Tuesday, July 12, 2011


This is the Place---1847
Jack Smith, Jorgen Smith, Mette Smith, Jed Mott
Our family was taught a new religion and promised a better place in this new world.  We came by Handcarts, wagon and later by train.  We came endured and suffered.  Establishing Salt Lake City didn’t seem to bother the Indians until they began to be crowded out.   As thousands of people were pouring in from the East.   Mormons began seizing every water hole, stream, and valley in the Great Basin.   

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
Was it War or Genocide??—Raids and more one-sided battles continued and many were killed.  Once General Wells with force of 110 men pursued the main body of Indians who were withdrawing south.  He asks Brigham Young what to do with "15 or 20" warriors, with their families.  He was told to execute them.   Tens-of-thousands of Native peoples from violence, starvation and disease.  Eventually they were forced onto the Uinta Valley Reservation where many more starved to death. 

"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.   

Jorgen Smith
When Brigham Young and his followers arrived in Utah most all of the valleys were carpeted with waist high grass growing up high on the mountain where it met the brush and the trees.  The streams ran clear a clean even after a severe winter with its spring runoff.  The Utes had a relatively easy life, eating primarily fish and deer.  The high grass was used to make their lodges and baskets.  The Timpanogotzis Utes "Fish eaters" who lived on the trout in the crystal clear waters of Utah Lake for over 200 years watched the lake fill with mud and silt and die.  They lived in rounded grass and willow wickiups.  This grass was now gone, either eaten up by the cattle or burned off. 
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
At one time over a million sheep grazed above the towns of Ephraim and Manti, not only did the tall grass, forbs and timber disappear but 17 inches of top soil had eroded away, the towns suffered floods that sent rocks and mud into their towns.  The clear streams now ran muddy and barren of fish.  Gone also were the deer, berries, roots and seeds.  And the Indians were angry again. 

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 Black hawk War lasted a long time 1865-1870.  This was a terrible war, the settlers lost over 70 men, women and children, and were eventually driven from their homes for over four years.  The military costs alone were over a million dollars, quit a sum of money in those days. 

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
Soon earthen forts protected their cities.  Fences kept the Indians away from the water and fields that they felt was theirs.   Soon they were starving and demanded food and these demands was met with guns.  Soon Indians were killed, and then Mormons were killed, a never ending cycle. In 1861 the Mormons asked President Lincoln to remove the Indians from the Valley and send them to the Uinta Basin. On 18 June 1865 all the Utah Indians were supposed to be sent to a reservation in the Uinta Basin.  General Snow actually had to arrest some of his war-crazed militia to prevent further mutilation of the dead and stop the plundering. 

            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.  

Jorgen Smith's
            KAYE BYBEE said:  "A young girl shared with the class and I a story that was told to her by an old Indian woman, called Grandma Florrie (Florence Kanosh wife of Chief Kanosh’s grandson).  Florrie’s family were killed in was called the Squaw War a massacre of women, children, and old people.  Who had left Glenwood with a letter from the Bishop stating that they were friendly?  They were all killed many were killed while still sleeping.  She said, “Mary Smith was killed as a vendetta for what Jorgen and others had done to her people."  This was a blood feud that could only be settled by the death of the murderer or his relative." 

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. 

            JOHN EDWARD SWENSEN SMITH (Jorgen’s adopted son) said; “In the spring of 1865 the Indians swooped down on us and stole our cattle and horses and killed several people.  We had no guns so we called a meeting and decided to send some men with a herd of stock to Salt Lake City to buy us some guns.  I sent a good cow and got an old gun.  We organized a band of soldiers for protection and Heber Higgins was the Captain.  Both Father Smith and I enlisted.  The Indians got so bad the settlers couldn't leave town without a company of soldiers along to guard them.  We also had to guard our stock because the Indians were stealing them all the time.  We had to stand guard every night and turns came often because Richfield was only a small town and only had a few men. 

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
Early in the morning of March 21, 1867 a neighbor of ours, his wife, and my stepsister Mary Smith, who was fourteen years old, were killed by the Indians and their bodies mutilated, especially those of the women.  I had just left Richfield for Fountain Green when it happened." 

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
My Father (Jorgen Smith) had a premonition; he lay down on the bed and said, "Something has happened to Mary.  I can see her on a horse and someone is holding her."  My Mother put a cold clothe on his head and tried to comfort him, but it was true, Mary came home just as he had seen her. 

