Mary Eliza Campbell Gard

Mary was born in Iowa, probably Des Moines County, June 10, 1874, to John Campbell and Annie Belle Rock.  On February 10, 1883, Mary’s father was buying land in Kansas, 400 miles away, and in 1885 the family was living in Wilmington, Wabaunsee County, Kansas.  Three years later, in 1888, Mary’s father died, leaving his wife, a 15 year old son John Knox, and Mary, age 13.

Mary’s brother, John Knox, was born in Des Moines County, Iowa on June 5, 1872.  He married Frances Lottie Chelf, and they stayed in Kansas for many years, having at least three children.  After the death of his wife, John moved to California where he died on December 18, 1951.

Apparently, not long after her father’s death, Mary met her future husband, Jeremiah ‘Jerry’ Gard, who was working in Kansas as a teamster.  Jerry was more than twenty years older than Mary, and by the fall of 1889, Mary was expecting her first daughter, Anna Belle, who was born on June 23, 1890.  Mary and Jerry were married the next month on July 23 in Harveyville.

Jerry was working as a farmer in Kansas, as he had in Ohio where he was from.  Jerry was born probably in Tuscarawas County, July 17, 1851 to Levi Gard and Barbara Miller.  When Jerry was 25, he married Mary D. Schamp in Holmes County, Ohio.  He and Mary had a son Bert, born February 4, 1879, and a daughter Adaline, called Lena, born March 29, 1881.  In 1886 Mary filed for divorce from Jerry, and in 1888 Jerry is living in Topeka, Kansas working as a teamster.Gard Family Farm Kansas2

 Family Farm in Kansas. L to R: John Knox Campbell, Annie Rock Campbell,

Anna Belle Gard, Mary Campbell Gard, Jerry Gard, circa 1893


Eskridge in Wabaunsee County, Kansas circa 1890

Mary and Jerry lived in Wabaunsee County for many years, and they were still there in 1905.  Mary’s mother Annie died on February 23, 1907, and not long afterwards, Mary and Jerry moved to Denver, Colorado.  In 1909, the couple are not living together and Mary is working as a cook.


In 1910, Mary is working as the manager of a rooming house.  In 1912 and 1913 she is working as a janitor in the A.C. Foster Building, and Mary, Jerry, and their second daughter Rose are living at 1207 California Street.  Rose was born in Harveyville, on September 17, 1896.


Mary and Rose at Champa Street house in Denver.

In 1914 Mary is the proprietor of The Pennell, a boarding house where Rose and her first husband are living, and in October of that year, Mary filed for a divorce from Jerry.  She states in her petition that she and Jerry had not lived together for many years and that Jerry had never given her any money for support even though Rose was only eleven years old when they moved to Denver.  She says that she was “compelled to support herself  by doing heavy manual labor beyond her means and strength in the business blocks and hotels of Denver…her health has been greatly damaged and impaired, thereby greatly incapacitating her in earning her livelihood.”  Her petition goes on to say, “Numerous times throughout said marriage period and more frequently during the later years thereof, defendant was guilty of repeated acts and deeds of cruelty, causing plaintiff severe physical pain and great mental suffering, and seriously impaired her health.”  Mary was granted her divorce in January of 1915 and Jerry was ordered to give Mary $25.00 a month in permanent alimony.

Mary’s mother was born in Monroe, Washington County, Indiana, on January 24, 1830 to Robert Rock and Nancy Gordon.  Annie spent her childhood and early adulthood in Indiana.

When Annie was 26 she married William Gillespie and very soon had a son Johnny who didn’t live long.  She had another son whom she named after his father.  Sadly, her husband died after only one year of marriage, and before their second son was born.  Annie was a widow for many years, raising William in Indiana.  She had many siblings, and two of her sisters, Margaret and Susannah, married brothers Robert and Isaiah Tippin.  The two couples moved from Indiana to Des Moines County, Iowa by 1856, a journey of about 425 miles.

