Chapter III.


My Scrutiny of the Mormons--Employment as an Indian

Trader--Acquaintance with "Winter Mormons"--A Proposition of Theft--Loomas Threatens my Life--My Resolve to Kill him--He Finds his Death at Other Hands

AFTER settling myself with the Bishop's family, I soon got so that I could hobble around a little. Everyone was kind and treated me with great confidence. I listened to the elders preaching and soon concluded they were honest and knew it, or were willful liars and deceivers. I was determined, if possible, not to be fooled, therefore I commenced to watch very closely. I soon found that the people took an interest in the Indians, and although they had been at war and the Bishop's son had been killed by them, there was no general feeling of bitterness. The Indians were around the fort more or less, and the people were desirous of friendship.

After I had been there a few weeks recruiting, Messrs. Patrick and Glenn came to Provo; they were traders on their way south to barter with the Indians and whites. They knew nothing about trading with the Indians, something I had learned considerable about from Old Thomas, who had traded with them during our trip. I had also dealt with them while in New Mexico. This firm offered me employment for the winter, to go to Sanpete valley, then the head quarters for trading with the Ute Indians. This suited me, for I wished to become better acquainted with the Indians and gain their friendship, also to learn their language. Some of them could speak more or less Spanish, but not enough to converse satisfactorily. While in Manti, during the winter, I [38] boarded with Father Isaac Morley. During the winter I made the acquaintance of Dimick B. Huntington. He told me about the Book of Mormon, its relationship to the Indians, etc. 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? I heard a great many hard remarks about the Missourians, and being one myself, I felt to resent the wholesale accusations made against them.

About that time a great many "dead beats" and "winter Mormons" joined the church, emigrants who stopped over simply for convenience. Quite a number came to Manti, led by one Loomas. They all joined the Church. They tried to induce me to be baptized when they were. I gave them a good cursing for being miserable hypocrites, at which they only laughed, saying they would have the advantage of me among the girls, at least. Sometime near Spring this gang arranged to make a general raid upon the settlements, and steal all the horses upon the range from Draperville: going south through Utah valley. In those days numerous herds of horses ran loose, as the range was good. The gang of outlaws had confederates in Salt Lake City where some of them robbed a jeweler's store. They sent for me one night and laid their plans before me. They proposed that I would be their guide and meet them at the head of Spanish Fork Canyon, conduct them through to New Mexico and have one-fourth of all the horses. I declined the offer, telling them it was a good speculation, assigning as my reason for not going that I had not sufficiently recovered from my wounds to risk the trip. This they seemed to believe, as I was yet somewhat lame. They [39] made me promise not to betray them, and I soon satisfied them on that point.

I realized my awkward situation, but was determined to warn the people, thus putting them on their guard. Accordingly on going to Provo, I informed the Bishop of their plans; he warned the different settlements and without any fuss the people were put on their guard. These men were closely watched until spring, when they all left for Lower California, most of them going about the time of the move to San Bernardino. In a fit of anger up a friend of Loomas told me I would get killed some day, that Loomas was on my track.

It is true I had in a measure betrayed him and his companions, still I had felt it my duty to do as I had done; and to prevent myself being killed I resolved to kill him on sight. So intent was I on this, that I came near shooting another party, that I mistook for Loomas. At this time I was camped at Spanish Fork. As I was returning from a hunt, I saw a person sitting with his back toward me, that in every way resembled Loomas in point of size and peculiarity of dress. Loomas was expected to visit us. I approached with my gun ready, greatly tempted to shoot without speaking, as he was also armed, but thinking this cowardly I spoke in order to draw his attention when, on his turning around, another face presented itself.

As it turned out, no one knew of my intentions but myself. It makes me shudder even now when I think of my intentions and feelings at that time. I never saw any of the gang afterwards, but read an account of Loomas and others being lynched for robbery in California.

My feelings at this time were very conflicting. I became fully convinced of the truth of Mormonism, and that it was my duty to obey, but I tried to excuse myself [40] in many ways. I said nothing to anyone, but kept up a "terrible thinking." Being a Missourian it seemed, from the remarks made even in public, that salvation could never reach me. I remembered that my father always opposed mobocracy, so much that he was called by some of our neighbors a Mormon. I was too proud to mention this to anyone; I knew I was honest and was not to blame for being born in Missouri.

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