Chapter LI.


I Remove to Tonto Basin--Death by Accident of my Wife and

Child--Return to Salt River--My Official Duties There-- Trip to Old Mexico

MY OFFER was unfavorably received, and I was told to have the cash ready to pay by the time named. I counseled with those who presided over me, and though the advice I received was contrary to my ideas of justice and right, I followed it, though it was at the complete sacrifice of my home acquired by years of toil and hardship. I was determined to retain my standing in the Church at any cost, and leave judgment with the Lord, who will eventually deal out strict justice to all men.

I was so much used up now that I felt like hiding for the balance of my days. I settled up my affairs in Salt River and moved to Tonto Basin, where but few people could live, the place being small. I commenced to make me a farm and fix for a quiet life. My family were kind and good to me. My wife was one of the noblest and best women that ever lived, and was so acknowledged by all who knew her.

On settling in Tonto my nature was to improve. I soon got started an extension of the public ditch and a road to the lumber region. My wife assisted in organizing a Relief Society, and everything seemed prosperous for future peace and happiness, but my misfortunes were only commenced. During the winter it rained almost incessantly. We were living in a large tent with a shed in front. One day, during a storm, this shed fell, killing my wife and babe two years old. She was the mother of fourteen children, but seemed just in the prime of life and vigor.

All I will say is, that for over a year I would have been glad to have died. I could not remain in the place after this, so I went back to Salt River, settled in Tempe, built a nice little house and furnished it up completely. Brother B. F. Johnson, a neighbor, asked me one day why I was so particular to finish my house so thoroughly.

I replied, "We are promised manyfold for all we sacrifice for the gospel's sake. I have given up several half-finished houses for the gospel's sake, and if I have to take them all back multiplied I want one decent place to live in while I finish them up."

Speaking of Brother Johnson reminds me of a circumstance that he will remember:

One day he and I were together, when Brother Milton Rey, who had been some time laboring among the Indians at Jonesville, came riding up to us in a hurried, excited manner, he said that he had just learned something greatly to my advantage; that he had been talking to the Indians and they had told him that I had never wronged them in any way and that it was all a mistake.

He wanted me to go immediately with him and get a re-hearing on all charges brought against me. I was really amused at his earnestness, as was also Brother Johnson. Brother Rey could not understand why I did not take more interest in what he was telling me, until I explained to him that I was well aware that through prejudice and not through guilt had I been condemned.

There were a few unworthy Indians whom I had to correct from time to time, they might have said something against me when prompted to do so, but the Indians as a body always honored me more than any one else, and do so to this day.

After getting my house finished in Tempe and moving my children from Tonto, I concluded to go ahead and do the best I could to make myself useful. The school district, one of the oldest and richest in the country, had one of the poorest school houses, owing to the former trustees not being able to understand the laws alike.

As there were now many Mormons living in the district it was proposed that they should have a representative; I was chosen for this place. The other two agreed to sustain me in building a good school house. We soon made arrangements, and one of the best houses in the county was speedily erected and ready for use.

I was also appointed to take the school census of the district, and to be assistant assessor for the Mesa and Jonesville districts. These active services helped me somewhat to bear the grief for the loss of my wife.

During the summer of 1884 my mind often rested on Mexico, and the obligation I felt resting upon me not to give up my mission in that country. I tried to rid my mind of these reflections but could not.

I remembered that I had agreed with Brother Brigham and George A. Smith to stick to the mission so long as I lived; I remembered that Brother Smith talked to me about this mission, even after we had to shake him every few minutes to keep him awake, so that he would breathe by force of will. I was with him daily just before his death. Once he said to me that he would like to live to help in the Mexican mission.

Brother Brigham's letter directing me to go on to one of the spots where Israel would sooner or later gather, etc., would come to my mind. Again, I remembered that Brother Brigham had told me that during my mission there would be times when I would seemingly be surrounded with a high, strong stone wall, and in which there would appear no opening. "But," said he, "don't kick at it for you will only make your toes sore. Be faithful and in time it will be removed."

It now occurred to me that I had forgot in the counsel not to kick, for I had been kicking at this very wall, and had got my toes terribly broken. I made up my mind to try and quit.

Finally the spirit and desire became so strong to visit Mexico that I could not resist the feeling. My children needed what we had left for their support, so I made up my mind that I would go if I had to make the trip on foot. At this time the land committee was working in Mexico. I often met some of them, but all seemed to avoid receiving any information from me. This was not at all strange for I knew that I was looked upon as rebellious, as my side of the story had never been heard.

About the time that I was thinking of starting, there was an old miner from Utah came to my house with a good traveling outfit, and wished to go to Mexico. He offered to take me through if I would furnish a certain amount of horse feed and provisions and assist him as interpreter in getting through the custom house, and get him introduced to some of the mine owners in Mexico.

