The subject of this sketch has well earned the honor to be addressed as
one of the progressive, public-spirited men of Marion county. His early
labors were devoted to railroad work, but the latter years up to the time of
this writing, 1908, were spent in the management of a grocery store in
Salem, where he held high rank as a merchant and successful businessman.
E. P. Garner was born in Salem, Illinois, March 4, 1856, the son of Albert Garner, a native of Tennessee, who came to Illinois when a young man, settling in Salem. He drove a stagecoach on the old Mayesville and St. Louis lines; in latter years he was a stock trader and butcher. He died in Salem after an active and useful life replete with success and honor. The mother of the subject was known in her maidenhood as Letitia Pace, who was born in Mt. Vernon, Illinois. She is a woman of beautiful Christian character and admirable traits and is living in Salem in 1908, at the age of seventy-five years. The parents of the subject had a family of seven children, four of whom are deceased at this writing. They are: Florence, deceased; Ann, deceased; Albert, deceased; E. P., our subject; Blanche, deceased; Maggie, the wife of J. H. Vawter, of Salem; Frankie, who is living in Salem.
Mr. Garner was reared in Salem, having attended the common schools until he was fifteen years old. His first position was as a brakeman on the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad, on a passenger train, having followed this from the time he was nineteen until he was twenty-four years old. He then fired a locomotive on the same road for one year, between East St. Louis and Vincennes. After this he went to work for the Wabash Railroad at East St. Louis as a car accountant, having followed this up to 1906, on which date he abandoned railroading and went into the grocery and meat business in Salem, which business he has handled with success, building up an excellent trade.
Our subject was happily married March 8, 1883, to Janie Jackson, a daughter of John W. Jackson, of Frankfort, Kentucky, who is a brother of the late Capt. James S. Jackson, of Salem. This family has always been influential. Three interesting children have been born to the subject and wife, as follows: Garrie J., whose date of birth occurred March 17, 1884, in Salem; Sherrill P., who was born February 25, 1889, in East St. Louis; Ralph E., born December 23, 1898, in Salem, is in the public schools at Salem. These children have received every care and attention at the hands of their parents and they all give promise of successful futures.
Our subject is a charter member of the Modern Americans, and in his religious affiliations he subscribes to the Christian church. Mrs. Garner and the three boys are also members of this church.
Mr. Garner was on the Executive Committee of Salem township in 1880, with W. J. Bryan at the organization of the Hancock and English club. This was Mr. Bryan's first political act, he being only twenty years old at that time. Mr. Bryan was chairman of the committee on permanent organization.
Extracted 07 Jul 2017 by Norma Hass from 1909 Biographical and Reminiscent History of Richland, Clay and Marion Counties, Illinois, pages 372-373.