The United States Army Comes To Utah
The reader will remember the account of the activity in Salt Lake occasioned by the coming of the United States army into Utah, and that the William Wilkes family was affected. Now we have reached the point in family history, where we are to include the Daniel D. Hunt family - unrelated, and perhaps, unacquainted at the time - in that episode. While we have no direct data from that branch of the family, we can most assuredly assume they were involved due to dates.
From individual memory of Church history, we recall that on the tenth anniversary of the coming of the firsts group of pioneers into the Sale lake Valley, on the 24th of July 1847, a great celebration was held on the 24th of July 1857, in one of the nearby canyons, where festivities had been planned to last for two or three days. It was during these festivities that two or three horsemen - Mormon scouts - rode up to Brigham Young and advised him of approximately twenty-five hundred armed troops were marching through Nebraska and into Wyoming toward Utah, to quell a totally false rebellion on the part of the Mormons. Enemies of the Church had reported to the president of the United States and congress, trumped-up charges, and if the Territory of Utah was to be saved for the US government, military action would have to be taken against the Mormons.
To a man, the Mormons took a stand, for they were not about to be again driven from their homes without a fight. They were innocent of any wrongdoing and felt justified in resisting the intended invasion.
It is realized there is danger in directly quoting considerable detail of the oncoming events relating to the impending problem. However, from the fact that we of this family are fully aware that two of our ancestral families were directly involved - the William Wilkes family and the Daniel D. Hunt family. This can only tell us that we, their direct descendants should have deep interest in what occurred to them and the underlying reason for their position. While the account, which will be quoted is in Church history, perhaps at the time of reading this account, the family member may not have ready access to it. The next several pages will come from "The Life Story of Brigham Young", by a daughter, Susa Young Gates and a grand-daughter, Leah D. Widstoe:
"While the saints were busy developing their Valley homes, doing their best to subdue the Indians around them, and opening up the new Territory to genuine settlement, they were startled to learn that President James Buchanan at Washington had decided on a change of Governorship, and also on the appointment of fresh judges to the new territory. Furthermore, an army was to accompany the new appointees in order to sustain their authority and suppress the 'rebellion among the Mormon people'.
"The officials at Washington had taken this drastic and unfortunate decision as a result of unfounded accusations against the Mormons - accusations which no government should have accepted without first making an investigation, which could easily have been done. Besides, there were officials in Washington, just and honorable men, who were well acquainted with the conditions then prevailing in Utah, and who could easily have been consulted. But Utah was a new territory far from Washington and the backwash, as it were, of political intrigue. Several of the first Federal officers sent to the new territory were dissolute men who were given their posts for political reasons. The people soon discovered their misdeeds, which were generally condemned. Thus these men became enemies of the Mormon people.
"Among the groundless accusations made by Judge Drummon, who had left the Territory in disgrace, were these: 'That there is a secret oath-bound organization among all the male members of the Church to resist the laws of the country...There is a set of men, set apart by special order of the Church to take both the lives and property of persons who may question the authority of the Church ... The records, papers, etc., of the Supreme Court have been destroyed by order of the Church, with the direct knowledge and approbation of Governor Brigham Young, and the federal officers grossly insulted for presuming to raise a single question about the treasonable act ...The federal officers of the Territory are constantly insulted, harassed, and annoyed by the Mormons, and for these insults, there is no redress'.
"Such terrible accusations were accepted by the government officials at Washington and that, too, without any question. Denials by such men as Judge Kinney and Mr. C. E. Bolton, Judge and Deputy Clerk of the Supreme Court of Utah, were absolutely ignored. Unfortunately mails were slow and during the spring of 1857, because of Indian troubles on the Plains, Salt Lake City was cut off completely.
Without a word of warning to the people of the Territory a force of 2500 soldiers was ordered to Utah under the command of Brigadier-General W. S. Harney and Colonel Albert Sidney Johnston. In their company was Mr. Alfred Cumming, of Georgia, who was to be installed as the new Governor of Utah. Also there were other federal appointees of the Territory. On the way out, the soldiers declared that the Mormons were in rebellion against the government and that they were going to Utah on an order of extermination.
"When the Mormon agents at the Emigration Bureau on the Missouri River heard of the coming of the army, scouts were sent post-haste to the Valley to warn Brigham Young. Three of these men rode five hundred miles in five days and three hours. When the messengers arrived at Salt Lake city they found the people had left their homes and had gathered in one of the most beautiful canyons of the Wasatch Mountains, near the city, celebrating in one grand combined gathering the two July holidays - July 4th, the nation's birthday and July 24th, the state's birthday - also ten years of peaceful prosperity in the beautiful valleys of the mountains. They were quite innocent of the fact that a hostile force was being sent against them. When the people learned the news which the three weary travel-stained scouts had brought, they were amazed and the stoutest hearts began to waver. But the leader (Brigham Young) called the people together, explained the situation, counseled them to finish their festivities and then return quietly to their own homes.
"Brigham Young was still governor and he invoked martial law throughout the territory and forbade any armed force from entering its confines. He then dispatched a messenger with a signed protest to the seat of Government at Washington, sending his document to the care of his friend in Washington, Colonel Thomas L. Kane, for presentation to the President.
"Meanwhile, the army reached Fort Laramie and at once they met organized resistance. The Nauvoo Legion, under Lieutenant-General D. H. Wells, occupied all the mountain passes and under orders they had burned Fort Bridger and its supplies. They had been counseled by Brigham Young to shed no blood and to provoke no quarrels, but to keep the army out of the Valley through the coming winter. They destroyed some Government trains. They set fire to the grass, and harried the troops on the right hand and on the left. Not a shot was fired, not a drop of blood was shed, but even the reckless courage of Colonel Johnston, who had charge of the troops did not avail in the face of this determined resistance. His invading army camped upon Black's Fork.
"In September, 1857, Captain Steward Van Vliet, who was head of the Commissary Department, entered the Valley to survey conditions of food and forage. When he arrived in Salt Lake City he was received with marked cordiality by Brigham Young and the officials of the Church, but was definitely informed that the army could not enter the city, and if they invaded it the people would abandon it, set their houses on fire and destroy their fruit trees and root up every plant.
"Captain Van Vliet was amazed at the beauty of the city, its homes and gardens, and overawed by the declaration of the people that they would lay it all in waste if the army invaded it. On his return to the fort he made this report to the commanding general: 'He (Governor Young), stated that the Mormons had been persecuted, murdered and robbed in Missouri and Illinois by the mob and the State authorities, and that now the United States were about to pursue the same course in Utah. He and his people had determined to resist all persecution at the commencement and to stop the troops entering Salt Lake Valley. As he uttered these words all those present concurred most heartily in what he said.
"'I told them they might prevent the small military force now approaching Utah from getting through the narrow defiles and rugged passes of the mountains this year, but that next season the government would send troops sufficient to overcome all opposition. The answer to this was invariably the same: 'We are aware that such will be the case, but when those troops arrive, they will find Utah a desert, every house will be burned to the ground, every tree cut down, and every field laid waste. We have provisions on hand for years to come, which we will cache, and then take to the mountains, and bid defiance to all the powers of the government.'
"'I attended their service on Sunday, and in the course of a sermon delivered by Elder Taylor, he referred to the approach of the troops, and declared they should not enter the Territory. He then referred to the probability of an overpowering force being sent against them, and desired all present who would apply the torch to their own buildings, cut down their trees and lay waste to their fields, to hold up their hands; every hand, in an audience numbering over four thousand persons, was raised at the same moment.'
Let this writer break the attention of the reader that, in all probability our own families were in attendance at that meeting. One family, that of William Wilkes and Elizabeth Haynes family, consisted of our Aunt Sarah Ann Wilkes, later Allred, then seven years of age, and our own Grandpa Wilkes, then five years of age. The second of our families was that of Daniel D. Hunt and Martha Eynon, with their children Abel Moroni, five, Gashum. Two, and baby Martha, then an infant of a few months, who would become our Grandma Martha Elizabeth Hunt Wilkes. By this time, Daniel D. Hunt's children by his first wife, Nancy Davis, had grown to maturity. A couple of the adult sons were still living at home. Also, the eldest son, John A. of wagon train history, who had arrived in Salt Lake in December of 1856. He had been sent back to the plains to assist in the mail service, and very probably would have been at his post at Devil's Gate at the time the invading army passed through Fort Laramie and Devil's Gate on their way to Fort Bridger. There the army camped for the winter of 1857-58, despite the fact it had been burned by Mormon scouts, for the purpose of delaying the army. While John A. Hunt didn't refer to his experience in relation to the Johnston Army episode of his brief biological sketch.. Certainly the Army caravan was made up of hundreds of wagons with a large supply of cattle for its food supply and perhaps, a horse for some of its 2,500 soldiers. By no means could it have been considered a small venture. Undoubtedly its equipment was the best the government could supply, yet it had the same road to follow, the same streams to cross, similar storms to face, as did the handcart and wagon companies of Mormon emigration history. By the time the army had to stop in the Fort Bridger area for the winter of 1857-58, and found the already scorched earth policy of the Mormons already having been enacted, one can visualize the problems. Undoubtedly their original plans were to reach Salt Lake City that fall, but their plans had to be changed.
Perhaps, from now on, members of this family will never read of the Utah War, or by another name, the Johnston Army Episode, but that we will relate to it in the fact that our progenitors - at least two families, not yet related by marriage at the time - were very much a part of it. They, like all others of the Utah Territory raised their hands to confirm the claim made in John Taylor's sermon, which was referred to earlier, that they would destroy everything they owned, rather than forcefully have to leave it to an invading army. Our families had been driven and persecuted enough. In their innocence of any wrongdoing, the entire church membership had now determined to take a stand.
Now to continue quoting:
"The following extracts from conversation between Brigham Young and Captain Van Vliet are of interest, inasmuch as they were made prior to the receipt in Salt Lake City of the news of the Mountain Meadows Massacre referred to in a previous chapter, while they also depict the delicate position of affairs in Utah at this critical time. They are transcribed from Apostle Woodruff's journal and their accuracy may be relied upon.
"Said Brigham Young: 'We do not want to fight the United States, but if they drive us to it, we shall do the best we can; and I will tell you, as the Lord lives, we shall come off conquerors, for we trust Him. God has set up his Kingdom on earth, and it will never fail. We shall do all we can to avert a collision, but if they drive us to it, God will overthrow them. We are the supporters of the constitution and respect the laws of the United States; but it is by the corrupt administration of these laws that we are made to suffer. Most of the government officials who have been sent here have taken no interest in us, but on the contrary, have tried many times to destroy us.'
