The late Gustave Girard, who for many years was identified with the agricultural interests of Crawford county, was a native of Germany, his natal day being the 1st of April, 1843.
His parents, Frederick and Dorothea Girard, were also born in Germany but emigrated to the United States and located in Livingston county, Illinois, where they died and were laid to rest. They were the parents of seven children. Gustave Girard was fourteen years of age when his parents left the fatherland, in the common schools of which he acquired his education. He was always engaged in agricultural pursuits and before his marriage he purchased a farm in Livingston county, Illinois, where he engaged in general farming and stock-raising for six years and then disposed of his property and removed to Crawford county, Iowa. He bought one hundred and sixty acres of unbroken prairie in Otter Creek township, which he had improved and brought to a high state of cultivation at the time of his demise.
On the 17th of June, 1877, Mr. Girard was married to Miss Eva E. Custis, who was a native of La Salle county, Illinois, her birth having occurred on the 26th of August, 1861. Mrs. Girard was a daughter of Levi and Clara (Johnson) Custis, the father a native of Virginia and the mother of Pennsylvania. The parents located in La Salle county, Illinois, in pioneer days and there the father passed away at the age of twenty-six years. Shortly afterward the mother located on a farm in Livingston county and after residing there for a time removed to Greene county, Iowa, and she is now living in Dallas county, this state, at the venerable age of seventy-two years. Three children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Custis, all of whom survive. Mrs. Custis became the mother of eight sons and daughters by her second marriage and they, too, are all living except Charles.
Mr. and Mrs. Girard became the parents of ten children, as follows: Carrie J., who was born on the 18th of September, 1878, and died on the 23d of December, 1878; Lurenia M., who was born on the 21st of March. 1880, and died on the 21st of May, 1880; Jesse U., who was born on the 10th of March, 1881, and died in Oklahoma on the 28th of February, 1906; Frederick, born on the 10th of August, 1884, still at home; Arthur H., born on the 3d of September, 1889, who is managing the home farm; Lula E., born on the 25th of September, 1891, who is attending college in Cedar Falls; Francis E., who was born on the 27th of December, 1893, and died on the 21st of July, 1894; Nellie E., who was born on the 6th of October, 1895, and is living at home; and Gladys H., who was born on the 7th of August, 1898, and is also at home.
Mrs. Girard still lives on the old homestead in Otter Creek township, where she and her son Arthur make a specialty of breeding and raising Percheron horses and other good stock. She is a member of the Christian church. The republican party and its candidates always were given. the political support of Mr. Girard, and, although he was not an office seeker, he always took an active interest in all local campaigns and fulfilled the requirements of good citizenship by casting a vote on election day.
He passed away on the 3d of October, 1907, and was laid to rest in the Morgan cemetery. He was an unostentatious, hard-working man, who was absorbed in his private interests and devoted to his family, by whom, as well as the community where he lived, he was greatly mourned.
Source: History of Crawford County, Iowa. Vol. II. Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1911.