S. N. Carvalho 

1854 Contacts with Ezra T. Benson

Excerpted From

Incidents of Travel and Adventure
in the Far West

With Col. Fremont’s Last Expedition
Across the Rocky Mountains; including three months’ residence in Utah,
and a perilous trip across the Great American Desert to the Pacific.

by S. N. Carvalho,
artist to the expedition

Transcript from http://www.jewish-history.com/WildWest/carvalho/carval24.html

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Chapter 22.

Incidents of Travel and Adventure in the Far West

Sojourn at Parowan—Colonel Fremont refits his Expedition—Illness of the Author—His Inability to Proceed—Takes Leave of Col. Fremont—Mr. Egloffstien and the Author leave to go to Great Salt Lake City in a Wagon—Col. Fremont’s Departure—Mormons for Conference—Arrival at Salt Lake City—Massacre of Capt. Gunnison—Interview with Lieut. Beckwith—Mr. Egloffstien appointed Topographical Engineer—Painting Materials—Kinkead and Livingston—Brigham Young—Governor’s Residence—Apology for Mormonism among the Masses—Their previous Ignorance of the Practice of Polygamy.

I REMAINED from the 8th to the 21st February at Parowan. I was very ill during the whole time; I was so much enervated by diarrhoea, that my physician advised me not to accompany the expedition; the exertion of riding on horseback would have completely prostrated me, my digestive organs were so much weakened, and impaired, by the irregular living on horse meat, without salt or vegetables, that I was fearful that I should never recover. Col. Fremont was very anxious for me to continue, but yielded to the necessity of my remaining; he supplied me with means to reach home, and on the same day he bade me farewell, to continue his journey over the Sierra Nevada, I left for great Salt Lake City, in a wagon belonging to one of a large company of Mormons, who were on their way to “Conference.” I was so weak, that I had to be lifted in and out like a child. To the kind attentions of Mr. Henry Lunt, President of Cedar City, Coal Creek, and his lady, I was indebted for some necessaries, viz.—sugar, tea and coffee, which it was impossible to purchase; they also offered me the use of their wagon, which was better adapted to an invalid, than the one I occupied. Mr. Egloffstien also accompanied me; his physical condition being similar to my own, he could not continue with Col. Fremont; he successfully managed, notwithstanding his illness, to make topographical notes all the way to Great Salt Lake City, a distance of three hundred miles, which we accomplished in ten days, passing through all the different Mormon settlements on the road, particulars of which I shall give in my journal, from Salt Lake City. We arrived at Great Salt Lake City on the night of the 1st of March 1854, and took lodgings at Blair’s hotel; in the morning I learned that Lieut. Beckwith and Captain Morris, with the remnant of Captain Gunnison’s expedition, were hibernating in the city. I called on Lieut. Beckwith, who invited me and my friend to mess at their table, at E. T. Benson’s, one of the Mormon apostles, which I gladly accepted, and that night I found myself once more associating with intelligent gentlemen. The arrival of my friend, Egloffstien, proved very timely; the massacre of the lamented Captain Gunnison and his officers, deprived Lieut. Beckwith of the services of their topographical engineer, to which situation Mr. Egloffstien was immediately appointed, and Lieut. Beckwith generously invited me to accompany the expedition, free of any expense, which I respectfully declined, as I intended to reach California by the Southern route, over the trail of Colonel Fremont, in 1843. To the kindness of Lieut. Beckwith I was also indebted for a supply of painting materials which I could not have procured elsewhere, and by the use of which, I was enabled to successfully prosecute my profession, during my residence in that city.

Messrs. Kincaid and Livingston, cashed Col. Fremont’s bills on California, without any discount, and contributed many luxuries which were not on sale, and I feel deeply grateful to them for their disinterested friendship. After I was comfortably settled, I called on Governor Young, and was received by him with marked attention. He tendered me the use of all his philosophical instruments and access to a large and valuable library.

The court-house of the city of the Great Salt Lake lies in 40º 45’ 44” N. Lat. 111º 26’ 34” W. Longitude, and the city covers an area of four square miles, it is laid out at right angles. The principal business streets run due north and south, a delicious stream of water flows through the centre of the city, this is subdivided into murmuring rivulets on either side of all the streets. The water coming directly from the mountains, is always pure and fresh, affording this most useful element in any quantity, and within reach of every one, besides creating a healthful influence in the city. Cotton-wood trees grow on the main stream, and saplings had just been planted while I was there, on the sides of the streets. Most of the dwelling-houses are built a little distance from the side-walk, and to each dwelling is appropriated an acre and a quarter of ground, for gardening purposes.

Salt Lake Valley runs east and west, and the city is immediately at the base of a high range of mountains. An adobe wall, twelve feet high, six feet at the base, tapering upwards to 2½ feet, entirely surrounds the city, enclosing an immense area of ground for pasturage, etc. thus protecting the people and cattle from the aggressions of Indians. The Timpanagos mountains are near the city: “Emigration Canon” is the gate (a low depression in the mountains) through which the great tide of emigration flows into the Valley of Great Salt Lake.

