W. C. Gardenhire, of Dayton, Tenn., was born in Roane County, May 14, 1838, son of George W. and Polly (Bottom) Gardenhire, both natives of Roane County, Tenn., and both of Scotch descent. The father was born in 1796, and is now living in Rhea County. The mother was born in 1806, and died in Hamilton County, near Chattanooga. They were married in Roane County, and subsequently moved to Hamilton County. The father was a farmer, a slave trader before the war, and a Democrat in politics. W. C. Gardenhire, received a liberal education, and began life as a salesman, which business he followed two years. He then established a mercantile business of his own at Harrison, and on a boat on the Tennessee River, which he continued up to the breaking out of the late, war, when he served three years in teh Confederate Army. In 1866 he went to California and was engaged in the mining stock business in that State up to 1869, at which time he made a voyage to the South Sea Islands, visiting the Fijians and the Sandwichers, Australians and a number of others. He returned to California in 1871, bringing with him four native Fijians, and after exhibiting them in Woodward Garden, San Francisco, for some time at $150 a day, he sold them to P. T. Barnum for $20,000. He returned to Tennessee the same year on a visit, and in the spring of 1872 he went back to California, and was engaged in the mining stock business up to 1878. In the meantime (1876) he went to Arizona, and located the town of Safford, Graham County. In the early part of 1877 he went to New York City, and was one of the charter members of the American Mining and Stock Exchange. About this time Mr. Gardenhire was suffering with Bright’s disease, and he spent several months in visiting the celebrated springs in the United States with no improved symptoms. In 1879 he started on a voyage around the world. He visited England, India, Africa, etc., and came into port at San Francisco, Cal., in the spring of 1881. April 3, of the same year, he married Miss Julia Wiseman, a native of Los Angeles, Cal., born May 21, 1858, daughter of William C. and Annie R. Wiseman of California. He afterward went to Arkansas and tested the virtue of the Eureka Spring. In 1884 he had a survey made, and located the town of Dayton, and subsequently built a fine residence there, and was cured of Bright’s disease by drinking water at Dayton Spring. He has been very active in the erection of buildings, and in improving the town. He has been instrumental in erecting six brick stores, opera house, brick livery stable, stone bank (called Dayton City Bank), and numerous other dwellings. Our subject is a Democrat in politics and a man well-known and well respected by all who know him. After returning from the South Sea Islands, he wrote a history of Fiji and the Fijians, which had a good sale.
Published by The Goodspeed Publishing Co 1887