Chapter XXII.


The Troops Ordered from Camp Floyd to New Mexico--I am

Solicited to Act As Guide--Through the Killing of an Ox I Am Charged with Being a Traitor to the Church--The Trial-- My Acquittal--I Desire to Return Home, But am Forced to Continue as Guide

EARLY in the spring of 1860 orders came from Washington for a portion of the troops at Camp Floyd to move to New Mexico and to explore a wagon road from Salt Lake to Santa Fe, naming the route, as selected by the map, down Little White river, now Price creek, and crossing over the mouth of the Dolores, thence on to Santa Fe. On the old maps these rivers showed very well as far as directions went. At this time I was the only person in Utah that knew anything of the country desired to be explored, and my knowledge was limited to the old Spanish trail and some few side trails to Indian camps.

The offer was made me to act as guide for the expedition. I declined at first but finally consented to go as far as Green river with an exploring party under Lieut. Archer, and see if a wagon road could be found by way of Spanish Fork to Green river.

We succeeded in locating a road, but not down Price river. We left that river to the right, crossing the plains and striking the river at the lower crossing. It was decided to put a working force of soldiers on the route. This was the first opening of Spanish Fork canyon. I agreed to go as far as Green river with this company, with the privilege, given as an inducement to get me to go, of taking along a trader's wagon under the protection of the command. I arranged with my brother-in-law, S. B. Moore, to go with me and take this wagon, and attend to the trading business, we being equal partners in the venture.

While working in Spanish Fork, making road, an ox was killed by a soldier. The ox belonged to a settler in Spanish Fork. Mr. Moore saw the soldier shoot the ox and told me about it. Next day John Berry came into camp, he being president of the settlement, and in a very excited manner demanded satisfaction for the ox. The commander, Captain Selden, said that he knew nothing about the killing and asked me if I had heard anything. I told him that I knew who had killed the ox. Berry wanted the man brought forward at once. The captain told him that the man should be given up to the civil authorities at once and proper restitution made. Berry seemed to get worse and worse; said he did not want any thief to take back with him, but wanted to see him and have him punished. Captain Selden told him that the army regulations defined modes for even bad men; that everything had to be done properly. He advised President Berry to take a course to have the man either arrested or else to leave the matter to him and he would work the punishment so as to get the pay and send to the owner. Berry would not listen to any proposition whatever. Finally, I told him that he was unreasonable and that I would not point out the man to him, but would to the captain before pay-day; that I would bring the money with me on my return, and I would leave it to Bishop Miller, the presiding bishop of Utah county, whether I was right or not.

On my return I offered to pay to Berry the amount. He would not accept it unless accompanied by a plea of guilt to a charge already preferred against me before the High Council of being a traitor to the Church, aiding and abetting an enemy to destroy property belonging to a brother and refusing to point out the guilty party when called on to do so. Taking the whole charge together it was too steep for me. That I had refused to point out the party was a fact, and I was willing to be judged on the merits of the refusal when all the reasons were stated. So I refused and was brought to trial.

The charge was read and considerable testimony given. In the charge the price of the ox was demanded. No effort was made to oppose this, but it was acknowledged and offered to be settled. At length Bishop Miller, the president, stood up and motioned that the charge be sustained. This aroused me. I replied to the Bishop's motion an excited and insulting manner, so much so that he motioned that Daniel W. Jones be cut off from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for insulting the priesthood.

I replied, "You hold on; you cannot do it."

"What do you mean?" he asked.

"I mean I have had my stay; I am done. Now you have yours, and whatever you require of me I will do. But I will not be cut off from the Church even if I have to acknowledge to the charge."

Here Joseph Clark asked permission to speak. He said he did not think the charge was sustained by the evidence; some others spoke the same. Finally Bishop Miller said to the clerk, "Read the charge again." On hearing and read the second time he said: "Oh, I do not mean to sustain the charge that Brother Jones is a traitor or anything of the kind. I had paid no particular attention to that part. All I mean is that Brother Jones pay for the ox according to agreement."

This was a close call for me, but I saved my standing and honor. If I had said nothing probably this whole charge would have went on record as it was. Inasmuch as I had offered to pay the amount sent by the captain the whole charge was thrown out.

This command under Selden was about one month working a road through to Green river. We had a pleasant time, doing well with our trading. We were treated well by both officers and men. Captain Selden was a kind-hearted officer, without any prejudices against the "Mormons," although he was one of those ordered out to wage a war against the people.

