By Mrs. A. B. Sidwell
(Written about 1889)
Note: She was the oldest daughter of Orville S Cox
  1. The Pioneers Enter Sanpete Valley
  2. A Year of Privations
  3. The First Summer
  4. Health, Indians, Grist Mill
  5. Walker, the Crafty Indian Chief
  6. The Indians on the War Path
  7. The Indian Troubles Continue
  8. Novel Indian Move Gave Sanpete County Impetus
  9. Maniti's First Settlers
Chapter I

The Pioneers Enter Sanpete Valley

"O yes! O yes! Everybody yoke up! Yoke up and prepare to start", were the words of command issuing in stentorian tones from the lips of Captain Higgins, and greeting the ears of a small band of immigrants that were in the month of November, 1849, encamped in Salt Creek Canyon, working roads, waiting and hoping for the recovery of a suffering child of our captain's, and also sister Mary Lowry, who had on this camping ground sustained the injury of a badly fractured ankle.

Journeying. Whither? Through an unbroken wilderness, with the stupendous Wasatch mountains frowning down on every side, edging and walling in the leaden green of the lifeless sage flats and the naked limbs of tree and bush, denuded of their foliage. Grand old Nebo, around whose western and southern base we had been winding, stood with his snow capped peaks, like a sentinel above us.

Rain, that most dispiriting of storms, fell thick and chill, making the road, if road it could be called, of this sturdy little band more difficult and dangerous than it otherwise would have been. Every abrupt turn of the canyon appeared to be the end, yet, they cheerfully journeyed on, their destination being Sanpitch; to them, like the garden of Hesperides, to the ancients--a fabled land.

These undaunted travelers were both a military and civil body; Nelson Higgins represented the military authority, and Isaac Morley, Seth Taft, and Charles Shumway, the ecclesiastical and civil power. With pick and shovel in hand, filling a gully here, smoothing a projection there, and often walking all day, while the women drove the teams, these hardy Pioneers made their way through Salt Creek Canyon.

While encamped in this canyon, Charles Shumway, Huntington, Taft, and quite a number of the boys went ahead to look out the road and observe the lay of the country. Being gone longer than was deemed necessary for the purpose, intense anxiety began to be manifest in camp, regarding their safety, knowing they were in an Indian country far from home, and from all hope of help; when this feeling had reached a pitch when almost any certainty would have been better than suspense, just after darkness, thick, black and impenetrable had settled around this solitary camp, every person's thoughts intent upon our absent scouts, a happy, hearty laugh clear and resonant, suddenly broke the gloomy silence and fell upon our listening ears; there was no mistaking the broad, good humored guffaw of "Thop" Shoemaker-and we knew that all was well with our scouts, a part of whom had returned, while the rest had continued their explorations and gone on to some springs which they called Shumway, proposing to make this the permanent stopping place of the oncoming company.

On the arrival of the last detachments, Father Morley being among that number, (he having been unavoidably detained)-a council was held relative to the advisability of remaining where they were then encamped. Father Morley felt constrained to proceed about three miles southward and pointing with prophetic finger to an eminence rising in the distance, said "There is the termination of our journey; in close proximity to that hill, God willing, we will build our city ."

Arriving on the nineteenth of November at the present site of Manti, the entire company camped on City Creek. Another council was then held, Taft, Higgins, and several others being desirous of continuing the Journey as far south as where the fair city of Gunnison now stands. Taft gave vent to his feelings by uttering his oft quoted speech, "This is only a long narrow canyon, and not even a jack rabbit could survive its desert soil," (proving the sincerity of his belief by leaving as early as practicable in the spring, some others following his example) but with that steadfast resolution characteristic of the man, Father Morley opposed the prolongation of the journey, saying in his usual terse and predictive manner, "We behold the stake driven by P. P. Pratt in his exploration of this valley, this is our God appointed abiding place; and stay I will, though but ten men remain with me." And viewing past events in the light of the present as we behold the magnificent building which crowns the brow of that hill, beneath whose massive walls of solid o-olite, the little band found shelter from the inclemency of the season, which was just bursting upon their devoted heads, one cannot avoid believing, that Father Morley's firm determination to remain was little less than INSPIRATION!

The first death occurring among these isolated pioneers was the sick child of Capt. Higgins, mentioned in the first paragraph. A young man of sterling qualities, Theophilus Shoemaker, whose hearty, cheerful laugh wafted to our listening ears by the chill breezes of that November night in Salt Creek Canyon, announcing the safety of our exploring party, followed the little girl shortly after.

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