MORMON SETTLEMENT IN ARIZONA
A RECORD OF PEACEFUL CONQUEST OF THE DESERT
BY JAMES H. McCLINTOCK
This publication, covering a field of southwestern interest hitherto unworked, has had material assistance from Governor Thos. E. Campbell, himself a student of Arizona history, especially concerned in matters of development. There has been hearty cooperation on the part of the Historian of the Mormon Church, in Salt Lake City, and the immense resources of his office have been offered freely and have been drawn upon often for verification of data, especially covering the earlier periods. There should be personal mention of the late A.H. Lund, Church Historian, and of his assistant, Andrew Jenson, and of Church Librarian A. Wm. Lund, who have responded cheerfully to all queries from the Author. There has been appreciated interest in the work by Heber J. Grant, President of the Church, and by many pioneers and their descendants.
The Mormon Church maintains a marvelous record of its Church history and of its membership. The latter record is considered of the largest value, carrying out the study of family genealogy that attaches so closely to the theology of the denomination. During the fall of 1919, Andrew Jenson of the Church Historian's office, started checking and correcting the official data covering Arizona and New Mexico settlements. This involved a trip that included almost every village and district of this State. Mr. Jenson was accompanied by LeRoi C. Snow, Secretary to the Arizona State Historian and a historical student whose heart and faithful effort have been in the work. Many corrections were made and many additions were secured at first hand, from pioneers of the various settlements. At least 2000 letters have had to be written by this office. The data was put into shape and carefully compiled by Mr. Snow, whose service has been of the largest value. As a result, in the office of the Arizona State Historian now is an immense quantity of typewritten matter that covers most fully the personal features of Mormon settlement and development in the Southwest. This has had careful indexing.
Accumulation of data was begun the last few months of the lifetime of Thomas E. Farish, who had been State Historian since Arizona's assumption of statehood in 1912. Upon his regretted passing, in October of 1919, the task of compilation and writing and of possible publication dropped upon the shoulders of his successor. The latter has found the task one of most interesting sort and hopes that the resultant book contains matter of value to the student of history who may specialize on the Southwest. By no means has the work been compiled with desire to make it especially acceptable to the people of whom it particularly treats—save insomuch as it shall cover truthfully their migrations and their work of development. With intention, there has been omitted reference to their religious beliefs and to the trials that, in the earlier days, attended the attempted exercise of such beliefs.
Naturally, there has had to be condensation of the mass of data collected by this office. Much of biographical interest has had to be omitted. To as large an extent as possible, there has been verification from outside sources.
Much of the material presented now is printed for the first time. This notably is true in regard to the settlement of the Muddy, the southern point of Nevada, which in early political times was a part of Arizona Territory and hence comes within this work's purview. There has been inclusion of the march of the Mormon Battalion and of the Californian, New Mexican and Mexican settlements, as affecting the major features of Arizona's agricultural settlement and as contributing to a more concrete grasp of the idea that drove the Mormon pioneers far afield from the relative comfort of their Church centers.
JAS. H. McCLINTOCK, Arizona State Historian.
Phoenix, Arizona, May 31, 1921.
SUMMARY OF SUBJECTS
WILDERNESS BREAKERS—Mormon Colonization in the West; Pioneers in Agriculture; First Farmers in Many States; The Wilderness Has Been Kept Broken.
THE MORMON BATTALION—Soldiers Who Sought No Strife; California Was the Goal; Organization of the Battalion; Cooke Succeeds to the Command; The March Through the Southwest; Capture of the Pueblo of Tucson; Congratulation on Its Achievement; Mapping the Way Through Arizona; Manufactures of the Arizona Indians; Cooke's Story of the March; Tyler's Record of the Expedition; Henry Standage's Personal Journal; California Towns and Soldier Experiences; Christopher Layton's Soldiering; Western Dash of the Kearny Dragoons.
THE BATTALION'S MUSTER-OUT—Heading Eastward Toward "Home"; With the Pueblo Detachment; California Comments on the Battalion; Leaders of the Battalion; Passing of the Battalion Membership; A Memorial of Noble Conception; Battalion Men Who Became Arizonans.
CALIFORNIA'S MORMON PILGRIMS—The Brooklyn Party at San Francisco; Beginnings of a Great City; Brannan's Hope of Pacific Empire; Present at the Discovery of Gold; Looking Toward Southern California; Forced From the Southland; How Sirrine Saved the Gold.
THE STATE OF DESERET—A Vast Intermountain Commonwealth; Boundary Lines Established; Segregation of the Western Territories; Map of State of Deseret.
EARLY ROADS AND TRAVELERS—Old Spanish Trail Through Utah; Creation of the Mormon Road; Mormon Settlement at Tubac; A Texan Settlement of the Faith.
MISSIONARY PIONEERING—Hamblin, "Leatherstocking of the Southwest"; Aboriginal Diversions; Encounter with Federal Explorers; The Hopi and the Welsh Legend; Indians Await Their Prophets; Navajo Killing of Geo. A. Smith, Jr.; A Seeking of Baptism for Gain; The First Tour Around the Grand Canyon; A Visit to the Hava-Supai Indians; Experiences with the Redskins; Killing of Whitmore and McIntire.
HAMBLIN AMONG THE INDIANS—Visiting the Paiutes with Powell; A Great Conference with the Navajo; An Official Record of the Council; Navajos to Keep South of the River; Tuba's Visit to the White Men; The Sacred Stone of the Hopi; In the Land of the Navajo; Hamblin's Greatest Experience; The Old Scout's Later Years.
CROSSING THE MIGHTY COLORADO—Early Use of "El Vado de Los Padres"; Ferrying at the Paria Mouth; John D. Lee on the Colorado; Lee's Canyon Residence Was Brief; Crossing the Colorado on the Ice; Crossings Below the Grand Canyon; Settlements North of the Canyon; Arizona's First Telegraph Station; Arizona's Northernmost Village.
ARIZONA'S PIONEER NORTHWEST—History of the Southern Nevada Point; Map of Pah-ute County; Missionaries of the Desert; Diplomatic Dealings with the Redskins; Near Approaches to Indian Warfare; Utilization of the Colorado River; Steamboats on the Shallow Stream; Establishing a River Port.
IN THE VIRGIN AND MUDDY VALLEYS—First Agriculture in Northern Arizona; Villages of Pioneer Days; Brigham Young Makes Inspection; Nevada Assumes Jurisdiction; The Nevada Point Abandoned; Political Organization Within Arizona; Pah-ute's Political Vicissitudes; Later Settlement in "The Point,"; Salt Mountains of the Virgin; Peaceful Frontier Communities.
THE UNITED ORDER—Development of a Communal System; Not a General Church Movement; Mormon Cooperative Stores.
SPREADING INTO NORTHERN ARIZONA—Failure of the First Expeditions; Missionary Scouts in Northeastern Arizona; Foundation of Four Settlements; Northeastern Arizona Map; Genesis of St. Joseph; Struggling with a Treacherous River; Decline and Fall of Sunset; Village Communal Organization; Hospitality Was of Generous Sort; Brigham City's Varied Industries; Brief Lives of Obed and Taylor.
TRAVEL, MISSIONS AND INDUSTRIES—Passing of the Boston Party; At the Naming of Flagstaff; Southern Saints Brought Smallpox; Fort Moroni, at LeRoux Spring; Stockaded Against the Indians; Mormon Dairy and the Mount Trumbull Mill; Where Salt Was Secured; The Mission Post of Moen Copie; Indians Who Knew Whose Ox Was Gored; A Woolen Factory in the Wilds; Lot Smith and His End; Moen Copie Reverts to the Indians; Woodruff and Its Water Troubles; Holbrook Once Was Horsehead Crossing.
SETTLEMENT SPREADS SOUTHWARD—Snowflake and Its Naming; Joseph Fish, Historian; Taylor, Second of the Name; Shumway's Historic Founder; Showlow Won in a Game of "Seven-Up"; Mountain Communities; Forest Dale on the Reservation; Tonto Basin's Early Settlement.
LITTLE COLORADO SETTLEMENTS—Genesis of St. Johns; Land Purchased by Mormons; Wild Celebration of St. John's Day; Disputes Over Land Titles; Irrigation Difficulties and Disaster; Meager Rations at Concho; Springerville and Eagar; A Land of Beaver and Bear; Altitudinous Agriculture at Alpine; In Western New Mexico; New Mexican Locations.
ECONOMIC CONDITIONS—Nature and Man Both Were Difficult; Railroad Work Brought Bread; Burden of a Railroad Land Grant; Little Trouble with Indians; Church Administrative Features.
EXTENSION TOWARD MEXICO—Dan W. Jones' Great Exploring Trip; The Pratt-Stewart-Trejo Expedition; Start of the Lehi Community; Plat of Lehi; Transformation Wrought at Camp Utah; Departure of the Merrill Party; Lehi's Later Development.
