Page 1


STAN FORD J. LAYTON, Managing Editor

MIRIAM B. MVRPHY. Associate Editor


PETER L. Goss, Salt Lake City, 1985 GLEN M. LEONARD, Farmington, 1985

LAMAR PETERSEN, Salt Lake City, 1986 RICHARD W. SADLER, Ogden, 1985

HAROLD SCHINDLER, Salt Lake City, 1987 GENE A. SESSIONS, Bountiful, 1986

GREGORY C. THOMPSON, Salt Lake City, 1987 Utah Historical Quarterly was established in 1928 to publish articles, documents, and reviews contributing to knowledge of Utah's history. T h e Quarterly is published by the Utah State Historical Society, 300 Rio Grande, Salt Lake City, Utah 84101. Phone (801) 533-6024 for membership and publications information. Members of the Society receive the Quarterly, Beehive History, and the bimonthly Newsletter upon payment of the annual dues: individual, $15.00; institutions, $20.00; student and senior citizen (age sixty-five or over), $10.00; contributing, $20.00; sustaining, $25.00; patron, $50.00; business, $100.00. Materials for publication should be submitted in duplicate accompanied by return postage and should be typed double-space with footnotes at the end. Additional information on requirements is available from the managing editor. T h e Society assumes no responsibility for statements of fact or opinion by contributors. Second class postage is paid at Salt Lake City, Utah. Postmaster: Send form 3579 (change of address) to Utah Historical Quarterly, 300 Rio Grande, Salt Lake City, Utah 84101.



Contents SUMMER 1985/VOLUME 53/NUMBER 3




























T H E COVER Liquor agents and the curious view seized stills in Salt Lake City. Photograph courtesy of William Fotes.

© Copyright 1985 Utah State Historical Society

Books reviewed L. BUSHMAN. Joseph and the Beginnings


of Mormonism





e d . A Sender of Words: Essays in Memory of John G. Neihardt . LEVI S.' PETERSON


OWEN U L P H . The Throne






on the Eastern Slope: James Townsend's Comic Journalism the Mining


Frontier . . RALPH J . ROSKE


J O H N EWERS et al. Views of a Vanishing Frontier . . . LORA CROUCH


M. HASSELSTROM. Journal of a Mountain Man: James





J . WEBER. Richard H. Kern: Expeditionary Artist in the Far Southwest,





In this issue When differing cultures and values come into conflict, one g r o u p often drives the other to lawless behavior. In the late nineteenth century the Mormon theocracy and the practice of polygamy offended other Americans. When federal legislation outlawed polygamy many Mormons became "outlaws" rather than relinquish cherished beliefs. T h e first article in this issue focuses on the U.S. attorneys and marshals charged with enforcing the law, while the following piece looks at the prison experience of a polygamist whose belief and practice remained unaltered by his incarceration. Settlers vs. Indians, another classic confrontation in the West, was vastly more complex, but again the less numerous force — in this case the Indians — appeared lawless when they were, in fact, suffering from acute cultural shock. Chief Pocatello's life was spared by understanding officials; Paiute Posey was not so lucky. T h e final article reveals the extent of "fringe of the law" behavior during Prohibition when bootlegging became a way of life for countless, otherwise respectable, citizens who for a variety of cultural and personal reasons (not to mention easy money) found themselves unable to accept this intrusion of the law into their private lives.

The U.S. Department of Justice in Utah Territory, 1870-90 BY STEPHEN CRESSWELL

Faust and Houtz livery stables on Second South between State and Main streets in Salt Lake City housed the federal court in its hayloft. Crowd gathered for Brigham Young's 1871 divorce trial. USHS collections.

U.S. Department of Justice


A SIZEABLE AND GROWING BODY OF literature has described federal efforts against polygamy and theocracy in Utah Territory in the late nineteenth century. T h e focus of this literature, however, has been almost exclusively upon the role of federal judges and the opinions issued by the United States Supreme Court. Virtually ignored has Mr. Cresswell is a doctoral candidate in the History Department of the University of Virginia.



t | t


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been the role of the employees of the U.S. Justice Department in Utah, this in spite of the fact that it was these men — the U.S. attorneys and marshals — who were most directly responsible for carrying out federal policy in Utah. After Congress enacted laws aimed at abolishing polygamy and the temporal power of the Mormon church, beginning in 1862, it was the U.S. attorneys and marshals who sought indictments, made arrests, s u m m o n e d juries, and conducted the prosecutions. When the early congressional enactments proved inadequate, it was the Justice Department officials who sought stronger laws and by appealing cases to the U.S. Sup r e m e Court cleared away the final obstacles to wholesale convictions for polygamy and related offenses. During the territorial period there were in Utah three district courts presided over by judges appointed by the president and approved by the Senate. These district courts h e a r d civil and criminal cases arising from territorial statute and also civil and criminal cases arising u n d e r federal laws. T h e sole prosecuting officer for these courts after 1874 was the presidentially appointed U.S. attorney, and the only executive officer was the U.S. marshal. As it was not always easy for these two men to attend court in three different districts, they often utilized assistant attorneys and deputy marshals. 1 T h e detailed story of the 1,100 convictions for polygamy and related offenses and of other actions aimed at Mormons and the Mormon church has been told elsewhere. But historians have failed to assess the caliber of the U.S. attorneys and marshals, their motivations and ideologies, the obstacles they encountered in performing their duties, and the aid they received. 2 Among the aid received, perhaps none was more important than that supplied by the U.S. Army. T h e strongest symbols of federal power in Utah Territory in this period were the courts and the army. And these two institutions had a reciprocal arrangement, each offering aid to and requiring aid of the other. Early in the 1 Act of J u n e 23, 1874 (Poland Act), 18 Stat. 253. Regarding Mormon alternatives to federal courts see Raymond T. Swenson, "Resolution of Civil Disputes by Mormon Ecclesiastical Courts," Utah Law Review (1978): 573-95; James B. Allen, " T h e Unusual Jurisdiction of County Probate Courts in the Territory of Utah," Utah Historical Quarterly 36 (1968): 132-42. 2 T h e most detailed, although unabashedly pro-Mormon, account of federal activities in Utah may be found in Orson F. Whitney, History of Utah (Salt Lake City, 1893). See also Gustive O. Larson, The "Americanization" of Utah for Statehood (San Marino, Calif.: Huntington Library, 1971); L e o n a r d J . Arrington, Great Basin Kingdom: An Economic History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1958), pp. 353-412.

U.S. Department of Justice


1870s, when there was a lack of funds for judicial expenses in the territory, Marshal M. T. Patrick found himself unable to afford guards or food for his prisoners. With the permission of the commanding officer at Camp Douglas, Lt. Col. Henry A. Morrow, Patrick kept prisoners at the base, where they were fed, quartered, and guarded by the army. Such actions were common throughout the seventies, until Congress began making adequate special appropriations for Utah's judicial expenses. 3

imrttortW Troops at Camp Cameron, ca. 1877. U.S. attorney requested their participation in execution of John D. Lee but was turned down by attorney general. USHS collections.

U.S. attorneys sometimes overstepped the bounds of decency in making requests of the army. After the second trial of J o h n D. Lee for his role in the Mountain Meadow Massacre, Lee was held at Camp Cameron pending his execution. Meanwhile U.S. Attorney Sumner Howard requested a body of soldiers to guard Lee on the day of his execution and to "shoot him under the sentence of the court and the direction of the Marshal." Attorney General Alphonso Taft replied somewhat curtly that troops were not to be used in matters of civil justice, although if a military guard was essential to prevent Lee's release it would be provided. 4 In the other "church m u r d e r cases" Sumner Howard counted on the military to prevent the outbreak of violence during the arrest of Mormon suspects, then complained to Attorney General Charles

3 George L. Wood to Attorney General Akerman, August 29, 1871, Source-chronological File for Utah (hereafter cited as SCF), Records of the Department of Justice, Record Group 60, National Archives, Washington, D . C ; M. T. Patrick to Attorney General Williams, April 16, 1872, SCF. 4 Sumner Howard to Attorney General Taft, telegram, February 21,1877, SCF; Taft to William Nelson, February 23, 1877, Instruction Book (hereafter cited as INST), Records of the Department of Justice, RG60, NA.


Utah Historical Quarterly

Devens that just as arrests were about to be m a d e , the force at C a m p Douglas was being reduced. Devens replied that unfortunately the troops were n e e d e d for the Indian wars, and he warned that the marshal should not make arrests "until the military is ready to sustain." If there were not e n o u g h troops in Utah to back u p the marshal, Devens would attempt to have President Hayes send more. 5 In 1886, when George Q. Cannon was finally located a n d arrested for unlawful cohabitation, troops were used to escort the marshal and the prisoner to Salt Lake City, the deputy marshal having r e p o r t e d "intense excitement" there over Cannon's arrest. T h e incidents h e r e recounted are intended as examples only, as there were h u n d r e d s of cases where military escorts were provided to the U.S. marshal or where U.S. prisoners were kept at military bases because of a lack of funds or for additional security. A n d it should be a d d e d that the army and Justice D e p a r t m e n t officials aided each other in many matters that had nothing to d o with the Mormons. In one instance the U.S. attorney defended Morrow in a lawsuit arising over d a m a g e to Salt Lake City p r o p e r t y by soldiers from C a m p Douglas. In a n o t h e r instance the U.S. attorney obtained an injunction to stop the Salt Lake Rock C o m p a n y from polluting the water supply of Fort Douglas. 6 A n o t h e r form of aid that benefited the U.S. attorneys and marshals in the performance of their duties came from the Justice D e p a r t m e n t itself in the form of authorizations for special detectives and the offer of rewards. As late as December 1878 Attorney General Devens complained to Congress that his office was "not provided with the means of any general system of investigation of infractions of the laws." Only six months later, U.S. Attorney Van Zile wrote to Devens, asking that he be authorized to hire detectives who would gather evidence of polygamous marriages. With p r o p e r evidence, Van Zile r e p o r t e d , "I could make Mormonism shake in h e r boots before next J a n u a r y . " Devens answered, "I desire to assist you all in my power," a n d he sent the paltry sum of two h u n d r e d dollars. Van Zile, obviously taken aback, acknowledged receipt of 5 Howard's phrase "church m u r d e r cases" refers to a series of cases in which m u r d e r s were allegedly directed by church authorities. S u m n e r Howard to Attorney General Devens, July 28, 1877, SCF; Devens to Howard, August 3, 1877, I N S T . 6 Elwin A. Ireland to Attorney General Garland, March 22, 1886, Year Files (hereafter cited as YF), Records of the D e p a r t m e n t of Justice, RG60, NA; O. W. C h a p m a n to C. S. Varian, November 1, 1889, I N S T ; Attorney General Miller to Varian, February 20, 1890, I N S T .

U.S. Department of Justice


the money and promised, "I shall undertake to use this carefully :" I I : and make it accomplish as much as possible."7 Several years later Van Zile's successor, W. H. Dickson, also wrote to the Justice Department suggesting a "secret detective service" to uncover violations of the Edmunds Act. Dickson pointed out that most Mormons who could afford it m a i n t a i n e d s e p a r a t e residences for their wives and claimed to be living with only one. But doubtless "the husband visits and cohabits with all of them in turn. These visits are made under the cover of darkness and with all possible secrecy." Without a detective service, Dickson concluded, some convictions of the "masses" might be possible, but no more, and he felt it was important that church leaders be made to "realize the efficacy of the law and feel its might." Attorney General Benjamin Harris Brewster approved of Dickson's plan and sent Elwin A. Ireland. six hundred dollars. Samuel H. USHS collections. Gilson was t h e first detective hired, and he quickly obtained evidence that resulted directly in the indictment of ten important Mormon leaders, including the editor of the Deseret News, the president of the Salt Lake Stake, and one of the twelve apostles. 8 Shortly after this, U.S. Marshal Elwin A. Ireland also requested special funds from the department, this time for the hire of addi7 Annual Report of the Attorney Generalfor 1878 (Washington, D . C , 1878),p. 12; Philip Van Zile to Attorney General Devens, July 11, 1879, SCF; Devens to Van Zile, July 19, 1879, INST; Van Zile to Devens, July 29, 1879, SCF. 8 W . H. Dickson to Attorney General Brewster, August 26, 1884, YF; Brewster to Dickson, November 18, 1884, INST; Dickson to Brewster, February 8, 1885, YF.


Utah Historical Quarterly

tional deputies for use in serving process. Although it was possible to serve warrants and subpoenas in the cities, Ireland reported that in the rural areas he encountered many obstacles, and the citizens resisted "by every means short of violence." Sheriffs, deputies, town police, and even telegraphers and railroad men were used to watch the marshal and his deputies and "to aid criminals and witnesses in escaping." When he asked to buy food in isolated areas he was told that "his kind is not wanted here" and was refused. T h e only hope was to strike at an unusual h o u r and r o u n d u p the witnesses "like a lot of wild cattle," but this would require many deputies and additional funds. This time Attorney General Brewster wrote back that no special fund for the use of the marshal was necessary — but that if Ireland would seek the department's permission for special deputies in each case, the hire of such deputies would usually be approved. In 1886 Congress provided an appropriation of $5,000 for "more effective prosecution of crimes in Utah," and much of this money was used for the hire of additional deputies when needed. 9 Although the U.S. attorneys and marshals enjoyed the support of the Justice Department in the matter of detectives and special deputy marshals, in other ways the attorney general and his assistants in Washington were utterly useless to the officials in Utah. When asked for advice or instructions, the attorneys general almost invariably had none to give. T h e majority of the U.S. attorneys wrote to Washington shortly after their appointment, asking the attorney general for general instructions. Sumner Howard wrote, "I most respectfully ask you to send me such general and special instructions as you may have to give." His request was ignored. Philip Van Zile wrote to the attorney general, asking for a statement of the policy of the Department of Justice. Attorney General Devens's answer was framed in the usual way: You speak of your desire to consult with me as to a settled policy to be pursued. I do not think this is necessary. It is our settled policy to enforce the laws of the United States firmly and resolutely, but judiciously. . . . In regard to any further indications of a settled policy I cannot make them. 1 0

Nor were the attorneys general more helpful when specific 9 Elwin A. Ireland to Attorney General Garland, November 2, 1885, YF; Ireland to O. W. Powers, August 4, 1885, YF; Garland to Ireland, November 11, 1885, INST; Garland to Frank H. Dyer, November 6, 1886, INST; Garland to W. H. Dickson, January 25, 1887, INST. 10 Sumner Howard to Attorney General Taft, May 27, 1876, SCF; Attorney General Devens to Van Zile, April 5, 1878, INST.

U.S. Department of Justice


problems were submitted. U.S. Attorney George Caesar Bates wrote to the department in 1871, complaining that there were no funds to try Brigham Young — "What are we to do? That's the question." Bates's request for help or advice was ignored, and he wrote again chastizing the attorney general for failing to respond "and I am left to grope on." Finally, Bates began issuing orders to the attorney general, telegraphing, "Instruct me to postpone cases until March and report to Congress in person." When U.S. Attorney Van Zile wished to come to Washington to discuss several important cases, Attorney General Devens discouraged him, saying "it would be impossible either for myself or any of my Assistants to go over with you the detail of the various cases in Utah." T h e U.S. attorneys were expected to make the important decisions, Devens concluded. 11 Evaluating the caliber of the men who served as U.S. attorneys and marshals is a difficult task. Most of them are truly forgotten men in American history, men about whom very little can be known. In the case of the U.S. attorneys, some are relatively well-known in Utah history (W. H. Dickson and C. S. Varian), while for others not even the skeleton of a biography can be constructed (William Carey and George Peters). Still others fall somewhere in between. T h e task of assessing most U.S. attorneys is, then, made difficult by the fact that we do not know where they were educated or what they did before they were U.S. attorneys, nor do we know what they did after they left office. Judging their actual performance in office is also difficult. In writing to thejustice Department, of course, they never declared themselves failures, while if someone else declared them to be a success or a failure we have to wonder about the motivation of the person making the report. Utah in the 1870s and 1880s was a politically charged place, and Gentiles screamed for the removal of slow-moving attorneys like Bates, while Mormons cried out for relief from aggressive U.S. attorneys like Dickson. In some cases both Gentiles and Mormons insisted on the removal of a U.S. attorney — Sumner Howard, for example. Howard was neither corrupt nor unsuccessful as a prosecutor, and all we can assume is that he was personally repugnant to the people of Utah, or at least he was politically unsuccessful in a place that was highly political.12 11

George Caesar Bates to George H. Williams, December 16, 1871, SCF; Bates to Williams, January 4, 1872, SCF; Bates to Attorney General Akerman, January 4, 1872, SCF; Attorney General Devens to Philip Van Zile, April 5, 1878, INST. 12 A small amount of biographical information may be gleaned from the Annual Register of the Department of Justice (Washington, D . C : 1870-92).


Utah Historical Quarterly

That the caliber of the U.S. attorneys in Utah was probably high may be seen by the fact that they were highly sought after as private attorneys after leaving office — most notably by the Mormon church. Charles Hempstead resigned as U.S. Attorney in 1871 because the compensation was too small; several months later he appeared in the Third District Court as attorney for Brigham Young and defended him from the prosecution of the new U.S. attorney, George Caesar Bates. Bates was removed from office in 1872, and he quickly surfaced as a church attorney. Even W. H. Dickson, that vigorous prosecutor of polygamists, defended the Mormon church after he left office, in the case of The Late Corporation of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints v. United States. T h e biggest catch by the Mormon church in their hiring of counsel was in the suits against the Utah Commissioners, which the U.S. Supreme Court heard in 1884; in these cases the church was able to hire former U.S. Attorney General Wayne MacVeagh. 13 T h e work of the Justice Department in Utah was hindered by a number of obstacles. One of these was the low salary paid to the U.S. attorneys. These men were paid $250 per annum, plus fees; this remuneration was uniform throughout the United States. One of the constant complaints of the attorney general was that he was unable to hold good men in the U.S. attorney positions — private practice was so much more lucrative. So in Utah U.S. Attorney Hempstead resigned in 1871 because his fees were "a mere bagatelle," and George Caesar Bates told the solicitor general that if he could only get his "official" cases out of the way, he hoped to "make a fortune out of mining litigation" on the side. Sumner Howard resigned in 1877, noting that he had served as long as possible, suffering much pecuniary loss. And in 1885 W. H. Dickson and his assistant submitted their resignations, their chief motivation in so doing being the "utterly inadequate compensation." It is certain that these U.S. attorneys were not simply dropping hints, hoping to have their salaries raised; they knew that the attorney general did not have the power to raise their salaries, and their dissatisfaction with pay was usually unvoiced until the time of their resignation. 14 13 C S. Varian to Attorney General Miller, September 1, 1892, YF; Brief for plaintiff, Murphy et al. v. Ramsey et al, 114 U.S. 15 (1884), in U.S. Supreme Court Records and Briefs series. 14 Charles H. Hempstead to Attorney General Akerman, January 20, 1871, SCF; George Caesar Bates to Benjamin H. Bristow, January 7, 1872, Bristow Papers, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C; Sumner Howard to Attorney General Devens, September 29, 1877, SCF; C S. Varian to Attorney General Garland, September 5, 1885, YF.

U.S. Department of Justice


Another financial problem of the U.S. attorneys and marshals was the lack of funds to carry on their official business. Each year the attorney general complained to Congress that the M o r m o n legislature refused to pay its share of the court expenses, and after much delay Congress usually provided the needed funds. In 1871 Charles Hempstead reported to the department that " T h e courts are without a dollar with which to carry on their business." His letter was also signed by the three district judges, the marshal, the clerk of the Utah Supreme Court, and the acting governor. In this situation Marshal M. T. Patrick evenCharles Hempstead. tually a d v a n c e d t h e n e e d e d USHS collections. funds, taking out a loan in his own name and using his army pension, while Deputy B. L. "Pony" Duncan mortgaged some property to raise money. In the absence of cash, jurors and witnesses were paid with "certificates of attendance," which were to be negotiable at some future date. 15 Similar financial crises occurred almost yearly in this period. In 1886 Marshal Ireland telegraphed thejustice Department, "Courts in first second & third districts in session. . . . Not a dollar for jurors & witnesses." In a follow-up letter, Ireland warned of the danger of postponing cases. T h e Mormon leaders, he wrote, "should not have the opportunity to delude and encourage their people in the belief that the Government is relaxing in the slightest degree its efforts to obtain obedience to the laws." T h e attorney general, apprised of the crisis, began the slow process of seeking relief from Congress. 16 Attorneys who came to Utah to serve the Justice Department found that on the frontier, law offices were managed differently from those back east. Philip Van Zile reported to Attorney General 15 Charles Hempstead et al. to Attorney General Akerman, February 13, 1871, SCF; Affadavit of George R. Maxwell, January 2, 1873, SCF. 16 Elwin A. Ireland to Attorney General Garland, telegram, May 11, 1886, YF; Ireland to Garland, April 7, 1886, YF.


Utah Historical Quarterly

Devens that when he came to Utah, "I found the office in a perfect hurly-burly. No files of cases and papers all thrown in a heap." Similarly, George R. Maxwell recalled that when he was first appointed U.S. marshal he found No court houses, for the occupation & use of the U.S. Courts; no jails for the incarceration of U.S. prisoners; no records — no nothing, & all of which had to be provided at once, and no funds. 17

Marshal Maxwell exaggerated when he said that there were no courthouses, for the courts always had places to meet, such as they were. When J u d g e Edward B. McKean issued an order ousting the locally appointed "territorial marshal," he found himself ousted from his courtroom by the Mormon landlords of the building. For one and a half years thereafter his Third District Court met in a hayloft over a livery stable. Different courtrooms were rented from time to time; for many years the courtrooms at Salt Lake were so positioned as to be offended by the stench from nearby privies and for a time were located below a brothel. In 1884 Attorney General Brewster, noting that the rooms above the courtrooms "have a character that brings reproach upon the U.S. officers to some extent," ordered the marshal to take steps to rent the upper rooms as well, so as to remove "the objectionable parties." 18 Perhaps the greatest hindrance to the U.S. attorneys and marshals in the performance of their duties was the fact that they were in effect in an "alien land," far from their friends and families, and wholly ostracized from the tight-knit Mormon majority. Marshal Maxwell entered upon his duties with the announced intention of showing "malice towards none 8c charity towards all," but he felt that because of the Mormons' failure "to obtain a convert 8c instrument in me" he became socially ostracized and the target "for their most malevolent 8c deadly shafts." U.S. Attorney Varian, writing a brief account of his years in office, seemed particularly disturbed by the memory of an event that occurred when he and W. H. Dickson had been invited to the Tabernacle to hear the Mormons' "declaration of grievances and protests." After the meeting, Varian recalled, he and Dickson had risen to go and were then booed and hissed by the vast

17 Philip Van Zile to Attorney General Devens, April 4, 1878, SCF; Statement of George R. Maxwell, January (no date) 1876, SCF. 18 Edward B. McKean to Attorney General Williams, November 7, 1873, SCF; Elwin A. Ireland to Attorney General Garland, March 4, 1886, YF; Attorney General Brewster to Ireland, April 29, 1884, INST.

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c r o w d , c o m p o s e d mostly of women. He attributed the crowd's action to the continual verbal attacks made on U.S. authorities by church leaders; certainly the U.S. attorney's role in prosecuting these women's husbands also played a part. 19 A n u m b e r of other incidents of g r e a t e r a n d lesser severity demonstrate the friction that occurred between Mormon citizens and Justice Department officials. O n e night in September 1885 unknown persons attacked the Charles S. Varian. homes of U.S. Attorney Dickson, USHS collections. his assistant Varian, a n d U.S. Commissioner McKay, hurling glass jars full of h u m a n excrement through the windows, jars which broke on the interior walls and carpets. 20 Also d u r i n g the tenure of Dickson and Varian, members of the Salt Lake City police force and others initiated an undercover operation, hoping to induce federal officials to commit crimes of lust. A brothel was opened in the city, with secret compartments for observation provided, and prostitutes were imported. Members of the police d e p a r t m e n t , while off-duty, took turns watching at the peepholes, while the madam sent enticing notes to federal officeholders. T h e most important of the men thus captured was Assistant U.S. Attorney S. H. Lewis. He was tried for "lewd and lascivious conduct" before a justice of the peace, and three m e n testified that they had watched the act of copulation through a peephole. Found guilty, he took an appeal to the T h i r d District Court as permitted by statute. 21 T h e motivations of the Mormons in the case was clear. T h e national press was full of talk about Mormon lust and liscentious19 Statement of George R. Maxwell, January (no date) 1876, SCF; Robert N. Baskin,Reminiscences of Early Utah (Salt Lake City, 1914), p p . 217-18; Orson F. Whitney, Popular History of Utah (Salt Lake City, 1916), p. 415. 20 Deseret News, September 14, 1884; Baskin, Reminiscences, p p . 229-30. 21 Deseret News, November 23 and December 14, 1885; Salt Lake Tribune, January 18 and 25, 1886; Baskin, Reminiscences, pp. 223-29.


