OLIVER M. GARDNER, the fifty-seventh governor of North Carolina, was born in Shelby, North Carolina on March 22, 1882. His education was attained at North Carolina State College, where he graduated in 1903; and at the University of North Carolina, where he studied law. After establishing his legal career in his hometown of Shelby, Gardner became involved in politics. In 1908 he formed the North Carolina Young Men’s Democratic Club. He won election to the North Carolina State Senate in 1911 and 1915, and was president of the senate in 1915. He also served as the lieutenant governor of North Carolina from 1917 to 1921; and was chairman of the state delegation to the 1924 Democratic National Convention. Gardner next secured the Democratic gubernatorial nomination, and was elected governor by a popular vote in the 1928 general election. During his tenure, a state tax commission was established; the state deficit was reduced; a secret ballot bill was sanctioned; and an office of relief was formed. After completing his term, Gardner moved to Washington, D.C., where he practiced law. He also served as chairman of the Advisory Board of the Office of War Mobilization in 1944; and was the undersecretary of the treasury in 1946. He then secured an appointment to serve as the U.S. Ambassador to Great Britain. However, he suffered a debilitating stroke, and passed away before taking his appointment. Governor Oliver M. Gardner was buried in the Sunset Cemetery in Shelby, North Carolina.
Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 3, Westport, Conn.; Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.
North Carolina History Project: Encyclopedia