Copyright
J. H. (John Hanson) Beadle.

Western wilds and the men who redeem them : an authentic narrative embracing an account of seven years travel and adventure in the far West ... online

. (page 31 of 62)
Online LibraryJ. H. (John Hanson) BeadleWestern wilds and the men who redeem them : an authentic narrative embracing an account of seven years travel and adventure in the far West ... → online text (page 31 of 62)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


Thence, on the afternoon of the 6th, I rode eighteen miles nearly
straight west to the first water, and encamped for the night in a rich
bunch-grass pasture, dotted with scrubby pines. After bread and tea,
I hoppled my horse and slept till Hear daylight, then took a hasty
breakfast and canteen of water and was oif for Navajo Wells, thirty
miles ahead, and the first place where water could be had. I traveled
along the original Navajo trail from the Rio Grande to Southern Ne-
vada ; and early in the day commenced the ascent of the Buckskin, a
low range of partially-wooded hills, putting out across the plateau
nearly to the Colorado. All over this I found good blue-grass, which
is very rare every-where in the Rocky Mountains. The grass on the
plains here consists of two species of bunch-grass the common yel-
low and the white-topped varieties. But neither forms a sod or
sward, or gives more than a faint tinge of green to the landscape.
My general direction for the day was north-west, working toward the
Utah line, though the road at times wound about to every point. West
of the Buckskin was a singular flood plain some six miles wide, with
rich soil, but no moisture, and nearly destitute of grass. I had trav-
eled till 3 P. M., looking closely for Navajo Wells for the last few
miles, when I emerged from a rocky ridge scantily clothed with
pifions, upon another flood plain, and was at once aware that I had
missed the Wells. But soon an Indian overtook me, whom I hailed
with "Toh, agua, water!" using the three languages spoken in this re-
gion ; but he understood neither. Then I had recourse to pantomime,
when he rejoined, "Pah to wicki-up" and directed me to follow. Two
miles back and half a mile from the trail was the water-hole, and near
by the camp of his tribe, a horribly filthy and repulsive gang of some
forty savages. A hole in the sand contained the only water, which
was lukewarm, slimy and full of nasty black creatures ; but it was
that or nothing, and my horse drank it under protest. For his court-
esy I divided my stock of meat and cheese with the chief, who be-
came very communicative, preferred a request for tobacco, suggested
in pantomime that I camp there for the night, and asked how long
since I left the Navajoes. They had at first sight recognized my rig
as Navajo, for every tribe in the mountains knows the handi\vork of
every other. The degraded natives of this region are known as the
Pi-Utes, the Pi-Edes and the Lee-Biches, and are the very lowest of
the race. In summer they fare sumptuously on piflon nuts, roots,
grass-seeds and white sage ; but in winter they are reduced to bugs,
li/arcls, grubs and ground-mice, occasionally assisted by donations
from the settlements, or the flesh of such Mormon stock as die of



312



WESTEHN WILDS.



disease. They are totally devoid of skill in any respect, and when
furnished with boards can not construct a shelter from the rain.

Eight miles further I camped for the night ; was off, by reason of
the cold, an hour before daylight, and rode into Kanab just as the
first rays of sunshine were streaming over the rugged gaps of the east-
ern mountains. Kanab sits back in a beautiful cove in the mountains,

something
like a cres-
cent in shape,
the mount-
ain peaks
east and west
of the town
putting out
southward to
the Arizona
line. All the
land within
the cove ap-
pears rich,
and the town
site is irri-
gated from a
considerable
creek running
out of a nar-
row gulch.
By direction
of the first
person met, I
went to Ja-
cob Hamlin's
house, where
I had two

days' rest. I was most fortunate in my selection. Three of Major
Powell's men were here, waiting for his arrival from Salt Lake City.
Here, also, I found Mr. and Mrs. Thomson, of Major Powell's party,
so altogether we had a very delightful little Gentile society in this
Mormon stronghold. Hamlin, who is a Church Agent of Indian Af-
fairs, struck in on the subject of Mormonism the first meal; but as I
was once more in the land of beef and biscuit, hot coffee and other




" THE LITTLE SAVAGES FIXED AN T7NWINKING GAZE UPON ME."



A STARTLING INTERVIEW.



313



luxuries, I could stand up to any amount of argument. We had it
hot for two days, but parted friends. Kanab is quite new, and has
but two hundred inhabitants. To Mr. and Mrs. Thomson I am under
many obligations, not only for writing conveniences, but for many
hours of social enjoyment; and as for the Powell party generally, my
meeting them here was a rare piece of good fortune.