Utah Historical Quarterly

ness; the plan h e r e was to show that the very m e n who were prosecuting polygamists were clearly guilty of their own kind of lasciviousness. But before the T h i r d District Court, C. S. Varian d e f e n d e d his colleague and attacked the M o r m o n witnesses: "I do not believe any American j u r y would believe such infamous scoundrels, who have crawled to the threshold of the house of the harlot." T h e j u d g e agreed with Varian, pointing out that the police and their accomplices had committed a crime to induce others to commit crime, while the p u r p o s e of law was to prevent crime. Later, one of the policemen was tried and convicted for his part in the "conspiracy to o p e n a house of ill fame." 22 In other cases a r m e d conflict between the U.S. officers a n d the M o r m o n s was either t h r e a t e n e d or c o n s u m m a t e d . O n one occasion d u r i n g a trial in the "hayloft court," U.S. Attorney Carey was startled as the d o o r was o p e n e d with a violent burst "and in rushed twenty or thirty stalwart m e n wearing pistols." T h e y were believed to be m e m bers of the "Danites," a militant g r o u p of M o r m o n s . Carey a n d the j u d g e ignored the "menacing g r o u p , " a n d n o t h i n g further came of this attempt to intimidate the district court. In a n o t h e r incident in 1877, S u m n e r H o w a r d h a d b r o u g h t Robert T . B u r t o n before a U.S. commissioner, charging him with having committed m u r d e r in the Morrisite schism of 1862. Again the Danites, or m e n believed by H o w a r d to be Danites, r u s h e d in, a n d the c o m m a n d e r of the Nauvoo Legion also came in and a r g u e d furiously. H o w a r d and the commissioner were sufficiently intimidated to release Burton on b o n d . H o w a r d r e p o r t e d , "It is very significant that Gen. Wells, their military leader, should be the first m a n to show a disposition to 'bulldoze' the courts." Howard promised to e n d e a v o r to "keep cool," b u t he sought a n d received assurances that the a r m y was ready to sustain him. 23 In at least two instances friction between Justice D e p a r t m e n t officials a n d Mormons led to bloodshed. In November of 1885 Deputy Marshal H e n r y F. Collin was waylaid and beaten in a d a r k alley by one or m o r e men; he m a n a g e d to shoot one of his assailants and then fled. T h e injured m a n t u r n e d out to be J o s e p h W. McMurrin, a M o r m o n by faith a n d a watchman by t r a d e . After investigation Collin was cleared of any possible wrong-doing; McMurrin, too ill to 22

ibid. Edward B. McKean to Attorney General Williams, November 12, 1873, SCF; Sumner Howard to Attorney General Devens, July 28, 1877, SCF. 23

U.S. Department of Justice


come into court, finally fled to Europe. He announced that his grudge with Collin was a personal one, but C. S. Varian was of the opinion that "there is no doubt that Collin was attacked because of his zeal and efficiency as a deputy marshal." Only two weeks before the McMurrin assault, Deputy Collin had been attacked by Andrew D. Burt, who believed that Collin was responsible for reports in the Tribune that Burt was a "spotter," a man who trailed the marshal and his deputies in order to keep the Mormons informed. Burt's only weapons were his fists, and Collin was not seriously injured. 24 One final incident will be recounted here; this was the case of Deputy Marshal William Thompson, who, while attempting to arrest one Edward M. Dalton for unlawful cohabitation, shot and killed the fleeing suspect. Many were of the opinion that because Dalton's crime was a mere misdemeanor, the deputy's actions were unwarranted. T h o m p s o n was charged with the territorial offense of manslaughter, and as in all territorial criminal cases, the U.S. attorney (actually his assistant, Varian) was responsible for prosecuting. "It was the duty of the United States Attorney to state the law governing the case to the court and jury," Varian wrote later. He took the controversial step of announcing that because of the wording of the territorial manslaughter statute, and federal laws dealing with marshals, T h o m p s o n was clearly not guilty. T h e Mormon community was furious at Varian's way of "prosecuting" Thompson, but the j u d g e agreed with Varian and so charged the jury, which brought back an acquittal. Mormon leaders complained directly to the Department of Justice but received no satisfaction; the Deseret News denounced Thompson and Varian as murderers and was quickly met with a libel suit, which it settled out of court. 25 T h e final remaining question, and a very important one, concerns the ideology and motivation of the U.S. attorneys. How did they see their role in Utah? How did they personally feel about the Mormon church and the institution of plural marriages? O n e ideological tie bound together the U.S. attorneys in the period covered by this study: with one exception — Cleveland's appointee, George Peters — all were Republicans. And, as has already been made clear, none of the U.S. attorneys was a Mormon. Another trait that b o u n d the U.S. attorneys together was that they invariably 24 Elwin A. Ireland to Attorney General Garland, November 11, 1885, YF; Whitney, Popular History, pp. 420-21; Baskin, Reminiscences, pp. 222-23. 25 'Whitney, Popular History, pp. 432-33; Baskin, Reminiscences, pp. 219-22.


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underestimated the tenacity of the Mormon church and t h e loyalty of p o l y g a m o u s M o r m o n s to their families. Several hours after his arrival in Utah Territory in 1871, George Caesar Bates wrote to Attorney General Amos T . Akerman: "I can see clearly . . . that J u d g e McKean and I can within six m o n t h s Enforce the Law, End Polygamy, and Give Peace to this beautiful Territory." In 1879 Philip Van Zile reported to the attorney general, "A few convictions of the 'big fellows' would settle the m a t t e r of W. H. Dickson. polygamy." In February 1885 USHS collections. W. H. Dickson assured his superiors in Washington that "within one year if the present pressure on the guilty is continued . . . the church will command submisson to the laws."26 T h o u g h federal efforts against polygamy, especially in the 1880s, have often been portrayed as a crusade by Protestant Christians against the Mormon church, the U.S. attorneys do not fit into this scheme. After extensive research, it has been possible to link only one of the nine examined U.S. attorneys with Protestant religion; if the others were church members they were not very vocal about it. Of two leaders of the alleged crusade, it is enlightening to note that Chief Justice Zane was an agnostic and C. S. Varian was a Unitarian. What disturbed the Justice Department officials in Utah about the Mormon church was not the religious side of the issues but the social and political side. Polygamy was wrong primarily because Congress had passed a law prohibiting it and also because the twospouse family was considered to be a cornerstone of American civilization. T h e Mormon church was wrong because it sought to 26 George Ceasar Bates to Benjamin Helm Bristow, December 1, 1871, Bristow Papers; Philip Van Zile to Attorney General Devens, July 11, 1879, SCF; W. H. Dickson to Attorney General Brewster, February 8, 1885, YF.

U.S. Department of Justice


maintain a strong political and economic role, and this was unAmerican. It is interesting to note that a n u m b e r of Mormon beliefs were repugnant to Protestant Christianity, but only the illegal and socially wrong institution of plural marriage was noticed by the U.S. attorneys. Ignored were the practices of vicarious marriage, in which living persons were sealed to the dead for the benefit of the latter, and baptism for the dead, where the living were baptized on behalf of the dead. So far as it has been possible to ascertain, these two practices were never mentioned by the U.S. attorneys in their private writings; their concern was with polygamy and the political role of the Mormon church. 27 What was important to the U.S. attorneys may be most convincingly seen by looking at their own writings. Over and over W. H. Dickson reported to the attorney general that "the Mormon masses are today arrayed against the enforcement of the laws of the United States." Looking back at his service as U.S. attorney, C. S. Varian recalled, "Practically an entire people were in open hostility and rebellion against the Government of the United States." In the face of this perceived rebellion, the U.S. attorneys were not content merely to prosecute cases u n d e r the laws. They became lobbyists, orators, movers, and activists.28 In perusing the Justice Department files, one is struck by the vast numbers of requests for leaves of absence by Utah's U.S. attorneys. Did these men really vacation so extensively? T h e n one notices the reasons given for the requested leave: "to come to Washington at my own expense." In Washington the attorneys (and marshals too) lobbied Congress, nagged the attorney general, assisted in arguments before the Supreme Court, and even met with the president. As early as 1870 U.S. Attorney ad interim Robert N. Baskin was in Washington lobbying for the Cullom bill, which sought to clarify the powers of Utah's federal courts. Although introduced by Congressman Shelby Cullom of Illinois, the bill was, in the words of Brigham Young, "concocted in Salt Lake City by a pettifogger named Baskin." T h e Cullom bill passed the House but stalled in the Senate. Later, the Poland Act supplied the power Baskin had worked for, and he was involved in lobbying for that piece of legislation as well. Only months after the passage of the Edmunds Act U.S. 27 T h o m a s G. Alexandar, "Charles S. Zane, Apostle of the New Era," Utah Historical Quarterly, 34 (1966): 292; Irma Watson Hance and Virginia Vic\it,The First Seventy-five Years (Salt Lake City, 1966), p. 12. 28 W. H. Dickson to Attorney General Garland, May 27, 1886, YF; Baskin,Reminiscences, p. 216.


Utah Historical Quarterly

Attorney Van Zile found himself in Washington pushing for further legislation; Van Zile reported that the Edmunds Act would succeed in e n d i n g polygamy "in the course of time, but it would be a h u n d r e d years." T h e U.S. attorneys also p e r f o r m e d acts of lobbying when a judgeship was vacant or about to be vacated. For instance, William Carey led the fight to save the zealous Edward B. McKean from r e m o v a l , though to no avail.29 As mentioned earlier, only one U.S. attorneys can be linked to organized Protestant religion, Philip Van Zile. He appears in written records of the Congregational church on only one Robert N. Baskin. occasion when he prepared an USHS collections. address, not for a single church, but for the annual conference of all the Congregational churches in his home state of Michigan. T h e address, entitled "The Twin Relic," was sent to Michigan, where it was read before the conference. It is the most outspoken condemnation of polygamy by any Justice Department official. Van Zile began by asserting that polygamy undermined the American family, a cornerstone of our civilization. T h e Mormon wife, instead of being a properly loving wife and mother, "is reduced to a mere animal or machine. She no longer lives, she simply exists, to be used by, and to serve the foul purposes of a licentious beastly man." These lurid words were tailored to a church audience, which would certainly have been less interested in a mere political treatment of "the Utah question." It is certain that they furnished the fodder for many an antipolygamy sermon in the churches of Michigan and influenced a great many people. 30 29 J. Cecil Alter, Utah: The Storied Domain (Chicago, 1932), p. 384; Deseret News, December 14, 1882; William Carey et al. to U.S. Grant, telegram, March 17, 1875, SCF. 30 " T h e Twin Relic," address ca. 1880, in the Philip Van Zile Scrapbook, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah.

U.S. Department of Justice


Van Zile also reached out to the East in one other important way. In December 1880 the editor of the Lnter-Ocean, an important Republican organ, wrote to Van Zile: T h e Inter-Ocean has some pronounced views on the Mormon question, and we are quite impatient because nothing is done. We do not wish to accuse yourself and your colleagues of a lack of zeal, but we know of no reason why we should not do so.

T h e editor, W. E. Curtis, concluded by asking Van Zile to supply the name of someone in Utah who might keep the Inter-Ocean apprised of the situation there. Van Zile volunteered his own services. No longer addressing a church audience, Van Zile used political arguments in writing for the Curtis paper. " T h e true Americans in Utah are the Gentiles and Apostates," began one Van Zile editorial. All that the Gentiles wanted, he added, was "to see the 'Mormons' obey the law and respect the government of the United States." Again intimating that the Edmunds Act would not be sufficient to end polygamy and the political domination of the church, Van Zile urged, " T u r n over the Territory of Utah into the hands of loyal, true Americans, no matter if it falls into the hands of but ten men." He continued, T h e North was right when it said men who were disloyal should be disfranchised, and the government of the Southern states turned over to those who obey the law and love their country, and her institutions. And was that principle any more right then than now?

U.S. Attorney Dickson, too, in the mid-1880s, sought to serve as a molder of national opinion. He had his opportunity when members of the Grand Army of the Republic, a powerful veterans' organization, stopped in Salt Lake on their way to a huge encampment in San Francisco. At the "campfire" held at Salt Lake City, the veterans were greeted by a banner that read pointedly, "Our Loyal Citizens Welcome the Country's Veterans." Dickson was asked to address the meeting, and like Van Zile he tailored his argument to fit his audience. " T h e Mormon church is steeped in disloyalty," Dickson began. "The people who are adherants of this church are steeped in disloyalty." Church leaders regularly preached "that the government was the enemy of the Mormon church." Dickson specifically asked the Union veterans to support him in his call for disfranchisement of the Mormons: "Why should the government 31

W. E. Curtis to Philip Van Zile, December 28, 1880, Van Zile Scrapbook; Ogden Daily Herald, quoting the Inter-Ocean, October 10, 1882.


Utah Historical Quarterly

hesitate to wrest from these disloyal citizens the ballot? T h e people here do not really exercise the franchise. They do as they are told." 32 One of the Grand Army leaders, Gen. James Beaver of Pennsylvania (himself a lawyer a n d a Republican politician) r e s p o n d e d to Dickson's speech by saying that this was a great opportunity "for the government to show its power." T h e Mormon Deseret News noted sourly that Dickson's speech "made the heart of every man who had worn the blue beat as it had not done for twenty years." 33 Thejustice Department officials in Utah during the 1870s and the 1880s are without a doubt controversial. Both U.S. attorneys and marshals were guilty of working to break up families, to disfranchise citizens, even to disincorporate a church and seize its property. Certainly this chapter in American history provides the greatest example of the U.S. government moving against an organized religion. But in fairness, actions of the Justice Department officials who moved against polygamy and "church control" in Utah should be judged in the light of the times. These federal officials believed that almost everything that was American was threatened in Utah — never mind that the Mormons professed patriotism. T h e monogamous family was threatened in Utah. T h e separation of church and state was threatened there. T h e tradition of nonsectarian public schools was threatened. T h e Republican and Democratic parties failed to take root in Utah. Trends toward private enterprise and laissez faire economic policies, so strong in the East, were not followed in Utah, where collectivism overseen by the church was the pattern. In the wake of the Civil War, with a newly strong federal government, great pride was taken in the fact that the United States was no longer merely a collection of states and territories but was a single, nearly unified, and homogenized nation. Utah threatened this, and thus Utah was targeted for action by the president, Congress, and then by the federal lawyers, judges, and other officials. Utah emerged from the great struggle a more diversified place, with a strong Gentile community living peacefully alongside the Mormon majority. But the United States government by its actions made certain that unwanted diversity would be kept out of the Union. By 1896 Utah was, for better or worse, a place similar in most important respects to the nation of states it joined. 32

Deseret News, July 27, 1886; Salt Lake Herald, July 28, 1886. Deseret News, July 27, 1886.


Abraham H. Cannon. USHS collections.

The Prison Experience of Abraham H. Cannon BY WILLIAM C SEIFRIT

M A R C H 17, 1886, ABRAHAM H. C A N N O N was to appear for sentencing at 10:30 A.M. before J u d g e Charles S. Zane u p o n his conviction on a charge of unlawful cohabitation one month earlier. Extra guards were in the courthouse; spectators entering the courtroom were searched for concealed weapons; a company of soldiers from Fort Douglas was at the ready. Unusual security for a mildm a n n e r e d twenty-seven year old polygamist? Indeed it was. T h e extra security was not in place because of Abraham's sentencing but because the territorial g o v e r n m e n t anticipated that his father, George Q. Cannon, would appear for his own trial on that morning. W h e n George Q. failed to appear A b r a h a m was all but forgotten and O N

Dr. Seifrit is an editor in Salt Lake City, This paper was presented at the 1984 annual meeting of the Utah State Historical Society.


Utah Historical Quarterly

had to sit alone in the marshal's office until 4:00 P.M., at which time he was escorted to the penitentiary by prison guard Ed Janney. 1 Abraham went to the territorial penitentiary in a wagon accompanied only by a guard. It may be interesting to compare the fashion in which several other polygamists arrived to serve their time for "conscience' sake." Just ten months earlier, in May 1885, Abraham's uncle Angus M. Cannon had described his own journey from Salt Lake City to the Sugar House prison: Marshal Philips accompanied me to the Penitentiary after taking dinner at my house. I was taken by Bro. Franklin L. Richards one of my Counsel who kindly furnished me the use of his horse and carriage. My wife Amanda rode with me and our little sons Jesse & Quayle. Next followed Angus with my wife Clara in buggies with our daughter Alice. Next Sister Mattie P. Hughes with my daughter Ann in buggy accompanied by sis Whipple, Matron of Deseret Hospital. Next followed my sons George, Lewis & Clarence in gig. Next by Bros Orson P. Arnold 8c Andrew Smith and next Bro Elias Morris. 2

George Q. Cannon's journey to prison in 1888 was somewhat less processional, but two trips were required: T h e carriage which Bro. C. H. Wilcken had provided (one of the finest barouches of Grant Bro's. & Co.) and driven by Chariton Jacobs, and which had carried Bro's. F. S. Richards, Legrand Young, C. H. Wilcken and myself from the Gardo House to the Court Room, was accepted by Marshal Dyer to carry me to the Penitentiary. Brothers H. B. Clawson and Jas. Jack followed in a buggy.

T h e accommodations provided at the prison were not commodious enough to hold the furnishings brought by the elder Cannon, so certain other arrangements were made. Later that same day "Bro. Wilcken brought an iron bedstead and a wire and woollen mattrass; but they filled up the cell. By putting the wire mattrass on the floor and making the bed on the floor, I did very well."4 Journeys to the prison by polygamists probably had no set pattern. But one convicted polygamist experienced unique circumstances when he tried to serve his time. According to Abraham's journal, an elderly gentleman named John Murdock had been convicted of unlawful cohabitation and was sentenced to thirty days. 1 Abraham H. Cannon journal, March 17, 1886, photocopy of holograph, Utah State Historical Society Library, Salt Lake City. Cited hereafter as AHC journal. 2 Angus M. Cannon journal, May 9, 1885, Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah. 3 M . Hamblin Cannon, ed., "The Prison Diary of a Mormon Apostle," Pacific Historical Review 16 (1947): 395. 4 Ibid., p. 396.

Prison Experience


J u d g e Blackburn granted Murdock's request for a brief stay in o r d e r to take care of some business matters. T h e j u d g e made out the commitment papers and gave them to Murdock; the papers instructed the marshal to admit "the bearer." T h e n , T h e old gentleman came home, did his business and then went down to the 'Pen' without any escort, but the warden had not been notified to receive him, and refused him admittance. He therefore went to town for the night, and the next day applied and was admitted. This is integrity never found in real criminals. 5

Abraham's solo ride to the penitentiary with a guard may have been one of the more typical journeys for convicted polygamists. T h e Salt Lake Daily Tribune took editorial notice of Abraham's sentencing in a brief comment near the bottom of the page that contained scores of column inches devoted to George Q.'s nonappearance. Abraham's headline read: "A Loaded Cannon: A Small Piece of Smoothbore Artillery is Silenced by the Court." T h e lead sentence read: "Abraham Cannon, the polygamous, fanatical son of a fanatical, polygamous sire, was called u p to receive sentence. . . ."6 Press sensationalism and lavish processions to the penitentiary aside, one must ask the question how had Abraham arrived at this point. T h e single most informative, and most readily available, source of information concerning Abraham H. Cannon is his j o u r nal. Beginning with his mission in 1879 and ending several months before his death in 1896, A b r a h a m kept a daily record of his life; the j o u r n a l of his prison experience was faithfully recorded and provides rich and extensive detail of his prison term. In addition to daily prose entries the journal also contains Abraham's cash account with the warden, a scaled sketch of his cell with the placement of the double-occupied bunks and the names of those who slept together, and a roster of all the men with whom he served time. T h e roster includes each man's name, date and place of birth, charges, sentence, and many autographs of his fellow prisoners. This prison j o u r n a l is the basis for the following account of the five months he served in the Utah Territorial Penitentiary. It may be helpful to examine the events immediately preceding his prison term. Abraham's life u p to the m o m e n t he was sentenced and sent to prison had been promising but not especially noteworthy. Like 5 6

A H C journal, May 1, 1891. Salt Lake Daily Tribune, March 18, 1886.


Utah Historical Quarterly

many men of his period he had married polygamously, served a mission, and had successfully begun a business career. H e also served as one of the First Seven Presidents of Seventies. H e had married Sarah Ann Jenkins on October 17, 1878. O n October 16, 1879, he married his cousin Wilhelmina Cannon (Angus's daughter). Sarah had presented him with two children and Mina three by the time he was tried, convicted, and sentenced. Abraham's trial on February 17, like his later sentencing date, was bound u p with his father. T h e morning of Abraham's trial happened also to be the time when George Q. Cannon was r e t u r n e d by the marshal and U.S. troops from his putative "escape" attempt across the Nevada desert. Abraham was present when his bruised and bloodied father was granted bonds in the amount of $45,000 on several charges of unlawful cohabitation. After seeing his father safely on his way to the Cannon farm, Abraham rushed back to the courtroom for his own trial. So certain was U.S. District Attorney W. H. Dickson of the conviction that he advised Franklin S. Richards, Abraham's counsel, that if Abraham would promise to cause no trouble (i.e., go underground), sentencing would be delayed for a month.

Charles R. Savage took this photograph of the territorial penitentiary from the prison wall. Most of the prisoners slept two to a bunk, with bunks arranged in three vertical tiers. USHS collections.

Prison Experience


Abraham rose, pled not guilty, and took the stand in his own defense. When asked by Dickson if Sarah and Wilhelmina were his wives, Abraham replied, "They are, thank God." Without retiring the jury found him guilty. On Dickson's motion sentencing was delayed for thirty days. Life was interesting for other polygamists as well. Abraham noted in his journal that Henry Dinwoody had allowed Dickson to report to the court that he, Dinwoody, had obeyed the law for the previous eighteen months and expected to so continue. He was released from custody. That same evening the Deseret News reported that Dinwoody denied making or authorizing any such statement. Dickson brought him back to court, and he was sentenced to six months imprisonment. 7 But enough of scene setting; when Abraham arrived at the penitentiary he joined nearly fifty other polygamists in Cell No. 3. Cells 1 and 2 housed "all the worst characters," according to Abraham; and Cell No. 2 also contained the medium class, "among \yhom are some of our brethren." 8 T h e cell occupied by Abraham and the other polygamists measured 20 feet 6 inches by 26 feet 6 inches and was 12 feet high. T h e walls were lined with three tiers of bunks; each bunk held two men for sleeping. Lorenzo Snow and Aurelius Miner were privileged to sleep alone. Having been acclimated physically to his new home, Abraham was informed that he was to be initiated just like any other "fresh fish." Oluf F. Due, floor manager for that evening's initiation, gave Abraham a choice of singing, dancing, standing on his head, or making a speech. Abraham elected to make a brief address; when he finished the prisoners serenaded him in an impromptu concert. T h u s initiated, Abraham was plied with numerous questions about news from the outside, as the marshal had forbidden newspapers for some time prior to Abraham's arrival. At 9:00 P.M. the guard signaled lights out, and the prisoners were forbidden to talk or move about until 5:30 the following morning. Breakfast was served at 8:00 A.M. in the dining hall, a room 45 feet long and 20 wide. It was furnished with fixed tables along the walls and moveable tables in the center. Later that first day Abraham learned that for three dollars a prisoner could purchase a seat along 7 8

AHC journal, February 17, 1886. Ibid., March 17, 1886.


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the wall and make use of a small shelf for pocket articles and utensils. He had Rudger Clawson make the purchase for him. Meal fare was simple. For breakfast he got a piece of tough meat, two potatoes, and two pieces of bread. T h e midday meal was soup and bread, and the menu varied but little for the evening meal. As the weeks wore on either the food improved or Abraham became accustomed to it, because on April 10 he was moved to comment in his journal: "Our food received here in the 'Pen' is quite wholesome and the only fault I can find with it is that sometimes the potatoes are not boiled near done, and there is not enough bread." 9 Food problems were not entirely solved however; the coffee had become unusually bad, and Abraham's explanation is startling: For some few days the men have been complaining about the poor coffee sent in for them, and on it being mentioned to the Warden he said that a bottle of carbolic acid had accidentally been dropped into the coffee, and the kettle in which the drink was made had not been cleaned out for some time. 10

Early morning rising, meals, and lights out were the fixed points in the days of prison life for Abraham and his fellow inmates. T h e prisoners divided themselves into two groups, "toughs" and "cohabs." At the time of Abraham's imprisonment toughs outnumbered cohabs by approximately two to one. T h e r e was little intermingling of the two groups in the open yard or during meals. T h e single most significant exception to this self-imposed segregation was the informal prison school conducted by toughs and cohabs for those of either groups who wished to attend. A source of continuing irritation to all the prisoners were the frequent and apparently arbitrary changes in prison rules. Facial hair was sometimes allowed and sometimes not. Frequently men were required to have their heads close cropped and beards removed — often within a week or so of being released. Visiting day was supposed to be the first Thursday of each month, but most of the prisoners seemed to have visitors whenever such presented themselves. Once the men had become accustomed to frequent visits, the marshal would suspend the privilege. Some of the guards intruded themselves into visitors' conversations; others left the prisoners and visitors entirely alone. Newspapers were banned periodically; on a few occasions, however, sympathetic guards (or visitors) would 9

Ibid., April 10, 1886. Ibid., May 28, 1886.


Prison Experience


smuggle in newspapers. Abraham himself noted the absence of fresh news: "I never realized until now what a great blessing it is to have the news to read daily."11 Still another irritant to the prisoners, toughs, and cohabs alike was the periodic suspension of the privilege of receiving food and sweets from the outside. This was especially objectionable to the prisoners because of the routinely bland prison food. Conversely, for those housed in minimum security, there were privileges available to those who could pay for them. For example, Abraham was able to pay for another prisoner, J o h n Keddington, to heat water and prepare his bath for him. Occasionally additional milk could be purchased from the outside. For the first three weeks or so of his prison term Abraham had had to wear ordinary civilian clothes. When, on May 4, he received his custom-tailored black and white striped suit he expressed a certain mild pleasure: "In these clothes I feel perfectly at home, as a person looks like an odd sheep in the yard without them." It should be noted that during this period at least it was the U.S. marshal and not the warden who set policy at the prison. A careful reading of Abraham's prison journal reveals that all major, and most minor, policies and decisions concerning prison operations emanated from the marshal; Warden G. N. Dow was the civilian representative of the chief law enforcement officer in the territory. Abraham's prison life was not without its happier, more pleasant moments. July 4, 1886, fell on a Sunday so the inmates held their celebration on Monday. They had put together a fairly elaborate program for the day (although they had earlier decided not to have a reading of the Declaration of Independence). T h e twenty-eight number program began at 8:30 A.M. and was interrupted at 9:55 by the surprise entrance of the Eighth Ward Choir; the choir's appearance had been arranged by Marshal Frank H. Dyer.12 At 1:00 P.M. a dinner was served, provided by ZCMI and other firms and individuals and prepared by Salt Lake City restaurateur Samuel F. Ball who just happened to be available since he was serving his own sentence for unlawful cohabitation. Athletic contests and games occupied the prisoners for the remainder of the afternoon. T h e evening consisted of additional inmate entertainment u n d e r Abraham's supervision. 11

Ibid., March 19, 1886. Rudger Clawson, "Memoirs of the Life of Rudger Clawson," p. 225, photocopy of 1926 typescript, Utah State Historical Society. 12


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T h e prisoners had been so agreeably treated by Warden Dow and Marshal Dyer on this day that Abraham was moved to note: "We have received very many kindnesses from those who have us in charge which I very much appreciate." T h e only event that marred the day in Abraham's opinion was a successful escape attempt by one of the toughs, a man named "Nosey" Banks who was serving time for burglary. Banks worked in the prison tailor shop and during the July 5 activities borrowed a pair of boots and a shirt from J o h n Bergen, stole Lorenzo Snow's new suit of clothes, and escaped in the crowd. During his imprisonment Abraham enjoyed an almost endless stream of visitors. Indeed, there were but few days for which he noted no visitors. Visits from business associates were as common as visits from his family members. For example, on March 23 Ben Rich visited Abraham to negotiate the publication of two pamphlets; Edwin Parry and Walter J. Lewis visited him in the afternoon to report on affairs in the Juvenile Instructor office. Visits from his wives were few and tentative at first, possibly because they realized that they were the reason he was in prison. They did visit as often as they could obtain passes and frequently brought their children as well. What is important to note is that while they may have visited Abraham on the same day they did not travel together. Whether they agreed between themselves how to schedule their visits or whether it was chance that kept them apart is unknowable from Abraham's journal. On May 2 Abraham visited with James Dwyer, Alice Dinwoody, J o h n Midgely, Mrs. Edith Knowlton, Phoebe Taylor, Lon McEwan, H. B. Clawson, and George Romney. In addition, Robert Aveson inquired about printing some manuscripts; and Abraham's wife Mina and her children visited. Such a large n u m b e r of visitors was unusual. His visitors generally came in pairs or trios. Family members often combined business activities with their visits. When George M. Cannon visited, for example, Abraham sent Mina a $250 check by him and asked him to obtain some stock in Zion's Benefit Building Society for her. On another occasion, when Mina herself was visiting, he gave her a check for $300 to invest. Family members often brought Abraham word from his father on the u n d e r g r o u n d concerning business ventures. On one occasion Abraham had been persuaded to sell a half interest in his Ogden bookstore; J o h n Q. brought word from George Q. that Abraham was not to sell any portion of the business.