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." 

Grandma's Bucket
"Another time when the Indians entered their home uninvited, the children scattered.  Mette told the Indians to leave immediately or else.  She let the Indians see her scribble a note on a piece for paper and then let them see it burn.  She said "It's a note to my god in heaven, and if you don't leave the house immediately, you will all be killed and sent to hell".  They left in anger." 

PETER GOTTFREDSON said;  Early in the morning of 21 March 1867, Jens Peter Petersen and his wife, Charlotte Amalie with Mary Smith left Richfield with ox team to go to Glenwood about five miles east.   Warren Snow had just come south with a load of merchandise to trade for stock and farm produce, and in order to get some of these needed articles, these people ventured out, thinking by starting out so early in the day there would be no danger, but as the roads were muddy, they could not travel as fast as they expected.  It may be added that it was contrary to council for anyone to travel between settlements with out an armed escort.  When they got to the so called Black Ridge east of the Sevier River, Indians gathering stock along the river bottoms; and the Indians seeing the people on the road , immediately attacked them and killed them, mutilating their bodies in a most horrible manner, especially the women. 

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. 
Mina, Frank Haws

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".    

Durfee sisters
UTAH HISTORICAL STORY;   "The most extensive butchery was inflicted on the corpses of three whites killed near Glenwood on March 21, 1867.  They were cut and mangled in a most brutal manner".  (The article gave an exact description of the mutilation but I choose not to print it.) 

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 people of Glenwood have always believed that Mary was buried in the old pioneer cemetery in Glenwood.   So, the Daughter's of the Utah Pioneers put a stone there with Mary Smith on it.  They were disappointed when I told them that family records show that she was buried in the Old Richfield Pioneer Cemetery, about 500 West on Center Street near or on the football field and tennis courts.  She was buried as Mary Smith on large stone with other pioneers whose exact burial places couldn't be located and moved to the new Richfield Cemetery.  So, they were left buried where they were buried so many years ago.  In what has become the football field of the Richfield High School.   

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
JAMES B. MORRISON STORY;  One little boy (James Morrison) described the heart breaking task of leaving their homes: "It was a pleasant day in April; I was playing in the yard, just as the sun went over the crest of the ridge, I saw a wagon coming, right behind the first wagon came another, then another and an other.  As far as I could see I could make out the wagons coming.  Finally the first wagons reached town.  As I watched them unhitch the teams, I inquired of my mother what it meant.  She told me in tears, that they had come to move us away.  By the later part of April 1867, Sevier Valley was utterly and completely abandoned.  It was 1871 before the former settlers were able to return. 

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
Jay Coleman Smith said, “One day at Notom while all the men-folk were away a band of hungry, hostile Indians rode up to the house demanding food.   Mette did feed them but they wanted more and more.  She and the children became very frightened.  Luckily, Mosiah Behunin came riding by at this time and rode his horse up to the Indians and demanded that they leave.  But they had no intention of leaving.  Mosiah had been around the Indians and knew their language.  He told them that they must leave because he knew God and they were displeasing him.  He said they were asking too much of these people and they should go away at once.  But they still wouldn't go away.  So, he got a piece of paper and wrote something on it, with a safety-pin he pinned it on a long cane fishing pole and put it up as high as he could reach.  He did this a time or two, telling them that God had told him that he was getting angry and they must go.  A dark rain cloud had come along and had now darkened the sky.   Taking this as a sign they soon rode off."  

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.

Rye Smith
            There are many books being written about the Black Hawk War.  Some accounts are true, some are not.  Most of my story was found from family and friends.  I don’t blame whoever is trying to cover up this period of history.  It is a black part of our history but bit by bit the true story is coming out.  I didn’t write all that I know about what was done to Mary on that fateful day in 1867.  She wasn’t scalped but most other atrocities are true as written in other books and stories. 

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. 

Mette, Jorgen Smith
Major Clause Anderson
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.

1 comment:

  1. It was a tragic time - the Blackhawk War - Every time I travel past Glenwood I stop and visualize this tragic event as my great grandfather George Pectol was one of the first on the scene and was a member of the militia who fought the Blackhawk wars. This is a sad but more thorough and nicely documented account of the event that I have came across. Gene Covingon