Bernella Gardner was born on June 26, 1866 in Pine Valley, Utah to William and Ann (Rogers) Snow. Her mother, Ann Rogers, was William's sixth and last polygamous wife. Bernella married Robert Berry (R.B.) Gardner, son of Robert and Cythna (Berry) Gardner, on March 8, 1883 in the St. George Temple. Bernella and R.B. moved to Pine Valley where they had nine children: Robert Snow, Jessie, a daughter who died, Arthur, Fernleigh, Bernella Elizabeth, Mamie, Thelma, and Lurie. In Pine Valley Bernella ran a store that was located on their property in addition to taking care of the children and their home. Bernella was appointed treasurer of the Primary Association in December of 1880. On July 13, 1896 Bernella was elected as a trustee, the first female trustee to be elected in Pine Valley. Her husband, R.B., left for a mission to the Northern States in September 1896 and returned in January 1899 because of health problems. In 1916 Bernella and her family sold their home in Pine Valley and moved to Cedar, Utah (Cedar City) where Bernella and R.B. were very involved in temple and genealogical work. They were members of the Stake Genealogical Committee as well as the Organization of the Order of Pioneers. They made frequent trips to the temple to do temple work, and Bernella kept several correspondences with others doing genealogy. Throughout her life Bernella suffered from a severe case of rheumatism. It slowly disabled her, forcing her to walk with crutches for a while and finally restricting any use of her legs. She saw doctors for treatment and was also baptized several times for her health. R.B. died March 24, 1949 in Cedar, Utah after being struck by a car. Bernella lived through many world changes and events. Some of these include the attacks on church members for practicing polygamy, the passing of the Edmunds Tucker Bill, the San Francisco earthquake, World War I, World War II, and the coming of electricity, the railroad, automobiles, and airplanes. Three years after her husband passed away Bernella died from a partial stroke and lung failure on February 8, 1952 in Cedar, Utah.
Bernella wrote in four diaries. The first is a book in poor condition with 144 pages covering the dates from February 26, 1887 to November 12, 1929. At the beginning of this diary Bernella records her paternal grandparents, their children and birth dates, her maternal grandparents and their children, her father's birth and marriage dates to each of his six wives, and each of their children's names and birth dates. She also records some death, marriage, and baptism dates and places of her siblings. Her entries are sporadic, about every six months or year. The content of the journal deals mostly with family events such as the births of her children and her sibling's children. She also records each time she goes to the temple and the names of those for whom she and her husband performed ordinances. Other topics include the family's health, epidemics, the weather and crops, the earthquake in San Francisco, World War I, the first train to Cedar, church callings, conferences of the Sunday School, the Mutual Improvement Association, and the General Church, and LDS Church history events such as President Woodruff's manifesto and the death of Lorenzo Snow. At the end of the diary she writes a short three page history of her mother, Ann Rogers Snow. There are also some short notes taken in a Theology class. The second diary dates from March 16, 1930 to December 26, 1938. Themes in this journal include the celebration of the Church's 100 year anniversary, getting electricity, a radio, car, and a player piano, the Great Depression, whooping cough, German measles, and scarlet fever epidemics, the beginning of the Church Welfare system, and electric treatments for her rheumatism. She also gives dates of births, marriages, and deaths of family members and close friends. In addition she discusses health, crops, weather, and general news. The third diary dates from June 27, 1944 to June 11, 1949. In this diary Bernella talks a lot about World War II, temple and genealogical work, LDS missionary service, the changes she has seen over the course of her life, her family's health problems, and vacation trips she takes with her family. She frequently expresses appreciation for her husband, children, and the blessings that advances in technology have brought. The fourth diary dates from June 14, 1949 to August 27, 1950. The first 17 pages are sewing terms and directions. Following this Bernella discusses genealogical work, visits from family and friends, quilting, and her rheumatism. The last three pages of the book are the beginnings of what looks like an autobiography. Bernella gives a description of Pine Valley and her childhood memories including trips to the shingle and grist mills. Overall, the diaries are written in a very personal tone and reveal a lot about Bernella's character and personality. Her writing displays her faith and gratitude throughout her life. The handwriting is, for the most part, easy to read and understand.