Brigham's Destroying Angel

Chapter Two

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Birth and Early Life—First Deed of Daring—Killing The Panther—Education—Marriage—Joins the Mormons—Acquaintance With Joseph Smith—the Troubles at Nauvoo—Hickman in Prison—Ingenious Escape—First Act of Violence Under the Rule of Brigham Young—Killing the Counterfeiter—Shooting the Indians—Flight of Hickman—Adventures on the Plains—Arrival at Salt Lake.

    I was born the 16th of April, 1815, in Warren County, Kentucky. My parents were early settlers of the State of Virginia, I being the sixth generation on this North American continent. I had, according to my grandfather's story, twenty-one blood relatives in the Revolutionary War, and not a Tory among them, which fact, the last time I saw him, twenty-eight years ago, he was boasting of. He gave me a long lecture, telling me he was old, and did not expect to see me again; that he knew nothing about my religion, neither did he care; but I must promise him that I would always be true to my country, telling me of the hardships the old revolutioners underwent, and the inherent right that I had to this independent Government, which made impressions on my mind and feelings that will ever remain with me.

p. 26     When I was three years old my father moved from Kentucky to Missouri, and settled on the Missouri River, in the town then known as Old Franklin, which is now, with almost the entire bottom, washed into the river. It was opposite where Booneville now is, where the wild Indians were roaming, and committing depredations all over that country. Men were killed while plowing in their fields, and occasionally an entire family brutally butchered by those savages, the Sacs and Foxes. But peace being made two years afterwards, my father moved forty miles north, near where Huntsville now is. A settlement of some twelve or fifteen families composed the whole population of that region. There were only two families north of us, and none west, so you can imagine the wild country in which I spent my boyhood. There was plenty of buffalo in less than a day's ride; elk, bear, deer, turkeys, and bees, no end to them, and panthers screaming almost every night, which, together with the howling of wolves and screeching of owls, was most terrific to one so young. But it soon became a kind of second nature, and I would, when I heard those dreadful panther screams, or an unusual howling of wolves, look at father first, then at mother (yes, many was the time), to see if I could detect any look of fear in either of them. When I did not, I could compose myself and be at ease; but when I noticed them watching or listening I would keep a breathless silence: and many was the time I could her my heart beat, apparently to me as loud as a pheasant drumming on a log. But all went well for a year or so, when the Indians made another

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Brigham's Residence, where he is now held a prisoner, without bail.

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raid on an exploring party who came from the Missouri River to look at the country north of us, several of the party being killed. This was only about ten miles from our settlement, and then it was all the families got together, and all the men except three went after the Indians. They found six whites who had been burned at one place, and two were missing who were never heard of. The men were gone a week or so, but did not overtake the Indians. Scouting parties were kept out for a long time, till the Indians left, and the country commenced being populated. Many of the people became very industrious, making good farms, and raising grain and stock in abundance; while others would follow hunting, and seemed to care for little else.

    My father built the first grist-mill in that country, and it was run almost constantly day and night for four or five years, no other mill being within forty miles of it. At the age of ten or eleven years we had the first school in the neighborhood, but my father and mother both having a fair education, had taught me and my two younger brothers at home; so that when I commenced school I could spell, read, and write tolerably well. About this time we got a legislative grant of a new county, and Randolph, the county seat, was located six miles from father's. Then commenced horse-racing and whisky-drinking, the backwoods roughs trying their manhood by fighting, many of whom would get most brutally beaten before they would yield to their antagonists, frequently getting a finger bit off, or an ear or nose, and sometimes an eye pulled out. At the first election

