Peter Gottfredson's Autobiography
Page 5 of 5
by Peter Gottfredson
The snow was wet. I took a sever cold and was very sick for about a month. I was taken down to Salt Lake City and got to stay at Lars P. Borg's who I had been acquainted with at Mount Pleasant. I recovered slowly and was much reduced in strength. I paid Borg with lath that I got from Bishop Wooley for work I had done in the canyon for staying during my sickness. In May I engaged to work for Francis Armstrong in Big Cottonwood Canyon to haul logs to the sawmill with two yoke of oxen and a truck, for forty dollars a month. In the fall when I quit work for Armstrong I left one hundred dollars of my wages with him and went to Echo Canyon to work on the Union Pacific railroad which was being built. (This was during the completion of the Trans- Continental Railway at Promontory Point in Utah. Peter and others where never paid for their work. Peter managed to receive a life-time rail pass on the Union Pacific which he later made good use of.)
Most of us mill hands went there to work for Feremortz Little and Charles Decker. It was a rough camp. We slept in a large tent and a considerable drinking was carried on and some gambling. Some bootleggers had a moonshine still near and often brought liquor to a saloon there. One evening a man brought a fifteen gallon keg of whiskey and while he was in the saloon bargaining for the sale of it I saw two men take it out of the back of the wagon and carry it down the creek and hide it under a large birch bush that hung over the creek. I knew it was illicit liquor and said nothing about it. Not long after the men in camp were mourning because there was no liquor in camp. The two men who had taken the liquor with the rest. I whispered to one of them saying. I know where there is whisky. He asked where. When I told him he said, damn you, did you see us hide that barrel. I said I did. He said, don't say anything about it and your whisky is free as long as you are here. I said nothing about it nor did I get any of the whiskey. I did not want any.
Another evening when I went in the saloon to get liquor for the tent, I got, and paid for six bottles. The saloon was full of men. A shot was fired in the dark. I was by the counter farthest from the door and had three bottles in each hand. I squat down by the counter and pushed my way around by the wall and got out without getting hurt. I never learned the particulars about the shooting.
When work was finished at Echo, I and a number of the boys went down Weber Canyon and got work at Levi Stewarts camp where my brother Hans and a number of other Mount Pleasant boys were working. We worked there till near Christmas when the work shut down. Hans and I spent the rest of the winter at Mount Pleasant.
About Christmas time I became acquainted with a young lady by the name of Betsy Gledhill. I first met her at a house party at John Wallace's. She was a new arrival from England. I admired her looks and manners. I learned she was a sister of John Gledhill who I was well acquainted with, having played to dances with him. I asked Gledhill to introduce me to her which he did. I accompanied her home after the party and learned she was not keeping company with any man. I asked if I might be her escort to parties and got her consent. We became intimately acquainted and I intended to ask her to become my wife, had she lived I believe I would have been successful.
Early in March I went to Salt Lake City to see Francis Armstrong about getting a job for the summer. I got my money that I had left with him and I promised Armstrong that I would help John Simmonsen to gather his oxen that had been taken to Sanpete to winter. We began gathering them the latter part of March. John hunted and I herded those he found.
When I left Mount Pleasant Miss Gledhill was not well. I handed her ten dollars saying she might need it to get medicine. About noon on the 3rd of April I was tending the oxen on Dry Bottom south of Fountain Green. Some people from Mount Pleasant camped there for noon. They told me that a miss Gledhill had died on the first and was to be buried that day at two o'clock. I gathered up the oxen and drove them to Fountain Green and put them in my fathers corral and rode to Mount Pleasant fast as my horse could take me. The distance was twelve miles. When I got there the people were coming back from the cemetery. To avoid meeting them I rode around in another street. When I got to the newly made grave I got off my horse. I stopped there a short time. Many reflections passed through my mind.
I mounted my horse and went to her parents home and had dinner. They told me that the ten dollars I gave her had been used to help pay the funeral expenses. That same evening I went back to Fountain Green to be there to take out the oxen the next morning. We got the cattle gathered and drove them to Salt Lake. John and I did not get along well. He was very domineering and swore awfully which grated on my nerves and I got to dislike him. He realized it which made matters no better.
In August, 1871 the town Pioche burned. It was caused by a lantern falling on a porch of a boarding house kept by two women. The wind was blowing and it got too much of a start before it was noticed. Nearly the whole town burned and there was no hay left in town.
Felsenthal's powder magazine exploded and threw a large stone door weighing more than a thousand pounds over the town and up to the Burke Mine. Some men were killed at a saloon where some liquor barrels exploded. It was said that thirty six men lost their lives by the fire. A small church on Meadow Valley street was used as a morgue. I went to see the dead. Some were burned to a crisp. Others with heads, arms or legs gone. It was a gruesome sight. Most of Eliza's dogs burned. She kept them in kennels in pairs.
The night Pioche burned Hans (Peter's brother) and I camped about two miles east of Pioche. We were located with twenty eight thousand pounds of hay on the teams. As we drove into the lower part of town we were met by men who wanted hay. We were offered five cents a pound by the single bale. When up main street about a half way C. H. Light who we had sold hay to before met us. He said he would give us seventy five dollars a ton and take the job lot. I called Hans to one side and asked if we had not better let him have it, which we decided to do provided we could get a contract to deliver a hundred tons more at thirty six dollars a ton. We got the contract and got a thousand and fifty dollars for our two loads. Fourteen tons. We delivered the hundred tons and some over and got our pay according to agreement.
