Chapter X.


My Interview with Brother George A. Smith--My Ill-natured

Remark--He Wins me by Kindness--His Noble Character-- Peace with the Indians

WHEN the troubles began Brother George A. Smith, who was presiding in Utah County was in Salt Lake City. There was much confusion in the county. All the cattle belonging to Provo, twelve hundred head, were got together on the lake bottom. Barney Ward and I were placed as guard over them, with orders not to let them get away. We stayed with them until we were about worn out. No one would come to our relief till Brother Smith came to give directions. On the third day we heard he had arrived. I went in early to see him. I had not slept for three nights and had been in the saddle most of the time, consequently I did not feel very good-natured. As I was going up to Brother Smith's house I met three of the principal brethren on the street. They asked where I was going. I told them to see Brother Smith. They replied that he was not up and I could not see him. I answered, "I will go and see." Sure enough they were right and somewhat sarcastically said, "You will learn some day to not be in such a hurry." I was very angry and made and ill-natured remark.

After going and getting my breakfast I went back to G. A. Smith's house. He was sitting by the door in company with the men I had met before.

Brother Smith shook hands with me saying, "I understand you called me a big lazy lout. What do you mean by such talk? Did you say it?" I replied "Yes sir. [60] I have been up with Brother Ward three nights herding cattle; he is with the cattle now, we are worn out and cannot stand it any longer; I thought when you only rode from Salt Lake City in a carriage, and have slept all night, you could just as well get up and attend to business as for us to be up three nights. That is why I said it."

Brother Smith turned to one of these men, saying, "Go get some men and relieve Brother Barney immediately. Bro. Jones go home and go to sleep; when you wake up you will feel better." I felt ashamed for Bro. Smith manifested no anger.

When I awoke in the afternoon I went to see Bro. Smith intending to ask his pardon. On seeing me he took me by the hand, laughing heartily, asking me if I felt any better, and talking in a very pleasant manner, giving me no chance to apologize. Many years afterwards he spoke of it, and laughed about it as a good joke. I relate 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.

How long the war continued is a question. Active hostilities were kept up more or less according to opportunities during the summer of '53. When the Indians had a good chance they would steal or kill. Some were more or less peaceable when it suited them. I never went out to fight as I made no pretensions whatever of being an Indian fighter. I did my portion of military duty. I assisted in various ways in helping to protect ourselves against the natives, but I always made it a rule to cultivate a friendly feeling whenever opportunity presented; so much so that the Indians always recognized me as a [61] friend to their race. I had learned some little about military affairs while in Mexico. I assisted in organizing and drilling the militia from time to time. I also acted as adjutant under Col. P. W. Conover as early as '51, afterwards filled the same position under Col. Pace in '53. I did not like the office and resigned, but was induced to accept the office again for the purpose of making out returns to the government for services rendered by some of the Utah militia. These returns were accepted, the men paid, and land warrants issued. I was assisted by L. J. Nuttall and G. W. Hickman as clerks. After this Brother Nuttall was appointed in my place and continued to act under Col. Pace to my knowledge, as late as the Echo Canyon War.

President Young advised the people to wall in their towns. This puzzled the Indians. We told them it was our intention to shut them out and have no more to do with them. This they did not like for there was no great length of time, but what some of the different bands were on friendly terms with the settlers. Walker finally said if we would quit building walls, they would quit fighting. But the good peace was broken, and there was always some of the whites holding grudges against the Indians. Still we called it peace. The local troubles are matters of general history. I aim to deal more with that which is not written.

I always considered the natives entitled to a hearing as well as the whites. Both were often in the wrong. The white men should be patient and just with the Indians and not demand of them in their untutored condition the same responsibility they would of the more intelligent class. Further along in this history we will see the Indians' defence.

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