Chapter XXXV.


The Missionaries for Mexico--We Are to Explore the Country--

Our Outfit and Mode of Travel--Our Stubborn Mules-- Incidents of the Journey

WHILE the work of printing was in the press, the brethren wanted to go on the mission were selected. It was agreed instead of going by rail road and ocean to Mexico, that we would fit up with pack and saddle animals and go through and explore Arizona on our trip. At this time there was but little known by our people of Arizona. Even Salt River Valley was not known by the head men. Hardy, able-bodied men of faith and energy were wanted for the trip. Besides myself there were selected, J. Z. Stewart, Helaman Pratt, Wiley C. Jones (my son,) R. H. Smith, Ammon M. Tenney and A. W. Ivins.

The book of one hundred pages was now ready, being bound in paper.

About the 1st of September, 1875, we appointed to meet at Nephi and start from there with pack animals. Two of the company, being in the extreme south, were to join us at Kanab. We left Nephi about the 10th of September, and with our books, some two thousand packed on mules, we started out. We had a good outfit for the trip. The people of the settlements, as we passed along, assisted us in every way. Some additions were made to our outfit. One place, Cedar City, gave so much dried fruit that it became necessary for us to have another pack mule, which was readily furnished. We stopped a short time at Toquerville, where Brother Ivins joined us. From here we went to Kanab where our company was completed by Brother Tenney joining.

The route chosen was by the way of Lee's Ferry, thence to the Moquis villages, Brother Tenney having been to these villages some years before, was to be our guide to that point, after which we were to make our way through an unknown country the best we could. Our instructions were to explore the Little Colorado.

Some few years previous to this a large company had been called to go and settle Arizona. They had penetrated beyond the Colorado some forty-five miles, but finding no water had all returned except one small company under Brother John Blythe, the names of which as far as obtained are, David V. Bennett, William Solomon, Ira Hatch, James Mangrum, Thomas Smith and son. These remained doing all they could to carry out the design of the mission, until circumstances caused their honorable release. Their history and experience there would make quite a chapter, but I cannot claim the right or memory to record it.

One little incident I will relate, to show how I came to be called to explore Arizona in connection with this mission to Mexico, which could have been made in an easier way than traveling so far with pack mules. I was in President Young's office one day when several others were present. Brother W. C. Staines came in and was telling about having heard a Brother McMaster, of the 11th Ward, related a remarkable occurrence whilst on this first Arizona trip. Brother McMaster's statement, as told by Brother Staines, was that there were several hundred persons, with teams, in a perishing condition. They had passed some forty-five miles beyond the Colorado and no water could be found. Some one had gone on up the Little Colorado and found that entirely dry. Brother McMaster being chaplain went out and pled with the Lord for water. Soon there was a fall of rain and snow depositing plenty of water for the cattle, and to fill up all their barrels. They were camped in a rocky place where there were many small holes that soon filled up. In the morning all were refreshed, barrels filled up, and all turned back rejoicing in the goodness of the Lord in saving them from perishing. They returned to Salt Lake and reported Arizona uninhabitable.

After Brother Staines had finished, some remarks were made by different ones. I was sitting near by and just in front of Brother Brigham. I had just been telling him something about my labors among the Indians. He said nothing for a few moments, but sat looking me straight in the eye. Finally he asked, "What do you think of that Brother Jones?"

I answered, "I would have filled up, went on, and prayed again." Brother Brigham replied putting his hand upon me, "This is the man that should take charge of the next trip to Arizona."

Not long after crossing the Colorado we were overtaken by an Indian bringing us a telegram from President Young, sent to command, directing us to visit Salt River valley as he had been informed something about it since our departure. This changed our intended direction somewhat as we were intending to make toward the Rio Grande, a country that I was acquainted with.

On arriving at the Moquis villages, the Indians were much pleased to see us, and were very friendly. Their country and villages have been described so well and often that I will say but little about them. They are a peaceable, honest class, dwelling in villages that have a very ancient appearance situated on high bluffs, facing a dry, sandy plain and distant some sixty miles from the Little Colorado river. The Indians farm by catching the rain water which runs down from the hills, and conduct it upon the more sandy spots; thus gathering moisture enough to mature beans, pumpkins, early corn, melons and a few other early vegetables with. They have a number of peach trees that grow in the sand ridges, bearing a very good fruit of which they dry the most. They save and eat every thing they possibly can. They own quite a number of horses, sheep and goats. They seem to be happy, well fed and contented, making some blankets and clothing of a rude kind.

