Chapter XXXVI.


Our Explorations--Arrival at Phoenix--We Push Forward on Our

Journey--Camp Among Thieves--A Meeting Held with Indians--Its good Results

WE VISITED a few days with the Moquis, who received us very kindly. After taking into consideration our instructions to visit Salt River valley, we tried to hire an Indian to pilot us across the country to the Little Colorado River, wishing to strike it at the nearest point. We were told that there was no water on the route. No one seemed to want the job to guide us. Finally an Indian was found who said he would go for a certain number of silver dollars. We agreed to give him his price. We packed up, filled our water kegs and started out in the afternoon. The guide was to come on in the morning and overtake us.

We traveled a few miles and camped. Next morning the guide came up, but demanded more pay. Finally we consented. We had traveled but a short distance when he demanded another advance. This we did not feel inclined to make, so Brother Tenney told him we could get along without him. He then turned back. There was no trail. We took a southerly direction trusting our own judgment to get through.

After traveling a few hours we approached near some hills where the country looked like there might be water. We turned off from our direction, went up into the hills and found a spring of good, fresh water. We re-filled our kegs and watered our stock. It was somewhat difficult as the banks were steep and the water was a foot or more below the surface.

All our stock drank except a little Mexican burro that would not approach the spring. We all got around him and pushed him up to the brink several times but he would slip away from us. We knew he was thirsty, but, donkey-like, he would not drink. At length we grabbed hold of him, lifted him clear from the ground and put him in the middle of the spring, where he stood quite still but would not drink; so he beat us after all. We named the spring Tussle Jack. I doubt if anyone has been there since.

On leaving this place we were forced by the formation of the country to bear in a westerly direction. Soon we struck dim trails. Following along we came to some water holes in a ravine but passed on. The trails soon giving out we again turned south. At night we made a dry camp; traveled next morning about two miles; still no trail. We found some water, but it was barely sufficient to water our animals. We continued traveling all day without a trail. Towards night we came to a large, dry wash with cottonwoods growing along it. Having heard that the Little Colorado was subject to drying up, we thought this was perhaps the dry bed of the river. If so, we were in a bad fix for there was no knowing when we would reach water. Brother Ivins having a good horse rode out on a high hill to look for signs of the river ahead. The sun was just setting. He helloed back that he could see the river a few miles further on. This news was received with a shout of joy. We started on, traveling with the stars for guides. The country became quite rough and broken, and it was with much difficulty that we finally descended from the bluffs to the river bottom. We have to travel some time before getting to water.

We struck the bottom at a bend of the river where the direction of the stream was the same as our direction of travel. At length we got to water where grass and wood were plentiful. All felt happy, for here we knew by information that we would soon strike the main road leading to Prescott, Arizona. We had a map of this road and country. We had been traveling for some time through a strange country, but little known, some of it, even to the natives. We now felt as though we could get along with less anxiety. We remained a few days looking at the country further up the river so as to be able to report to President Young, which we did as soon as we found a chance to mail our letters. We now took the wagon road leading from the Rio Grande to Prescott, followed a westerly direction and soon reached the Mogollon mountains. The first night out from the Little Colorado we camped at a mail station which had two men in charge. They gave us considerable information about the country. Next day we reached Pine Station, a place then deserted. Here we met two men from Phoenix, Salt River valley, a Dr. Wharton and a Mr. McNulty. They had come out to meet their families, who were moving into Arizona. The night was cold and stormy. Next day was the same, so we laid over and had a good visit with these gentlemen. They were two of the most prominent men in Phoenix. McNulty was county clerk for several years. They both still live in the country. They were always kind and friendly to our people and never forgot our first friendly acquaintance in the lonely camp on the wild mountain road.

We left our letter at the first mail station. We got the direction from these gentlemen as to the shortest and best road to Salt river, and as there were no natives to visit or country suitable for settling before reaching Phoenix, we concluded to take the shortest route. We were now traveling through a country that was considered somewhat dangerous, more from outlaws than Indians. The Apaches having been driven from the former haunts were now occupying the reservations at Bowie, San Carlos and Camp Apache, where they had recently been located by the management of General Crook. While crossing the Mogollon mountains the weather was quite cold. As we descended toward the lower valley the temperature changed very rapidly, instead of overcoats we soon hunted shade trees.