For the first time
in my life I found it
convenient to drop
my name while mak-
ing this trip. The
Saints might have a
prejudice against me,
so I introduced my-
self to Lee by my
middle name, " Han-
son," and by the same
title traveled to Salt
Lake City. There
was something gro-
tesque in " Mr. Han-
son" and "Major
Doyle " meeting in
the wilderness, when
the one was the
Mountain Meadow's
butcher and the other
the Gentile writer
who had done his
best to make him no-
torious.

Striking south-west
from Kanab, in a few miles I very nearly ran over a group of young
Pi-Edes, crouched down in a pifion thicket. The little savages fixed
an unwinking gaze upon me, but never stirred or spoke, their Indian
nature forbidding expression either of surprise, pleasure or fear' at
sight of me. It is doubtful if they felt either. A little beyond I saw
their mother, or older sister, gathering grass-seeds the summer work
of these squaws naked as new-created Eve, but hardly so handsome
as Milton paints our great mother. By her lay her wicker-basket,
which she had dropped at my approach, to retreat behind the bush,




A PI-EDE CERES.



314 WESTERN WILDS.

whether from fear or modesty was hard to say. At dark 1
reached Pipe Springs, where is a ranche kept by Bishop Windsor and
one of his families. I found the Bishop a good landlord, and chatty,
agreeable companion. The spring from which the place takes its
name sends down a large stream of cold, clear water, which the Bishop
leads in stone troughs through his houses, using one of them for a
cheese factory. He milks eighty cows, and makes the business a
splendid success. All this section is rich in pasture, but has so little
arable land that most of the few inhabitants have to import their
flour, paying for it in butter and cheese. Even with this large stream
the Bishop can cultivate but fifteen acres, the porous, sandy soil re-
quiring five times as much irrigation as the land around Salt Lake
City. The place is just outside the rim of the Great Basin, and the
country about of the same level as that within. From the foot of the
mountain range along which we travel the surface slopes a very little
toward the Colorado, but near that river rises again to a height above
that along the road.

Thence the next afternoon I traversed a sandy desert for twenty-five
miles, reached the first pool and took supper, then rode nine miles
further by dark, and made a " dry camp " iu a low, grassy valley be-
tween two wooded hills. Thence I reached Gould's Ranche (ten
miles) in time for a late breakfast and another hot argument on poli-
tics. The Church was then straining every nerve to get Utah ad-
mitted as a State, the Gentiles fighting the proposition with the bit-
terness of desperation, and all Southern Utah was hot over the
matter.

That day I mistook the road, but did not regret my error when it
led me to the beautiful hamlet of Virgin City. The neat, white adobe
houses were almost hidden in forests of peach, fig, apple, and mul-
berry trees ; the climate rivaled that of Southern California, and dam-
sons, apricots, and pears also abounded. All that part of Mormondom
south of the rim of the Great Basin is called Dixie, and produces cot-
ton, wine and figs. And here I first began to be conscious of the
oddity of my dress. At Defiance, to avoid being too conspicuous
among the Indians, I had dressed in a buckskin suit, with spangled
Mexican jacket, stout moccasins handsomely worked, beaded scarf,
and flowered calico head-wrap; so, at a distance, I was every- where
taken for an Indian. Marriage with Indian women is a strong point
in the religion of these Southern Mormons, and the men were de-
lighted with my description of the grace, beauty, and general desira-
bleness of Navajo girls, as they expect to form a close alliance with



A STARTLING INTERVIEW. 315

that tribe. Jacob Hamlin had visited all the tribes in Northern
Arizona, making treaties between the Indians and the Church.