On the 26th of September 1872 Indians came in the night and lay in ambush for us when we should start out to work in the morning. East of the house about thirty yards lay a pile of poles. The Indians had laid small ends of two poles, one on each end of the pile of poles, and a large one on them making an opening that they could poke their guns through, pointing towards the house. We saw where five Indians had lain behind the poles, not doubt to shoot us when we would come out to got to work. We were intending to go to Mount Pleasant that day with lumber and maneuvered different to our usual custom. I got up at daybreak and called Tom Gledhill to go after the oxen about a mile south.
I went to the mill and rolled a log on the carriage to saw out a set of joist that I wanted to repair my house in Mount Pleasant. Shortly after I left the the house Gledhill came out and went after the oxen. Soon after Miller came to the mill to load his wagon and his boy came soon after. Higbee remained in the house preparing breakfast. Gledhill brought the oxen and yoked them and left them in the mill yard. I finished my load and Miller and his boy started to Mount Pleasant with their load. I left my oxen and wagon in the mill yard and went down to breakfast. As I went in at the door the Millers passed the house and drove down the road about a hundred yards and stopped to tighten their binder. While in the act the Indians ran down a hallow north of the road where they had their horses tied to oak brush and from ambush shot Miller in three places. One bullet passing through his bowels breaking his back. He fell off the wagon on the north side. The boy was shot through one thigh and in one wrist, the bullet passing through between the two bones. He jumped off the wagon and on the south side and started to run to the house. The Indians headed him off and he turned and ran down the road toward Springtown. We heard the shooting a few seconds after I got in the house. I looked through a window but could not see the Millers for a patch of oak brush between the house and them. We thought the Millers were shooting at a rabbit or wolf and took no more notice of it. We finished our breakfast and the three of us started to go to the mill after my load, we got half way up when we heard the rattle of a wagon. We looked back and saw it was Dolph Bennett from Mount Pleasant. He was standing on the tongue houns of his wagon driving as fast as his horses could go. He called out. There is a man shot all to pieces below the house. We then thought of the shooting we heard and turned and ran down to the house. When near the house we saw horse-men through the brush and thought they were Indians trying to head us off from getting to the house. They were men from Springtown. They were on their way to the mountains after some horses. They had got word that Indian signs had been seen and feared Indians would steal the horses. As they were coming up the road they met the boy that was wounded going down the road. He was exhausted from the loss of blood. One of the men took him to town and the others came to the mill. We went down together to were the shooting has taken place and found Miller about a rod north of his wagon with his face on a big bed of cactus where the Indians had dragged him. I put my arm under his neck to lift him off the cactus. He bent where his back was broken and we heard the bones grate. I asked if it hurt him, he said no. He said he was thirsty. One of the men got on the wagon to get something to get water in, but the Indians had taken everything but the grub box. I said my hat would hold water and ran to the creek and filled it with water and he drank out of my hat. When we got down to his wagon, Bennett went to Mount Pleasant and reported to Colonel John L. Ivie. He came up with a small company of men from Mount Pleasant.
When we got down to Miller and was planning how to get him to get him to Springtown it was decided that the Springtown men should make a litter of four small poles and with a pair of blankets of Higbee's fastened to the poles with strings. Thomas Gledhill was sent to the house after the blankets and a bucket. When he brought them he was sent on a hill near by to watch for Indians. Higbee and I followed the tracks of the Indians to Cedar Canyon where they had gone up a wide hollow with big oak brush in it. I said to Higbee, I am not going there. It will give the Indians too good a chance to shoot us without us seeing them. He said I will go alone then and went on. I went back a short distance and went on a ridge a short distance north to see if I could see the Indians but could see none. But I saw one of Miller's mules a short distance north with the harness on. I thought the Indians might be there, but the mule was feeding contentedly and concluded it had been too slow and had been left. I went to it. The Indians had taken the bridle and line but had no use for the harness. There was nothing suitable to lead it with. I cut a serviceberry switch and tied it around its neck and led it back to the wagon. When I got there Ivie and his men were there. The others were ready to start to Springtown with Miller. Some of them had gone to the mill and brought down my team. The Springtown men carried Miller on the litter. Gledhill took his wagon down with my leaders and I took mine with my two other yoke of oxen. Ivie with his men followed the Indians trail up the mountain but did not overtake them.
We got about half way to Springtown Miller said he was tired and wished they would let down to rest. We all gathered around him. He was perfectly rational and talked with us. We asked if he wanted us to take vengeance on the Indians. He said no, they don't better. We asked if he had any word he wished to leave for his folks if he should not live to see them. His eyes were turning glassy we knew he was dying. He said no, but would like to see his twins before he died. A pair of twin boys had lately been born to him. He died there.
His body was placed in a light buggy that Colonel Redic N. Allred brought up and his remains were taken to Springtown. His folks came to Springtown in the night, they had been telegraphed. He was taken home and the boy was left at Colonel Allred's till he could be taken home.
This was the last raid by Indians in Utah by organized bands of Indians and ended the Black Hawk War.
See: Peter Gottfredson's Eulogy