THE PLANTING OF MESA—Transformation of a Desert Plain; Use of a Prehistoric Canal; Moving Upon the Mesa Townsite; An Irrigation Clash That Did Not Come; Mesa's Civic Administration; Foundation of Alma; Highways Into the Mountains; Hayden's Ferry, Latterly Tempe; Organization of the Maricopa Stake; A Great Temple to Rise in Mesa.
FIRST FAMILIES OF ARIZONA—Pueblo Dwellers of Ancient Times; Map of Prehistoric Canals; Evidences of Well-Developed Culture; Northward Trend of the Ancient People; The Great Reavis Land Grant Fraud.
NEAR THE MEXICAN BORDER—Location on the San Pedro River; Malaria Overcomes a Community; On the Route of the Mormon Battalion; Chronicles of a Quiet Neighborhood; Looking Toward Homes in Mexico; Arizona's First Artesian Well; Development of a Market at Tombstone.
ON THE UPPER GILA—Ancient Dwellers and Military Travelers; Early Days Around Safford; Map of Southeastern Arizona; Mormon Location at Smithville; A Second Party Locates at Graham; Vicissitudes of Pioneering; Gila Community of the Faith; Considering the Lamanites; The Hostile Chiricahuas; Murders by Indian Raiders; Outlawry Along the Gila; A Gray Highway of Danger.
CIVIC AND CHURCH FEATURES—Troublesome River Conditions; Basic Law in a Mormon Community; Layton, Soldier and Pioneer; A New Leader on the Gila; Church Academies of Learning.
MOVEMENT INTO MEXICO—Looking Over the Land; Colonization in Chihuahua; Prosperity in an Alien Land; Abandonment of the Mountain Colonies; Sad Days for the Sonora Colonists; Congressional Inquiry; Repopulation of the Mexican Colonies.
MODERN DEVELOPMENT—Oases Have Grown in the Desert; Prosperity Has Succeeded Privation.
PLACE NAMES OF THE SOUTHWEST
TRAGEDIES OF THE FRONTIER
MAP OF ARIZONA MORMON SETTLEMENT
"El Vado," Pioneer Gateway into Arizona
Mormon Battalion Officers
Battalion Members at Gold Discovery in California
Battalion Members who Returned to Arizona
Battalion Members who Returned to Arizona
Battalion Members who Returned to Arizona
The Mormon Battalion Monument
Old Spanish Pueblo of Tubac
Jacob Hamblin, "Apostle to the Lamanites"
The Church Presidents
Lieutenant Ives' Steamboat on the Colorado in 1858
Ammon M. Tenney, Pioneer Scout of the Southwest
Early Missionaries Among the Indians
Moen Copie, First Headquarters of Missionaries to the Moquis
Pipe Springs or Windsor Castle
Moccasin Springs on Road to the Paria
In the Kaibab Forest, near the Home of the Shivwits Indians
A Fredonia Street Scene
Walpi, One of the Hopi (Moqui) Villages
Warren M. Johnson's House at Paria Ferry
Crossing of the Colorado at the Paria Ferry
Brigham Young and Party at Mouth of Virgin in 1870
Baptism of the Tribe of Shivwits Indians
Founders of the Colorado River Ferries
Crossing the Colorado River at Scanlon's Ferry
Crossing the Little Colorado River with Ox Teams
Old Fort at Brigham City
Woodruff Dam, After One of the Frequent Washouts
First Permanent Dam at St. Joseph
Colorado Ferry and Ranch at the Mouth of the Paria (G.W. James)
Lee Cabin at Moen Avi (Photo by Dr. Geo. Wharton James)
Moen Copie Woolen Mill
Grand Falls on the Little Colorado
Old Fort Moroni with its Stockade
Fort Moroni in Later Years
Erastus Snow, Who Had Charge of Arizona Colonization
Anthony W. Ivins
Joseph W. McMurrin
Joseph Fish, an Arizona Historian
Joseph H. Richards of St. Joseph
St. Joseph Pioneers and Historian Andrew Jenson
Shumway and the Old Mill on Silver Creek
First Mormon School, Church and Bowery at St. Johns
David K. Udall and His First Residence at St. Johns
St. Johns in 1887
Stake Academy at St. Johns
Founders of Northern Arizona Settlements
Group of Pioneers
Presidents of Five Arizona Stakes
Old Academy at Snowflake
New Academy at Snowflake
The Desolate Road to the Colorado Ferry
Leaders of Unsuccessful Expeditions
First Party to Southern Arizona and Mexico
Second Party to Southern Arizona and Mexico
Original Lehi Locators
Founders of Mesa
Maricopa Stake Presidents
Maricopa Delegation at Pinetop Conference
The Arizona Temple at Mesa
Jonathan Heaton and His Fifteen Sons
Northern Arizona Pioneers
Teeples House, First in Pima
First Schoolhouse at Safford
Gila Normal College at Thatcher
Gila Valley Pioneers
Pioneer Women of the Gila Valley
Killed by Indians
Killed by Outlaws
State of Deseret
Pah-ute County, Showing the Muddy Settlements
Northeastern Arizona, Showing Little Colorado Settlements
Lehi, Plan of Settlement
Ancient Canals of Salt River Valley
Arizona Mormon Settlement and Early Roads
Mormon Colonization In the West
The Author would ask earliest appreciation by the reader that this work on "Mormon Settlement in Arizona" has been written by one entirely outside that faith and that, in no way, has it to do with the doctrines of a sect set aside as distinct and peculiar to itself, though it claims fellowship with any denomination that follows the teachings of the Nazarene. The very word "Mormon" in publications of that denomination usually is put within quotation marks, accepted only as a nickname for the preferred and lengthier title of "Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints." Outside the Church, the word, at least till within a decade or so, has been one that has formed the foundation for much of denunciation. There was somewhat of pathos in the remark to the Author by a high Mormon official, "There never has been middle ground in literature that affected the Mormons—it either has been written against us or for us." From a religious standpoint, this work is on neutral ground. But, from the standpoint of western colonization and consequent benefit to the Nation, the Author trusts the reader will join with him in appreciation of the wonderful work that has been done by these people. It is this field especially that has been covered in this book.
Occasionally it will be found that the colonizers have been referred to as "Saints." It is a shortening of the preferred title, showing a lofty moral aspiration, at least. It would be hard to imagine wickedness proceeding from such a designation, though the Church itself assuredly would be the first to disclaim assumption of full saintliness within its great membership. Still, there might be testimony from the writer that he has lived near the Mormons, of Arizona for more than forty years and in that time has found them law-abiding and industrious, generally of sturdy English, Scotch, Scandinavian or Yankee stock wherein such qualities naturally run with the blood. If there be with such people the further influence of a religion that binds in a union of faith and in works of the most practical sort, surely there must be accomplishment of material and important things.
Pioneers in Agriculture
In general, the Mormon (and the word will be used without quotation marks) always has been agricultural. The Church itself appears to have a foundation idea that its membership shall live by, upon and through the products of the soil. It will be found in this work that Church influence served to turn men from even the gold fields of California to the privations of pioneer Utah. It also will be found that the Church, looking for extension and yet careful of the interests of its membership, directed the expeditions that penetrated every part of the Southwest.
There was a pioneer Mormon period in Arizona, that might as well be called the missionary period. Then came the prairie schooners that bore, from Utah, men and women to people and redeem the arid southland valleys. Most of this colonization was in Arizona, where the field was comparatively open. In California there had been religious persecution and in New Mexico the valleys very generally had been occupied for centuries by agricultural Indians and by native peoples speaking an alien tongue. There was extension over into northern Mexico, with consequent travail when impotent governments crumbled. But in Arizona, in the valleys of the Little Colorado, the Salt, the Gila and the San Pedro and of their tributaries and at points where the white man theretofore had failed, if he had reached them at all, the Mormons set their stakes and, with united effort, soon cleared the land, dug ditches and placed dams in unruly streams, all to the end that farms should smile where the desert had reigned. It all needed imagination and vision, something that, very properly, may be called faith. Sometimes there was failure. Occasionally the brethren failed to live in unity. They were human. But, at all times, back of them were the serenity and judgment and resources of the Church and with them went the engendered confidence that all would be well, whatever befell of finite sort. It has been said that faith removes mountains. The faith that came with these pioneers was well backed and carried with it brawn and industry.
"Mormon Settlement in Arizona" should not carry the idea that Arizona was settled wholly by Mormons. Before them came the Spaniards, who went north of the Gila only as explorers and missionaries and whose agriculture south of that stream assuredly was not of enduring value. There were trappers, prospectors, miners, cattlemen and farmers long before the wagons from Utah first rolled southward, but the fact that Arizona's agricultural development owes enormously to Mormon effort can be appreciated in considering the establishment and development of the fertile areas of Mesa, Lehi, the Safford-Thatcher-Franklin district, St. David on the San Pedro, and the many settlements of northeastern Arizona, with St. Johns and Snowflake as their headquarters.