The River Jordan runs through the valley and empties into Great Salt Lake. The city is thirty miles from the Lake, and the valley is entirely surrounded with high mountains topped with snow, winter and summer.

The governor’s residence, a large wooden building of sufficient capacity to contain his extensive family—nineteen wives and thirty-three children, was nearly finished. I made a daguerreotype view of it, and also a drawing.

The court house is a large square building, on the east side, opposite the Temple square.

The post office occupies the corner on the south side.

The Tabernacle, an unpretending one story building, occupies a portion of the Temple square.

The Temple is in course of building—the foundation is laid—and I was allowed to see the plan projected by a Mr. Angell, who by inspiration has succeeded in producing an exact model of the one used by the Melchizedek Priesthood, in older times.

The theatre, a well built modern building, is opposite to the governor’s house on the north, and is the property of the church as are all the public buildings. I may say all the real estate in the valley is the property of the church, for proprietors have only an interest in property so long as they are members of the Mormon Church, and reside in the valley. The moment they leave or apostatize, they are obliged to abandon their property, and are precluded from selling it, or if they do give the bill of sale it is not valid—it is not tenable by the purchaser. This arrangement was proposed by the governor and council, at the conference which took place during my residence among them in 1854, and thousands of property holders subsequently deeded their houses and lands to the church, in perpetuity.

Under the operation of this law, nobody but Mormons can hold property in Great Salt Lake City. There are numbers of citizens who are not Mormons, who rent properties; but there is no property for sale—a most politic course on the part of the Mormons—for in case of a railroad being established between the two oceans, Great Salt Lake City must be the half way stopping place, and the city will be kept purified from taverns and grog shops at every corner of the street. Another city will have to be built some distance from them, for they have determined to keep themselves distinct from the vices of civilization. During a residence of ten weeks in Great Salt Lake City, and my observations in all their various settlements, amongst a homogeneous population of over seventy-five thousand inhabitants, it is worthy of record, that I never heard any obscene or improper language; never saw a man drunk; never had my attention called to the exhibition of vice of any sort. There are no gambling houses, grog shops, or buildings of ill fame, in all their settlements. They preach morality in their churches and from their stands, and what is as strange as it is true, the people practise it, and religiously believe their salvation depends on fulfilling the behests of the religion they have adopted.

The masses are sincere in their belief, if they are incredulous, and have been deceived by their leaders, the sin, if any, rests on them. I firmly believe the people to be honest, and imbued with true religious feelings,—and when we take into consideration their general character previously, we cannot but believe in their sincerity. Nine-tenths of this vast population are the peasantry of Scotland, England and Wales, originally brought up with religious feelings at Protestant parish churches. I observed no Catholic proselytes. They have been induced to emigrate, by the offers of the Mormon missionaries to take them free of expense, to their land flowing with milk and honey, where, they are told, the Protestant Christian religion is inculcated in all its purity, and where a farm and house are bestowed gratuitously upon each family. Seduced by this independence from the state of poverty which surrounds them at home, they take advantage of the opportunity and are baptized into the faith of the “latter day saints,” and it is only after their arrival in the Valley that the spiritual wife system is even mentioned to them. Thousands of families are now in Utah who are as much horrified at the name of polygamy, as the most carefully educated in the enlightened circles of Europe and America. More than two-thirds of this population (at least, this is the ratio of my experience) cannot read or write, and they place implicit faith in their leaders, who, in a pecuniary point of view, have fulfilled their promise; each and all of them are comfortably provided with land and tenements. The first year they, of course, suffer privations, until they build their houses and reap their crops, yet all their necessities in the meantime are provided for by the church, and in a social point of view, they are much happier than they could ever hope to have been at their native homes. From being tenants at will of an imperious and exacting landlord, they suddenly become land holders, in their own right—free men, living on free soil, under a free and enlightened government.

Their religious teachers of Mormonism, preach to them, as they call it, “Christianity in its purity.” With their perfect right to imbibe new religious ideas, I have no wish to interfere, nor has any one. All religions are tolerated, or ought to be, in the United States, and I offer these remarks as an apology for the masses of honest men, many of whom have personally told me, that they were ignorant of the practice of polygamy before their arrival in the Valley, and surrounded as they are, by hostile tribes of Indians, and almost unsurmountable mountains of snow, they are precluded from returning home, but live among themselves, practicing as well as they know how, the strict principles of virtue and morality.

Chapter 24.

Incidents of Travel and Adventure in the Far West

Grand Ball at Salt Lake City—Etiquette—Culinary Preparations—Cost of Entertainment—Author opens the Ball with one of the Wives of the Governor—Beautiful Women—Waltzing and Polkas Prohibited—Mrs. Wheelock—The “Three Graces”—Extraordinary Cotillion—Mormon Wedding—Spiritual Wives—Favorable Impression of the Public Social Life of the Mormons.


Towards the end of April, 1854, about ten days previous to the departure of Governor Brigham Young, on his annual visit to the southern settlement of Utah, tickets of invitation to a grand ball, were issued in his name. I had the honor to receive one of them.

