narrative is a summary of selected, existing, documented, pioneer
historical events of Franklin, Idaho. It has been prepared at
the request of Kelton Berrett. Kelton is a thirteen-year-old
boy aggressively seeking to complete his "Eagle Scout Project".
The compilation and summarization, from existing historic documents,
have been performed under Kelton's scrutiny and persuasion.
This historical sketch is a component of a website proposed
as a gift to the City of Franklin from Kelton. Congratulations
are extended to Kelton for eagerly pursuing this meaningful
a statement of further recognition, thanks are expressed to
Marion and Thad Shumway and also to "The Daughters of the
Utah Pioneers" for the use of their trove of collected
historical publications regarding the fascinating history of
the present year of 2004, construction is proceeding to expand
the existing, two-lane, paved roadway (Highway 91) into a four-lane
highway extending from Smithfield, Utah, through Franklin and
on to Preston, Idaho comprising a distance of approximately
18 miles. The improvements have been considered necessary to
accommodate the ever- increasing motor vehicular traffic, which
presently exceeds 6,000 VPD (vehicles per day).
construction has been performed, utilizing gigantic, high-tech,
self-propelled, earth-moving equipment. The final roadway travel
surfaces are prepared by equally massive, paving machines which
spread hot, black, bituminous-asphalt concrete trucked from
a stationary mixing plant to the construction site. After the
steaming-hot asphalt concrete is meticulously compacted, bright,
yellow stripes are painted on the ultra-durable and ultra-smooth
paved surface providing a vivid color contrast to enhance traffic
drive between Logan, Utah and Preston, Idaho, in a temperature-controlled,
sound-proof automobile, will thus take approximately twenty-five
minutes. At the same time the occupants may leisurely view,
through tinted glass windows, the landscaped homes, lush sprinkle-irrigated
fields, lolling livestock and majestic mountains.
above description of the current, advanced method of road construction
and of the tranquil, pastoral views, are here proffered as a
stark contrast to the bleak, dusty, rutted trail that was blazed
by the 1860 pioneers traversing the same general area as the
spacious, new highway now occupies. The original road builders,
however, were limited to oxen-drawn wagons bouncing over sage
brush, rocks and gullies, fording rivers, creeks and streamlets,
meandering their progress as necessary to avoid the more precipitous
obstacles. The stout-hearted pioneers had in mind to establish
yet another frontier community, on an isolated, inconspicuous
spot, with no name.
is noted that the selected spot was originally presumed to be
within the boundaries of the Utah Territory. Twelve years later
(1872), however, an officially authorized survey discovered
that the fledgling Franklin was actually within the Idaho Territory
misconception contributed to the often-heralded fact that Franklin,
though inadvertently, became the "first permanent white
settlement in the State of Idaho".
Brigham Young, who was president of the LDS church at that time,
implemented the colonization of hundreds of communities throughout
the intermountain west. The colonization process began shortly
after the Mormon pioneers arrived in the Great Salt Lake Valley
in July 1847. The northerly Cache Valley area, near the banks
of the "Muddy" (Cub River), had been recommended to
Brigham Young as an ideal spot for yet another of the multitude
of such settlements. A typical, praiseworthy comment expressed
by Brigham Young regarding Cache Valley was: "No other
valley in the territory is equal to this", which the local
inhabitants still intently proclaim.
1860, nearby Utah communities such as Wellsville and Logan had
been tenuously established, and the nearest neighbor, Smithfield,
was in the infant stages of settlement, having received its
first settlers in 1859. And so it was on April 14, 1860 that
thirteen families, with wagons accommodating the earthly possessions
of the occupants, straggled to the spot on which they were destined
to create homes and a community. Within days, numerous others
called by Brigham Young from previously established Utah communities,
joined them. By the fall of 1860, the number of families in
Franklin had grown to approximately sixty. Surnames such as
Dunkley, Hobbs, Lowe, Parkinson, Woodward, Packer, Bennett,
Hatch, Doney, Corbridge, Hampton, Morrison, Hawkes, Wright,
Webster, Comish, Kingsford, Haworth and others were prominent
in those early, founding days and remain proudly embedded in
the community to this day.
necessity, meager living quarters for the new-comers were improvised
utilizing their wagon boxes, which were disassembled from the
running gear and placed on the ground. The running gears thus
became available to haul logs from the nearby, prolific, timber
groves for fuel, and the construction of log cabins and temporary
in the formative days, and after considering a name for the
new community, the name of Franklin was selected, commemorating
the name of Franklin D. Richards, at that time a member of the
quorum of twelve apostles of the CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER
DAY SAINTS. Preston Thomas was called to be the first Bishop
of Franklin to care for the ecclesiastical and civil affairs
of the community.