My next journey was to Toquerville, where I stopped with Bishop
Isaac C. Haight, another leader in the Mountain Meadow Massacre,
and a prominent Mormon. Ripe figs, just plucked from the tree,
formed part of our dessert. The narrow valley is very fertile; all
around are yellow hills and red deserts. A leisurely journey of a
day brought me thence to Kanarra, in the rim of the Great Basin.
In the south end of town the water flows towards the Colorado; in
the north end into the Basin. There I had my first sickness on the
trip, as did my horse. We had stood adversity ; prosperity ruined us.
I indulged too freely in fruit, and he in Lucerne hay. There was no
doctor in town, so I worried it through on hot ginger and "Dixie
wine ; " in three days was able to ride, and proceeded by easy stages
to Parowan, in Iron County. But six hundred miles through the
Indian country had worn out my horse, and on the 16th instant I
" ranched him " twenty miles south of Beaver, and set out for that
place in the wagon of a Mormon farmer. Some five miles on the
road when we were on the Beaver " divide " a cold rain set in and
continued for four hours, changing to something very near sleet. The
Mormon family and myself suffered greatly with cold. The seasons
at Beaver are very late, and wheat harvest does not begin till in
August. Little Salt Lake lay a few miles west of our route, on the
"divide." Having passed the ridge, I walked down the eight-mile
slope to Beaver, which I reached at dark, and was soon warm and
happy in the house of a hospitable Gentile.

Beaver had been revolutionized by the development of mines.
Gentiles were to be seen every-where, and a military post had been
established near town. Thence by stage it was two hundred and fifty
miles to " Zion ; " and I was pleased to recognize, in the first driver,
my old friend Will Kimball, who drove a team across the Plains in
the train with me in 1868. Kimball's father was one of the many
arrested the previous winter on charges relating to the conduct of the
Mormon militia in the rebellion of 1857, but was released with a
hundred and twenty others, when the Supreme Court reversed Judge
McKean's rulings. In the progress of Utah affairs, nearly all of the
family left by old Heber Kimball have become pretty good Gentiles.
This seems to be the course of all such delusions which do not end in
blood.

I halted for a day's rest at Fillmore, the old Territorial capital,
a hundred and seventy-five miles south-west of Salt Lake, and quite a



WESTERN WILDS.

beautiful town. Several wealthy Mormons reside here, in elegant
brick and stone houses, and the place is old enough for all the shade
trees and shrubbery to have attained a good growth. Some thirty
miles west of Fillmore is a remarkable mountain peak, or rather
round heap of cinders and lava, five hundred feet high. It is broken
square across by a gulch with almost perpendicular sides, at the bottom
of which is a spring that is coated with ice around the edges for eleven
months in the year. The altitude is no higher than that of Fillmore,
but the sun never shines in the gorge, and snow lies on the inner slopes
all the year.

Thence two days' slow staging brought me to "Zion," which I
f cached on the evening of July 21st, exactly four months from the
day I left St. Louis for a tour through the Southern Territories. In
that time I had traveled fourteen hundred miles by rail, six hundred
by stage, three hundred by military wagon, two hundred on foot, and
six hundred on horseback at a total cost of $535. I reached "Zion"
iu splendid health, but complete disguise, if I am to judge from the
conduct of my friends, many of whom passed me on the street without
a nod, or with only a slight look of curiosity, as if some old and half-
forgotten memory were stirred by sight of a face that " had a sort o'
familiar look." However, after a bath in the warm springs, getting
off my buckskin pantaloons, spangled Mexican jacket, and Navajo
scarf, and donning a new summer suit, my fingers received once more
the wonted squeeze, and once more I began to feel very like a Christian.

It was on this journey through Southern Utah, and after my arrival
in " Zion," that I heard narrated the personal experiences which are
combined in the three succeeding chapters.



CHAPTER XX.

THE FAIR APOSTATE.

MERRILY rang the bells of Church, Herefordshire, in the

merry month of May, 1847; for Nixy James, the belle of the hamlet,
was that day to be married to Elwood Briarly, the sturdiest young
yeoman on all the country side. The elder James and Elwood's father
had grown from childhood together: intimate companions and fierce
rivals for the lead among the village politicians, partners in public
sports and at the village tavern, but never, by any possibility, on the
same side of any exciting question. Thomas James, cobbler, was
often heard to declare that Yeoman Briarly would " contradict for
contradiction's sake he'd argefy wi' t' clock on t' church steeple,
rather than go wi'out argefying;" while the yeoman, on his part, in-
sisted that James " was aye runnin' after every dashed new-fangled
notion that come along." He couldn't see why simple folk like us
couldn't be content wi' t' old church and t' old laws, and not take up
wi' every outlanguaged kickshaw from France or 'Merica or other
foreign parts." For his part, give him the British Constitution.

