Crawford County, Iowa, IAGenWeb


T. J. Garrison

Among the most responsible and successful citizens of Denison is T. J. Garrison, whose life stands as a monument of well directed energy, prudent foresight and ability. Mr. Garrison has never had a thirst for office or that hankering for publicity which often besets men otherwise successful and which many times leads to broken hearts and disappointed hopes. He has been content to be known as a man of honor and probity, to surround himself with comfort and luxuries, to enjoy the palatial home which he has built for himself, and to help his children grow to successful maturity. The comparative affluence which he now enjoys has not been the result of fortune's whim but the result of downright hard work, self-denial, and sheer ability.

Mr. Garrison was born in Jones county, Iowa, August 22, 1849, a son of Solomon and Harriet (Simpson) Garrison. His father was born in Ohio, February 13, 1816, and removed to Iowa immediately after his marriage on January 27, 1841, settling in Jones county near the present town of Olin. Twelve years later, in 1853, he removed with his family to Onion Grove, near Clarence, Iowa, where he resided for fifteen years and then returned to Pleasant Hill, Jones county.

Three of their children having located in Nebraska, in 1883 the parents removed to that state, making their home at Reynolds. There the father died March 2, 1891, the mother afterward making her home with her youngest daughter, Mrs. A. D. Hunt, at Mount Vernon, Iowa, where she passed away December 9, 1903.

To Mr. and Mrs. Solomon Garrison were born eight children, two of whom died in infancy. Those living are: Cyrena, born October 13, 1843, now the wife of John Ashby, of Coggon, Iowa; W. S., born September 5, 1846, who was married to Miss Emma J. De Camp and now lives at Wyoming, Iowa; T. J., the subject of this review; G. R., born May 8, 1854. who married Sarah E. Robinson, January 20, 1876, and is now a resident of California; L. L., born February 28, 1858, now an insurance agent in Lincoln. Nebraska; and Dema E., born March 25, 1861, now the wife of A. D. Hunt, of Mount Vernon, Iowa.

Mr. Garrison was but a very small lad when his father removed to Clarence, Cedar county, Iowa. He attended the public schools of that place, passing through the different grades until he entered Cornell College at Mount Vernon. His college career was not long, however, as at the age of seventeen he returned to Clarence and engaged in the hardware and lumber business with J. W. Simpson. Later a Mr. Martin was taken in as a partner and the firm became Simpson, Garrison & Martin. Mr. Garrison continued in that business until he was twenty-seven years of age, when he began to read law. His energy and determination are well illustrated by the fact that he decided upon this course after having passed his early youth and that he pursued his studies alone. purchasing his own books from his earnings and instructing himself so rapidly that in the fall of 1879 he was admitted to the bar in Tipton, Cedar county, Iowa.

In 1880 Mr. Garrison carrie to Denison, forming a partnership with 1. T. Roberts and succeeding to the law practice of Tabor & Tabor. This partnership continued for several years until the withdrawal of Mr. Roberts from the firm, after which Mr. Garrison conducted his extensive business alone until the last few years. when he withdrew from practice to enjoy the fruits of years of toil. As a lawyer Mr. Garrison enjoyed the reputation as one of the wisest and safest of counselors. He always avoided litigation if possible and his work was that of an adviser and a peacemaker rather than an advocate.

For many years he was the local attorney for the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway and the Chicago & Northwestern Railway, and in this capacity he enjoyed the confidence and personal friendship of the highest officials of the two roads. He conducted the delicate details concerned with the purchase of the right of way for the Milwaukee and also for the double tracking of the Chicago & Northwestern Railroad through the county, and he succeeded in doing this with no dissatisfaction on the part of the railroad or of the people. Wise and farsighted investment added to his income as an attorney until, as we have stated, he has been enabled to retire from business, surrounded with a goodly portion of life's enjoyments.

On the 17th of February, 1870, Mr. Garrison was united in marriage to Miss Emma Carothers. To them were born four children: Lillian A., whose gift of music and whose lovable disposition have been an added blessing to the home; Edgar S., who has through a series of well earned promotions been appointed to the important position of judge of the Canal zone; Ray D., who married Miss Hattie Weeks, of this city, and who is in the fruit-raising business at Grand Junction, Colorado; and Earling R., who is the life and joy of the home and who bids fair to duplicate his father's business sagacity.

In Mr. Garrison we have the picture of a forceful, self-made man, of kindly disposition, loyal to his friends, and who has earned for himself the respect and consideration of the community.

Source: History of Crawford County, Iowa. Vol. II. Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1911.