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

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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 35 of 62)
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arly had returned from a mission on the Rio Virgen, whither he had
been sent in 1863 " to build up the waste places ;" and he not only
sought Manson at the store where he had found employment, but
talked with such, graceful fluency that the Gentile was quite con-
founded. He showered invitations on him to visit them at home ; he
never alluded to any thing disagreeable that had passed between
them; he inquired with almost embarrassing interest of Hanson's suc-
cess in the mines, and talked about the return of peace in the States
and the glory of the American nation in a way that would have put
the warmest Republican in the shade. Here was a change indeed.
Why he did not at once accept these flattering invitations, Willie
could not for his life have told. He was sure he retained no malice
against Briarly, as indeed why should he ? He knew of no harm this
Mormon had done him, and he did recall some good. And yet he
did not at once accept. He saw that Briarly was now an elder of
some rank; that he was in a fair way to become a bishop; that he
was loud r in "bearing testimony" in all "experience meetings," and at
times held forth eloquently in the Tabernacle on the " evidences." But
he noticed, too, that Briarly never called on him when other Mor-
mons were in the store, and that his effusive utterances were always
in a corner, and when no third party was near.

He pondered the matter until it became really tormenting, and
then had recourse to his friend Hank Beatty, who had returned from
Montana with a good-sized belt full of " dust," and now lingered in
Zion. Beatty heard the account through carefully, cocked his head
on one side, closed one eye in profound meditation for a moment, then
everted his leathery lips, and, with a regular Missouri "thlurp,"
ejected a gill or so of ambeer into the water-seek. After it, flavored
with nicotine, came this oracular response :

" Keep your eye peeled somethin's up. This is a queer country."

Manson was painfully aware of the truth conveyed in the last sen-
tence ; but now the thought suddenly occurred to him, " What had
come over Beatty lately?" The latter lingered unaccountably. He
had said that he left home, in New York, in 1860, and w r ent by sea to
California ; he had, in 1862, and again in 1865, been in a fever to get
home, and it ran into Manson's mind that Beatty had once told him.
something about having a family, but he was not positive about this.
And now the man seemed to have abandoned all idea of going home.
He was enthusiastic in his praises of Utah and the Mormons ; he



pointed often to the hills, and said, in his oracular way : " Money
there, my boy ; don't you run away from it." To add to Manson's
perplexities, his dearer friend, Thomas James, had suddenly departexl
for the northern settlements, and had never sent him word or line.
What a horribly selfish passion is love ! It makes one forget all the
world but two persons self and the other self.

Manson was almost ready to conclude that human nature itself had
changed in this anomalous country. Here were lakes of pure brine
with no outlet to the sea; all the streams ran towards the center and
none towards the ocean; a river was larger at the head than at the
mouth ; it had two ends and was biggest in the middle ; most of the
streams came to an end without joining other streams, and though the
lakes were forever fed, they were never full. Why should not man's
nature be inverted in such a country ? Where there was no consist-
ency in nature it was unreasonable to look for it in man. So he de-
cided to take chances and visit the Briarlys.

There was a change indeed. He saw but one "wife," and heard no
allusion whatever to Marian. The elder explained in an a\vkward
way that his "wife Matilda was on the ranche down on the Virgen"
that was all. Manson was strangely distrait and nervous; and was
not at all helped by observing every time he looked up, that his host's
eyes were fixed upon him with a strange, inquiring look he could not
comprehend. But as they sat down to dinner it wa's on Sunday a
man appeared at the gate, and the elder broke forth at once, without
warning or prefatory remark, into a wordy defense of polygamy. As
no previous reference had been made to this subject, Manson could
scarcely conceal his astonishment. But his habits of thought were
very different from what they had been four years before, and he was
prepared for argument, as are nearly all Gentiles who reside long in
Utah. The new-comer entered, and made the usual salutations just
as Briarly was saying :

" Abraham believed God, and it was accounted unto him for right-
eousness. He was called the friend of God the father of God's
chosen people. He had no child till he took Hagar to wife, then God
blessed him with a son by Sarah also, showing that God approbated
his polygamy."

