Saturday, July 2, 2016

Native Americans and Hyrum City

Shoshone used to camp in the gulch where Hyrum Lake is now located
Cache valley use to be a part of the regular migration of the Eastern and Northern Shoshone.  The book "Home in the Hills of Bridgerland" documents some of the contacts between these migrating groups and the native Americans.  In talks of both Washakie and Sagwitch and their people coming through the area.  From the history of Emma Liljenquist the note:
Whenever we could hear the Indians coming, there was excitement.  The sound of the bells on their little dogs and the dragging of their tent poles on the ground always let us know when they were near.  Often the Indians came from Mt. Sterling over across the river which is now covered by the dam. . . .One day Chief Washakie, a very important Indian at that time, and a very good friend of the white people, came with a band of Indians.  They stopped outside our place.  There were about one hundred in all, men squaws, and papooses.  The Indian men usually rode on horses free from luggage while the squaws rode those which were loaded with tents, dragging poles, buckets and baskets and papooses.  This day they wanted watermelons.  Chief Washakie told my father what they wanted.  Father told him to help himself. . . .He was dressed extra fine.  He wore a [w]hite shirt and black trousers and a long linen duster.  He wore no hat and his hair was braided into two long braids which were wrapped with beads and [he wore] beaded moccasins.  The Indians usually camped down in the hollow which is now covered by water.  They always like to camp by the water so they could fish.
Early in the morning just as the sun was coming up, we could see the squaws coming up the hill.  They would spend the day going from house to house and at night would go back to camp loaded with provisions.  The Indians were quite friendly in this part of the state and would wander from door to door trading or swapping as they would say, their beads for flour, sugar, bread, or molasses which they like very much. . . .The Indians used to pick choke cherries and we would swap things for them.  I don't think I could eat one now having been picked by the Indians, but at that time we enjoyed them.
One cold wintry Saturday just after we had finished scrubbing the floor and had put some sacking by the door an Indian quietly opened the door and came in.  He said, "Heap cold, heap cold." and mother said to come in a sit by the stove and get warm and I will give you something hot to drink.  After he had eaten and gotten warm he got up to go and turned and said, "Good woman, heap good woman."  Mother died shortly after that.  One day this Indian came to the house and was carrying some fish he had caught and said it was for "Little mar" which was what he called mother and when we told him she had died he stood and wiped his eyes and cried and said "Too bad, too bad, good woman." and for a long time he used to come to see "Little Mary's papoose."
The also quote Lon Savage:
It was customary for the Indian women to go from door to door all over town begging for flour.  They carried a fifty pound sack and each place they called they were given a quart or so of flour.  While the women were begging flour, the men, headed by the chief, went in search of meat, the most usual person was the bishop.  A band came and established a camp that filled the whole street.  Their horses were staked along the ditch banks all over the neighborhood.  There must have been 100 men, women, and children.
Up in the center of town was the tithing office and a yard bard back in the center of the block.  There they found the bishop and he, adhering to the advice of Brigham Young "Feed the Indians, don't fight them."  At the Tithing Yard there were always kept a few head of cattle for emergency.  When the bishop saw the large number he called for help and killed a beef and parceled it out.  Each one was given his share in his hands without any wrapping.  When all were served they formed a line, single file, and marched to their camp holding their meat up so it was visible to all whom they passed. . . While the oldster were gone the older children were gathering wood.  Some were better educated and instead of gathering willows along the ditch banks, they went to people who had a supply of summer wood piled up and there the bedded wood.
Flour, meat and wood were now in good supply and preparation was made for the feast.  Fires were built all over the camping area and when a supply of live coals was ready the meat was roasted on the live coals.  Those who had stew meat hunted an old tin can for the stew pot.  Water was taken from the water ditch, not withstanding some of the horses were standing in the ditch up the stream.  The roasted meat was parceled out to each and held in the fingers.  The Johnny cake was made in a trough of flour and mixed with water form the irrigation ditch, on the flesh side os a piece of dried deer hide.  Mixed stiff, it was spread on live coals and soon the Johnny cake was ready.  Meat in one hand and Johnny cake in the other, the feast was in full swing.  When the stew was ready some cold water from the ditch was added to cool the soup.  They dived in the pot with their hands and fished out a piece of meat and a swallow of soup in the palm of the hand.  The feed over, they lay down and went to sleep.  Their hand were a good fly rendezvous and the dogs in camp licked some of the hands of the contented sleepers.
And then from the writing of Laurin Liljenquist:
An Indian named Sacquich [Sagwitch] and his squaw often cam to my father's home.  They would visit with us, eat our food, and ask for provisions to take with them.  They usually received whatever they asked for, is we were able to comply with their requests.  Sacquich and his squaw brought sacks of dried choke cherries and dried service berries each autumn and stored them in my father's cellar.  In the spring they would return for them.  The dried berries contributed to their food supply in the early spring.  These Indians never harmed us and we looked forward to their short visits.
Sometimes a group of Indians would go from cabin to cabin requesting food or any articles which would be useful or interesting to them.  This group of Indians would always dance to their own music at each home before making their wants known.
[One year] tepees were built all over the town and you could see Indian children playing outside.  Some of them rode wild horses.  The Indians used to tame wild horses for the White people, then they took some wheat or corn for pay.  They wanted money, but the Whites could not give them any because they did not have enough for themselves.  The Indians got angry, but it did no good.  The Whites had to build a corral for their animals so the Indians could not steal them. . . .At last the Indians became quite friendly with the Whites, and the Indian children and the White children began playing together.  The Indians had a big green place like a square where they all lived.  After they made friends with the Whites, they were the best people to live with there could be.  After that they were always friends.

1 comment:

  1. Greg Allred My great great grandmother was given a pair of white buckskin gloves from the chief. They lived and helped them through the winters at the now fairgrounds. (fairgrounds are in Logan)