Dr. James Gardner (1788-1848)
Dr. Gardner was born in Connecticut, a medical
doctor with versatile skills and ambitions.
Working his way south he spent time in
Tennessee before settling in Valley Head,
Alabama about 1836. He was the first
postmaster for the small community serving for
several years. Not an easy job with muddy
trails, cold, heat and long distances between
the delivery points. He built a cabin for his
family, in the coming years . The “dog run” style
home would become the foundation for the
present day Winston Place.
Dr. Gardner traveled with a wife and twelve
children. He met and married Elizabeth Hoge in
Tennessee about 1818. The children would
marry and contribute significantly to the
population. Dr. Gardner was responsible for
building a number of homes in the Valley Head
community, providing for his children and
grandchildren. Among his descendants are
Price, Dean, Whited, and Thornbury.
One of Dr. Gardner’s first tasks was to secure
land patients in coordination with other early
In 1845 Dr. Gardner and William White secured
39.89 acres north of Valley Head. In May of
1845 Dr. Gardner and Albert G. Hale secured
160 acres, which included Valley Head. An
additional 160 acres was secured in 1845, by
Mr. Hale and Dr. Gardner.
Dr. James Gardner was one of the earliest
settlers to the little valley and a significant
contributor the growth and development in the
area for generations to come. Unfortunately,
Dr. Gardner would live to see the long term
effects of his efforts, he passed away in 1848.
Already an elderly man, James Gardner,
worked against rugged conditions setting the
foundation for future generations. Efforts to
confirm his final resting place have been
unsuccessful. Perhaps his grave site is in the
Old Valley Head Cemetery, the first know in
Valley Head and established before 1848.