If the etiquette of dress, which is a necessary preliminary to the “entre” of her Majesty’s drawing-room, had been insisted on in the vestibule of Gov. Young’s ballroom, the relation of the following incidents would never have emanated from my pen.

When I arrived at the great city of the Mormons, I was clad in the tattered garments that I had worn for six months, on the journey across the Rocky Mountains. In vain I applied to every store in Salt Lake City for suitable clothes; a pair of black pants or a broadcloth coat was not to be purchased. I, however, succeeded in having a pair of stout cassimere pants made for my intended journey to California; and a gentleman by the name of Addoms, a merchant from Cedar Street, N. Y. contributed a new coat from his wardrobe. I was indebted to him also for a great deal of kindness and attention during my illness.

With my striped cassimeres, black frock coat, and a white vest borrowed for the occasion from Capt. Morris, “en regle”—I was as fashionably attired as any one whom I met during the evening. My friend, Egloffstien, was also invited, but there were no clothes in the city of Salt Lake to fit him; he had grown so fat and corpulent, that ready-made clothes of his size, would have been unsaleable, consequently, he declined going.

During the day, extensive culinary preparations were being made at Mr. E. T. Benson’s house, where we messed. Mr. Benson had four wives; they were, on this occasion, all engaged; one making pastry and cakes, another roasting and preparing wild geese and ducks, and garnishing fat hams, etc., while the others were selecting the garments which were to be worn by the ladies on this interesting occasion.

I could not exactly perceive why such extensive cooking preparations were making; on enquiry, I learned that in this isolated city, thousands of miles from civilization, and buried, as it were, in the mountains, it was a very expensive thing to prepare a supper for a large company, at the cost of a single individual. Sugar was worth 75 cents per pound, and very scarce; sperm candles, $1.50 per pound, and everything else in proportion. It was expected, and understood, that all families who were invited, should bring their own provisions, candles, etc., and contribute for the music. The Governor furnished the ball-room only.

Strangers, of course, were exceptions to the rule.

At the appointed hour I made my appearance, chaperoned by Gov. Young, who gave me a general introduction. A larger collection of fairer and more beautiful women I never saw in one room. All of them were dressed in white muslin; some with pink, and others with blue sashes. Flowers were the only ornaments in the hair. The utmost order and strictest decorum prevailed. Polkas and waltzing were not danced; country dances, cotillions, quadrilles, etc., were permitted.

At the invitation of Gov. Young, I opened the ball with one of his wives. The Governor, with a beautiful partner, stood vis-a-vis. An old fashioned cotillion was danced with much grace by the ladies, and the Governor acquitted himself very well on the “light fantastic toe.”

I singled out from among the galaxy of beauty with which I was surrounded, a Mrs. Wheelock, a lady of great worth, and polished manners; she had volunteered her services as a tragedienne, at different times during my visit to Salt Lake, at the theatre, where she appeared in several difficult impersonations; I think she excels Miss Julia Dean in her histrionic talent. I had the pleasure of painting Mrs. Wheelock’s portrait in the character of “Pauline,” in “Claude Melnotte.” She was the first wife of her husband, whom she married in England, about eight years before; her parents, who are estimable people, came over after they had embraced Mormonism. When this lady married, the spiritual wife system, had not yet been revealed.

Mr. Wheelock is a president of the seventies, and has travelled a great deal in the capacity of missionary; he had, at this time, three wives, the last one visited the ball as a bride; I was introduced by Mrs. Wheelock senior, to all of them; they looked like the three graces as they stood in the room, with their arms enfolding each other like sisters; they dwelt together in one house, and the most perfect harmony and affection seemed to exist between them. The last wife was a young girl of seventeen, well educated, and possessing great personal advantages; her parents and brothers reside in the city. I was invited to the wedding, but was prevented attending from the reason I have before assigned. I requested permission to dance with one of them; Mr. Wheelock took his new bride, and the cotillion was formed of his three wives and another lady, with their respective partners. It was a most unusual sight to see a man dancing in a cotillion with three wives, balancing first to one, then to the other; they all enjoyed themselves with the greatest good humor.

The particulars of the wedding, I had from a lady who was present. It seems that it is necessary before a man can take a second wife, that his first wife should give her consent; if she refuses, he is prohibited from taking another. In this case, the first wife’s consent was obtained; I will not presume to say whether willingly or unwillingly; Mrs. W., the elder, possessed great good sense, and her mind was highly cultivated. It may be, she made a virtue of necessity, and yielded the assent on which her future domestic happiness depended, with a good grace.

She acted as godmother, and gave away the bride. I think on this occasion the Governor performed the ceremony. The second Mrs. Rose Wheelock is a transcendently beautiful woman. There is nothing prepossessing in the appearance of her husband, and it is a mystery to me, how he could have gained the affections of so many elegant women. Mr. W. was appointed to a mission to, Great Britain previous to his last “sealing,”* and left for the States the day after the ball, he only enjoyed his last wife’s society about four days—a very short honeymoon!

* Sealing is the ceremony of spiritual marriage.

