by EUGENE H. HALVERSON
This is the Place---1847
|BLACK HAWK REUNION|
Jack Smith, Jorgen Smith, Mette Smith, Jed Mott
Well thousands of Shoshoni and Utes blocked the way South. Utah Lake was clear and full of trout. The Hutching Museum in Lehi, Utah shows thousands of beautiful Obsidian arrowheads found at the mouth of the Provo River. Meaning they lived here for hundreds of years before they were exterminated.
|Christina Maria Smith|
"Treat them kindly, and treat them as Indians, and not as your equals???” I did not like these words and I felt outraged that someone could kill a sixteen year old girl. I knew why long before I was able to rewrite this story. I just feel so sad.
THELDREN MAREN SMITH was a sixteen-year-old daughter of Jorgen and Christina Maria Birkedahl Smith. Mary was killed and mutilated by the Indians when the town of Richfield was being settled. This is a story of my wife's Great Great Grandparent's. It is their story, the way it was first written.
Mary was born on 28 July 1851 in Nyby Ribe County in the Grand Duchy of Slesvig. Her journey to Utah was by sail ship, train to Iowa and covered wagons pulled by oxen from Illinois across the plains to Utah. She walked the 1100 to Utah in wooden shoes, in woolen socks, and even walked barefoot. Two brothers and two sisters had died by the time they got to Fountain Green, Utah.
The once proud Ute were now beggars. The fields were fenced and the towns were forts. The Utes said, "If we can't come in, you can't come out". The Indians began what the settlers called, “thieving", "stealing", "and begging". They demanded that their white brothers help them in their hour of need.
Water was scarce and both the Indian and the White Man needed it so in time there developed a conflict on who was to have it. The Walker War had already been fought and now a new war was to be fought farther south.
tribe killed Mary
When the Indians were becoming a problem so in the spring of 1865 Brigham Young asked the Indians to give up forever the lands of their fathers and move to a reservation in the Uinta Basin. Chief’s Sowiette, Kanosh, Tabby, Toquone, Sandpitch and five others agreed. Chief Black Hawk (Autenquer) was not present. These chiefs were quite superstitious. They truly believed they would wither and die and their spirits would be cursed if they killed the Mormons. They believed that if the Mormons could write an Indians name on a piece of paper and give it to Satan and that person would then die.
The Black Hawk War began in Manti. On the 9th of April, 1865, Chief Yene-wood "Jake" was pulled from his horse and beaten by John Lowery when he demanded cattle for his people.
Mary's father in the spring of 1863 had left Fountain Green with two new wives to settle Richfield. They would become the first ten pioneers to settle Richfield. The first wife, Christina, Mary, and her brother Jorgen would remain in Fountain Green until a home was made for them in Richfield. This was where they were when the war began. In time (April, 1867) a home was built for them in Richfield so Mary's family moved from Fountain Green. A few weeks after their arrival Mary and neighbors, Jens and Amalia Petersen would be another of the many casualties of the Black Hawk War. They were killed 21 March, 1867.
|Joe Smith family|
The War was basically caused by hunger, the Indians were starving to death, and their lands were being occupied by settlers without permission or a Treaty. I have no idea of how many Indians were killed, but almost all of Black hawk Braves - about forty-five - were killed the first year of the war. These were replaced by the Elk Mountain Utes (Shebetetch) from southeast Utah, numbering in the hundreds. They were driven from Colorado and almost completely eliminated Utah, and lost their identity as a nation.
Brigham Young at first said, "Their fish and now their game has gone and they are left to starve. It is our duty to feed them. We are living on their possessions and in their homeland. But now they were in the way of his dreams, as early as 1850 when the Mormons began moving south. The Utes were angry and resisted, so Brigham Young issued a document that ordered the killing of all male Indians, sparing the women and children if they behaved themselves. Brigham Young now viewed them as “naturally savage” living idle and criminal lives. They were just “in- the- way”.
|Frank Haws, Jack Smith|
DOLLY MULLFORD said; the militia, were trailing some stolen stock when they rode into an Indian camp occupied by mostly women and children. Something happened and the Militia for some unknown reason began to shoot to kill, killing almost all of them. Mette said, “Jorgen would have nothing to do with this so he left the group and rode up above the village and watched as they were being killed. She called it the "Squaw Fight". Well, he was identified by an Indian and according to Grandma Florrie Jorgen’s family paid the price.