By this time, all four of Annie’s grandparents were gone, and both of her parents and her husband were gone.  It is no wonder that she followed her sisters and moved to Des Moines County, Iowa as well.  On the 1870 census she is living in Yellow Springs with her son at dwelling number 48, and just down the road at dwelling number 54 is her future husband John Campbell, a Scots-Irish immigrant working as a farm hand for fellow Irish immigrants Thomas and Sarah Hawthorn.  John had come to Iowa from New York, it is not known at this time what year he immigrated or how long he was in New York.  He supposedly sailed out of Belfast.  Annie’s Aunt Sarah Rock, together with her husband Thomas Stevenson, had also migrated to Yellow Springs, so Annie had several family members in the area.

As stated earlier, Annie and John moved from Iowa to Kansas by 1885.  Annie’s brother John went to Missouri, her sister Margaret who had gone to Iowa moved on to Kansas, as did her brothers Robert and Samuel.  Her sister Susannah, who had gone to Iowa, died in childbirth there on October 21, 1858.

William Gillespie, Mary’s half-brother, got married in Iowa on March 12, 1884 to Mary Alice Myers, and they had three children together.  When his sister’s family moved from Iowa to Kansas, William stayed in Iowa, and was still there in 1905.  On the 1910 census, William’s wife Mary Gillespie is living in Iowa with two of her children, and it says that she is divorced.  In 1912, we find William living in Denver, on the same street as Mary just a few doors down.  He is still living in Denver in 1930.


William Gillespie and Mary Gard circa 1912

All of Annie’s grandparents were Scots-Irish immigrants from Northern Ireland, possibly county Antrim, making her a first generation American.  Her paternal grandparents were John Rock and Catherine McClellan, and her maternal grandparents were Aaron Gordon and Nancy Ann Sproul.  The family were Covenanters who were a Scottish Presbyterian movement that played an important part in the history of Scotland, and to a lesser extent that of England and Ireland, during the 17th century.  Covenanters started their migration to North America by way of Ireland.

Having come to Ireland for religious, economic, and political reasons throughout the 17th century, Scottish Presbyterians, including Covenanters, once again for religious, economic, and political reasons felt compelled to migrate again.  In North America Covenanters became known as members of the Reformed Presbyterian Church.  They were among the most vocal agitators for independence from Great Britain and volunteered in large numbers as soldiers in the revolutionary armies.

John Rock, known as Jack, was one such soldier.  He was a private in Montfort’s Company, 10th North Carolina Regiment of the Continental Line, and there is a family story that he was in charge of George Washington’s supplies during the Revolutionary War.  According to a great-granddaughter’s recollections, he fought in the Battle of Kings Mountain and “defended himself against three Tories single handed, killing all three of them with his own sword.  His daughter Sarah told us often of how he walked home in the snow barefoot at the close of the War, his shoes were entirely gone.”

Jack Rock’s wife, Catherine McClellan, was thought by the family “to be on the same family tree as General McClellan of historic note.”  They are talking about Samuel McClellan, a General in the Revolutionary War.  His family went straight from Scotland to Massachusetts, so if there is a connection it must be back when the families were still in Scotland.

Getting back to Mary, her two daughters led full lives, Anna lived to be 95 years old and had two sons of her own.  Rose was 91 when she died, and even though she had seven husbands over the years, she didn’t have any children.  Anna’s boys A.J. and James were both born while Mary was alive, but she probably only got to see A.J. because Mary’s life was cut short when she died in Denver on April 3, 1918.  She had contracted a serious bacterial infection and was sick with a life-threatening pneumonia.  This particular infection later was linked to the influenza pandemic which killed thousands of people across the nation in 1918 and 1919.  In her weakened physical state, she wasn’t able to fight it off.  Mary was only 43 years old.

It is clear that Mary was a woman of strong character.  She moved to Denver with two minor children and found work in the “business blocks and hotels” to support herself and her daughters.  After both girls were married and on their own Mary hired a lawyer and filed for divorce.  All of that took courage, guts and determination, and it would have been nice to know her in person.


Mary and Rose circa 1916


Love-From My Spirit Allies

On a recent journey to my spirit allies, I asked what they could tell me about love.  This is what they said:

“You have seen inside your heart, and you know it is a beautiful place, but you feel that most people are not worthy to be there.  And it may be true that most people are unworthy.  If you let people who are not worthy into your heart, there may be pain and disruption, but it is through pain and disruption that we receive the most growth.”

I was then shown a gerbil in a plastic ball, rolling across the floor, and was told:

“He can not be hurt inside the ball, but he is cut off from all of his senses and his feelings.”

