>ress?
Asagrandand vigorous oak, suddenly stiuck down by the lightning amid
a clustered forest of trees, crushes and disfigures all its surroundings, so
tile fall of this man lacerates the minds and hearts of the people. To
many an aged man and woman he was the main staff, counsellor and
comforter; to many in middle life he was a guide and inspiration ; to the
young he was ever a shining example of manhood, temperance and nobil-
ity of character.
Though often estranged from kindred and friends in his political rela-
tions, he never forfeited their confidence and admiration by an unmanly
act or unworthy demeanor. Opposing public action never was allowed
by him to degenerate into unfriendliness in private or business a.ssocia-
tions. lie would meet a i)olitical opponent the day following an exciti no-
canvass, with the same cordiality of greeting as though he was a most
steadfast co-worker and supporter. Confiding in his nature, in his pro-
fessional and political course he, too often, suffered through the success
of those latent influences, which, like an insidious disease, covertly over-
throw the wisest plans of the best of men.
His life was so busy that he left many of his own tasks unfinished,
through his steadfast devotion to the demands of the public, his clients
and friends. The best monument that can be reared to his memory would
be the cotiipletion of his unfinished tasks, notably the erection of a lasting
monument to the heroes of 1777, near the resting place of one whose life
was so interwoven with this momentous and patriotic project.
Another enduring monument can be erected to the memory of Mr.
Gardner by his fellow citizens and admirers, through practical resolves
that the old church and society, at the center village, which he so revered,
shall not suffer financial injury by reason of the withdrawal of his sup-
In order that this imperfect sketch of his life and character may be as
complete as possible in this issue of the Reformer, the announcement of
his death, contained in our last issue, is herewith republished, and to fully
illustrate the wide-spread nature of this afflictive bereavement, the obitua-
ries published by our cotemporary, also that of the Troy Press, where de-
ceased was so well known and esteemed, are included herein.
FROM THE BENNINGTON BANNER.
Mr. Gardner was sixty-two years old last September, and had Jived in
town about thirty-five years. Tw® or three years of his professional life
were passed in Pownal, his native town, before he removed to Benning-
ton. He was the oldest son of the late David Gardner, of Pownal, and a
brother, Samuel, and sister, Miss Lodusky, residents of that town, sur-
vive of his fatlier's family. Mr. Gardner graduated at Union College at
Sehenectady in early manhood, and afterwards studied law with his un-
cle in Castleton, the late Isaac T. Wright. He was admitted to the bar and
followed the law as a profession all his life, being absociated at the
time of his decease with Henry A. Harman, Esq., under the firm style of
Gardner & Harman.
Mr. Gardner had been married three times. His first wife was Miss
Jeannette Swift, daughter of Dr. Heman Swift, of Bennington Centre.
She died after a short married life and lier child died also. The second
wife was Miss Cynthia Brown, a step-daughter of the late J. L. Wilmarth
of Stamford. Two children of this union survive — Miss M. Jennie Gard-
ner, aged 18, now a student at Vassar College, and Arthur B., a lad of 13
years. The surviving wife was Martha Wilmarth, a daughter of the Mr.
Wilmarth above mentioned. There is a little girl, aged about five vears
the fruit of this union. Mr. Gardner was a man who thought everything
of his family, and there was nothing too good for them that was in his
power to provide. In all his public career he never lost his domestic
life as is so often the case with public men and })oliticians. This was shown
a few years ago when Mr. Gardner was thought of as a judge for the Su-
preme Bench. The thoughts of the life away from home which the du-
ties of circuit judge entailed, were so repugnant to his feeiings, that he
gave the appointing power no encouragement of his probable acceptance,
and Hon. Hoyt H. Wheeler, a man out of the district, was the one finally
Mr. Gardner's public life has been known to his associates so long
that very little is needed to be said. He has represented this town three
times in the house of representatives, and was chosen Speaker and served
two terms. In these relations he ably and creditably served the State of
Vermont and represented his constituency. Elected to the State Senate
he as satisfactorily served both the State and people, as he did in the
more popular branch of the house. In the early years of the war, Mr.
Gardner was this county's candidate for Member of Congress against the
Addison county candidate, Hon. F. E. Woodbridge. It was nothing to Mr.
Gardner's discredit that Bennington county was defeated in the^'district
convention of that year. The county has been defeated in its candidate
for that office each term since. It has alv>ays seemed to Mr. Gardner's
Bennington friends that he should have been the successful man then.
But a majority of the First Congressional District Convention thought
otherwise. The esteem, politically, in whicii he was held was shown a
a few years afterward (in 1864-65, we think) when-he was elected to the
office of Lieut.-Governor by a large majority of the people, after a flat-
tering nomination by the State Convention of the Republican party, and
thus called to preside over the State Senate, in which he was afterwards
to be a member in 1870. Of other State offices held by the deceased we
recall : Judge Advocate General, Bank Commissioner and State Prison
Inspector. In the Republican party of the nation he represented the
State in the National Convention of 1864, and served four years upon the
executive committee of the National committee of that party. In all
these relations Mr. Gardner ably represented the State. In town affairs
he was auditor and moderator for many successive years and held one
office at the time of his decease. As a lawyer Mr. Gardner ranked high
and was employed chiefly on those cases, during his later life, where
great legal acumen was necessary to win. He was an excellent counsel-
lor, and us an advocate, the calm, dispassionate, clear and forcible pleas
he made convinced his hearers that his ability was unquestioned. His
temperament was such that it was almost impossible for him to make a
plea except on the side he believed to be right.
One trait of Mr. Gardner's character mp}' serve as a key whereby the
public may now look back upon his life and understand something of
the motives by which it was governed. He always maintained that the
dignity of the public office should be recognized by the man holding the
position. The Governor or President always received (as well as other
stations) the courtesy due, no matter who was in the chair. Woe unto
him, therefore, who degraded the office in Mr. Gardner's estimation — they
were sure to estrange him from their support thereafter. This may ex-
plain why he was a firm supporter of General Grant for the first term
and not an adlierent of his cause for the second term in 1872. This is
one of the reasons which led him to espouse the Greeley movement.
Added to this was the fact that he had long been a supporter and believer
in Horace Greeley, and ties thus formed were not easily l)roken in his
case. These associations made him a Liberal Republican, and the union
of that faction with the Democracy, the candidate for Governor of that
fusion in 18/2. Since which time he has continued to act politically
with the Democracy, though he gave the Hayes administration a cordial
In early manhood he united with the I. O. 0. F., passed the chairs,
and was a zealous member of that order until the lodge to which he be-
longed was compelled to surrender its charter. The relation thus severed
was not renewed when the order was revived in this state twenty years
after. He was afterwards a member of Mt. Anthony Lodge, No. 13, F.
& A. M., of this village.
Mr. Gardner was a model man in his neighborly relations, always kind,
and taking a deep interest in the welfare of those aasociated with him in
this capacity. He will be greatly missed in Bennington Centre, where
death has taken so many during the past tew years. Although not a
church member he was a firm supporter of the old First Church, and
worshipped with tliat congregation. He traced his descent from the
Gardiner, one of the Pilgrim fathers who landed from the "May Flower,"
FROM THE TROY AND NEW YORK PRESS.
He was a Vice-president of the Bennington battle monument associa-
tion. He was an influential member of the Bennington county bar. He
took great delight in amateur farming and the cultivation of flowers and
fruit. The cause of death was congestion of the lungs in connection with
a heart trouble. He was thrice married. Mr. Gardner had become pos-
essed of property worth from $6:),03:) to $75 OOQ. He had an insurance
of more than $20,000 on his life. Mr. Gardner was a supporter of church
work and a member of Mount Anthony l^odge, F. & A. M.
He had practiced law 35 years in Bennington, and was formerly prom-
inent in the political affairs of Vermont. He had held the offices of Judge
Advocate General, Bank Examiner, Speaker of the Vermont House of
Representatives, and other important s'ate, county and town offices. He
was president of the Eagle Square Manufacturing Company of South
Shaftsbury, and vice-president of the Bennington Battle Monument As-
sociation. He was 62 years old.
The Springfield Republican and Boston Journal also contained suitable
notices of the life, character and death cf the departed.
The following tribute written by ex-Cxovernor Hiland Hall to his son,
John V. Hall, Esq., well expresses the grief and sympathy of the writer :
"Annapolis, Md., Dec. 1, 1881.
Being absent from my home in Bennington during the brief sickness
and sudden death of the Hon. Abraham B. Gardner, I was unable to
show my regard for him and my sympathy for his family and relatives
by attending his funeral, which I greatly regret.
Mr. Gardner was a distinguished citizen of our State, by which he was
repeatedly honored, and as a leading member of the bar he had the earnest
respect and esteem of his professional associates and of the Bench before
which he practiced, as well for his legal acquirements and talents, as for
his uniform kindness and courtesy.
I am very sorry it is out of my power to be present at a meeting of the
bar, to express my own grief and sorrow in connection with his other
protessional brethren, for his untimely decease, and our sympathy for his
family in their bereavement.
