Mary Field Garner

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Mary Field Garner was 107 years old when she died on July 20, 1943. During her lifetime, the first steamship had crossed the Pacific, she saw Johnston’s Army pass through Utah. Twenty-six presidents of the United States took office and she saw industry and technology grow with the cotton gin, the reaper, the telegraph, electric lights, telephone, cars, and airplanes. She was also part of the growth of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

She was born on February 1, 1836, in Stanley, Hereford, England. She immigrated to America after her parents had joined the Church, having heard Wilford Woodruff preach. Living in Nauvoo, Illinois with her family, Mary saw the Prophet Joseph Smith many times. She attended his funeral after his martyrdom. She was also present in the meeting when the will of God for the new president of the Church was made manifest when Brigham Young appeared to look and sound like Joseph Smith. She and others knew that the mantle of leadership had fallen on Brigham Young[1]

She helped drive an ox team on her family’s trek to Utah. In her autobiography she writes of experiencing trouble with Native Americans—an Indian chief followed her on one occasion and proposed marriage. In her new home in Utah, she mentions overcoming crop failures and experiencing poverty after her father died. She married William Garner Jr. in 1856 and they had ten children. They lived first in Slaterville then settled in Hooper. She supported her husband while he served a full-time mission.

Her husband died in 1915. When she died after a fall in her home, she left over 600 descendants.