April 4, 2006

Nevada's Online State News Journal     

 

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Nevada History:
 

[This work is taken from a manuscript written by the publisher of The Nevada Observer in 1979-1980 and converted to digital form; Copyright © 2006 David Thompson]

 EARLY GOVERNMENTS IN NEVADA

 

Chapter II.

Carson County, Utah Territory.

Part One: Carson County

            When the officials of Utah Territory at Salt Lake City decided to send a party to organize Carson County in Western Utah, the residents of Carson Valley were not all grateful.

            A number of the inhabitants of Carson Valley wanted their lands to be brought under the jurisdiction of the State of California, rather than be administered by the authorities of Utah Territory. An editorial printed in the Sacramento Union, November eighth, 1854, stated part of the argument:

            The population in the valley reaches to about 800 persons, enough to organize a considerable political community. As now situated they are outside of all regularly administered government or law; necessity forces them to frame and administer their own code of laws.

            In the great divisions of the western side of the continent, they are territorially located in Utah Territory, but so far from the seat of government, as to render it next to impossible to have any direct intercourse with the Territorial Government of Utah. But they are within three days travel of the capital of this State. Our laws and customs are adapted to their wants, tastes and habits, and hence their desire to become a portion of the State of California. It is a connection natural as well as desirable on the part of the people of Carson Valley. They will send an agent to present to the Legislature of California a memorial upon the subject of annexation to the State. It will, they conceive, be advisable to obtain the consent of this State before applying to Congress for the passage of a law changing the line of the State so as to include all Carson Valley west of the Desert. The line on the south would probably strike the present State line near the southeast corner of Calaveras county, and run so as to include Walker's Lake.[1]

            According to Otis Sullivan, a Sacramento resident who passed through Western Utah in October and early November, 1854, there was a considerable sentiment in Carson Valley for annexation to California, and Dr. Charles Daggett had been empowered by those favoring annexation to present a petition on the subject to the California State Legislature:

            The citizens grievously complain of the expenses which must be incurred by carrying to Salt Lake City their unsettled legal disputes, in truth, say they, the amount involved in ninety-nine cases out of a hundred is less than the sum lost in carrying their causes to the Mormon tribunal. There are between seven and eight hundred persons in the Valley; three saw and grist-mills, either built or in process of erection, and forty thousand head of stock wintering there.

            There are about fifty men mining on the Southeast Branch of Carson River, with good prospects, the dirt paying from the surface to six inches below in some instances fifteen cents to the pan.[2]

            Although there is no mention of it in the First Records of Carson Valley, there was a meeting of the residents of the Valley on December third, 1854 "to determine whether to organize a kind of independent government, or remain as they are until they could be connected with California."[3] In a letter to the Sacramento Union; Carson Valley resident Thomas Knott wrote that "those present decided unanimously to remain for the present as they were."[4]

            Shortly after writing this letter, Knott and two other men crossed the Sierra Nevada to Placerville.[5] Knott carried memorials to the U.S. Congress and the California State Legislature, "signed by nearly all the inhabitants of the Valley, asking that immediate action be taken to place the valley definitely within the limits of the State of California."[6]

            At the same time, the settlers of Carson Valley were not unanimous in favoring annexation to the State of California. Another group welcomed the anticipated extension of Utah's authority over Carson Valley and vicinity, and had even prepared for it, as this article from the Deseret News indicates:

            The Legislative Assembly of 1853-4 passed an act[7] defining the boundaries of Carson County and providing for the organization thereof, and gave it the following boundaries: 'North by Desert county, east by the parallel of longitude 118 degrees, south by the boundary line of this Territory, and west by California.' The Assembly which adjourned on the 19th ult., apportioned one Representative to that county; reorganized the Judicial Districts, making Carson county the third; assigned the Hon. Geo. P. Stiles Associate Justice to that district, and elected Hon. Orson Hyde Probate Judge of the county; both of whom will proceed; at an early date, to personally and efficiently aid the inhabitants of that portion of our Territory with their skill and wisdom. We publish the foregoing, that the people of Carson county may be apprised that the Legislature of Utah have not been unmindful of their situation, and have legislated with a view to promote their welfare as speedily as the number of the population seemed to warrant. The California mail of the 27th ult.[8] brought the return of a provisional election in Carson county, and a petition signed by William B. Thorington and nine other residents, to the House of Representatives, asking for the organization of that county, and the sanction of their election.

            These petitioners will at once perceive that their papers did not arrive until the Assembly had adjourned, but will doubtless be pleased to learn that their desires had been complied with, so far as lay in the power of any authorities in Utah. In regard to their petition for an Indian Agent, it is obvious to all who know the facts in the case, that no place in Utah, even if at any other point in the States, needs an Agent more than that region. Still, as the Indian Department have often been applied to from this quarter for the appointment of Agents and Sub-Agents, and all without any attention being paid to our wishes, it will doubtless be best for the people of Carson to directly petition the Department, and perhaps their request will be attended to. In the meantime we congratulate the settlers in our western borders upon the energy they evince in their movements for organized civilization, and are pleased in being able to assure them of the hearty co-operation of their eastern brethren, in every laudable and beneficial effort for their best interests.

            It may be possible now to induce the Post Office Department to put mail service on the line between this city and California, by way of Carson Valley, since without it, one portion of our inhabitants are, in a manner, isolated from the balance.[9]

            The party to organize Carson County consisted of Hon. George P. Stiles, Hon. Orson Hyde, and Joseph L. Haywood (also spelled Heywood), the United States Marshal for the Territory of Utah, as well as their entourage.[10] This group left Salt Lake City for Carson Valley on the seventeenth of May, 1851.[11]  They arrived in Western Utah at the same time as a pestilential overpopulation of locusts, which ate up much of that year's crop.[12] When the officials from Utah took up their duties, they found no shortage of challenges to meet.

            Some of the Carson Valley settlers distrusted agents of the Salt Lake government through the eighteen-fifties, based upon the reputation Territorial officers had for an unequal enforcement of the law.[13] Also, many people believed that the government at Salt Lake was a mere creature of the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints, or Mormons.[14] In the summer of 1855 Joseph S. Montgomery, a California rancher, visited Carson Valley and noticed signs of social division:

            Considerable animosity existed between the American settlers and the Mormons. The Mormons, last season, repaired two or three bridges, and the roads leading to them expending thereon about $800. It was understood that a small nominal toll was to be levied for a short time to meet this outlay, and then again thrown open. $20,000 have already been collected, yet the Mormons still continue their toll.

            It is too rich a mine for them to give up quietly. The majority of the inhabitants are much enraged at the imposition, as the excessive tax imposed has a tendency to turn aside the emigration, and thereby injure the general property of the Valley. A public meeting[15] has been held and resolutions passed, to protect the emigration from the imposition, and allow them to travel free of toll. It was under such circumstances that our informant ("Montgomery) crossed with his cattle. The Mormons threatened to follow, and sue him in California for trespass.

            The entire present population, with the exception of some three or four families, were anxious that the Valley, if such is not the case, should come under California jurisdiction, Brigham Young, however, is determined that such shall not be the case, and has already dispatched about one hundred families, who are now en route for the Valley, and says if it is necessary he will send five hundred more in the fall, rather than to allow annexation to take place. The Legislature was grievously at fault, last winter, in not taking some steps to secure this valuable territory to the State of California. Its accomplishment now will be a matter of great difficulty, if not of utter impossibility.[16]

            The delegation from Utah arrived in Carson Valley on the fifteenth of June, 1855, and settled in at Mormon Station.[17] They stayed there about nine days and then traveled on to Placerville, spending some time in California before returning to Carson Valley.[18]

            On June twenty-third, 1855 Orson Hyde sent a party of seven men to explore the Walker River area, "for the purpose of establishing a settlement in it in the event of a favorable report being returned of the country."[19] The results of this expedition were something of a disappointment, but it hints at the early plans of Hyde to develop Carson County.[20]

            Under the authority vested in him as Probate Judge of Carson County, Hyde called for an election of officers, to be held September twentieth; 1855.[21] In the meantime, Judge George P. Stiles opened the first session of the U.S. District Court in Carson County on September third.[22] Orson Hyde, himself the County probate judge, served the federal court as its clerk.[23] Because of uncertainty over the exact location of the boundary with California, Judge Stiles held court at Silver Creek, fifteen miles below Mormon Station.[24] Judge Stiles appointed L.A. Norton as District Attorney of Carson County; and provided that persons desiring to practice law in the Territory must show credentials of good moral character and sufficient legal ability.[25] Anxious to return to Salt Lake City before winter, Judge Stiles then left Carson Valley.[26]

            Judge Hyde's call for an election in Carson Valley took some of the residents by surprise, who had not anticipated that the organization of Carson County would take place so rapidly.[27] In a letter written after the election to the Placerville American, Orson Hyde reviewed his handiwork:

            As I informed you before our election went off on the 20th inst. in a very lively and harmonious manner. J.C. Fain, Esq., was duly elected Sheriff of the county -- a man deservedly, I believe, in high repute. Wm. P. Allen, James McMarlin and H.D. Sears, Selectmen or County Commissioners, who, I believe; are well qualified for the office. H.W. Niles is County Surveyor, G.W. Tyler, Recorder, and R.D. Sides, Treasurer. H. Van Sickle is Magistrate in the Upper Precinct, and H.N. Hodge, Constable. N. Winters is Magistrate at Gold Cañon Precinct, and. James Williams, Constable. These officers have mostly filed their bonds and taken the oath of office. The balance will do so when they come over the mountains from your side, wither they are gone on business. These men, I am sure, will all take pride in discharging their official duties -- in fostering and encouraging this new county -- in promoting good and in suppressing evil. And very soon I hope your already fine markets may be enriched by the beef, butter and cheese of Carson county.[28]

            Hyde went on to say that Enoch Reese, Esq. had been elected to the Territorial Legislature as the Carson County Representatives and would work to get appropriations for a trans-Sierran wagon road.[29] The Carson County Probate Judge then remarked upon the accomplishments of the new administration to Norton; who had only that month been appointed Carson County District Attorney:

            Our county is new organized, and our courts ready for business. But there is not a lawyer in the district; nor a case on the docket. If there are any suits to be brought, I think the people must be waiting for you to come and commence and carry them on. Your first appearance before the United States Court here, won for you the confidence of the citizens, the esteem of the court, and good will of its officers, and I think that no attorneys would stand a better chance for business here than yourself. We should all be pleased to see you; yet I cannot promise what amount of business would be done if you were here. The feelings of the people do not seem quite so litigant as when I last saw you.

            The Legislature gave me power to locate the county seat of this county; but knowing that there was a difference in the minds of the people about it, I concluded to submit the question to the vote of the people, which was done at the election. Mormon Station received the highest number of votes -- just as many as four other places all put together -- and it was a matter of no particular choice with me, I located it where the vote of the people placed it. It is the most natural centre.

            The place is named "GENOA", after the birth place of Columbus, the pioneer across the stormy deep, and discoverer of a country in which Heaven designed that man should worship his maker according to the dictates of his own conscience.[30]

            Orson Hyde apparently spent a great deal: of the summer of 1855 on the survey fixing the boundary between Utah Territory and California.[31] The survey originated with the California authorities, who were interested in developing and improving wagon roads over the Sierra Nevada.[32] The survey party was also instructed to submit their findings on the probable location of the western boundary of California, as part of the same effort.[33]   After his arrival in Carson Valley, Orson Hyde joined in the survey activities, described in a letter to the Deseret News:

            For the last two and a half months, I have been climbing and scrambling about in the Sierra Nevada mountains, more or less, to find the line between the two counties. I look about as much like a grizzly as like a white man -- fat, rugged and saucy. We have called sun, moon and stars to our aid, and invited them to throw a friendly ray upon the angle, base and summit of our operations. But owing to the extreme hight [sic] and ruggedness of the mountains, I think we have to run it down, tree it or hole it, before we can really lay our hands upon the imaginary thing. [34]

            Orson Hyde was not favorably impressed with the location of the boundary line, fixed by the Constitution of the State of California since 1850:

            Why could not congress have acknowledged the natural boundary which Nature's God has ordained and thrown up to meet the gaze of every eye, scientific or not? I mean the principal range of the Sierra Nevada mountains, instead of the 120th degree of west longitude, where the thirty-ninth parallel of north latitude intersects it. Mercy! this angle drops right into Bigler Lake[35], and a salmon might swallow it, or might not. From this angle the line shoots off in a tangent to the southeast, just as some pious folks do when we tell them that Abraham, David and Solomon had more than one wife; and that polygamy[36] is just as scriptural now as it was then. Why, if we find this line, we cannot see it. Hunting after a salem nothing. It is like the idiot god, "neither body, parts nor passion."

            California is already to [sic] large for a prosperous State, and has too many conflicting interests. If she attempt [sic] to enlarge, the south end will drop off; and even if she do not enlarge the south half will be apt to split off, unless they handle her very carefully.

            Friend Carrington[37], who is to pay me and my friends from Utah, for running up and down these mountains after this line? The legislature has made me probate judge in this county, and as I am within the limits of my jurisdiction, none can object to the ruling of the court touching a matter of right and equity.[38]

            If Judge Hyde was disgruntled about the location of the California State line, at least Carson Valley, "the cream of the Territory"[39], fell within Western Utah's portion; a fact that Hyde noted in his letter of September twenty-seventh, 1855 to L.A. Norton:

            The line of the main angle passes over the summit nearly opposite Mr. Mott's house; thence along the base of the mountain as far as Mr. Thorrington's [sic], or "Lucky Bill's," (as he is often called;) crossing the road leading to Mr. Cary's mill, about three-fourths of a mile south of "Lucky Bill's," leaving the entire valley within the Territory of Utah, with the exception of Mr. Cary's, and a few miles of narrow desert on the river. When the line was thus determined, the citizens almost universally expressed their hearty acquiescence and cordial satisfaction that the long sought line was found, and that they were in Utah, thinking that their lands will become more valuable than they would if they had fallen on the California side. Time must determine, however, the correctness of their views.[40]

            Judge Hyde opened the first session of the Carson County Court on the third of October, 1855.[41] The first case was James McIntyre v. Asa A. Knouse, an action upon a debt for debit and damages, in which Hyde ruled in favor of Knouse, the defendant.[42]

            A month later, Judge Hyde's Court got its first criminal case, described in Angel's History of Nevada:

            On the second of November; 1855, this Court exercised its criminal jurisdiction for the first time in the case of a negro named Thacker, who was brought before Hyde, as Probate Judge, "for using language of a highly threatening character," he; Thacker, having said "That he had spite enough in his heart against A.J. Wyckoff to kill him," and "that he could cut the heart out of Mrs. Jacob Rose and roast it on the coals."