Nay, the difference was in the blood; for James' great-grandfather
was a hot adherent of the Prince of Orange, while the Briarlys had
stood by the "Lord's Anointed," and remained zealous Jacobites even
down to the coming in of the House of Brunswick. They held to
legitimacy long after Church, Lords, and Commons had forgotten it;
but the James' had ever three bogies: a papist king, an Irish rising
and a French invasion. Now it so happens that a whole people can
not always be scared into submission by Irish risings and French in-
vasions ; and so, by and by, new and perplexing questions arose, and
certain pestilent fellows began to talk about "more liberty," and
" household suffrage," and the " rights of the people." It was an ex-
traordinary proceeding on their part, and x Yeoman Briarly stoutly pro-
tested no good could come of it; but, in spite of him, he would have
told you the James' family and all their adherents went crazy. But
it never shook him. Oh, no ; he planted himself firmly on the Con-
stitution, and defied the world to move ; and, when the others became
Chartists, he declared, with great positiveness, over his pipe in the vil-
lage ale-house, what Parliament ought to do to stop this sort of thing.

(317)



318 WESTERN WILDS.

But in despite of all this contention, the young people persisted in
loving each other almost from the start, and at last the blood of the
Old Radical and the Old Conservative were to be united. And all
this time, there was growing up in an obscure village across the sea, an
ignorant, awkward youth, who talked through his nose, and told plau-
sible fibs as naturally as he breathed, whose career was to strangely
affect the blood of the Briarlys and James'. Across the sea an insti-
tution was born which w r as to change the current of all these simple
lives in a way the w r isest little dreamed of.

The ceremony was ended, the shoe was thrown, the village maidens
strung garlands for the bride ; there was the feast, the dance, and all
the simple pleasantry of the middle class of English farmers. One
year Elwood Briarly rejoiced in the society of his young wife one
year of continued courtship. Then came a season of trial, happily
ended, said the nurse and doctor ; and an infant daughter was laid in
the arms of the proud father. A perfect little manikin it was, with
the orthodox creases in its perfect little feet, and all the orthodox lines
on its perfect little face, by which wise matrons so infallibly fix the
resemblance to either parent : a precious little life wrapped up in a
perfect little anatomy. But the primal curse still rests, even on the
head of the hardy English woman. The weight of the precious fruit
broke the parent stem, and the life of the plant exhaled in the sweet-
ness of the opening flower. Nixie Briarly only saw that her babe had
started well in this world, then bade her weeping husband good-bye,
and fell asleep.

To him it seemed that all which made life worth having was gone.
His had been no sudden affection; for long years Nixie had been
central to all his plans, and now there seemed nothing worth exer-
tion. His daughter he could scarcely say at first that he loved her
strange pain ! She seemed to him almost as a living reproach.
Months passed, and it was remarked that he was " slack ; " his hand
had lost its cunning, and words of pity were heard. Months again
passed, and it was remarked that he went often to the village ale-
house, and this time the word of pity was accompanied with an
ominous shake of the head. But the current of common life flowed on
too fast for others for them to turn aside to cheer him. Old yeomen,
on their way home from church, leaned over the fence to look at the
little farm he held on lease; and while you might have thought them
pondering on the preacher's words, the real thought behind those
heavy, unexpressive eyes was, "When will it be to lease?" At the
ale-house he sat apart, a moody man; and it was surprising how



THE FAIR APOSTATE. 319

soon his old companions learned to do without him, and he dropped
into the ranks of the half-forgotten. All at once it began to be
whispered that Elwood Briarly was drinking a great deal; and then
that he was drinking altogether too much, and very soon after, that
he was a drunkard, and in an amazingly short space of time that he
was an abandoned drunkard, and that his late lease was vacated and
the farm to be relet. And so it was that when his little Marian was
only three years old, she was taken home to grandfather James, and
Elwood Briarly plunged down, down, down along the course of those
given over to the national vice of Free (and " Merrie ") England.

Counted as already dead by those nearest him, he became a com-
mon laborer for the means of gratifying his appetite. His sorrow
had yielded to time, but now habit dragged him down. When reason
asserted her sway he struggled to his feet for a few days or weeks,
then fell again, and each time deeper than before. And now his
habits and associates had changed his original nature. At the church
or social gathering he was never seen; his only recreation worth the
name was at the workingman's club ; there he easily learned to crit-
icise every body but himself, and to blame every one for his troubles,
the government most of all. The genial young farmer had become
first a snarling critic, then a radical, a cynic, a misanthrope.