Again expressing my deep regret for my absence from home on this
occasion, I am, Very truly yours,
FROM THE BENNINGTON COUNTY REFORMLR.
.'''aturday, Nov. 26, 1881, the day of Mr. Gardner's funeral, was a day
of universal mourning in Bennington. An informal meeting of the bar
was held at the office of County Clerk John V. Hall in the morning,
when it was resolved to attend the funeral in a body and to leave the
formal ceremonies of tribute, eulogy and respect to their late associate to
be held upon the opening of the count}- court, Dec. 6th proximo. The
obsequies were at the late home o^ the deceased in the Centre village, at
12:30 p. m., where the Rev. Isa?ic Jennings offered a brief and eloquent
prayer, making feeling allusion to the repeated summons to this house-
hold upon similar sorrowful occasions. Among those present with the
immediate relatives and neighbors were Messrs. Brayion, Tinker and A.
C. Houghton, of North Adams, Mr. Jewett of Rutland and many others.
Owing to the unfortunate running of the trains many were debarred from
attending the obsequies. The solemn ceremonies were under the conduct
of Mr. C. R. Sanford. The casket, an elegant one, was festooned with
immortelles and laden with a beautiful floral cross, sickle, anchor and
wreath, prepared by florist Goldsmith. The coffin-plate bore the in-
scription, '"Abraham B. Gardner, died Nov. 23, 1881, aged 62 years. His
mortal reniains bore no trace of his recent severe sufferings; his noble,
attractive features bore that genial expression which in life never repelled
the humblest or most exalted individual. In his coffin he looked the
calm, dignified, heroic spirit that he was in life, and whose death has so
shaken the strongest of his survivors. Shortly after 1 p. m. the sad rites
were continued at the old church he so much revered. The bearers were
Hons. Benj. R. Sears, Milo Pierce, Milo C. Huling, John V. Hall, \Vm. P.
Mattison and A. P. ('hilds. After the solemn chanting by tlie church
choir of "Cast thy burden on the Lord," Rev. Mr. Partridge read portions
of the Scri|)tures, after which the choir sang, "Friend after friena departs,
who hath not lost a friend?" in a subdued and tender manner, the be-
loved pastor and friend of deceased, Rev. Mr. Jennings, paid a just and
touching tribute to his memory, from which we extract the following :
REV. MR. JENNTNG'S TRIBUTE.
" It is difficult with calinaess to approach the subject of the sad and
to us all, the most unwelcome death which this day calls us together.
We are convened to pay our last tribute of affectionate respect to the
memory of one so profoundly missed by the community, but more sadly
of all by his bereaved family to whom he was so much and who loved
him so dearly, whose supreme interest in their welfare and happiness
was so constantly in his thoughts. We come to bear and follow to the
o-rave the remains of one who has long oi'cupied a large and important
place among us. It is a solemn and very impressive event. Our sympa-
thies are moved, our hearts are touched with tenderness. The occasion
evokes a profound sensibility within us all, when we consider the cir-
cumstances of his short and violent sickness and death in the very ripe-
ness of his experience and h's attainments, his gentle spirit becoming
more mellowed and chastened by the consciousness and the observation
of the vanity of this transitory and earthly life and the uncertainty of
continuance, and thus he departed and the places that knew him shall
know him no more forever. The calamity that has befallen our people
is similar to that vrhich afflicted the country in the removal of President
The features of Mr. Gardner's honorable and worthy private and public
life have been so fully noticed by the local and metropolitan press that it
is almost unnecessary again to rehearse these interesting and instructive
particulars. Truthfully has it been said that the sorrow ot the people for
whom he so long and zealously labored is general and unfeigned, while
they realize the void his death has created. Without effort to seem ob-
trusive or prominent, his advice and service was always in demand for
the public vyelf;ire. As a leader and presiding officer he had few equals.
Calm, unimpassioned, with none of those arts and affectations too com-
mon among men. Self-poised, a man of few words save those of wisdom
and judgment, spoken with felicitous and manly energy and unostenta-
tion, ever urbane, yet dignified,^ never frivolous, though always access-
ible, there was a singular unity and self-consistency in his bearing, his
mien, his behavior, his deportment, his speech, his dress, his address, his
surroundings, his life, all these bespoke the man. There were no idle words ;
there was the reserve ot repose, of dignity, though he was never taciturn
or unapproachable, rigid or censorious; he was human still, and in many
ways he was one of you and one with you. Gifted with an intellect to
grasp, he ever took original yet solid and fundamental views of things,which
every year was strengthened by the aid of a liberal education, profound
study, and constant intercourse with the best of his fellow men, while he
never was misunderstood by the most untutored mind. Thus was his
life filled up and crowded to repletion.
111 your presence, gentlemen ot" the law, it does not become me to at-
tempt to portray this representative m;in in the learned, responsible and
laborious profession of his choice. In this sphere you were more con-
vtM'sant with him tiian 1 liave Ixhmi, and your own t'eeliniis are a guaran-
tee tli.it justice shall l)e done to his memory in tiiis resj^ect.
To defer to his judgment, to wait till he had sj)oken, and then accept
his position, was the experience of those associated with hinj, in matters
requiring deliberation and great wisdom. And yet he was tlie least ob-
trusive of men, always ready to listen, and willing that others should act
according to their own best wisdom. Who can rightly estimate the
amount of service that has been pressed into these forty years since
he left college — his self-possession, sobriety of judgment and understand-
ing, and so steadfast an eye to the highest types of character for indi-
viilnals and institutions of government, education and religion. We
must feel that he had a long life if we measure it by deeds, not years.
It is not dittteidt to analyze his power, to distingush the factors in his
character which influenced his fellow men in matters of counsel and lead-
ership, whether in private, or while presiding at town or school district
meetings, in the Senate or halls of our State Legislature. I wish every
young !nan would draw lessons in life from his industry, sobriety, simplic-
ity of equipage and address, his dignity of bearing, (and this too at a
time when through fear of too rigid strictness the tendency toward frivol-
ity and vanity are to the other extreme), his exemption from ilnnking,
profanity, and all other bad habits and vices, his appreciation of the re-
sponsibilities of ottice, his reverence for the house of God, and the truth
of God's word, his kindly bearing to those in need or want of advice,
whether the rich or lowly.
He had his own views with respect to public proceedings or institu-
tions, being very earnest and decided in condemning everything superfic-
ial in the education of the young, emphatically commending thorough-
ness m pursuit of any study or subject, fully appreciating the old and trite
saying, "What is worth doing at all is worth doing well."
This is a remarkable instance of a death in wliich none can be found to
say, " It is best he shoidd have been taken.'' All would imite in sayino-
Mr. Gardner should have lived for many years — for Ins family, for the
commui^ily ; live for the need in his profession of his emiiuuit mental and
moral qualifications, live for the Church of God. It is plain in this case,
*' (iod's ways are not our ways, nor his thoughts our thoughts, for as the
heavens are high above the earth, so are his wavs higher than our ways
and his thoughts higher than our thoughts."
I can but recall his manliness, his deep and sincere sense of the siginfi-
cance of death, in connection with numerous family bereavements, and
the extent to which he accorded to religion its exalted claims, as most
touching of all I remember bis course with regard to the step the sec-
ond Mrs. Gardner took in uniting with our church. She presented a
written statement in her own writing of her views and experience, and
when at his request the address at her funeral was to be printed, he es-
pecially desired that that statement might be added. Though he had
made no public profession of religion, it was one form of manifesting a
trait which was ever prominent in him, of realizing deeply the sacred and
supreme propriety of such a step, (in all), and that each one should be
enabled and brought to do it in sincerity and truth.
I am sure at this hour all must feel the unspeakable"preciousness of a
hope in Christ, and all the power of these heavenly consolations in sick-
ness and sorrow. Let us remember that we are partakers of this great
salvation not through our own worth, but after that the kindness and love
of God our Saviour toward man appeared. Not by works of righteous-
ness which we have done, but according to his mercy He saved us, by the
washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost.
Rev. Mr. Jennings then closed with prayer, beginning with the Lord's
prayer, and closing with, "0 God, the protector of all who trust in Thee,
without whom nothing is strong, nothing is holy, increase and multiply
upon us Thy mercy that though being our Ruler and Guide, we may so pass
through things temporal, that we finally lose not the things eternal.
Grant this, O heavenly Father, for Jesus Christ's sake, our Lord. Amen."
The choir tlien sung, "One sweetly solemn thought comes o'er me every
hour. Every passing hour," "Nearer my God, to Thee." etc. A final
view of the remains was held by the large concourse of people present,
including the Bar and employes of the Eagie Square Manufacturing Co.,
who attended in a body. Then the solemn funeral procession wended
its silent way to the old cemetery, in near proximity to the old church
where the remains were deposited and an afflicted pastor and people bade
adieu to all that was mortal of Abraham B. Gardner, the friend and
champion of the people.