            This inhuman wretch was dealt with in the rigorous manner following, as shown by the "docket." To protect the life of Thacker being taken on the spot, the Judge ordered his arrest, and although the language was proven to have been uttered by the accused; yet the Judge held that it was no threat; but nevertheless summed up by taxing Thacker with fifty dollars, for costs of suit, and advising him, "for his own safety," to go over the mountains to his master, in California.

            The Court records the remark that "A man may have malice enough at heart to kill another, and judgment and discretion to prevent him from committing the deed; he may have the ability to cut a lady's heart out and roast it upon the coals, and at the same time he may have good sense enough not to do it."[43]

            Some charges in the County administration took place during this session of the Probate Court. L.A. Norton resigned as Carson County's prosecuting attorney, and Dr. Charles D. Daggett -- Norton's replacement -- filed bonds for one thousand dollars on November twenty-fourth, 1855.[44] Dr. Daggett was also appointed Assessor and Collector for Carson County December third, 1855.[45] That same day the Court appointed James McMarlin Justice of the Peace in Gold Cañon, while Nicholas "Dutch Nick" Ambrosia was also made a Justice of the Peace.[46] During this session of the Probate Court, Henry W. Niles served as Court Clerk and as the acting County Clerk.[47]

            After closing out the activities of the County Court, Orson Hyde had a chilling adventure on the summit of the Sierra Nevada mountains, which inconvenienced him for some time:

            About the last of December [1855], Elder Orson Hyde; of the Mormon sect, together with a man named Willis, started to cross the mountains on horseback. They had proceeded as far as the second summit, when the snow got so deep that Willis took the horses and returned. Elder Hyde started to come through on foot, and had reached a point within three miles of Slippery Ford, when he retraced his steps; but before he arrived at Carson Valley, had both of his feet frozen.

            Meantime, Willis and the two horses have not been heard of, and it is naturally supposed that he became bewildered, benumbed; and finally frozen to death.[48]

            While Judge Hyde was recovering at Genoa, citizens arrested two men at Eagle Ranch.[49] The pair were accused of stealing seventy-five dollars from one of the proprietors of the station, Mark Stebbins.[50] According to John A. "Snowshoe" Thompson, the mountain expressman, "They were tried before the people's court, but as the proof did not conclusively show who were the guilty parties, they both escaped punishment."[51]  But not for long, as the mountain expressman noted on his next trek from Carson Valley to Placerville and Sacramento, to the editor of the Sacramento Union:

            One of the men charged with stealing seventy-five dollars, and which theft was reported to us by Mr. Thompson on his last trip, was cleared by the people's jury. He has since, however, been re-arrested by the authorities, convicted and sentenced to six month's labor, with ball and chain as his companions. His labor for that time was sold at auction for twelve dollars a month.[52]

            The Carson County Assessor and Collector, Dr. Charles Daggett, passed the winter preparing his assessment of property values in Carson Valley, while the second session of the County Probate Court was occupied in fixing the rate of taxation.[53]    Following this session of Court, Judge Hyde and a party of six men headed north along the base of the Sierra Nevada mountains, prospecting for fish and arable land. Hyde returned from this expedition in late March, 1856, apparently satisfied with his labors.[54]

            Judge Hyde appears to have held another session of the Probate Court in May, 1856, in which the Judge made some changes in the County officers. At that time he appointed Russell Kelley as Carson County Sheriff, in place of the resigned James C. Fain. Henry W. Niles, the County Surveyor, had also resigned, and Judge Hyde appointed himself in Niles' stead. Hyde also appointed Daniel Woodford as Constable, replacing H.M. Hodges.[55]

Part Two: LDS Church Settlements in Carson Valley.

            The officials of the Church of the Latter Day Saints had planned to settle Carson Valley with Church members for some time, but Orson Hyde wished to attract pioneers of a special sort. In an undated letter published March twenty-second, 1856, in the Western Standard of San Francisco, Judge Hyde sent out the call:

            It is expected there will be something of an emigration this spring from Salt Lake to this place, or to this western part of Utah; and if our friends in California are disposed to come over and aid us to build mills, make farms, raise wheat and other grains; vegetables, stock &c., their co-operation is respectfully and cordially solicited. A few good thorough-going business men with some capital, could be of great advantage to this part of the country, and no less so to themselves. If they wish to do good, there is new here a fine chance for them to put their "talent to usury." They are invited and requested to come, even as many as Trish, according to the advice and counsel of br. Parley P. Pratt last year. Such as prefer not to come, we will not urge. Yet such as esteem it both a pleasure and a duty they owe to themselves -- to their friends, -- to their religion and their God, are desired to come and join us in making the wilderness and solitary places glad; and to create around us, from the elements, comfort, happiness and good-will. We want schools, meetings and lectures, -- the means of morals and intellectual improvement. In short we want to serve our God and "speak often one to another," and spend not the strength and vigor of our days in pursuits that add little to our earthly prosperity or happiness, and that will not secure to us a staff to lean upon while passing through the dark valley and shadow of death. It is not good to spend too much labor for that which is not bread, nor too much money for that which satisfieth not. A portion of gold is very good, because our tradition, education and jaws have attached a certain value to it which enables us to exchange it for such things as we really need, and such as will do us good; Yet "that head of gold" was first to crumble. Ancient Babylon, with all its greatness, exists now only on the pages of history. The desire for gold has often led to many a fatal snare, and cankered many an otherwise, noble spirit; and after all, perhaps they have not obtained it: or if they have, they have not always been able to keep it, and have found themselves forsaken by the god of this world; and what is more to be regretted, forsaken by the God of the world to come. Then, to soothe sorrow and disappointment, comes the dram; next gambling, with all its shady branches, to retrieve a lost fortune. Than the last lingering ray of virtue is basely exchanged for a free and full indulgence in the lowest vices. Then the revolver and bowie knife; and the preparation and outfit for Beelzebub's kingdom are about completed. The bullet, the prison or the gallows come to aid and facilitate the exit. This is a dark and painful picture: yet too true of many who were tired and offended with the service of God and their brethren, and they sought relief in laying up treasures of the earth only. But time and the demon of war are on the wing, nor wait to consult the convenience of any. Some may say, however, "Go thy way for this time, and at a more convenient season I will call for thee." But, beware! lest the Lord answer: "Ephraim is joined to his idols; let him alone." Though the gold of these mountains and plains should lie in its native bed until the elements melt with fervent heat, no real Latter-Day Saint will be the poorer for it if he does his duty to his God, nor yet the richer by disturbing it.

            Bring with you all useful kinds of seeds adapted to the growth of the climate; especially the seeds of righteousness, life and salvation. The latter have not been very extensively tested in this soil; yet with proper care and cultivation, we think they may take root and produce a plentiful harvest.

            We want the irons, stones and entire materials for a good Grist and Saw-mill. We also want several heavy breaking ploughs, also common ones for broke land. We want axes and helves, (broad and narrow,) also spades, shovels, hand, cross cut and mill saws and files. Joiners' tools, Carpenters' and Cabinet makers' tools also. A good turning lathe and accompaniments. Scythes and sneaths, cradles for the harvest fields, rakes, pitchforks; cows, oxen, horses and mules. Come over and help us. Though our land be not quite so warm and good as in California, there are no Mexican claims upon it to harrass and torment. Bread shall be given you if you will work for it, and your water shall be sure, and of the best kind, as cold as you like; for we can show you frost here every month in the year. But this is only a "lion in the way" of such as prefer warm climates.[56]

            Judge Hyde repeated the call in a letter dated March twenty-third, 1856, to George Q. Cannon, the editor of the Western Standard:

            I wish to apprise the friends in California through your paper, that in about three weeks from this date, brother James Townsend, a man highly approved and confidential, will go over to your State to visit the friends there, and to obtain irons and fixtures for a good saw mill to be erected in some valley in this vicinity for the convenience and accommodation of the new settlement that is now being made. It is desired that our friends will consider our condition and circumstances, and the immediate necessity of said mill; and contribute freely to brother Townsend the amounts necessary to procure said irons and fixtures. The liberality of many on former occasions is not forgotten, though we sometimes talk plainly; yet never too plainly for those who wish to do right: But brethren, consider this call and invitation, and come over with your means and help us; yet if you cannot come yourselves, send us the irons and fixtures for a good saw mill which can not diminish a hundredth part from your interest to what it will add to ours. Therefore contribute freely according to your condition, and your substance shall not be diminished thereby.[57]

            Judge Hyde apparently decided to settle the mass of the expected emigration from Salt Lake in Washoe Valley and the other little secluded spots along Steamboat Creek; he may have also considered populating the Truckee Meadows.[58] Moved by the call and poetry such as this example below  by Eli Whipple, hundreds of LDS Church members began preparations to move to Western Utah:'

Behold the morning star appearing,

See the day begins to break;

See the Saints their course are steering,

For to strengthen Zion's stake;

See the holy angels flying,

See them wend their way to earth --

Lo, they come to visit Zion,

To reveal more light and truth.

 

Hark! they speak with voice like thunder,

Bid the Saints to gather home,

For the tares are bound in bundles,

And the harvest hour has come.

Yes, they come the wheat to gather

In their barn, which is secure,

To protect it from the weather

Which the wicked must endure.

 

Soon we'll see our great Messiah,

When the angels' work is done;

When the earth is cleansed by fire,

Then we'll know as we are known:

Then the Saints will be promoted,

And their banners be unfurled,

And their time will be devoted,

When they are set to judge the world.

 

When our works are all completed,

And our labors all are done,

All opposing powers defeated,

Then with God we'll be as one:

Then we'll praise his name forever,

And with him we'll always reign,

And we'll sing and shout hosannah;

Yes, for ever more : Amen.[59]

            A large wagon train left Salt Lake City on the seventh of May, 1856, which consisted of new settlers for Carson County.[60] Also traveling with the pioneering families, federal Judge W.W. Drummond planned to convene U.S. District Court in Western Utah Territory upon his arrival.[61] According to Col. L.A. Norton, this emigrant party numbered one hundred and ten families, with nearly as many wagons and thousands of head of cattle.[62] When they arrived, as a correspondent of the Western Standard noted, Judge Hyde had his hands full:[63]

            He is building a saw-mill in this [Washoe] valley; the plain is dotted with wagons and covered with cattle; this, another north of this and Truckee valleys are taken up by the brethren, a great slice of lard on the east side of Carson river, .to water which they will turn a part of the river, which is quite practicable. Several rancheros have been bought out, and the Mormon doctrine of go-a-head is the order of the day.[64]

            These settlers in Washoe Valley, to a great extent, were the inhabitants of Franktown, originally located by Hyde and others in late 1855.[65] This wagon train was but one in a planned series of emigrations from Utah Territory, according to the editors of the Placerville American:

            Large numbers of Mormon families from Salt Lake, will settle upon these perpetually green and fertile vallies during the present summer, working the placers of the hills and converting the values and meadows to all the purposes of able husbandry. Thus is their ancient, calm and magnificent solitude, destined to be broken by the busy ceaseless hum of civilization.[66]

            By August, 1856 a correspondent of the Stockton Argus wrote that "Two hundred Mormon families have settled in Carson Valley, and about 350 in the Washo Valley the present year."[67] The condition of the settlements one year after the formation of Carson County was reviewed by William H. Shearman; a sympathetic observer:

            I shall not attempt to describe the majestic beauty, grandeur and sublimity of the scenes through which we passed, for my pen is inadequate to the task, suffice it to say, that they well repay the traveler for his toll in climbing over these rugged mountains.

            We were received with the most cordial hospitality by Judge Hyde and his lady,[68] as well as by all the Saints we met with, and enjoyed our visit with them exceedingly.

            Although many of them doubtless feel it to be a great sacrifice to leave their comfortable and prosperous homes, where by the labor and industry of years they had surrounded themselves with many of the luxuries of life, and come to this new, unsettled country; where they have to begin afresh to make fences, break ground and build houses, yet they seem to be generally cheerful, suited and determined to over come every obstacle and make these fertile valleys soon bloom and blossom as the rose. We were much pleased with the appearance of Carson, as well as Eagle and Wash-ho vallies, and though neither the soil nor climate can compare with California for agricultural purposes, yet with industry and energy, the Saints will soon surround themselves with all the comforts of life and in less than five years all these valleys will be thickly settled, and men will be as unwilling to leave; as they now are to come to them.

            It is a fine grazing country, and I should suppose would be better adapted to stock raising and dairy business than to farming, as they are liable to frosts at almost all seasons of the year, still on some of the ranches crops looked very well, although this has been an unusually dry season, and we were informed by some of the old settlers that not withstanding the unfavorable nature of a great portion of the soil, they had raised thirty-five bushels of wheat to the acre; other grains and vegetables in proportion.

            A great portion of the best of the land in Carson valley has been taken up and fenced in by settlers from California and other States, some of whom now that the Mormons begin to come in, are willing to sell; or would perhaps exchange for locations in this State [California].[69]

            These valleys are remarkably healthy, well watered, with plenty of timber conveniently near in the mountains, not over fifteen miles distant from the farthest part. In Wash-ho it is much nearer and more easily obtained than in Carson.

            There are a number of hot sulphur springs in Carson valley; near the Mormon Station, which, when bath houses shall be erected, will doubtless attract many visitors. There are also two saw mills and one grist mill in this valley, and lumbar is selling at thirty dollars per thousand feet. Judge Hyde is erecting a saw mill in Wash-ho valley, where he has also laid out the ground for a future city in acre and quarter lots, which may now be had for the nominal price of ten dollars per lot. There is also about half a mile above the city, a warm spring of pure water, which will be a place of great resort for bathing purposes. The brethren are also surveying and settling Truckee and other valleys to the north and east, which are said to be better adapted to farming purposes, and where they will start saw and grist mills, &c.; &c. Would it not be well for some of our brethren who have the means, to go over and invest them in such away as to assist the work and strengthen the hands of their brethren, while at the same time they would be building themselves up?

            There is nothing to induce men to go there, simply for the sake of ease, luxury and wealth; and yet it is the very place for the Saints to gather to; there are just enough difficulties to encounter and obstacles to over come; to draw forth their energies, cultivate their minds, and keep them from falling into indolence, that parent of every vice, and those who go there from a desire to assist in establishing the work and in building up and extending the kingdom of God will undoubtedly be blessed, and their labors crowned with success, while those who go from merely sordid, selfish motives will as surely be disappointed. Men need not go there expecting to find houses built for them, farms fenced in, and fields of wheat growing ready for them to reap; they need men who can make work for themselves, who are not afraid to take hold of the axe, the saw and the plow, and go to work with cheerfulness and energy and erect houses, build fences, plow fields and sow wheat; there is plenty of land and plenty of timber, all it needs is the labor. Let those who go, be sure to take their winter's provisions with them, for all who are there have as much as they can do to provide for themselves. They brought as little as possible from the Lake, and will be obliged to sell off some of their stock to obtain their winter's supply. Money is also of necessity very scarce. The following is a list of prices of some of the staple articles: beef, 20 cts per pound, bacon 35, apples 30, green coffee 28, sugar, No. 2 China, 28, flour 18, candles 75, soap, common yellow, 75 cts. per bar. Boots and shoes about thirty per cent advance on California prices, and other things in proportion.

