Indian depredations from his son’s view

I am slowly going through Levi’s diary looking for mentions of the Indian depredations and his request to the government for reimbursement. Once I have gone through the entire diary, I will post all the mentions. There is no surviving diary of the early 1860s in which the events occurred.

However, his son Levi M, who was 10-15 years old at the time has left an account in his remembrances and life history (originally transcribed and typed in the 1930s as part of the Federal Works Progress Administration and further edited by Lynn Hilton in 1955).

The following are of note:

When others left, Levi bought $1000 worth of land, which he eventually had to leave. Although it was resettled, he never received payment for the land. This may well be the bulk of the money Levi was asking for restitution. The remainder would be any additional land that he owned, improvements he made upon the land,  and the stock that was lost.

Levi M thought Toquerville a “miserable poor place” (although earlier he refers to it as a “pleasant winter resort”)

His views towards Native Americans were decidedly white-centric (probably most other settlers had similar views), and reading between the lines of what is below and some additional paragraphs I did not post, we can see that he thinks his culture and religion is superior to that of the Native Americans.

“In the fall of 1863 we moved our stock to Kanab in Kane County U.T. and the women folds remained here—-Toquerville—-during the winter. In the spring the women folks joined us on the ranch at Kanab, but returned to Toquerville to spend the winter. Thus we had a good farm and ranch for to produce our living upon, and although it was upon the frontiers, yet the numerous Indians of that region—the Pieedes—appeared to be perfectly harmless and friendly. And Toquerville afforded us a pleasant winter resort among refined company. In consequence of the scarcity of water, seven out of the first fourteen settlers at Kanab became discouraged and sold their claims and improvements to father in July 1864. He paid them something near 1000 dollars for their claims in stock. This together with the improvements that he had made for himself he lost entirely in the Indian difficulties that followed. And not standing Kanab had been resettled since he lost it yet he has never received any remuneration for his property that the new settlers are using. In the fall of 1865 the Indians became somewhat troublesome in the Kanab country. The true cause of this change in their actions I have never been able to discover. But those who resided there became somewhat troublesome in the Kanab country. The true cause of this change in their actions I have never been able to discover. But those who resided there became saucy and commenced killing cattle upon the range. Never before had we seen anything like this aggravating policy in them, and if they had before killed cattle it was upon a very small scale and not found out.

Soon after our arrival at Kanab, while I and an old man by the name of Strong were the only white persons there, a party of Navajo Indians passed by and drove off a herd of horses among which were two of father’s. But we were not more molested nor our stock until the fall of 1865, as above stated. The Indians could not plead that we were penurious with them, for we employed them and paid them provisions and clothing, plowed their land for them, loaned them farming tools and showed them how to cultivate their land, and, during the summer of 1865, father gave to them one whole beef and one sheep for a feast. In the difficulties that followed, our home Indians, the Pieeds claimed to take no part, but said the depredations were committed by the Navajos from the South side of the Colorado River: and to be sure they—the Pieedes—were not actually caught in any of the troubles, still circumstantial evidences were strong against them so much so that some fifteen of them were killed during the winter of 65—6 by our people who found them with stolen property such as, skins of sheep and cattle, money, pocket knives & belonging to persons who had been killed by Indians, or had lost property by their depredations. They probably assisted the Navajos to say the least. The raids were made invariably in a dark of the moon. Generally the thieves would visit a ranch in the night, pillage the yards and stables and gather stock from the range. Thus they would secure several hours the start of their pursuers, and they drove the stolen animals so rapidly that they generally succeeded in their scandalous enterprises. But when overtaken they would simply leave the stock and scamper into their houses, but if they found one or two men traveling upon the range or the road they did not hesitate to take their lives. This made it extremely dangerous for anybody to be out alone. So we were obliged to be very careful. I have rode many days upon the range alone, but I supposed that I did not cross their path and so they did not molest me. They made their first strike at the Pairhiea, the outer settlement; next they made a raid at Kanab; next at Pipe Springs; Dr. Whitmore’s ranch and succeeded in murdering the Doctor and a hired man, Robert McIntyre, who were out upon the cattle range.

The Indians always crossed the Colorado River with their plunder. Early in the fall at a general Conference at St. George, the conditions of these frontiers were discussed, and the Priesthood there sent some of the brethren to these outer settlements counsel was generally complied with by concentrating at Kanab and Long Valley. In the spring of ’66 by counsel all concentrated at Long Valley, and a few days after our arrival there the Indians following up, made another raid in which they took the last horse my father had. At this time they killed two men and one woman by the name of Berry. Our women folks had not spent this winter in Toquerville, because the counsel was for all to remain at Kanab, so they had their share of the excitement. Soon after we got our crops in at Long Valley, counsel came again for us to move into the interior totally.

So having been harassed several months by Indians losing our land and improvements at both places, besides a great amount of stock we found ourselves at Toquerville in the month of July 1866, glad that our lives had been sparred. Father, being completely tired of frontier life, determined to settle in this miserable poor spot—Toquerville, and let somebody else go onto the borders. So he let what stock—-cattle he had to Wm. Maxwell who took them to Spring Valley, in Eastern Nevada. Father sold what sheep he had left, and we commenced to improve a small portion of land that he had bought there. He had resided here ever since and has a good little vineyard and orchard and a comfortable home, but I have not been here constantly as I shall here after record. During the summer time the Indians did not trouble much except to kill one man who was out upon an exploring expedition with Capt. James Andrus. Some thought the Indian war over.”

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One Response to Indian depredations from his son’s view

  1. Pingback: Indian depredations: Levi’s description of what happened | Bridging the Past

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