"'This is the case with most men sent to the Territories' declared Captain Van Vliet. 'They receive their offices as a political reward, or as a stepping stone to the Senatorship; but they have no interest in common with the people. This people has been lied about the worst of any I ever saw. The greatest hold that the government now has upon you is in the accusation that you have burned the United States records.'
"'I deny that any books of the United States have been burned,' replied Brigham Young. 'All that I ask of any man is that he tell the truth about us, pay his debts and not steal and then he will be welcome to come and go as he likes. If the government has arrived at the state that it will try to kill this people because of their religion, no honorable man should be afraid of it. We would like to ward off this blow if we can; but the United States seem determined to drive us into a fight. They will kill us if they can. A mob killed Joseph and Hyrum in jail, notwithstanding the faith of the state was pledged to protect them. I have broken no law, and under the present state of affairs I will not suffer myself to be taken by any United States officer to be killed as they killed Joseph.'
"'I do not think it is the intention of the government to arrest you, but to install a new Governor in the Territory' said Van Vliet.
"'I believe you tell the truth - that you believe this,' was Brigham Young's reply, 'But you do not know their intentions as well as I do. When you get away from here you will think of a great many things that you have seen and heard; for instance, people have accused us of colleaguing with the Indians against the government. They were much afraid that Joseph Smith would go among the Indians, and they wanted to keep him away from them; but now they have driven us into their midst. If the government persists, in sending an army to destroy us, in the name of the Lord we shall conquer them. If they dare to force the issue, I shall not hold the Indians by the wrist any longer, for white men to shoot at them; they shall go ahead and do as they please. If the issue comes, you may tell the government to stop all emigration across this continent, for the Indians will kill all who attempt it. And if an army succeeds in penetrating this valley tell the government to see that it has forage and provisions in store, for they will find here only a charred and barren waste.'
"'If our government pushes this matter to the extent of making war upon you,' declared Captain Van Vliet, 'I will withdraw from the army, for I will not have a hand in shedding the blood of American Citizens.'
"'We shall trust in God,' was Brigham Young's reply. 'Congress', he also added, 'has promptly sent investigating committees to Kansas and other places, as occasion has required; but upon the merest rumor it has sent 2,000 armed soldiers to destroy the people of Utah, without investigating the subject at all.'
"'The government may yet send an investigating committee to Utah,' was the answer Captain Van Vliet made. 'I am anxious to get back to Washington as soon as I can. I have heard officially that General Harney has been recalled to Kansas to officiate as Governor. I shall stop the train at Hams Fork, on my own responsibility.'
"'I believe God sent you here, and that good will grow out of it,' was Brigham Young's final declaration. 'I was glad when I heard you were coming. If we can keep the peace for this winter I do think there will be something turn up that may save the shedding of blood.'
Brigham Young was anxious to keep the troops out of the Valley for the reason, not only because he feared the slaughter which might take place if the determined soldiers face his own desperate people, but he knew also that time was his friend and delay would help his ally, Colonel Kane, to bring about at the seat of Government some peaceful adjustment of this tragic blunder. He also knew that an extra hard winter had lessened the food supply of man and beast in Utah and that all food resources must be guarded. There were but scanty supplies for the people, let alone food for the army.
"New Year's Day, 1858, was celebrated in the evening with a party in Ballo's Hall. Ballo's string band was the finest and most popular in the Valley. The usual mid-evening address by Brigham Young assured the people that all would be well if the saints were but patient and faithful. But it was a time of much sickness; no doubt the nervous tension added to the strain upon the families of anxious women and restless children.
"In the following February, the California mails came through with reports that 4,000 soldiers were coming from Oregon and 2,000 more from the East. It was a time of anxiety for all.
"The troops already in the Territory were locked up in Camp Scott (Fort Bridger) 150 miles from the Valley. It was the severest winter known in the West. Snow was piled up, and zero weather held cattle and men in freezing embrace. No need for mountain scouts to keep an enemy out.
"The memorial sent by Brigham Young in the previous September to the President of the United States was supplemented in the January of 1858 by a long document signed by all the legislature and the citizens of Utah, pleading with the Government for their constitutional rights. Meanwhile saner judgement and deliberation began to fill both press and legislative circles in the East concerning the treatment of the Mormons. When Colonel Kane received Brigham Young's letter he at once hastened to Washington and again offered his services to the President. He found the President determined to appoint another Governor, but sent colonel Kane to Utah as a private envoy of the government.
"Colonel Kane left his home in the middle of a severe winter, and sailed from New York, going around South America to San Francisco, down to San Bernardino and reaching Salt Lake City on February 25th. He was announced in the dispatches to Utah as a "Dr. Osborne". He wished to see how the Mormons would receive and treat a stranger, so he withheld his identity until certain of his reception. But when he met Brigham Young he was greeted like a friend and brother. On the evening of his arrival a council of the Presidency and Twelve were called and Colonel Kane was introduced as "Dr. Osborne, the messenger from Washington". The Colonel was very pale, being worn with travel by day and night and he appeared to speak with difficulty.
"'Governor Young and Gentlemen,' began the Colonel. 'I come as an ambassador from the chief executive of our nation, and am prepared and duly authorized to lay before you, most fully and definitely, the feelings and views of the citizens of our common country and of the Executive towards you, relative to the present position of this Territory, and relative to the army of the United States now upon your borders.
"'After giving you the most satisfactory evidence in relation to matters concerning you, now pending, I shall then call your attention , and wish to enlist your sympathies, on behalf of the poor soldiers who are now suffering in the cold and snow of the mountains. I shall request you to render them aid and comfort and to assist them to come here, and to bid them a hearty welcome into your hospitable city.
"'Governor Young, may I be permitted to ask for a private interview for a few minutes with you? Gentlemen, excuse my formality.'
"They were gone about thirty minutes. On their return Colonel Kane informed the council how Captain Van Vliet had made a good report of them at Washington, and had used his influence to have the army stop east of Fort Bridger. Then he spoke of the evident prosperity of the people. He praised them for the patience they had displayed under very trying conditions, and in reply to Brigham Young's question as to how the President received his message, answered:
"'The message was received as usual. In his appointments the President had been cruelly impartial. So far he has made an excellent President. He has an able Cabinet. They are more united, and work together better than some of our former Cabinets have done.'
"'I suppose, ' observed Brigham Young caustically, 'they are united in putting down Utah?'
"'I think not,' replied the Colonel.
"The conversation became general and very soon all restraint between the brethren and their noble friend had gone.
"That evening word was sent to Elder William C. Staines that a "Doctor Osborne", travelling with the company from California, was sick and desired accommodation at his house. He was cordially welcomed, his host being quite ignorant of his real identity. When he discovered it a few days later he asked the Colonel why he had posed as Dr. Osborne.
"'My dear friend,' replied the Colonel. 'I was once treated so kindly at Winter Quarters that I am sensitive over its memories. I knew you to be a good people then; but since I have heard so many hard things about you, I thought I would like to convince myself whether or not the people possess the same humane and hospitable spirit which I found in them once. I thought-- if I go to the house of any of my great friends of Winter Quarters, they will treat me as Thomas L. Kane, with remembrance of some services which I may have rendered them. So I requested to be sent to some stranger's house, as 'Dr. Osborne', that I might know how the Mormon people would treat a stranger at such a moment as this, without knowing whether I might not turn out to be either an enemy or a spy. And now, Mr. Staines, I want to know if you could have treated Thomas L. Kane better than you have treated Dr. Osborne?'
"'No, Colonel', came the answer, 'I could not.'
"'And thus, my friend,' added 'Dr. Osborne,' 'I have proved that the Mormons will treat the stranger in Salt Lake City as they once did Thomas L. Kane at Winter Quarters.'
"In a few days Colonel Kane was sufficiently restored in health to carry out his design of proceeding to the headquarters of the army at Fort Bridger, then called Camp Scott. He was accompanied by an escort supplied by Brigham Young and at the camp he not only found the army, but the newly-appointed Governor, Alfred Cumming. He assured Colonel Johnston and Governor Cumming that Brigham Young was not in revolt and that he would welcome the new Governor to Utah. But the troops - - that was another matter.
"Governor Cumming, sensible man that he was, accepted the assurances of Colonel Kane and at once proceeded to Salt Lake City under the protection of the Mormon scouts, who had gone out with Colonel Kane. They entered the city on April 12, 1858, and were entertained at the residence of Elder Staines. Brigham Young lost no time in calling upon his successor, to whom he was introduced by Colonel Kane.
"'Governor Cumming! I am glad to meet you, ' observed Brigham Young, with unostentatious dignity and that quiet heartiness peculiar to him.
"'Governor Young, I am happy to meet you, sir!' responded His Excellency warmly, at once impressed by the presence and spirit of the remarkable man before him. He remarked later to his host: 'No tyrant ever had a head on his shoulders like Mr. Young. He is naturally a very good man. I doubt whether many of your people appreciate his worth as a leader.'
"The brethren were apprised of the fact that the officers at Camp Scott had warned the governor that the Mormons would poison him, so it was contrived that Elder Staines and Howard Egan should eat at the same table with him and partake of the same food. Of course, he understood the delicate assurance that "death was not in the pot".
"Three days after his entrance into the city, Governor Cummming officially notified General Johnston that he had been properly recognized by the people; that he was in full discharge of his office, and that he did not require the presence of troops. On his part, ex-Governor Brigham Young set the public example and on the Sunday following introduced him to a large assembly as the governor of Utah.
"But what of the army? It had been sent out a tremendous cost into the western wilderness to subdue a rebellion that did not exist and to be absent from a real rebellion that might occur any moment in the Eastern States. (He was here referring to the upcoming Civil War in which the troops would be badly needed. L.B.) It was freely charged in Washington that the man who secured the army contract for flour made a profit of over $175,000. Oh, politics! What crimes are committed in thy name!
"Thus successfully ended the mission of Colonel Kane, who shortly afterwards returned to Washington to report in person to the President. In his message to Congress President Buchanan referred to Colonel Kane's labor in these words: "I cannot refrain from mentioning the valuable services of Colonel Thomas L. Kane, who from notices of pure benevolence and without any official character or pecuniary compensation visited Utah during the last winter for the purpose of contributing to the pacification of the Territory.'
"After sufficient time the new governor found that all the circulated reports of bad faith concerning the Mormons were false and that officially the people were as they claimed to be - happy and law-abiding. All official books and records were available and in good order.
"Meanwhile the army was still beyond the mountain passes, and in the spring a governmental decree had gone forth that they should be permanently quartered in Utah. What would Brigham Young do about that? What could he do?