In his sermon the next day, Sunday, Mr. .Jennings alluded to his fun-
erBl in these words : " I cannot but refer to the closing scenes of the
funeral yesterday ; the tender and plaintive cadences of sacred song ;
those beautiful flowers on the coftin ; that touching spectacle of tears as
the cottin-lid was shut down on that noble head ; the coffin lowered into
the grave — all surrounded by graves the mementoes of bereavments
reaching back to almost the earliest period of our friend's residence
amongst us, and following in almost uninterrupted succession ; thai, beau-
tiful monument standing in the midst of them, the rarest monument we
have for chasteness and simplicity and beauty combined, bespeaking the
pure taste, and the domestic loyalty and affection of him who caused it to
be reared, and whose remains now repose at its base. You did well to lay
beautiful flowers upon his coftin. There was no man of purer taste among
us ; to weep tears as you were taking your last look of him, in what re-
mained of earth — there was no one among us more worthy to be lament-
ed as a brother and a friend."
OTHER NEWSPAPER TRIBUTES.
FROM THE REFORMER, NOV. 25, 1881.
By the death of Abraham B. Gardner, at his Bennin^iton Centre residence
Wednesday, one of Bennington's bes-t and ablest citizens is removed. The 'ad in-
teligence was carried into nearly every houst hold of the town Wednesday even-
ing, whi'e the wires flashed it to neighboring towns and dii^tant states. The sor-
row of the people for whom he has so long and zealously labored, is general and
nnfeigned, while they realize the void that his death has created.
Mr. Gardner was born at Pownal, Bennington county, Sept. 2d, 1819, and had
paa^ed his sixty-second birthday. He was the son of David Gardner, a long-time
resident of that town. Graduating at Union College about 1844. he entered the
Ca«;tleton law oiiice of h s uncle, Isaac T. Wright, and, after being admitted to th e
bar pr. cti( ed a whilt^, we think, in Rutland county l)efore opening an ofh( e at Pow-
nal. from whence he removed to Bennington. He married Jeannette Swift, from
one of Bennington's best families, and a sister of Mr. Charles W. Swift, t^e well-
known deputy clerk of the Bennington county court. CalU.d to mourn her loss, he
subsequently re-m«rried, and at t'e time of his decease was living with his third
wife, formerly Miss Mi ttie Wilma;th, sister of A. W. AVilmarth.
He has for moie than twenty-five years been one of the foremos-t lawyers and
business men of his county and state. A man of strong and vigorous intellect — a
rlos.' student of men and books— a well-trained lawyer, conscientious and faithful
in all his relations to his clients, h's fam ly, his friends and to tlie community in
which he wi s born and lived— his sudden and unexpected death remove-* one
who could not well be spared. He was in the front rank of the Vermont bar. In
his earlier professional life he was prominent in politics. He was a member of the
lowt r branch of the legislature for several years, and for two years speaker. He
was a'so a member of the senate, ard for two years Lieut.-Governor. While the
Republican party upheld the principles and doctrines of constitutional liberty, .Mr.
Gardner was a vigorous supporter of its men and measures. After the death of
Lircoln, I e, with Sumner, Chase, Greeley, Trumbull and others, being the purest
and best of the party, saw his duty to oppose the men who had obtained control
of the organization of their party to promote their private ends. For the last ten
years Mr. Gardner has been an independent in politics, more often perhaps voting
with the Democrats.
He was not a member of any church,' but a man who believed in the funda-
mental doctrines of the Christian religion andjived in accord with them. He was
f'f a most kindly and tender disposition, without malice and 'full of charity. An
affectionate husband, a most devoted father, a faithful^and reliable friend. His
stricken wife, the' children he so tenderly loved, the frienHsand clients whose con-
fidence he never betrayed, will miss him and mourn forthim.
He had been in failing health for a few.months and fully [realized that he ,had
but a short time to live. To one at least of his intimate friends, just two weeks be-
fore his death, he disclosed his condition and made known his conviction that he
must soon die. It is some con.solation to his family to know that the burden of
his later thoughts concerned them^and their welfare, >nd, while death had no ter-
rors for him, he would gladly have lived loni-er for them.
It was in August, 1880, that he first complained of trouble in his chest, an'I to
several, outside liis immediate relatives, expressi d apprehengion that h'S remain-
ing days were few. Although the immediate cause of his death was pneumonia,
with whii-h he was attacked on Monday, Nov. 14, there is little doubt that heart
troubJe complicated the fatal malady.
FROM THE SPRINGFIELD REPUBLICAN.
Vermont loses one of her most valuable citizens in the death of Abraham Brod-
kins Gardner of Bennington. The Green Mountain state is not famous for the
political independence of her son?, while she has a good percentage of wel -inten-
ti(jned men ; and A. B. Gardner waspromirientin that small body of citizens, who,
with firm convictions not regulated by mistaken loyalty to parly, voted for Horace
Greeley, worked for his election and labored always for cleaner government and
wiser men in office Had he Leen willinir to coddle persons of power or drift
along with public opinion when his good tense told him that it was in error, he
could have held any office in the gift of his .-tate. As it was he rose from represen-
tative to lieutenant-governor, and, as the liberal candidate for the governorship,
drew as large a vote as any independent man could poll. As speaker of the House,
and later of the Senate, he was ready, fair and wise ; in private life he was ht.nor-
ed and loved, and as the undisputed leader of the Bennington county bar he left
impressions which will be long remembered. He was quick to see and act and
wise to manage; and the success of the Bennington ceninenial cetebratii n was
perhaps due more lary;tly to his generosity and his tftbrts than to any other man.
Mr. Gardner was a man of rarest personal presence, with features that told his
strength of mind and body. There are many outside of his state who mourn to-
day that he is dead in the full development of his powers.
FROM THE HOOSICK VALLEY NEWS, NORTH ADAMS, MAI-S.
Hon. A. B. Gardner, well known in this village and vicinity, and for many years a
l)ronnueut figure in his native State, died at his home in Bennington Centre, Vt , on the
28d of Novemher after a brief illness, of congestion of the lungs. His health had not
been good for a considerable time, and it was while m Albany for the pnrp(ise of secur-
ing medical advice that he was attacked with what proved his last sickness.
Mr. Ganlnor was born at Pownal, Vt., in 1819, and passed his early life^ there, re-
moving to Bennington Centre about thirty-five years ago where he has since resided,
gaining by an upright lilt' and sterling business qualities a wide and enviable reputa-
tion thronghi>ut the slate which he served repeatedly in honored and responsible posi-
tions. He was a lawyer by piofession and achieved a success in his chosen field that
might well gratify the highest ambition.
Mr. Gardner was married three times. His first wife was Miss Jeannetle Swift of
Bennington Centre, Vt. The second was Miss Cynthia Brown, step-daughter of J. L.
Wilmarthof Stamford, Vt.. who left two children, M. Jennie, now a young lady of 18
years, and a student at Vassar College, and Arthur B., a lad of 13 years. His third
wife who survives^him, was Miss Martha Wilmarlh, daughter of the above mentioned
J. L. Wilmarth. He also leaves a little daughter five years old. In his domestic 'ife
he was a kind and indulgent husband and fathei and his greatest pleasure was taken in
the bosom of his family for whom he was ever willing and anxious to do all that love
could suggest and liberal means provide. His profeosional and public duties could
never for a moment blind him to the more sacred duties he owed to those dependent
on him, and thus it was that during a long and conspicuous career as lawyer and poll
tician he never lost sight of the beacon light of home iior parted with those refinements
which are best appreci$ted in the hoaie circle.
Mr. Gardner was called repeatedly to serve his fellow citizens in positions requiring
keen judgment and sound practical knowledge, and in no instance did he ever disap-
point their highest e.xpectations He represented his town three times in the Legisla-
ture and was once elected Speaker of the House. He was also elected to the State
Sehate where his great abilities found room for congenial and useful effort, and in that
capacity he did creditable service to the State and more than met the expectations
of his constituency. During the war of the rebellion he was the county's candidate for
Member of Congress, but was defeated by Hon. F. E. Woodbridge of Addison county
in the district convention. He was afterwards elected Lieut. -Governor of the state l)y
ajarge maioiity, after a flattering nomination by the Republican State convention, and
in that capacity presided over the State Senate to the entire acceptance and satisfaction
of all. He also held at dilTerent times the offices of Judge Advocate General, Bank
Commissioner and State Prison Inspector, and represented the State in the Republican
National convention in IbG-f, and also served four years as a member of the executive
committee of the national committee of that party. In all of these positions Mr. Gard
ner ably and satisfactorily represented the state. In town atl'airs he was also called to
bear a prominent part and he served as moderator and auditor for years in succession.
As a lawyer he ranked with the foremost of the State and was chiefly employed in cases
where great legal acumen and foren ic ability were necessary to success. As an advo-
cate and counsellor he was unsurpassed, and his pleas were always calm, but forcible
and eloquent, and seldom delivered on the side he did not believe to bt right.
