Sullivan Richardson stories
  1. History of Sully
  2. Indians
  3. Geronimo
  4. Nixy the Apache
  5. Massacre
  6. Jacob Hamblin
  7. Incidents
  8. Curley Bear
  9. 1880 Census
  10. Emigrant Train
  11. Indian Origins
  12. For Young Folks
  13. Visit to Pres Diaz


by Sullivan Calvin Richardson

In early days in Utah, President Brigham Young counseled the people to "Feed instead of fight the Indians". He proved that he appreciated them as human beings, as God's children, even if they did lack the enlightenment the Gospel would yet bring to them. The wisdom of his "winning" treatment, his dealings and treaties with that race, bore wondrous fruits of safety and good will in those miraculous journeys through fierce, warring tribes from the first of that great trek across the plains.

Compare the general history of the Sioux with the incident from "Curtis Family" page 7: "Lyman Curtis went back for his family. On the Platte, their horse was stolen. In a light snow they tracked it to a Sioux village, went right to the Chief and told of their loss. He gave a call that brought his people together and said to them, 'Here are some of your friends who are a long way from home. Their moccasins are worn out, their food gone, and someone has stolen their only horse. Go, give them food, mend their moccasins and bring their horse and send them on their way as you would be sent on yours." When squaws came and took their moccasins, at first they hardly knew what to expect, but soon they were brought back, nicely half soled and mended, and with food and their horse, went rejoicing on their way; and only through what President Brigham Young had done".

Many Utah families that had but very little for their own hungry children's mouths, influenced by that great man's counsel, divided their little store with the "Red skins" when they, also greatly in need, came around begging "preat". Those who yet remember seeing those visits, are getting very scarce, but then it was not FEW who could testify of the blessings received from obeying that counsel.

But sometimes the natives grew to expect too much, and brought upon themselves trouble, which they returned with injustice and cruelty. Nor was this on the side of the Indians alone.

The difference between their treatment by our people and that of the companies of the "Gold Rush" outfits was quickly learned. One time when I was asked to talk on "Testimonies of the Past", one was that when the "whites" were caught, it became quite common for the Indians to strip them and see if they had on garments with the customary marks of the L.D.S. put on their under garments.

One time two men were caught, and on being stripped, one had them and was turned free. The other had just come from the East, and had not been through the Endowment House. They were preparing to torture, when one came up that understood enough English so the first could explain to him that the other was as much of a Mormon as he, but that he had just come from "way off" and had not been to the "good house", and could not wear the clothes until he had been there. And he too, was turned loose. This was as it was told me as a boy, but another old man, I believe it was Uncle Sam Johnson, said he well remembered the circumstance, and it was correct.


Soon after my parents moved to Manti, Sanpete Co., Utah, they lived on the outskirts of town where the Indians came first to ask for food. There had been some dissatisfaction on the part of the Indians, and an outbreak of hostilities threatened. One day my mother had a bake oven full of biscuits just baked, sitting on the hearth, when an Indian all painted up suddenly came to the door and demanded bread. She opened the oven and gave him part, but he saw there was more and wanted it. When she refused and told him she must have the rest for her own family, he went to the hearth and stooped to take out more.

Mother stopped him and he quickly straightened up and drew from his belt a big knife to strike her with. As he raised it in the air clutching it by the hilt, mother caught up the long iron handled, heavy bladed fire shovel and sprang back, raising it ready to strike him.

What he saw blazing from her eyes, the determination and perhaps, another power that was uncommon in his life, also seeing that she could reach him with that long, heavy fire shovel before he could touch her (none may know the real power), but something changed his attitude and mind, and suddenly, exclaiming in good English, "Brave Squaw'.", he put his knife back in his belt and left.

A neighbor woman who lived across the street saw all through the open door and was so agitated that she fainted dead away, and it was she who spread the description of what was done.


Another incident illustrates the presence of mind and strong character of our mother. When my father and brother, George, went up on the mountain for a load of logs for the school house, she, with my sister, Emma, went with them to stay near the camp outfit to pick service berries while the menfolk went on up the mountain for the logs.

While they were busy and interested, some Indians who probably thought to enjoy their fright and at the same time get the berries they had picked, with what they wished from the camp, sneaked into the bushes near them, and when all was ready, set up a terrible, unearthly yelling.

It was an unexpected, horrible surprise, giving all the bloodcurdling effects of Indiam whooping in a forest. My sister dropped her pail and started to run. Our mother called her back, almost scolding her, reminding her that if the Indians wanted to catch them, running could not save them as they were no match for the Indian on foot. Also, she told her that the Indians yelling instead of acting showed the wish to scare them away. Emma saw the reason in it, and they kept on quietly picking berries, and soon the outwitted Utes left them in peace.


A couple of years after our parents moved to Springville, Amos Warren, our Indian interpreter who worked with the Utes, went down to the Clay beds southwest of Springville, and found that in the Indian camp, in the night a squaw had died. She was the wife of a chief that had died before, and according to their rules, her girl papoose, just old enough to begin to sit alone and learn to walk was all that stood between all the chief's property and them. No one wanted to take the child and care for her, so the easiest thing for them to do was to do away with the child. They put the baby on her dead mother's breast and got off to shoot it with arrows.

One had shot an arrow through her leg quite near the body, and as Warren rode up, another shot an arrow that went through her neck where it seemed impossible that it did not cut the jugular vein. The little one screamed and caught hold of the arrow with both hands. The Indians laughed and. another said, "It's my turn", as he fitted an arrow into his bow. Warren stopped it with, "Hold on here; what does this mean?" The brave replied, "Oh, it's my turn" and insisted that he be allowed to shoot. But Warren was firm, and at last got the little girl for an old buffalo robe and other things and by promising that the girl should never come back to claim the property.

He came to our mother with the little one and said, "Sister Richardson, I have looked over the town to see who would be a mother to this child and can think of no one but you. Will you take her?" He was in hard circumstances, and felt he could not give her what he had paid to get her. Mother told him she had a piece of cloth worth between seven and eight dollars, which was the amount he had put on the robe and things he had paid. She had just finished weaving the cloth, and he gladly took it. The bargain completed, he rode away and she began to nurse the arrow wounds.

My earliest childhood recollections were of following a redheaded brother and a black haired little Indian girl around, trying to do what they did, say what they said and add to the songs that they sang.

But Mother gave her a start and later life she spent many years as Matron of an Indian school. She had one beautiful daughter that would be a credit to any family.

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