(Native Americans) were seasonally prevalent in the area consisting
predominately of the Bannock and Shoshone tribes. They were
not generally hostile to the local Mormon settlers, but were
seriously troublesome and threatening. Brigham Young's constant
advise was that: "It was much wiser to feed them than to
fight them." Nevertheless, as
log cabins were constructed, they were placed consecutively
end to end and situated such as to form a rectangular-fort configuration,
with the entrance to each cabin facing the interior of the rectangle.
By time the fort was completed in 1863, it consisted of
approximately 96 cabins. The dimensions of the rectangular fort
were 60 Rods X 90 Rods or (990 Ft. X 1,485 Ft.). The approximate
location of the original, improvised fort has been superimposed
on the attached, current map of the City of Franklin.
the center of the rectangle stood the bowery where their formal
worship services and secular counsel meetings were conducted.
Also within the rectangle was a common, community well and a
corral to conceal their cattle from night-time, Indian raids
and the ravages of wild animals.
an additional precaution, the abnormal, isolated, geologic butte,
we presently and affectionately call the "Little Mountain",
was conveniently used as a lookout to detect any possible approaching
trouble. Consequently, the mountain, at that time, was identified
as "Lookout Mountain". Later the name was changed
to "Smart Mountain" in respect for the prominent pioneer
citizen and leader, Thomas Smart, and is currently known as
"The Little Mountain".
first child born to the recent arrivals to the settlement was
John Read Jr. born June, 1860 to parents John Read Sr. and his
wife---? The first girl baby born in the new settlement was
Ellen Wright born October 6, 1860 to parents William Tweedy
and Maria Brown Wright. The first death of a citizen of the
new settlement was John Read Sr. who, coincidentally, was the
father of the first child born in Franklin. He was shot in Smithfield
on July 23, 1860 by a revengeful Indian. His monument headstone
is located near the center of the northerly section of the Franklin
cemetery. The appropriate monument was placed through the efforts
of the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers.
village was divided into blocks and with wide, north/south and
east/west oriented streets. The village residential lots and
the out-of-town agricultural lots were apportioned to heads
of families by special drawings. Even though the lottery took
place on April 19, 1860, most of the lots were not individually
occupied until 1863.
upon their arrival, the families met the challenge of survival
by urgent scampering to clear the ground, plant crops, dig irrigation
ditches and build log cabins. William Nelson and James Packer
surveyed and supervised the construction of the first, major
irrigation ditch which conveyed water from Spring Creek into
the village. Numerous other, and equally vital, ditches were
the first winter, Hannah Comish conducted school for twenty
students in her home. The next spring a combined log school-house/community-center
was constructed. Straw was strewn on the dirt floor to diminish
the cold dampness. George Alvin Davey taught seventy students
there the first year. Improvements and enlargements were made
and in 1867 a larger, sandstone school house was built. A small,
granite monument, presently located on the south side of Main
Street and one block east of Highway 91, was erected by the
Daughters of Utah Pioneers in 1927. The inscription on
the monument defines the location of that first log school house,
relative to the location of the monument. The approximate locations
of the original, log school house and the community well are
superimposed on the attached, current, plot map of the City
fatal events involving Indians in the immediate vicinity of
Franklin were few and isolated. In areas beyond Franklin, however,
plundering and deadly skirmishes between the Indians and miners
and between Indians and other emigrant parties were too frequent.
These events had been reported to the US military forces stationed
at Fort Douglas near Salt Lake City, Utah.
ENCOUNTERS WITH INDIANS
are some typical, first-hand accounts of the serious conflicts
between the Indians and the relentless intrusion of white settlers.
The original accounts have been slightly edited by this writer
for clarity and spelling. Conscious efforts have been made to
retain the intended message of the prior recorders. Any errors
or omissions, resulting from this editing, are the sole responsibility
of this summarizer.
the fall of 1856 the settlers started to come from the Salt
Lake Valley into Cache Valley. Wellsville was the first town
to be settled in Cache Valley. Chief Bear Hunter (Shoshone)
was the most prominent of the Indians who held a grudge against
the whites, until he was killed in the vicinity of Franklin
seven years later. His hatred of the white people probably began
with the founding of Wellsville and continued until his final
stand against them in 1863. Peter Maughan, leader of the Wellsville
settlers, met with Chief Bear Hunter in 1855, just prior to
the influx of the Wellsville settlers one year later.
Maughan was called to go to Cache Valley to establish a settlement.
The valley had been explored the year before by Captain Brayant
Stringham, seeking good forage for the growing herds of cattle
belonging to the church. These men were impressed with the lush
grass and clear streams of the valley and so reported to Brigham
Young. They also left their cattle herds in the valley with
headquarters at the church ranch.
story is told how bands of Indians, led by Chief Bear Hunter,
understandably, objected to the coming of the white men. To
express their displeasure, they defiantly camped their band
in the midst of the hay fields of the new comers. Bishop Maughan,
with a party of stalwarts, went to the chief, and through an
interpreter informed the red warrior: "We have come into
this valley to make our homes. We have come to live among you,
and we want to be your friends. We must have hay for our stock
winter. We do not want you to camp in our hay fields. All around
you there are fields with forage for your horses. You must go".