" Yes," said the new-comer, whom Manson soon suspected to be one
of the ward teachers ; " you pretend to revere Abraham you might
profitably follow his example."

"Which example?" said Manson, "when he married his sister, or
when he lied about it? You know he did both."


"Do you revile the patriarchs?" said the teacher, with rising color.

" I only say of the patriarchs what the Bible says of them, that
they did many bad things, things which would now be considered

"But God's word specifies all the sins and crimes. You can not
show a text forbidding polygamy."

"Perhaps not in express words, but I can show that the general
teaching is against it. You can not show a text expressly forbidding
gambling or slavery; but we know they are not justified."

" But was not Hagar given Abraham of God ? "

" No. The record shows that God had nothing to do with Abra-
ham's polygamy. It resulted from Sarah's want of faith. She had
been promised a son, and as the boy did not come along soon enough,
she thought she would help the Lord to keep His promise, and so she
give her husband to Hagar with the express understanding that the
child should be Sarah's. According to my notion, the Lord had noth-
ing to do with it."

"But Abraham did practice plurality, and the Lord did not con-
demn him for it you can't get around that."

"Yes, Abraham's first wife was his half-sister, and his second
was a colored woman, and you can't show a line in the Bible to prove
that she was married to him. The Lord always speaks of her as a
' bond-woman/ and her son as 'the son of the bond-woman.' She
was n't Abraham's wife at all."

" Sir-r," said the teacher and as he warmed with the debate, his
Yorkshire accent came out stronger. " You revile what you do not
understand. ' No man knoweth the things of God, save the Spirit of
God teach him/ and you have no witness. But we have in us that
knowledge which enables us to sense divine truth. I know this work


is of God. I know that plurality is the celestial law.'' And to this
Briarly gave an emphatic assent. He had the spirit; there was a wit-
ness the Gentile knew not of; lie must be baptized for the remission
of sins, and receive the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands of one
that held the true priesthood. Then this witness should be given'
him, and he would know for himself, and not for another, that this
work was of God. But among the Gentiles there was no priest or
preacher with authority from God ; hence they could not have this
witness and much more to the same effect.

But Manson was not to be diverted from the main question. The
controversial spirit was aroused in him, and with many interruptions
he went on :



" There is not a case of plural marriage reported in the Bible but
what it led straight to quarreling, and sometimes to murder. The
whole Bible only relates thirteen cases of polygamy among the right-
eous race, while it tells of hundreds of patriarchs, prophets, and kings
who either had but one wife each, or none at all. There was Lamech:

the first plu-
ralist men-
tioned, w a a
the second
'took up 5
with the hired
girl, and she
had a baby;
his wife
abused her,
and he sent
her and her
boy away to
die or live in
the wilder-
ness. Isaac,
the best man
of the outfit,
never had
more than one
wife. Jacob
was swindled
into plurality

." BEHOLD OUR LAMANITE BROTHER." by n jg heatlieil

father-in-law; then swindled his father-in-law with the trick of the
peeled rods; and after it all his children quarreled, their mothers
quarreled, and ten of the boys sold another into slavery.

" That was a nice family for us Americans to pattern after, was n't
it? Then there was David married one widow before her husband
had been dead a week, and had another man killed so he could get
his wife ; and after it all, his children quarreled like cats and dogs,
and one of them rebelled and drove the old man out of his own house
for awhile. And Solomon he violated their law, which says the


'king must not multiply wives lest his heart turn away.'* He did
multiply wives, and his heart did turn away. Now look at the other
fellows. When the Lord started on earth, he created a one-wife
man; when he saved the race, he saved a family with one wife each,
and drowned all the pluralists; and when Christ came, his earthly
parents were one man and his one wife. It looks to me like that's the
safest example to follow."