The lady could have married a more eligible man. She must return to her parents’ house to reside, for the three years her husband would be absent; yet she preferred to be the third wife of a man she loved, and who bore a high character for morality, etc., to being the first, and only wife of an inconsiderate youth.

After several rounds of dancing, a march was played. by the band, and a procession formed. I conducted my first partner to the supper room, where I partook of a. fine entertainment at the Governor’s table. There must, have been at least two hundred ladies present, and about. one hundred gentlemen. I returned to my quarters at, twelve o’clock, most favorably impressed with the exhibition of public society among the Mormons.

Chapter 27

Incidents of Travel and Adventure in the Far West

Arrival of the California Mail—Murder of Mr. Lamphere by Indians on Santa Clara—Hot Springs—Singular Phenomenon—Hot and Cold Springs—Mica—Sulphur—Plumbago—Rock Salt—Death of Willard B. Richards—Heber C. Kemball—Welsh Colony—Lieut. Beckwith’s Departure for California.

April 16th.—This morning, Messrs. Atwood and Murray arrived with the California mail. They report that one of their party, a Mr. George Lamphere of Chicago, was hot by the Indians, between the Santa Clara and Rio Virgin (Virgin River). It seems that Atwood and Murray saddled their horses and prepared for their day’s journey, before Mr. Lamphere had finished his breakfast. They mounted and started, intending to ride slowly long. About an hour after leaving camp, they saw Lamphere’s horse galloping, riderless, towards them; as he approached, they perceived three arrows sticking in his side. They immediately suspected that their companion had been ruthlessly murdered by the Indians. hey succeeded in catching the frightened horse, and secured him to a tree; afterwards they galloped at full speed towards their late camp. They were well armed, and although they were ignorant of the force of the enemy which might be in ambush waiting for them, nothing daunted, they dashed forward, and found the dead body of their friend and companion on the road, pierced with a dozen arrows, completely stripped of all his clothing. Mr. Lamphere had a large amount of money with him, besides valuable specimens of gold, which he had obtained in California—a gold watch, etc. Everything had been stolen by the Indians of the Santa Clara.

The situation of Murray and Atwood was most critical, as evidently a large force of Indians were in the neighborhood. They recommenced their journey, and travelled at full speed until noon; encamped, and rested their animals until dark. They made a large fire, so as to show the Indians where their camp was, and, at a killing pace, journeyed all night. The Indians followed them at a distance, with a view to massacre them during the night. When they saw the smoke of the camp fire, they also encamped; and as their usual hour of surrounding a camp was just before day, when men are supposed to sleep soundest, they also rested from their fatiguing ride; but the next morning the birds bad flown, and were forty miles distant from them. These gentlemen arrived at Parowan, with their animals perfectly lame, and useless for continuing their journey to Great Salt Lake City. They there procured fresh ones, and arrived safely. From their own lips, I heard the recital of the above melancholy catastrophe.

I was about to travel over this same road, and was fully alive to the dangers which might beset me; but I had to get to the sea-board, and as the party with whom I intended to travel were well armed, and composed of twenty-three able-bodied men, I felt just as secure as I would have felt on any other line of road.


About ten miles north of Salt Lake City, there are two springs close together, one salt and cold, the other fresh and hot; these springs unite at some distance, and form a lake of 400 feet in diameter—one portion of the water is hot, and the other cold, and is so all the year round.

It was said by the gentleman who described them to me, that he bathed in this lake, and that one part of his body was in the cold water, while the other was in water quite hot.

In the mountains around Salt Lake City, mica is found in large masses. I saw one block in the city, several feet square, which was perfectly transparent. It is used as a substitute for window-glass, in some of the houses of the Mormons.

Plumbago of superior quality is found on Coal Creek; and saleratus is procured in quantities from Juab Valley. Alum and sulphur abound in the different valleys of Utah.

The death of Willard B. Richards, one of the chief members of the presidency, and editor of the Deseret News, threw a gloom over the whole community. I attended his funeral. His excellency the Governor, was too unwell to officiate, but several funeral sermons were preached at the house. He was one of the earliest, and most valuable members of the church of the latter day saints.

Mr. Richards left quite a number of widows, I could not ascertain exactly how many, but I was credibly in formed by a Mormon lady, that she knew six.

Heber C. Kimball, the next in rank to Brigham Young in the church, is a noble looking man, over six feet, and well proportioned, he speaks fluently, his language is inornate, and indicates an original mind, without cultivation. He is said to have more wives than any man in Utah—the Governor not excepted.

I learned from a niece of the Governor’s, that she knew personally nineteen of his wives, although he had many more.

The Governor had at the time I was in the city, thirty-three children, including several grown men and women, by his first wife, who is still living with him. I was introduced by his excellency, to eleven of his wives, at the different times I visited his residence—all of them are beautiful women. Parley Pratt introduced me to his household, I numbered five or six females, I think he has but six wives.

