GARRETT WALLS MIKESELL
By Jay Greaves Burrup (3rd great grandson)
Garrett W. Mikesell, born 18 May 1810, in Cynthiana, Harrison County, Kentucky, was the first son and second child of John Aylor and Catherine Mikesell. Not much information is known about Garrett's early life. The John A. Mikesell family moved from Kentucky to Liberty, Montgomery County, Ohio, sometime before June 1812. At Liberty, as in Kentucky, the Mikesell's operated a tavern. Around 1820 the family moved to Clark County, Indiana, where Catherine Mikesell's family was living.
It was in Clark County that Garrett, at age 20 married Ruth "Ruthey " Cunningham, the daughter of John and Frances Jones Cunningham. The marriage took place on 20 June 1830, and was performed by William Bullock, Justice of the Peace.
It was not many years afterward that the Mikesell family was introduced to Mormonism. An L.D.S. ward membership record notes that Garrett was baptized on January 1835 by Perry Durfee. It is not known where this baptism occurred - in Indiana, Ohio or Missouri. A subsequent L.D.S. church record states that on 26 January 1839, Garrett was ordained an Elder along with James Worthington, Henry W. Bigler, Levi Bracken, Philo Dibble and Jonathon H. Hale. Another ordination apparently took place on 8 March 1839; this ordination was performed by Brigham Young and Heber C. Kimball and was perhaps ordained to the office of Seventy.
It is not known when the Mikesell families moved to Missouri, but they were among the thousands of Mormons who were driven out by anti-Mormon mobs during the winter of 1838-1839. In November of 1839 the Mikesell's, along with many other Mormons who had lost their Missouri properties to illegal seizures, submitted a billing to the State of Missouri for reparation. Garrett's losses amounted to $850.00, a sizeable amount for that era.
After being expelled from Missouri, the Mormons crossed the Mississippi and settled temporarily at Quincy, Illinois. The Mikesell's lived near Quincy for several years. On one occasion Brigham Young and Heber C. Kimball stayed with the family for several days while they regained their health prior to leaving for their missions in England.
As yet, Garrett's entry in the 1840 federal census has not been located. It is entirely possible that the census taker missed the family or that the family was not at home when the enumerator came by. Garrett's father and brother (Hiram W.) are listed in the census schedules of the "Half Breed Reservation" in Lee County, Iowa (1840).
L.D.S. Church records indicate that Garrett belonged to the 3rd Quorum of Seventies. He and Hiram are listed in the Seventies Hall donation ledger (ca 1844) as subscribers to the building of a meeting hall for Seventies Quorum members. Garrett and Hiram each subscribed for a $5.00 share. They were issued share receipts numbered 6 and 7 respectively. According to a notation in the 3rd Quorum of Seventies records, Garrett was living, ca 1844, at his residence 4 miles south of the Nauvoo Temple.
In mid April, 1844, both Garrett and Hiram were called by church leaders to return to Kentucky and preach the gospel. Along with finding new converts, the Elders were to talk up the candidacy of Joseph Smith for President of the United States and find electors who would back the Smith ticket. Thirteen Elders were sent to Kentucky; the president of the group was John D. Lee, later an instrumental figure in the infamous massacre at Mountain Meadows. At the martyrdom of Joseph and Hyrum Smith in June of 1844, the Elders returned to Nauvoo.
The anti-Mormon sentiment in Illinois eventually caused the Mormons to flee Nauvoo. The first organized group to leave followed Brigham Young across the frozen Mississippi River in early February 1846. The initial vanguard company was soon followed by thousands of evicted Mormons. The Mikesell families again found themselves on the move. They joined up with the main company and encamped with their neighbors and friends near Council Bluffs located in Pottawattamie County, Iowa. At this time Garrett and Ruth's family consisted of 8 children, the oldest of whom was 15 years old. Four more children would later be born in this vicinity.
On 22 September 1846, Brigham Young and the Council of Twelve Apostles decided to build a water powered flour mill for the Mormon body. The estimated cost was $800.00 with an output capacity thought to be equal to one barrel of flour per hour. Willard Richards was appointed by the council to write to Garrett and Hiram Mikesell and advise them to "leave the ferry and boat in care of John Higbee and William Empey and prepare for sawing lumber for the flour mill."
While encamped on the Iowa plains, Garrett was chosen to serve the Mormon community as one of the "Regular Standing Police." Brigham Young and Heber C. Kimball attended the organizational meeting of the Standing Police which was held in November 1846. Hosea Stout, who recorded the event in his diary, was chosen as Police Head. More than once the police were called upon to calm both upset pioneers and hostile indians. Hosea Stout also mentions in his diary that Garrett W. Mikesell was skilled at dressing buffalo skins. Stout purchased 4 of them from Garrett in 1846.