We were much surprised on entering Salt River valley. We had traveled through deserts and mountains (with the exception of the Little Colorado valley, a place which we did not particularly admire) for a long ways. Now there opened before us a sight truly lovely. A fertile looking soil and miles of level plain. In the distance the green cottonwood trees; and what made the country look more real, was the thrifty little settlement of Phoenix with its streets already planted with shade trees, for miles. Strange as it may seem, at the time we started, in September, 1875, the valley of Salt River was not known even to Brigham Young.

Our animals were beginning to fail, as they had lived on grass since leaving Kanab. We bought corn at four cents a pound and commenced feeding them a little. Although Salt River valley is naturally fertile, owing to the dryness of the climate, there is no grass except a little coarse stuff called sacaton.

We camped on the north side of the river. On making inquiry, we learned that Tempe, or Hayden's Mill, seven miles further up the river, would be a better place to stop for a few days than Phoenix. C. T. Hayden being one of the oldest and most enterprising settlers of the country, had built a grist mill, started ranches, opened a store, blacksmith, wagon shop, etc.

As we were passing through Phoenix, we met a few Indians, Maricopas and Pimas. I called one of them to me, and asked him if he understood Mexican. He said he did. I told him who we were and that our mission was to talk to the natives, that we wished to get the Pimas and Maricopas together, over on the Gila, and talk to them. He said, "All right, how much will you pay me to go and notify them?"

I replied, "We will pay you nothing. We are not traveling for money; we are here more for the good of your people than for our own. You can go and tell them or not, just as you please."

He said that he understood who we were, and would go and tell the Indians about us. On arriving at Hayden's Place, we found the owner an agreeable, intelligent gentleman, who was much interested in the settlement and development of the country, as well as friendly toward the Mormons, he being a pioneer in reality, having been for many years in the west, and could fully sympathize with the Mormon people in settling the deserts. He gave us much true and useful information about the country and natives. Here we traded off some of our pack mules and surplus provisions. We had already traded for a light spring wagon, finding that the country before us could be traveled with wagons. We remained here a few days, camping at the ranch of Mr. Winchester Miller. His barley was up several inches high, but he allowed us to turn our animals into his fields, and treated us in a kind, hospitable manner. The friendly acquaintance made at this time, has always been kept up. Mr. Miller was an energetic man, and manifested a great desire to have the Mormons come there and settle. He had already noticed the place where the Jonesville ditch is now located. He told me about it, saying it was the best ditch-site on the river. What he said has proved true. We wrote to President Young describing the country.

After resting a few days we started for the Gila, striking it at Morgan's station. This was near the lower villages of the Pimas. The Indians had heard of us and wanted to hear us talk. We did not say much at this place, but told the Indians we would stop at Sacaton, the upper settlement, and have a good long talk with the people; that there we hoped to meet all the leading men of the tribe. Next day we traveled up along the north side of the river Gila, passing a number of the Pima villages, talking a few words and giving out our appointment. Most of the way there was no road, and sometimes it was rather difficult to get along with our carriage.

We arrived that night at Twin Buttes or Hayden's trading station. Here quite a number of Indians came to see us, and we had a pleasant talk with them. It was here I met for the first time an Indian named Francisco Chico, who spoke Spanish quite well. This man will appear again in this history.

Next day early we arrived at Sacaton. There was no feed, except a little grass among the thorny brush on the river bottom. There was a trader here, doing quite a business. I went to his store and asked him if he had any hay or fodder for sale. He looked at me in surprise and said, "Mister, that is something the country don't produce."

"Then what are travelers to do that wish to stop over here for a few days?" I asked.

"There are no travelers with any sense that want to stop over here. You had better pack up and go on. You can get fodder up at Juan Largos' near Florence, but there is none here."

I answered, "Well we want to stop, and will have to put up with what there is. I see there is a little grass among the brush. We will have to feed all the more grain. We can get plenty of that, I suppose."

