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George Washington Bean

Compiled by Dianne E. Wintch; 25 Apr 2001






The Early Years
Provo Valley & the Indians
The First Mission Call
Fort Las Vegas
Miscellaneous Information
Bibliography


THE EARLY YEARS

George Washington Bean was born on April 1st, 1831 to James and Elizabeth (Lewis) Bean, at the family home 2 miles outside Mendon, Adams County, Illinois. [Note: In his autobiography, George stated that he was born in Centre Township, Adams County, State of Illinois.]

From his Autobiography 2 George states: “My parents names were, James & Elizabeth Bean formerly named Lewis from Lincoln Co., Mo. I had one brother & two sisters older than myself, and the same number that were younger. Their names according to age were:

  1. William, who died at the age of 15 yr. 7 mo. in Feb 1841.
  2. Nancy, who married Thos. J. Williams in Adams Co. had one child, a little girl, & then separated on account of religious differences. She subsequently married Techariat B. Decker & removed to Parowan Iron Co. UT, where she now resides.

  3. Sarah Ann, who married William Casper & now resides in Mill Creek, Ward, SSL Co.
  4. Myself
  5. James A. [Addison] Bean, married & lives in this City.
  6. Mary Elizabeth She is married to Amos J. Haws & lives in this City.
  7. Cornelia, who died at Council Bluffs in 1846 aged 4 yr. 2


When James and Elizabeth moved to Illinois in 1824 there were about a dozen families along the river. They were a moral, circumspect and deeply religious couple. Because they were of different faiths (James was Methodist and Elizabeth was Presbyterian), their children had the privilege of meeting many ministers, who enjoyed the hospitality of the Bean home.

In 1839 the Mormons were faced with expulsion from Missouri where Abolitionist sentiment had set the stage for the Extermination Order, signed by Governor Boggs of Missouri. Many of the Saints took refuge in Adams County, Illinois. Among them were Jonathan L. Harvey, Matthew Way, Alexander Williams, George W. Gee and wife, she being a cousin to the Prophet Joseph Smith. During this period the family housed some of the refugees. 1

Alexander Williams possessed a great personal magnetism. He was invited to the Bean home to compare religious doctrine with Elizabeth, who was a knowledgeable scriptorian. She was surprised at the clarity of his views and explanations, which presented the bible in a new light. In 1841, James Bean, being a trustee at the school, gave his permission for Mr. Williams to preach the gospel. The result of it all was that James and Elizabeth, and Nancy Bean, his older sister were baptized, as were Esaias Edwards and his wife, Ann Buckalew Bean Edwards (James’ mother), Reuben Carter and wife, and Joseph Kelly and wife. George Washington Bean and his sister, Sarah Ann Bean were also baptized at this time.

1841: To continue in George’s own words: "I was put to school at an early age, and by the time that I was 10 years old had made considerable proficiency in the common branches of an English education. At this time however, which was in the spring of 1841, my parents joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. They were baptized under the hands of Alex Williams, and this occurrence materially changed the current of our future prospects, as we were all influenced more or less by the doctrines taught by that much persecuted sect, and the consequence was that we were all baptized into the Church the ensuing summer. I was baptized by Elder Joseph Kelly in July 1841, being a little past ten years old, and was confirmed by And [sic] Hamilton and others." 2

The city of Commerce was purchased by the Prophet Joseph. They drained the swamps, built a beautiful city, and changed the name to Nauvoo. James moved his little family to Golden Point, five miles south of Nauvoo.