As there may be readers of this work more interested in the travels and the country through which we passed than the mission in which we were engaged in, for their benefit I will describe our outfit and mode of travel. On leaving Kanab there were seven of us with saddle animals. Brother Pratt rode a contrary mule. We had some fourteen head of pack animals. Our books were in convenient bales for packing. All our provisions, which were ample, were put up in uniform-sized canvas bags. There was one mule for water kegs and one horse for kitchen traps. The latter was well suited for his position, for nothing would excite him. We had to depend entirely on the grass to sustain our animals, as we could not carry grain for them. In the early travels of western explorers grass was the only feed. It was much more fresh and abundant than at the present time. Now throughout the western country almost every watering place is occupied by the ranchman's cattle.

At night our animals were hoppled and turned out. When any danger was expected we would guard them. If there was no danger we went to bed and hunted them up in the morning. Sometimes this was quite a labor. We had one span of mules that seemed determined to get back to Utah. We tried many times to hamper them, sometimes with seeming success, but they soon learned to travel side or cross-hoppled, or one tied to the other.

Most of us were old travelers, that is, we had all had considerable experience in handling animals in camp, but these mules showed more cunning and perseverance than any we had seen before. Once they traveled with hopples some sixteen miles. I happened to strike their trail first. After tracking them about five miles I found Ammon Tenney's saddle horse with a few other animals. I managed to catch the horse, and with nothing but my suspenders for a bridle I followed on alone until I overtook the mules. They tried to run away from me, but I managed to head them back and drove them several miles before daring to take the hopples off. The horse I was riding was quite sharp backed. By this time, not like the king who cried "My kingdom for a horse," I thought, "My kingdom for a saddle." So I commenced to study how to make one, and succeeded finely. I took off my overalls, pulled some hair out of the horse's tail and tied the bottom of the legs together, then pulled the grass and stuffed the overalls full--both legs and body. This formed a pad fast at both ends but separate in the middle. This I placed lengthwise on the back of the horse with body end forward so that I could hold the waistband end together with one hand to keep the grass from working out. Under the circumstances this made me quite comfortable, and I drove the mules back to camp all right. My companions laughed heartily as I rode in, but acknowledged that I was a good saddler.

A few nights after we were discussing these mules, Brother Tenney proposed that we tie each mule to the others' tail. This worked like a charm. We had no further trouble, as they simply followed each other round and round and got their fill of travel without going very far from camp.

There was some uneasiness felt by brothers Tenney and Ivins about meeting the Indians who had killed Dr. Whitmore, as they had never come in to make peace with the Mormon settlements. As we neared the Moa-abby we were all somewhat anxious and kept a good look-out. Brother Tenney knew these Indians well and said he would be able to recognize them from any others. The Navajoes who had formerly been hostile were now at peace and coming in to trade for horses; but the Indians dreaded were still supposed to be on the war path.

On arriving at the Moa-abby we camped near the edge of some willows, keeping a good watch. We made an early camp shortly before sundown. Brother Tenney, who was on the alert, suddenly said, "Here they are. We are in for it."

At this time about twenty Indians on horseback showed themselves some two hundred yards from us. They came somewhat slily out of the willows. Brother Tenney recognized them at once as the hostiles. I told him to make friendly signs and tell them to approach, as he talked their language well. I told the rest to be ready but to make no moves. Brother Tenney and I stepped unarmed out from the willows and walked a little way in the direction of the Indians. They approached us slowly. Brother Tenney told them to come on as we were friends. We stood waiting for them to approach us. When they came up we shook hands and I was introduced as a Mormon captain who was a great friend to the Indians; one who never wanted to fight them and had a good heart for the Indian race. Really I felt no fear, for we were sent out as messengers of peace to this very people. Still I believed in being prudent and not giving them a chance to get the advantage of us, for this band of Indians were noted for their treachery even by the other Indian tribes.

Like most Indians, they wanted to know if we had anything to eat. I told them we had, and if they would do as I wanted them to that I would give them a good supper. They agreed to do so. I showed them where to make their camp, some twenty-five yards from ours, in an open spot. I told them that my men were not acquainted with them and were a little afraid, and that they must not go near them, but that Brother Tenney and I knew them and were not afraid of them. I told two of the Indians to bring some wood to our camp, which they did. I also told them to get their wood and water and turn their horses out with ours, and get everything ready before night, so that they would not want to leave their camp after dark, as our men might be scared if they moved about then. We had an abundance of provisions, so we gave them a good, hearty supper.

Brother Tenney and I talked with them until bedtime. They said they had desired to make peace with the Mormons but were afraid to come in. I agreed to give them a paper next morning stating that we had met them and that they desired peace. Our party laid on their arms all night watching these Indians. None slept. They kept faith with us and not one of them stirred during the night. We had breakfast early in the morning and sent two of the Indians to bring up our animals. We gave them some more provisions, wrote their recommend and then started on, leaving the Indians cooking their breakfast, and we saw no more of them. I never heard of them committing any depredations afterwards.

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