Indian Wars of the western frontier have long been an integral part of Native American history. It wouldn't be complete without the classic, time-honored account of Peter Gottfredson's Indian Depredations in Utah. He was first published in 1919 by Skelton Publishing CO. Salt Lake City, Utah.
Hi, this is Phillip B Gottfredson, and It gives me great pleasure to announce that my great-grandfather's book Indian Depredations in Utah is back in print as of Aug. 1, 2020.
About The Author:
Peter Gottfredson at the tender age of eleven, journeyed with his parents and two siblings from Denmark to America in 1855. Previously, he had been separated from his parents at the age of six and raised by his grandparents on a farm in a remote area of Denmark.
Peter Gottfredson Historian & Author 1836 - 1934
When Peter came to America in 1855, he became a passionate journalist, storyteller, and author. He was aware of living in a historical time. He had a genuine motivation to record for posterity his personal experiences. He compiled numerous firsthand accounts of Mormon colonization in one book titled Indian Depredations in Utah. When he left his home in Denmark, and throughout his life, he would live in a violent and dangerous world. The human suffering he witnessed made him what he was. It was his environment that defined him.
Peter Gottfredson's book is vital to scholars, historians, and history buffs; Peter has earned his place in American history.
Peter spent much of his time living among the Timpanogos Tribe during the Utah Black Hawk War years in the 1860s. The Timpanogos of the Wasatch was the ruling tribe when Mormon colonists arrived in 1847. He enjoyed playing with their children and helping them gather food. The "Sheep Captain" the Timpanogos called him, as he was often herding sheep, which he did for a living.
My father, Merrill Gottfredson, lived with his grandfather Peter for many years during his teens. Merrill said, "Grandpa was invited into the camp of Timpanogos Chief Black Hawk on numerous occasions. Later in life, Peter became a Mormon bishop in Glendale, Utah, for twenty years. Still, he found himself in the company of Native people, the Koosharem Paiute, who had great respect for Peter. I can still see Peter get on his horse and ride off to get just one more story for his book."
Folks you might like to read Peter’s autobiography; it is a fascinating account of Peter’s journey from Denmark to his days in Mt. Pleasant, Utah. Peter died in 1934. See Peter Gottfredson's eulogy.
About the book:
In 2002, historian Will Bagley wrote a review of Peter's book published in the Salt Lake Tribune newspaper. Bagley described it as, "A product of its time, Indian Depredations is bitterly racist: the Utes and Paiutes are "skulking savages," "murderous marauders," "Mr. Redskin” and "the sleepless foe." But the book reports any number of white depredations that would otherwise be unknown, and like the Iliad, the losers are often more courageous and noble than the victors, he said.
Indeed the stories Peter published in his book are racist, as Bagley points out. His book is a compilation of firsthand accounts of Mormon settlers who took part in Indian depredations—remembered today as the Utah Black Hawk War. It is a testament to the extermination and forced removal of the Timpanogos Nation from their ancestral homeland. The depletion of their natural resources resulted in widespread hunger, disease, violence, and senseless massacres caused by Mormon settler colonization. See Excerpts from Peter's book.
Out of respect for Peter and the Gottfredson family, I feel it is my duty to honor our ancestor's legacy and preserve the dignity of his work with this official first edition of Indian Depredations In Utah. It is an exact facsimile of Peter's book he gave to my father Merrill Gottfredson in 1919. It is the first of two printings of Peter's book by Skelton Publishing.
Meanwhile, I hope you will support preserving Peter's time-honored work by purchasing our official republication of Peter Gottfredson's first edition. People find great value in this book, and I think you will too.
Peter's book was always on the shelf of our home library while I was growing up. Father encouraged me to read it, but I found it too depressing at a young age. When my father passed in 1989, he willed the book to my brother David, who in turn gave it to me. That's when I finally sat down and read it cover to cover. Furthermore, I will admit, I wept, for I had no idea of the suffering that indigenous peoples of Utah had experienced at the hands of our ancestors.
Moreover, it was like letting a genie out of a bottle. After that, I wanted to understand better what it was like for Peter to live among the Timpanogos people. It was like magic that led to a serendipitous twenty-year journey into the world of Native Americans throughout North and South America, which forever changed my life. And like Peter, eventually, I fell into the company of the Timpanogos Tribe of the Wasatch in Utah. Now I understand why my g-grandfather spent so much of his time with them.
It followed that in 2019 I wrote and published a companion book to Peter's titled My Journey To Understand Black Hawk's Mission of Peace. Mary Meyer, Chief Executive of the Timpanogos Tribe and the Tribe's Council, collaborated with me on the book to ensure its accuracy.
Thank you for letting me share with you; I hope you will enjoy reading Indian Depredations in Utah and Black Hawk's Mission of Peace.
- Phillip B Gottfredson
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