Ezra T. Benson, one of the apostles with whom I boarded, has four wives, three are living in the same house with him, and one in a small house, a couple of rods away. He has children by all of them, and they all seemed to live very harmoniously together. I had several conversations with these ladies on the spiritual wife system, they submit to it because they implicitly believe it to be necessary to their salvation. They argue, “Cannot a father love six children? why can he not love six wives?” I must say, that during a sojourn of near three months in Salt Lake City, I never observed the slightest indications of improper conduct or lightness, amongst them—neither by conversation or otherwise. Their young ladies are modest, and unassuming, while their matrons are sedate and stately. Polygamy is by no means general, there are hundreds of Mormons who have only one wife. . . .

Chapter 28

Incidents of Travel and Adventure in the Far West

Departure from Great Salt Lake City—Equipments for the Journey—Author Paints Portraits of Gov. Young and Apostles—His Restoration to Health—Snow Storm—Cotton Wood Settlement—Willow Creek—Lehigh—Utah Lake—Snow Storm—Pleasant Grove—Provost—Payson.

HAVING determined to go to California by the Southern route from Great Salt Lake City, through the settlements, and over the trail of Col. Fremont of 1843, which I wanted to illustrate with views, etc., I took advantage of the opportunity which offered on the 6th May, 1854.

Twenty-three Mormon missionaries, under command of Parley Pratt, were about to proceed over this route to San Bernandino, thence to San Pedro, and the Sandwich Islands; at which latter place their religious labors were to be exercised to convert those benighted islanders to the truths of Mormonism! It was the season that his excellency the Governor usually paid his annual visit to the different settlements at the South. He had also made extensive preparations for a treaty of peace with the Indians under the chieftainship of Wakara. He proclaimed his intention of accompanying Parley Pratt and his missionaries to Cedar City, the most southern settlement, a distance of 300 miles from Great Salt Lake City.

At the invitation of Gov. Young, who seemed anxious that I should have a safe escort across the desert, I completed my arrangements, and decided to proceed with this party.

I purchased a superior riding mule for which I paid, including his shoes, saddle and bridle, etc., one hundred and sixty dollars. My provisions consisted of six boxes of sardines, and one hundred pounds of crackers, made expressly for me by my eccentric friend, Golightly. Luxuries such as butter, eggs, etc., I intended to procure at the settlements below. To the kindness of Mrs. Benson, the elder, I was indebted for four pounds of brown sugar, for which I paid one dollar per pound; and two pounds of ground coffee, at the same price,—this was a favor, for I could not have procured any at ten dollars a pound elsewhere. My wardrobe had received considerable additions at corresponding prices—four dollars for white shirts, two dollars for striped cotton shirtsabout four hundred per cent. on prices for the same goods at home. I determined to provide myself with all necessaries. I had some fifteen hundred miles to travel before I reached San Francisco. I found my Pandora’s box most valuable on my last journey, and everything that I might require, I put in now, unmindful of the cost. On referring to my memorandum when I arrived at San Francisco, I summed up $350 as expenses of the journey. I painted several portraits in Great Salt Lake City; among them were two of Gov. Brigham Young; one of Lieut. General Wells, General Ferguson, Attorney General Seth Blair, Apostle Woodruff; Bishop Smoot, Col. Ferrimore Little and lady, Mrs. Wheelock, and several others.

The Governor’s party consisted of a large number of wagons, mounted horsemen, etc. They left on the 5th of May, 1854. 1 not being quite ready, having to finish a picture, was not able to leave with them. Brigham Young promised to wait for me at Provost City.

On the 6th of May I mounted my mule, (having previously sent my baggage, provisions, etc., in one of the wagons), and fully armed, and equipped with pocket compass, thermometer, drawing materials, etc., I recommenced my journey, over the route I had travelled in wagons as an invalid, three months before: I was completely restored to health—I gained the enormous increase of sixty-one pounds. When I arrived at the city I weighed one hundred and one pounds, my usual weight was one hundred and forty-five; I therefore lost forty-four pounds on the journey, and regained it, with nearly twenty pounds extra. After travelling three miles I was overtaken by a severe snow storm. I stopped at the residence of Bishop Smoot, where I remained all night, and was hospitably entertained by him. It continued snowing until ten o’clock the next morning, when I resumed my journey, and arrived at Cottonwood Settlement.

This town is eight miles from Great Salt Lake City. It contains one hundred families, who own considerable stock, etc.

Ten miles further is Willow Creek settlement, containing about seventy-five families. Ten miles further south is Lehigh, a fine town, with six hundred inhabitants, three hundred head of cattle, one hundred horses, etc. Ten miles distant, is Lake City, on the American fork in Utah Valley, containing one thousand inhabitants, five hundred head of cattle, two hundred horses, and one hundred sheep.

I have taken lodgings here, and feel rather tired with my long day’s ride of thirty-five miles.

Utah Valley is the next, south of Great Salt Lake Valley, and presents a magnificent spectacle from the summit of the pass by which you enter.