Again he struggled to his feet, and in one of his sober moods, on a
calm Sabbath afternoon, started with his little girl for a stroll upon
the village common. His attention was attracted by a small group
of people who had gathered around a rude stand, extemporized by
piling a few stones together. On this stood a man of peculiar ap-
pearance, with what Briarly thought an unpleasant nasal tone, and a
complexion that was certainly not English. " It's one o' them new-
fangled preachers from America," said a neighbor, as he came up ; and
for want of some better amusement, he decided to wait and listen. There
was a general air of critical indifference in the small audience, idle
and seeking only entertainment as they were; but they were respectful.
The preacher seemed to fix his eye on Briarly as he pronounced his text :

" If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to
all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him."
JAMES i : 5. Slowly repeating the text, as if to fix the meaning
of each word, the missionary cast a glance over his congregation. In
that sweeping inspection he had noted those whom he would most
likely reach.

"My friends, brethren and sisters, all; this means you. It don't
nean the Pope of Rome is to have all wisdom. It don't mean His



320 WESTERN WILDS.

Grace the Archbishop. It means that you are to know for your-
selves, and not for or by another. It means that you are to receive a
witness from God himself, and know of a surety whether this doctrine
is true. It is not for the rich alone, or the learned; a burden is
laid upon me to open the Gospel to the poor and ignorant, to help
those who need it, to cheer the sorrowful, to lift up the lowly, to
preach the acceptable year of the Lord," and again his glance fell
upon Briarly. The latter was powerfully impressed. He had lost
his old friends. He longed for sympathy. If any man could prom-
ise him something better, that man was sure of a favorable hearing.
The preacher continued : " You have priests who tell you that there is
no more revelation, that the volume of God's word is closed. For
eighteen hundred years the Christian world has received no message
from the Almighty: the heavens have been shut up, the Lord has not
spoken, there has been no prophet to inquire of the Lord. Where is
their authority to say this? Where is it written in this book that
prophecy shall cease? Our fathers did eat manna in the wilderness,
and were saved ; but the bread my fathers ate is not sufficient for me.
I would know God for myself. Go ask your priests for a witness of
their mission. They can not show it. Eighteen hundred years ago,
they say, God spoke; eighteen hundred years ago He loved His
people, and led them by revelation. But now the canon is full ; the
world is wise enough to do without the daily word of God, and there
is no longer a voice from the Most High to guide us ! What ! Is
God dead? Is there less need of a living oracle now than there was
eighteen hundred years ago ? Or is the world so pure that a prophet
has no work to do? Do all men acknowledge God, and worship him,
and is there no unbelief that God should refuse us a witness? No,
my friends, I'll tell you why it is."

The speaker had warmed into something like eloquence. His audi-
ence were impressed, and the nasal tone which at first affected their
English ears unpleasantly, seemed to have vanished.

" It is because they rejected God's plan. They would not have a
continuous chain of revelation. They have set up churches in which
there are no prophets nor apostles ; they have not the gifts of the
apostolic church, and the Holy Spirit is not with them ; they have
the form of godliness, but deny the power. Should any one say
to them that God had sent a prophet, they would cry out against him.
But, my friends, God is not dead. The heavens are not brass to those
who seek the truth. God, who so loved the world that he sent his Son
to save it, loves us as much as he did the people who lived eighteen hun-



THE FAIR APOSTATE. 321

dred years ago, and has sent us a messenger. As he spoke to the saints of
the former days so has he spoken to the Latter-day Saints, and all who
will may know for themselves that this message is from God. In
America a prophet has been called ; the word of God has whispered
out of the dust, as foretold by Isaiah, and once more communication
is restored between God and man."

The speaker then recited the story of Joseph Smith, his conversion
and calling, his mission and martyrdom, as foretold by all the prophets;
and supported his doctrine by an array of Scripture texts that aston-
ished and fairly overwhelmed his simple hearers. Their experience
had left them unprepared for any thing of this sort. All their lives
they had heard the letter of the Scriptures distorted in the petty war-
fare between the sects ; great principles they did not comprehend, and,
to come to the point, there was no reason why prophets and apostles
should not walk the earth now as well as in former times. The mis-
sionary's argument on this point was to them unanswerable : if there
was wickedness and unbelief in ancient times, so there was now ; if
men needed a living witness then, much more did they now, when so
many claimed to be messengers from God, and all differed as to His



Online LibraryJ. H. (John Hanson) BeadleWestern wilds and the men who redeem them : an authentic narrative embracing an account of seven years travel and adventure in the far West ... → online text (page 31 of 62)