Mr. Gardner was associated with the Eagle Sciuare Manufacturing company South
Shaftsbury, as its president, and owned and carried on a large farm in the to vii of
Shattsbury. In the Ba tie Monument Association he took a deep interest, was one of the
earliest promoters of the project t3 celebrate the centennial of the battle of Bennington
and to build a suitable monument, and his place in the Board of Directors it will be
difficult to fill.
He was a model man in his neighborly relations, always kind and taking a deep interest
in the welfare of those associated with him in this capacity. He will be greatly missed in
Bennington Centre where death has taken so many within the past f( w years. Al-
tliough not a church member he was a firm supporter of the Old First Church, and
worshipped with that congregation. He traced his descent from one of the Pilgrim
Fathers who landed from the "May Flower," in 1620.
His funeral was attended from the Old First Church last Saturday afternoon at one
o'clock, many of the prominent professional men of the State being present. His mem-
ory will long be cherished by the people of Vermont as that of a dutiful, honored and
respected friend and citizen.
Exercises by Bennington County Court.
At four o'clock, Dec. 8, 1881, the bar assembled, while the case in hand was suspended
for the time being, ana the chairman of the bar committee presented the resolutions
with these felicitous words :
REMARKS OF HON. JAS. K. BATCHELDER.
Your Honors :— Smce the last term of this court it is well known to all that one of
the most honored memb(;rs of this bar has been taken away from us by death. In view
of this fact, upon the assembling of the court Tuesday, the bar called a meeting and ap-
pointed a committee to draft resolutions to be presented before this court. Pursuant to
that order of the bar the committee would now respectfully report the following resolu-
Whereas, A lawyer of eminent ability, a citizen without reproach, has fallen from
our ranks in the midst of a career of great usefulness to the public and the profession ;
Resolved, That in the death of Abraham B. Gardner tl'.e bar lias sustained the loss of
one foremost in its ranks, whose high attainments, exalted character, unsullied lif» and
reputation well qualified him for that distinguished leadership wherein he adorned the
profession and honored the State.
Resolved, That we tender to his family our profound sympathy in this hour of their
great sorrow iuul desolation, with the assuiance that the remembrance of the virtues of
our departed friend and brother shall ever inspire our solicitude for their highest welfare.
Resolved, That these resolutions be inscribed upon the records of the court, and that
a copy be furnished to the family of our deceased brother.
In offering these resolutions, your Honors, I cannot refrain froni a moments' remarks
about our brother who is gone.
Although older in years by far than uiyseif, I have known him well ever since ray
practice at the bar. His courtesy and ability as a lawyer was only equaled by his virtu-
ous and high character as a citizen. How well do I recollect when I commenced the
thorny road of my profession, how nmcli I hooked to him for guidance and advice, and
how readily it was given me. Never did I ask him for a favor that he did not readily
grant if it was not against the interests of his clients.
I think I can say truthfully of him that during all the time I hive known Mr. Gard-
ner 1 have never known hi'U to do an uiiprofeBsi'>nal act.
Few men liieru arc in this county, coniniunity or State who have passed through so
varied scenes of life as he, and who in its long and eventful course, have been so truth-
ful, so upright, and so lionest as Abraham B. Gardner.
REMARKS OF HON. GEO. W. HARMAN.
May il please -he Court :— A few days since a meeting of the bar wk.s railed, and,
from the action then taken, I did not suppose I should be called upon to make any
remarks at this time. In seconding the motion tor the adoption of the resolutions, I
will say that I eordiaiiy ai;iee with everything contained in them, and in the remarks
made by my brother Batchelder.
It was niv good fortune to make the icquaintauce of Mr. Gardner inhis early life.
He had been graduated from Union College and was in the law office of his uucle, the
late Hon. Isaac Tichenor Wright in (Jastleton, Rutland county, when I formed his ac-
quaintance. It was his custom to attend the courts, both county and supreme, at Rut-
land, and it was my good fortune to room with him during all thai lime, and the ac-
quaintance and intimacy thus formed, has never been marred in the leawt.
Mr. Gardner, after the completion of his studies, was admitted to the bar in Rutland
county, and then came to this county ; and as I used to attend the courts here our ac-
quaintance was continued until 1 moved to this town about thirty-four years ago ; and
ever since our relations have been of the same intimate and pleasant character.
Mr. Gardner was a gentleman who never, to my knowledge, allowed himself to be
ruffled. If things were said and done that would raise the "fur" upon the backs of
^some of us, they never ruffled him in the least.
Mr. Gardner was a gentleman who always kept his word. I have known of his mak-
ing promises, not only to the members of the bar, but to others of what he would do — '
promises involving pecuniary loss or liability, and he always made them ood. As his
homely expression was at one time, "I'll do it if it takes a leg.''
Mr. Gardner wvs not the most polished in his English or erudite in his profession, but
he was very fair in both, and he possessed one gift which it woulil be well if uU the bar
of the whole State had it in an equal degree. He had the deepest common sense per
vading his mind. He was one of the must practical men I ever saw. He had a solid,
abiding judgment, so that when he had gotten the facts of a case, that innate common-
sense or judgment which he had, enabled him to come to vey correct conclusions. I
have often remarked, during his life time, that 1 had rather have his opinion upon a
point of law than that of a great many others whom I knew, who were greatly above
him in legal attainments. That quality was what raised him to the exalted position
he had attained and occupied for so many years.
Mr. Gardner, in his domestic relations, was very nmch afflicted. At one lime he said
to me that he had had— I don't know how many children — but the number went up
into the teens, and they were nearly all dead. He said that when a member of his fam-
ily was sick he always intendetl to do all he could, and if the result was unfavorable he
did not indulge in vain lamentations. This was true philosophy.
But he loved his family and was deeply affected when a death occurred among them.
1 well remember the occasion of tiic funeral of his daughter Estelle, an accomplished
and blooming maiden, when his grief was intense. I was out of town when Brother
Gardner died, and I deeply regret that circumstances rendered it inexpedient for me to
attend his funeral. 1 would that I could have taken a last view of his face — pleasant
in death — mingled my sympathy with his sorrowing friends and laid upon his bier a
token of my tender regard.
REMARKS OF HON. C. N. DAVENPORT.
May it phase Your Soriors: — Although not a member of this bar, it has been my
good fortune to be associated for the last twenty-six years with the Bennington County
bar, and I have had the pleasure of meeting my professional brethren in this county as
they have lived and moved, two or three times at least a year.
As I look over my brethren here, I see in this bar but two men who were in practice
here at the time I commenced to attend this court. Uncertain is human life, how
soon it is that all are gathered to their fathers! My brother Harman was here in the
county at the time I came, but he had left, for the time being, the profession he had al-
ways loved and never dishonored ; because, I suppose, the material returns were not so
great as outside of it; but he has come back to his first love now as every man ought to.
Brothei Lyman, who still lives, was engaged in outside business. Gov. RoMnson, A.
L. Miner, A. B. Gardner, Harman Cantield and others — a strong bar, and composed of
as able members as there ever was of its size in the State — were here.
I have been most intimately associated with Mr. Gardner. For fifteen years outside
of my own family, he was my best friend.
Uur clientage happened to be quite largely in this section of the country identical.
For many years we were often associated together as couLsel for the same persons.
Our business often took us away from tlie State, and oftentimes our families, or mem-
bers of our families went with us.
In all the affairs of Mr. Gardner's life I feel that these resolutions, although couched
in the usual language, do not do more than justice to his memory.
It is one of the good qualities of our nature that prompts us, when our friends pass
away, to forget their failings and remember their virtues, and it is to our credit that we
do so, and that our natural inclination is not only not to speak evil of the dead, but to
say of them good. It would not be fair to say that A. B. Gardner had no weaknesses,
because he had ^hem ; but he had as few weaknesses as often falls to the lot of man,
and more virtues.
Afliicted though he often was, there never was a kinder husband or a kinder father ;
and your Honors, the best test we have of a man here on earth is to find out how those
near and dear to him regard him. And the next best test — especially in regard to a
lawyer— is to find out liow his clients, who have placed their interests and their all in
l:is hands regard him. Now if you will look over the clients of Mr. Gardner you will
find the men who were his clients a quarter of a century ago, were his clients, so far as
living, when he died ; and when the fathers died the children still went to him. He
lived up to the oath he took, "to do no falsehood," he was ever faithful to that oath ;
he never deceived your Honors ; he acted with good faith to the court as well as to his
clients. What more could be said, or ought to be said of any man ?
I want to say one thing more. He was a man that looked upon the profession to
which we brethren belong and to which your Honor balongs, also — he looked upon it
as a high and honorable profession. He never regarded it as a trade to make money.
Faithful as he was to his clients he had rather lose his cause than have injustice done.
