Anna Gardner was a Miami County school teacher who educated students in Miami County in the late 19th century and into the early 20th century. She was an early settler in Miami County who worked to build up Miami County’s intellectual and cultural foundation and framework.
The Osawatomie Graphic reported in its May 17, 1945, edition that “Miss Anna Gardner was born at Thornhill, Ontario, Canada, February 22, 1854, the second of a family of three girls. In the Spring of 1865 she came to Osawatomie, Kas. She attended school here and availed herself of all the education possible. She was always an honor student. She commenced teaching in the county schools of Miami county when only sixteen years of age.”
Anna Gardner was a progressive teacher and adapted to the changing times in her teaching career. The Osawatomie Graphic reported that “Although Miss Gardner’s initial education was entirely elemental, she kept abreast of the progress of teaching methods through reading of educational journals, institutes and summer schools. Her career as a teacher covered nearly fifty years.”
Anna Gardner was a beloved teacher, and she was honored on her 85th birthday on February 22, 1939, with a surprise birthday party by appreciative past students. The Osawatomie Graphic reported in 1939 that “February 22, 1939 was the 85th birthday of Miss Anna Gardner, who celebrated by receiving friends in her home from 2:00 pm to 5:00 P.M. 132 friends and former pupils were present to extend their congratulation and best wishes.”
Anna Gardner’s teaching career was largely in one-room schools, and the Osawatomie Graphic reported in 1939 that “Miss Anna taught her first school in the Chesbro district north of Paola, and the following year at Plum Creek. She taught at many other schools in Miami county, including Stockwell, Osage Valley, Willow Branch, Somerset, and the Lane school in Franklin county.”
Most of Anna Gardner’s teaching career was in Osawatomie, though, as the Osawatomie Graphic reported, “In 1894, Miss Anna came to the city schools, and taught here continuously for the following thirty years, retiring at the age of seventy.”
Anna Gardner, like teachers everywhere, helped to build the cultural foundation and framework of her community. The Osawatomie Graphic reported in 1939, “She has watched the growth of Osawatomie since its very early years and has been a great influence in the moral and intellectual development of its citizens.”
Anna Gardner was a dedicated and caring educator who left a legacy of intellectual and cultural development.
We owe educators in the past a debt of gratitude and respect, and our current educators support, gratitude and respect for their efforts.
Grady Atwater is site administrator of the John Brown Museum and State Historic Site.
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