Prison Experience


Frank M. Treseder painted this view of the prison exterior, probably one of the two Treseder paintings bought by Abraham Cannon. USHS collections, courtesy ofD. James Cannon.

Abraham's business activities were apparently only slightly restricted because of his imprisonment. His business correspondence was nearly as voluminous as when he was in his office, and he saw nearly as many people in person as when he was free. When necessary he could communicate with his father on major business decisions through his brothers. Regarding most of his business interests, Abraham was only slightly inconvenienced by being in prison. Imprisonment probably enhanced Abraham's editorial input to the Juvenile Instructor. While in prison he wrote at least eight articles for that magazine, and he apparently was able to proofread more copy and to do so with fewer interruptions than he could on the outside. He also created a catechism for the Book of Mormon that was later published by the Juvenile Instructor.1* While Abraham's journal is not explicit on the point one may infer that all the prisoners were left generally to their own devices 13 "True Bravery,"JuvenileInstructor, April 15, 1886, pp. 120-22 (unsigned); "Lessons from Real Life: Good Company," Juvenile Instructor, May 1, 1886, p. 135 (signed "Vidi"); "Lessons from Real Life: Running Away from Home," Juvenile Instructor, May 15, 1886, p. 150 (signed "Vidi"); "Use of Tobacco,"Juvenile Instructor, July 1, 1886, p. 194 (signed "Vidi"); "Heligoland,"Juvenile Instructor, July 1, 1886, pp. 194-95 (unsigned); "Manifestations of Spiritualism," Juvenile Instructor, September 1, 1886, pp. 269-70 (signed "Vidi"); "A Lesson in Honesty,"Juvenile Instructor, September 15, 1886, p. 283 (signed "Vidi"); and "The Days of 1856," Juvenile Instructor, October 15, 1886, p. 320 (signed "Vidi").


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with respect to "leisure time" activities; he made no reference to any institutionally planned activity for inmates. T h e r e are references to a prison ranch, tailor shop, and kitchen; but how prisoners came to be occupied at these sites is not explained. Crafts were popular among the inmates, and as Abraham noted: "Quite a number of the prisoners are very ingenius [sic] workers in hair and wood; bridles, picture frames, small ships, etc., being manufactured in great abundance." 14 Indeed, one prisoner's oil paintings so attracted Abraham that he bought them. He paid Frank Treseder $4 and $6 respectively for exterior and interior views of the penitentiary. 15 Abraham's "Cash a/c with 'Pen' " shows that he purchased other items fashioned by the prisoners, among them a flesh brush, a tin box, gilded horseshoes, a bit, a fan, etc.16 Other interests attracted Abraham during his prison term. He dabbled in phonography, studied Spanish briefly, learned to play chess, participated occasionally in physical fitness exercise classes conducted by Rudger Clawson, played football and handball a few times, and looked in on the prison school conducted by William Johnson of maximum security. Abraham was impressed that "the school is doing very well, and some of our brethren have learned to read and write while here." Abraham was moved early in his prison term to pay the costs for schooling two young toughs named R. B. Whit and T. Carr. T h e total cost for three months of schooling was $1.50. Other activities that occupied the prisoners' time included raffles of crafted items and Sunday church services. Abraham's cash account reveals he bought chances in several raffles one of which was to assist Nephi J. Bates pay his transportation costs away from the prison to his home. For that purpose Bates put up his watch and chain; Abraham won and returned the items to Bates who was reluctant to accept them. Abraham explained his action in this manner: "This is the first time in my life that I ever won anything on a game of chance, and I believe the Lord permitted it only because of the object I had in view of returning it to Bro. Bates." 17 Church services were generally looked forward to by the prisoners if for no other reason than such events provided fresh faces 14

AHC journal, March 18, 1886. AHC journal, "Cash a/c with 'Pen.' " 16 Ibid. 17 AHC journal, J u n e 20, 1886. 15

Prison Experience


and voices to experience. Abraham was generally in attendance, but only occasionally were the sermons to his liking. He did comment favorably when ministers brought singers, and he was apparently impressed by the ladies of the Women's Christian Temperance Society who brought flowers and scriptural verses for each of the prisoners. As mentioned earlier, the cohabs ritualized the initiation of fresh fish; such new prisoners were required to provide some sort of impromptu performance for the amusement of the other prisoners. Other exercises (called valedictories) were conducted when a cohab was about to be released. During evenings when no one new came in and no one was preparing to leave the prisoners would occasionally have musical contests. Cornet players in Cells 3 and 2 would engage in a kind of duel; sometimes the contests were conducted by individual or group singing. Somehow the men filled in the time available to them. Abraham's relations with the other prisoners, toughs, and cohabs alike seem to have been generally good. On one occasion he avoided a potentially nasty confrontation by apologizing publicly for This interior view of the penitentiary by Frank M. Treseder is likely the one purchased by Abraham Cannon. USHS collections, courtesy of D.James Cannon.


Utah Historical Quarterly

having thrown food at a man. On another occasion a prisoner gave him some craft gifts out of simple admiration. During the initiation of fresh fish and when the men celebrated one of their number leaving, Abraham was occasionally called upon to sing. T h e prisoners seemed to like best his rendition of "Rocked in the Cradle of the Deep." Abraham's treatment by Warden Dow was apparently evenhanded and evoked no complaints or criticism. He entered in his journal comments such as "treated me in a gentlemanly manner" and "gave us a good dinner today of mutton, mashed potatoes and pie." Following his exit interview with the warden, during which Dow commented favorably on his observance of prison rules, Abraham wrote in his journal: "I was pleased to know that my actions were worthy of his approval. And my feelings towards him are of the kindest." 18 One of the most interesting and important experiences that Abraham would have in prison occurred in mid-May 1886. Gov. Caleb West had visited the cohabs on Sunday, May 9, and talked for a while with Lorenzo Snow, Abraham, and others. T h e governor and his staff returned on Thursday, May 13, to meet with all the cohabs in the dining hall and make the following offer: ". . . if you will all or any one of you sincerely promise to obey the law I will use my influence and guarantee to get you released from this place." Governor West went on to remind the cohabs that the Supreme Court had declined to rule in Lorenzo Snow's segregation case and that therefore endless charges of cohabitation could easily be proven. T h e discussion Abraham had with Governor West during this meeting illustrates the impasse with which each side struggled: AHC: "I then arose and asked the Governor what we would be required to do with our wives and children which we now had, in order to comply with the law. CW: "Mr. Cannon, you have intelligence enough to know, if you sincerely desire to do so, what will be required of you in this matter. AHC: "I do sincerely wish to know, for so many constructions have been placed upon this point and I am at a loss to know what is required. CW: " W e l l . . . I am here only to make this proposition and not 18

Ibid., March 19, July 5, and August 16, 1886.

Prison Experience


to interpret the law; but if any promise sincerely to obey the law, they will be released and need not come here again." None of the cohabs volunteered to make the required "sincere promise." Many of the toughs, however, when they h e a r d of Govern o r West's proposal, t h o u g h t that he had addressed the w r o n g crowd. Several days later A b r a h a m was n a m e d to a committee to draft a formal, written response to Governor West's offer. T h e i r reply was several days in the writing a n d finally was ready on May 24 for submission. T h e essence of the cohabs' reply was that their obligation was to a higher law a n d to their families a n d that making the promise that the governor a n d the courts desired would mean a b a n d o n m e n t of their wives and making bastards of their children. All the cohabs then in prison signed the letter to the governor except J o h n Keddington; he was close to the completion of his sentence a n d believed that signing the letter might jeopardize his release. T h e governor's offer and the cohabs' response received wide coverage in the press. A b r a h a m had been misinformed as to the Daily Tribune's editorial response to the cohabs' reply to Governor West's proposal. H e wrote in his j o u r n a l that the "Salt Lake Tribune in commenting on o u r reply to the governor says that the article was written by Presidents Taylor a n d Cannon, and, being sent here, we were serfs e n o u g h to sign it. This is quite complimentary to [those of] us who p r e p a r e d the paper." 1 9 What the Daily Tribune's editorial comment actually contained was, in part: It is almost certain that J o s e p h F. Smith p e n n e d the d o c u m e n t . . . signed by the polygamists in the Pen. It is full of clumsy sentences and covert treason and defiances like Smith's; it lacks the polish and slyness of George Q. C a n n o n . T h e i r styles are as different as the fox and the jackal. 2 0

A b r a h a m spent several days engrossing individual copies of the cohabs' response for the use of several of the b r e t h r e n who wanted to take t h e m h o m e a n d frame them. T h e r e m a i n d e r of Abraham's s u m m e r in a cell was largely uneventful. H e served his time and devoted himself to reading, studying, and writing for the Juvenile Instructor. At 5:00 A.M. Tuesday, August 18, A b r a h a m left the prison yard and, by p r e a r r a n g e m e n t , was met by his b r o t h e r J o h n Q. U p o n 19

Ibid., May 28, 1886. Salt Lake Daily Tribune, May 28, 1886.



Utah Historical Quarterly

arriving in the city A b r a h a m visited his wives briefly, checked in at the Juvenile Instructor office, a n d visited with the families of three m e n with w h o m h e had been imprisoned: Royal B. Young, George C. Lambert, a n d R u d g e r Clawson. H e offered their families words of consolation a n d solace. T h e following day he was back at work in the Juvenile Instructor office a n d in the evening r e s u m e d his regular meetings with the First Seven Presidents of Seventies. His life was back to normal. His j o u r n a l s for the later years of his life provide n o indication that either his business career or church offices suffered by his having been imprisoned. Was A b r a h a m H. C a n n o n "rehabilitated" d u r i n g his five-month stay in prison? Probably not. T h e r e is n o indication that rehabilitation was either necessary or available. Moreover, he would twice m o r e commit the offense for which h e was originally imprisoned. Less than five m o n t h s after his release he m a r r i e d Mary Eliza Croxall in Mexico (January 11,1887); h e m a r r i e d Lillian Hamblin in J u n e or July 1896 just weeks prior to his death. Did A b r a h a m consider himself to have been punished? It is difficult to know for certain exactly how h e felt about his prison experience. His journals in later years contain but infrequent mentions of his prison term, a n d those only concern meeting people with whom he served time or who worked t h e r e as guards. Rather than p u n i s h m e n t A b r a h a m probably viewed his prison experience as yet a n o t h e r test his God h a d placed u p o n him. His last j o u r n a l entry prior to leaving the penitentiary is instructive on this point: "I can truly say that I have tried to set a good example in study, work and morals, a n d the Lord has wonderfully blest me." 21


AHC journal, August 17, li

"Do Not Execute Chief Pocatello": President Lincoln Acts to Save the Shoshoni Chief BY JEFFERY S. KING

Abraham Lincoln. USHS collections.

1864 BRIG. G E N . PATRICK E. CONNOR, military commander of the District of Utah, was determined to capture and punish Chief Pocatello, the Shoshoni leader who for many years had menaced white settlers in the Northwest and had aroused both anger and fear among the military and the settlers. T h e general's tactics led to a conflict between the civilian Indian Office and the War Department. T h e Indian Office had been transferred from the War Department to the Department of the Interior in 1849. Subsequently, with the support of western politicians and editors, military officials would demand that the Indian Office be given back to the War Department, especially when an Indian war was going on. What transpired


Mr. King is a librarian and writer living in Washington, D.C.


Utah Historical Quarterly

is also an example of the speed with which the Lincoln administration could act in an emergency and of the compassionate nature of President Lincoln, who summarily vetoed a ruthless execution of an Indian chief.1 O n November 25, 1864, Lincoln read a draft of his annual message to Congress at a cabinet meeting. Although Reconstruction was the major subject of the message, it also contained Lincoln's expression of regret that the Montana Territory was only partly settled because of Indian troubles and his belief that the problem could be solved. 2 In the early part of the Civil War Indian attacks on the stage and telegraph routes — the communication lines between East and West — had weakened national unity a n d h u r t the Union cause. But by late 1864 the South was well on the way to defeat, and the development of the West had become of great interest to Lincoln. Indian troubles had hindered settlement in the West d u r i n g the Civil War, for most of the military forces had been transferred to the East to fight in the war. In his annual r e p o r t of 1864 to Congress Lincoln said the country should be m a d e "secure for the advancing settler." In fact, in spite of the d e m a n d s of the war effort, Lincoln had taken steps to protect western settlers. In April 1862, for example, the president ordered a M o r m o n volunteer company of 100 men be formed to guard the 600 miles of trail east of Salt Lake City where there were vital stage and telegraph lines. 3 By the time of Lincoln's November 25, 1864, cabinet meeting prospects looked good for peace on the frontier, although there had been a terrible Indian war that summer. Most Indian leaders in the West were seeking peace, and, with the exception of a few hostile young warriors, it was quiet on the frontier. 4 Sometime after the cabinet meeting, Secretary of the Interior J o h n Usher, the cabinet official responsible for Indian affairs, returned to inform Lincoln of an u r g e n t request. Commissioner of Indian Affairs William Dole had just given him a hastily written 1 E d m u n d Jefferson Danziger, Jr., Indians and Bureaucrats: Administering the Reservation Policy during the Civil War (Urbana, 111.: Unversity of Illinois Press, 1974), p. 9. 2 Earl Schenck Miers, ed.,Lincoln Day by Day: A Chronology, 1809-1865,3 vols. (Washington, D . C : U.S. Lincoln Sesquicentennial Commission, 1960), 3:297; Carl McFarland, "Abraham Lincoln a n d Montana Territory," Montana 5 (1955):42-47. 3 Abraham Lincoln, The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, ed. Roy P. Basler et al., 9 vols. (New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 1953), 8:147, 5:200. 4 Ralph K. Andvist, The Long Death: The Last Days of the Plains Indians (New York: Collier Books, 1964), p p . 91-92.

Chief Pocatello

23 9

m e m o r a n d u m about the efforts of O. H. Irish, the superintendent of Indian Affairs for Utah, to prevent the execution by General Connor of an Indian chief named Pocatello, a tragedy that could lead to an Indian war. Dole himself had only just received Irish's letter of October 29 on this very day, November 25. Pocatello's execution might be imminent, or it might already be too late. Usher had endorsed the letter by writing, "I think it would be wise to order the suspension of the execution of the Chief until ordered by the President." 5 Lincoln read Dole's report with its supporting papers from Irish: I refer herewith in a very hurried manner (. . . i n order to save life) a letter from Superintendent Irish, of the 29th Ult., together with its enclosures, giving an account of his being in conflict, with General Connor, who it appears had announced his determination to hang a certain Indian Chief Pocatello — on his being found guilty of a theft, with which he is charged. I respectfully ask your immediate interference in behalf of this unfortunate, though perhaps guilty Chief to the extent, that you will request the President to Telegraph to General Connor, directing him to delay the execution of Pocatello, if found guilty, until the papers in this case, have been submitted to your Department, and all the facts thoroughly investigated.

Lincoln agreed completely with Dole and Usher of the need for quick action. But he went further than they had advised and, after reading the documents from Irish, ordered the secretary of war not to execute Chief Pocatello at all. Dole wrote to Irish the following day that, "The President had directed the Secretary of War to Telegraph to General Connor not to execute the Chief Pocatello." So in the space of only one day the Indian Office, the Interior Department, the War Department, and President Lincoln had dealt with an emergency situation. 7 Lincoln learned from letters received by the Indian Office the following m o n t h what h a d h a p p e n e d to Pocatello. In early November 1864 the tense situation concerning Pocatello's life and peace in the Northwest had been settled. On November 4 Ben Holladay, proprietor of the Northern Stage Line, on whose complaint Chief Pocatello had been arrested, decided that the alleged 5 William Dole to J o h n Usher, November 25, 1864, Letters Received by the Adjutant General's Office, 1861-70, M l 6 , Roll 267, pp. 0545-46, National Archives, Washington, D . C 6 Ibid. 7 William Dole to O. H. Irish, Salt Lake City, November 26, 1864, Office of Indian Affairs, Letters Sent, Roll 75, p. 471, National Archives.


Utah Historical Quarterly

offenses of Pocatello were really not very serious and asked General Connor in a letter that no further action be taken by him against Pocatello. Connor then transferred the prisoner Pocatello to Irish "for such action . . . as you may regard necessary to maintain friendly relations with the Indian tribes and for the p r o m p t punishment of offenders." Irish released the Indian chief at once. 8 Pocatello was born sometime early in the nineteenth century. He was first called Dono Oso, meaning Buffalo Robe. Later he was named Paughatella or Pocatello, meaning "he does not follow the road." His mother had been captured by another Indian tribe (probably the Gros Ventres Indians) but eventually escaped, returned to her people, and gave birth to Pocatello. 9 Pocatello was believed to be very hostile towards the whites. H e disliked another major Shoshoni chief, Washakie, because he had refused to go to war against them. As early as September 1859 Pocatello had caused trouble for the military, which never knew exactly what to do with him. At that time a Lieutenant Gay of the U.S. Army had arrested the chief after the Indian had come to see Gay in his camp. But his superior, a Major Lynde, released the chief because of the lack of evidence of any crime and because he did not want to stir u p trouble with the local Indians. The Deseret News in Salt Lake City criticized the army for letting the chief go free and asked, "Why was he not securely kept? and through whose agency was he permitted to escape?" 10 It was not easy for Pocatello to keep his glory-seeking warriors u n d e r control, and their exploits always created problems with the whites. As he put it, "there were some things that he could not manage, and among them were the bad thoughts of his young men towards the whites, on account of the deeds of the whites towards his tribe." 11 An unsubstantiated story claimed that his plain hatred of the white man increased when some immigrants m u r d e r e d his father in 1860. The American Falls Press of March 4, 1915, reported: 8 Connor to Irish, Salt Lake City, November 4, 1864, Letters Received by the Office of Indian Affairs, Utah Superintendency, National Archives; Irish to Dole, Salt Lake City, November 9, 1864, ibid.; Irish to Dole, Salt Lake City, November 22, 1864, ibid. 9 Minnie F. Howard, "Pocatello's Mother," in Idaho Yesterday and Today: Souvenir Handbook, 1834-1934, Fort Hall Centennial (Pocatello, Ida.: Graves and Potter, 1934). 10 American Falls Press, March 4, 1915; Virginia Cole T r e n h o l m and Maurine Carley, The Shoshonis: Sentinels of the Rockies (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1964), p. 165; Brigham D. Madsen, The Bannock ofldaho (Caldwell, Ida.: Caxton Printers, 1958), p. 116; DeseretNews, September 14, 1859. 11 Madsen, The Bannock ofldaho, p. 121.

Chief Pocatello


General Pocatello was a silent Indian and could not become friendly to the whites. T h e probable reason for this was the dealing out, by a party of emigrants, of summary justice to a band of Shoshones. It was about 1860 that a band of Indians were harrassing [sic] an immigrant train on the Truckee river in Nevada. T h e immigrants were too strong for the Indians and captured one of them. Fastening the tongues of three wagons together, so as to make a tripod, they hanged the captured Indian, who happened to be Pocatello's father. Whatever Pocatello's conduct up to that time had been, he at once became an implacable foe of the whites.

At the time of his father's supposed death, Franklin, Idaho, near the Utah border, was being settled by immigrants. Pocatello directed his hatred towards them with constant harassment, 13 but full-scale war did not break out until March 1862 when the Shoshonis struck at every stage station in a wide area. Overland Trail employees were completely unprepared for the Indian attacks, and the trail was effectively closed for a while. Almost every single horse and mule owned by the company in Shoshoni country was taken by the Indians. Numerous other Indian attacks against the whites were made during this period. Relief did not come until September 10, 1862, when Colonel Connor and his California Volunteers were sent to Salt Lake City to curb Indian disturbances. 14 Strong feelings against Indians often existed among the white population, aroused in part by newspaper horror stories about the Indians in the region. After one Indian attack the Deseret News told its readers: One little girl five years old had both her legs cut off at the knees; her ears were also cut off and her eyes were dug out from their sockets, and to all appearances the girl, after having her legs cut off, had been compelled to walk on the stumps — for the sole purpose of gratifying the hellish propensity of savage barbarity. 15

In January 1863 Connor decided to defeat the Indians once and for all, and to take no prisoners. Insisting that the whole operation had to be a complete surprise, he ordered his troops to leave Salt Lake City at night on January 22. They continued to travel only at night and rested during the day. Chief Bear Hunter nevertheless heard about the troop movements in Franklin, Idaho, but felt the Indians could deal with the soldiers. Although the Indian leader 12

American Falls Press, March 4, 1915. Ibid. 14 Trenholm and Carley, The Shoshonis, pp. 190-91; Madsen, The Bannock ofldaho, pp. 126-31. 15 Deseret News, September 21, 1859.


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quickly went to his camp to warn of the pending attack, adequate preparations apparently were not made. At t h e B a t t l e of B e a r River in Idaho on the morning of J a n u a r y 29, Colonel Conn o r was able to defeat t h e Shoshonis decisively. At first the soldiers did poorly, for the Indians were well dug-in and had taken advantageous positions. But when C o n n o r attacked the flanks of the Indians it turned into a massacre. C o n n o r lost 23 of his m e n , with 44 wounded and 79 disabled by freezing. As many as 400 Indians were killed, including Bear Hunter, but Chief Pocatello h a d left the day before. After the battle the Patrick E. Connor. Shoshoni Indians did not USHS collections. again make a major effort to resist the whites. 16 Colonel Connor was not completely satisfied with the brilliant victory (after which he became a brigadier general). As he said, " T h e chiefs Pocatello and San Pitch, with their bands of m u r d e r e r s , are still at large." T h e soldier voiced his "determination to visit the most summary punishment, even to extermination, on Indians who committed depredations u p o n the lives and property of emigrants or settlers." T h e n during April 1863, r u m o r s reached the frustrated C o n n o r that the elusive Pocatello was in fact looking for a fight with him. 17 At the beginning of J u n e 1863 Connor left Salt Lake City with cavalry for the purpose of capturing and killing dangerous Indians. However, when they met a band of Shoshonis they merely told them 16

Madsen, The Bannock of Idaho, p p . 133-39. 'The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies (Washington, D . C , 1897), Series 1, Vol. 50, Part I, p p . 187, 227; Deseret News, April 22, 1863. 17

Chief Pocatello


they would be punished like the Indians had been at Bear River if they misbehaved. Chief Pocatello was not found. 18 T h e following month Connor noticed that the Shoshonis had come u n d e r the control of the peace-loving Chief Washakie, and, as a result, the Indians were "in quiet contentment near Bridger." Pocatello himself sent a message to Connor indicating that even he was desperate for peace and wanted a meeting with the general. H e told Connor he had been forced to leave his homeland and had only a few followers left. Connor replied that he was sure there would be everlasting peace in the near future. In a report Connor declared, " T h u s at last I have the pleasure to report peace with the Indian on all hands, save only a few hostile Gosiutes west and north of Deep Creek." 19 T o formalize these new feelings of good will, a treaty was signed with Pocatello's northwestern band at Box Elder (Brigham City), Utah, on July 30, 1863. Connor attended this and other treaty councils because it was felt the Indians would respect his ruthlessness. T h e treaty with Pocatello provided that the road to the Beaverhead gold mines in Montana would not be subject to attacks by Pocatello's Indians, nor would the roads going to southern Oregon and n o r t h e r n California. U n d e r the treaty, which determined the boundaries of Shoshoni territory, the Indians received $2,000 immediately and a general increase of annuities to $5,000. T h e promised annuity goods were to compensate for the loss of grassland and wild game destroyed or killed by settlers. T h e treaty optimistically proclaimed that t h e r e would be eternal peace a n d friendship between the white m a n and the Shoshonis. T h e U.S. Senate approved the treaty but with amendments that required government authorities in 1864 to secure the agreement of the affected Indians before the treaty became final.20 Events took a new t u r n on October 20, 1864, when Paul Coburn, assistant superintendent of the Overland Stage Line, m a d e an official trip to the company's stage stations in Utah. At the Malad Spring station frightened employees told him that Chief Pocatello had visited the station and had taken almost all the food belonging to them. Indians in Pocatello's band had d o n e the same thing several times before. 18

Madsen, The Bannock of Idaho, pp. 144-45. T r e n h o l m and Carley, The Shoshonis, p. 203. 20 Ibid., p p . 203-04. 19


Utah Historical Quarterly

Next Coburn visited the Elk H o r n station and found Pocatello there. T h e chief had ordered the wife of the station stockherder to cook for him and his wife and had taken some flour. When Coburn asked Pocatello if he was d e m a n d i n g "tithing along the Stage Line," Pocatello answered yes. Two days later Coburn went to Camp Douglas near Salt Lake City and made a statement to Capt. Charles H. Hempstead, the post marshal. 21 When Connor, the camp commander, heard the news he became very angry and ordered the arrest of Pocatello. H e chose not to tell O. H. Irish, the superintendent of Indian Affairs for Utah, of his order even though his office was only a short distance away. However, on October 24 Irish heard rumors of what was happening and asked Hempstead about it. Hempstead told him "that Gen. Connor had sent to arrest Pocatello, and that he would try him, and if guilty of the offences charged in the affidavit, — he would h a n g him." Chief Pocatello was at this time on his way to see Irish about treaty affairs and had gone freely through local settlements. T h e following day Pocatello was arrested by a company of Nevada Volunteers who took him to Camp Douglas where he was put in the guard house. Captain Hempstead went to Irish's office that evening and asked him to come to the camp the next m o r n i n g and see the prisoner. Irish relayed the information he had received on Pocatello to Territorial Gov. James Duane Doty. Early the next day Irish and Doty visited Connor's headquarters. When Pocatello was brought in, he denied having stolen food from two stage stations. 22 Irish described what happened then: Gen. Connor in reply to a suggestion from me that he [Pocatello] might be handed over to the U.S. Courts to be tried u n d e r the laws provided for such cases said, "that more than twenty of his soldiers were buried within sight; killed by this m u r d e r e r and his band, and he should take the sole responsibility of punishing him, if guilty" — H e said if guilty of the offenses charged he would send Pocatello back to his country where he had committed his depredations and there erecting a gallows hang him between Heaven and Earth, a warning to all bad Indians. I may here say that it is admitted by all that this chief was not at the Battle of Bear River at all, and while these men of Gen. Connor's Command were killed in that Battle, at the same time they had their revenge by killing as he reports some h u n d r e d s of Indians. 2 3 21 Statement of Paul Coburn, Salt Lake City, October 22, 1864, Letters Received by the Adjutant General's Office, 1861-70, M619, Microfilm roll 267, p p . 0566-67. 22 Irish to Dole, October 29, 1864, ibid., p. 0559. 23 Ibid., pp. 0559-60.