Bear Hunter didn't like this-----The chief said, "We will
not go. This valley belongs to the Indians. We own the grass,
water, fish and game. The white man must go." Bishop Maughan
stood up and said quietly, "We have spoken--You must go.
We will give you two hours to get off our land.
of the chief's young warriors were daunted and left their leader
to move their camps into the river bottoms. The humiliated chief
vowed to get rid of the white men, and a few days later he decided
to begin his personal plan of extermination. In this regard,
one morning after breakfast, Bishop Maughan had a sudden impression
that he should examine his gun. He took it from the pegs on
the wall and began to examine it. As he stood holding the gun
in such a position that the muzzle pointed at the door, the
door burst open, and Chief Bear Hunter strode in with a gun
in his own hands. His surprise and chagrin at finding the white
man waiting with a gun pointed directly at the chief's heart,
were enough to change his mind. In humiliation he left and later
attempted to commit suicide, but was prevented.
became immediately apparent that the settlers must have a powerful
organization to combat the potentially marauding Indians. Consequently,
a selected group called the "Militia" was formally
organized and met monthly for military drill. The "Minute
Men" consisted of all able-bodied men in each community.
Some men, of course, belonged to both organizations. Each man
provided himself with necessary arms, ammunition, blankets,
provisions, cooking utensils, horse, saddle and bridle.
later in Franklin, each "Minute Man" in the Franklin
community took his turn standing guard on Mount Smart, located
immediately west of Franklin. These minute men, in addition
to local service, were called to Bear Lake a few times to stand
guard at night when that settlement had trouble with the Indians.
the summer of 1860, all the able-bodied men and boys of Franklin
had been called to work on an irrigation ditch about four miles
distant. In their absence, they had left William Gardner and
a crippled boy to stay at home and take care of affairs. During
the day, to the terror of the settlers, seventeen, red-skinned
warriors, decorated with war paint and feathers, rode into the
settlement. Mr. Gardner treated them kindly and ordered buttermilk
and bread to be brought to them. He stood at the entrance to
the settlement and entertained the warriors while the crippled
boy rode the four miles to inform the men and boys working on
the ditch. Meantime the Indians seemed satisfied with the kindness
of the people and soon rode away. The Indians had just ridden
away as the men arrived. The settlers rejoiced and named the
event their "Buttermilk War".
the middle of June of 1861, a large band of Indians from Oregon,
more than a thousand in number, entered the valley and were
determined to clear the country of whites. The value of the
military organizations became evident, and the "Militia"
and "Minute Men" of each settlement were assembled
and were prepared for instant service at
any threatened point. Strong guards watched the herds by day
and the settlements by night. The minute men were ready for
service on a moments notice. A body of fifty selected men, under
the command of Major Ricks with George L. Farrell and J. H.
Martineau as aids, were stationed about a mile from the Indian
encampment to act as an observation corp. The Indians also sent
out spies to detect weak places for attack, but they found none
so they gave up and returned to Oregon. In spite of the vigilance
of the settlers, the Indians stole away many horses on that
the fall and early winter of 1862, large bands of Indians under
Chief Bear Hunter, Chief Sagwich and Chief Pocatello began to
assemble at their wintering grounds on Battle Creek approximately
twelve miles northwesterly of Franklin. The Indians, at this
time were especially burdensome to the white settlers of Franklin
because of their constant demands for food, and because of their
stealing and thievery.
not all that the Indians did around Franklin was bad, as evidenced
by the following account of a parent: "Our little girl,
Sarah, was bitten by a snake. In a short time her leg turned
dark, and although everything was done that could be done, she
kept getting worse. Then one day when grandmother and grandfather
had almost despaired for her life, an old Indian and his squaw
came to our door begging food. Seeing grandmother's distress,
the old Indian asked: "Papoose heap sick?". Grandmother
told him she was very sick, whereupon he examined her and then
said: "Me cure". A bargain was made and he proceeded
to doctor the child with plug tobacco, wild peppermint and paint.
Evidently the Indian believed that the sun had some supernatural
power, because he came every morning as the sun was half way
up and every evening when it was half way down. In a short time
the leg began getting better and continued until she was cured.
the most part, however, the Indians began getting more and more
troublesome, stealing everything they could get their hands
on, frightening the women and children, keeping everyone in
a state of fear and suspense. They would wait until the men
were at the fields, then they would come to the cabins, and
if the women would not give them everything they would ask for,
they would dance around them, yell and swing their tomahawks,
all the time getting closer and closer until the women would
fear they were going to be scalped".
