About this site

This site is a recreation of Forty Years Among the Indians, first published in 1890 by Daniel Webster Jones (1830-1915), my great-great-great grandfather. Between 2003 and 2009, this site was hosted by Geocities. With the discontinuation of Geocities in October 2009, I have moved the content of the site to Blogger.

The original site was mirrored at this location: http://jjones24.50webs.com/DanielWebsterJones/index.html

You can also find a scanned copy of the original text at Google Books:


I have included a number of items of potential interest regarding the book which I researched when putting the Geocities site together. The following is a page from that site identifying and describing those materials:

Extra-Textual Information.


Trozos Selectos del Libro de Mormon

Wallace Stegner (1909-1993) "The Man That Ate the Pack Saddle" , from Chapter 10 of The Gathering of Zion: The Story of the Mormon Trail, New York: McGraw Hill, 1964, 1981, pp. 260-274. A version was also published in Esquire magazine. An interesting account from a prominent Non-LDS Utah historian taken from chapters 10-20 of Forty Years Among the Indians. This could be a very good introduction to the material.

Abraham H. Cannon (1859-1896), Excerpts from his journal, Vol. xiv (28 January 1891 - 14 July 1891) LDS apostle 1889-1896, manager of the Juvenile Instructor; contains remarks concerning a disagreement with Daniel Webster Jones and the publication of Forty Years Among the Indians.

Jack McAllister, “The Unlikely Daniel Webster Jones: First Spanish Translations from the Book of Mormon,” Ensign, August 1981, 50. An article published in the Ensign, the official magazine of the Church. Details Daniel Webster Jones' conversion and the translation of the Book of Mormon into Spanish. Another good introduction.

Jack McAllister, “The Unlikely Convert: Daniel Webster Jones,” Tambuli, June 1988, 12. An update of the same article published in the Church's International Magazines.

Read both of these articles on the Church's official website:

Jack Goaslind (1928- ), "In His Strength I Can Do All Things," Then a member of the Presidency of the Seventy, talk delivered during the Priesthood Session of LDS General Conference, April 5, 1997. Relates the Devil's Gate incident.

Jack Goaslind, "In His Strength I Can Do All Things," on Church Website

David Bednar (1952- ), excerpt from "In the Strength of the Lord,", speech given at BYU Marriott Center October 23, 2001, and at BYU-Idaho January 8, 2002. President of Ricks/BYU-Idaho and an Area Authority Seventy, 1997-present.

Bill Hickman (1815-1883), "Brigham's Destroying Angel," New York : Geo. A. Crofutt, 1872. Excerpts from Chapters 4 and 5. Online Version of 1964 Reprint

Contains Bill Hickman's account of incidents found in Chapters XVI and XXI of Forty Years Among the Indians

Of this work, Daniel Jones comments in Chapter XVI,

"Can anyone believe such stuff? If all his book is like this for truth, one would do well to believe the reverse."

Sol Lewis, D. E. Livingston-Little, and Don Russell, Three Book Reviews, published about 1960, at the time of reprinting by Westernlore Press.

A. R. Mortensen, Foreword to 1960 reprint by Westernlore Press.

Fay Wray, granddaughter, excerpt from her autobiography, On the Other Hand: A Life Story, New York, NY: St. Martin's Press, 1989, p. 6-7, 180.

Nathan Jones, great-great-grandson, Note accompanying 1997 limited reproduction of Forty Years Among the Indians

Myles and Elsie Jones, great-grandson and wife, Dedication to family members in a 1997 limited Reproduction of Forty Years Among the Indians.

Ryan Reeder, great-great-great grandson Student Paper and Addendum written by the creator of this website for a Utah History class at BYU, 2000.

Ryan Reeder's website versions of paper and addendum

Family Information of Daniel Webster Jones, taken from FamilySearch.org and History and Genealogy of Daniel Webster Jones by Amy Jones Doyle (Western Printing Co.: Salt Lake City, UT, 1953).

Background border design by www.eosdev.com.

Email comments to the Website Creator

Family Information of Daniel Webster Jones

Family Information Page.


Wiley Jones
Born: 1799
Davidson, TN
Died: 20 July 1839
Fayette, Howard, MO

Philander Colton
Born: 19 Oct 1811
Clarence Hollow, Erie, NY
Died: 15 Aug 1891
Ashley Center, Uintah, UT

Married: 15 February 1821
Nashville, Davidson, TN

Daniel Webster Jones
Born:26 Aug 1830
Booneslick, Howard, MO
Died: 20 April 1915
Lehi, Maricopa, AZ

Married: 29 Jan 1852
Provo, Utah, UT

Harriet Emily Colton
Born: 24 July 1836
Shelby, Macomb, MI
Died: 12 Feb 1884
Tonto Creek, Gila, AZ

Married: 3 July 1833
Shelby, Macomb, MI
Margaret Scott Cloyd
Born: 9 May 1804
White Creek, Davidson, TN
Died: 6 Mar 1843
White Creek, Davidson, TN

Polly Matilda Merrill
Born: 15 Oct 1817
Smithfield, Madison, NY
Died: 13 Aug 1891
Ashley Center, Uintah, UT

══════════ ·•·CHILDREN & GRANDCHILDREN·•· ══════════

1. Mary Emily Jones
Born: 16 Nov 1853
Provo, Utah, UT
Died: 10 Aug 1919
Mountain View, Alberta, Canada

Married: 31 Jan 1876
Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, UT

Justus Perry Jordan
Born: 25 Dec 1851
Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, UT
Died: 11 Nov 1937
Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, UT

1. Perry Jordan, 16 Feb 1877
2. Lois Emily Jordan, 7 Dec 1878
3. Harriet Eleanor Jordan, 22 March 1881
4. Roseltha Ann Jordan, 15 Feb 1884
5. Hugh Edwin Jordan, 10 Feb 1886
6. Byron Ransom Jordan, 19 Aug 1888
7. Mary Jordan, 6 Jan 1892
8. Ruth Jordan, 2 Aug 1893
9. Ross Elmo Jordan, 5 Oct 1895
10. James Owen Jordan, 1 Mar 1900

2. Frances Syrina Jones
Born: 1854
Provo, Utah, UT
Died: 1854
Provo, Utah, UT

3. Daniel Philemon Jones
Born: 1 Apr 1856
Provo, Utah, UT
Died: 6 Jul 1935
Mesa, Maricopa, AZ

Married: 26 Aug 1877
Lehi, Maricopa, AZ

Mary Ellen Merrill
Born: 15 May 1858
Lehi, Utah, UT
Died: 26 Nov 1945
Mesa, Maricopa, UT

1. Daniel Dudley Jones, 26 May 1878
2. Orrin Cloyd Jones, 5 Sep 1879
3. William Orlando Jones, 14 Dec 1881
4. Guy Wesley Jones, 13 Dec 1883
5. Bertram Merrill Jones, 14 Feb 1885
6. Rollin Philemon Jones, 3 Feb 1887
7. Doctor Byron Jones, 23 Feb 1889
8. Collins Ray Jones, 19 Feb 1891
9. Elmer Jones, 3 Jan 1894
10. Emily Jones, 3 Jan 1894
11. Mary Lora Jones, 14 Oct 1897
12. Hugh Colton Jones, 30 Oct 1900

4.Wiley Cloyd Jones
Born: 6 Sep 1858
Provo, Utah, UT
Died: Dec 1885

Married: Dec 1885

Rosetta Eleanor Pomeroy
Born:4 Nov 1863
Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, UT
Died: 2 March 1941

5. Edwin William Jones
Born: 24 Apr 1860
Provo, Utah, UT
Died: 16 Sep 1922

Married: 23 June 1891

Rosetta Eleanor Pomeroy
Born:4 Nov 1863
Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, UT
Died: 2 March 1941

1. Jessie Jones, 4 Nov 1892
2. Edwin Malcolm Jones, 23 Dec 1894
3. Byron LaRue Jones, 14 Mar 1902

6. Eleanor Ann Jones
Born: 26 Sep 1862
Provo, Utah, UT
Died: 23 Apr 1912
Fairview, Sanpete, UT
Married: 3 Nov 1879
Lehi, Maricopa, AZ

Married: 26 Jan 1888
John David Ward Brady
Born: 10 Nov 1857
Union, Salt Lake, UT
Died: Aug 1885
Chihuahua, Chhh, Mexico

Thaddius Wasatch Pritchett
Born: 20 Dec 1867
Fairview, Sanpete, UT
Died: 17 Jan 1929
Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, UT

1. John Francis Brady, 26 May 1880
2. Harriet Eleanor Brady, 29 Mar 1882
3. Elvina Brady, 5 Jul 1884
4. Iva Pearl Pritchett, 7 Jan 1889
5. Ernest Edwin Pritchett, 23 Apr 1892
6. Leon Gay Pritchett, 29 Jul 1895
7. Lydia Margaret Pritchett, 23 Aug 1898
8. Franklin Carl Pritchett, 14 Jun 1901