I don't know but there are men of larger legal information than Mr. Gardner. There
are men who have had better opportunities. He followed in his early life, as niany oth
er men have done to their loss, the idea of political honor and preferment. Had he de-
voted his whole life, as he did the last fifteen years of it, to his profession, he would
have had few, if any, superiors. For the last fifteen years he has been growing as a
lawyer, and before, he was a good lawyer. If the young lawyers of Bennington county
will take A. B. Gardner as their example and their guide, they will never dishonor their
profession or themselves.
REMARKS OF HON. TARRANT SJBLEY.
1 cannot let this occasion puss your Honore without apeakintr a won! hen- in comec-
tion with these resolutions. A irrcat deal has already been said and very well said in
behalf of our late brother. miuI 1 fully endorse all that has been said licic. I fully
endorse these resolutions as tiiey are drawn up and signed.
My experience, perhaps my social and professional relations, with my brother ante-
date those of any member of the bar here present.
Our relations have always been the m»st intimate, social and professional, witliout
interruption or jar, from the time we were a Iniitted to the bar until the time he was
removed by death.
My first acquaintance with Mr. Gardner was in college life, and after that we were
admitted to the bar at-about the same time. We located in Benniniiton village, where
the court house and the pul)lic business of the court was then being done. We have
been associated together a great many tiiues, and we have in our professional life been
pitted against each other. We have fought the battle (o'er and o'er) over this table and
at Manchester, and during all this time there has never been a particle of discord in our
We have lived near together and in all our r<;lalions soc^iHlly we have stood together.
We had both arrived to over three-score years, and to have our associations thus sua-
deuly broken has for me cast a pall over this bar, and it casts a shadow not only over
his professional brethren, but over the village, over the town and .'ver the State ;
wherever he was known he was everywhere respected. It is a sad loss, not only to the
professional brethren of this bar, but to the public at large.
Stricken down when his sun was almost in the meridian — in the heighth of his useful-
ness I Stricken down in the way he was, it gave a shock to all his friends.
There is a vacant chair ! and that chair will be vacant while I am allowed still to re-
main and carry on the profession of the law. His memory is cherished. I never shall
attend a term of court without missing the friend of my youth, the man who has
stood by me, shoulder to shoulder, and worked in the harness with me for more than
1 will close by saying " Peace to his ashes.'"
REMARKS OF HON. H. K. FOWLER.
May it please your Honojs :— l\Ir. Gardner was by a few months my junior and as
we were admitted to the bar about the same time we may be said to belong to the same
class. We were indeed boys together, I well reiuember the time when my brother
Tarrant Sibley and Mr. Gardner of Bennington, and Hun. E. li. Burton and myself
of Manchester, were called "the boys. '" We were all admitted about the same time
and age, Mr. Gardner being the youngest. The men, the lawyers at that time were my
friend Hon. A. L. Miner and his veuerable partner Gov. Sargeaut, Gov. Hall and his
partner A. P. Lyman, Gov. John S. Robinson, Judge Pierpont Isham, Wm. S. South-
worth, Uel M. Robinson, Henry Kellogg, Harmon Cantield and Daniel Roberts — the
latter then quite a youngerly man. They composed a strong and efficient bar. But
most of these veterans have preceded Mr. Gardner to the grave. A few only remain
as reminiscences of ;j8 years agt). It reminds us that boys become men, that men grow
old, and that we all — both young and '^Id— must soon pass away.
I feel that I must adtl a few more words as a tribute of respect to my deceased con-
temporary and friend. Mr. Gardner possessed a happy blending of those peculiar traits
and characteristics essential to worth and greatness. He was always social, genial, gen-
erous, kind and courteous. He had a dignified, gentlemanly bearing, yet was free from
arrogance and ostentation. He was a man of easy approach and acquaintance and of
lasting friendships. He was the friend of all — the emmy of none.
The history of his professional life and care.r — could it be written in detail — would
aflford us a befitting commentary to study, a profitable example to follow. His un-
questioned integrity, his inflexible fidelity and his unblemished character secured the
confidence of all; his studious habits and great attainments enabled him to render effi-
cient aid to his employers, while his generosity and moderate charges placed his distin-
guished abilities within the reach of the poor as well as the rich, and gave him a wide-
spread professional popularity and resulted in his building up a large and lucrative prac-
tice. He was a success. He attained an eminence to which, however much we may
strive, we cannot all expect to reach — the leadership of the bar.
But he has gone — stricken down in the midst of his usefulness, at the zenith of an
honorable and successful career. Yes, the youngest of "the boys" has left us. His
seat among us is vacant. We miss him and deplore the loss. This bar is smitten
with grief. The village in which he lived, the town and county of Bennington, nay the
State of Vermont, has had a sad bereavement. The occasion leads us to inquire who
next will be the subject of an obituary bar meeting? I know it is not a pleasant theme
to contemplate, yet it is an important matter. It is a crisis that lies in the pathway of
us all — a crisis 1 hope we may all be prepared to meet with the record of a life as pure
and as well spent as he for whom we mouru.
REMARKS OF H. A. HARM AN, ESQ.
May it please the Court : — While there is no member of the bar here present, whose
recollections of the deceased are not of the most pleasant nature possible, yet it was
my privilege to sustain toward him a peculiar and intimate relation, since during the
past six years and more he has been my my constant companion and my friend. As I
have been Ustening to the reminiscences which others have here detailed, it has seemed
to me that I could do little more, perhaps, than strew upon his grave some of the hum-
ble flowers I might pick up from the walks of daily life.
Mr. Gardner, in his daily life, was the same man that he has been described in his
public career. Those admirable traits, which we have heard commended and which so
endeared him to the public, became thus admirable because they were merely the
outcome of his ordinary life and thought. And if there were any one feature of his
life I would especially dwell on — aay one lesson I would teach to those who are to come
after him — it was this fidelity to his clients which has been here alluded to.
While Mr. Gardner never did injustice to any, in or out of court, yet if any one
principle were peculiarly marked about him, it was iiis faithfulness under all cir-
cumstances to those who had employed him. No concern of his own personal inter-
ests, no matter of importance to his friends was ever allowed to intrude between him-
self and his sacred professional duty ; so that always the thought in his mind and the
question upon his lips, in his private consultations as well as in his public efforts, was
''What is for the best interests of the client whom I now represent in the matter under
Mr. Gardner was not only all that has been said of him as a man of common sense
and of excellent judgment; he was even more than has been said of him; he was
a lawyer. When I first became interested with him as a partner, I know it was a mat-
ter of continual surprise to me to observe how familiar he was, not only with the great
principles of ihe law, but with the decisions of the courts. And while perhaps during
the last yea'" or two he was inclined, as every such man is, to repose a little upon the
laurels he had won before, yet I have found that whenever I went to him for consulta-
tion I received good counsel.
But he is no more ; there is, as has just been said, a vacant chair amonfj; us which
S&u never be tilled wltiiin any of our lifetimes. The least I can say is that I have lost
a friend whose place earth can never supply ; that no matter how aged 1 may come to
be, 1 shall look back, to my connection with him as one of the greenest spots in the vis-
ta of my life, and one which I can never hope to find repeated.
REMARKS OF A. P. CHILDS, ESQ.
Your Honors : — In the sorrow that pervades the hearts of the bar and which invades
the homes and hearts of theen.ire community, is Letokened a deep and enduring sense
of personal loss and bereavement, seldom so universally felt by the people. Were
the one whom we so deeply lament not my friend — the friend of humanity — I wou (I
refrain from placing my humble tribute upon his bier.
I knew Abraham B. Gardner well and intimately, and during the past ten years I was
at his fireside nearly every week, and during all our cordial relations I never knew him
to suggest an unworthy thought or act. We have met amid the scenes of sorrow and
joy, sickness and health, and 1 mourn his untimely death as a separation from a con-
stant, sincere and devoted friend. It is difficult to measure in words the perfect and
complete stature of such a chiracter as the departed. Young men like myself, per-
liaps, are apt to render the tribute impelled by the bestowal of favors from their sen-
iors, rather than to accord careful and just estimate of character ; but there need be no
fear of over-praise in honormg the memory of our fallen brother.
He was an unselfish man : as far above duplicity as are the heavens above the earth,
while his character and life was as remote from hypocrisy as are foreign climes from
our own country. His wonderful fertility of thought and breadth of mind caused him
ever to take broad and conservative views of men and affairs. His life was replete
with all that is faithful, true and ennobling, while liis generosity and sobriety were
prominent attributes of his exalted demeanor. No one in need or distress ever found a
braver or truer champion, a wiser or better counsellor and friend. He ever extended
the hand of aid and fellowship to his juniors at the bar, ever encouraged, never ob-
structed their progress. The multitude of sorrows that came to his own family and
home mellowed his tender heart to pity II in affliction, causing manly tears and worthy
deeds of love and sympathy. But this man of great worth and ability has gone in the
very zenith of his honor and fame, leaving us in sadness and mourning. He did not
fear death, though long forewarned of the approach of the grim messenger, his great,
though gentle spirit, was calm and impprturhed. The flowers of praise which we scatter
above his bier will wither, and fade, and die, but the fragrance of his memory, his man-
ly, dignified bearing, his illustrious example will survive long years after the lips and
heart.s that now bespeak his worth are as mute as his whom we so deeply lament.