Bear Hunter seemed to delight in getting involved with affairs
adverse to the white men. On September 28, 1862, some Indians
from the north ran off with thirty horses stolen in Logan. Volunteers
went after the horses and the Indians. Chief Bear Hunter sent
one of his braves to inform the Indian horse thieves, so that
they could get away. The volunteers overtook the Indians on
the Cub River near Franklin. It was a dark, cold, rainy
making it impossible to pursue them that night. The next morning
they resumed the pursuit, but the Indians had left during the
night. The pursuit lasted from Sunday until Tuesday. The volunteers
finally gave up the chase, and the Indians got away with eighteen
head of horses.
October 1, 1862, a band of Bannock Indians near the present
site of Soda Springs, were assembled planning a raid on Cache
Valley. The Cache Valley settlers became aware of their plans,
consequently, twenty-five "Minute Men" were assembled
and sent to Franklin. The Indians found this out and abandoned
the attack. The Indians would never attack unless the odds were
greatly in their favor.
with the hostile skirmishes and the related reports, and during
the winter of 1862-63, a band of Shoshone Indians, including
men, women and children, had established themselves for the
winter in a sheltered spot adjacent to Bear River, approximately
twelve miles northwesterly of Franklin. Apparently the military
attachment at Fort Douglas had been apprised of the presence
and location of the band of winterized Indians. Also, apparently,
the military concluded that the band represented the culprit
Indians who had committed the reported plunderings and massacres.
response to the request for help, Colonel Patrick E. Connor
lead a detachment of 300 California Volunteers, consisting of
infantry and cavalry troops, which arrived at the Indian encampment
the sub-zero morning of January 29, 1863. ( Justified or outrageous,
each person reading this account, must decide for himself),
nevertheless, a horrendous massacre followed, annihilating all
but a pitifully few of the some 300 encamped men, women and
children. A few of the Indians escaped by hiding or pretending
to be dead. Others swam down the frozen river. Twenty three
of the troops were also killed as the out-maneuvered Indians
attempted to defend themselves.
the fighting was over, men of Franklin used their teams and
sleighs to help remove the wounded Indians and soldiers from
the scene of carnage, including the few, surviving, innocent
women and children. Initially, they were taken to Franklin where
they were cared for until other arrangements could be made.
The settlers were deeply saddened by this tragedy, which turned
out to be the last major clash with the Indians in the mountain
west. Some of the orphaned children were taken into Franklin
homes and raised to adulthood.
is a more detailed account of the aggravating events preceding
the massacre summarized above).
the latter part of December 1862, a group of non-Mormon emigrants
and miners, including David Savage and William Bevins, had come
down from the Salmon River mining country of Leesburg for supplies
and cattle. There was a blinding snow storm and they missed
the Bear River crossing leading to Franklin. They continued
to follow Bear
about six miles further south to a spot approximately westerly
of Richmond, Utah. The snow storm cleared and they proceeded
to cross the Bear River to the east side. Indians from the Battle
Creek camp had followed them down the river and fired upon them
as they crossed the river. They killed one man, John H. Smith,
of Walla Walla and wounded many others.
The miners hid until dark and then went to Richmond and told
their story to the Mormon Bishop, Marriner W. Merrill who sent
a party to salvage the remaining supplies and retrieve Smith's
body. The rescuing party was also attacked by the Indians.
Williams Bevins arrived in Salt Lake City, he went before Chief
Justice Kinner, who made out warrants for the arrest of Chiefs
Bear Hunter, San Fitch and Sagwich. These warrants were given
to Marshal Isaac L. Gibbs, who called upon Colonel Patrick Connor
to provide military escort while he served the writs. Colonel
Connor was already preparing for an expedition into Cache Valley
to deal with Chief Bear Hunter and others, and invited Marshall
Gibbs to go along. Colonel Connor, however, had no intentions
of taking any prisoners. Colonel Connor's report to the War
Department clarifies his intentions.
have the honor to report to you that from information received
from various sources of the encampment of a large body of Indians
on the Bear River, 140 miles north of this point, who had murdered
several miners, during the winter, passing to and from the settlements
in this valley to the Bear River mines east of the Rocky Mountains.
And being satisfied that they were part of the same band who
had been murdering emigrants on the Overland Mail Route for
the last 15 years, and the principal actors and leaders in the
horrid massacre of the past summer. I determined, although the
season was unfavorable to military expedition in consequence
of cold weather and deep snow, to chastise them if possible".
NOTE: The officers at Camp Douglas were commissioned from the
many "California Volunteers" who had been detained
in Utah while on their way east to take part in the American
On Thursday, 22 January, 1863, Captain Samuel N. Hoyt, under
direction of Colonel Connor, started north from Fort Douglas
with forty men of Company "K", the third California
Infantry, two howitzers and a train of fifteen wagons loaded
with enough supplies for twelve days. The Indians learned of
this slow-moving group in advance and were expecting them.
