Miscellaneous Indian Warfare in Early Days
In May 1863, at Franklin, Andrew Morrison and William Howell were in the canyon about three miles northeast of town getting wood. Near the present home of William H. Gibson they were attacked by three buck Indians. Just about the time Morrison and Howell were getting ready to leave with their loads, an Indian came upon them and began to talk with them. After discovering that Morrison and Howell were not armed, the Indian called to his comrades who had remained behind on the hill. They at once gave a murderous war-whoop and came running down to the assistance of their comrade. Morrison being able to speak some Indian, began to talk and reason with the Indians. The Indians said the white men had killed the Indians at Battle Creek and now they were going to kill every white man they could. Morrison offered the Indians the horses if they would let him go unharmed, but it was scalps the Indians wanted rather than horses. Howell wanted Morrison to run while there was just one Indian near them but he said, “No, he would not run form an Indian.” They invited the Indians to get on their load and ride down to town with them. Which invitation the Indians accepted.
They had not gone far when Howell’s team got stuck in the creek crossing. While the two men were working to get the stalled team liberated, the Indians caught them off their guard and shot at them with arrows. Howell was missed but Morrison received an arrow just under the left collarbone. As he fell he called for Howell to run as there was no need of both being killed. Morrison received another arrow close to his heart. He pulled both the arrows out but the head of the arrow near his heart came loose and remained in his body.
Howell being a good runner got away without being hit and reached town soon and gave the alarm. A pose of men was at once formed and went for Morrison’s body, but when they found him he was still alive. He was brought to Franklin and Mr. S. R. Parkinson was sent to Salt Lake City for medical aid. Mr. Parkinson travelled the 220 miles on the front wheels of a wagon with a span of mules. The trip was made in forty-eight hours. Dr. Anderson of Salt Lake City returned with Mr. Parkinson and when he examined Morrison he found the head of the arrow so close to his heart that he did not dare remove the spike. He said Morrison could not live and filled the wound with cotton and returned to Salt Lake City. Morrison recovered, however and lived for twenty-seven years, carrying the arrowhead to his grave with him.
The minute men were called out and went after the Indians, but before they overtook them they had joined a band of several hundred strong. The minute men followed them into Gentile Valley but had to come back without the horses or the Indians.
During the spring of 1864 the Indians had been giving little trouble for some time, and the settlement of Franklin was rapidly growing and the people deemed it advisable to move out of the fort. The town was surveyed and the people built on their lots that were allotted to them by the presiding authorities.
All went well and peaceably with the little colony, as it now began to take upon itself the appearance of a civilized town and shake off some of its frontier appearance. The summer was favorable and abundant crops were harvested. During the fall, however, an incident occurred which could have been very serious for the settlers.
About one-thousand Indians on a migration and hunting expedition were going through the Valley under the leadership of Chief Washakie. These Indians were a peaceful band and quite friendly with the whites. They camped for a short rest in the river bottoms north of Franklin. While there, some of their young warriors came to Franklin. Some of them secured some liquor from two of the local citizens. One of the Indians became drunk and began to run his horse up an down the street shouting and trying to run over everybody he met. He knocked a woman down, Mary Ann Alder, and tried to trample her to death with his horse. Ben Chadwick, who was driving the horsepower for a threshing machine nearby, got a pistol and shot the Indian in the neck, wounding him. Chadwick made his escape. This enraged the Indians and they immediately went on the warpath. Chief Washakie seized Samuel Handy, at whose place the threshing was being done, and nearly beat him to death with the butt of a pistol. Washakie tried to shot Handy but his pistol was empty. Handy’ wife tried to interfere but Chief Washakie knocked her down and tried to tear her clothes off her and would have killed her if another chief, named Alma, had not interfered.
Robert Hull was captured and held as a prisoner on a knoll about a quarter of a mile from town. The Indians danced around him with their tomahawks and knives and threatened him. Bishop Lorenzo H. Hatch, with Armenus Neeley as interpreter, and Alexander Stalker, went to the Indian camp and Hull was liberated and came to town. Bishop Hatch and his party had to remain, however, until the Indians could get Chadwick, who had shot the Indian. Chadwick had escaped and was miles away. The Indians held a short council and finally let the prisoners go home.
As soon as the trouble began, William L. Webster mounted the best horse in the town and started south through all the settlements to notify the minute men. By night they began to come into Franklin with their guns and ammunition and by day-break more that three-hundred armed men were in the town. The Indians, through their scouts, soon learned that the minute men were assembling and they began to pack up and send their squaws and papooses across Cub River and started them out for Bear Lake Valley. Next morning peace was made with the Indians for four beeves and twelve sacks of flour. The two men who sold the Indians the liquor had to furnish the beeves and the community the flour.
