Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Josie Lee Gardner, 1865 - 1950

Josie Lee Gardner

Genealogy provides a lot of mysteries.   If I were to wait on every mystery being cleared up before I posted, well, I'd never post and I really want to get things out there. And sometimes mysteries are cleared up while I post.

This cute sprite is Josie Lee Gardner.  Josie was born January 1, 1865 in Gardner, Weakley County, Tennessee or possibly Nashville.  This photograph was taken at the J. H. Van Stavoren Studio in Nashville, Tennessee.  She looks like she's perhaps 5ish which means the photograph was taken about 1870.

Agnes Hunter
Cowardin Gardner
Josie's father was John Almus Gardner and he deserves a post of his own.  But briefly the town of Gardner Tennessee was named for him.  He was the first president of the Nashville and Northwestern Railroad.  He was active in politics and served six years as a state Senator in Tennessee. To see a picture of the Gardner home and family on the front porch visit Rootsweb.

His first wife was Ritty Terrell. After her death in 1848 he married Agnes Hunter Cowardin.  John and Agnes were the parents of many children but Josie was their last child and the baby of the family.

Josie was born in 1865 in the town that bears her fathers name, Gardner Tennessee. In about 1887/88 she married Charles W. Pyle.  They had one child named Charles Sherman Pyle. Charles either died or they divorced because Josie marries James T. Edwards in 1898 and they appear in the 1900 census living in Gainesville Texas with her son Charles.

James T Edwards, Josie G. and Charles S. Pyle 1900 Census for Gainesville Texas.
Meyer Brothers Druggist Directory
Here's a mystery that was solved during the writing of this blog entry.  I remembered a post on another blog of mine called Victorian Hoarders.  I had come across a picture from Gainesville Texas of a drug store named Edwards The Live Druggist.  The streets are crowded with people, perhaps it was the opening day?  Anyway, as I was writing I connected the dots.  Josie Lee Gardner married James T. Edwards.  They moved to Gainesville Texas.  James' occupation as listed in the 1900 census is "druggist."  Then I located online a copy of the Meyer Brothers Druggist with a list of Pharmacists that are also Bankers.  J.T. Edwards of Gainesville TX is on that list.  The Mysterious Case of Edwards The Live Druggist is now closed!  So just remember, before there was a Walgreens, CVS or Rite Aid the good people of Gainesville Texas had Edwards the Live Druggist!

Edwards The Live Druggist
In addition, I had filed away a newspaper clipping that I found dated March 1, 1895 from the Gainesville Register about the grand opening of a new drugstore in Gainesville...EDWARDS THE LIVE DRUGGIST

March 1, 1895 Gainesville Register
Transcription of WHO CAN BEAT IT?
This picture we present to the readers of the Register, is one every man, woman and child in Gainesville should be proud of.  With but one exception Gainesville can boast of the biggest retail drug store in Texas.  This the drug store that had 4235 PEOPLE in its store in one day.  This is the drug store that is putting up more prescriptions than any other two drug stores in Gainesville.  This is the only drug store in Gainesville that keeps open from 5:30 in the morning till 12 o'clock at night.

We do this to accommodate the people and to get your trade.  We are living in a progressive age and a man has got to thoroughly understand the drug business these days to make a success of it.  A man that can't make a success of selling drugs don't understand his business.


Go to a competent druggist.  When you have a prescription to be filled carry it to a man that is competent to do such work.  We are making a success of our business and thoroughly understands the drug business and the filling of prescriptions in every detail.

Economical Prices have told the tale at

Josie and James appear again in the 1910 Census for Gainesville but by 1920 James has died because Josie (Mrs. James T. Edwards is how they listed her in 1920) is now a widow.  I felt frustrated because I had not been able to find anything about his death.  I continued looking for him in the Texas databases to no avail.  Then when I was looking for someone else I located the death certificate of  James Thomas Edwards.  He died in 1917 in Dresden Tennessee of Bright's disease, an antiquated term meaning kidney disease.  He was buried, as are many Moran relatives, in Sunset Cemetery, Dresden Tennessee.

Josie died on March 5, 1950 in Wichita Falls, Texas.  According to the death certificate Josie had been a librarian at the County Library.  She spent the last 20 months of her life at the Wichita Falls State Hospital where she died at 7:55 in the morning on March 5, 1950.  Cause of death was lobar pneumonia.  Josie is buried in Fairview Cemetery along with many of her family including her father John Almus Gardner, mother Agnes Hunter Cowardin, a brother Earnest Morehead Gardner, a sister Fanniebel *Fannie* Gardner Rollins, and her son Charles Sherman Pyle.

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