It is not clear when or why the family of Thomas and Martha Garrett began its westward migration from Kentucky, but early census records indicate that their first child John was born in Illinois just ten years after its being admitted to the union in 1818. At the time, they were living on the western edge of the state near Galena.

By 1856 the family was living in Iowa that had gained statehood only ten years earlier. Thomas bought the land that he was going to farm from the federal government, so he would appear to be an original homesteader.

The following stories are about several of the family who ventured west from Iowa into the territories of Nebraska and Kansas and one who traveled to the west coast. As with much of history, there are more questions than answers, but what makes the story of Wesley Green Garrett compelling is his fatal interaction with Native Americans, specifically the Cheyenne in 1864.

When I began to be interested in genealogy in about 1972, there was some lore about Wesley’s death, but it was not until much later that I learned about his wife and daughter, and how he happened to be in Nebraska territory in 1864.

I have tried to be objective in writing this history and for it to be apparent when speculating on certain events.

Any errors are mine and are unintentional.

Craig R. Garrett, MD
February 11, 2015