"The President of the United States musts be vindicated at all hazards. So the troops were ordered to move into the Valley. On this Governor Cumming insisted. But he had only an associate governmental control over their movements or actions. Soldiers were soldiers and these were and had been loud in their denunciation of Mormon leaders and Mormon people. They had openly boasted of their future conquests over Mormon men, their appropriation of Mormon "harems", and the salvages of war and destruction which would be theirs. Any opposition to their entrance, to their actions, or talk on the part of the suspected leader and his people, would be instantly construed as open rebellion.
"Joseph Fielding Smith, the presents Church Historian, (since deceased, L.B.) has this to say of the officers and men:
'Colonel E. B. Alexander, the ranking officer of the advance troops was a kindly officer inclined towards establishing peace. Captain Van Vliet had come in contact with the Latter Day Saints at Winter Quarters, when they were on the plains. Another officer with these troops, who's sympathy and good-will went out toward the Mormons was Colonel Philip St. George Cooke, who led the Mormon Battalion in the Mexican War. General Johnston was from the South, proud and haughty. He looked upon the Mormons and spoke of them as rebels, and was inclined to treat them as such.
'The spirit also prevailed among the troops that the Mormons were their common prey and they constantly, while on the march boasted with ribald jests, of what they would do when they arrive in Salt Lake City. 'We were well informed as to the object of the coming of the army', said Elder John Taylor to Vice-President Schuyler Colfax in 1869. 'We had men in all their camps, and knew what was intended. There was a continual boast among the men and officers, even before they left the Missouri River, of what they intended to do with the Mormons. The houses were picked out that certain persons were to inhabit; farms, property and women were to be distributed. 'Beauty and Booty' was their watchword. We were to have another grand Mormon conquest, and our houses, gardens, orchards, vineyards, fields and wives and daughters were to be spoils.'
"One may well understand why the Leaders were determined that the troops should not quarter in the Valley.
"One avenue of escape from a possible war of extermination was open - the usual flight into the wilderness. Brigham Young had been inspired with this plan in the previous July when he first heard that an army was being sent and the brethren agreed to it. But action had been deferred in the hope that better judgement would prevail. But the Government was obdurate. The soldiers must enter Sale Lake City and Brigham Young and the leaders knew that such a course, despite all assurances to the contrary, was too risky. So to the South they would take their way! But as they fled so they would leave a trail of desolation and destruction behind them. Their homes should be burned, their farms destroyed, every garden rooted out. Not again should Shem build that Japheth might inhabit! And the 'Move South' was finally set in operation.
"Governor Cumming referring to the 'move' in his report to Washington said: 'The people, including the inhabitants of this city, are moving from every settlement in the northern part of the Territory. The roads are everywhere filled with wagons loaded with provisions and household furniture, the women and children often without shoes and hats, driving their flocks they know not where. They seem not only resigned but cheerful. It is the will of the Lord and they rejoice to exchange the comforts of home for the trials of the wilderness ...Young, Kimball, and most of the influential men have left their commodious mansions without apparent regret, to lengthen the long train of wanderers. The people everywhere announce to me that the torch will be applied to every house indiscriminately throughout the country as soon as the troops attempt to cross the mountains.'
"The saints at Provo in the South opened their homes and hearts to the fleeing multitude. Not all, however, went to Provo, for it was a general 'Move South' without any specific locality as a fathering point. Yet Provo was where the leaders went, the great mass of the people camping out, hastily putting up log and adobe rooms, sharing houses and occupying barns. Confusion was avoided as it was in crossing the plains, because of the complete organization units made up of local and general Church officials. Brigham Young's first wagon load carried two of his wives and their nine children. They could find no temporary lodging place but a tame bear's hut-stable. This they cleaned out thoroughly, sending Bruin out to the hills, and there they encamped till better quarters were provided.
"Again, President Buchanan listened to the counsel of Colonel Kane and sent out a Peace Commission, headed by ex-Governor L. W. Powell of Kentucky, who were instructed to go to Utah and forgive the Mormons, quartering the troops meanwhile in the Valley of the Salt Lake in order to be sure that the Mormons would not assault Governor Cumming! On the Commission'' arrival in the Territory ex-Governor Powell lost no time in calling upon Governor Cumming accompanied by Major Ben McCullock, representing the army.
"Governor Cumming arranged for a meeting with Brigham Young, who came up from Provo and called his associate leaders to be present in the commodious Social Hall. On the way to the meeting place Major McCulloch, as he gazed at the empty streets and houses, the closed forge and shops, and the weed-strewn streets and sidewalks, complained of the loneliness, declaring it was getting on his nerves.
"Major,' answered governor Cumming, 'as you know, I brought my wife in from Camp Scott only a month ago, and when we came into this deserted city, partially deserted even then, she could not withhold her tears. She wept like a child to see this terrible sight. She besought me as only a tender woman could, to do everything in my power to bring this unhappy and wronged people back into the homes that their toil and sacrifice had created in this desert wild ... and I have neither taken sleep nor food, except by necessity, till President Buchanan has listened to my appeal and sent you gentlemen here to undo this most awful blunder.'
"The meeting of the Peace Commissioners and the Church officials at the Social Hall was an event of stirring importance. Would it result in peace or war? No one could foretell. As the time drew nigh for the meeting, the hall became the center of profound excitement. There were gathered within its walls the leaders of a people who had been suspected, made war against, tried and found guilty, and who were now about to be forgiven, when according to the truth of the matter they were not guilty of one single count in the whole indictment.
"Brigham Young was one of the first to enter the council chamber, accompanied by Heber C. Kimball, whose snapping black eyes, shining bald head and kingly form towered above many of those assembled near. They were greeted cordially by their associates, and at once took their seats on the small platform at the end of the room. Almost at the same time a whispered word went round that the Commissioners were at the door. As ex-Governor
Powell and Major McCullock entered, followed by governor Cumming, Brigham Young rose and cordially extended a hand of welcome to his visitors.
"Governor Cumming introduced Governor Powell to the Assembly and that gentleman proceeded in his customary flow of language to recite the facts connected with the presence of the Commissioners in Utah. He referred to the action of the President of the United States in sending out the Commission and read in solemn tones the pardon sent out by that great executive. The pardon was couched in somewhat elusive terms, but it was plain that the Mormons were accused of over fifty crimes and misdemeanors, for all of which the President offered amnesty to all who would acknowledge the supremacy of the United States Government, and in this acknowledgment permit the troops now quartered outside the Territory to enter and take up quarters within said Territory. The recital concluded with a pledge of good faith to all peaceable inhabitants of the Territory and an assurance that neither the Chief Executive of the nation nor his representatives in the Territory would be found interfering with the religion or faith of the inhabitants of this region. Governor Powell emphasized the pledge on behalf of himself and associate Commissioners. He explained somewhat loftily, yet in good grace, that they did not propose to inquire into the past, but to let all that had gone before alone, and to talk and act now only for the future.
"Brigham Young then called upon Elder John Taylor to speak. He knew something about trials, and persecution, for he was incarcerated and shot at in jail at Carthage with the Prophet and his brother Hyrum on that awful night when they were murdered, indeed an oversize timepiece in his watch pocket had probably saved his life. He gave utterance to some fiery discourse, tempered with the desire to bring about peace, if it could be peace with honor. His dignified and courtly manner won the admiration of the Commissioners. He was followed by Elder George A. Smith, who told the Commissioners in ten minutes more of the Mormon people's history than even Governor Cumming had ever known. He told them that the Mormons had come out to these barren vales 'willingly because they had to'; and he added that they were ready 'is needs must or the devil drives' to seek other homes in the same manner. Some few but fiery words were spoken by Adjutant General Ferguson, who voiced the sentiments of the whole Utah militia.
"Then Brigham Young rose slowly, as though he were too full of thought and the responsibility of his position to act except with full deliberation. His voice was stern and cool, but vibrant, and it cut into every corner of that council chamber with thrilling if somewhat sharp enunciation. If his actions were deliberate there was no hesitancy in his speech.
"'As I have listened very attentively to the Commissioners,' he said, 'and will say, as far as I am concerned, I thank President Buchanan for forgiving me, but I really can't tell what I have done. I know one thing, and that is that the people called 'Mormons' are a lawful and loyal people and have ever been. It is true Lot Smith burned some wagons last winter containing government supplies for the army. This was an overt act, and it is for this we are pardoned, I accept the pardon. The burning of a few wagons is but a small item, yet for this, combined with false reports, the whole 'Mormon' people are to be destroyed. What has the United States government permitted mobs to do to us in the past? Gentlemen, you can answer that question for yourselves. I can also, and so can thousands of my brethren. We have been plundered and whipped, and our houses have been burned, our fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, and children butchered and murdered by the score. We have been driven from our homes time and time again; but have troops ever been sent to stay or punish the mob for their crimes? No! Have we ever received a dollar for the property that we have been compelled to leave behind? Not a dollar.
"'Let the Government of our country treat us as we deserve. That is all we ask of them. We have always been loyal and expect to continue so. But hands off! Do not send your armed mobs into our midst. If you do, we will fight you, as the Lord lives. Do not threaten us with what the United States can do, for we ask no odds of them or their troops. We have the God of Israel -- the God of Battles - on our side, and let me tell you, gentlemen, we fear not your threats. These my brethren put their trust in the God of Israel, and we have no fears. We have proved Him, and He is our friend. Boys, how do you feel? Are you afraid?'
"Instantly a crash of voices responded to Brigham Young's fearless words. They might be termed fanatics - these men - but they could never be called cowards.
"'Now let me say to you, Peace Commissioners,' he continued, 'we are willing that the troops should come into our Territory, but not to stay in our cities. They may pass through this city, if needs be, but you must not quarter them nearer than forty miles to any city. If you bring your troops here to disturb this people, you have a bigger job on your hands than you or President Buchanan has any idea of. Before the troops reach here, this city will be in ashes, every tree and shrub will be cut to the ground, and every blade of grass will that will burn shall be burned. Our wives and children will go into the canyons and take shelter in the mountains; while their husbands and sons will fight you to their last breath. And as God lives, we will hunt you by night and day till our army or yours is wasted away. No mob, armed or otherwise, can live in the homes we have built in these mountains. That's the programme, gentlemen, whether you like it or not. If you want war you can have it; but if you wish peace, peace it is; we shall be glad of it.'
