Chapter XXVIII.


The Salt Lake City Election in 1874--Deputy Marshalls Attempt

to Run Things--Mayor Wells' Order--The Mob Dispersed-- Captain Burt and his Men Make Some Sore Heads

ON ARRIVING in Salt Lake, in company with Mr. Morgan, the agency blacksmith, who had been discharged by the clerk because he refused to put long, sharp corks on the agent's team, which would have cut them while floundering through deep snow-drifts--such as we would encounter on the road--which any experienced man knows is correct. But the clerk, like many others, felt that a little authority must of necessity make him wise, thought differently. On reporting the clerk to the agent, we were considerably surprised at his answer to us. He told us that the clerk suited him, and if we did not like him we could stay away from the agency. I told him that Tom Layton was a fraud on honesty and good sense, and if he felt to uphold him, he was a different man from what I supposed him to be. I wanted to know why he instructed me to notice how the affairs were conducted and report facts, which I had done and could prove all I said, and then treat my information in the way he did. The agent told me he did not want me any more and would discharge me from his service and forbade me going to the agency. I answered that whether he discharged me or not, I had business at the agency, and calculated to visit there whether he wanted me to do so or not. He replied that it was now late in this season and that he expected much trouble in getting his supply-train through that was now about starting from Heber City with flour and other provisions, and that he forbade my going with them. He then rather derisively remarked that he did not think that I would be able to make the trip, that he thought it would be about as much as he could do with the government to back him up, to get back to Uintah; and hardly thought any one else would try the trip so late in the season.

I told him there was not enough snow for me yet. But after a while when traveling was good, I would call over and see him. I had already studied out my campaign for the winter.

Before leaving the Uintah agency, I had promised the Indians that I would return and do all I could for them. They wanted me to try and get the place of trader. There were many things they wanted that they could not get. Among the rest children's woolen shirts and dresses of various sizes. My wife went to work, with the assistance of some of our neighbors, (particularly that of the Sisters Brower of the 11th Ward) and made a lot of such as were needed.

The agent left sometime in November. The trip had never been made in the winter by anyone, as the snow often fell from fifteen to twenty feet on the mountains that had to be crossed. So when I spoke of going many of my friends considered me a little crazy.

I knew the work before me, that I had so much interest in, and that was making permanent peace with the Indians, could only be accomplished by keeping my word with them, and gaining their entire confidence; so I determined to go or perish in the attempt. I knew that I was engaged in a good work and fully believed that I would be preserved and strengthened according to the undertaking. I knew the country I had to travel was rough in the extreme, with high mountains and deep rough canyons. Following the road would be of no use, as it would be entirely covered with snow several feet deep. So I made up my mind to wait until mid winter when the snow was deepest and take as direct a route as possible.

With the assistance of Calvin Ensign, I constructed a sled of peculiar and original pattern. One thing was certain; unless good sleeping arrangements could be provided, we would perish at night. The sled was long enough and of size and shape so that two could sleep in it by lapping our feet and legs to the knees, each one taking his end. We took in provisions goods and bedding to nearly four hundred pounds weight.

My wife assisted me in every way possible in getting ready, with a kind and cheerful spirit, manifesting no uneasiness whatever. As I have before mentioned whenever my labors were among the Indians, she sympathized with me fully. Eight days before I started, a son was born to me. My wife was confined to her bed when I started. I waited as long a time as possible, but there was now plenty of snow.

I started Jan. 12, 1872. I hired N. Murdock of Provo valley, to take my sled to Heber City. I had not yet found any person to go with me, expecting to procure some one in Provo valley, as there were a number of hardy, venturesome persons living there who were in the habit of going out for days on snow-shoes, hunting elk and trapping beaver. On arriving there I found Bradley Sessions, a Mormon Battalion boy, willing to undertake the trip. I told him all I wanted him to agree was, that if we perished on the trip he would agree with me that we would not grumble, but die uncomplainingly; that under no circumstances were we to give up or turn back.

