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).


  1. So fun to read!! I look forward to your next post. Happy that someone is blogging. Hope you are enjoying your summer.