On Sunday of 25 January, Colonel Connor with Companies "A",
"H", "K" and "M", Second California
Cavalry, along with Marshall Gibbs, left Salt Lake City.
Charles H. Hampstead described the march as follows:
who were there at that time or participated in the events encountered,
can well remember that fearful night march--(How can they forget?)
Clear and brilliant shone the stars upon the dreary, snow covered
earth, but bitter and intense was the cold. The shrill north
wind swept over the lakes and down the mountain sides freezing
with its cold breath every river and stream. The moistened breath,
freezing as it left the lips, hung in miniature icicles from
the beards of brave men. The foam from their steeds stood stark
and stiff upon each hair. Only continued motion made it possible
for them to endure the biting, freezing blast.
that long night the men rode on, facing the wintry wind, and
uncomplainingly endured an intensity of cold rarely, if ever,
before experienced, even in these mountain regions. Hour after
hour passed on dragging its slow length along, with not a word
save that of command at intervals to break the monotonous clamp,
clamp of the steeds and the clatter of sabers as they rattled
in their gleaming sheaths. As morning dawned, the troops, stiff
with cold, entered the little town of Box Elder (Brigham City,
Utah) The sufferings of that night march of 68 miles can never
be told in words. Many were frozen and necessarily left behind.
The troops, after a halt that day, again faced the severity
of winter in the mountains and pressed on--the infantry by day
and the cavalry by night, in order to deceive the wily, Indian
Tuesday, January 27, early in the morning, the cavalry caught
up with the infantry at Mendon. On that same day, in Franklin,
Chief Bear Hunter and some of his warriors came and demanded
wheat. The settlers maintained a "food bin" for the
Indians to draw on, to which all of the settlers contributed.
On this occasion, the Indians outnumbered the settlers and so
they would demand, haughtily, for their food. The settlers stacked
out 24 bushels of wheat for them, but it didn't satisfy them,
so they did a war dance around Bishop Preston Thomas' house.
next day, January 28, Chief Bear Hunter and three of his braves
went into Franklin again to demand more wheat. The three braves
went to Robert Hull's home with three pack horses and an order
from the Bishop for nine additional bushels of wheat. William
and Thomas Hull were sent to the granary to sack the wheat.
The Hull boys told the Indians that this grain had been saved
for spring planting. The Indians laughed. As they loaded the
pack horses, they saw Colonel Connor's infantry soldiers approaching
from the south. The Indians didn't seem to be frightened because
they already knew that the infantry was enroute. What they did
not know was that there was a large cavalry section following
the infantry. One of the settlers said to Chief Bear Hunter:
"Here come the "Toquashos" (soldiers) maybe Indians
will all be killed". The reply was: "May-be-so, Toquashos
get killed too". Ice and snow were everywhere, in fact
conditions for military
were so bad that when the Indians were told that they were going
to be attacked, they laughed and said: "No, too cold for
Indians left the settlement toward the north just as the infranty
entered from the south. The Indians were very sure of themselves
at this time, and felt that it wouldn't be too long until they
would have a few more scalps to carry around. On January 28
the cavalry caught up with the infantry at Franklin without
the Indians knowing of the, now combined forces of infantry,
a short rest at Franklin, the infantry on January 29, was again
on the march to the battle grounds. The infantry left Franklin
at three o'clock a.m. The cavalry followed at four o'clock a.m.
and passed the infantry, near where Preston, Idaho is now located.
They reached the east banks of the Bear River, near the Indian
encampment, as the dawn was breaking .
line of soldiers was stationed at intervals from the area of
the ensuing battle to Franklin. The soldiers, thus stationed,
would be able to relay urgent news to the Franklin settlers
should the Indians prevail in the battle. The anxious women
and children of Franklin could then be rushed to the more southerly
communities of Cache Valley for safety.
Indians had selected their encampment very well. The natural
topographic features, including a natural hot spring, provided
some protection from the winter cold storms and from possible
military intrusion. In addition to the natural, protective topography,
the Indians had woven twigs and willows together for camouflage
and protection. They left openings in the camouflage curtains
for sighting and shooting. Forked sticks served as gun rests.
Colonel Connor directed his infantry and cavalry forces to essentially
surround the Indian encampment, the Indians came forth waving
their previously "lifted" scalps crying obscenities
at the soldiers. Chief Bear Hunter was swinging his buffalo
robe in the air shouting, "Come on you California sons-of-bitches,
we're ready for you".
cavalry crossed the river with much difficulty, due to floating
ice. Icy water splashed over the saddle seats, and sometimes
the horses lost their footings and carried the riders downstream
with them. After they crossed, each company of men dismounted
and every fourth man was detailed to hold horses, and a line
of skirmish was formed and the attack commenced. The Indians
responded with fire, wounding one volunteer before all had dismounted.
The company commander, Major McCarry, attacked from the front.
