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Peter Gottfredsons book, Indian Depredations in Utah, is a first-hand account of the Utah Black Hawk War written in 1919.


Written by Phillip B Gottfredson Great-grandson of Peter Gottfredson

Utah's history is remembered with the classic and time-honored firsthand account of the tragic Utah Black Hawk War 1849-1872, Indian Depredations in Utah by Peter Gottfredson. This war is a significant chapter in Utah's history, for it describes settler colonialism as Mormon settlers and Native American tribes collide, particularly the Shoshone-Timpanogos, over land and resources. Gottfredson's book, first published in 1919 by Skelton Publishing CO., Salt Lake City, Utah, holds a significant place in the annals of Utah's history.

At eleven years of age, Peter Gottfredson embarked on a life-changing journey with his parents and two siblings from Denmark to America in 1855. This was not his first separation from his parents; he had been raised by his grandparents on a remote farm in Denmark since the age of six. His early years in Denmark were marked by missionaries who converted his parents to Mormonism, which would later influence his perspective and writing.

Peter became a passionate journalist, storyteller, and author when he came to America. He was acutely aware of living in a historical time that gave him a genuine motivation to record his personal experiences for posterity. Peter 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 lived in a world marred by violence and danger. The human suffering he witnessed, the violence that surrounded him, these were the crucibles that shaped him. It was his environment that defined him.

Peter Gottfredson's book, Indian Depredations in Utah, is not just a collection of stories. It is a vital resource for scholars, historians, and history buffs, a key that unlocks the past and sheds light on the present. Peter has earned his place in American history, not just as an author, but as a guardian of our collective memory.

Peter Gottfredson's Black Hawk War medal copyright Phillip B Gottfreddson 2001Utah Black Hawk War- Author Peter Gottfredson Indian Depredations In Utah

Peter Gottfredson Historian & Author 1836 - 1934

Peter Gottfredson's book is vital to scholars, historians, and history buffs; Peter has earned his place in American history.

Peter spent several years in the 1860s living among the Shoshone Timpanogos Nation during the Utah Black Hawk War. He was a friend of Black Hawk; they were about the same age. The Timpanogos of the Great Basin were the ruling Tribe when Mormon colonists arrived in 1847. He enjoyed interacting with the children and helping the Tribe gather food. The "Sheep Captain," the Timpanogos called him, as he was often herding sheep, which he did for a living.

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."

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 settler colonialism—remembered today as the Utah Black Hawk War. It is a testament to Brigham Young's 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.  See Excerpts from Peter's book.

Out of respect for Peter and the Gottfredson family, I must 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, which 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; 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 the indigenous peoples of Utah had experienced at the hands of our ancestors. 

Peter Gottfredsons House in Springville, Phillip Gpttfredson and Gary Lee PriceThis old house in Springville, Utah was a log cabin that Peter built. His son Edward built Around the cabin the structure we see today. This is actually where Peter wrote his book. Then in 1953 My parents purchased the house. I lived here for about 10 years when we moved to Provo. The home next door was my uncle Wilford Gottfredson's home. My cousin Bob, Wilford and Melva's son, ran around togeather growing up. I and my friend Gary Lee Price are having a fun day with his wife Leesa, we were touring around Springville.

Moreover, reading Grandfather's book 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 me to a serendipitous twenty-year journey into the world of Native Americans throughout North and South America, which forever changed my life. Like Peter, eventually, I fell into the company of the Timpanogos Tribe of the Great Basin in Utah. Now I understand why my great-grandfather spent so much time with them. 

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 Nation and the Council, collaborated with me on the book to ensure accuracy.

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.

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

Buy Peter Gottfredson's Indian Depredations in Utah original version on AMAZON!


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Peter Gottfredsons book, Indian Depredations in Utah, is a first-hand account of the Utah Black Hawk War written in 1919.

Softcover | 5 x 8 in | 352 pages | ISBN 1-58736-127-2 $34.95

*Available to Booksellers from Ingram Book Company and Wheatmark

Wheatmark Ordering Information for Booksellers

Email: orders@wheatmark.com / Phone: (520) 798-0888 option 2 / Fax: (520) 798-3394

Discount: 40%, with additional discounts for volume orders

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Return Policy:     Fully returnable

Phillip B Gottfredson's book Black Hawk's Mission of Peace.

Phillip B Gottfredson's book, My Journey To Understand Black Hawk's Mission of Peace, is about the Utah Black Hawk War and the Timpanogos Tribe of the Wasatch. Inspired by his great-grandfather's book, and like Peter, Phillip has spent the past 20 years researching and writing about the Black Hawk War in Utah while living with the Timpanogos and various Native American tribes throughout North and South America. He was invited to participate in numerous sacred ceremonies and received counsel from many tribal elders and leaders, which is unusual among today's historians. Because Phillip Gottfredson is personally involved in Native American culture, in collaboration with the Timpanogos Nation, Phillip gives his account "My Journey To Understand... BLACK HAWK'S MISSION OF PEACE" that brings an alternate perspective to a war that Mormon scholars and authors have historically written from the victor's point of view.

"My Journey To Understand... Black Hawk's Mission of Peace" is published by Archway Publishing from Simon & Schuster.

Learn more!

Peter Gottfredson 1919 Author Peter Gottfredson Indian Depredations in UtahPhillip B Gottfredson's book, My Journey To Understand Black Hawk's Mission of Peace, is about the Utah Black Hawk War and the Timpanogos Tribe of the Wasatch. Phillip Gottfredson 2019

—A Gottfredson Legacy Spanning 100 Years—


*For more great books please visit P.B. Gottfredson's bookstore!