Pioneer to Southern Utah
By JUANITA BROOKS
Published in 1942
I BACKGROUND AND EARLY LIFE
II FROM NAUVOO TO UTAH
III THE ARRIVAL AT THE VALLEY
IV THE MOVE SOUTH
V FIRST INDIAN MISSIONS
VI THE FAMILY GROWS
VII THE SETTLEMENT OF DIXIE
VIII AT CLOVER VALLEY
IX AT HEBRON
X AT BUNKERVILLE
XI DODGING THE OFFICERS
XII CLOSING YEARS
When my grandfather died on October 15, 1908, my father had me write a brief sketch of his life in our family record book. Although I was only in the fifth grade at the time, I wrote what he and grandmother and the others told me.
"Someday I want you to really write father's life," my own father said. "When you get older you can write more."
Ever since that time I have had it in my heart to do this. For the last three years of his life, grandfather lived with my grandmother about a half block from our home. Every morning and evening I stopped in to leave them fresh milk, and I always carried them a pat of butter from every churning. I loved to linger and listen to grand-father's Indian stories and to hear his songs. Somehow the hymns have never carried as much feeling since, and the western ballads have never sounded so rollicking, especially, "On the Road of California", The Indian songs seemed to have passed with him.
In 1933 I began collecting the diaries and journals of the pioneers of the southwest. In many of them I found references to Dudley Leavitt. These, with the material from the family records, have formed the basis of this work. There is much that could be included, much that should be, no doubt, but I have done the best I could in the space allotted.
I am especially indebted to the diaries of Orson W. Huntsman, John Pulsipher, Myron Abbott, and Joseph I. Earl for references; for the early life I have drawn from the journal of his mother, Sarah Sturdevant Leavitt. I have also gleaned material from the Journal History of the Church, from their volumes of letters, from the records of Washington County, and from the Temple records.
All the family have been helpful and interested; a fact which I appreciate very much. Aunt Theresa Huntsman and Aunt Selena H. Leavitt both read the manuscript and gave me suggestions. Most of the living children talked freely of their father, giving me many incidents. Uncle Jeremy wrote some experiences which I have been glad to include.
More than anyone else, I am indebted to my husband, William Brooks, for his constant encouragement and for his patience with the home work, which I have had to neglect in order to do this. Without his support I should never have finished it.
I hope that the various members of the family will find in this book reliable information and an added respect for this remarkable character, Dudley Leavitt.
There has been some question as to the spelling of two of the names. Dudley's fourth wife, Grandma Janet, is variously spelled: Jeannette, Jennette, Jenette, and Janet. In copying from the work of Aunt Hannah Terry, she spelled it Janet. I adopted that spelling in quoting from her, and then kept it throughout the book for the sake of clearness.
The same thing is true of the spelling of Weir. The older records have it Weare, but the family now spell it Weir, hence my use of it.
CHAPTER I: BACKGROUND AND EARLY LIFE
The arrival of a new baby at the Jeremiah Leavitt home was nothing to be surprised at, for every two years or less a new one was added to the little flock, until they were accepted as part of the natural scheme of things. This boy, bom August 31, 1830, was the fourth son and the eighth child. His mother, then thirty- two years of age, was to have four others. At this time the family consisted of Louisa, 10; Jeremiah, 8; Lydia, 7; Weir, 5; and Lemuel, 3. Two of the children had died.
They called the new baby Dudley, a family name which could be traced back to Dorothy Dudley, a grandmother several times removed. Though the family lived in a humble home, they were proud of their lineage. Both the father and the mother could trace their names back to the early Puritan stock, some of the ancestors of both having come over on the Mayflower.
The Leavitt family came from a line of note in England, their family coat of arms representing a ramping lion and the motto meaning, "The Quick" or "The Active", denoting that they were physically superior. The Dorothy Dudley from whom this boy derived his name was a daughter of Samuel Dudley of the Massachusetts Bay colony. Her father could boast that four of his family had been governors there: His father, Thomas Dudley; his father-in-law, John Winthrop; his brother, Joseph Dudley; and his brother-in-law, Simon Bradstreet. Thomas Dudley came to America in 1630 in the Mayflower, along with Mr. John Winthrop and others.
Through the Dudley line it is possible to trace from Thomas through the Purefoys, back through the mazes of English royalty and near-royalty to Alfred the Great of England, who ruled from 871 to 901. The mother also boasted a good family tree. She was Sarah Sturdevant, and her family can be traced back through John Thompson to William Brewster, also of the Mayflower.
At the time of Dudley's birth, the family were living in Hatley, Canada, just fifteen miles from the Vermont line, Jeremiah had brought his young bride here immediately after their marriage, for the soil was deep and rich and the timber plentiful. They would establish their home and rear their family here.
The change was a sore test for the eighteen-year-old wife. She had been brought up in a strict Puritan home, a home where Bible reading and family prayers were established daily institutions, and where the Sabbath was observed to the letter. Hatley was still little more than a boisterous camp, and the swearing, the drinking, and the general disregard for things religious and for all the customs she had considered essential to civilized life, tried her bitterly. She had adjusted and developed until she was now well matured, resourceful, and still devoutly religious. Always of a serious nature, she read the Scriptures, meditated much, and prayed often, for the conditions she saw around troubled her. Several years passed. Two other children, Mary Amelia and Thomas Rowell, were added to the family. In the meantime, Sarah, the mother, had joined the Baptist church because she believed in baptism by immersion.
Through the paper which was published by her church, she read of a strange new sect which claimed that their prophet received revelations direct from God. The stories were much distorted and so fantastic that they were comical. Yet she was strangely interested in the idea of new revelation. In her prayers and meditations, she had been impressed that she was to receive new light from some source.
One afternoon one of her husband's sisters called upon her and asked her to go for a walk. When they were out in the fields where they would not be overheard, she told Sarah that she had been to listen to some Mormon Elders preach. She found Sarah a sympathetic listener, so she went on to say how she believed that this was really the true church of Christ restored again; finally she admitted that she had been baptized. Suddenly it flashed on Sarah's mind that this was the new light that she herself had been looking for.
Returning home, she told her husband of the incident, and together they went to a Mormon meeting. They accepted all the literature they could get, and spent long evenings reading aloud from it, comparing it with the Scriptures, and discussing it. Sarah's real conversion came when she read from the Doctrine and Covenants. In her journal, written after she had grown old, she said: "I knew that no man, nor set of men, that could make such a book or would dare try from any wisdom that man possessed. I knew that it was the word of God and a revelation from Heaven and received it as such. I sought with my whole heart a knowledge of the truth and obtained a knowledge that never has nor never will leave me."
Dudley was too young to know what it was all about, though he listened with round eyes to much of the talk. The older children all joined in as they could, reflecting in some measure the fervor of their parents. The popularity of the new sect had grown, most of Jeremiah's family having joined. The next thing was to gather with the body of the church at Kirtland.
This was a stupendous undertaking for Jeremiah and Sarah, for it meant taking their large family and moving to a new place. But they were determined to go with the rest of the company.
They left Hatley on July 20, 1835, a company of twenty-three souls, Jeremiah's mother, Sarah Shannon Leavitt and her children and grandchildren. Her oldest son-in-law, Frank Chamberlain, was in charge of the group. In Jeremiah's wagon, besides the parents, were eight children: Louisa, Jeremiah, Lydia, Weir, Lemuel, Dudley, Mary and Thomas. The company traveled in order, resting on the Sabbath and whenever it was necessary to wash clothes, repair wagons, or get supplies. It was a new experience for the five-year-old Dudley, this camping out, cooking over the campfire and sleeping under the stars. Thus his life as a frontiersman began early, and many of his accomplishments in reading the signs of nature, his skill in tracking, and his keen observation, might be traced to these early years. Here he learned, also, resourcefulness and the ability to meet emergencies.
They arrived in Kirtland early in September, and to his dying day, Dudley remembered his first impression of Joseph Smith. To his childish mind, here was a Prophet who talked with God and angels, so he seemed a little more than human. Later in his life, Dudley was to have closer association with Joseph Smith, an association which seemed only to strengthen his first impression.
Since the family money was gone, they could go no further. The rest of the company went on to Twelve Mile Grove in Illinois, but they must find work near Kirtland. They went ten miles to the village of Mayfield where there was a mill and some chair factories. Here Jeremiah and his older sons got work.
Since most of the people of the town were bitter against the Mormons, life was difficult here. Often Dudley came home from school with a bloody nose from defending a religion of which he could then have known but little, but to which he was to devote his life. His parents attended strictly to their own business and were so honest and trustworthy, that in spite of the hatred toward Mormons in general, they left town with the good feelings of the people. On the day they left, the merchant of the town canceled a part of their store bill, and gave them a few luxuries such as a card of buttons to put on the baby's coat, and a paper of tea. Through their influence, a number of people of the town later joined the Mormon Church.
This second journey was to take them another five hundred miles west to Twelve Mile Grove, near Nauvoo, Illinois. It was a long and tiresome trip. Near Lake Michigan they were forced to stop again while the father earned enough to go on. Here they found three orphan children of Jeremiah's brother, Nathaniel. Their mother had died some years before, and when the father died, his second wife went back to Canada, leaving the children with people there. The oldest boy was about twelve years old. Jeremiah and Sarah took them all along, increasing their group to eleven children. The orphans' names were Nathaniel, Flavilla and John.
The roads were bad all the way. In one place there was a five-mile bridge over a swamp, made with poles and without a covering of dirt, so that it nearly jolted them to pieces.
They arrived to find their friends sick and discouraged. Mother Sarah Shannon Leavitt had died of exposure and hardship. Many of the company were ill; all were in low spirits. They had bought good farms, but there was so much malaria that those that did not actually have the chills and fever were moving about half sick. Some of them had begun to doubt the truth of this church which had cost them so much. Jeremiah and his wife brought new zeal and new hope to the group.
Dudley's parents must find work to support their many children. They learned that there was a great canal being built at Juliette, fourteen miles away. Here Jeremiah could work with his team for three dollars a day. Sarah took in washings for the workmen. The girls helped her, and the boys, Jeremiah, Weir, Lemuel and Dudley worked at odd jobs. Altogether, the family did well. They stayed there from November until spring and then went back to join their relatives at Twelve Mile Grove and took a farm on shares. They had five good cows, so they could have butter and cheese, and they raised a good crop.
Jeremiah, seeing at what an advantage he could use the labor of his family on a farm, decided to take up a piece of virgin land for himself. He moved out onto the prairie, put up a house, and moved the family out. There was every indication that they would soon become well-to-do.
Then misfortunes came, not singly, but in battalions. First, the mother was taken ill with chills and fever. For more than a month she was down, seriously, dangerously ill, alternately shaking with chills and burning with fever. To add to their troubles, their only cow died. Jeremiah made rails enough to buy another cow, and as soon as his wife was better, they decided to move to Nauvoo. Most of their friends were going and they wanted to be with the body of the saints.
They started in November, and on arriving, bought a house three miles from the city. They plowed and sowed the land to wheat. Before it was ready to harvest, they found that there had been some irregularities in the survey and the land belonged to another man. So they swapped again and got a farm by the Big Mound, seven miles from the city.
This was in 1841. For six years the family had been on the move, living a few months or a year at a place as they could get work. Now, at last, they were established where they felt that they would be permanent. They were seven miles from Nauvoo, but they could go in to town for conferences and special meetings, and could keep in touch with their people. The farm was in a fine location with the site for the new home they planned to build on top of the mound. There was every promise that they would soon be prosperous. Dudley was then eleven years old, Lemuel fourteen, Weir seventeen and Jeremiah twenty. With such a group of strappling young fellows to help him, the father could soon get a fine farm all in shape.
They did well, too, in spite of some reverses. One season the boys all came down with the black canker. Each had his turn. For a time it seemed that death hovered over the household, but by careful nursing and great faith the parents were finally able to save them all. At another time, Mary, then nine years old, had a felon on her finger which caused her great suffering.
With the coming of cold weather the sickness abated. For three years they lived on this place, increasing their acreage, stocking the farm with cattle, preparing to build a fine house. They had the rock and gravel hauled for the foundation. Everything seemed to be working for their benefit until the year 1844, when their troubles began again.
Dudley, now in his teens, could do the work of a man. He had received little formal education because the family had moved so much. But he could read, and did read. His texts were chiefly the Bible, the Book of Mormon, and the Doctrine and Covenants. In the family circle they often read aloud in the evening. The children committed passages to memory. Dudley's education was practical. He learned how to farm, how to care for animals, how to mend tools. The plant and animal life around him were an open book, always interesting, from which he read fluently.
Then the mobbings began. Before this time, the Leavitt family had lived often among people who were not in sympathy with their beliefs. Sometimes the children had difficulties because they were Mormons. But never before had they known such depredations as they were now to witness. From their mound they could see, night after night, the distant fires of homes burning; they could hear the sound of horses' hoofs on the road.
Only once did the mob threaten them. A group rode up to the fence with a clatter, dismounted, and started toward the gate. Weir, a young giant of twenty-two, walked calmly out of the house to meet them.
"Come on in, fellows," he said easily. "Come on in and have a drink,"
Taken by surprise at such a reception, the crowd followed him around to the cellar, where he poured a pitcher of wine and passed it to them. Then picking up the barrel, he drank out of the bunghole. They watched with amazement. They noticed how his muscles bulged under his shirt; they saw the cool fearlessness of his eyes. Perhaps they noticed too the tense, watchful attitude of the younger brothers, Lemuel, Dudley and Thomas. They were only boys, but boys with fight in them. The mobbers got on their horses and rode away. The family were not molested again.
This was not much comfort when they could see the things that were going on around them and hear the stories of the whippings and the tarring and feathering that went on.
They worked on their farm all the spring of 1844, conscious only of the troubles when they went into town on Sunday. They knew that the Prophet was taken prisoner, but he had been taken before, and God had always protected him and helped him to escape. When the word came that he had been killed, they were all thunderstruck. They felt that they must do something; they must go somewhere and find out about it. They hurried to the city to see crowds of grief-stricken people passing on the street or gathered in groups. Gloom sat on every face, and hopelessness. With their Prophet and leader gone, what could they do?
The next day the bodies of Joseph and Hyrum lay in state at the mansion house. The people thronged there for one last look upon the man whom they almost worshipped. Not one but would gladly have given his life to save the Prophet. Dudley stood in the line that passed single file before the bodies. Something in the calm majesty of the dead faces strengthened his testimony of the work which this man had established; something of the sublime seemed to reinforce his assurance that here was a man who was called of God. Whatever it was, the experience was so indelibly stamped on his mind that he never forgot it, and regardless of what hardships he must endure for his faith in this man, he never wavered in his belief.
As the family started home, downcast and troubled, word came that the mob were again scouring the countryside with the threat that they would drive out every Mormon. The great drum, the signal of alarm to the saints, beat out its warning. They all gathered at the home of William Snow, where they found several families already met. William Snow had married Dudley's sister, Lydia, so there was a feeling of kinship in being at his home.
The women and children sat in the dark room, while the men and boys stood guard.
"Arm and be ready," a rider called to them. "The mob is out to destroy every Mormon."
One of the women began to cry, begging her husband not to go.
"If I had forty husbands and as many sons, I would urge them all to go," Sarah told her. "If I could, I would go myself."
With Joseph Smith and his brother killed, the mob quieted down. For several months the people lived at peace, working their farms and tending their businesses. But they were like sheep without a shepherd. They lacked direction. Though they met together often, they lacked the spirit they had before. Their most important question was, "What can we do now?"
In the meantime, the members of the Council of Twelve Apostles began to gather in to Nauvoo. Most of them had been absent at the time of the martydom of the Prophet, and had hurried home as soon as the word reached them. Sidney Rigdon was one of those who felt that he should be the next president of the church, since he had been a counsellor to the Prophet. Joseph's wife, Emma, felt that the leadership should remain in the family. It was not until Brigham Young and a number of the Twelve had returned that a public meeting was held to determine the successor to Joseph Smith.
All the Leavitt family were present on that occasion, August 8, 1844, for, to them, this was a matter of great importance. Fourteen-year-old Dudley was with his friends near the back of the large audience which had gathered to hear the talks of the authorities. On the stand the men were arranged according to their rank in the priesthood, the different quorums grouped together. After the preliminary opening exercises, Brigham Young arose to speak. Sidney Rigdon had already pressed his claims at a meeting the day before, but no vote had been called.
On the edge of the crowd, Dudley whispered to some of his companions. Suddenly they all stopped and listened. It was their Prophet Joseph speaking! How well they knew his accents. They raised up and looked toward the stand. For a second, they thought it was the Prophet who stood there. But they knew it was not, and soon the vision passed. It was so real to Dudley that it made a lasting impression. For him, the mantle of Joseph had in reality fallen upon Brigham. As long as he lived he loved to re-tell the incident.
The whole audience seemed to have had the same experience, for when a vote was called, they were almost unanimous in saying that they would be led and directed by the Twelve Apostles, with Brigham Young at the head.
United again under a competent leader, the people went on with their work, finishing the temple, and carrying on their church duties. The persecutions, temporarily stopped, now began again. Again marauding bands scoured the country-side at night; again burnings and mobbings became common. At the Mound, the Leavitt family kept a constant watch, for two roads went directly past their home, one from Warsaw and one from Carthage, and they must be alert for enemies from either. Dudley took his turn at standing guard with the older boys.
It soon became evident that they must either leave the state or renounce their religion. This last they would not do. The body of the church had promised to leave, and asked only time to gather their crops and make preparations. The Leavitt family could stay on their prosperous farm and finish their new home, or they could go with their friends. Dudley's mother, writing in her journal, said:
"We soon found that we had to leave the place if we meant to save our lives, and we with the rest of the brethren got what little we could from our beautiful farm. We had forty thousand bricks that my husband and sons had made for to build a house, and part of the rock to lay the foundation. For this we got an old bed quilt and for the farm a yoke of wild steers, and for two high post bedsteads we got some weaving done. Our nice cherry light stand we left for the mob, with every other thing we could not take along with us."
The family was again on the road in search of a new home where they could live their religion in peace. By this time two other members had been added, Betsy and Priscilla.
CHAPTER II: FROM NAUVOO TO UTAH
It was a year and a half after the martyrdom of Joseph Smith before the Mormons left Nauvoo. Early in 1846 they had their orders to leave the state. Brigham Young tried to get permission to stay until spring, and until they could get their outfits ready, but the mob was determined that they should go at once.
Sometime in February the Leavitt family left their farm and gathered with neighbors and friends at an old school house. The first night out the mother, Sarah, had a premonition that if they did not get out of there, they would all be killed. They did not have the cover on their wagon or their things packed, but her husband listened to her. It was the first time in all their troubles that she had shown any fear. During the difficulties in Nauvoo, she had been cheerful, confident that God would take care of them. Now, when she suddenly became so afraid, her family listened to her. Hurriedly piling things into the wagon, they set out for the Mississippi river, eight miles away.
They arrived on the bank to find a crowd collected and getting across as fast as they could. Not until Sarah reached the opposite bank did she feel safe. The group arranged their wagons in a circle as close together as they could crowd them, with the fire in the center. The first night there was a snow storm and a strong wind which made it almost impossible to keep covers on the wagons or on the beds. The thawing weather which followed after was nearly as disagreeable as the cold. They stayed there about two weeks, until they could get the rest of their cattle across the river and prepare to move on.
They had a trying time because they were not fitted for a long journey, either from the standpoint of supplies or outfit. They had let the church use one of their teams to haul out the church property. This meant that they had only one wagon left and one team of oxen to pull it. Loaded as it was with household goods, the wagon could not carry the family too, nor could the oxen pull them. That meant that the mother and children must walk, wading the sloughs and climbing the hills. It was April in 1846 before they reached Mt. Pisgah, one hundred and fifty iles west of Nauvoo.
This was to be one of the camps of the saints, so the father and boys set about to build a shelter and plant crops. Since they did not have provisions to last until harvest, the father went back to Bonaparte to secure some. Their son, Jeremiah, was married and living at that place, so the father would live with him while he earned flour, and when they came back to Mt. Pisgah, they would bring Jeremiah with them. Weir and Lemuel had gone on with another group to Council Bluffs; they were strapping young fellows and well able to make their way. The father decided to take the sixteen-year-old Dudley with him back to Bonaparte to help work for provisions, leaving the mother with only Thomas and the three girls during the summer.
Soon after her husband left, Sarah came down with the chills and fever. Then the children all got it, until there was not one to wait upon the others. Though they were strangers, they were among their own people, and their neighbors were very kind, coming in to prepare meals, and do the washings. Twas the first one to take sick there and three hundred took sick and died after I was spared alive," she wrote in her journal.
In the meantime, the husband was also sick back at his son's home in Bonaparte. Although they nursed him the best they could, it soon became evident that he could not get well. He, too, knew that he would go, a premonition that he had before he left his wife, and that she had felt also.
In his last hours as Dudley sat beside him holding his hand, he began to sing the hymn, "Come, Let Us Anew!" On the last verse, "Oh, that each in the day of His coming may say, 'I have fought my way through; I have finished the work Thou didst give me to do' ", his voice faltered. He asked Dudley to go on with the song, but the boy's heart was too full. He could not. Jeremiah's wife bravely took up the strain, "And that each from his Lord shall receive the glad word 'Well and faithfully done. Enter into my joy and sit down on my throne' ". Without a struggle or groan, he passed quietly away. That song has ever after been a family favorite.