He said, "All right, I will stay with you." And he did.

Brother Sessions furnished me with a pair of snow-shoes. I had prepared almost everything else needed for two before leaving the city, so that we were soon ready to start.

On leaving Heber City we took the most direct road over the pass leading down into the west fork of the Duchesne, then down to the main stream intersecting the government road, not far from where it crosses this stream. The divide is too steep for a wagon road, but part of the way up had been used for carting timber down to a mill near the foot hills. There was a sled to road some few miles out from Heber City to this mill. Brother John Duke hauled our sled that far with his team; here we made our first camp, in an old house. I had taken from the city a large, strong dog with the idea of having a camp guard, as wolves and other wild animals were in the mountains.

We had a few light tools along with us for repairing our sled in case of accident, and Brother Sessions wished to take along a few beaver traps. Our load already being heavy, and the traps awkward to load among our bedding, as our whole load of goods were arranged in convenient shape for a bed, we concluded to make a sled and harness our dog to it to pull the traps. We got some choke-cherry sticks with crooked ends and spent the evening making a rig for the dog. When harnessed up next morning, he acted rather unruly.

We found the snow lighter than we expected. The winter had been continually cold, the snows deep and not yet settled or packed. But we had started out to stay with it and did not intend to give up. We found it impossible to move our sled on the snow until a road was packed. Accordingly we would take a few handy articles on our backs, and with our snow-shoes, five feet long and some fifteen inches wide, go forward tramping a trail wide enough for our sled, the dog following with his load. After traveling a mile or two we would return and bring up our sled.

The main trouble we had was with our dog chasing the little pine squirrels, running after them sled and all, and getting overturned, or hung among the trees. We would have to straighten him out. We did not like to thrash him for fear he would run off, as he seemed a little disposed to get away from us.

This tramping road and having to double on our tracks was very laborious. Many times even after tramping the road the way was so steep that it took all our strength to move the sled a few rods at a time, but when an easy grade was reached, we walked along quite easily with our four hundred pound load.

We were five days in reaching the summit. When there we could look back and see Heber City, some twenty miles distant. This looked a little trying to us as our provisions were wasting away very fast.

Our dog seemed to understand this situation and rebelled. I had hard work to conquer him. Heretofore we had coaxed him along, but it now became necessary to make him mind as bolognes were getting too scarce to feed him more than his share. We crossed the divide at the head of the West Fork of the Duschesne. The weather was so cold that we were afraid to halt for dinner until we had descended quite a distance from the summit. Once we halted among some dry trees intending to get dinner, but the wind blew so cold that we were forced to swallow a few bits of frozen meat and go on. We naturally expected that the descent would be much easier and more rapid than pulling up the mountain. In this we were mistaken, owing to the wind blowing the light snow from the mountain tops which settled down into the canyon. Much of the time we had to tramp and make road before we could move along. Sometimes the whole bottom was covered with willows, the tops sticking out and holding the snow up so light that we had to cut and tramp them into the snow before we could move our sled along. While passing the narrows, we had to make a dug way for quite a distance, still we pressed forward. Neither could we abandon our sled or goods, for the sled was our salvation to sleep in. Almost any night we would have perished with cold without our bed-room.

The goods we were taking were promised, and the influence I desired to gain with the Indians would greatly depend upon successfully reaching them with the outfit. When I made them the promise I expected to go out with the agent and take these things with me; but when he forbade me going it only raised my ire and I was determined to go.

By the time we reached the main fork of the Duschesne, our provisions were about gone. Game cannot exist in the high mountains during the coldest part of the winter. Nothing had been met. We hoped to find something on reaching the river. We camped near some springs that ran into the stream, finding places where the river was open. We hoped to catch some fish for supper. We cast our hooks, but had no bites. We continued to fish until near dusk. We had traveled eight days without rest, but agreed if we could get something for supper, to lay over and call it a Sabbath. We finally gave up fishing.