7. Wesley Lamoni Jones
Born: 26 Aug 1865
Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, UT
Died: 29 Aug 1909
Taylor, Navajo, AZ

Married: 12 Feb 1886
Fort Mc Dorcell, Gila, , Az

Phebe Jane Sanders
Born: 23 Jan 1865
Fairview, Sanpete, UT
Died: 9 May 1950
Phoenix, Maricopa, AZ

1. Wesley Myron Jones, 31 Dec 1886
2. Amy Jane Jones, 2 Jul 1888
3. Wiley Colton Jones, 6 Mar 1890
4. Ernest Martin Jones, 10 May 1894
5. Curtis Lamoni Jones, 31 Oct 1897
6. Miles Franklin Jones, 13 Jul 1899
7. Perry Albert Jones, 2 Jan 1901
8. Edwin Stanley Jones, 6 Sep 1904

8. David Bryon Jones
Born: 24 Aug 1867
Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, UT
Died: 3 Mar 1897

9. Margaret Elvina Jones
Born: 24 Jan 1870
Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, UT
Died: 28 Apr 1938
Married: 6 Jan 1892

Married:Date Uncertain
23 May 1900, 10 June 1900,
16 Dec 1910: Brandon, Manitoba, Canada
Henry E. N. Phelps
Born: 1866
Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, UT

Joseph Heber Wray
Born: 19 Dec 1861
Hull, Yorkshire, England
Died: 1 May 1930
Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA

1. Joseph Vivien Wray, 23 Mar 1901
2. Vaida Viola Wray, 15 Mar 1903
3. Willow Wynona Wray, 10 Aug 1905
4. Vina Fay Wray, 15 Sep 1907
5. Richard Goulding Wray, 28 Mar 1912
6. Victor Colton Wray, 25 Jun 1914

10. Lorenzo Ernest Jones
Born: 4 Jan 1872
Fairview, Sanpete, UT
Died: 15 Feb 1886

11. Franklin Colton Jones
Born: 18 Mar 1874
Fairview, Sanpete, UT
Died: 15 Nov 1894

12. Almira Elisa Jones
Born: 5 Mar 1876
Fairview, Sanpete, UT
Died: 16 Feb 1923

Married: 27 Dec 1894

Daniel Bryon Lambson
Born: 1872
Fairview, Sanpete, UT

1. Carmel Violet Lambson, 31 Dec 1895
2. Franklin Clifford Lambson, 6 Nov 1898
3. Byron D. Lambson, 24 Apr 1901
4. Eugene Field Lambson, 24 Sep 1903

13. Montgomery Milton Jones
Born: Feb 1879
Lehi, Maricopa, AZ
Died: 1882

14. George Albert Jones
Born: 1882
Lehi, Maricopa, AZ
Died: 12 Feb 1884
Tonto Creek, Gila, AZ

Student Paper

Forty Years Among the Indians:

A True Yet Thrilling Narrative of the Author's Experiences Among the Natives

By Ryan Reeder


Originally written for History 366: Utah History class at BYU, professor Brian Q. Cannon

December 11, 2000, addendum January 5, 2001

View on www.geocities.com/ryan_reeder

View addendum on www.geocities.com/ryan_reeder



FORTY YEARS Among the Indians is "a true yet thrilling narrative of the author's experiences among the natives." It was printed by the Juvenile Instructor Press in Salt Lake City, Utah in 1890. The book's four hundred pages describe Daniel Webster Jones' (the author and my great-great-great grandfather) life from the time he went west with the army in the war with Mexico in 1847 until the time the book was printed. Some interesting accounts include his remaining at Devil's Gate during the winter of 1856-7 to guard the property of the companies that came through late that season. Another interesting story describes the first mission into Mexico in 1875. He also goes into great detail describing his associations and love for the Indians who inhabited the area, and many of the services he rendered for them.


Daniel Webster Jones was orphaned at an early age and then "left all [his] friends and relatives and went out into the world alone, probably as willful a boy as ever lived" (Jones, 19). He went out west with the army as a teenager in 1847 in the war against Mexico, and then remained there for three years, taking part in much of the "wild, reckless life that was common in that land," (Jones 18) to the point where he felt condemned in his own conscience. In July, 1850 he left with a company herding sheep through Utah Territory and on into California. While on the trip, however, he accidentally shot himself, "one of the most dangerous possible, not to prove fatal," (Jones, 29). Rather than being a hindrance to the company he stayed with, he was left in the care of a Mormon family in Provo. He was baptized by Father Isaac Morley on January 27, 1851(Jones, 41) and married Harriet Emily Colton a little over a year later (Jones, 53).

In the fall conference of 1856, President Brigham Young made a call for volunteers to go bring those then suffering in the Martin and Willie Handcart and Hunt and Horgett wagon companies in from the plains. After being asked by several leading authorities to go, he agreed (Jones,62). Upon arriving, the rescuers decided to leave the property of the emigrants at Devil's Gate with a few men to watch it during the winter, while the rest of the rescuers got the parties into the valley as quickly as possible. Dan Jones was selected to preside over the group with Thomas Alexander and Ben Hampton from the valley assisting him, along with seventeen men from the wagon companies (Jones 72). It wasn't long before they ran out of food and were low on game, and ended up eating rawhides, "the wrappings from the wagon tongues, old moccasin-soles were eaten also, and a piece of buffalo hide that had been used for a foot mat for two months" (Jones, 82). After arriving home, he met with charges and rumors that he had pilfered the goods while at Devil's Gate, but with President Brigham Young's intervention, he was cleared.

Back home, he engaged in saddlery as a profession, but was frequently solicited because of his knowledge of Spanish and the area to engage in other tasks. In 1860, he acted as a guide for troops searching out a trail to Santa Fe. On one occasion on the way home he, his brother-in-law S.B. Moore, and two military horsemen who had accompanied them were attacked by robbers; they abandoned their goods and galloped away. On another occasion, he interceded with the Indians to help end the Black Hawk War.

In June 1874, he was called to meet with Brigham Young along with Henry Brizzee. President Young informed them that "the time had come to prepare for the introduction of the gospel into Mexico," and accordingly asked the two to begin translating the Book of Mormon into Spanish (Jones, 220). Soon, a Spaniard from the Philippines, Mileton Trejo, who had joined the Church joined them in the translation process. After gathering subscriptions from many members of the Church for the publication of the Book of Mormon, Dan Jones, his son Wiley, and five others left for Mexico in September 1875 with about two thousand copies of one-hundred page selections from the Book of Mormon translated into Spanish (Jones, 233). They were asked to travel by pack animal, exploring the Salt River Valley country of Arizona on the way. Their mission in Mexico, as President Young understood it, was to be "as prospectors going through to prepare the way. . . .[They] were not sent to baptize and organize branches, neither were [they] forbidden to do so," (Jones, 274). By these standards, the mission was quite successful. They found priests that warned their congregations against them, and some people who had been waiting years for the missionaries. They arrived home about the first of July, 1876. Soon after, President Young asked him to lead a colonizing mission to Mexico. He settled in the Salt River Valley for some time. During a brief stay in the Tonto Basin, his wife, mother of their fourteen children, was killed with their two-year-old son when a shed fell over on them during a storm (Jones, 345). Dan Jones later attempted to purchase some good quality land in Chihuahua. He concludes his narrative by describing much of what he had learned about the various tribes of Indians, their ways, and the importance of taking the gospel to them, as the Church is directed to in the Book of Mormon.

Daniel Webster Jones tells us a good deal more about his life during the period he writes about than he tells us about life during that period. In that respect, he sticks pretty well to his topic-a "narrative of the author's experiences among the natives." Many of his details describe his associations with Indians and Mexicans. His intent is not to write a general history of Utah-that he has left to others, as he states several times in his book (e.g. 61-"I aim to deal more with that which is not written"). However, where he was a witness or a participant in certain events that made the history books, he describes them well, often giving details which would otherwise not be known.. These include the slave trade, Judge Brocchus' speech, the Walker, Utah or Echo Canyon, and Black Hawk Wars, the Reformation, and the election controversy of 1874. There are several interesting aspects about his narrative. One is that he often acts as a spokesman for the Indians to us. He really seemed to understand their point of view, at least according to his perception of their reaction to him, and effectively communicates this to the reader. His depiction of several prominent leaders of the Church is quite informative-especially the fact that they seem to be so accessible to the common man. Finally, it appears that he has some criticism towards many of the regular members of the Church because of prejudice towards the red man, and for often jumping to abrupt conclusions or being purposely deceitful. When he had time during his life for a normal, day-to-day life, he describes it somewhat, though briefly.