It must not be supposed that our friend was allowed to give this view
continuously; that would be a new experience in Utah. The ward
teacher had thrown in knotty texts at every pause, and now, wrought
up to the "sermon point," he concluded with the usual apostolic
curse " Behold our Lamanite brother ! " And to emphasize the matter
a Southern Ute entered the yard, tricked out in all the gaudy finery
which they affect when annuity goods are plenty. "He is the last of
a mighty race that rejected the truth. Look at the cities of the
plain. Behold the desolation of the East as foretold in the prophets.
The same shall come upon your boasted Union. It's been split in
two once, and patched up again ; but, mark ye, it's like an. old. bowl
it'll break again in a little while, and ye can't fix it.. Then you'll,
flee to these mountains for safety; for the Lord '11 come out of his
hiding-place and vex the nation in his fury;" and so on for an

As he concluded a light step was heard at the door, and, looking up,
Manson saw a face that had vaguely haunted him through all his
Montana wanderings. He felt the warm blood rush to his cheeks;
and in that instant he recognized the source of his uncertainties four
years before. He now knew why he had lost his little girl friend, and
why he was so strangely distrait in her presence, and she so strangely
perverse, apparently unfriendly. He understood it all. She had been
in the far South, in "Mormon Dixie," and just returned. A faint
flush overspread her face as Manson advanced to meet her ; in an in-
stant it passed away, and she accosted him with a manner and words
that plainly showed she meant to consider him merely as " some one she
had met before." But his frame thrilled as their hands touched. It
was all over with him. He was madly, violently in love. He
scarcely knew how he got out of the house and got home. There was
a messenger waiting a returned miner from Montana who bore a
note, in a well-remembered hand. But it contained only these words:

Will : For God's sake, come and see me.


* Deuteronomy xvii: 17.


Certainly he would go, only he must make some preparations
first. But why was Tom so urgent? and if so urgent, why had he
kept silent so long ? The Montanian was gone before Manson had
thought to ask, and the next minute he was astonished to see Beatty,
with a wagon-load of Mormons, driving out the Toocle road. And
now it was evening, and he must have some time to think; and
when it was morning, he thought he must see Marian once more before
he left, for surely if Tom had been sick, or any thing wrong, he would
have said so. Now, contrary to the usual rule, bad news does not
travel fast in Utah; and when Manson had dispatched a note by the
slow mail of those days, a week passed before he could take the first
step of preparation ; and at the end of that week came another note,
and, strange to say, by another returning miner instead of the mail,
and it merely said :

" You need not come; wait for me"

And it is almost a shame to relate it, but ten minutes after the note
was read, Manson had already dismissed it from his mind, and was
pondering on his intended visit to Marian. Ah ! love is a terribly
selfish passion.

And now the conduct of Elder Briarly was more a puzzle than ever.
He came again to the store, but talked very little ; and when Manson,
after waiting on a customer, happened to glance suddenly at the
Elder, he saw the latter watching him with an eager intensity, as if he
would read his very thoughts. He could not understand it, and yet
,he knew that it made him very uncomfortable. Worse still, it made
.'him half afraid ; and so, while he was in a fever of impatience to see
.Marian, he still hung back irresolutely till another Sunday came, and
. went. He saw her far across the Tabernacle, and was feasting his
eyes on her face, when her father was suddenly called upon to " ad-
dress the brethren." And now, to Manson's astonishment, Elder
Briarly rose and delivered a fierce philippic against all Gentiles, from
that very uncompromising text: "He that is not for us, is against us."
The Mormons, be it noted, have a most unhappy facility of get-
ting hold of all the hard, uncharitable (I say it with reverence)
texts in the Bible ; and while they preach a thousand sermons a year
on this text, not one of them was ever known to quote the rendering
igiven by another Evangelist: "He that is not against us, is on our

.Manson fairly shuddered while the elder launched metaphorical
'fire and brimstone on "our enemies, who have followed us to these
valleys of the mountains," and denounced every lax saint who favored


the ungodly Babylonians. Thence he branched off to the history of
the Church, and recounted more persecutions than were suffered by the
early Christians. Racks, hatchets, swords and dungeons glimmered
through his sermon in mazy confusion, and he galloped recklessly
over bloody figures of speech like an oratorical Bashi-Bazouk. Man-
son was positively frightened, and suffered two weeks more of self-tor-
menting fancies before he dared venture to see Marian. It was now
late autumn, and the evening was cold, but his head felt hot enough
as he turned the familiar corner in the sixth ward. To his amaze-
ment, as he met the father coming out, the latter bowed low, spoke
most graciously, then glanced around and hurried away as if he had
been stealing a sheep ! What was the matter, thought Manson, that
people in these peaceful valleys should be so afraid of each other?
Surely this was the quietest city on the continent. Every traveler

said so, and yet .