REMARKS OF HON. LOVELAND MUNSON.
FourJE^onora.-— It so liaj)pe ed th it a short time before Mr. G.irdner died I rode
with him from Pownal across tlie hillsto Bennington. Our road led through a. sect i >n
en irely new to me, but familiar to Mr. Gardner from his earliest years. An in-
quiry or two of mine soon directed bis attention to surrounding obj^'Cts, and dur-
ini: (he whole ride his conversation was full of pleasant reminiscencfs, family an-
ecdote.s and scraps of local hii^toiy. He pointed out to to me tlie house where he
was b Tn, the field- familiar to hi'u in childhood, the tree, now urrown to lar^e pro-
portions, which when a boy he carried on his shouhler to the place of it^ trans-
l>laMting. He showed me the p'aces where he liad b^en a frequent and delighted
visitor in his boyhood, and told of the people wh i lived and labor t-d there a half
century ago. H, as present information leads me to believe may have been the
case, he was thus leviewiiig "he scenes and associations of early life under a con-
viction that his e trthly career Wiis near its end, it was done so ch^ erfuUv and un-
reservedly that I had no susp'cion "f the fac'. Subdued and tender in tone
but entirely free from aiy tinge of sa'lnes< or regret, it seemed to me only
the natural expression of one who had carried a youthful heart into the fulness of
years, and retained in the i lianged relations of a hnsy and successful life, a strong
affection for his early friends ■,^ud ids native town. I esteem niyselt fortunate that
among the latest recoUe'tions of our deceased brother, I have the memory of an
occasion free from the deman'ls of biisines«, where he was simply the genial friend
and companion — kindl5% charital)'e and ope -hearted. A few days Inter his ca-
reer of activiiy was brou'jht t > a su. deii and, as it seemed to me, untimely end.
But in the yeus of life allotted him how much there was of kindly a sist<nce, of
manly endeavor, of professioiiHl duty, faithfully and honestly p-rformed. Those
who have met him only in the contests of public and professional lif ■ can bring to
this occassion no other feelings than ihose of fiiendship and respect, while those
who have known him in the more intimat'^ relations of private life, will lorg re-
member his social virtues and kindly deeds. Surely of him it may be said :
■'His life was gentle; and the elements
So mixed in him, that nature miyrht stand up •
And say to all tl.e world : 'This was a man !' "
REMARKS BY WM. B. SHELDON, ESQ.
Your Honors : — I heartily concur in the sentiment of the resolutions which have
been read, the numerous obituary notices which have been published in Uie newspa-
pers, the tender and eloquent eulogies which have been pronounced by his associate
members of the bar in honor of our lamented brother, all of which seem to me to do
but imperfect justice to his rare attainments in the profession which he loved and hon-
ored, and to his exalted qualities of mind and heart which have taken strong hold upon
the aflfections of our brotherhood and upon the community at large.
It is more fitting that the senior members of the bar who have known him longest,
and consequently best, should, as they have, speak most at length of the life and char-
acter of him whose death is to each of us a great and irreparable loss. Every member
of the bar is compelled to say in sorrow, I have lost a friend, and in the breast of each
there is welling up a tribute to his memory, more tender, more beautiful than we can
express. Nearly ten years ago I came a stranger to Bennington to embark in my
chosen profession, and from that time until his death Mr. Gardner was to me a most
valued and constant friend ; to him I was accustomed to go for such information and
advice as young lawyers are apt to need, which he always gave most cheerfully and
with such apparent generous interest in my welfare and success that I was made to feel
that in difficulty I could unhesitatingly go to him for aid. It was upon his own volun-
tary suggestion and recommendation that I was admitted to the higher courts To
him my debt of gratitude is very great and not soon to be forgotten. How well I re-
member not long since asking of him a professional favor; his answer was, '"Sheldon,
did I ever refuse to do anything you asked me to T' compelled to answer no; he
said, "that answers your question."
In his last professional act which came to my knowledge, (I speak of it because char-
acteristic of him, and fitly illustratiug that exalted sense of honor which waa the guid-
ins star of his professional life), we represented opposing interests, and Brother Batch-
elder represented still another interest ; larire sums of money were involved ; dififerences
of opinion arose whicii it seemed would inevitably lead to protracted and expensive
litigation, most damaging to the interests of my clients. Mr. Gardner proposed a con-
ference of counsel at which he urged with great force and earnestness the desirableness
of coming to a conjmon understanding and agreement in the matter. His aim was
that justice be done and that speedily. Of him may it be truly said, he was never
jealous of the; success of his contemporaries.
'•Though dead he spcaketh," and the impressive dignity and consistency of his
demeanor in the daily walks of his professional life, has, and will for long years
to come, intensified the august solemnity which pervades the atmosphere of our
courts of justice ; kis living example is left a priceless legacy to the bench, the bar
and the people.
REMARKS OF HON. E. L. SIBLEY.
May it pit' I se Ike Court: -As nearly the youngest member of this bar, it is well that
I tcK) should cast a flower upon the bit r of Governor Gardner. During my early con-
nection with the court below, my youth and inexperience made it often necessjiry for
me to seek the counsel of those older and more learned in the law. Upon many such
occasions I went to Mr. Gardner. By him I was always kindly received and advised ;
and there was no person upon whose counsel I relied with more confidence and certain-
ty in the result. Living the greater portion ot my life in the same village with him,
his Kindness to me, while yet a mere child,had won fro.u me a reverence and regard for
him which increased with my years and was retained by him until the day of his death.
I shall remember Governor Gardner, not as I saw him a few -lays before his death at my
office, not as I saw him lay in his coflin, but as I have seen him for many years past
walking from his house to his office, grand in personal carriage and bearing. I shall re-
member him for his kindness and grandeur, as a man among men.
REMARKS OF THOS. E. BROWNELL, ESQ.
Tour Honors: — The fact that Mr. Gardner was a native of Pownal makes it fitting
for me to say a word o- this occasion. I cannot testify to the same personal intimacy
that others have done who have already spoken. My remarks, therefore, will have ref-
erence to what others relate of him who knew him when he was a young man.
• After his admission to the bar he practiced law in Pownal. At that day debating so-
cieties were the only literary entertainments afforded the people besides the church and
possibly a law suit Mr. Gardner interested hniiself in furnishing his native town with
such an institution. Those who knew him at that period testify now to the dignity of
bis manner then, lie never engaged in debate unprepared, and his arguments were full
of facts and straight to the point An entertainment never lost character for dignity
and propriety when he was present.
So, also, after he had moved to Bennington and was elected state's attorney, the con-
dition of Pownal frequently required him o discharge the duties diHtinctive of that of-
fice And he is remembered iiow on account of the manly efficient manner in which he
performed the requirements of his station No one ever suspected him of trifling with
offenders. Atterwards, when he identified himself more prominently with the politics
of his section he refused the office of states attorney, although it was urged upon
him by the friends who trusted his integrity, because the temptations were too many in
connection with that public trust for a successful politician to risk. I relate these inci-
dents, selected from among many others of like import which might be produced, to il-
lustrate how early in life the honorable and manly traits of his character shaped his ev-
REMARKS OF HON. JOHN V. HALL.
Four Hon)rs. — The words which I shall speak will be few, but I cannot oermit this
occasion to pass without expressing the love and reverence I had for our deceased broth-
er during his life, and which I ^hall ever retain for his memory.
For the last few years our relations had been of the closest kind, and it is a pleasure
and satisfaction to me that I was permitted to call him by the sacred name of friend.
Of his character and success as a lawyer and public man I need say nothing.
I only desire to give utterence to what I believe is the expression of the feeling of us
all, that as a man oi generous sympathies and sound common sense, as a good citizen,
as a faithful friend, and in all the isterling qualities which go to make up a strong char-
acter, he had no superior; and alLhough his circle of acquaintances was large, and ex-
tended beyond the limits of any State, and although he was widely and favorably known
and loved, yet, here, where he was best known and where he passed the years of his
business life, he will be most sincerely lamented and deeply mourned.
REMARKS OF H. N. HIX, ESQ.,
To the Honorable Court and Brethren of the Profession. — We stop for a short time
the business career of this session of the court, to pay a tribute of respect to the mem-
ory of our deceased brother, A. B. Gardner. I have known Bro. Oardner for the last
twenty five years. He was an ai)le lawyer and an exemplarj' citizen. He was a clean-
His example is worthy of the imitation of ail the members of tie bar, especi illy of
the younger members. We, the older membens, have alreadj^ made our record, and
soon shall be gathered to our departed brother. We are admonished by the sudden
decease of our late brother that we, too, are all passing away, and soon it will be said
of us, that the places which we now occupy at thi ; bar are vacant. May we consider
these things as we ought.
REMARKS OF HON. RANNEY HOWARD.
