Utah Pioneer of 1868
ROBERT GARDINER, son of James Gardiner and Ann Gall, was born in Dundee, Scotland, October 24, 1845; the fourth child in a family of ten children. His father live in Dundee during most of his early life, but the family moved a number o times to adjoining towns as his father’s work as a Cooper required. James Gardiner was born in Edinburgh, and later lived in Aberdeen and Dunferline. Robert was apprenticed at an early age to the trade of confectioner and baker and attained great proficiency in his chosen vocation. At the age of eighteen he was foreman of the “Queen’s Bakery,” caters to the Royal Family when it was in that part of the country. This recognition by royalty in favor of any business concern was considered a sign of honor and they were entitled to display a special sign on their places of business signifying the special favor.
The young men and boys of the great “middle class” of England and Scotland one hundred years ago were generally apprenticed to a trade and trained to dexterity in some useful branch of productive labor. The tenure of their service under a skilled master continued for a period of six or more years until they had thoroughly mastered their chosen vocation. It is from this sturdy class of yeomen and artisans that so many thousands of converts to the Church were recruited, and whose technical training contributed so materially to the building up of this great empire of the West in the Pioneer days; and the story of the life of Robert Gardiner will place him among that honored class.
It was in Dundee that Robert met and became engaged to Margaret Stewart, who was a worker in the linen mills there. The families of both were ardent workers in the branch of the Church and at this time they determined to leave their native land and gather with the Saints in “Zion.” So Robert, at the age of twenty-two, and Margaret, eighteen, engaged passage on the sailing vessel, the EMERALD ISLE across the mighty deep was one of the most tragic voyages undertaken by the Saints in their zeal to reach their new home, and it leaves a mute testimony of the dangers encountered by those who “go down to the sea in ships.” In Jenson’s Church Chronology the following item is recorded:
Saturday, June 20, 1868, the packet ship Emerald Isle, sailed from Liverpool, with 876 saints, under the direction of Hans Jensen Hals. It arrived in New York harbor, after an unpleasant voyage, August 11. The Emigrants landed on the 14,llll37 deaths occurred on the ocean, and others died in the hospital in New York.
647 of the passengers were adults, 186 children, and the remainder being infants. The fare for adults was four pounds, equivalent to about $20.00 of American money. The emigrants provided their own food for the voyage, and of course, did their own cooking, laundry, etc.
Shortly after leaving port, great gales arose on the ocean, which buffeted them about for many days. The waves were mountainous, and many times the passengers feared they must be engulfed in the depths. In one of these terrible storms they were driven far off their course, carried by the impetuosity of the wind and waves near o the Bay of Biscay off the shores of Spain. To add to their discomfort they found that the machine used to distil salt water into fresh could not be operated, and they were under the necessity of using water stored in large casks, which no doubt, became contaminated. Only by boiling it were they free from contagion. The use of this water may have been contributing cause of so many deaths on the journey. For days, it is related; shoals of sharks and birds followed the ship awaiting the time when another poor unfortunate creature, wrapped in a canvas shroud, would be slipped over the side to become a repast for these scavengers of the sea. The subsequent fate of the vessel is unknown. The crew refused to return on it and it is said that it was lost on the return trip.
Arriving in New York August 11, the company was detained three days in quarantine. Here they made preparations for the railroad trip to Fort Benton, 700 miles west of Omaha, the point to which the Union Pacific railroad was completed. They arrived at Fort Benton August 25. From this point the emigrants proceeded by ox teams. The record related that: “Thursday, September 15, Captain John Gillespie’s ox teams of 54 wagons arrived in Salt Lake City.” However, Robert and Margaret did not come into the city for a few weeks. The railroad was being build down Echo Canyon and Mr. Gardiner worked on this project for several weeks. He and his young bride lived in a dugout on the side of the mountain. Margaret has left this brief account of their journey: “Had a very bad voyage on board the Emerald Isle, with 37 deaths. Nearly eight weeks on the ocean. Coming to Echo Canyon we stopped, where brother Gardiner worked on the railroad in John W. Young’s camp under William Snow. Came into Salt Lake in the latter part of November, 1868, on a load of coal as far as the First Ward, then walked from there up to the Salt Lake Theatre where we found friends who took us in until we found a place to stay.