The fire from the Indians was very successful. Many soldiers
fell dead or wounded. Lieutenant Chase, mounted on a horse,
with many attractive trappings, drew much fire, probably because
the Indians wanted the trappings, or perhaps they thought he
was Colonel Connor, or both.
Chase was wounded in the wrist and a few minutes later was shot
in the lung, but kept in his saddle, urging his men to fight
on. He finally reported himself to Colonel Connor as mortally
wounded and asked to retire. Captain McLean was wounded in the
hand, but kept on until stopped by a debilitating thigh wound.
about twenty minutes of fighting, the soldiers had been repulsed
three times. The strategy was revised and the attack resumed.
Colonel Connor then made his infamous remark, when asked what
should be done with the squaws and children, "Kill everything,
Nits make Lice".
must be remembered that the Indian women fought as desperately
as the men, and all fought like tigers. It is reported that
a young drummer boy fell wounded, and as he lay in the snow,
two Indian lads ran out with their knives and attempted to cut
his throat and might have succeeded, had not Colonel Connor,
Indians were finally driven into the central and lower portion
of the ravine. The soldiers had been divided such as to attack
from three directions which subdued the Indians, and they had
to make a break through one of the three forces. A wild yell
from the downstream soldiers let the others know that the Indians
were breaking in their direction. Colonel Connor sent a detachment
of cavalry charging to cut off the escape route. The Indians
were now completely surrounded and hand-to-hand fighting ensued.
battle continued for about four hours, from six o'clock a.m.
until ten o'clock a.m. After a few of the Indians had escaped,
the remaining survivors sought hiding in the willows along the
streams, but were soon dislodged. Many were shot while they
attempted to swim the river. Chief Bear Hunter and Chief Lehi
(Leight) were killed. At first it was thought that Chief Sagwich
had also been killed, but later reports tell that he ran down
the ravine, fell into the river and floated down under some
brush, hiding until night. At night he came back to the battle
ground with some other surviving warriors, and took two abandoned
military horses and rode off toward the north. The son of Chief
Sagwich, during the battle, ran to the river and fell in as
though he were shot. He floated down stream with the ice, being
shot at several times. He was wounded in the thumb. He swam
to some bushes near one of the "hot springs" and there
remained until he could escape. Later in his life he was interviewed
at his home in Washakie, and was reported to have said that
about twenty two of the young bucks had escaped in various ways.
He also revealed that the Indians had planned on raiding the
white settlement of Franklin in the spring of 1863.
Connor's count of the Indian dead revealed 224 bodies on the
battle field and 48 more at a curve on the river for a total
of 272. Other estimates range from 368 to 400. Of the soldiers,
fourteen were killed, four officers and forty nine men were
wounded, of whom one officer and eight men died later. Seventy
nine were disabled by freezing.
herd of about 100 Indian horses entering the Franklin settlement
was the first evidence of the returning men. Then arrived Colonel
Connor in a buggy, accompanied by the renowned Porter Rockwell,
who had been his guide. Soon after appeared Major McMurry at
the head of the cavalry. The infantry followed, mounted on Indian
ponies they had salvaged.
was completed one of the saddest yet most successful expeditions
of the west against hostile Indians. The battle causalities
on each side were the greatest of any engagement fought in the
Washington Territory between the whites and the Indians. The
emigrant route, in the general vicinity, was made comparatively
safe, and Cache Valley, except for rare occasions, was essentially
free of Indian intrusions.
such rare occasion, however, occurred in May of 1863, just five
months after the tragic battle. Andrew Morrison and William
Howell were returning from Maple Creek canyon with two wagons
loaded with firewood. A lone Indian approached them and tried
to converse with them. Morrison could speak the Indian language.
Howell wanted Morrison to run while there was but one Indian
present, but Morrison said he would not run from an Indian.
Soon another Indian appeared from the brush.
finding that the men were not armed, the Indians gave a war
whoop and were joined by two more Indians. Morrison tried to
reason with them, but they were angry and said because the white
men had killed Indians at Battle Creek, they were going to kill
every white man they could. Morrison offered to give them his
horses if they would go away, but they wanted scalps. As a delay
tactic, Morrison and Howell invited them to ride toward town
with them. The Indians accepted and climbed up on the load of
wood. They had gone but a short distance when Howell's team
became mired down in a boggy, stream bed. While the two men
were struggling to get the team out of the mire, the Indians
caught them off guard and shot at them with arrows. Mr. Morrison
was hit with an arrow just under his left collar bone. A short
moment later, another arrow penetrated his body just below his
heart. As he was hit by the second arrow, he shouted for Howell
to run, for there was no need for both to be killed. Howell
ran and made good his escape running all the way into town to
give the alarm. Morrison pulled both arrow shafts out, but the
spikes broke off and remained in his flesh. The Indians left
with both teams of horses. A posse of men rushed to the canyon
to retrieve Morrison's body, but they found him alive. Efforts
to apprehend the Indians failed.
an effort to save Mr. Morrison's life, Samuel Parkinson drove
a team of mules and wagon to Salt Lake City to obtain a competent
doctor. He brought back with him a Mr. Anderson. It was a round
trip of 220 miles in 48 hours. The doctor found the arrow head
so close to Morrison's heart that he could not extract it. He
filled the wound with cotton leaving a three inch incision open.