"Once more Governor arose and in honeyed tones sought to sooth the tumult of emotions now swelling upon the high tide of that stern-visaged assembly of men. He dwelt with moving eloquence upon the great clemency of the President of the United States and the magnanimity of that authority in setting aside all past offences, and he told of the bright future which awaited a new Territory begun under such favourable auspices of frugality and industry. He praised all for their temperance and toil. He assured them that the United States would not enter the Valley, only as they were given permission by that gallant and humane Territorial executive, Governor Cumming. And he was in full cry upon a swelling compliment to that genial peace-promoter when the door of the hall was flung open and a barbaric figure, hard-ridden through miles of flying dust and unwashed haste, flung himself into the room. The old slouch hat was drawn upon a mass of braided hair wound round and round the bullet shaped head. The hooked nose, the sleepy-lidded eyes half closed upon the eagle glance of the Mormon Scout, Indian fighter, sheriff and freelance, Porter Rockwell, sent a shivering thrill of apprehension into the breast of every mountaineer in that chamber. Porter Rockwell bore no trifling message!
"A moment of converse followed in hasty, lowered tones with Brigham Young behind the back of that eloquent Kentucky politician, Governor Powell, who was just them extolling the orderliness and clemency of the troops, now quietly resting at Camp Scott; and then rose without haste, but in sudden sternness, Brigham Young, as he said in piercing tones:
"'Governor Powell, Major McCulloch, are aware, sirs, that those troops are on the move to this city?'
"'It cannot be,' answered the orator Powell as he swung instantly around to face his questioner. 'For we were promised by General Johnston that they should not move until after this meeting.'
"'I have received a dispatch, sir, that they are on the move to this city and my messenger would not deceive me.'
"There was a hush as of the tomb on every lip and heart in that assembly. The thunderbolt had fallen. In that same severe, but perfectly self-possessed voice, Brigham Young asked, ' Is Brother Dunbar present?'
"'Yes, sir,' answered that flute-voiced musician.
"'Brother Dunbar, sing 'Zion'.'
"And in the electrical silence which ensued, rang out the clarion tones of the Mormon battle hymn, if such it could be called, since it embodies a spiritual triumph rather than a temporal subjugation.
"O! ye mountains high, where the clear blue sky
Arches over the vales of the free,
Where the clear breezes blow
And the pure streamlets flow,
How I've longed to thy bosom to flee.
O Zion! Dear Zion! Home of the free;
My own mountain home, now to thee I have come,
All my fond hopes are centered in thee.
Though the great and the wise all thy beauties despise,
To the humble and pure thou art dear;
Though the haughty may smile,
And the wicked revile,
Yet we love thy glad tidings to hear;
O Zion! Dear Zion! Home of the free;
Though thou wert forced to fly to thy chambers on high,
Yet we'll share joy and sorrow with thee.
In thy mountain retreat God will strengthen thy feet;
On the necks of thy foes thou shalt tread;
And their silver and gold,
As the prophets have told,
Shall be brought to adorn thy fair head.
O Zion! Dear Zion! Home of the free;
Soon thy towers will shine with a splendour divine,
And eternal thy glory shall be.
Here our voices we'll raise, and we'll sing to thy praise,
Sacred home of the Prophets of God;
Thy deliverance is nigh,
Thy oppressors shall die,
And the Gentiles shall bow 'neath thy rod,
O Zion! Dear Zion! home of the free;
In thy temples we'll bend, all thy rights we'll defend,
And our home shall be ever with thee.
"It was impossible to calm the tumult any more for that day. Peace or war, the situation was very much in the hands of Brigham Young, for the time.
"As the three Eastern officials made their way out of the door, with mingled chagrin and anger, Governor Cumming turning to his companions said: 'What would you do with such a people?'
"'Damn them, I would fight them if I had my way,' answered Major McCulloch, unconvinced that the rumour was in any degree true.
"'Fight them, would you?' answered the Governor sadly. 'You might fight them, but you would not whip them. They would never know when they were whipped. Did you notice the fire and flash in those men's eyes? No, sir, they would never know they were whipped.'
"'I fear,' said ex-Governor Powell, reflectively, as they retraced their way sadly through the silent echoing streets to one of the few inhabited houses in the city, the hotel on Main Street, 'that the messenger is right. I had occasion to doubt the rashness of General Johnston's temper before we left the camp. Yet, I hope it is not true. I am loath to see the blood of good men shed for naught. But what a strangely dramatic people! They sing their defiance instead of announcing it.'
"There was another council held the next day; messengers were sent from both the Peace Commission and Governor Cumming to Camp Scott, and at length a compromise was reached. The troops should enter and remain in Utah till further orders, but they must not be quartered in Salt Lake Valley or near the settlements. Meanwhile Brigham Young, with all his associates, had fled once more to the South, and the deserted streets of the city were pressed only by the feet of the few and scattered non-Mormons who had chosen to remain through all these troubles within the borders of the unhappy Territory.
"The armies of the United States were to enter the valleys of Utah. President Buchanan had said they must, the Peace Commission and Governor Cumming said they ought and Brigham Young said they might.
"At daybreak, on June 26, 1858, an advance column of the army began its march through the streets of Salt Lake City. The soldiers, whose eyes had for so many months rested on desolation, looked down from the mouth of Emigration Canyon with a pleased surprise on all the goodly evidence of civilization about them. Houses with shining windows and comfortable porches; wide streets flanked on either side with running streams of clear cold canyon water, over whose rippling surface drooped in graceful lines the native cottonwood which had been dug from the neighboring canyon streams and planted along every watercourse to furnish shade and rest for man and beast. Commodious houses, barns, fences, and outbuildings, gave this unique city a look of mingled rural simplicity and urban attractiveness. The huge squares were laid out in large lots, whereon sat with sturdy independence each snug house, its surrounding fruit and vegetable gardens fenced in with poles or cobbles, thus forming a generous combination of orchard and kitchen garden.
"The soldiers were not more curious nor more deeply impressed with the queer appearance of this well-built yet deserted city than were the officers who rode here and there inspecting their various divisions. Colonel St. George Cooke, who had been in service with the Mormon battalion in Lower California, rode through the city uncovered and with misting eye, as a silent evidence of a respect and sympathy which did his head no less honour than his heart.
"So profound was the silence that at intervals between the passage of the columns, the slight monotonous gurgle of City Creek struck on every ear. The only living creatures to be seen were the group of men who stood around Governor Cumming on the Council House corner and waved a cheerful yet subdued salute to the troops as they filed lustily by.
"Inside many of these houses, no sign of inhabiting life remained. The furniture was piled in great heaps, with under portions of shavings and kindlings and straw, ready to be burned at a moment's notice; while inside a few houses there were eager, watching, silent men, who held flint and steel ready to apply to these crisp piles of shavings if ever the marching feet outside had stopped and attempted any desecration. Outside everywhere great piles of straw lay upon grass, garden and out-buildings; all ready for the instant torch of destruction, should the passing army prove to be a mob.
"All day the marching feet and wondering eyes passed through the desolated streets. There were no stops, no breaking ranks, save here and there where some thirsty soldier would stoop and making a cup of his hands, drink of the running sparkling streams along the road. The divisions clanged heavily along with no rest to the steady, onward, measured march. The fragrant grass-grown streets were not more eloquent of the whole people'' sorrowing desertion than were the sun-rotting barrels and buckets near the unused wells of water.
"Forty miles to the south there awaited in the silent desert the spot where these journeying troops would halt in their march, and striking permanent camp sojourn for a season. But the army would camp for the night on the dry plain across the River Jordan to the west of the city.
"On and on the marching lines flowed heavily down the southern road, past the northern edge of the lovely sheet of water called Utah Lake. Around and around this lake the road ran, past its northern shores; past the chain of canyon defiles which opened at last into Cedar Valley, and down into the heart of that desert vale, where only the cricket and sagebrush gave evidence of animal or vegetable life. Here on the valley's one water course the army halted. They made their permanent quarters there and called their first Utah camp 'Floyd' in honour of the then Secretary of War.
"Here then the army of the United States was quartered, with the approval of the great and distant heads of the Government, and the disapproval of the surrounding banks of half-hungry and half-frightened Ute and Pauvan Indians; with the grudged consent of General Albert Sidney Johnston, and the silent acquiescence of the intrepid Mormon leader, Brigham Young.
"Thus the Echo Canyon War with its attendant excitement and confusion settled into lines of mingled misunderstanding and tolerance on both sides. The soldiers in Camp Floyd were more or less of a social danger to the young people who were attracted by the glitter of arms and epaulets, but youth is ever susceptible to the affectionate solicitude of age where what care is exercised with discretion and wisdom.
"A few tragedies occurred, but they occur everywhere in all times. In the main, the soldiers were held in restraint by the care and honourable discipline of their superior officers.
"Bancroft, the historian, thus comments upon this unhappy event: 'Once again Brigham Young had demonstrated his loyalty to his Government, his wisdom in the control of his own people and his supreme powers of leadership in spiritual and temporal affairs.'
"A council was called in Provo on July 4, 2858, of all the leaders of the church. Camp Floyd was well established, General Johnston was taking up his quarters there, and homes and farms cried out in the deserted Salt Lake Valley for absentees. Governor Cumming was invited to the meeting, and with all the eloquence at his command he begged the Council to return to the city. He told them that he should publish a proclamation on the morrow to the Mormons for their return to their homes.
"With a keen sense of the humour of the situation, Brigham Young replied with a quiet smile: 'Do as you please, governor Cumming. Tomorrow I shall get upon my wagon-tongue and tell the people that I am going home, and that they can do as they please.'
"And he did! And they did!
"In a few hours after his calm invitation nearly all the people were on their homeward way. During the summer the people returned to their homes in the city, and affairs quieted down to their usual unsteady measure. The Utah War was over.
"The New York Times, in referring to this exodus of the people, said, 'Whatever our opinions may be of Mormon morals or of Mormon manners, there can be no question that this voluntary and even cheerful abandonment by 40,000 people of homes created by wonderful industry, in the midst of trackless wastes, after years of hardship and persecution, is something from which no one who has a particle of sympathy with pluck, fortitude, and constancy can withhold his admiration. Right or wrong, sincerity thus attested is not a thing to be sneered at. True or false, a faith to which so many men and women prove their loyalty by such sacrifices, if a force in the world.
"'After this last demonstration of what fanaticism can do, we think it would be most unwise to treat Mormonism as a nuisance to be abated by a posse comitatus. It is no longer a social excrescence to be cut off by the sword; it is a power to be combated by the most skilful, political and moral treatment. When the people abandon their homes to plunge with women and children into a wilderness, to seek new settlements they know not where, they give a higher proof of courage than if they fought for them. When the Dutch submerged Holland to save it from the invaders, they had heartier plaudits showered on them than if they had fertilised its soil with their blood. We have certainly the satisfaction of knowing that we have to deal with foemen worthy of our steel.'
"Meanwhile storm clouds were rolling up heavily on the national horizon. North and south were at loggerheads with one another over the question of slavery which culminated in open rebellion and the outbreak of the civil war.