May it please the Court :—\ arise to second the resolutions under consideration,
and will say I heartily concur in the sentiments and facts which they express. When I
learned of the death of Hon. A. B. Gardner my heart was filled with sorrow ; I felt
that the bar, of which he was a member, had lost one of its most able and distinguished
representati'^es ; his town, county and state a worthy citizen.
I had not the good fortune to be as intimate with him as others who have spoken, yet
I knew him well as a lawyer and a man of i)iisiness. T came into this county 21 years
ago and commenced the practice of law. 1 met with those difficulties which every
young lawyer experiences, and to steer clear of the breakers, I sought the advice and
counsel of my superiors, and I soon learned that the now honored dead was one of the
best lawyers at the bar, and one who sympathized with and was always ready to help
his inexperienced brethren, and I ever felt at libeity to apply to him for such counsel
and advice as I needed, nn(\ he would listen with such patience and courtesy that it
made me feel that he had a kind and generous heart.
I have often seen him enter this court, and the bar at Manchester, pass from
chair to chair in the most cordial manner, shake hands with each occupant, and never
passing the humblest without a friendly recognition. Young lawyers appreciate such
kindness and generous bearing toward tlieni ; they feel it an honor as it really is, to be
recognized as brethren by such men. I then esteemed it an honor and have ever since
to be so recognized by him. I soon learned to look up to brother Gardner as one of
the honored fathers in his profession ; but the best thing I can say of him is not tiiat he
was a great and good lawyer, but that lie was a man in the highest sense of the word
He is gone : buried ou* of sight ; yet he lives and ever will live in our esteem and af-
fections and memory of the good people of his town, county and state, whom he de-
lighted to serve, and who in return delighted to honor him. Peace, peace to his ashes.
REMARKS OF A. S. KEYES, ESQ.
If Ih'i Court pleas"- : —I feel how inadequate and empty are words to express the
loss we all feel in the sudden death of our brother, A. B. Gardner, a man whom we re-
spected and revered. We remember him as an exemplary and able man, and "take him
for all in all we shall not look upon his like again." Asa lawyer he stood in the front
rank of his pnjfession, and was noted for his fidelity to his clients. He loved his pro-
fessiuu, and as he received great honor and profit therefrom, he ever sought in return to
dignity and honor it.
How well I remember in my youthful days the first time I ever heard him argue a
cause before a jury. It was in an important trial at the old court house in Bennington
Centre. His eloquence, his clear and forcible manner of speaking, his towering form,
all made up a picture as impressive and commanding as that of a Roman senator in
Rome's proudest days, and as I listened to him on that occasion my boyi3h mind became
enthused with the ambition to become a man like him. It was through his advice that
I began the study of the law. The genial c ouotenance of Gov. Gardner will greet us
no more ; he has passed away to "that land from whose bourne no traveller returns,"
and his death has left an aching void in our midst which will never be filled.
REMARKS OF HON. G. W. HARMAN, CHAIRMAN.
May it please the Court:— Aher wliat has been said by the members of Hie bar, I
thitik I can safely state that ihese ri'solutions have been adopted and I hope itvrill
be ordered that they be spread upon the r. cords of the court, and that when it meets
tiie plesHure of your Homrs, the court will, in consideration of our bereavement,
adjourn until to-morrow morning.
REMARKS OF HON. W. G. VEAZEY, PRESIDING JUDGE OF THE COURT.
Tiie court heartily concurs in the language and sentiment of these resolutions,
and -dso in all of the remarks that have been so well made here i'l respect to our
late brother Gardner. My acquaintance with him extends back over nearly my
whole professional career, now more than fifteen — nearly twenty — years; but it
was not .so intimate as yours has been. It was, however, Tamiliar enough to enable
me to discover in him the most pterling qualities as a man, and eminent abilities
as a lawyer.
When death removes such a man and lawyer from any community, it produces a loss
that can hardly be measured ; but w^hen it comes into a bar, which is not a large gath-
ering, and takes from it one o' its most infiuential and beloved members, it is more than
a loss, it is a deep bereavement.
Our brotherhood is not a large one. It is a brotherhood, so to speak, of contention
— of a manly, vigorous struggle between each other; but I am most happy to say that
it is one wherein are formed the strongest friendships that can be found outside of the
From what I have seen of Gov. Gardner! doubt if there ever was a man anywhere
for whom the members of the bar had a deeper and more sincere friendship than they
had for him.
If we shall pay due regard to these sorrowful epochs, when death breaks into our
ranks bv the removal of one after another, then the lesson of their lives and examples
will not be lost upon us.
It is with the deepest sorrrow, and with the most profound respect for the memory of
Gov. Gardner, that the court will order these resolutions spread upon the records of the
court and a copy to be sent to his family under the seal of the court. And in further
consideration of his memory the court will now take a recess until nine o'clock to-mor-
The following tributes were handed the Court by thost^ not present and speaking
and speaking at the memorial ceremonies :
TRIBUTE OF HON. A. L. MINER.
May it please the Court and Oentlemen of the Bar:— It is a very willing duty
that I perform in saying a few words upon these resolutions. My acquaintance with
our deceased brother Gardner has been long and familiar ; a g."eat portion of the
time that of extreme intimacy. We have been associated in the trial of many cases,
and have often been on opposite sides. I have very frequently appeared as counsel
before him, when he was acting as referee or auditor, and our positions have quite as
often been reversed, he being the counsellor and myself trying the case. This relation
has continued from the time he came to this bar up to this present session, covering a
space of more than thirty years. We have also been connected with our Legislature
for three sessions, during one of which we occupied the same room. During all this
long and close acquaintance I have found him to be a just and safe counsellor, an able
advocate, a high-minded and honorable lawyer, and above all an honest man. I deep-
ly feel and mourn his death. Not only this bar, but this town and county and
state have lost a bright ornament. We are no more to witness his manly form, his open
countenance, and his pleasing and instructive conversation. Nearly forty-seven years
have passed since I became a member of this bar. There was then a bright array of
attorneys here, the greater part of them being comparatively young men. The law-
yers in this county who were then in practice were Judge Bennett and Leonard Sar-
geant of Manchester; Harmon Canfield of Arlington ; David Robinson, John S. Rob-
inson, Pierpoint Tsham ; U M. Robinson, Henry Kellogg, Samuel H. Blackmer, A. P.
Lyman, and Wm. S. Southworth, all in this town. A brilliant cluster of names, but
with one exception they have all passed that portal which opens into the unseen world.
Yes, death has often entered our ranks and chosen many shining marks; but perhaps
the shaft has never fallen upon one who was more esteemed, or whose loss was more
deeply felt than our lamented brother who has just fallen. I would gladly offer a word
of consolation to the heart stricken widow and family. They have many consolations
in their deep bereavement. A loved and honored husband and father died at home,
surrounded by his kindred and many, very many, friends. Their own loving hands
held his dying head, and smoothed his dying pillow Let us commend them to the
teachings of Him, who alone can heal the cleft heart, and who is the widow's God and
the orphan's father.
TRIBUTE OF A. M. HULING, ESQ.
May it please Tou • Honors : — It is death, the sudden death of our brother Abraham
B. Gardner, that calls us together at this time. I esteem it a pleafure as well as duty to
aay a few words in memory of the deceased.
Forty-four years ago this wmter we were school-mates at the Union Academy at East
Bennington (thns called), and now the village of Bennington, and from that time to the
day of bis deatli we had been intimately acquainted with each other, living to-
gether the uiost of the time in Bennington Centre in the same neighborhood,
almost in speaking distance of each other. During; this long period the deceased lived
an exemplary life, and while volumes could i)e spoken in his favor, not one word could
be said against him.
When at the Union Academy he was but a youth eighteen years of age, yet he
was dignified and manly in his address, of great self-respect, exceedingly ambi-
tious, of good habits, good moral character, good native talents and abilities, and a
thorough scholar, thus winning for himself the respect, good repute and admiration,
not only of his schoolmates, but of all others of his acquaintances.
Since then, through his long and eventful life, whether as Speaker of the House of
Representatives, or moderator in a town or school district meeting, or advocate before
court and jury, or at any other place where he may have been called to preside, he
has at all times maintained those distinguishing traits of character, not in the least
impaired by years.
In reference to tlie resolutions! would say, I heartily approve of ail in them contained,
as veil also the apt and appropriate remarks of the several members of the bar on the
same. If 1 would, time and space will not permit me to eulogize the virtues of our de-
ceased brother. All that knew him well can but speak his praise
His eventful life haf not at all times been as bright and happy, as some supposed.
There was a time in his life when death removed from him the wite of his earliest af-
fictioDS, his second wife also, and children one after another. It was at these times,
at these visitations of Providence, that many gloomy days of sadness and sorrow were
upon him. The deceased has done well his part among his fellow men, and if he did
not reach all the high places for which he way have aspired, it can be truly said by all
tliat knew him that his life was a success, and in his death the community has sustain-
ed an irreparable lo8<.
