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Her family tells Ann Gardiner’s story via her own web site

Tales from
Pioneers and Soldiers Memorial Cemetery

By Sue Hunter Weir

168th in a Series

AnnGardiner

Ann Gall Gardiner has her own web page. Not all that unusual in these times, perhaps, but she is not from these times: She was born more than 200 years ago, on Jan. 20, 1817, in Kincardine, Scotland and died from tuberculosis in Minneapolis on May 31, 1886 when she was 67 years old.  

The epitaph “Gone, But Not Forgotten” is one that is commonly seen in cemeteries but it requires some effort to keep someone’s memory alive.  Ann’s descendants have done just that by creating a webpage where they have told her story (or as much of it as they know at this point in time) and more importantly, they have shared a remarkable photo of her.

Ann Gall married James Gardiner, a tinsmith, in Aberdeen, Scotland on Feb. 2, 1838. Between 1838 and 1863, they had 12 children, at least two of whom died before the family came to America.

On March 8, 1863, Ann was confirmed in the Church of the Latter Day Saints.  She and her husband left Scotland for the United States sometime between 1870 and 1877.  

One place she wanted to see turned out to be a huge disappointment. After seeing Salt Lake City she said, “We came here expecting to see the gilded towers of Zion, but found only mud dykes.”  Disillusioned, Ann and James left the United States and moved to St. Catherine’s, Canada, where James died on Sept. 19, 1878.  

It is not clear when Ann moved to Minneapolis but she was living here when the 1885 Territorial Census was taken. She lived in what is now the Seward neighborhood, a few doors down from her daughter and about six or seven blocks from the cemetery.

There is a unsigned, undated, handwritten note on the back of the photo that claimed that it was taken in Minneapolis not long before she died. Whoever wrote it said:  “Grandfather told us that she went blind with cataracts and an operation could not be performed.”  One of the things that makes that so interesting is that in the photo she is holding a book, presumably one that she could no longer read. The author of the note went on to say that he thought the photo showed her “strength of character” and it certainly does that.

There are about 50 or so other immigrants from Scotland buried in the cemetery.  James Atchsion is one of them. His family shared his photo on their family tree at ancestry.com. There is less information currently available about his family than about Ann’s but undoubtedly more will be added.  

What we do know is that he was born in Scotland on June 8, 1868.  He emigrated when he was five years old.  He married Mary Johnson in 1891, and he worked as a cutter in a shoe factory.  He and Mary had eight children, one of whom, Henry, died in 1892 at the age of two months.

 The Atchison children were baptized at Bethany Lutheran Church. James died from chronic heart disease on Dec. 11, 1912.  He was only 44 years old.

James Atchison

Part of the satisfaction of doing cemetery research is finding new bits of information that help make sure that those who are gone are not forgotten. A few small facts came to light in the process of writing this story. It turns out that two children who are buried in the cemetery have a connection to Ann Gall Gardiner through her son-in-law. 

The Atchsion family must not have known the location of Henry’s grave, but they can add it to their tree now.  We have the answer to that question – he’s here.

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