Dolly Durfee Garner - 8 March 1816
Dolly Durfee, the fourth child of Edmond and Lana Pickle Durfee, was born 8 March 1816, at Lennox, Madison County, New York. Her ancestors on her fathers’ side had long been residents of Tiverton, Newport County, Rhode Island. Her ancestor, Thomas Durfee, born in 1643, immigrated to America from England. There is some question about her mothers’ descent. Some records state that she likewise was from Rhode Island, but one record gives Holland as her birthplace. When Dolly was six years old, the family moved to Amboy, Oswego County, New York, where her father bought some land, built a house and cultivated a small farm. Her father was also a carpenter by trade. For eight years, the family was happy at Amboy. By 1830, there were twelve children in the Durfee home and never a dull moment. The last child, Nephi, was born five years later at Kirtland, when Lana Pickle Durfee was 47 years old. Of course, there was always plenty of work to occupy their time. However, good times were also enjoyed. More land had been acquired where maple trees abounded, so the family made lots of maple sugar. However, Edmond Durfee, Dolly’s father wanted to go west. Consequently, he sold his farm and “maple bush”, and the family moved to Ohio, settling in the township of Ruggles. During the winter of 1831, stories were circulating about the Mormons and the gold Bible. In April of 1831, Solomon Hancock proselyted in Ruggles. The Durfee's were Methodist. Elder Hancock preached often in the Methodist Chapel. The Durfee's were surprised to learn the truth about the Mormons – it was so different from the stories being circulated. Elder Simeon Carter baptized Dolly’s father the middle of May. Solomon Hancock baptized Lana Pickle Durfee the first part of June 1831, and most of the other members of the family. There is some question as to the exact date of Dolly’s baptism but it was in either May or June of 1831. Eventually all members of the family were baptized. In December 1831, Edmond Durfee was sent on a short mission for the Church. The temple site at Jackson County was dedicated 3 August 1831, and some of the saints began settlements in that area. In February 1831, Dolly’s father went to Jackson County (Independence Mo.) to build a place for his family in “Zion”, returning home 20 May. The family did not move at that time because another mission took their father back to the states until the fall of that year. In May 1833, the family moved to Kirtland where most of the saints were gathering. Edmond, Dolly’s father was one of the 24 Elders who laid the cornerstones of the Kirtland Temple. Of course, Dolly was present on this important occasion. Upon completion, she attended school in the temple. The tempest of persecution finally drove the saints from Kirtland and the Durfee’s moved to Caldwell County, Missouri, in 1837 (Far West) and settled in Log Creek. Mobocracy in Missouri reached its height in 1838 and the saints were driven out in a body, having to leave their property without hope of obtaining compensation. These were indeed heartbreaking days for the saints. No matter where they went, bitterness, hatred, lying and most unspeakable persecution followed them. It was indeed a test of their faith. Denial of the Church brought relief from the persecution to the many individuals who fell away and apostatized. Many of the high officials of the Church turned traitors. After the expulsion from Missouri in 1839, the Durfee’s settled in Yelrome. In Lima, Illinois, (close to Yelrome) Dolly became acquainted with David Garner who was a faithful member of the Lima Branch. They were married 18 October 1842. Their home must have been near Lima rather than in the town itself because the family group sheet gives the birthplace of the first two children “near Lima.” Louisa Ann was born 12 July 1843. On 27 June 1844, Dolly experienced a paralyzing shock, along with the rest of the saints, when word came that the prophet had been killed at Carthage. They had known of his deliverance so many times that no one believed he would be taken from them. A week later, while the saints were so confused and bewildered, Dolly’s second baby was born – Fannie Marilla, on 2 July 1845. Persecutions increased in intensity. Nothing seemed to satisfy the thirst for blood and havoc, which possessed the mobbers. The town of Yelrome, where Dolly’s parents and family lived, was literally burned down by the mobs, destroying about 200 homes. Words cannot possible describe the reign of terror which scourged the saints. At the time of this burning and destruction, Dolly’s father, as he endeavored to quench a fire, was brutally shot by a mobber on 15 November 1845. Following this horrifying experience, David and Dolly moved to Nauvoo, which was only 25 miles from Lima. At Nauvoo their first son was born 10 January 1846. It was only logical to name him David, for his father, and Edmond, for his late grandfather. Refuge was not to last long at Nauvoo and finally the mobs were successful in driving the saints from their beautiful city, which they built from a swamp. The forced exodus began in February of 1846 when young David was only a month old and in the extreme cold of winter before the people had had an opportunity to adequately prepare themselves for their long journey ahead. The prophet had told them they would eventually settle in the tops of the mountains. A temporary haven was sought in the “Pottawattamie lands” (Indian