It is a remarkable fact that Mormon immigrants made even a greater number of agricultural settlements in Arizona than did the numerically preponderating other peoples. However, the explanation is a simple one: The average immigrant, coming without organization, for himself alone, naturally gravitated to the mines—indeed, was brought to the Southwest by the mines. There was little to attract him in the desert plains through which ran intermittent stream flows, and he lacked the vision that showed the desert developed into the oasis. The Mormon, however, came usually from an agricultural environment. Rarely was he a miner.
Of later years there has been much community commingling of the Mormon and the non-Mormon. There even has been a second immigration from Utah, usually of people of means. The day has passed for the ox-bowed wagon and for settlements out in the wilderness. There has been left no wilderness in which to work magic through labor. But the Mormon influence still is strong in agricultural Arizona and the high degree of development of many of her localities is based upon the pioneer settlement and work that are dealt with in the succeeding pages.
First Farmers in Many States
It is a fact little appreciated that the Mormons have been first in agricultural colonization of nearly all the intermountain States of today. This may have been providential, though the western movement of the Church happened in a time of the greatest shifting of population ever known on the continent. It preceded by about a year the discovery of gold in California, and gold, of course, was the lodestone that drew the greatest of west-bound migrations. The Mormons, however, were first. Not drawn by visions of wealth, unless they looked forward to celestial mansions, they sought, particularly, valleys wherein peace and plenty could be secured by labor. Nearly all were farmers and it was from the earth they designed drawing their subsistence and enough wherewith to establish homes.
Of course, the greatest of foundations was that at Salt Lake, July 24, 1847, when Brigham Young led his Pioneers down from the canyons and declared the land good. But there were earlier settlements.
First of the faith on the western slopes of the continent was the settlement at San Francisco by Mormons from the ship Brooklyn. They landed July 31, 1846, to found the first English speaking community of the Golden State, theretofore Mexican. These Mormons established the farming community of New Helvetia, in the San Joaquin Valley, the same fall, while men from the Mormon Battalion, January 24, 1848, participated in the discovery of gold at Sutter's Fort. Mormons also were pioneers in Southern California, where, in 1851, several hundred families of the faith settled at San Bernardino.
The first Anglo-Saxon settlement within the boundaries of the present State of Colorado was at Pueblo, November 15, 1846, by Capt. James Brown and about 150 Mormon men and women who had been sent back from New Mexico, into which they had gone, a part of the Mormon Battalion that marched on to the Pacific Coast.
The first American settlement in Nevada was one of Mormons in the Carson Valley, at Genoa, in 1851.
In Wyoming, as early as 1854, was a Mormon settlement at Green River, near Fort Bridger, known as Fort Supply.
In Idaho, too, preeminence is claimed by virtue of a Mormon settlement at Fort Lemhi, on the Salmon River, in 1855, and at Franklin, in Cache Valley, in 1860.
The earliest Spanish settlement of Arizona, within its present political boundaries, was in the Santa Cruz Valley not far from the southern border. There was a large ranch at Calabasas at a very early date, and at that point Custodian Frank Pinkley of the Tumacacori mission ruins lately discovered the remains of a sizable church. A priest had station at San Xavier in 1701. Tubac as a presidio dates from 1752, Tumacacori from 1754 and Tucson from 1776. These, however, were Spanish settlements, missions or presidios. In the north, Prescott was founded in May, 1864, and the Verde Valley was peopled in February, 1865. Earlier still were Fort Mohave, reestablished by soldiers of the California Column in 1863, and Fort Defiance, on the eastern border line, established in 1849. A temporary Mormon settlement at Tubac in 1851, is elsewhere described. But in honorable place in point of seniority are to be noted the Mormon settlements on the Muddy and the Virgin, particularly, in the very northwestern corner of the present Arizona and farther westward in the southern-most point of Nevada, once a part of Arizona. In this northwestern Arizona undoubtedly was the first permanent Anglo-Saxon agricultural settlement in Arizona, that at Beaver Dams, now known as Littlefield, on the Virgin, founded at least as early as the fall of 1864.
The Wilderness Has Been Kept Broken
Of the permanence and quality of the Mormon pioneering, strong testimony is offered by F. S. Dellenbaugh in his "Breaking the Wilderness:"
"It must be acknowledged that the Mormons were wilderness breakers of high quality. They not only broke it, but they kept it broken; and instead of the gin mill and the gambling hell, as corner-stones of their progress and as examples to the natives of the white men's superiority, they planted orchards, gardens, farms, schoolhouses and peaceful homes. There is today no part of the United States where human life is safer than in the land of the Mormons; no place where there is less lawlessness. A people who have accomplished so much that is good, who have endured danger, privation and suffering, who have withstood the obloquy of more powerful sects, have in them much that is commendable; they deserve more than abuse; they deserve admiration."
The Mormon Battalion
Soldiers Who Sought No Strife
The march of the Mormon Battalion to the Pacific sea in 1846-7 created one of the most picturesque features of American history and one without parallel in American military annals. There was incidental creation, through Arizona, of the first southwestern wagon road. Fully as remarkable as its travel was the constitution of the Battalion itself. It was assembled hastily for an emergency that had to do with the seizure of California from Mexico. Save for a few officers detailed from the regular army, not a man had been a soldier, unless in the rude train-bands that held annual muster in that stage of the Nation's progress, however skilled certain members might have been in the handling of hunting arms.
Organization was a matter of only a few days before the column had been put into motion toward the west. There was no drill worthy of the name. There was establishment of companies simply as administrative units. Discipline seems to have been very lax indeed, even if there were periods in which severity of undue sort appears to have been made manifest by the superior officers.
Still more remarkable, the rank and file glorified in being men of peace, to whom strife was abhorrent. They were recruited from a people who had been driven from a home of prosperity and who at the time were encamped in most temporary fashion, awaiting the word of their leaders to pass on to the promised western Land of Canaan. For a part of the way there went with the Battalion parts of families, surely a very unmilitary proceeding, but most of people, whom they were to join later on the shore of the Great Salt Lake of which they knew so little. They were illy clad and shod, were armed mainly with muskets of type even then obsolete, were given wagon transportation from the odds and ends of a military post equipment and thus were set forth upon their great adventure.
Formation of the Mormon Battalion came logically as a part of the determination of the Mormon people to seek a new home in the West, for in 1846 there had come conclusion that no permanent peace could be known in Illinois or in any of the nearby States, owing to religious prejudice. The High Council had made announcement of the intention of the people to move to some good valleys of the Rocky Mountains. President Jesse C. Little of the newly created Eastern States Mission of the Church, was instructed to visit Washington and to secure, if possible, governmental assistance in the western migration. One suggestion was that the Mormons be sent to construct a number of stockade posts along the overland route. But, finally, after President Little had had several conferences with President Polk, there came decision to accept enlistment of a Mormon military command, for dispatch to the Pacific Coast. The final orders cut down the enlistment from a proffered 2000 to 500 individuals.
California Was the Goal
There should be understanding at the outset that the Mormon Battalion was a part of the volunteer soldiery of the Mexican War. At the time there was a regular army of very small proportions, and that was being held for the descent upon the City of Mexico, via Vera Cruz, under General Scott. General Taylor had volunteers for the greater part of his northern army in Mexico. Doniphan in his expedition into Chihuahua mainly had Missouri volunteers.
In California was looming a very serious situation. Only sailors were available to help American settlers in seizing and holding the coast against a very active and exceptionally well-provided and intelligent Mexican, or Spanish-speaking, opposition. Fremont and his "surveying party" hardly had improved the situation in bringing dissension into the American armed forces. General Kearny had been dispatched with all speed from Fort Leavenworth westward, with a small force of dragoons, later narrowly escaping disaster as he approached San Diego. There was necessity for a supporting party for Kearny and for poor vision of troops to enforce an American peace in California. To fill this breach, resort was had to the harassed and homeless Saints.
The route was taken along the Santa Fe trail, which then, in 1846, was in use mainly by buffalo hunters and western trading and trapping parties. It was long before the western migration of farm seekers, and the lure of gold yet was distant. There were unsatisfactory conditions of administration and travel, as narrated by historians of the command, mainly enlisted men, naturally with the viewpoint of the private soldier. But it happens that the details agree, in general, and indicate that the trip throughout was one of hardship and of denial. There came the loss of a respected commander and the temporary accession of an impolitic leader. Especially there was complaint over the mistaken zeal of an army surgeon, who insisted upon the administration of calomel and who denied the men resort to their own simple remedies, reinforced by expression of what must have been a very sustaining sort of faith.
A more popular, though strict, commander was found in Santa Fe, whence the Battalion was pushed forward again within five days, following Kearny to the Coast. The Rockies were passed through a trackless wilderness, yet on better lines than had been found by Kearny's horsemen. Arizona, as now known, was entered not far from the present city of Douglas. There were fights with wild bulls in the San Pedro valley, there was a bloodless victory in the taking of the ancient pueblo of Tucson, there was travail in the passage of the desert to the Gila and a brief respite in the plenty of the Pima villages before the weary way was taken down the Gila to the Colorado and thence across the sands of the Colorado desert, in California, to the shores of the western ocean.
