Near the town of Hopkinsville in the southern part of Kentucky Susan Virginia McGinnis was born January 1, in the year of 1836. She was the daughter of William McGinnis and Martha Wriston.
It is not known exactly what happened to her father after her birth, but it is thought that he died when she was just a baby. He probably descended from the early McGinnis families that settled Kentucky almost a half a century earlier.
Martha Wriston had been a life-long resident of Christian County of which Hopkinsville was the largest town. She had owned a farm along the river there for many years. It was probably on this farm that Susan was born. John was born in 1790 in Maryland or Virginia. His father was Elisha Clifford who assumed the surname of his stepfather Wriston after the death of his own father. John’s mother was Sarah Ann Mayo. Elizabeth Price married John Wriston on November 9, 1813 in Kentucky after leaving New Hope, North Carolina where she was born on June 9, 1796. She was the daughter of Archibald Price and Matilda Berry.
Susan lived in Christian County, Kentucky until the year of 1841. Her mother married William Dees of Madison County, Illinois on April 1, 1841. Susan then went with her mother to live near the town of Edwardsville in the southern part of Illinois.
Susan lived here for about four years. Her step-father worked as a farmer. During this time two children were born. They were Levi and Mary.
In the latter part of 1844 the Gospel of Jesus Christ was brought to them. In February of 1845 Susan with the rest of her family were baptized into the Church. Also baptized was her Grandparents Wriston and their sons.
They weren’t able to stay long in Illinois because of persecution. Since they were unable to cross the plains with the early companies leaving Nauvoo they went with other Saints into Missouri. They first settled in Atchinson County for about a year. They then moved farther north into Holt County. During this time two more children were born, Nancy and John.
In the spring of 1850 they were finally able to make preparations for their trip to Zion. They left Holt County with others who had stayed there and headed for Kanesville, Iowa.
Susan’s Grandparents Wriston with their sons were also going with them.. Also traveling in the company was the Campbell family. Three of Susan’s Wriston uncles had married Campbell women. Solomon and Lovina Campbell who were recently married were also traveling with them.
On June 20, 1850 the Company left Kanesville and headed for Zion. Stephen Markham was the Captain.
Heavy responsibilities fell upon Susan as her mother was to deliver a child soon, and her father was called to help supply meat for the company, and act as a translator when Indians were encountered.
William would rise early in the morning with other men and hunt buffalo. William taught the Indian languages to Susan and his children.
After the company had been out for a few weeks the cholera broke out. Quite a number of people died with it. Susan’s uncle Elisha Wriston died during this time leaving his wife and children. Also dying were Solomon Campbell’s parents and a younger brother.
The traveling was tiresome and hard. When arriving at a stream of water Susan would wash the dust and blood from her tired feet. At night after the wagon train stopped they would get together for dancing and entertainment.
After being on the plains for just over a month her mother gave birth to her brother Isaac on the bank of the Platte River.
On October 1, 1850 the Company finally reached Salt Lake Valley. After five years of persecution and fleeing they finally reached a place they could call home.
After a short stay in Great Salt Lake City they went to the southern part of Davis County where they spent the winter.
In the summer of 1851 her family with her grandparents Wriston moved to Box Elder Creek the present site of Brigham City.
They joined about a dozen other families and they lived in a log fort to protect themselves from the hostilities of the Shoshone Indians.
Many times the Indians would ride into the settlement and demand food and anything else they fancied.
In the Spring of 1852 they moved from their fort out into farms that they started. They spent the winter on the farm and in November another child was born into the family…Named…Martha Jane.
In the Spring of 1853 Brigham Young sent orders for them to join again into a fort. They dragged their houses and made a fort. A small stream ran through the center. They farmed on the outside. William Davis was the presiding Elder of the settlement and Susan attended Church in his house. School was held there and Susan obtained some of her schooling in one of the cabins.
In the Spring of 1855 Brigham City was laid out by Brigham Young. A ward was organized called the Box Elder Ward and they belonged to the Weber Stake.
On April 23, 1855 Susan received a patriarchal blessing under the hands of Isaac Morley. Among other promises and blessings he told her that she had received the blessings of a lawful heir in Christ’s Kingdom and would participate in the first resurrection.
Susan had become a very beautiful woman. She had long black hair, olive skin, and brown eyes. In years later she was described by her brother-in-law Charles Wright the husband of her sister Nancy as one of the most beautiful women he ever saw.