It's interesting to compare Dan Jones' perspective on historical events with other sources. Quite often, they are biased, either to make the Church look good or to make it look bad. Dan Jones tells it like he saw it, and there is a real sense of honesty to it. To begin with, there was the instance when Governor Young put a stop to the Mexican slave trade. He describes the reaction of the Mexicans and the Utes to it. At one point he acted as interpreter in a trial of one Pedro Leon, who had violated the agreement. Jones notes that there was "a great deal of prejudice and bitter feeling" shown toward Leon, and that Governor Young did all he could to see that he got a fair trial (Jones 52). On another occasion, he tells us that "several of us were present" when Arapine (Arapeen) of the Ute tribe offered to sell Indian children to the Mormons, who refused, whereupon, Arapine took one of the boys, and "dashed its brains out on the hard ground, after which he threw the body towards us, telling us we had no hearts, or we would have bought it and saved its life" (Jones 53). He records that this was the last public attempt of the child slave trade.

When Utah was organized as a territory, several officials were appointed from other areas of the country. One of these was Judge Perry E. Brocchus of Alabama. On one occasion in September 1851, shortly after he arrived, he was given leave to speak to the people in a conference (Alexander, 119). Daniel Jones was there on this occasion and comments on his and Brigham Young's reactions to the speech. He says that he looked at "Brother Brigham who sat perfectly still with his mouth twisted a little to one side." He commented to a man next to him during the speech that he "would not allow such talk. . .that [he] would kick Brochus [sic] out of the stand" (Jones, 46). Then he mentions that when Brigham Young gave Brocchus his answer, he "understood why nothing had been said to interfere with his speech. . . .he got his dose, which so frightened him that he. . .left for the States in a few days" (Jones, 46).

The Walker (Walkara) War began when a Mormon, James Ivie interfered to stop a Ute, Shower-o-Cats, from whipping his squaw (Alexander 113-114). When the Ute threatened to shoot Ivie, he wrenched the gun from his hand and broke it over the Indian's head, who later died as a result (Jones 56). Walker then sought revenge. Jones and a companion were at this time en route from Payson to Provo. On the road they met twenty-five Indians dressed for war. They had no opportunity to turn and run, so continued on straight ahead as if nothing were there. The Indians parted and let them through, then went on to Payson "and in less than an hour commenced killing our people" (Jones, 56).

After returning from Devil's gate where he had spent the "winter of the Reformation," he comments briefly on it. He says:

"the reformation move was doubtless intended for and resulted in good; but like everything else where good is found the devil comes along to see what's up. So it was nothing strange if while browsing around he had a hand in some of the moves of men. This I soon became satisfied was the case now, and I did not take much 'stock' in what some people called reformation" (Jones, 113).

This shows something of his manner of presenting the information. In this statement, he does not gloss over and pretend that there were not some troublesome elements to the Reformation, yet he sustains the leaders and acknowledges that the basic purpose of the Reformation was good.

He briefly outlines the Utah War, describing his part as being under the charge of Colonel Pace, having charge of "a few picked riflemen" (126). They remained in Echo Canyon during the winter. He remained there fortifying the place until the end of May when they were told to come in as peace had been made.

Daniel Jones was heavily involved with the Black Hawk War, taking up about five chapters of his narrative in describing his role in making peace. He found the opportunity to go into the agency and work for the Indians making saddles. A friendly Indian, Ancatowats, advised him that the Indians would probably not kill him, as he was an old friend. Dan Jones then went and spoke with George A. Smith, who agreed that "if someone could get among the Indians and talk to them in a proper spirit it would do more good than fighting them," He added "If you have faith to try it you shall have my faith and blessing in the effort" (170). Using a sort of saddle negotiation with Tabby, an old friend, he was able to avert a raid on the Mormon settlement on Coalville.

He was later discharged from the agency, but had promised the Indians to return and do all he could for them (Jones, 178). Accordingly, he waited until the middle of winter and walked into the agency with Bradley Sessions, a good hunter whom he had persuaded to go with him. They passed through a lot of cold and suffering on the way, but made it through as promised. While there, he was able to negotiate a peace on behalf of the Mormons with the Indians.

At one point there was a mob gathering outside during the August election of city officers during 1874. Several Liberals believed they could put down Mormon rule in Salt Lake City. At this time, Dan and a companion were walking nearby and tried to do what they could to help. He was there when it became necessary to use force as the police made quick work with their clubs, beating down the leaders of the mob (Jones, 217). This was another interesting experience which Daniel Webster Jones had the opportunity to see firsthand.

At many times, Daniel Jones demonstrated his feelings toward the people of his world. He describes the Indians, the Church leaders, and the Mormon people. His descriptions offer insight into the relationships that these people had with each other during the second half of the nineteenth century.

The whole theme of his book deals with the Native Americans and their causes. He sympathizes greatly with the native Americans, seeing things from their perspective, often when, according to his description, no one else does. This originally stemmed back to the time when he accidentally shot himself. As they continued on their journey, Dan records that "the Indians came, both men and women, and I can never forget their expression of sympathy, or their looks of kindness" (Jones, 30). These feelings stayed with him throughout the remainder of his life. He always avoided getting involved in conflicts with Indians, and often tried to make peace with them. He counted it a particular piece of honor that he had never shed the blood of an Indian, and hoped never to do so. Occasionally he soliloquizes on the duties of the Mormon people toward the Indians, as he finds that the Book of Mormon promises that they would be brought the gospel by the gentiles in the latter days. These feelings carried over into his mission into Mexico, where he said that he had often when thinking of them "cried like a child, never having seen, from that day to the present, any disposition manifested to continue a mission in that part of the country" (Jones 287). At one point he makes the case that the Mexicans had done more for the Lamanite than the Americans had. Many Americans compare themselves with Mexicans and find themselves more advanced than the Mexicans. Dan Jones points out, however, that the comparison ought to be made between the American Indians and the Mexican people, and in this respect the Americans fall far short (Jones 378-379).

His feelings for the Mormon people similarly stem from his early exposure to them. He says they had "about the same kindly look of the eye and expression of sympathy as was manifested by the Indians on the Green River. . .[he] now felt conquered as far as Mormon goodness was concerned" (Jones 33). From time to time hypocrisy and other vices were manifested among the Mormons, yet he regarded these individual failings as simply "human weakness[es] which Mormonism had nothing to do with" (Jones 44). In general, the people were a good people, he considered himself one of them, but there were times when he wished that they would do better.

With the leaders of the Church, however, it was a different experience. He especially looked up to and admired Brigham Young. He had the opportunity of meeting with and receiving letters from him many times during his life. On his first introduction, he was taken to meet the prophet after doing some work with Edmund Ellsworth, President Young's son-in-law. He was not given time to change and told that "Brother Brigham did not judge a man by his dress" (Jones 46). Upon meeting President Young, he was "completely won" by his manner. The prophet asked him many questions without doubting Brother Jones' sincerity. He then wrote a note directing that he be ordained a Seventy. On several occasions, he received pertinent counsel and direction from President Young. As Jones began leading a company down into a settlement in Arizona, Brigham Young drove out to see them just past Santa Clara, Utah. Daniel Jones describes, "He gave us his blessing and a few words of counsel. This was the last time I ever saw Brother Brigham-to me the best and greatest man I have ever known" (308).

His feelings were similar towards other ranking members of the priesthood. He describes George A. Smith, when after one occasion he and a companion had been out guarding cattle in the Provo River bottoms for three days straight without sleep during the Walker War. When George A. Smith arrived, he went to meet him. Finding that he was asleep, he called him a "big, lazy lout" (Jones 59). When he awakened, President Smith questioned him on the matter. Daniel confirmed what he had said and explained why. President Smith immediately sent him to bed, without showing any anger. President Smith later used the incident as "a good joke." Brother Jones says he relates "this to show the nobility of his character, being above small prejudice. I have met others who ought to be as good as Brother Smith, who would never have forgiven me if I had made such a remark about them" (Jones 60).

Daniel Jones married, had fourteen children, and enjoyed a good home life from time to time. The accident that claimed the life of his wife and two-year-old son in 1883 was very hard on him, he says that "for over a year I would have been glad to have died" (Jones, 345). He learned the trade of saddlery and became a very good saddler. At one point he says that he despises a braggart and does not wish to appear as one, so he modestly says that "as 'Dan Jones, the saddler,' is well known, I will let this answer on that subject" (Jones, 129).

Daniel Webster Jones was a great, modest, humorous, at times cantankerous, many times deeply religious, respectable man. I feel privileged to call him a great-great-great grandfather.


Forty Years Among the Indians Report-An Addendum

Daniel Webster Jones describes his life in the West during the years from the Mexican War in 1847 until he published his autobiography in 1890. Taking his work as a window of pioneer life in this era, we can find and infer much about the attitudes and lifestyles that the Mormon people had in their portion of the Old West.