"When the news of the rebellion reached the commanding officer at Camp Floyd that their country was now in real need of their services, preparations were at once made to abandon the camp. Goods and chattels were disposed of for traveling supplies at such riotous sacrifices that the peaceful people left behind were greatly enriched. As a token of respect Brigham Young was presented with the flagstaff from which the Stars and Stripes had flown in Camp Floyd. This was set up near the White House on the hill where 'Mother' Young lived, and there it stood for marry years, bearing aloft our country's emblem on all high days and holidays.' (The Life Story of Brigham Young, chapters 16 and 17) .
Again, it must be repeated that two of our ancestral families experienced that which transpired in the quoted story of the past several pages. The William Wilkes family of father, mother and two children, Sarah Ann and John Wilkes were among the large group of families who went 'South' late in 1857 or early in the spring of 1858. A brief account of this was related in this history - - see pages 58 and 59 About the time of their return from, we presume, the Provo area which probably was in the middle or latter portion of July 1858, William entered the practice of polygamy and took for himself a second wife, Elizabeth Crook. Their first child, a son, Charles, was born in April of 1869 in Salt Lake City. The reader will remember that the Utah 1860 census finds William with his first wife and two children and his second wife and son in the Cache County listings, presumably in the Logan area. however, their post office was shown to be Brigham.
We have nothing in our Daniel D. Hunt family history mentioning the Utah War and the trip 'South' late in 1857 or early in 1858. The years 1856, 57 and 58 were years of great concern for this family. Following their return from American Fork's three year stay on their farm Daniel D. immediately became involved with his Church assignment as president of the local Seventy's quorum and for a few months became closely associated, as explained earlier, with the Salt Lake area Reformation movement wherein, with the General Authorities, meetings were held up and down the Wasatch Front from, at least, Kaysville, south to the Point of the Mountain and into Utah Valley as far south as Provo and Springville.
By virtue of this Church calling it seems very probable he would have participated in the councils involved relating to the steps the community should take in relation to the oncoming threats brought about by the invasion of the Territory by Johnston's Army. There can be little question but due to his quorum leadership, naturally under the direction of the General Authorities, he would have participated in much of the 'footwork' leading to final preparations for the entire community in the 'scorched earth' policy should the Army come against them.
Would we be justified in assuming that when the actual move came about that the logical place for him and his family to go would be to the homes of so:,-:e of his close friends in Lake City, by the date of the event, American Fork? A possibility.
That he and his family returned again to Salt Lake City by the fall of the year 1858 there is no question.
This writer has in his possession an original legal document showing transfer of a plot of ground - - "the East half of the lest half of lot seven (?) in block eighty two (82) containing fifty square rods as platted in the Great Salt Lake City survey* from one Henry Walker to Daniel D. Hunt on the 14th day of October 1858 for the price of $265. There is no indication in the document that the plot contained a dwelling.
An early Salt Lake City map shorts the property to have been in the general vicinity of the present - standing Union Pacific railway depot. Naturally there had not as yet arrived the railroad into the Salt Lake Valley. At the time the railway probably had not extended westward from the Omaha, Nebraska area on the Missouri River. It is well for us to remember the railway did not reach Ogden until 1869 and the branch from Ogden to Salt Lake City came following that date. ate shall later find that the Hunt family had left the state of Utah at least five years prior to the railway reaching Utah which dispels any concern he may have of their new residence which they built on the newly purchased lot had to contend with the noise of a railroad yard being near by.
It should be understood that we are pre-supposing Daniel D. purchased the property dust mentioned for a home. There is no evidence, whatever, to the contrary and we can be quite assured that the family could not have been financially adequate to have been purchasing for investment purposes.
The date of the transaction was the middle of October which would indicate that the winter months were not far away. With Daniel D. being knowledgeable in carpentry it is entirely possible he and his sons by his first wife but who were still living at home despite the fact that two' were well into their twenties and youngest son, Dan, was about 18 years of age, the canyon work in readiness for building a home, could have already been done. It is quite possible a log house could have been constructed even before winter set in. By far the majority of houses during these years were log houses with slab and dirt roofs and, perhaps, even dirt floors, however, wooden floors in such city dwellings would be more likely.
It may be well that a notation be made here and which may be overlooked at a later point is that all three of these sons, Levi Bunyan, Benoni known as Uncle Bee, and Daniel known as Uncle Dan never married but remained as bachelors The writer can well remember the latter two who died in 1918 and 1919 respectively. Uncle Levi had passed away in 1890.
Daniel D, and Martha had another little son come to their home on the 29th of September 189 approximately one year following their purchase of the lot of ground mentioned above. The baby was named Abraham but his stay was not to be for long for he passed away the next day, on September 30th.
That the reader may the better keep the family group in proper perspective let us again review some of the information contained in the 1860 census record:
|1860 Census - - - Salt Lake County|
|Daniel D. Hunt||60||Farmer||N. Carolina|
|Abel Moroni "||7||Salt Lake|
|Gashum "||5||Lake City|
|Martha E. "||3||Salt Lake|
The two families can readily be detected by the age column.. The two older boys shown plus another son, Daniel, by this time would have been 20 years of age but who apparently was not at home at the tine of the census, were children of Daniel D. and Nancy Davis and were all born in Tennessee. Let us not overlook the fact that Daniel D. and Nancy's eldest daughter, Susan Jane, and their youngest daughter, Nancy, both became polygamist wives - - at separate dates, of course - to John W. Cooley who, by this time, were living in the Tooele area. We remember John A. of wagon train history, the couple's eldest son, and James Wiseman, a missionary fatality of 1855 of the Elk Mountain Mission.
Daniel D.'s and Martha's family in the above census, naturally, starts with Abel Moroni, age 7. Let us remember his elder brother, Mormon Brigham lived but one day. He would have been 9 years of age had he lived. The baby of the family,, Abraham, as mentioned earlier, who lived but one day, had passed away but would have been 7 to 8 months old at census time.
Daniel D.'s age has continued to remain a dilemma. As earlier stated, in his own personal history he has suggested two different years as his birth year, 1797 and 1800. Seemingly one can take his choice for during his lifetime he has kept us guessing. As an example, in the 1850 census he said he was 54 years of age. In the 1860 census he now claims to be 60. Normally the census records are ten yeas apart. As we remember, the 1850 census was actually taken in the spring of 1851 - - a nine year differentials thus to now be only 60 as he claims he would have been born in 1800.
A year following the census of 1861, actually on 2 Feb 1861, another little girl, Charlotte, arrived in their home. She proved to be the last of the six children of this marriage - -4 boys and two girls, however, due to the early deaths of two boys the children grew up with but two boys and two girls.
The 1860 census record and the subsequent date of Charlotte's birth in February of 1861 becomes the last word we hear of the Daniel D. Hunt family in the Salt Lake City area or in Utah. From family history we have been aware they moved into the Bear Lake area and so it is that we now turn to Bear Lake for information.
From the Biographical Encyclopedic History of the Church the account of John Alexander Hunt, as reproduced earlier in this account, reports that he 'moved to St. Charles, Idaho' in 1864.
We have no solid evidence that Daniel D and family moved to St. Charles at the same time but it appears this to be most likely.
It has already been noted that the earliest homeseekers into the Bear Lake area arrived there in the autumn of 1863. We have assumed the possibility of the William Wilkes family having been among this earlier group. As has been noted it appears this colony of 1863 remained together during the first winter, undoubtedly for defense purpose s, but by spring the group scattered into smaller units of settlements throughout the valley and such settlements as Montpelier, Bennington, Liberty, Fish Haven, Bloomington and St. Charles, and others, were each settled by a few families by March of 1861. As has been already noted, Professor M. D. Beal, in his History of Southeastern Idaho, page 179, names a few of the families who formed the nucleus of the settlement of St. Charles and, among others, named John A. Hunt. It would be easy to assume, as early as March when the families were purported to have settled in St. Charles, that the Hunt family could have come into the area with the migration of the 'autumn of 1863' at which time we have supposed the William Wilkes family arrived, however, John A. Hunt, in his biography in the Biographical Encyclopedic History of the Church states that his arrival in St. Charles was in 1861. This agrees with Beal if we disallow the possibility of him having spent the winter in the Paris, Idaho region during the winter of 1863-64-with the first group which, according to Beal, consisted of 'nine wagons" as early as 26 September 1863 and "a little later in the fall about thirty families arrived" and he continues "48 adult males - - and 40 women and about that many children'.
It is not at all unlikely that the Hunt family as well as the Wilkes family were in the original group of settlers. Were the Hunt family not there for the 1863-64 winter then it would seem certain both families would have been among the first settlers of St. Charles in March of 1864. The reader will want to be cognizant of the fact that, at that time, there was no family relationship between the Wilkes and Hunt families. This occurred later at the marriage of Martha Hunt who then was seven years of age and John Wilkes then twelve years of age.
As we are aware these settlement in Bear Lake of 1863-64 were Mormon migrants and, as can be expected, branches of the Church were started in each of the settlements. The first appointed branch president of the St. Charles branch was William G. Young. Three years later, in 1867, our John A. Hunt - -the same as of wagon train history - - was called to that position where he served as branch president for ten years at which time - - in 1877 - - he was called to serve as the first bishop of St. Charles. He served as bishop for another eighteen years and was released 28 July 1895. He died 23 Jan 1913 at his home in St. Charles.
We have no positive assurance that Daniel D. Hunt arid family of Salt Lake City made their move to St. Charles at the same time as son, John A. but it would seem very likely they did. Were Daniel D. 67 years of age, which he would have been had he have been born in 1797 as, on occasion, he reported he was, then he was not a young man. He had lived a hard, rugged, pioneer life and to be nearing seventy in his day indicated - - dust three years from it - - meant that he was no longer a young man. In retrospect our attention may be called to a possibility of his health for he was taken to the cemetery on 7 Oct 1866 which indicates that his total possible residence in St. Charles would have been not over three years from the late fall of 1863.
The earliest St. Charles branch record we have located lists first, John A. Hunt which name is followed by his wife, Elizabeth Tilt Hunt and then, in order, their four children, the youngest of whom having been born on 12th of July 1868. John Jr., just older than the baby was, also, born in St. Charles and on 3 Aug 1$66. These late dates indicate that this particular branch record would not have been the earliest branch record for, nowhere, does the names of the first branch president, William G. Young, and his family show up which they surely would have on the first or earliest branch record.
Be that as it may be, the next entry in the record is the name of Daniel D. Hunt. Here his birth date is given as 1 Feb 1800 only the more to confuse us but, if it be correct, it indicates he wasn't as old as we were wishing him to be a couple paragraphs earlier. "Regardless, and we can't answer why, but this would indicate he had already been in the cemetery nearly a couple years when this record was made up due to the fact that the child dust preceding his name was not born until 1868.
