Monday, January 28, 2013

Lizzie Garrett: Photos You Don't Know Exist

Somewhere buried in the deep in the Church History Archives is a photo I never knew existed. The photo has been there for years, but the means by which it is cataloged is perhaps what is keeping it hidden. If you go into the Church History Catalog and search for it by her name you will never find it. Try it. Her name is Lizzie Garrett. She won't come up. But rest assured her photo is in there.

Lizzie Garrett was born Elizabeth Candice Garrett on 30 December 1857 in Cane Creek to Isaiah Thomas Garrett and Martha Jane Lankford. Lizzie was a bright young girl. Her father was a successful farmer and an Constable of the Lewis County Court. Despite her relatively affluent upbringing - by Lewis County standards - she wasn't coddled or pampered. She performed the farm chores with her father's servants. But she also had the opportunity for an education. She was bright, perhaps gifted, but certainly literate. By the age of 24 she was attending school - probably in Columbia - to learn to be a teacher.

A couple years earlier she met missionaries from the LDS Church. Her father had heard them preach at the home of Sheriff Carroll, and had invited them to come to his home. That was most likely where she heard them preach for the first time.

A string of missionaries came and went through the Garrett home. You might say they were almost perpetual investigators. In August of 1881 - presumably at the beginning of the school year - she told one missionary that she would get baptized after she was done with school. By August 1884, other missionaries wrote about her as though she had already been baptized. Her actual baptism date is a mystery, but so are others who joined the church in 1882 at Cane Creek. Her ordinance work was redone in 1988 and so that date now shows on Church Records.

She also got married, on 3 December 1882, to George C. Baker. Her husband was educated too. He was a trained physician. Oddly enough, after the shooting at the Conder home on 10 August 1884, no one sent for Dr. Baker. and Lizzie was living at home with her father. Was he still attending medical school in Nashville? Was he seeing patients in another county? The record is silent.

Lizzie's was helpful in getting Elder Thompson out of Lewis County unharmed,finding him in the woods and going for help. Her father was key, actually driving Elder Thompson out in a buggy with a blanket over him. For this Tom Garrett was driven out of his home. He fled for his brother's home in Illinois.

Sometime in 1885, Lizzie and her husband traveled with her mother Martha to Illinois where they joined Lizzie's father. There they resettled and raised their family. George practiced medicine, while Lizzie parents tried to rebuild all they lost by abandoning their farm in Tennessee. In 1887 Lizzie's mother died and her father never remarried.

Lizzie and George had six children, four of whom lived to adulthood. George passed away in 1903, and soon Lizzie's father moved in with her. Lizzie does not appear to have continued her membership in the Church. Though her father did write at least two letters clearly indicating he wished he could once more have contact from the missionaries. Lizzie died on September 5, 1935 and was buried in Zion Church Cemetery in Greenville, Bond County, Illinois.

As for the photo? It was taken in about 1880. One of the missionaries who taught her took the photo home with him. Sometime between 1966 and 1972, the missionary's daughter donated her papers to the office of the Church Historian. The papers are indexed under the missionary's daughter's name. But they include journals, photos and other things from her father's life, including this photo of Lizzie Garrett.

Yes, treasures abound in the Archives. But they are not always easy to find. 

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