The Mormons tended to exhibit implicit trust and faith in their leaders, distrust of the United States government and the soldiers that represented it, and ambivalent views toward the Indians. It seems that members of the Church seldom, if ever, refused a calling from their leaders, despite the severity and difficulty that might be involved. When the call was made to help the handcart companies, Brigham Young called on every one present to help. Dan Jones was also asked to participate directly by Daniel H. Wells, Edward Hunter, and Jedediah Grant. He accepted, and later remained behind to guard the immigrants' goods. The ideal of integrity of his people is reflected in his own integrity when he said, "There was not money enough on earth to have hired me to stay. I had left home for only a few days and was not prepared to remain so long away; but I remembered my assertion that any of us would stay if called upon" (72). Another instance shows how the people would follow their leaders' instructions, even when it was counter to their own wishes. When he was asked to lead a colonizing mission to Mexico, he became discouraged because of ill reports concerning his lack of patience in leadership and asked Brigham Young and Wilford Woodruff to relieve him. They refused, and Brother Jones "went to work with a will to get ready for the trip" (306-7). He genuinely liked his leaders, often speaking very highly of Brigham Young and others(165-6, 308, 60). The attitude of accepting callings and loving and revering the general authorities was probably shared by many of his fellow Mormons.

The feeling toward the soldiers was quite the opposite, however. When he was induced to act as a guide for the soldiers in 1860, it is obvious that he wasn't ecstatic about the offer, refusing at first, and later accepting with conditions (which were later violated). He finds it ironic that the Mormons were regularly accused of being disloyal while the soldiers committed various acts of depravity. He describes "the people were insulted and abused in a violent manner. . .even commissioned officers taking the lead in lawless acts. . . .the commander. . .offered his support to our political enemies. . .is it right and legal to fit out with government supplies, tools, and animals and take enlisted men to work prospecting for mines, for private interests, under pretense of going to protect American citizens in their legitimate business against the Mormons?" and so forth. This sort of distrust was likely common among the Mormon settlers.

Dan Jones had a genuine liking for the Indians, which was not universally shared by his fellow Mormons. He uses the final pages of his book to exhort his people to remember the Lamanites and the promises made to them in the Doctrine and Covenants and Book of Mormon. He wonders if the hardening of hearts of the gentiles refers to their not taking the gospel to the Lamanites because they might say, "'I am not interested in these dirty Indians'" (396-400). Many of his neighbors undoubtedly did feel this way, as was manifested, for example, with the killing of an Indian near Fairview, where Jones was living at the time. Although the murder was "cowardly in the extreme, and more treacherous than anything I ever remember done by the Indians" (212), he succeeded in talking the Indians into refraining from retaliation. After the Indians agreed, they never broke their promise. Dan Jones asks those "who are so down on the 'treacherous Indians' to think of this" (213-214). The attitudes of the Mormons toward the Indians are reflected here, though Jones doesn't share them.

The lifestyle of these people is also exhibited in Dan Jones' work. We can learn something of their diet, when Jones speaks of having found "some coffee, sugar and fruit, also a roll of leather" and "no salt or bread excepting a few crackers" among the goods cached at Devil's Gate (76, 74). When a party was sent to relieve them, an episode of pulling sticks is described as "rawhide against corn," showing that corn was likely a staple of the diet in the valley (103). They also appeared to eat plenty of meat, much of which they killed and dressed themselves, valuing the skills of "a first-class butcher from London, who dressed everything in the best style" (76). When Jones returned from the episode, he met with his family. He describes his wife here as "one of the best and most faithful wives that ever blessed a husband" (112). Their fourteen children are evidence of the large families that these people had, and the love he describes for his wife reflects on the love and unity of the familial relationships, whether in polygamous or monogamous relationships. Hospitality was considered to be essential, and when it wasn't shown, it was despised by many people. Dan Jones describes Baker's reaction to their description of another settler, Martin's inhospitality as "'Well now, I will go into town every Saturday, get drunk, and abuse Martin for this until I run him out of the country. I will never let up on him. Why, he ain't fit to live'" (158). He describes community work, as when a flood destroyed the road through Provo Canyon in 1862 and a company was organized to rebuild it, with the funds being contributed voluntarily. This is similar to the voluntary conscriptions used to pay for the printing of the Book of Mormon into Spanish. There appears to be a strong sense of community loyalty and integrity.

These attitudes and lifestyles were in the context of the Old West. There were many who apparently knew no law but the knife and the pistol, and going out armed for defense was a way of life for the people. Transportation was commonly done on horseback, and Jones was able to start a profitable business as a saddler (129, 363). Murders and lynchings took place, including among some Mormons, such as Bill Hickman's killing of Yates, a friend of Jones', during the Utah War. Jones says "Hickman killed Yates for his money and horse the same as any other thief and murderer would have done, and then excused himself by telling that he was counseled to do these things" (130).

Despite an environment of the Wild West where Indians were killed like wild animal pests and soldiers engaged in profiteering without inquisition, the Mormons in Utah during this time still contributed to the future of society. Their attitudes toward their leaders are largely unchanged in the present. Close familial relationships, as well as large families, are common among Mormons today. Daniel Webster Jones' autobiography is very useful in informing us of Mormon attitudes and lifestyles during this time.

Note to family members

By Myles and Elsie Jones



WE HOPE you will receive much satisfaction from reading this book in years to come.

Daniel Webster Jones as your ancestor left a great legacy for each one of us to remember and follow along with many others. I feel his life was protected and guided many times by the Lord, as was brought out by Elder Jack H. Goaslind in the priesthood session of the April 1997 General Conference.

I have passed the area at Green River, Utah many times, (where Grandpa accidentally shot himself) and wondered why the group didn't head their sheep more Southwest from there instead of Northwest and having to go over the Summit. The Lord I'm sure had a hand in this--as you can see Great Grandpa Jones had a great mission to perform in the Church.

Daniel Webster Jones was a remarkable man in many ways, he had a great memory to be able to write this book in such detail after so many years. May his life be an inspiration for each of us.

Love-Grandad & Grandma Jones

Note accompanying 1997 reprint


By Nathan Jones


THIS BOOK is a digital reproduction of the original work published in 1890 by Daniel W. Jones. Every effort has been made to maintain the look of the original leatherbound edition. The only additions are this page and the following page containing a picture of Daniel W. Jones and a reproduction of his autograph dated April 6, 1891, as it appears in a signed original copy of "Forty Years Among the Indians". These, I thought the reader would be interested in if he or she had any interest at all in this book.

Nathan S. Jones
December 1997

Excerpts from the Autobiography of Fay Wray

On the Other Hand: A Life Story

By Fay Wray

New York, NY: St. Martin's Press, 1989


pages 6-7

MY PARENTS met in Salt Lake City. My mother had been born there in 1871, one of fourteen children. I know more of my grandfather than I do of my grandmother because he had the kindness to write his autobiography. He was orphaned at the age of eleven, in Missouri, apprenticed to to a saddle maker until he was seventeen, when he volunteered to fight in the war with Mexico. There he learned to read and write Spanish and became fond of the Mexican people.

After the war, enroute to California with a large trading company, the hammer of his pistol caught on the edge of his holster, causing the gun to go off: "The ball ranged downward, entering the groin and thigh, passing through some fourteen inches of flesh." The company expected that the youth would die and must, therefore, be abandoned. But the company guide thought that if the youth was to be left behind, he should at least be abandoned to the possible care of nearby Indians. He planned to fetch them. My grandfather wrote: "I can never forget their looks of kindness. They offered to take me and try to cure me." The company, thus challenged, made a frame to carry the wounded boy on the back of a mule for the remaining fifteen day's journey into Salt Lake Valley. "I felt almost disappointed not to go with the Indians for my heart was melted toward them and I felt as though I could always be their friend and trust them." In Salt Lake City, Mormons nurtured him to recovery and inspired him to join the church and forego continuing on to California.

In 1852, he married Miss Emily Colton, whom he would never cease loving. She appreciated his view of the Indians and supported his willingness to befriend them and his efforts to obtain fair treatment for them. She loved her husband, Daniel Webster Jones, too much to tolerate the recommendation of the church that he take a second wife. The devoted pair produced fourteen children. My mother was their tenth.

She was fourteen when her mother died at the age of forty during a storm. My mother's responsibilities as "mother" to the younger ones and housekeeper for her father increased her antagonism to the church. She had seen her mother's anguish at the thought of a polygamous household. Of all the children, she was the one who rebelled.

She had an impudent kind of beauty -- a retroussé nose, gray-green eyes, very fair skin, and an abundance of Titian-red hair. She liked to recall for her children the beauty of her youthful figure. She attended the University of Utah (then Deseret University) and earned credentials to become a schoolteacher. She assisted her father in arranging the manuscript of his book Forty Years among the Indians (1890).


page 180

[My mother] remembered . . . her exhilaration in having traveled with her father to Washington, D.C., and to San Francisco to the World's Fair.

Foreword to 1960 edition



Director, Utah State Historical Society


NO STORY of Mormon-Indian relations during the pioneer period is complete without recourse to the reminiscent account of Daniel W. Jones. Strangely enough little seems to have been written about this engaging character, and what little is known is gleaned from his own Forty Years Among The Indians, here reprinted for the first time after being out of print for many years.

Born on the frontier of Missouri in 1830, the career of Dan Jones spanned the content west, and extended well into the twentieth century. He died at Mesa, Arizona, in his eighty-fifth year.

