Biography of William Gant

Traveling, freighting and prospecting all over the western country, enduring with commendable fortitude its extremes of heat and cold in various places, and encountering with courage and resourcefulness its dangers of various kinds under various circumstances, William Gant, of near New Castle, Garfield county, one of the prosperous and enterprising ranch and cattle men of his section, may be said to know this part of the United States as well as any one and to have seen its manifestations of wild and tame life in as many forms and under as many different conditions as any citizen of this state. He is a Canadian by nativity, born at Hamilton, in the province of Ontario, on June 9, 1845. He received only a common-school education, and at the age of twelve began making his own living by farming and market gardening. Impressed with the belief that “The States” offered better opportunity for enterprise and skill, his parents migrated to Iowa in 1854. When a young man the subject worked in the coal mines for a couple of years in that state, then changed to Nebraska and three years later to Kansas where he leased a coal mine which he worked until 1873. In 1864, in the interest of Jones & Hendry, he made a freighting trip from Plattsmouth to Denver, this state. From 1873 to 1876 he made Boulder his headquarters and was employed in the Rob Roy, Baker Stewart and other mines, and in 1877 and 1878 he was mining on Coal creek below Canon City, after which he located at Leadville for a short time. He also made several prospecting trips through Arizona and New Mexico. November 29, 1881, he squatted a claim a portion of which is his present home, and on November 29, 1891, took full and final possession of it. It comprised one hundred and fifty-four acres, part of which he has since sold. He has now sixty acres under cultivation, producing good crops of the general products common to the neighborhood but depending on onions as his staple, which he raises in great abundance. Mr. Gant built the first cabin between Grand Junction and Glenwood Springs, and wherever he has been has been enterprising and progressive according to the needs of the region. He belongs to the Masonic order in lodge and chapter, and takes an active part in the work of the bodies. In politics he is independent of party control but he is by no means indifferent to the welfare of his county and state. His parents were John and Elizabeth (Grant) Gant, natives of England who came to America and settled in Canada soon after their marriage. In 1854 they moved to Iowa, where they remained until 1866, then found their final location in Kansas. They were engaged in farming and raising stock until the end of their days, the father dying on December 3d, and the mother on December 4, 1903. They were Methodists in church relations and he was a Republican in politics. They had a family of nine children, five of whom are living, William; James L., of Phoenix, Arizona; Emanuel; John, of Colorado, and Minnie, of Kansas. On September 3, 1890, he was married to Miss Mary J. McBurney, a sister of Mrs. George Yule, of Garfield county (see sketch elsewhere in this work). She was a daughter of Hugh and Elizabeth McBurney and was born at Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. Mr. and Mrs. Gant have had six children. Two who died in infancy and a daughter named Elizabeth are deceased. Another Elizabeth E., James L., and Emma M. are living. The parents are Presbyterians, active in church work and respected by all who enjoy their acquaintance.

Source: Bowen, A. W. Progressive Men of Western Colorado. Chicago: A. W. Bowen & Co., Publishers. 1905.

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