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Utah History

[July 26, 1865] Attack on Glenwood, Merritt Staly Wounded Part 1

Attack on Glenwood, Merritt Staly Wounded

By Utah History, Utah Native American History
[July 26, 1865] Attack on Glenwood, Merritt Staly Wounded Part 1
[July 26, 1865] Attack on Glenwood, Merritt Staly Wounded Part 2
[July 26, 1865] Attack on Glenwood, Merritt Staly Wounded Part 3
[July 26, 1865] Attack on Glenwood, Merritt Staly Wounded Part 4


“On- the 19th of July 1853 the Indians killed Alexander Keele at Payson and commenced what is called the Walker War. On the 20th of July, Colonel Conover, from Provo, in command of a company of militia known as the Nauvoo Legion, called at Palmyra and asked for volunteers to join his company and defend the settlements not provided with sufficient guards. Major Stephen Markham, John W. Berry and fifteen others went with him as far south as Manti. Colonel Conover, wishing to send a message to President Brigham Young, at Salt Lake City, to ask for his advice, appointed Clark Roberts, of Provo, and John W. Berry as messengers to the President. 

These messengers left Manti at 4 o’clock P. M. on the 23rd of July 1853, and arrived at Summit Creek, (now Santaquin) about 10 A. M. on the fol- lowing day. On their arrival they found the inhabitants had all moved to Payson for safety and that the town was in the possession of the Indians. While riding along through the streets of the deserted set- tlement, with no thought of the Indians being in full possession of the same, they were fired on by twenty one Indians, from a house in which they were concealed. Clark Roberts was shot through the right shoulder and John W. Berry in the left wrist. Six or seven Indians pursued the two white men on horseback to Spring Lake, where the Payson cow herd was stationed under a guard, consisting of five or six men. The Indians seeing this guard gave up the chase and started back into the mountains. The wounded men went on to Payson, where their wounds were dressed, and in the afternoon they were con- veyed to their homes. When the messengers arrived at Palmyra, the citizens were camped in the school house. 

On July 23rd, 1853, W. S. Berry and Charles Price, who were on guard discovered Indians at- tempting to steal cattle, and the savages commenced firing upon the guards, Charles Price was hit in the right thigh by a bullet, which made a very severe flesh wound. For fear of further Indian hostilities the people from the upper settlement all moved to Palmyra where they spent the winter of 1853-54. Indians stole about fifty or sixty head of cattle, among which were a number of oxen, and took them up Spanish Fork Canyon to the Warm Springs, where they camped all winter and fed upon the stolen stock. 

In February, 1854, Captain Hancock of Payson, captured two Indians, one of them being the son of Chief Peteetneet. He held the chief ‘s son a prisoner, and sent the other Indian to the tribe with the message that he would hold the chief’s son a pris- oner until an interview was obtained with the chief. On the following morning the chief came and held a consultation with the citizens, after which he agreed to terms of peace, which in a short time ended the Walker War. Governor Brigham Young advised the brethern to erect Peteetneet a home in the fort line and have him make his home among them. This was considered wise counsel, and accordingly the house was built ; the chief moved into it and remained until the settlement was broken up. 

Silas Hillman of Palmyra, Utah County, makes the following statement which is published in Tullidge’s Quarterly Magazine, Vol. 3, page 154. 

It was feared the Indians would attack Sanpete County settlements as they appeared to be heading that way. The settlements in that county were sparse and some were small, and the inhabitants knew nothing of the Indians being hostile. Therefore, a council of war was decided to follow the Indians and get to Sanpete as soon as possible. We started next morning. I took command of the cavalry company, of Palmyra, being lieutenant of said company; the captain staying at home left me in command. This was on the 21st of July, 1853. “When we arrived in Sanpete Valley, the main body of troops kept straight on for Manti City, but I, with my company, was detailed to go around to the Allred settlement, afterwards called Springtown. We saw some fresh signs of Indians, but no Indians. We found the families gathered to- gether and a board fort put up around them a rather flimsy fort to stop bullets. We camped with them that night, during which one or two Indians were seen skulking around. Our boys shot at them, but I do not think they hit them ; it raised the alarm however, and every man wr as at his post ready for a fight, but no Indians came. 