p. 29 in the country, my father was elected magistrate, which office he held seven years, and he who afterward became my father-in-law, George Burckhardt, was elected representative of that county to the Missouri Legislature, which office he filled fourteen years. We had a three months' school in the neighborhood every fall after it commenced. About the time I was twelve or thirteen years old, I performed my first feat of bravery. My father had several hundred head of hogs which roamed the woods, and needed no feed except when the ground was frozen; then they would gather in, and with them wild ones, having tremendous teeth sticking out of their mouths, and they would attack persons frequently. My father sent me to the mill to feed the hogs out of the toll corn in the mill, at the same time telling me to look out for the wild boars. I finished and started to the house, which was three or four hundred yards, and had got about half-way, when I looked behind me and saw a huge wild boar coming full tilt after me, not more than fifty steps behind. I started homeward for life, and an old hunting dog met me at the top of his speed, almost knocking me down as he passed. After making a few jumps, I stopped and turned to see the fight; I saw a fearful gash in the dog's shoulder, but he had the boar by the ear, and that moment fear turned into anger, and saying to myself, "I will kill you or die in the attempt," I picked up what we then called a hand-spike, which lay by the roadside, and made for the hog. But had to back three or four times, as he would run at me with the dog holding to him. After awhile

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I got a blow across his back, which brought his hind parts to the ground. I followed up my blows, the old dog holding to him, notwithstanding he had received three severe wounds, one on his neck, which I thought would be fatal from the flowing of the blood. But, faithful to his young master, whenever I would shout, "Hold him tight, Catch," he would go in while I struck the boar on the back and loins. I then took out my pocket-knife and cut his ham-strings, then cut a hole in his side, and literally gutted him, a handful at a time. I saw him dying, and for the first time, after speaking to the dog, he let him go.

    I went home all bloody, went in and met father; he looked at me and asked what was the matter. I told him. He turned pale, then said I must be mistaken. He shouldered his gun and went with me. The first thing I showed him was the dog; poor fellow, he had stopped bleeding, and lay stretched in the door-yard. Father said he had never seen such teeth before. He gave me orders not to go out any more until the hogs had all gone for the woods again. This was much talked of. Many men said that no money could have hired them to do what I had done.

    About two years after this, in the spring, we had a twenty-acre field ready to plant in corn. It being a big day's work for all hands, we were out as soon as it was light. But when first up we heard the blood-hounds making an awful noise, and understood that they had something up a tree, but supposed it was nothing but a coon, which were plentiful. The hounds often took

p. 31 a hunt without anyone with them. They would tree coons and keep up their barking and howling until morning, when some of us would go and see what they had, and thus get the game by cutting down the tree, or shooting the animal. But this morning there was an unusual amount of barking, as though there was something more than coons, and father said to me, "Bill, take the gun, and go and see what those dogs have treed." I started with a gun and knife, went about half a mile, and saw in a tree a large, full-grown panther, and the dogs under the tree. The hair stood straight upon my head; but I roused my courage, cocked my gun, and approached within fifty yards of the tree, when the savage-looking monster spied me. He leaped from the tree, and the dogs, six in number, four blood-hounds and two strong curs, caught him. I ran up, but there was such a turning and rolling that I feared to shoot, seeing no chance to do so without hitting some of the dogs. I drew my knife, as I saw him stretched by the dogs, and made a lunge for him; but he saw me, and made another effort, breaking loose from the cur that had him by the neck, and reached his paw for me, making a heavy stroke. He caught my pants just below the waist-band, and took out a strip about three inches wide, clear to the bottom. I turned and saw the dogs had covered him almost, but he was getting up, some having hold one place and some another. All his legs were held by the dogs but one. I made a sudden break, and stabbed him through the heart the first blow, jumped back, and shouted to the dogs. I saw him weaken, and soon he

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was dead. He was too heavy for me to carry; it was all I wanted to do to lift him. I went home and told the news, but was not believed until we went and packed the huge animal in. My pants I had tied up with hickory bark until I got home. The story about the strip torn out of them was too big to be believed, and they said it was not so—that I had torn them on a snag, or running through the brush; but when we went to get him the strip was in his claws, and stuck fast, and that was evidence beyond doubt that I had run a great risk, and I was strongly reprimanded for it. I loved sport, such as hunting and fishing, when I got the chance, and was full of mischief, such as tricks for fun-making, but I scarcely ever had a fight with a neighbor boy. I was strictly raised by a very quiet father and mother. I never saw my father drunk, nor heard him swear an oath; and can say more than most men, that I never knew my father and mother to quarrel. I have heard father say since I was grown that I was the best and worst boy he had raised: the best to work and do business, but doing more mischief than all the rest.

