Skip to main content

Utah History

[July 17, 1853] Cause and Origin of the Walker War Part 1

Cause and Origin of the Walker War

By Utah History, Utah Native American History
[July 17, 1853] Cause and Origin of the Walker War Part 1
[July 17, 1853] Cause and Origin of the Walker War Part 2
[July 17, 1853] Cause and Origin of the Walker War Part 3
[July 17, 1853] Cause and Origin of the Walker War Part 4
[July 17, 1853] Cause and Origin of the Walker War Part 5


By Geo. McKenzie. 

Having been requested by State commander J. M. Westwood of the Utah Indian War Veterans Association to write up the cause of the ‘ l Walker War, ‘ ‘ having been a resident of Springville at the time, and being well acquainted with James Ivie, who was the principal actor in the drama that caused the war, I submit the following as told to me by Ivie at the time, and on several occasions since the war. Walker, the war chief of the Ute nation, with his braves and their families were camped on Spring creek about one mile north of the present town of Springville, (Utah Co., Utah) all at peace with the white settlers, spending their time fishing and hunting, and trading and begging from the people. James Ivie, at that time had built a cabin, and was living in it with his wife and one chilol about half a mile north and west of where the Indians were camped. In the fore- noon of July 17, 1853, an Indian and squaw came into Ivie’s cabin. The squaw had three large trout which she wanted to trade to Mrs. Ivie for some flour. Flour being very scarce at that time, Mrs. Ivie called her husband in to get his views on the trade of that kind, he being at work digging a well. When he saw the trout, he said “They look mighty good to me,” and suggested that Mrs. Ivie might give three pints of flour for them, if the squaw would trade that way. He then went out of the cabin to resume his work. Just after Ivie left two more Indians came into the cabin, one of whom seemed to be the husband or had some kind of claim on the squaw who had closed the trade with Mrs. Ivie. When this Indian saw the three trout, and the small amount of flour received in exchange, he became enraged and began beating the squaw, knocking her down, kicking and stamping her in a brutal manner. While this assault was being committed, Mrs. Ivie ran and called her husband, Mr. Ivie came to the cabin, and while the Indian was still beating the squaw he took hold of the Indian and pulled him away, the squaw lying prostrate on the floor. Ivie tried to push the Indian out of the cabin. When the Indian came, he left his gun standing by the door, and as Ivie pushed him out he grabbed his gun and tried to get in position to shoot Ivie. Ivie got hold of the muzzle of the gun, and in the struggle the gun was broken. The Indian retaining the stock and Ivie the barrel. When the gun broke, Ivie dealt tBe Indian a hard blow on the head with the barrel of the gun. The Indian fell to the ground, apparently dead, but did not expire until some hours later. The other Indian who came to the cabin the same time as his companian drew his bow and arrow and shot Ivie, the arrow passing through the shoulder of Ivie’s buckskin hunting shirt. At this Ivie struck the Indian a violent blow and he fell unconscious by the side of the prostrate body of the other Indian. Just as Ivie got through with this second Indian, the squaw that he had been trying to protect came out of the cabin door with a stick of wood in her hand which she had picked up by the side of the fire in the cabin. With it she struck Ivie a blow in the face cutting a deep gash in his upper lip, and the scar showed plainly from that time until his death. Ivie again used the gun barrel to defend himself and struck the squaw. She fell unconscious by the side of the prostrate bodies of the two Indians. At this stage in the drama Joseph Kelly one of the foremost settlers of Springvllle, came rpon the scene, and while looking at the three Indians lying apparently dead he was told by Ivie what had taken place. Kelly took a bucket of water that stood in the cabin and poured it on the Indians, trying to restore them. He then sent the Indian who first came to the cabin with the squaw for another bucket of water to try to restore the Indians to life ; this Indian having taken no part in the trouble. 

Kelly told Ivie to take his wife and child and go into town before the Indian camp was notified of the trouble, which he did. 

The Indian that Kelly sent after the water went to the Indian camp and told of what had taken place at the Ivie cabin. The news of the trouble soon spread through the camp and the settlement of whites. Intense exictement reigned, both in the Indian camp and the settlement. 

Bishop Aaron Johnson, who was chief magistrate in all civil and military affairs at Springville, took immediate steps to protect the settlement. He ordered Caldwell’s cavalry and Parry ‘s infantry to be mustered in and be ready for action at call. All the other male citizens over sixteen years of age were enrolled as a home guard. Johnson with his interpreter, Wm. Smith, tried everything in their power to settle the trouble with Chief Walker, by offering ponies, beef, flour, and blankets, but Walker refused to settle unless Ivie was given up to be tried by the Indians, which Johnson refused to do. 

The next day (July 18th) Walker broke camp and went to Payson; joined his brother Arrapene another Indian chief, and together they went into Payson canyon, killing Alexander Keele who was on guard at the outskirts of Payson, saying, that, the war would last until the white people were all ex- terminated. The Indians then went into the mountains east of Sanpete Valley and left their families in a place of safety. 