His strange and unusual introduction to Mormonism, his conversion, his many relations with the Indians, his experiences succoring the Handcart Pioneers of 1856, his involvement in the Utah War and after, his introduction of Mormonism into Mexico, and his many colonizing activities in Utah and the Southwest, demonstrate a vigorous living of frontier life unmatched by few in his own time. And in a day and place when the unusual became the usual, when the average pioneer and frontiersman led a life of hazard and hardship, Dan Jones led an especially long life of experience and high adventure.

Three Book Reviews (1960 edition)

Book Review of Forty Years Among the Indians

By Sol Lewis


ca. 1960, publication information unavailable


Forty Years Among the Indians by Daniel W. Jones. Los Angeles: Westernlore Press. 1960. $8.50

THE LITERATURE on the West during its pioneer period contains a plethora of so-called personal reminiscences written by "old timers" and "old settlers." Much of these purportedly "true stories" have, over the years, been either thoroughly discredited as so much pure fiction -- as for instance, Beckwourth, Drannan, etc. -- or because some of these "narratives," written many years after the author's actual experiences, are filled with faulty history. We can tolerantly, and with a degree of logical justification, attribute these lapses to the failing memory generally attendant upon the old age of the narrators.

Some few books in this genre have come down to us as totally accurate historical accounts. Even fewer still at the same time make absorbing reading. Into this latter category we place Daniel W. Jones' [i] Forty Years among the Indians[/i], which first appeared in 1890, and which has now been reprinted by the Westernlore Press. It is a rambling book, covering the author's long and adventurous life, from his early years as a soldier in the Mexican War in 1847 to his travels through the Southwest and into Mexico. He tells of his meeting with Brigham Young, of his serious interest in, and eventual conversion to, Mormonism. His exciting experiences as missionary and peacemaker among the warring and hostile Indians are dramatically related. His hazardous activities as a frontier scout are lucidly portrayed. Judicious and generally accurate are his descriptions of the life and customs of the natives in the territories through which he traveled from Utah, south to Mexico, into which country he led a Mormon colonizing mission at the request and persuasion of Brigham Young, who apparently had a high regard for Jones' qualities of leadership, sincerity, and piety. When the author died at Mesa, Arizona, in his 85th year, he left this well written record of his extremely interesting and eventful life.

--Sol Lewis


Book Review of Forty Years Among the Indians

By D. E. Livingston-Little


From The Historical Society of Southern California Quarterly, Vol. XLII No. 3, September 1960.


FORTY YEARS AMONG THE INDIANS, by Daniel Webster Jones. (Los Angeles: Westernlore Press, 1960). Pp XVI, 378. $8.50.

THIS REPRINT of Dan Jones fascinating story is number XIX of the Great West and Indian Series by Westernlore Press. Like many others in the series it was written during the latter part of the last century -- in 1887 to be specific. Few books written so long ago are as valuable today. Perhaps one secret of its vitality lies in the fact that although the author was reminiscing back over a period of forty years, he was only fifty-five at the time of writing, and he was to live another thirty years.

Daniel W. Jones, a seventeen-year-old orphan, enlisted in the Missouri Volunteers for service in the Mexican War. After the war he chose to remain for a while in northern Mexico, and did not return to Santa Fe until 1850. Having developed some curiosity concerning the Mormons he accepted an offer to assist in a sheep drive overland to California by way of Salt Lake Valley. This decision eventually let him into the Mormon Church, and into his life-time struggle on behalf of the Indians. Through he repeatedly traveled about the West from Wyoming to Chihuahua, he was never to reach California.

Dan Jones first contact with Indians was the sight of eight of his fellow soldiers ambushed and scalped within full view of their army camp on the Arkansas River. With such an introduction, it is altogether remarkable that he should earn recognition, and disfavor, as a champion of the Indians.

Having joined the Mormons, Dan Jones native vigor and intelligence, plus his skills as frontiersman, interpreter and artisan marked him out as a man to watch. Unfortunately, the combination of a tactless, if not overbearing, personality coupled with his strange affinity for Indians, led him often to be suspected, charged, and even tried. Apparently the leaders of the church knew his utter honesty and devotion to the cause, and never completely let him down.

Jones's particular interest in the Indians represents no strange quirk, but simply reflects the particular portion of the teachings in the Book of Mormon that especially captivated his interest, and won his ever growing support. Convinced that they were literally the "remnants" referred to in the Book of Mormon, and encouraged by initial success, the author continued to devote himself first to establishing peaceful relations between whites and Indians, and finally in assisting the Indians to live a better life both in the ethical-moral-religious sense, and in the socio-economic sense.

During forty years of such activities as these endeavors led him into, Daniel Jones acquired a catalogue of adventurous experiences that make an absorbing series of stories of the sort that are so much appreciated today. Though he "testifies" frequently concerning his faith, and seeks to justify his conduct, this does not detract unduly from the charm of his tales. Indeed, much that he did would have no sense or meeting without it.

The book is very at practically done with but a single error to be noted in a normal reading. The lack of an index probably justifies no criticism with a book of this nature, and especially in view of the author's brief narrative headings before each chapter. At least one good map might have been profitably included, even if old Dan Jones didn't think it necessary seventy-five years ago.

-- D. E. Livingston-Little


Book Review of Forty Years Among the Indians

By Don Russell


From Western Americana, ca. 1960, 69-70. Further publication information unavailable.


Forty Years Among the Indians: A True yet Thrilling Narrative Of the Author's Experiences among the Natives by Daniel W. Jones (Westernlore Press: Los Angeles, 1960 pp 378, $8.50)

DANIEL JONES was born in Missouri in 1830; at the time of the Mexican War he joined a company of St. Louis volunteers and marched into Mexico, fighting Indians along the way. After the war he remained in Mexico about three years then went to Salt Lake City where he soon became a Mormon. He was given many missions by Brigham Young, one of the first of importance being the rescue of the Handcart Pioneers. He had a part in the Mormon War and afterward was more or less drafted as guide by an army expedition to New Mexico. Jones got along well with Indians, and several times served as peacemaker between them and the Mormons. However, his principle venture as missionary was into Mexico, where he planned a Mormon colony, but nothing came of it.

All of this supports the "true but thrilling" boast in the subtitle, and it may be said that Jones has an interesting story and tells it in an interesting way. The curious part of it is that almost nothing is known about Jones except what is told in this book, and yet the book is continuously a defense against various charges brought against him within the church and without. While he proves to his own satisfaction that he was in the right in all these numerous occasions, the reader has a feeling that Jones was an unusually cantankerous individual, and there must be another side to the story.

Even more curious is that while the book is called "Forty Years Among the Indians" he has so little to say about Indians. There seems little doubt that he was among Indians for most of the 40 years, and he does tell about it, but about all one gets out of it is that the Indians were fine people when well treated. Toward the close there are some sketchy chapters about various tribes, telling some of their histories not too accurately, but somehow he never seems to get into his promised subject.

All of this is not to say that the book is not worth reprinting. In fact it might be worth while to make some investigation to find out just what Jones is talking about. A one-page forward by A. B. Mortensen, director of the Utah State Historical Society, suggests as much. This is volume XIX of the Great West and Indian Series of this publisher.

-- Don Russell

Brigham's Destroying Angel

Brigham's Destroying Angel:

Being the Life, Confession, and Startling Disclosures of the Notorious Bill Hickman, the Danite Chief of Utah

by Bill Hickman (1815-1883)


New York: Geo. A. Crofutt, Publishers, No. 138 Nassau Street, (Park Hotel), 1872.

Excerpts from Chapters IV and V.

Brigham's Destroying Angel online


THIS WINTER,'56-'57, one Mr. Hiram Kimball got a contract to carry the mail from Independence, Missouri, to Salt Lake City, once a month for four years. He not being a man of much means in those days, though he had been wealthy in Nauvoo times, sought assistance from O. P. Rockwell and myself, both of us having stock to carry the mail. We agreed upon terms; Rockwell was to carry from Fort Laramie to Salt Lake, and I from Laramie to Independence. Arrangements being made, I was ready to start, although two parties had tried to get through the mountains and failed, one man having frozen to death before going twenty miles.

About this time Brigham Young and others got up a great carrying and express company, and made us put our mail interests into that company, and run together. I was sick of it, and tried to get out, but "No," said Brigham Young, "You are the very man; get your bays and roll out; you can go." I obeyed reluctantly. I dreaded the trip, knowing I would have to be gone three months or more, suffer many privations, be at a heavy expense, and the way they had things fixed, not make a dollar.

We were ten days going the first hundred and thirteen miles, to Fort Bridger, with the best of animals. We were fifteen days on the bleak desert going from Fort Bridger to South Pass. We would travel all day, tramp the snow and lead our animals, which, with great difficulty, we could get to travel very, slow. At night we would camp on some knoll that the snow was blown off of, and by a poor sage brush fire cook a camp-kettle of coffee and another of corn, having got out of provisions, all but a sack of corn I had taken along to feed the horses. Several of these nights I thought I would freeze to death, but stood it better than any of the others.