            The crops are about six weeks later than in California, some later and some earlier, but I should think that is about the average. We were informed by those who have resided there for years, that the winters are comparatively mild, snow not falling often deeper than five or six inches and then not lying long, and that stock can be wintered without any difficulty.

            It is intended to run an express to Salt Lake City as soon as it can be put into operation, so that constant and certain communication can be had with all parts of the Territory, and the vexatious disappointments and delays now occasioned by the mail will be obviated.

            These valleys possess many advantages over Salt Lake, and are withal but a few days travel distant from that city, which can be visited at almost all times of the year: 1st, there is plenty of timber; 2d, they are much nearer to a market, where they can find sale for their own produce, or obtain supplies in a few days if their own crops should fail; and 3d, those who go now can obtain land without having to pay a large price for it. In conclusion, we would say to the Saints, go over and select yourselves a farm, and make a home, and the sooner you go the better, for those valleys will not long be unoccupied, and those who go first, will of course have the best locations.[70]

Part Three: Law And Order In Carson County.

            Judge W.W. Drummond convened the Third U.S. District Court for the Territory of Utah at the barn of Israel Mott, in July, 1856.[71] According to one commentator "His first Grand Jury had no representative of the Mormon faith within its members, but at the expiration of nine days, after impaneling the same he seems to have expelled seven of the twenty-three members and substituted Mormons in their places."[72] Judge Drummond instructed this Grand Jury to return indictments "against all citizens of the county who had been guilty of gambling, concubinage, or other minor frontier offenses."[73] The Grand Jury indicted two men for grand larceny; they were apparently implicated in livestock thefts. Both of these men escaped before their cases could be tried. [74] Judge Drummond seems to have wanted more from the Grand Jury in the way of criminal indictments, but there was a problem:

            The jury, after being left to themselves, took a good look at each other and becoming satisfied that to follow instructions would necessitate a wholesale commitment of those present, forthwith notified Judge Drummond that they had adjourned without date.[75]

            After remaining in Carson Valley about six weeks, Judge Drummond closed out the session of the U.S. District Court and left Western Utah Territory for good.[76] After visiting San Francisco, Judge Drummond proceeded to Washington, D.C. "with a report in regard to western Utah that was more expressive than complimentary."[77]

            The Carson County officials had trouble with a sizeable body of old settlers who did not care for the authority emanating from Salt Lake City. Jonathan Hyde, Jr., in a June letter to the editor of the Western Standard, stated the difficulty plainly:

            As you may easily perceive a cloud overshadows the sun of some of the lawless, godless proprietors, who unwilling to acknowledge California, directly denying the authority of Utah, almost fancy themselves out of the jurisdiction of the U.S., refuse to pay taxes to any body, and wish to set up a patriarchal or some other form of government under the Nevadas; however; I apprehend there will be no difficulty in enforcing the law.[78]

There was an election scheduled for Carson County on the fourth of August; 1856, which took place in something of a partisan atmosphere. Jonathan Hyde Jr. noted that there were two parties: the Mormon ticket and "what they were pleased to designate the 'human' ticket."[79] The election returns are certainly suggestive of ticket voting.[80] Enoch Reese won the position of Representative to the Utah Territorial Legislature, while Russell Kelley was elected Sheriff. The successful candidates for the position of County Selectmen (Commissioners) were H.D. Sears (held over), William Nixon and P.A. Jackman. The voters elected Orson Hyde as Surveyor and Richard Bentley as Recorder, while the Carson County treasury was entrusted to Dr. Charles D. Daggett.[81] Of these, all but Kelley and Daggett were members of the LDS Church, and Kelley later joined.[82] Chester Loveland and Henry Van Sickle were elected to serve their communities as Justices of the Peace, along with the newly elected Constables Nelson Merkley and Seth Dustin.[83]

            The new Utah Territorial government in Carson County was established in spite of public resistance, which continued to grow throughout its tenure.  In the first place, not everyone in Western Utah found it convenient to call upon the jurisdiction or the authority of the Territorial officials. When Phillips & Shackleford's train were crossing the Deep Creek range of mountains on the fifth of August, 1856, they lost three cows to stock thieves disguised as Indians. The emigrants chased after the highwaymen and were able to capture six or seven of them. The members of the wagon train formed a jury, tried the prisoners, and found the men guilty. The informal sentence was passed -- death. Given the choice of death by hanging or death by shooting, the condemned prisoners chose to be shot. The robbers were executed at the headwaters of Deep Creek, probably on August seventh, 1856.[84] One of the prisoners, named Hall, was reprieved and sent on to Sacramento.[85]

            In the second place, not everyone in Western Utah recognized the authority of the Carson County Court as legitimate. In the late summer of 1856; two brothers named Wade were keeping a station at the Sink of the Humboldt, when an Irishman stopped to pass the night there.[86] The Irishman, who was planning to meet a California-bound train further up the Humboldt River, purchased twenty head of cattle and about five or six mules and horses from the Wades.[87] Then the man disappeared suddenly.[88] Another trading company from Placerville, consisting of five persons, arrived at Wade's station and found the stock that had been sold to the Irishman, for which the Wades had a bill of sale.[89] The men from Placerville searched for the missing man, and found a human skeleton about four miles from the Wades' camp.[90]

            The men thereupon arrested one of the Wades on a charge of murder, and took him to Carson Valley for trial.[91] There, a self-Constituted citizen's jury tried the case.[92] There are two different versions of the trial and outcome. W.M. Cary told the editor of the Placerville Democrat that Wade "was tried by a jury of citizens, found guilty, and sentenced to be hanged, but begged so hard for another trial that a short respite was granted. On Saturday night he managed to escape, and when our informant had left the valley, had not been retaken."[93]  Col. Reese, on the other hand, told the editor of the Placerville American:

            They brought the Wades to Carson Valley, where the accused was twice tried by self-constituted juries, controlled by the complainants, which juries did not agree. The Wades were anxious to have an impartial trial, and had given the Placerville company a bill of sale of all the Irishman's stock, operative only in case of the conviction and execution of the accused brother. After the two trials, the prisoner escaped, leaving the stock in possession of the more powerful company. Their proceedings are condemned in strong terms by the better portion of the inhabitants of the valley.[94]

            As will be seen, this first instance of a parallel judicial proceeding quickly turned into a parallel institution in Carson Valley -- the People's Court -- in which the Utah Territorial authorities were completely bypassed by a substantial portion of the population in favor of a more popular, and by implication a more legitimate, form of government..

            There were also a large number of residents who, for various reasons ranging from a feeling that the government was illegitimate to self-interest,  did not want to pay taxes to the authorities of Utah Territory. Notwithstanding the results of the boundary survey conducted in the summer of 1855, many settlers along the eastern slope of the Sierra Nevada still insisted that they were residents of California.[95] This had important consequences for the Carson County government, which experienced difficulty in collecting any tax revenues.[96] In a letter published by the San Francisco Herald, Judge W.W. Drummond discussed the problem:

            It is contended in good faith by a large and respectable portion of the citizens of Carson Valley, that they are citizens and residents of the State of California, while on the other hand it is contended by the Mormons that the whole of Carson Valley is in Utah Territory. Indeed, while I was in Carson Valley, holding the July term of my Court, I was induced to believe that the whole of Carson Valley was in Utah; and in view of that state of the case I exercised Federal jurisdiction over what I now believe to be a portion of the State of California. An important case has been taken to the Supreme Court of Utah Territory, and it is to be argued at our next January term, wherein it is exceedingly doubtful whether the parties to the suit are not all located in the county of El Dorado, California. Therefore in view of justice being done alike to each California and Utah the boundary line should be determined at this time. A bitter feeling pervades the minds of the people in that Valley who are not Mormons, on the ground of the collector of revenue in Carson county collecting taxes from the body of the whole Valley for the benefit of Utah.

            At this time I deem it useless to go into detailed reasons why the boundary line should be determined soon, and it is sufficient for me to say that open rebellion row exists in that region to the laws of Utah, which the Gentiles deem unjust and oppressive, and for me or any other Judge to go there a distance of fifteen hundred miles at a cost of twenty thousand dollars to the Federal Government, with all the dangers and privations of life in our travels, in a barbarous and savage country, and then by an act of the Utah Legislature hold Court in El Dorado county, California, (if such is the fact,) is a matter wholly and entirely unwarranted in law or usage.[97]

As J.A. "Snowshoe" Thompson, the Carson Valley expressman, told the editor of the Sacramento Union in early December, 1856: "The Utah and California assessors have both assessed the property, and the consequence is that the owners will not pay taxes to either."[98]

            Angry and frustrated, Judge Hyde decided to return to Salt Lake City.  In anticipation of Hyde's departure, Utah Territorial Governor Brigham Young appointed Chester Loveland the new Carson County Probate Judge on September first, 1856.[99]  

            Judge Hyde left Carson Valley on the third of November, 1856, and did not return.[100] He and his party arrived at Salt Lake City on December ninth.[101]

            After Hyde's departure, Judge Loveland appointed Richard Bentley to replace Hyde as County Surveyor on November sixteenth, 1856, and on the same day appointed A.B. Cherry to serve as County Selectman, in the temporary absence of H.D. Sears.  At the regular term of the Carson County Court, held December first, there was little more business to occupy Judge Loveland's attention than the creation of four school districts for the County, Upper Carson Valley, Lower Carson Valley, Eagle Valley and Washoe Valley.[102]

            While the Carson County government continued to function after Hyde left Carson Valley, a rival, parallel government arose.  Two days after the departure of Orson Hyde, the Placerville American carried this story signaling the beginning of the collapse of the Utah Territorial government in Carson County:

            Mr. Raymond, who arrived from Carson Valley on last Tuesday evening, brought the information of the people -- that portion of them known as the Gentiles, in contradistinction to the Mormons -- having formed themselves into a Vigilance Committee, for the purpose of redressing some wrongs committed by the Mormons, and for keeping them under restraint. They had jumped or taken possession of a ranch of Mr. John Cary, but the Vigilance Committee gave notice to those who were in possession, to leave in twelve days, which they did, and the ranch was restored to Mr. Cary; the rightful owner.[103]

            The Utah Territorial Legislature gave considerable attention to providing for the administration of Western Utah, and in the three years between 1854 and 1857 they enacted eight pieces of law relating to the government of that region.[104]  Carson County was created, enlarged and granted special privileges, but on January fourteenth, 1857, the Legislature withdrew its favor and more. In a law titled "An Act to attach Carson County to Great Salt Lake County.", Carson County was attached to Great Salt Lake County for election, revenue and judicial purposes.[105] The law requiring regular sessions of the U.S. District Court was repealed; the records, books, papers, blanks and seals of both the probate and county courts of Carson County were delivered over to the probate court of Great Salt Lake County. Carson County lost its Representative to the Territorial Legislature, and the Carson County government was limited by the following language:

Sec. 2. Said county is allowed to retain its present organization, so far as county recorder, surveyor, precincts and precinct officers are concerned, and may continue to elect those officers in accordance with the existing arrangements and laws, until further directed by Great Salt Lake County Court, or Legislative enactment.[106]

This effectively returned the state of affairs in Western Utah to their 1851-1855 condition.  After the passage of the Act, Judge Chester Loveland held a meeting of the County Court in the early spring of 1857, adjourning on the thirteenth of April.[107] The next date set for the regular session of the Court was the first Monday in June, 1857, but it would be almost three years before another Carson County court convened.[108]

Part Four: Abandonment of the LDS Church Settlements

            At the beginning of 1857 the LDS Church settlers and the rest of the community in Carson Valley were peaceable, despite the presence of hard feelings on both sides.[109] A religious schism in the LDS Church, however, was followed by growing uneasiness in Western Utah. At first, there was confidence that the dissension within the LDS Church would not materially affect Carson Valley; William Nixon expressed this hope in a letter dated January second, to the editor of the Western Standard:

            Our Mission and prospects here, I am happy to say, are as favorable as we could expect under the circumstances, and all feel alive to the interests of the cause of truth, and as a general thing, feel to take hold of the spirit and feelings of our brethren and fathers in G.S.L. Country. It is designed that the whole Mission shall be rebaptized before our spring Conference, and so take part in the great reformation, of which with pleasure and thankfulness to our heavenly Father, we hear so much from head quarters. In fact, I never saw a greater desire to keep pace with the onward progress of the kingdom, to live our religion, and particularly to mind our own business and Mission, than exists among the brethren here.

            The old settlers find out that we came here to mind our own business, and though at first they said and thought a great many funny things about us, particularly in reference to our family arrangements, they have now favorably changed in their feelings towards us, and are as friendly as we ever expect men to be who are not of us. Our general prospects as settlers are far more favorable than we could expect from first impression; and I feel that, with the blessing of God and our united efforts, this will soon become an important and useful Stake.

            As soon as the boundary line between Utah and California is definitely settled, and should be in favor of Utah, it will give a wonderful impetus to our onward progress. We have bought out most of the best farms, and much valuable land has been taken up, which will form the ground work for a large and prosperous community.[110]

            About three weeks later, on January twenty-first, 1857, Richard Bentley reviewed the progress of the LDS Church settlement effort in Carson County, in a letter published in the Western Standard, and addressed to editor George Q. Cannon:

            Knowing the feeling you have for the prosperity of the Kingdom of God on the earth in these last days, I thought it would be interesting to you to hear of the welfare of the Saints on this Mission.

            We have a Stake organization, containing three branches. Brother William Price was appointed President of the Stake; Chester Loveland, President of the High Council, and your humble servant Bishop.

            I am happy to say that we all enjoy the blessing of good health, and that peace, union and good feeling exists among the Saints. The majority of the brethren have settled in this [Washoe] valley, which is a very pleasant place. We have the Sierra Nevada mountains on the west, and a beautiful lake on the east, which gives the country a very pretty appearance. These valleys are unsurpassed for stock raising, and I think will prove tolerably good for grain. We have built up quite a little town in Wassau [Washoe]. This valley seems more like home in the Salt Lake valleys than any other in this part of the country, as here we are not mixed up with the world; we are all of one faith, and having one great object in view (that is the building up of the Kingdom of God on the earth).