Utah Lake, which you can also see from the heights, is forty-five miles long, and twelve miles broad. The lake is situated on one side, to the west of the valley. The scenery, which is enlivened by the glistening waters, although grand and sublime in stupendous mountains, flowering vales, abrupt rocky descents, etc., is without timber, except on the creeks which meander from the mountains and entirely surround the valley. Sparse growths of young cottonwood are the only trees I have seen, except in the canons of the mountains, on which grow pines, cedars, and a species of mahogany.

May 8th.—I awoke this morning and found another snow storm raging, and very disagreeably cold; but if I allow these trifles to detain me, I shall not be in time to meet the Governor.

After breakfast I mounted my mule, and in an hour I arrived at Pleasant Grove, containing 300 inhabitants. Passing through, without stopping, I continued my journey, the snow blowing in my face the whole way, until I rode into Provost, a distance of ten miles from Pleasant Grove. I was disappointed in finding that his Excellency had departed that morning for “Petetnit,” nineteen miles further. I stopped there to dine, gave my mule a good feed, and after warming my almost frozen feet, I jumped into my saddle, determined to ride the nineteen miles before dark. Onward I went, putting my mule to his mettle. He, not minding a gallop, tried to create a circulation. In a couple of hours it cleared up, and at six o’clock I rode into Petetnit.

Provost City is a large settlement, containing about eight hundred and sixty families, equal to five thousand inhabitants, two thousand head of cattle, three thousand sheep, five hundred horses, several woollen manufactories and carding machines, shingle machines, two sawmills, a seminary and several schools, pottery, tannery, etc. Here are five hundred men capable of bearing arms.

Provost City is built on Provost River, which abounds in salmon trout of delicious flavor and large size.

Evan M. Green is mayor; Elias Blackburn, bishop. There are four bishops to this city.

Chapter 29

Incidents of Travel and Adventure in the Far West

Join Governor Young and Parley Pratt—Hospitality of the Mormons—Apostle Benson—Petetnit—Nephi—Wakara (Indian Chief)—Wakara’s Camp Ground—Brigham Young’s Wife—Long Caravan—Arrival at Wakara’s Camp—His Refusal to meet the Governor—Treaty of Peace not Concluded—Presents of Cattle, etc., to Wakara—Grand Council of Indians and Mormons—Speech of an Old Chief—Address of a “San Pete Chief”—Wakara Refuses to Speak—He Dissolves the Council—Reassembling of the Council—Brigham Young’s Address—Speech of “Wakara”—Peace Proclaimed—Calumet Smoked—Indian Capture of Children—Brigham Young’s Residence.

GOVERNOR YOUNG and party were encamped at the edge of the town of Petetnit; when I rode up, I saw the commanding person of the Governor, towering above the crowd of men by whom he was encircled. As soon as he saw me, he approached; I alighted to greet him; he received me as he always did, in a most cordial manner. After selecting a person to take my mule, he gave me in charge to Mr. Ezra Parrish, with a request to take the best care of me until we were ready to start in the morning. I supped, and then went to the meeting, where I heard an eloquent and feeling exhortation to the people, to practise virtue, and morality. Apostle Benson also preached a sermon on the restoration of Israel to Jerusalem, which would have done honor to a speaker of the Hebrew persuasion; they call themselves “Ancient Israelites of the order of the Melchizedek priesthood.”

These Mormons are certainly the most earnest religionists I have ever been among. It seems to be a constant self-sacrifice with them, which makes me believe the masses of the people honest and sincere.

9th.—This morning I was invited to breakfast with Governor Young and lady. On leaving the hospitable house where I had slept, the host refused to take payment for my supper and lodgings, or for the care of my mule.

I made arrangements with Parley Pratt’s company, to take my provisions and bag of clothes to San Bernandino in a wagon, for “thirty dollars.” The day was fine, and we started with an accession of five wagons, and several horsemen to the party. The town of Payson, or Petetnit, contains one thousand inhabitants, five thousand head of cattle, one hundred and fifty horses, five hundred and fifty sheep, two saw-mills, flour-mill, etc. It is organized as a city, enclosed with a high wall; the houses are generally built of logs and “adobes,” one story high. We left Payson at nine o’clock, on the 10th May, and camped at noon, on a creek twelve miles S. S. W. from town.

The country around looks beautifully verdant, brilliant colored flowers cover the plain, and the grass is excellent. At five o’clock P. M. we camped before Nephi, which is a large town, containing six hundred men, women and children; one hundred and fifty men bearing arms, six hundred head of cattle, and six hundred sheep, flour-mills, saw-mills, etc. Jos. L. Heywood, president, Josiah Miller mayor.