The mother, who had patiently waited her husband's return, was almost prostrate at word of his death. Her children rallied around her, Jeremiah coming with Dudley to bring the outfit and load of provisions, and Weir and Lemuel coming back from Council Bluffs with medicine and food. Now for a short time she had all her sons to- gether, five of them. It was the last time they were ever together, for Weir died the next summer. The father had passed away August 20, 1846, and Weir, the strongest of the group in August, 1847. The daughter, Lydia, who had been married to William Snow, died in November of 1846, making three out of the family to succumb to the life of exposure and hardship.
As soon as the boys had all gathered, they decided to move on to Council Bluffs, where Weir and Lemuel had some crops planted. They arrived in November, and since they had no house in which to live and had to camp out, the mother took chills and fever again. The boys fixed her a shelter of hay in which she lived until they built a house at Trade Point on the Missouri River, This was the place where the steamboats landed.
As soon as she was able to work, she took in washings, she did fine sewing, she baked bread and pies to sell to the emigrants to California. She took in boarders. The boys found work, too, and all bent all their energies toward getting an outfit to cross the plains to Utah. Weir had died, Jeremiah was married and had brought his family to Utah, and Lemuel came ahead with an earlier company. This left Dudley the oldest boy at home, with his three sisters and his younger brother, Thomas.
During the two years they lived at this place, Dudley worked for a man named Peter Maun. Peter liked Dudley and took great pride in his strength, for at this time the boy was broad and strong almost beyond belief. At one time Peter Maun began bragging about him to a group of soldiers who were wrestling among themselves.
"I've got a hired man that can throw any of you," he said. "Or he can throw all of you, one at a time."
The soldiers took the challenge, and Dudley was called. He stood in the center and met them one by one. The game was wrestling, side holds, and the first to trip or throw his opponent off his feet was the winner. With his employer to encourage him and prod him on, Dudley took one after another until he had thrown sixteen, and no more came forward. So elated was Peter Maun that he put his hand to his mouth and gave a whoop that raised the echoes.
It was really through this man that the Leavitt family got to the valley as soon as they did. With all their work, it was hard to get ahead; the process of saving was slow. One day Dudley found a purse with one hundred and fifty dollars in it. He showed it to Peter Maun.
"What are you going to do with it?" his employer asked.
"Try to find the owner," Dudley told him.
"You are crazy," Maun said. "With all the hundreds of people who are passing here every day, how can you find the owner? Some one will be sure to claim it that doesn't have as much right to it as you do. The real owner has probably gone ahead. You keep the purse a few days and wait to see if anyone inquires for lost money before you say anything about it."
Dudley did as he suggested, arguing that if a man said he had lost his purse it would be time to give it up, but if he advertised that he had found one, someone would be sure to claim it.
"This may be the Lord's way of helping you to get to the valley," Peter Maun had told him. "Look how hard your mother has worked all this time. Look how hard you have had to work, yet it will be a long time before you can go at this rate. Give me the purse, and I will buy you an outfit that will take you there safely. This may be only an answer to your mother's prayers."
This last argument appealed to the boy. Maybe it was the Hand of the Lord. Anyway, Maun was right about the emigrants; hundreds were passing every day. Dudley gave the purse to the older man who bought two yoke of oxen, a large prairie schooner, four cows, and a good supply of flour and groceries. Now they could go to Zion.
The year 1850 was the peak year of the gold rush to California. Word had gone out of the fabulous riches to be found there and people from every station set out to get their share of it. The total emigration westward for the year was estimated at 55,000 persons, of whom 5,000 were Mormons enroute to Utah.
The first Mormon train crossed the Missouri on the first day of June, 1850, with Captain Milo Andrus in charge, and made its real start west on June 3. It consisted of 51 wagons, 206 persons, 9 horses, 6 mules, 184 oxen, 122 cows, 46 sheep, 6 yearlings, 19 dogs, 1 pig, and 2 ducks. The church historian estimated that between seven and eight hundred wagons carrying passengers to the valley as well as two new carding machines and other machines crossed the plains this year. They took along about 4,000 sheep and 5,000 head of cattle, horses and mules.
Just before the company left the Missouri River, Apostle Hyde called them together and spoke to them. He told them that if they would be faithful and live their religion they would be blessed with health and their lives spared. He mentioned especially the reverence for the name of God. "Keep the name of God sacred," he promised them, "and your lives will be preserved."
Dudley heard the promise and was much impressed by it. In his later life he used to tell how about the third day out, one of the oxen became obstreperous, and he, forgetting himself, cursed it soundly, using the name of God. For two years before he had worked among rough, unbelieving men, and while he had always tried to be careful of his language, it seemed that the words in the back of his mind came out in his excitement. In the midst of his anger. Brother Hyde's words flashed across his mind. He was instantly filled with remorse and shame. He dropped the yoke where he stood and walked, head down, to a clump of willows, where he dropped on his knees and asked forgiveness of his Father in Heaven. He promised that he would never again use the name of Diety in anger or passion. "From that day to this, I have never taken the name of God in vain," he always concluded.
The company got along very well as far as Salt Creek. Here the stream was so swollen that the bridge had been carried away. Nothing daunted, they set about making rafts on which to cross. They fell to with such vigor that they built four rafts in one day, and the next day ferried all their wagons across. That was better than camping on the bank and waiting for the flood to subside.
Early in the journey there were a few who felt that they could travel faster than the company. This having to stay in order and wait for the slow ones annoyed some of them. Captain Andrus, hearing of it, called the camp together. To those who wished to go ahead, he said to go on and the rest of the company would wait two or three days to give them a good start. For them he had no promise, but for those who stayed together and remained united, he had the promise that they would have a prosperous journey and would reach the Valley in safety. After this talk, no one wanted to go on.
That night an incident happened which seemed to challenge that promise. A child fell out of a wagon and a wheel passed over her head and crushed it. She was picked up for dead, but some of the brethren administered to her and she was restored almost instantly. She was able to be around and eat her supper that night. It was such a miracle that all who witnessed it were impressed, and as the word of it spread through the camp, the people felt that God had his watch over them.
The Leavitt family had an uneventful trip. Dudley and Mary cared for the team and the cattle; the mother looked after the cooking and camp arrangements; Thomas gathered wood and carried water and chored around generally. For the little girls, Betsy and Priscilla, now eleven and nine years old, it was one unending adventure. They played with other children, at camp time racing among the wagons in games of tag or hide-and-seek; they hunted flowers and pretty rocks, they wadded the creeks, they even improvised dolls out of knotted sticks or bleached bones.
One morning they wakened to find one yoke of their oxen gone, a young yoke that they had worked on lead. They had had a chance to sell them but had refused, because they needed them to draw their heavy load. They searched all around camp, and circled far out, but could not find any trace of them. In the meantime, the rest of the camp had moved on. Dudley and his mother met back at the wagon. What should they do? Hitch up and go with the group and trust their one yoke of oxen to handle the load, or risk being left behind alone by stopping to hunt further? They decided to ask the help of the Lord and make one more effort before giving up.
Together they knelt and laid their troubles before Him. Rising from their knees, the mother went one direction and Dudley the other, agreeing to return to the wagon within an hour. The mother walked straight to a clump of willows where she found the missing animals. They were soon on their way and overtook the company before they camped for noon. After they came to the steep mountains, they knew that they could never have made it without that extra yoke of oxen; without them, they must have left a part of their load by the road-side. In setting up their new home in Zion, they would need everything they had been able to bring.
CHAPTER III: THE ARRIVAL AT THE VALLEY
The morning dawned clear and bright. Dudley was stirring as soon as it was light enough to see, his mother and the girls preparing breakfast. An air of eager expectancy hung over the entire camp. Today they would be in Zion! Three long, hot months they had been on the road. They left on the third of June, and here it was the last day of August. He just remembered that it was his birthday. Twenty years old, he was, and though there was only a light fuzz on his face, he felt he was a man. Had he not brought the family across the plains safe and sound?
On the whole, it had been a good trip. They had all taken the counsel of Elder Hyde seriously, and there had been a good attitude throughout the camp, no swearing, and no trouble between the emigrants. Though there was sickness and death before and behind them in other trains, they had remarkably good health. They had one birth and one death in their company, so arrived in Salt Lake Valley with the same number they had when they started.
This is remarkable, because the cholera raged along the road that season. Jesse W. Crosby's journal tells how he passed them sick and dying:
"(June 21) Cholera still bad, nearly every wagon had lost some; one wagon of three men had lost two; one woman said she had lost her father, mother and sister; herself and another sister remained alone." Another correspondent said he counted forty graves in sixty miles. On June 7 he saw "three wagons with only one man able to sit up; originally twelve; six dead and buried; four dying of cholera . . . sixteen out of seventeen of one train were sick; another buried seven, and had five or six sick, one dying. In two instances the correspondent passed trains where all but one had died. He saw five graves beside one tent standing and another struck. Thinks 250 had died in the last fifteen days." With some 55,000 people on the trail headed westward, some to Utah, some to Oregon, but most of them to the goldfields of California, it is not strange that disease should run rampant. The remarkable thing is that this company should escape.
Dudley did not think of all these things; his only feeling was a wish that they would hurry and get there. If only he might go on ahead. But he knew that would never do. He must keep his place in the line, the third wagon of the second ten. Finally, after what seemed an endless wait to him, they were on the move, the wagons ahead moving up the canyon, those behind taking their places in the long line.
The sun was high when they pulled out of the canyon, round a curve, and into the open. The broad expanse of the Valley stretched out below them. Captain Andrus directed the teams to pull out and stop, so they all could get a view of their new home. Though it was hardly noon, they would rest here and feed their animals.
At the first glance, the Valley was covered with a mist, but even as they watched, it dispersed, melted in the sunlight. There lay the broad lake glistening; there were squares of brown earth freshly plowed, and green and yellow fields outlined with young cottonwood trees for fences; there were city squares etched in black and green. He saw his mother wipe her eyes and move her lips in a prayer of thanksgiving. Mary, sober and sweet, stood with some other girls, while the irresistible tom-boys, Betsy and Priscilla, climbed on the wagon wheel, waved their sunbonnets and shouted, "Hurrah for Zion! Hurrah for Zion!"
As for himself, he could not swallow the lump in his throat. He could not breathe deeply enough. The sight filled him with such exhultation that he could hardly contain it. He walked away, took off his hat, rumpled his heavy dark hair, and looked as if he could never get enough of the scene.
Home at last. No more drivings or burnings or mobbings. No more trouble. Now they could settle down and make a home and be happy, free of fear of any enemies. Already he found himself planning for a farm. They had good cows along, so they would have milk and butter for the winter; their supply of flour and bacon would last until he could earn more.
It was about five o'clock in the afternoon when they passed through Great Salt Lake City, then a town of some five thousand people. There were adobe homes of one or two rooms on the blocks on the outskirts of town. As they neared the business district, two-story buildings outlined their bulk against the sky; the Tithing Office and the Council House and the Deseret News Building. Captain Andrus had two large banners painted and fastened to the cover of his wagon, the first one of the train. One read, "Holiness to the Lord", the other, "Hail to the Governor of Deseret".
People came out of the houses to wave them greetings. The trees along the wide open ditches were getting large enough for shade, flowers bloomed in the yards, corn stood ready to tassel and bean vines were climbing long poles in the gardens. Truly this seemed like a Zion indeed, a haven for weary travelers.
They pulled into Union Square just before sunset. Captain Andrus, horseback, directed the camp. He sat more erect than usual, his large hat and his black coat brushed, his neckerchief clean. Even his horse seemed to sense that this was an important occasion, for it curved its neck and pranced, as it had not done for days along the road. When the last wagon was in place, he lifted his hand for attention.
"Brethren and Sisters," he said, "we are at the end of our journey. We have been blessed in it. The Hand of God has been over us. After we separate here it will be up to each of you to locate according to your own judgment and the counsel of the authorities. Let us unite in thanksgiving to the God who has brought us here in safety."
Instantly, a hundred heads were uncovered, as men, women and children bowed together in the brief thanksgiving. As soon as the Amen was said, the bustle began. People from town were gathering to meet friends or to inquire of others still on the road. There was supper to prepare and cattle to feed for those who would camp here for the night. In the midst of their work, a tall young man came toward the wagon, a smile on his face. Nobody noticed him until Priscilla called out, "Here's Lem, mother! Here's Lem!"
Sure enough, it was Lemuel, who had come ahead a year before, grown taller and broader, really a fine looking young man. He had a log house all built out at Dual settlement; he had worked for flour and potatoes, and he had a young beef ready to kill. This was truly a homecoming, especially for the tired mother.
All winter they stayed in Dual settlement and in the spring moved out to Tooele where a new town was started and there was a better opportunity for farms. The houses were built close together in the form of a fort, while the farms were out in the valley.
The family soon fitted into the life of the little village. Lemuel had already married Melvina Thompson and had set up an establishment of his own. Later that winter Mary was married to William Hamblin. That left only Dudley, Thomas, Betsy and Priscilla at home. They made themselves quite comfortable in a log cabin with homemade furniture. Although they worked hard, they had their good times, too, with dances, candy pulls, husking bees and quiltings for entertainment.
It looked as if they might become prosperous until the Indians began to be troublesome, slipping up at night and stealing their cattle or driving off their horses. Men were sent out from Salt Lake City to help guard, but the Indians continued to steal in spite of the extra watch. It seemed that the savages knew their every move and caught them at every unguarded moment. For three years it was the same. Nothing was safe.
Brigham Young had called Jacob Hamblin and had him select a group of young men to go into the mountains to see if they could not surprise the Indians in their camp. Dudley Leavitt was one of those called to go.
On one occasion they saw the smoke of the Indian fires far up the canyon. The whites surprised the group and they fled in every direction. Dudley started after one who seemed to be a leader of the band. He had instructions not to kill unless it was necessary; he, himself, did not want to kill. Since the brave would not stop at his command, he must catch him. All day long he followed him, up steep mountain sides, down deep gullies, through the brush, over the rocks. Like a deer, the Indian seemed tireless. Dudley himself was was in excellent shape, as fit for the chase as a blood hound. So the Indian could neither run away from him nor stop to get a chance to aim an arrow at him.
It was evening before the chase ended. Both men, completely worn out, stopped at the base of a cliff. Dudley, his trousers in strings and his boots worn through, shot into the air three times for help, and then held the Indian at point of his gun until some of the posse came up. When Dudley took the knife, the bow and arrows from his captive, the native pulled open his buckskin shirt, and pointing to his breast said, "shoot".
Dudley told him no, but motioned for him to follow the other men, at the same time telling his companions to take him on. The Indian stood sullenly, refusing to move. He would not recognize the authority of others. It was Dudley who had captured him by literally running him down; it was Dudley to whom he had surrendered his weapons. He would go with no one else.
When they took him into town, the people were jubilant. They held a council to see what to do with him. The men, remembering the depredations of the Indians, the number of horses they had stolen, and the trouble they had given, thought it might teach the others a lesson if they killed this one.
"What do you say. Brother Leavitt?" the bishop asked Dudley, who had been sitting back from the council guarding the prisoner.
"I wouldn't take a sheep-killing dog a prisoner and then kill it, to say nothing of as fine a looking man as that," Dudley answered.
They all looked at the Indian. He was a fine looking man. Tall and well proportioned, he stood erect and with his arms folded, as though expecting no quarter and asking none. This put the matter in a different light.
When Jacob Hamblin returned, he also favored kindness. They sent word to Brigham Young, who told them to feed the Indian and let him go. They kept him a while before they sent him for his squaw and papoose. All winter he stayed in the fort with the whites, and did not return to his people until spring.
Years later, this same native was the means of saving the life of a Brother Harris. He was cutting timber in the mountains; he had a large tree felled and was trimming it, when he was suddenly surrounded by a whole band of bloodthirsty Indians, all armed with bows and arrows. It looked as though his doom were certain, when this friendly brave who had lived with the whites all winter in Tooele fort, appeared. He jumped onto a log and began to talk eloquently with his people. So convincing was he, that his neighbors dropped their bows and went their way. Though Brother Harris did not understand a word of the speech, he knew that the Indian was telling of the good treatment he had received the year before at the fort.
At another time Dudley went out with Jacob Hamblin and others after a band who had stolen some horses. The posse separated, some going one way and some another with the plan of surrounding the Indians. Dudley was stationed on a mountain side overlooking a well-worn trail. Just as he had made up his mind that the band had gone, he saw on the trail below, a brave and his squaw. It was old Big Foot, the leader of the band. His squaw had just given birth to a baby, and he had remained with her a few hours until she was able to travel. Now she carried the child on her back as she walked along the path behind her husband. He was one who had resented the whites, and with whom they had not been able to come to peaceable terms.
A little snow had fallen and lay in patches on the mountain side. Since this brave was one with whom they had repeatedly had trouble, Dudley decided to shoot him. He dropped to one knee to steady his nerves and get a better aim. Just as he was ready to shoot, a flare of snow came up in his face. He thought there wasn't breeze enough to blow the snow, but anyway it spoiled his aim. He got up and went along the side of the hill, keeping in sight of the Indians. Again he took aim and was ready to shoot, but this time his gun missed fire. Running along the mountain, he again dropped on one knee. This time he took aim and fired, but the bullet hit the rocks above the Indian's head, scattering fragments of them into the air.
Big Foot turned to him and said in plain English, "Who are you shooting at?" Later he seemed not to know a single word of English.
Dudley took him and his squaw to Tooele, where they were treated with such kindness, that it had a marked effect in stopping the troubles of that place.
During these years, Dudley lead the normal life of the young pioneer. He worked hard; he went to meetings and parties and dances. Naturally, he became interested in the young women, for though he was young, he was large and mature for his years. He had carried responsibility and done a man's part since he was fifteen.
One girl had seemed to have a special interest in him, and at dances and socials he found her excellent company. After an acquaintance of three years and a brief courtship, they were married, Dudley Leavitt and Mary Huntsman. She was just seventeen, pretty and sweet, and like himself, mature for her years. For she, too, was a member of a large family and had always assumed her share of the responsibility. They went to the Endowment House in Salt Lake, in order to have the marriage properly solemnized. It took place on Dudley's twenty-third birthday, August 30, 1853.
He had made a log cabin for her, with a big fire place and a crane, a table and chairs and bedstead. She bought some bedding and a few dishes, so that altogether, they were as snug and happy as any couple could hope to be. When, March 16, 1855, their little daughter was born, they thought that life could offer them nothing better. Hannah Louisa, they called her.
CHAPTER IV: THE MOVE SOUTH
For two years Dudley and his wife lived happily in their little home at Tooele. Then in the spring of 1855 the crickets came, passing like a cloud over their settlement. Behind them the fields were left as bare as a floor; the vegetable gardens had not one spear of green above the ground. It looked as if the people must face a season of famine, or at the best a serious food shortage.
In June, Jacob Hamblin came home from Santa Clara, where he had been sent on a mission to the Indians the year before. His field of labor was on the very edge of civilization, the last settlement to the south. It really was not a settlement yet, for the missionaries who had been sent there had built a pole house and cleared a small piece of land. That was all. But Jacob told of a semi-tropical climate where cotton plants were growing, and where they could raise sugar cane and sweet potatoes. He had been counseled by Brigham Young to take his family south with him.
After some consideration, Dudley and Mary decided to go south to live also. It would mean selling all they had and starting over. Dudley would take his mother, and his one unmarried sister, Priscilla. Both Mary and Betsy had married William Hamblin before this time. Still another was to go along Mary's sister, Maria, who would be Dudley's second wife. They were married August 12, 1855. She was not yet sixteen, but was well matured and was much in love with the stalwart young man who was already her sister's husband. Mary agreed to the arrangement; she encouraged it, in fact, for she dreaded to move so far away from all her family. It was the principle taught, a principle which all three accepted; it was approved and encouraged by the authorities and by the people generally. So it was the logical thing to do.
Jacob Hamblin's journal says: "Sept. 11, 1855, 1 started for Santa Clara with Oscar Hamblin, my brother, and Dudley Leavitt and our families. We arrived there the 18th of October. We were kindly received by the Lamanites; they were almost overjoyed to see our women and children."
It must have been a strange caravan that pulled out of Tooele that September morning. The horses and cattle were driven ahead by Duane Hamblin on horseback; the sheep came next followed by some of the younger children. Then came the covered wagons loaded with household furniture, food, clothing and seeds. The barrels of water were tied on the outside, the frying pans stuck upright in the bolster, buckets and kettles dangled underneath, the shovel and ax were placed easy of access. At the back of each wagon were protruding poles upon which were tied crates of chickens or little pigs. Since they could not carry feed for their cattle, they must travel slowly enough to let them feed on the way, stopping for long noon rests and early evening, staying a day or two when they found good grass and then crowding over the barren stretches. What wonder that they were six long weeks on the way!
When they arrived at Santa Clara they found the crops all ready to harvest. The com and squash and pumpkins and beans had done quite well, while the few cotton stalks, the first raised in Utah, were loaded with bolls.
All winter they stayed at Santa Clara with no fear of Indians. Then early in April they got word that the northern tribes were on the war path and that all settlers should move together for their mutual protection. This meant that the group at Santa Clara should move back to Harmony.