            The brethren generally are alive to their duty, and manifest a spirit and disposition to live their religion and carry out the plans and designs of the first Presidency of the Church.

            We have a good saw mill in operation, built by brother Orson Hyde at an expense of about seven thousand dollars, and expect to have a grist mill running by next fall. There has been a great deal of stormy weather here this winter, tho' the snow has not laid on the ground more than two weeks at a time. Our stock are doing well, they have improved all winter. At present every thing looks like spring; the brethren have commenced fencing and plowing for spring crops.

            In the absence of President Hyde I have taken upon myself the responsibility to solicit the brethren in this Stake to patronize your valuable paper. There is a disposition to take the Standard, but there are very few who have the money to send for it at present. We have had to lay out all the means we could spare to buy provisions; (at high prices) to live upon until we could raise a crop. Those whose names I give below, say, if you are disposed to send your paper, they will forward the pay just as soon as they can get it; if you are not able to send on those terms, they will send their names and subscription money the first opportunity.

            We should be exceedingly glad to have you make us a visit, if it would be consistent with the duties of your office at any time; and should be happy to hear from you if you can spare the time.[111]

            The residents of Carson Valley had planned a Ball in honor of George Washington's birthday, and the festivities were held on the evening of February twenty- third.[112] John A. "Snowshoe" Thompson told the editors of the Placerville American that although a large number of persons attended the dance, only a few of them were members of the LDS Church, "as the Council has forbidden the Saints from participating in such scenes of merriment with the Gentiles."[113] "Snowshoe" Thompson also reported that there was a rumor in both Carson and Washoe Valleys that the LDS Church members had been ordered to return to Salt Lake City in the spring. According to the mountain expressman "Some of those who came out last fall and purchased valuable ranches, are now offering them for sale."[114]

            The morale of the LDS Church colonists in Carson County remained good through the winter, as Leonard Wines remarked in a letter written for publication and dated February twenty-second, 1857:

            Perhaps a word would not be out of place as to the organization of this mission. In the first place we are divided into four distinct and separate Branches, with a President over each, then a High Council with their President to preside over the whole, we also have a Bishop and counsellors; but I am pleased to say that up to this date their records are comparatively blank, which certainly proves that a spirit of union prevails to a great extent among this people. Also:- by mutual agreement between the Presidents of the Branches, an exchange of missionaries is kept up, which keeps us advised of each other's welfare, at the same time giving the young Elders an opportunity of displaying their talent and preparing themselves for the work of the ministry.

            Meetings are held in all the Branches regularly, which are punctually attended as far as I have been informed, by our people, and quite frequently by many of the citizens who are not of us, who behave themselves with becoming gentility.[115]

            In late March, according to the Placerville American, there were mass re-baptisms of LDS Church members in Washoe Valley; "Snowshoe" Thompson told the editor in Placerville that "All good Mormons in the valleys are to go through the same ceremony."[116] Early in the next month there was a rumor; passed in the usual way, that a serious religious dissention had arisen in Salt Lake City, and Governor Brigham Young was obliged to flee the Territorial capitol.[117] In the midst of the fears and whisperings, the LDS Church in Carson County held its annual Conference.[118] Outside of appointments, regular business and worshipful fellowship, the principal activity at the Conference was instruction:

            Much instructions was given by Pres. Loveland and others on the duties, responsibilities, and privileges of the Saints, showing the great necessity and importance of all connected with the mission to live their religion and prove their integrity by good works; and, as servants of God; study to represent His kingdom and people in their true light to the world as far as our influence may extend.[119]

            With the spring, alarming news came to Carson Valley. Private letters brought word to the inhabitants of Carson County of the religious troubles in Great Salt Lake Valley;  expressman "Snowshoe" Thompson showed several such letters to the editor of the Calaveras Chronicle:

            The Gladdenites, or Apostates from the simon-pure faith as enunciated by Brigham and his adherents, have of late wonderously increased their numbers, and grown so rebellious that the Prophet is forced to environ himself with a trusty guard of the faithful. The letters state that his house is guarded night and day, by his friends, aid that, so bitter are his enemies against him, that he is afraid to show himself in public. He has deserted the Tabernacle. Mr. Thompson does not confirm the rumor of his flight.

            The Mormons of Carson Valley, on account of difficulties apprehended with their Gentile neighbors, had been peremptorily ordered to Salt Lake, by the Prophet, but thinking it easier to negotiate a peace, than to sacrifice their homes, they have shaken hands with the Amelikites, and buried the tomahawk.[120]

            One part of these rumors was definitely true -- the LDS Church members in several settlements had been ordered to pull up stakes and return to Salt Lake and its outlying areas. As part of what appeared to be the general abandonment of settlements outside of Utah proper by the LDS Church, a wagon train of thirty vehicles bearing LDS Church members from the San Bernadino settlements left Southern California for Salt Lake City.[121] There were recurrent stories of disorder and crime circulating in Carson County; stories set in Utah and involving troubles between the LDS Church and the apostates.[122] Reports from Salt Lake City took on an increasingly violent and serious character through the spring and in June the newspapers announced that U.S. President James Buchanan intended to send a military force into Utah Territory.[123] Refugee apostates began to arrive in Carson Valley by early June, 1857, and some of them brought tales of suffering and injustice.[124] When Judge James M. Crane wrote from Genoa on June twenty-fourth, he indicated that the LDS settlers in Western Utah were still willing to work and live together with the non-Mormon inhabitants of Carson Valley:

            From the date of this epistle you will find that I am now in the territory claimed, and in a great measure subject to the Mormons. Those of that sect, however, who are settled here, are very much disposed to let the Gentiles come in and share with them the natural advantages of this prolific and fertile valley, so long as they are permitted to enjoy to the fullest extent the religious privileges conferred by their system of faith. The main privilege which they wish to secure is the right to have and to hold as many wives as they can afford to support. They are sensitive on this subject, for some of them have as many as six wives and thirty-two children. They wish to multiply and replenish the earth, and to do this effectively they say that they require more than one wife; as this is a sparsely settled region. In other words, to raise a good crop they must have more than one hill to plant in. In the above you have the chief article of their faith, and if they are let alone in this particular they care but little about what laws may prevail in the Territory. I may have more to say on this subject later. The stage leaves -day, however, and I do not wish to let it go without writing you a few lines.[125]

            Shortly afterwards the first party of LDS settlers began preparations to return to Great Salt Lake Valley.[126] The P.G. Sessions train of California LDS settlers left Eagle Valley for Salt Lake City on the sixteenth of July, and on the evening of September fifth, 1857, a Conover Company express messenger brought a dispatch to the LDS settlers in Carson County, calling them back to the City of the Saints.[127] Observers noted that, "Their farms in these valleys have been readily purchased by emigrants who have arrived over the plains this season."[128] A correspondent of the Auburn Press wrote from Carson Valley, under the date of September seventeenth, to describe matters there:

            After three days' traveling, hunting and fishing, with rather bad success, we reached the Mormon settlement in Washoe Valley. Washoe is a beautiful vale, well watered, and settled by twenty-two families, (mostly Mormons,) who have made some beautiful farms and laid out a town. The buildings are mostly of hewed logs and frame, neatly finished. A good circular saw-mill has been built at the foot of the mountain, which furnishes abundance of material for building and fencing. In the midst of their prosperity; orders came from Salt Lake to sell off their farms, stock, and all property not movable; and repair to Salt Lake immediately. All appear to respond to the call; and are selling off their stock and property at a great sacrifice, in order to aid them in their pilgrimage.

            In Eagle and Carson Valleys, the same preparations are made for leaving as in Washoe. Wagons are being repaired, harness overhauled; and large numbers of Mormons are arriving from San Francisco, Santa Clara, and other parts of California, and I think in less than fifteen days the whole caravan will move forward to head-quarters.

            The Gentiles here are in the dark as to the real cause of this Mormon exodus; but those who are in daily intercourse with them are of the opinion that Brigham Young anticipates difficulties with his successor, Col. Cummings, and is calling all his forces together to fortify the defiles leading into Salt Lake.[129]

In closing his letter, this correspondent mentions an incident which shows how authority was exercised in Carson County in those days:

            On Wednesday last (September sixteenth, 1857) a German butcher was shot at Genoa, the ball going in near the shoulder and coming out at the cheek. The wound is not considered mortal. The difficulty arose about who was entitled to occupy the house of Col. Reese -- both parties claiming the prior right. The attempt to govern this community is another illustration of the blessings of squatter sovereignty. Two sets of officers have been elected, one by the Mormons and one by the Gentiles -- each refuse to recognize their opponents' officials, and neither set are backed by Federal troops, and both refuse to act. The result is that anarchy and crime are very common, and go unpunished. We were requested to assist in arresting some one who had shot the butcher at the Station, but when we asked for an officer, were told by the same person that "we have neither officers nor law here;" and so the matter rests.[130]

            A large train, consisting largely Of LDS Church members, their wagons and their animals, left the Carson County settlements towards the end of September.[131] "W.W.S." wrote a letter to the editors of the Sacramento Union, in which he gave some details of the abandonment of the LDS communities in Western Utah:

            The Mormons have all left us, and are now on their pilgrimage to Great Salt Lake. The train which left their camp in Eagle Valley, on the 25th ult., comprise about 143 wagons, moved the same day to the mouth of Gold Cañon, twenty-five miles from this place [Genoa], where they corraled, and orders were issued by the leaders directing the train not to move until all obligations, etc., with the "Gentiles," were honorably discharged; and with few exceptions, they have left with credit to themselves for their uprightness and fair dealing.

            From Major Ormsby, who visited their camp, at Gold Cañon, we learn the following facts in respect to their numbers, estimated value of property, movements, etc.

            Number of people, 985 -- 350 men, and the balance women and children. Number of stock -- horses, mules and oxen, 710; wagons, carriages, etc., 148. Estimated value of property, (including $25,000 in money in the hands of individua1s,) $193,100. The train is apportioned into three divisions, each under the command of a captain, and these are again sub-divided into companies of tens, with a captain to each. They will move in separate divisions up the Humboldt until they approach the head of the river, where they apprehend difficulties with the Shoshone Indians, who have been so troublesome to the emigration this season. Through their country they will travel in a body, prepared to give them a warm reception, should they be attacked. From what we can learn, the movement is in obedience to the mandate of Brigham Young, calling on all his people in this region to join him at Salt Lake City, from whence it is the intention to emigrate to Salmon river, in Washington Territory, and there found a new colony.

            Their exodus from this place and vicinity has been so precipitate, that it is sensibly noticed, but their places are being rapidly filled by a class of hardy, industrious emigrants, arriving from over the plains, who, after a toilsome journey of months, feel like settling, with their families, among us, to make here their future homes, and assist in building up the new Territory which will doubtless be organized without opposition during the next session of Congress.[132]

 


[1] Sacramento Union 8 Nov 1854:2.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Sacramento Union 19 Dec 1854:2.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Sacramento Union 29 Jan 1855:2. A.P. Raymond and his brother accompanied Thomas Knott to Placerville. The Raymonds operated a pack train between Placerville and Carson Valley.

[6] Ibid. The National Archives, "Letters received by the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, Utah Superintendency, 1855", has this document, bearing 145 signatures:

Carson Valley, Utah Territory, Jany. 21, 1854

To the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States In Congress Assembled And Indian Department

Honored Sirs:

                The undersigned Citizens of Carson Valley, and the Valleys adjoining, and East of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, would respectfully petition that: Some aid and protection may be given us by our general government, being unprotected by any State or Territory and surrounded by wild and ruthless Indians; feel it our duty, to ask, as American Citizens, aid and protection from the general government.

                And first: We ask the government to appoint an Indian Agent to assist us in trading (sic) with the two Indian tribes in our vicinity, viz: the Piutes, and Washews.  Secondly: We ask that some donation may be made by the general Government, in the way of Clothing and provisions, to be distributed by the Agent among those Indian tribes, for the same purpose that similar donations have been made, to other tribes, within the Territories of the general Government.

                We therefore recommend to your Honorable Body, that Thomas Knott, the bearer of this petition be appointed, by you, to this Agency as he has spent the greater part of the past three years in this Valley and mountains, and is on good terms

with, and well acquainted among those tribes of Indians; and likewise worthy the [sic] Confidence of the American people.

                We have in our Valley, some permanent settlers, who are making improvements as fast as Circumstances will permit, already having in operation a large Flouring mill and saw mills.

                Many more Emigrants would make this their home, could they feel that their lives and property were secure from Indian depredations.

                We, therefore, with our Californian Friends, do ask for a few Government men, to be stationed in or near this Valley; to protect us and the numerous Emigrants that yearly pass through here to California, as many lives have been lost, and property stolen both from Emigrants, and from Citizens located in this and adjoining Valleys.

Wm. Brewer                          T.D. Pitt                                 Benjamin Jones

John Reice                             J. Adams                               Evan J. Jones

T.M. Cole                              David Borney                       C.V. Gross

James James                          William C. Smith                   John B. Parker

Edwin P. Otwell                    E.A. Parkerson                      F. Cox (?)

Anthony Brookliss              L.B. Abernathie                    Chas. Sanburn

Robert Brown                       John S. Child                         William B. Hoe (?)

William Gurney                    Wm. Johnson                       James McMarlin

A.A. Parker                           A.C. Raymond                      John McMarlin

Geo. Arthington, Sr.            William P. Cozhert                Wm. T. Williams

Henry Johnston                   John Howard                        Frank A. Rector

Antoine Ledutte (?)             James McGough                  William Pickering

Richmond Sides                   William Wood                      Ike S. Titus

J.C. Fain                                 John L. Cary                          H.P. Baker

Chas. D. Daggett, M.Dr.     Daniel Woodford                 Dr. M. Baker

Rufus Adams                        Rufus R. Brown                    F.W.H. Oldfield

Josiah Brown                        William Willis                       P.N. Russell (?)

Jonathan Springer                John Campbell                      O. Harvey

Saml. Blackford                     Thomas B. Jones                  A. Seligman

F.N. Harmon                          Wm. Fawcett                         Wm. Heston Jr.

(illegible)                                Jno. Cassnor                         Le Southard

Robt. A. Price                       John Smith                            N. Hildebrand

Thos. Hickenell                    W.A. Chapman                     Austin Truitt

A. Fulwiler                             A.L. Weston                         E.G. Curtis

James B. Locket                    P.D. Wilkins                          William L. Thompson

C.D. Chrisman (?)                 Theodore Henry Smith        Silvester Wheeling (?)

I.S. Williams                          F.W. Dodd                            William Peninger

A.C. Meeker                          John Bell                                Henry Butler

Joseph Williams                   Wm. Smith                             Thomas Frost

Lucias Rosta (?)                   David Bell                              O.C..Commens (?)

