Saturday, May 22, 2010

Indian Children in Early Utah

The following excerpts are from an article titled, "Mormon pioneers participate in the Indian slave trade," by Kamber A. Hone. The article was published in Mountainland: Our Pioneers by The Daily Herald on March 16, 1997. The article is on page 49.

"Many people may not realize that Latter-day Saint pioneers purchased Indian children and raised them with their families as early as 1847, the first year they made their new homes in the West.

"Brigham Young University assistant professor of history Brian Q. Cannon, who studied the era with his colleague, Richard Kitchen, said that for various reasons, the settlers took an interest in these children, who were usually prisoners of other tribes.

"What started as Indian slave trade became common practice among Mormons along the frontier in the 1850s.

"As part of their indepth study of the era, the scholars learned that the settlers, in some instances, rescued these children from cruel and unusual deaths. . . .

"This process that began informally in the fall of 1847, was enacted as part of law and religion in 1851 and 1852, Cannon said. In May of 1851, Brigham Young, as the Mormon prophet and Utah territorial governor, instructed the Saints to buy Indian children to 'educate them and teach them the gospel,' he said. . . .

"Even with limited access to sources, Cannon said he tried to find the best array of research to get the widest range of information about the adoption process and the practice itself. Through journals, autobiographies, reminiscences, cemetery records and government records, he and Kitchen identified and traced 244 Native American children who lived in white, Mormon households in the 19th century. . . .

"Another interesting finding of Cannon's study was the strength of the bonds formed between the Indians and their foster families. . . .

"Although not all adoptions were a favorable lifestyle for the children or the families, some proved to be very beneficial relationships."

The process of adopting Fanny into the Gardner family began with one of Abigail Sprague's brothers purchasing her. Years later, Fanny was brought to the Gardners where she spent the rest of her life. Family journals confirm that she was happy living with the pioneers, that she was included in the family the same as the other children, and that she was baptized a member of the LDS Church and received temple ordinances.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Fanny Gardner

Archibald Gardner and his family adopted an Indian girl sometime between 1850 and 1856. On page 68 of The Life of Archibald Gardner it states:

Fanny "was given to Aunt Abby by her brother, Ithamer Sprague. It seems the dusky maiden had been stolen from her home by a warring tribe who sold her to Sprague for a pony. She was born on the Weber River and was about ten years old when he purchased her. Her brother, named Muchikee, came to see her at different times in after years, but she would slip away and hide if she saw any other Indians coming. She did not wish to go back to her own people."

Somehow in the retelling of Fanny's story, things have gotten a little mixed up. Fanny is listed in the 1850 census of Weber County living with Thomas Sprague at the time she was five years old.(1) I don't know if Ithamer gave her to Thomas before she was adopted by the Gardners, or if Thomas was the one who purchased her. Also, this was clearly before she was 10 years old. If you click on the image below, you will be able to see a more readable image.)

The 1856 census of Union Fort, Salt Lake County, Utah lists Fanny with the Gardner household. This would indicate that the Gardners adopted her by the time she was ten years old, but I don't have any more specific information than that. She remained with the Gardners until her death on 31 July 1879. She died in West Jordan and is buried in the Gardner family plot at the Salt Lake City Cemetery.(2) To my knowledge, Fanny never married or had children.

In my next post, I will share more information about the adoption of Indian children by the early Utah pioneers.

1. 1850 U.S. Census of Weber County, Utah, p. 159
2. Salt Lake City Record of the Dead, p. 228, #9119 (FHL #026,553).

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Deseret News article mentioning Archibald and the West Jordan mill

For those of you who are not in Utah or don't subscribe to the Deseret News, I thought you might be interested in an article that was published today mentioning Archibald and the mill in West Jordan.

Against the grain: Owner of Gardner Village saw potential where others didn't

Be sure to take a look at the photo gallery. There are historic pictures as well as those of the current village.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Death of Hial Bradford

Archibald's second wife, Abigail Sprague Bradford, was the widow of Hial Bradford. Abigail and Hial lived in Nauvoo in 1845 when several family events occurred in quick succession. Abigail's life sketch in The Life of Archibald Gardner states:

"Abigail was very ill when her baby Tryphena was born September 30, 1845. Her husband went for his brother's wife to help at the sick bed. He took his brother's baby with him on the horse and was so long in returning that the family became concerned and went in search of him. He was found feeling his way to the house. He had taken suddenly and violently ill. He died during the night. A little eight-year-old son, Grandville, died about the same time. Two vacant chairs met her gaze when Abigail was able to sit up."(1)

I have also heard this tradition with the variation that Hial went to get the midwife, and I've also heard that he was kicked by the horse and never recovered. The point is that family traditions change over time, and as with all oral history, inaccuracies creep in with the retelling. I am hopeful that the family will look at traditions as a way to locate accurate information, and then bring the traditions back into line with documents of the time. The tradition of Hial's death is one that needs to be evaluated. Currently, most family records indicate that Hial and Grandville both died the same day that Tryphena was born. At least in Hial's case, this cannot be accurate.

On 3 September 1845, the Nauvoo Neighbor published the "Weekly Sexton's Report." This report was a regular feature of the newspaper and was literally a report of the burials that occurred at the Nauvoo cemetery the previous week. The cemetery sexton would have personal knowledge of the burials that occurred in the cemetery for which he was responsible. On 3 Sep, there were actually two sexton reports published. The report for August 24, 1845 lists "Hiel Bradford. 39 y; fever."(2) This sexton's report is primary evidence that Hial died sometime between the 17th and 24th of August, not the 30th of September. Tryphena's birth is well-documented for the 30th of September, so it is clear that Hial may have gone to get help for his pregnant and very ill wife, but it was not at the time of her labor and delivery. Tryphena was born over a month after the death of her father.

I have not yet been able to document the death of Grandville, but since even tradition says that he died "about the same time," it is likely that his death was not the same day as Tryphena's birth. If any family members have documents of the time that will help clarify the timing more precisely than what tradition provides, I would be happy to hear from you.

1. Delila Gardner Hughes, The Life of Archibald Gardner (Draper, Utah: Review and Preview Publishers, 1970), 155.

2. Nauvoo Neighbor, 3 Sep 1845, p. 3, col. 4.