Chapter L.


I Decide to Devote Myself to Personal Interests--Summoned as a

Witness in Indian Difficulties--My Own Troubles--I Meet the Demands of my Brethren Though it Takes my Home

MAJOR CHAFFEE had been watching the efforts of the whites to rob the natives of their rights. He had reported to the proper department the condition of affairs. He did all he could to protect the rights of the Indians. I kept him continually posted and I am satisfied that without his oversight of affairs the Indians would have been driven away and the work among them on Salt river broken up.

One piece of land that the whites had attempted to take from the Indians known as "Gironimo's farm," on a school section, had passed from one claimant to another, each one threatening that they would hold it.

One party went to work on this land. I warned him off and got a good cursing, a few days after this he in an exulting manner said to me "I have now sold this land to-------, and got my pay. I would like to see you face him, I guess you dare not do it. He intends to put his teams to plowing and I guess you will have to give up this time."

As soon as the teams started to plow I notified the young men to stop and to tell their father that he could not occupied the land. This, considering who the individual was, was considered not worth noticing and the plowing continued. I went to camp and reported to Captain Chaffee. He sent a note saying they must get off or he would send a file of soldiers to put them off. They went off considerably.

Captain Chaffee had recommended the setting apart the lands occupied by the Indians as reservations, after much labor and investigation, this was finally done.

President Hayes declared the whole of Salt River valley Indian reservation, including Phoenix, Tempe, Mesa City and the whole country occupied by the whites. When this proclamation came out there was a rattling among the "dry bones." All were astounded, the "flop" was so sudden, and complete. From daily expecting orders to come to send the Indians away, the towns, fine ranches and all were given to the Indians.

Many were puzzled over this proclamation, not knowing but what it was intended in earnest, but the majority knew it was a mistake as we had only asked for the lands occupied by the Indians. There was now a complete revulsion of feeling toward me by the old settlers. They acknowledged I had won. I was looked upon as a person who would never give up. All knew I had made the fight alone during the whole time. I was assisted by my family only and it stands on the record in the books of the settlement that my labors were not sustained by my associates. So for this reason I claim the right to speak singly. I would rather it had been different for I knew good works had been done by others but as they have placed their names on record as never having sustained me I will have to let them take their choice. As "bungling" as I may have been I got the Indians their lands.

It was nearly a year before things were straightened up and put to rights. Finally President Hayes modified the grant giving the Indians only the lands they occupied. During the whole of this time the Indians were steadily improving their farms, helping to enlarge the ditch, and generally advancing in good behavior; and with a few exceptions becoming moral and industrious; raising good crops, selling large quantities of wheat and sustaining themselves without help from anyone.

Once our place was visited by an Indian inspector who reported the Indians in a better condition than any on the government reservations. Many had been baptized.

I had by this time become quite unpopular among those who, I thought, ought to be my friends. I had gotten into the habit of resisting every one who opposed my labors with the natives. Such seemed like an enemy. When I saw the Indians firmly established on their lands I desired to sell out and go on to Mexico.

Persons were appointed from time to time to take my place with the Pimas. But little progress was made until my eldest son, Daniel P. was placed in charge of them. A school house was built, and some few now took an interest in helping along the work.

Sisters Susanna Brady, Susan Savage and a Sister Harmon, formerly of the Sixteenth Ward, Salt Lake City, commenced teaching the children who made rapid progress. Many of them at this time can read in the third and fourth readers, calculate figures and write a very good hand. Sister Harmon has taught them music. Many of the young people are good singers, one having learned to play the organ.

Many of the older natives are intelligent and often speak in meeting with much force and understanding.

An effort was made by a company to buy me out but not being able to agree among themselves it failed.

My farm was quite valuable. From the products of it I had paid most of the old debts.

I now concluded to make Salt River my home, improve my place and live in peace, as I had done all I could for the Indians. I gave up all pretense of having any control or management of any kind whatever over their affairs, farther than to be friendly and give them such advice as a friend could. I supposed this would be satisfactory and end all trouble, but in this I was mistaken.

One day while at work plowing on a ranch some four miles from home, one of my sons brought me a note stating that the Indians had made complaint against some of the settlers and that the charge was being investigated and that I was wanted as a witness.

I had heard of no trouble lately and could not call to mind anything wherein the Indians had a right to complain. My supposition was that it was some difficulty that had taken place in my absence as I had been away from home several days.