1845: George wrote: "The Church was then gathering at Commerce, (afterwards Nauvoo) in Hancock County, Illinois, about 40 miles from my birthplace, and as soon as father could sell and exchange his property for land near Nauvoo he did so. This was effected in the spring of 1845, and we removed there immediately. This was after Joseph Smith’s death and affairs were somewhat in precarious situation related to building and making many improvements in the City. But, notwithstanding, we built a small brick house two blocks South of the Temple, on the slope of the hill near Father Cahoon’s. Also improved our farm six miles N. E. of the City and raised a small crop. I worked on the Temple, about 3 mo. in this year, which building was hurriedly completed about the last of this year [1845] and the Twelve began giving endowments. There is one item transpired in this year which I will notice: the brethren about Highland Branch on Bear Creek were driven from their homes and their houses in many instances were burned by the Mob. The call was made for assistance to defend their lives and secure their property from these lawless ruffians. The requisition was made in the name of Sheriff Backenstos, and among the many who responded to the Call, I was one who volunteered, and went under the charge of Captain Stephen Markham. This was the first public service that I ever rendered to the kingdom of God on the earth. We rode almost night and day on horseback, with arms and full equipment for service, and soon scattered the wicked hosts of Satan. We were absent five days, in which time we visited Carthage, Warsaw, scoured Green-plains and effectually [sic] drove the Marauders from the County. We liberated our brethren, for a time at least, from their merciless persecutors. This was September 1845. I was ordained a Seventy on November 30, 1846. The beginning of this year found me employed in laboring in the third story of the Temple, assisting those who were engaged in the service of giving endowments, it being my duty with others to furnish wood and water for that purpose. About this time I received my washing & anointing in the House of the Lord, although very young at the time, not being 15 years old." 2

He served on guard duty in Nauvoo, and joined Masons. 1

1846: "By this time persecution had begun to rage and it was concluded by the 12 [Apostles], that we should flee into the wilderness and in February I joined a Company of Pioneers. (" great deal of grumbling, and in some cases almost open rebellion, was indulged in.”) started across the Mississippi River and took up our line of march westward. The 12, and most all the leaders of the Church accompanied us; we were detained on Sugar Creek some 4 weeks by the severity of the weather. We then traveled slowly out through Iowa. [We] Crossed the Des Moines River at Bonaparte, and owing to the bad roads, weak teams, lack of provisions etc. were obliged to halt some weeks at Richardson's Point. Here it rained almost incessantly for some days, and as many of us it was deemed expedient to disband a portion of the pioneers, guard, etc. I was among that number and thereupon immediately returned home to Nauvoo, where I found my father about ready to start on western trail. We left Nauvoo on the first of May, followed on up to the Station of Mr. Pisgah where we found the 12 & those who had proceeded us. Here we put in a small crop. Father let Dr. W. Richards have two yoke of his cattle, and in lieu thereof took an order on Babbit & the Temple Committee at Nauvoo for 2 yoke more when Dr. Richards property could be sold."

"This order William Casper and myself started back with on the 3rd of June. We walked all they way to Nauvoo in 6 days and arrived just as they were receiving cattle on the sale of the Dr.’s property. [We] Got two poor yoke of steers and Casper took them back to overtake father again. I went down into Adams County and hired out for the summer to work on a farm at 12 cents per month. I staid until November 1st, when I again started from Nauvoo to follow the track of the saints. I came in company with Br. Stephen H. Goddard’s family and arrived at the Bluff on [the] Missouri River December 1st, where I soon found my father’s family in very reduced circumstances. Some of them were sick, and my sister Cornelia died a month or two previous to my arrival. Father was then in Missouri getting provisions. He soon came home, the sick got well, and then he and I went down into Missouri & worked & got more provisions."

1847-1848: "This spring, I assisted Father in clearing out and fencing a piece of land which we put into corn [while at Council Bluff]. On the 13th of June I started with J. M. Grant’s Emigration Company for the far west on the track of the pioneers who left in the spring. [They arrived in Salt Lake Valley on September 4th, 1848, moving to Provo in 1849].

"My brother-in-law, William Casper, had went [sic] in the Mormon Battalion to California, and I drove the team which brought his wife (Sister Sarah Ann) & Child, on to meet him. Our Journey across the plains was a long and tedious one. occupying nearly 4 months. We met President Young & the pioneers on Strawberry Creek. They informed us that they had found a suitable location for the Saints in the Valley of the Great Salt Lake, about 300 miles further west. We pushed on and arrived into the valley on the 4th of October. In about two weeks after, William Casper got in from California with many others of the Battalion. One of his messmates, Ephraim K. Hanks, also came and boarded with us through the winter. This brought our stock of provisions very low, so that by spring we had to shift on thistle roots, segos & poor beef milk, greens etc., but by the blessing of the Lord none of us starved and we were enabled to put in several acres of grain early in the Spring of 1848.