The Governor and party, were met by the authorities of the city, I was introduced to the old Patriarch Wm. Cazier, who invited me to the hospitalities of his house. Nephi is twenty-six miles from Payson. I attended meeting this morning, and Governor Young addressed the people, exhorting them to be kind and friendly to the Indians, etc. To-morrow we are to have an interview with Walker, the Utah Chief. A portion of the cattle intended for him was obtained at this place. The massacre of Captain Gunnison, by the Parvain Indians, caused great excitement among the inhabitants of the villages. The various tribes of Indians, who had, at different times, been wantonly and cruelly shot down, like so many wild beasts, by the American emigrants to California, were now incited to revenge. The first principle inculcated among them was life for life; it made no difference whether, in their wrath they massacred an innocent, or an unoffending man; “a white man slew my brother, my duty is to avenge his death, by killing a white man.” Their first open demonstration, was the massacre of Gunnison; and the allied troops of Utahs, Pahutes, Parvains, and Payedes determined to continue in open hostility, both to the Mormons, and Americans. The inhabitants of the different settlements withdrew within the walls of their towns, and vigilant watchers, well armed, patrolled them all night. Major Biddell, the sub Indian agent, was sent to parley with the chief of the tribes, and succeeded in obtaining a truce, until the Governor could personally make arrangements for a treaty of peace. Preliminaries being settled, the chiefs of the tribes were to meet Governor Brigham Young, at the camp of the Wakara. We left Nephi, and arrived at noon, on the road opposite to Wakara’s camp, twelve miles from town.


The camp-ground or village where Wakara permanently resides, when not travelling, is situated about one mile off the main road, from the city of Nephi, to the Seveir River. Gov. Young made extensive preparations for this treaty. A large cavalcade accompanied him from Great Salt Lake City, composed of Heber, C. Kimball , Woodruff, John Taylor, Ezra T. Benson, Lorenzo Young, Erasmus Snow, Parley Pratt, (his apostles and advisers), together with about fifty mounted men, and one hundred wagons and teams filled with gentlemen, with their wives and families. This was an imposing travelling party, all following in regular succession; taking the word of command from the leading wagon, in which rode Gov. Brigham Young. One of his wives, an accomplished and beautiful lady, who made her husband’s coffee, and cooked his meals for him at every camp, thus making herself a most useful appendage to the camp equipage, as well as an affectionate and loving companion to her spiritual lord while travelling. I sometimes formed a third party on the road, and frequently had my seat at their primitive table, which was, in fine weather, a clean white cloth, spread over the grass; or, in rainy weather, a movable table was arranged in the wagon. Venison, beef, coffee, eggs, pies, etc., were served at every meal.

I have often stopped at the top of some commanding eminence, to see this immense cavalcade, lengthened out over a mile, winding leisurely along the side of a mountain, or trotting blithely in the hollow of some of the beautiful valleys through which we passed, to the sound of musical choruses from the whole party, sometimes ending with

“I never knew what joy was
Till I became a Mormon,”

to the tune of “bonny breastknots.” Certainly, a more joyous, happy, free-from-care, and good-hearted people, I never sojourned among. When the cavalcade arrived on the road, opposite to Walker’s camp, Gov. Young sent a deputation to inform Wakara that he had arrived, and would be ready to give him an audience at a certain hour, that day.

Wakara sent word back to say, “If Gov. Young wanted to see him, he must come to him at his camp, as he did not intend to leave it to see any body.”

When this message was delivered to Gov. Young, he gave orders for the whole cavalcade to proceed to Wakara’s camp—“If the mountain will not come to Mahomet, Mahomet must go to the mountain.”

The Governor was under the impression that Walker had changed his mind, and intended to continue the war, and for that reason declined to meet him. But old Wakara was a king, and a great chief. He stood upon the dignity of his position, and feeling himself the representative of an aggrieved and much injured people, acted as though a cessation of hostilities by the Indians was to be solicited on the part of the whites, and he felt great indifference about the result.

Gov. Young, at the expense of the people of Utah, brought with him sixteen head of cattle, blankets and clothing, trinkets, arms and ammunition. I expressed much astonishment, that arms and ammunition should be furnished the Indians. His excellency told me that from their contiguity to the immigrant road, they possessed themselves of arms in exchange and trade, from American travellers. And as it was the object of the Mormons to protect, as much as possible, their people from the aggressions of the Indians, and also from the continual descent upon their towns—begging for food, and stealing when it was not given, he thought it more advisable to furnish them with the means of shooting their own game. The Utah Indians possess rifles of the first quality. All the chiefs are provided with them, and many of the Indians are most expert in their use.

When we approached Wakara Camp, we found a number of chiefs, mounted as a guard of honor around his own lodge, which was in the centre of the camp, among whom were Wakara and about fifteen old chiefs, including Ammon, Squash-Head, Grosepine, Petetnit, Kanoshe, (the chief of the Parvains), a San Pete chief, and other celebrated Indians. The Governor and council were invited into Wakara’s lodge, and at the request of his excellency, I accompanied them. Wakara sat on his buffalo-robe, wrapped in his blanket, with the old chiefs around him; he did not rise, but held out his hand to Gov. Young, and made room for him by his side.

After the ceremony of shaking hands all round was concluded, our interpreter, Mr. Huntington, made known the object of the Governor’s visit, and hoped that the calumet of peace would be smoked, and no more cause be given on either side, for a continuation of ill feeling, etc.