    At the age of fifteen I was sent away from home to school. I was urged to go to the study of medicine, and did, but after a few months I gave it up, and went to school again. I was then urged to go to the study of the law, which I liked better; but became rather tired of that, and, seeing I had to be at books, I concluded I would go to school again. I was sent to another neighborhood, and boarded at George Burckhardt's, who was sending three of his family to the same school. I soon

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became charmed with one of his daughters. I thought she was the prettiest little black-eyed creature that ever lived. I was sixteen, and she was nearly three years older. This was my first love. She became attached to me, and when not studying we were engaged in social conversation. In four or five months we were engaged to be married when I got old enough. Our love increased, time went off slowly, and at the age of seventeen we concluded to get married. It was greatly opposed by my folks, in consequence of me being so young, and by my wife's father on the same account.

    My father urged me to finish some study and then marry; but all this was no use. I was completely insaturated in love, and finally told father I would run away and get married, if he didn't give his consent. Finding our determination out, our parents both consented, and we were married, thirty-nine years ago last April. Our parents made no offer to assist us, waiting, as I understood afterwards, to see what I was going to do. After a few days I went to a neighborhood ten miles off, and hired to keep school six months, which I did, giving great satisfaction. I had a large school, some seventy-five scholars, and all learned well. My employers said it was worth more to them than all the schools they ever had before.

    During this summer the Indians made a break on the North settlement, killed seven or eight men, and burned them. The news came, and volunteers were called for, in a great hurry. I was on hand and anxious to go, but my employers told me I must stay and teach their children.

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[click to enlarge]

Young Hickman's first deed of daring. Killing the wild boar.

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This was very grievous to me, it being the first chance I had to go to war. I reluctantly stayed. Some two hundred volunteers went, but found no Indians. The next winter a party of, I think, fifteen went on the sly, as they said, to beat Mr. Indian at his own game. They killed about a dozen, and all returned safe.

    At the expiration of my school, my father gave me a tract of land, prairie and timber joined together, without any improvements, furnished me with the necessary tools, and told me to go to work. I built a house, fenced a farm, and continued to improve as long as I stayed in Missouri. I had three hundred and twenty acres of land, when I sold to go to Illinois, with good buildings on it.

    Some eight or ten months after I was married, I joined the Methodist Church, which my wife belonged to when we were married. I lived a quiet and religious life, making theology my principal study. I investigated every religious belief I had ever heard of, and among the balance Mormonism, which I had supposed was trivial and trashy, but soon found I was mistaken. I continued to investigate it for two years. I lived on the road which the Mormons traveled from Kirtland, Ohio, to western Missouri, and had almost daily opportunities to talk with them. Being thoroughly convinced they were right, I joined them in the spring before they left Missouri. This was a great task for me. I had a good standing in society; the Mormons were very much disliked by the Missourians, and there was much sorrow expressed by friends and relatives for my joining them.

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But I told them I was honest in my convictions, which was true. Nothing but salvation could have induced me to do so. The particulars of my conviction I could give, but do not deem it necessary to do so in this history; but suffice it to say there was no hypocrisy in me for so doing. My motives were pure, and my intentions good. Six months after the difficulties with the Missourians and Mormons took place in western Missouri, I lived something over a hundred miles east of where the Mormons were, and knew nothing of that difficulty only what I heard from both sides. My opinion was then, and is yet, that the Mormons were greatly wronged and abused. But doubtless, from their own admissions to me, they had bad men among them, who committed some overt acts; but it was not a general thing, the most of them being quiet people. This to some extent could be accounted for. The most of the western wilds had at least two-thirds of their population of those illiterate, superstitious persons who had continued to keep on the frontier. This kind of people went en masse, carried elections, said what should be done, &c.

    I had some trouble before I got away, which was the first, I might say, in my life, but it was with a gang of roughs who sought a victory over a Mormon. We had a nice little brickbat combat, in which two out of five got badly bruised. I answered for this before the magistrate, but the complainants failed to attend, having received word from me that the ball would open in a more serious way if they came there and swore to such things as they had to to obtain a warrant for me.