Following his name in the branch record is his wife of this period of time, Martha Hunt, daughter of James Eynon and Elizabeth. Her birthdate is given and agrees with our family record, the 10th of September 1829 in Lawrenny, Pembrokeshire, Wales. Now, interestingly, follow the names of all children of Daniel D. and Martha, including little Mormon Brigham who was born on 25 Oct 1851 but who died the next day, the 26th and little Abraham who was born 29th Sep 1859 but who passed away the next day, September 30th, both having been born and buried in Salt Lake City. Certainly neither of them had anything to do with the St. Charles branch records but, nevertheless, their names appear as numbers nine and thirteen on that record. Family togetherness is our only explanation.
Living children of Daniel D. and Martha, when they moved to St. Charles were, Abel Moroni, Gashum A., our Martha Elizabeth and youngest, a daughter, Charlotte, who was little more than a baby, dust three years old.
The nature of their home nor its location is not known excepting it was in or near the townsite of St. Charles. It had been as recent as the year 1862 that the federal government in Washington D. C. passed the Homestead Act which, in brief, entitled a landless farmer to obtain title, practically without financial cost. The maximum acreage was to be not more than 160 acres. The Church leaders cautioned those of the Church who were applying for land to limit their requests to only the amount of land they could comfortably handle for two or three reasons. 1st: Most newcomers to the Vest would find them selves under financed. There would be expenses to erect and furnish homes and their newly acquired farms needed horse power and other animals such as cows and sheep to support the family and, certainly, machinery for farming purposes would need be purchased etc., most of which became an immediate need. 2nd: In the new communities the families would need depend almost entirely on the labor-force each family had within its own family. There was much work to be done during the earlier years of homesteading such as fences to retain their animals from crossing over to neighboring property. Posts and poles had to be obtained from the canyons which, in and of itself, was not an easy or a quickly done chore. Then the fence had to be put up which required wire, usually barbed, to discourage cattle and horses from 'working' the fence. Fencing was not completed on most homesteads the first few weeks or months, but ofttimes, it required a few years.
Fortunately, in this area, there was lowland off the north shores of the nearby lake which provided what is known as meadowland, . Good pastureland was formed and which, if not grazed off, would produce meadow-flay from the natural grasses which grew in that area. These fields of hay, after having been protected from grazing animals during the spring and early summer months would be mowed, raked and hauled on wagons, usually with a basket rack - - meadow hay such as the brome grasses or timothy grass lacks heavy leafage such as clover or alfalfa and, therefore, becomes difficult to handle due to its slackness, thus the value of a basket-type rack. When the load of hay got to the stackyard, especially during the first few years, the hay was hand-pitched off onto or up to the stack. This eras very laborous and so, it was not long before the farmer found means such as a derrick, which, with the use of pulleys and ropes and/or chains which had been placed on the wagon before loading, to actually lift part of the load off the rack and drop the hay onto the stack. Still earlier than the derrick, and with the use of a series of ropes, one end of each tied to a post at the far end of the stack or barn, and with a team of horses, also on the far end of the stack, could actually roll the load of hay onto the stack or into the barn. Meadow-hay was difficult to work with by this rolling-method due to the grasses not holding together. There w as more success with alfalfa and clover.
Within a few years push-rakes were used, particularly with meadow-grasses. The sod of a meadow-field is thickly covered w ith grass and the soil remains moist, thus, with a pushrake there is little or no dust. On alfalfa and clover fields which are irrigated pushrakes are not often used because of the dust getting into the hay which affects its quality by the time it gets to the animal eating it. With clover and alfalfa the derrick with a pair of nets or slings -- chains only - - or later, what became known as a Jackson fork became the popular means of unloading hay, all this prior to the modern baling and one-man hauling equipment.
As stated, we presently are not aware of the Hunt nor Wilkes location in or near St. Charles. It would have made a difference for the meadows of which comment has been made were to the north of the town which, itself, is actually located on slightly higher ground coming from the foothills to the west and gently slopes toward the lake. The little farmland in this area and, also, the land to the south of the town requires irrigation but this land is rather limited with, perhaps, not more than a half rile separating the hillside and the lake. The cemetery is located on this slope but to the south approximately a half mile.
A third argument Church leaders offered the new homesteaders was to not overburden themselves with too large a homestead rich, if not meadowland in this case, would have required irrigation which, in turn, required water. Water in most of the colonization areas of the West was limited. Not only in St. Charles but elsewhere in the valleys of the West , water was available from the melting snow-fed streams running down the canyons and/'or a few springs which, themselves, rely on the melting snow of the mountains. Pumping from deep wells for irrigating purposes nor pumping from the clear waters of Bear hake during the 1860s of which we are writing was certainly not they. available and, perhaps, not even dreamed of.
The counsel being then given by the leaders was to not attempt to irrigate more land than there was water to develop good crops. A farm of ten, twenty, forty-acres carefully but adequately irrigated would become more profitable and much more desirable than twice that acreage with not enough water to take care of but half of it.
For these various reasons most of the farms of these early homesteaders were not of large size but ample enough to stretch their finance capabilities to the limit, to require their full labor force and utilize what irrigating water was to be at their disposal.
Fortunately for the newcomers to St. Charles the town was well situated. It would never have the possibilities to become a metropolis. It would always remain a small town but the main road south to north would be close by. The fact that is was located on the shores of a freshwater lake would make for convenience for fishing which probably was used more than of late years for fishing and hunting was somewhat a way of life for the early pioneers of this western country. Also, the town was situated next to the west hills of the valley which, during those years, would have provided wild life for hunting purposes and with marshes near by, including the lake, waterfowl would have been reasonably plentiful. Such resources, during the 1860s and for the balance of the century particularly, would have been pluses for any such isolated settlements, particularly during the winter months. When we stop to picture in our minds the actual situation they were in there remains no doubt but we who live in our generations of the latter part of the twentieth century are indeed descended from western pioneers and their way of life did not prove to be easy nor without grave concern to them. There was always concern during those very early years for the bare necessities of life such as food to sustain life, warmth by way of clothing as well as in the log cabin. Too, we must remember that such areas as Bear hake still remained to be Indian country and to be at peace with them meant, at times, sharing with them their own limited supplies and this, on demand.
The high altitude of the Bear Lake country guaranteed heavy and, usually, long winters. Nestled among the tops of the Bear River range of mountains, a prong of the larger Wasatch range, the elevation ranges between 6,000 and 6,500 feet above sea-level. The lake itself is approximately half in Utah and half in Idaho and, originally was a part of the large original Oneida county. Bear Lake county was not organized until 1875, ten years later than the period of which we have recently been writing.
It is true with the Hunts as it was with the Wilkes the 1870 census of most of the area in the Bear Lake area was not counted by the Idaho territory where it rightfully belonged but rather, the territory of Utah and with their Rich county. The following is that census record of the Hunt family, realizing that Daniel D., himself, was buried in the St. Charles cemetery in 1666.
* We are aware that little John A. was born in St. Charles i n 1866, however this Census record lists his birth as being in Utah. Perhaps, due to the fact that the census was actually taken by Utah census takers despite the fait that the north end of the Bear Lake Valley was actually in Idaho may lead us to suspect that these residents would have preferred to have been identified with Utah. 'Twas not so, however.
While we are yet dwelling on the Hunt family in this history let us turn from the 1870 census record and find its counterpart in 1880, ten years later. The St. Charles census record at this new time includes three households of Hunts, namely in separate residences:
Now, to a comment or two: The first listed household, John, of wagon train history was serving as bishop and had been for three years. Prior to his selection as bishop he had served for ten years as the ST. Charles branch president. He would continue serving as bishop for another 15 years, until 28 July 1895.
In household # 2 lived two of the three bachelor brothers, all sons of D. D. Hunt by his first wife, Nancy. The youngest bachelor brother of the three appears not to have been living at this home at the time of the census not was he located elsewhere in St. Charles on this particular census.
It is quite likely he was employed away from home - - maybe not but not at home that night.
Levi, the eldest of the three bachelor brothers passed away in St. Charles on the 14th of May 1890, causes not known by the writer. It seems most likely that the younger bachelor, Daniel W., who was away from home at the time of the 1880 census was back with his brothers prior to Levi's passing in 1890.
Undoubtedly it will be of interest to family members of the younger generations - - the older generation is already aware of it - - that in Daniel D. Hunts youngest family - - his and Martha non's children, also had a bachelor among their sons, Gashum Alma, who has shown up in the 1870 census but yet in his mother's household, household # 3 on the previous page. He, therefore, would have been a half-brother to the other three mentioned earlier.
In 1912 or 1913 this writer with his parents and possibly three brothers drove from Afton, Wyoming to St. Charles to visit with Mother's aunt and family, Aunt Sarah Ann Alfred and her children Mother's cousins who, by this time had all married and sow were living in their own homes in Bear Lake. Also, in St. Charles. These were on Mother's father's side of the family. Also, on Mother's mother's side of the family were her bachelor uncles whom we also visited. I can well remember the afternoon we drove down the St. Charles dirt streets - - but not without its rocks - - a few blocks away. The folk knew where they were going better than did we kids for we had never been there before. As we turned again to the west, Dad drove the team up to a hitching post to the side gate where the horses were tied. The house was then an old log house of two or three rooms with a couple additional rooms built onto the back as a lean-to. The house was in good order for its age and well chinked and the cracks plastered with, I suppose now, mortar of lime and sand. As I remember, the front yard would have had a couple medium sized cottonwood trees - - they even could have been quaking aspens. The yard was neatly fenced with a small ditch of clear running water to the outside of the fence running briskly down the slope. Fall flowers were in blossom in the yard for this was nearing September - - a week or two before school was to start. The backyard had a well cared for garden of the hardier vegetables. I suspect their water for all household uses, including drinking water, would have been from the open ditch. Back in Star Valley we were getting all our water during those years from the ditch and I suspect it would have been true in St. Charles.
What a picturesque but not overly small yard which was all fenced, to the front with a white picket fence but, as I recall the back yard had a regular wire fence.
The day of our visit all three of the men were at home, Uncle Bee and Uncle Dan, full brothers to each other and Uncle Gash, not exactly a young man by this time yet about 20 years younger than his half-brothers. They were, at the time, approximately 75, 72 and 57 respectively. According to our family records Uncle Bee passed way at the ripe age of 81 in 1918, Uncle Dan at the age of 79 in 1919 and Uncle Gash, also in 1919 at the age of 64. All three of these deaths were just following World War I and could have stemmed from the great Spanish Influenza epidemic which spread world-wide and many, many families of our communities lost loved ones in its aftermath. Whether or not their passing could have been attributed to this epidemic the writer is not certain for, by our means of travel, even then, we were a long ways apart and I don't recall learning at the time the cause of their demise. The dates but indicate such a possibility.
