Frederick D. Gardner

Frederick Dozier Gardner (1869 - 1933) was born in Kentucky and later became a prominent businessman in St. Louis, Missouri with extensive experience in the coffin and hearse manufacturing business. He served as the Democratic Governor of Missouri from 1917 to 1921. Clarence Darrow wrote in his autobiography that after his second bribery trial ended in a mistrial: "I had no money left, and had already borrowed about twenty thousand dollars from friends in various parts of the country, mainly Chicago. I felt discouraged and disheartened. That night I received a telegram which read as follows: 'St. Louis, Missouri. Clarence Darrow, Los Angeles, California: I hear that you have spent most of your life defending men for nothing and that you are now broke and facing another trial. I will let you have all the money you need for the case. Am now sending draft for one thousand dollars. Frederick D. Gardner.' The name was utterly unknown to me. This came from a total stranger. My eyes filled with tears. This was twenty years ago, and as I recall this telegram and the signature the tears are in my eyes once more along with the rest of that agonizing past.

In a day or so a letter came containing the cheque for a thousand dollars from my unknown friend, Frederick D. Gardner, of St. Louis, and in the envelope was also a cheque from his wife for two hundred dollars. I used that money, but the case was soon afterward dismissed so that I did not need further help. There is a deep gulf between blank despair and the illusion of hope and comfort and confidence. Though the gulf between them is deep, often there is but a step across. I went home from the disagreement of the jury, sad and discouraged, but when I received the telegram from Mr. Gardner, and the letter, the sun shone bright again and the birds were singing in the trees."