On arriving at Green river where another guide was to take my place, we found he was not there. As the man, a Mexican, had not arrived I was told that my services would be required the balance of the trip. I refused to go. Before leaving Utah I had received word from Brother Brigham that he did not wish me to go on this trip. George W. Bean told me that Brother Young had said, "Tell Brother Jones I consider him one of my good boys and I do not want him to go off into that dangerous country and risk his life for money." I knew this to be the best of counsel, for the country was dangerous. The Mexicans of New Mexico were not over their bad feelings about the Indian slave trade. The ones who had profited by this traffic still held a grudge against "Mormons." This I had learned from some of my old associates that came through with Colonel Marcy. Both Utes and Navajoes were uncertain in those days, particularly those living on the borders of New Mexico. There were no regular mails or communications in those days between the two countries.

Not only having a desire to respect the kindly advice of Brother Brigham, but knowing the risk we would run, I declined to go farther. On refusing, Colonel Canby, who was in command, instructed his adjutant to tell me that the good of the service required me to go on as guide, and that it would be impossible for them to fill the orders from Washington without my services; that if I went willingly I should be well treated and respected and that my brother-in-law would be employed as assistant guide; that they needed our wagon and team and that the quartermaster would pay us for it.

I still refused, telling them I would run too much risk in getting back to Utah. Colonel Canby then promised me protection and mileage home, and informed me that I could accept the turns willingly or otherwise, they would have to keep a guard over me to see that I did not leave; neither would they settle with me for services up to date. I have several affidavits proving these facts. We found that nothing would do but to consent.

The main command under Canby intended to follow what was known as Lorin's trail up the Grand river, cross over and go down to Fort Garland, while a company under Lieutenant Stith was to explore the Dolores river. I was wanted for both, but as this could not be I was sent on the Lorin trail, accompanied by a sergeant and an Indian, to the junction of the Grand and Gunnison rivers, to find the road and see how the crossing was.

My hopes were that after this trip confining the road all right to this point that I could get off and return home, but not so. It was decided that we had to go on and guide the exploring expedition through on the Dolores I told Canby I did not know the country. No difference. My natural ability, with my general knowledge of the country, was all sufficient, so at length I gave up and went willingly. The most of the officers treated me with great kindness and respect. They knew I was a member of the "Mormon" Church and often asked me questions about our religion. Many evenings were spent in chatting about Utah affairs in a very pleasant and agreeable manner.

After crossing Green river there is a desert of fifty-five miles to Grand river. The troops suffered considerable on this desert. Some few leaving the road to hunt water got lost, and one or two never were found; they either perished or fell into the hands of some hostile Indians. One little circumstance showing the need of understanding something of their language or signs in dealing with Indians happened at Green river. There were quite a number of Utes camped below the crossing. These Indians came into camp quite often.

One day I noticed a crowd of soldiers making some curious and exciting moves. I approached to see what was the matter. I saw an Indian standing, holding something in his hand and looking rather confused. The soldiers were getting a rope ready to hang him; all was excitement and I am satisfied that if I had not happened along the poor Indian would have been swinging by the neck in less than five minutes.

I could see from the Indian's manner that he realized something was wrong but could not understand why he was surrounded by soldiers.

I asked them what they were doing. They said that the Indian had brought one of their horses that he had stolen into camp and sold it for thirty dollars; that the owner of the horse was there and they were intending to hang the "d----d thief." I told them to hold on a minute, that I did not think an Indian would steal a horse and bring it into the camp where it belonged to sell. Some one answered, "Yes, he has; there is the money now in his hand that he got for the horse."

The Indian was still standing there, holding the money in his open hand and looking about as foolish as ever I saw one of his race look. I asked him what was up. He said he did not know what was the matter.

"What about the horse and money?"

He answered, "I found a horse down at our camp. I knew it belonged to the soldiers so I brought it up, thinking they would give me something for bringing it. This man," pointing to one, "came and took hold of the horse and put some money in my hand. It was yellow money and I did not want it. He then put some silver in my hand. There it all is. I don't understand what they are mad about."

I soon got the trouble explained. The man thought he was buying the horse, the Indian thought he was rewarding him for bringing the animal to camp; the owner happened along just as the trade was being made. Here ignorance and prejudice came near causing a great crime. As soon as this was explained I took the money and gave it back to the owner. No one had thought of taking the money. All were bent on hanging the honest fellow. Soon there was a reverse of feeling; most of the soldiers in the crowd being Irish, they let their impulses run as far the other way, loading the Indian with shirts and blouses. Some gave him money, so that he went away feeling pretty well, but he remarked that the soldiers were kots-tu-shu-a (big fools).

I have often thought there were many like these soldiers, " heap kots-tu-shu-a," in dealing with Indians.

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