Saturday, November 20, 2010

letter 1916

Nephi Nov 28/16
Isaac J Wardle Esq
            My Dear Most Respected Old Friend.  How are you.
I was much disappointed because I did not meet you at our annual HandCart meeting.
I hope and pray that you are well in health in your old age. and prospering.
Very pleased to tell you I am well.  getting old.  This time last year I was in California.  I visited Los Angles.  thence to San Diego. thence to Old Mexico.  thence to San Francisco.  We took lots of trips.  Visited the fair both at San Diego and San Francisco.  With My wife son & daughter and daughrters husband.  We met our son at Frisco who had been to Autralia on a mission.  we enjoyed our trip very much.
I organized a H.C. Daughters in Nephi.  I am sending you a clipping of the Newspaper.  thinking you would enjoy the lines I pened and wrote.  Well Isaac  I have got me an automobile.  We take much pleasure in it, visiting around amongst relations.  You and me are in much better condissions than we were at this time 60 years ago,   I can remember one morning.  every tent was blowed down. but ours.  You did stake our tent down strong and firm My dear Brother.  I honor and respect you much more than I can explain.  You and my brother John (he was a boy 15) hauled me on the hand cart for hundreds of miles.  Can I forget you.  Can I ever repay, you for your kindness  No, No, 
I have just made my will.  I have 6 sons & 6 daughters.  I am doing right by all of them.  All receive equal.  I let nothing pass out of my hands until me and wife passes away.  You know my second wife died.  her children receives the same as all the rest.
You know I was on a mission in England.  4 of my sons been on foreign missions.  Cross the deep sea.  One of my sons has just gone on another mission.  One of my sons is a Bishop.  he seems to fill the bill well.
I will now Close my dear old boy.  I am writing without the use of glasses.  my hand is steady in March I will be 79.  you are 81.
God bless you.  May peace crown your latter days.  Please let me hear from you.  get someone to write for you
I am yours Very Respectfully
Langley A. Bailey

jI posted this on m genealogy blog but thought is  worthy of posting here as an original source of Utah life around this time as well as the story of the Marin Handcart Company

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Hyrum, Utah

Hyrum is a small community in the Southern part of Cache Valley, Utah.

History of Hyrum

            A party of pioneers lead by Ira Allen established a settlement in Hyrum in the spring of 1960.  The used logs and constructed 13 dugouts and one log home in a hill side where there was a water supply in the east bench.  Permanent settlement had come to Cache Valley the year before, with the initial settlement in 1856 in Wellsville.  This was abandoned for a time because of the Utah War. 
            Peter Maughan, church leader, visited the community and suggested it be moved to drier ground.  A fort type construction was made along the current main street.  This was with houses lining the street with windows and doors facing inward.  By the fall of 1860 there were over 120 residents of Fort Hyrum.
            After ground was plowed and crops put in, the next item of community business was establishing a canal for irrigation.  Using only a spirit level and shovels they brought water from the Little Bear River, a distance of nine miles, in 21 working days. (Allen et al.)
            Cache Valley was Shoshone Bannock country.  The Native Americans continued to hunt and live in this area after the settlers arrived.  The settlement was an encroachment upon their territory which they tolerated.  The general policy was to feed the Indians rather than fight them. Several different parties came through the area, gathering choke cherries, or hunting.  One time a group stole several horses.  A group of “Minutemen” from Hyrum were able to recover them.  Native American issues continued until the Bear River Massacre of 1863.  Colonel Patrick Connor led a group of 400 troops from Fort Douglas in Salt Lake and attacked the Indians in the northern part of Cache Valley.  After this the residents of Hyrum no longer had to live in the fort.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Battle of Bear River or Bear River Massacre

The Battle of Bear River is an almost forgotten battle, except to the descendants of the Northern Shoshone whose way of life changed drastically as a result. The battle took place January 29, 1863.   For more detailed information please refer to the Wikipedia link above.

There had been conflict between the Mormon settlers and the Shoshone people for some time.  There had been minor skirmishes, and some thievery.  In Smithfield an Indian had been hung as he was accused of stealing a horse.

Colonel Patrick Connor finally decided it was time to teach the Shoshone a lesson.  Colonel Connor commanded a force out of Fort Douglas.  These were made up mostly of Stockton Volunteers.  Stockton is in California.  The volunteers weren't all from Stockton, but enlisted there.  Many of them were disgruntled, having been stationed far away from the Civil War fighting taking place at the same time.  Their petition to be moved East had been denied.

Colonel Connor sent a smaller force of infantry, taking traditional routes North to where the Shoshone were camped, near present day Preston, Idaho in Northern Cache Valley.  He took a larger force of Calvary over trails in the tops of the mountains, thus keeping their journey North more secret from local residents, and the Shoshone.

The Shoshone had heard of their coming, and had made some preparations, cutting trails through the snow, and trenches from which they could fire.    When the U.S. forces first came to the Bear River Valley opposite the camp, the Shoshone sent an envoy to them, thinking they could still negotiate a peace.  However they soon discovered that Colonel Patrick Connor had already moved past this stage and they were fired upon. 

The initial frontal assault by the U.s. forces failed, and they sustained significant casualties.  However they regrouped, and flanked the Indian forces, who were soon routed.  It was then that the affair turned into a massacre.  The U.S. forces were taking no prisoners among the some 300 warriors involved in this affair.  A few escaped; some by swimming into the Bear River, where there was a warm spring which kept them from freezing.  Man of the women and children were also killed.  Some of the troops lost control and many of the women were raped. 

The official casualty accounts of the Shoshone vary, ranging from 160 to almost 500 .  Colonel Connor indicating 224 warriors killed and 160 woman and children taken prisoner.  Hans Jasperson, Danish Mormon immigrant indicated he walked the field and counted 493 Shoshone dead.

On the other hand, their were 14 soldiers killed and 49 wounded, seven fatally.  Residents of Franklin, Idaho opened their homes to the soldiers, taking the wounded in and provided blankets to protect them from the cold.

Bear River, or Bear River Massacre has been almost lost to history.  It represents one of the most tragic Indian massacres in our history.  However events taking place in the East kept the focus of our nation.  The month before this massacre had been the Battle of Fredricksburg in which the Union lost 13,000 casualties.   A few weeks before the action in the Bear River Valley was the infamous "Mud March" in which Burnsides efforts bogged down after several days of rain.  He was replaced as commander in chief Jan. 25, 1863.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Book Review: ***Hard Road West: History and Geology along the California Trail

Written by Keith Meldahl and published by the University of Chicago Press 2007.  This book will tell you more about how mountains are formed than you can even think of to ask.  It then takes all that information and relates it to the pioneer trail.  Why the pioneers choose the route they took, and how is it that those circumstances were there.  For example the pioneers tried to stay by water, fuel and feed whenever they could.  So it stands to reason that they follow rivers.  But how is it the Sweet water does not go in and out of mountain ranges, but presents a relatively smooth descent to South Pass.  This book gives the answer, explaining that at one time their were mountains there, and they fell.
Why does the trail wander into the Black Hills instead of hugging the Platte.  It happens the Platte goes through narrow canyons.  The book points out that the river in many places predates the mountains.  And that is why you have these narrow canyons like Devil's Gate.  The river was there as the mountain rose over millions of years, and slowly cut the chasm.
If you like geology, you would love this book.  If you want to understand the Pioneer Trail, and the hardships with the journey, this book is for you as well.