Minerva Dart Judd wrote an interesting account of how she and her husband moved to Santa Clara, arriving late Sunday night from Parowan after a four-days' trip. The next morning before light, word came for them to go back. She says: "The company consisted of 4 wagons and 8 mounted men . . . Brothers Rich, Roberson, Riddle, Knight, Coleman, Jacob and Oscar Hamblin and Dudley Leavitt".
From the records of the time, it would seem that Sister Judd did not know the men well. They were Robert Ritchie, Richard Robertson, Samuel Knight, Prime Coleman, Isaac Riddle, Jacob and Oscar Hamblin and Dudley Leavitt.
The women remained in Harmony a month while the men went back to Santa Clara to finish the fort. There were ten stone masons from Cedar City besides the missionaries. When it was finished it was a wall one hundred feet square, eight feet high and two feet thick, of hammer-faced stone. It was said to be the strongest fort in the Territory. Late in April, the families moved back to Santa Clara.
This was a strange community, a settlement of young people. Jacob Hamblin, 34, was the oldest man; his wife Rachel Judd Hamblin, 32, the oldest woman. Dudley was only 26, his wife Mary, 20, and Maria only 16. Zadoc Judd was 29, his wife Minerva Dart Judd was only 18 and already the mother of two children. So it was. Full of youth and vigor and faith, they set out to establish themselves in this last outpost on the edge of the desert.
They planted their crops, and for a time it seemed that they would do well. Then the creek began to dry up. The Indians came to Jacob Hamblin complaining. The old chief, Tutsegavit, told him that the missionaries had promised that if the Indians would work with them they should have food, and now their corn was drying up. Jacob was much disturbed, and going off by himself, prayed earnestly that rain might come and save the crops. In a day or two a rain did fall which filled the creek and gave them plenty of water. Jacob said that the yield was "the greatest production of the earth that I ever saw".
In writing of the same season, Zadoc K. Judd told how the fruit trees grew, from pits, ten feet high the first season, so that they could plant the seeds and transplant the orchard the same year. He said the squash vines climbed up the cottonwood trees and the squash hung like gigantic fruit from the branches.
This year the cotton did well, too. They had saved the seed of all they raised the first year. James G. Bleak's record says they planted five acres and raised two hundred pounds of cotton. Their experience the first year trying to pick out the seeds by hand had been so discouraging that Zadoc K. Judd invented a crude cotton gin. It was constructed on the same plan as a clothes wringer, the rollers about % of an inch in diameter. A crank was attached to each roller, turning them in opposite directions. Two people were needed to run it, one to turn one crank and feed the lint in, the other to pull the lint away and turn the other crank. By diligent labor, these two could get about two pounds of lint a day and four pounds of seed. James G. Bleak's record says that thirty yards of cloth was made by Caroline Beck Knight, Maria Woodbury Haskell, and Sister Lyman Curtis. Minerva Dart Judd's journal says: "This fall Mother Leavitt came down and being an experienced weaver, taught us the art of weaving. We made thirty yards of cloth."
Both accounts probably refer to the same accomplishment, but whichever it was, the sisters were so proud of it that they sent a sample to President Young. He was much interested and sent some on to the elders in England to be evaluated by experts.
The next year the Deseret News for October 20, 1858 gave an interesting comment: "The standard price for ginned cotton is 75c a pound. The yield of cotton is 1200 pounds per acre, but seed makes up two-thirds of the weight. The cost of preparing for market is trifling, probably $10.00 or $15.00 per one hundred pounds."
In the fall of 1856, Dudley went back north for a load of provisions, leaving both his wives at the fort with the other families. Mary, especially, hated to see him leave, for she was soon to give birth to another child. There seemed nothing else to do, as the roads would be closed with the coming of winter, and if he made the trip on schedule, he could get back in plenty of time.
But he did not make the trip on schedule. The other women tried to console Mary with the idea that he. wouldn't be much good if he were there. Then there was the terrible uncertainty that something had happened to him, that perhaps he would not get back at all. When finally he did drive up to the fort, he was met by Maria, her hands on her hips.
"What do you mean, to come stringing; up here now?" she began, as though to scold him soundly. It was her way of expressing her relief at his arrival. "A fine husband you've turned out to be. Come on in here."
Mary was in bed, a bundle by her side. The new son was the first white child born in Utah's Dixie, Nov. 30, 1856. They called him Dudley, Jr.
In the meantime, they had had some trouble with the Indians. The local tribe, headed by Tutsegavit, had been very friendly, but old Agarapoots and his band moved into the valley and brought with them an attitude of de- fiance. They definitely did not approve of the white settlers; they made fun of the Piedes who thought the Mormons could "make good medicine" to help the water come and the crops grow.
Though Agarapoots had not committed any offense other than killing a beef, he stalked about with glowering, threatening looks. Whenever the men left the fort to work in the fields all day, they cautioned the women to get wood and water inside and keep the doors securely fastened. But it was so hot in the enclosure, with no shade but the tule and sod roofs of the houses, that sometimes the children lingered along the creek bank under the trees.
One time as they were playing outside, they saw Agarapoots and his band coming horseback. The children scurried inside as fast as they could, but before the desperate women could get the gates closed, Agarapoots and two of his men crowded inside. With rare presence of mind, Aunt Rachel Hamblin told them to come to her wick-e-up and she would give them some bread. Though she was much frightened, she maintained a calm exterior.
The other women bolted the heavy doors and boosted a small boy over the wall on the opposite side from the gates, telling him to catch an old gray mare that was feeding in the pasture, and ride for the men. The boy succeeded in slipping through the brush and weeds, catching the mare, and mounting her, before the Indians discovered him. They yelled at him and shot their arrows, but he was out of range and only rode the faster.
This put the affair in a different light. Agarapoots did not relish the thought of having the men come and find him inside, so he asked to be let out. The more anxious he was to go, the more reluctant Rachel acted to open the gates. Finally she unbarred them and opening them just wide enough for the Indians to squeeze through, quickly closed and barred them again. Agarapoots and his men rode away in a cloud of dust.
The first tragedy in the little community happened when Maria Woodbury Haskell, the seventeen-year-old wife of Thales, was shot by a young Indian. Thales was away up the stream taking out beaver dams and the other men were at work in the fields, when a young Indian, presumably friendly, came into the fort. He went to the house where Maria was working. Thinking he was hungry, she set about getting some food for him. He took the gun from above the mantel and began examining it, when it discharged, the bullet entered the girl's thigh and lodged under the skin near the upper part of the abdomen.
They sent word to Thales, who came as quickly as he could horseback, arriving about daylight the next morning. In the meantime Jacob Hamblin had taken the bullet out with a razor and the women had kept hot turpentine packs on the wound. From the first, the case was hopeless. She was shot Saturday morning and died Sunday morning, after suffering intensely.
It was a blow to the little group. They made a casket out of the planks from the bottom of a wagon box, and dressed her in her white underwear and wedding dress, and held a funeral service in the room that they kept for meetings. It was hard to do the singing, harder to find words to comfort the grief -stricken husband, hardest of all to put one who had been so radiant and beautiful into the hot, dry soil of the desert.
The Indian who did the shooting had gone at once to Jacob Hamblin and insisted so earnestly that it was an accident, that he did not mean to, that he did not know what the gun would do, and so on, that the white men decided, in the interest of peace, not to do anything with him.
CHAPTER V: FIRST INDIAN MISSIONS
The year 1857 was an eventful one for the little colony on the Santa Clara. Other families had joined the group, until now there was a settlement. A letter from Thales Haskell dated Oct. 6, 1858, gives some important information as to who were here at this time. He says that Jacob Hamblin, Samuel Knight, Ira Hatch, Richard Robinson, Amos Thornton, Prime Coleman, Benjamin Knell, Thales H. Haskell, Robert Dickson, Isaac Riddle, Robert Ritchie and David Tullis have been on this mission since its commencement, "and are called by us, 'the old missionaries' ". Dudley Leavitt, Oscar Hamblin and Fredrick Hamblin were added to the mission October 15, 1855, Francis Hamblin in the spring of 1856 and Zadoc K. Judd at the same time; Thomas Eckels was added May 3, 1857, Lemuel Leavitt and Jeremiah Leavitt May 22, 1857. This letter is copied into the Journal History under the above date.
While Jacob Hamblin's Journal gives the date of the first Leavitt family to arrive in Santa Clara as October 18 instead of October 15, we can be reasonably sure from this letter that Lemuel and Jeremiah came on the date given. This made the family group more complete, for William Hamblin with his wives Mary and Betsy also moved down. Dudley had cleared some land further up the creek and established himself near where the town of Gunlock now stands. William and his wives moved there, also, and it was for William Hamblin that the settlement was named. He was a great man with guns, such a good shot that the Indians gave him a name which meant "eyes-in-the-back-of-the-head". His friends often spoke of him as Gunshot Hamblin or Gunlock Hamblin, so that his ranch was Gunlock's Place and later just plain Gunlock.
On August 4, 1857 President Brigham Young wrote a letter appointing Jacob Hamblin president of the Santa Clara mission. In August of that year Apostle George A. Smith, William H. Dame, James H. Martineau, and other prominent men visited the Santa Clara mission. In the report published in the Deseret News, Mr. Martineau said: "The crops were much injured by the drought, the river having entirely dried up so as not to reach the settlement. Many of the natives were assembled here to see the Mormon Captain and were very friendly. Brother Hamblin had great favor with the natives, who look to him as a father, and truly he deserves that title from the interest manifest by him in their welfare." (Des. News 7: 227), During this visit, Jacob chose as his counselors in the presidency, Dudley Leavitt and Samuel Knight.
The real reason for the visit of these brethren was to warn the saints of the approach of Johnson's army, and to advise them to save and store their grain. Word of the approaching army had reached them some time earlier, but now they were to prepare to fight. They heard of the fortifications that were being made in Emigration Canyon, of the attempts to harrass and annoy the army, and of the determination that they should not enter the valley.
The news created great excitment among the people. They gathered together and rehearsed the wrongs they had suffered in Missouri and Illinois; they retold the way in which they had been driven and the hardships they had endured. Here were some whose families and friends had been shot down like dogs at Haun's Mill. Here were some who had lost almost their whole family by cholera on the plains. Not one but had his background of suffering; not one but was determined not to be driven again. They would fight to protect their homes, poor though they were. If they were forced to, they would burn everything, flee to the rocky canyons, and hide their women and children in the mountains.
In less than a month after the visit of Apostle Smith, the greatest tragedy in all history of Utah took place, the Mountain Meadov/s Massacre. At this time a company from Missouri and Arkansas numbering some one hundred and twenty persons were massacred by Indians and whites.
This is a story of which the whole truth has not yet been published. Since the details of it do not belong to this book, we can only wonder as to Dudley's relation to it. Jacob Hamblin was away from home at the time; he had gone to Salt Lake City to marry Priscilla Leavitt, Dudley's baby sister, as his plural wife. That left Dudley Leavitt and Samuel Knight in charge at Santa Clara.
John D. Lee's confessions list both Dudley and Samuel as having been present on that occasion. Old-timers, when questioned about it, have only said, "Well, if he wasn't there, he was somewhere close around." His son, Henry, says, "It was always my understanding that father was one of the scouts who rode horseback with messages back and forth".
As the writer of this book, I should like to tell an incident which is among the most vivid of my childhood recollections. It was my business to do the chores, and twice each day as I went to and from the corral, I stopped to leave some fresh milk for grandpa and grandma. One night as he sat before the fire, he let his cane drop back against his body and stretching out his hands said, "I thank God that these old hands have never been stained by human blood."
Something about his tone and manner sent little sticklers up my spine and set my imagination running. Why should his hands be stained by human blood? I thought then that he was glad he had never killed an Indian, for his life was such that there were many times when he might have justified himself in that. Now I think he was referring to the affair at the Mountain Meadows and being thankful that he had no m-ore part in it than he had.
One of his sons says that he told him the men at the Meadows were in the same positions as soldiers in any other war. They were at war. Military law had been declared, and the men could only obey orders, as any other soldiers would have to do. Whatever Dudley knew about it, his lips were sealed. He never discussed it. Only in his later life would he even make a comment about it. He seemed to have followed the advise that was given out later that it was a bad business at best, and that talking about it would not make it any better.
The next company which passed through the state after the massacre were likewise threatened by the Indians. The natives had tasted blood; they were anxious to push this war against the "Mericats". But evidently horror- stricken at the news of what had happened at the meadows, President Brigham Young had ordered that this company be taken safely through to California. Ira Hatch acted as their guide. When word came to the leaders that the Indians on the Muddy planned to exterminate this company cdso, Jacob Hamblin sent Dudley Leavitt and others to the scene. Jacob's Journal says: "Brother Dudley Leavitt came in from the Muddy and told me that the Indians had robbed the company (previously spoken of) of near 300 head of cattle. They made their descent upon the train 7 miles west of the Muddy by moonlight and by taking advantage of the deep ravines they completed the design. The missionaries went with the cattle and Indians according to the instructions given to Brother Leavitt to prevent further outbreaks. The brethren saved nearly 100 head of cows from being destroyed and wasted by the Indians, and brought them to the Mountain Meadows."
From this it would seem that this attack was part of the Mormon warfare against the United States, wherein they were determined to weaken the enemy without shedding any blood. Lot Smith and his men were carrying on similar activities with regard to the army to the east. In his later life, Dudley used to tell of this incident.
"It was like taking our lives in our hands," he said. "If any one but the servants of God had asked me to go on that trip, I would have refused, but when I was told to go, and promised that I should go in peace and return in safety, and that not a hair of my head should be injured, I went." Then he told of how he found the Indians gathered and dressed in their war paint and feathers; how he talked with them and persuaded them to take the cattle and let the company go on in peace; and how tying a red bandana around his head and giving a mighty whoop, he led the stampede himself. "The next spring I had to ride the range three weeks to gather the cattle up again and give them back to the agent who came back from California for them," he always said to end the story.
Later that same fall he was sent with Ira Hatch on a mission to the lyat tribe in the south. That meant that he left at the Santa Clara mission his two wives and two children, Hannah, now past three years old, and Dudley, Jr., just one year old. The fall work was done, and since they were going south into the desert country, the logical time would be to go in the winter. Jacob Hamblin's handwritten journal tells the story of what happened to these men as they told it to him when they met him at Las Vegas on their return on the last day of December 1857.
"We left the Vegas with three of our old Pah-ute friends, traveled three days and arrived at the first lyat village. A portion of this village were Pah-ute descent and were our warm friends. They told us that if we went to the main village, where the War Chief resided, they were afraid we would be killed. The next day, not withstanding, we pursued our journey quite a company of Pah-utes followed us and directed us to the head War Chief.
"Shortly after our arrival we were informed by our Pah-ute friends that the lyats intended to kill us. The lyats took both of our animals and gave us to understand that we could not leave.
"We met with an lyat that could speak a little English we told him that we were friends and had come a great distance to see and talk with them. He said, 'White men mean and dishonest and are not our friends'. A large number of lyats soon gathered around us. The Pah-utes told us that the lyats were going to kill us, and began pleading with tears in their eyes for our lives to be spared. One of the Vegas Indians came to Brother Hatch and said, 'We told you last night they would kill you if you came here'. And then burst into tears.
"The Chief then called a vote to see who would sanction our death. All of the lyats formed themselves in single file with their chief at their head, showing by this that they sanctioned our death. The Pah-utes gathered around us some of them wept aloud.
"Brother Hatch then asked the privilege of talking to the Great Spirit before dying.
"He then knelt down and offered a simple prayer in the Pah-ute tongue, asking his Heavenly Father to soften the hearts of the Indians that they might spare their lives, and that they might know we came here to do them good and not harm. This the Pah-utes interpreted to the lyats. Chah-ne-wants, the chief, was much effected, and his daughter, an amiable looking girl, seemed to take up warmly in our favor. The old chief then hurried us back into the end of a long lodge, and built a fire in front and stood guard over us. They then brought one of our animals and tied it to the door post. One of our Pah-ute friends came in and told us that the lyats had killed the other animal and that many of them were determined to kill us before we left. We spent all the fore part of the night talking to the chief through the Pah-ute interpreter, giving him much good instruction telling him things that must shortly come to pass with the Indians. The next day we were permitted to leave with our worn out mules and scanty supply of provisions. We made the best of our way to this place."
Since this conversation took place either on the last day of December, 1857, or the first of January, 1858, we may assume that Dudley arrived back at Santa Clara within two weeks. In his later life he often told of the hardships of that trip from the lyat village to Las Vegas. The desert country over which they passed offered little for food except the long pod of the mesquite tree, which at this time of year would be gone. They were forced to kill desert animals for food, lizards and snakes and chipmunks. They debated as to whether or not they should boil up their moccasins to eat. But they tightened their belts and pushed on to Las Vegas, where they found friendly Indians and food.
At Santa Clara they found an increase in the population from the saints that had left San Bernardino, Las Vegas and other points south. They helped to build the first meeting house outside the fort, an adobe structure 16 by 24 feet. Among the families who stayed at Santa Clara that winter and who applied to President Young for permission to stay there permanently were Hiram Judd, Lucius Fuller, John W. Young, Lorenzo Allen, David Pettit, Robert Crowe, Brown Crowe, William Hamblin, Edwin Hamblin, Thomas Leavitt, William Crosby, Tailor Crosby, Sidney Burton, Andrew Gibbons, Decater Thompson. Some ten other families were living temporarily at Santa Clara, also.
Early in March of 1858 Jacob Hamblin was sent south again, this time to investigate the presence of a steamer on the Colorado River. He took with him five men, one of whom was Dudley Leavitt. The excitement regarding the army had not abated. In the north the people were preparing to leave their homes and flee south. Rumors had come that an army was going to be sent against the Mormons from California, so this ship was viewed with alarm.
The party went to Call's Landing, some one hundred and seventy miles from Santa Clara, and some thirty miles from Las Vegas. The steamer was under command of Lieutenant Ives, and was a government exploring party. When the Mormons reached the shore near where the vessel lay, they sent Thales Haskell out to the ship to see what he could find out of the party and its purpose. There was mutual distrust, the Mormon man wanting to learn what he could without telling his identity, and the explorers suspicious of him and his motives. He learned little beyond what he was able to observe, and returned to his companions the next morning. He knew it was not a war ship, that it did not carry soldiers, and that its mission probably had little to do with the difficulties in Utah.
When the group reached Las Vegas, they left Oscar Hamblin there to help the Indians plant crops and to maintain friendly relations with them. Two of the brethren returned to Santa Clara, while Jacob and Dudley went thirty-five miles south to where there was a deposit of lead. With the condition of war existing, it was important for them to get lead for bullets.
Jacob Hamblin's biography says only: "Having some little knowledge of smelting the ore, our efforts were a success." They built a crude smelter, the furnace walls of adobe and the container on top of tin, something like a molasses boiler. The hard mesquite wood made a fire hot enough to melt the lead, which they ran through a pipe in the bottom into places hollowed out in the sand. For years the remains of this lead smelter stood there, near where was later the Portisee mine.
Dudley had been put in charge of the horses, and cautioned not to let them get out of his sight. He thought he was watching them. As he went about preparing the supper over the camp fire, he looked up to see his mares just rounding the point of a hill. Calling out to them, he ran to head them off, and since he did not have his gun, he picked up two rocks in his hands as he ran.
But he was not quick enough. He followed as fast as he could go, but when he came to the mouth of the wash, he could only see a cloud of dust far out on the desert, as the fleeing Indians left him with no means of pursuit. This was a real tragedy. To be left on the desert with an outfit was bad enough, but to be left on foot was serious, indeed.
They agreed that Dudley should go back to Las Vegas for help and that Jacob should remain with the wagons. Jacob's biography tells of his experiences, but says nothing of Dudley except that he started back thirty-five miles on foot to Las Vegas. Dudley told how, after he had sent Oscar Hamblin out with a team to get Jacob, he started home on foot. He was now twenty-eight years of age, and in excellent condition; he might as well be going toward home as waiting around for a week or two for teams. So he set out. He went some fifty miles across the desert to the Indian village on the Muddy River. Here he rested a day or two and looked around in the hope that he might find his horses. When he was ready go on, his native friends filled his pockets with parched corn, and gave him a little jerked horse meat. He did not know whether this came from the hind quarter of one of his own mares or not, but he accepted it gladly.
Leaving the Muddy, he followed the course of the Virgin River up to near where the town of Littlefield now stands, and then cut across the mountains towards Santa Clara. This last thirty miles proved almost too much for him. His scanty supply of food was gone, and he was weakened by his long journey. The desert offered little at any time; now it seemed more barren than usual. He trudged along, a lone figure in the expanse of sage and rabbit brush, tightening his belt and looking out for any sign of food. He often told in his later years how he came to a place where a California emigrant had camped, and picked up the kernels of barley that had dropped from the horses' nose bags. He even kicked apart piles of dry manure in search of whole kernels that the desert rats had not yet carried off.