'JRIBUTE OF HON A. P. LYMAN.
Though the infirmities of years sternlv admonish me that I cannot convene with
the court and bar upon the solemn occasion that suggests your assembhng, I cannot re-
frain from offering a rew words of sincere admiration and respect for the memory of
Mr. Gardner, now so deeply and justly lamented. I most cordially concur in the eu-
logies which this honor-^.ble court, the bar, and press has pronounced. No words of
tribute, or symbols of mourning, can fully portray the magnitude of this sad bereave-
ment to his family, his associates, or the public at large, to all of whom he was en-
deared by the mo.st tender ties of affection and regard. W.th the exception of ex-Gov.
Hall I am the oldest member of the bar of this county, though Mr. Miner is my senior
It is due to the memory of our fellow citizen and brother to say that during all of my
long practice at the bar with Mr. Gardner, no re'ations save those of uniform friend-
ship and courtesy have ever existed. We were frequently arrayed in opposition, and
as often in accord, but in all our legal battles our friendly personal relations were never
disturbed. His ability, assiduity, fidelity and integrity remain an honored example and
legacy to his survivors. An honest cause ever found in him an earnest, able and fear-
less defender. He has departed and left behind an enduring monument. The unwel-
come summons that called him hence will soon still further thin our ranks. May the
fragrance of his life and example long impart a benign influence to those who fol-
low in the pathway of a profession that he never dishonored, and leave a lasting im-
press upon the community.
TRIBUTE OF JAMES B. MEACHAM, ESQ.
Brother Gardner was a lawyer highly esteemed by me. He was one of the commit-
tee in connection with the late Governor John S. Robinsou that examined me for ad-
mission to the bar, and in questioning me in the text-books at that time, though but par-
tially acquainted with him, I then formed my opinion of him that he was well versed
in the rudiments of law, andbeing so well veised in them he must be a lawyer of high
standing among his brethren at the bar. And after my admission to the bar, if I wished
to counsel with any one in regard to any matters of law, I would call on him, and if he
could give me any information without detriment to his clients, he was always willing
and freely gave it to me, and told me to call on him at any time, and if he was not on
the other side he would impart it to me. But now he has gone and the places that
once knew him will know him no more forever. I miss him at his office and in the
street, and I miss him at the present term of court. He was always prompt in attend-
ance upon court and looking after the interests of his clients which were many ; he was al-
ways prompt at the time and place where he made his engagements. When I saw him
the last time, which was but a few days previous to his last sickness, he appeared to me
to be in good health, and I little th<mght at the time that in a few days we should be
called upon to mourn his death.
TRIBUTE OF JOSEPH G. MARTIN, ESQ.
May it please this Honorable Court. — When I became acquainted with our distin-
guished Brother Gardner, to whose memory the eloquent tributes of my learned brethren
have been paid, he was walking in the full heighth of his career, in that elevated posi-
tion in his professsion which has been vividly portrayed to you. For seven years it has
been my pleasure to meet him within and without the courts of justice, and I am
pleased to say that his commanding presence, his polished manners made him capable
of adorning the best circles in our great and proud R ipublic. Tuough I was
not as intimately acquainted with him as many of the members of this bar, vet the
tidings of his death filled my heart with profound sorrow to know that another pillar
of strength had been removed from among us and gathered to yonder churchyard,
where buried lies the dead. It seemed for a moaient that this bar had been robbed of
a resplendant ornament, but upon maturer reflection I know that it is declared that the
great over-ruling Power who gives, has a right to take away in his owa good ti ue and
manner. It is far from my sphere then to question the Immaculate authority upon
whom we all depend for that life and strength whic'.i enables us to eulogize our brother.
Doubtless my aged brethren feel that their loss is greater than mine. This may be
true in a temporary sense, but in experience they were his equals, and some perhaps his
superiors. The rich stores of wisdom which he had accumulated by that experience
could benefit them little, and that little not long, while we younger men, in order to
fill the ranks made vacant by the relentless visitation of death, must seek instruction
from the fathomless depths of legal codes and gather wisdom from our seniors. We
have now one the less great source or fountain head from whom we are to gain that
rich store of human knowledge of which he became possessed by sixty two years of
contests in the battle of life. It burdens our souls with grief to realize that in one mo-
infnt Mr. Gardner Ims gone from among men forever. We take pleasure in assuring
his stricken family that he was entleareii to us by such ties of love and admiration that
his exemplary life will be cherished and freshly remembered until this generation of
lawyers shall like him have passed away. It is a consolation to know that during his
last sickness he was at home with his family who did everything which mortals could
suggest to alleviate his suffering and mitigate his pain. In conclusioa I will say in the
language of the poet,
Farewell, gallant lawyer,
Thou art buried in light;
God speed thee to Heaven,
Lost star of our uight.
TRIBUTE OF JOSEPH E. FENN, State's Attorney.
M ly it please your Honors : — Being one of the junior members of this bar and
having lived at some distance from the home of our departed friend and brother, I have
been associated but little with him whose memory we so willingly seek to honor. But
three short years are enough and more than en )ugh to learn much of a man like Mr.
Gardner. One needed but little association with him to learn that he was a pure and
good man. His friendly greeting, his laugh, the warm grasp of the hand gave evidence
of the kind heart within. His laige clientage for many years stamped him -is a suc-
cessful lawyer. The esteem and respect in which he was held by all who had known
him long and intimately is ample proof of his honesty and integrity. Bennington
county bar has lost a successful lawyer; but not as a lawyer only will he be missed from
our number so much as because from our midst has departed forevera genial com-
panion, a valued friend, an honest man. However high his attainments at the bar may
have been, the best legacy he has left us is his noble manhood. His life has been a
marked success and all mourn and deplore his loss.
TRIBUTE OF CHARLES S. CHASE, ESQ.
If the Court please. — Although not a member of this bar, yet my connection with
this court the past three years, has brought me into a quite intimate business acquaint-
ance with Gov. Gardner, and if "from the fullness of the heart, the mouth speaketh,"
I also may be allowed to testify to my appreciation of his great worth, and especially
to the consideration with which he treated me upon my first appearance in this court.
Coming as I did here, almost wholly inexperienced, his kindness attracted me to him
and I have considered him, ever since, among my truest friends. I shall ever remem-
ber the last time I met Gov. Gardner. It was at Rutland during the last September
term of court ; he came into the hotel where I boarded, and coming directly to me
extended his hand witii that hearty grip, which no young man has ever felt without re-
membering. He took a chair beside me and visited (for no other word will express it)
during the whole noon time He inquired minutely in regard to the court and all the
cases heard, asking particularly in regard to the questions of law that were involved in
each. He paid me for a little work I had done for him, and requested me to have cer-
tain entries made in his cases in the Rutland court, as he was unable for some reason to
attend to it himself. And when the time came to go, bidding me good-bye with the
warmth of a man of my own age, lie passed from out of my sight forever, leaving^with
me memories of him to which I shall always look back with pleasure, and with the be-
lief that my acquaintance with him, though short, has given to me higher and nobler
aims in life.
TRIBUTE OF HON E. B. BURTON.
I was not in Bennington at the time the memorial service was held before the Coun-
ty Court, upon the demise of our lameuted brother, Abraham B. Gardner. I have read
the resolutions then adopted, and the several speeches then made, and I cordially con-
cur in all that was done and said on that occasion. T do not know as there is anything
I can add to what was so well and forcibly said at that time.
From my long and intimate acquaintance with the deceased, I will merely give a
brief summary of my views of the man : He was not so much distinguished for his
superior legal attainments (though by no means deficient in that regard) as for his
good common sense, integrity of purpose, quick and just appreciation of the weight of
evidence, faithful adhesion to the cause of his clients, and sound, practical judgment.
In all these qualities he was rarely excelled. In the death of Brother Gardner, how
pertinently is brought to mind the truth of the old adage, "Death loves a shining
mark." How often the reflection occurs, why was he "in his pride of place" stricken
down, and others of us left. Surely "God moves in a mysterious way His wonders to
perform. Let us, therefore, bow submissively to His decrees, saying not our will, but
Thine be done.
TRIBUTE OF HON. MYRON BARTON.
Hon. Myron Barton, sheriff of the county, also desired to bear testimony ot his sin-
cere admiration for Mr. Gardner as a lawyer, citizen and friend, also to express his
hearty approval of the action taken to honor the memory of the departed :
I have known for more than thirty years Mr. Gardner, meeting him at county courts,
and also in Shaftsbury at our justice comts at my father's office. I have done business
for him in my official capacity for the last 22 years, and can truly say he has treated
me kindly, and his directions and counsel have always been relied upon and followed.
It is the universal expression of every citizen of our town, that in the death of Mr.
Gardner we have lost our best friend. His business enterprises in our town were exten-
sive, and all his business relations with us have been to build up and improve whatso-
ever he has undertaken. The people of the town feel our loss of Mr. Gardner as keen-
ly as do the people of Bennington, and anything more I could say would not add to
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