Chapter XXI.


The Echo Canyon War--An Invading Foe--Plans for Checking

Its Progress--Peace Declared--Pardon Granted--The True Cause of the Trouble--I Work at Saddlery--The Unjustifiable Killing of Yates--Visit from Indians

I WILL not attempt to give a full account of the Echo Canyon war but will give only sufficient to connect this history.

Word reached Utah on the twenty-fourth of July, 1857, while the people were celebrating Pioneer day in Big Cottonwood canyon that U.S. troops were on the road to Utah. As soon as this report was confirmed, and the intentions of the invaders fully learned--which [125] were to place the Territory under martial law, on the pretext that the "Mormons" were in a state of rebellion--Brigham Young, both as President of the Church, and Governor of the Territory, commenced to advise and issue orders to meet the situation. The far-off settlements, San Bernardino in Lower California and Carson valley, Nevada, both thrifty, prosperous places, were broken up and the people called home to Utah. There was a determined spirit manifested by both leaders and people to be ready to meet in the best possible way whatever might come. No fear nor timidity was shown. Neither was there lack of counsel, but everything that was required to be done was promptly directed and as promptly executed.

A few companies of cavalry militia were sent out reconnoiter. Nothing official could be done by Governor Young on rumor. Finally an armed force not officially known to him was found invading the Territory of Utah. As soon as this was reported. The Governor ordered General Wells to interrupt them and hinder their approach, and protect the people of the Territory from the invading foe.

The question may be asked, did not President Young and the people know that these were government troops? President Young and the people knew it was a political mob; Governor Young, not being notified officially of their coming, only knew them as an armed enemy entering the Territory. He was appointed by the President of the United States to govern under the laws common in the country. According to his oath of office, he could do no less than try to protect his Territory. Governor Young had no more right to know this army than had the sentinel on duty to know his captain unless the captain gives the counter sign. This [126] Johnston at first refused to give, but as the sequel shows, never got in until he "hollowed turkey."

This force continued to advance. The troops ordered out by General Wells did what they could to hinder their progress toward the valleys. The situation finally became so serious that companies were ordered from Davis, Salt Lake, and Utah counties to fortify Echo canyon. I went with the regiment from Utah under Colonal Pace, and had charge of a few picked riflemen. We remained in Echo during the winter fortifying the place.

The boys on the plains made it very disagreeable for the advancing army nightly, running off their beef herd, burning their provision trains and the grass, and in every way possible impeding their progress. Finally, winter set in with severity, catching them in the mountains at Fort Bridger, where they were obliged to stay for the winter. They were short of supplies and had a hard time wintering. Albert Sidney Johnston was in command.

After this army was fully settled in their quarters, part of the Utah army returned home, leaving only enough to watch the news at Bridger. This was a winter of business for the "Mormon" people. There was no thought of submission, everything was fully arranged for the spring work.

As soon as the weather moderated in the spring of 1858, the people commenced to move from Salt Lake City and more northern settlements, south as far as Utah county. Every house in Salt Lake City was abandoned, not a family remaining. Men were detailed to set fire to and burn everything that could be burned. The people really manifested joy in these news. No [127] one appeared down-hearted at the sacrifices. All was life and energy.

What was known as the standing army of Utah was organized, intending to make guerrilla warfare on our enemies and hinder their progress, while the people moved en masse further and further south. There had been good crops raised previous to this year; the country was full of bread stuff and fat cattle. Provisions were prepared for future use. Not much planting was done this season, particularly in the north.

A few troops were kept in Echo and along the road. I had charge of a company at Lost Spring near the head of the canyon. In the latter part of May we received orders to break up camp and come in; that peace had been made. (The part Col. Kane took in bringing about a settlement is a part of written history.) Ex-Governor Powell, of Kentucky, and McCullough, of Texas, were sent to arrange peace. They brought printed posters declaring the people all pardoned and notifying them to return to their houses. Thus we conquered a great army and nation without bloodshed.

The whole of this move was brought about by a charge made against the "Mormons" by Judge Drummond, who had been appointed from the state of Illinois. He had left his wife and family at home and brought here with him a fancy lady (?) who sat beside him in court. This coming to the knowledge of the public, Drummond was severely criticized by the "Mormon" press. At this he took offense, and made his plans for deep revenge. He locked up his office, with the records in it, and arranged with a party to set fire to and burn up the whole. He then left the city in a hurry pretending to be afraid for his life. Went back to Washington and reported the "Mormons" in a state of rebellion, [128] stating that all the United States records were burned and that he, a United States judge, had barely escaped with his life.

