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Serenus "Sy" Gardner
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Birth: Apr. 29, 1860
Spanish Fork
Utah County
Utah, USA
Death: Mar. 7, 1956
Santa Ana
Orange County
California, USA


My twin sister, Serena, and I were born on April 29, 1860, in the pioneer town of Spanish Fork, in an adobe house which had one room fourteen by sixteen feet. This house was west block of the grist mill built by my father in 1858.

About two years after I was born, we moved to the Big Meadow or Big Hay Ranch on the Jordan River, about three miles south of Riverton. The house we moved into was dug into the side of a hill. The front was enclosed with adobes. The wall were about six feet high with a dirt roof. Rene, my twin sister, and I could walk up the side of the bank onto the roof and play.

My father, being very busy building mills, seldom visited us. My mother, being the religious type, taught us children about our father in heaven. One day my father came to visit and she said to us, "This is your father."
I thought he was my father in heaven, not knowing that I had an earthly father as well.

One day Rene and I ran a race to a little mound. She beat me to the mound and stood on it. The thought came to me then that she would always be higher than I, and she has always been a little taller.

There were two families, Cris and Croad, living down the Jordan River about a mile. One night mother went down there to attend to the sick. When I awoke, about one hour before daylight, I found that she was was not home, so I went after her. They gave me a piece of molasses candy, which I never forgot.

Erastus, my half brother, and Rene are the only ones in my family I remember in the early part of my life. During those few years Rene and I talked the Norwegian language. Mother could not talk English yet.

To hear my mother tell it, she had a pretty hard time for those first few years on the Jordan River. She would spin and make yarn. She would go out in the fields and glean while the boys would get fish from the river. This was kept up for about three years, then father took us back to Spanish Fork. He had a one seated buggy. In the back was a small box. I was sick so they put me in there, as we were passing the point of the mountain I looked out to see the deep round chasm. I remember the first impression of the chasm every time I pass there. I was six years old when we landed back in Spanish Fork.

Mother returned to the adobe house where I was born. A small room was added on to it.

I went to school to Professor Hillman. The school was one mile north, where the Ideal School was later built. As I remember there were about fifty houses in Spanish Fork when I started to school.

When we were little kids, we could stay out at night if we wanted to. The boys and girls seemed to take perfect freedom and we would play steal sticks and other games until very late at night. When I was eight to ten years of age, I milked cows, fed pigs, and snared the snowbirds. We had many meals of snowbirds during the cold winter. I remember this very well.

The hard times passed and we had plenty and some to spare when father built two mills, a planning mill and a grist mill. We went to the grist mill to get the flour we wanted.

Father got his big start so he could take care of his large family. Then he furnished Camp Floyd with flour and other cereals. He also furnished lumber and shingles from the planning mill. He took in return from his products tools, miles, wagons, etc. His stuff had to be hauled by way of Lehi.

When I was about eleven years of age, father let me drive one of his teams with the wagon loaded with provisions from his grist mill to Spanish Fork. We took the provisions to West Jordan to support his other families. One the way we camped to feed the mules. One of the boys pointed out to me where we once lived, so I watched for my chance, and when not one was looking I took off across the meadow to go there. They soon found out that I was gone so one of them came after me on a mule and took me back. I had gone a mile. We continued on to West Jordan with the provisions.

After a day or two, father took me up to the Little Cottonwood Canyon to his sawmill to go to work. In order to get the logs to the sawmill they had to bring them to a place on the side of the mountain about one-fourth of a mile above the bottom of the canyon. From that point we would start them down the slope and about two-thirds of them would roll down to the bottom about ten rods from the mill. About one-third of them would get caught on their way down, because there were stumps in the way. Some of the logs were broken into pieces.

Reuben was the sawyer and the boss, so he went up the side of the hill with me to show me how to dislodge the logs, to get them to roll down. He put a single tree on the horse and then a chain. We went to the highest log, put the hook on the chain on the highest log and then pulled the logs loose so they would roll again to the bottom. Then we would drag the logs to the mil. After he showed me how, I had to do this myself.

In 1872 Erastus and I went up to Nebo Canyon to an upright sawmill to get logs to build a house by the side of the home where mother lived. The old house was about to fall down. This house was the first house to be built with sawed logs. The house was finished in 1873.

Evan, my half brother, took a contract to furnish pickets for a fence to go around the public square. I helped him get the logs from which the pickets were cut. The spot where we cut the trees was about eight miles up Spanish Fork Canyon, which we called Lone Pine. Whiles we were working we ran out of food. Evan sent me down to get provisions, but mother only gave me bread to take back. The crops were a failure that year.
The next three or four years were the most impressive years of my life. I went hunting, fishing, played ball at school, and had a very good time.

