Gardner, Joseph William (1851–1942)

By: Newton Moore

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: January 1, 1995

Joseph William (Peter) Gardner, Indian fighter, traildriver, and rancher, was born in Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana, on March 26, 1851. The family moved to Texas in 1855 and settled in Atascosa County; in 1861 they proceeded to "Old Frio Town" in Frio County. Gardner became distinguished as a pioneer Indian fighter and traildriver. His most serious encounter with Indians occurred in 1871, when he was injured and taken prisoner by Indians at Lago Cochena in La Salle County. He was left for dead and rescued by his brother, Alexander F. Gardner. After moving to Bigfoot, in Frio County, he was actively engaged in ranching until he was ninety, when a fall from a horse forced him to retire. Gardner married Jennie Holmes in the late 1870s, and the couple had two children. His first wife died in 1882. He married Lucy Lincoln Wingate on August 16, 1883; they had seven children. Gardner, a Mason, helped organize lodges in Frio, Atascosa, and Medina counties. He was also a member of the Old Trail Driver's Association and a stockholder in the first bank organized at Devine. He died December 11, 1942.

William W. Christopher, "Joseph William Gardner," Junior Historian, January 1968. Andrew Jackson Sowell, Early Settlers and Indian Fighters of Southwest Texas (Austin: Ben C. Jones, 1900; rpt., Austin: State House Press, 1986).
  • Peoples
  • Native American
  • Military
  • Soldiers
  • Ranching and Cowboys
  • Ranchers and Cattlemen

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Newton Moore, “Gardner, Joseph William,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 24, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

January 1, 1995