Robert Gardiner was a man of remarkable physique. His physical energy seemed boundless, and during his long life he engaged in a number of business ventures. Upon his arrival in the valley he was, of course anxious to establish himself in his chosen trade of confectioner and baker. After locating in the 20th ward, one of his first investments was the purchase of a wheelbarrow. This he used, after building a small “candy factory; to transport sugar from downtown to his shop where me made it into candy and delivered it to the stores where he received merchandise and more sugar in payment for the candy. In this year of 1868, Zion’s Cooperative Mercantile Institution was established which aided many of those who produced salable goods to dispose of them, exchanging them for the commodities they were in need of. In process of time, and by his industry and energy, Robert was able to establish himself in the downtown section where he build a flourishing business in the manufacture of all kinds of confections and later he operated a bakery and a restaurant on Main Street. A new home was built in the 14th Ward near the center of the block immediately behind where the Kearns building now stands where the older members of his family were born. Success crowned his efforts and he accumulated what would be considered at that time a substantial fortune. About 1883 the family moved about six miles west of the city on a farm. The small community was known as the Brighton Ward. He gradually withdrew from the candy business and became actively engaged in several new business projects. The soil of the farm was not fertile, nor the farming venture successful. The family lived on this farm until 1894, when they moved into the city.
About 1890 a severe depression occurred, after an unprecedented business “boom”, which caused widespread disaster in the industrial and financial status of the country. Fortunes were wiped out, and many hereto fore independent citizens were reduced to want and extreme poverty. The Gardiner farm was lost, investments failed and the accumulated assets of years were wiped out.
Moving again into the 14th Ward, Robert for some time resumed his former trade of making candy, but never achieved the success he enjoyed in the earlier years. Times were indeed hard, but by diligent effort and the help afforded by the older children, a degree of success was achieved and the future became brighter. A new home was made in the Eleventh Ward, which remained the family abode until the children were married and moved away.
Margaret, the wife of his youth and the mother of his ten children, passed away February 4, 1917 at the home, 1243 Alameda Avenue.
Robert Gardiner, having lived a long, vigorous and rather eventful life, passed away April 5, 1927, at the age of 81. It may be truthfully be said of him that, while no attaining a position of fame, he performed his part in the development and building of this inland empire. He was a man of generous impulses; and died in the fellowship of the faithful.
NOTES FROM THE RECORD OF EVA W. GARDINER CUSHING FROM MEMORY OF HER MOTHER
ROBERT GARDINER, son of James Gardiner and grandson of James Gardiner lived in Aberdeen (and was baptized there) and branch of the Church in Dundee. Was apprenticed to Jim Brown as baker and confectioner. With Margaret Stewart and his brother, Alfred, left Liverpool, England, June 20th 1868. Robert and Margaret were married on board the sailing vessel, the Emerald Isle, the day it sailed. The ship landed them after eight weeks of terrific storms, much sickness and many deaths aboard. The Emerald Isle crew would not return and a new crew was rounded up in New York. The ship was lost at sea on its return trip and it was never heard from again.
Leaving new York in company with others Robert and Margaret, in company with others, took railroad cars to Omaha and wagons from there to Echo Canyon where Robert worked on the Union Pacific Railroad being build to Ogden, Utah, while Margaret and Alfred came in from Coolville on a coal wagon. Robert came in later, having received about $2.50 per day. The Golden spike was driven on May 10th 1869 at Promontory, connecting the Union Pacific and Central Pacific Railroads.
The fist home in the valley was in the 20th Ward on the North bench. Money was later sent to emigrate Robert’s father and mother, and also Margaret’s sister, Amelia Stewart. She did some time later and is buried in the family plot in the City Cemetery. James and Ann did not remain here, but went to St. Catherine’s, Canada.
James Gardiner III, Robert’s brother, was a brass finisher and lived at Bonnet Hill, Dundee.
Robert Stewart, Margaret’s father, was a ship builder in Dundee, Scotland. Her sisters, Amelia and Elizabeth, came to Salt Lake City; the latter became the wife of William Rae and the mother of William, George, Janie and Alexander. They left their father and brothers William and John in Scotland. John and Will were in the Crimean War, and wee tailors in London. Jean Gardiner married a major in the Crimean War. William Stewart. She was a nurse to the soldiers. It is said they called her the Second Nightingale. Robert Stewart, the youngest brother of William, came and lived here. He worked in smelters. He died in Anaconda or butte, Montana of lead poisoning.
Annie Morgan, wife of James Gardiner, Sr., was of well-to-do family. They build Morgan House, a nursing home or hospital, in Glasgow.