Heritage Gateways

Official Sesquicentennial K-12 Education Project
sponsored by the Utah State Board of Education, the BYU-Public School Partnership and the Utah Education Network

Pioneer 1848-1868 Companies

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1862: Emigration and other Significant Events

The Deseret News of May 7, 1862 noted that teams from Iron, Beaver, Millard, Sanpete, Juab, Utah, Wasatch, Summit, Great Salt Lake, Tooele, Davis, Morgan, Weber, Box Elder and Cache counties had arrived in Salt Lake City, ready to start east. On May 21st, 262 wagons, 293 teamsters, 2,880 oxen, carrying 143,315 pounds of flour, left Salt Lake City to assist the emigrating Saints across the plains and mountains. The Church emigration officials organized 9 sailing ships and 13 wagon trains. It was a year which called for great sacrifice from the people in Utah.

Protecting the Overland Stage and Mail Route
Probably no people were more interested in the protection of the Overland Stage and Mail route which maintained regular contact between Salt Lake City and points east and west than the citizens of Utah. When the clash of arms between the North and South commenced, white renegades and marauding Indians burned the stations and held up mail coaches located between Fort Bridger and the North Platte. Several men were killed and livestock kept at the station was stolen. President Brigham Young wired Delegate Hooper at Washington, D.C., that "the militia of Utah was ready and able as they ever had been to take care of the Indians, and are able and willing to protect the mail route if called upon to do so."

Acting-Governor Fuller of Utah and the men associated with the mail advised Secretary-of-War Stanton of the urgent need of a regiment of mounted rangers to police the continental route. Following this the official call came on April 25, 1862, when his excellency, Acting-Governor Fuller, officially called upon Daniel H. Wells of the Nauvoo Legion for a contingent: "It is represented that the stock of the Overland Mail company along the east line of this city has been forcibly stolen, stations robbed, passengers attacked, and mail destroyed." Twenty mounted men were wanted for thirty days to protect the United States mails, passengers, and property in the danger zone. Volunteers responded so quickly that the first expedition was on its way the next day with Capt. Robert T. Burton commanding.

The command consisted of two companies, A. and B., of the 1st cavalry, Utah Militia, constituting a battalion of cavalry commanded by Major Lot Smith, with Joseph S. Rawlins as first lieutenant, and John Quincy Knowlton as second lieutenant. The two companies included commissioned and non-commissioned officers, privates and teamsters, the teamsters giving prompt and efficient aid in all the duties of the expedition.

The famous Ben Holliday was the proprietor of the stage and U.S. mail line, extending overland from St. Joseph, Missouri, to San Francisco. These lines were paralleled with the Western Union Telegraph line, running side by side, and the two lines of communication, extending from the two points named above, were placed under the protection of Lot Smith's command of Utah Volunteers.... Mr. Holliday sent the following message to Governor Young:

"Thanks for your prompt response to President Lincoln's request to furnish Utah volunteers for the protection of the Overland Mail and Telegraph lines. Just as soon as these Utah volunteers are located along the line, I will proceed to replace my coaches, horses and drivers and rebuild and man the destroyed mail stations from the North Platte River and Independence Rock to Salt Lake City."

Fort Douglas Established
In May of 1862 Col. Patrick Edward Connor of the Third California Infantry was ordered to Utah, to take part in guarding the route west from the Missouri River. They arrived at Fort Crittenden, Utah, on Friday, the 17th of October and a few days later marched into Salt Lake City, coming up State road to First South Street where they turned east and proceeded to the base of the mountains. They camped in the vicinity of a spring between Red Butte and Emigration Canyons. A few days later the command moved north of Red Butte Canyon and commenced construction of temporary winter quarters. It was first known as Camp Douglas but later was given the name of Fort Douglas.

Indian Affairs
The well known Utah Chief, Peteetneet, died near Fort Crittenden, Cedar Valley, on or about the 23rd of January. No horses were killed on the occasion, as is generally the case when an Indian of distinction dies, but a novel and brutal ceremony, by his express order, was instituted instead, and that was the killing of his wife, who was dispatched by beating out her brain with an axe, a squaw being the executioner. The Chief was buried after the manner of Indian sepulture in the mountains adjacent, and his murdered wife in the valley beneath.

Early in January, Washakie, the Shoshone Chief, arrived in Salt Lake City, from the north, his object being to ascertain how, the war was progressing in the east. He had heard rumors in his own land, but they were so indefinite that he resolved to come and learn the truth of the reports. He returned home in April.

The following is taken from the Deseret News of June 11th: Western Route. Superintendent J. D. Dory returned here last Friday from a month's visit to the Indians in the western part of Deseret. We have been pleased to learn from him that the Indians out there are anxious to learn the arts of peace, and only await agricultural implements and decent men to teach them agricultural pursuits. Mr. Doty made no promises beyond assuring those desirous of doing something for their own subsistence, that, as soon as the government made its annual appropriation for them, he would furnish the opportunity of working.

The Superintendent is no communistic dreamer, and entertains the idea that ploughs, hoes, spades and shovels, with good instruction and decent treatment, will contribute vastly better to the well-being of the Indians, and the safety of the overland emigrants than the course heretofore pursued with red skins. The government, since the advance of "the flower of the American army" in "57, has annually, we are informed, up to last year, appropriated about $50,000 for the Indians in Utah; but, concluding possibly that if out of that sum, seven or eight thousand dollars could be spent for whiskey, oysters, sardines and the feasting of favorites - under the item of blankets in the account current,the government last year divided up the usual appropriation for Utah between Colorado, Utah, and Nevada,of course, leaving Utah the smallest share of the funds for the largest number of Indians.

Source: Our Pioneer Heritage © Carter, Kate B., ed. 20 vols. Salt Lake City: International Society, Daughters of Utah Pioneers, 1958-1977. All rights reserved. No part of this material may be reproduced in any form or by any means without permission in writing from the publisher. Documents and images are exerpted by permission from the LDS Family History Suite CDROM from Ancestry.