1850 Census: resided in Clarke Co., Miss
Married: 18 Nov 1832 in Barnwell Co, SC
Several of his children married into the D.E.Lawhon family.
* * * *
The Reverend Marmaduke Gardner, who was known as Father Gardner, was born in South Carolina, August 8, 1812; was converted to Universalism by a traveling Irishman in 1830. His grandfather and father were both named James. The grandfather was a hatter in Dublin, Ireland, and came to America in 1770 and was a soldier in the American Revolution. The father was a farmer and helped fight the British in the War of 1812.
Rhoda Caroline Ussery was born in North Carolina, Montgomery County in 1814. When a small child, her parents moved to South Carolina where she met and married Marmaduke Gardner in 1833. She was eighteen, he was twenty, when they started out, two children we would say now. In 1836 they moved to Mississippi and lived there eighteen years.
Marmaduke Gardner had very few advantages of school, but was very studious and read all the good books he could find. He was converted when he was twenty-two years of age. He joined the Baptist Church and studied to become a minister, but could not get reconciled to the teachings of eternal punishment of the wicked and not taking communion with all Christians. He worried and studied over the question so it was feared he would lose his mind; then a traveling Irishman stopped for the night. The traveler had some literature on Univeralism and grandfather became interested. He stayed two days and nights. They read and talked and grandfather was converted. The Irishman's name may have been William Ives, a Yankee peddler, who was in North Carolina at that time.
In 1840 Marmaduke Gardner orgainzed a Univeralist Church in Mississippi. On September 17, 1848, he organized a church in Clark County, Mississippi. Some of the members' names giver were those of his brothers, his daughters and their husbands.
In 1854 they moved to Texas, settling here on this land, one and a half miles from Lawhon Spring, known then as Sam Smith Spring, but later bought by Uncle David Lawhon and is now owned by Oscar Lawhon, his grandson. Grandfather orgainzed the first church in 1855 at Lawhon and on October 6, 1878, he ordained Rev. Joe Lawhon and Rev. J.S. Dunbar to preach Universalism.
Grandfather Gardner was a blacksmith, ginner, leather tanner and shoemaker, repaired broken furniture and rigged saddles. In reading you will find he was a Master Mason, Charter Member of his lodge, a good husband, father, preacher, and best of all a good Christian. You will find his Irish wit too as you read; once he was debating his belief with another preacher. They had a timekeeper to hold the watch. Grandfather spoke first, The timekeeper got so interested that he forgot to tell time. Then Grandfather asked, "How much time do I have left?" The timekeeper looked at his watch and replied, "The watch stopped." Grandfather remarked, "I knew I was making a powerful argument but did not know it would stop a watch." Once Aunt Kate Lawhon went with him to preach and they spent the night. On the way they passed a peach tree in full bloom. He spoke of its beauty. On the way home some animal had ruined it. He said, "There is a lesson - if we allow evil to overcome us, it can ruin the beauty of your life in one night." Grandfather made his sermons impressive by using illustrations that stayed with you. They had a family of nineteen children. Fifteen lived to be grown, five boys and ten girls who all raised families. They had triplet boys named Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Two died with stomach and bowel trouble in their second year. One, Isaac Gardner , lived to be nineteen and the first one buried in this family cemetery here at the old home. After living together for forty-six years, Grandmother passed away on July 30, 1878, in her sixty-fourth year and Grandfather on May 4, 1879. He was sixty-seven years old.
Grandfather had a brother, Washington Gardner, who was a Greek scholar, and helped him a lot with his studies. Grandfather was a very large man, grandmother average size woman.
Lela (Lawhon) Taylor
July 24, 1949
Marmaduke and Rhonda would have 18 children born to there marriage several are connected below but there are a bunch that we don't know at this time where they are buried I am looking for them now they are listed below:
1-Richard Gardner died as a infant.
2-Susannah born Nov.-18-1833 and married Edward Lankford.
3-Saphronia J. born Sept.-9-1834 and married Rev.William Green.
4-Tabitha born May 14,1836 married Isaac Newton Barber Sr.
5-Joseph W. born 1837 and married Nancy Scales in 1860, Joseph died in the Civil War in 1864.
6-Frances Ester born March 18, 1839 died Dec.-7, 1883 she marr. Seaborn Barber.
7-Francis Marion born June 22,1840 he married Nancy Scales she was the Widow of his Brother Joseph Gardner.
8-Thomas Jefferson born 1841 died in 1864 at the Battle of Shiloh.
9-Sarah Almira born Jan.-4, 1843 married Edmund Dancer 2nd. married Francis Marion Pebbles.
10-Rhonda Caroline (Kate) born May 13, 1845 married William Lawhon.
11-Almira J born Nov.11,1846 married Thomas Jefferson Olive.
12-Julia Louise born Sept.11, 1848 married James Franklin Shaw.
13-James Madison ( Tuck) born Jan.4, 1850 married Nancy Elizabeth Lawhon.
14-Judith Ellen born July 6,1852 married John Carr Lahon.
Then there were 3 Bundles of Joy at one time Isaac- Abraham and Jacob .
15-Isaac born Jan.28,1854 and died in 1872.
16-Jacob born Jan. 28, 1854 died in 1856.
17-Abraham born Jan.28, 1854 and died in 1854.
18 Lucy Helen born May 19,1856 married Davaid B. Lawhon.
This was wrote Sept.-27- 2013 by the G.G.G. Niece of Marmaduke Gardner im working real hard to find where all the above Children are buried.
Bio by: Cory Collins
George Washington Gardner
1784 – unknown
Joshua Thomas Gardner
Tabitha Gardner Barber
Frances Esther Gardner Barber
Thomas Jefferson Gardner
Rhoda Caroline Gardner Lawhon
Almira J. Gardner Olive
Julia Louisa Gardner Shaw
James Madison Gardner
Judith Ellen Gardner Lawhon
Lucy Helen Gardner Lawhon