Chief Pocatello





Gov. James Duane Doty. USHS collections.

Irish thought that Connor "ought not to punish Pocatello with death, even if the Military Commission found him guilty of all that was charged." In contrast, "Gen. Connor said that because of the bad conduct of Pocatello before the Treaty was made, he would punish him with death, if he was found guilty of these charges." On this day, October 26, Connor formally ordered the trial of Pocatello. 24 Twenty-four hours later Superintendent Irish wrote to Connor strongly objecting to the execution of Chief Pocatello. He believed that Pocatello should be severely punished if guilty but that the death sentence was not justified. Irish felt that "Our Indian relations so far as maintaining peace along and in the vicinity of the Overland route and generally throughout this rich mining country . . . still are so delicate and the interests involved in the preservation of peace so important, that in our opinion the greatest care should be taken on the part of the Government. . . ." H e considered an Indian war a distinct possibility if Pocatello was executed, although " T h e Indians within this Superintendency are peaceful. . . ." T h e superintendent claimed that no white man had been killed since the Shoshoni treaty 24

Ibid., p. 0561.


Utah Historical Quarterly

in 1863. Furthermore, since the annuities to the Indians had been late, it was conceivable that Chief Pocatello needed food. Connor himself had predicted how the Indians might react to the delay in their annuities. Executing Pocatello, Irish wrote, would "create distrust, a feeling of revenge & desperation on the part of the Indians which will be manifested in the commission of depredations and murders, and may eventually end in an Indian war." T h e superintendent resented that Connor took "the sole responsibility of the arrest, trial, and if he be found guilty of the offences charged, of the punishment of the Chief Pocatello." 25 Refusing to give u p on the matter, Irish wrote to Commissioner Dole on October 29, 1864, that Connor was determined to h a n g Pocatello. T h e superintendent's offer to repay lost supplies had been rejected because it was "too trifling." He warned Dole, "It is my firm conviction that if Gen. Connor is permitted to proceed, as he declared he will do, to hang Pocatello that the consequences will be an Indian war. . . . I find leading men of all parties, warriors and gentiles concur. . . ." In fact the northern bands of the Shoshonis had already gone to the mountains planning for war.26 As already mentioned, early in November the tense situation concerning Pocatello's life was settled. On November 4 Ben Holladay, proprietor of the Northern Stage Line, asked Connor not to punish Pocatello because of the trivial nature of his offenses. Connor turned Pocatello over to Irish, who released him. At the superintendent's direction, the chief immediately set out for Box Elder to gather his people together for a meeting with Irish the following week. As planned, the northwestern bands of the Shoshonis met with Irish and Governor Doty at Box Elder to discuss the amendments to the treaty and to distribute annuity goods. 27 Irish told Dole: We accomplished the purpose for which we visited them to our entire satisfaction and apparently to theirs. These have in times past been the most troublesome Indians in this Superintendency, they now seem remarkably well disposed toward the Government, my successful efforts on behalf of "Pocatello" has had a most salutary effect and I apprehend no further difficulties with them. 2 8 25 Irish to Connor, Salt Lake City, October 27, 1864, Letters Received by the Adjutant General's Office, 1861-70, M619, Microfilm roll 267, p p . 0547-57. 26 Irish to Dole, October 29, 1864, p p . 0559-65. 27 Connor to Irish, November 4, 1864; Irish to Dole, November 9, 1864; Irish to Dole, November 22, 1864. 28 Ibid.

Chief Pocatello


In his later years Pocatello mellowed and ceased hating the whites. For example, he became friendly with a white man, J u d g e Walter Taylor Oliver, who wrote that, "As I r e m e m b e r Chief Pocatello [in 1878] he was about 70 years old, about 5 feet 10 inches tall, straight as a sapling and a pretty good-looking old man. He was always pleasant and I have spent many hours talking with him for he often came to see me and my wife, sort of liked us, sometimes he would stay three or four days and camp a few rods from my house." 29 Pocatello often wore the uniform of a U.S. Army colonel: General Pocatello was always dressed in a colonel's uniform, cast off by some of the officers at Ross Fork, and wore a fine sword at his side which had been given him by the officers. H e was very p r o u d of his uniform and wore it all the time. By reason of this he was called General. H e was buried in this uniform and the sword with him. 30

Pocatello wandered in company with several families, dogs, and horses. Accounts vary on the date of his death, but it appears to have been in April 1881 after a long illness. H e received an elaborate and unusual funeral. H e was buried in a deep spring near American Falls, Idaho, with about ten of his horses and many of his possessions so that he could continue to use them in his afterlife. 31 Tragically, Lincoln's hopes for peace on the frontier and conciliation with the Indians and the South were not realized. Only four days after his order not to execute Chief Pocatello was given, hundreds of peaceful Cheyenne Indians were m u r d e r e d at Sand Creek in Colorado, starting another horrible Indian war. T h e n , a few months later, the president's assassination ended hopes for a mild Reconstruction in the South.

29 Walter Taylor Oliver, " T h e Burial of Chief Pocatello," in Idaho Yesterday and Today: Souvenir Handbook, 1834-1934. ^American Falls Press, March 4, 1915. 31 Ibid. Howard, "Pocatello's Mother," states he died in 1884.

Paiute Posey and the Last White Uprising BY ROBERT S. McPHERSON


Utah towns in the 1920s, was a quiet, conservative community that took pride in its pioneer heritage. Many of its citizens had roots extending back to the first settlers of the region who h a d b e e n commissioned to teach a n d c o n v e r t t h e i r I n d i a n neighbors to the life-style and beliefs of the Mormons. From the beginning, attempts to work with the Utes and Paiutes in the area became increasingly troubled; and in 1923 a conflict, since christened the "Posey War," erupted. T h o u g h eulogized by many Blanding settlers as a fair yet definitive solution to a knotty problem, the events proved disheartening for the Indians involved.

Mr. McPherson lives in Mapleton, Utah, and is a doctoral candidate in history at Brigham Young University.

* * * *ix

In his later years Posey typically wore a dark vest with an army belt buckle as a "badge." Lyman Hunter photograph in USHS collections. A surprising number of photographs of the Posey War participants remain in existence — more, perhaps, than are available for any comparable event in Utah history.

Paiute Posey


T h e M o r m o n mission to t a m e the wilderness of San J u a n County h a d been frustrated from its outset by an inhospitable envir o n m e n t , competing cattle companies, a n d lawless elements from white society. Worst of all were the Indians of Ute/Paiute mixture, who were a n g e r e d by e n c r o a c h m e n t on their lands. (Note: T h o u g h the I n d i a n b a n d was predominantly Ute, it was often referred to as Paiute.) As the natural food supply a n d grass diminished, the Indians went to the next best source of sustenance a n d wealth — t h e settlers. Cattle, s h e e p , a n d horses d i s a p p e a r e d regularly from homesteads a n d found their way into the I n d i a n camps. T o t h e white m e n , who were barely eking out an existence, these I n d i a n thefts became a serious concern. Survival, not proselytizing required the M o r m o n s ' major efforts. T h r e a t s , counterthreats, a n d d e p r e d a t i o n s continued, with violence breaking out in 1915 a n d 1921, d u r i n g which small n u m bers of Indians were killed or w o u n d e d . Yet this b r o u g h t little satisfaction to the settlers. At one point Tse-ne-gat, a Ute involved in the 1915 disturbance, was sent to Denver to stand trial. Much to the chagrin of the Blanding people, h e was acquitted in the c o u r t r o o m , dined in the best restaurants, a n d revered as a noble Indian. Infuriated by these developments, the whites vowed silently that t h e next time a serious fight started, there would be a different ending. W h e n the second outbreak occurred in 1921 the settlers were ready. A calf belonging to J o h n Rogers h a d been killed, so an a r m e d posse was dispatched to the Indians' c a m p west of Bluff. E m e r g i n g from their shelters, the Utes spotted the a r m e d skirmish line, did some fast calculating, a n d came out shooting. T h e Indians fought their way out, one being w o u n d e d in the shoulder a n d leg, while two w o m e n were c a p t u r e d , one of w h o m was convinced that she was to be shot on the spot. Bluff was p u t on full alert, with a r m e d g u a r d s ringing t h e community in outposts, waiting for the Indians to exact revenge. It never came. Activities settled back into their normal sway with the occasional stealing of livestock, d e m a n d s at a cabin d o o r for biscuits, or warlike threats m a d e to p r o c u r e a desired article. Beneath the surface of many of these problems lay the gnawing question of h u n g e r . T o the Utes a n d Paiutes of the San J u a n area, survival as a traditional h u n t e r - g a t h e r e r society was becoming m o r e a n d m o r e a n impossibility. T h e lush grass that once stood as high as a man's waist was gone, the result of massive erosion of topsoil caused by overgrazing. H e r d s of deer had d i s a p p e a r e d , a n d settlements like


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Bluff, Monticello, and Blanding had removed favored campsites and springs from Indian use. Not impressed with the Mormons' religious mission and highly incensed at their encroachment, the Indians both suffered and fumed at their deteriorating situation. T h e Mormons were also aware of what was happening. Leland Redd recalled the situation and how his uncle Lemuel Redd reacted: "I know that Uncle Lem wrote a letter back to the Indian Department. . . . He wanted to know when the government was going to come down and help to feed these starving Indians. He said, 'They are starving to death right in our backyards.' It was true." 1 Compared to the Indians, the Mormons were affluent; but these Mormons, compared to most other Americans in the 1920s, were impoverished. Every sack of flour, every stolen cow, every pan of biscuits that went to the Indians removed provisions from the Mormon larder. Still, the settlers gave food because of fear of Indian trouble, because of a sometimes strained altruism to help the "Lamanites," and because they were instructed to do so by their presiding church leaders. Resentment grew unavoidably, while few outside the community seemed to know or care. In a letter written in 1914 to the commissioner of Indian Affairs, Cato Sells, the citizens of Blanding (then Grayson) told of their woes and concluded by saying, "The Indians are not making any decided advancement and we feel that the strong arm of the Government should manifest itself and have the Indians placed where they can be advanced along civilized lines and relieve the good people of the County of the burden of being preyed upon by a reckless bunch of Indians." 2 A few attempts were made to meet this request, but nothing permanent was achieved. Incident upon incident added to the Mormons' long list of grievances. Albert R. Lyman, in speaking of the Utes said, "Their whetted appetites craved warfare with its promise of cruel pleasure and unlawful gain. When men become so hungry for trouble that they go out hunting for it, they do not hunt in vain." 3 Lyman was partially right in assessing the Indians' search for trouble, but the "hunger" was as much physical as emotional. 1 Leland Redd interview by Michael Hurst, February 26, 1973, p. 23, Posey War Oral History Project, CRC-J2, Charles Redd Center for Western Studies, Special Collections, Lee Library, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah. 2 Kumen Jones, "The San J u a n Mission to the Indians," p. 58, MS. copied in 1941, Special Collections, Lee Library. 3 Albert R. Lyman, Indians and Outlaws (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1962), p. 171.

Paiute Posey


Contrary to much of the literature written about this period of San J u a n history, the Mormons helped to fan the coals of anger. For example, George Hurst told of an incident in which an Indian boy left a gate open and when asked to close it refused. So we went to rear end kicking. I kicked his hind end every step for a block. H e shut the gate. A few days after that, I was down at the old ranch and Old Posey came down on his white horse. He r o d e u p and said, "It is all right, son." I was alone. He sat down and he said, "Say, what the matter with you beat my boy ass?" I talked back and forth to him. Finally I said, "You old son of a geezer, if you don't get out I'll kick yours." "All right, all right," he said, "I'll go over here and catch my gun. Pretty soon I'll come back and kill you." I sat in the door of my cabin until midnight that night with a thirty-thirty across my lap, waiting for the old buzzard to come. 4

Similar examples fill the statements of the pioneers of this time, all showing the same enmity between Indian and white. T h e r e were some exceptions. Kumen Jones expressed his paternal admiration for the Indian. His attitude sprang from Mormon doctrine that looked for a brighter day: "When the day of accounting arrives, all conditions and opportunities and environments are taken into account, our dusky 'sons of the desert' may loom u p far better than we may have figured."5 Albert R. Lyman, a sometimes embittered pioneer of San J u a n , found good in the Indian. H e said, "Neither their ignorance, their superstition nor their filth concealed the real charm of life as they lived it; such extravagant liberties — such novel partnership with the wind and the flowers and the trees. . . . I was captivated; I wanted father to confirm a whispered report that I had a distant Indian ancestor. . . ."6 These attitudes were more the exception than the rule in this frontier setting where most whites were reacting to their own struggle to survive. One of the major Indian personalities to emerge from this period of conflict was a Paiute who had married into the Ute tribe — a man named Posey. By 1923 he was between fifty and sixty years old and had been involved in the previous conflicts of 1915 and 1921, making his name to many settlers synonymous with troublemaking, arrogance, meanness, and thievery. If anything was stolen, killed, or molested, Posey was seen as the culprit, whether he was or not. For 4 George Hurst interview by Michael Hurst, February 24, 1973, p. 37, Posey War Oral History Project, CRC-J7. 5 Jones, "The San J u a n Mission," p. 36. 6 Albert R. Lyman, "A Relic of Gadianton: Old Posey as I Knew Him," Improvement Era 26 (July 1923): 793. Gadianton refers to bands of outlaws mentioned in the Book of Mormon.

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Posey's family. The Indian leader is the secondfrom the right, next to Indian agent Elf ego Bacca, ca. 1922. Copyright 1980 Baker and Lacy from the book Posey: T h e Last Indian War.

the Mormon settler steeped in religious doctrine, it was explained that "From the time that his fierce ancestors of the Gadianton persuasion swept their pale brethren from the two Americas, his people had known no law, but in idleness had contrived to live by plundering their neighbors. Posey inherited the instinct of this business from robbers of many generations." 7 By other settlers Posey was seen as a pure scoundrel who took advantage of a situation in which he would push and provoke a fight to obtain a favorable outcome. It is not surprising that most of the problems Posey was involved in centered around food — begging, threatening, or stealing whatever he thought he could procure. Add to this a temper, impatience with a frustrating economic situation, the view that Indian lands had been illegally usurped, and the patronizing attitudes of the settlers toward the Utes and one starts to better understand why Posey often took a defiant stance. A different opinion was offered by Lyman Hunter, who spent two years (1920-22) in Blanding and gave an outsider's j u d g m e n t of Ibid., p. 791.

Paiute Posey


Posey. His insights add another perspective to the Indians' point of view a n d the concerns that Posey had. I could see a little of their point of view, which the people who lived down there couldn't. Posey felt that the country belonged to them. T h e y , I suppose, had driven out the Navajos and so he felt it belonged to them. What the right and the wrong of that is I just don't know. . . . T h e Mormons had come in and settled and had made farms. . . . Now from the Indian's point of view, this was very bad, and I talked with Posey many times about it. These days, I think some people would have called Posey an ecologist. He was somewhat concerned about preservation of the land. H e told me and Mancos J i m told me a time or two before how the country had been when Posey was a boy. And their expression always was something like the grass would grow u p to the belly of the ponies. H e said there was lots of grass and lots of deer and there was hunting.

Things had changed since the cattle companies and the settlers h a d moved into the territory. 9 Because of the general resentment against the Mormons, it did not require much to get another a r m e d conflict started. T h e Posey War e r u p t e d when two young Utes n a m e d J o e Bishop's Little Boy and Sanup's Boy were arrested for robbing a sheep camp, killing a calf, and b u r n i n g a bridge. This was not the first time that they had been in trouble. In fact, their names — along with Posey, Poke, and Tse-ne-gat (who had died a few years before) — were constantly mentioned as the center of much of the turmoil. During the problems of 1915 and 1921 all had been visibly involved. With the arrest of the two Indians, antagonism and distrust started to gain m o m e n tum. T h e boys were a p p r e h e n d e d by Sheriff William Oliver. T h e y came into town peacefully and were t u r n e d over to Deputy Sheriff J o h n D. Rogers who was to watch them for a few days before the trial. Rogers kept them with him while he was building a house, indicating that he expected little trouble to occur. T h a t first night, however, two men with rifles showed u p to stand guard, and the 8 L y m a n P. H u n t e r interview by Michael Hurst, February 2 1 , 1973, p p . 3-4, Posey War Oral History Project, CRC-J3. 9 F u r t h e r proof of the economic situation of the Utes/Paiutes is found in a letter to the commissioner of Indian Affairs, January 23, 1923, from Ute Indian Superintendent E. E. McKean h e a d q u a r t e r e d in Ignacio, Colorado. Earlier that m o n t h Mancos Jim, a spokesman for the Indians, had told McKean, "What we want is some land of o u r own. T h e white men are driving us back a n d we are driven a r o u n d the country like coyotes. We have n o home. . . . T h e r e are two kinds of white men in the country, the cowboys and the farmers. T h e cowboys do not like us and what little stock we have, they drive it away. T h e farmers would like to have us stay because many of the Indians work for the white m e n on their farms." Box 4, White Mesa Ute History Project, Utah State Historical Society, Salt Lake City.


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Indians became noticeably alarmed. Joe Bishop and Sanup, the boys' fathers, came from Westwater (the Indian settlement near Blanding) to Rogers's house and started to protest, refusing to leave. " 'Me seeum now,' Sanup said. 'All night men with two guns, watch, watch, watch. Me too, all night, watch, watch, watch.' "10 Rogers noted that shortly after these words were spoken, the guards went outside to help gather firewood, leaving their unattended rifles in the house with the Indians. If escape and killing were part of the boys' motives, they did not take advantage of their opportunity. A few nights later, Joe Bishop's Little Boy was served some scalloped potatoes and became violently ill. Rogers indicated that the Ute may have been faking, but he let both boys go to their homes at Westwater with a promise that they would return for the trial. T h e next day, Joe Bishop's Big Boy showed up at the settler's home and actively complained of his brother's treatment to Rogers's wife. " 'All night boy shook like poisoned coyote,' he shouted at her. He waved his arms and shook himself violently. 'Mebbe so die! Me talk to Posey and he say cook potatoes and milk, make heap poison.' " n It seems strange that if the two prisoners were really intent on escaping, that this brother would have gone over to protest their "poisoning." And it seems equally strange that if escape were a concern, that on March 19, 1923, the boys would have both arrived at the trial as had been promised, Joe Bishop's Little Boy limping into court on a stick, apparently still feeling the after effects of his "poisoning." By this time there were a number of other unsettling points for the Utes to consider. First of all, Joe Bishop was concerned about his son. He realized that his boy had been antagonistic towards the settlers and that there were some strong feelings against him. Lyman Hunter, talking about Joe Bishop's Little Boy, said: "I think his father had a lot of trouble with him from the way Joe Bishop talked with me about what he had tried to do. Joe Bishop talked with me just like an ordinary father who is having trouble with his son that was growing up, and he just didn't know what to do with him." 12 A second problem was that Fred Keller was the prosecuting attorney — the same man who had shot Dutchie's Boy in the shoulder and leg two years before during the trouble in Bluff. Despite 10 John D. Rogers, "Piute Posey and the Last Indian Uprising," p. 1., MS. Special Collections, Lee Library. 11 Ibid. 12 Hunter interview, p. 31.

Indians met with agent Elf ego Bacca, third from left in back row, to discuss land and allotments in early 1920s. Posey is next to Bacca in dark vest. Photograph by Lyman Hunter includes a number of participants in the 1923 Posey War. USHS collections.

these drawbacks, the Indians' attitude was that, "they thought something ought to be done. . . . T h e [Indian] people would talk to the kids about it there in jail, and they [the prisoners] would tell them all about how they did it. They were hungry. . . . [but] These old Indians were on the side of the law this time." 13 T h e trial was conducted without interruption until lunchtime. T h e prisoners had been found guilty and were to return after noon recess for their sentencing. When the courtroom had cleared, Sheriff Oliver took the I n d i a n s out of the basement of the schoolhouse where the trial had been held and started to get them on their horses to go to jail. Here the statements of witnesses vary greatly, but the majority of them indicate that Joe Bishop's Little Boy hit Oliver with his stick, the sheriff drew his pistol which twice failed to fire, and Joe Bishop's Little Boy grabbed the gun away, mounted his horse and as he rode out of town, turned and fired at the sheriff, wounding his horse. Sanup's Boy, in the meantime, went with Posey, who was blamed by most as being at the bottom of this incident, and together they returned to Westwater. 13

Rogers interview, p. 10.


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Grayson Elementary School in Blanding served as a temporary jail for Indian prisoners. Photograph courtesy of Margie H. Lyman. Copyright 1980 Baker and Lacy from the book Posey: T h e Last Indian War.

T h e war was on. T h e first shot had been fired, and "The news soon spread through Blanding and every man dropped what he was doing and ran for his horse and his gun and rushed to volunteer." 14 T h e streets in town were quickly sealed off, and any Indians who could be found were r o u n d e d u p and put in the basement of the school building for a week until a stockade could be completed. Many of the statements made about this conflict insinuate that it had been planned previously, that the Indians all knew what was happening, and that they had even cached food to be used during their flight. This is hardly believable. After the initial search had been completed, approximately forty Utes/Paiutes had been captured — over half of the populace of Westwater — and put in the school. T h e scant Indian testimony available on this event shows that they had no idea what was going on; the settlers just came and locked them up, never telling them why.15 Many of the settlers insisted that Posey was "sullen," acting "deceitful," and that the Paiutes had come into town bedecked in warpaint. T h e r e is little substance to these claims. T h e great Indian uprising appears to have been more of a white uprising against the grievances of the past. T h e men of Blanding mobilized quickly. With a nucleus of a half-dozen World War I veterans and some help from Dave Black who had had fighting experience in Mexico, the concerted effort, led 14

Rogers, "Piute Posey," p. 2. Billy Mike interview by Gregory C T h o m p s o n and James Schultz, May 22, 1980, p. 9, White Mesa Oral History Project, American West Center, University of Utah, Salt Lake City. 15


Paiute Posey

J* William H. Oliver in the 1930s. Copyright 1980 Baker and Lacy from the book Posey: T h e Last Indian War.

by Sheriff Oliver, to r o u n d u p any Indians in town was completed. George Hurst told of how Dave Black brought in Joe Bishop, who insisted that he did not want trouble and would make every effort to bring his boy back. Black let Bishop go, but when the Indian thought he was out of sight, "he just whirled and took off as h a r d as he could ride. Dave galloped u p and stopped him. Joe Bishop kind of resented it. Dave said, 'You old son-of-a-bitch. You turn a r o u n d a n d go back or I'll let your guts out right here.' "16 Those Indians not caught in the initial sweep had fled from Westwater and started for Comb Ridge with the probable intent of reaching the Navajo Mountain area, which could be used as a sanctuary. They never got that far. 16

Hurst interview, p. 12-13.

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Posey and three or four others had gone five miles south of town to Murphy's Point, where they entered an old cabin to get supplies. T h e posse, u n d e r Sheriff Oliver, had left town and was soon joined by Dave Black and his g r o u p , which "had blood in their eyes and were ready to die if they had to in order to bring these people to justice." 17 Oliver took this opportunity to make the proceedings legal by saying, "Every m a n here is deputized to shoot. I want you to shoot everything that looks like an Indian." 18 Not everyone in the posse s h a r e d the same s e n t i m e n t s . ^^ Alma Jones, d u r i n g an interBp, view, was asked what his feelings were toward J o e Bishop's Little Boy. H e said, H e was just as friendly. H e would shake hands with me and talk. H e would want to know what I was doing. I remember when I was in that posse on his trail, I just k i n d of a s k e d myself, "What am I doing here? What would I do if I did come face to face with that boy and had to choose between shooting him or lett i n g h i m s h o o t m e ? " It would be just like shooting one of your friends. H e n e v e r d o n e a n y t h i n g to harm me. 19

A r u n n i n g g u n b a t t l e Clarence Rogers points to hole in John D. erupted in which Posey and his Rogers's saddle where Posey's bullet hit. small group bested the posse. Copyright 1980 Baker and Lacy from the Who fired the first shot is ques- book Posey: T h e Last Indian War. t i o n a b l e ; b u t Posey's h i g h powered 30.06 rifle put the white men at a disadvantage, a n d the Indians made good their escape. Soon after, Posey and two or three others fought a delaying action near White Mesa Canyon in o r d e r to 17 Cornelia Perkins, Marian Nielson, a n d Leonora Jones, The Saga of San Juan (Salt Lake City, 1957), p. 248. 18 Hurst interview, p. 6. 19 Alma Uriah Jones interview by Gary Shumway, August 4-7, 1981, p. 60, LDS Polygamy Oral History, CRCK-157, Charles Redd Center for Western Studies, Special Collections, Lee Library.