I wrote a note to the Bishop who was to conduct the investigation saying that I had no knowledge of any unsettled difficulties between the Indians and whites, and that I was not at present paying any attention to Indian affairs and could not possibly call to mind anything that would make my evidence needed, but if there was, to please send me word by my son and I would come immediately. I went on with my plowing thinking nothing more about the matter.

Soon my son Wesley came at full gallop, looking quite excited. I asked him what was the matter, he replied, "They are going to cut you off from the Church, I heard them say so."

I asked, "Did they send you to tell me?"

"No, but I heard what they said and came as fast as I could to tell you; but I don't know what they mean."

I jumped on the horse and got to the place as soon as possible where the trial was going on, but they had adjourned. I wrote a note to the Bishop immediately, stating that I wished to make satisfaction if I had offended, as I had not intended to. In answer I received the following:

"JONESVILLE, April 1st, 1883.

"Elder D. W. Jones:

"Understanding that you desire to appear in the Bishop's Court and apologize for your disregard to our notice sent you to attend and give testimony, we will be in session tomorrow, at 4 p. m., at the school-house, at which time you can avail yourself of the opportunity.

"_______ _______,


Before the time of meeting, next day, I learned, to my surprise, that the whole business was against myself; that I was being tried for robbing Indians of their lands. This, to me, was so unjust, so unreasonable and in every way malicious that I made up my mind that I would make no defence whatever, but let the prosecutors go on and submit to whatever decision they gave.

My reasons for this were that I knew there was a deep prejudice against me--not entirely without cause--and the only way for me to break it up would be to submit to the parties who were trying to drive me to the wall.

Next day I appeared and asked forgiveness for not coming at the first notice. A motion was made to forgive me. Before this was put to vote I asked to make a statement so that my feelings would be fully understood, that was, that I should not have testified if I had been at the former hearing; that I was now here according to their notice, but that I declined to make any defence whatever.

The tribunal seemed puzzled to know what to do with me, but finally decided that I must make some more confessions. This I agreed to do at a public meeting. When the time came I made my apology, which was all right for the time and place, but a still greater humiliation was wanted. This I also agreed to. During these exercises my robbery case was being taken under advisement. However, I guess it will be as well to get through the confession while about it. Now, I do not wish any one to think that my apologies were not sincere, I fully realized that I had been disrespectful, for I really had no respect for the whole proceedings.

The last decision was that I was to apologize before the whole ward and make full and complete satisfaction to all present. At the appointed time I stood up and did the best I could, but was told that it was not satisfactory. I then asked that a paper be prepared, just what would satisfy, and I would endorse it. This was agreed to, and under instructions the clerk commenced to write. I was standing, but was asked to take a seat. I declined, as I had the floor and was determined to keep it until the business was finished.

Finally, after many failures, a satisfactory confession was written out and read. I signed the same with my own free will and consent. There was nothing in the requirement but what was reasonable under the circumstances.

I find by the date of the decision against me, that it was given before the last confession, as that could not possibly have taken place within three days from the appeal. This is a copy of the decision given:

"April 3rd, 1883.

"Brother D. W. Jones:

"It is the decision of the Bishop's Court that you pay the receivers * * the sum of three hundred dollars for dispossessing Indians of their lands; said sum to be paid on or before the 14th of April, 1883, and if not paid by that time you shall be cut off from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints."

I made up my mind to abide the decision without appealing it. A short time before this trouble Brother Snow had visited Salt River and had, so I understood, caused to be settled some feelings that had existed for some time past between myself and others. I had in good faith agreed to work in unison with the authorities of the stake and had been doing my best to prove my sincerity.

When this decision was given I went to the President of the Stake and showed it to him. He expressed himself surprised, saying that he had always thought me over-tenacious about the Indians' rights. He said I could appeal it. I told him it would take time and trouble, and I felt like paying the fine and letting the matter rest, but that I feared there was a disposition to crowd me. The time was so short--only ten days allowed--and that money was scarce and hard to get. He replied that all that could be expected was for me to consent and pay as soon as I could. I told him I feared not, as the whole proceeding showed malice.

I went back home and wrote the Bishop a letter, saying that I would abide the decision and that he could take charge of a lot of wagons and stock which myself and sons owned that were now at home on the ranch. I gave a list of the same, and they were worth over one thousand dollars. I told him he could take charge of the whole of it or that he could pick and receive sufficient to cover the fine, and I would hold myself in readiness to assist under his counsel to get the money out of the property. If my offer was not properly worded I would sign any agreement that might be required of me; but when the letter was read one party remarked, "Jones has followed his rule and gone contrary to what we expected."

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