All this was done on foot. The start from Leavenworth was in the heat of summer, August 12, 1846. Two months later Santa Fe was entered, Tucson was passed in December and on January 27, 1847, "was caught the first and a magnificent view of the great ocean; and by rare chance it was so calm that it shone like a great mirror."
In detail, the following description of the march, as far as Los Angeles, mainly is from the McClintock History of Arizona.
Organization of the Battalion
Col. Stephen W. Kearny, commanding the First Dragoon regiment, then stationed at Fort Leavenworth, selected Capt. James Allen of the same regiment to be commander of the new organization, with volunteer rank as lieutenant-colonel. The orders read: "You will have the Mormons distinctly understand that I wish to have them as volunteers for twelve months; that they will be marched to California, receive pay and allowances during the above time, and at its expiration they will be discharged, and allowed to retain as their private property the guns and accouterments furnished them at this post."
Captain Allen proceeded at once to Mount Pisgah, a Mormon camp 130 miles east of Council Bluffs, where, on June 26, 1846, he issued a recruiting circular in which was stated: "This gives an opportunity of sending a portion of your young and intelligent men to the ultimate destination of your whole people at the expense of the United States, and this advance party can thus pave the way and look out the land for their brethren to come after them."
July 16, 1846, five companies were mustered into the service of the United States at Council Bluffs, Iowa Territory. The company officers had been elected by the recruits, including Captains Jefferson Hunt, Jesse B. Hunter, James Brown and Nelson Higgins. George P. Dykes was appointed adjutant and William McIntyre assistant surgeon.
The march westward was started July 20, the route through St. Joseph and Leavenworth, where were found a number of companies of Missouri volunteers. Colonel Allen, who had secured the confidence and affection of his soldiers, had to be left, sick, at Leavenworth, where he died August 23.
At Leavenworth full equipment was secured, including flintlock muskets, with a few caplock guns for sharpshooting and hunting. Pay also was drawn, the paymaster expressing surprise over the fact that every man could write his own name, "something that only one in three of the Missouri volunteers could accomplish." August 12 and 14 two divisions of the Battalion left Leavenworth.
Cooke Succeeds to the Command
The place of Colonel Allen was taken, provisionally, by First Lieut. A. J. Smith of the First Dragoons, who proved unpopular, animus probably starting through his military severity and the desire of the Battalion that Captain Hunt should succeed to the command. The first division arrived at Santa Fe October 9, and was received by Colonel Doniphan, commander of the post, with a salute of 100 guns. Colonel Doniphan was an old friend. He had been a lawyer and militia commander in Clay County, Missouri, when Joseph Smith was tried by court martial at Far West in 1838 and had succeeded in changing a judgment of death passed by the mob. On the contrary, Col. Sterling Price, the brigade commander, was considered an active enemy of the Mormons.
At Santa Fe, Capt. P. St. George Cooke, an officer of dragoons, succeeded to the command, as lieutenant-colonel, under appointment of General Kearny, who already had started westward. Capt. James Brown was ordered to take command of a party of about eighty men, together with about two-score women and children, and with them winter at Pueblo, on the headwaters of the Arkansas River. Fifty-five more men were sent to Pueblo from the Rio Grande when found unable to travel.
Colonel Cooke made a rather discouraging report on the character of the command. He said:
"It was enlisted too much by families; some were too old, some feeble, and some too young; it was embarrassed by too many women; it was undisciplined; it was much worn by travel on foot and marching from Nauvoo, Illinois; clothing was very scant; there was no money to pay them or clothing to issue; their mules were utterly broken down; the quartermaster department was without funds and its credit bad; animals scarce and inferior and deteriorating every hour for lack of forage. So every preparation must be pushed—hurried."
The March Through the Southwest
After the men had sent their pay checks back to their families, the expedition started from Santa Fe, 448 strong. It had rations for only sixty days. The commander wrote on November 19 that he was determined to take along his wagons, though the mules were nearly broken down at the outset, and added a delicate criticism of Fremont's self-centered character, "The only good mules were taken for the express for Fremont's mail, the General's order requiring the 21 best in, Santa Fe."
Colonel Cooke soon proved an officer who would enforce discipline. He had secured an able quartermaster in Lieut. George Stoneman, First Dragoons. Lieutenant Smith took office as acting commissary. Three mounted dragoons were taken along, one a trumpeter. An additional mounted company of New Mexican volunteers, planned at Santa Fe, could not be raised.
Before the command got out of the Rio Grande Valley, the condition of the commissary best is to be illustrated by the following extract from verses written by Levi Hancock:
"We sometimes now lack for bread, Are less than quarter rations fed, And soon expect, for all of meat, Nought less than broke-down mules to eat."
The trip over the Continental Divide was one of hardship, at places tracks for the wagons being made by marching files of men ahead, to tramp down ruts wherein the wheels might run. The command for 48 hours at one time was without water. From the top of the Divide the wagons had to be taken down by hand, with men behind with ropes, the horses driven below.
Finally a more level country was reached, December 2, at the old, ruined ranch of San Bernardino, near the south-eastern corner of the present Arizona. The principal interest of the trip, till the Mexican forces at Tucson were encountered, then lay in an attack upon the marching column by a number of wild bulls in the San Pedro Valley. It had been assumed that Cooke would follow down the San Pedro to the Gila, but, on learning that the better and shorter route was by way of Tucson, he determined upon a more southerly course.
Capture of the Pueblo of Tucson
Tucson was garrisoned by about 200 Mexican soldiers, with two small brass fieldpieces, a concentration of the garrisons of Tubac, Santa Cruz and Fronteras. After some brief parley, the Mexican commander, Captain Comaduron, refusing to surrender, left the village, compelling most of its inhabitants to accompany him. No resistance whatever was made. When the Battalion marched in, the Colonel took pains to assure the populace that all would be treated with kindness. He sent the Mexican commander a courteous letter for the Governor of Sonora, Don Manuel Gandara, who was reported "disgusted and disaffected to the imbecile central government." Little food was found for the men, but several thousand bushels of grain had been left and were drawn upon. On December 17, the day after the arrival of the command, the Colonel and after fifty men "passed up a creek about five miles above Tucson toward a village (San Xavier), where they had seen a large church from the hills they had passed over." The Mexican commander reported that the Americans had taken advantage of him, in that they had entered the town on Sunday, while he and his command and most of the inhabitants were absent at San Xavier, attending mass.
The Pima villages were reached four days later. By Cooke the Indians were called "friendly, guileless and singularly innocent and cheerful people."
In view of the prosperity of the Pima and Maricopa, Colonel Cooke suggested that this would be a good place for the exiled Saints to locate, and a proposal to this effect was favorably received by the Indians. It is possible that his suggestion had something to do with the colonizing by the Mormons of the upper part of the nearby Salt River Valley in later years.
About January I, 1847, to lighten the load of the half-starved mules, a barge was made by placing two wagon bodies on dry cottonwood logs and on this 2500 pounds of provisions and corn were launched on the Gila River. The improvised boat found too many sandbars, and most of its cargo had to be jettisoned, lost in a time when rations had been reduced to a few ounces a day per man. January 9 the Colorado River was reached, and the command and its impedimenta were ferried over on the same raft contrivance that had proven ineffective on the Gila.
Colonel Cooke, in his narrative concerning the practicability of the route he had taken, said: "Undoubtedly the fine bottomland of the Colorado, if not of the Gila, will soon be settled; then all difficulty will be removed."
The Battalion had still more woe in its passage across the desert of Southern California, where wells often had to be dug for water and where rations were at a minimum, until Warner's ranch was reached, where each man was given five pounds of beef a day, constituting almost the sole article of subsistence. Tyler, the Battalion historian, insists that five pounds is really a small allowance for a healthy laboring man, because "when taken alone it is not nearly equal to mush and milk," and he referred to an issuance to each of Fremont's men of ten pounds per day of fat beef.
Congratulation on Its Achievement
At the Mission of San Diego, January 30, 1847, the proud Battalion Commander issued the following memorable order:
"The Lieutenant-Colonel commanding congratulates the Battalion on their safe arrival on the shore of the Pacific Ocean, and the conclusion of their march of over 2000 miles.
"History may be searched in vain for an equal march of infantry. Half of it has been through a wilderness, where nothing but savages and wild beasts are found, or deserts where, for want of water, there is no living creature. There, with almost hopeless labor we have dug wells, which the future traveler will enjoy. Without a guide who had traversed them, we have ventured into trackless tablelands where water was not found for several marches. With crowbar and pick, and ax in hand, we worked our way over mountains, which seemed to defy aught save the wild goat, and hewed a pass through a chasm of living rock more narrow than our wagons. To bring these first wagons to the Pacific, we have preserved the strength of our mules by herding them over large tracts, which you have laboriously guarded without loss. The garrisons of four presidios of Sonora concentrated within the walls of Tucson, gave us no pause. We drove them out with our artillery, but our intercourse with the citizens was unmarked by a single act of injustice. Thus, marching, half-naked and half-fed, and living upon wild animals, we have discovered and made a road of great value to our country.