Paiute Posey


give men, women, and children time to escape their pursuers. W h o did the actual shooting is again questionable, but Albert R. Lyman pictured Posey "concealed there with his big gun on a dead rest over a rock . . . he figured on cutting down the men of the posse like clay pigeons when they appeared a r o u n d the point of rock. . . . with more careful aim he could slaughter everyone who came in sight." 20 Two close misses left Rogers's horse mortally wounded and three passengers in a Model-T Ford thankful they had not been skewered by a bullet that passed four inches from them. T h a t night in Blanding, the first of a n u m b e r of mass meetings was held to decide on a course of action against the Indians. Great excitement and storytelling had been prompted by the day's incidents, all of which helped to convince the people of Blanding that strong measures must be taken. J o h n Rogers, speaking of this gathering said, "It was unanimously decided that this was going to be a fight to the finish. We all knew that Old Posey wasn't going to be taken alive, and there was not one dissenting vote about what we must do." 21 T h e following day, determined posses fanned out through the hills and ravines looking for the fugitive Utes. Posey appeared near Comb Ridge and was shot at but did not r e t u r n fire. Shortly after this, Joe Bishop's Little Boy and Sanup's Boy were spotted as they chased a member of the posse u p a canyon. T h e harried white man, Bill Young, hid behind a bushy cedar tree until the Indians were close, then fired a shot, killing J o e Bishop's Little Boy instantly. T h e other Indian escaped, although Young could have killed him. O n e testimony claimed that Young said, "There's one good Indian u p there." Another claimed that he said, "It was no fun to kill an injun." But probably the most realistic and sensitive report came from Alma Jones who remembered, "It wasn't long until he came down. H e was upset. H e said, T have killed a man.' He just kept saying that. T h a t wasn't like Bill Young at all. H e is one of the most calm and collected m e n that you ever saw. H e was really upset." 22 Although the posse did not know that Posey had been w o u n d e d and taken out of action, events from this point on proved to be part of the denouement. T h e white m e n soon realized that the Indians had no desire to fight, since the Utes had left strips of white cloth tied 20

Lyman, Indians and Outlaws, p. 176. Rogers, "Piute Posey," p. 7. 22 Ibid. p. 5. See also Fern Oliver Shelley, " T h e Life Story of William Edward Oliver 1858-1935," in possession of James W. Oliver, Jr., Mapleton, Utah, and Jones interview, p p . 68-69. 21


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to trees or on branches stuck in their moccasin tracks. Two more freezing days and nights, food shortages, and uncertainty forced the women, children, and men to surrender. T h e Indians approached the settlers standing a r o u n d a fire — first a woman, then other refugees, until all of them had come in u n a r m e d , having left their weapons hidden in the canyon. They were nervous, afraid of what might happen to them, but they also realized that resistance was futile. Only one incident marred the truce, when "Sanup's Boy became frightened and suddenly ran from the fire and escaped into the darkness. Mr. Newman from Bluff, who had formerly been sheriff in Arizona, fired a shot at him as he vanished into the darkness. He was quite upset to find that he had missed the mark." 23 T h e next day, word was sent to Blanding for two trucks to haul the prisoners to town. Only one arrived and so after fitting in all they could, the posse still had eight Utes left. Following a short wait, the settlers decided to start walking their captives to Blanding. But the posse was taking no chances. We lined the Indians u p abreast in the bottom of Comb Wash and a man with a gun got behind each Indian. T h e Sheriff on his horse rode out on one side of the wash, and I on my mule rode out on the other side. We told the Indians that if Posey attacked or any trouble started, the possemen would immediately each kill an Indian without questions. T h e Sheriff and I were to fire shots if Indians were sighted or any trouble was encountered. This would be the signal for the others to shoot the prisoners. If we'd have fired a shot for any reason at all, those eight Piutes would have been killed. 24

Finally, two or three miles later, the second truck arrived. These last eight prisoners were detained in Bluff overnight. T h e white men thought it would be a good idea to interrogate each Indian individually in order to find out where Posey was located. Joe Bishop's Big Boy was the first to be separated from the g r o u p and questioned. Next, Anson Posey was taken out. His response was immediate, four or five men having to wrestle him down in o r d e r to control him. He then started to express his fear of the situation. ' 'Me know! White man kill Joe Bishop's Big Boy and skin him now!' he said, his voice full of terror. 'Mebbe so kill me and skin me too!' "25 Although no such incident occurred, the Indians viewed their captors as being capable of such actions. 23

Rogers, "Piute Posey," p. 7. Ibid., p. 8. 25 Ibid. 24

Paiute Posey


Another event that shows the attitude of some of the people at the time was related by George Hurst. Early one morning, two m e n came into his camp, saying that they had found the hoofprints of shod horses headed towards Black Canyon Mesa. Thinking that they may have been made by Indian ponies, the men got in a car and followed the tracks until they spotted a figure in the distance. T h e i r first reaction was to shoot, but Hurst cautioned, " 'No you can't,' I said, 'If it is an Indian, we'll take him, but you're not going to shoot a man in his back.' When we caught him, it was a kid from Texas that had been punching cows for George Dalton over here in Verdure." 2 6 In the meantime, the people of Blanding had not been idle. After the initial outburst of fighting, Fred Keller, as district attorney, o r d e r e d a $100 reward for Posey and filed charges against seven or eight Indians for conspiracy against the government and other crimes. U.S. Marshal J. Ray Ward had arrived from Salt Lake City with the intent of using posses and Navajo trackers. 27 T h e Mormons resented his presence, r e m e m b e r i n g earlier dealings with the federal government, with representatives of the Indian Rights Association from the East, and with "outsiders" in general. T h e settlers wished to keep the entire operation an in-house affair, handled by people who "knew what was happening." A stockade had been erected in the center of Blanding. Navajos had been hired to build two hogans inside the 100-foot-square c o m p o u n d made of cattle fencing with barbed-wire strung along the top. T h e r e was talk at one point that the wire was to be electrically charged, but this was never done. 2 8 Within a week after the Indians had been settled in the schoolhouse basement, they were relocated in the stockade where some additional makeshift shelters were constructed and where a twenty-four-hour armed guard insured that all eighty of the inmates m a d e no attempt to escape. T h e Mormons' attitude towards the Utes in the stockade was one of victory. We built a barbwire stockade, a "bullpen," and put them in it as a bedraggled bunch of pinyon busted steers. Standing on the outside of


Hurst interview, p. 18. It is interesting to compare the official correspondence of Marshal Ward with that of Superintendent McKean. T h e former was concerned primarily with keeping expenses to a m i n i m u m and having authorized twelve special deputies. McKean was anxious to account for the welfare of the Indians and to start settling the issue of allotting lands. T h e r e is little to document how closely these two officials worked together, but the general impression is that their efforts were not coordinated. See McKean to Ward, April 4, 1923, Box 4, White Mesa Ute History Project. 28 Albert R. Lyman journal, vol. 11 (March 16, 1923, to November 7, 1926), p p . 1-2, Special Collections, Lee Library. 27


Stockade was built to hold Indians rounded up by the whites during the Posey War, 1923. Erected near the center of Blanding, it was called the bullpen. Copyright 1980 Baker and Lacy from the book Posey: T h e Last Indian War.


Paiute Posey


the corral and looking them over, as we had long been wont to do after a successful r o u n d u p , Bishop Wayne H. Redd remarked, "This is the first time these fellows have been stopped since the days of Gadianton.

T h e Indians' view was markedly different. Even though the settlers occasionally let a person or two out of the "bullpen," made provisions to care for the Indians' livestock, and fed the Indians well, the Utes were still afraid. Harry Dutchie, a youth in the stockade, remembered that the children were not frightened but that the adults were apprehensive. When asked if he recalled any threats, he said, "Yeah, kill you all those people say."30 He then repeated that the white men had said they were going to kill the Indians. White testimony, however, does not reflect any such plan. T h r o u g h o u t the month between the initial outbreak and the discovery of Posey's body, the newspapers had a field day. Two reporters â&#x20AC;&#x201D; one from the Chicago Tribune, the other from the Salt Lake Tribune â&#x20AC;&#x201D; fired off press releases with a thin veneer of truth covering a mass of outright lies. Under such headings as "Piute Indians Again on War Path; Attack Southern Community" and "Piute Indians are Reinforced," C. F. Sloane of the Salt Lake Tribune allowed his imagination to r u n rampant. He had Blanding surrounded during "thirty-six hours of terrorism"; Indians in warpaint riding the streets; Posey, "the red fox," forming a "mobile squadron"; a well-planned Paiute conspiracy that included robbing the San J u a n State Bank; and finally "sixty men skilled in the art of the mountains awaiting the call of service." 31 In the best tradition of the yellow press and reminiscent of the lively reporting of World War I, the newsmen gave the town a military character: "Blanding since the outbreak has become more or less an armed camp. It wears the aspect of a military headquarters. T h e arrival and departure of couriers from the front is a matter of public interest." 32 Unfortunately for the correspondents, the plane with "bombs and machine guns" that had been requested never arrived in San J u a n County. T h e citizens of Blanding were not fooled. Many of them kidded the reporters about their coverage of the incident, but this had little 29

Albert R. Lyman, "History of Blanding 1905-1955," pp. 77-78, Special Collections, Lee

Library. 30 Harry Dutchie interview by Gary Shumway, July 15, 1968, p. 11, Doris Duke Collection # 5 1 7 , Special Collections, University of Utah Library. 31 SaltLake Tribune, March 21-April 5, 1923. 32 SaltLake Tribune, March 24, 1923.


Utah Historical Quarterly

effect on what went out by telephonic relay. When one person asked a correspondent why he was not writing the truth, a very simple answer was received: ' 'We're not ready to go home yet and if we don't keep something going, we'll be getting a telegram to come home.'" 3 3 T h e r e were yet other sources of information out of southeastern Utah. Marshal Ward returned to Salt Lake City and on April 7 spoke to the Exchange Club, relating what a "dangerous man" Posey was. Ute Indian Agent E. E. McKean from Ignacio, Colorado, arrived in Blanding to take care of the dispossessed Indians. T h e BIA was also anxious to have the problem solved, yet it had little influence on the outcome. Probably the most ironic yet sincere statement came from Lemuel H. Redd, who went to Salt Lake City to confer with U.S. Sen. William H. King about events in San J u a n County. H e said: T h e trouble with the outside world is that they don't fully understand the situation down there. This isn't a last stand of a noble red man. It's the pursuit and capture of criminals who in the past years have killed thousands of dollars worth of livestock and who have in various other ways committed depredations resulting in much property loss to the people of the basin. T h e lands which the settlers occupy there were not stolen from the Indians. They were acquired u n d e r the homestead laws of the federal government. That land was never given to the Indians. It was always open for settlement. T h e people of Blanding and the farming territory surrounding it haven't any grudge against the Indians. We have always taken care of them; we are in fact taking care of them right now. . . . Today, in the stockade, they are better fed than perhaps at any time in their lives.34

He then concluded by complimenting the Salt Lake Tribune on its excellent coverage of events in the Posey War. Redd, unwittingly, brought out many of the causes for the outbreak. Yet he never asked himself such questions as "Who gave the government the land to give to the settlers?" or "Why had so much livestock been killed?" He was right when he said they were "taking care of the Indians" by putting them in the stockade and that the Utes now were probably better fed than at any other time in their lives. T h e search for Posey dragged on for about a month. Finally, when his signal fires on Comb Ridge could no longer be seen, the Indians in the stockade sent for Marshal Ward in Salt Lake City. He met with them privately, the Indians exacting a promise from him 33

Rogers interview, p. 22. Salt Lake Tribune, April 6, 1923.


Paiute Posey


Group on expedition to dig up Posey's remains and verify his death. Copyright 1980 Baker and Lacy from the book Posey: T h e Last Indian War.

that they would show where Posey was if the marshal would not tell the Mormons. He agreed and the next day was led to Posey's corpse. T h e body was emaciated, showing signs of having suffered a painful death from blood poisoning due to the gunshot wound inflicted by Dave Black at the beginning of the war. T o the Indians, however, Posey had died from poisoned Mormon flour.35 Ward buried the body, taking care to conceal the grave, and then returned to Blanding. T h a t night, he gathered the men of the town together. J o h n D. Rogers remembered the meeting: " T have given the Indians my word that I will not tell where Posey is buried,' Mr. Ward told us. 'But I assure you that he is dead. He is buried where no white man can possibly find him. And I ask that you take my word for it.' T h a t closed the matter as far as Marshal Ward was concerned and he returned to Salt Lake the following day."36 Not so for the settlers. They were out the next day, tracking Ward's footprints to the burial site, where they unearthed the grisly remains and had their pictures taken with it. A few days later Agent McKean said that he needed proof, and so he also went out with some of the men from town, dug u p the body, and had his picture taken. Even in death, Posey was disturbed by the white man. 35 Stella Eyetoo interview by Floyd O'Neil and Gregory Thompson, July 1, 1980, p. 18, White Mesa Oral History Project. 36 Rogers, "Piute Posey," p. 10.


Utah Historical Quarterly

McKean was in Blanding for yet another purpose. He had come to take charge of the Ute/Paiute children in the stockade, with the idea of hauling them to Towaoc to attend the Indian school. Part of the procedure entailed the de-Indianizing of the reluctant students, done with all the sensitivity that a frontier town could muster: They were just like wild kids. They went in there and old Edison [Palmer] was the barber. He had his sleeves rolled up just like that. He would catch those kids just like you would catch a porcupine or a badger and he would hold them. Old Edison would just start clipping their hair. He had a can of kerosene. When he started clipping, the lice would come up onto his hand. T h e kerosene would kill them. We would get that done, we would take the clothes off of them. We would give them a sponge bath. We would put gingham aprons on the girls and a calico shirt and a pair of overalls on the boys. I think they were taken away the day before they moved them out.

Before the Indians were released from the stockade, the question of land had also been settled. An area around Cottonwood and Allen Canyon drainage was set aside for the Indians' use. Approximately 8,360 acres now belonged to the Ute/Paiute band, the land being broken into individual allotments for farming and grazing. 38 Later, in the 1940s and 1950s, the Indians would be moved again, to their present location at White Mesa, ten miles south of Blanding. When the prisoners finally walked out of the stockade, there was an obvious relaxing of tension, but not everyone was happy. After Joe Bishop learned of his son's death, his reaction was like that of any father: "He cried when he knew that his son was dead. I could hardly help but feel that he was kind of relieved this thing was over. Of course, his sympathy would be with his boy, but he was peaceful; he didn't want any trouble." 39 Ironically, one of the white men noticed that, "the Utes were as friendly after the war as before." 40 T h e conflict was over. Viewed in a totally objective light â&#x20AC;&#x201D; two men had been killed, a final solution had been found to the theft of livestock, the Indians were settled on their own lands, and the treatment of the prisoners was considered to have been humane. For the Indians it was not a war and there was never any plan to turn it into one. A desperate flight to Comb Ridge, a few shots fired 37

Hurst interview, p. 38. Charles S. Peterson, Look to the Mountains: Southeastern Utah and the La Sal National Forest (Provo: Brigham Young University Press, 1975), pp. 155-56. 39 Jones interview, p. 73. 40 William R. Young, " T h e 1923 Indian Uprising in San J u a n County Utah," p. 3, MS. A2022, Utah State Historical Society Library. 38

Paiute Posey


as a delaying action, and a very rapid surrender hardly justify the elevating of an exodus into a war. But to the white settlers it was a war. Letting loose all of the pent-up fear and frustration that had accumulated over forty years, they mobilized quickly, combining old frontier know-how with twentieth-century warfare. Talk of electrified fences and aircraft armed with machine guns and bombs, the use of prisoner stockades, and the dissemination of volatile propaganda in the yellow press, combined with tracking Indians in Model-T Fords, horse-mounted posses, and old-fashioned gunfights, made this outbreak dramatic if not unique. One can see that as the old frontier passed away, modern inventions started to create a new era dominated by machines and technological advances. Today, Paiutes and Utes come into Blanding and walk the streets where once their ancestors were held captive by armed guards. White children of a younger generation go in search of "Old Posey's grave," an activity inspired by fathers and grandfathers who remember him, while adults still hike the Posey trail, talking about gunfights and the bravery of the posse. Yet underneath the calm exterior of the Indian citizens there lies an unrest born of a frustration in accepting an Anglo-American world that moves too fast for the older people. Posey may have died more than sixty years ago, but the problems of cultural disintegration that he confronted still exist, awaiting answers that the Posey War failed to give. Posey with Charles R. Mabey in 1915. Kumen Jones stands in back of and between the two men. Mabey became governor of Utah in 1921. Copyright 1980 Baker and Lacy from the book Posey: T h e Last Indian War.

Bootlegging in Zion: Making and Selling the "Good Stun 0 ' BY H E L E N Z. P A P A N I K O L A S

the Deseret News called Prohibition on the evening before Utah went dry. "A splendid measure," Gov. Simon Bamberger said of the Utah dry law that would take effect on August 1, 1917, and the Salt Lake Tribune assured its readers that "No Prohibition bill ever became law with a better chance of being enforced." Instead, Prohibition introduced X H E GREATEST BLESSING SINCE C H R I S T , "

Mrs. Papanikolas is a Fellow of the Utah State Historical Society and a former member of the Board of State History and the Advisory Board of Editors of Utah Historical Quarterly.

Liquor agents with seized still, probably in Salt Lake City. Photograph courtesy of William Fotes.

Bootlegging in Zion


the speakeasy, the silver hip flask, and the padded suitcase. T h e era of the bootlegger was about to begin in Utah as it had in other dry states. 1 While the legislature was still debating the fine points of implementing statewide Prohibition, opportunists were busily hoarding liquor in anticipation of its advent. An enterprising Marysvale druggist had accumulated 600 gallons, supposedly to be dispensed by physicians in Piute County, which was already dry u n d e r a local option law. In Salt Lake City, legally wet until August 1, the Tribune reported that residents were "keeping ear and eye open to the call of the 'tangle foot' vendor and many a quart, gallon and barrel has been snugly stowed away for future reference." 2 Until midnight of July 31 liquor dealers sold their inventories at any cost. People flocked to buy whatever liquor was available, ig1 Deseret News, July 31, 1917; SaltLake Tribune, February 3, 1917. Studies of Prohibition in Utah include Brent Grant Thompson, "Utah's Struggle for Prohibition, 1908-1917" (M.A. thesis, University of Utah, 1979), and Larry Earl Nelson, "Problems of Prohibition Enforcement in Utah, 1917-1933" (M.S. thesis, University of Utah, 1970). 2 SaltLake Tribune, July 1, 20, 1917.




Utah Historical Quarterly

noring provisions in the law for stringent fines, jail, or both for possession of it. T h r o u g h o u t the state, throngs celebrated the end of an era by toasting with liquor. T h e Deseret News called the revelry a night of debauchery. T h e Kaysville Weekly Reflex complained that if people were as careful in saving food for the war effort as they had been in the past few days "in conserving the supply of booze there would be a very large surplus this fall." In Richfield "they celebrated the death of J o h n Barleycorn with lots of wetting and washing down. . . ." T h e Tooele Transcript decried "a night of disorder that was much to be regretted by all the sober citizens of Utah." T h e Salt Lake Tribune said, "Old Man Booze . . . died game . . . like the spirit of the west. . . with his boots on . . . [and with] wine, women and song." At midnight in Park City a wild scene was enacted on Main Street, and empty barrels and empty ice cream freezers and everything else that would roll down the paved street were set to motion . . . [with] drunken yells and loud hurrahs by the midnight revelers. 3

By January 16, 1920, the Eighteenth Amendment imposing nationwide Prohibition had been ratified by the states; to enforce it Congress passed the Volstead Act. T h e evangelist Billy Sunday said: the reign of tears is over. T h e slums will soon be a memory. We will turn o u r prisons into factories a n d o u r jails into s t o r e h o u s e s a n d corncribs. . . . Hell will be forever for rent. 4

T h e naive belief that Prohibition would solve the country's social problems was unaffected by the weariness of the population over wartime shortages and sacrifices, the trauma of the worldwide influenza epidemic that killed more than a half-million Americans, and, most important, the cynicism accompanying the carnage of "the war to end all wars." In the revolt against old virtues, forbidden liquor became the symbol of a new sybaritism. For many, also, Prohibition was an assault on Constitutional liberties. While ministers, politicians, editors, and the Women's Christian Temperance Union enjoyed a putative victory, speakeasies immediately proliferated in basements and walkups on shabby streets. A knock on a door was answered by the opening of a peephole ^DeseretNews, August 1, 1917; Kaysville Weekly Reflex, August 2, 1917; Richfield Reaper, August 4, 1917; Tooele Transcript, August 3, 1917; Salt Lake Tribune, August 1. 1917; Park Record, August 3, 1917. For a personal account see J o h n Farnsworth Lund, "The Night before Doomsday," Utah Historical Quarterly 51 (1983). 4 Larry Engelmann, Intemperance: The Lost War against Liquor (New York: Free Press, 1979), p. xi.

Bootlegging in Zion


t h r o u g h which suspicious eyes looked out waiting for the password. "Joe sent me" and the wordsflivver, rumble seat, booze, flapper, jazz, and bootleg (an old word for liquor smuggled in a tall boot) became indelible accretions to the American vocabulary. Joining Americans in these illegal liquor activities were recent immigrants from the Balkans, Mediterranean, and Asia who were free from the American-Puritan attitude toward alcohol. In moderation it was traditionally part of the ceremonial and communal festivities of their cultures. Especially a m o n g the Mediterranean people, drunkenness was censured. T h e immigrants derided Prohibition as peculiar; their wine and sake were staples that accompanied meals. A popular Greek p h o n o g r a p h record of the era asked in perplexity, "Why is America dry?" 5 T h e foreign-language newspapers subsidized by the LDS church â&#x20AC;&#x201D; such as the G e r m a n Beobachter and Danish Bikuben â&#x20AC;&#x201D; could only mirror its stance in favor of Prohibition, but t h e j a p a n e s e Utah Nippo predicted the impossibility of monitoring the law and deplored the evils that followed, in particular blindness that afflicted people who had t u r n e d to drinking wood alcohol. T h e Greeklanguage To Fos ("The Light") said: By a large majority doctors consider alcoholic beverages useful for therapy, most priests as well as [other] knowledgable people, want the abolition of this law that rather than saving a few d r u n k a r d s from degeneracy and catastrophe, has sent a multitude to Hades by means of liquor sold for evil and unscrupulous gain.

To Fos asserted that m o r p h i n e and cocaine addiction h a d increased tenfold since Prohibition. "Statistics show the Volstead Act is h a r m ful not beneficial," it said. In ethnic communities bootleggers were not outcasts unless they combined liquor pursuits with prostitution. 6 In contrast, the predominately M o r m o n communities of Sanpete County gave Prohibition whole-hearted approval, but the law would be violated in Sanpete just as it was in areas with no tradition of abstention. Although possibly exaggerating, one former resident recalled that, "Bootleggers almost had to wear badges so they wouldn't sell to each other."

5 Mentioned in "Tales of Skill and Loss in Greek-American Recorded H u m o r , " p a p e r by Steve Frangos, Department of Anthropology, Indiana University. 6 UtahNippo (Salt Lake City), February 8, 1919,January 10, 1923; ToFos (Salt Lake City), July 5, 1923. T h e a u t h o r is indebted to Rev. K. O k u n o , Nicherin Buddhist T e m p l e , for researching back issues of Utah Nippo. 7 J o h n S. H . Smith, "Localized Aspects of the Urban-Rural Conflict in the United States: Sanpete County, Utah, 1919-1929" (M.A. thesis, University of Utah, 1972), p. 69.


Utah Historical Quarterly

Yet in Utah, immigrants and the American-born never embroiled themselves in bootlegging to the extent of those in large cities beyond the state where young thugs were taking their first steps toward becoming leading gangsters. Utah was only slightly touched with gangsterism, but residents, including mothers and children, became lawbreakers; bootlegging flourished; a n d shootings were regular events. Drinkers had not resigned themselves to becoming abstinent, even if it meant drinking flavoring extracts that contained a high percentage of alcohol (as much as 85 percent for lemon) a n d which, in spontaneous accommodation to their need, were being bottled in pints, quarts, and gallons. F o r m e r govenor J. Bracken Lee recalled Prohibition's debut: "Whiskey i m m e d i a t e l y b e g a n c o m i n g in f r o m Rock S p r i n g s , Wyoming." Rolla West, a mayor of Price, Utah, d u r i n g the Prohibition era, wrote: O n e of the biggest and most astute politicians of the early 1920's discovered that White Mule, Panther wettings, moonshine, embalming fluid, Bootleg or even Bourbon whiskey, by throwing in a little b u r n t sugar and tobacco juice [for flavor and color], was available in Private distilleries in Wyoming. 8

T h e making and selling of liquor had suddenly passed from commercial distilleries to the u n d e r g r o u n d . Immigrants who h a d used the g r a p e residue from wine-making for their households' liqueurs, Americans who had sporadically m a d e a small a m o u n t of whiskey for their own consumption, a n d an eager n u m b e r of novices learning the easy rudiments of production set u p stills in towns, cities, and isolated areas of the state. T h e Utah State Legislature was as busily engaged for the next sixteen years in formulating a complex system of rules to govern patent medicines and flavoring extracts (a favorite of young people a n d housewives), d e n a t u r e d (wood) alcohol, cider, vinegar, mincemeat, a n d c o m m u n i o n wine ("to follow the commands of the Divine Master") as well as fines, i m p r i s o n m e n t , a n d confiscation of liquor a p p a r a t u s a n d other property involved in the preparation and selling of liquor, including automobiles used for transportation. 9 Although the p h e n o m e n a l new liquor business was surreptitious, bootleggers became instantly known. Usually they carried on a "Interview with J. Bracken Lee, J u n e 16, 1983; Rolla West MS., p. 23, American West Center, University of Utah. 9 Nelson, "Problems of Prohibition Enforcement," p p . 49, 104-16.