I had heard some little about this man and had met him many years past in Utah. He made me such fair offers that I concluded to go along with him. As the most that I cared for was to get to Mexico with my saddler's tools. With them I knew I would be safe for expenses at any rate. My main desire was to get to the district of country and see what shape the spot was in that Brother Brigham had approved.

While in Provo one time Brother Brigham, in presence of Brother Cannon and others, took a map and motioning his finger around over the map settled onto this very place and said, "Here is a gathering place for the Saints."

I knew the place but had never pointed it out to Brother Brigham. I had never been on the land but had been within a few miles of it and had heard a full description of the place. Knowing the desire was to get land in Mexico I naturally supposed that now was the time to get this place secured provided it was for sale. So I determined to go and find out and at the same time put myself in the way of giving such information as I had formerly obtained while in Mexico.

I had heard that the committee were trying to get lands from the government or land companies which amounted to the same. This I fully believed would fail having faith in the report given us while on our mission to Mexico by the old governor and accepted by President Young. Also knowing that the re-surveying of the country would make but slight difference in the conditions, having all this before me I hoped to go down and be of some use.

The trip through was made without any accident occurring worth mentioning. My companion seemed wholy absorbed in mining speculations, something I had never taken any interest in nor wished to. When we arrived at Ascencion, I found quite a number of our people camped there. Some of them had been on the ground for some time, waiting for the land purchase to be made.

While here, the miner with whom I was traveling, and who agreed to take me on to Guerero, some two hundred and fifty miles farther, heard of some new mines, purporting to be very rich, that had lately been discovered. They were not far out of our way, and he wished to go by and see them and agreed, if he wished to stay there, to let me have the team to go on and not detain me over three days.. We went to the place--Sabinal. Quite an excitement was up, rich prospects being found daily.

We made camp and I commenced to get dinner. My companion went prospecting and soon returned with some small pieces of rock and a big grin, saying that he had "struck it rich." He could scarcely spend time to eat his dinner; he wanted me to go and see his find. I told him that I neither knew nor cared anything about mines, but that I would take care of camp and the team, and he could go and finish his prospecting.

We were about six miles from water and desired to go there for camp. Soon Mr. S. returned with more rock; he was an old prospector and really understood his business. He said he had found a regular lead, where it was exposed in a ravine, and that it showed very rich.

I had been told what the laws were in regard to recording discoveries. They are different from the United States laws; no monument or notice is of any use. As soon as a discovery is made the finder must go and put the same on record. The one first recording holds the claim, having four months to do a certain amount of work required.

I explained this to the miner and also told him that any one getting to the recorder ahead of him could take his discovery. We were with traveling carriage and seventy-five miles from the recorder's office--at Casas Grandes. There was a horseback trail much nearer and prospectors out in every direction, and liable to run into this vein. Mr. S. became excited and we started for Casas Grandes in a hurry; no time was lost.

On arriving there I helped to get all the necessary papers made out, and found a person to see that all was straight. When the papers were all filed and settled Mr. S. showed me my name as half owner in the find, and said, "You are now a rich man; if you will stick to me a few days you will soon be able to go on and buy your land," provided the rock assayed as much as he believed it would--some three hundred dollars.

To find this out it would become necessary to go to El Paso, some two hundred miles, for an assay. Again I was persuaded, as I had not yet got to the district I desired to reach, Mr. S. reiterating his offer that, as soon as he could get settled to mining, I could have the use of his team as long as I wished to go on my land business. So we went back to the discovery, which was on our road to El Paso, and procured some three hundred pounds of ore from the vein. I helped to get the rock; the vein showed well. When we arrived in El Paso and got the assay it showed over six hundred dollars, which was very rich. We had no trouble in getting all the help we needed to work the mine.

It was not long before my partner showed his real character. As soon as the means were secured to work the mine and he needed me no further he showed a murderous spirit. I now made up my mind to stay with him the four months and get my rights on record, for it was through my individual influence that the means were obtained to work the mine. I had to watch my life continually during the four months, not daring to eat or sleep with my partner. I will not weary the reader with what occurred at this camp. It would be rather unpleasant to read, but it is no exaggeration as many who were there from time to time can testify to say that my life was in danger most of the time while in this camp.

When I got my rights on record I left the camp, appointed a representative to look after my interests according to the laws of Mexico.

The mine was quite rich turning out much rich ore and making a large dump of ore that would have paid to freight. My partner spent most all the proceeds in high living and spreeing.

I left the mine in disgust and have never made an enquiry about it since, I have passed in sight of the district twice since while on land business and never cared to make an enquiry concerning either the mine or partner.

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