"Arrived at the first settlements of California, after a single day's rest, you cheerfully turned off from the route to this point of promised repose, to enter upon a campaign and meet, as we supposed, the approach of an enemy; and this, too, without even salt to season your sole subsistence of fresh meat.
"Lieutenants A. J. Smith and George Stoneman of the First Dragoons have shared and given invaluable aid in all these labors.
"Thus, volunteers, you have exhibited some high and essential qualities of veterans. But much remains undone. Soon you will turn your attention to the drill, to system and order, to forms also, which are all necessary to the soldier."
Mapping the Way Through Arizona
The only map of the route of the Mormon Battalion is one made by Colonel Cooke. Outlined on a map of Arizona, it is printed elsewhere in this work, insofar as it affects this State. The Colonel's map is hardly satisfactory, for only at a few points does he designate locations known today and his topography covers only the district within his vision as he marched.
Judging from present information of the lay of the land, it is evident that LeRoux did not guide the Mormon Battalion on the easiest route. Possibly this was due to the fact that it was necessary to find water for each daily camp. The Rio Grande was left at a point 258 miles south of Santa Fe, not far from Mesilla. Thence the journey was generally toward the southwest, over a very rough country nearly all the way to the historic old rancho of San Bernardino, now on the international line about 25 miles east of the present city of Douglas. The rancho had been abandoned long before, because of the depredating Apaches. It was stated by Cooke that before it had been deserted, on it were 80,000 cattle, ranging as far as the Gila to the northward. The hacienda was enclosed by a wall, with two regular bastions, and there was a spring fifteen feet in diameter.
The departure from San Bernardino was on December 4, 1846, the day's march to a camp in a pass eight miles to the westward, near a rocky basin of water and beneath a peak which Nature apparently had painted green, yellow and brown. This camp was noted as less than twenty miles from Fronteras, Mexico, and near a Coyotero trail into Mexico.
On the 5th was a march of fourteen miles, to a large spring. This must have been almost south of Douglas or Agua Prieta (Blackwater).
On the 6th the Battalion cut its way twelve miles through mesquite to a water hole in a fine grove of oak and walnut. It is suggested by Geo. H. Kelly that this was in Anavacachi Pass, twelve miles southwest of Douglas.
On December 8 seventeen miles were made northwest, to a dry camp, with a view of the valley of the San Pedro. On the 9th, either ten or sixteen miles, for the narrative is indefinite, the San Pedro was crossed and there was camp six miles lower down on the western side. There is notation that the river was followed for 65 miles, one of the camps being at what was called the Canyon San Pedro, undoubtedly at The Narrows, just above Charleston.
December 14 there was a turn westward and at a distance of nine miles was found a direct trail to Tucson. The day's march was twenty miles, probably terminating at about Pantano, in the Cienega Wash, though this is only indicated by the map or description.
On the 15th was a twelve-mile march to a dry camp and on the 16th, after a sixteen-mile march, camp was made a half mile west of the pueblo of Tucson.
From Tucson to the Pima villages on the Gila River, a distance of about 73 miles, the way was across the desert, practically on the present line of the Southern Pacific railroad. Sixty-two miles were covered in 51 hours. At the Gila there was junction with General Kearny's route.
From the Pima villages westward there is mention of a dry "jornada" (journey) of about forty miles, caused by a great bend of the Gila River. Thus is indicated that the route was by way of Estrella Pass, south of the Sierra Estrella, on the present railroad line, and not by the alternative route, just south of and along the river and north of the mountains. Thereafter the marches averaged only ten miles a day, through much sand, as far as the Colorado, which was reached January 8, 1847.
The Battalion's route across Arizona at only one point cut a spot of future Mormon settlement. This was in the San Pedro Valley, where the march of a couple of days was through a fertile section that was occupied in 1878 by a community of the faith from Lehi. This community, now known as St. David, is referred to elsewhere, at length.
Manufactures of the Arizona Indians
Colonel Cooke told that the Maricopas, near the junction of the Gila and the Salt, had piled on their house arbors "cotton in the pod for drying." As he passed in the latter days of the year, it is probable he saw merely the bolls that had been left unopened after frost had come, and that this was not the ordinary method for handling cotton. That considerable cotton was grown is evidenced by the fact that a part of Cooke's company purchased cotton blankets. Historian Tyler states that when he reached Salt Lake the most material feature of his clothing equipment was a Pima blanket, from this proceeding an inference that the Indians made cotton goods of lasting and wearing quality. In the northern part of Arizona, the Hopi also raised cotton and made cloth and blankets, down to the time of the coming of the white man, with his gaudy calicoes that undoubtedly were given prompt preference in the color-loving aboriginal eye.
Cooke's Story of the March
"The Conquest of New Mexico and California" is the title of an excellent and entertaining volume written in 1878 by Lieut.-Col. P. St. George Cooke, commander of the Battalion. It embraces much concerning the political features found or developed in both Territories and deals somewhat with the Kearny expedition and with the Doniphan campaign into Mexico that moved from Socorro two months after the Battalion started westward from the Rio Grande. Despite his eloquent acknowledgment of good service in the San Diego order, he had little to say in his narrative concerning the personnel of his command. In addition to the estimate of the command printed on a preceding page, he wrote, "The Battalion have never been drilled and though obedient, have little discipline; they exhibit great heedlessness and ignorance and some obstinacy." The ignorance undoubtedly was of military matters, for the men had rather better than the usual schooling of the rough period. At several points his diary gave such details as, "The men arrived completely worn down; they staggered as they marched, as they did yesterday. A great many of the men are wholly without shoes and use every expedient, such as rawhide moccasins and sandals and even wrapping the feet in pieces of woolen and cotton cloth."
It is evident that to the Colonel's West Point ideas of discipline the conduct of his command was a source of irritation that eventually was overcome when he found he could depend upon the individuals as well as upon the companies. Several stories are told of his encounters in repartee with his soldiers, in which he did not always have the upper hand, despite his rank. Brusque in manner, he yet had a saving sense of humor that had to be drawn upon to carry off situations that would have been intolerable in his own command of dragoons.
Tyler's Record of the Expedition
The best of the narratives concerning the march of the Battalion is in a book printed in 1881 by Daniel Tyler, an amplification of a remarkable diary kept by him while a member of the organization. This book has an exceptionally important introduction, written by John Taylor, President of the Mormon Church, detailing at length the circumstances that led to the western migration of his people. He is especially graphic in his description of the riots of the summer of 1844, culminating in the assassination of Prophet Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum at Carthage, Illinois, on June 27th. Taylor was with the Prophet at the time and was badly wounded. There also is an interesting introductory chapter, written by Col. Thos. L. Kane, not a Mormon, dramatically dwelling upon the circumstances of the exodus from Nauvoo and the later dedication there of the beautiful temple, abandoned immediately thereafter. He wrote also of the Mormon camps that were then working westward, describing the high spirit and even cheerfulness in which the people were accepting exile from a grade of civilization that had made them prefer the wilds. Colonel Kane helped in the organization of the Battalion, in bringing influence to bear upon the President and in carrying to Fort Leavenworth the orders under which the then Colonel Kearny proceeded.
Henry Standage's Personal Journal
One of the treasures of the Arizona Historian's office is a copy of a journal of about 12,000 words kept by Henry Standage, covering his service as a member of the Mormon Battalion from July 19, 1846, to July 19, 1847. The writer in his later years was a resident of Mesa, his home in Alma Ward. His manuscript descended to his grandsons, Orrin and Clarence Standage.
Standage writes from the standpoint of the private soldier, with the soldier's usual little growl over conditions that affect his comfort; yet, throughout the narrative, there is evidence of strong integrity of purpose, of religious feeling and of sturdiness befitting a good soldier.
There is pathos in the very start, how he departed from the Camp of Israel, near Council Bluffs, leaving his wife and mother in tears. He had been convinced by T. B. Platt of the necessity of obedience to the call of the President of the United States to enlist in the federal service. The narrative contradicts in no way the more extensive chronicle by Tyler. There is description of troubles that early beset the inexperienced soldiers, who appear to have been illy prepared to withstand the inclemency of the weather. There was sage dissertation concerning the efforts of an army surgeon to use calomel, though the men preferred the exercise of faith. Buffalo was declared the best meat he had ever eaten.
On November 1 satisfaction was expressed concerning substitution to the place of Philemon C. Merrill. When the sick were sent to Pueblo, November 10, Standage fervently wrote, "This does in reality make solemn times for us, so many divisions taking place. May the God of Heaven protect us all."