I.M. King (?)                         David Emerson                     Joshua Hawes (?)

Jesse N. Hix (?)                     Joseph Brown                       J.M. Baldwin (?)

Frank W. Ricker                    Wm. P. Allen                         John Reese

Wm. Hartshorn                     Henry W. Niles                     Julius Peltier

(illegible)                                Anthony Narrone (?)           Wm. B. Thorington

Henry Vansickle                   John James                            (illegible)

Samuel Singleton                 James M. Herring                 Ira E. Pierce

John Pendergrass                Thomas Meegan (?)            J.C. Billingsley

John Burphy (?)                   Zachariah Grant                    John B. Campbell

Bern. Statz                             Conrad Haase                       Nicholas M. Beazly (?)

Fred Miller                             Chas. E. Smith                       Walter Cosser

Joseph Weebins (?)             George Lamb                         E.H. Knott

William Best (?)                    Geo. Plug (?)                         George Riddle

E. Reese                                 S.A. Kinsey                           A.G. Stenmark (?)

Geo: G. Lambert                    Alexr. Hunter                        H. Hollister

Fred T. Washeim                  F. Maynard                           John Tisdale

Jno. Biggin (?)                      G.M. Stout                             Charles Gowen

L.J. Daugherty                      D.D. Tompkins                     George Atherton

                                                (illegible)

[7] James McCaw, Councillor from Millard County, presented No. 4 (C.F.) "An act defining the bounds of Carson county" to the Utah Territorial Legislative Council on December sixteenth, 1853: Amended versions of this Act were passed by the House of Representatives and the Legislative Council on the twelfth of January, 1854.  The two houses of the Utah Territorial Legislature, meeting in Joint Session, passed "An act defining the boundaries of Carson county, and providing for the organization thereof" on January seventeenth. (Journals of the House of Representatives, Council, and Joint Sessions of the Third Annual Session of the Legislative Assembly  of the Territory of Utah. Held at Great Salt Lake City, 1853 and 1854. Arieh C. Brower, Great Salt Lake City: 1854.) Prior to this enactment, Carson county had been attached to Millard County for administrative purposes.

[8] An Act approved January nineteenth, 1855 made Carson County the Third Judicial District of Utah Territory, Hon. George P. Stiles, presiding. The California mails for Salt Lake, to which the article refers, arrived at Salt Lake City on January twenty-seventh, 1855. (Ibid.)

[9] Deseret News, reprinted in Sacramento Union 7 Apr 1855:2.

[10] Angel, History of Nevada, p. 38. Enoch Reese and an escort of thirty-five men accompanied the party to Carson Valley. 

                George Stiles was one of the federal judges appointed for Utah Territory. Stiles arrived in Utah Territory in August 1854.  On December twenty-second, 1856, the LDS Church excommunicated Stiles for adultery (ed. Brooks, Juanita, On the Mormon Frontier: The Diary of Hosea Stout 1844-1861; University of Utah Press, Salt Lake City: 1964, pps. 525, 611).

                In 1857 the Western Standard published some attacks upon the character of Judge Stiles. "Alpha", the Utah correspondent of that paper, wrote the following in a letter printed in the Western Standard 28 Aug 1857:2:

"With regard to his Honor Judge G.P. Stiles, if the impartial could count up the dollars of U.S. money it took to procure the seduction of the daughter of his kept mistress of the 15th Ward, they could trace out why he left us. He stood, Sir, pre-eminent above all Judges, as the teller of the most and best smutty yarns, and drink (sic) the most liquor of any we have ever had to dis-grace the Judicial bench! His office was the only hell hole we had in the country for Judges, U.S. Marshal, U.S. Supreme Clerk and one lawyer to drink, gamble and plot law suits for one to be fleeced.-- the Judge learning his student; and when he had ordered his hopeful scion to amend his papers in court, when said court was adjourned then the Judge would alter the papers at the store or office; depending where the liquor was, and then decide accordingly; and the able advocate boasted he never yet lost a case. Why should he, when the Judge drank and borrowed money: but when young Irish Jim came into court he overthrew the apple-cart of the Judge and showed his meanness, and it was apparent so much so, that corrupt as we are? We could not stand his adulterous course."

In a subsequent article, published in the Western Standard 4 Sept 1857:2, George Q. Cannon, the editor, joined in the criticism of Judge Stiles' performance. Cannon said that Stiles had rendered himself obnoxious to the people of Utah, because of the drunkenness, gambling, lewdness and efforts to stir up litigation by the Judge and his confederates. According to Cannon, Judge Stiles was a "Jack Mormon" who "having married a Mormon woman for what he could make out of her and the Mormons, and knowing the forbearance of the (Latter Day) Saints with evils they could not legally remove, presumed upon their patience by making his office a gambling hole, drinking shop and devils' den generally, and used his official position to involve the people in disastrious [sic] litigation, until the community was outraged to that degree, that they abated his pest-house as a nuisance."

                On the nineteenth of January, 1855 the Utah Territorial Legislature had unanimously elected Orson Hyde as Probate Judge of Carson County; following Hyde's nomination by Gov. Brigham Young. Hyde's instructions were to organize Carson County "speedily." On the same day the Utah Territorial Legislature unanimously elected Aurelius Miner as notary public for Carson County, and made that County a separate judicial district. The Legislature also apportioned a representative to serve from Carson County (ed: Brooks; Juanita, On the Mormon Frontier: The Diary of Hosea Stout  1844-1861, University of Utah Press; Salt Lake City: 1964; pps. 547-548). Hosea Stout's Diary entry for May fifteenth notes that the entourage or escort numbered about twenty-five men.

                Wm. A. Hickman related the following anecdote of Orson Hyde from 1854, just prior to Hyde's appointment as Probate Judge of Carson County (from Brigham's Destroying Angel: Being the Life, Confessions and Startling Disclosures of the Notorious Bill Hickman, the Danite Chief of Utah, Shepard Publishing Co., Salt Lake City: 1904, pps. 96-98):

                Orson Hyde being the head of the Twelve; obedience was required to his commands, in the absence of Brigham Young, in all things; whether spiritual or temporal; and, in fact, the man who did not obey had better leave when he could; especially those who might refuse, or give any intimation of a dislike to things that elsewhere would be an open violation of law. But the satisfied point and undoubted fact that God had established His kingdom in the mountains, and Brigham was conversant with the Almighty; was a settled question. In all candor I say I do not think there was then in Utah one in fifty, or, I might say, one in a hundred, who did not believe it. This man Orson Hyde was sanguine in this belief, although there were some points in Brigham Young's conduct he could not see through, but attributed it all, he said, to his inability to comprehend the ways of the Almighty. I have traveled with and talked to him on all these subjects.

                When we had got across what was known as the Big Mountains and into East Caron, some three or four miles, one Mr. [Jesse T.] Hartley came to us from Provo City. This Hartley was a young lawyer who had come to Salt Lake from Oregon the fall before, and had married a Miss Bullock, of Provo, a respectable lady of a good family. But word had come to Salt Lake (so said, I never knew whether it did or not), that he had been engaged in some counterfeiting affair. He was a fine-looking, intelligent young man. He told me he had never worked any in his life, and was going to Fort Bridger or Green River to see if he could not get a job of clerking, or something that he could do. But previous to this, at the April Conference, Brigham Young, before the congregation, gave him a tremendous blowing up, calling him all sorts of bad names; and saying he ought to have his throat cut, which made him feel very bad. He declared he was not guilty of the charges.

                I saw Orson Hyde looking very sour at him, and after he had been in camp an

hour or two, Hyde told me that he had orders from Brigham Young; if he came to Fort Supply to have him used up. 'Now,' said he, 'I want you and George Boyd to do it.' I saw him and Boyd talking together; then Boyd came to me and said: 'It's all right, Bill; I will help you to kill that fellow.' One of our teams was two or three miles behind, and Orson Hyde wished me to go back and see if anything had happened to it. Boyd saddled his horse to go with me, but Hartley stepped up and said he would go if Boyd would let him have his horse. Orson Hyde said: 'Let him have your horse' which Boyd did. Orson Hyde then whispered to me: 'Now is your time; don't let him come back.' We started, and about half a mile on had to cross the cañon stream, which was midsides to our horses. While crossing, Hartley got a shot and fell dead in the creek. His horse took fright and ran back to camp.

                I went on and met Hosea Stout, who told me the team was coming close by. I turned back, Stout with me, for our camp. Stout asked me if I had seen that fellow, meaning Hartley. I told him he had come to our camp, and he said from what he had heard he ought to be killed. I then told him all that had happened, and he said that was good. When I returned to camp Boyd told me that his horse came into camp with blood on the saddle, and he and some of the boys took it to the creek and washed it off. Orson Hyde told me that was well done; that he and some others had gone on the side of the mountain, and seen the whole performance. We hitched up and went to Weber River that day. When supper was over; Orson Hyde called all the camp together, and said he wanted a strong guard on that night, for that fellow that had come to us in the forenoon had left the company; he was a bad man; and it was his opinion that he intended stealing horses that night. This was about as good a take-off as he could get up, it was all nonsense; it would do well enough to tell; as everyone that did not know what had happened believed it." (see also Ibid., pps. 201-205; ed. Brooks, Juanita, On the Mormon Frontier: The Diary of  Hosea Stout 1844-1861; University of Utah Press, Salt Lake City: 1964; pps. 507, 512, 514.515.)

[11] Ibid. However, Hosea Stout mentions the departure of Stiles, Hyde and the rest in a diary entry for May fifteenth, 1855 (ed; Brooks, Juanita, On the Mormon Frontier: The Diary of Hosea Stout 1844-1861, University of Utah Press, Salt Lake City: 1964, p. 555), stating that they had left that day for Carson Valley.

[12] Sacramento Union 22 Jun 1855:2.

[13] Sacramento Union 27 May 1851:2; 28 Jun 1851:2; 14 Jan 1852:2; 5 Jul 1852:2.

[14] Ibid.  See also "Utah", House Executive Document No 25, Thirty-second Congress, First Session.; Slater, Nelson, Fruits of Mormonism; or A Fair and Candid Statement of Facts Illustrative of Mormon Principles, Mormon Policy and Mormon Character, By More Than Forty Eye-Witnesses, Harmon & Springer, Coloma Calif. 1851.

[15] This meeting is not mentioned in the First Records of Carson Valley. The Sacramento Union 23 Jun 1855:3 printed complaints about the high rate of toll. John Reese and Israel Mott originally operated the system of toil roads and bridges, licensed by the settlers' government in Carson Valley, December first, 1852 (First Records of Carson Valley). The license for the franchise was granted for five years, that is, until 1857. In January 1855 Reese & Company transferred ownership of the toll road and bridge system to William B. "Lucky Bill" Thorington, in partial payment of a $23,000 debt, (First Records of Carson Vall Utah Ter 1851; Angel, History of Nevada, p. 38.

                The toll franchise was also granted by the Utah Territorial Legislature, and has a mildly interesting history.  Councillor Heber C. Kimball of Great Salt Lake County presented "The petition of John and Enoch Reese, praying for the right to build toll bridges, and establish ferries across the Carson river" to the Utah Territorial Legislative Council on December thirteenth, 1853. When the bill was introduced as No. 1 (C.F.) the title specified the west branch of the Carson River as the area where the toll bridges were to be built. The Territorial Legislature did not pass this act during the Third Annual Session. (Journals of the House of Representatives; Council; and Joint Sessions of the Third Annual Session of the Legislative Assembly of the Territory of Utah, Held at Great Salt Lake City; 1853 and 1854. Arieh C. Brower, Great Salt Lake City: 1854.) The bill came up in Joint Session the next year -- on the seventeenth of January, 1855 -- and upon the motion of William W. Phelps, Representative from Great Salt Lake County, the petition was referred to the Committee on Roads, Bridges and. Ferries. The next day Councillor Wilford Woodruff of Great Salt Lake County, the chairman of the joint committee, reported the petition of John and Enoch Reese in a slightly altered form, entitled "An act granting to Orson Hyde, John Reese, and Enoch Reese, of Great Salt Lake City, the right to erect bridges across Carson river, and make a road in Carson county." With the name of Orson Hyde added, the five year franchise was passed that very same day -- January eighteenth, 1855. The Joint Session of the Territorial Legislature unanimously elected Orson Hyde the new Probate Judge of Carson County the following day, with instructions to speedily organize the County.

[16] Grass Valley Telegraph, reprinted in Sacramento Union 6 Jul 1855:3. By way of a contrast with Montgomery's ideas about the residents of Carson Valley favoring annexation to California, Thomas D. Pitt and George Tyler told the readers of the Deseret News (reprinted in Sacramento Union 6 Aug 1855:1):

                The large majority of settlers are in favor of our western. boundary (that of Utah Territory) including them, and, of course, will be highly pleased upon the arrival of Judges Hyde and Stiles, and with the action of the last Legislative Assembly concerning the Valley.

                Men conducting a mule train from Salt Lake City arrived at Carson Valley in April, 1855 with the news that some fifty families were preparing to emigrate from Salt Lake to Carson Valley (Sacramento Union 3 May 1855:2) -- in an effort to colonize Western Utah with members of the Church of the Latter Day Saints, according to some writers. The early leaders of the LDS Church were controversial persons, and not everyone favored the new religion. The practices of the Church commonly termed "Mormonism", were vigorously criticized and challenged all through the nineteenth century. As early as 1851, one Carson Valley resident described his anxieties in a letter to the Sacramento Union  published 14 Jan 1852:2:

                Though shrewd, Brigham Young and his counselors are far from being wise men. They know the effects of persecution, and they provoke it. They act on the principle that 'the blood of the martyrs is the end of the Church.' They provoke disputes and difficulties, and even a war with the United States; for, in the mouths of their emissaries abroad, it will sound like persecution. But, whilst Brigham and his council -- his twelves and his seventies -- court the storm which will ere lore burst upon the New Jerusalem from the east, they are leisurely looking about than for a refuge. Carson Valley and the thousand beautiful valleys which lie along the eastern base of the Sierra Nevada, have attracted their notice. Spies have reported favorably, and large colonies are preparing to emigrate hither, for the avowed purpose of controling [sic] the country. Meanwhile, these facts transpired. Those citizens in Carson Valley and its neighborhood, who love their country and its institutions, were taking steps to circumnavigate their machinations. A survey has been made of the valley, and despatched to Congress, with a petition from all here, for a separate government. All necessary information has been sent to the authorities, to secure immediate attention to our position.

                We shall organize a government pro tempore forthwith, and if Congress will second our efforts, we will put it forever out of the power of the Mormons to reenact the disgraceful scenes of the last two years at Great Salt Lake. Mormon Government professes to be a theocracy; in truth, a monarchy, under another name, of the most absolute and detestable kind.