At last he felt that he could go no farther. He used the last bit of strength he had to climb a large rock to lie down, thinking that here, perhaps, the animals could not get at his body or a passing wagon would be sure to find him. He had not been there long when a friendly old Indian came along. He had no food, but he had a pipe with a little tobacco. He gave Dudley a few puffs, wrapped his loose rope tightly around the hungry man's body, and offered to help him to the Indian camp. Stimulated by the tobacco, sustained by the rope corset, and bouyed up by the thought that help was near, Dudley made his way to the tepees. The squaws would give him only a little bit at first, a few kernels of wheat to chew slowly. After a little while they gave him more, until at last he was able to take a gourd full of a stew which they were cooking. He was forced to remain here resting a day or two before he could make the few remaining miles to his home.
It was now April and time for the crops to be in, though the wheat was already well up. Dudley entered into his work with his usual vigor, planting not only cotton but sugar cane and vegetables. By this time, peace was established; word came that the saints in the north were moving back to their homes, and the terror and tension were over. There was every promise of a good harvest.
The people of the south decided to really celebrate the Twenty-fourth of July. It was the first time they had felt like having a hilarious time since they had come south. The first years were so hard and they were so few. Then the year and a half just past had been one of worry and concern. Now they decided to all go to Washington, the newly established town some ten miles away and celebrate.
Such a bustle of preparation! There were clothes to be made ready, made over, or retrimmed or freshened up. There was cooking to be done, for everyone must take his own food along, and some to spare.
In the Leavitt wagon were the two wives, the two children and Dudley's mother. Everyone else was going, too, so they planned to travel together. They left Santa Clara after an early lunch and arrived in Washington after sunset. They camped on the public square, where were, also, some wagons from Harmony and Toquerville. Around the camp fires they visited, told stories and sang songs. The next morning they were awakened by shots of cannon improvised by placing anvils on top of each other with a shot of powder underneath.
The meeting at nine o'clock consisted of spirited toasts and speeches, songs and music by the band, a flute and drum. In the afternoon sports of all kinds were held, foot races, wrestling, boxing bouts for the men, visiting in the shade for the women. A grand ball finished the day. The ground had been cleared, packed and dampened; a bonfire gave light. How they cut and swirled and "swung their partners".
Dudley loved to dance. No one was lighter on his feet than he. He could go through the intricate changes of the quadrille; he could make the Hostler's Four look like a piece of art. He was one of the few who could do justice to the double shuffle. John D. Lee was another who could dance and enjoy it, the fringed ends of his long red sash swinging wide on the turns. Maria and Mary were not less keen in their enjoyment, nor Minerva Judd, nor Caroline Knight, nor any of the other young women. After all, they were only girls in years and girls at heart, though they were married and some of them had babies.
The next day they stayed until after noon, resting and visiting, the men swapping yams and the women exchanging patterns and recipes. After dinner they hitched up their teams and started for home. The occasion would be a bright memory for them all and would give them talking material for months. It seemed so good to have moved out from the cloud of fear and hate and suspicion which had surrounded them, to know that the war was over and that peace was established.
CHAPTER VI: THE FAMILY GROWS
After the fall work was done, Jacob Hamblin decided that they should visit the Moquis Indians across the Colorado River. After all, they had been sent here as missionaries to the Indians, and it was their duty to do all that they could to gain the friendship of the natives and to try to teach them the ways of civilization. The work among the Piutes and Piedes had been discouraging, because these tribes were very backward. Jacob thought he would like to spend some effort with what he called "the nobler branches of the race".
On the twenty-sixth of September, 1858, they held a special conference at Santa Clara to decide upon policies to pursue among the Indians. Since the natives at the Muddy Valley and Las Vegas had been so thieving, they decided to withdraw the missionaries from those two places, and work instead among the Navajos and the Moquis.
It was the last of September when they set out. Jacob Hamblin's Biography gives the list of those who went as Ammon M. Tenney, Durais Davis, Frederick and William Hamblin, Dudley and Thomas Leavitt, Samuel Knight, Ira Hatch, Andrew S. Gibbons, Benjamin Knell and a Piute guide, Naraguts. The minutes of the meeting held, give also, the names of Thales Haskell anl Lucius Fuller as among the party.
The country over which they must travel was largely unexplored, a barren, rocky land, destitute of food or game. After ten days' journey, much of it over dangerous rocks and cliffs, they came at last to "The Crossing of the Fathers" on the Colorado River. The next day the mule which carried the provisions was either lost or stolen, so they were three days without food, except what they could shoot. Then they came to a garden growing. Risking the displeasure of the owners if they were caught, they took a large squash. They cooked it and decided that it must be a different variety than they had at home because it was so much sweeter. Later they decided that it was just their hunger that made it taste sweeter.
In his Biography, Jacob Hamblin describes the Indian villages thus:
"Four miles further on we came to an Oriba village of about three hundred dwellings. The buildings were of rock, laid up in clay mortar. The village stands on a cliff with perpendicular sides, and which juts out into the plain like a promontory into the sea. The promontory is narrow where it joins the table land back of it.
"Across this the houses were joined together. The entrance to the town on the east side was narrow and difficult. The town was evidently located and constructed for defense from the marauding bands around.
"The houses are usually three stories high. The second and third stories are set back from the front the width of the one below, so that the roofs of the lower stories have the appearance of terraces.
"For security the first story can only be entered by ascending to the roof, and then down a ladder into the room below.
"After our arrival in the village, the leading men counseled together a few minutes, then we were separated and invited to dine with different families." Jacob's account goes on to describe the homes and food of these Indians, and of the way they contrived to live here in the midst of the desert. Luke Johnson gave an account of the trip to George A. Sm.ith on December 28, so they must have been back by that date. He also told of their cliff dwellings, accessible only by foot or mule back, and of the cisterns in which they stored their water.
Of the hardships on the way home, he said nothing. Jacob's Biography outlines them briefly, but in the minds of the men who endured them, they were never to be forgotten.
The missionaries had heard a legend that some Welsh men had disappeared into this section several hundred years before, had intermarried with the Indians, and lost their identity. There were supposed to be some descendants with light hair and fair skins and some Welsh words incorporated into the Indian language. The group of Mormon visitors found none of these evidences. They stayed long enough to establish friendly relations, then leaving four of their number William Hamblin, Andrew Gibbons, Thomas Leavitt and Benjamin Knell to rem.ain with the natives, the rest of the group started back to Utah.
The trip home was long and hard. Winter had set in. All day they faced a piercing wind, and at night did not dare light a fire for fear of roving bands of Indians. They had expected to get food at an Orubi village, but were disappointed. To add to their troubles, one of their horses carrying what little provisions they had got away. That left them entirely without. To add more to their troubles, it began to snow, until in a whole day they went only eight miles.
When they camped at Pipe Springs, the snow was knee deep. They pitched their tent and prepared to face another cold night without food. For two days Jacob had ridden almost in silence. Some of the men thought he was angry, but as a matter of fact, he was worried and almost ill from exposure. After huddling a while in the rude shelter, Dudley and Lucius Fuller went out and began saddling their horses. Jacob came out and asked them what they were going to do.
"We are going home, or we are going to die in the attempt," they told him.
"The chances are you can't make it," Jacob told them. "Your horses are already jaded, and in this storm it would be hard to find the road. If you did get through, you could not get help back to us for a week, and we cannot go hungry that long. I see no way but to kill one of the horses for food."
Without a word, Dudley pulled the saddle from his, mare and motioned for his companion to shoot it. Jacob turned and walked into the tent, tears running down his cheeks. He felt that he had got the group into this difficulty, and was afraid the men would complain or argue among themselves as to whose horse should be shot.
"Some of the men had steaks cut out of the hind quarter of that horse almost before it stopped kicking," Dudley said years later. "No meat since has ever tasted so good."
For two days they lived on this diet, horse meat without salt. After the first hunger was satisfied, it did not seem so good, but it was better than nothing. On the third day the storm was over and they made their way toward home.
The whole Santa Clara settlement was relieved to see their horses file down the street. Perhaps none were more relieved than Dudley's two wives, both of whom were expecting babies. Mary's third child, Orin David, was born Jan. 8, 1859, and Maria's first baby, Orilla, arrived on April 28, 1859.
The two sisters, left alone so much, had grown to depend upon each other, and cooperated in every way. They shared each other's worries and worked for their mutual good. Maria waited on Mary during her confinement, and then when her baby arrived, Mary was able to take care of her. More than that, the one layette could do for both babies, for in three months, little Orin could be "shortened".
Their work went on as usual, planting and harvesting, until early fall, when another event of moment happened. Dudley married a third wife, Thirza Riding, a sixteen-year-old girl from England. She had left her native land with her parents nearly twelve years before. They had reverses, and were forced to stop back at St. Louis and work to get an outfit. For her the trip across the plains was one round of good times. In Salt Lake City her father, who was a tinsmith, found plenty of work. They lived there for five years. Then at the time of the move south, they came to Provo. At this time, Thirza had a white swelling on her leg. For six months she was under the doctor's care. At last it seemed that she must have the leg taken off, but her mother would not listen to it.
"If I must bury her, I will bury her with both her legs," she said.
The girl was on crutches for over a year. In the meantime, the family was called to Santa Clara. She was still on crutches when they arrived.
What it was that attracted her to Dudley, or him to her, we can only guess. He was twenty-nine years old, a perfect physical specimen, with a shock of brown hair, clear blue eyes, and a sense of fun. She was a slip of a girl with long hair, which she let hang loose at the dances, with only a ribbon around her head. She, too, was full of fun, she loved to dance and sing and laugh. It did not matter to her that he already had two wives and four children. He still was what she wanted. They were married on August 11, 1859, at Manti, Utah, by I. Morley.
Though there must have been some heartache on the part of the other two wives, they accepted the third with good grace. Dudley established them all at Gunlock. There was plenty of fertile soil there and it was nearer the head of the stream where the water did not dry up in the summer.
The year 1859 had been a dry year and the crops did not do well, at least the wheat crop did not. Flour was so scarce that people were forced to try substitutes. They ground cane seed, but found that it would not make bread. Corn was their chief diet, com meal mush, com bread, hominy. They tried as many ways as possible to get variety but it was still com, though there were beans, squash, and greens to go with it. If they had a small biscuit of wheat bread for dinner on Sunday, they thought they did well.
In January, 1859, the county seat was moved from New Harmony to Washington. The early records of the court proceedings, now on file at the Washington County Court House give some interesting sidelights on conditions. The tax assessment this year was one fourth of one percent; payment was in produce. Wheat was $1.50 a bushel, cotton 50c a pound, clean washed wool, 75c per pound. (J. G. Bleak Bk. A 67) .
Early in 1860 Dudley made a trip north with molasses and dried fruit with which to buy the things his families needed. On the way up he stopped as usual at the home of Sarah Smith McGregor at Parowan. She was a daughter of Aunt Hannah Fish. On his return, he again stopped at her home. Years before, Sarah had adopted an Indian girl, Janet, who went by the name of Janet Smith, as that was the name of Sarah's first husband. She had lived in the home since infancy, had grown up with the other children, and had the same training. She attended school and took part in church activities as they did; she helped with the home work, but v/as in no sense a slave.
On his way home, Dudley got out early. He pulled out of the yard before sunrise, without waiting to eat breakfast with the family, for he hoped that he could get home in two more days. He had got out of town, past the fields, and to the open road, when he was overtaken by a boy on horseback.
"Brother George A. Smith wanted to see you before you left town," the boy said, and then wheeled his horse and galloped back without explaining what was wanted. Dudley supposed that Apostle Smith had some message to send to Jacob Hamblin, or some instructions with regard to the Indians. So he turned his team around and went back to town.
Apostle Smith was waiting for him alone in the parlor. He hesitated a little and then asked Dudley if he had ever considered marrying an Indian girl. This question came as a complete surprise to the young man. No, he couldn't say that he had. The Apostle went on to say that it would be his counsel for Dudley to marry the girl, Janet Smith. This, too, was a surprise. He had known her for years, but had never thought of her as a wife.
Brother Smith went on to explain that the girl had received an offer of marriage from a white man, as a plural wife, but had refused it. The family could not understand why she had turned down so good an offer; they felt that the opportunity to marry a white man was one she could not afford to pass up. For a long time she would tell them nothing, but this morning after Dudley had left in such haste and without even a leave taking, she bad broken down.
"There is only one man that I have ever seen that I would like to marry," she said, "and that man is Dudley Leavitt."
He went on to enumerate the girl's good qualities and to show that with her training she should make an excellent wife. Then, too, there was the promise that the Lamanites should yet become a white and delightsome people; they were of the blood of Ephraim and would eventually come into their own.
Dudley hestitated. He thought of the three wives at home, Thirza, a bride of less than six months, both the others with young babies. The season had been so hard that it was almost more than he could do to provide for the family he had. He dreaded the complications that were sure to arise by bringing another wife into the group, especially an Indian wife.
"If you will take that girl, marry her, give a home and a family, and do your duty by her, I promise you in the name of the Lord that you will be blessed," George A. Smith said solemnly.
"I'll do it," Dudley said, without further hesitation.
The girl and the family were called in, the marriage ceremony performed then and there, Janet's things loaded into the wagon, and the couple started on their strange honeymoon.
The story of the arrival home comes to us by word of mouth through the years. His three wives, who had been anxiously watching for him, hurried out to the wagon. To say that they were surprised would be putting it mildly; to say that they were pleased would be far from true. One cannot help being a little sorry for the girl on the wagon who received so cold a reception. Mary said little. As the first wife, she knew her first duty was to try to maintain order and dignity in her husband's house. She could wait for the explanation which she knew would be forthcoming. Maria sputtered a little; Thirza bundled up her things and went home to her parents. She felt that her parents would understand. She could have accepted another wife, she told herself but an Indian! It was more than she would take.
At home she received no sympathy. Both her mother and her father told her she was wrong to be so jealous and stubborn.
"You take your things and go right back," her father told her. "You should be ashamed to make such a fuss. When you married him, he had two other wives. They were kind to you and accepted you into their home. Now you do the same. He has acted entirely within his right. If he wants another wife, he can take her. How do you know but what this was counsel of the authorities? Anyway, you go back, act like a lady, and hold your tongiie."
In a about a week Thirza went back. Dudley had made no effort to come to her, to coax her back, or to offer any explanation. She had gone out of his house of her own free will; she could return when she got ready. But he was happy and relieved when she did come. Now he could divide the things he had brought from the city. He had made a rule never to give to one what he could not give to the others; the cloth was always measured into equal lengths, they all had shoes when one got them; if there was only one paper of tea, it was divided equally.
Naturally there were many adjustments to make. That there were some differences and occasionally a few bitter words, there can be no doubt. But they learned to bear and forebear, to control their tempers and their tongues. Mary was patient, and the girls learned in time to adjust and to work together. Most of the credit for what success they made of this strange way of life must be given to Dudley. He believed that a man should be the head of his own house, under God. He treated his wives with impartiality; he was gentle and cheerful; he loved his children. Whenever he came into the house, they all ran to him. He never sat down that they were not all on his lap. He observed family prayer, the group kneeling together every morning and evening to ask God's blessing and guidance, and to pray for the strength and grace they needed. In the evening, he often read aloud while the women sewed or knitted or mended.
Soon he built each wife a house of her own, one large log room with a shed at the back. Janet's was a part dugout against the hill, but it was cool in summer and warm in winter, and the other wives felt that it was as good an establishment as theirs. Each had a fireplace to cook over, a bed built into the corner laced with rawhide strips and with a good shuck tick. Each had a home-made table and several stools of split logs with awkward, out-standing legs. Each had her own dishes and bedding. He gave each a cow, a pig, and some chickens, and what they made of what they had, depended on their own thrift.
The ideal to which he worked all his life was to keep his families together, to have his wives where he could see them all every day, and to be close to his children, an ideal that became increasingly difficult as the families grew. He sensed the responsibility which he had assumed, and resolved to carry out his part of it, with the help of God.
CHAPTER VII: THE SETTLEMENT OF DIXIE
The leaders of the church had watched with great interest the progress of the little colonies on their southern frontier. With the Civil War on back in the states, it was almost impossible to get cotton goods; it had always been a problem to secure sugar. If it could be demonstrated that these articles could be raised in southern Utah, it would be of great benefit. The first samples of cotton raised on the Santa Clara and sent to Salt Lake City caused a great deal of conjecture, as did the cloth samples which they sent the second year.
In 1857 a company of converts, most of them from the South, had been sent to establish Washington, Washington County, under the leadership of Robert D. Covington, to raise cotton. There were some one hundred and sixty people in the company. The next year, 1858, a group was sent to establish a cotton farm at the mouth of the Tonaquint, or at the junction of the Santa Clara and Virgin Rivers. This was under Joseph Home, and is said to have been the first agricultural experiment station in the United States. That the people were actually experimenting is shown by this extract from a letter from James H. Martineau to B. R. Carrington, dated August 22, 1857, "While at Harmony, Mrs. E. N. Groves showed us a piece of cloth, the warp being cotton grown at the Santa Clara and the filling being the bark of a species of milk weed, the fibre being long, and almost as strong as silk".
In May, 1861, President Brigham Young, George A. Smith, Daniel H. Wells, John Taylor, Bishop Edward Hunter and others visited the southern settlements. They reported twenty families in Santa Clara and seventy-nine in Washington County. Of the visit, the Deseret News said: "At Santa Clara there are several fine young peach orchards. It is estimated that 1000 bushels of peaches will be produced there this season. Jacob Hamblin has a hundred bearing trees. Mr. E. Dodge has a fine young orchard and vineyard, consisting of apples, peaches, apricots, nectarines, plums, pears, quinces, almonds, figs, English walnuts, gooseberries, currants and Catawaba, Isabella and California grapes, all in a thrifty and promising condition. The cotton crop looks very well, but not as forward as usual, and crops in general were backward." (Des. News, 11-116).
At this time, Dudley and his families were living on the present site of Gunlock, where they, too, had thrifty orchards and vineyards. Others had told of the great fertility of the land, and of its adaptability to the growing of fruit and grapes, as well as cotton. Perhaps the report of the first Washington County Fair, held in September, helped to establish this idea of the southern part of the state. The report said: "September 7, 1860, the Washington County Agricultural and Manufacturing society held its first exhibition at Washington, the county seat. A splendid collection of fruits and other products were brought in. Among other things a cotton stalk containing 307 bolls and form? and a sunflower which measured three feet in circumference. The ladies' department also represented a very creditable appearance."
The combined result of all these reports was that Brigham Young decided to colonize southern Utah. He would establish the city of St. George, with some three hundred families. He also decided to send a colony of Swiss emigrants to Santa Clara to raise grapes and fruit.
Among all the enterprises necessary in colonizing the state, perhaps none was more heroic than this. These converts had come across the ocean and to the Missouri River through the help of the Perpetual Emigration Fund, There they made hand-carts, which they loaded with all their belongings and pulled all the weary fourteen hundred miles to the valley. When it was decided to send them another three hundred miles south to this last frontier, volunteer teams were called to transport them. One man hauled a family from Salt Lake City to Provo, another from Provo to Nehpi, another from Nephi to Fillmore, and so on, the last being from Parowan to Santa Clara.
An old brother Jones of Cedar City, in speaking of this, said, "I was just a boy, sent to drive my father's team from. Cedar City to Santa Clara to take a father, mother, and four children. I unloaded them in the sand underneath an old willow tree. I shall never forget my feelings as I turned my team around and drove away. I thought I was leaving that family there to starve. They had a roll of bedding, a small box of clothes, a chest with some carpenter's tools in it all that they had been able to haul across the plains in their handcart. There was not a shovel or hoe or ax, or any of the other tools they would need. There was little food, and no evidence of where they might get more when that was gone. All through my life the memory of those people left there in that desert has haunted me."
The group evidently came in good spirits, however, for George A. Smith, writing in the Millenial Star said, "We met a company of fourteen wagons led by Daniel Bonelli, at Kanarra Creek. They excited much curiosity through the country by their singing and good cheer. They expected to settle at Santa Clara village where there is a reservation of land selected for them that is considered highly adaptable to grape culture. Six of their wagons were furnished by the church." (Mil. Star. 24: 41-42).
The company arrived November 28, 1861 and camped around the adobe meeting house. As soon as their first rude shelters were made, they began on their ditch and dam. It was completed on December 24, Christmas Eve, and was. the occasion for a celebration. It had cost $1030.00 in labor, with work valued at $2.00 a day.
The next day the rain began. Old-timers claim that it rained for forty days. At least the rainy season did last more than a month. Clothes and bedding were wet and could not be dried. The dugouts and other shelters gave poor protection, even with all the utensils to catch the drippings. Food molded. Fires were hard to keep going and harder to start if they went out. It was a month of misery and suffering for all.
Then came the flood. For days the creek had been rising, until it was swollen to many times its normal size.
One night the people were awakened by its roaring like a wild beast unleashed. Every few minutes there would be a loud splash as a large piece of bank fell into the water. The fort had been built well back on higher ground, but now it was plain that it was in danger. Those nearest the stream began to move to higher ground. They picked their way through the darkness, carrying their quilts to the top of the hill and tucking shivering children into their damp folds. A few pine torches flitted about; one or two had made lanterns of candles stuck into the side of tin cans. But the light was a feeble flicker, making the darkness outside its tiny circle seem even more dense.