I found these words to be quite relevant, especially in my case.  I have been hurt beyond repair by people who were important in my life, and have not let anyone else become close to me for a very long time.  So, after these wise words from my spirit allies, I must decide: Do I open my heart to the joys of love as well as the pain of emotional growth, or do I stay safe and protected in my plastic ball?

Love heart uidaodjsdsew

Give Thanks.

Wise words from Tecumseh:


When you arise in the morning,

give thanks for the morning light,

for your life and strength.

Give thanks for your food

and the joy of living.


If you see no reason for giving thanks,

the fault lies in yourself.

Good or bad.

Part of the process of awakening is the release of judgment regarding events as to whether the event is good or bad, and to detach ourselves from a particular outcome.  The following story has been told many different ways in many different cultures.  This version was told to me by and American Indian friend of mine who got it from her grandmother:

Horse watching

A 12-year-old Indian boy was given a horse by his uncle so he could start joining the men on their long distance hunts.  The boy’s mother and aunt were talking the next day, and the aunt said, “That is a good thing that your son can now go on the hunts with the men.”  His mother simply said, “It could be.”  The next day, while he was practicing his riding, the boy fell from his horse and broke his leg.  The aunt shook her head, and clicking her tongue, said, “Tsk, tsk.  That is too bad.”  Again, the mother said, “It could be.”  A week later, the men and older boys rode out to meet a herd of buffalo that were migrating through a few miles away.  During the hunt many of the men and boys were trampled and killed.  At news of this tragedy, the aunt exclaimed, “It was fortunate that your son broke his leg and could not go.”

The point, of course, is that we do not have enough information to declare an event to be either good or bad.  We can not peer through the curtain in front of the symphony of natural laws that maintain the order and balance of the universe.  These laws are not malevolent, they have no ulterior motive or hidden agenda.  They work to keep everything in balance in spite of what we do.  Events can not be labeled or classified one way or another.  They just are.  At all times there is a higher order at work that we, embroiled in the events themselves, can not see.  We can take comfort in this fact, knowing that we can trust the universe to allow things to unfold the way they should.  “Things happen for a reason” is one of my mantras.  I’ve seen bumper stickers that say “I let God steer my boat,” or “I give the reins to Jesus.”  This is just different vocabulary stating the same thing.  We need to stop trying to control everything, stop deciding if the things that happen are good or bad, and trust that our best possible outcome is coming if we will just get out of the way.  With these thoughts in mind, the often asked question, “Why does God let bad things happen to good people?” really has no meaning at all.

I am at peace.

English: Scots pine north of Church Place, Tho...

I’m walking in nature today, the sky is blue, the sun is warming my face, I hear the waters of the river nearby as they slide over the rocks, and I am filled with a sense of inner peace.

Most of the trees have dropped their leaves, displaying their naked beauty that can best be seen this time of year.  Hawk is flying overhead, catching the currents of air while watching for prey down below.  Crow speaks to me, reminding me that spirit is all around me and I am surrounded by life.

This time in nature is precious to me, it rejuvenates my spirit and brings me closer to the Earth Mother.  I stay in the present, freeing myself of all thought, filling my lungs with the sweet air that you can only find in the woods.

As I walk over the dry leaves and pine needles, releasing their perfume, my heart overflows with joy and gratitude for this time spent in silence.  I give thanks to Great Spirit, the Goddess, and Father Sun.

And I am at peace.

Wherever you set your feet is holy land.


Thank you for these words, Wilfred Pelletier and Ted Poole.




Wherever you are is home


And the earth is paradise


Wherever you set your feet is holy land…


You don’t live off it like a parasite.


You live in it, and it in you,


Or you don’t survive.


And that is the only worship of God there is.

The Earth seen from Apollo 17.


The poetry of Nature.

These words from John Ruskin resonate in my heart and echo my feelings when I am communing with Nature.


even, dense and old stand of beech trees (Fagu...

There is religion in everything around us,


A calm and holy religion


In the unbreathing things in Nature.