The class wondered why these three were chosen, but the Indians did know Jorgen and now knew that he was there. I am told Jorgen couldn’t stand to be a part of this senseless slaughter so he left to watch it from a distance. It was here that he was identified. I'm not sure just when Jorgen started to hate the Indians, but hate them he did, especially after what they did to Mary. He almost caused a third War ten years after this one up in Koosharem.
Father Smith served as express rider between Richfield and Monroe and when he couldn't go I had to take his place. We had to go alone and were an easy target for the Indian bullets, but Father Smith didn't care, he was a fearless man.
|Sarah Sariah, Jack Smith|
RYE SMITH said; "A fort was one of the first things built in the town, and was located in the central part, this being where now the district school of Richfield is located. A scaffold was built behind our house and Mother had to watch for the Indians, if she saw any sign of them she would beat the big bass drum, and all the men would come running from the fields. A fence was put up by it so my brother Will and I couldn't get out.
"My Father rode the pony-express from Richfield to Circleville. My Mother prayed all the while for his safe return. The riding was done at night.
It was there my Father did blacksmithing. One day a band of Indians came to his shop to kill him. I had my hands in dough, but my father sent me to the neighbors for help.
"One of the saddest and most tragic events in the Smith Family's life was when my Sister, Mary, a girl of about fifteen years, was murdered by the Indians. They were sighted by the Indians who came yelling and whooping out of the hills and swarmed down on the little group and murdered them. They stuck greasewood down my sister’s throat and into her wounds before she was yet dead. The neighbor lady was expecting a baby soon and it was cut from her and beat to death on a wagon wheel. The man was beat to death with his wooden shoes.
|Alma Durfee Family|
Our Mary Smith was killed by a band of Utes led by the great White Horse Chief, (Shi-Nav-Egin or Shena-Vegan). He had many names but his Indian name means that he was the “Son of the Sun” or the “Son of God”. His warriors believed that he had died and had been resurrected by the Great Spirit to drive the Whites from their land. He always rode a white horse (James Ivie’s horse) when he killed or stole because he wanted the white man to know who did it. He was handsome and proud and demanded respect. He was a great leader who commanded the respect of the young warriors who did not wish to make peace when Chief Black Hawk did. Most of his tribe and family had been killed and his teenage son was pulled from his horse and crippled by a bully in Manti. His reckless bravery always led him to the front where he was the mark for the military sharp shooters. After Chief Blackhawk sued for peace in 1867 and died in 1867, Shena-Vegan and his band kept the settlers and the military out of southern Utah for four more years until 1871.
"One time when Jorgen was away, Mette and her children were frightened and afraid for their lives. Mette gave the Indians what ever they wanted until it started to get dark. She decided it was time to leave. When she had her chance she took her children down to the river and hid under the bridge. They stood in water holding a baby while the drunken Indians cursed and war whooped while looking for them."
JORGEN SMITH STORY (from family history); they traveled from Fountain Green to Richfield. While there, Mrs. Smith sent the oldest girl, Mary, to Glenwood with a young couple to trade. This young couple had a baby girl and left it with the Smiths for a day. As they traveled along to the top of the Glenwood Dugway, (Cove Hill), the Indians saw them and shot the young man, woman and one ox. The other oxen stood alone holding the tongue of the wagon. Mary was shot through the arm. Jumping from the wagon, she ran down the hill, and as she got to the bottom they shot her in the back. They then scalped the man and his wife, and proceeded on down the dugway to murder Mary. Finding she had curly hair, they left her scalp, as they were very superstitious of curly hair. They then filled the wounds with rabbit brush.
STORIES from FOUNDED on FAITH, (History of Glenwood),
MARTHA DOXFORD said; “They were going along the dugway, nearing Glenwood when the Indians came on them. They took the wooden shoes off the man and woman and beat their brains out with them and then filled their bodies full of bullets. They then killed Mary after abusing her shamefully, sticking greasewood into her body. A little baby girl and a dog were left unharmed."