Those in charge ordered everybody out of the fort. But it was not enough just to get out, they must move their food and clothing and bedding. A woman who had given birth to a baby the day before must be carried to safety. Long before they were through, the water was nearly waist deep through the fort. They tied a rope from the gate to a tree on the higher ground, which was a veritable life line for the people so frantically trying to carry out their stores of wheat and molasses. By keeping a firm hold on the rope, they could be sure where they were going and more sure of their footing. The horror of it all, the darkness, and the savage stream, made some of them wonder if this might be the end of the world.
When the first faint streak of light along the eastern horizon told them morning had come, it brought only more clearly their predicament. The mad river was slashing into the bank, carving out pieces as big as a house. Already one corner of the fort was gone.
Jacob Hamblin ventured too near the edge and the piece of ground on which he was standing slipped into the water. Such a panic! While the women and children screamed and cried, someone untied the rope which had been their guide all through the night, made a lasso of it, and threw it to him just as the last of the soil on which he stood dissolved into the water. With the help of all hands on the bank, he was hauled back to safety.
All day long they watched the fruits of their six years' labor go. Tree by tree, their largest orchard went, each one bending down slowly as if bowing to the will of the river. The men had been frantically trying to move the wheat from the store room in the fort. They went until one comer and part of the wall had caved in. But with all their efforts, much of their bread supply was lost. By nightfall, the whole little colony was washed away and the people stood shivering and shelterless on top of the hill, their few household effects piled in confusion about them. The flood was receding, but somewhere away down stream, buried in mud, were the grist mill, the molasses mill, and the homemade cotton gin.
Left now to start all over, they decided to locate the town up round the point of the hill from where the fort had been. They lost no time in marking off lots, the men drawing cuts for their locations. Shelters were erected, most of them dugouts against the hill with the fronts held up by poles and thatched with willows and earth to protect them against the cold weather.
Work on the new ditch and dam commenced at once, February 17, 1862. It was finished March 16 at a cost of $4000.00. The irrigation reports of 1865 reported that Santa Clara had a main canal 3 miles long, five feet wide and three feet deep, costing $8000.00. (Des. News 5:30). Before the flood the creek could be stepped across in many places. After 1862 it was 150 yards wide and 25 feet deep. (Mil. Star. 24: 276).
At the time of this flood Dudley had his families all at Gunlock, each in a log house built close together in the shape of a fort. When the rain continued and the creek began rising, the women cooked up what they could and moved a part of their things up the hill. When the heaviest flood came in the night they all had to get out. Hannah, then only six years old, remembered the incident well, and told of this in her later years. Her Uncle Joseph Huntsman carried Dudley, Jr., in his arms and her on his back up into the rocks for safety. The mothers and Dudley had all they could do to handle the others, for Mary had two, Orin and Orson, both very small; Maria had two, Orilla and Elsie, Thirza had one and Janet one eight babies under six years of age to move in the night to beds in the open. The houses were all washed away, though through their foresight, nearly everything else was saved.
This spring and summer was a hard one for all the Santa Clara settlement. St. George did not fare so badly, for they had brought provisions to last until another harvest. But the Swiss colony was in dire circumstances. It was now that Dudley and his brother, Lemuel, had a chance to show their true character. Dudley made a trip north for a load of flour, which he divided among the people according to the need and the size of the family, a pan full here, a part of a sack there. Every dust of it must be saved. During the summer, he killed several beeves and divided them in the same way, giving each family a piece of flesh and some boiling meat. He had cattle of his own, and he also killed wild cattle from the Bull Valley herd. Every part of the animal was used. One old lady said that the sweetest meal she had ever eaten was of tripe, or part of the stomach lining of one of these.
Dudley's daughter, Mary Ellen, tells this incident: "I was visiting Santa Clara years later as a young woman. My cousin and I were going down the sidewalk when we met one of these old Swiss ladies. My cousin introduced me as the daughter of Dudley Leavitt. The old woman threw her arms around me and began to hug and kiss me between laughing and crying at the same time. I didn't knov/ what to make of it. I wondered if she had lost her mind. 'I love anyone who is anything to do with Dudley Leavitt', she said. *I love the sound of his name. He saved our lives. He brought us flour and meat when we would have died without food. He didn't sell them to us. He gave them to us; he divided what he had. May the Lord bless him.' "
When Mary Ellen got home she said, "Father, why didn't you ever tell us about the early days at Santa Clara when you took the settlers food?"
"It was nothing," Dudley answered. "I couldn't see them starve, could I?"
Dudley not only had his own families to care for, but he had other obligations. His mother lived with him much of the time. He had children not his own to provide for. One was Jerry Steiner, a boy whose mother had died on the plains and whose father went on to California. Dudley kept the boy in his home until he was old enough to go out for himself, when he gave him a team and wagon, and let him make his own way. During the years that he lived in the Leavitt home, Jerry took a team and a load of provisions back to meet emigrants on the way. Two different times Dudley sent outfits back to Missouri to help bring to Utah those with no way to come.
At one time a woman in St. George had lost her husband and was left with a little son, Reuben Wright. She had to work and could not care for him, so she went to Erastus Snow for advice as to what to do.
'Take the child to Dudley Leavitt at Gunlock," he said after a few minutes study.
She protested, saying that Dudley Leavitt already had a large family, more than he could take care of.
"My advise is to take the child to Dudley Leavitt," Brother Snow insisted.
She followed his advice. Little Reuben lived in Dudley's home for several years, as one of his children, until the mother was in a position to take him again herself.
Years later, Weir and Dudley, Jr., were going to Salt Lake with a load of fruit. They camped in a little town overnight, and a small girl came out to sell them some apples.
"Why, we are from Dixie," they told her. "We have a load of fruit of our own to sell."
The little girl went back to the house, and soon the mother came out.
"Did you say you were from Dixie?" she asked.
When they told her they were, she asked, "Do you happen to know Dudley Leavitt?"
"We ought to," Weir told her, "He is our father."
Then she said that she was the mother of Reuben Wright. The boy was by this time grown and married. She, herself, had remarried and had a young family. She wanted them to tell their father how she still appreciated all that he had done for her in taking care of her boy while she could not.
So it was always with Dudley. He went about doing that which was nearest him, without show and without hope of reward. "Cast your bread upon the waters," was not only a quotation he often used; it was a guide for everyday living.
CHAPTER VIII: AT CLOVER VALLEY
With the coming of more white settlers to the south, the difficulties with the Indians increased. The tribes, as a whole, were a miserable, degraded lot, without any skills and with little knowledge of the storing of food, so that the late winter months were times of starvation for them. The more white people that came into the country the less game there was, until they must resort to petty thieving. They began to resent the white settlers and to lose the feeling of reverence they had for them in the earliest years.
One dark stormy night as Dudley was traveling up the creek, he was given the order to halt. By a flash of lightning he could see that he was surrounded by Indians with drawn bows.
"Wamptun!" he cried. "Wamptun Tunghi!" This was his name among the natives, and he wanted them to be sure to know who he was.
He began telling them that he was their friend; he reminded them of the times he had given them food and had helped them in many ways. It took an eloquent plea to turn them from their design, for one of their braves had been killed by a white man, and according to their code, they must kill a white man to atone for it. At last an old chief took Dudley's part, and they finally consented to let him go in peace.
There were now more people at Santa Clara than the land would support. Jacob Hamblin had moved to Kanab to try to keep peace among the tribes there, and a number of the earlier settlers were counseled to move to Clover Valley. Edward Bunker was in charge of the group. In her later years, Dudley's oldest daughter, Hannah Leavitt Terry, wrote an account of conditions which gives some very interesting side-lights:
"In the spring of 1864, father started to move his families to Clover Valley. Aunt Maria and Aunt Janet went first. Later, he took Aunt Thirza and mother's three oldest children, myself, Dudley and Orin. Mother had a web of cloth in the loom at Santa Clara and stayed behind to finish it. I think a number of families were called to be on guard there for treacherous Indians. Brothers Luke and Matthew Syphus, Brothers Amos and Bradford Hunt, Brothers Brown and Hamilton Crowe and Brother Young all had their families there. Also Brother Blair had both his families there.
"Minty Young was a girl about my age, Lavina Syphus was a little older, Leath Crowe, Eliza Ellen and Linda Hunt, Louisa and Eliza Leavitt, Uncle Jerry's daughters, were all girls together and we used to have real good times dancing and skating.
"The houses were built close together in the shape of a fort, the school house being partly across one end, and the town ditch ran through the center of the fort. The first corral was built at the northwest end of the fort, the fence at one end of the fields forming one side of the corral. Later, a big public corral was built on the south side of the fort. We used to take our knitting and go out in the shade of the big haystacks. Lavinia Syphus always took more yam than the rest of us; she was a faster knitter. We all knit our own stockings.
"The Indians were quite peaceable when we first moved there. They would bring dried berries and pinenuts to trade for flour and potatoes. I remember the large sacks of pinenuts that used to stand behind the door.
"Once, when the Indians got hungry, they sold Susie to father. The Indian put down a blanket and father poured wheat on it as long as any would stay on without rolling off. I can still see father holding the bucket and pouring it on. He also let them have some sheep that were killed before they went away. Susie was a little Indian girl about five years old. Aunt Janet took care of her. I can still see her crying when the Indians went away. Father kept her five years and let Brother William Pulsipher have her for a span of oxen."
This extract from the oldest child in the family tells many things about their home economy. Though she was only twelve years old at the time, she had always assumed responsibility and was matured for her years. Besides knitting her own stockings, she must help with those of the rest of the family, while she seemed never through with dish-washing. By this time there were eleven children in the family younger than she. Her own mother, Mary, had four others, Maria had three, Thirza two and Janet two, a total of twelve children under twelve years of age.
The custom of buying Indian children was quite common. Earlier, the Utes had carried on a business of buying or stealing them and selling them to the Mexicans for slaves. The Mormons opposed this, and through their influence had it stopped. But they themselves sometimes bought children, always if the parents were forced to sell one to get food for the others. The thing that prompted this was their belief that the Indians would be redeemed, that they would become a white and delightsome people. This was one way in which the Mormons could help the process of civilizing the natives. The Indian children were taken into the family, trained to do home work and farming, and taught religion. They were not, in the common sense, slaves.
When the colony first moved to Clover Valley, they thought it was in Utah, but later surveys showed it to be in Nevada. It was a delightful spot, a small valley running east and west, carpeted with grass and watered by everal fine springs. Surrounding it on all sides were low, rolling hills covered with sage brush and cedar trees, an excellent range for cattle. By this time, Dudley had a good herd.
The first year was very happy and successful, the winter, mild and open, and the crops good. During the next summer, a sickness came among the babies. One writer said that it terminated in the death of every baby in town under six months of age, twelve in all. Hannah Terry's account said that all but three babies died; Thirza's baby, Mary Ellen; Aunt Selinda Huntsman's baby, Luna; and the Syphus baby, Levi, were spared.
During the second summer a camp of prospectors had begun some mining activities at the lower end of the Meadow Valley. Soon they began to have trouble with the natives.
Instead of using the Mormon methods, they decided to fight it out. When some Indians stole their horses, they took three of them prisoners. One of them got away. In her story of it, Minerva Judd says:
"I never saw such running before. They shot at him, but he darted this way and that and evaded them. He went like a kite in the wind. He beat both horse and foot." The others tried also to escape, and fought like bloodhounds. In the struggle, they were killed.
That was the way the trouble began, and the spirit of unrest and enmity grew. Throughout the southern part of the state the Indians seemed to be watching every opportunity to harass the settlers. Chief among the troublemakers in the Clover Valley section was Old Bush-head. Though the whites gathered their cattle in at night and kept a strong watch around the corral, some were missing.
One night it was Bradford Hunt's turn to stand guard. Several times they had found evidence that the natives were trying to break into the corral. So Bradford Hunt was cautioned to keep a careful lookout for any attempt to break through. The night was dark and stormy. As Brother Hunt made his rounds, a flash of lightning revealed the crouched figure of an Indian with his bow drawn, sitting in the corner of the fence. The same instant Bradford fired. They found the Indian next morning slumped down where he sat, his bow dropped, and a bullet through his heart. Knowing the Indian temperament and fearing for his own safety, Bradford Hunt soon moved north.
Bushhead continued his thieving. Again and again he took cattle; always he was inciting the others to malicious attitudes. At one time Dudley led a group of men to the head of the Beaver Dam Wash in search of the band. They saw the campfire after night, the Indians gathered around roasting a beef that they had killed. At the approach of the white men the Indians scattered like quail. Dudley called out to tell them that it was Wamptun and that he would not hurt them. They came back hesitatingly, knowing that he had plenty of cause to be angry. They sat around the fire and talked things over, and Bushhead promised to do better. In the meantime the wives and children at home were filled with fear because the pony which Dudley rode, "Buttermilk Dave", had come back with his reins dangling, and they were afraid the rider had been shot by an Indian.
Again and again Bushhead broke his word until he became a menace to the whole section. Finally, Dudley came to St. George to ask Apostle Erastus Snow what should be done. He was advised to have Bushhead killed, but to have the Indians do it. Bushhead had killed some miners who were going through the country, which made him an outlaw, even among his own people.
When Dudley came back he called the Indians together and told them the decision of the Mormon chief. He showed them how to build a scaffold on which to hang Bushhead for murder. Then Dudley left the Indians to carry out the orders. When the old chief was caught, he called all day for Wamptun. If Wamptun were only there, they would not kill him, he said. Wamptun would do something to save him. But Dudley was gone and did not come back, and Bushhead had to pay the penalty.
The next winter was severe. The Navajoes from across the Colorado raided parts of the country. Whitmore and Mclntyre were killed at Pipe Springs in January. The Berry brothers were murdered near Short Creek, and two of Powell's men were ambushed and killed near Mt. Trumbull. The uprising seemed to be so general that President Young sent word for those living in scattered communities to move together for safety. Apostle Erastus Snow visited Clover Valley on July 12, 1866, and advised the people to abandon the place because they were so few and so far from help that the Indians might slaughter them all.
Obedient to counsel, the people hurried their harvests and prepared to move before another winter should set in. Part of them moved to Panaca (the Indian word for money), and part of them went to Shoal Creek, above where the town of Enterprise now stands. Since Shoal Creek had so few homes, Dudley decided to send two of his wives, Maria and Thirza, to Santa Clara for the winter. Jerry Steiner, then quite a large boy, would go along to do the chores and outside work, and would go to school. Maria and Mary would go to Shoal Creek. It was hard, this dividing the family up, but all understood that it was only temporary.
At this time there were five families living along Shoal Creek and two on ranches eight miles apart. They all moved together and located at the big willow patch at the junction of the stream. Those living there were Zera, John and William Pulsipher, Thomas S. Terry and Levi H. Calloway. Those coming in from Clover Valley were old Brother James William Huntsman, his sons, Joseph S., and Hyrum R., Dudley Leavitt and his brother, Jeremiah, Amos Hunt and his sons, James W., and Jonathan, Zodac Parker and Brown B. Crowe. As before, they built their houses in a hollow square or fort, leaving room in the enclosure for other homes, and several of the young men married during the winter. Some of the houses were made of logs, some of adobe, and some of rock. They all faced in, with no doors or windows opening to the outside. All were thatched with grass and willows covered with dirt, a good enough shelter unless it rained hard and long, when they leaked mud for days.
The settlers sank a well in the center of the fort, which gave plenty of clear, cold water. The first colonists reserved the small plot of two or three acres, which they had previously used for a garden, but they divided their farm land equally, and the men drew lots for it, the oldest having the first chance.
On January 2, 1867, an express from Pine Valley brought word that the Indians had taken a band of horses from Cyrus Hancock and left him wounded. A scouting party, of which Dudley Leavitt was a member, was sent out to watch the various passes and to warn the people at the Meadows. In a few days William Pulsipher came back with the word that he was a member of the posse from St. George which pursued the thieves eighty miles, surprised and killed all but two of the gang, and brought back the stolen stock.
In the faU of 1867, they built their new school house. Orson Huntsman's account gives a good picture of community activities. He says:
"Later in the fall the brethren got pine logs out of Little Pine Valley and hewed them and built a meeting house 18 by 25 feet, with a big stone fireplace in one end. It was built at one end of the fort, covered with lumber and dirt, and was ready for use on the first of January, 1868. This house was used for meetings, schools, and a dance hall. And to get wood to warm the building and to make work light they chose up sides; there was five men to each side to do the chopping and four teams with teamsters. They were to work two hours and the side that got beat was to furnish supper and a dance for the town. One side got nine cords of good cedar wood, the other twelve, making 21 cords in all in two hours work. This wood lasted two or three years, besides making a good lively time and a good dance and supper."
That winter the rains began in December, and great floods came down, washing out deep gullies and making the roads impassable. Later, it began to snow, so that the people were completely shut in for months. So long as they had plenty of fuel and food enough, they got along very well. They made their own amusements. One town activity was the organization of a "Mutual Benefit Society", for the improvement of the speech of old and young, and particularly for practice and experience in public speaking.
The winter storms meant good crops in the spring and summer. On July 15, 1868, Erastus Snow, Jos. W. Young, Jacob Gates, and others paid them a visit. The whole southern section was going to celebrate the 24th of July among the tall pines in Pine Valley, so the people of Shoal Creek decided to join them. The Staheli band was up from Santa Clara, many people from all the towns were there, and there was a general celebration which lasted several days, enough to make up for the forty long miles they had covered to get there.
About a month later Erastus Snow and James Burgon came to survey the little town. Heretofore they had all lived in the fort; now they were to form a regular settlement. Erastus Snow went over the ground and said the land was all right, but the water was in the wrong place. He advised laying out the town by the water, but the people were partial to the level open space, and he acceded to their wishes. John Pulsipher suggested that they name the place Hebron, the scriptural name of the place where Abraham took his flocks. It was accepted without a dissenting vote.
On Monday, August 31, the survey began. After chopping their way for three days through the sage, some of it above their heads, they finished laying out the town. There were three streets running east and west, the center one for Main Street, and five running north and south, with nine blocks, each containing four lots, and some half blocks. They figured a total of forty-seven lots, each with a frontage of thirteen rods. The streets were all five rods wide, except the main street, which had an extra rod.
When the survey was completed, the people met again, selected a central lot for the church and meeting house, and drew for the others. This time, instead of putting numbers into a hat and each drawing one, they gave the men their choice of lots, the oldest first, and so on, according to age. The record says that "the best of feelings prevailed".
People immediately began to move out onto their lots, so that before winter set in most of them were on their own places, and the old fort site was abandoned. In all the town there was but one house with a shingle roof (John Pulsipher's), though many secured them later. Dudley now had all his family together again, each wife with her own small home and large family. During the summer one might go to Gunlock to take care of the fruit there, and one or two to the Mountain Meadows to look after the dairy there, while one remained at Hebron. In this way all the families would have dried fruit and butter, (packed into large five-gallon crocks), and cheese for winter. The older children were sent wherever their work would be most helpful, regardless of which mother presided at the place. Dudley moved among them as he could, directing and helping, but the united efforts of all were needed to succeed. From accounts of the living children, they did seem to manage with a minimum of friction. During the winter, they were all back at Hebron, living on the same block.
Toward the end of September of 1868, Dudley and his first wife, Mary, went in to Salt Lake with a load of produce, and to attend conference. It was her first trip back since she had come down as a young wife, fourteen years before. They traveled in company with Hyrum Huntsman, Levi Calloway and others, and took only their younger children along.
This was really an event for them. The city had grown and changed so much that they could not get enough of looking around at the stores and public buildings. As they listened to the instructions of their leaders, they felt the importance of the work they were doing in the southern settlements to help establish Zion. They started home strengthened and renewed.
They had shopped in Salt Lake City, exchanging their fruit and molasses for cloth, shoes, spices, coal oil and notions. But they could not begin to supply their needs. So on their way aown, they stopped at George Hancock's general store and purchased cloth by the bolt, shoes and clothing for all the children of all the families on credit. The next month they rounded up the cattle necessary to pay the debt and had some of the older boys help drive them up.
Upon their arrival home, all the wives were called in and the goods divided. This rule, begun early, was never deviated from. Dudley always divided what he brought; no wife ever touched anything until it was given to her. If she could not be present at the division, her share was carefully put away for her.
Hannah Terry tells an incident which shows their family economy, though it happened some years later. She says: "I will never forget one time in Gunlock, Brother Ensign and his wife, Ann, came up from Santa Clara to hold a meeting one Saturday and Sunday. I didn't think I had a dress good enough, so I hid myself all day in the cellar. Father had been away and brought some cloth which had been put in the cellar until it could be properly distributed. There was one piece of purple calico that took my eye. I hadn't been told that I could have it. However, while in the cellar I made up my mind that I would cut myself out a dress, as I needed one worse than anybody else. It was the first dress I had ever tried to make for myself, but I got the skirt and waist cut out and basted up before mother came home from meeting. She surely scolded me. Told me that it should have been Aunt Janet's dress and father would be awfully angry with me.
"Father didn't say anything about it until Sunday afternoon after Brother Ensign had gone. Then he called me. "Hannah," he said, and I came. "What have you been doing?" I told him I had cut me out a dress. He asked me what business I had cutting into the cloth. It was for Aunt Janet. I told him she couldn't have it now; it was too small. I thought I needed it worse than anybody else. He talked to me a little while and turned his head so I couldn't see him smile, and told me to wait next time until I was told I could have it."