Bootlegging in Zion


Bill Lines and Carbon County Sheriff Marion Bliss, ca. 1928. Photograph courtesy of Eldon J. Dorman.

legitimate business as camouflage. Others worked part-time at it, especially after the stock market crash of 1929 and the economic depression that followed. Bootleggers came from the professions, from business, and from labor: unsuccessful doctors a n d attorneys, successful druggists, sheepmen (who left their wives to r u n stills while they were in sheep camps for lambing and shearing), railroad workers, miners, and shop owners, particularly those of shoeshine stands. Many American-born druggists were actively engaged in bootlegging, a natural development since medicinal liquor had always been dispensed by them. In their back rooms, as well as in poolhalls, candy stores, and hotels where "traveling men," the old-time d r u m mers, congregated, liquor was readily available. Shoeshine shop owners became middlemen t h r o u g h another long-established American custom. Until World War II, doctors, attorneys, and businessmen were in the habit of having their shoes shined d u r i n g their work day in the business district. According to one shop owner, while the polish was being applied his customers "asked us all the time where to get some whiskey." 10 In Utah, as in the 10

A Greek bootlegger of the era who asked, as did many respondents, not to be indentified.


Utah Historical Quarterly

n a t i o n , G r e e k i m m i g r a n t s h a d almost exclusively t a k e n over shoeshine parlors, once the province of blacks a n d the Irish, and often owned chains of them. As boys of nine a n d older they had been b r o u g h t to the United States by somatoempori ("flesh merchants") and i n d e n t u r e d in r e t u r n for their highly inflated ship's passage. 11 In Salt Lake City and elsewhere in Utah they served as conduits between their countrymen's bubbling stills a n d respected, insatiable citizens. As the shoeshine parlors became increasingly popular fronts the once modestly dressed, obsequious shoeshiners began wearing m o n o g r a m m e d silk shirts and being chauffeured in Cadillacs. Several extended their activities into Canada. As the best man at a wedding in the middle twenties, one of t h e m b r o u g h t cases of Canadian whiskey as a gift for the large reception, because marriage celebrations in Greek immigrant days were communal. 1 2 If illegal whiskey flavored the wedding festivities of immigrants, it also spiced the dancing parties of the American-born. Reports in the Provo Herald complained of "immoral dancing" and intoxication in U t a h C o u n t y r e s o r t s t h r o u g h o u t t h e e a r l y 1920s. L. R. Hebertson, who managed the Geneva resort, "admitted that drinking h a d been r a m p a n t at the resort the entire season. ' T h e r e hasn't been a dance at Geneva this summer,' he said, 'when Salt Lake bootleggers didn't come down, loaded with liquor, which was sold to the dancers a n d others.' " In Vivian Park, another resort in the Provo area, m a n a g e r J. F. Carter told the Herald that "there had been 'drunkenness and i m p r o p e r dancing at the resort all summer.' "13 Middlemen did well; bootleggers who sold their liquor directly did even better. In cellars, basements, and empty buildings they set u p stills with exhaust pipes leading to chimneys to disperse the potentially betraying fumes. Beyond, on farms a n d in half-hidden gulleys and washes where scrub oak a n d tall sagebrush screened chimneys on shacks, lucrative distillation progressed. Small canyons and mountain draws were ideal: Burch Creek in Weber County, the Mount Olympus area of Salt Lake County, Barney's Canyon n o r t h of West J o r d a n , the junction of Red Creek a n d the Strawberry River, Johnson's Pass in Tooele County, Twelve Mile Canyon in Sanpete 11 T h e o d o r e Saloutos, The Greeks in the United States (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1964), p p . 48-56, gives a graphic picture of this dark period. 12 T h e author's husband remembers this scene at the wedding of his uncle in the mid-1920s. 13 Gary C. Kunz, "Provo in the Jazz Age," Sunstone 9 (January-February 1984): 34.

Bootlegging in Zion


County, the mouth of Provo Canyon, Crandall Canyon north of Castle Gate in Carbon County, and Nine Mile Canyon between Price and Duchesne. T o allay suspicion, bootleggers in Nine Mile Canyon kept a few old ewes grazing outside the shacks because authentic sheepmen left old and injured animals behind when they trailed their flocks into high country for summer grazing. Fermenting grapes for wine and barley and hops for beer required no special equipment, but setting u p a still depended on a coppersmith's craftmanship to solder sheets of copper into round or box-shaped containers of sizes ranging from a few feet in circumference for individual needs to those of massive dimensions for wholesale business. T h e "feds," federal liquor agents, sought out coppersmiths as diligently as bootleggers did and at times used ruses to entrap them. 14 Fortunately, stills were made of copper. When a still that used lead coils rather than copper was discovered in San14

Salt Lake Tribune, March 8, 1929.

Raids in Provo uncovered numerous stills, and residents complained of free-flowing liquor at Utah County resorts during Prohibition era. Photograph is of Center Street looking west. USHS collections.

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Utah Historical Quarterly

pete County, the information "presumably did more to discourage tippling . . . than any n u m b e r of sermons." 1 5 Making whiskey was simple once the still was ready; recipes for mash became common property. Bootleggers drove to farms and grain elevators to buy great amounts of rye, wheat, and corn "for fodder"; to stores for h u n d r e d - p o u n d sacks of sugar "for putting u p fruit"; and to wholesalers for p o u n d s of yeast "to bake bread." T o distill 100 gallons of whiskey a day, a plant in an empty four-story warehouse on First South and Fourth West in Salt Lake City used a ton of sugar, sixty-five pounds of yeast, and a sack of rye every four days. 16 T h e industry utilized great quantities of raisins, molasses, and a lesser a m o u n t of fresh fruit. Tobacco juice or iodine gave the required amber color and "bite" to the whiskey. Sugar whiskey m a d e without fusil oil that had to be filtered over charcoal was of the highest quality. Grapes were often added to the grain and sugar for taste. T h e mash was then left to ferment in a crock for seventy-two hours, strained t h r o u g h cloth, and distilled. T h e first distillation was whiskey. T h e bootlegger periodically lighted matches to the distillation: the higher the alcohol content, the bluer the flame. When the flame t u r n e d yellow, more water than alcohol was being distilled. "Raw" whiskey, also called "white lightning," was unaged and sold straight from the still.17 Much cheaper than aged whiskey that was handled by trusted bootleggers who supplied men in business and the professions, it satisfied transients, cowboys, sheepherders, and the poor. Capturing bootleggers was a m o n u m e n t a l problem. 1 8 Following usual political practice, the state legislature had passed a Prohibition bill that entailed an enormous expenditure of time by a vast force of p e r s o n n e l b u t h a d not provided c o m m e n s u r a t e funds to pay officers. Governor Bamberger asked health officials and other state officers to take on Prohibition duties with their regular work, and he deputized others. Gov. Charles R. Mabey continued the policy of giving commissions to people who traveled about the state and were interested in uncovering liquor violations. 19 Not enough honest 15

Smith, "Localized Aspects of the Urban-Rural Conflict," p. 69. SaltLake Tribune, November 15, 1930. 17 Raymond Sokolov, "White Lightning," Natural History 89 (1980): 86-90. 18 Frederick Lewis Allen, Only Yesterday: An Informal History of the Twenties (New York: Bantam Books, 1952), p. 224, states that appropriations in 1920 provided a force of only 1,520 federal agents. 19 Nelson, "Problems of Prohibition Enforcement," p p . 108-9. 16

Bootlegging in Zion


agents were employed, however, to cope with stills sprouting up everywhere and the ceaseless demand of the public: "People went crazy over whiskey. Looking for it, getting it, hiding it."20 After the Utah bill became law, the liquor agents' first duty was to stop whiskey from coming into the state, especially from Wyoming, which was still legally wet. According to Rolla West: Any unattached man who had enough money to make a down payment on a fast car and enough money to pay for his 'load' to the Wyoming supplier could get directions [from him] where he could sell his 'load' at a handsome profit. Full time or part time. Part time being preferrfed] since a regular job was a good front.

When agents found the two-lane dirt roads that bootleggers used between Utah and Wyoming, some shipments were thwarted and local whiskey making increased. In Carbon County "Kentucky" moonshine whiskey makers who had never been as far east as Grand Junction, Colo., arrived on the scene on very short notice. Back rooms and basements strategically situated became quietly active and hush-hush. . . . [You could get it] anywhere in town. 21

T o transport liquor, bootleggers used cars, stages, trains, horses, and, in one instance, an airplane. One man recalled: I drove the old Bingham Stage Line starting in 1919. We'd regularly pick up two unmarked suitcases in Salt Lake â&#x20AC;&#x201D; no name or tag on them â&#x20AC;&#x201D; and deposit them outside Johnny Jimson's place in Bingham. This way no one could accuse us of knowing the suitcases were filled with Wyoming whiskey. 22

An ingenious bootlegger in Wales, Sanpete County, loaded whiskey in the pack saddle of his trained horse and then turned the animal loose to make its way home over twenty miles of mountain road. T h e bootlegger returned home by car on the highway. Although the officers "knew he was bootlegging," when they stopped his car and searched it, they never found any liquor in it.23 Agents checked boxcars regularly. Because few officers were available to examine every freight train, they relied on rumors and informers. In Ogden agents discovered two boxcars filled with $100,000 of "fine liquor" and stood guard while curious onlookers came to the railyards and milled about. 24 20

Statement of Emily Zeese, the author's mother. West MS., p. 24. " I n t e r v i e w with Joseph Hasalone, August 18, 1983. 23 Smith, "Localized Aspects of the Urban-Rural Conflict," p p . 69-70. 24 Salt Lake Tribune, December 29, 1923. 21


Utah Historical Quarterly

Sheriff Marion Bliss, deputy Warren S. Peacock, and an unidentified man with an illegal Carbon County still. Photograph courtesy of Eldon f. Dorman.

Railroaders themselves made deliveries. Engineers, conductors, and brakemen traveled throughout Utah and into surrounding states and were able to buy their own whiskey, but railroad officials and men working in roundhouses and depots in division points had stationary jobs and depended on others for liquor. Two gallons in pint bottles could be fitted into a padded suitcase. Railroaders had few qualms about carrying their heavy luggage into YMCAs, which had been built mainly to house them on their overnight runs. A long-retired Union Pacific brakeman recalled that as an eighteen-year-old he was introduced to the Milford mayor by a conductor. In return for a room above the mayor's drugstore, freedom to read any magazine on the rack, and all the malted milks he wanted, he was recruited to bring Delmuse Whiskey, at twenty dollars a gallon, from Caliente, Nevada. It was a good deal. I had the experience. T h e year before I spent two months in Monterey, California, in an army program for young men to get a taste of army life. T h e sergeant was confined to the base. He was an alcoholic and he'd whipped all the Monterey police force. His nerves were a jangle and he had to rely on vanilla and lemon extract. Twice a week I went into Monterey for supplies and the sergeant gave me some

Bootlegging in Zion


money and a note to take to this guy in a certain poolhall. I'd go to the toilet a n d the guy would follow me. I'd give him the note a n d money a n d he'd give me the booze. 2 5

Using the rails to transport liquor was easiest a n d least subject to detection, but automobiles were the c o m m o n means of bootleg travel. W h e n horses carried liquor t h r o u g h impassable draws a n d canyons, several trips h a d to be m a d e to highways where cars awaited their arrival. In a d u g o u t a half-mile off the Lincoln Highway in Tooele County, agents found a 200-gallon still, 40 gallons of whiskey, a n d 1,500 gallons of mash. T h e bootleggers b r o u g h t the liquor on horseback to the highway with a cedar tree tied to the horse d r a g g i n g behind to erase its tracks. 26 Bootleggers spent a large portion of their time eluding and trying to outwit agents. In Salt Lake City a wholesaler r o d e streetcars to empty houses t h r o u g h o u t the city to tend his stills. T o cover his trail he stopped off at various corners a n d transferred to later streetcars. For alleviating the sag at the back of automobiles that gave officials the clue liquor was being transported, bootleggers placed blocks u n d e r the rear springs. With loads of liquor in their cars, they drove slowly toward s e m a p h o r e lights to prevent sloshing in the bottles that would arouse suspicion. Recalling this precaution, the owner of the G r a n d Central grocery chain, Maurice Warshaw, told a television audience about creeping toward an intersection light while looking apprehensively into the rearview m i r r o r at a sheriffs car following him. 27 Bootleggers quickly learned it was useless to hide bottles in toilet tanks or p o u r liquor down the sink, for agents became adept at r e m o v i n g the gooseneck pipe u n d e r n e a t h a n d finding the incriminating residue. However, bootleggers were equally adept at devising new subterfuges to avoid detection. An imaginative bootlegger in Sanpete County "kept his stocks in bed â&#x20AC;&#x201D; with his wife ready to j u m p in a n d feign sickness should the law a p p e a r with a search warrant." A n o t h e r Sanpete m e r c h a n t transported his booze "in a specially designed rumble seat." In Summit County, when the newly elected Coalville sheriff set u p road-blocks to stop Wyoming whiskey from coming in, Park City


T h e r e s p o n d e n t asked not to be identified because " T h e U.P. was good to me." SaltLake Tribune, December 29, 1923. 27 For Warshaw's other bootlegging experiences in California see his autobiography, Life More Sweet than Bitter (Salt Lake City, 1975), p p . 157-59. 26


Utah Historical Quarterly

connoisseurs had to drink less desirable brew until the town mortician J. E. "Jimmy" Flynn drove a hearse to Kemmerer, Wyoming, with other town notables following, ostensibly to the site of a mine disaster. After filling the coffin with whiskey, the funeral cortege drove through the roadblock, reverently waved on, and into Park City.28 Heine H e r n o n , who since 1901 had owned a Park City saloon that was converted to a soda fountain the day after Prohibition went into effect ("There were seventeen saloons in Park City before that day and seventeen soda fountains the day after," residents said.), installed a partition, suspended by weights, u n d e r a second-story window of his saloon. When raided, he rolled barrels of Wyoming whiskey against the partition, which lifted from the pressure, and the kegs came to rest in the attic of the adjacent one-story building. T h e owners of the Metropol Hotel in Price constructed removable baseboards behind which whiskey bottles could be safely hidden. In the Granger-Hunter area of Salt Lake County, farmers successfully hid bottles and small kegs in designated sections of irrigation ditches for nighttime retrieval by middlemen. Copper tubing leading to storage containers was conclusive proof of illegal activities. After a diligent hunt in a combination restaurant and soft-drink parlor near 100 West Second South in Salt Lake City, agents found a copper tube between the woodwork running from the first floor to the basement and back to a supply tank on the second floor.29 No one, of course, could explain away the presence of working stills; bootleggers frantically tried to dismantle them when agents swept through neighborhoods on raids. During the 1922 Carbon County coal strike National Guard troops, while systematically searching mine company houses, saw a young South Slav girl running down the road, her long blond hair streaming; sensing she was holding contraband, they ran after her. T h e girl threw a coil of copper tubing into a clump of bushes, climbed a tree outside Menotti's grocery store, and remained there until a wagon passed below. She j u m p e d into it, hid, and escaped to her house. She then had her hair cut like a boy's and dyed black, and until the National Guard left the county she dressed in overalls. 30 28

Smith, "Localized Aspects of the Urban-Rural Conflict," p. 69; interview with Robert Hernon. *9SaltLake Tribune, May 17, 1929. 30 Interview with Zelpha Vuksinick, April 2, 1980.

Bootlegging in Zion


T h e potential profit to be made from illegal liquor was so tempting that individuals often took foolish risks. Frank Lyons built a 40-gallon still in his Provo home, less than two blocks from the courthouse; it was raided in 1921. A number of larger stills were discovered by agents in downtown Provo, the largest, destroyed by officials in 1928, "was capable of producing over 200 gallons of whiskey every 24 hours," with most of the product sold to Provoans in anticipation of the Christmas holiday season.31 T h e elements often helped federal agents. Counting on surprising the immigrant neighborhoods in Magna, agents began a raid after snowfall. Hearing the commotion and the cries, "They're coming!" a millworker emptied several barrels of wine into the gutter in front of his house. T h e agents followed the red rivulets to his doorstep and arrested him.32 T o absorb fumes a bootlegger in Price dug a trench and buried two parallel pipes that led from his basement still to an underground septic tank. While agents prowled the neighborhood after snow had fallen, they noticed two lines where the snow had melted, dug, and uncovered the pipes. 33 Stills exploded frequently and neighborhood fires were a constant menace. Firemen repeatedly detected stored whiskey and stills while extinguishing flames. A disastrous 1932 fire in Highland Boy destroyed the school, houses, and businesses a third of a mile on either side of Carr Fork, leaving three h u n d r e d people homeless. 34 Above the roar of the fire stills blew up, one after the other. Agents were also aided by hunters and boys. During every pheasant, duck, and deer season, hunters came upon hidden stills and informed police. Playing football on Fourth South between Tenth and Eleventh East in Salt Lake City, boys discovered a tengallon keg of whiskey buried in a hillside to age. They carried the prize a distance and then called police. One of the largest distilleries in the West was found by boys playing near an old westside warehouse, supposedly used to store furs and hides. T h e boys saw two men enter the building and notified the police. Nine 500-gallon vats and twelve 55-gallon barrels filled with mash were found. Inadvertently, a small boy betrayed his bootlegging grandfather when several agents appeared at a farmhouse in American Fork and asked 31

Kunz, "Provo in the Jazz Age," p. 35. T h e godfather of the author's husband. 33 Interview with Ted A. Poulos, October 26, 1980. Z4 Bingham Bulletin, September 22, 1932; Salt Lake Tribune, September 9, 1932.



Utah Historical Quarterly

him if his grandfather m a d e whiskey. T h e boy answered that he did and led them to the barn, then watched in h o r r o r as they demolished the still and barrels with axes. 35 Liquor agents were almost always Protestants or Mormons and reflected the anti-immigrant prejudice of the era that culminated in the 1924-25 Ku Klux Klan campaigns. 3 6 As immigrants from the Mediterranean and the Balkans began marrying American women, hostility against them grew. In retribution, liquor agents often tried to fake bootlegging charges. A young Greek in Magna who eloped with a Mormon woman to Farmington and r e t u r n e d to find crosses b u r n i n g in front of his cafe and h e r parents' house was continually on the alert for approaching agents. By banging on the wall, the other side of which was a Greek coffeehouse, he gave the signal to his countrymen to rush over to prevent agents from planting a bottle of whiskey and then arresting him. 37 I g n o r a n t of or indifferent to immigrant cultures, agents were often harsher than necessary. T h e y trivialized the need of wine for communion, for the common cup from which a bride and groom must drink, and for toasting the health of a newly baptized infant. In Helper the sheriff entered a below-the-sidewalk restaurant to arrest the owner for a liquor violation. T h e proprietor was eating a n d lifted his palm in a staying motion. H e had come from the island of Crete, from a pocket of land where a large population of T u r k s lived, and had acquired their Moslem tenet of not rising from the table until a meal was completed. Fuming, the sheriff waited, taking this religious custom as a sign of contempt. 3 8 T h e Price newspaper resented the attention focused on illegal liquor operations in Carbon County by federal Prohibition director Mathonihah T h o m a s . It accused him of not having "the nerve to tackle the booze problem in Salt Lake City" where "all a m a n has to do to get booze most anywhere . . . is pay the price. . . . T h e trouble is that if the Democratic office holder u n d e r t o o k to clean u p Salt Lake he would r u n into too many of his friends. . . ." Accusations that law enforcement officials protected some liquor violators were c o m m o n

35 Salt Lake Tribune, March 30, 1932, February 24, 1923; story related to a u t h o r by Myra Varanakis. 36 See Larry R. Gerlach, Blazing Crosses in Zion: The Ku Klux Klan in Utah (Logan: Utah State University, 1982). " I n t e r v i e w with Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Dallas, J u n e 26, 1972. 38

Reminiscence of George Zeese, the author's father.

Bootlegging in Zion


during Prohibition. T h e city marshal of Milford in 1928 was reported by federal official George A. Goates to be protecting his sister, "the chief offender" against Prohibition in his jurisdiction. State legislator Lorenzo Argyle complained to Governor Bamberger that law officers in Spanish Fork were turning a blind eye toward "Bootlegging, Drinking and Carousing." 39 Caught with liquor in one's possession was not the only hazard in Prohibition days. Lacking reputably made liquor, drinkers consumed canned heat and wood alcohol that could cause blindness. Some learned how to neutralize the methane in this denatured alcohol bought at service stations. Lead salts from car radiators — used by unscrupulous still operators as cheapjack condensers instead of copper tubing — could poison drinkers. Another danger was posed by caves and other poorly ventilated hideouts that nearly asphyxiated bootleggers and agents alike.40 Proper storage presented problems that sometimes required sophisticated knowledge. J. Bracken Lee recalled: Someone gave me a gallon of moonshine and I went to the druggist and asked him if he had any empty wooden casks. He gave me a small, empty formaldehyde barrel and told me to wash it out several times with boiling water. Later that day two friends came by and I offered them a drink. I saw them the next day down town. Their mouths were blistered. I found out you can't ever get formaldehyde out of wood.

Because the liquor business had become clandestine, standards of sanitation belonged to the past, and bootleggers could be as clean and as honest or as unclean and as dishonest as they wanted. Agents raiding a grocery store in Salt Lake City seized forty-four gallons of wine made in a dirty fifty-gallon barrel: "The mash was a conglomeration that respectable pigs would have scorned — being composed of decomposed grapes, apples and other refuse from the store." 42 Drinkers, therefore, deemed it important to know their bootleggers, and they searched until they found "decent liquor that wouldn't make a person sick." Two men most frequently mentioned as "men you could trust" and who "made good stuff' were J o h n Diamanti of Helper and Jimmy McG— of Salt Lake City who made whiskey in his First Avenue house and sold most of it in the Moxum


News Advocate, April 29, 1920; Nelson, "Problems of Prohibition Enforcement," p. 117. Salt Lake Tribune, J u n e 11, 1930. 41 Lee interview. 42 Salt Lake Tribune, January 21, 1928.



Utah Historical Quarterly

Hotel; the guests were mainly permanent residents, stockmen, and traveling salesmen. People needed bootleggers to supply them with liquor, and bootleggers needed attorneys to extricate them from the law. Prohibition brought a period of halcyon days to many lawyers who otherwise would have made a modest or substandard living. Wordof-mouth elevated several attorneys to enviable positions, a m o n g them Samuel A. King and R. Verne McCullough, well known also as a businessman. More so than American bootleggers, immigrants required effective attorneys because judges used their discretion in handing down sentences and were especially severe toward the foreign-born who had flouted the nation's laws. Meanwhile, local juries refused to convict their fellow citizens of liquor possession often enough that the Utah attorney general's office complained. 43 Women, too, often faced trial for bootlegging. Among nine Carbon County bootleggers caught in a raid was a Helper woman of "old" American stock who owned a "brewery of magnificent proportions." H e r operation included a complete bottling plant. Women owners of boardinghouses were u n d e r continual scrutiny. T h e French owner of the Allies Hotel in Price was arrested twice in one week. In Bingham a woman was charged with making whiskey in the old Boston Con Hotel, and in Salt Lake City the mother of nine children pleaded guilty to possession of liquor. Another Salt Lake City mother kept a still going in the basement of her house while her husband was serving an eighteen-month term at McNeil Island for bootlegging. 44 Many mothers turned to bootlegging during the depression years when federal aid was unavailable to help their indigent families. For others bootlegging was a wondrous opportunity to make money. Some women followed the cultural patterns of their native countries. T o have on hand the obligatory liqueur for guests, Greek women in Magna (and elsewhere) made ouzo from chipoura, the crushed grape skins left after the juice was extricated for wine. T o make mastiha, the licorice-tasting liqueur, they combined ouzo with anise. 45 Italians used the crushed grape skins to make a second-grade, and therefore inferior, wine called grappa. 43

Ibid.; Nelson, "Problems of Prohibition Enforcement," p. 129. News Advocate, July 24, May 13, 1926; Bingham Bulletin, March 10, 1932; Salt Lake Tribune, February 17, 1933. 45 Interview with Mrs. J o h n Klekas, May 10, 1979. 44

Bootlegging in Zion


Illegal distilling equipment from raids conducted in Salt Lake City. Posing with seized stills was part of an effort to bolster the image of effective enforcement of liquor laws. Photograph courtesy of William Fotes.

Bootlegging was commonly a family business. Children often left play and chores to deliver liquor. I was fourteen years old and drove my dad's fancy Hupmobile to Nâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;'s goat ranch in Butterfield Canyon. I'd load u p and drive back to Magna. I'll never forget the time the feds raided our house and one of them pushed my mother out of the way. She bit his h a n d so hard, he had to go a r o u n d with it bandaged u p .

In Spring Glen, Carbon County T h e appearance of an 8 year old boy on the Highway in the heat of the day garbed in a coat of manly proportions . . . aroused the curiosity of agents, who, u p o n investigation, discovered two pints of whisky in the pockets of the coat.

Agents frequently overlooked the search and seizure conditions of the Prohibition law and were zealous in their pursuit of liquor violators. In Salt Lake City Sheriff Benjamin R. Harries wounded a fleeing confectioner who was fearful that invading officers were going to assault him. To Fos denounced the shooting of this "American citizen, of very short stature, quiet, a philanthropist, and well

'Interviews with T h e o d o r e Heleotes, September 3, 10, 1983; News Advocate, July 29, 1926.