About this time Susan became acquainted with John Garrard who was a recent convert from England who lived in North Ogden. A friendship soon grew and they fell in love and decided to marry. Susan could not get permission from her parents to marry John. So John went to Brigham City one day. When it became evening him and Susan rode away secretly on his horse for John’s mother’s home in North Ogden which later became Pleasant View. After they left Susan’s step-father found that she had left with John so he came after them. Upon reaching John’s home a bonfire was built and his family with him and Susan circled around it while the presiding Elder performed the ceremony. Susan was very excited as she was scared that her father would show up any minute and stop the ceremony. But he came too late as they were married late that evening.
They settled in North Ogden where they helped tame the land and build the community.
Things went along very well for them. On November 28, 1857 their first son was born. He was the first Garrard to be born in the United States. He was named after John.
Their happiness was short lived as the U.S. Government was camped for the winter in Wyoming ready to invade Utah in the Spring to put down a so called Mormon Rebellion spread by their enemies. They knew that in the Spring that they would have to leave their farm and flee for the wilderness in the South.
John’s brother-in-law Timothy and his brother-in-law George Kerrison were part of the army that was trained to stop the government troops from entering Utah.
On May 3, 1858 John and Susan with their baby John said farewell to their home and packed what they could and entered Salt Lake City, which was deserted and ready to burn by a few who were left, they didn’t stop but continued on through as they promised Brigham Young. They camped away from the City while peace was made between the Church and the Government. Since peace was made they left the Provo area in latter July and returned to their home in North Ogden.
This had been the second time in her life that Susan had sacrificed all her earthly belongings for the sake of the Gospel.
In the Spring she gave birth to another son named William McGinnis Garrard.
Susan was a great lover of horses and she could ride them expertly. Her black hair was so long that when she let it down it would reach the horses back when she sat upon it.
Susan was a pleasant person and liked by all. A friendship grew between Susan and John’s sister Sarah.
It is thought that about this time in 1860 that Susan and John with their two sons went to the area around Sacramento, California with John’s sister Caroline and her husband to live. John and Susan only stayed a short time but his sister and husband stayed on.
On August 5, 1861 a daughter was born to them in Ruby Valley, Nevada. At this time they were either returning from California or else farming out there. The baby died about a week and a half later and was buried there.
They moved back to North Ogden where a daughter was born in 1863. She was named Susan Evered.
John moved his family to Eden in Ogden Valley where he operated a saw mill. This was a good income and life became good to them.
To help Susan with her house work they had the daughter of Solomon and Lovina Campbell who lived in North Ogden come and live with them. Her name was Mary Lovina. She was about thirteen at the time.
In June of 1865 another child was born into the family and they named him Levi.
Susan’s grandparents Wriston had died in Providence about seven years earlier. Her parents were now living in Providence. They had moved to Payson shortly after her marriage and then returned to Cache Valley. Also her mother’s family changed their name from Wriston to Clifford as they had been instructed by Brigham Young to use their correct surname when receiving ordinances in the Endowment House.
The suffering and hardships Susan had lived through since leaving her home in Southern Illinois twenty years ago when she had accepted the Gospel were now making effects on her health.
When Levi was just a baby she became very ill. The snow was very deep and she needed to be taken to North Ogden for care. Solomon Campbell came from North Ogden with a sleigh. She was put in the sleigh with Levi whom she held. She became so ill when passing through the canyon that she could not carry Levi any longer. Levi was buried in the snow by Solomon with a small opening for air. He hurriedly took Susan to North Ogden and returned to the canyon to find Levi safe. There were animal tracks around the hiding place but yet Levi was not disturbed.
(Photo: My great-great-grandfather Levi Timothy Garrard, Rosanna Campbell Garrard, Oldest to youngest children. Bertha Uranus, Althea Alverta (Grandma Toone), William Leonard)
Susan realizing she would not live long asked Mary to marry John when she died and take care of her family. Mary felt she was not capable but Susan insisted so Mary promised her that she would.
On September 21, 1867 Susan died at North Ogden leaving her husband and four children. She was buried there in North Ogden.
A few weeks later John married Mary in North Ogden and she became a dearly loved mother to the children.
Susan was 31 years old when she died. Her sacrifices for the Gospel and her accomplishments in building a new land have been handed down in story and legend by her posterity. Thus fulfilling the prophecy of Patriarch Isaac Morley when he said in her patriarchal blessing in 1855 “Thy name will be handed down by thy posterity in honor before the Lord.”
This history is from the records of Virginia LaVon Toone Draper Call.
This was copied by Gaylene Draper Croxford February 3, 1997 for genealogy purposes.