We finally got through the snow into a little valley near Devil's Gate, on Sweet Water, where we found good grass for our stock, which they very much needed, having been without several days. The next morning we finished our corn, having only a scanty meal, and had not a bite of anything to eat in the company. We packed up and started for Devil's Gate, twenty miles distant, where we expected to find provisions plenty, knowing that a train of goods had been left there the fall before, under a guard of fifteen men; the snow having fallen so deep they could not reach Salt Lake City. We had not traveled far before we saw eight or ten buffalo. Two men were sent out, and soon shot a large one. We were in the center of a valley on a nice stream, where there was plenty of wood, and any quantity of the best mountain grass. We stopped, skinned and packed to camp all the meat, and the greatest eating I ever saw then took place. I cautioned the men not to eat too much; but a continual eating was kept up all day by our company, consisting of nine men. The next morning we all put all that was left of the buffalo in two flour sacks, and packed it on one mule. This is a big story, but true.

The next day we reached Devil's Gate, and found the men out of provisions; they had been living on beef hides for several days. I asked them if there was no provisions among the goods they were guarding. They said they thought there was something that would do to eat, but they dared not touch it. I told them they were foolish; to help themselves to anything there was there to eat. I told them I would be responsible and shoulder all the blame for doing this, as I wanted some provisions for my men; I would hand it out, they could take an account of it, and report to the owners that it was done by me and my party. This pleased the poor suffering fellows. We burst open the door of the cabin in which the goods were stored, and found plenty of sugar, tea, coffee, rice and dried fruit; all hands helped themselves, and we had a great general feast.

We now had bare ground to travel on, but our horses were worn out, and we could only make twenty miles per day. After forty days' travel we reached Fort Laramie. There we found Mr. Ward, post-sutler, waiting for company to go to the States. We rested a few days. I bought a lot of fresh animals, and we started for Independence again. We got along slowly but comfortably. We saw buffalo in innumerable quantities, killed all we wanted, and had some fine sport after them. One of my men, being good at throwing a lariat, caught one while running, but soon found he had not lassoed a cow nor an ox, but a buffalo bull. After throwing the lariat on the buffalo he fastened the other end to the loggerhead of his saddle, as is customary, and jerked his mule. But the buffalo made but little halt, jerking the man and mule heels over head, dragging the mule a few rods, when the lariat came loose, and the buffalo went on as though nothing had happened, with the rope around his neck. This put a stop to catching buffalo with ropes, no one being anxious to repeat the experiment.

We finally got to Independence, men and animals tired out, having been two months and three days making the trip. I delivered the mail, and had to go down the Missouri River to Boonville to telegraph to Washington concerning the return mail, which I had to wait two weeks for. I visited my father-in-law, and then went to the northern part of the State and visited my father and mother, whom I had not seen for ten years; returning to Independence and started the mail for Salt Lake. I here found things boiling against the Mormons. Troops were coming, and great excitement prevailed amongst the people. I had trouble getting the mail or anything else we needed; was threatened strongly, and received the worst kind of abuse from the roughs. Two or three times the trouble came near being serious; but fortunately for somebody, it calmed down without shots or blows. After starting the mail, I went fifty miles up the river to Weston, where I found old acquaintances and friends, had a good sociable time for two weeks, found one of my youngest brothers with a wife and three children, and persuaded them to accompany me to Salt Lake City.

When we got to Laramie, I, with two of my men, started in advance for Salt Lake, changing horses at the different stations, and traveled the entire distance, five hundred miles, in six and a half days, as tired a man as ever you saw. I went to Brigham Young's office and showed my bills of expenditures, and gave a general account of my trip, showing some articles I had published in different papers, rebutting the influences that were going against the people of Utah and the published statement of Judge Drummond, in which I scored him as bad as he had me. I told them that troops would be here; but was laughed at, tantalized, and treated scornfully for making such an assertion. I told them I had been there and ought to know as well as those who sat at home and knew nothing. All hands agreed they were not coming, and Brother Brigham said neither should they come so this ended it.

I had several animals on this express company, had been gone nearly four months, and asked to be excused to attend to my business, which was granted. I went to Green River again, and set up a trading post and ferry. Did very well during the summer; wound up again and come home.

About this time the express company broke up, and all returned home, the mail contract having been taken from them. I lost, on the outfit, about one thousand dollars, besides my time and suffering. . . .

Read Daniel Webster Jones's account of this event in Chapter XVI.


One Yates, a trader that had been in the country before, had returned with five or six thousand dollars' worth of Indian goods, and stopped on Green River. He had several kegs of powder, and a quantity of lead and caps. He was sent to, to purchase his ammunition, but would not sell it without selling his other goods also. He came to Bridger twice, buying beef cattle for the Government. Both times I went with him beyond all of our troops, to keep him from being hurt. He would trade at the soldier camps, then go to his house on Green River, passing up and down Ham's Fork. We kept watch of the United States camps every day, and if a party attempted to leave we would make a rush for them and run them into camp again. One day they moved up the creek about four miles, and we saw a vacancy between them and their cattle. We made a rush and drove off seven hundred and fifty head, taking all the fat cattle they had, and some mules. Horses and mules were taken several times after this.

About this time it was noised about that Yates had let the soldiers have his ammunition, and that he was acting the spy for them. One of the Conover boys was on a point near Ham's Fork one day, and saw a lone man traveling towards Green River; he got ahead of him, saw he had a good horse, and halted him, intending to take his horse and let him go. But, after learning his name, Yates, he marched him to Bridger, where he was placed in the big stone corral and a guard placed over him. I was not there when he was brought in. I came to Bridger a few days after he was taken. Thinking there would be no particular use for me for a week or two, I concluded to go home and get some fresh horses, and take home three or four of my men that needed rest.

I will here state that the office I held was that of independent captain, amenable to none but the head commanding general or governor, Brigham Young, unless my services were particularly needed, in which case I was under obligations to act in concert with other officers.

When ready to start I was asked to take the prisoner, Yates, to the city with me, and agreed to do so. The men with me were a brother of mine. T. J. Hickman, who had come from the States with me the summer previous. John Flack and Lewis Meacham. There was a common trace-chain on Yates' ankle; fastened with a padlock. He had a fine gold watch and nine hundred dollars in gold, all in twenty-dollar gold pieces. The money was given to me to bring into the city with the prisoner, but the watch was kept, and what became of it I never knew.

We traveled about fifty miles and camped on Yellow Creek. The next morning we traveled about half-way down Echo Cañon to where the general's headquarters were located, and got breakfast. I delivered General Wells some letters, reported myself, and told him who I had along, and asked him what I should do with my prisoner. He said: "He ought to be killed; but take him on; you will probably get an order when you get to Col. Jones' camp"—which was at the mouth of Echo Cañon on Weber River. After breakfast we started for Jones' camp, some twelve miles distant, and when within three or four miles of the camp, we met Joseph A. Young, a son of Brigham's, going, as he said, to the general's camp to take orders. He hailed me (I being behind) and said his father wanted that man Yates killed, and that I would know all about it when I got to Jones' camp.

We got there about sundown, and were met outside by Col. Jones, and conducted around under the hill, below and just outside of his camp. He had a fire built for us and sent our horses out, under guard, to grass. He then took me aside and told me he had orders when Yates came along to have him used up, and that was why he had taken me outside of his camp. Supper was brought to us, and Yates soon went to sleep on his blankets. Flack and Meacham spread their blankets and soon went to sleep also. I told them to do it, as I would guard the prisoner until I called them. My brother, being a Gentile, had been sent on to the next station, some ten miles ahead, on business. I remained at our camp-fire until eleven or twelve o'clock that night, several coming and chatting with me.

About this time all was still, and everybody supposed to be in their beds. No person was to he seen, when Col. Jones and two others, Hosea Stout and another man whose name I do not recollect, came to my campfire and asked if Yates was asleep. I told them he was, upon which his brains were knocked out with an ax. He was covered up with his blankets and left laying. Picks and spades were brought, and a grave dug some three feet deep near the camp by the fire-light, all hands assisting. Flack and Meacham were asleep when the man was killed, but woke up and saw the grave digging. The body was put in and the dirt well packed on it, after which our camp-fire, which consisted of small wood and brush, was moved onto the grave in order to prevent notice of a change of ground. Our horses were immediately sent for, and we were off before daylight; went to the next station, found my brother, got breakfast, and arrived at Salt Lake that day.

The next day I took the nine hundred dollars, and we all went to headquarters. Flack and I had a talk, as we went, about the money. He said Brigham ought to give that to us as we had already been to more expense than that money amounted to, from horses used up and other losses, and urged me to get it. I told him I would try, saying to him: "You know how much I have been out, and can testify to it, and I think he will give us part of it, anyway."

