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Archibald Gardner autobiography

Archibald Gardner (1814-1902)

Archibald Gardner (1814-1902)

L. Tom Perry Special Collections is pleased to announce the availability of a new digitized collection: Archibald Gardner autobiography (MSS 537). Includes a handwritten autobiography of Gardner, detailing his birth and life in Scotland, immigration to Canada, marriage, and joining the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The autobiography is written at the back of the ledger, upside down, and comprises 14 pages. It should be noted that Gardner indicates in his autobiography that he was born in August 1815, but other sources say he was born in September 1814. The rest of the book was used as a financial ledger recording business information related to clients and other people Gardner interacted with in his various business relationships. These date from approximately 1858-1862.

Archibald Gardner was a 19th-century pioneer and businessman who helped establish communities in Alvinston, Ontario; West Jordan, Utah; and Star Valley, Wyoming based on flour mills and lumber mills. After 1858 he was a local leader in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) for 32 years.

As a businessman, millwright and practical engineer, Archibald Gardner built 36 gristmills and lumber mills, 23 in Utah, six in Canada, five in Wyoming, and two in Idaho. He also built hundreds of miles of canals, and many bridges in Utah. Gardner’s life is memorialized by a plaque in Alvinston, and a monument in Afton Wyoming, and a restored gristmill at Gardner Village. The site where Archibald built his original flour mill in West Jordan, Utah is now known as Gardner Village and features a collection of other early pioneer homes that now house shops and a restaurant dedicated to him called Archibald’s Restaurant.

Archibald also had a large family, with 11 wives and 48 children. He died in 1902 and is buried in the Salt Lake City Cemetery.

For more information, see the Wikipedia article on Archibald Gardner.


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