Utah Historical Quarterly

known in his business neighborhood." In his fear of agents a seventy-eight-year-old man fell headfirst down an elevator shaft. A widow and her children, who had moved into an alley house behind the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Salt Lake City, were terrorized by agents when, failing to find liquor in a neighbor's house, they burst into her kitchen looking for contraband. 47 Unconcerned about formalities, agents were given a legal precedent when the Utah Supreme Court upheld the conviction for possession of liquor of a Uintah County man who had contested his arrest without a signed warrant. In a unanimous decision the court held that the Fourth and Fifth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution on unreasonable search and seizure did not apply to state governments and state courts. T h e court, however, ruled in favor of Bertha Jackson, who brought suit against the Salt Lake County sheriffs office for "vigorously" searching her house (with a warrant) and causing her "severe nervous and emotional stress." 48 Legal m a n e u v e r s , speakeasies, r u m - r u n n i n g , fashionable cocktail parties, gang wars, and hypocrisy fused into the milieu of the dry years. From its inception Prohibition enforcement was a delusion. Although the liquor traffic was intense in almost every part of the state, the Salt Lake Tribune carried the caption "Utah Bone Dry, According to the Official Records." T h e reality was that d u r i n g 1923-32 agents uncovered 448 distilleries and 702 stills in Utah along with thousands of pieces of distilling apparatus; over 47,000 gallons of spirits, malt liquor, wine, and cider; and 332,000 gallons of mash. Much more went undetected. 49 While agents struggled to control the amount of alcohol m a d e in-state by Utah residents, other law enforcement officials tried to stem the tide of liquor entering the United States from foreign countries. Representatives of the federal government and Canada attempted the impossible task of shutting off the supply of liquor and drugs over the border into the United States. Trucks from throughout the country met Canadian ships and left with their disguised loads. A Magna family regularly drove a truck with a half load of lumber to the Pacific Coast, set cases of whiskey and r u m u n d e r the planks, and returned to Utah. Liquor brought by British 41 To Fos, September 6, 1923; Salt Lake Tribune, November 29, 1923, February 20, 1933; interview with Steve Sargetakis, October 26, 1981. 48 SaltLake Tribune, November 16, 1923; Nelson, "Problems of Prohibition Enforcement," p. 46. 49 Salt Lake Tribune, November 19, 1923; Nelson, "Problems of Prohibition Enforcement," appendix 1.

Bootlegging in Zion


ships to the twelve-mile national waters was transported to lighter, faster craft to elude the United States Coast Guard, a small patrol that could not conduct adequate surveillance. Arrests were relatively few; the capture of a British r u m schooner with the purported king of smugglers aboard made front-page news.50 While gang wars escalated in the East and Midwest — the 1929 Valentine's Day Massacre of seven O'Bannions by Al Capone's men a grisly, ingenious performance — violence also erupted periodically in Utah. In Eureka near the Mammoth Mine a bootlegger shot and killed a member of the pioneer Mclntyre family. Halfway between West Jordan and Bingham Canyon in a barn where a still worked, a shooting left one of the bootleggers dead. Rival bootleggers shot at each other on a goat ranch near Lark, and in Lakepoint two still operators were killed over liquor and slot-machine competition. Seventeen miles south of Price, near Mounds in Emery County, an agent shot a bootlegger who was protecting his still with a shotgun and paralyzed him. He died soon after. Two Salt Lake City revenue officers were wounded in Silver City when they discovered that the town's water line had been tapped and followed the pipe to an "effectively concealed" dugout. T h e three young bootleggers refused to come out of the dugout, thinking the officers were hijackers. In the midst of the confrontation, the boiler exploded and one of the bootleggers came out shooting. 51 T h e illegality of liquor and the determination of drinkers to get it by any means led to unprecedented corruption. Raids into neighb o r h o o d s were often shams: bribed officials telephoned still operators to give them time to dispose of their liquor. An area of West Jordan was under the protection of the sheriff, and deputies were ordered not to enter it. In Summit County a deputy sheriff was indicted for allegedly furnishing a still to a bootlegger and conspiring with him to manufacture liquor. Sheriff Amasa M. Hammon was charged with taking one hundred dollars from "Fats" Davis, owner of an Odgen speakeasy. This occurred in the same week that beer was again being legally sold in Wyoming and long lines of au™Salt Lake Tribune, November 26, 1923; To Fos, July 5, 1923. 51 SaltLake Tribune, January 19, 1931; Price News Advocate, January 29, 1931; Salt Lake Tribune, January 11, 1931. Until mortuaries began sending obituaries to newspapers, families often neglected to insert death announcements. When relatives were involved in shootings, they were even more reluctant to inform newspapers of deaths. That, along with incomplete files for some newspapers, makes gathering details of shootings difficult. Accounts are often inprecise but vivid. Everett L. Cooley recalled a Boy Scout trek from West Jordan to Bingham and the awe of seeing the barn in which the shootings over the still took place.

Utah Historical Quarterly


A late 1920s still seizure in Carbon County. Standing: unidentified (probably federal agent), Warren S. Peacock, Judge f. W. Hammond, Marion Bliss; inside car: George Collingham; sitting: Judge Potter, unidentified (probably federal agent), A. E. Gibson. Photograph courtesy of Eldon J. Dorman.

tomobiles crossed over the b o r d e r from Utah as regular Sunday excursions. 52 A federal grand j u r y in 1928 indicted deputy sheriffs, federal officers, "and reputed higher ups in [Salt Lake City] bootleg circles." In Clear Creek, Carbon County, the constable was arrested for serving "white mule" in his boardinghouse; and in Helper the mayor and all the councilmen except one asked for bribes from hotels, poolhalls, and candy stores in r e t u r n for insurance against arrest. T h e owners notified H e n r y Ruggeri, the county attorney, who stripped the officials of their positions. In Ogden the mayor, a commissioner, the chief of police, a police captain, a patrolman, the sheriff, and two deputy sheriffs were arraigned in court, indicted for collaboration with a bootlegger. T h e local Lions' Club passed a resolution in support of the officials.53 52

SaltLake Tribune, July 30, 1928; Deseret News, May 25, 19, 1933. Salt Lake Tribune, April 24, 28, 1928; Sun, August 30, 1928; Zeese reminiscence; Salt Lake Tribune, J a n u a r y 25, 1923, April 6 and May 23, 1933; Ogden Standard-Examiner, April 5, 1933. Of the Helper officials, only Charles Bertolino was found innocent, and he became acting mayor. 53

Bootlegging in Zion


Citizens had a collective contempt for elected officials and, especially, for agents. Besides their solicitation of bribes or accepting t h e m when offered, agents were often guilty of drunkenness and disorderly conduct. In Carbon County an agent was charged with being "too d r u n k to call the 'Black Maria' " after making an arrest. 54 T h e Salt Lake City police chief suspended a policeman caught in a speakeasy raid and three others for intoxication. 55 A Salt Lake City federal agent with "a high-handed m a n n e r " was arrested in Helper for criminal assault on a woman he had kept captive for a period of five hours: [He] held her nose and tried to force liquor down her throat after which he attacked her. [In his car were] two revolvers, a rifle, several pint flasks filled with moonshine, and an empty small keg. 56

Agents carried on vendettas against bootleggers who tried to avoid paying bribes; some kept confiscated liquor and openly defied the law: T h e fed telephoned my dad to give him time to hide his whiskey, then walked in with his men, gave a quick look a r o u n d , and after his m e n went out, motioned my father to get him a stiff drink. 5 7

Bootleggers became bolder in their retaliation against liquor agents. A percentage of each fine was commonly paid to officers on convictions, a policy that was particularly offensive to bootleggers and a reason Helper dry agents became " u n p o p u l a r with the foreign element." Bootleggers in Bingham Canyon warned "Sheriff Corless . . . not to destroy booze . . . or [he] may come in contact with T . N . T . " O n Salt Lake City's westside bootleggers fought with two undercover agents, leaving one with a battered face. 58 O n November 15, 1927, the Salt Lake Tribune reported: "War between police and bootleggers after nightfall, at the present time, has developed into more or less of a one-sided conflict, in which the r u m dealers have the odds." T w o years later the newspaper r e p o r t e d federal agents had been threatened with bodily h a r m , and precautionary measures were taken. Rumors of a similar nature surfaced t h r o u g h o u t the era: 54

News Advocate, April 15, 1927. Salt Lake Tribune, February 12, 1931. 56 News Advocate, October 3 1 , December 1, 1927. 57 Heleotes interviews. 58 News Advocate, April 27, 1922; Bingham Press Bulletin, August 9, 1918; Salt Lake J a n u a r y 17, 1925. 55



Utah Historical Quarterly Members of a bootleg ring are believed to be planning a swift revenge, according to officers. Reports intimate that a group of racketeers had been brought to Salt Lake from a distant city to assist with the work. 5

Agents especially feared going into Carbon County and at times refused to return there. Scoffing at Prohibition was an amusement: a Helper baseball team was called the Bootleggers. Carbon County had been described as "wide open" since early settlement days when cattle was rustled from s o u t h e r n Utah and n o r t h e r n Arizona through Nine Mile Canyon to Myton and Vernal for s u m m e r range and on to Union Pacific railheads in Wyoming. This brought into the county a bunch of hard riding fast shooting men who generally had money. . . . In addition these rustlers required liquor and entertainment and from somewhere these "wide open" items always seemed available.

Carbon County's wide-openness was accepted by almost everyone, but W. F. Olsen, mayor of Price, angrily replied to a derogatory Deseret News editorial on the subject with a letter to the editor: " O u r two marshalls [sic] are good Latter-day Saints even in keeping strictly the word of wisdom." 61 Complaints about laxness in Carbon County did not abate. Letters to federal government officials, the United States attorney general, and Gov. George H. Dern resulted in a vast raid. Agents met in Scofield at 3:30 on an August afternoon in 1928 and spread out to Colton, Helper, Price, the surrounding coal camps, and Eureka in the Tintic Mining District. They succeeded in making numerous arrests. 62 When public protests reached a proportion that could not be ignored, raids followed and agents smiled in the foreground of a pile of stills for newspaper photographers. Editors and readers were scornful of these raids: Frequent accounts appear of the destruction of confiscated liquor, in which a great ceremony is m a d e of the event. It is quite the fad to delegate the actual destruction to some dry organization, u n d e r the direction of the p r o p e r officers of the law. A public place in the streets is selected, due publicity given in advance and then the "Roman holiday." T h e assembled crowd looks on with varied audible expressions.


ÂťSalt Lake Tribune, October 25, 1929, January 21, 1923. West MS., p. 17. 61 Sun, April 28, 1928. 6Z Sun, August 30, 1928. 63 Salt Lake Tribune, December 4, 1926. 60

Bootlegging in Zion


T h e scorn was fueled constantly by contempt for the law that came from the very makers of laws. George Zeese, who accompanied Carl R. Marcusen of Price, state Republican chairman and a candidate for governor, to the August 16, 1928, state GOP convention in Ogden, said: "Whiskey was everywhere in the convention hall. What went on! It was almost impossible to believe. A big drinking party." 64 O n another occasion, when a well-known lobbyist d r o p p e d one of two quart bottles of pre-Prohibition Scotch whisky on the marble floor of the Utah State Capitol building, he explained, before hurrying off, that it was medicine for the sick wife of a legislator. 65 T h e "Era of the Big Lie," a writer characterized the period: T h e drys lied to make prohibition look good. . . . the wets lied to make it look bad; the government officials lied to make themselves look good and to frighten Congress into giving them more money to spend, and the politicians lied through force of habit.

T h e foisting of Prohibition on the nation was catastrophic. T h e failure of the Volstead Act and the misery of the depression b r o u g h t a clamor for repeal of the Eighteenth A m e n d m e n t . Organizations sent resolutions to Governor Blood asking for a special session of the legislature to consider repeal. Yet Prohibitionists fought with valiant, impotent fervor to keep the a m e n d m e n t . At a mass meeting in the Salt Lake Tabernacle to rally against repeal, speakers pleaded for more money and men to enforce Prohibition. "Death is preferable to the iron collar of liquor," a Methodist minister proclaimed. 67 Prohibition was repealed by the Twenty-first A m e n d m e n t that required ratification by thirty-six states. Utah won over Maine's bid to become the thirty-sixth state by Governor Blood's quick action in convening the legislature to vote on it.68 Utah, however, remained a dry state until 3.2 beer became legal in J a n u a r y 1934, and liquor continued to be bootlegged until the present state monopoly was established in 1935. In the interim, Wyoming whiskey from Kemm e r e r selling for $1.25 was a drinker's "good stuff."


Zeese reminiscence. Salt Lake Tribune, February 25, 1931. 66 H e r b e r t Asbury, quoted in Engelmann, Intemperance, p. 161. 61 Salt Lake Tribune, May 4, 16, April 6, 1933. 68 SaltLake Tribune, February 2 1 , 1933. 65

Book Reviews Joseph Smith and the Beginnings of Mormonism. By RICHARD L. BUSHMAN. (Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1984. vii + 262 pp. $17.95.) Another general history of Mormon origins? Not really. Richard Bushman, an academic historian and a loyal Latter-day Saint, has written the story of the beginnings of a faith â&#x20AC;&#x201D; not a religion. T h e word origins stems from the immodest claim of the nineteenth-century historical science to know all. Beginnings, on the other hand, is less ambitious, and, like the first word of the Bible, it implies a story. Bushman intended to "narrate what happened." He succeeds very well, despite certain omissions and despite his stopping in 1831 â&#x20AC;&#x201D; almost before the religion really gets started. One reason for the brief time span is, as the book's title implies, the narrative's primary focus on the Smith family. B u s h m a n moves a l o n g efficiently, summarizing the Smith's "family culture" from the well-known works of Anderson, Backman, Kirkham, and Porter. But as the story moves from the spiritual seeking of the family to their finding their faith in the revelations given to their own son, the book begins to lose focus. Having re-created for us the wondrous experience of the Smith family, the author does not really wish to deal with the dull institutional beginnings of the early 1830s. T h e emotional life of the Smith family was indeed rich, and Bushman brings to his subject an empathy that makes even the forgotten members of the Smith family like Samuel and William come alive as persons, though

briefly mentioned. Joseph Senior also lives. Bushman is the first historian to exploit to t h e i r fullest t h e wishfulfillment dreams of the prophet's father. T h e same empathy extends to the emotional content of early Mormon faith. More effectively than any other historian of pre-institutional Mormonism, Bushman persuades the reader to respect the conversion experience: the fear, the joy, the peace. In so doing he reminds us that the New Englanders distinguished between mere belief ("historical faith") and a soul shaking "new birth." In general, his sensitivity to emotions, in particular to the mind of Lucy Mack Smith, makes the family's actions more understandable. Were it not for the instructive value of this s y m p a t h e t i c n a r r a t i v e , Bushman's book could be classified as another in the old Faith Promoting Series â&#x20AC;&#x201D; a defensive series that one can find in every religious tradition. So the apologetical intent is there but is partly a matter of indirection and omission as well as emotional empathy. In choosing 1831 as his end date B u s h m a n boldly t r u n c a t e s early Mormon history. T h e years 1832-44 are omitted, and even the year 1831 is barely sketched in. Certainly if one were doing original, extremely detailed research into, say, the socioeconomic background of the first converts, one could argue for ending the story in 1831. But in Bushman's ac-

Book Reviews and Notices count Mormonism began, essentially full-blown, in Smith's "family culture" and quite secondarily in American society. T h e beginnings of Mormonism were complete when the Smith family had finished its providential task of living through and supporting the First Vision, the coming forth of the Book of Mormon, and the formal organization of the church on April 6, 1830. What about the extraordinary set of revelations of the next dozen years? What of the attempt to establish a Zion which was q u a s i - c o m m u n i s t a n d communitarian? What of the elaboration of polity and the powerful surge of pre-millennialism (1831-34)? Bushman does admit that it was not the Book of Mormon (before 1831) but the body of revelations (given to Joseph Smith mostly after 1831) that constitutes the backbone of early Mormon doctrine and ecclesiastical practice. But a single sentence cannot dispose of the dozen years after 1831. Bushman proceeds from the premise that the Book of Mormon was an authentic historical document translated from ancient gold plates. On this topic the apologetical stance dictated another omission: there are no lengthy a r g u m e n t s defending the Book of Mormon as true history. Bushman does not j u m p into that morass but distances his account by merely summarizing the objections of the "critics," old and new. None of the newer critics are more recent or more serious than the hostile I. Woodbridge Riley (1902). Fawn M. Brodie (1945) is for Bushman a less rigorous extension of Riley. That is a bit unfair to Brodie. Besides Joseph's psychology, Brodie also stressed the young man as a product of his cultural milieu, an a p p r o a c h to historical analysis that Bushman feels is overdone and often nonproductive. "The perspective of this work," Bushman asserts, "is that Joseph Smith is best

293 understood as a person who outgrew his culture [and is not] the sum total of the historical forces acting on [him]." Clearly, any historian â&#x20AC;&#x201D; not j u s t Brodie and the anti-Mormons â&#x20AC;&#x201D; any historian who rejects the historicity and supernaturalism of Mormon religion, or of any other religion, is compelled to emphasize Joseph Smith as just another product of local historical conditions. For Bushman, however, the critics' r e c o u r s e to r e a s o n , to historical forces, and to naturalistic explanation is almost irrelevant. When he follows his summary of Riley and others with a section entitled "Believers," he notes that the experience of the book [Book of Mormon] transcended the specific c o n t e n t . " Believers " t o u c h e d t h e book, and the realization came over them that God had spoken again...the discovery of additional scripture in itself inspired faith in the people who were looking for more certain evidence of God in their lives." Thus, for a scholar to spend time analyzing the text of the Book of Mormon to prove that it was not a rediscovered ancient Hebrew document but rather a concoction from r u r a l J a c k s o n i a n America is, for Bushman, not an approach that will yield understanding of the historical origins of Mormon faith. This is a defensive position. But Bushman himself succumbs to the old, t e m p t i n g issues of M o r m o n anti-Mormon debates. He tries, for example, to counter the anti-Mormon criticism that Joseph Smith incorporated the local beliefs and events of the Burned-over District of western New York into the Book of Mormon. T h e most popular example with the critics has long been the anti-Masonic furor of the late 1820s, which allegedly inspired Joseph to invent the Mason-like secret societies called the G a d i a n t o n b a n d s in the Book of Mormon. Given his own rejection of


Utah Historical Quarterly

"historical forces," Bushman makes too much of the Gadianton bands, so that his arguments seem strained and overly defensive. Another example of apologetical straining over an old issue is Bushman's assertion that the Book of Mormon signs and symbols that Joseph Smith transcribed on the so-called Anthon manuscript "seem to be Egyptian." This ignores recent discoveries and scholarship concerning the Anthon transcript. T h e characters are not Egyptian, not even for loyal, believing Mormon scholars. T h e third and most unsuccessful example of Bushman's attempts to refute old critics has to do with the Smith family's money-digging enterprise. Here Bushman simply fails to take recent scholarship into account. He implies that Joseph's heart was not in the money-digging business, that he had done it reluctantly, that his father was the one who was really interested, that he gave it up by 1825, that magic and money-digging can be separated, and so on. Unfortunately for this last-ditch stand on money-digging, the recent discovery of the prophet's J u n e 1825 letter to Josiah Stowell offering help and advice in locating treasure by magic has settled this old issue once and for all. But even without that recent discovery most scholars had long since concluded that the existing evidence was sufficient to characterize Joseph Smith as a willing participant in the activity. Since the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints can easily survive this awkward fact, one wonders at the need to strain for a defense.

monism as a restorationist (back to primitive Christianity) religion. Many Jacksonian groups, including the Disciples ("Campbellites"), had advocated a restoration, but according to Bushman only the early Mormons added the missing element that made their claim stick: the doctrine that only they had received direct divine authority to carry out the restoration. " I n the final analysis," writes B u s h m a n , " t h e p o w e r of J o s e p h Smith to breathe new life into ancient sacred stories and to make a sacred story out of his own life, was the source of his e x t r a o r d i n a r y influence." While this book presents no original research, it has several other virtues. It is well organized, clearly written, and totally devoid of the smugness of the insider. It is infused with the mastery of New England history, a mastery that is unobtrusive and that we expect of Richard Bushman. It depicts, persuasively, the hungers and joys of the earliest Saints and will inspire pride in the strengths and talents of that a m a z i n g b a n d of c h u r c h fathers, most of them in their twenties. T h e book can have great value for any o p e n - m i n d e d n o n - M o r m o n reader. But because it is so clearly superior to other apologetic accounts, and because it is so short and wellwritten, it should become a standard account among the Latter-day Saints.

Bushman concludes with a solid interpretation of the appeal of Mor-

University of Massachusetts Amherst


The Leather Throne. By OWEN ULPH. (Salt Lake City: Dream Garden Press, 1984. viii + 469 pp. $19.95.) W h e n Owen Ulph published in 1981 a series of sketches on cowboy life called The Fiddleback: Lore of the

Linecamp, he i n t r o d u c e d a cast of working cowboys whose physical and verbal abilities struck a rare note of

Book Reviews and Notices authenticity for an occupation more often romanticized than accurately d e s c r i b e d . T h e sequel to The Fiddleback — what Ulph advertised in his first book as his "equine masterpiece" — has now been published by D r e a m G a r d e n Press. The Leather Throne — the title refers, of course, to the saddle — is a lengthy, verbose description of life on a small cattle outfit in central Nevada in the 1950s. Ulph, who earned a Ph.D. degree in history at Stanford and taught at Reed College in Oregon for thirty years, took time out to work as a cowhand for the Fiddleback and subsequently retired to his own spread near Elko. The Leather Throne follows a small group of cowboys through the cycle of the year, from r o u n d u p in spring to shipping in the fall. T h e year, 1953, is the last year for the Fiddleback u n d e r the o p e r a t i o n of its aging o w n e r , Emma Rogers. It is the year when the pickup truck begins to take over much of the work previously assigned to horses, the year when the ranch is sold, and the year when one cowhand moves away to a steady job at a packing plant and another commits suicide. Like two of its antecedents, Owen Wister's The Virginian and Andy Adams's The Log of a Cowboy, The Leather Throne rings the death knell for the cowboy's way of life. Like them, too, it is part fact, part fiction (Ulph calls it a "novel that attempts authenticity") but is heavily based on the experiences of its author, here called, ironically, "Doc." Doc is part of an old tradition in western writing stemming from Parkman and Twain, that of the greenhorn's narrating his experiences as he learns the terminology, the work, and the value system of the westerners he encounters. And unsurprisingly, Doc is the b u t t of practical jokes and put-ons by the other cowboys and the deserving object of their ridicule for his inflated vocabulary and pedantry.

295 But while the other works generally m a n a g e d a suitable separation between the pretensions of the youthful narrator and the mature reflection of the author, such cannot be said for Ulph's work. His descriptive language is so overblown, his philosophizing so artificial, that the book irritates far more than it succeeds at trying to get at the essence of cowboy life. Take this e x a m p l e describing the arrival of h o r s e s at E m m a ' s h o m e r a n c h : "Spasmodic nickering accompanies their boisterous gallop to the fence and continues as they race u p and down the barrier in excited frustration. D e s p i t e h a b i t u a l r i v a l r i e s , jealousies, and peavish [sic] pugnacity, the sincerity of the meeting cannot be doubted. A horse is an amaranthine study in logical and emotional ambivalences." Now Ulph may have intended this as a parody of the inflated rhetoric of an academic turned loose on the range, but if he did, the attempt failed because the parody is consistently unframed and unfocused. And there is far too much jargon in the landscape: "A carpet of unblemished grandeur when viewed from afar and a parched map of destitution when e n c o u n t e r e d in its scantily clad proximity, the tufted desert wastelands shelter a thriving economy for the minikin." Where the book does succeed is in its portrayal of the daily life of the cowboy. T h e half-dozen or so bucka r o o s a r e given i n d i v i d u a l p e r sonalities, though some of them, like Ed Fisher, the cowboss, are perilously close to western cliches Ulph so vigorously attacks. Their wearying, repetitive, physically draining chores are accurately described, and the book's best sections — the Fourth of July celebration in Austin, a tall tale of a broncriding ape, a demanding search for cows in a snowstorm — offer a marked contrast to most western writing. T h e sheer perversity of cows and horses,

296 the accidents, runaways, misunderstandings, a r g u m e n t s , a n d mistakes are the core of this book. Even better in its imaginative accuracy is U l p h ' s r e n d e r i n g of t h e c o w h a n d lingo, obscene as it often is. T h e insulting banter of cowboys as well as the interminable arguments about training horses or the right design for a saddle or saddlehorn are frequently couched in a terminology that will be unfamiliar to most readers. And although a glossary would have been helpful, its very lack casts the r e a d e r in the role of the g r e e n h o r n , too, and suggests at once the specialized nature of cowboy life and the difficult transition that Ulph had to make in becoming a buckaroo. But while the work will some day be an invaluable source for the language

Utah Historical Quarterly and ethos of cowhands, it suffers from the pretentiousness of its writing and from its inordinate length. Close to half the chapters are tediously long accounts of looking for cattle, finding them sometimes, a n d driving them s o m e w h e r e — an a l l - t o o - a c c u r a t e rendition of the repetitiousness of the cowhand's working life. T h e book suffers, too, from the frequently mangled syntax and n u m e r o u s misspellings that good editing could have improved and corrected. Despite these flaws, The Leather Throne is a welcome depiction of the buckaroo as an irreverent and spirited personality.