Soon after dark Flack and I went to Brigham's office. He asked how things were going on out East, and I told him. He asked what had become of Yates? I told him. He then asked if I had got word from him? I told him that I had got his instructions at Jones' camp, and also of the word I had got from his son Jo. He said that was right, and a good thing. I then told him I had nine hundred dollars given me to bring in, that Yates had at the time he was captured. I told him of the expense I had been to during the war, and asked him if I might have part of the money? He gave me a reprimand for asking such a thing, and said it must go towards defraying the expenses of the war. I pulled out the sack containing the money, and he told me to give it to his clerk (I do not remember who he was now). The money was counted, and we left. This knocked all the Mormonism out of Flack, and he has never had a speck of it in him since—making many observations of this and other things, of hard work, obeying Brigham Young, and never allowed one dollar for all he had done.

In a few days I returned East, and found Yates' goods and all his property had been taken, and stock belonging to him and other mountaineers.

Read Daniel Webster Jones's account of this event in Chapter XXI.

In the Strength of the Lord

"In the Strength of the Lord"

By David A. Bednar

President of BYU-Idaho


Excerpt from an Address delivered at BYU, October 23, 2001

Also Delivered at BYU-Idaho, January 8, 2002

Copyright 2001 BYU and Copyright 2002 BYU-Idaho

All Rights Reserved.

Full BYU Address

Full BYU-Idaho Address


EXAMPLES of the enabling power are not found only in the scriptures. Daniel W. Jones was born in 1830 in Missouri, and he joined the Church in California in 1851. In 1856 he participated in the rescue of handcart companies that were stranded in Wyoming by severe storms. After the rescue party found the suffering Saints, provided what immediate comfort they could, and made arrangements for the sick and the feeble to be transported to Salt Lake City, Daniel and several other young men volunteered to remain with and safeguard the company’s possessions. The food and supplies left with Daniel and his colleagues were, to say the least, meager and were rapidly expended. I will now quote from Daniel Jones’ personal journal and his description of the events that followed:

“Game soon became so scarce that we could kill nothing. We ate all the poor meat; one would get hungry eating it. Finally that was all gone, nothing now but hides were left. We made a trial of them. A lot was cooked and eaten without any seasoning and it made the whole company sick. Many were so turned against the stuff that it made them sick to think of it. . . .

“Things looked dark, for nothing remained but the poor raw hides taken from starved cattle. We asked the Lord to direct us what to do. The brethren did not murmur, but felt to trust in God. We had cooked the hide, after soaking and scraping the hair off until it was soft and then ate it, glue and all. This made it rather inclined to stay with us longer than we desired. Finally I was impressed how to fix the stuff and gave the company advice, telling them how to cook it; for them to scorch and scrape the hair off; this had a tendency to kill and purify the bad taste that scalding gave it. After scraping, boil one hour in plenty of water, throwing the water away which had extracted all the glue, then wash and scrape the hide thoroughly, washing in cold water, then boil to a jelly and let it get cold, and then eat with a little sugar sprinkled on it. This was considerable trouble, but we had little else to do and it was better than starving” (Daniel W. Jones, Forty Years Among the Indians [Salt Lake City: Juvenile Instructor Office, 1890], 81).

All that I have read thus far is a preparation for the next line from Daniel W. Jones’ journal. It illustrates how those pioneer Saints may have known something about the enabling power of the Atonement that we, in our prosperity and ease, are not as quick to understand:

“We asked the Lord to bless our stomachs and adapt them to this food” (Jones, Forty Years, 81; emphasis added).

My dear brothers and sisters, I know what I would have prayed for in those circumstances. I would have prayed for something else to eat. “Heavenly Father, please send me a quail or a buffalo.” It never would have occurred to me to pray that my stomach would be strengthened and adapted to what we already had. What did Daniel W. Jones know? He knew about the enabling power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. He did not pray that his circumstances would be changed. He prayed that he would be strengthened to deal with his circumstances. Just as Nephi, Amulek, and Alma and his people were strengthened, Daniel W. Jones had the spiritual insight to know what to ask for in that prayer.

“We hadn’t the faith to ask him to bless the raw-hide, for it was ‘hard stock.’ On eating now all seemed to relish the feast. We were three days without eating before this second attempt was made. We enjoyed this sumptuous fare for about six weeks” (Jones, Forty Years, 81–82).

Thus, for Daniel and his associates, this delicious doctrine provided both physical and spiritual nourishment.

In His Strength I Can Do All Things

"In His Strength I Can Do All Things"

By Elder Jack H. Goaslind

of The Presidency of the Seventy


From 167th LDS General Conference: Priesthood Session

April 5, 1997

Copyright Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

All Rights Reserved.

View on www.lds.org


THIS EVENING, brethren, I have a strong desire to relate to you an aspect of a well-documented story, but it's little-known in the Church. It involves the courage, the strength, of a few young men from the pioneer era; some were priest or teacher age, like many of you assembled here tonight. These young men willingly made significant sacrifices when they received a call.

As I tell their story, please keep in mind what power it is that unifies us and also connects us to them. The royal priesthood we bear is more than coincidental to this account. Theirs was the same priesthood which today empowers you to perform great and small acts of service to your fellowmen.

Ordinary men--including, and perhaps especially, young men--blessed with the privilege of holding the priesthood of God may be called upon to do extraordinary tasks. Holders of the holy priesthood can accomplish mighty feats of heroism, bravery, and service through faith in that sacred power.

The pioneers did not doubt it. They bore frequent witness that the Spirit of the Lord guided and directed them. In confirmation of their testimony, I declare unto you His Spirit is with each of us. He desires to bless and strengthen us. He will make us equal to every righteous task we undertake in His name. He will magnify many times over our own natural ability. You can succeed beyond your own strength if you learn to rely on the Spirit of the Lord.

Now, the story I promised to tell you began before the October 1856 general conference, but that is where we will begin. President Brigham Young stood at the Old Tabernacle pulpit on this square and issued a call to go rescue the Willie and Martin Handcart Companies. Two days later, about 30 faithful brethren with good mule teams were dispatched to go bring in the handcarters stranded several hundred miles east. Dan W. Jones, a convert of less than five years, volunteered.

After arduous effort, the Willie Company finally was found. Caught in the storms of early winter, the Saints were freezing and starving to death. The relief party did all they could to improve conditions, but for some it was simply too late. The morning after the rescuers' arrival, nine of the company were buried in a common grave.

Some of the rescuers were assigned to escort the handcarters to the Salt Lake Valley, but others pushed further eastward in an effort to find the Martin Company. Finally they were found, along with the Hodgett and Hunt Wagon Companies, bogged down and helpless in the snow east of Devil's Gate, Wyoming.

Members of the Martin Company were in dire straits. Their food rations had been cut to a few ounces of flour per day. Only a third of them could walk, and deaths were recorded daily.

The leaders of the rescue party wisely decided to spare no effort in getting the suffering survivors to safety in the Salt Lake Valley. Because of the shortage of space in the wagons, it was necessary to leave most of the handcarters' possessions in storage at Devil's Gate till spring.

Brother Dan W. Jones and two others from the relief party, along with 17 young men from the wagon companies, were called to stay behind to guard the property. They were left to face five winter months in Wyoming, hundreds of miles from help, with scarcely anything to eat, and under conditions of extreme privation. Imagine the sacrifice! Offers were made to each man to join the wagons bound for the valley, but every one of them chose to stay behind, obedient to the call to serve.

That winter was recorded as one of the most severe ever. The intrepid watchmen struggled to repair the cabins at Devil's Gate; killed the remaining cattle; stored the tough, stringy beef for food; and reconditioned and stacked the goods they were left to protect.

They killed a few buffalo, but the hunting became bad. Soon they were reduced to living on animal hides, from which they scraped off the hair, then boiled the leather. They ate the leather wrappings off the wagon tongues, old moccasin soles, and a well-worn buffalo hide that had been used as a foot mat for two months. At one point Dan Jones was literally preparing to eat his own saddle!

In February of that extreme winter, a member of the Snake Indian tribe visited and helped them. That first night he and two scouts came to camp loaded with good buffalo meat.

The winter passed, and finally, early in May, the relief wagons began to roll in. Of the various communications Brother Jones received, one critical letter from Brigham Young had not arrived. Loading and shipping of the stored goods could not commence without it.

For days they waited, becoming increasingly anxious. Finally Brother Jones sought the Lord in prayer to know how to proceed. He recorded the following testimony: "Next morning without saying anything about the lack of instructions we commenced business. Soon some one asked whose teams were to be loaded first, [and] I dictated to my clerk. Thus we continued. As fast as the clerk put them down, orders would be given, and we passed on to the next. We continued this [way] for four days. . . . All the teams were loaded up, companies organized and started back [to the valley]" (Daniel W. Jones, Forty Years among the Indians [1960], 107).

The 17 young men were loaded on the last wagons departing to the Salt Lake Valley, where they would be reunited with their families and loved ones.

Brother Jones arrived later to report to President Young, feeling not a little uncertain how he would be received. Should he have waited for the President's written orders? As everything unfolded, it was learned that President Young had indeed dictated a letter of instructions, which was never received. Dan carefully presented his detailed report. It was a testimony to him to find that the inspiration he'd received in Wyoming was exactly the same as in the prophet's letter.