The New Survey School was about three miles from home. I would go hunting two or three times a week. On these trips we would walk from five to ten miles a day, especially when it was raining or snowing, for that was the best time to shoot ducks and geese. Once, I estimated, there were at least fifty thousand ducks and geese on these sixteen square miles. With our poor guns and ammunition we managed to bring home enough meat to supply us with some to spare. I remember rightly the feathers were made into feather beds and pillows to help us keep warm.

I helped to build an adobe house in Leland where we moved when I was fourteen years old. This was in 1874.

In my fifteenth year I lived with my brother Neil. We would work eight hours a day, then after work we went hunting and fishing. Many times I walked ten miles down the river in the rain and snow and waded through ponds in the New Survey, often coming home late at night loaded with game. I seemed to never tire of hunting.

While I lived with Neil, I helped build a new home. I also helped my brother Henry build a home which is still in good living condition. Following this I built a a house near Henry's in my seventeenth year. I sold it to Warren Davis.

George Gardner and I, during the winter semester, went to the Brigham Young Academy in 1879. We rented a house and boarded ourselves. I will relate one experience while in Brother Maeser's classroom. The pupils in the classroom stood in a row, then a name was drawn from a box and that person was asked to read from a book. After the reading the reader would tell the class of his mistakes. After a while my name was drawn. I read what I was told to read, then Brother Maeser said to me: "What mistakes did you make?". " I read very good." This caused a roar of laughter, and Brother Maeser gave me 100% and a star.

The following spring, Neil wanted me to continue in school, but I did not feel he should continue sending me, as he had already done a great deal while I was living with them.

In 1880, when I was twenty years old, we pulled two separators out to Uinta. They were sorely in need of them to thresh their grain. We threshed out there until the middle of December, and when we left there, there was still some grain to be threshed.

The road in 1880 were very bad. They seemed to be merely Indian trails up and down the steep hills and through the narrow canyons. We had to rough-lock the wheels going down the hills time and time again. I remember we had to tie ropes to keep the separator from tipping over. It took ten days to go out to Vernal. The owners of the outfit, gave me two dollars a day for myself and team and food for the horses. This was good wages for those days.

For several years after that I went out to the Reservation with peaches.I game 25 cents a bushel for them in Spanish Fork and sold them in Vernal for $1.50 a bushel. Then I bought honey for $2.50 a can (five gallons)and sold each can in Spanish Fork for $3.50. I averaged about $5.00 a day, which was a lot of money in those days.

From 1881 to 18867 I had one of the big problems of my life. It was courtship. I travels on foot during this time from my mother's home, and from Neil's and Henry's, about 2500 miles before we ended our wooing career. Josephine lived about one mile south of mother's. We finally decided to get married.

We went to the Bishop and he said to come to the Priesthood meeting on Monday night. In the debate of pro and con they finally decided to deny me the right to the temple marriage, as I had played pool and other foibles in my youth. They said for me to wait another year and then come back. We waited another years, so in 1886 we were married.

The next year we bought a sawmill which cost us about three thousand dollars. My partner was Joe Adamson. This mill was at Lake Creek. Adamson was a sawyer, but he worked just a little while, then he left the business to me. I then sold the sawmill to Zebedel Coltrin.

In the year 1892 I worked the tithing office. In December of the same year I went on a mission to North Carolina for twenty-eight months.

In 1895, Pleasant Bradford, my brother Neil, Henry and I went to the White River to make a survey for a ditch to bring water over to the Spanish Fork River side. The water was to be used to irrigate the east bench. We worked there in 1895 until the ditch was about half done, then the following year we went back and finished the ditch.
They put me in superintendent of the work, since I had more time to work on the ditch than the others ,and seemed to be more interested in getting the work done. We then sold out to the Bench Water Company. This water is still used to irrigate the land on the east bench.

The next thing to come up was the Strawberry River Project. My father was very interested in getting the river water, as he was one of the first to go out there to look the situation over. Theo Dedrickson, myself, and my father went out there to see what could be done to get the water to the Spanish Fork River side. Father located the spot where the Strawberry River Dam was to be made , and recommended the spot to the government. He also said that a tunnel had to be made.

My brother Henry and I got the contract to build the telephone line to the Strawberry dam from the power plant in Spanish Fork, a distance of twenty-five miles. This was just before the government started to build the dam.
Until the time I sold my land on the bench (1922) I farmed, raised wheat, beets and hay. I could not make enough money farming so I had to buy and sell grain and hay, extra. I bought the hay and grain in Spanish Fork and hauled it it Provo where the prices were always a little higher. I did this trading both in the winter and summer.
I moved to Orange, California, in the summer of 1922 arriving on the twenty-fourth of July.

[Autobiography of Serenus Gardner (Native Pioneer) born in Utah in 1860. Written by himself for Camp J. Wylie Thomas of Daughters of Utah Pioneers of Utah County, Spanish Fork, Utah , computer Disc #2, file code Gardnersg , Date Oct 1991]

TRIBUTE TO MY UNCLE SERENUS GARDNER (Sy appended this poem to his autobiography)

I salute you in the autumn of Life
For your eighty-seven years,
With spirit so bright and undaunted
In a world of doubt and fears!