Salt Lake City

A Sender of Words: Essays in Memory of John G. Neihardt. Edited by V I N E DELORIA, JR. (Salt Lake City and Chicago: Howe Brothers, 1984. xii + 177 p p . $15.95.) J o h n G. N e i h a r d t ( 1 8 8 1 - 1 9 7 3 ) merits the critical attention these essays give him. Author of some thirty books of poetry and prose about the Indians and white t r a p p e r s of the High Plains and Rocky Mountains, Neihardt is the subject of at least two biographies and a growing n u m b e r of dissertations and scholarly articles. In 1971 he was awarded an honorary life membership in the Western Literature Association. In 1921 he was appointed official poet laureate of his home state of Nebraska, which now continues to h o n o r him each year by an official Neihardt Day. Unlike many memorial collections these essays take t h e p e r s o n they honor as their single subject, together treating a variety of his works and themes. A majority of them support editor Vine Deloria's introductory assertion that Neihardt's major fame derives from prose Indian books, in particular Black Elk Speaks (1932), which at t h e time of c o m p o s i t i o n

Neihardt r e g a r d e d as a minor work. It is quite arguable that Neihardt's enduring reputation will rest u p o n his five long poetic narratives, The Song of Hugh Glass (1915), The Song of Three Friends (1919), The Song of the Indian Wars (1925), The Song of the Messiah (1935), a n d The Song of Jed Smith (1941), collectively p u b l i s h e d as A Cycle of the West (1949). O v e r t h e thirty-year period of their creation, Neihardt believed — and n u m e r o u s readers have concurred — that these epics were his chefs-d'oeuvre. With a sense of balance, Deloria has therefore included in this collection a counter statement in " T h e Poet Beyond Black Elk" by Alvin M. Josephy, Jr., who suspects that the veneration of Black Elk Speaks is a cult: "something temporary and less than the whole." Nominating the epics for distinction in the canon of American literature, Josephy relates his first e n c o u n t e r with them: "I was the heroic majesty and moving h u m a n

Book Reviews and Notices spirit of the Songs. Where had this man been — or where had I been — that this was all new to me? Why, in a s o u n d liberal arts e d u c a t i o n , h a d there never been mention of Neihardt — never a line of his writings in any of the anthologies that had been assigned to us, in prep school, at Harvard?" Among several essays giving very useful discussions of generally ign o r e d works is H e l e n Stauffer's "Neihardt's Journey on the Missouri," an analysis of an early prose book, The River and 7(1910). Voyaging down the Missouri River in 1908, Neihardt suffered scuttlings of his boat and fought the notorious headwinds of the river, yet persevered, extending his trip from a projected ten days to two months, perseverance being, as Stauffer emphasizes, part of his character. T h e river, she writes, was a coalescent historical fact for Neihardt; it was the defile through which all his frontier heroes had passed: "the road taken by the Indians before the coming of the white man, the road later taken by adventurers, trappers, hunters, and the 'mountain men' who explored, mapped, and settled the west." T h e work receiving predominant attention in this collection, Black Elk Speaks, is the autobiography of a Sioux medicine man whom Neihardt met while researching The Song of the Messiah. Central to the events Neihardt transcribed from the old man's oral account is a remarkable mystical vision of the world as a sacred hoop in the center of which grows a holy tree. In a few of the p r e s e n t essays, Neihardt is so largely overshadowed by Black Elk that he is regarded simply as his "amanuensis," scarcely more important to the creation of Black Elk Speaks than the daughter of Milton, who transcribed her blind father's blank verse, was to the creation of Paradise Lost. An example is Roger Dunsmore's "Nicolaus Black Elk: Holy Man in

297 History," which gives a summary of the autobiography. Receiving his vision as a boy of nine, Black Elk found it so vast, authentic, and hopeful that he continued to believe in an ultimate triumph of his people over the invading whites. Only when, as a man of thirty, he witnessed the massacre at Wounded Knee did he lose faith in his vision. He was wrong, Dunsmore implies, to lose faith. It was meant, not simply for the Sioux, but for humanity, Black Elk being a prophet for all mankind. "Nicolaus Black Elk's life story and the wisdom of the traditional ways of the Oglala Sioux are not merely a romantic longing for a way of life that is gone. They are, above all, the story of a. duty of all those who have received a great vision." Other essayists, while endorsing the importance of Black Elk and his vision, grant Neihardt the status of a co-creator. R a y m o n d J . DeMallie credits the author with industriously preserving and creatively interpreting the traditional lifeway of the Lakota Sioux not only in Black Elk Speaks but also in The Song of the Messiah and When the Tree Flowered (a novel, 1951). Convincingly d o c u m e n t i n g Neihardt's visits and interviews with Black Elk and other Sioux, DeMallie discerns a fundamental affinity between the author and his Indian sources: "Each of the works expresses the Lakotas themselves, and each expresses Neihardt; as he grew in understanding, the two perspectives became inextricably intertwined." Without Neihardt, the pre-reservation traditions of the Lakota would have died with Black Elk and his generation. "We honor him as he honored his aged Lakota teachers; together, the wisdom and beauty of their words have left our world greener and more fruitful." This provocative collection of essays is a valuable addition to N e i h a r d t criticism. It will be of great interest to those familiar with Neihardt; it will

298 also p r o v e accessible to t h e u n i n itiated, since the essays a r e informal and even personal. Regardless of the relative importance of the epics a n d Black Elk Speaks, this collection demonstrates again that a major pier of Neihardt's reputation is his eloquent,

Utah Historical Quarterly empathetic depictions and transcriptions of Sioux life a n d feeling.


Weber State College

Lying on the Eastern Slope: James Townsend's Comic Journalism on the Mining Frontier. By RICHARD A. DWYER a n d RICHARD E. LINGENFELTER. (Miami: Florida I n t e r n a -

tional University Press, 1984. viii + 167 p p . $15.00.) Richard A. Dwyer a n d Richard E. Lingenfelter once again have successfully collaborated on a work on the Old West. This time their effort concerns J. W. E. "Lying J i m " Townsend, a nineteenth-century frontier newsp a p e r m a n . Neither a u t h o r is a professional historian; Dwyer is an English professor a n d Lingenfelter a geophysicist. N e v e r t h e l e s s , they have produced an incisive narrative that skillfully ties together copious quotes from Townsend's writings. This volume, promised for publication in 1966, did n o t a p p e a r in printed form until 1984. T h e wait was worth it, for this probably will be the definitive work on Townsend. T h e book describes T o w n s e n d ' s beginnings in Plymouth, New H a m p shire â&#x20AC;&#x201D; before h e became a capable practical printer. H e went to California in 1859 a n d soon obtained work as a printer a n d r e p o r t e r for primitive f r o n t i e r n e w s p a p e r s a n d t h e n as e d i t o r - p u b l i s h e r of s h e e t s in t h e Sierra towns and in Nevada. Most of these newspapers were as short-lived as the mining camps they served. As a result, Townsend became known as a "pilgrim," a rover who tirelessly followed opportunity wherever it took him, sustained by that belief prospectors generally were born with: that t h o s e bleak m i n i n g c a m p s w o u l d bring him prosperity in mining itself or in his newspaper ventures.

Townsend expatiated many of his better tales over a whiskey glass in some m i n i n g c a m p s a l o o n , u s i n g masterly hyperbole. As a result, unless he later published these oral efforts in his newspaper, they were ultimately lost. Even those h e published often lacked a manuscript; as a practical printer h e could a n d sometimes did set type as ideas came to him. "Lying J i m " was also something of a s c o u n d r e l . I n his n e w s p a p e r s h e shamelessly sang the praises of defunct mines to mislead foreign investors. Also, h e posed as an expert witness in lawsuits, although his knowledge of hard-rock mining was at best limited. Jim's domestic life suffered greatly because of his nomadic existence. His only m a r r i a g e l a s t e d j u s t a few months. H o m e for him was not the space he slept in, in the corner of a n e w s p a p e r office, b u t t h e saloons where h e spent his spare hours. When T o w n s e n d was in his early sixties his health collapsed. Rheumatic fingers a n d failing eyesight m a d e typesetting difficult. H e died August 11, 1900, a m o n g relatives in Illinois, far from his beloved mining frontier. All in all, the publisher has d o n e an excellent j o b with the book's format. Photographs a n d depictions of J i m a n d his e n v i r o n m e n t , t h e S i e r r a Nevada country, help bring this now remote time back to life. T h e glossary

Book Reviews and Notices of printing and mining terms is useful. T h e index is adequate. Dwyer a n d L i n g e n f e l t e r have brought Jim Townsend back to life, warts and all. They have dealt with an admittedly minor character in western humor; Townsend certainly does not rank with Mark Twain or with Dan DeQuille, another "liar" and colleague on Virginia City's famed Territorial Enterprise. M o r e o v e r , J i m Townsend's tall tales, like much frontier humor, might seem verbose to modern readers accustomed to the crisp punch and topical bent today's h u m o r i s t s prize. Nonetheless, his humor reflects the era in which he

299 lived, and it is possible as well to understate his role; he is supposed to have first told the story of the celebrated jumping frog to Twain and served as the inspiration for Bret Harte's Truthful James, and his colleagues on other western newspapers often reprinted in their journals his fanciful efforts to fill space in his own papers. T h e a u t h o r s have i n d e e d done well with this slim volume in recalling Jim's life and blowzily humorous times.


University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Views of a Vanishing Frontier. By JOHN EWERS et al. (Omaha: Joslyn Art Museum, 1984. 103 pp. $29.95.) Views of a Vanishing Frontier was published as a catalogue in association with the Joslyn Art Museum's traveling exhibition commemorating the 150th anniversary of the expedition of German Prince Maximilian of Wied and Swiss artist Karl Bodmer to North America during 1832-34. T h e exhibition, being shown in five major cities during 1984-85, is a review of the more than 3,000-mile trip of the two from Boston to St. Louis and from St. Louis u p the Missouri River to Fort McKenzie in western Montana and the return trip to St. Louis and on to New York City. T h e exhibition uses the Bodmer paintings as its main focus, but the explanatory material of the prince and the objects that he collected are also an important part of the show. It is the St. Louis to Fort McKenzie part of the trip that illustrates the vanishing life of the Indians and the fur trader's life on the Missouri River. Prince Maximilian describes it, and Bodmer's watercolor paintings give us a wonderful record of it. Historians are fortunate to have this record, for it

was a frontier and a life that would vanish in the next decade. In 1837 a smallpox epidemic killed at least half of the Mandan and the Blackfoot Indians that Maximilian wrote a b o u t a n d t h a t B o d m e r painted. Within ten years the great herds of buffalo on which the Indians depended for a living would be almost wiped out by the fur traders and the hide h u n t e r s . Never again would there be a chance such as these two had for a scientific study of the Indian tribes along the Missouri River. This volume contains three separate sections by different authors, the first a biographical sketch of Maximilian by J o s e p h C. P o r t e r . Prince Maximilian of Wied was a welleducated German aristocrat who was also a trained naturalist and scientific collector. In 1815 he went to Brazil for two years w h e r e he s t u d i e d t h e natural history, the environment, and the Indians. That trip convinced him, when he planned a similar expedition to North America, that he needed a competent artist along, and this led to his engaging Karl Bodmer.

300 T h e prince p r e p a r e d for the trip with thoroughness. H e read everything available at the time on America before leaving G e r m a n y . T h a t included the account of the Lewis and Clark Expedition in 1804-6 and the explorations of Maj. Stephen H. Long on the Great Plains. H e was far more knowledgeable on American natural history than most Americans before he came to the country. In America, he visited the Peale Museum in Philadelphia and spent the winter at New Harmony, Indiana, where two American naturalists lived â&#x20AC;&#x201D; Charles A l e x a n d r e Leseur a n d T h o m a s Say. T h e y b r i e f e d h i m further on the frontier natural history. In St. Louis the prince met Gen. William Clark who had been a partner of Meriwether Lewis and the cartogr a p h e r of that m e m o r a b l e trip in 1804-6. Clark f u r n i s h e d him with hand-drawn copies of the maps made of the U p p e r Missouri River from p r e s e n t day O m a h a , Nebraska, to Great Falls, Montana. Clark also introduced him to Pierre Chouteau, Jr., and Kenneth McKenzie, two key men of t h e A m e r i c a n F u r C o m p a n y . T h r o u g h them the prince arranged to travel u p the Missouri River on the company steamboats and to stay at the company's forts or trading posts. In the meantime, Karl Bodmer was busily painting landscapes along the way and sketches of the prince's scientific specimens. In St. Louis he and Maximilian saw George Catlin's Indian pictures made a year earlier. A n u m b e r of Bodmer's landscapes are included in the biographical section of this volume. T h e r e is also a portrait of the prince and his brother Charles painted by Charles of Wied. T h e second section of the book contains an account drawn from the published and u n p u b l i s h e d m a n u scripts of P r i n c e M a x i m i l i a n by Marsha V. Gallagher and David C.

Utah Historical Quarterly H u n t . This section details the trip Maximilian and Bodmer made up the vanishing frontier of the Missouri River. I n April 1833 t h e two of t h e m b o a r d e d the A m e r i c a n F u r Company's s t e a m b o a t Yellow Stone a n d were off upriver. T h e boat made frequent stops to take on firewood, to send h u n t e r s ashore for game for f o o d , a n d to c o n d u c t b u s i n e s s . Maximilian took advantage of these stops to go in search of specimens and to make notes on the plant and animal life. Near present-day O m a h a they began to encounter Indians in their own n a t u r a l settings a n d B o d m e r began some of his most famous watercolors â&#x20AC;&#x201D; his Indian portraits. T h e company traders at the forts were very helpful to both men. They furnished details of the fur trade and acted as interpreters for the prince when important chiefs or medicine men came to the forts. T h e Yellow Stone took them as far as Fort Pierre in Sioux Indian country. T h e r e they changed to another boat and went on upstream to Fort Clark near the M a n d a n villages. After a brief stay there they proceeded to the largest of the t r a d i n g posts, Fort U n i o n at t h e m o u t h of t h e Yellowstone River. Maximilian wrote a description of the fort, complete with its d i m e n s i o n s . B o d m e r m a d e a watercolor of it. This fort was the head of steamboat navigation at that time, so from there they went by keelboat to Fort McKenzie in western Montana. Between Fort Union and Fort McKenzie the Badlands scenery along the Missouri astonished the men, for the wind and water erosion had left weird formations in the rocky shores. Several of Bodmer's views of this area are included in this volume. H e r e , too, they saw large herds of elk and buffalo. Fort McKenzie in the Blackfoot territory was the outermost of the com-

Book Reviews and Notices pany's forts. Here they remained five weeks to study one of the least-known tribes of that time. Maximilian filled many pages of his j o u r n a l with the life and customs of the tribe. While they were there h u n d r e d s of Assiniboin and Cree Indians attacked the Blackfoot c a m p e d j u s t outside the fort, one of the few times that white m e n would see intertribal warfare. Due to the hostile Indian activities, the prince decided to go back downriver to spend the winter at Fort Clark. At Fort Clark near the M a n d a n villages, Mr. Kipp, the trader, had a special cabin built for them. During the bitter cold winter the prince's ink and Bodmer's paints were often frozen and had to be thawed before the two m e n could work. T h e Indians were very friendly and cooperative with these white strangers. They came to visit often and allowed them to see their tribal dances and h o m e life in the M a n d a n earth lodges. It proved to be one of their most productive times. Kipp spent many hours interpreting for Maximilian, and Bodmer was able to paint many important tribesmen for his collection of portraits. I n t h e s p r i n g they r e t u r n e d to E u r o p e where the prince wrote his book, Travels in the Interior of North America, which Bodmer illustrated. In the final section of Views of a Vanishing Frontier, J o h n C. Ewers, a recognized authority on American Indians working for the National Park Service and the Bureau of Indian Affairs, gives Bodmer high praise for painting the finest detailed pictures of Indian life and Indian leaders from this period of their history. H e ranks B o d m e r as superior to George Catlin who painted many of the same Indians a year earlier. T h e Indians Bodmer met had been in contact with French explorers, the Hudson's Bay traders, and American fur traders. They had horses, guns, and various trade items. Maximilian

301 wanted detailed pictures to illustrate his discoveries. Bodmer's paintings provided the minute details of costumes, ornaments, utensils, and w e a p o n s . H e also p a i n t e d buffalo hunts, bears and other animals, people, landscapes, boats, a n d the forts where they stayed. H e was the first artist to live a m o n g the Blackfoot Indians and to picture these people in their own natural setting. He sketched the great camp of the Piegans when about four h u n d r e d lodges were near the fort. His picture showed the variety in sizes and construction of the tipis. H e r e as in other places he painted watercolor portraits of many of the leading men and even some of the women. Several of these paintings are r e p r o d u c e d in this volume, some in full color. Bodmer's Indian portraits are perhaps the finest of his whole career, for he b r o u g h t out the personality of the individual as well as the details of costume. At Fort Clark, while the p r i n c e delved into the Indians' religious beliefs a n d rituals, B o d m e r p a i n t e d watercolors of several of the dances, including The Scalp Dance of the Hidatsas and The Bison Dance of the Mandan Indians. Some of Bodmer's masterpieces were painted here; for example, one of his most reprinted paintings, depicting the i n t e r i o r of the lodge of a Mandan chief, is called by Ewers " O n e of the most satisfying pictures of an Indian subject I have seen. Artistically it is a superb study in light a n d shadow. Historically a n d ethnographically it is a remarkably informative pictorial document, filled with revealing details of Mandan life." Bodmer's Indian portraits from this period are equally o u t s t a n d i n g . A full-page color reproduction of his painting of Mato-Tdpe (Four Bears), a Mandan chief, shows him wearing the traditional Plains Indian headdress of eagle feathers and holding a long, feathered lance. Another por-

302 trait shows Two Ravens, a Hidatsas warrior, in the costume of the dog dance. His enormous headdress is of owl, magpie, and raven feathers. It is a m a s t e r p i e c e of p a i n t i n g detailing nearly every separate feather. Many later painters have studied Bodmer's work, a m o n g them Frederic Remington, but none have ever equaled his Missouri Indian pictures.

Utah Historical Quarterly Views of a Vanishing Frontier contains sixty-nine illustrations, most of them by Bodmer and at least half in full color. T h e end maps show the travels of the party and the locations of the Indian tribes visited.


Salt Lake City

Journal of a Mountain Man: James Clyman. Edited by LINDA M. HASSELSTROM. (Missoula, Mont.: Mountain Press Publishing Co., 1984. xii + 295 pp. Cloth, $24.95; paper, $9.95.) During the latter part of the 1920s when the subject of the American West was yet in its infancy, a rising paleontologist, who would later gain p r o m i n e n c e as a h i s t o r i a n , biographer, and bibliographer, edited a f r o n t i e r s m a n ' s j o u r n a l for the California Historical Society. T h e paleontologist turned historical editor was the late Charles L. Camp; the journal was that of a mountain man. overland pioneer, and settler, James Clyman; and the resulting product was published serially in the Quarterly of the California Historical Society over a period of three years (1925-27) before being collated and placed under one cover entitled James Clyman, American Frontiersman, 1792-1881. Printed in 1928 in a limited edition of 330 copies, the book was soon out of print, denying the scholar and the buff a wealth of information about the early fur trade, overland migration, and pioneer settlement in both Oregon and California. Fortunately, t h r e e decades later Camp prepared a second or definitive edition of Clyman's reminiscences and journals. T h e 1960 edition, entitled J a mes Clyman, Frontiersman..., was increased in size with the addition of new material and was supplied with copious notes a n d e m e n d a t i o n s . P r i n t e d in an e d i t i o n four times

greater than the original printing, it was quickly out of print â&#x20AC;&#x201D; despite the fact that it sold for (at that time) a prohibitive price. Many a scholar and buff strained his budget to afford this valuable work, but as for the general r e a d e r it was a luxury beyond his means. Born and raised in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, young James Clyman saw military duty as an Indian fighter in the Old Northwest during the War of 1812. In the peace that followed he turned westward first to clear land and farm in Indiana, then to perform land surveying in Illinois, and finally to sign on with William Ashley's fur brigade as a clerk for a f o u r - y e a r t o u r of service in the mountains beyond the Missouri River. Returning to Illinois in 1827, Clyman spent the next seventeen years in relative tranquility, serving as a second lieutenant in the Black Hawk War, o p e r a t i n g a sawmill in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, carrying on a business in Danville, Illinois, and setting milestones on the old state road between V i n c e n n e s , I n d i a n a , and Chicago. At the age of fifty-two when most men are settled, Clyman became restless again and in 1844 headed for Oregon with Nathaniel Ford's emigrant company, apparently acting as

Book Reviews and Notices its treasurer. His activities in Oregon and, later, in California d u r i n g the next four years form the most important contribution to o u r understanding of the frontier period in American history. Clyman eventually settled in California, where he married late in life, and farmed until his death at the age of eighty-nine. Journal of a Mountain Man is the latest title in the Classics of the Fur Trade Series published by Mountain Press and was p r e p a r e d for publication by Linda M. Hasselstrom from Camp's California Historical Society edition of 1928. It was Hasselstrom's choice to edit the 1928 edition with "the general reader in mind," rather t h a n the more scholarly, definitive 1960 e d i t i o n . Consequently, scholars will be disappointed to learn that the weightier

303 documentation, the emendations, and, moreover, the illuminating contributions of Dale L. Morgan will not be included in the work u n d e r review. However, the general audience, for which the present publication is intended, will find Hasselstrom's introduction, chapter overviews, summarizations, index, and m a p quite adequate. After an absence of nearly sixty years, the original published experiences of J a m e s Clyman will once again be a v a i l a b l e â&#x20AC;&#x201D; only this t i m e in sufficient quantity to meet the demand and at a price within the reach of the interested reader.


Santa Ana, California

Richard H. Kern: Expeditionary Artist in the Far Southwest, 1848-1853. by DAVID J. WEBER. (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1985. xiv + 355 p p . $45.00.) This is a first-rate, comprehensive study of the life and work of artist Richard H. Kern. T h e images Kern created as expedition artist in the West in the 1840s and 1850s became t h e first visual i m p r e s s i o n s m a n y people were to have of the American West. His were the first images of New Mexico, Colorado, and Arizona by an American to be published. Kern survived the starvation and weather extremes of Fremont's expedition in Colorado in 1848 only to be m u r d e r e d in Utah in 1853 along with J o h n W. Gunnison on a survey of the 38th parallel. His work on four southwestern expeditions allowed Kern to p r o d u c e the first in-depth visual record of the Navajo, Zuni, and Mohave Indians, as well as such sites as Chaco Canyon and Canyon de Chelly.

Author David J. Weber provides a thorough, well-written, scholarly account of the artist's life. Art shown in the volume consists of sixteen color plates and n u m e r o u s black-and-white reproductions of Kern's work. T h e volume contains ample notes, an excellent bibliography, and an index. Kern's work is distinguished by its value as a significant record, which, of course, was his j o b , b u t m e a s u r e d against the standards of fine art, Kern is, to this reviewer, clearly secondrate. Considered from the perspective of someone bringing back early visual images from a strange a n d hostile land while risking and losing one's life, Kern's achievement is considerable. GIBBS M. SMITH

Layton, Utah

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Book Notices Land of Enchantment: Memoirs of Marian Russell along the Santa Fe Trail as Dictated to Mrs. Hal Russell. Edited by GARNET M. BRAYER. (Evanston, 111.: Branding Iron Press, 1954; reprint, Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1984. xiv + 163 pp. Paper, $7.95.) This reprint of Land of Enchantment includes footnotes and an afterword by Mark S i m m o n s . An excellent memoir, it recounts Marian Sloan Russell's life (1845-1937) and adventures in the Southwest. Marian and h e r b r o t h e r t r a v e l e d with t h e i r twice-widowed mother over the Santa Fe Trail to New Mexico, where she opened a boarding house. Included are Marian's reminiscences of Kit Carson (a family friend), the Right Reverend Jean Baptiste Lamy, bishop of Santa Fe, a n d o t h e r early p e r sonalities. Traveling over the Santa Fe Trail several more times, she eventually m a r r i e d a n d settled in t h e Stonewall Valley in Colorado.

First Lady of the Law: Florence Ellinwood Allen. By J E A N E T T E E. T U V E . (Lanham, Md.: University Press of America, 1984. viii + 219 p p . Cloth, $24.50; paper, $12.50.) Florence Ellinwood Allen (18841966) was born in Salt Lake City to Corinne and Emir Allen. Her father was involved in m i n i n g in U t a h , served in the territorial legislature in

1888, 1890, and 1894, and was elected to the Congress in 1896. Florence att e n d e d school in Utah until 1900 when she entered Women's College of Western Reserve University in Cleveland. She went on to New York University Law School, g r a d u a t i n g in 1913. Returning to Ohio, she became active in the suffrage movement and capped her career by becoming the first woman elected as a state supreme c o u r t j u d g e , the first w o m a n appointed as a federal court judge, and the first woman candidate for appointment to the United States Supreme Court. A Kingdom Transformed: Themes in the Development of Mormonism. By GORDON SHEPHERD and


(Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1984. 307 pp. $19.95.) T h i s sociological study of Mormonism uses historical sources to outline the social context from which Mormonism emerged. T h e authors rely on published proceedings of the LDS church's general conferences to determine changes within the church. Discussed are M o r m o n p r o p h e t i c rhetoric; general conferences and how they relate to Mormon history; the social-historical context of Mormon beliefs; Utopia, family, and authority; Mormon commitment mechanisms and rhetoric; and Mormon accommodation and responses to secularization.

UTAH STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY Department of Community and Economic Development Division of State History


Chairman WAYNE K. H I N T O N , Cedar City, 1985

Vice-chairman MELVIN T . SMITH, Salt Lake City

Secretary THOMAS G. ALEXANDER, Provo, 1987 PHILLIP A. BULLEN, Salt Lake City, 1987 J. ELDON DORMAN, Price, 1987 ELIZABETH GRIFFITH, O g d e n , 1985

DEAN L. MAY, Salt Lake City, 1987 WILLIAM D. OWENS, Salt Lake City, 1987 HELEN Z. PAPANIKOLAS, Salt Lake City, 1985 ANAND A. YANG, Salt Lake City, 1985

ADMINISTRATION M E L V I N T. SMITH, Director STANFORD J . LAYTON, Managing Editor JAY M. HAYMOND, Librarian DAVID B. MADSEN. State Archaeologist A. K E N T POWELL, Historic Presentation Research WILSON G. MARTIN, Historic Preservation Development P H I L I P F. N O T A R I A N N I , Museum Services

T h e Utah State Historical Society was organized in 1897 by public-spirited Utahns to collect, preserve, and publish Utah and related history. Today, u n d e r state sponsorship, the Society fulfills its obligations by publishing the Utah Historical Quarterly and other historical materials; collecting historic Utah artifacts; locating, documenting, a n d preserving historic a n d prehistoric buildings a n d sites; a n d maintaining a specialized research library. Donations a n d gifts to the Society's programs, museum, or its library are encouraged, for only through such means can it live u p to its responsibility of preserving the record of Utah s past. This publication has been funded with the assistance of a matching grant-in-aid from the Department of the Interior, National Park Service, u n d e r provisions of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 as amended. This program receives financial assistance for identification a n d preservation of historic properties u n d e r Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 a n d Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. T h e U.S. Department of the Interior prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, or handicap in its federally assisted programs. If you believe you have been discriminated against in any program, activity, or facility as described above, or if you desire further information, please write to: Office of Equal Opportunity, U.S. Department of the Interior, Washington, D.C. 20240.


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Profile for Utah State History

Utah Historical Quarterly, Volume 53, Number 3, 1985  

Utah Historical Quarterly, Volume 53, Number 3, 1985  

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