W.D Gann was born on a farm some seven miles outside of Lufkin, Texas, on June 6, 1878. He was the firstborn of 11 children two girls and eight boys of Sam Houston Gann and Susan R. Gann. The Ganns lived in a too small house with no indoor plumbing and with not much of anything else.They were poor, and young Willy walked the seven miles into Lufkin for three years to go to school. But the work he could do on the farm was more important to the family, so W.D. never graduated from grammar school or attended high school. As the eldest boy, he had a special responsibility, and those years working on the farm may have been the beginning of his lifelong dedication to hard work.His religious upbringing as a Baptist may also have had something to do with it, for his faith stayed with him throughout his life as well. A few years later W.D. worked in a brokerage in Texarkana and attended business school at night. He married Rena May Smith, and two daughters, Macie and Nora, were born in the first few years of the new twentieth century. W.D. made the fateful move to New York City in 1903 at the age of 25.