From several well over one-hundred year old letters at hand which have been preserved by the kind care of Grandma Elizabeth Hunt Wilkes (wife of Grandpa John Wilkes) a very tender story has come to light which we wish to share with the reader of this history.
Earlier in this chapter the name of Charlotte Hunt, the baby daughter of Martha Eynon Hunt, maked its appearance in the 1880 census of St. Charles who then was 19 years of age, yet single and living at home. The census was taken in July of that year. The events of the next year make it clear that even at the time of the census Charlotte had to have had plans underway for her marriage. Only the name of her husband to be, Bill Beers, is known of her wedding which apparently had to have been within the next six months for by January 2nd of 1881 Charlotte wrote a letter to her sister, Martha Elizabeth Hunt Wilkes, wife of John Wilkes. It appears that even before the 1880 census was taken tact the John Wilkes family had already made a disappointing move to settle in the Star Valley country. Wyoming history, as well as the Wilkes family history, credits this family, with a few others, of going into the Star Valley area in 187 9. By July of 1880 they were back in St. Charles for the Wilkes family was included in the St. Charles 1880 census but, now, back to Charlotte.
As stated, her letter to her sister, dated 2 Jan 1881 was postmarked in the town of Manassa which is located about half way across the state of Colorado west to east and only a few miles from the state's southern border which, according to the map and as the crow flies, the distance would be about 500 miles. To follow the dirt roads of the time and/or, even the railroad, the distance would be more and we have, already a very homesick 20 year old bride.
What took the young couple so far away we do not know. From the several letters Charlotte wrote her family back in Hear Lake there is no evidence he was attempting to do anything other than freighting - - this, of course, by wagon and team. Let's let the earliest dated letter we have from her - -and this to her sister - - speak for itself. In the process of copying the writer will offer to make a few minor corrections by way of spelling and capitalizing. This will be done with no change of meaning, whatever.
Jan 9th 1881
Dear Sister: I received your kind and welcome letter last night and was glad to hear from you and to hear that you were well as it leaves me at present.
I have quit working for that woman and Bill and I are living in Manassa and the weather is fine here and there is a little snow here and there on the ground'. There is a large city 30 miles from here in one direction. There is another town seven miles away and the third town 8 miles away. They say one of these towns is supposed to be 300 years old. This is a wealthy country and the folks like it here all but Bill and me. He likes some parts of it.
Brother Snow is here yet and he says that this will be a good country here. (Apparently this is Erastus Snow, the apostle, for such leaders were sent out to look for land for colonizing purposes). There is government territory 2 hundred miles from here. Brother Snow is going there and Rob Beers (apparently a relative of her husband) is to look at it. The Mormon men who have been and looked at it say that it is one of the finest countries in the world. There is everything desirable there and it is like summer there now but I don't know whether to tell you to come or not. I don't know whether you would like it here or not. The folks say that you could do better here. Rob Beers feels first rate now but if you don't come Bill says that he will bring me to see you next fall and he tells the rest the same thing. I know he will. If he doesn't I will come on the cars (railway) for nothing will stop me from seeing you before another winter but I do not doubt him for one minute. Bill has been kind and good to me and says that he will do anything to make me happy. I went to a dance last night but I would not dance for I did not know whether you was sick or well.
I call Mother in my sleep. 0h, how I love Dear mother and I would give the world to be with her. If you would come I would like the country but without you the country is nothing to me. Dear Lib (she was known by Elizabeth - - apparently they knew her by Lib), I love you better than myself. I know how pure and good you are - - and your children as dear as life to me and give John my love and tell trim that - truly respect him as a brother and give my love to Bee and Bun. (a couple of her half brothers).
I expect to see you all soon in a few short months and I will be with you. Write soon.
Space in this account is not going to permit the copying of all of Lottie's letters. On February 22 she wrote to her "Dearest Mother and told of them being aware of a few Mormon families in the area. Her mother had made inquiry but Charlotte stated her new location but she writes, "of course it is a gentile town". She signatures her letter, - - "From your -child to her dearest mother", and adds, "Write soon. I long to hear from you".
Charlotte's letter of April 20th shows definite signs that they have not become happy with their move too Manassa. Bill is away much of the time with his freighting. There appears to be another family who have strong regrets that they sold out in St. Charles.
By her letter of May 7th, Charlotte tells her mother that she and Hill have moved to Elmira which is approximately one hundred miles from Manassa. She tells that Bill has just left with a load of fruit and will be gone 3 or 4 days. It is evident from the letter that it is difficult to send the letter and not have it take her too. She closes , "from your youngest Child to Her Darling Mother".
By June 6th she writes, "Bill has gone with fruit to Durango and to Silverton. He makes $140 this trip. He is to be gone 15 days. He is doing well freighting. I can come home any time by rail but I don't like to come alone. I have the cash in ray trunk to come home on but I don't think it is safe to go alone but I am liabel to be home any time so don't be surprised to see me any day. Bill told me yesterday that he was gong to Utah to make his home and Wallis says the same (apparently Wallis is a friend if not a close relative of Bill's. Charlotte has mentioned him in previous letters) but Rob Beers is going to stay in Manassa. (Apparently Rob is a brother to Bill). So, If I don't come home soon you will know that I will stop and come with Bill. - - - - - I would like to see you all and bless those sweet children of Lib's. It is Sunday today. O how I would home. Well, may heaven bless you all. My love to you all. Write soon. From your Dear Child to her Dear Mother.
On the 19th of June 1881 Charlotte wrote to her sister, Lib Wilkes, (Martha Elizabeth) Following the usual introductions of her letters relative to appreciation for a letter and exchanges of her well being she writes, "Bill will be home today and as soon as he gets back we start on that way a hundred miles and will be home sure. We will travel with some teams from Sanpete that came out with us last fall and are going back this fall. The old lady Brown from Randolph that came out last fall with us is coming back to Utah".
Charlotte leaves us slightly confused. The earlier portion of the above letter led us to think their trip was about ready to commence, at least for the first hundred miles. Then she indicated it would be fall. we are to keep in mind this particular letter being referred to is June 19th, but before she finishes the letter she writes, "I have got my things packed ready to start as soon as he (Bill) gets here." Her last sentence, "Don't write till you hear from me again".
Charlotte's next letter dated 5 July 1881 is to her mother. The envelope, itself, carries the post-mark of Manassa, Colorado which leads us to suspect that, for one reason or another, the first step of their intended return journey was not started as indicated in her letter to her sister.
This letter of the 5th is interesting from two standpoints; first, she reported a big Fourth of July celebration in their little community. "They had the flag floating in the breeze. They marched around the liberty pole and shot off guns and then marched into the meeting house. The choir sang and the band played and they had speakers and songs. Some of the Elders spoke and it seemed that the spirit of God lit up their whole system. They seemed to feel so well that peace seemed to reign over the whole congregation and it seemed that the angels of peace watched round that place. Mother they have very good meetings here".
From reading this letter it would appear for the moment, at, least, that she is commencing to adjust a little to her new surroundings. All that has been gathered from her letters to this date is that this newly married couple went along with a small group of colonizers in search of a new home. Included among the number were Bill Beers parents and a brother or two. Bill took to freighting for others and it seems he left his young bride quite dependent on others in a rented room to await his return. There is no indication Lottie was giving effort to establish a permanent home, and under these conditions she suffered from homesickness and otherwise, boredom. Such is our appraisal from the letters to this point, naturally, without knowing the contents of the letters she received.
Another phase of this longest of any of her letters, was she shared some of the virtues of the country and the possibilities and expectations of the leaders in this colonization effort, if we now understand it correctly: In her letter she tells her mother of the food that can be grown there. As an example, they had new peas for dinner at Sister Beers. "Bill has seen places where they had acres of onions and large cabbages and watermelons as big as my head". Apparently these were reports Bill brought back from his freighting trips, some of which required weeks to make the round trip.
In this letter, Lottie suggests that Bill asked her, Lottie's mother, to sell a couple lots of his back in St. Charles and use the money to buy a wagon and team of horses and go to Colorado to be with them. This a complete reversal from Lottie's previous letter to her sister. She mentions a Brother Snow, apparently a leader of the colonization movement - - whether it be Lorenzo Snow or Erastus Snow, it is not known at this date, however, they were both apostles of the Church and each played a part in colonization. Charlotte's letter states, "Brother Snow says that he is going to have 50 thousand settler's here in less than 5 years. He says that this country is a good country. Emigrants are coming from the south all the time. Brother Snow was to Brother Beers the other day (Probably father-in-law) and he thinks it is best to stay here. Bill don't know whether he will stay or not." It is at this point in the letter that Charlotte tells her mother of Bill's suggestion to sell his lots and purchase a team and wagon.
Charlotte suggests to Grandma Hunt that she will be able to get all the land she wants in Colorado and that Bill will help her all he can, but she cautions, "If you come don't come the same way we came or you will get killed by the Indians but go around the Denver road.
"I don't think that Bill will ever settle here but if he does, Dear Mother, try to come and we will try to help you all we can and I know that you can live better than you do there".
It is in this letter that she announces to her mother that she, Charlotte, will be expecting a baby. She writes, "I expect to be sick in about 3 months and will stay here if I don't come home''.
Her next letter was written to her mother on 17th July. She was more like her lonely but loving self. "It is Sunday morning. How I wish I was there. We don't calculate to stay here. I heard from Bill and expect another letter from him tomorrow". Later in the letter she writes, "I will be home but when I can't tell but I think I will soon have the chance to come." She then expresses her love to be passed on to her sister and her brothers in St. Charles, as also to John and their "sweet children". "Dear Mother, I love you more than I can tell and expect to see you soon. I will not stay in this country and that is a settled thing". She ends her letter, "from your dear child to her darling mother. Write soon".
The synopsis only will be shared here of two additional and subsequent letters to the July letters referred to above. Regrettably there are no dates to these letters, one addressed to her sister, Lib Wilkes, wife of John Wilkes and the other addressed to Charlotte's mother, Martha Hunt. In both letters she expresses great love for her family in St. Charles and by now has concluded that she just has to return home for a visit. Bill, her husband, who seems to be away for long periods has consented for her to sell a couple lots in St. Charles - the same he had offered to sell to purchase a team and wagon - - and get a down payment of $60 so Charlotte can purchase a railway ticket to Evanston, Wyoming from where she will be able to get a ride thru Randolph and over into the Bear Lake valley. Charlotte is frightened to travel alone even on the railroad, for lone travelers have been warned that it was not safe. Elder Snow had left a few days before for Utah, but Charlotte didn't have the money for her ticket. She writes, "I am coming home as soon as Bill can make the money. He says I can come and stay until next fall." Again she pleads to her sister, "Why don't you sell them lots and send sixty dollars now so I can come home. I am bound to come, that is if I get the money. You don't want to see me as bad as I want to see you or you would sell the lots now." Charlotte is expecting the money by return mail.
