John Davis Garner. While his name is now most
familiar to the people of Custer County as president of the Farmers’
State Guaranty Bank at Thomas, Mr. Garner was one of the real
pioneers of this section of the state and has been variously
identified with farming, merchandising, banking and public affairs
for fully fifteen years.
The family which he
represents is of old colonial American stock, the Garners having come
from Ireland to South Carolina, and the great-grandfather of the
Thomas banker lived at Pendleton, South Carolina, and from that
locality offered his services as a soldier during the Revolutionary
war. John Davis Garner is a Georgia man by birth, born at Gainesville
in Hall County, October 22, 1868. His father, Joseph A. Garner, who
spent his active career as a farmer and stock man, was born at
Gainesville in 1846 and died there in 1891. For eighteen months he
was a soldier in the Confederate army. His church was the Baptist.
Joseph A. Garner married Louisa Whelchel, who was born in Gainesville
in 1847 and died in 1886. Their children were: John D.; India, the
wife of W. S. Huff, an attorney at Dahlonega, Georgia; Eula is the
wife of Herbert S. Blackwell, of Lula, Georgia, and Mr. Blackwell for
twenty-one years has been an engineer in the service of the Southern
Railway and the company ranks him No. 1 for efficiency; Cynthia
married George W. Shackleford, an attorney living in Florida; Henry
A. is a railroad man at Lula, Georgia; Robert C. is a farmer at
Price, Georgia; and Joseph E. died in infancy.
training with which Mr. Garner started life was acquired in the
public schools at Gainesville, and he was graduated from the high
school with the class of 1886. The next fourteen years he spent as a
Georgia farmer. In January, 1900, he came to Oklahoma,
for about three weeks was located at El Reno, and then went out to
Dewey County, where he spent twelve months in preparing the first and
only map of its kind showing in red ink the allotments of every
Indian of the Kiowa, Comanche and Caddo reservation. Obviously this
was a work of great value to the early settlers there. Having
perfected this map, Mr. Garner bought a farm of 320 acres three miles
northwest of Fay. He still owns that property, though it has been
operated under a renter since 1906. In 1905 Mr. Garner moved to
Thomas, and was actively engaged in the mercantile business there
until 1910. The greater part of that year he spent on the old home
farm of 350 acres near Gainesville, Georgia, and this estate is now
included in his property holdings. Returning to Thomas in October,
1910, he resumed his merchandising activities, and gave them his
active supervision until August 12, 1913. At that date
he became identified with the Farmers State Guaranty Bank as cashier.
A few weeks later, October 15, 1913, he reorganized the bank, and has
since been its executive head. Mr. Garner is an excellent financier,
and under his management the bank has prospered as never before in
its history, and the State Banking Department has had occasion to
comment most favorably several times upon its management.
The Farmers State
Guaranty Bank of Thomas was established July 12, 1909, as a state
institution. The present officers are: John D. Garner, president; A.
E. Stevenson of Enid, vice president; Ray Wycoff, cashier, and W. D.
Alexander, assistant cashier. The capital stock is $25,000, and
surplus $5,000. The quarters for the bank and for offices were built
of brick and stone in 1910 at the corner of Main Street and Broadway.
Mr. Garner owns a half interest in this bank building aside from his
share as a stockholder.
Politically he has
always been a democrat, and for two years was mayor of Thomas. He
belongs to the Baptist Church, and has taken much interest in
Masonry. For four years he served as master of Thomas Lodge No. 265,
Ancient Free and Accepted Masons; was high priest five years of
Thomas Chapter No. 53, Royal Arch Masons; and is a member of
Weatherford Commandery No. 17, Knights Templar, and India Temple of
the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine at Oklahoma City. He also belongs to
the Thomas Chamber of Commerce and the Oklahoma State Bankers
At his old home at
Gainesville December 18, 1889, he married Miss Mellie Thompson, a
daughter of the late Andrew J. Thompson.