In November, 1868, the town of Hebron was organized into a ward. The authorities evidently felt that there was no one there who could unite the people, for they called a young man, George Crosby, to be the Bishop. He was also to teach school. The beardless young man arrived late in November and opened the school. In December he went back to get his wife, arriving back in Hebron on Christmas Eve. That very night their first child, a son, was bom. Orson Huntsman comments that "they might have named him Santa Claus, but they didn't, they called him George".
New Year's Day was celebrated by a town dinner and dance, a climax to a scalp hunt in which the losing side furnished the meal. The next day, January 2, 1869, was Sunday. The whole town gathered in the little log school house for the first real meeting under the new Bishop. A pitch-pine fire burned in the large fireplace. The women came with their shawls over their heads and their waist aprons on. The children were all in home-knit stockings and mittens and made-over coats. The Bishop completed the organization by selecting Dudley Leavitt as his first and Richard Bird his second counselors. John Pulsipher was the superintendent of the Sunday School.
The people were happy, with high hopes of building a fine community here. There were enough to make activities interesting and to have a good school; there was plenty of good land (if they could only keep water on it). At least there would be plenty of labor, if they could only have the satisfaction of conquering this desert land. Confident and full of hope, they set out to do it.
CHAPTER IX: AT HEBRON
The new settlement was soon to have its first experience with the Indians. The very week after the ward was organized, an express came telling them that the Navajos had crossed the Colorado and were making raids on the different settlements, driving off cattle and horses.
John Pulsipher wrote quite a detailed account of their experience in his journal. He said: "We gathered our horses, kept armed herdsmen with them days & an armed guard at the corral with them at night. This was a heavy expense on us, few as we are, but we kept on hunting and gathering stock as well as picket guarding, which we were careful to attend to, so that we may not be surprised by any large force.
"Time proved that we did not gather our stock any too soon, for the Indians were spying around every night as sly & cunning as foxes. Every morning we could find tracks where they had walked or crawled around the corral in the darkness of night, but they could not break the fence or open the gate, so they must try some stratagem.
"A. pair of horses were taken from Father Pulsipher as they were eating at his stable just at dark before being put into the big corral. We then fixed stalls in the big corral to feed them and the saddle horses where they would be safe.
"The rascals were very anxious to have our little band of horses 170 head but they were so well-guarded it bothered them. So one day while the horses were out to feed, the sly rogues crawled from the hills north among the sage brush and chopped several of the pickets nearly off at the back side of the corral so they could be easily broken, to let the horses out. But this was discovered before dark and we prepared for an attack tonight. Moved families together and every man armed and made ready. Put a stronger guard with the horses and the rest to guard the women and children. We did not want to kill any of these warriors if we could avoid it, & we did not want them to kill us. Being some acquainted with Indian customs, I advised the guards at the corral not to leave their places & run into the light, even if any building should be fired.
"Just as I had said that much, a light flashed up. It was Orson Huntsman's haystack a little west of us. It made a great flame, as it was very dry. It burned down very quietly, not a man rushed into the light to be shot, neither did we leave our charges for them to take.
"The Indians, brave as they are, fear to die, & getting no advantage of us, abandoned their design that night. The next day, Feb. 1, we took our band of horses down the valley to Pinto station and herded with them about 10 days. We then built a corral and herd house about five miles below our town at the edge of the valley, kept our stock on our own range & when the wild Indians had left the country & spring come, we could let our stock have their liberty again."
The Navajos always made their raids during the winter months, crossing the Colorado while the water was low. This was the reason they were forced to go back early in February before the spring thaws began and the river became impassable.
In the spring of 1869, Dudley traded for Orson Huntsman's house, so that he now owned an entire block in Hebron with one family on each corner. Here they were comfortable during the winter months, though they continued to scatter for a time during the summer, one or two at the Meadows to make butter and cheese, and the others to Gunlock to take care of the fruit.
This fall (1869) Dudley made another trip to Salt Lake City, this time taking two of his wives, Maria and Thirza. The records of the Salt Lake Temple show that he had them both sealed to him in the Endowment House on October 5, 1869. Maria was now the mother of six children, the youngest, Sarah Maria, being hardly three months old; Thirza had four, her youngest, Lister, being eighteen months.
In the meantime the people of Hebron had begun to experiment with ways and means to bring water to more land. When Erastus Snow first looked their project over, he told them they had the town in the wrong place and that they should try to take up land nearer the water. They preferred to do otherwise, and he did not oppose it too vigorously.
First, they built a ditch along the hill which cost $665 in labor. The next year they made it higher and longer at an additional cost of $1,520 and still later enlarged it at a cost of $400. This made the price of water for their little town nearly two thousand dollars that year, (1870).
This year Pioche had opened up as a flourishing mining town, so that those who had hay or produce to sell had a ready market. They hauled loose hay over the fifty miles of dirt road for $27 a ton.
Early in 1871 the measles broke out, and every family in town had them. Though there were no deaths, there were many sick children and some eye and ear injuries as a result. Then in June, just as their crops were looking their best, a horde of grasshoppers came. In swarms that darkened the sun, with a sound like a humming engine, they settled on the fields. They were traveling from east to west, lighting, eating, jumping over each other as they moved forward, and leaving the fields behind utterly desolate. They spared nothing. To try to fight them would be like trying to fight rain or hail.
They stayed only a few days, long enough to leave the crops in ruin, and then moved on. The last of them had hardly taken flight before the people were out plowing their fields again. Though the season was late, they hoped to get a crop of com matured.
Early in 1871 the people of Hebron decided to build a new adobe meeting house. The old one was too small, and was away off over in the old fort. They taxed each man according to his holdings, with the total of the first levy being $962.32. Of this, Dudley Leavitt's share was $33.60. This was about the average, being much less than that of some and more than that of others. It would indicate that he owned little property other than the block upon which his families lived, or that they made some concessions be- cause of the number of his children.
They worked at the house all summer as their farm work permitted. In the late fall, everyone joined in the labor in order to have it completed for a social on Christmas Eve. It was not plastered, but it had a solid floor in and a roof overhead, while a large stove in the center, whose lengths of pipe twisted about in search of an outlet, gave off plenty of heat. Coal-oil lamps set in front of circles of tin for reflectors, furnished the light. The people felt that they had something fine and up-to-date, and celebrated accordingly with a dance and picnic.
Because of the visit of the grasshoppers the summer before, flour was scarce. By May, even their corn-meal was getting low, and it was more than a month before harvest.
A serious shortage was prevented by a call from the Authorities at St. George for teams to collect donations for the building of the Temple there. The ground had been dedicated in November, and all the church was to contribute to it. Patriarch John C. L. Smith and Charles Pulsipher were to travel through the towns holding meetings and taking up donations. The people of Hebron sent three four-horse teams and three two-horse teams. The people of the north gave what they could, wheat, potatoes, butter, cheese, pork, dried beans, cloth whatever they had.
When the teamsters returned to St. George with their loads, they were paid for their services in Tithing Scrip, which they immediately converted into food stuffs. On their arrival back at Hebron, they found the whole town out of flour.
By this time the telegraph line was finished through Hebron to Pioche and Bullionville. In 1866 it had been completed from Logan to St. George, connecting all the settlements enroute. Now (1871) with Pioche running full blast, and with eleven stamp mills in operation in Bullionville, it was decided to connect those towns with St. George, The people of Hebron were given their quota of poles to get out and set, and were given Tithing Scrip for pay. Dudley Leavitt and his older boys helped with the project.
In May, Major Peck, a cattle buyer from Pioche, came to town. Every man in town sold him some cattle. Orson Huntsman gives an interesting account of the trip across the desert with them: "May 27, 1872. Arrived at Mountain Springs at 9 a. m. (Note: It was necessary to make night drives because of the heat and the desert country). We watered 186 head of stock and seven horses with the bucket; that is, we dipped water from the spring and carried it two rods and filled a trough and paid 18c a head for the water." At the end of the trip they received $2247.00, which was divided according to the number of cattle each man had sold.
The year 1872 brought another event of moment to the Dudley Leavitt family. Dudley married another wife, this time Martha Hughes Pulsipher, the widow of Zera Pulsipher. In some ways, this was a greater trial to Mary than his earlier marriages had been. The other four had all been girls together; they had sacrificed for each other; they had worked together; they had stood by each other in sickness; they had grown old before their time, together. Now to have their husband pay attention to this lively, twenty-seven-year-old widow while they cared for their families was really a trial. The courtship was short. The young woman, left with four children, had few resources, and had been working out in the various homes to support herself. The marriage took place Nov. 30, 1872, in Salt Lake City, with Daniel H. Wells officiating. Once it was over, she took her place with the other wives, receiving no favors, and fitting in the family very well.
In 1872 there was a heavy flood at Hebron which washed out their flume and. the ditch along the hillside. People, generally, were very much discouraged, for it would mean such a lot of hard work to rebuild it. Dudley still had holdings at Gunlock and Mountain Meadows, as well as a small place at Santa Clara. Except for the block on which they lived, he had little at Hebron, so this year they decided to sell out and care for their other places. They had plenty of fruit and farm land at Gunlock to keep them busy.
The family record says that nine children were born while they lived at Hebron: Frank and George to Mary; Sarah, Albert and Hubert to Maria; Lister and Henry to Thirza; and Jane and Helaman to Janet. Perhaps Aaron should be included in this group, for he was born during the summer before they finally moved away. His mother was at Gunlock at the time. Hannah, the oldest girl, tells the incident thus:
"I was there a day, and the next day Aaron was born, 17 Aug. 1871. Father and I were all the help mother had ... he hadn't had time to build a house, and Aaron was born in a wagon box. Father handed him to me wrapped in mother's skirt, and Aunt Emma Huntsman and I washed and dressed him out under the cottonwood tree. But I had most of it to do as she was just newly married and had no experience with babies."
For an unmarried girl of sixteen, this was quite unusual. It does not take a very vivid imagination to reproduce the whole scene, the covered wagon box, the crude arrangements under the tree. In spite of it, the baby did well, and the mother was soon up and around again.
The establishment and care of the family was now at its heaviest, for there were twenty-five children living, (Mary had lost one baby, Maria one, and Janet two), and they were all quite young. The oldest girl, Hannah, was seventeen, and the boys just younger were large and husky and accustomed to work. Even so, much of the responsibility was left to the mothers, for try as he would to divide his time equally among them and to keep in touch with them all, it was almost more than one could do.
The thing that is most remarkable is that he had as much influence with them as he did. I have talked to every one of the living children, and without exception, it is to their father that they seemed to turn for affection and guidance.
"I used to think that if father were only home, nothing in the world could harm us," one of them said. "In my childish heart, my greatest wish was that we could have him with us all the time."
They all tell of how their father loved them, of how kind and considerate he always was, and how full of faith. His daughter, Lena, tells this incident:
'T remember once when I was a little child about eight or nine years old, and Weir was eleven or twelve. One of mother's babies was real sick. Alma, I think it was. In the night father came to my bed and woke me up. He went and got Weir up, too.
"'Get up children,' he said, 'we have a very sick baby, and we need your help. Mother and I must have your support and faith and prayers, for we have done all that we can.'
"We got up and all kneeled around the bed. Father prayed and mother prayed; then he asked Weir to pray, and I prayed. Then father prayed again. After a little while, as he sat watching the baby, he said, 'Now you can go to bed. He will be all right'. We did go to bed, and the baby slept until morning and got well."
Hannah tells how he used play with the children, dancing them on his knee and singing to them, or romping with them. On moonlight nights he would get out and play "Run, Sheep. Run", and "Steal Sticks" with the older boys. It always made the game twice as interesting if father played with them. He went to the dances and joined in the fun there.
From several of his children come incidents which show his treatment of them. His daughter, Lena, tells this one:
"'When I was a little girl, we were traveling up the creek when it had a flood in. At one crossing the water ran up into the wagon box. I was back under the cover and was frightened nearly to death. I screamed and cried at the top of my voice. When we got across, he stopped the team and got out and took me in his arms. Instead of scolding, he was so tender and kind with me. 'Father wouldn't let anything hurt his little girl,' he said. 'Why, if you fell in, I'd jump right in after you'. And he held me close and petted me until I was quiet and happy before he started the team again."
Mary Jane tells a similar experience: "One time when I was a little girl, I had a big boil on my arm and father was bringing me to St. George to see what to do about it. I was sitting on the hay in the wagon and went to sleep. When we were crossing the creek in one place, I fell out. I was crying at the top of my voice, but he couldn't hear me above the jolt of the wagon over the rocky bottom and the sound of the water. It wasn't deep; I could have waded out easy enough, but he stopped and came back for me, wading right into the water. He picked me up and carried me out. I would have expected him to stand on the bank and call me to come on; I wasn't hurt."
Betsy tells this one, which though it happened years later, still shows his way with his family: "I remember when we were quite small, but old enough to know better, and father and the boys had been making adobes. They had them out in long rows in the sun to dry. There were five of us little girls within a year or two of each other. We began playing around the yard and ended up by walking up and down the rows of adobes, stepping into the middle of every one.
"When the older boys saw it, they certainly were angry. They scolded and swore and said for us just to wait until father came and saw what we had done. We were so frightened that we all ran and hid. When father came, the boys took him out to show him how we had ruined their work.
"'Well, now,' he said laughing, 'I think that is right cute. I don't know what I would rather have in the walls of my house than all those pretty little foot prints'.
"When we heard that, we weren't afraid to come out of hiding."
The next few years, while they lived at Gunlock, were prosperous ones. The Indians were peaceable, and Dudley cultivated their friendship. The first harvest, he invited them all in to a feast, barbecued a young beef, roasted a load of corn in the husks, and had plenty of melons. The natives danced and feasted and celebrated in general for three days.
They raised all the wheat, corn, beans, squash and other vegetables they needed; they had a surplus of molasses and dried fruit to sell and their own flock of sheep furnished them wool for clothing. Orson Huntsman tells an incident which shows something of their set-up. In the early winter he came to St. George to buy chickens and pigs to peddle in Pioche for Thomas S. Terry. He bought twelve little pigs for one dollar each and three hundred chickens. It had begun to storm on his way down; before he left St. George the snow was eight inches deep. He received the following telegram:
"Hebron, Dec. 8, 1873: Snow three feet deep and still snowing. Take load to Dudley's and stay storm over. Don't try to come until road is open. T. S. Terry."
Orson Huntsman's diary tells how he went to Gunlock and turned the pigs and chickens all loose onto Dudley Leavitt. On January 10, more than a month later, he went back to get them. That seems evidence that they knew Dudley would have a surplus and be able to feed them.
In 1874 Maria's oldest daughter, Orilla, was in Hebron working for Bishop Crosby. She was a beautiful girl of fifteen. Early in March she was taken ill, and though they did all they could for her, she got no better. They sent word to her family. Dudley went on horseback, leaving Maria and Mary to come in a wagon with one of the older boys. He arrived in time to hold his daughter's hand at her passing, but, though they met the wagon with fresh horses at the Meadows, the women were too late.
This death was a blow to all the family, for it was the first time an older child had died. During the plague year at Clover Valley they had lost three babies, and Janet had another die soon after birth.
Their philosophy that: "whatever is, is best", that the matter of life and death is in the Hands of God, and our finite minds cannot always understand his infinite wisdom, made them able to accept it. To them immortality was real and unquestioned. If God wanted this lovely girl, why should they protest? It was part of their duty to be submissive to His will.
CHAPTER X: AT BUNKERVILLE
In February of 1874 Dudley brought a part of his family to St. George to attend conference, for Brother Brigham was to be present. The townspeople had made great preparations. They had cleared the sidewalks of weeds, swept yards, and cleaned their homes. Every where were newly whitewashed walls and fresh straw under rag carpets. For weeks ahead, women had been preparing their clothes, making new bonnets and knitting stockings. Groups of boys went out to clear the road from town to the Black Ridge. Old-timers tell that some of the men took some twenty or thirty dimes and put them under rocks along the way, so that the laboring boys would get some little reward. The discovery of a dime would set the whole crew working with renewed vigor and accelerate the road cleaning greatly.
On the day of Brigham Young's arrival, crowds thronged the streets, eager for a glimpse of their beloved Prophet. James Andrus, on a fine horse, rode up and down the waiting lines. A large banner stretched across the street proclaimed a welcome in foot-high letters. A group of little girls in white dresses held arms full of fruit blossoms to strew in the way of the carriage. No king ever received a more ardent homage.
When at last the carriage arrived, Brigham Young arose, lifted his hat, and bowed to the right and left at the assembled people. One young woman who had been standing in line all forenoon said, "Is that all he is going to do? It looks like he might at least have stopped the carriage and spoke to us." An elderly lady near-by overheard the remark. "My child," she said in a reproving tone, "don't you know that you have seen the Prophet of the Living God?"
This was Dudley's attitude. In his eyes, Brigham Young could not err. Whatever Brother Brigham advised, Dudley was glad to try to do. That is why, at the meeting in the Tabernacle the next day, he did not doubt the wisdom of the counsel given. He knew that, for him, it would be more satisfying to follow it.
President Young left no question in the minds of his listeners as to what he wanted done. They should stay and build up the waste places of Zion and strengthen the Kingdom of God instead of racing off to mining camps because there were higher wages there. They should stay on their farms and sell their produce to those who wished to work in the mines; they should not desert their land, nor should they waste their time prospecting.
"Turn your attention to the building of the Kingdom of God," he told them, "that is your mission." Then he called for a showing of the hands of those who were willing to abide by his counsel.
Dudley raised his hand in the pledge. And he kept it. Many years later he thought he found what he called, "The Lost Lead," a rich vein of ore, which has since become legendary. He said the eyes of his vision were opened and he saw this vein of ore running perpendicular through the mountain containing wealth untold. It was somewhere in the Bull Valley district. Though he thought he had marked the place, and though the samples of ore which he took from it assayed a high percentage of gold, he never again could find it.
In his later years he used to say: "God is saving the wealth of those mountains until the day His people will need it. Then it will be discovered and its riches used to build up Zion."
For the time being, he returned to his place on the creek, satisfied that he was fulfilling his part in the Great Design.
At Gunlock, the families continued to live well so far as food was concerned, though they did not have a great deal of money. They raised all they needed and they learned how to preserve it. They made peach preserves by the barrel, washing the fuzz from the clingstones and dropping them into the molasses when it was about half done. The fruit and syrup were cooked together to make an excellent preserve. They dried corn, peas and beans, and even large circles of pumpkins.
The families got along. One of his daughters, Mary Jane, said, "Father never quarreled with his wives. I have heard them at different times get angry and scold him, but he usually ignored it. He would take one of the babies on his knee and bounce it and sing an Indian song, or he would joke with her. If he could not win her over, he would walk out. My sympathies were always with father, as I believe all the other children's were. When my own mother got to scolding him, I used to think that if I were in his place, I'd . . . well, I'd kick her a mile!"
"Nobody ran father's business, and nobody ran father," another said. "He had five wives, and they would all have liked to manage him, but they couldn't. He treated them all the same. None of them had any right to be jealous. I never did hear the wives have any fuss. And I never heard father quarrel with his wives, any of them."
And so their comments go. Jeremy, speaking of the home relations, always said, "The only difference that I could see was that I had three mothers instead of one. I was never at Martha's or Janet's much, but at Aunt Mary's and Aunt Thirza's I was as much at home as in my own mother's house. One time I was sick at Aunt Mary's and no child ever got more tender care than I did."
The thing that they all speak of most often was his great faith and his power over sickness. Medora tells how, as she was going to the creek one day for water she heard her father's voice as though he were talking to some other man. Looking through the willows, she saw him on his knees talking to God in a simple, straightforward manner, asking His protection and blessing on a son that he felt was in danger. It was his implicit trust in God that impressed itself most upon them all.
While at Gunlock the saddest accident in the history of the family happened. Little George, eight-year-old son of Mary, was walking across a log over the stream just above the water wheel which ran the mill. He missed his footing, fell into the water and was carried into the wheel. There was no way to get him out, and no way to stop the wheel but to turn the water out of the ditch above. In the meantime, he was crushed and mangled and many of his bones broken. His father got him out, carried him to the house, and laid him on the bed. Then kneeling beside him, Dudley placed his hands on the child's head and dedicated him to the Lord, asking God to take him peacefully and not to permit him to suffer more. In less than hour the child was dead.
During the years at Gunlock from their return there in 1872, the family had little trouble with the Indians. One winter as the band passed, they left an old squaw to die. It was their custom to just go on and leave the old and blind to follow as they could. This old woman was nearly two days behind the band, and without any chance of catching up with them. Dudley fixed her a good solid wigwam of willows, covered it with bark, and banked it up around the bottom. Mary Ellen says: "The boys chopped her wood and we carried food to her. We never thought of eating a meal until we had taken the old squaw hers. We kept her all winter and when spring came, and it got warm, the tribe came back and took her with them."
There was one Indian in the neighborhood of whom they were afraid. This was Old Watermann. He delighted to frighten the children, and would sometimes take the lunches from the little boys when they were out herding the cows. If the children saw him when they were away from home, they would run up into the rocks or willows to hide.
Watermann had a dog of which he was very fond. The coyotes had become such a menace to Dudley's chickens that he decided to put out some poisoned meat. He went to Watermann and told him what he was doing.
