Chapter XXXII.


The Killing of an Indian near Fairview--His Friends Visit me

I Advise them to keep the Peace and they do so

AFTER the Indian troubles were settled I was advised to move to Sanpete valley to try and keep an influence for peace with the whites as well as the Utes. The authorities of Sanpete County, together with the greater portion of the people approved of my labors, and were glad that peace was now made, whilst some of the more captious found fault and used their influence to bring about a collision hoping thereby to get the Indians killed by sending the troops upon them. I believed then and still do that some things laid to the Indians was the work of white men and designed for effect.

In justice to the Indian side of the question, I will say that most of the annoyance was done by drunken Indians, a party of which attacked the herd boys coming into Fairview, killing one of them. This was supposed to be a personal affair as these same Indians passed other boys about the same time without molesting them.

Some time after peace had been considered fully established an Indian was murdered in cold blood by a party of whites going out after wood from Fairview. The body was covered up but was finally discovered by the Indians. The killing was cowardly in the extreme, and more treacherous than anything I ever remember done by the Indians. The exact number I have forgotten, but some six or eight young men were going out to the cedars for wood. They met a lone Indian coming in from Thistle Valley on his way to Fairview. At that time this was nothing unusual. The wood haulers spoke friendly to the Indian, and asked him to go with them into the cedars, and as soon as they loaded up he could ride into town with them. The Indian had no suspicion of anything wrong, and I did not believe the wood haulers at first thought of killing him. He went out into the cedars, staying around while the loading was going on. After a while someone suggested that it would be a good chance to kill the "d----d Indian" and hide him away, others assented. So much was said that the Indian, who understood some of their talk, became uneasy and started to leave. At this one of the party shot him. All being armed with pistols now took part and, as the Indian ran, the whole party fired at and succeeded in killing him. They buried him among the cedars, covering him mainly with brush.

When the Indians discovered his body they came to me feeling very badly. The Indians really desired peace. The murdered Indian in fact belonged to a band that never had been of the worst. I was now living in Fairview. I was greatly mortified and scarcely knew how to answer, for I was aware it would be natural for the Indians to seek blood for blood, and it was a little surprise to me that they stopped to consider, but as they had come to me I took courage and commenced talking, reciting a great deal of the Indian history from the earliest settling of Utah, acknowledging that the first blood shed was that of an Indian on the Provo bottom, also admitting that they had often been wronged; referred to the hard labor that I had done in crossing the snow mountains, and how I had got them beef and flour and made good peace between them and the Mormons, and how true the Indians had been to me, and how sick my heart now was that this had occurred.

I was not acting, for it was a cruel thing, besides being so senseless. Finally, when I had got the Indians to feel that I fully sympathized with them, I said to them, "Some one has to be the last or this killing will never cease. Now as some persons, without cause, have killed one of your people. If you kill a Mormon to pay for it, won't some bad Mormon kill another Indian? Then when am I ever to see good peace? If you will pass this by and let this be the last, I don't believe there will be any more killing; for when the Mormons know that in Indian was last killed they will be ashamed, and the men who killed your friend will be despised by all good people."

At last these Indians consented and agreed not to kill anyone in retaliation. I have never heard of their breaking this promise. I would ask those who are so down on the "treacherous Indians" to think of this.

My labors with the Utes were now almost ended. I had already been asked to get ready to go to Mexico on a mission. An account of which will be given in subsequent chapters.

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