territory) in Iowa. It was hoped that they could plant crops, and better prepare themselves for the rigors of the journey to the mountains. Their preparations were interrupted, however, by the call of Capt. Allen of the U.S. Army for 500 volunteers to fight in the Mexican War. (Mormon Battalion) The people were already wasted, destitute, and ill from the constant driving of their persecutors, but David joined the volunteers in 16 July 1846 (or June), leaving Dolly with her three babies, Louisa, Fanny Marilla, and David, a baby of one month, in a covered wagon on the banks of Mosquito Creek where Council Bluffs now stands. Dolly bore courageously the long months of loneliness and uncertainty, not knowing anything of the welfare of her husband. Dolly was almost beside herself with anxiety, trying to take care of her little family through the long dark nights and only a candle to light the room. On 21 October 1847, the little family gratefully greeted David, who had been to the Valley and had now returned to take them to Zion. On 13 May 1848, Brigham Young at Winter Quarters sealed David and Dolly. It seemed advisable to wait before undertaking the westward journey to the Valley. During this time of preparation at Council Bluffs two more children were born, William Franklin born 12 December 1848 and Mary Marinda born 20 February 1850. In the spring, 5 June 1850, the long awaited trek became a reality, traveling with one wagon and one bed. 150 wagons were in the company when it began its journey from the outfitting post at Kanesville, Iowa (present day Council Bluffs). Although they were quite well prepared (comparatively speaking) still the children walked much of the way barefooted. They bound their bleeding feet with rags to avoid leaving bloodstained tracks for the Indians to follow. Upon arrival in the Valley, 9 September 1850, the family went almost directly to Ogden Fort where they stayed with many others of the saints that first winter. This afforded protection from Indians, as well as companionship. In the spring, David and Dolly established a home in North Ogden. It was one room built of rock and brick containing a fireplace, two beds, two trundle beds and meager household furniture. Additions were built to the house as needed. Cloth was impossible to obtain at first; but Dolly was a resourceful woman. She took the canvas wagon cover, which had protected them on their journey and made it into necessary articles. Marilla was the proud possessor of a new dress made from that canvas cover. Of course, they made their own tallow candles for light. As soon as possible, crops were planted. Flax was included in the crops, from this Dolly and her girls laboriously made material for clothing and household uses. From the sheep’s wool they spun skeins of yarn, which was knitted into warm articles of clothing such as stockings, mittens, and so forth. They also made woolen cloth. Of course, this material was sewed by hand. A weed was boiled, and the color was used to stain the cloth. Matches were very scarce and it was the custom to “borrow” fire from the neighbor. It was not unusual to see a neighbor hurrying with a pan of red-hot coals to replenish or build his own fire. There was plenty of work for all and Dolly taught her children that work was a blessing. She, herself, was a tireless worker and an immaculate housekeeper. Having known privation so long, Dolly was extremely frugal. David was a very good provider, but the lean years and constant driving had taught their lesson. When butter and eggs were high, she reminded the children to be careful and not use too much. When they were cheap, she would tell the children they must go sparingly because it took a lot to get a little money. Dolly was an excellent cook. Her son-in-law, Abraham Chadwick, often said that Dolly made the lightest, most delicious biscuits he ever tasted. However, she cut them small and dainty so that each biscuit was not much more than a mouthful for a hungry man. How he hated to keep asking for more, but they were so good that he always succumbed to the temptation. Dolly and her girls dried a tremendous amount of fruit each year from their bountiful orchard. Four more children were born in North Ogden: Nancy Jane, born 7 September 1851, Amelia Jane, born 10 May, 1853, Charles Henry, born 16 April 1856, Lydia, born 2 March 1858. She is remembered as being about 5’5” tall, of a rather heavy-set build. She was somewhat dark in coloring. In the Endowment House on 10 October 1855, Dolly received her endowments. In 1864, David returned to Winter Quarters to bring his sister’s family to Utah. On 10 October 1871, he accepted a call for a mission to the east and was gone until 22 February 1872. These long absences naturally increased the burden on Dolly’s shoulders but she accepted it uncomplainingly. On 14 June 1885, after a long illness, Dolly died at North Ogden, leaving David and eight devoted children, 3 sons and 5 daughters. Nancy Jane died as a child. Her funeral services were held at her home on Tuesday, 16 June. Bishop Thomas Wallace conducted services. The hymn, “Creating Speaks with Awful Voice”, was sung, followed by Elder Robert E. Berrett who offered the invocation. Speakers included Bishop Critchlow, Elders W.H. Wright, L.J. Herrick, Robert E. Berrett, and Bishop Wallace. The closing hymn was “Farewell, All Earthly Honors, I Bid You All Adieu”. James Barker pronounced the benediction. Interment took place in the Ogden City Cemetery.