By Mrs. A. B. Sidwell
(Written about 1889)
  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 VI

The Indians on the War Path

Raid on Spring City

During the summer of 1853 the Indians, becoming exasperated at some slight offense on the part of the Mormons, retaliated by killing Alex Keel, at Payson, on the 18th of July, and this was the commencement of the dreadful "Walker War" which raged throughout the length and breath of the settled portions of Utah. Scarcely a week passed that did not bring the tidings of scenes of blood and carnage enacted in some portion of the Territory. Cattle and horses were driven off, settlements burned, plundered, and people inhumanely massacred.

On the 19th of July, a simultaneous rising of the Indians resulted in the guard at Pleasant Creek (Mt. Pleasant) being fired upon; on the 20th some cattle were driven from Manti; also horses from Nephi and the guard fired upon. W. M. Jolley, at Springville, was wounded.

"On the 23rd P. W. Cownover's company of militia was sent out from Provo to protect the weaker settlements and had an engagement with the Indians near Pleasant Creek in which six Indians were killed."

The settlers at Pleasant Creek now moved into the fort at Spring town for greater security, and in Manti the people were moving off their city lots and getting into fort shape with the greatest possible dispatch.

Imagine, kind and gentle reader, a brilliant, but quiet and pleasant Sabbath morning the 2nd of August 1853 at Springtown, the primitive fort constructed of rude log cabins joining each other and forming ahollow square, leaving room in the center for the herd of cattle, horses,and sheep.

These herds had just been driven to their grazing grounds by six or eight well armed herdsmen, and the pious inhabitants of the little fort quietly prepared to assemble for divine worship in the historical, "log school house," or in the absence of that, in one of the more commodious cabins. Let your fascinated minds dwell upon this scene until - suddenly, bursting with deafening sound upon your startled sense, a tumult of yells, howls and screeches as if every fiend in Pandemonium had been turned loose; and gazing through the apertures of the outer walls, designated, "port holes," (all the windows being on the inside walls) and behold at least fifty mounted Indian warriors, war paint daubed upon their faces, with utter contempt of anything but hideousness, all yelling, howling, whooping, prancing and corvetting their horses, describing quadrants, semi circles, circles, isosceles triangles,and every other conceivable figure.

Inside the fort, see men grasping their muskets, shot guns, rifles and every other available weapon; the women and children huddling together m the darkest and safest corners. Hell raging, seething and boiling outside for the purpose of keeping the attention of the men confined to the immediate vicinity of the fort, while an additional fifty or a hundred warriors, one mile distant, are rounding up every hoof of stock owned by the inmates of the little fort, not even sparing the saddle horses the herdsmen had ridden to the herd grounds; they having dismounted to allow them to graze, it being contrary to the irreligious convictions to deprive any living creature of its Sabbath rest, the herdsmen all scattering and quickly concealing themselves as best they could, perceiving the absolute hopelessness of attempting anything in retaliation or recovery of the stock, which was now being driven pell mell, hurry scurry, "lick-it-to-scott," for the east mountains.

As soon as the stock was discovered to be fairly making the ascent, the party at the fort, after many fiendish and insulting maneuvers, such as only an American Indian knows how to perform, and with many shouts of derision at the utter helplessness of the inmates, the party at the fort suddenly decamped and followed the raiders up the mountain side. Soon after the scattered herdsmen began coming in, and it was soon ascertained, to the great relief and ecstatic delight of wives and mothers, that not a man or boy was missing. Two of the herd boys had succeeded in getting their frightened horses near the field fence when the whizzing bullets warned them that in skulking lay their only hope of safety. Accordingly the horses were abandoned; but afterward, to the intense joy and satisfaction of the entire community, the two horses came whinnying for admission; they now had the means of sending the dispatch to the fort at Manti for assistance, which was immediately done, the express starting due west and riding at nightfall across the hills in order if possible, to avoid any straggling warriors.

Arriving at Manti about three o'clock p. m. a mounted "Paul Revere" was instantly dispatched with the intelligence to the Manti herdsmen with orders to rush the stock instantaneously to town; about twelve armed and mounted herdsmen made expeditious movements in obedience to the order, and in a short time thirty-six yoke of cattle were hitched to three wagons with several teamsters and twelve mounted guards, six in the van and six in the rear. Silently-as soon as dusk had settled o'er the valley, the rescuers started to move the helpless colony to the half completed fort at Manti.

Our boys arrived at the desolate fort just at break of day, not an eye had been closed that night; but all in the fort were eagerly scanning the western hills, hoping and praying for the help that had now come to their deliverance; and now they knew their express had arrived in safety at Manti, a fact of which all night they were in anxious doubt.

The work of dismantling now commenced in earnest and the inhabitants were removed to Manti and made as comfortable as possible in the centre of the unfinished fort. The men returned armed and in sufficient force for safety to irrigate the growing grain a part of the force standing guard while the others labored.

It subsequently transpired that the allied bands of marauding Indians had driven the stock only a few miles distance-up into Joe's Valley, where they camped and a very animated altercation as to the division of the spoil took place. While they were thus quarreling a milch cow that had left a young calf in the fort; would occasionally elude their vigilance, and return to their starving offspring; and as each animal with distended udder, was descried approaching the dismantled fort, they were greeted with enthusiastic ardor, caps were flung in air and the watchers were nearly consumed with breathless expectation, until it could be determined whether it was " Allred's old Brindle" or Mart Wood's "old Speck." That was the men's greeting, but more than one of the returning lost ones was greeted by the women and children with tender caresses, and sometimes tears of joy.

Standing guard was now the order of the day in Manti, and military rule predominated. Every man was compelled to come at beat of drum each morning to answer to ôroll call," report for duty, and receive orders of the day and night.

The men went in companies of not less than ten or twelve for wood, with two mounted men for guards who remained on the eminences, keeping a constant lookout while the company worked. The people had now completed a small stone fort with two large bastions at opposite corners occupying the ground where the present site of the tithing yard now stands; and all the log cabins were being moved into fort shape with the greatest possible dispatch; also another more extensive stone fort was in process of erection, enclosing nine of our city blocks; each man had his proportion of wall allotted to him to build.

The poor men! Standing guard nights and working days with unabated ardor, constantly praising and thanking kind Providence who gave them strength, patience, perseverance, and energy to accomplish such an amount of labor, did all that was required of them with undaunted courage and cheerfulness. A guard was furnished to watch the grist mill while the miller made haste to grind a sufficient supply of flour to last the settlement preparatory to a contemplated removal of the mill to a place of greater safety within the limits of the "big fort," but before this could be accomplished both miller and guard, John E. Warner and William Mills, were murdered, their mutilated bodies being found a few rods away from the mill, and it still running, grinding its own stones to powder. It was concluded by the condition of the stones, that the men had been killed in the morning (afterward verified by the Indians} and not discovered by the people until evening. Bread the people must have-but as soon as possible the mill was removed and is still standing where it was then erected in the center of Manti. But before the removal of the sawmill was effected, the Indians had made a bonfire of all portions of the mill that were capable of being converted into charcoal and ashes.

The secondstake president was father Chappan; Walter Cox was one of his assistants and James Wirham was the other.

One of the first structures erected was the log house at the foot of the stone quarry, in which the colonists held their religious gatherings, but when the Indians became hostile they abandoned it and built their second in the northeast corner of the log fort; the third was the old council house built while Warren Snow was bishop. Many who attended church in the log meeting house will yet attend church in the $23,000 ward house now under construction.

Previous| Contents | Next