GEORGE PECTOL said; “I was one of the first to give them assistance. A man and a woman who were caring for the Smith girl were going to the Glenwood Store. At this point the Indians rushed them killing the girl and the ox team. The other two managed in some way to elude capture at first, but were also killed. The bodies were horribly mutilated".
POLK SAMSON said; “I was the first to come upon the massacre. At the Black Ridge east of the Sevier River, they were attacked by Indians. Jens, Wife and neighbor girl, Mary Smith were all dead. Their bodies terribly mutilated".
CHARLES SHORT said; “I witnessed a number a number of brutal killings, among them being the murder of the Petersons, on the dugway around the hill west of Glenwood. I helped pick these people up and bring them into town".
TEN PENNY NAILS STORY; the man was shot with arrows and his wife was shot in the right shoulder from behind, and scalped, and Miss Smith was shot in three places--one ball on her left side below the heart and one through her right arm and one through her left hand. But neither she nor Mr. Petersen was scalped.
The Militia followed the Indians to the hills where they give battle. Eighteen Indians were killed and the stock was recovered. Shena-Vegan who rode a white horse and who fought fearlessly in front of his warriors would live to fight the settlers for another four years.
Mary's mother, Christina must have felt like her heart had broken. She had lost five of her nine children now. Mary's father drove his oxen hitched to the wagon carrying his family and belongings into the Richfield Fort using his wagon cover for protection against rain, sun and cold. Jorgen and August Nielsen were made Captains of the militia that would protect the Fort.
|Mette, Jorgen Smith|
The settlers of Glenwood and Richfield were soon forced into the Richfield Forts. The three deaths were the deciding factor in Brigham Young’s decision to evacuate the Southern Utah Territory.
|William, Mary Smith|
Clay Mulford Robison let me take pictures of Jorgen's Ely Whitney six-shot cap and ball pistol and a powder horn made from a cow's horn with his name and 1871 (the year he returned to Richfield) scratched on it. The same one he was carrying when he confronted the Chief and made him beg forgiveness for killing Mary. (Chief Black Hawk)
The contact with White-Horse Chief (Shena-Vagen) tribe and the Smith family would continue for many years. But it wouldn't be as violent here at Notom as it was at Grass Valley but there are still family stories to be found telling abut the tribe. It was as if Jorgen followed the tribe from Richfield--to Grass Valley (Koosharem)--to Pleasant Creek (Notom).
|Mary Mass Smith|
In her book "Notom--An Oasis in the Desert" Esther Coombes Durfey said, "During the time (Elijah) Cutler Behunin lived at Notom, the Indian tribe of Chief Whitehorse contracted measles and was starving. Elijah and his brother, Mosiah, who lived at Aldrich, just down Pleasant Creek, collected a wagon-full of food for the Indians, telling them not to come close to their children. Whitehorse was so grateful he broke down and cried, and was their friend thereafter." Jorgen Smith donated the food with the Behunins but he stayed out side of the camp, not willing to face the tribe who killed his daughter.
The war was between Mormons and Indians. Two United States armies, one under General Johnson and later one under the command of Colonel Connor, were never asked by Brigham to protect the Mormons. When the Utah wars were over, the U.S. Army was sent protect the “Oregon Trail” every Indian found anywhere near the Trail was hung or shot. At the Bear River Massacre almost 500 men, women and children were ridden down and slaughtered like animals in their village in Cache Valley. A western policy devised by General Sherman was to do away with Native Americans, confiscate their weapons, destroy their beliefs, traditions and culture.
The little eighteen months old girl, Christena that was left with the Smiths was raised by Major Clause Anderson. He was no relative as previously stated but he had two wives and the Church asked Claus Peter and Sarena adopt her.
Robert D. Young, Sevier Stake President said, “I remember Major Andersen. He was one of the most prominent settlers in Richfield and Grass Valley. He also said Christena and Sanna herded cows and sheep on the hillside above Burrville.
He was a Texas Ranger. Ended up in Utah with Johnston's Army. Somehow he joined the Mormon Church. He ended up in Ephraim for a while. His house is still standing there and is on the national registry. He moved to Grass Valley. He had sheep. He lived on Pleasant Creek Ranch before AK Thurber. In fact, he traded Pleasant Creek to AK Thurber for some property in Burrville.