                An 'Imperium in Imperiis', it clashes continually with American laws and American rights and customs. A plurality of wives, a disregard of the Sabbath profanity and extortion -- are inculcated not only by the practice of the members, but by the precepts of the rulers. Of rulers and human authorities, they speak with contempt. They say that the Almighty will shortly give them the earth for an inheritance -- that the kingdoms of this world will be destroyed, and in their places will be established the kingdom, not of Christ, but of the Latter Day Saints. They foretell, with the greatest apparent assurance, the impending downfall of our Republican Government, and the speedy extension of Mormon power over our American Continent. More than half the Mormons, I am told on good authority, are foreigners aliens to our laws. It has been the policy of the heads of the Church, to prevent emigrants from being naturalized, and hence the spectacle is exhibited, of ten thousand aliens exercising all the rights of native born citizens, and eligible to offices of Justices and Judges.

                Should not Government aid us. [sic] You may look for pronunciamentos and revolutions, wars and rumors of wars. You may rest assured, we shall not be ruled by aliens or worse than aliens -- traitors.

This subject of the Mormon colonization of Carson Valley will be taken up in detail in the next chapter.

[17] Angel, History of Nevada, p. 38.

[18] Sacramento Union 25 Jun 1855:3.

[19] 19 Sacramento Union 30 Oct 1855:2. While the newspaper article numbers the expedition at seventeen men, a firsty-hand source indicates that there were only seven.  Christopher Merkley gave this account of the Walker River expedition in his Biography (Merkley, Christopher, Biography of Christopher Merkley, J.H. Parry & Co., Salt Lake City: 1887, pps. 33-35):

                I took six of the company with me and started out to explore the country around the Walker River. We saw several Indians who seemed to be afraid of us. On going dawn the river we entered a valley about five miles wide. There I decided to camp for the night. We had not seen any Indians during the day. After we had finished our suppers I lay down and meditated upon the responsibility resting on me. I was studying to discharge my duties to the best of my ability. While lying there an impression came over me to get up and leave the place, as plain as though someone had spoken to me, but I heard no voice. I arose and immediately called the company to get the horses up. They wanted to know what was the matter. I told them nothing, but I was going to get out of there.

                We traveled across the valley toward the North Star until eleven o'clock. We camped on the side hill, made no fire, and put out no guard, but lay down and slept until morning. After we arose, Reuben Perkins found he had lost his pistol, and asked permission to go back and look for it. I told him he could go by taking another man with him. He found his pistol about one hundred yards from where we had left our camp fire burning. They went to the campground and found it marked with Indian tracks, made after we left it. The next day we had an adventure with Indians. We saw one, a very powerful fellow, coming across as though to intercept us, which he did. One of the Indians made me understand he was their chief. He directly asked for the cap-a-tain. I was pointed out to him. He came directly to me and held out his hand to shake hands with me. He gave me such a grip and jerk as to make my horse stagger, and then slipped his hand to the end of my fingers and gave them such a grip that it almost crushed them, but I did not cry out. I should think he was fully six feet high, and weighed two hundred and fifty pounds. He endeavored to induce me to go with them into the creek bottom, where he tried to make me understand there was plenty of grass for our horses. I refused to go. After giving him some crackers we got away.

                We continued our explorations of the Walker River until we were satisfied, and then turned back and crossed the mountain to the sink of Carson River, thence up the river to Carson Valley, and reported our travels. We had ridden three hundred miles in seventeen days with pack animals and could not find a suitable place for a settlement. Brother Hyde then sent us north into the Truckee River country. We traveled several days but could find no place, so we returned and again reported unfavorably.

[20] Sacramento Union, 30 Oct 1855:3. As Christopher Merkley put it:

                The party, however, instead of finding the valley, as they anticipated, abounding in clover and grasses, and good farming lands, discovered that the great majority of it was worthless for agricultural purposes. Much of it proved to be rocky, sandy, barren desert, and, moreover, there were not to be found five contiguous acres of arable land which were not either liable to be overflowed, or which did not lie too elevated to be irrigated.

(Merkley, Christopher, Biography, p. 35.)

[21] Angel, History of Nevada, p. 38.

[22] Sacramento Union  4 Sept 1855:2; 19 Sept 1855:2.

[23] Sacramento Union 19 Sept 1855:2.

[24] Ibid.

[25] Sacramento Union 4 Sept 1855:1.

[26] Sacramento Union 19 Sept 1855:2; 7 Nov 1855:2.  The second of the Union reports has Judge Stiles arriving at Salt Lake City on October third, 1855, but according to Hosea Stout, Judge Stiles and U.S. Marshal Haywood returned from Carson Valley on the twenty-eighth of September. (ed. Brooks, Juanita, On the Mormon Frontier: The Diary of Hosea Stout 1844-1861, University of Utah Press, Salt Lake City: 1964; p. 561).

[27]  Capt. Martin Smith told a reporter of the Placerville American that, "should it be found that the whole valley is in Utah, there are enough of Gentiles (as the Mormons call all who are not of their own faith) to elect every officer, should they attempt to go on at this time and organize the county, but which it is thought that they will hardly do at this time. There are about 150 votes in the whole valley, and at least two thirds of these, Gentiles. Orson Hyde is expected to remain in the Valley the coming winter, unless he can so lay his plans, as by resigning his judgeship, to be elected, to the Mormon Legislature of Salt Lake. He would like to bring this about if possible, but the Gentiles have their eye on this movement." (reprinted in the Sacramento Union 4 Sept 1855:1.)

[28] An informant of the Nevada City Democrat, Mr. Best of Carson Valley, told the editors of that paper: "The election in the valley passed off quietly, the Mormons having a large majority. They played some shenanigan, however, and brought forward boys and caused them to vote, who are yet much under age. The affair otherwise passed off quite like a similar occurrence in a New England village." (reprinted in Sacramento Union 25 Oct 1855:3.)

[29] Reprinted in the Sacramento Union 8 Oct 1855:3.

[30] Ibid.

[31] Ibid.; Sacramento Union 10 Oct 1855:3; 14 Dec 1855:3.  Christopher Merkley, in his Biography (p. 35) gives this account of his experiences on the boundary survey:

                Brother Hyde then told me to select two men and go over to Sacramento, to assist the Surveyor-General to establish the boundary line between Utah and California. I selected Seth Dustin and George Hancock. I left them ten miles this side while I went on to Sacramento. Marlett [Seneca H. Marlette] was Surveyor-General, who had a deputy by the name of Goddard. He and I were occupied on the flat roof of a four story building for two weeks adjusting the instrument and preparing to go to the mountains. Our hotel bill was twenty-three dollars, and we had nothing to pay it with. Marlett wished to see Brother Hyde. I went for him; and after they met Marlett said if we would pay the hotel bill, the government would pay the expense of going to the mountains. Elder Hyde asked me if I had any money. I told him I had a little. As he wished it, I paid the bill.

                I got Dustin and Hancock and we all started for Placerville, where we took observations. At this place, a Mr. Day [Sherman Day], a surveyor of California, joined our company. He was also surveying for the government, and mapping the country. He made us a great deal of unnecessary trouble and labor, as far as our business was concerned. He promised, however, to pay us, but we never received a cent. We were out sixty days on this tour; then returned to Carson Valley.

[32] Sacramento Union 9 Jan 1855:2; 12 Jan 1855:2; 15 Jan 1855:2; 17 Jan 1855:2; 22 Jan 1855:2; 23 Jan 1855:2; 25 Jan 1855:1&2; 26 Jan 1855:2; 27 Jan 1855:1&2; 30 Jan 1855:2; 31 Jan 1855:2; 1 Feb 1855:2; 7 Feb 1855:2; 13 Feb 1855:2; 20 Feb 1855:2; 23 Feb 1855:3; 28 Feb 1855:2; 21 Mar 1855:2; 23 Mar 1855:1; 2 Apr 1855:2; 4 Apr 1855:2; 7 Apr 1855:2; 11 Apr 1855:1; 16 Apr 1855:2; 18 Apr 1855:2; 20 Apr 1855:2; 30 Apr 1855:1&2; 11 May 1855:2; 12 May 1855:1 (Text of Wagon Road Bill); 12 May 1855:2; 17 May 1855:3; 22 May 1855:3; 25 May 1855:3; 4 Jun 1855:2; 15 Jun 1855:2; 16 Jun 1855:2; 23 Jun 1855:2; 27 Jun 1855:2; 3 Jul 1855:3; 18 May 1855:2; 7 Jul 1855:2; 18 Jul 1855:2; 23 Jul 1855:2; 27 Jul 1855:2; 31 Jul 1855:3; 8 Aug 1855:1; 13 Aug 1855:2; 20 Aug 1855:2; 18 Sept 1855:3; 20 Sept 1855:2; 26 Sept 1855:2; 6 Oct 1855:2; 11 Oct 1855:2; 18 Oct 1855:2; 22 Oct 1855:3; 26 Oct 1855:2; 29 Oct 1855:2; 30 Oct 1855:2; 13 Nov 1855:2.

[33] Ibid.

[34] Deseret News, reprinted in Sacramento Union 14 Dec 1855:3.

[35] Lake Tahoe.

[36] Otherwise called plural marriage. Apostle Orson Pratt announced in 1852 that polygamy was and had been a doctrine of the LDS Church. Following harshly repressive measures by the federal governments LDS President Wilford Woodruff issued a manifesto in 1890 directing Church members to forego further plural marriage.  By 1906 the LDS Church began to excommunicate polygamists; two apostles were deposed in that year.

[37] Albert Carrington was the editor of the Deseret News at the time Hyde wrote the letter.

[38] Deseret News, reprinted in the Sacramento Union 14 Dec 1855:3.

[39] Sacramento Union 30 Oct 1855:2.

[40] Sacramento Union 8 Oct 1855:3.

[41] Angel, History of Nevada, pps. 38, 333.

[42] Ibid.

[43] Ibid., p. 333.

[44] Ibid., p. 38.  Norton's account of his experiences as District Attorney are set forth in his autobiography, The Life and Adventures of Col. L.A. Norton, Pacific Press Publishing House, Oakland: 1887, pps. 322-335.

[45] Angel, History of Nevada, p. 333.

[46] Ibid., p. 38

[47] Ibid.

[48] Sacramento Union 19 Jan 1856:2; 4 Feb 1856:2; 1 Aug 1856:3; Angel, History, of Nevada, p. 623. The latter account gives the missing man's name as Willis Lewis, and states that the two were on their way to Placerville to procure machinery for the recently-completed saw mill. Judge Hyde had to hobble around on crutches for months afterwards. Willis Lewis' body was never found.

[49] Sacramento Union 4 Feb 1856:2.

[50] Ibid.; Sacramento Union 19 Feb 1856:2; Angel, History of Nevada, p. 400

[51] Sacramento Union 4 Feb 1856:2.

[52] Sacramento Union 19 Feb 1856:2; Angel, History of Nevada, p 40.

[53] Sacramento Union 8 Mar 1856:2. According to John A. "Snowshoe" Thompson, quoted in the article, "A census of the inhabitants was also being taken, which would give probably an aggregate of about three hundred souls." Angel, History of Nevada, p. 38, notes that Henry Niles had resigned as Court Clerk on December twenty-seventh, 1855, and that Judge Hyde served as his own clerk until this session of the Probate Court. He appointed S.A. Kinsey as Clerk on March third, 1856.

[54] Sacramento Union 29 Mar 1856:2. The Placerville American of 29 Mar 1856, reprinted in the Western Standard 5 Apr 1856:3, carried an article suggesting that Hyde was "exploring the numerous and beautiful valleys in that direction, in view of their settlement by a large immigration from Salt Lake the coming summer."  Sacramento Union 14 Apr 1856:3.

[55] Angel, History of Nevada, p. 38.

[56] Western Standard 22 Mar 1856:3.

[57] Western Standard 5 Apr 1856:3. Angel, History of Nevada, p. 39, suggests a political element in Hyde's call for a reliable emigration: "A company left Salt Lake for Carson County, May 7th, of that year (1856), and others came from time to time, until they were in a majority before election, that occurred on the fourth of August".

[58] Sacramento Union 1 May 1856:3; Placerville American, reprinted in Western Standard 6 Jul 1856:3; Placerville American 29 Mar 1856, reprinted in Western Standard 5 Apr 1856:3; Placerville American, reprinted in Western Standard 14 Jun1856:4.

[59] Western Standard 17 May 1856:1. This poem, published on the front page of the Standard, had the preface: "The following lines were prompted by the perusal of a letter from Carson Valley; calling on the Saints in this country to move to that place."

[60] Sacramento Union 1 May 1856:3; Placerville American, reprinted in Western Standard 6 Jul 1856:3; Angel, History of Nevada, p. 39.

[61] Angel, History of Nevada, p. 40.  According to an entry in Hosea Stout's diary, Judge Drummond left Utah Territory for Carson Valley on May seventeenth, 185 (ed. Brooks, Juanita, On the Mormon Frontier: The Diary of Hosea Stout 1844-1861, University of Utah Press, Salt Lake City: 1964, p. 596.

[62] Placerville American, reprinted in Western Standard 6 Jul 1856:3. According to that account: "Hon. Orson Hyde is erecting a new saw and grist mill in Wash-ho Valley, to be propelled by an overshot wheel on one of the mountain streams that in such numbers and great beauty are found ever full and leaping to the valleys. Both mills wall be in operation in a very few weeks."

[63] Letter of John Hyde Jr., Western Standard 12 Jul 1856:3.

[64] Ibid.

[65] Angel, History of Nevada, p. 623.

[66] Placerville American, reprinted in Western Standard 14 Jun 1856:4. Angel, History of Nevada, p. 39 suggests that the emigration came, in part, for political purposes: "A company left Salt Lake for Carson County, May 7th, of that year, and others came from time to time, until they were in a majority before election, that occurred on the fourth of August" (1856).

[67] Stockton Argus, reprinted in Sacramento Union 12 Aug 1856:1.

[68] When the newly-appointed Probate Judge of Carson County arrived in Placerville, he was questioned about his domestic arrangements. According to the Sacramento Union 25 Jun 1855:3, "Mr. Hyde says that the last report gives him many more wives than he really has, and none came over with him." Juanita Brooks, in "The Mormons in Carson County, Utah Territory," Nevada Historical Society Quarterly VIII/1 (Spring 1965) quotes the LDS Church letter books (Business Letters Book No. 2, October ninth, 1855):

                ". . . Learning last Friday that you remained and do not intend to return this season, also your want of a wife, we obtained the services of bro. James Townsend, purchased a team &c. to go out to Carson County and take your wife to you -- we have done pretty well as they are going to start tomorrow morning."