We advised the few settlers of Springtown to move down to Manti City, but they said they could take care of themselves. 

We had been ordered to make for the main army to report what we had discovered of the situation of affairs in that section of the country, therefore, the next morning we took up our line of march for Manti, where we arrived the same day in the afternoon, joined the main army consisting of about two hundred men under command of Colonel Markham and Conover. 

“We stopped at Manti seven or eight days, during which time companies were scouting the country in every direction in search of Indians. One of our companies ran across a camp of thirty or forty Indians and had a brush with them. Some of the Indians were killed ; the balance retreated. 

Another party of the Indians came down the canyon to the mill, a short distance above Manti, in the night. After this discovery was made, a strong guard was kept up in the mouth of the canyon. One night I had command of a company doing guard service and Captain Chidester had charge of another in the mill below us, where the road came down the canyon. It was a very steep place, and a thick undergrowth of young pines grew close to the road. We concealed ourselves along the road in this under- growth and watched all night for Indians, having planned to let the Indians pass us; and when they should reach the mill Captain Chidester’s company was to attack them and drive them back for us to attack them. Thus they would have been attacked both in the front and rear ; but we got no chance to put our plans into action, for the Indians never came. 

” After we had been away about twelve days, we received orders from the Lieutenant-General to re- turn home. The first night after we left we encamped at the springs north of Nephi City. That night the Indians tried to drive off our horses, which were feeding, but our guard being strong around the horses prevented the Indians from getting them, and fired pretty lively for a short time ; the balance of the guard with the camp surrounded the horses and drove them into a corral, which had been left standing when the inhabitants evacuated the settle- ment and took shelter in the city of Nephi. The next morning we saw some blood, but no dead Indians. Next day we reached Palmyra. During the summer and fall we had to keep up a vigilant watch against the Indians. While we were in Sanpete, Indians were lurking around Palmyra. One man by the name of Price was shot in the knee; also one of our men (John W. Berry), sent home with an express, was shot at Summit Creek through the hand. The Indians drove off the Allred settlement’s stock, and during the season killed several men in Sanpete. One man was also killed at Summit Creek. 

We had another expedition, Sept 26th, of a couple of days after Indians at Salt Greek, in Goshen Valley. We came to an Indian camp just at day break and took the savages by surprise. As they begged for peace, we told them if they would give up their arms and go to the settlements, we would not hurt them. We dallied with them for some time, as they did not like to give up their arms, that being the last thing an Indian will part with. But at last Colonel Markham gave them five minutes to decide. Not complying with his order the colonel gave the order for our company to attack. The Indians re- turned the fire very lively for some time, but our men pressed them so hard that they soon silenced the firing of the Indians. Those of them that were not killed retreated into a cane swamp and got away. Casualties on our side were small, considering the smartness of fire of the Indians. One man (Bishop Charles Hancock) was slightly wounded in the head, and one horse shot in the hip. The Indians being in the cane and in the swamp dragged their dead in there; Consequently we could not tell how many were killed. 

After peace was made they told us we only wounded two or three; but they reported at Nephi that we killed nineteen or twenty of them. 

They made a haul of sixty or seventy head of cattle from our place late in the fall and during the fore part of the winter, while the cattle were running two or three miles up the creek from Palmyra; the owners thought it was so late in the fall that there was no danger of Indians disturbing them ; but they nevertheless, came down from the canyon over to Palmyra and took some out of our corrals, and took all they could find up the creek and got away with them to Uintah Valley. After peace was made they returned what they had not killed and eaten.