Brother Sessions got to camp a little ahead of me. I followed, feeling very much discouraged, I thought of course we would have to go to bed supperless. It was becoming quite dark, and suddenly I heard a shot that made me feel happy. Directly another was fired. As I came up Bradley was reloading his shot gun and remarked, "We've got supper and breakfast. Here are two pine hens."

At that the third one came flying along, knocked Sessions' cap off his head and lit on the ground just in front of him. He shot, saying, "There's dinner." We had a few crumbs of crackers and a small piece of bacon. We soon had a fine stew of one of the chickens giving the dog his share. The dog had by this time become quite well trained, and a great favorite also, pulling his sled with nearly one hundred pounds load on it.

We laid over next day, catching several fine trout. We had not yet suffered for food, so we ate heartily, knowing that as long as we kept our strength we were all right, that it would be time to starve when forced to it.

When we left camp, we had a few fish; enough for one meal, and one small meal of crumbs and a few bits of bacon. We agreed to try and make a good drive down the river that day and not stop for dinner; and if possible reach the road where we hoped to find the snow hard. The snow was now harder than in the mountains. We could move along slowly without tramping a road and were making very good time.

About noon I became very hungry and remarked to Sessions that the man who works has a right to eat. He replied, "That's what I think."

We halted, took out our little stock of food, and ate it all except the fish.

About the time we had fairly started on, we discovered a mountain sheep on a high point of the mountain. Sessions grabbed his rifle, telling me to try and keep the sled in motion so as to attract its attention and he would have some meat for supper.

I continued tugging at the sled, moving a few rods at a time. Bradley climbed the mountain at a rate of speed that could not well have been done by a hungry man. Still it took quite a while as it was a long way up. I could see this sheep, but Sessions kept out of its sight. He had now got well up the mountain, I heard the rifle crack and saw the sheep fall. I felt happy again and moved up to some dry cedars at the foot of the mountain and had a fire ready for a roast by the time Sessions got down the mountain with the meat.

After roasting and eating what we wanted we moved on down to old Fort Duschesne, now abandoned. We cut up our meat, which was very poor, being mostly skin and bone; jerked the flesh which was but little, boiled the bones and ate very heartily.

Next morning we were both sick. I took the dog and his sled and went down to the government road, a few miles distant. The traveling was tolerably good. We fed the most of the meat to the dog as it seemed to weaken us to eat it.

After resting one day we moved down to the road, camping near an old house. We had hopes of finding something stored here that we could eat, but nothing whatever was found. The house was open and no wood very near, so we camped where there was plenty of dry timber standing.

We were very weak, our stomachs being out of condition and nothing to eat except the jerked meat, which only made us sicker to eat it. It was an intensely cold evening. We became chilled and hadn't strength to cut down trees to make a good fire. There were a few dry willows but they would only make a temporary blaze. Each of us tried to use the ax but we were as weak as little children. I never felt so used up before. I felt as though we would perish, I knew if we went to bed in our exhausted, chilled condition we would be in danger of freezing; for no amount of clothing will warm a person under such circumstances, but, like the ice, the more blankets you wrap around the colder it keeps. Some may doubt this, but when far enough chilled there is danger in going to bed. I have had to get up and make a fire more than once to get thawed out.

Our condition seemed almost hopeless; so much so that I found the tears running down my cheeks before I thought what to do. This weakness made me a little angry with myself. At last I told Bradley together as many willows as possible. The wind was blowing almost a blizzard, but we were in the timber and tolerably well protected.

I got our coffee pot ready and made a lot of strong coffee. We drank of it and ate a few bites of the meat. The coffee seemed to almost intoxicate us, giving us strength. We pitched in like strong men and cut down trees and made up a roaring fire, got well warmed up and went to bed and slept soundly.