It is a meek and blessed influence,


Stealing in as it were unaware upon the heart;


It comes quickly, and without excitement;


It has no terror, no gloom;


It does not rouse up the passions;


It is untrammelled by creeds…


It is written on the arched sky;


It looks out from every star;


It is on the sailing cloud and in the invisible wind;


It is among the hills and valleys of the earth


Where the shrubless mountain-top pierces the thin atmosphere


of eternal winter,


Or where the mighty forest fluctuates before the strong wind,


With its dark waves of green foliage;


It is spread out like a legible language upon the broad face of

an unsleeping ocean;

It is the poetry of Nature;


It is that which uplifts the spirit within us…


And which opens to our imagination a world of spiritual beauty


and holiness.


English: Negative low tide at Ocean Beach in S...


Spiritual Teachers.

"A little statue of Buddha."

From the time I became aware that I was on a spiritual path, I have wanted a teacher.  Over the years I have asked the universe to send me one many times.  I pictured my teacher to be a person, first of all, who was highly evolved, and who would teach me and guide me along my path.  Several times I have thought I had found my teacher, only to eventually see their own feet of clay and realize that I was the one who had put them up on a pedestal.

Recently, a friend of mine mentioned one of her teachers, and then proceeded to talk about how much she had learned from this person’s books.  and it hit me.  My teachers have been coming to me through their books rather than in person.  Teachers such as Marianne Williamson, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Thich Nhat Hanh, Deepak Chopra, Eckhardt Tolle, Brook Medicine Eagle, and many, many others.  I can honestly call them my teachers because I have learned so much from their writings.

Cover of "Buffalo Woman Comes Singing (Re...

Last year I had the honor and privilege to not only meet one of my teachers, but to do ceremony with them as well.  Brook Medicine Eagle was the featured teacher at the Southeast Women’s Herbal Conference which I have attended many times.  I had read her books, “Buffalo Woman Comes Singing,” and “The Last Ghost Dance,” which had helped me greatly on my path, so I was very excited to be with her in person.

Cover of "The Last Ghost Dance: A Guide f...

Over the course of three days, I had the opportunity not only to listen to her speak, but to drum with her, sing with her, and dance with her.  It was one of those unforgettable, once in a lifetime moments.  She has received visions from Great Spirit that she is to share Native American spirituality with people of all races.  Nothing sacred or that was shown to her for her eyes only.  Many Native American people have received these visions, such as Sun Bear, who formed the Rainbow Tribe, with the understanding that it will take peoples of all colors to come together with common goals to heal the Earth Mother as well as ourselves.

I don’t know if I will have the chance to meet any of my other teachers in person, but if not, I find joy in the fact that they speak to me through their writing, and that their written word will exist long after they return to the spirit world.  I have been told many times that I already have all the information I need to reach enlightenment, and these people are helping me bring that information into my consciousness.  So in a sense, they are helping me to be my own spiritual teacher.

Books behind the bed

The door of compassion.

This is from Zen Buddhist Master Thich Nhat Hanh, which I found very moving.


Do not say that I’ll depart tomorrow

because even today I still arrive.


Look deeply: I arrive in every second

to be a bud on a spring branch,

to be a tiny bird, with wings still fragile,

learning to sing in my new nest,

to be a caterpillar in the heart of a flower,

to be a jewel hiding itself in a stone.


I still arrive, in order to laugh and to cry,

in order to fear and to hope,

the rhythm of my heart is the birth and

death of all that are alive.


I am the mayfly metamorphosing in the

surface of the river,

and I am the bird which, when spring comes,

arrives in time to eat the mayfly.


I am the frog swimming happily in the

clear water of a pond,

and I am also the grass-snake who,

approaching in silence,

feeds itself on the frog.


I am the child in Uganda, all skin and bones,

my legs as thin as bamboo sticks,

and I am the arms merchant, selling deadly

weapons to Uganda.


I am the 12-year-old girl, refugee

on a small boat,

who throws herself into the ocean after

being raped by a sea pirate,

and I am the pirate, my heart not yet capable

of seeing and loving.


I am a member of the politburo, with

plenty of power in my hand,

and I am the man who has to pay his

“debt of blood” to my people,

dying slowly in a forced labor camp.


My joy is like spring, so warm it makes

flowers bloom in all walks of life.

My pain is like a river of tears, so full it

fills up the four oceans.


Please call me by my true names,

so I can hear all my cries and my laughs

at once,

so I can see that my joy and pain are one.


Please call me by my true names,

so I can wake up,

and so the door of my heart can be left open,

the door of compassion.