Isaac R. Garner

From: "Biographical Review of Cass, Schuyler and Brown Counties, Illinois 1892", by Biographical Review Publishing Company, Chicago, Illinois; pages 581-583, a reprinted by Stevens Publishing Co., Astoria, Ill., 1971, is sold by the Schuyler County Historical Society, Rushville, Illinois.
  Isaac R. Garner, a prominent and esteemed citizen of Ashland, Illinois, and an honored veteran of the late war, was born in Cass county, Illinois, February 21, 1846. His parents were Greenberry and Mary J. (Redman) Garner, his father being a native of Indiana, while his mother was born in Morgan county, Illinois, in which latter county their marriage took place in 1837. The father was a prominent and useful minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and was an active member of the Illinois conference for more than forty years. The paternal grandfather of the subject of this sketch, Rev. James Garner, was also an able minister of the same denomination, while four brothers of our subject's father were also ministers of the same church. The family was originally from Holland, but had been established in American since an early day. The subject of this notice was one of ten children, seven of whom are now living. Hannah E., the oldest, is the wife of Rev. G. B. Wolfe, an itinerant minister in the Methodist Episcopal church in the Illinois Conference; Charles W., married, is a farmer in Pike county, Illinois; Isaac R., the subject of this biography; Mary A., widow of J. Bagby, resides in Ashland; Hattie E., wife of Ross Ister, lives on a farm in Pike county, Illinois; George, unmarried, is a horse trainer in Virginia, Illinois; Minnie Lee, wife of Jerry Ritter, lives in Ashland; James died in childhood; William N. died aged eight years; and Elina Bell aged thirteen.
  The early life of our subject was spent in school and in working in a store, up to the time of his enlistment in the army. He offered his services to the Twenty-first Illinois Regiment, under General Grant, but was rejected on account of his youth; a year later, however, he was accepted in Company I of the Sixty-second Illinois Infantry, and was assigned to duty in the Army of the West. For a time he served in the Sixteenth Army Corps, and was afterward under General Steele in the Seventeenth Corps. Mr. Garner was appointed Drum-major of his regiment, serving in that capacity most of his army life. His duties were to drill his own band, and he was afterward detached and placed in charge of the bands of new regiments as drill master. He participated with his regiment in several skirmishes, and took part in the battle of Little Rock. It was while on board a boat, in the spring of 1864, that he met with a distressing accident, which destroyed his sight, and he has been totally blind since the spring of 1866. The anguish occasioned by the deprivation of sight has been intense, and for twenty-six years he has never looked upon the face of his wife and children. On May 2, 1865, he was honorable discharged, and at once returned to his parental home in Cass county, Illinois. He afterward entered the Blind Institution at Jacksonville, where he remained four years, taking the entire five years' course. He then engaged in selling musical instruments, in which business he continued for seven years. After this, he was for two years in the livery business at Plymouth, Hancock county. Later, he followed trading for a time, but, since coming to Ashland, about twelve years ago, he has retired from active business. He receives a liberal pension on account of his misfortunes.
  Mr. Garner was married November 10, 1885, to Miss Grace E. Douglass, a highly esteemed lady and a daughter of W. S. and Virginia (Job) Douglass, honored pioneers of Cass county, Illinois, who now own and operate the Central Hotel in Ashland. Mrs. Garner is the second of five children, of whom Charles, the eldest, is unmarried, and is in the insurance business in Ashland; Edward, died in infancy; Ellen is the wife of Dr. William Bane, a practicing physician of Springfield, Illinois; William is employed in a drug store in Ashland, and is unmarried.
  Mr. and Mrs. Garner have two children, Harold D., born in Ashland, September 10, 1886; and Helen Lee, born September 2, 1888.
  Politically, Mr. Garner is a straight Republican, and takes a deep interest in the affairs of his country. Socially, he is a prominent member of Douglass Post, No. 592, G. A. R., in Ashland.
  He is a devout and useful member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and is active in forwarding the interests of the church, Sunday school and other religious and charitable enterprises.
  Thus, notwithstanding his deep affliction, he does more for his fellow men than many others who have nothing of that kind with which to contend. In the midst of all his sorrow, he is buoyed up with the sense of a duty done by which he is assisted in liberating thousands of suffering humanity, who might yet be begroaning in bondage. This and the universal esteem of his associates and friends tend to brighten his otherwise dark pathway through life.

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