This biography appears on pages 1138-1139 in "History of Dakota Territory" by George W. Kingsbury, Vol. IV (1915)
Robert D. Gardner, occupying the bench of the county court of
Marshall county, received endorsement of his first term's service in a reelection in 1914 and is bending his energies to a fair and impartial
administration of the law, attempting to make his court the embodiment of equity and justice. He has practiced in Britton since 1902, previous
to which time he was a member of the Indiana bar for several years. He is a native, however, of Michigan, his birth having occurred in Allegan
county, May 19, 1868, his parents being James and Vere (Russell) Gardner, who were natives of Scotland, born in 1825 and 1827
respectively. Reared in the land of hills and heather, they were there married and on crossing the Atlantic settled in Canada, whence they
removed to Michigan, where the father followed farming throughout his remaining days. Both he and his wife were members of the Presbyterian
church, loyal to its teachings and its purposes. Fraternally Mr. Gardner was a Mason, while politically he was a republican and filled
some local offices. He died in the year 1912, having for three years survived his wife, who passed away in 1909. To them were born five
children, four of whom survive, namely: William, a practicing attorney of Michigan; Vere, who also lives in Michigan; Robert D., of this
review; and George, who is engaged in the lumber and coal business at
After acquiring a common-school education Robert D. Gardner
entered upon the study of law under private instruction and was later elected county surveyor of Allegan county, Michigan, which position he
filled for several years. Subsequently he attended the law school of the Northern Indiana University at Valparaiso and upon the completion
of his course was admitted to the bar in 1898. He began practice in South Bend, where he remained for two and one-half years. He removed to
Britton, this state, in 1902, and there entered upon active practice independently, soon demonstrating his ability to handle intricate
problems of the law and to win success in the trial of cases for his clients. He has been accorded a large private practice and in 1912 was
elected to the office of county judge, since which time he has served upon the bench, having been reelected in 1914. His course has been
marked by a masterful grasp of every problem presented for solution and his decisions have been strictly fair and impartial.
In 1899 Mr. Gardner was united in marriage to Miss Emma L.
Knudson, a native of Illinois. Mrs. Gardner belongs to the Lutheran church. She is also a member of the Eastern Star, and was grand Esther
in 1914-15 in the Grand Lodge of South Dakota. She is also a musician of note, possessing a rich contralto voice, and has studied under
several of the' leading musical directors.
Judge Gardner is well known in Masonic circles, having taken the
degrees of the lodge, the consistory and the Mystic Shrine. He also has membership with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. He likewise
belongs to the Elks lodge at Aberdeen. He gives his political support to the republican party but never allows political preference to
interfere with the faithful performance of his judicial duties and his opinions are particularly free from personal bias or prejudice, so that
he has made an excellent record upon the bench.