[Apr 12, 1865] Col. Allred with 84 Men Defeated in Salina Canyon Part 1

Col. Allred with 84 Men Defeated in Salina Canyon

By Utah History, Utah Native American History
[Apr 12, 1865] Col. Allred with 84 Men Defeated in Salina Canyon Part 1
[Apr 12, 1865] Col. Allred with 84 Men Defeated in Salina Canyon Part 2
[Apr 12, 1865] Col. Allred with 84 Men Defeated in Salina Canyon Part 3
[Apr 12, 1865] Col. Allred with 84 Men Defeated in Salina Canyon Part 4
[Apr 12, 1865] Col. Allred with 84 Men Defeated in Salina Canyon Part 5
[Apr 12, 1865] Col. Allred with 84 Men Defeated in Salina Canyon Part 6


A company of cavalry was quickly mustered into service under Colonel Reddick N. Allred and started in pursuit, but having chased the savages ten miles into the mountains, they were compelled April 12th to retire before the deadly fire of the ambushed foe, with the loss of two men killed, Jens Sorensen and William Kearns, and two wounded. 

Reinforcements having been received, another advance was ordered two or three days later, when the bodies of the two militia-men were recovered and the Indians were pursued into the rugged country between Fish Lake and’ the Grand River. A spirited engagement took place and the Indians repulsed with heavy loss. 

From a write-up by Joshua W. Sylvester (formerly Bishop of Elsinore, Sevier County) we obtain the following: 

“It was in the spring of 1865, when we were busy plowing and planting, that the news came to Gunnison, where we lived, that the Indians had killed a man at Twelve Mile Creek, that they had gone up Salina Canyon and killed Barney Ward and another man, and driven off all the Salina stock. 

The next morning a company of us started with Bishop Kearns to look for a band of horses. While we were out of town word came from Manti to raise men and ammunition, and to proceed to Salina as soon as possible. Not finding the horses, (as the Indians had taken them), we were returning home, when, about half way between Gunnison and Salina, we met the Gunnison boys, (the sons of Bishop Kearns with them), who said they had my bedding with them, expecting me to go with the expedition. I told them it was no use for me to go, as I had only one bullet for my gun; but William Kearns said, “Come on, you’ll get some bullets. ” Consequently Andrew Anderson and I went on while the Bishop and others returned home. We found men gathered at Salina from all parts of Sanpete. I began inquiring for bullets, when I was informed that Barney Ward had been seen moulding some for his pistol which were the size I wanted, and as he did not have his pistol with him when he was killed, it was thought the bullets were in his trunk. Some one went with me to get them; it was dark and we had no light. And as Ward’s corpse was laid out on the trunk, or chest, we had to raise him up, while I searched for the bullets, until I found them. 

Firing off the bullet I had in my gun the next morning, and reloading with a good charge of powder, I started with the posse up the canyon, in order to overtake the Indians and recover the stock, as they had driven off all the stock at Salina. We followed the trail through narrow places, above precipices and under cliffs, till we came to a place where they had killed a beef. There we put on an advance guard and proceeded till we passed a very narrow place on the trail, when an Indian fired a signal gun, and immediately they all fired on us from the rocks above on the steep mountain side. We found that we were trapped. Colonel Allred then gave orders for a retreat to a ridge, in order to flank the Indians, and where we made a stand. Bullets were passing over our heads like hail, and had the Indians known how their guns were carrying they could have shot us down fast. In being shot down hill a bullet will raise, so they over-shot. However, their trap was well laid, for they had arranged to close in on the trail behind us; but an unexpected move on our part frustrated their plan. The officers found that they were getting a cross fire, and as they had worked down on the mountain, called for another retreat to the next ridge, in order to flank. 

Some of our men, not understanding the order from the commanding officer, went too far, which hindered the Indians from closing the trail, but they had got so far down the mountain that they could get good shots at us while we could not see one of them. William Kearns was shot from his horse and killed while riding beside his brother Austin, who had to leave him where he fell, in order to save his own life. 