To me you're an inspiration.
I know from your genial smile,
Your Autumn of Life is beautiful,
Full of meaning and very worth while.

Your laugh is pleasant and buoyant.
Though your body seems slightly frail,
You're young and active and vibrant,
Your intellect seems not to fail.

What greater gift could one ask for
Of Father so gracious and kind.
As a heard so young at your time of life
And so clear and active mind.

Please let me say I'm so grateful
For kinship. Your name I revere.
I'm proud of the life you have honorably lived
Utah Native Pioneer

Written by Edna Gardner Brockbank.
Family links: 
  Archibald Gardner (1814 - 1902)
  Serena Torjusdatter Evensen Gardner (1822 - 1911)
  Josephine Hansen Gardner (1864 - 1941)
  Zella Laveve Gardner Smith (1887 - 1988)*
  Jennie Merle Gardner Sterling (1889 - 1974)*
  Serenus H. Gardner (1891 - 1989)*
  Ina Josephine Gardner Marett (1896 - 1986)*
  Cora Gardner Eggertsen (1898 - 1991)*
  Elmer A Gardner (1900 - 1900)*
  Garr Gardner (1907 - 1933)*
  Robert Gardner (1840 - 1853)**
  Neil Gardner (1841 - 1906)**
  Helen Regine Evensen Gardner (1845 - 1888)**
  Janet Gardner (1845 - 1846)**
  Margaret Gardner Smith (1847 - 1884)**
  Even Evenson (1848 - 1904)**
  Fannie Gardner (1848 - 1879)**
  Lillian Abigail Gardner Gauchat (1850 - 1892)**
  Tomine Marie Evensen (1850 - 1853)**
  Mary Elizabeth Gardner Turner (1850 - 1932)**
  Sarah Gardner Haun (1850 - 1889)**
  William Archibald Gardner (1851 - 1852)**
  Mary Ellen Gardner (1852 - 1948)**
  Erastus Evenson (1852 - 1924)**
  Reuben Gardner (1853 - 1924)**
  George Delos Gardner (1853 - 1922)**
  Rhoda Ann Gardner (1853 - 1867)**
  Rachel Maria Gardner Irving (1854 - 1941)**
  Ann Emmerrette Gardner Egbert (1855 - 1939)**
  Rawsel Bradford Gardner (1856 - 1929)**
  Lucia Adell Gardner Gardner (1856 - 1936)**
  Delila Gardner (1857 - 1937)**
  John Bradford Gardner (1857 - 1857)**
  Mary Ann Gardner Bacon (1857 - 1887)**
  Lovina Gardner Naylor (1858 - 1934)**
  Henry Gardner (1858 - 1936)*
  Archibald Thompson Gardner (1858 - 1876)**
  Rebekah Gardner Gardner (1859 - 1948)**
  James Hamilton Gardner (1859 - 1952)**
  Joseph Smith Gardner (1860 - 1901)**
  Serena Gardner Andrus (1860 - 1951)*
  Serenus Gardner (1860 - 1956)
  Robert Bradford Gardner (1862 - 1942)**
  Laura Althea Gardner (1863 - 1877)**
  Abigail Jane Gardner (1864 - 1864)**
  Ellen Jeannette Gardner Bennion (1865 - 1914)**
  Annie Gardner Francis (1866 - 1943)*
  Clinton Albert Gardner (1867 - 1867)**
  Hyrum Obed Gardner (1868 - 1869)**
  William Henry Gardner (1869 - 1873)**
  Royal Gardner (1872 - 1880)**
  Brigham Ozro Gardner (1872 - 1957)**
  Wallace Ward Gardner (1874 - 1912)**
  Andrew Bruce Gardner (1874 - 1963)**
  Clarence Gardner (1875 - 1959)**
  Perry Wilburn Gardner (1876 - 1878)**
  Lillian Elnora Gardner Widdison (1883 - 1972)**
  Wilford Woodruff Gardner (1885 - 1978)**
*Calculated relationship
Magnolia Memorial Park
Garden Grove
Orange County
California, USA
Plot: Northwest Garden, Lot 413 space 2s
Created by: Bronson Gardner
Record added: Jun 26, 2012
Find A Grave Memorial# 92601370
Serenus Sy Gardner
Added by: Bronson Gardner
Serenus Sy Gardner
Added by: Bronson Gardner
Serenus Sy Gardner
Added by: Bronson Gardner
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- Angel of Flowers
 Added: Sep. 8, 2014
My 2ndgreat grandfather
 Added: Aug. 7, 2012
What a wonderful read, This gives everyone a look into what life must have been like in this time in our history. Thank You
- David Woody
 Added: Jun. 26, 2012

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