"A Call being made for men and teams to go back to meet President Young and the emigrating Saints, I volunteered and took charge of 3 yoke of Cattle, a wagon, and started on the 23rd of May [1848] in Captain S. Roundy’s Company. We had to encounter some storms and much high-water in many instances, having to raft our wagons across the streams on this journey. I suffered considerably from lack of food, by which I got much reduced in strength as well as flesh. We went 15 miles below Chimney Rock before we met the Companies. My father was in the 2nd Company, Captain William Perkins’. I delivered over the wagon & teams according to orders & returned with my father to the valleys of the Mountains. We arrived on the 4th of September and located south of Mill Creek where Casper now lives. Nothing of interest transpired this winter."

He [George] brought his father’s family on September 4, 1848, and they moved to Provo in 1849. He became Indian interpreter and risked his life many times to plead for peace with the Indians. The different government, state, county and ecclesiastic offices held by him are too numerous to mention here, among them, however, is first, United State Deputy Marshal under Marshal Haywood, and Surveyor in Utah and Nevada. He went with Governor Brigham Young on several exploring expeditions, and on one of these located Fillmore as capital of the Territory of Utah. Among the important church offices held were Presiding Bishop in Sevier Stake and Counselor to President W. H. Seekmiller of that Stake. Brother Bean died in Richfield December 9, 1898.

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PROVO VALLEY AND THE INDIANS

1849: The Indian tribes who inhabited Utah valley were known as the Pah-Utahs or Pah-Utes, pah meaning "water" in the native dialect. They lived mostly on fish found in the lake and in adjacent streams. At a council meeting in Great Salt Lake City on January 6, 1849, it was decided that Amasa M. Lyman, Orrin Porter Rockwell, George D. Grant, Jedediah M. Grant, David Fullmer, John S. Fuller, Lewis Robinson, Dimick B. Huntington, William Crosby and George W. Boud would go to Utah valley to learn its capabilities for a stock range. It was not considered advisable to drive cattle into Utah valley at that time as it was reported that Indians had stolen cattle from Salt Lake and Tooele valleys and carried them into Utah valley. A posse of thirty or forty men, under Captain John Scott, left the city on February 28, 1849, in pursuit of some Indians who had been stealing and killing cattle and running off horses from Willow Creek (Draper) and other places. The company proceded to Utah valley and at the mouth of Battle Creek canyon, (Pleasant Grove) a skirmish took place between Captain Scott's men and a band of Indians, which resulted in the killing of some of the natives and breaking up of the Indian band. At a council meeting held March 10, 1849, President Brigham Young presiding, it was voted that a colony of thirty men should settle in Utah valley. On the first day of April the company of colonists arrived in the Utah valley and commenced to build Fort Utah.

President Brigham Young, writing to the first settlers at Fort Utah under date of May 19, 1849, urged them to finish their fort as soon as possible, to keep continually on their guard, and not to admit Indians inside their fort, unless it were a few at a time, and then not armed. May 27th, at a meeting held in Great Salt Lake City Brother Alexander Williams asked permission to trade regularly with the Indians, and, after some discussion, it was decided that he and Dimick B. Huntington should have the privilege of trading with the natives in behalf of the community in Utah valley, but that all other persons should be strictly prohibited from engaging in such trade.

An unfortunate incident occurred in the infant colony on August 1, 1849. Richard A. Ivie, Y. Rufus Stoddard and Gerome Zabriskie, residents of Fort Utah, met an Indian, called "Old Bishop" in the field and claimed a shirt the Indian had on. The Indian refused to give it up. Brother Ivie claimed it as his and tried to take it by force. The Indian resisted, and in the scuffle that ensued the Indian was killed. Great excitement was immediately manifested by the Indians who demanded the murderers which, of course, was refused by the whites. They then required compensation in cattle and horses, but nothing, it is said, was given, or promised. Shortly afterwards, cattle and horses belonging to the settlers were found with arrows sticking in them and several persons were shot at while in the woods and other places. Meanwhile the people prepared for defense. Peter W. Connover was chosen captain of militia with R. T. Thomas and G. T. Willis as lieutenants. Miles Weaver was called to act as adjutant and Joseph Clark as sergeant. Guards were posted at night, and armed herdsmen on horseback, kept the stock by day. The leading Indians ordered the settlers off their lands, making serious threats, in case of failure to leave, and stock was stolen from time to time. 4

