A History of Anna Furrer

The Best record I have found of my grandfather’s Grandmother. Grandpa told me that he remembered her. He said that she was always on the go helping people. You should find this interesting. I found the link here:



Anna Furrer Cardon, probably the first female M.D. in Utah.

wife of Jean/John Cardon, born 1824

Regula Furrer was born 15 March 1826 in Pfaffikon, Zurich Canton, Switzerland to Regula Hess and Hans Rudolf Furrer. In the many hand written histories by her daughters and grand-children as well as newspaper accounts, her name appears as any of the following: Anna Furrer, Anna Raglea Furrer, Anna Regula Furrer or Netta Anna Furrer.

She entered school at the age of five and at age 14, expressing a desire to be a nurse, was sent to Lamples Hospital for four years. Not being content as a nurse, she was encouraged by her cousin, Dr. David Eptner, a medical professor at Geneva Hospital, to train to be a doctor. She entered Geneva Hospital and subsequently graduated as an M.D.. During this time she

John Cardon, known in Italy as Jean. Husband of Anna Furrer Cardon

learned French, Italian and English. German is believed to have been her native language in Zurich. During her last year at medical school, her brother Casper and her father were killed at war and her mother died shortly thereafter from grief. This knowledge was withheld from her until after her graduation so as not to interfere with her studies. When learning of their deaths, however, she grieved deeply. Later she studied at Leipzig and then served in the medical field in Constantinople.

After returning to Switzerland, she was introduced to the LDS faith by Elder John Smith and baptized in 1854 by Elder Heurs in the River Rhone. Against the objections of her remaining family, she prepared to immigrate to Utah and, assuming the name of Anna to prevent being discovered in her departure, reached Liverpool and sailed in the ship Enoch Train in March 1856. She was known on ship as “Doctress Anna” as she helped care for the sick during the six-week crossing.

Proceeding by rail to the Missouri River, she purchased a wagon and ox team but gave these away to a poor family and then purchased a handcart for the journey to Utah. She enlisted in a handcart company ( the name of Anna Furrer is found in the Second Company of Captain Daniel D. McArthur ). This company departed on 11 June 1856 and arrived in Salt Lake City on September 26th, the same day of arrival as the first company under Captain Edmund Ellsworth. During the handcart journey she helped to care for the sick and injured. Also during the travel Anna and a “Aunt Susanna” helped others who had fallen behind and often shared their ration of flour with others.

Shortly after arriving, she was introduced by Brigham Young to a young man, John Cardon from the Piedmont Valleys of Italy, who had arrived by ox team and wagon with his family two years earlier. Brigham Young advised her to marry John Cardon instead of returning to Switzerland to marry her betrothed, whom she had never heard from since her departure. So she followed his counsel and was married to John Cardon by Bishop B. H. Harding on 20 October 1856.

They moved to Big Cottonwood and remained there until March of 1857 when they moved to Marriott in Weber County. Except for a short time in 1858, when they were ordered to move south because of the advance of Johnston’s Army, they remained in Marriott, at one time surviving a disastrous flood from the overflow of the Ogden river in 1861. At that time Anna Regula and her three infant children found refuge on a haystack until rescued by neighbors who arrived on a raft.

In 1863 John and Anna Cardon moved to Bingham’s Fort, later called Lynne, where John built for his family at 507 Washington Avenue a log cabin and later in 1866 a rock house. At this same location, John and Anna, working together, built the first carding mill in Weber County. It was operated by water power from a ditch ( forerunner of the Lynne Irrigation Canal ) which John Cardon and a helper dug from the Ogden River beginning at 12th street. John and Anna did all the carding, mostly at night, after the farming duties were done. Wool was brought to this mill from all over Weber and Cache counties. This mill operated for about 15 years before being sold and taken to southern Utah. During this time, they also operated a general merchandise store adjacent to their home and mill.

By the end of 1868, they were the parents of five children, one daughter having died within six months of birth. Because of her medical training, Anna cared for herself during the birth of all six children. In addition, Anna cared for many of the sick and injured in the community, often setting broken bones and once even sewing on the scalp of an injured youth. Anna would often be called upon to leave at short notice, often on horseback, to attend to the sick. Her service was provided without charge because Brigham Young had counseled her many years earlier that her mission was to use her medical knowledge in healing the sick and needy without remuneration and great would be her blessings.

After the sale of the carding mill, John and Anna apparently looked to Idaho for other opportunities. They lived in Franklin, Idaho about 1879, later moving to Blackfoot, Idaho where they built and operated a general merchandise store. While living there in 1882, Anna and John adopted a baby girl, Edna May, who was later sealed to them.

In 1885 they returned to Ogden where John built a two-story brick home by 1887 at the same location as the former rock house.

Anna remained there until her death on 25 August 1907. During her years in Ogden, Anna was a member of the first Relief Society of the Lynne Ward. Later she contributed generously to the construction of the Weber Stake Relief Society Hall, now standing on the Ogden Tabernacle and Temple block. John and Anna together vigorously pursued a life consisting of hard work as well as great enterprise and initiative. The descendants of their two sons and four daughters will always cherish the example of these two courageous and noble pioneers.

Children of Anna and John are listed below:

Name Birth date Birth place

Anna Rozina (Shaw) 14 Feb 1858 Marriott
John David 5 Aug 1859 Marriott
Anna Hermina (Shaw) 23 Jan 1861 Marriott
Susette 19 Apr 1863 Ogden
John Herman 21 Sep 1864 Ogden
Olga Mary (Drumiler) 8 Oct 1868 Ogden
Edna May (Clegg) 4 Mar 1882 Blackfoot

Presented at the Philippe Cardon Reunion in Bountiful, UT on 9 August 1997 by Daniel W. Drumiler. This brief history of my great grandmother represents the editing of nine handwritten or typewritten documents prepared by her daughters, Anna Rosina Cardon Shaw and Anna Hermina Cardon Shaw, various grand-children, Daughters of the Utah Pioneers ( based of course upon submission of the foregoing histories ), newspaper reports, and a copy of a “record of families made for citizenship” from Zurich, Switzerland in German script. Many of these same sources were used by Genevieve Porter Johnson and Edna Cardon Taylor in greater detail in their landmark publication of 1986, “CARDONS! 1799-1986”.

These histories and documents were contributed by my cousins:

Virginia Lee Petersen of Elwood, UT
Lillian Perry Roundy of Bountiful, UT
Marian Shaw Sant of Bountiful, UT
Helen Underwood Hill of San Jose, CA
Richard J. Shaw of Logan, UT

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One Response to A History of Anna Furrer

  1. Thatcher says:

    Proud of my ancestors!

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