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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

Garrard, Lewis Hector, 1829 - 1887, and Family Papers, 1844 - 1964

Page address:

Minnesota State University, Mankato,
Memorial Library, Southern Minnesota Historical Center
Garrard, Lewis Hector, 1829 - 1887, and Family. Papers, 1844 - 1964.
SMHC Manuscript Collection 130

Garrard, Lewis Hector, 1829 - 1887, and Family. Papers, 1844 - 1964. SMHC Manuscript Collection 130. 1 Hollinger box, 1 oversized folder, .43 cubic feet.


The Lewis Hector Garrard collection contains rough-draft copies of the first five chapters in the book Wah-To-Yah and the Taos Trail, correspondence between Garrard and his family, tax and property receipts, biographical information, newspaper clippings, and documents related to Garrard's service in the military. The letters were written during Garrard's trip to the west in the 1840's, his college years, and from his homes in Europe and Minnesota.

Biographical Note:

Lewis Hector Garrard was born on 15 June 1829 in Cincinnati, Ohio. In 1846, he left school and spent a year traveling the southern Rocky Mountains. His journey was primarily in the Taos area of New Mexico. Following the expedition, he wrote a narrative about the journey entitled Wah-To-Yah and the Taos Trail in 1850. After returning from the trip, Garrard attended medical school at the University of Pennsylvania, and he earned his degree in 1853. He returned to Cincinnati and opened an office but left shortly thereafter.

He and Israel, his brother, moved to Minnesota Territory in 1854. However, after arriving in Minnesota, he became sick and moved to Europe for two years to recover from ill health. During his stay in Europe, Garrard published two volumes on his mother's ancestry. In 1858, Garrard returned to the new state of Minnesota. He settled in the small community his brother, Israel, founded named Frontenac in Goodhue County. Garrard held numerous political offices while living in the community. For instance, he served as township board chairman, draft commissioner of Goodhue County, and in 1859, he served on the Goodhue County Board of Supervisors. Additionally, in 1859, Garrard was a delegate to the Republican State Convention and won a seat in the state legislature for the 1859-1860 legislative session.

Garrard married Florence Van Vliet in October 1862. The couple had three sons and two daughters. In 1870, they moved from Frontenac to Lake City, Minnesota. Once in Lake City, Garrard served as the president of the First National Bank, the city's mayor for two terms, and was again elected to the state legislature in 1876. Aside from political successes, Garrard is credited with introducing Devon cattle and Southdown sheep into the Frontenac area and being the first person to cultivate orchard grass in Minnesota.

The Garrard family moved back to Cincinnati in 1884, and Garrard again opened his medical practice. However, his career ended shortly thereafter when he died on 7 July 1887 in Lakewood, New York. He is buried in Spring Grove Cemetery in Cincinnati.

Scope and Content:

The Garrard papers consist of correspondence, newspaper clippings, parts of the manuscript of Wah-To-Yah and the Taos Trail and related materials, two half-breed scripts that were land documents given to Native American with mixed-blood ancestry, a military commission, title deeds, and tax receipts. The material is arranged chronologically.

The correspondence is mainly between Lewis and his mother and brothers Israel, Kenner, Jeptha. The newspaper clippings concern Garrard's term as Lake City, Minnesota's mayor and the portrait of him in the New Mexico Historical Society.

Documents related to Wah-To-Yah and the Taos Trail contain the first five chapters of the original manuscript for the book along with several parts from additional chapters. Furthermore, the collection holds reviews for the book.

The tax receipts and title deeds concern the land owned by the Garrard family in Goodhue and Wabasha counties in eastern Minnesota. Additionally, these papers include descriptions of several pieces of land near Lake Pepin.

The miscellaneous documents contain several articles about the Garrard family in Frontenac, particularly Israel; an article on James Garrard and Kit Carson; several envelopes from Lewis; and a postcard from Lake City dated 1907.


There are no restrictions on use of this collection for research purposes. The researcher assumes full responsibility for observing all copyright, property and libel laws as they apply.

Collection Citation:

Garrard, Lewis Hector, 1829 - 1887, and Family. Papers, 1844 - 1964. SMHC Manuscript Collection 130, Southern Minnesota Historical Center, Memorial Library, Minnesota State University, Mankato.


Florence Garrard Wilson Baker and Edith Garrard Wilson Lindner donated this collection on 30 August 1973.

Processed By:

Archive's staff processed this collection in September 1973. The finding aid was revised by Jeff A. Jenson in January 2002.
Mee Xiong updated the finding aid September 2015.

Related Collections:

It has been determined that there are no similar manuscript collections about Lewis Hector Garrard available elsewhere.

LCSH Subject Headings:

Garrard, Lewis Hector, 1829 - 1887.
Garrard Family.
Garrard, Lewis Hector, 1829 - 1887. Wah-to-yah, and the Taos Trail.
Goodhue County, (Minn.)--History.
Old Frontenac, (Minn.)--History.

SMHC Manuscript Collection 130



Biographical Data and Newspaper Clippings, 1846 – 1934



Correspondence, 1844 – 1854



Correspondence, 1856 – 1861



Half-Breed Scripts, Land Deeds, 19 July 1860 and 9 August 1877



Military Certificate, 8 September 1863

Map Case

Dr. 2

Miscellaneous, 1851 – 1964



Title Deeds and Tax Receipts, 1866 – 1884



Wah-To-Yah and the Taos Trail , Manuscript, Chapters 1 - 3, undated



Wah-To-Yah and the Taos Trail , Manuscript, Chapters 4 – 5, undated



Wah-To-Yah and the Taos Trail , Reviews and Letters, 1850