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David Garner, Jr.

Question: Where did David Garner, Jr. settle after having served in the Mormon Battalion in 1846?

Answer: David Garner, Jr. was born in Lexington, Davison County, North Carolina on 30 January 1818, the son of David Garner and Jane Stephens. When he was 15 years of age he moved with his parents to Lima, Illinois. In the fall of 1839, at the age of 21, he was baptized a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints by Solomon Hancock and became a member of the Lima Branch of the Church in Adams County, Illinois.

At Lima David met Dolly Durfee, and they were married on 18 October 1842. Dolly was born in Lennox, Madison County, New York on 8 March 1816, the daughter of Edmund and Lana Pickle Durfee. David and Dolly established a home near Lima. A daughter Louisa Ann was born to them on 12 July 1843.

While David and Dolly were living near Lima they were greatly saddened when the prophet and his brother Hyrum were killed at Carthage, Illinois on 27 June 1844. Shortly after the martyrdom, their daughter, Fannie Marilla was born on 2 July 1844 near Lima. On 15 November 1845, Dolly’s father, Edmund Durfee, was brutally shot by a mob at Yelrome as he tried to quench a fire they had set on his property. The whole settlement of about 200 houses was burned at that time.

After this tragedy, David moved his little family to Nauvoo for protection. David Edmund, their first son was born at Nauvoo on 10 January 1846. A month later the persecution became so intense that the Saints were forced to leave their city. David received his endowments in the Nauvoo Temple on 28 January 1846 just prior to the exodus. In the bitter cold of winter, David and Dolly had their hands full with three babies, the youngest not yet a month old. They first camped at Sugar Creek, later moving on to Mount Pisgah where a settlement was established.

Captain James Allen, an officer of the United States Army, arrived in June of 1846 asking for volunteers to fight in the Mexican War. David joined the famous Mormon Battalion. He was listed as a Private in Company A. His older brothers Philip and William were in Company B. David left his wife and three children in a wagon on the banks of Mosquite Creek where Council Bluffs now stands. The Battalion left Fort Leavenworth on 16 July 1846.

David, along with many others, became very ill on the way and was unable to continue the march to California. By the time the Battalion reached Santa Fe, it was evident that something must be done with the sick. On 18 October 1846 Captain James Brown was given charge of some 90 men, David and Philip among them, who were not capable of making the march further. This group wintered at Pueblo. In the spring of 1847 those at Pueblo traveled to the Salt Lake Valley, arriving on 29 July 1847, just five days after Brigham Young’s Vanguard Company. President Young called a meeting and publicly thanked them for their service to their country, and they were released from their service.

The following morning members of the Battalion helped to erect the first building of worship in Utah. It was a bowery 40 feet long and 28 feet wide. David also made adobes for a fort. A month after arriving in the valley, he began the long return trip to Council Bluffs, a distance of 1,032 miles. They arrived at Winter Quarters on October 21, 1847. David was gratefully reunited with his wife and three little children. On 13 May 1848 Brigham Young sealed David and Dolly Garner for time and eternity at Winter Quarters. David and Dolly remained at Council Bluffs for a time before making another move. William Franklin was born 12 December 1848 and Mary Marinda was born 20 February 1850, both at Council Bluffs, Iowa.

In the summer of 1850 David and Dolly and their five children began their trek to the Salt Lake Valley in the Benjamin Hawkins Company. The baby (Mary) was only a few months old. Instead of remaining in the Salt Lake Valley, they continued on to Ogden Fort, arriving in September.

One day as David was skinning a muskrat, the knife slipped in his hand and cut out his eye. No one is certain of the time of this accident, but it is believed it was after arriving in the Valley. As a result, he was never seen without his glasses. In the spring of 1851 the family moved and helped settle what is now North Ogden. This is where David made his home the rest of his life. He secured a farm of about 50 acres and built a house, part of rock and part of brick. David procured fruit trees and planted a very large orchard, which gave bounteous harvest in the years to follow.

At that time the principle of plural marriage was being practiced. So on 16 March 1857 David married Bethzina Burns in the Salt Lake Endowment House. On 3 October 1858 their little daughter Bethzina Elizabeth was born. Unfortunately, Bethzina lived only a few months after the birth of her baby. Bethzina’s little daughter followed her in death not long afterward.

Four more children were born to David and Dolly in North Ogden: Nancy Jane, born 7 September 1851; Ameila Jane, born 10 May 1853; Charles Henry, born 16 April 1856; and Lydia, born 2 March 1858.

David married Mary Louisa Whitmere Price on 3 January 1870 in the Endowment House. David and Mary had one daughter. On October 10, 1871 David Garner answered a mission call to the east. He was then 53 years of age. He labored in the states one year, returning home February 22, 1872. On Sunday afternoon, 14 June 1885, David’s devoted wife Dolly died after a long illness. They had been married for 43 years. She was buried in the Ogden City Cemetery.

On 14 June 1886, David married Polly Miner Carter, a widow, in Logan, Utah. Polly was from Provo and had previously been married to Dominicus Carter and had given birth to 12 children.

David died on 28 April 1889 at the age of 71 years. At the time of his death. he was the senior president of the 78th Quorum of Seventies. Funeral services were held in the chapel at North Ogden 30 April 1889 after which interment took place at the Ogden Cemetery at the side of his wife Dolly.

Source: Excerpts from “Biography of David Garner,’ compiled and written by Dora D. Flack,;

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