Tuesday, July 12, 2011


Mary Smith

by Loyd O. Ivie
From the August 25, 1956 Salina Sun

Chief Shena-Vegan band killed Mary
Jens Peter Peterson and wife, with an 18-month-old daughter, Christine, lived in Richfield.  Jorgen Smith, with wife and 14-year-old daughter, Mary, lived neighbors.  And the time was March 21, 1867.  It happened on the road between Richfield and Glenwood; but the road at that time needs to be understood.

In those days, there were no fences, no canals or dams.  Instead of a lane running straight East, the road bore off toward the Southwest--Anabella way--and passed by dugway around Glenwood Hill.  Keep in mind that the main road from Sanpete in those days was largely on the East side of the river.  When you pass Rock Ford, pause long enough to observe the straight line that looks like an old dugway traversing the South half of the hill.  Actually this dugway was never finished or used.  The East side road passed under the hill but, though it had a rocky bottom, it was inundated during high water season.

Thus, when Warren S. Snow brought a load of merchandise to Glenwood to trade for stock and produce, his entire journey would be on the East side of the river.  So, believe it or not, Glenwood was before Richfield, and there was a time when Richfieldites had to "go to town to shop!"

Because of Indians, it was against counsel to travel between towns without an armed escort; but merchandise meant bolts of cloth--pretty things for ladies.  Perhaps Mrs. Peterson needed certain items for the new baby that was coming.  At any rate, she left 18-month-old Christine with Mrs. Smith, and took 14-year-old Mary along for company; 14-year-olds- liked new dresses of "botten" cloth also.  They didn't think to disobey counsel, only bend it a little by starting so early that they would arrived before even the Indians were up!  They forgot to reckon with the muddy stretch of road through the bottoms, which delayed them.  By the time they got across the river and onto the dugway, some Indians who were in the act of plying the insidious trade of cattle-stealing, saw the wagon and "immediately attacked them and killed all of them, mutilating their bodies in a most horrible manner, especially the women.  They also killed one of the oxen."
Artie Taft Smith   Amanda Taft
Artie Smith Taft wrote almost an exact story that Ivie did except for the last two sentences, this is her story. 

"immediately attacked them, killing Jens Peter Peterson, his wife and one oxen.  Shot Mary in the arm, she jumped from the wagon, ran nearly to the bottom of the dugway when an arrow found it's mark in her back, killing her.  They took the scalps from Mr. and Mrs. Peterson but they were superstitous of curly hair so they did not scalp Mary." (she had long dark curly hair)    

At the time Joseph Hendricksen and Joseph Frankum were down in their field West of Glenwood after some cows that, during the hungry hour, were hard to start.  They saw a couple of men coming down the dugway, and were on the verge of asking for help, when they saw it was Indians.  The cows could go! - Joe and Joe took off for town with all four feet on the throttle; and believe me you high school coaches, who think you have foot racers, just don't know the "good old days"!  The fact that the Indians took a shot at them didn't slow them down either!  The record says that Joe H won the race, and reported Indians; but my guess is that actions spoke louder that words.  in a few seconds, the whole town knew.  An argument arose.  Some feared that if they left town the Indians would raid it. 

Dr. Elias Pearson simply asked, "Who will go with me?"  About ten men responded, some of whom were mere boys.  Briefly, there was Millet, Killion, Peterson, Snow, Oldroyd, Herring, Pectol, Sampson and a boy names Hans Gottfredson.  Some of them got out between the cattle and the hills and began to use their guns.  The Indians fled for the rocks.  One tried to stampede the cattle by shaking his blanket and shouting.  A bullet, which wounded, sent him scurrying.  The Indians retreated, but made a brief stand at a small creek.  The smaller boys started the cows back to town.  AND THEN--"About a dozen men came from town to meet those who had been out and helped to drive the stock in."  Indians rode out onto the point of the hill.  Chief Shena-vegan rode around encouraging  them.  The boys picked him for a target, and drove him quickly to cover.  John Frankum's gun jammed -- he borrowed one from Tom Goff, and went up toward the Indians on the hill.  A shot thorough the shoulder disabled him.  Gottfredson helped him to town.

Jack Smith                    Jorgen & Mette Smith                Jed Mott
The cattle were saved, but the Indians got away with a few horses and a couple of mules.

George Crowther of Monroe, had been working for Peter Oldroyd on the fort.  After the skirmish, he started for home.  Some of the boys who had been in the fight accompanied him part way.  When they reached the dugway, they found the wagon and the murdered people.  In the meantime, things were happening on the Richfield side--but that is the next story.

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