Autobiography con’t: "Early in the spring of 1849 we removed to the Utah Valley, this being the commencement of what is now the flourishing City of Provo. At this time there were a great many Indians on the Provo River. It was the chief rendezvous for fishing purposes for all the Utah Indians within 150 miles, but they were very friendly to us. At this time I engaged in farming. I also took an interest in acquiring a knowledge of the Utah Language, and being almost constantly in company with some of them, I soon learned to speak tolerably well with them. This season being the time of gold excitement in California, our Country was filled with travelers from the States westward, most of them wishing to trade for fresh horses and mules. We done [sic] much trading with the Indians for their ponies, then bartered them for wagons, cattle & other property to those emigrants. About August and September, [Fort Utah] became a rendezvous for the gold-hunters intending to go to California, the Southern route, with Captain Jefferson Hunt as their guide. He resided at Provo at this time.

"The 1st day of September this year is an ever memorable day in my history, as on that day I lost a limb & very nearly my life in the following manner: We had a six pounder cannon in our Fort placed on a platform in the center of the Fort, elevated so as to command the surrounding county. This day William Dayton and James B. Porter got a lot of powder from the emigrants camped near the fort and made some cartridges preparatory to firing the cannon a few times for amusement. Just as all was ready for action (it was about sundown) I got home from a day’s work up the river. Dayton asked me to assist him in loading and firing the gun. I complied with the thoughtlessness of youth. Both of us were ignorant of the proper management of the piece. We fired it once and he immediately put in another cartridge (without swabbing the gun) and in ramming it down, the powder ignited prematurely as we both held the rammer. The shock was tremendous. Both of us were thrown about 15 feet. Dayton was killed instantly, and I was taken up for dead and placed upon a bed from whence I did not rise for near forty days. My left hand was torn off at the wrist and subsequently amputated just below the elbow. My right arm and hand was severely lacerated; also my right thigh, breast, neck and face was [sic] filled with splinters and blackened with powder. Eyes were closed for 20 days. Nevertheless, by the prayer of faith and the blessing of the Almighty God, I was healed and made sound, except for the loss of my arm, according to the promises of the Prophet Brigham pronounced upon my head about 15 days after the occurrence."

Of this incidence, Heart Throbs of the West, by Kate B. Carter, Vol.6, p.462: relates the following: "About this time, a large company of gold seekers, enroute westward, made their camp along side the fort, and they, having plenty of arms and ammunition, were a great aid; they stayed four or five weeks and had stock which they cared for together with the settlers, for mutual protection. The military company continued to practice almost daily, and through the liberality of the emigrant camp, powder was supplied for the cannon in case of need. On September 3, 1849, the sad news was brought to Great Salt Lake City that while firing the cannon a second time at Fort Utah, the charge went off, on account of the gun not having been swabbed out, killing Brother William Dayton and taking off the left hand and part of the left arm of George W. Bean, necessitating amputation at the elbow. "Hout" Conover rode horseback for the nearest doctor, a Dr. Blake at Centerville over sixty miles away. He rode 120 miles with scarcely a trail to follow, and arrived back at the fort with a doctor in just twenty hours. This ride of "Hout" Conover is worthy to be recorded with the great rides of history. Bean's life was saved but his left arm was amputated between the wrist and the elbow."

Another account: An Enduring Legacy, Volume Ten, p.335: "In August, some immigrants passing Fort Utah sold a quantity of gunpowder to the pioneers, and on August 30, a demonstration of the use of the cannon on the bastion was planned. William Dayton, who was a gunner, was assisted by George W. Bean. The gun was fired once, but as it was being reloaded the powder took fire from a spark left in the bore. Suddenly there was a terrific explosion, and the two men were hurled almost to the gates. William Dayton was killed and George W. Bean was seriously wounded. The nearest doctor was a Dr. Black at Center-ville, over sixty miles away. "Hout" Conover left on horseback for the doctor. He rode 120 miles with scarcely a trail to follow, and arrived back at the fort with a doctor in just twenty hours. Bean's life was saved, but his left forearm was amputated at the elbow."