The Indians returning in war paint, raided the settlements of Utah, Juab, Sanpete, Millard and Iron Counties during the summer and fall. The last engagement was at the south end of Utah Lake generally spoken of as the Goshen Valley battle, which lasted about three hours; the troops taking the Indian camp. Nine Indians were killed; some of the troops and horses were shot, but none mortally. 

Some Indians and their families came down Hobble Creek canyon to Springville a short time after, saying that the war was over. 

A short time after CaldwelPs cavalry and Parry’s infantry were released from duty, having served a period of ninety-one days ; from July 18th to October 15, 1853. 

The treaty of peace was signed by Walker in May, 1854, at his camp on Meadow Creek, Juab Co. 

-Signed Lieut. Geo. McKenzie. 

Walker died Jan. 29, 1855, at Meadow Creek, Millard County, Utah and was buried by his tribe with the highest honor that could be given him as the most noted war-chief of the nation. 

His brother Arrapeen succeeded him as chief.

Special Order No 2_1850

Special Order No 2 1850 Nauvoo Legion

By Utah History, Utah Native American History
Special Order No 2_1850

Special Order No 2

Head Quarters, Nauvoo Legion

Major Generals Office, G.L.L. City January 31 of 1850


Captain George D Grant.


You are hereby ordered to raise forthwith a company of fifty efficient men, and see they are well provided with horses, arms and ammunitions, and rations sufficient for twenty days; and proceed with said company to Fort Utah in the Utah Valley with as little delay as possible, there to co-operate with the inhabitants of said valley in quelling, and staying the ope*[rations] of all hostile Indians, exterminating such as do not separate themselves from their hostile clans and sue for peace, and otherwise act as the circumstances may require.  You will march from Great Salt Lake City as early as next Monday morning; and make full report of all your proceedings under this order on your return, and keep my office apprised of intervening operations should circumstances require.  You will also be expected to operate in connection with Col. John Scott, in carrying out this order.


Daniel H Wells

Major General

Nauvoo Legion


Private instructions to Captain George D Grant.

In carrying out the above order you will keep in exercise every principle of humanity compatible with the laws of war, and see that no violence is permitted to women and children unless the same shall be demanded by attendant circumstances.

The Utah Indians have been notified repeatedly of the consequences that would come** to them if they did not cease to molest the white inhabitants and their herds; you will therefore perch** against them without further appraisal or notice, and execute your orders.


~ Daniel H Wells

Major General

*tear in paper, cannot read full word

**unable to read exact word


Church History Minutes Jan 31 1850

By Utah History, Utah Native American History


Words in [brackets] are questionable/unreadable

(sic) indicates that the word is spelled exactly as presented in the document

All shorthand symbols for “and” and “are” replaced with the actual words



Jan 31. 1850

B.Y- H.C.U. Wn. J.A. Smith. E.J. Benson. D.H. Wells. J. Young. and WS and P.P. Pratt 


P.P.P. – The waggons (sic) are snowed in 150 miles south, right in the open valley – 26 men with D. Fullmer [?]. no nothing of [Sam Oak] selected 24 men who [?] the road [?] of feet to waist deep of snow to the Utah.  The snow being extreme.  Lost more animals – had to leave them by the road.  

  1. West – I found our way to Utah got in 48 miles in 2 days. Called the life [?] – got permissions there was an Indian pass, started at midnight to go 26 miles.  Stephen Taylor [?] on being dead in an hour.  He was frozen.  Bro Jonas Snow blind, after resting in Utah came on to [?] [?] 36 miles, walked 10 yesterday.

[Barney] Ward says it could last but a few weeks.  We did get out of the [ruin cashes]. Went down under the foot of the Wahsatch (sic) to a stream running into the Virgin beyond the ruins on N side a foot of snow. S side settled with vegetation [stringing]. No snow every [human] [?] are vast [chaos or shows] of unorganized materials.  The streams of the Virgin are low – like the Missouri.  The [Cottons] are sandy [alluvial] washed down from the mountains – not [exceeding] 6,000 acres can be watered.  We know about from the Santa Clara and Rio Virgin ~ everything combined for a settlement at G.S.Lake. [Invest] iron ore.  No coal or gold.  Can support 50,000 people there – was surprised of the amount of resources in that valley – with the climate amiable.  Temp at noon 60 degrees in shade.  The streams are all on the [ridges] run swift 10 or 5 streams within 10 miles.  Easier, irrigated – in valley [block] – on ridges sandy. The desirable are an immediate wall –  the [reforming/reconstruction?] our complete pasture.  Shrub pine with cedar inexhaustible.  No farm can be a mile from timber.  Women and children can climb the mountains and you can go to inexhaustible supplies of large pines – plaster of paris – [?] . Water line –  sound [?].  At the foot of Wahsatch can be acorn?  With anything. Further as is an alluvial meadows 10 miles wide.  [Hardy?] sage and muddy.  2 streams 10 feet wide.  [?] and running swift – a large grove of cottonwoods a mile or two in expanse then 2 miles of the very best land wide.  Orchards 20 long and can all be cultivated.  On S.W. comes groves of cedars  – there is an Iron mountain or hill – richest I ever saw.  Judge Owens was there and are of the [?] says it is better than the iron in Missouri – about 300 miles from this place.  If the Sevier is the best route and would go by San Pete valley.  There is grass and field all the way – it is near [1200?] miles to where Santa Clara joins the Virgin.