The following statement is from Austin Kearns himself : 

“When we made our second stand, after we had been fired upon by the Indians, I noticed one particular Indian behind a big rock. He had loaded and fired his gun three or four times, and I asked comrade Anderson, my companion, who stood near me to hold my horse while I went up the hill-side to take a shot at the Indians. I laid down, resting my gun on a root. While I lay there a ball struck near me, causing the dirt to fly in my face. When I looked up I saw my comrades were making a quick retreat down the canyon. I then returned to Anderson who handed me my reins and I mounted and followed the company. But instead of my horse following the trail, he turned in the opposite direction, jumped into a patch of oak brush, and tried to force his way through. By doing so he got fast and was unable to get out. I had matcheres (heavy leather covers) on my saddle; they spread out, holding me fast. While trying to get out the Indians were coming closer; they cross-fired in quick succession on me from three directions, and perhaps fifty or more shots were aimed at me while in that condition. At last the string in front of the horn of the saddle broke and I raised up letting the matcheres with my wool blankets slide off, freeing the horse. All my companions had gone, leaving me alone with the howling Indians who thought sure they would have my scalp. I escaped without a scratch, al- though bullets had been flying around me like hail, cutting the oaks all around me. It surely was an exciting time.” 

Mr. Sylvester continues his narrative as follows : 

“William Kearn’s horse worked along the trail with the crowd. Therefore, when the second retreat was ordered there was no chance to flank ; we were not acquainted with Indian warfare then, but this experience made us look out ever after. Had there not been a providential move at this point, there could have been a massacre equal to that of General Ouster’s of a later date for bullets flew everywhere and we could not see where they came from. 

We saw four Indians run across the canyon to get a cross-fire on us. One of them, quite a distance up the canyon, was swinging his hands to the others on the mountain, motioning to them to work down. Some of us fired at him and he fell from his horse. This incident was followed by a lull in the firing for a few moments of which we made good use. The Indians afterwards reported that the Indian we had shot soon got well, but was afterwards killed by another Indian. 

I will here relate an incident that occurred during the second retreat which was called, when we reached the top of the ridge. I was cinching my saddle when a man came up the trail, holding to the tail of another man’s horse ; he was nearly exhausted. A mule was seen near by that had thrown a man who was afterwards killed by the Indians. This man was Jens Sorenson of Ephraim. The animal worked its way down the trail, but stood entangled in the reins. The man on the horse called out “Get that mule.” The exhausted fellow reached the animal, but had no knife. I took my knife from my belt and ran to him, leaving it with him. I returned to my horse. The cinch of my saddle was so long that the rings met and I had a heavy pack on behind, so, when I endeavored to mount, the saddle turned with me. I wanted my knife then, but the man had gone and so had every body else. I then had to undo a long strap, but about that time the bullets were coming toward me thick and fast. I threw the whole business down, jumped on my horse bareback and soon overtook the others. I saw the man to whom I had loaned my knife, and asked him what he had done with it. Taking it from his pocket he said, ” Are you the man who let me take this knife I It saved my life. ‘ ‘ That man was Frank H. Hyde. 

We marched on feeling pretty blue, and at the mouth of the canyon we met Bishop Kearns. The reader may imagine the feelings of the father and son thinking of the other son and brother who was left a corpse on the trail ; it was indeed a sad scene to those who witnessed the same. 

The bodies of Kearns and Sorensen laid in the canyon two days before they were rescued, then a friendly Indian (Sanpitch) went up and got them. 

When the Indians found that Kearns was an old friend with whom they had frequently played and hunted, they placed the body against a rock and wove willows around it to keep off the wolves ; while the man who fell near him was horribly mutilated. An Indian (the chief Sanpitch) came in the night to Bishop Kearns and reported that it was safe for the men to go after the body of his son as the Indians had gone.

[1865] About 150 Head of Stock Stolen from Richfield Part 1

About 150 Head of Stock Stolen from Richfield

By Utah History, Utah Native American History
[1865] About 150 Head of Stock Stolen from Richfield Part 1
[1865] About 150 Head of Stock Stolen from Richfield Part 2
[1865] About 150 Head of Stock Stolen from Richfield Part 4


The following is from the pen of the author, Peter Gottfredson: 

