William Gann – A Legend

Who was William Gann?

technical analysis William Gann square biography

William Delbert Gann was born June 6, 1878, in Lufkin, Texas, to Sam H. and Susan R. Gann, immigrants to Texas from the British Isles. Lufkin is midway between Houston and Texarkana. This part of Texas is cotton country and Gann’s parents lived on a Neches River bottom cotton ranch near Lufkin. He grew up around the cotton warehouses in Angelina County where cotton was king. W. D. Gann was raised in a very strict Methodist church family. His mother, a very religious person, encouraged him to read the Bible at a very early age, and in fact, wanted him to become a minister. Gann was not sure he wanted to become a minister, but studying the Bible was certainly easier than working in the cotton fields, as was his father’s wish. He attended church every Sunday with his parents and as he listened to the sermons found his interpretation of the Bible scriptures to differ from the minister’s. In the Bible he discovered time cycles, repetition of important numbers, and references to the wise men following the stars. Also, that it was written in veiled language that made interpreting the real meaning difficult. Since Gann had a photographic memory, by age 21 he had nearly memorized the Bible.

During his school years Gann excelled in mathematics and was generally called as a gifted mathematician. His tremendous appetite for knowledge and his open-minded attitude led him into many different fields of study that eventually resulted in discoveries in the markets that would otherwise have been overlooked. He completed high school in a time when most children were only able to attend school through the third or fourth grade. As a teenager, Gann liked to be called W. D., and he used these initials the rest of his life. W. D. pestered his parents until they relented and signed a minor release form that he needed to obtain a job. His first job was that of a News Butcher on the passenger train between Texarkana and Tyler, Texas. This job required him to be quick-witted, aggressive, and able to deal with all kinds of people. During his teen years, he worked in the cotton warehouses in Lufkin and Texarkana, Texas. While working in the cotton warehouse, he was introduced to commodity trading.

In 1902, at age 24, W. D. Gann made his first commodity trade in cotton, the market he knew best. The small profit from that trade marked the beginning of what was to become one of the most remarkable and legendary careers the speculative markets have ever known. Over the next 53 years, Gann took over $50,000,000 from the markets. It has been reported by a man who worked for Gann the last eight years of Gann’s life, that approximately 1/3 of the money he made was for himself and the other 2/3 was for the accounts he supervised for clients. From that very first trade, it is believed Gann was using principles and techniques he continued using throughout his trading career. The notations on some of his early charts substantiated this belief. As time progressed, his trading methods were refined.

In 1906 W. D. went to Oklahoma City. He worked as a broker for a brokerage firm, trading for himself while handling large accounts for clients. He studied the cause of success and failure in the speculation of other traders. He found that over 90% of traders who enter the markets without knowledge and study usually lose in the end. Gann also lost a significant amount of money and admitted his trading was based on hope, greed, and fear. Later on, in his books and courses, he cautioned all traders about these emotions. Early on, Gann began to note the periodical recurrence of rise and fall in stocks and commodities. This led him to conclude that natural law was the basis of market movements. He then devoted ten years to the study of natural law as applicable to the speculative markets. During that time he traveled to England, Egypt, and India to gain knowledge in ancient mathematics and astrology. In the British Museum in England he conducted extensive research on market cycles. In an Egyptian temple it is believed he found the basic construction of what was to become known as his Square of 9 Chart. After exhaustive research and investigation of the known sciences, he discovered the Law of Vibration enabled him to accurately determine the exact prices to which stocks or commodities would trade within a given time, and that each stock or commodity had its own rate of vibration