The doctor gave no encouragement regarding Morrison's life.
The wounded Mr. Morrison, however, survived and carried the
arrow head in his body until he died 27 years later.
Chief Bear Hunter, when threatening Franklin on January 28,
1862, had become aware of the large contingency of cavalry following
the infantry, it is quite probable that he would have scattered
his camp, before the soldiers could have arrived to wage the
assault on his people.
1864, Chief Washakie, a more friendly Indian, with about a thousand
of his people, camped in the river bottoms near Franklin. This
band of Indians were just returning from
a battle with other Indians on the Platte River in Wyoming,
and were enroute to Bear Lake on a migrating and hunting trip.
few of the young warriors came into town. Some of the Franklin
settlers sold some "Fire Water" to some of the young
bucks. This, of course, was asking for trouble. About four o'clock
p.m. the bucks became drunk, and provided a wild demonstration
of riding up and down the streets through the town. One of the
Indians began breaking the windows from the home of Mr. and
Mrs. George Alder. (Some of the settlers, at this time, had
begun moving out of the fort). Mr. Alder was away from home,
so Mary Ann Alder, his wife, came out to stop the destruction.
The Indian, indignant about the whole affair, began to whip
Mrs. Alder with a willow stake. Every time she would try to
get up, he would hit her again. This not satisfying his drunken
state, he attemped to trample her with his horse's hoofs.
screamed for help, and a group of men, some of which were John
Doney, Edward Kingsford, Samuel Handy and Ben Chadwick, who
were threshing grain in a nearby field, came running to her
rescue. They were held off , momentarily by the Indian as he
brandished his club. As the men rushed from the fields, they
brought their farm implements with them including a rake, pitch
fork and a knife. Ben Chadwick ran at the Indian with his knife,
after the Indian had knocked Ben's father down with the club.
Mr. Handy arrived with a pistol and the men shouted for him
to shoot! shoot! shoot him! Mr. Handy hesitated, so Ben Chadwick
grabbed the pistol and shot the Indian through the neck, and
he dropped from his horse to the ground. Ben's father urged
Ben to leave town for safety reasons, so he took William Davis'
horse and rode to John Lard's home on High Creek. He disguised
himself by cutting his long hair and shaving off his beard.
He changed horses and rode back to Franklin about 12 o'clock
that night accompanied by some Minute Men.
Indians, of course, were outraged and began their war dances
in preparation to invade the settlement. Riders sped off in
all directions to alert the Minute Men of the neighboring settlements.
The Minute Men assembled in Franklin as soon a possible. What
a sight!! Fathers, cousins, uncles, brothers all leaving to
go to Franklin. The next morning, when the Indians came into
town, they were aghast to find 400 men on the town square. They
had come from Mapleton, Richmond, Smithfield, Wellsville and
elsewhere to quell the expected uprising.
after considerable peace talks, the Indians were not satisfied
and demanded retribution, a portion of which was the surrender
of Ben Chadwick to them. A certain faction of the community
was in favor of doing so, and met with Bishop Hatch to express
their feelings. John Corbridge was strictly opposed to surrendering
Ben to the Indians, and emphatically stated: "No, I will
fight to my knees in blood, before I would give up a man that
saved the life of one of our women!!"
intensity of the issue continued to rage which prompted the
intervention of Bishop Peter Maughn and Ezra Taft Benson, who
were the presiding authorities of the LDS
church for all of Cache Valley. A meeting was subsequently called
which was held in the Franklin bowery. Chief Washakie and some
of his braves were called to attend, and the Indians were given
seats in the front.
Maughn was presiding and asked Chief Washakie: "What would
you do if our men should go to your camp and start whipping
and killing one of your women?" Washakie answered: "We
kill him". Bishop Maughn then responded: "That is
exactly what we have done". Chief Washakie then addressed
the congregation: "Until the white man come there was no
fire water, and the Indian was sober. Your people sold fire
water to my people and made my warrior loco (crazy). If my people
had sold fire water to your braves and made them drunken, how
would you feel about it? Would you like to see him shot down
like a dog because he had made a fool of himself? Will the white
father put himself in Washakie's place?
Maughn continued comments made toward the white attendees regarding
the surrender of Ben Chadwick to the Indians: "Talk about
giving a man up that would save a woman's life! If you want
to give anyone up to the Indians, give the ones up who sold
the liquor to them. In this speech Bishop Maughn had agreed,
to a certain extent, with Washakie.
a while the Indians agreed to peace. They were given flour and
cheese and other foods plus two yokes of oxen, each yoke from
the men (reputed to be S. R. Parkinson and N. W. Packer) who
had sold the liquor to the Indians.