Next morning we were quite feeble, but felt safe as the traveling was now of a different kind from this point, for forty-five miles to the agency. The road was open for teams; in fact, in many places, the snow was clear from the road which was now muddy and heavy; so we stored our sled in the old house, left our snow-shoes, strapped a pair of blankets on the dog and started on. We had nothing for breakfast, and a march of two days was before us. We were so determined to keep our pledge not to complain, that we never spoke a word regarding our situation, simply doing what we had to and moving on just as though all was right.

We had our guns but no game came in our way, and we were too weak to risk a step out of our direction on an uncertain hunt. We never spoke of the thought until afterwards, but our last hope was to kill our dog, which would have seemed almost like killing a human being, for he carried a heavy pair of blankets on his back when we were too weak to carry them ourselves. Again our condition would not be materially helped by unpalatable dog meat. We were more sick from bad food than starved. Our condition grew worse and worse. Each of us was attacked with flux in a most violent manner.

I remember well of looking ahead several times a few rods and picking out some object by the side of the road and thinking it looked a more comfortable place to die in than where I was. Sessions told me afterwards his thoughts were the same. First one and then the other would pass on a little way and stop; not a word was spoken. My feelings were to move ahead as long as a mite of strength lasted.

We continued on in this way until about the middle of the afternoon. Our progress was slow. We had fell in together and were moving along at a snail's pace, when Sessions stooped down, picked up something, and in a joyous tone explained, "Here's life." And breaking in two an ear of corn handed me half of it. We commenced eating. I ate mine cob and all, chewing it a long time before swallowing. Never before or since have I tasted anything so sweet and strengthening. It seemed to penetrate to the end of my toes. We were strengthened immediately and commenced to walk at a regular, even pace, in good traveling time.

About the time we had finished eating this, I discovered another ear, picked it up and divided it, saying, "Here is more life." Our sickness ceased entirely and we continued traveling until near midnight. We arrived at a good dry camp, gave the last scrap of meat to the faithful dog, feeling that we were good for next day's tramp, food or no food.

It was a good long day's travel. The next morning we left our blankets hung up in a tree, measured our gait, and agreed to keep it up, setting our time to arrive at the station about sundown. At times I was tempted to cry "enough, halt," but it seemed as though we dared not stop for fear we could not get up steam for another start. So we kept up our gait all day and till nine o'clock at night.

When we arrived at the trader's quarters owned by George Basor, whom I was well acquainted with, and who still lives in that region. George started back and in a serious manner asked, "Is this Dan Jones' ghost, or Dan himself?"

I answered, "I am Dan, and d----d hungry."

He grasped my hand, laughing, and said he saw it was all right, for Dan always came into camp hungry.

While we were at supper some of the boys went over to the agent's office and told of our arrival. They came back and said that the agent and clerk declared they intended to kill me on sight.

I do not wish to be considered a boaster, in truth I leave many things untold that I might tell, only I despise a braggart and do not wish to appear as one. I was too hungry to let this report stop my eating. When I got through, I picked up my shot gun, putting a few extra navy balls into it and told the boys I was going over to the office. Some of them wanted to go with me, but I preferred going alone.

Men often get the name of being brave and fearless from such occurrences, but in this case I will tell just how I felt and what my reasons were, and I think many others feel the same under similar circumstances.

I consider suspense or uncertainty the most disagreeable condition in the world. I do not wish to be annoyed by fear or dread of being killed and I deemed it best to get that off my mind at once, as I was tired and wished to rest. Again, I wanted freedom to be at the agency unmolested. Then I did not much believe that the intention was to kill me, for men who really intend to kill scarcely ever send word of their intentions. All this passed in my mind, so it was not any great bravery on my part.

On reaching the office I knocked, and was told to come in. I had my shot gun ready. Their pistols lay in front of them. I was asked what I wanted. I replied that I wanted to know whether it was to be war or peace.

The agent answered, "I guess it had better be peace."

"Peace it is then," I put my gun down and shook hands with both.

I was kindly treated and accommodated in many ways by the agent, after this, while at the agency I got a team from him to bring in the sled and goods.

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