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    I sold my farm for a low figure, and left for Illinois. I saw much suffering and distress amongst those who were leaving Missouri; women and children barefooted and hungry; but these things were soon remedied. Our people were helped in Illinois, got work to do, and could get anything they needed for it. I gave away as long as I had a dollar, to those sufferers.

In April following I saw Joseph Smith for the first time, and had a long talk with him, and liked him well. I spent a year in Hancock County, and then went to Nauvoo and stayed another year; then moved back in the country, and stayed until the spring of 1844. Going to Nauvoo frequently, I heard Smith preach several times. I considered his preaching Bible doctrine. Heard him speak of the United States Government several times, which he always did in the highest terms. I heard him say once in a public audience that the Constitution of the United States was a part of his religion, and a good part, too. He said we were a cried-down people, and misrepresented, but should there come war in his day, he would show to the people who was true and loyal to their Government. Said he: "I would call on all the able-bodied men and go at their head, and the world should know what we could do."

    Such assertions were often made by him. He said he was satisfied there would be war in which the United Stales would be engaged, but he did not expect to live to see it. "Now," said he, "brethren and friends, if any of you have anything against me, come and tell me, and I will make it right; do not be backward; come publicly

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or privately and see if I don't satisfy you or anyone that has anything against me." (What a difference between him and some who are now in his place.) In the spring of 1844 my wife and family went to Missouri to spend the summer with our relations, who had been anxious for us to move back ever since we left.

    During this summer, difficulty arose in and about Nauvoo. Mobs raised, and the State authorities were called to settle it, Governor Ford being at their head. The Smiths were arrested, and placed in Carthage jail, eighteen miles from Nauvoo, with a flimsy guard over them. Governor Ford went to Nauvoo on some pretense or other, I suppose no person knows what, and while he was there, a blacked mob of eighty men drove the guard off and killed Joseph and Hyrum Smith. No exertions were ever made to arrest and bring to justice those mobocratic murderers.* I heard this while in Missouri, took my horse and went to Nauvoo, some one hundred and fifty miles; found everything as it had been told me, and the people in a sad-feeling state.

    In the fall Brigham Young assumed authority to the leadership of the Church, which seemed in part to quiet the people; but with many it was no go. They would say: "He is no prophet; he was not called of God nor ordained by the prophet Joseph." I, being so thoroughly convinced of the truth of Mormonism, was willing to accept anything rather than say our system of things should fail. Things remained quiet until the next summer, when mobism commenced again. The next thing

*See Appendix—A.

p. 39 was burning houses, barns, and grain, and haystacks of all Mormons living in the country around Nauvoo. The sheriff, not a Mormon, did all he could to prevent this, but it was of no use, the mob was too strong for him. He then called in a posse of Mormons to subdue those house-burners, and two of them were killed by the sheriff's order when pursuing them after burning a house. Grain-stacks were set on fire in the night, and the owners shot by the light when coming to see what caused it. This ended in the fall of 1845. Late in 1844 I went to what was called Green Plains, some twenty miles below Nauvoo, to Col. Williams', who, I was told, commanded the blacked mob who killed the Smiths, partly by request of Brigham Young, and partly to satisfy myself as to the cause of their death. I stayed with him one night. He was very jealous of me when I first went to his house, supposing me to be a Mormon; but I soon satisfied him I was from Missouri. I knew several of his relatives and friends who lived in the neighborhood I had just left, which soon dispersed all his suspicion, and a free conversation took place between us. He told me all about the Smiths being killed. I asked him what were the charges against them? He said they ruled the county, elected whom they pleased, and the old settlers had no chance; that it was the only way they could get rid of them. After getting through, he said: "Now, Mr. Hickman, we don't pretend to justify ourselves in what we have done; we frequently talk about it, but what else could we have done? There are some bad men amongst them who do some stealing, and

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it is almost impossible to catch them; but many of them are good men. I have them for neighbors, and have had them hired to work for me, and they were good neighbors and industrious." I also learned from him that they had no intention of mob-raising again, which was what Brigham Young wanted to find out. I went to Warsaw and around the country generally, and got the general say-so of all that class of men; returned to Nauvoo and gave general satisfaction to Brigham Young, this being my first business with him and my first acquaintance personally. I became more personally acquainted with him afterwards, and soon became satisfied he was no such a man as Smith, and really came to the conclusion it was a curse sent on us, that we were not worthy to have so good a man as Smith to preside over us; but I contented myself on the grounds that it was the best I could do, and by following his counsel the Lord would bless us with another like Smith.