In 1865, the Richfield Canal was completed and the water turned into it and the people had got some grain planted. It was customary to drive the stock down on the river bottom to feed. One Saturday evening about one hundred and fifty head were driven down to the sand knolls, about a mile north of the Glenwood Ford. Together with two other boys I was down there all day (Sunday) watching them and fishing, and when we left after sundown the stock was all right. On Monday morning, about daylight, I went down after some oxen belonging to myself and my father to finish putting in grain. When I reached the place I could not find any of the cattle, but by looking around I soon discovered that the tracks led to a cattle ford, about a half a mile north of the wagon ford, and that the stock had cross- ed the river. The water in the river being high, I stripped, and carried my clothing, gun and pistol above my head, the water reaching to my arm-pits. When safely across I dressed and followed the tracks. I thought at first that the cattle had been driven east by way of Glenwood but I discovered that they had turned south up the river bottoms between the river and the Black Ridge, about two miles to tftb place where Annabella now is located, then they had turned up east through a wide dry wash passing Saul’s meadow, and up the Glenwood mountain. Judging from footprints in the sand (in the wash) I concluded that only five Indians had been driving the cattle and I thought I could take them away from five Indians. I ran from one bend of the dry wash to another, carefully going up the points of ridges and looking ahead to see if I could discover them. I followed in that way up the Glenwood Mountain about four miles till I struck the trail that leads from Glenwood to Grass Valley. There I met two oxen that had broken away from the Indians ; they had both been shot several times mostly through the neck. One a black Texas ox belonging to me had two arrows sticking in its side, nearly in half their length. I had not heard the shooting and concluded that it was no use to follow any farther, and in fact I began to feel somewhat timid. Surmising that the Indians must have taken the stock in the evening, soon after we left them. 

I drove the two oxen down by way of SauPs Meadow, through a gulch, to the Glenwood field; there I drove them into a corral and pulled out the arrows, after which I drove them to Richfield. When I arrived home I learned that a lot of men were out hunting for me and the stock, fearing that I had been killed somewhere in the brush. Some of the men fol- lowed the tracks of the stock the way I had gone; others were hunting for me in the river bends. Most of them stayed out all day and came home hungry and tired. When they learned that I had been home since before noon they were cross and thought that I should be punished for not coming home to report the stock gone, instead of following them. Major Higgins notified me to appear in the evening before what was called a court martial. I did so and told my story. I remember that some of the men suggested that I should stand some extra guard as a penalty for my foolishness. Major Glaus Peter Andersen said, I motion we let him go ; I have done such foolish tricks myself. They let me go unpunished. During the summer a company of about twelve teams went to Andersen’s Canyon, south of Monroe, after timber, in care of Major Andersen; this man had been a major in General Johnston’s Army, which was sent to Utah in 1857 and he had also belonged to a company of rangers in Texas previous to joining the army. 

In the evening, at the campfire, I asked Major Andersen to tell us one of his fool tricks to which he consented by relating the following : On a certain occasion while I was doing military service in Texas, some Indians took five of the rangers prisoners and carried them away with them. It was in the afternoon, too late for the company to follow, but I and another man volunteered to follow the Indians. We obtained information as to the direction the Indians had taken before dark. We traveled in that direction till about midnight, when we came to a creek. Here we saw the Indian fires about a mile up the creek. We left our horses and waded up creek to the camp. The creek bank being about four feet high. Our belts were hung with Colts revolvers. We laid the pistols on the bank. We saw our comrades stripped, tied hand and foot and lying near a fire, while some of the savages danced around them and were amusing themselves by sticking brands of fire on their naked bodies. After being eye-witnesses to this re- volting scenes I and my companion opened fire with a revolver in each hand, and as soon as two revolvers were empty we picked up two others and repeated the process. The Indians ran for the timber, without having time to get their guns, leaving their prisoners. My companion and I unbound the men, secured some clothing, guns and horses, and got back with our comrades the next day. It is needless to say that we were highly interested in Major Andersen’s story. 

-Peter Gottfredson.

Bear River Massacre Painting

The Bear River Massacre

By Utah History, Utah Native American History
Bear River Massacre Painting

Bear River Massacre Painting by Rick Kennington

The Bear River Massacre

The Bear River Massacre took place on January 29, 1863, in northern Cache Valley. It is often remembered from the side of white American settlers. The tragic and mournful history of the 400 Shoshone tribe members who were brutally killed has almost been forgotten.

The stories of the Northwestern Band of the Shoshone Nation of Utah need to be told and remembered as we reflect on our shared past and look towards a harmonious future.