Peter Conover, Autobiography, typescript, NVC, Pg. 5: "It was in the fall of 1849 and the spring of 1850 when the first Indian trouble broke out, the first battle being fought on the Timpanogos River, now the Provo River. Peter W. Conover was the captain commanding the Utah Militia which engaged in the war. The Indians were known as the Timpanogos Ute Indians. Among those to take part in the first battle were Peter W. Conover—Captain, Joseph Clark—Lieutenant, Abram G. Cownover, Nathaniel Willaims, Albert Haws, A. W. Haws and about 25 others. The said company was organized in the month of July 1849 to protect the settlers from the forages and depredations of the Indians who were at that time driving off the stock and firing on the settlers. It was during this time that George Bean lost his arm when a cannon which he was firing exploded with the second charge."

GWB Autobiography con’t: "In the latter part of this year the Indians began to be troublesome, driving off stock, shooting at the brethren etc., until in the month of January 1850 war commenced. assistase [assistance?] was provided from G S L City, the Indians were defeated and driven to the Mountains, where many died from exposure and hunger. I spent a month or two at Salt Lake City this winter, where I had the measles.

1850: "Early in the spring we all moved out on open ground 1 1/2 miles east of Fort Utah. Here we also built in fort lines. I done [sic] some trading with the Indians this summer, also with the emigrants. When winter came on I engaged as assistant to Mr. William Hurst keeping school in the new log schoolhouse. He gave me 25 cents per month.

1851: "In 1851 Father moved onto our farm 3/4 miles up the River. I kept school in our house in the fort. In April President Young invited me to accompany him and others on a tour to the Southern Settlements (I was at the time considered a pretty good interpreter); we went by Sanpete Settlement, then up the Sevier River about 100 miles, there crossed the Rocky Ridges into Little Salt Lake Valley. Here we had a severe snow storm upon us the 10th of May. Snow was a foot deep. Parawan City was just then commenced. We explored the country some, found a coal bed and plenty of iron ore, located the settlement of Cedar City, [and] returned by the way of Beaver Pine and Pahvan Vallies. In October this year I was again invited by President Young and Company to go with them to locate the Capital of Utah Territory, which was done in honor of the President of the U. S. [Fillmore] The Indian sub-agent, Major S B Rose, was in company with us. I interpreted for him in a talk which he had with Kanosh, the Chief of the Pahvants. We returned by way of the Sanpete, where we found some Spanish Traders who were after Indian children. Governor Young forbade them trafficking in such articles, but a few weeks afterwards we learned they had broken their agreement and I was sent as Dept. U S Marshall, with Marshall Heywood to arrest them & bring them to G S L City for trial, which we did in December. I was retained as Interpreter for the Indian witnesses at about $8 per day.

"In April, 1851, the City of Provo was created under a charter granted by the General Assembly of the State of Deseret and the first election of officers took place, resulting in the appointment of the following officers: Ellis Eames, mayor; Harlow Redfield, David Canfield, William Pace and Samuel Clark, aldermen; and William M. Wall, Chauncey Turner, Thomas G. Wilson, James R. Ivie, Jonathan O. Duke, David Cluff, Ezekiel Kellogg, Ross R. Rogers and Gilbert Haws, councilmen. This City Council appointed the following officers: George W. Bean, recorder; Gershon C. Case, marshal; John Redford, assessor; Elijah E. Holden, collector; James Rollins, treasurer, and James Bean, supervisor." 7