In Charlotte's letter to her mother she mentions that a lady, a 'Mrs. Blair, from Manassa is soon to take a trip to Salt Lake City by rail, and that if Charlotte can get the money for the lots, or if Bill can get some from his work, she, Charlotte will go with Mrs. Blair. She writes, "Bill has gone to town one mile from here to get his horses shod. As soon as I ret the money I am going to come home." In one of her letters she says, "I think I will make my home in St. Charles and get Bill to come after I get there'.
Charlotte's next letter to her mother which is dated September 9th, 1881 and written at Manassa. With an awareness on the part of all that the time for her delivery is not many weeks away, she writes:
September 9th 1881
Dearest mother and Dearest Lib, I received your kind and welcome letter and was glad to hear that you were well as it leaves me at present. I got a letter from Bill the same time as from you and he said that his contract would be done the 20th of this month and then he would come here. He can get work there all winter. He will go right back to work there when he sees me off. The railroad runs there now and perhaps I will go there and see him and from there, home. He will tell me which to do in his next letter. Lottie Beers (Bill's mother) has written to him to get her a pass with me. I will be home sure as soon as Bill gets his money. I can't come without money. You said that mother said that if I did not come till October that I would not come at all. Bill could not get his money till his contract was done and that will take till the 20th of this month. (September)
I am preparing all the time to come home and am bound to come as soon as possible. Dear Mother and Sister, don't feel uneasy about me for I will not be sick for a long time, yet, dear mother, I will leave nothing undone to see you. I will be home as soon as possible. It greaves me so much when Lib writes that you feel bad. Please dear Mother, don't give way because I will be sure to come home or I would not write to you that I would because it would make us both feel bad, but Bill has promised me that I should go and I know that he will let me go. His folk all know that he is going to send me home and they have promised Lottie that if Bill can get her a pass with me that she can come and she wrote to Bill today to get her a pass with me. She sent it in my letter and I read it so I know that she wrote for a pass.
I never close my eyes before asking Father in Heaven to spare your lives till I can meet you again. I pray that he may guide me safely home again and, dear Mother, I know that your prayer is that he will bring me safely to you again. Now, Mother, if we all have faith in him I will be home in spite of anything. Now, don't say that you don't think that I will never come back. If you do I will think that you doubt God the Father in Heaven.
Dear Lib, I thank you for your nice present.
These few lines to Dearest Mother and to you, Dearest Sister. Write soon."
The above letter appears to be the final letter that has been preserved among those from Charlotte Hunt Beers. Two additional letters from others than the family have been preserved with the above mentioned letters, both of which will here be copied: The first letter was written directly to Great-grandma Martha Hunt's neighbor and close friend in St. Charles.
Oct. 24th 1881
Dear Friend Sister Pugmire.
To you are entrusted this sad message and ask you to deliver it into Sister Hunt's own hand and to break it to her the mildest way you can. It conveys the news of her daughter, Lottie's Death. Please go to Sister Hunt yourself and tell her before giving her the package so as to avoid a sudden shock.
Please grant this kindness to a grief stricken family for the sad blow falls on us all. Please answer this and let us know how they seem to feel, and oblige.
Your friends and Sisters in the Gospel.
Hettie M. Beers, and Annie Young
P. S. We thought at first we would send a telegram but we knew they were so far away they could not come and could do no good for her Annie A. Young.
The following is the letter delivered to great-grandmother, Martha Eynon Hunt, Charlotte's mother, by Sister Pugmire.
Oct 24th 1881
Dear Sister Hunt and Family,
It is with sorrowful feelings and regret that I must communicate to you the sad news of your dear daughter Lottie's Death on the 22nd of Oct in child-bed. She was taken sick on the morning of 21st but was not very sick until about dark and from that time to about 8 o'clock was in hard labor when she was delivered with an 8 3/4 lb. girl.
She was seemingly all right and got along as well as arty body with their first. But after the child was born the after-birth did not come and she took to flowing very bad and her hands and feet went perfectly cold and she was to all appearances struck with death. The mid wife's name was Sister Totty, an old lady who Lottie had taken a great fancy to and requested to have with her. As soon as the child was born Sister Totty noticed something wrong with her and advised us to send for another mid-wife to assist her which we did. She got there in a half hour and the two decided that the after-birth had grown to her back and they could do nothing for her and told us to send for a physician which was 9 miles from here. He got there in 2 1/2 hours and took the after-birth from her. Lottie was perfectly conscious until the very last. We asked her if the doctor was rough with her. She said no, he was as gentle and kind as he could be. The doctor said the full length of the afterbirth had grown to her back and that it was the worst case he had ever seen. After he had taken the after birth from her she seemed to revive up and we were all in hopes of her recovery, but she kept growing weaker and weaker until 7 o'clock in the morning when she died perfectly easy without a struggle.
I do not think Lottie knew she was dying until the very last. She called me to her bedside and asked me to lay my face beside her and asked me if I did not think she was dying. I told her I did not think she was. She asked Billy to turn her on her side which he did and she then died immediately. She did not ask for anything nor any of her folks. Before the child was born Lottie asked Ma to take her in her arms and hug her. Ma done so and the poor girl laid her patient head on Ma's breast. She asked for the Elders and they came and administered to her three times. She died in good faith.
She was buried about 6 o'clock yesterday. It was the largest funeral that has ever been in Manassa. Everybody felt to mourn the loss of dear Lottie and did all they could for her. They met at four o'clock. Opening prayer by Counselor Wm. Christenson. Hymn: "We have met dear Friends and brethren, our respects to pay to one who has left this world of sorrow and to glory now has gone". Remarks by Bishop Wm. L. Ball and Wm. Christenson. Closing hymn: "Farewell all earthly honors I bid you all adieu, with the chorus: There is sweet rest in heaven". The grave was dedicated by Wm. Christenson.
She was a beautiful corpse. She was dressed in garments, moccasins and robe. Sister Ball, President of Relief Society and Sister Boice of Mutual improvement Association advised us to bury her that way. Said they thought she was worthy of them and that her work could be done for her. She had on white gloves, a dress of white swiss. Her coffin was covered with black velvet. We will send you pieces of all of her things.
Billy had just moved her into a house and bought new furniture and a new feather bed. She was good and comfortable.
Lottie said she was going to write to you the day she was taken sick but she said she would wait and see if she got along alright and then I could write and tell you about the baby and her new things for "Ma will be so pleased"'. The baby is a healthy looking child with blue eyes and light hair. I nurse the baby and mother takes care of it.
Billy would like to give it Lottie's full name if it suits you. He will not name it until he hears from you. Billy was thinking of coming home with the body, but he felt so bad we were afraid to trust him alone with it. He says to tell you he did all he could to save her so did we all. He will write to you as soon as he can but he is almost crazy now. He thinks he will come back and stay with you this winter and bring back Lottie's choicest things. If he does not come he will send them anyway.
If there is anything more you would like to know write to me or, if you would like to anyone else. I will give you the names of those that were present during her sickness: Brother Wm. Ball, Wm. Christenson, Martin Christenson, Sister Boice, Doctor Johnson, Sister Totty, Father, Mother, Billy and myself. All of our family was there when she died.
Write to Billy and be kind to him for we all feel the loss of dear Lottie and did all we could for her. Don't fail to write as soon as you receive this. No more at present.
From your friends,
Annie Young and Hettie M. Beers
P. S. Lottie asked what the baby was and if it was all right. She held the baby a few moments before she died.
After nearly a year of longing for home this young 20 1/2 year old young lady was denied an answer to her prayer - - just to be back with her mother. Would it be wrong for us to assume there may have been differences of opinion as to Lottie's resolve to marry whom she did and, especially of the young couple's resolve to migrate such a long way from home? We don't know the details and it becomes presumptuous on our part to assume Charlotte disregarded the wishes of her mother. If perchance she did then certainly it cannot be said that, her choice diminished her love for her widowed mother. One would never find an expression of deeper love than was contained in every letter Charlotte wrote. She adored her mother and it is evident the two were very close. Charlotte had not reached her sixth birthday when her father was taken to the St. Charles cemetery and so her memory of her father was very limited if at all. She had known but one parent and her sister - - her only sister - - was four years older than she but had been married seven years. During these years Charlotte and her mother undoubtedly formed a comradery which was not easy to physically separate on either of their parts, but Charlotte felt the urge to marry and follow her young husband's family to far off southern Colorado in search for a new home. Such a decision could not have been easy and it was expensive for a human life was expended. Perhaps it would sound less critical were we to say a young mother's life was exchanged for a little baby daughter. Could any of us say it was an unfair exchange? This we cannot say, nor may we ever know. Mothers, quite occasionally, have been called upon to make the supreme sacrifice to bring a little sprit into the world and who would contend that this selfless act would not be applicable to what the Savior had in mind when he counseled that "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends".
It is regrettable that we have no one of the previous two generations with us who may have been informed of, or personally knew Bill Beers and where his life's path took him and his little daughter. If Bill named the baby after her mother she would have become known as Charlotte Young Hunt Beers for, according to the early St. Charles branch records the name Young was given as Charlotte's middle name. Probably Bill would have settled for Charlotte Hunt Beers. No extensive effort has been put forth by this writer to locate the name of Bill or his daughter, however, the Four Generation Program input for the Genealogical Department has been checked over the years there was input, which were from 1965 thru each successive year to and including 1976 with no success. This writer submitted her name for her temple work in 1933 and, at the time, realizing the probability of her having been baptized into the Church when a small girl, and the possibility that her family had taken care of her endowment work by proxy following her passing away. Some months subsequent to submitting her name, the Genealogical Society returned a record of the temple having performed a proxy baptism for her on 8 July 1933 and her proxy endowment on the 26th of July 1933. Her parents had been sealed prior to the birth of their children, therefore, Charlotte with her brothers and sisters were all born in the Covenant.
Somewhere in this big, wide world are historical facts pertaining to Bill Beers and his daughter, Charlotte - - we are supposing this became her name and it will become an interesting project for any of us to search for them. If Charlotte lived to maturity she could have left a posterity of as many as three generations. Even if she didn't survive as a baby there is somewhere a record. The challenge is left to anyone who will accept it.