    In the fall and winter of 1846 there was much uneasiness amongst the people. They concluded to go West, and worked all winter making wagons, harness, and a general outfitting. The majority left, I think, in March, having organized previously in companies. I started with them in what was known as the Artillery Company. Colonel John Scott had that company in charge. We had four pieces of artillery, and some five hundred stands of small arms. Scott had four companies in his division, I being first captain. After a hard and lasting journey, we arrived at Council Bluffs, where United States officers came to our camp and made a call

p. 41 for five hundred volunteers, which were raised and joined the United States army, then fighting Mexicans. I was sick and not able to go, from the effects of measles. I stayed at Council Bluffs until I was able to travel, then went back to Nauvoo to bring on the family and assist others. When I reached Nauvoo I heard that a mob had taken Phineas Young and his son, and they could not be found; but were heard of, sometimes in one place and then in another. We raised a company and ransacked the country for some ten days before we got them. They had not been mistreated, only by threats and exposure, having been kept in the woods. Immediately after this, those ramparts of Illinois swore the Mormons should all leave forthwith. Nauvoo had at this time a majority of what was called new citizens, most of whom did not want the Mormons to leave until they could sell their property. Those had purchased property of the Mormons who had previously left. The mob commenced gathering southeast of the town, on what was known as Hunter's farm. There was a committee of twelve men then in the city, sent by the governor to investigate and see what was wrong. Satisfaction was given them on the part of the people of the city, and a party was sent to the governor. They did not return at the appointed time, and the balance went and did not return. The mob kept gathering, and the Mormons and New Citizens (Gentiles) gathered and resolved to withstand them. There were about two hundred in all that we could muster. Then skirmishing commenced on both sides. I should think that some six

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or seven hundred had gathered on the Hunter farm. We kept our guards out, and one day our picket was chased into the city near where our forces were. We enquired how many there were after them, and learned about eight. Captain William Cutler then made a selection of four men, all mounted on the best of horses, and went in pursuit. I was one of the party. We could not catch them, but chased them into camp, stopping out of gunshot distance. We stood up in our saddles and gave them as big a blackguarding as our tongues could utter: but no move was made for us. We were there some fifteen or twenty minutes between two sod fences—no show to cross, either—when we looked down the road and saw them getting on the fence behind us. We had to pass them or surrender. I began to think we had stayed a little too long. We started at full speed, and they mounted the fence as thick as blackbirds, I thought, crying. "Halt! halt!!" But no halt; we went through in a rain of bullets and no one hurt—one horse wounded. I had three cuts on my clothes.

    The next day they moved around on what was known as Laws farm, where they would have a fair sweep at the city, and commenced cannonading. The scattering families who then lived in the east part of the town moved to the flat on the river. We had no cannon, but cut into a steamboat's shaft, plugged it up, fixed it up on Wagon-wheels, hammered out balls of pig lead, which was plenty, and responded to the cannon-balls. This was the same size as their guns. They had three pieces, and we had two, which shot equally as strong as theirs,

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[click to enlarge]

Hickman in Prison at Nauvoo—Kills his jailer and escapes.

p. 44 but not so accurate. This cannonading was kept up for several days, while their party continued to increase, and ours to decrease. Men left when they pleased, and came when they pleased. We had blockaded some of the streets which we expected them to come in on. I belonged to a picket company; thirty of us, under Captain Anderson. They started for the city, and we were placed on the north, expecting them to come that way; but they swung to the south of our breast-works. Captain Anderson took his company just far enough in town to be under cover, and then marched us in front of not less than eight hundred men, who were keeping up a constant fire. But here let me say that while making this swing we passed one of our cannons where one man lay dead, with his head almost shot off. A New Citizen, a Methodist preacher, had the charge of it. He loaded behind a brick house, and would then roll it out and fire. He had just got it out when we reached his stand. The good old Christian prayed God that it might take the desired effect. I could not keep from laughing to hear such a prayer from such a man under such circumstances. Our company made breast-works of a brick house, log barn, and some large corn shocks, all close together, without being seen. When the enemy got within one hundred and fifty yards of us, we opened fire on them, which called them to a halt—but didn't the balls come thick! We thirty had about three hundred shots in repeating rifles, which we handled lively. Our captain was shot and fell dead at the commencement of the fight. At this time the other companies