There was Marian, alone in the large orchard and garden combined,
which surrounds these Mormon dwellings. She smiled faintly, ex-
tended her hand, and said something about "neglecting old friends."
The hot blood rushed over him. His native "Hoosier" impulsive-
ness had the mastery. He never could have told you how he did it
how then can I? But he had her hand. He was kissing it. He was
pouring out passionate words. Now he had her in his arms. He
said every thing and nothing. He left every sentence unfinished.
His speech could not have been reported by a lightning phonogra-
pher. There were no connected words in it, indeed. But it had the
essential element of strength. And at the end of it, they were far
back in a thicket; his hat was upon the ground, her head upon his
shoulder, and he felt as if he needed a dozen arms and hands. And
yet the innocent fellow did not know if his prayer had been granted.
Time was needed to make it clear to his mind. But after the storm
came a great calm of enjoyment. The cold night was unheeded by
the happy lovers, till the step of her father returning from the "expe-
rience meeting" aroused them to the painful fact that they were still
in a world of difficulties, and that much lay between them and the
fruition of their hopes. But Manson went home as if he trod on air.
He was too happy to sleep. The first revulsion came when, at the
usual hour next day, he saw Elder Briarly enter. But now the pecul-
iarities of the elder seemed tenfold increased. He talked in a loud
and aggressive tone with the few Mormon customers. AVhen they had
gone, he seemed to fall into a reverie. Manson felt instinctively that
the elder had learned all from his daughter, and his heart beat with


fearful violence whenever the latter approached him ; but every time
the elder would again turn away in silence. The suspense became
unbearable. At length there came a lull in the morning business.
Briarly went to the door as if to leave. He passed into the street,
and looked both ways, then suddenly reentered, and came hurriedly to
the rear end, where Manson stood. The latter leaned forward, un-
certain whether he was to be denounced or pleasantly entreated, and
was about to speak, when the elder hurriedly inclined his mouth to
the Gentile's ear, and hissed rather than whispered:

" In God's name, is there any way we can get out of this infernal
country ? "

The light step of a Mormon woman was heard at the door. The
elder turned with a cheery greeting and loud laugh ; then passed at

once into the street, leaving Manson almost petrified with amazement.
* * * * * * *

It was midwinter, and there was another Gentile panic. The
" outsiders" had thought their troubles over; that law was to reign in
Utah. But in the spring, S. N. Brassfield was shot dead while walk-
ing the streets in the custody of an officer. In October, Dr. Robin-
son was brutally assassinated. Non-Mormon settlers on the public
lands were mobbed, shot, thrown in the Jordan, and driven away.
Willie Manson thought he had troubles enough, when one day a pale,
spiritless looking man entered the store, and said he was Thomas
James ! Oh, no ! It could not be, thought Manson. Not the bold
horseman who had cut his way through ranks of brave Bannocks !
Not the stout young Briton who had done and dared so much in
Montana ! Yet it was. But not the same. Never to be the same
again. For now Manson listened to a narrative that chilled his
blood with horror. Thomas James had suffered at the hands of the
priesthood the last terrible indignity that man can suffer compared
with which murder is a light offense. A creature walked abroad,
called by the same name; but Thomas James, the yeoman, would never
again dare death in Indian combat, or rival a bishop in love. Where
could he go, and what could he do? asked his pitying friend. He
was not alone. Utah in that sad time contained more than one who
had suffered like him men, so-called, shrinking along the streets,
ashamed to meet their kind. For, let this misfortune come how it
may, on innocent or guilty, while reason protests that we ought not
to despise such a one, the subtle instinct of manhood commands that
we shall.