BACK TO THE BEAR RIVER BATTLE
the battle, the troops crossed to the south side of the river
and made camp for the night. Porter Rockwell, famed Mormon scout
and guide, was sent to Franklin to engage teams and wagons to
haul the dead and wounded back to Camp Douglas. The citizens
of Franklin made temporary preparations for the soldiers returning
from the battle by arranging warmth and places for them to sleep.
Straw was strewn on the meeting house floor, beds were made
and fires were built.
surviving Indian boys were given good homes. One of them was
called "Shem" and lived in the home of William Nelson
for two years, after which he went to live with the Samuel R.
Parkinson family. Shem died when he was 25 years old. Bishop
Hatch adopted the other boy. Mary Benson Hull nursed a little
girl back to health. They named her "Jannie" and she
was considered a member of the Hull family. Jannie grew up,
married a white man from Ogden and raised a fine family of boys
the absorbing shock of the tragic battle subsided, the enterprising
settlers established mills and trading centers to provide much
of the local needs of the isolated populous. The urgent, domestic
needs became the mother of innovation resulting in many of Idaho's
"firsts", including a saw mill, grist mill, woolen
mill, creamery and department store. Other firsts included the
telegraph, railroad and telephone.
December of 1868, the Deseret Telegraph lines, which connected
the settlements in Utah, were extended to Franklin. It was first
installed in the southeast corner of the Franklin Mercantile
Cooperative Store (now a prized artifact of Franklin's honored
past). It was from this location that a telegram announced to
the world that the Sioux Indian warriors had defeated and massacred
General Custer and his troops at the Battle of the Little Big
Horn in Montana, on June 25, 1876. At that time the nearest
telegraph lines were in Bozeman, Montana, some 150 miles from
the battlefield, and it was to Bozeman that the dispatch riders
first brought their news.
fate would have it, the temperamental telegraph equipment at
Bozeman was malfunctioning. Consequently, the message was, of
necessity, sent by stagecoach to Eagle Rock (now Idaho Falls,
Idaho). Again the telegraph equipment at Eagle Rock was also
malfunctioning, and the stage must hasten all the way to Franklin
before the driver could deliver the dispatches into the hands
of a telegrapher whose transmitting key was operable.
The young, Franklin operator was Hezekiah Eastman Hatch who
was somewhat inexperienced and, admittedly, slow with the telegraph
key. He did, however, dutifully and laboriously tap out the
very long and detailed dispatch to Salt Lake City. Finally after
five hours of work, Hatch ended the message stating: "that
is all", to which the Salt Lake receiver replied "Thank
two years prior to the Big Horn episode, the Utah and Northern
railroad had been extended northerly from Ogden, Utah. On May
2, 1874 the first train (a freighter) to enter Idaho territory,
arrived triumphantly in Franklin. For two years Franklin was
the railroad's most northerly terminal and, consequently, experienced
bustling prosperity. At one time there were over 200 wagoneer
freighters transporting goods from the Franklin railroad terminal
into Montana and points north. As the railroad extended northerly,
each subsequent terminal generated spontaneous community growth,
excitement and a fleeting turn for prosperity.
in Franklin gradually became less difficult and less stressful
as modern conveniences were invented and found their way into
the outlying communities. Now the people had more time to devote
to social issues and personal talents. Stage plays were frequent
and orchestras and bands became popular and numerous. Talents
and competition were exchanged between the small communities.
Times were, for the most part, safe and tranquil-----For example:
a person of questionable qualifications would come into town
and make a nuisance of himself. Jake Skinner was such a person.
He had, in sequence, proposed
marriage to Mary Chadwick, Martha Thomas, Eliza Packer, Hanna
Huff and Till Paton. These young women compared proposals and
insults and decided to teach him a lesson. They caught and bound
him securely to a post in the center of the, by now partially
abandoned fort, and gave him a good whipping with a strap. This
happened in the evening. Some boys later came along and untied
him a few hours later. He left town the next day.
man by the name of Jake Broom, who drank heavily, had introduced
card games among the boys of the community. Whenever a group
of girls would catch the boys playing cards, they would gather
up dead chickens or fill bags with chicken feathers and stealthily
climb on the roof of the house in which the boys were playing.
They would then silently drop their collected trophies down
the chimney into the flaming fire place. The odorous result
would immediately stop the card games. The boys would then give
chase to the "provocative" girls.
time went by, along came the automobile, motorcycles, movies,
school buses, electricity, indoor plumbing, central heating,
airplanes, television, rockets, satellites, cell phones, computers,
GPS--etc--etc for which we gratfully accept, and which must
surely stir the spirits of our honored, pioneer ancestors. God
bless their enduring, wonderful souls!!
Summary prepared by Eldon T. Bennett