As a diligent diarist, Charles O. Card provided a banquet table loaded with rich and nutritious historical information about the period 1886 to 1903. These diaries in published form are a monumental contribution of source material on the Intermountain West, western Canada, the LDS Church, and late-nineteenth-century family life, society; and folklore. The book presents the diaries in seven sections covering two to five years each: exploration, migration, the Canadian Mission, Church and community business, irrigation development, completion of the settlements, and closing years.
Before these diaries began, Card was a stake president, school board member, businessman, teacher, supervisor of construction of the Logan Tabernacle and Logan Temple, and Logan, Utah, city councilman. He married Sarah (Sally) Birdneau in 1867 and Sarah Jane Painter in 1876 and lived with both wives for seven years. Birdneau divorced him in 1884. That year he married Zina Young Williams, a daughter of Brigham Young and Zina D. H. Young. In 1885 he married Lavinia Clark Rigby and planned to move to Mexico to avoid federal marshals, who were earnestly trying to arrest him. Instead, Church leaders sent him to explore western Canada for LDS colony sites—at which point the diaries published in this book commence. Cardston, Alberta, is named after him.