                According to Juanita Brooks, "Brigham Young, knowing the skill of Orson Hyde on the frontier, was eager to keep him at his post and to have him happy. When Mr. Reese suggested that a wife might make him willing to establish a more permanent residence here, the President had one on the way in 24 hours. This was Mary Ann Price, mother of only one child."

                On October twenty-ninth, 1855, the editors of the Sacramento Union published this fragmentary dialogue on the subject:

"'What an Elder!  -- Orson Hyde, an Elder in the American Church of Utah, and the proprietor of several Salt Lake seraglios, is at present in St. Louis. The object of this visit, it is said, is to make additions to his harem in the persons of ten affianced wives, now in that city, whom we will take measures to transplant to Salt Lake City. What an unconscionable appetite this hoary old sinner must possess! Most men find one wife as much as they can comfortably manage, but what must he be who voluntarily takes them by tens? -- Exchange.'

                "To these strictures Elder Orson, who is at present rusticating in the verdant valley of Carson, replies through the columns of the Placerville American, as follows:

                "'Only about one hundred fold better than those righteous editors who delight to publish such silly falsehoods to injure their neighbor's reputation without bone-fitting their own, I left St. Louis, Mo., in the early part of June, '52, and since then I have not returned to that city. But when conductors of journals have sufficiently amused themselves at my expense, I suppose they will "give over." Yet if they will publish this answer in connection with the above trash, I will forgive them. Some have only published it to contradict. Among this number is the Sacramento Union.'"

                On November sixth, 1855 Daniel A. Poorman told the editors of the Sacramento Union that he had just arrived from Carson Valley. Poorman and a party including James Townsend, J.F. Howard, Abel Gilbert and Mary Ann Price left Salt Lake City on the eleventh of October, 1855 and had arrived in Carson Valley in early November (Sacramento Union 7 Nov 1855:2). Townsend was a "Mormon missionary," according to the Sacramento Union 12 Nov 1855:3.

[69] An article published in the Sacramento Union 17 Jun 1856:3 states that a numbers of settlers in Carson Valley had moved or were planning to move to Honey Lake Valley.

[70] Western Standard 9 Aug 1856:3.

[71] Angel, History of Nevada, pps. 40, 333. Angel notes "The court was held at Mottsville, in Mott's barn, while the Grand Jury held its sessions in the house, or in the hotter portions of the day, in the blacksmith shop."

[72] Angel, History of Nevada, p. 333.

[73] Ibid., p. 40. The San Francisco Herald 18 Nov 1856:2 gives the text of Judge Drummond's charge to the Grand Jury on concubinage:   

                And now, gentlemen of the Grand Jury, it becomes my duty to call your special attention with strict care to the following section, viz.; Sec. 33, found on page 187 of the Revised Statutes of the United States, for A.D. 1855, which reads as follows: 'If any man or woman, not being married to each other, lewdly and lasciviously associate and cohabit together; or if any man or woman; married or unmarried, is guilty of open and gross lewdness, and designedly make any open and indecent exposure of his or her person -- every such person so offending shall be punished by imprisonment not exceeding ten years and not less than six months, and a fine of not more than one thousand dollars, or both, at the discretion of the Court.' You will now remember that you have each taken a solemn oath before God and these witnesses, that you would true presentment make of all such matters and things as should be given you in charge or otherwise come to your knowledge, touching the present service. This section, therefore, I give you in charge, with an ardent desire that you will cast off all priestly yokes of oppression, and studiously and honestly do your duty, without fear, favor or affection, wholly unbiased. As there is no statute law in this Territory regulating marriage, or touching the subject directly or indirectly, it only remains for me to say that, all those ceremonies by the people of this Territory called 'sealing,' are anything other in the eyes of the law than a legal marriage ceremony. -- In the foregoing section the Legislature has thought proper to pass a stringent law of a criminal character for the punishment of open lewdness; this indeed was wise and humane on the part of those legislators; and to us it seems that the Legislature thereby intended to provide a remedy for the correction of that crying and most loathsome, barbarous, cruel, black and degrading evil, which seems to be one of the cardinal doctrines of the church, prominent in power in this Territory; Polygamy, or at least if they did not intend it, they have virtually done what should have been done many years since. The law is found in the book and you as well as I are solemnly bound to give it force and utility. It is wholly useless and noonday madness for the Legislatures to pass laws and for the Federal Government to send Judges and Attorneys here to execute those laws, if the mandate of one man clothed with a priestly power and wholly unlearned in the science of the law is to be permitted to thwart not only the action of the Legislature of the Territory, but boldly and openly bid open defiance and sportive rebellion against the federal authority of the United States and dictate to grand juries when to find bills of indictment and when not. These things cannot be endured in a Republican Government. All these men therefore who have a multiplicity of women residing with them, at the same house or at the same harem, are subjects for your investigation. I have already instructed you, that there is no law in this Territory authorizing the issuing of marriage licenses, or authorizing anyone to perform marriage ceremonies, either in or out of the church, and much as you may regret to do so, it is nevertheless your duty to respect the law of the land and prefer bills of indictment against all such as have not been legally married, in some other country and particularly when two or more women are found cohabiting with the same man. These instances are too often seen and too much encouraged by the heads of the church here, to insure respect from the civilized world, either at home or abroad, and even barbarous minds in your own country revolt at the sickening and truly heart rending spectacle of the masses of this Territory. Duty follows you gentlemen, in all the walks of life, at home and abroad, in the family circle, at the ballot box, at your daily Christian devotions and prominently so here, where the interest of the crushed and down trodden appeal in thunder tones for relief at the hands of the law."

                On July third, 1857 the editors of the Sacramento Union published the following in regard to Judge W.W. Drummond:

                Judge Drummond. -- This Democratic official not long since figured in California as the accuser of the Mormons at Salt Lake. He charged upon them all the crimes in the calendar, and told his tale in a style of the most indignant virtue and morality. From his language, and the indignation assumed, the community were led to believe that the Mormons were moral monsters, and that Judge Drummond was a pattern of morality and truth, in theory and practice.

                This very moral Judge passed a few days in this city some months since, and 'was accompanied by his beautiful and accomplished lady,' whom he introduced as Mrs. Drummond. The fact that she was not his lawful wife has been known here for some time, as well as the fact that, before he took her under his protection, she was a public character of some notoriety about Washington City. If the Administration is relying on his testimony as to the condition of things in Utah, we fear it will find itself deceived.

                The testimony of such a man ought never to be received in a Court of morals. He is worse than the Mormons, for they never desert one wife in order to procure another. In referring to this moral appointee of President Pierce as District Judge of the United States District Court in Utah, the Missouri Republican gives an extract from a paper published in a town in Illinois, called the Oquawka Plaindealer, and prefaces it with these remarks:

                'This gentleman has been conspicuous, for some weeks past, as the writer of letters making serious charges against the morality, the decency and the respect of the Mormons at Utah, for the Constitution and laws of the United States. He has charged them with all manner of crimes -- murder being the most conspicuous and they have had a great run in the United States. We confess, therefore, we were not prepared to find charges of an equally flagrant character preferred against this same individual, by the Oquawka Plaindealer, published in the town in which he formerly lived. We hope there may be some mistake in this statement, but if not, all will agree that this Judge 'is no better than a Mormon.' The Plaindealer says:

                '"At the time he received his appointment of Chief Justice, he was a resident of this town. He left his wife and family here to go to Utah, and by the time he had reached the Missouri river, according to a correspondent of the New York Tribune, who appears to have been traveling on the same boat, 'Judge Drummond was accompanied by his beautiful and accomplished lady.' The press in this place well knew his perfidy, but out of regard to the feelings of his family, remained silent. After Drummond's resignation and return to the States, he seemed to evince no desire to visit his family. When it was announced through the press that he was in Chicago, Mrs. Drummond proceeded thither to seek an interview with him; and although she stopped at the same hotel, and remained one night while he was there, he managed to screen himself from her sight, and the next morning stealthily got aboard of the train and came to this place, and took two of his children away with him. His wife remained a week in Chicago, seeking in vain for her faithless husband, and then returned home only to have a more bitter pang added to her already broken heart, to find that her children had been spirited away, she knew not where."'

The Western Standard 10 Jul 1857:2 reprinted the above, with comments.

                In a letter dated March fourteenth, 1857, and published in the Western Standard 3 Apr 1857:3, William Nixon accused Judge Drummond of misrepresenting the nature of his charge to the Carson County Grand Jury:

                It was a pity, however, that he did not keep a correct copy of his address made to the Grand Jury when holding court here last July. You have doubtless seen an account of his pretended address made at the above time and place, as published in the Missouri Republican, and which I am prepared to prove is as false as the devil could invent, and he knew it was best to publish all such matters as far from home as possible, so he might enjoy for a brief period the honor of being very efficient as a U.S. officer, and that of a great brave in traducing the character and morals of a people he knew to be far superior to himself as the light is removed from darkness. Documents for the above can be furnished on demand.

[74] Angel, History of Nevada, pps. 40, 333. One of those indicted was E. Lamb, for stealing two horses. According to Angel, "It is stoutly asserted, by some surviving contemporaries, that Lamb did not steal the horses, or in other words, was innocent of the charge; but history is deprived of an authentic judicial record upon this point, for the reason that Lamb made his escape from Mottsville; and the indictment, in consequence, was never tried" (p. 333). However, on p. 40 Angel's text states that "A couple of men convicted of grand larceny were sentenced to imprisonment, but both of them escaped."

[75] Angel, History of Nevada, p. 40.

[76] Ibid., p. 333.

[77] Ibid., p. 40. Judge W.W. Drummond resigned his federal position in a letter dated March thirtieth, 1857 (ed. Brooks, Juanita, On the Mormon Frontiers The Diary of Hosea  Stout 1844-1861, University of Utah Press, Salt Lake City: 1964, p. 596n.)

[78] Letter of Jonathan Hyde Jr., Western Standard 12 Jun 1856:3. Jonathan Hyde. Jr. later became an apostate, as William Nixon noted in his letter published in the Western Standard 3 Apr 1857:.

the election.

[79] Western Standard 23 Aug 1856:3. Hyde noted that the election was "very spirited".

[80] The returns were printed in the Sacramento Union 15 Sept 1856:2. There are comments on the election in the Sacramento Union 23 Aug 1856:2 and in the Western Standard 23 Aug 1856:3.

[81] Western Standard 23 Aug 1856:3; Sacramento Union 15 Sept 1856:2; Angel, History of Nevada pps. 39-40.

[82] Angel, History of Nevada, pps. 39-40.

[83] Ibid.; Western Standard 23 Aug 1856:3; Sacramento Union 15 Sept 1856:2.

[84] Sacramento Union 6 Sept 1856:2; 12 Sept 1856:2; Shasta Republican 25 Oct 1856, reprinted in Sacramento Union 30 Oct 1856:4.

[85] Sacramento Union 12 Sept 1856:2.

[86] Placerville American, reprinted in Western Standard 11 Oct 1856:3.

[87] Ibid.

[88] Ibid.

[89] Ibid.

[90] Ibid.

[91] Ibid.; Placerville Democrat, reprinted in Sacramento Union 6 Oct 1856:2.

[92] Ibid.

[93] Placerville Democrat, reprinted in Sacramento Union 6 Oct 1856:2.

[94] Placerville American, reprinted in Western Standard 11 Oct 1856:3.

[95] San Francisco Herald, reprinted in Sacramento Union 22 Nov 1856:4; Sacramento Union 10 Dec 1856:2; letter from William Nixon in Western Standard 17 Jan 1857:3.

[96] San Francisco Herald, reprinted in Sacramento Union 22 Nov 1856:4; Sacramento Union 10 Dec 1856:2.

[97] San Francisco Herald, reprinted in Sacramento Union 22 Nov 1856:4.

[98] Sacramento Union 10 Dec 1856:2.

[99] Angel, History of Nevada, p 40.

[100] Western Standard 13 Dec 1856:2; Sacramento Union 9 Feb 1857:2; 18 Feb 1856:3; Angel, History of Nevada, p. 40 gives the date of Hyde's departure as November sixth, 1856.

[101] Sacramento Union 18 Feb 1857:3. Judge Hyde was elected to the Utah Territorial Legislature shortly after his arrival (Sacramento Union 18 Feb 1857:3).  More than five years later, Judge Hyde still had bad feelings about the gentile settlers of Western Utah.  This letter, penned by Judge Hyde on the twenty-seventh of January, 1862, is generally known as "Orson Hyde's Curse." The letter reads as follows (from Angel, History of Nevada, pps. 40-41.):

                                                                                                                G. S. L. CITY, JANUARY 27, 1862.

TO THE PEOPLE OF CARSON AND WASHOE VALLEYS-

            Ladies and Gentlemen : Not quite seven years ago I was sent to your district as Probate Judge of Carson County, with powers and instructions from the executive of this Territory to organize your district into a county under the laws of Utah—those valleys being then the lawful and rightful field of Utah's jurisdiction; but opposition on your part to the measure was unceasingly made in almost every form, both trivial and important, open and secret. Your allies in California were ever ready to second your opposition of whatever character or in whatever shape.

            In the year following (1856, I think,) Mr. Price and myself built a valuable saw-mill in Washoe Valley, made and purchased several land claims there for ourselves and our friends—made considerable improvements thereon; but being called away on short notice, this property, then worth $10,000, was rented to Jacob Rose for a limited term, at a stipulated price. On this rent he advanced one span of small, indifferent mules, an old worn-out harness, two yokes of oxen, and an old wagon. This is all that we have ever received for the use of our property in that valley, though we have sent bills for goods or merchandise; but no response, except on paper, and even that not of the most encouraging kind.

            We have been patient, and have not murmured. We have made little or no effort to sell our property there, because we considered that those who had it thought they were doing God and themselves a service by wronging the Mormons; and for me, I felt backward to do anything in the premises until the Lord should tell me what to do (it being on his account, or on account of his religion, that we were deprived of any benefit from it.) That time has now come, and the Lord has signified to me, his unworthy servant, that as we have been under circumstances that compelled us to submit to your terms, that He will place you under circumstances that will compel you to submit to ours, or do worse.

            That mill and those land claims were worth $10,000 when we left them; the use of that property, or its increased value since, is $10,000 more, making our present demand $20,000.

