Fielding Garr (1794-1855)

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Fielding Garr
Garr Ranch.jpg
Garr Ranch, Antelope Island
Born: 19 Aug 1794 Madison, Virginia
Died: 15 Jun 1855 Antelope Island, Utah
Father: Abraham Garr
Mother: Dinah Weaver
Siblings: Fielding Garr
Spouse: Paulina Turner
Married: 18 Nov 1819 Richmond, Wayne, Indiana
Children: Eliza Jane Garr
Nancy Garr
Abraham Garr
Richard Rue Garr
John Turner Garr
Abraham Garr
William Henry Garr
Abel Weaver Garr
Caroline Martin Garr
Sarah Ann Garr
Mary Virginia Garr
Benjamin Franklin Garr

The Wild West:

Fielding Garr was born in 1794 in Virginia. While he was young, he had to labor hard and had little chance for education; still he was well-read, and he gained most of his education himself. In 1847 he migrated west with the Mormons to Utah. While crossing the plains, as well as during their first winter in the Salt Lake Valley, rations consisted of ½ lb. of flour per day per person. This, with poor beef, rawhide, and thistle roots serving as vegetables comprised their food in the winter of 1848.

In the fall of 1848, while riding at the end of a large island in the Great Salt Lake, Fielding Garr, Heber F. Kimball and Lot Smith came unexpectedly on a large herd of antelope. Ever since it has been known as Antelope Island. Antelope eventually died out though, probably because of over-grazing by cattle.

Because of its isolation, the absence of snakes and predators, it was thought the island would make an ideal unfenced range for livestock. That winter, “Old Father Stump”, an old bear hunter who chose to live on the island, Abe Garr (Fielding’s son), George Thurston and Nathaniel Ashby drove the first herd of cattle over. The LDS church took possession of the island early in 1849 and operated it with Fielding Garr in charge.

At some point, Fielding Garr, who was a superb stone mason, built the house and stone corrals on the island, that still stands to this day. An adobe house with foot thick walls, it is thought to be one of the oldest continuosly occupied buildings in Utah, being lived in until 1981. Fielding Garr lived to the age of 61. He died in 1855 and is thought to be, or once was, buried on the island.