San Bernardino, in Sonora, was reached December 2, being found in ruins, "though all around us a pleasant valley with good water and grass." Appreciation was expressed over the flavor of "a kind of root, baked, which the Spaniards called mas kurl" (mescal). Many of the cattle had Spanish brands on their hips, it being explained, "Indians had been so troublesome in times past that the Spaniards had to abandon the towns and vineyards, and cross the Cordillera Mountains, leaving their large flocks of cattle in the valley, thus making plenty of food for the Apalchas."
In San Pedro valley were found "good horse feed and fish in abundance (salmon trout), large herds of wild cattle and plenty of antelope and some bear." The San Pedro River was especially noted as having "mill privileges in abundance." Here it was that Lieutenant Stoneman, accidentally shot himself in the hand. Two old deserted towns were passed.
Standage tells that the Spanish soldiers had gone from Tucson when the Battalion arrived, but that, "we were kindly treated by the people, who brought flour, meal, tobacco and quinces to the camp for sale, and many of them gave such things to the soldiers. We camped about a half mile from the town. The Colonel suffered no private property to be touched, neither was it in the heart of any man to my knowledge to do so."
Considering the strength of the Spanish garrison, Standage was led to exclaim that, "the Lord God of Israel would save his people, inasmuch as he knoweth the causes of our being here in the United States." Possibly it was unfair to say that no one but the Lord knew why the soldiers were there, and Tucson then was not in the United States.
The journey to the Gila River was a hard one, but the chronicler was compensated by seeing "the long looked-for country of California," which it was not. The Pimas were found very friendly, bringing food, which they readily exchanged for such things as old shirts. Standage especially was impressed by the eating of a watermelon, for the day was Christmas. January 10, 1847, at the crossing of the Colorado, he was detailed to the gathering of mesquite beans, "a kind of sweet seed that grows on a tree resembling the honey locust, the mules and men being very fond of this. The brethren use this in various ways, some grinding it and mixing it in bread with the flour, others making pudding, while some roast it or eat it raw." "January 27, at 1 o'clock, we came in sight of the ocean, the great Pacific, which was a great sight to some, having never seen any portion of the briny deep before."
California Towns and Soldier Experiences
At San Diego, which was reached by Standage and a small detachment January 30, provisions were found very scarce, while prices were exorbitant. Sugar cost 50 cents a pound, so the soldier regaled himself with one-quarter of a pound and gathered some mustard greens to eke out his diet. For 26 days he had eaten almost nothing but beef. He purchased a little wheat from the Indians and ground it in a hand mill, to make some cakes, which were a treat.
Late in April, at Los Angeles, there was a move to another camping ground, "as the Missouri volunteers (Error, New York volunteers—Author) had threatened to come down upon us. A few days later we were called up at night in order to load and fix bayonets, as Colonel Cooke had sent word that an attack might be expected from Colonel Fremont's men before day. They had been using all possible means to prejudice the Spaniards and Indians against us."
Los Angeles made poor impression upon the soldiers in the Battalion. The inhabitants were called "degraded" and it was declared that there were almost as many grog shops and gambling dens as private houses. Reference is made to the roofs of reeds, covered with pitch from tar springs nearby. Incidentally, these tar "springs" in a later century led to development of the oil industry, that now is paramount in much of California, and have been found to contain fossil remains of wonderful sort.
The Indians were said "to do all the labor, the Mexicans generally on horseback from morning till night. They are perhaps the greatest horsemen in the known world and very expert with lariat and lasso, but great gamblers."
Food assuredly was not dear, for cattle sold for $5 a head. Many cattle were killed merely for hides and tallow and for the making of soap.
About the most entertaining section of Standage's journal is that which chronicles his stay in Southern California, possibly because it gave him an opportunity to do something else beside tramping. There is much detail concerning re-enlistment, but there was general inclination to follow the advice of Father Pettegrew, who showed "the necessity of returning to the prophets of the Lord before going any further."
Just before the muster-out, the soldiers were given an opportunity to witness a real Spanish bull fight, called "a scene of cruelty, savoring strongly of barbarity and indolence, though General Pico, an old Mexican commander, went into the ring several times on horseback and fought the bulls with a short spear."
What with the hostility of the eastern volunteers, the downright enmity of Fremont's company and the alien habits of the Mexican population, the sober-minded members of the Battalion must have been compelled to keep their own society very largely while in the pueblo of Los Angeles, or, to give it its Spanish appellation, "El Pueblo de Nuestra Senora la Reina de los Angeles de Porciuncula." Still, some of them tried to join in the diversions of the people of the country. On one occasion, according to Historian Eldridge, there was something of a quarrel between Captain Hunt and Alcalde Carrillo, who had given offense by observing that the American officer "danced like a bear." The Alcalde apologized very courteously, saying that bears were widely known as dancers, but the breach was not healed.
Christopher Layton's Soldiering.
Another history of the Battalion especially interesting from an Arizona standpoint, is contained in the life of Christopher Layton, issued in 1911 and written by Layton's daughter, Mrs. Selina Layton Phillips, from data supplied by the Patriarch. The narrative is one of the best at hand in the way of literary preparation, though with frank statement that President Layton himself had all too little education for the accomplishment of such a task.
Layton was a private soldier in Company C, under Capt. James Brown. There is nothing of especial novelty in the narrative, nor does there seem anything of prophecy when the Battalion passed through the Valley of the San Pedro in December, 1846, through a district to which Layton was to return, in 1883, as leader of a Mormon colony.
Layton was one of the number that remained in California after the discharge of the Battalion, eventually rejoining the Saints, at Salt Lake, by way of his native land, England.
In B. H. Roberts' very interesting little work on the Mormon Battalion is told this story of the later patriarch of the Gila settlement:
"While Colonel Cooke was overseeing the ferrying of the Battalion across the Colorado River, Christopher Layton rode up to the river on a mule, to let it drink. Colonel Cooke said to him, 'Young man, I want you to ride across the river and carry a message for me to Captain Hunt.' It being natural for the men to obey the Colonel's order, he (Layton) tried to ride into the river, but he had gone but a few steps before his mule was going in all over. So Brother Layton stopped. The Colonel hallooed out, 'Go on, young man; go on, young man.' But Brother Layton, on a moment's reflection, was satisfied that, if he attempted it, both he and his mule would stand a good chance to be drowned. The Colonel himself was satisfied of the same. So Brother Layton turned his mule and rode off, saying, as he came out, 'Colonel, I'll see you in hell before I will drown myself and mule in that river.' The Colonel looked at him a moment, and said to the bystanders, 'What is that man's name?' 'Christopher Layton, sir.' 'Well, he is a saucy fellow.'"
That the Mormon Battalion did not always rigidly obey orders is shown in another story detailed by Roberts:
"While the Battalion was at Santa Fe, Colonel Cooke ordered Lot Smith to guard a Mexican corral, and, having a company of United States cavalry camped by, he told Lot if the men came to steal the poles to bayonet them. The men came and surrounded the corral, and while Lot was guarding one side, they would hitch to a pole on the other and ride off with it. When the Colonel saw the poles were gone, he asked Lot why he did not obey orders and bayonet the thieves. Lot replied, 'If you expect me to bayonet United States troops for taking a pole on the enemy's ground to make a fire of, you mistake your man.' Lot expected to be punished, and he was placed under guard; but nothing further was done about it."
Western Dash of the Kearny Dragoons
Of collateral interest is the record of the Kearny expedition. The Colonel, raised to General at Santa Fe, left that point September 25, 1846, with 300 dragoons, under Col. E.V. Sumner. The historians of the party were Lieut. W.H. Emory of the Corps of Topographical Engineers (later in charge of the Boundary Survey) and Capt. A. R. Johnston, the latter killed at San Pascual. Kearny was piloted by the noted Kit Carson, who was turned back as he was traveling eastward with dispatches from Fremont. The Gila route was taken, though there had to be a detour at the box canyon above the mouth of the San Pedro. Emory and Johnston wrote much of the friendly Pima. The former made prophecy, since sustained, concerning the development of the Salt and other river valleys, and the working of great copper deposits noted by him on the Gila, at Mineral Creek. The Colorado was crossed November 24. On December 6 the small command, weary with its march and illy provisioned, was attacked at San Pascual by Gen. Andres Pico. Two days of fighting found the Americans in sad plight, with eighteen killed and thirteen wounded. The enemy had been severely handled, but still barred the way to the nearby seacoast. Guide Kit Carson and Naval Lieutenant E.F. Beale managed to slip through to San Diego, there to summon help. It came to the beleaguered Americans December 10, a party of 180 well-armed sailors and marines, sent by Commodore Stockton, falling upon the rear of the Mexican host, which dispersed. The following day, Kearny entered San Diego, thence proceeding northward to help in the final overthrow of Mexican authority within Alta California.
