Sunday, December 2, 2018

Spotlight on...Allen Garner (1842 - 1925)

This post begins a series which will highlight notable people from Porter and Parsonsfield.

   Mr. Garner was an outstanding businessman who played a major role in the development of this area and was interested in everything that pertained to the civic welfare of the community. One of his many contributions was toward building the Kezar Falls Circulating Library. 
 He was born in Bedford, England, November 9, 1848, son of William and Amelia (Ashton) Garner, one of eight children. His father died in 1848 and in 1854 his widowed mother with her 20 year old son John, 12 year old son Allen and 8 year old daughter Regina, came to Middlebury, Vermont to live with relatives. The following spring they moved to Lewiston, Maine. Deprived of his father in early childhood, Allen was obliged to go to work when quite young. He began work in a factory in Lewiston and learned the woolen mill business. 

   By 1866 he bought and sold a small mill of his own and continued to buy, run and sell small mills until 1881. In the spring of 1881 he came to Parsonsfield, Maine and organized the Kezar Falls Woolen Company that was started by George W. Towle and Elisha Fox for the manufacture of woolen cloth. Under his direction as Superintendent and Agent the mill became a very successful enterprise, largely due to his experience and expertise. In 1894 he was appointed Treasurer of the mill, and became part owner.

   His business operations were not limited to manufacturing alone, but extended into the world of trade. In 1893, he purchased the general store in Kezar Falls of George W. Towle which he placed under the management of Preston J. Stanley.

   At the time of his death he was president of the Kezar Falls National Bank and of the Cornish and Kezar Falls Light and Power Company; treasurer of the Kezar Falls Woolen Company, and president of the Kezar Falls Water Company.

   He was an active member in the Masons, Odd Fellows and Knights of Pythias and served as a trustee of the Riverside Methodist Church. He was a prominent member of the Republican Party and served in the State Legislature for Parsonsfield, and Newfield in 1895 and 1896. Mr. Garner was held in high esteem by his friends and colleagues.

   In June 17, 1863 he married Mary D. Jordan of Sumner Maine and they had six children, four who lived to adulthood - Alice G.(Merrifield), Evangeline M. (Chellis), William S. Garner and Florence R. (Norton). He died March 25, 1925. His wife died in 1934.

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