Dan Jones's young men had done more than they ever would have imagined they could:

  • They had crossed the plains in wagons and by handcart, mostly on foot.

  • They had seen many of their friends and relatives die along the way.

  • They had volunteered to spend the winter 300 miles from their destination.

  • They had survived a harsh winter with little food and few, if any, comforts.

  • They had heeded the call of the prophet to serve their fellow Saints.

  • They had endured to the end nobly and were blessed for their efforts.

  • I repeat, brethren: Ordinary men, blessed with the privilege of holding the priesthood of God, may be called upon to do extraordinary tasks and accomplish mighty feats through faith in that sacred power!

    One of my Book of Mormon heroes, Ammon, the great son of Mosiah, explains how much two people can accomplish when one of them is the Lord: "Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things; yea, behold, many mighty miracles we have wrought in this land, for which we will praise his name forever" (Alma 26:12).

    To you young men of the Aaronic Priesthood and to you brethren of the Melchizedek Priesthood, I witness that we can perform "many mighty miracles," as testified by Ammon and by Dan Jones! They took the Lord as their guide, listened to and obeyed the Holy Spirit, and learned that they could indeed perform mighty miracles, which thing they never had supposed.

    Our own challenges in this day will be great. Our needs will be significant. Our loyalty to great gospel truths must be no less valiant than that of those young men over 140 years ago.

    It is my prayer, brethren, that each of us will make the Lord--and His revealed word through His servants, the prophets--the guiding influence in our lives. Each of us has a miracle to perform, a journey to complete, and a marvelous mission to fulfill.

    May Heavenly Father bless you to know that you are one of His chosen sons in a blessed and royal generation, and that He has mighty miracles for you to perform. With His strength and the guidance of the Spirit, you too can do all things! To which I testify in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

    The Unlikely Convert: Daniel Webster Jones

    "The Unlikely Convert: Daniel Webster Jones"

    By Jack McAllister


    From Tambuli (or Liahona), June 1988, 12

    Copyright Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

    All Rights Reserved.

    View on www.lds.org


    An orphan boy from Missouri grew to open the way for the Church in Mexico and begin the great work of translating the Book of Mormon into Spanish.


    ORPHANED at the age of eleven, Daniel Webster Jones traveled from his home in Missouri to the western United States in 1847 with a company of volunteer soldiers who went to fight in the U.S.-Mexican War. “Gambling, swearing, fighting, and other rough conduct” were part of his every day activity he later wrote in his autobiography, Forty Years among the Indians, (Salt Lake City, Utah: Juvenile Instructor Office.) So Daniel Webster Jones in his early years seemed an unlikely person to join the Church, spend forty years proselyting among the American Indians, and with little formal training in Spanish help make the first Spanish translation from the Book of Mormon. As it happened, he was a good person to do all of these things.

    He does not talk about his early life, but somewhere he had gained a strong belief in God. During the three years he spent in Mexico with the volunteer army, he “took part in many ways in the wild, reckless life that was common in the army;” but still would not partake of “strong drink and other worse vices that I could see were destroying the lives of my friends.”

    Because of his life-style, he says, “I felt condemned, and often asked God in all seriousness to help me to see what was right, and how to serve Him; telling Him I wanted to know positively, and not be deceived.” In his rough way, he felt that people living in his time were entitled to a prophet too; that it was not right “to leave them without anything but the Bible.”

    He left Mexico in 1850 with a large trading company traveling to Salt Lake City. On the way, he was badly wounded by a gun accident, but managed to survive until his companions got him to the Latter-day Saint settlements near Provo, south of Salt Lake City.

    In that day, the Saints were often ridiculed by travelers, but when he overheard some of his friends reading the Doctrine and Covenants and making fun of it, he thought of his prayer asking for modern revelation. He left his companions, moved in with a Latter-day Saint family, and began investigating the gospel as he recovered from his injury. “Everyone was kind and treated me with great confidence,” he remembered. “I listened to the elders preaching and soon concluded they were honest and knew it, or were deliberate liars and deceivers. I was determined, if possible, not to be fooled, therefore I commenced to watch very closely.” He was particularly impressed by the lack of bitterness that Latter-day Saints felt toward the Indians, in spite of recent battles.

    When he learned about the Book of Mormon, “it seemed natural to me to believe it. I cannot remember ever questioning in my mind the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon, or that Joseph Smith was a prophet. The question was: Are the Mormons sincere, and can I be one?” When he decided that he could be, he spoke to Isaac Morley, who had been one of the first converts to the Church in Ohio.

    It was 27 January 1851, wintertime, and Brother Morley “was just going out to get a load of wood with his ax under his arm.” Remarking quietly, “I have been expecting this,” Brother Morley used the ax to chop through thick ice formed over the nearby lake—and Dan became a member of the Church.

    The next twenty-three years were busy ones. He farmed, traded with the Ute Indians, was ordained a seventy, married Harriet Emily Colton, acted as Brigham Young’s interpreter when he dealt with some Mexicans in Sanpete County, helped rescue the handcart pioneers stranded by winter storms, and continued his friendly contacts with the Indians, both as a member of the Church and as a government official.

    Then in 1874, he was summoned to Brigham Young’s office and was called on a mission to Mexico. “I had expected this call to come some time. I had both desired and dreaded the mission,” he says frankly, knowing how hard a mission would be in Mexico. He and Harry Brizzee were both called and told to prepare themselves. Since “Brother Young said he would like to have some extracts from the Book of Mormon translated,” they “began to study and prepare to translate.”

    Although both spoke Spanish, Daniel “often thought how good it would be to have a Spanish-speaking native to help us.” A few months later, Brother Brizzee met a stranger, Spanish-speaking Mileton G. Trejo, who had heard about the Church in the Philippine Islands and had come to Utah to investigate it. He soon was baptized and began translating selections from the Book of Mormon into Spanish with Daniel’s help and support.

    In 1875, Daniel reported to President Young that they were ready to start on their mission. Authorized by President Young, Daniel soon raised $500 to pay for the printing of the first set of Spanish selections.

    In a later conversation with President Young, Daniel was asked how he proposed to prove to the satisfaction of the authorities of the Church—none of whom spoke Spanish—that the translation was correct. Daniel suggested this test: they would select a book, Brother Trejo would translate a passage into Spanish, Daniel would take the Spanish translation and, without looking at the original book, translate the text back into English. President Young accepted the suggestion, and when the Brethren received a copy of Daniel’s translation from the Spanish, President George A. Smith, then a member of the First Presidency, “laughingly remarked, ‘I like Brother Jones’ style better [than the original]. … The language is more easily understood.’ ”

    But that was not the only exceptional experience Daniel had in connection with the translation. He says:

    “When the printing started, Brother Brigham told me that he would hold me responsible for its correctness. This worried me so much that I asked the Lord to in some way show me any mistakes [as we proofread the printed sheets].

    “Brother Trejo’s manuscript was written in modern language style. When I called his attention to errors he invariably agreed with me. He often remarked that I was a close critic and understood Spanish better than he did. I did not like to tell him how I discerned the mistakes.

    “I felt a sensation in the center of my forehead as though there was a fine thread being pulled smoothly out. When there was a mistake, the smoothness would be interrupted as though a small knot was passing out through the forehead. Whether I saw the mistake or not I was so sure it was there that I would show it to my companion and ask him to correct it. When this was done we continued on until the same thing happened again.”

    In September 1875 Daniel left for Mexico with his son Wiley, James Z. Stewart, Helaman Pratt, Robert H. Smith, Ammon M. Tenney, and Anthony W. Ivins. The group went on horseback and took with them two thousand copies of their publication, “Choice Selections from the Book of Mormon.”

    After several frustrating experiences dealing with local officials, they received permission in Chihuahua to hold a public meeting, and on 8 April 1876 they preached to a group of approximately five hundred persons at the first Church meeting in the interior of Mexico. After some other attempts to preach the gospel, they returned to the United States, arriving in Salt Lake City on 5 July 1876. Daniel served a second mission to Mexico in 1876-1877, again with Brother Trejo, Brother Pratt, and Brother Stewart. Also serving were Louis Garff and George Terry. Five converts were baptized.

    In 1879, Elder Moses Thatcher of the Quorum of the Twelve officially opened the mission, accompanied by Brother Stewart and Brother Trejo. Apart from interruptions caused by political conditions in 1913 and 1926, the mission has operated since.

    The first complete translation of the Book of Mormon was finished in 1886 by Brother Trejo and Brother Stewart. Rey L. Pratt, the mission president from 1907 until 1931, revised this translation, assisted by Eduardo Balderas. Brother Balderas eventually became the Church’s chief Spanish translator and corrected the Pratt edition around 1949 for a new printing. A second revision, begun in 1969 and completed in 1980 by Brother Balderas, has recently been published and is in use in all Spanish-speaking missions of the Church.

    The work begun in Mexico by a faithful, obedient servant of the Lord, Daniel Webster Jones, Missouri orphan, was to become a major factor in the lives of thousands of Spanish-speaking peoples around the world.