It is commonly understood that Secretary Floyd and his party took this report kindly, it giving grounds for a move by the army to the far west, thus weakening the power of the Federal Government financially, and moving much of the armament and military supplies, and getting the rebellion a better chance to get a good start before the necessary force could be put in the field by the government. So Drummond's report was acted upon without any enquiry whatever being made to find out whether it was true or not.

No moves back were made until the army had passed through the city. This was a sorrowful day for the soldiers. I afterwards traveled and became well acquainted with many of the commissioned officers. As is common with the army officers, they were real gentlemen, and were in no way responsible for these moves. Many of them told me they shed tears while passing through the streets of Salt Lake to see pleasant homes deserted and everything a waste; that it could only be compared to a city of the dead; and that to think they were the instruments used to cause all this made them ashamed of their calling.

The army agreed to fix their quarters not less than forty miles of Salt Lake City. This agreement was kept.

During the winter Col. Marcy went through to New Mexico to buy mules and such supplies as could be obtained sooner than from the east. Quite a number of my old acquaintances from New Mexico came through in the spring. One Lewis Simmons, son-in-law of Kit Carson, came in charge of several thousand head of [129] sheep. I obtained permission of him to shear the wool from as many as I wished. This was quite a privilege, as wool was valuable.

My old friends and acquaintances were much surprised to find me in Utah and a "Mormon," but they all treated me kindly, and as often as I have met them do so to this day. Not many are now alive. I went to New Mexico when quite young, and most of my early acquaintances were older than myself; few of them but lived differently to what I have, so at the present day I am almost the only one living of the pioneers of New Mexico.

While the standing army, formerly spoken of, was fitting up, I commenced working at the saddler's trade. This I had partly learned in St. Louis before going to Mexico; had worked in the city of Chihuahua, learning something of the Mexican style of work. Some of my friends from Santa Fe wanted saddles of my make, as they had seen some good work of mine in Mexico. I made and sold quite a number of saddles to them. I now commenced to make this my business. And as "Dan Jones, the saddler," is well-known, I will let this answer on that subject.

The coming of Johnson's army has generally been considered a money-making affair to this community. To me it has always been a question, for it cost a great deal to bring them. However, we made the most we could of a bad bargain, and got what we could out of the forced speculation.

There is one circumstance connected with my experience while in Echo Canyon service which I wish to put on record--the killing of Yates by Bill Hickman. This Mr. Yates was a personal friend of mine, a kind-hearted, liberal man of whom I had received many kind-[130]nesses, and his being murdered did not agree with my feelings, but I knew of no way to mend the matter, for I knew nothing of the killing till he was buried.

I was camped with a small party ab out four miles west of the Weber valley and ten or twelve miles from Echo. One very cold morning about sunrise, Hickman and two others came to my camp. They seemed almost frozen, shaking and trembling in an unusual manner. Hickman asked me if I had any whisky. I told them I had not. He then asked if we had coffee. I replied that we had. "Then make us a good strong cup." While the coffee was being made, he took me outside and asked me if I knew Yates. I told him I did. "Well, we have just buried him."

He then told about Yates being taken prisoner for tampering with Indians. And after talking quite excitedly, he said, "We have got away with him. What do you think the Old Boss," (meaning Brigham) "will say?"

Now if Yates had been killed as Hickman related in his book he would not have manifested so much interest in what President Young would say. He tried hard to draw an approval from me of what he had done. I told him I knew nothing about such modes and did not know what Brother Young would say about it.

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. I know positively that Governor Young's orders were to avoid bloodshed in every way possible. I was continually acting and around in places and under circumstances that gave me the best of opportunities to know.

During the time that Johnson's army was at Bridger, there was an effort made to turn the Indians against the [131] Mormons. This partially succeeded, but did not last long. As they soon got tired of the treatment received from their new friends.

While in camp near the head of Echo Canyon in May, 1858, a number of Weber and Goshutes came and camped on Yellow creek not far from our location. A few of us visited them. They expressed a desire to be peaceable with the Mormons. A meeting was appointed, they agreeing to come to our camp and talk over affairs and make satisfaction for some things they admitted having done. At this conference A. Miner presided, Abram Conover and myself acting as interpreters. I do not remember all that was said at the time. The Indians acknowledged having committed various thefts, at the same time giving their reasons for having done so.

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