"You keep your dog tied up at night, and I will take the meat away in the morning. Then the dog will not get it," Dudley said.
Watermann did not heed the warning, and his dog died. In a rage he came to Dudley. He found him working at his forge shaping some iron. The Indian stepped to the door, his bow drawn, the arrow aimed at Dudley's heart.
"See, Wamptun, how quick I could send you to the Happy Hunting Ground," he said, threateningly.
Like a flash, Dudley leaped at him, grasped him by the throat, and thrust the red hot iron near his face.
"You see, Watermann, how quick I could send you to the Happy Hunting Ground," he answered.
When the Indian found that Dudley was not to be frightened, he listened to reason. Dudley reminded him of the flour and meat he had given him, and insisted that he wanted to be friendly. That was why he had warned him about tieing up the dog. Waterman left, but was still sulky.
Not long after this, Dudley had gone to Santa Clara. Three of the boys, Dudley, Jr., Weir and their cousin, Ed, were camping at the lower field under a big cottonwood tree. They were in bed, when they saw Watermann approaching with a hatchet upraised in his hand. With yells of fear, they clamored out of bed and started to run wildly down the creek. They were boys twelve and fourteen years old, and their first thought was to get to their father. It was nearly daylight before they arrived at where he was staying with his brother, Lemuel. They had come twelve miles. When Dudley heard their story, he got on a horse and went back to Gunlock. He got Watermann by the nap of the neck and kicked him soundly.
"If you ever touch one of my children, I'll beat your brains out," he threatened.
In telling of it, Watermann said, rubbing his rear dubiously, "Wamptun Tunghi, he kick-a-my a . . ", an expression which became a by-word among the people.
Soon after this incident, Dudley called all the Indians together at his home. Standing on a log, he preached to them in their native tongue.
"I have always been your friend," he said. "I have given you much flour and meat. You steal from me; you frighten my children. If you keep on this way, I will send a letter to the Big Father and tell him, and he will kill you all. He will send sickness like the big plague you had a long time ago, and wipe you all out."
Thoroughly frightened, the Indians promised to do better and to be "To-wich-a-weino Tickaboo". Then Dudley, to show his good faith, fed them on barbecued beef and gave them some corn and squash to take home with them.
Early in 1877 a group decided to move further down onto the Virgin River, and set up a community where they could live the United Order. Edward Bunker was in charge of the enterprise, and Dudley's brother, Lemuel, was going with him. Dudley decided to go too, but he could not take all his family at once. His older boys were now grown young men, ready to make homes of their own, and he was anxious to help them get established where there was more land. In February 1877 he sold one Gunlock field to Orson Huntsman for $400.00 to be paid in cattle.
At this time the Silver Reef near Leeds was opened up and beginning to do a thriving business. Its' population was fifteen hundred people, and a daily stage ran over a newly constructed road from Silver Reef to Pioche. It was a regular stage coach drawn by four horses, and was typical of the western boom country. Dudley and his many boys might have made good money at the mines, but he was mindful of the pledge he had made to stay on the land. He wanted to establish his sons on the land also.
Accordingly, when the first group went to settle Bunkerville in January 1877, some of his older boys went with it. Dudley, himself, did not go for nearly a year. Orson Huntsman's dairy has the following entries which give some light on his activities:
"April 28, 1877 I went to St. George in company with Dudley Leavitt. Arrived about noon, went to the public square where the men were drilling, trying to make soldiers out of themselves."
"Sunday, June 3, 1877 Pres. J. T. D. McAllister of St. George, Bishop Ensign and Samuel Knight of Santa Clara Ward held meeting with us and organized Gunlock as a branch of the Santa Clara Ward, with Dudley Leavitt as presiding High Priest" .
July 4, 1877 We celebrated Independence Day by a public dinner at the house of my sister Mary (Dudley Leavitt's first wife), or a bowery in front of her house where we had been holding our Sunday services."
In January of the next year, 1878, Dudley sold the rest of his Gunlock field to Orson Huntsman, though he retained ownership of his houses and lots, and some of his wives stayed there a short time.
Because Bunkerville was the place where so many of his older children made their home, it may be interesting to have some detail of the activities of the first settlers. Most of Dudley's sons and daughters began their married life there; some have remained through all the years.
Of the establishment of this community, James G. Bleak's record, Book D, page 136 says:
"A few persons including Edward Bunker and family, Lemuel S. Leavitt and family, and Edward Bunker, Jr., and family, and others being desirous to enter once more into the united order, held a meeting at Santa Clara on the first of January 1877 and organized themselves into a company for that purpose, with Edward Bunker, Sr., as president and Lemuel S. and Dudley Leavitt as counselors, Mahonri Steele as secretary, and Edward Bunker, Jr., as treasurer. Their company numbered in all 23 persons. On the 2nd of January they started for the Mesquite Flat on the Rio Virgin River and were joined by Lemuel Leavitt and daughter, also by Samuel O. Crosby. The company had 6 wagons and 70 head of cattle. They arrived at Mesquite on January 5. On further examination, they decided to locate on the south side of the river instead of the Mesquite side. On the 6th day they crossed the river and pitched camp at a point about 2i/i> miles northeast of where the town of Bunkerville now stands. They started work at once, and on the very day of their arrival put up a small lumber building on top of the hill and called their location Bunkerville, after Edward Bunker, Sr., the leader of the company.
"On the 7th which was Sunday, the first meeting was held at Bunkerville, then consisting of one house and six wagons . . .
"On Monday, Jan. 8, the brethren commenced work on a canal to convey the water from the Rio Virgin to the flat which they had selected as farm land on the south side of the river. They vigorously prosecuted this work during the week.
"On Sunday 14 of Jan. the second meeting was held, on which occasion the Sunday School was organized, with Elder Samuel O. Crosby as superintendent. . . . There were present eighteen members in all."
Mrs. Ella Abbott Leavitt, who came as a girl to Bunkerville in its first year and later married Thomas Leavitt, son of Lemuel, makes some interesting comments. She says:
"The place was called Mesquite until in June 1879 when we got a mail line and a Post Office, and then it was named Bunkerville. Calista Bunker and Deborah Leavitt, both girls, came with the very first company, and the hill where they built the first shack was called 'Calista's Lookout'."
That they really accomplished a great deal the first season is shown by this report of a sermon delivered in conference in St. George by Bishop Edward Bunker, Sr.
"On January 22 they finished their irrigation ditch, a mile and a half long and four feet wide, costing 108 day's labor. This ditch was afterwards increased to 2yo miles in length. They set to work and cleared 75 acres of land. Had harvested 22 acres of wheat, 14 acres of cotton, 7 acres of sugar cane was in a healthy condition, and the balance of the land was in corn."
Before fall, Dudley had moved some of his family down to Bunkerville. He put everything he had into the United Order the cattle he received for his land at Gunlock as well as those he had before, horses, wagons, and all. He had his son. Weir, haul the big water wheel down from Gunlock and install it about 1/2 miles above the present townsite on the fall that is still known as the "gin ditch". He had purchased a burr flour mill from Dee Thompson at Cedar City. (Dee Thompson was Lemuel's brother-in-law). He also installed a cotton gin here, run by the water wheel.
At first the people lived the United Order very literally, eating at the same table and sharing all things in common. They had one big dining room and kitchen, with individual bedrooms. It was customary for all to gather for morning and evening prayer, and for frequent council meetings.
The men and boys old enough to work in the field or on the ditch were always served first, the women and younger children eating later. The women divided their work, taking week about, some cooking, others washing the dishes, others caring for the milk and butter, while still another group was responsible for the clothing, including washing, ironing, and mending. Their tasks rotated in regular order.
The first harvest was a great relief to the settlers, as they were forced to haul all their provisions so far. They cut the first grain with a cradle, threshed it by driving cattle over it on a hard clay floor, and winnowed it in the wind. Since James G. Bleak reports "New Year's Day 1879 the burr mill at Bunkerville did its first grinding. Turned out a fairly good grade of flour", we may be sure Dudley was there and established before that time.
In speaking of this burr mill, one of his older daughters, Sarah, said: "I remember the old burr mill. My daughter, Mina, still has the stone at Las Vegas. How often mother and I have had to clean it after it was used to grind rock salt before we could use it to grind flour. We always had to clean and wash the wheat and pick out the smutty kernels so the flour wouldn't be so black."
The summer had been a sore trial to the settlers. In January, their location on the top of a barren hill would be pleasant, but by June it would be like an oven. The scrub vegetation around it would hardly shelter the lizards that darted from one little bush to another to avoid the burning rocks. Added to the heat, was the bad wateralkaline, muddy and hard. They called it "Virgin Bloat", and told jokes about how it was so thick they had to bite it off in chunks. Worst of all was the malaria which the swarms of mosquitoes from the river bottoms carried. The dairy of Myron Abbott tells of nine down at one time with chills and fever, of others suffering with boils, and of frequent calls to go administer to the sick.
James G. Bleak gives two slightly varying reports of that first harvest. On page 136 of Book D, he says:
"The season of 1877 the Bunkerville company of the United Order produced 400 bushels of wheat, 700 gallons of molasses, 9,040 pounds of cotton lint, as well as corn, squash and other vegetables."
Book C page 206 says: "Bishop Edward Bunker addressed the saints in the tabernacle. He reports the results of working the United Order in Bunkerville, Nevada, being satisfactory. In 1877 the first year, they produced 450 bushels of wheat, 12,000 pounds of cotton on the seed, and 600 gallons of molasses."
Since the first company arrived in Bunkerville in January and consisted almost entirely of grown-ups, no school was held that year. By the next fall, so many families had arrived that a school was held for four months in the shanty on the hill. Charlie Hoath was the teacher. Dudley had his families at the gin and mill site, a mile below, so that his children had quite a distance to walk. The only equipment was rough, backless benches of split cottonwood logs, a bit of a blackboard, and a long table. The teacher had a spelling book, arithmetic book, and two or three readers, most of them beginners' books. That same year, Myron Abbott taught a night school for the men and boys who were old enough to work.
The community was organized into a ward just a year after their arrival, January 12, 1879, with Edward Bunker, bishop, Edward Bunker, Jr., as first and Myron Abbott as second counselors. George Lee was ward clerk.
Since the population had grown and the work had been scattered, it was not practical for them to live longer with a common dining hall. Each family lived by itself, and each man was made a steward over a certain part of the property. All crops were placed in a common storehouse, and all families received what they needed. For example. Brother Freeman was in charge of the vegetable garden. He raised all the vegetables that were needed by the entire community and gave them out to the people as they came for them.
The second summer James G. Bleak reports: "In 1879 they produced 1600 bushels of wheat, 30,000 pounds of cotton on the seed and from 1500 to 1600 gallons of molasses. This year a thresher was brought in, being hauled by team all the way from California, a three-weeks' trip. Joseph Hammond of St. George arrived Nov. 24, 1878, with thresher, after threshing wheat and barley at Bunkerville. This month the first house was erected on the Bunkerville townsite."
The life in the United Order, begun with such high hopes and noble ideals, soon began to be unsatisfactory. The way of having only what his neighbor had, of sharing everything, and holding all property in common would not satisfy many of the members. James G. Bleak, Book C, page 296 says:
"This month, Oct. 1880, it became manifested in the Bunkerville Ward, where the workers in the united order have been working as stewards, that some stewardships, through their economy and industry were gathering and laying in an abundance while others through carelessness and bad management were wasting the means of the company, each year increasing in debt. This was very unsatisfactory to those whose ambition was to accumulate at least the necessities of life. The result was that a general meeting was held at which it was decided that each stewardship should have the right to draw 80% of the proceeds of their labor, the 20% to be retained in the treasury as a fund to keep the capital stock good. This proved acceptable to some, and they gave notice of withdrawal. This caused a settlement to be made of the whole business. Dissatisfaction increased and it was decided to disorganize the Bunkerville United Order. The company paid off the capital stock and 17% of the labor performed."
Page 231, Book C under the date of August 5, 1880 he says:
"The settlers at Bunkerville on the Rio Virgin, having worked in the United Order upwards of 21/2 years, have this date commenced to divide its property for distribution. In settling up, the company paid all the capital stock invested and 18% interest on all labor performed from the first of January to date."
This business of settlement was very complicated, and required a long time. We get suggestions of it from the dairy of Myron Abbott, but the records seem to have been destroyed. Through the years comes the suggestion that Dudley was not pleased with what he got out of it, for his cattle were divided among others, and he came out of the experiment poorer than he went in. Whether it was dissatisfaction with the order of things in Bunkerville, or whether he wanted more land, perhaps we shall never know, but upon the settlement and the breaking up of the order, he moved across the river to the site of the present town of Mesquite, and set up his families there.
CHAPTER XI: DODGING THE OFFICERS
At Mesquite, Dudley again established all his wives. Mary had a rock house (which is still standing), Maria was a block east, with Janet just beyond, Martha lived south of Mary, and Thirza west, down near the Big Wash. There was plenty of good land, part of it cleared by the group that had deserted this site two years before, because of the heat and bad water. There must have been a family or two on the site at the time, although we have not found who. There is a report that Brother Peck, the school teacher, said that he had twenty- two students enrolled in his school, of whom twenty belonged to Dudley Leavitt.
This seemed incredible, but the children say that it was true, though the boys could not be counted as being in all the time, for they had to take turns herding the cows in the sandhills or on the river bottoms. From the ones still living come stories of tricks they played on Brother Peck. At one time he had a large watermelon growing in his yard. It was his pride and joy. He watched it and tended it carefully. One day in school he made the mistake of telling the boys that he was going to make sure none of them got it, so he measured their shoes. That was a challenge they could not let pass unheeded. Slipping out of bed that night, three of them set out for the watermelon.
Taking their sister's shoes in their hands, they went down the dry irrigation ditch to the fence, then putting on the shoes, one went in, got the melon and returned to the ditch. They followed it up some distance, then turned the water down to cover their tracks. After all these years they still chuckle at the discomforture of the old man as he came for their father. Together they visited every one of the five homes to see who was guilty. It was the girl's shoes, all right, that had made the tracks, but the mothers insisted that the girls did not leave the house, and were in bed early. We cannot help wondering if Dudley did not have a fair idea of who the criminals were, even with the lack of evidence.
For four years the family lived here, and were an independent, self-supporting unit. They raised everything they ate; they had molasses and honey, they hauled rock salt from St. Thomas, they had their grains, fruits and vegetables. They always had milk, though there were times when there was no butter. They kept pigs and sheep, so they could have meat on occasion. By hard work and judicious use of all his "boy-power" Dudley was again able to expand his holdings and improve them. Every morning the boys would gather at Mary's, as it was most central; often they would eat breakfast there, and then they would go with their father to whatever task he had set out.
Then came one of the disastrous floods for which the Virgin river has always been notorious. Their ditch was completely ruined. As he walked up along it and saw what a lot of labor would be required to rebuild it, Dudley debated as to what to do. He had good fields. There was plenty of land cleared and fenced, but valueless without water. But how to get the water? He could see no way but to move again.
It was a major decision to make, but he decided that he would have to scatter his families. All these years he had struggled against odds to hold them together, to keep them where he could be in daily contact with them all. Now he must change the procedure.
Four years earlier, while they were still in Bunkerville, in 1878, he had taken a contract to run the mail. Wooley, Lund & Judd had contracted with the government for carrying the mail in all the southern district. At first Edward Bunker, Jr., and Dudley Leavitt were in together, Dudley carrying it from St. George, Utah, to St. Thomas, Nevada, and Brother Bunker talking it from St. Thomas to Kingman, Arizona. Now Dudley made a separate contract with Wooley, Lund & Judd. For more than twenty years this was an occupation which he followed, and which meant a sure source of revenue, though a small one.
The following contract, one of the latest, will show something of the prices and conditions under which it was run. It is handwritten in ink on paper bearing the Wooley, Lund & Judd, General Merchandise, stamp.
Established 1875 General Branch House Merchandise Silver Reef, Utah WOOLEY, LUND & JUDD
St. George, Utah, May 11, 1898 Robert C. Lund
I hereby offer and agree to carry the U. S. Mail on Route 75177, St. George, Utah, to St. Thomas, Nevada, according to the advertised schedule three (3) times per week for the sum of thirteen hundred & seventy five (1375.00) per annum subject to any change of schedule or increase or decrease of number of trips as may be ordered by the P. O. Dept., with corresponding increase or decrease of pay from July 1st, 1898, to June 30, 1902, said $1375.00 to be paid as follows 66 2/3% to be drawn from time to time in mdse from the store in St. George at same prices as other cash accounts and charged for mdse by said store.
33 1/3% to be paid in cash quarterly when payments are made by the P. O. Dept. for the service.
Provided that if more than the 66 2/3% is drawn in mdse during any quarter, during the life of this contract, that said excess above the 66 2/3% shall be deducted and paid from said cash payment of 33 1/3%.
Dudley Leavitt. The foregoing is hereby accepted and made a contract Robert C. Lund.
It does not take much figuring to see that these trips would net something less than nine dollars each. When one considers the distance, some one hundred and eighty miles for the round trip, the number of horses needed and the expense of maintaining them, it seems strange that Dudley could have made anything at all.
During all the first years the mail was run by pony. A boy would leave St. George about midnight, change horses at Littlefield, or Leavittville, just below, and meet another boy who had started from St. Thomas, at Bunkerville. All the younger boys had their turn at this work; some of them stayed with it for months and years at a time.
This made it necessary for Dudley to place his families at different points. Thirza was established at St. George, where she lived during most of the twenty years while they ran the maU.
Martha was stationed at Bunkerville, while Mary lived at Tunnel Point and later with Maria and Janet at Leavittville.
All the boys who had experience running the mail, tell of the long rides, leaving in the night, with mail sack strapped behind the saddle and a sandwich tied on the side, of falling asleep to the monotonous jogging of the horse, sometimes getting off and running a mile or two down the slope to get warm and to keep awake. Later Dudley, as he grew older and heavier, had a two-wheeled cart made for him to carry mail on. It was drawn by only one horse, and was so light that the animal could trot most of the way.
His son, Jeremy, tells these incidents of the mail carrying days: "All the time father had the mail, neither the government nor the state nor the counties ever put one cent on the roads, if roads they could be called. I never went with him, and I went many times, when he did not stop and work road, taking out rock, cutting the higher sides and building up the lower. He never camped all night. He always planned to stop in the roughest places, bate the horses, as he called it, while we made road, maybe sleep an hour, and then up and digging again. I am sure he saved many a heavy loaded salt wagon from breaking down or getting stuck".
"When we lived at the Hancock ranch just west of Littlefield, it was along the last of father's mail contracting. He was getting badly crippled up and seldom went with the mail, unless someone went with him. It was all night riding. One cold winter night he decided to go with the mail alone. He just wouldn't be talked out of it.
"This night he had Doll, a fine sorrel animal, high-lifed and very skittish, and a two- wheeled cart made especially for the business. He was bundled up with clothing and a large overcoat, a napkin on his head he looked like Santa Claus.
"About two o'clock in the morning he was going down the Clara Creek. The road followed the bottom of the canyon down to the Three Mile Place, crossing the stream every little ways. While crossing the stream, Doll tried to get her head down to drink and pulled the bridle off one ear. He didn't notice it for a while. When he did, he stopped and got out to fix it. As he came around in front, it scared her.
"Like a shot out of a gun she whirled, lifting the cart right into the air, and was out of sight in a few seconds. The way the cart bounced when it hit the boulders, he was sure it would go to pieces. She was soon out of hearing.
"He said the only prayer he ever offered without faith was then. In a few words, he asked the Lord to stop the horse. As best he could he went back to the road and started walking down it. He hadn't gone far when he met Doll coming back, cart right side up. She came right to him and stopped. He never knew how or why or by whom she was turned around, but he always thought it was some super-natural power. And he did not forget to express his thanks to God for it."
During these years, the fight on the polygamists began. The government, determined to stamp out the practice, began a campaign of prosecution that amounted to persecution. During the years from 1875 to 1888, 589 men were imprisoned for this practice, and fines amounting to $48,208 were collected. During the whole period of prosecution 1300 men served sentences in the state penitentiary.
Southern Utah was the center of many polygamist families. Many of them moved their wives to different towns; some, rather than divide up their families, took them and went to Mexico to escape imprisonment.
Dudley was proud of his wives. He loved his children. Not for anything would he have renounced one of them. But he did not want to be locked up, either, and sometimes he was hard-pressed.
The people had various ways of avoiding the officers. Every stranger was regarded with suspicion; children were taught that they must not talk to strangers nor answer questions. At Silver Reef, two young Mormon boys ran the telegraph office. People from the north always stopped there to rest and feed their teams. As soon as the U. S. marshals, McGeary and Armstrong, came to the Reef, one of these boys would send the message, "Send up two chairs", to the one at the store in St. George. This was the code which meant that the officers were on their way. Instantly, word went out to every polygamist in town, enabling him to arrange his affairs and go into hiding while the officers drove the twenty-two miles from the Reef.
Even so, some were caught. Invariably they were given a town party when they left to serve their six-months' sentence, and the band met them at the Black Ridge when they returned.