            Now if the above sum be sent to me in Great Salt Lake City, in cash, you shall have a clean receipt therefor, in the shape of honorable quit claim deeds to all the property that Orson Hyde, William Price and Richard Bentley owned in Washoe Valley. The mill, I understand, is now in the hands of R. D. Sides, and has been for a long time. But if you shall think best to repudiate our demand or any part of it, all right. We shall not make it up again in this world in any shape of any of you ; but the said R. D. Sides and Jacob Rose shall be living and dying advertisements of God's displeasure, in their persons, in their families, and in their substances; and this demand of ours, remaining uncanceled, shall be to the people of Carson and Washoe Valleys as was the ark of God among the Philistines. (See 1st Sam. fifth chapter.) You shall be visited of the Lord of Hosts with thunder and with earthquakes and with floods, with pestilence and with famine until your names are not known amongst men, for you have rejected the authority of God, trampled upon his laws and his ordinances, and given yourselves up to serve the god of this world; to rioting in debauchery, in abominations, drunkenness and corruption. You have chuckled and gloried in taking the property of the Mormons, and withholding from them the benefits thereof. You have despised rule and authority, and put God and man at defiance. If perchance, however, there should be an honest man amongst you, I would advise him to leave; but let him not go to California for safety, for he will not find it there.

            On hearing the contents of this letter, you may send forth volleys of your wrath with your taunts, jeers, and scurrilous indignation; but you will only prove the more conspicuously that you are dealing with an Apostle of God, or that an Apostle of God is dealing with you, whom you have rejected. The hand of God is already beginning to be upon you for evil and not for good. The golden treasures of the earth are there to call together the worshipers of the god of this world, that you may there receive a common fate.

            I have no sordid desire for gold, and have manifested it by my long silence and manifest indifference; and should not say anything now had not the visions of the Almighty stirred up my mind.

            We warned and forewarned the people of Missouri, more than twenty years ago, of what should befall them for treating the Mormons in the way they did; but did they believe us then ? Do they believe us now? No ! Yet what is their present condition? Blood and fire may tell. We likewise warned the people of the United States from Maine to Mississippi, and from Boston to San Francisco, of the wars and troubles that were coming upon them for allowing the Saints and Prophets to be driven, scattered and slain, their property confiscated and destroyed, and they never raise a hand to protect the Saints, to punish the crimes of our persecutors, or to redress our wrongs in any way. We told the President and his Cabinet, proclaimed it to the Congress of the United States, and told them that desolating wars which should end in the death and misery of many souls should begin in South Carolina. Did they believe us then ? Do they believe us now ? No ! Yet what is their present condition ? They have eyes, but they see not—ears, but they hear not, and hearts, but they understand not. Their blood flows like water, and their rage like the ocean, yet they have not read the half of the preface of their national troubles.

            We now tell the people of Carson and Washoe Valleys some things that will befall them, and the reason why they will befall them. But will you believe us ? "Behold ye despisers, and wonder and perish! I will work a work in your day—a work which ye shall in no wise believe, though a man declare it unto you." (See Isaiah, twenty-ninth chapter.)

            God is now beginning to deal with the inhabitants of the earth for the wrongs which they have done unto his people, and for rejecting his authority and counsel, given forth from Heaven through the Mormons. His dealings with them will be neither light nor on a limited scale. But those who do repent, and make right their wrongs, acknowledge the authority of God in the channel through which he hath sent it, may find mercy and protection in that channel, and nowhere else.

            I care not what our mill and land claims are, or were considered worth—whether five hundred thousand dollars, or five cents—twenty thousand dollars is our demand; and you can pay it to us, as I have said, and find mercy, if you will thenceforth do right, or despise the demand and perish.

            As usual, I feel quite indifferent about it, and what I have written I have written, and I excuse not myself.

            Without hypocrisy, deceit or falsehood, I remain as heretofore, a servant of God.   

                                                                                                                                                                ORSON HYDE.

P. S.—This letter, though indited by me, was written and signed by the hand of my clerk; yet I endorse it by my own hand, and request its contents to be made as public as consistent.

As above,        

ORSON HYDE.

SPRINGTOWN, San Pete County, U. T., March 11, 1862.

H. MOTT, ESQ.—Dear Sir: I have planted my suit to recover the value of our property in Washoe Valley in the Chancery of Heaven. Your note of the sixteenth ultimo brought me the satisfactory information that the papers were duly served; and now, without further argument, I am willing to rest our cause, and submit it to a final decision. But one thing I wish you, for your own sake, to remember, and that is, the word of the Lord, and the words of his servants have almost invariably been regarded by a wicked and unbelieving race as mere "moonshine," or as something of far less consequence. I have rested my cause, and shall say no more for some time yet to come.

Truly yours,

ORSON HYDE.

[102] Angel, History of Nevada, p. 40.  By this account, "In 1857, a schoolhouse was erected at Franktown, in Wassaw (Washoe) Valley, that was sold in the fall to 'Lucky Bill', who moved it to Genoa (Mormon Station), where it became a horse stable, and thus ended the first effort to organize a school system in western Utah." It may not have been a school system, but Angel notes on p. 37: "The first school in western Utah was kept by Mrs. Allen, at the residence of Israel Mott, during the winter of 1854-55."

[103] Placerville American, reprinted in Sacramento Union 10 Nov 1856:2.

[104] Swackhamer, Wm. D., Political History of Nevada 1979, State Printing Office, Carson City: 1979, pps. 40-50.

[105] Ibid., pps. 48-49; Angel, History of Nevada, p. 42, Rep. H.B. Clawson (Great Salt Lake County) presented this bill, J.S.F. No. 13, to a Joint Session of the Utah Territorial Legislature on January ninth, 1857. The Joint Session referred the bill to the Joint Committee on Judiciary the same day, and on motion of Orson Hyde (Great Salt Lake County), Rep. Enoch Reese was added to the Committee on Judiciary for the purpose of considering J.S.F. 13. Councillor D.H. Wells of the Joint Committee on Judiciary reported the bill back to a Joint Session of the Legislature on January twelfth, 1857. On a motion of Councillor Wilford Woodruff (Great Salt Lake and Tooele Counties) the Joint Session passed the bill that day. (Journal of the Legislative Assembly of the Territory of Utah for the Sixth Annual Session: 1856-7. Convened at Fillmore, and Adjourned to Great Salt Lake City. By Authority: James MacKnight, Public Printer. Great Salt City: 1857.)

[106] Ibid.

[107] Angel, History of Nevada, p. 42.

[108] Ibid.

[109] Sacramento Union 10 Jan 1857:2; Western Standard 17 Jan 1857:3; 14 Feb 1857:3.

[110] Western Standard 17 Jan 1857:3.

[111] Western Standard 14 Feb 1857:3.

[112] Placerville American, reprinted in Sacramento Union 9 Mar 1857:3.

[113] Ibid.

[114] Ibid.

[115] Western Standard 13 Mar 1857:3.

[116] Placerville American, reprinted in Sacramento Union 6 Apr 1857:2.

[117] Placerville Mountain Democrat 11 Apr 1857:2.

[118] Western Standard 24 Apr 1857:2.

[119] Ibid. Chester Loveland sent a copy of the minutes for publication to Western Standard Editor George Cannon; the text follows:

Genoa, Carson County, Utah. April 8th, 1857.

Elder Geo. Q. Cannon,

                Dear Brothers.. Realizing that every thing pertaining to the upbuilding and prosperity of the kingdom of God deeply interests yourself and the majority of the numerous readers of your valuable paper, I with pleasure, forward for publication a copy of the Minutes of our Annual Conference, held at Wassaw Valley or Franktown, Carson Co., Utah, on the 6th inst.

                Meeting called to order by Elder Chester Loveland. Singing by the choir -'The morning breaks' &c. Prayer by Elder Loveland.

                On motion of Bishop R. Bentley, Elder C. Loveland, as unanimously chosen President of Conference.

                On motion of Pres. Loveland, Wm. Nixon, was unanimously chosen Clerk of Conference.

                Pres. Loveland, in a few appropriate and interesting remarks, stated in part the object and business of the Conference, and contrasted the position and standing which the kingdom of God mow has upon the earth, after passing through so great a variety of scenes since its organization on the 6th of April, 1830, with the position occupied by it at that time; desired the Saints to be united in all matters brought before them, and to seek earnestly that the Spirit of God might inspire our minds in all our deliberations.

                Bishop R. Bentley, after making a few suitable remarks, presented the authorities of the Church in Zion;

                When it was moved that we, as a Stake of Zion, sustain Brigham Young as the first President, Seer and Revelator of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, with Heber C. Kimball as first and Daniel H. Wells as second counsellors. Carried unanimously.

                Moved, that we also sustain the whole quorum of the Twelve Apostles; the first presidency of the Seventies; Edward Hunter as first Bishop; and John Smith is first Patriarch, and all other quorums and organizations of the Church in Zion. Carried.

                On motion, Wm. Price was sustained as President of this Stake of Zion.

                On motion, Chester Loveland was sustained President pro tem, during the ab.sence of Pres. Price, who has gone to G.S.L. City on business.

                On motion; Chester Loveland was sustained as President, and A.B. Cherry, Wm. Kay, N. Higgins, C. Layton, Wm. Jennings, H. Hatch, T.H. Park, John Lytle, S. Dustin; J. Roundy and Simeon Baker as members of the High Council of this Stake.

                On motion; Richard Bentley was sustained as Bishop of the Stake.

                On motion, John Forsgreen was sustained as Clerk of High Council.

                On motion, Seth Dustin was sustained as President of the Wassaw Branch, with E. Brown and R. Thompson as counsellors.

                On motion, Wm. Nixon was sustained as President of the Carson Valley Branch, with Chas. A. Harper and H.P. Olsen as counsellors.

                On motion, Oren Hatch was sustained as President of the Eagle Valley Branch, with J. Roundy and L. Ensign as counsellors.

                The Presidents of the various branches were called upon to report the number and standing of members; when S. Dustin, of the Wassaw Branch, reported all well; standing good; the Saints striving to live their religion, and roll on the cause of truth: number of members including officers 111; 12 High Priests; 9 Seventies; 1 Elder. Three have been baptized since last Conference; rebaptized forty-five.

                Carson Valley Branch, represented by Wm. Nixon; reported the Saints as being alive to the interests of the mission; number of members including officers 116; 5 High Priests; 22 Seventies; 9 Elders; 3 Priests; 1 Teacher; baptized since last Conference 7; rebaptized 79; ordained 4; disfellowshipped 1.

                Eagle Valley Branch, represented by Oren Hatch, reported standing good, with few exceptions; all desire to take part in the reformation: number of members, including officers, 60; 4 High Priests; 2 Seventies; 5 Elders; 1 Priest; rebaptized since last Conference 24.

                Pres. Loveland then brought up the case of Col. John Reese, who had been disfellowshipped by the Carson Valley Branch for unbelief and unchristian-like conduct. Testimony was adduced which sustained the above charge, and which Col. Reese admitted; but said his feeling had not changed towards the party and things which caused his being disfellowshipped; and would rather be disconnected from the Church until time and circumstances should bring him in contact (at head quarters) with the party towards whom he had feelings owing to pecuniary matters and deal between them; otherwise his feelings and intentions were good towards the mission and all connected therewith. After a few remarks from Pres. Loveland and others, in reference to the conduct of the said Col. John Reese;

                On motion, Col. Reese was cut off from the Church, and the action of the Carson Valley Branch fully endorsed in his case.

                On motion, Conference adjourned for one hour. Singing by the choir. Benediction by Bishop Bentley.

Afternoon Session.

                Pursuant to adjournment the Saints again convened. Meeting called to order by Pres. Loveland. Singing by the choir. Prayer by Bishop Kay.

                After a few cheering remarks from the President and others, the business of the conference proceeded.

                On motion, R. Bentley was appointed Clerk of the Stake.

                Pres. Loveland referred to the case of H.B. Taylor, who had been rebaptized by stealth, before making restitution and atonement to the mission.

                After which, on motion, H.B. Taylor's rebaptism was made null and void, until he repents and brings forth fruit meet for repentance, and is willing to make full and sincere restitution.

                On motion, Mary Harper was cut off from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter- day Saints, for unchristian-like conduct.

                Much instruction was given by Pres. Loveland and others on the duties, responsibilities, and privileges of the Saints, showing the great necessity and importance of all connected with the mission to live their religion and prove their integrity by good works; and, as servants of God, study to represent His kingdom and people in their true light to the world as far as our influence may extend.

                The weather was very propitious, and the gathering of the Saints from the various branches of the Stake was as general as circumstances would permit. To write all the good things that were said by the brethren would trespass too much on your valuable time, and space in the Standard;  but suffice it to say, peace, union, and the Spirit of God were the ruling feelings in every heart present, and altogether it was a time long to be remembered.

                Pres. Loveland blessed the people in the name of the Lord; when, on motion, Conference adjourned until the Sixth of October, 1857.

                Singing by the choir. Benediction by Bishop John Lytle.

[120] Calaveras Chronicle, reprinted in Sacramento Union 22 Apr 1857:2.

[121] Sacramento Union 16 May 1857:3.

[122] Sacramento Union 20 May 1857:2; 20 Jun 1857:4; 25 Jun 1857; 1 Jul 1857:3&4; 13 Jul 1857:3&4; 12 Aug 1857:2; 16 Sept 1857:1; Placerville Mountain Democrat 11 Jul 1857:2.

[123] Sacramento Union 20 Jun 1857:4; 1 Jul 1857:3.

[124] Sacramento Union 20 May 1857:2; 20 Jun 1857:4; 25 Jun 1857; 1 Jul 1857:3&4; 13 Jul 1857:3&4; 12 Aug 1857:2; 16 Sept 1857:1; Placerville Mountain Democrat 11 Jul 1857:2.

[125] Sacramento Union 13 Jul 1857:4.

[126] Angel, History of Nevada, p. 42; Sacramento Union 20 Jul 1857:3.

[127] Angel, History of Nevada, p. 42.

[128] Letter from John Reese, W.M. Ormsby and James M. Crane, Sacramento Union 22 Sept 1857:2.

[129] Auburn Press, reprinted in Sacramento Union 28 Sept 1857:3.

[130] Ibid.

[131] Angel, History of Nevada, p. 42 gives the date of departure of this train as September twenty-sixth, 1857; W.W.S., in the Sacramento Union 5 Oct 1857:3, says that they left the day before.

[132] Letter of "W.W.S.", in Sacramento Union 5 Oct 1857:3. The Sacramento Union 1 Aug 1857:2 notes that "W.W. Smith, formerly Secretary of the Alta Telegraph Company, is in the [Carson] Valley making arrangements to construct a line of telegraph from this city [Placerville] to the Valley;" this individual may be identifiable with "W.W. S."

 Chapter I: The Settlers' Government;  Chapter II: Carson County, Utah Territory;  Chapter III: The Nataqua and Sierra Nevada Territorial Movements;  Chapter IV: The Carson Valley People's Court;  Chapter V: Rival Governments;  Chapter VI: Nevada Territorial Movement and Provisional Government;  Chapter VII: Mining District Governments