"You had better not stay." He said, "If you turn your stock out they will be stolen from you. I have lived here ten years; am friendly with the Indians, but they are the biggest thieves you ever saw. I tell you not to trust them. There are some poor people now in camp down there, two men and a woman. The d----d thieves have stolen their stock and will not fetch it back unless they pay them five dollars a head, and as they have not got the money they are in a bad fix. The Indians will serve you the same way."

We concluded that here was a chance to commence to work and do some good. We made a camp in an opening among the brush. Soon quite a number of Indians collected around camp. I told some of them to take our animals and watch them until night, then bring them in for their corn. We put a bell on one of the animals. I told the Indians not to take them so far we could not hear the bell. We went back to the trader's for some grain. I told him what we had done. He said I was like other "smart Alecks" that had just come among the Indians; but that we would be in the same fix as the party was who had lost their stock. I told him we would not lose one of our animals; but that I believed I could induce the Indians to return those they had stolen from the poor people. He said, "You must be either crazy, or in colusion with the Indians."

I told him we were neither. At feeding time all the animals were brought in. After feeding them they were again turned over to the Indians. Next morning all were brought in. This being the day appointed for the meeting, about ten o'clock the Indians commenced gathering. We found an excellent interpreter in Francisco Capulla. He seemed quite intelligent and ready to comprehend what we told him. We talked quite a while with the interpreter before requesting the people to listen to us. Finally there gathered between three and four hundred.

We were told that all the captains had arrived and were ready to listen to what we had to say. I told the interpreter to explain to them what we had been telling him. He talked quite a while in the Pima tongue, in an earnest, spirited manner. When he got through, a few remarks were made by some of the old men. The interpreter told us they were much interested in what they had heard and wished me to talk more, and tell them about their forefathers. Said they knew nothing about them, but that they always understood that sometime there would be those coming among them who knew all about these things.

I now felt it was my time to get the animals which had been stolen from the poor travelers. These people were sitting in sight, looking very much disheartened. I pointed to them and told the Indians it made me feel sorrowful to see those poor people there, and that it weighed on my heart so that I could not talk; and that I wished some of the young men would go and hunt their stock up. I never hinted that I thought they had stolen them away. After this there was some little side-talk among the Indians. The interpreter asked me to go on and talk to the people. The Indians got very much interested when I commenced to explain to them the Book of Mormon. (I will here say that in all my labors among the Indians I have never known of one failing to be interested when the Book of Mormon was introduced.) These Pimas were intelligent and capable of understanding all we said to them. I then again referred to the disagreeable subject, telling them that I still felt grieved. One of the chiefs spoke up, asking me to go on, as the stock had been found and were being brought to the owners. I now felt free to talk and gave them much instruction.

Brother Tenney being a good interpreter, having had much experience among the natives of Lower California, explained with much clearness the gospel of repentance to these people. A good spirit prevailed and the Indians manifested a desire to be instructed, acknowledged their degraded condition, and said they wished the Mormons would come to their country to live and teach them how to do. We all felt well paid for the hardships we had gone through, for we could see here was a chance for a good work to be done.

We were in no way annoyed. Our animals were watched and brought in regularly to feed. When we got ready to start on everything was in good shape. We bade the Indians good-bye, promising that the Mormons would visit them again and some of them would probably come and live in their country.

The trader never knew how to account for our way of doing with the Pimas. From here we went a day's travel farther up the Gila to Juan Largos' villages.

Juan, a Papago Indian, presided over quite a settlement of his people. His son was educated so as to read. We gave him a copy of our book. These extracts from the Book of Mormon we had been presenting to a few of the Indians, and some of the Mexicans, on our road. Many years afterwards, the Indians showed me these books. They prize them highly.

At Juan Largos's the people came together and we taught them the same as we had the Pimas. Francisco Capulla went to this village with us. He became much interested in our teachings. His home was in Sonora; he was here only on a visit. I have often heard of but have never seen him since. We found that many of the older Indians on the Gila, remembered the Mormon Battalion that passed through their country in 1846.

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