The Battalion's Muster-Out
Heading Eastward Toward "Home"
Muster-out of the Battalion was at Los Angeles, July 16, 1847, just a year after enlistment, eight days before Brigham Young reached Great Salt Lake. The joyous ceremonial was rather marred by the fact that the muster-out officer was none other than Lieutenant Smith. There was an attempt to keep the entire Battalion in the service, both Kearny and Colonel Mason urging reenlistment. At the same time was an impolitic speech by Colonel Stevenson of the New York Volunteers. He said: "Your patriotism and obedience to your officers have done much toward removing the prejudices of the Government and the community at large, and I am satisfied that another year's service would place you on a level with other communities." This speech hardly helped in inclining the men toward extension of a service in which it was felt all that had been required had been delivered. Stevenson, a politician rather than a soldier, seemed to have a theory that the Mormons were seeking reenlistment of a second battalion or regiment, that California might be peopled by themselves. There was opposition to reenlistment among the elders, especially voiced by "Father" Pettegrew and by members Hyde and Tyler. Even promise that independent command would be given to Captain Hunt did not prove effective. Only one company was formed of men who were willing to remain in California for a while longer. In this new company were Henry G. Boyle, Henry Brizzee, Lot Smith and George Steele, all later residents of Arizona.
Most of the soldiers of the Battalion made haste in preparation to rejoin the main body of the people of their faith. Assuredly they had little knowledge of what was happening in the Rocky Mountains. On the 20th of July, four days before the Mormon arrival in the Salt Lake Valley, most of the men had been organized to travel "home" after what Tyler called "both the ancient and the modern Israelitish custom, in companies of hundreds, fifties and tens." The leaders were Andrew Lytle and James Pace, with Sergeants Hyde, Tyler and Reddick N. Allred as captains of fifties.
The first intention to travel via Cajon Pass was abandoned, and the companies took the northern route, via Sutter's Fort on the Sacramento River, to follow Fremont's trail across the Sierras. On the Sacramento they received the first news of their brethren since leaving Fort Leavenworth, a year before. They learned that the Saints were settling the Great Salt Lake Valley, and there also was news of the Brannan party at San Francisco.
With full assent from the leaders, some of the brethren remained in the vicinity of Sutter's Fort, where work was plenty, and probably half of those who went on across the mountains returned on receipt of advices that came to them at Donner Lake, at the hands of Capt. James Brown, of the Pueblo detachment. The Church authorities instructed all who had insufficient means to remain in California and labor and to bring their earnings with them in the spring. Tyler, with his party, arrived in Salt Lake Valley October 16, to find his relatives living in a fort, which had all rooms opening into an enclosure, with port-holes for defense cut in the outer walls.
The new company, with additional enlistment of six months, was placed under Capt. Daniel C. Davis, who had been in command of Company E. The company was marched to San Diego, arriving August 2. A detachment under Lieut. Ruel Barrus garrisoned San Luis Rey. In San Diego the men appeared to have had little military duty. They were allowed to work as mechanics, repaired wagons, did blacksmithing and erected a bakery. They became very popular with the townspeople, who wanted to retain them as permanent residents. It was noted that the Mormons had conquered prejudice and had effected a kind of industrial revolution in languid Alta California.
The enlistment term expired in January, but it was March, 1848, before the men were paid off and discharged. Most of the 78 members of the company went northward, but one party of 22, led by Henry G. Boyle, taking a wagon and 135 mules, started to Salt Lake by way of the Mojave desert, reaching its destination June 5. This would appear to have been a very important journey, the party probably being first with wagons to travel what later became known as the Mormon road.
Following the very practical customs of their people, the members of the Battalion picked up in California a large quantity of seeds and grains for replanting in Utah, welcomed in establishing the marvelous agricultural community there developed. Lieut. James Pace brought in the club-head wheat, which proved especially suited to inter-mountain climatic conditions. From Pueblo other members brought the Taos wheat, which also proved valuable. Daniel Tyler brought the California pea.
Although the Author has seen little mention of it, the Battalion membership took to Utah much valuable information concerning methods of irrigation, gained at Pueblo, in the Rio Grande Valley and in California. While most of the emigrants were of the farming class, their experience had been wholly in the Mississippi Valley or farther east, where the rains alone were depended upon to furnish the moisture necessary for crops.
With the Pueblo Detachment
Capt. James Brown would have led his band from Pueblo as soon as the snows had melted in the passes, but held back on receipt of information that the main body of Saints still was on the plains. As it was, he and his charge arrived at Salt Lake, July 29, 1847, five days after the advent of Brigham Young. Brown remained only a few days, setting out early in August for California, there to receive the pay of his command. The main body had been paid off at Los Angeles, July 15. On his westward way, Brown led a small company over the Carson route. In the Sierras, September 6, he met the first returning detachment of Battalion soldiers. To them he delivered letters from the First Presidency telling of the scarcity of food in the Salt Lake Valley. Sam Brannan, leader at San Francisco, had passed, going westward, only the day before, giving a gloomy account of the new home of the Saints. So about half the Battalion men turned back to Sutter's Fort, presumably with Brown. Brown returned from Los Angeles with the pay of his men, money sorely needed.
The Pueblo detachment arrived in Salt Lake with about fifty individuals from Mississippi added to the 150 men and women who had been separated from the main body of the Battalion in New Mexico. Forty-six of the Battalion men accompanied President Young when he started back, August 8, for Winter Quarters, on the west side of the Missouri, five miles above Omaha, to help in piloting over the plains the main body of Saints.
Captain Brown, according to a Brigham Young manuscript, was absent in California three months and seven days, returning late in November, 1847, bringing back with him the pay due the Pueblo contingent. Several stories were given concerning the amount. One was that it was about $5000, mainly in gold, and another that the amount was $10,000 in Mexican doubloons.
The Pueblo detachment had been paid last in Santa Fe in May, 1846. The muster-out rolls were taken by Brown to Paymaster Rich of Colonel Mason's command in California. Pay included July 29, 1847, thirteen days after expiration of the term of enlistment.
A part of the money, apparently considered as community property, was used early in 1848 in the purchase of a tract of land, about twenty miles square, at the mouth of Weber Canyon. The sum of $1950, cash, was paid to one Goodyear, who claimed to own a Mexican grant, but who afterward proved to have only a squatter right. The present city of Ogden is on this same tract.
California Comments on the Battalion
Very generally there has come down evidence that the men of the Battalion were of very decent sort. Colonel Mason, commanding the California military department, in June, 1847, made report to the Adjutant General of the Army:
"Of the service of this Battalion, of their patience, subordination and general good conduct you have already heard; and I take great pleasure in adding that as a body of men they have religiously respected the rights and feelings of these conquered people, and not a syllable of complaint has reached my ears of a single insult offered or outrage done by a Mormon volunteer. So high an opinion did I entertain of the Battalion and of their especial fitness for the duties now performed by the garrisons in this country that I made strenuous efforts to engage their services for another year."
With reference to the Mormon Battalion, Father Engelhardt, in his "Missions and Missionaries of California," wrote:
"It is not likely that these Mormons, independent of United States and military regulations, would have wantonly destroyed any part of the church property or church fixtures during their several months' stay at San Luis Rey. Whatever some of the moral tenets held by them in those days, the Mormons, to all appearances, were a God-fearing body, who ... manifested some respect for the religious convictions and feelings of other men, notably of the Catholics. It is, therefore, highly improbable that they ... raved against ... religious emblems found in the missions of California. On the contrary, they appear to have let everything alone, even made repairs, and minded their own duties to their Creator, in that they practiced their religion openly whithersoever they went...."
Leaders of the Battalion
Colonel Cooke for a while was in command of the southern half of Alta California, incidentally coming into a part of the row created when Fremont laid claim upon the governorship of the Territory. In this his men were affected to a degree, for Fremont's father-in-law and patron, Senator Benton, was believed one of the bitterest foes of the Mormon people.
Cooke resigned as lieutenant-colonel of volunteers, effective May 13, 1847, he thus leaving the Battalion before the date of its discharge. He accompanied General Kearny on an 83-day ride eastward, returning to Fort Leaven worth August 22. With them was Fremont, arrested, charged with mutiny in refusing to acknowledge the authority of Kearny in California. He was found guilty, but a sentence of dismissal from the army was remitted by President Polk. Fremont immediately resigned from the service.
Cooke, in 1857-8, led the cavalry of Gen. Albert Sidney Johnston's expedition to Utah and there is a memorandum that, when his regiment marched through the streets of Salt Lake City, the Colonel rode with uncovered head, "out of respect to the brave men of the Mormon Battalion he had commanded in their march to the Pacific." In the Civil War he was a brigadier-general, with brevet of major-general in 1865.
Lieut. A. J. Smith, whose disciplinary ideas may have been too severe for a command that started with such small idea of discipline, nevertheless proved a brave and skillful officer. He rose in 1864 to be major-general of volunteers and was brevetted major-general of regulars for distinguished service in command of the Sixteenth army corps, under General Thomas, at the battle of Nashville.