According to the 1850 U.S. Census, Garrett and family were still living in Pattawattamie County, Iowa (District # 21). On October 5th, the same day as the census enumerator visited the family, Ruth and Garrett received Patriarchal Blessings at Driggsville under the hands of Patriarch William Draper.
While Garrett's parents and other family members left Iowa for Utah - as early as 1848 - Garrett and family remained behind for several more years. It is not understood why they remained in Iowa for so many years after all of the other Mikesell's had pressed on to Utah. When the enumerator of the 1860 U.S. Census visited Iowa he found Garrett's family living in Silver Creek Township, Pottawattamie County. Garrett was listed in the census schedules as a farmer with his personal estate valued at $330.00.
Years later, Garrett and family decided to leave Iowa and join the main body of Mormons in Salt Lake City, They traveled to Utah in A.H. Patterson's independent wagon train and arrived on 4 September 1863. The Deseret News commented on the train's arrival and noted that the company's cattle looked "quite poor, indication that they had seen hard times in crossing the plains." The news placed blame for the cattle's condition on "overdriving, and for the want, at least, of requisite care and attention." Mention was also made of the fact that many of the company members had experienced illness enroute to Utah.
By the time Garrett arrived in Utah both his mother and father had been dead many years. Catherine Mikesell died in Salt Lake City on 20 July 1851, as the result of a massive hemorrhage of the lungs. She died while leaving the Bowery after having listened to a Sunday sermon by Brigham Young. John A. Mikesell and his two other wives moved to Payson, Utah County, Utah, in the mid 1850's. He married once more (1833) and died in Payson on 2 December 1858. It is not known if Garrett knew of his parents' deaths before he arrived in Salt Lake City.
Garrett's life and activities after his arrival in Utah in 1863 are, strangely enough, more difficult to trace than his earlier life in Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, Missouri, Illinois, and Iowa. From 1863 to 1869 the record is sadly blank; his whereabouts and dealings remain undiscovered.
On 10 November 1869, Ruth Cunningham Mikesell died of "neuralgia" in Richville, Morgan County, Utah. Her body was taken to Salt Lake City to be interred in the Mikesell family burial plot in the city cemetery. A small death notice printed in the Deseret News noted that she died on the 10th and was aged "59 years, 9 months, and 20 day's."
The next recorded event in Garrett's life occurred on 21 September 1879; on that date both he and Mary Ann Carter Mikesell (his second wife) were re-baptized, apparently in Richville. It has not yet been determined when Garrett and Mary Ann were married. There do not appear to have been any children born in this marriage.
The 1880 Richville, Utah, Census show that the Mikesell household consisted of 3 members - Garrett, aged 70, farmer; Mary A., aged 48, laundress; and Willard R., aged 26, farm worker. Another gap of information exists from 1880 to 20 April 1888, when church records state that Garrett died. His death apparently took place in Richville and he was buried in the vicinity. He would have been nearly 78 years of age at the time of his death.
It is regrettable that so little is known about Garrett and Ruth Mikesell. These intriguing ancestors were among the early members of the Mormon Church and witnessed some of the most exciting and traumatic events in the church's history. Unfortunately, they didn't take the time to record their memories. It appears that few of their large posterity have found it worthwhile to record the family's heritage.
The author, Jay G. Burrup, is a descendant of Garrett and Ruth C. Mikesell through their daughter, Cynthia Ann Mikesell Green Walker; her daughter, Margaret Florenza Green Fox; her daughter Elizabeth Fox Burrup, and her son, Clyde L. Burrup (the authors' father).
GARRETT WALLS MIKESELL was born 18 May 1810 in Cynthiana, Harrison, Kentucky, and died 20 Apr 1888 in Richville, Morgan, Utah. He married (1) RUTH CUNNINGHAM 20 Jun 1830 in Clark Co. Indiana, daughter of JOHN CUNNINGHAM and FRANCES JONES. She was born 09 Jan 1811 in Cincinatti, Hamilton, Ohio, and died 10 Nov 1869 in Richville, Morgan, Utah. He married (2) MARY ANN CARTER 11 Feb 1881. She was born Feb 1833, and died 18 Feb 1921.
More About GARRETT WALLS MIKESELL:
Burial: Unknown, South Morgan Cemetery, Morgan, Morgan Co. Utah.
Military service: Civil War Veteran
Residence: Garret & Ruth and 6 children left Florence Nebraska by wagon train 29 June 1863 and arrived in Great Salt Lake City 4 September 1863.
More About RUTH CUNNINGHAM:
Marriage: 20 Jun 1830, Clark Co. Indiana
Burial: Unknown, The Mikesell family plot, Salt Lake City Cemetery.
Cause of Death: Neuralgia
More About GARRETT MIKESELL and MARY CARTER:
Marriage: 11 Feb 1881