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were playing on their right. About the time we had emptied all our shots and were ready to give way, the mob commenced a retreat, which was quite acceptable. We remained under cover, and reloaded as fast as possible. About that time we saw them coming again. They were halted as before and soon left, again going to their quarters. How many were killed I never learned. I had been anxious from a boy to be in a battle, but I assure you this right took a great deal of starch out of me. My appetite for such fun has never been so craving since.

    We saw our forces weakening, and knew eventually we should have to surrender; so we sent a flag of truce with committee to settle in some way the existing war. Terms were agreed upon, which was that the Mormons must forthwith leave; that they must all come in town the next day, unmolested, and have any and all persons delivered up to them they wanted, some dozen or so—among the lot was myself. This was the first time I began to be known. We thought we would cross the river that night and go westward; but the wind rose, and it was impossible. The others concluded to hide up another day, and then leave. I did not want to take chances in being found, so dressed myself in a number one suit of black broadcloth, fine boots, and kid gloves—a perfect disguise—and went to the ferry-boat; but just as I was leaving the shore I was recognized by one of their party. I was arrested, of course, and taken to prison to await the settling of other affairs, and then they would look into my case. I had sit feet of log-chain

p. 46 put on my leg, with a fifteen-pound ball on the end of it, and was locked in behind two doors. I stayed a few days, and when the jailer came in one afternoon, I knocked him down, took his bowie-knife and cut the chain off my leg, took his pistols and left, and have not been back since, which was about twenty-five years ago. This was the only time I was ever in prison. I went west on Grand River, in the southern part of Iowa. I had lost almost all my property, so I went to work, raised a good crop, made a horse-race or two, and by the next fall was able to go on to Council Bluffs. Brigham Young had been to Salt Lake with a pioneering party, and returned to what was known then as winter quarters, now Florence, some eight miles from Council Bluffs, across the river. I met him and party who had come on our side of the river for the purpose of holding the Fall Conference. I had a pair of beautiful ponies, and Young wanted one of them for his son Joseph. I gave it to him, keeping my running one, which had made me several dollars before coming to that place. I made a race with a Potowatamie trader, for three yoke of oxen a side. It was opposed by my friends so strongly that I withdrew the stakes soon after. Brigham Young then sent for me; I soon learned he wanted my little race animal for his other son, Brigham, Jr. This went against the grain, I knowing he had no use for such an animal—that one worth one-fourth as much would do him as well, and I told him so. "But," said he, "if you keep her you will do wrong with her; you will be racing, and I want her." I could not refuse,

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believing, as I did, that he stood between God and His people, and could invoke blessings or cursings at pleasure.

    The spring of 1848 rolled in. Young, Hyde, and others had some bitter enemies. One half-breed Indian from some of the tribes south, well-educated, had been to Nauvoo, joined the Church, gone home and had come to Council Bluffs to see Brigham Young. Brigham had made him very mad, and he was swearing vengeance. He said he was well acquainted with the tribes west, and would be out ahead of him, collect them together, and scalp Brigham Young before he reached Fort Laramie—that he would have a war-dance over his scalp in less than three months. Brigham Young's boys in winter quarters had got after him, but could not catch him, and he came on our side of the river. Brigham sent me word to look out for him. I found him, used him up, scalped him, and took his scalp to Brigham Young, saying: "Here is the scalp of the man who was going to have a war-dance over your scalp; you may now have one over his, if you wish." He took it and thanked me very much. He said in all probability I had saved his life, and that some day he would make me a great man in the kingdom. This was my first act of violence under the rule of Brigham Young. Soon after this, I was called upon to go for a notorious horse-thief, who had sworn to take the life of Orson Hyde. I socked him away, and made my report, which was very satisfactory. Hyde was well pleased, and said he knew I had saved his life.