Lieut. George Stoneman in 1854 commanded a dragoon escort for Lieut. J. G. Parke, who laid out a railroad route across Arizona, from the Pima villages through Tucson, much on the line of the present Southern Pacific. He was a captain, commanding Fort Brown, Texas, at the outbreak of the Civil War, in which he rose to the rank of major-general of volunteers, with fame in the Virginia campaign as chief of cavalry of the Army of the Potomac, in which he later was a division and corps commander. In 1870 and 1871 he commanded the military department of Arizona, during the time of the Old Fort Grant massacre, and his name is still borne by the Stoneman Grade, above Silver King, a trail built by him to better command the Indian-infested mountains beyond. He was Democratic Governor of California from 1883 to 1887. A son, Geo. J. Stoneman, for years resided in Phoenix.
Lieut. Edw. F. Beale, who helped save the Kearny expedition near San Diego was a member of a party that had been sent from San Diego to meet the dragoons. The following March, he and Carson carried dispatches east, taking the Gila route. In August, 1848, again in California, he was made the naval messenger to advise Washington of the discovery of gold in California. In 1857 he made a remarkable survey of the 35th parallel across Arizona, using camels, and he repeated the trip in 1859.
The camels had been brought from Syria. They carried three times a mule load and were declared ideal for pioneer transportation uses. But Beale was alone in their praise and the camels eventually were turned loose on the plains. He was minister to Austria in 1878.
Both adjutants of the Mormon Battalion later became permanent residents of Arizona. Geo. P. Dykes for years was a resident of Mesa, where he died in 1888, at the age of 83. Philemon C. Merrill, in 1881, was one of the custodians of the Utah stone, sent from Salt Lake, for insertion in the Washington Monument, in Washington. He and his family constituted the larger part of the D.W. Jones party that founded Lehi in March, 1877, and it was he, who, soon thereafter, led in the settlement of St. David in the San Pedro Valley, on the route of the Mormon Battalion march. He died at San Jose, in the Gila Valley, September 15, 1904.
Pauline Weaver, the principal guide, was a Frenchman, who had been in the Southwest at least since 1832, when he visited the Pima villages and Casa Grande. In 1862, while trapping, he was one of the discoverers of the La Paz gold diggings. The following year he was with the Peeples party that found gold on Rich Hill, in central Arizona. Thereafter he was an army scout. He died at Camp Verde in 1866.
Antoine LeRoux, the other guide named, was with the Whipple expedition across northern Arizona in 1853. His name is borne by LeRoux Springs, northwest of Flagstaff, and by LeRoux Wash, near Holbrook.
Passing of the Battalion Membership
No member of the Mormon Battalion now is living. The last to pass was Harley Mowrey, private Co. C, who died in his home in Vernal, Utah, October 21, 1920, at the age of 98. He was one of the men sent from New Mexico to Pueblo and who arrived at Salt Lake a few days after the Pioneers. On the way to Salt Lake he married the widow of another Battalion member, Martha Jane Sharp, who survives, as well as seven children, 41 grandchildren, 94 great-grandchildren and thirty of the latest generation. Mowrey and wife were members of the San Bernardino colony.
A Memorial of Noble Conception
On the Capitol grounds at Salt Lake soon is to arise a noble memorial of the service of the Mormon Battalion. The legislature of Utah has voted toward the purpose $100,000, contingent upon the contribution of a similar sum at large. A State Monument Commission has been created, headed by B.H. Roberts, and this organization has been extended to all parts of Utah, Idaho and Arizona.
In the 1921 session of the Arizona Legislature was voted a contribution to the Battalion Monument Fund of $2500 this with expression of State pride in the achievement that meant so much to the Southwest and Pacific Coast.
From nineteen designs submitted have been selected the plans of G. P. Riswold. A condensed description of the monument is contained in a report of the Commission:
"The base is in triangular form, with concave sides and rounded corners. A bronze figure of a Battalion man is mounted upon the front corner. Flanking him on two sides of the triangle are: cut in high relief, on the left, the scene of the enlistment of the Battalion under the flag of the United States of America; on the right a scene of the march, where the men are assisting in pulling the wagons of their train up and over a precipitous ascent, while still others are ahead, widening a cut to permit the passage of the wagons between the out-jutting rocks. The background is a representation of mountains of the character through which the Battalion and its train passed on its journey to the Pacific.
"Just below the peak, in the center and in front of it, is chiseled a beautiful head and upper part of a woman, symbolizing the 'Spirit of the West.' She personifies the impulsive power and motive force that sustained these Battalion men, and led them, as a vanguard of civilization, across the trackless plains and through the difficult defiles and passes of the mountains. The idea of the sculptor in the 'Spirit of the West' is a magnificent conception and should dominate the whole monument.
"The bronze figure of the Battalion man is dignified, strong and reverential. He excellently typifies that band of pioneer soldiers which broke a way through the rugged mountains and over trackless wastes.
"Hovering over and above him, the beautiful female figure, with an air of solicitous care, guards him in his reverie. Her face stands out in full relief, the hair and diaphanous drapery waft back, mingling with the clouds, while the figure fades into dim outline in the massive peaks and mountains, seeming to pervade the air and the soil with her very soul."
Battalion Men Who Became Arizonans
Of the Battalion members, 33 are known to have become later residents of Arizona, with addition of one of the women who had accompanied the Battalion to Santa Fe and who had wintered at Pueblo. There is gratification over the fact that it has been found possible to secure photographs of nearly all the 33. Reproduction of these photographs accompanies this chapter. When this work was begun, only about ten Battalion members could be located as having been resident in this State. Some of those who came back to Arizona were notable in their day, for all of them now have made the last march of humanity.
Jas. S. Brown, who helped find gold in California, was an early Indian missionary on the Muddy and in northeastern Arizona. Edward Bunker founded Bunkerville, a Virgin River settlement, and later died on the San Pedro, at St. David. Geo. P. Dykes, who was the first adjutant of the Battalion, did service for his Church in 1849 and 1850 in Great Britain and Denmark. Philemon C. Merrill, who succeeded Dykes as adjutant, was one of the most prominent of the pioneers of the San Pedro and Gila valleys. There is special mention, elsewhere, of Christopher Layton. In the same district, at Thatcher, lived and died Lieut. James Pace. Henry Standage was one of the first settlers of Alma Ward, near Mesa. Lot Smith, one of the vanguard in missionary work in northeastern Arizona and a leader in the settlement of the Little Colorado Valley, was slain by one of the Indians to whose service he had dedicated himself. Henry W. Brizzee was a leading pioneer of Mesa. Henry G. Boyle became the first president of the Southern States mission of his church, and was so impressed with the view he had of Arizona, in Battalion days, that, early in 1877, he sent into eastern Arizona a party of Arkansas immigrants. Adair, in southern Navajo County, was named after a Battalion member.
A complete list of Arizona Battalion members follows:
Wesley Adair, Co. C.—Showlow. Rufus C. Allen, Co. A.—Las Vegas. Reuben W. Allred, Co. A.—Pima. Mrs. Elzada Ford Allred—Accompanied husband. Henry G. Boyle, Co. C.—Pima. Henry W. Brizzee, Co. D.—Mesa. James S. Brown, Co. D.—Moen Copie. Edward Bunker, Co. E.—St. David. George P. Dykes, Co. D.—Mesa. Wm. A. Follett, Co. E.—Near Showlow. Schuyler Hulett, Co. A.—Phoenix. John Hunt—Snowflake—Accompanied his father, Capt. Jefferson Hunt. Marshall (Martial) Hunt, Co. A.—Snowflake. Wm. J. Johnston, Co. C.—Mesa.. Nathaniel V. Jones, Co. D.—Las Vegas. Hyrum Judd, Co. E.—Sunset and Pima. Zadok Judd, Co. E.—Fredonia. Christopher Layton, Co. C.—Thatcher. Samuel Lewis, Co. C.—Thatcher. Wm. B. Maxwell, Co. D.—Springerville. Wm. C. McClellan, Co. E.—Sunset. Philemon C. Merrill, Co. B.—Pima. James Pace, Co. E.—Thatcher. Wilson D. Pace, Co. E.—Thatcher. Sanford Porter, Co. E.—Sunset. Wm. C. Prous (Prows), Co. B.—Mesa. David Pulsipher, Co. C.—Concho. Samuel H. Rogers, Co. B.—Snowflake. Henry Standage, Co. E.—Mesa. George E. Steele, Co. A.—Mesa. John Steele, Co. D.—Moen Copie. Lot Smith, Co. E.—Sunset and Tuba. Samuel Thompson, Co. C.—Mesa.
California's Mormon Pilgrims
The Brooklyn Party at San Francisco
The members of the Mormon Battalion were far from being the first of their faith to tread the golden sands of California. Somehow, in the divine ordering of things mundane, the Mormons generally were very near the van of Anglo-Saxon settlement of the States west of the Rockies. Thus it happened that on July 29, 1846, only three weeks after the American naval occupation of the harbor, there anchored inside the Golden Gate the good ship Brooklyn, that had brought from New York 238 passengers, mainly Saints, the first American contribution of material size to the population of the embarcadero of Yerba Buena, where now is the lower business section of the stately city of San Francisco.