Beginnings:   Charles Robert Garrett

Charles Robert Garrett was born November 5, 1842 in Galena, Jo Daviess Co., Illinois, the youngest of four brothers.  He had four sisters, two of whom were older than he.  His parents were Thomas Garrett and Martha Agnes Johnson, both of whom were born in Kentucky. 

It is not known when Thomas and Martha Agnes were married.  Family lore has it that the couple left Kentucky because of some unidentified disagreement or quarrel in the family.  This must have occurred shortly after their marriage, because their first recorded child John was born in Illinois about 1828.  

The family is listed in the 1840 US Federal Census as living in Jo Daviess County, Illinois, though individuals other than Thomas are not specifically listed.  The census for 1850 is a little more helpful.

1850 US Federal Census, East Galena Precinct, Jo Daviess Co., Illinois
Last name:    First name:    Age:    Gender: Place born:
Garrett Thomas Male 42 Kentucky
Martha 35 Female Kentucky
John 21 Male Illinois
Greene 18 Male Illinois
Eilza J. 17 Female Illinois
Catherine 12 Female Illinois
Joseph 9 Male Illinois
Charles 7 Male Illinois
Thomas, John, and Greene are listed as being farmers.


For reasons that are unknown Thomas decided to move his family to Clarke Co., Iowa, some time in 1856.  The family is listed in the 1856 Iowa State Census.

The Clarke County Original Entry Deed Book shows that Thomas Garrett purchased land in Washington Township from the US government in a sale dated September 20, 1856.

Charles is not found in the family of Thomas Garrett as listed below.  He would have been 17 or 18 at the time of the 1860 US Federal Census.  Unfortunately, I have not been able to find him listed in a census search on

1860 US Federal Census, P. O. Prairie Grove, Washington Twp., Clarke Co., Iowa
Last name:    First name:    Gender: Age:    Place born: Occupation:
Garrett Thomas M 56 Kentucky Farmer
M F 42 Kentucky
Husted Jane F 25 Illinois
J M 19 Illinois Farm Laborer
C M 17 Illinois Farm Laborer
M F 8 Illinois
C F 7 Illinois
Stone WJ M 25 Unknown Showman

Prairie Grove was a village on the east line of section 5, Washington Township and had a post office from 1853-1897.  

Presumably, Charles was a farm laborer in Iowa.  It is not known if he had much schooling or education while growing up.  There is also an interesting sidelight that Thomas and his son Green are listed in the 1860 census as being miners in Arapahoe Co., Kansas Territory, before Colorado became a state.  Charles is not listed with them, but perhaps he, too, took the Oregon Trail to at least visit his father and brother.

Charles’ siblings included:

  • John M. Garrett, b. about 1828; d. After 1884
  • Wesley Green(e) Garrett, b. February 18, 1832; d. July 22, 1864, m. Lucy M. Coleman
  • Eliza Jane Garrett, b. January 26, 1831, d. August 3, 1917, m. John Husted
  • Catherine Garrett, b. about 1837; d. before 1884, m. Ephraim Bateman Husted
  • Joseph Marion Garrett, b. December 18, 1840; d. September 22, 1922, m. Mary Ellen Barber
  • Martha E. Garrett, b. April 18, 1850; d. January 13, 1935, m. John Meyers
  • Caroline Garrett, b. April 23, 1857; d. November 17, 1879,

No photos are known to exist of Thomas and Martha Garrett.