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    In the spring of '48, Brigham's company started for Salt Lake, with their families. I, in company with a number of others, crossed the Missouri River and went thirty miles to Elkhorn River, to bid Brigham and party a good-bye. Brigham told me he wanted me to stop that year with Orson Hyde, as there were those around who might kill him. He wanted me to look out for him, and see that nobody hurt him. This was very satisfactory to Hyde. In about a month, Amasa Lyman, one of the Twelve, followed Brigham Young with another large company for Salt Lake. I had in the winter just previous to leaving Nauvoo taken me a second wife, whose father was going with this company, and she wanted to go with them. I sent her along, and when I reached Salt Lake next year was not surprised to find she had helped herself to a youngster a few days old. Believing her virtue to be easy long before this let me off. I never had any children by her. When bidding Brigham Young good-bye, in the spring of '48, he said to Orson Hyde: "if Brother William wants to take him another wife, you attend to the marriage ceremonies."

    In the fall of '48, Orson Hyde got after a gang of counterfeiters, and put me on the track to ferret it out, if possible. Some of them were Mormons, some Gentiles, and some apostate Mormons, eight or ten altogether. They were making dollars and half-dollars; had dies and a serew-press, and were making what was called a good article of bogus money. About this time, Orson Hyde started a paper called the Frontier Guardian, and

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was giving these fellows a tremendous blowing up. They threatened his life, some of them being of the desperate kind. They also threatened to burn his printing office. Here was another job for me—to watch the printing office. I would go into it after dark, at the back door, well armed. A party came one very dark night, and burst the front door open; I fired two shots at random, but hit no one. This caused an abandonment of that project, but they were more enraged at him than ever. I threw myself in their company, and heard their threats, upon which I told them if they hurt a hair of his head, I would kill the last counterfeiter in the country, and to pitch in as soon as they liked, and I would turn loose upon the first one I heard make a threat. This caused them to be quiet, and soon they began to be discountenanced by the people. I found a portion of their press, which was destroyed. This broke them up, and gave my friend, Orson Hyde, much relief of mind, he not having the nerve that a military general should have. He said I had again saved his life, which thing he often spoke of, and sometimes would preach it to his congregation. But when Brigham Young says the word, all the dogs howl, and this Hyde has not ventured to speak to me for a long time.

    During the summer of '48 some Omaha Indians were crossing the river, and driving off the stock belonging to the people. They took the last animal belonging to several. We would go in search, but would find where they had crossed the river, which always ended pursuit. A boy in the town came in and told me he had seen two

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Indians in the brush about a mile off. I took my pistol and knife, telling the boy not to tell anyone else, and went in search, crawling through the brush with all the quietness of a cat after a mouse. My object in telling the boy not to tell anyone else was to keep the people from making a rush, as they would frighten the Indians, and they would get away as before. After watching about an hour, I saw three Indians with ropes and bridles, and armed with bows and arrows. I took deliberate aim, having two in range; one fell, and one ran towards me, the third ran the other way. The one that ran towards me fell about three rods off. The ball had cut the back of his head, and made him crazy; but I was to him as he rose, and shot him dead. I took their bows, arrows, ropes, and bridles, and put them in a pile, went to town, told a few of my friends, who were well pleased, but thought we had best say nothing about it, as there might be some exceptions taken to it by United States agents. The Indians were left until night, and then buried. I worked hard that summer, building houses in the town known then as Kanesville.

    The next winter a Government contractor took about one thousand head of oxen forty miles north of us to winter on the rush bottoms of the Missouri River. Early in the spring this agent said a gang of thieves were stealing his cattle, and scattering them over the country, altering the U. S. brand on them, and killing some. He came to Kanesville, got a writ, deputized a man and posse of four to go and arrest them. They returned

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whipped out, and no prisoners, upon which this agent went to see Orson Hyde, and asked him if he had not men who could and would arrest this party. I was sent for, and introduced to this agent, who I found to be a clever man and a gentleman. He filled my pocket with money, saying: "Go it, my man, and fetch the rascals, and I will see that you get many a dollar for it."