For five minutes intense silence prevailed, when an old grey headed Utah chief got up, and in the effort, his blanket slipped from his body, displaying innumerable marks of wounds and scars. Stretching aloft his almost fleshless arm, he spoke as follows:

“I am for war, I never will lay down my rifle, and tomahawk, Americats have no truth—Americats kill Indian plenty—Americats see Indian woman, he shoot her like deer—Americats no meet Indian to fight, he have no mercy—one year gone, Mormon say, they no kill more Indian—Mormon no tell truth, plenty Utahs gone to Great Spirit, Mormon kill them—no friend to Americats more.”

The chief of the San Pete Indians arose, and the tears rolled down his furrowed cheeks as he gave utterance to his grievances:

“My son,” he said, “was a brave chief, he was so good to his old father and mother—one day Wa-yo-sha was hunting rabbits as food for his old parents—the rifle of the white man killed him. When the night came, and he was still absent, his old mother went to look for her son; she walked a long way through the thick bushes; at the dawn of day, the mother and the son were both away, and the infirm and aged warrior was lonely: he followed the trail of his wife in the bush, and there he found the mother of his child, lying over the body of Wa-yo-sha, both dead from the same bullet. The old woman met her son, and while they were returning home, a bullet from the rifle of Americats shot them both down.” He added, “old San Pete no can fight more, his hand trembles, his eyes are dim, the murderer of his wife, and brave Wa-yo-sha, is still living. San Pete no make peace with Americats.”

The old warrior sank down exhausted on his blanket.

Wakara remained perfectly silent.

Gov. Young asked him to talk, he shook his head. “No,” after the rest had spoken, some of whom were for peace, Wakara said, “I got no heart to speak—no can talk to-day—to-night Wakara talk with great spirit, to-morrow Wakara talk with Governor.”

Gov. Young then handed him a pipe. Wakara took it and gave one or two whiffs, and told the Governor to smoke, which he did, and passed it around to all the party; this ended the first interview.

An ox was slaughtered by the orders of Gov. Young, and the whole camp were regaled with fresh beef that evening. I made a sketch of Wakara during the time that he sat in council. I also made a likeness of Kanoshe, the chief of the Parvain Indians.

The next morning the council again assembled, and the Governor commenced by telling the chiefs, that he wanted to be friends with all the Indians; he loved them like a father, and would always give them plenty of clothes, and good food, provided they did not fight, and slay any more white men. He brought as presents to them, sixteen head of oxen, besides a large lot of clothing and considerable ammunition. The oxen were all driven into Wakara’s camp, and the sight of them made the chiefs feel more friendly.

Wakara, who is a man of imposing appearance, was, on this occasion, attired with only a deer-skin hunting shirt, although it was very cold; his blue blanket lay at his side; he looked care-worn and haggard, and spoke as follows:

“Wakara has heard all the talk of the good Mormon chief. Wakara no like to go to war with him. Sometimes Wakara take his young men, and go far away, to sell horses. When he is absent, then Americats come and kill his wife and children. Why not come and fight when Wakara is at home? Wakara is accused of killing Capt. Gunnison. Wakara did not; Wakara was three hundred miles away when the Merecat chief was slain. Merecats soldier hunt Wakara, to kill him, but no find him. Wakara hear it; Wakara come home. Why not Merecats take Wakara? he is not armed. Wakara heart very sore. Merecats kill Parvain Indian chief, and Parvain woman. Parvain young men watch for Merecats and kill them, because Great Spirit say—‘Merecats kill Indian’; ‘Indian kill Merecats.’ Wakara no want to fight more. Wakara talk with Great Spirit; Great Spirit say—‘Make peace.’ Wakara love Mormon chief; he is good man. When Mormon first come to live on Wakara’s land, Wakara give him welcome. He give Wakara plenty bread, and clothes to cover his wife and children. Wakara no want to fight Mormon; Mormon chief very good man; he bring plenty oxen to Wakara. Wakara talk last night to Payede, to Kahutah, San Pete, Parvain—Indian say, ‘No fight Mormon or Merecats more.’ If Indian kill white man again, Wakara make Indian howl.”

The calumet of peace was again handed around, and all the party took a smoke. The council was then dissolved.

Gov. Young intended to visit all the settlements south, to Harmony City. Wakara told his excellency, that “he and his chiefs would accompany him all the way and back, as a body-guard.” Grosepine, Ammon, Squashhead, Wakara and his wife, Canoshe and his wife, and about thirty Indian young men, all mounted on splendid horses, got ready to accompany the Governor’s party. During the day, a great many presents were distributed among the tribe.

When I returned to our camp, I saw a crowd around the Governor’s wagon. I approached, and found that his excellency had just concluded a purchase from the Utahs of two children, about two to three years of age. They were prisoners, and infants of the Snake Indians, with whom the Utahs were at war. When the Governor first saw these deplorable objects, they were on the open snow, digging with their little fingers for grassnuts, or any roots to afford sustenance. They were almost living skeletons. They are usually treated in this way—that is, literally starved to death by their captors. Gov. Young intended to send them to Salt Lake City, and have them cared for and educated like his own children. I never saw a more piteous sight than those two naked infants, in bitter cold weather, on the open snow, reduced by starvation to the verge of the grave—no, not the grave; for if they had died, they would have been thrown on the common for the wolves to devour!

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