Thomas James went south with a party going to San Bernardino ;


and in due time the report reached Salt Lake City that he had died
there, insane. Bishop Warren extended his possessions, and was a
father unto his people. There was peace and order in his bishoprick ;
the apostle in charge of Cache Valley recommended this good stew-
ard for reward; and strangely enough, when Brigham asked his will,
the bishop only wanted another wife, as he had but four, and his
kingdom was not increasing as fast as he could wish. To Christina
Jahnsen, sorrowful and lonely, came the good sisters with a world of
good advice. Innuendoes, hints at what had been said and heard,
insinuations that her lover had boasted of his conquest, parts of let-
ters said to have been written all these skillfully woven into an im-
posing lie soon did their work. Believing herself doubly betrayed,
a sinner against God and a traitor to the Church, she submitted to
whatever was required; and before the winter was past the Endow-
ment House witnessed the sacrifice of another victim, and the fatherly
bishop went home with his young wife. The laws of Zion had been
vindicated. Virtue, according to the Mormon idea, had been pro-
tected; the daughters of Zion were warned, and the careful bishop
had his reward.

But the married woman soon learns what the ignorant girl could
not even have suspected. She learned too soon that she had been
cruelly deceived. That calm nature was aroused, and the lovely woman
had a devil in her heart. Then began the battle. It was a weak
woman against a whole community ; an individual against a system.
Fierce as a fury she flew upon her " husband," and cursed him with
frantic vehemence. She raved and prayed by turns; she could not
-yet cast off her faith in Mormonism, but she hated it because it was
true. Then came the "counsel" of ward teachers; the direction to
humble herself, to make her peace with the man who was her " head
in Christ." But she raved on. It was now insanity. Then was
pronounced the common verdict in such cases : " Possessed of a devil."
The elders came with the holy oil and laying on of hands. But the
"possession " would not be charmed away. Then she was bound down
"till such time as the devil should cease to afflict her."

About her came all the canting sisterhood, the malignant, the
stupid, the fanatical, to preach " submission to the will of God." " It
is the duty of us all, Sister. Brother Warren is an upright man,
a faithful Saint; he will give you a great exaltation in the eternities.
With a Gentile you would be a servant, world without end.
Just think, dear Sister, how dreadful to be a hewer of wood and
drawer of water through all eternity for other women, when you


might have been a queen in the celestial heavens." Still she raved, and
railed on the Church and all the priesthood. Again was she bound ;
again the holy oil and laying on of hands. Then " the devil left her."
A strange calm followed. The faithful rejoiced over a sister restored.
She went about her duties in silence and submission. But there was
that in her eye which the dull brethren about her did not note ; there
was a far away look, that showed a mind set on something the eye
could not see. An inward fever scorched her blood, and dried up the
sources of her beauty. Her child was born and died, but she heeded
it not. Two years passed, and the bishop's " favorite and No. 5 " began
already to be known as the bishop's " old woman." Another year,
and she was away from Logan ; now on the bishop's ranche, in Bear
River Valley. The bishop now had another " favorite," a No. 6 ; and
few who noticed No. 5 at her wearing tasks, "taking care of things
at the ranche," ever stopped to think how fast the bishop's late favor-
ite had become an " old woman," or to wonder that that head, fast
turning gray, and that wrinkled face, could belong to a woman over
whose head but twenty-five years had passed. At length there came
a night when the storm was abroad upon the desert. The fierce wind
howled along the Humboldt Range, gathered the red sand in ghastly
pillars that rolled over Promontory Range, and swept with blinding
force upon the eastern valley. People said : '' It is one of our worst
dust storms it Avill purify the air," and thought of the season, the
crops and their several material gains. But the dust storm grew to a
tornado; and when it passed, the crazy log-hut on the bishop's ranche
was in ruins. A calm and glorious morning followed the storm; the
Utah valleys never looked more peaceful than then. But in that
storm a greater storm had been stilled. Beneath the pitying stars
that shone through the flying clouds that night, a soul had found
release ; another subject had deserted from Brigham's kingdom, and
the sad Danish girl was young again in the heaven of her beloved.


The mystery of his intended father-in-law was no longer a mystery
to Willie Manson. The elder had long been apostate in heart, and
secretly mourned his inability to escape from his bondage. But how
could he break the ties which bound him in Utah? He now had
three wives, but every day he secretly thanked God that the last one
was childless. Ten years he had lived in polygamy, and Marian
had nine half-brothers and sisters. Could he leave these innocent

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 35 of 62)