    Next morning I started with my one man, a good one, too. We were well armed. I got within a few miles of their place, stayed that night, and next morning we were upon them early. There were four guns drawn on us with the word to stand. I looked in their eyes, and did not see a shoot in them. It was all bluff. We drew up our guns and ordered an immediate surrender, or we would turn loose on them. They came to time, and we arrested four. We went to another place, and got two. One of them had strong indications of shooting. I tied his hands behind him, summoned another man, and returned with the six prisoners amid shouts. I assisted this man in getting his scattered and stolen stock, for which he paid me roundly, which enabled me to have a good and sufficient outfit for Salt Lake, where I was intending to go that spring. I commenced getting ready; gathered up, and crossed the river in company with a few other families, to await the starting of the first Mormon train, not forgetting the liberty given to me by Brigham Young to get another wife, which I did. She was a good, industrious woman, kind-hearted and agreeable: her mother was dead, and her father and only brother were in the Mexican War.

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I brought her across the plains, and found her father and brother in Salt Lake, glad to meet her.

    While laying on the west side of the river, Orson Hyde sent for me. I got to Kanesville in the afternoon, and found a horse saddled, and four men waiting for me with horses also. I learned that twelve or fifteen Indians were then in the brush some five miles off. Orson Hyde gave us our instructions, and told us to be sure they did not all get back across the river. We struck out, following our guide, learned where the Indians were, and made a descent on them. The Indian I went for turned two arrows loose at me. I shot him down, and made a dash for another, shot him down, whirled to see what the other boys were doing, and found them whipping two Indians. They had not fired a shot. I concluded I had done my part, and stopped. Our report was all satisfactory. I started before day to our camp across the Missouri River, and that day got word from Orson Hyde to roll out with some California train at once, for h—ll was popping about those Indians that were killed on a United States reserve. We rolled out that evening twelve miles, and fell in with Colonel Cornwall's train, bound for the California gold-mines, from Illinois, who willingly accepted our company. I found him a gentleman; we had a good time on the plains, and a big dance with the Mormon girls when we reached Salt Lake. He was an old Indian-fighter; had commanded an expedition against the well-known warrior Black Hawk, in '32, and had slain many of them. The Colonel went on to California that fall. We got into

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"I turned my old yauger loose, and he fell." Page 54.

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Salt Lake August 20, '49. The Colonel has made several trips across the plains since, taking stock to California. He always called and spent a few days with me, and we never failed to have a good time.

    We found plenty of game on the plains, such as buffalo and antelope. I was appointed one of the hunters for the company, which thing I enjoyed very much. I got laughed at one day for giving a jack-rabbit a chase, thinking it was a young antelope, it having started out from a band of them. It was the first one I had ever seen, and I thought it very strange that the young ones could outrun the grown ones.

    Some few days after this, another hunter and myself left the train for a hunt, and were to meet it at night. We traveled ten or fifteen miles before we found any buffalo. We killed one, a fine fat cow, took on our horses about one hundred pounds each, and started for camp. We had not traveled more than three miles when we saw some forty or fifty Indians, to all appearances trying to get in ahead of us. We guessed their intention, cut our meat loose, and lit out for camp, at least fifteen miles off. We were far back in the sand-hills, a dreary-looking place. The Indians all held up but six, who put their ponies down to their best. We outran them for awhile, and then held our own for awhile, when my friend's horse, although a good one, was failing. I had a nail-driver, very swift, and no end to his bottom. I fell back as though my horse had failed. Five of the six halted their gait, and one came at full speed for me. I waited until the Indian was within two hundred yards

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of me, ran my horse around a mound and dismounted. I was not more than ready for him when he came in sight, not more than fifty steps off: I turned my old yauger loose, and he fell, holding his horse by the bridle. I mounted, rode out and saw the other Indians were in a short distance. I wanted the pony (he was pretty, and speckled as a bird), but was in too much of a hurry to get him. I started for my comrade, who was by this time a mile ahead. My horse carried me off at almost lightning speed. I kept a good lookout behind, but they came no farther than where I shot the Indian. This was a caution for us not to be caught so far from home, which caution we accepted of for the balance of the trip.

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