Most successful people in the world will point to those special influences from their childhoods for their inspiration because people cared. Texan Edna Gladney devoted her life to improving the lives of children, providing love and finding homes for children. Gladney began a movement that made life better for children across the state.
Gladney was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in 1886 to a young woman named Minnie Nell. Her mother was seventeen at the time she gave birth and unmarried, considered scandalous at the time. Very little was known about her father. However, her mother later married a hard-working clerk. After her stepfather’s death in 1904, her mother sent her to Fort Worth to live with relatives.
While living in Fort Worth, she met Sam Gladney. The two married in 1906. Already, she had an interest in helping children as she joined the board of directors for the Texas Children’s Home and Aid Society by 1910. In 1913, she and her husband moved to Sherman where her husband opened the successful Gladney Milling Company. Gladney herself joined the Sherman Civic League and became deeply involved in local causes.
A visit to the Grayson County Poor Farm changed her life. Like many other southern counties, Grayson County had established a farm where the poor, mentally ill, homeless, orphans, and elderly could live. However, the facility had been neglected for years, and Gladney found children at the facility in appalling conditions. She began sending many of the orphans at
ABOVE: Robert Campbell helps teens refine math
skills during a tutoring session at the Winters Public Library.
TOP: Henry Munoz, Family Service Specialist with Region 15 Education Service Center Head Start motivates pre-schoolers with dance.