- Edward L. Lach, Jr.
Garrett, Robert (02 May 1783–04 February 1857), merchant and financier, was born in Lisburn, County Down, Ireland, the son of John Garrett and Margaret MacMechen. When Garrett was seven years old his family immigrated to the United States, with his father dying in the course of the journey. His newly widowed mother settled with her children on a farm in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, where young Garrett grew up performing many of the required chores. In 1798 the family moved to another farm in Washington County, Pennsylvania, and in the following year, seeking greater opportunities, Garrett accompanied an older brother on a trading expedition among the Native American tribes of the area. After traveling extensively along the Monongahela and Ohio rivers, the pair was forced by severely cold weather into spending the winter among the Indians near present-day Marietta, Ohio. The trip proved profitable in more ways than one; in addition to the brothers’ success in trading their goods for furs, the venture alerted the younger Garrett to the economic opportunities available in the West....