During the argument that took place at the peace meeting, one of the finest examples of eloquence that is characteristic of the highest type of the American Indian, was made by Chief Washakie. His theme was, “Put yourself in my place.” The chief brought home to the Christian the beauty of the eleventh commandment: “Do unto others as your would that they should do t you.” In his brief speech was a temperance lecture besides. He said, “Until the white man came there was no fire water and the Indian was sober; you people sold fire water to my people and made my warriors crazy. If my people sold fire water to your braves and made them drunk how would you feel about it? Would you like to see him shot down like a dog because he had made a fool of himself? Will the White Father put himself in Washakie’s place?”
Samuel Handy was robbed by the Indians of everything in the way of clothing, food, cattle, chickens, and about everything on the place which they thought they could use. The threshing machine belonged to Joseph Hendricks and it was robbed of all belts, tools, and anything the Indians thought could be used. The treaty was made and all was well with Washakie’s band and the whites again. This was the last trouble the red man ever gave the citizens of Franklin.
A cavalry regiment of 317 well-mounted and well-armed men was organized in addition to the militia. Frequent drills were given and all the soldiers, for that time, were well trained and prepared for active service President Brigham Young admonished the militias not to relax its vigilance but to always remember that the Indians were excitable and liable at any time to become hostile through unwise or thoughtless actions of the part of the whites; that Indians always respect a well armed and brave people and being well prepared was the best way to preserve peace wit them.
Tradition tells us that in May 1866, a little daughter of a Mr. Thurston who lived about three miles from Wellsville, was captured by some of Pocatello’s band and she was never recovered. She was about three years old and it was a dreadful shock to the family and settlers. It was reported later that the child died. Some of the settlers believed the child was drowned in a pond nearby, but if so the body was never found. The Indians also threatened to capture other children and nearly succeeded in capturing a little boy of Edwin M. Curtis of Logan. The boy was finally rescued in some willows on Logan River. The Indians showed considerable hostility as they remembered their severe chastisement at the hands of General Connor.
A brigade muster was held July 14th, 1866, and General Benson directed every man to keep 300 rounds of ammunition constantly on hand with good arms and equipment and that a system of flag signals be adopted to warn the settlers. A white flag was the signal for danger and a red one to indicate actual hostilities. The signal pole was erected on the temple bench and could be seen by many of the settlements.
An important factor in the preservation of the peace between the settlers and Indians was the scrupulous adherence by the settlers to the principles of right and justice enunciated by President Brigham Young in neither infringing upon the rights of the Indians nor suffering them to disregard those of the whites with impunity.
Mr. Saul Hale, one of the early pioneers and settlers of the Valley and who was somewhat closely associated with the habits and life of the Indian, related the following incident to show the severe and stern characters of some of the Indian tribes. There was a group of Indians camped on the Blacksmith Fork River in the west Providence fields. The old chief was the father of twin papooses and they were seriously ill with diphtheria. He sent for a Medicine Man in the Salt Lake Valley near Brigham City, to come and heal the sick babies. When the Medicine Man arrived he was informed by the chief that if he cured the babies he would be well rewarded, but if he did not he would be killed. The Medicine Man commenced at once the fight for his life. He made a warm mud puddle with hot rocks and put the papooses in it up to their necks. All the while he chanted and went through other antics to rebuke the disease, but the papooses were too far gone to be cured, so they died. The Medicine Man continued his chantings and started across the river for the lower fields of Providence and Millville. He did not look to the right or left or back of him, but went straight ahead and appeared to be resigned to his fate. The old chief took his gun and followed the Medicine Man. Just beyond the present state highway, he shot the Medicine Man through the back and killed him. Mr. Hale claims he was an eye witness to this incident.
An early event took place in Providence that caused considerable excitement, especially among the young people who were not accustomed to such tragedies. One afternoon an Indian squaw and papoose, who were being pursued by a large Indian, rushed to the home of Ira Rice and asked for protection. The squaw, trembling with great fear, with the papoose hanging in her blanket, said the Indian would kill her. The Indian forced his way into the house and grabbed the squaw and attempted to drag her out. Mrs. Rice resented this action and threw some hot water on the Indian and made him get out. After talking the matter over with others, Mrs. Rice decided it was better to give the squaw and papoose up as the Indian might get help and cause serious trouble for the settlers. The squaw and papoose were therefore given over to the Indian. Joan Mathews and her brother, Alma Mathews, were herding sheep on the south bench and they saw the Indian with the squaw and papoose going south towards Millville. When the squaw did not walk fast enough the Indian would beat her. The next day the body of the squaw was found in a large waste ditch north of Millville. She had been murdered by the Indian and her body was terribly slashed with a knife. As to the cause of the trouble the settlers were never able to ascertain.