by Marcia Napier, Grain Valley Historical Society
This week my drive took me to Gardner Road northeast of Grain Valley. Elias H. Gardner was born in Montgomery County, Kentucky on April 18, 1816. He and his wife, Sarah Morris Gardner, also of Kentucky, came to Pink Hill, Missouri in 1856. They brought with them five children; Richard (1847-1865), Sarah Jane (1848-1933), Elisa Harvey, Jr. (1849-1938) George Anson (1851-1906) and Wesley J (1856- ). Franklin L Gardner (1856) died in infancy.
The 1860 US Census shows them living in Sni-a-Bar Township with a Pink Hill post office. A descendant stated on Ancestry, “…they owned a farm there.” I find no land on any Jackson County Plat Map, however, Elias H. Gardner was killed on February 24, 1869, before such maps were published. Previous to 1877 the maps only listed homesteaders or first-time landowners in the relatively new state of Missouri.
In an article published in Valley News on August 29, 2019, I related the story of three men killed at Pink Hill:
“A family researcher related that Eli Gardner was drinking in a saloon after the Civil War. An argument broke out between he and his friend, Lewis Smith. Gardner’s first shot took off Lewis’ hat and his second shot hit Lewis in the chest and killed him. Robert St Clair, a prominent man in Pink Hill, attempted to stop the argument. He was shot in the arm which had to be amputated. He died a few weeks later from gangrene.
Gardner said he had killed one man and he would kill others who provoked him. A posse led by Young Keasler arrived at the Gardner home where Eli had fortified himself in a barn and refused to surrender. He shot Keasler but eventually Gardner was shot and killed.
George A. Gardner, 18-years old at the time, witnessed the killing of his father. Two years later on September 16, 1871, at the Pink Hill Methodist Church, Gardner challenged Keasler and both men were wounded by gunfire. Granville Love, a bystander was shot and later died from his wound.
George moved to Arkansas and changed his last name to Moore. His notorious past followed him, and he had numerous scrapes with the law before his death in 1906.
Elias and Sarah’s third child did not follow in the family’s footsteps, as Elias Harvey Gardner, Jr. was licensed to preach on June 29, 1889 at the Pink Hill Methodist Church. There is, however, no record of his ever having served the church as their pastor. He did serve the congregations at Mecklin and Oak Grove. He and his first wife, Margaret Catherine Campbell, are buried at Green’s Chapel Cemetery on Steinhouser Road. His parents were originally buried in a family cemetery on land owned by their daughter Sally and son-in-law, Joseph Wyatt. Many years later a grandson, Fredrick Montrose Wyatt, had their remains removed to the Buckner Hill Cemetery.
The 1904 Jackson County Historical Atlas Map shows that William H. and Ernest L. Gardner, sons of Elias and Margaret, each owned 39.4 acres of land in the southwest corner of Township 49, Range 29, Section 6. That land would have been about 3 ½ miles northeast of Gardner Road. I am unaware of any descendants currently living in this area. If there are, I would love to know more of their story!
Gardner Road is 1.4 miles long and curves through the countryside from Pink Hill Road to Truman Road. Photo credit: Marcia Napier
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