Skip to main content

Philip Garner

Question: How many children did Philip and Mary Garner have when Philip enlisted in the Mormon Battalion in 1846?

Answer: Philip Garner was born 11 October 1808 in Rowan County, North Carolina to David and Jane Stephens Garner. On April 4, 1830 he married Mary Hedrick. Mary was born 25 September 1811 in Rowan County to Francis Hedrick and Margaret Howard.

In 1830 Philip and his wife left North Carolina and passed through Ohio into Knox County, Indiana where their first daughter, Sarah, was born in 1832. Their son, Henry, was born there in 1833. Their third child, David, was born in Morgan County, Indiana in 1834. Soon after this son’s birth, the family moved to Hancock County, Illinois, where Elizabeth Jane, Frederick, and Martha were born.

While living in Iowa, about 1840, Philip and his family came in contact with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Philip and Mary were baptized, and in 1843, Philip and Mary moved to Nauvoo to be with the rest of the Saints. It was here that their next two children were born. Philip was endowed in Nauvoo, Illinois, 6 February 1846. He and his family was among those driven from Nauvoo to Council Bluffs, Iowa.

Captain James Allen, an officer of the United States Army, arrived in June of 1846 asking for volunteers to fight in the Mexican War. Philip and his two brothers enlisted. Philip was listed as a Private in Company B, with his brother William. His younger brother, David, was in Company A. The Battalion left Fort Leavenworth on 16 July 1846. Philip was forced to leave his wife Mary and their eight children in a covered wagon. Five of them were very ill, and they had not enough food to last them a month. His wife, Mary, was pregnant with her ninth child. Her son, Joseph was born at Council Bluffs on 27 November 1846, four months after the Battalion had left.

The Battalion marched southwest across Texas, New Mexico and Arizona. While Philip was on picket duty in Santa Fe, he fell into a deep ravine and was so badly injured, he could not continue the march. He was sent to Pueblo, Colorado, with the Sick Detachment where he remained that winter. The Sick Detachment reached the Salt Lake Valley in July 1847, just a few days after Brigham Young’s Vanguard Company. In the fall, Philip returned to Council Bluffs to find his family. Surprisingly, they had all survived.

In the summer of 1849 Philip and Mary and their nine children traveled to Utah in the Silas Richards Company and arrived in the Valley on 25 October 1849. They spent the first winter near Bountiful, and in the spring homesteaded a farm in south Ogden, Utah. He gave up this town site later and took up an acre lot on the corner of 27th and Adams and built a home there. He assisted in building the Old Fort. He always had a good team and assisted in making improvements in the area. He gave freely of his resources by furnishing teams to assist other immigrants to Utah. A farmer by occupation, he was one of the first to take up the farm land in Burch Creek. It was on this farm that the first alfalfa was grown in that part of Utah. The Garner-Stephens ditch was so named because of the service he rendered in its construction, thus bringing water to farmers in that area.

At the time of Johnston’s army in 1857, the family moved south and camped over 100 miles south, below Payson. They left in the spring and returned in the fall. Four more children were born in Weber County: Philip, William, John, and Emma, making a total of thirteen children for Philip and Mary. All lived to adulthood except their last little daughter, Emma.

Philip was ordained a High Priest 25 January 1851 by President Brigham Young and was made a member of the first High Council of Weber Stake 16 January 1851. Philip died at the age of 64, on 16 September 1872 at Ogden, Utah. Philip is buried in the Ogden City Cemetery with a Mormon Battalion headstone. Mary lived until 3 March 1892, and was buried in the Ogden City Cemetery.

Source: Excerpts from a sketch compiled in 1958 from research of Lolabell Garner Oleson with contributions from Philip’s children and grandchildren,;

No Comments yet!

Your Email address will not be published.