At one time, Dudley came in to St. George with a load of wood for Thirza, arriving after dark. The marshals were in town that night, so his family was very concerned for his safety. Thirza was so nervous she couldn't sleep, for she knew the habit the officers had of raiding homes in the middle of the night. She knew they were especially anxious to get Dudley, because he not only broke the law, but was proud of it and had made statements to the effect that no power on earth would make him desert his family. Before daybreak the family were up, had the wood unloaded, and were prepared for Dudley to leave town. They rolled him up in the bedding, and some of the children sat on him as one of the boys drove through town. Once past the Black Hill, the children walked back, and Dudley drove on.
"One day I went with father to the cotton factory at Washington," said Mary Jane. "An Iverson girl was the clerk. We had just got our cotton unloaded, when the blacktopped buggy that carried McGeary and Armstrong drove up. The girl was in a panic.
" 'Run,' she said. 'Run, Brother Leavitt. Here come the officers. They will get you sure. Quick! Hide!'
"Father knew it was useless to run, so he snatched up and old coat, pulled a slouch hat down over his eyes, picked up an oil can, and started to oil the machinery. He was the busiest man you ever saw climbing up the ladder to get at some parts, and going about it as if he were an expert.
"The officers came in, went through the whole place, kicking at trap doors, going through cotton bins, turning over boxes, and trying to find concealed hide-outs. Father went about his work, apparently paying no attention. At last they got into their buggy and rode away."
Clarence tells how once when the officers were in town, he went to Wooley, Lund & Judd's store for some supplies. His father was lying flat in the bottom of the wagon box with some quilts over him. As they drove up to the store, there stood the marshals just outside, watching the streets and keeping their eyes open for members of polygamist families. Clarence went in, got his order of groceries, threw them into the wagon box, and drove away. His father often said that he wondered why they didn't search wagons as well as they did houses.
At still another time, Dudley was at the shop where Hardy's had their water wheel and turning lathe. He was seated on the curb with some other men, his back to the road, when one said, "You'd better get going, Dud, here they come". Out of the corner of his eye, Dudley saw the carriage coming down the street. He knew that to run would be disastrous; it would be sure to attract attention. So he sat perfectly still, and did not turn around to give the passing outfit even a look.
His companions kept telling him in undertones that the officers were watching him, that they were trying to look through from back to front, and that they had his number. But they were not certain enough of themselves to stop. As soon as they rounded a curve, Dudley obeyed his impulse to leave. He went into hiding in a tamarack thicket behind the house. Sure enough, the carriage turned around and the officers came back. This time they stopped, but the only man they wanted was gone, and none of the others had any idea where he was.
Once at Mesquite the church authorities came to call, and since Dudley was in charge there, they wished to find him. Some of his children were pulling weeds in the garden, and when the men stopped and asked about Dudley Leavitt, they couldn't tell them a thing. They didn't know who he was or where he had gone or when he would be back or anything else about him.
When the visitors finally did find him, one of them told him how the children had acted.
"You can't blame the children," he said. "We have trained them not to know anything if a stranger is around."
Many an interesting legend has grown up about the visits of the marshals. The story is told that Thomas S. Terry had his home on the Utah- Arizona line, one room in Utah and one in Arizona, the two connected by a cottonwood shed. If the officers came for him, he had only to go into the other room to be in the other state and out of their jurisdiction. People made up songs about McGeary and Armstrong, so vigorously were they hated. "McGeary searched McAthur's House", was often sung by children in derision as they went down the street.
During these years, Dudley's children were growing up and the older ones marrying. As with any family, there were problems; there were times when their parents were troubled over some of their actions and attitudes. Clarence tells how, as a boy, he became disgruntled and ran away from home, going down to Bunkerville to live with Weir, who was married and established there. After a few days he became so homesick he couldn't stand it and came back home. His father was so glad to see him that, like the father in the parable of the Prodigal Son, he made him more than welcome.
"He didn't need to let me see how glad he was to have me back," Clarence said, "I was a lot gladder to be back than he was to have me."
William Abbott likes to tell how, when he was courting Mary Jane he met her father going up the river with such a heavy load that he got stuck on a hill. The young man came up just in time to double teams and get the load up without further trouble.
"I appreciate that," Dudley told him with genuine gratitude. "If I can do something for you sometime, you let me know."
William hesitated a minute. "I believe I'll collect right now," he said, "I would like to marry your daughter, Mary Jane, and I'd like your consent and blessing."
"Well," said Dudley with a grin, "she's just a kid and don't know nothing, but maybe you can teach her. Take her and welcome."
On his sixty-fifth birthday, the family decided to honor Dudley with a surprise party at his home at Leavittville, just below what is now Littlefield. For weeks ahead they talked and planned, sending word to the scattered members of the family in different towns. The wives began preparing, and Dudley, guessing what was coming, had a calf and a pig ready to kill.
The crowd began to arrive late in the evening the day before, for many of them must come long distances; most of them at least seventeen miles, or almost a day's travel in a wagon. Children, grand-children, in-laws, and friends all came. The first evening was spent in visiting and in arranging sleeping places, though, since it was August and the visitors brought their bedding, this was not a serious problem.
The next morning there was a bustle of preparation. The calf had been in the barbecue pit all night, but there were pies and cakes to bake, and vegetables to prepare. Young people hitched up a wagon and went to the field for a load of melons, children swang under the cottonwood trees, men arranged a long table of saw-horses and planks. It stretched out under the row of cottonwoods, a long table, but filled at noon with slices of the steaming beef, roast pork, pots of string beans, corn-on-the-cob, baked squash, with red slices of watermelon for dessert. People helped themselves, or were served by the row of women, and then sat down in the shade to eat.
After dinner the sports began, wrestling, boxing bouts, jumping, running, horse races and horse and foot races (turn the stake and back). Children waded and splashed in the warm ditch, adolescent girls squealed and ran as the boys engaged them in a "water fight". Older women held their babies and visited.
The real party was not until at night, after a supper, which was largely a repetition of the dinner, after the youngest were put to bed in the wagon boxes or on the hay, after a bonfire had been built. They did not need its heat, but they wanted its light and cheer, and it gave them a center around which to gather. They began with songs, group songs, hymns they knew and loved: "O Ye Mountains High", "Come, Come Ye Saints", "Hard Times Come Again No More", and others. Young Mary Hafen, on her way to St. George to be married, played the guitar and led out, Striking a few chords to give them all the pitch.
Then Dudley arose to speak. These were his children, and no matter if they did have families of their own, it was still his right to counsel them. He was not one to mince words, and he told them what he expected of them. They should live their religion, pay their debts, attend to their prayers, especially their family prayers, get out of debt, and own their own homes. In no other way could they be free, and he did not want them to be in bondage to any man. Most important of all, they should keep alive their testimony of the Gospel which was so dear to him, and for which he would give his life. He closed, as he always did, by telling them that he knew that Joseph Smith was a Prophet of the Living God, that he had seen him and heard him speak, and knew that he spoke with power. He told them again the incident when "the mantle of Joseph fell upon Brigham", and told incidents when he had been guided and protected by the power of God.
The party was closed by prayer. The next day some of the crowd started home early, and others waited until afternoon, but by evening they were all gone. Dudley looked over his gifts, and treasured the list to be reviewed often, for even the five-cent pieces and box of rivets which his younger grandchildren left were precious to him. This is the list. I copy it, because it shows who were there, and the types of presents they brought.
CHAPTER XII: CLOSING YEARS
By this time Dudley was getting to be an old man. His hair had turned gray years before; some of his younger children say that they cannot remember when their father's hair was not snowy white. To the end of his days, it was unusually thick. He had powerful arms and shoulders, but his legs became bowed, as though they had bent under the weight of his great trunk. He had the habit of sitting to work. He would take a home-made chair wherever he went, carrying it in one hand and a cane in the other. He sat to clean ditch, working right along with young men, reaching far out to the end of his shovel handle before he moved his chair. He sat to chop wood, cutting piles of green cottonwood poles into stove lengths and splitting them.
His one outstanding physical characteristic was his teeth, for they were perfect until his death. There is a story that he could and did bite a ten-penny nail in half. He did take pride in cracking hard-shelled almonds with his teeth. There have been many conjectures as to why they were so well preserved. Some of his children say it was the pine gum he chewed that gave them exercise and kept his mouth free of acids. Others claim that it was his diet, the whole grains and molasses and vegetables, and the fact that he loved to eat the bones of animals as well as the flesh. Whenever they cooked a chicken he always crunched the softer bones and the joints of the larger ones, sucking out the juices. He never used a tooth brush, but he always picked his teeth after every meal and polished them off with a stick.
His home was always open to the traveler, whether stranger or friend. Of his hospitality his daughter, Nora says: "We always fed everyone who came along. A great many tramps were moving through the country, and it used to make us out of patience sometimes because the people at Littlefield would send them on to us to feed. 'The Leavitt family always takes in everybody', they would tell them.
"I remember that one morning we had four, one right after another and when the fifth came, mother told him she hadn't anything to give him. He turned and started away, but her conscience got the best of her and she called him back. We fixed a meal, and he certainly was hungry. Of all the men we fed, he seemed to appreciate it most. He couldn't get through thanking us.
"But it was not only tramps, it was the visiting authorities; it was cowboys on the drive; it was freighters. We could never keep light bread enough on hand. I remember one night after we had been in bed and asleep we had to get up and get a meal for hungry cowboys, baking big pans of hot biscuits.
"Aunt Mary always kept the missionaries. She was an excellent cook and a good manager. At one time when they came, she had no white pillow slips clean. She had colored ones that she used on her beds, but she thought they were not good enough. So she took two white shirts and put them on the pillows, folding them neatly and buttoning them on the underside. Then she worried all night for fear her guests would turn their pillows over or shift them around. But it was the best she could do."
There are many stories of how the family took in visitors. At one time when a full load came from St. George and Salt Lake, including Eliza R. Snow and Zina D. Young, the women gave their own bed to their guests while they fixed one for themselves in the cotton bin on top of the unginned cotton. The next morning, the oldest son at home, Dudley Junior, presided and led in the family prayer in the absence of his father. The visitors were much impressed with the home set-up.
Ed Syphus told how he and his brother were taking a load of rock salt to St. George. They had to cross the Virgin River some twenty-two times and had some trouble with their outfits. When they arrived at the Leavitt ranch, they were out of provisions, both for themselves and their teams. Dudley walked out to meet them when they stopped.
"Unhitch and put up your teams," he said, and they knew that meant that their horses would be well cared for. Then looking at the boys closely, he said, "You're hungry, too, aren't you? Come right in and I'll have the women fix you something."
'That was the best thing I had heard for a long time," Brother Syphus said as he told it. "We were hungry, but we were just big, bashful boys, and wouldn't have dared to ask for anything. One of his wives baked a pan of biscuits and we had hot bread and butter and molasses and milk. I think I never tasted a better meal. And when we left, we had another pan of biscuits to take along with us. Soon after we were on the road, we killed a rabbit with a rock, so we fared very well until we delivered our load."
When the family left Mesquite, Mary had protested against having to start all over again.
"I have done nothing but pioneer new places all my life," she said. "We just get a comfortable place established and have to move. I'm through pioneering. This is the last move I will make."
She lived at Tunnel Point and later with Maria in the big rock house at Leavittville. Then in 1893 Frank's wife, Malinda, died, leaving him with two small boys, so she went to live with him and take care of the children. She spent the last years of her life in Frank's home.
Maria was a mid-wife who served throughout all the southern country. Sometimes she went out as far as Clover Valley, traveling in a wagon and staying until the mother could be up and around again. In her early married life she had been "called" to this work by Sisters Eliza R. Snow and Zina D. Young, who blessed her and set her apart to do it. They suggested that her fee for the delivery of a child be three dollars, a price which she kept all her life. Even after she became quite an elderly lady, people sent for her because the women had such confidence in her. She said once that she always prayed silently as she worked, and she always felt that God heard and helped her. Whenever the people saw a team tearing through the streets with Aunt Maria holding on to the spring seat, they knew that some woman was in labor.
Dudley had taken all his wives but Janet to the Endowment House or to the Temple at Salt Lake City and had them sealed to him. After the Temple at St, George was completed, he had this ordinance performed, taking Janet and nine children there on June 2, 1882.
During their later years, both Janet and Martha lived with their children, Janet with her daughter, Jane Barnum, and Martha with hers, Lydia Hughes.
For many years, Thirza and Maria lived together in the rock house at Leavittville. Each had a large rock living room with a kitchen behind and an upstair bedroom. Of their arrangements at this time, Nora says:
"Theresa and I were little girls about the same age. We went to school at Littlefield, three miles away, and as we had to walk, we always got up early and ate breakfast by lamplight. When father was not there, we each slept with our own mother, but when father was home we both slept with my mother one night and hers the next. Father changed regularly and we slept with the wife he didn't sleep with.
"We were very friendly. I don't have a sister who is as dear to me as Theresa, because we were together so much."
This same thing seems to be true throughout the family. The children who were the same age and who grew up together were more attached to each other than were those of the same mother who were widely apart in age. Every one with whom I have talked says the same thing; their best friends were their brothers and sisters by the other wives. Their father never let them be referred to as "half-brothers". Since they were all his children, they were all brothers and sisters.
Late in his life, Dudley received one thousand dollars from the Government for his services among the Indians. It came unsought and unexpected. His first thought was to put it where it would do the most good. His wants were few and simple; his children were all married and established. All his life he had spent in helping to build up "The Church and Kingdom of God", and this seemed an opportunity to do more for it. He went with the money to his bishop and asked where he thought it would do the most good. First he paid an honest tithing from it, one hundred dollars. Then he donated seventy-five dollars to the Temple and sent some to help the missionaries who were out before he would use any for himself or his wives. This is typical of the way in which he always put the interest of the Church before his own private interest.
By 1905 it was thought by many of the children that their father and his two wives were getting too old to stay on the ranch at Leavittville, since it was so far from any neighbors and their children were nearly all married. Accordingly they divided the cattle and sold the ranch. Maria went to live with her son Ira at Mesquite, and Dudley and Thirza moved back to a rock house in Bunkerville, near their children. This was his home until his death.
As the family grew older and married, they still turned to their father for counsel. Especially did they depend on him in times of sickness. Every one tells incidents when their father came to them when they were in trouble, of how, through his administration and blessing, one or another of their babies had been healed. They seemed to feel that he had a sort of "sixth sense" by which he discerned things. Clarence tells how, when he was younger, the boys tried to deceive him by killing a calf while they were on the drive and then telling him that it got its leg broken and they had to kill it. He listened to their story and then said, "The next time you want to kill a calf, you drive it home and kill it. It will be easier to take care of the meat. And you needn't bother to break its leg, either."
"Father could almost read what was in people's minds," Lena said. "One time I planned to leave my husband. We were living in polygamy and I got discouraged, and maybe a little jealous. With two families, it seemed like we could never get ahead. So I decided to leave the three older children with their father and Mary Ellen and take the baby, Edward Washington, to St. George and leave him with my mother, while I went on to Salt Lake to take a nursing course. I thought that if I got that nursing course I could make my own way better alone.
"I did not say a word about what was in my mind to a soul, but I had thought about it and planned on it for quite a while. So when father came down, I asked if I could go to St. George with him to visit my mother. I got ready and left, never letting on that I was not planning to come right back.
"Father didn't say anything until the second day out. Then as we were riding along he put his arm around my shoulders and said, 'Lena, you are feeling bad and discouraged, but I promise you that if you will stand by Orange and stay with him, the Lord will bless you and you will be better off than if you do what you have on your mind.'
"At first I denied it. 'I don't know what you mean. I don't have anything in my mind', I said. 'What makes you think I have?'
"'You plan to leave your husband and take up nursing to support yourself, he said. 'But don't do it. You will be happier if you stay with your husband.'
"He talked to me just like I was a little girl instead of a married woman with four children. He advised me to do my duty and said that was the path that would have the fewest regrets for me. I went on to St. George and stayed a few days with my mother. Then I came back home and even my husband didn't know a thing about it. Father never mentioned it again."
Dan tells an incident which shows how literally and fully his father trusted the men who were over him. He said:
"You know father had a perfect set of teeth, the finest I ever saw in my life. I was always joking him about his teeth, until as he grew older, he used to ask me nearly every time I came in if I didn't want his teeth. One day I went to see him and found him sitting and looking into the fire. Instead of joking as he usually did, he looked up and said, 'Dan, you don't believe it, do you?'
"'Believe what?' I asked.
"'What the prophets have said.'
"'Well, it all depends', I parried.
"'No,' he said. 'You don't believe what the ancient prophets said, and you don't believe what the modern prophets have said.'
"'What do you mean?'
"Well, you don't believe what President McAllister prophesied that there will be a paved highway running for miles down through this country.'
"'Oh, father', I laughed. 'Don't be silly. How could anyone believe that? What is there here to ever bring a paved street?'
"'Now let me tell you, son, the Lord never spoke any- thing through the mouths of his prophets, either ancient or modern, that he will not bring to pass. I may not live to see it, but you will. There will be a paved highway as straight as an arrow running for miles down this flat. And don't you forget it.'
"He was so earnest and so impressive that I didn't forget it, and I often think of it today when I drive over Highway 91, which runs right down the street he pointed. Then it was only a stretch of sand filled with mesquites and chaparral and cactus, with a wagon road winding in and out among them. We made a joke out of the idea that there would ever be a paved road there."
Dudley's repeated moves had kept him always ahead of the modern improvements. When he saw the first binder, he was astonished. After all the grain he had cradled, to see it cut and bound so easily was like a miracle to him, especially the tying of the bundles.
"Then Millenium is not far off," he said. "When man can invent a machine that has fingers, there isn't much left to do."
With the telephone it was the same. Totally unbelieving when his sons tried to tell him about it, he refused for a long time to try to use it. At last they persuaded him to come to "Central's" office, the one telephone in town, and had him talk to his wife in Mesquite, five miles away. When he recognized her voice, his wonder knew no bounds.
He never rode in an automobile; he knew nothing of the conveniences which have developed from the use of electricity. His reading was limited to the Scriptures. He clung to the homely, elemental things of life. He represented them.
As he grew older he talked to his children more and more of the value of owning their own homes, keeping out of debt, and having a store of food on hand sufficient for two seasons, against the time when "you can't buy a barrel of flour with a barrel of gold". He spoke often of the time when "war will be poured out upon all nations", and told them that they would live to know the truth of his words.
"My mind is still active, but my feet drag," he told one of his sons. "If my feet would follow the dictates of my head, I could get over the ground like a mountain sheep."
"These old, useless, crippled legs," he said one day. "How glad I will be to be rid of them. There are so many things I want to do, if I were not chained to this old worn out body. I'll be glad to lay it down. Maybe then I can accomplish something again."
During the summer he lagged a little. He spent more time indoors, musing over the past, or just sitting in that semi-blank state which he called "studying".
One evening he began to sing. That was not unusual, for he often sang, Indian songs, hymns, and rollicking folk ballads. But this was different. It was "Come, Let Us Anew", but sung with a new feeling. When he came to the last verse:
"I have fought my way through
I have finished the work Thou didn't give me to do", it was like the death chant of a warrior, an announcement of the end. With the next lines his voice rose in the assurance that his Father would approve of his life's work:
"And that each from his Lord should receive the glad word 'Well and faithfully done enter into my joy and sit down on my throne.'"
He knew that he was near the threshold, but he had no fear. All his life he had walked by faith; by faith he would take his last step. He had faced death many times, from exposure, heat, starvation, Indians. Now it came as a release, or, as he said, a promotion.
The next morning he did not get up. During the day the word went out that father was not well, so most of his family called on him. For several days he still had visitors, and seemed to enjoy them, though he was failing fast. He knew everything until he fell asleep on the evening of August 15, 1908, when it soon became evident that he would not wake up.
There was something dignified about his passing. No hysterical weeping, no shaking him and calling him back, no nurses punching needles into him or poking oxygen tubes up his nose. His family accepted the inevitable calmly, as he would have wished. He had lived a good life; he was ready to go. Why should they hold him? They gathered in the yard or wept quietly in an adjoining room, but where he lay, all was peace. A son sat by his bed, felt his pulse, touched his lips with water, or shifted him slightly. Death crept up so slowly that it was hard to tell when the end came.
A tired old man had passed, and his going marked the end of an era. It was as if the curtain had fallen on another act in the great drama of the west. Without education, without culture in the common meaning of that word, without wealth, he still had left his imprint upon the whole of the section in which he lived. He had blazed the way for the conquering of the desert; he had helped to establish friendly relations with the Indians. Most of all he had left in the hearts of his many children a standard of conduct which would include honesty, integrity, Christian fellowship toward their neighbors, and an unwavering trust in God.
At the funeral the next day, his family gathered, his four surviving wives (Janet had died in June 1907), his children, his friends, to pay tribute to him. The crowd that gathered and the spirit of the occasion were evidence of the esteem in which he was held. He was buried in the cemetery at Bunkerville, Nevada.
Of his surviving wives, women who had stood shoulder to shoulder with him through the years of pioneer hardships, one, Martha, died the next year, in June, 1909. The other three, Mary, Maria, and Thirza lived on for quite a number of years. Mary went first on January 31, 1922; Maria, her sister, followed in six months, July 30, 1922, while Thirza lived until August 27, 1927.
A full biography could be written on the lives of each of these women, but from their early girlhood their fortunes were so closely bound to his that it would seem enough to tell his story in full.