All of them spreads in the highest [hills? Lands?] of the Little Salt Lake Valley.

San Pete is 130 from here – the first iron ore 280 or 90 miles and no farm more than 3 miles from fuel

Bro I. Higbee – The Indians are continually killing our cattle and stealing horses and they shot at our boys.  We have heard they cannot sustain themselves there.  We drive our cattle down in the morning and bring them up at night.  The Indians fired two guns at our boys and they found one ox with 4 arrows.  Another with a tomahawk in it.  They say the Mormons own no cattle.  They want to fight and will live on our cattle.  They say they mean to [help?hurt?] our cattle and go and get the other Indians to kill us.

P.P.P. – my own mind is I can only see 3 ways. The place be abandoned and then they [would] ransack all the S. frontiers – or we are to defend them – or leave them to destruction.

  1. Higbee – we can not defend our cattle unless there is a company of men.  There are 25 close by – and 50 or 75 on the other side of Lake

P.P.P – I felt it is best to kill the Indians.  But when I saw the [?] Js! lived an kill you can get instructions.

  1. Higbee – Every man and boy held up their hands to kill them off – we have 60 men to bear arms – they say we are afraid to kill them.

P.P.P – Walkers men are different Indians to these.  There can be no communication without a settlement at Utah. [?] my voice is for war, and exterminate them.

B.Y – I say go and kill them. (all hands held up)

Young.Kimball.Richards.Smith.Benson. J Young. D. [Shanen]. O [Sluman]. D.H. Wells. [Nan Coll]. Higbee and [M. A. Farr].

  1. Higbee – We thought we should want help to do it.

B.Y. – Tell D. Huntington to go and kill them also [many] ward.  Let the women and children live if they will behave themselves.

P.P.P. – I [say] take the women and children and clothe them and [?] them and make them do what we want and don’t let them prowl about.

B.Y. We shall have no peace until the men are killed off.  Never treat an Indian as your equal.  There was a [camp] of 50 men – get them and take them up with you. They [as] strengthened up the past year and they gather men from other tribes to come and steal our cattle and horses. It is the western tribes that come and steal in this valley.

P.P.Pratt – There was but little snow when we left.  I did not expect to find so many things convened in our place. There is not a place of 25 miles without fuel.  Water for everything we want and our inexhaustible bed of plaster of paris. We’ll go there well – about 10 miles from GSL.  There is a [?] under [Kanyon] – miles in length and sides deeply engraved in a rock.  [?] is every where and the stripes are as fresh glazed as new.  No doubt that county S of min. Has been immensely populated and the south has been washed away.

I am text block. Click edit button to change this text.

First Battle with Indians in Utah, at Battle Creek. Feb 28 1849

First Battle with Indians in Utah, at Battle Creek

By Utah History, Utah Native American History
First Battle with Indians in Utah, at Battle Creek. Feb 28 1849


Copied from records in the L. D. 8. Historian’s Office. 


A report having reached Salt Lake City that some renegade Indians were molesting the settlers, a company of thirty or forty men under Captain John Scott left Salt Lake City Feb. 28, 1849, in pursuit of some Indians who had been stealing and kill- ing cattle and running off horses from Willow Creek (Draper) and other places. The company proceeded to Utah Valley and met Little Chief and his band of Timpanogos Utes on the Provo River who told the military boys where the thieving Indians were en- camped. The company left the Provo river in the night, taking with them as guide Little Chief’s son who led them over the Provo Bench toward the creek (Battle Creek) north of the base of the mountains, whence from an eminence they discovered the fires of the Indians who were encamped on the creek which ran in the midst of willows and dense brush-wood in a deep ravine. The company was divided into four smaller bodies and posted north, south, east and west of the Indians, who, when they awoke in the morning, found themselves besieged. The savages packed up their baggage and ineffectually tried every way to escape. They then commenced to fight by shooting arrows and firing guns. This small predatory band of Indians consisted of two lodges under Kone and Blue-Shirt and numbered seventeen souls in all, including four men. The squaws and children were secured and fed and warmed. After a desultory fight of three or four hours, the four men who took every advantage of the brush for cover were killed. None of the brethern were injured. The skins of fifteen cattle, which the Indians had killed were found near by. During the fight Stick-in-the-Head and his band of Timpanogos Utes came up ready for a fight and took position on an elevation, whence they vainly called to the besieged and urged them to come that way. The company returned to Great Salt Lake City March 6th. The squaws and child- ren of the slain were taken to the City, and after being fed went to their friends among the other Indians. From this circumstance the creek on which the fight took place was named Battle Creek. The fight referred to was the first battle which the ” Mormon” Pioneers fought with the Indians in the Territory of Utah. 

-From Journal History at the Historian’s Office.