1852: "In February 1852 Major Rose, myself and 4 others started on a trading & exploring tour to Uinta Valley. We went up Spanish Fork Canyon to the divide, then bore NE over a high mountain where we entered much deep snow. We then kept down a canyon in the same direction, to Duchess Fork of Uinta River. Near this stream in the Cedars we found Tabbe, an Indian Chief and his band. They had an Antelope pen made of cedar into which they would drive bands of these animals to kill them. Tabbe sent his brother as guide to Roubidoux old fort. We found no more Indians; consequently, done [sic] no trading, and returned the same route that we went out. I was at this time engaged as interpreter for Major Rose at $500 a year. I also assessed Utah County this year, but at the August Election William D Huntington was elected and I gave him up the books after collecting a small amount. Major Rose went back to New Jersey after his family this fall, and I found a girl that about suited my fancy for a wife, by the name of Elizabeth Baum. We agreed finally to join our fortune together which was accomplished by the assistance of President I. Higbee on the 16th of January 1853. Myself and wife lived in father’s family for about 3 or 4 months. I then bought a house of William Weeks up near the bridge across Provo River. This we only occupied for 2 months on account of the Indian disturbances which broke out this summer. All of us on the outskirts were obliged to move into the City. Some of us sacrificed of nearly all that we possessed. I spent considerable time in running expensed, visiting the friendly Indians in different localities, endeavoring to allay all suspicions which they had inbibed against the whites etc. Nothing more of importance occurred during this year."

1853: George married Elizabeth Baum Jan. 6, 1853, at Provo (daughter of Jacob Baum and Agnes Harris of Chester county, Pa., pioneers Oct. 1852, Jacob Baum company). She was born Jan. 27, 1834. Their children: Elizabeth Agnes b. Aug. 19, 1854, m. Parley Peterson; George Teancum b. Dec. 26, 1856, m. Celia Hunt; Epaminondas b. June 13, 1859, m. Ins F. Hunt; Anne Alida b. July 28. 3

1854: [Autobiography continues:] "Early in 1854 I was appointed assessor and collector of Utah County and entered immediately upon the duties of that office. I was appointed by President Young (in connection with O P Rockwell & Amos Neff) to labor, teach and trade among the Utah Indians, and try to heal up the feelings made by the occurrences of last summer. I also accompanied President Young in his Southern tour, as far south as Harmony. I was also to see the Indians on Green River and Sandy, had some stormy debates with them and some hairbreadth escapes from their savage fury. I was also employed as interpreter before the US District Court in two or three cases where Indians were parties. I was witnessed the execution of two Goshretes [?] by hanging. They were surrendered by the tribe for the murder of Bishop Weeks two boys in Cedar Valley. I collected all territorial & county taxes this year to within 70 or 80 dollars of the whole assessment of over $2700. August 19th my wife had a daughter which she named Elizabeth Agnes.

1855: "About the beginning of 1855 I took up a school and began teaching in the Seminary. But in a few weeks after, I received an invitation to repair forthwith to G S L City and engage treaty with the Pahvants for the giving up of Gunnison murderers. After advising with President Young, I decided to go and had good success. Kanoash, Faryshout and all the chiefs agreed to give up the required number. They were tried before Judge Kinney at Salt Creek in March. Colonel Steptoe and a portion of his troops attended to keep the Indians in check. Three of the Pahvants were convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to the penitentiary for 3 years. In the beginning of April, I went for Colonel Steptoe to look out a wagon route from Rush Valley Reserve across the desert west to California. We found the upper end of Salt Lake Desert very wet and miry for several miles. Consequently, [we] deemed it impractical and so reported it to Colonel [Steptoe]. We were gone about 16 days. Upon returning to G S L City I found that I had been appointed on a mission among the Lamanites. I waited a day or two and was set apart for Las Vegas Springs, New Mexico.

Table of Contents



THE FIRST MISSION CALL

Our Pioneer Heritage, Vol. 18, p.99-106: At the general conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints held in Salt Lake City, missionaries were called to go into different parts of the world, preaching the Gospel and baptizing those converted. Soon after settlement in the Valley of the Great Salt Lake, a large number were called to colonize in different parts of the territory of Utah. In planning a new settlement, President Young and his associates selected men according to their various capabilities, the pursuits in which they could be leaders. On April 6, 1855, the following men were appointed to settle Las Vegas:

  • James T. Sanford Allred
  • George W. Bean
  • James A. Bean
  • William Bringhurst
  • William Burston
  • Sidney Carter
  • Joseph C. Clowes
  • Benjamin Cluff
  • William Spencer Covert
  • Edward Cuthbert
  • William A. Follett
  • William Foster
  • Aroet L. Hale
  • Benjamin R. Hulse
  • Richard James
  • William P. Jones, Jr.
  • Albert Knapp
  • Joseph S. Milam
  • Amasa E. Merriam
  • Ira S. Miles
  • William C. Mitchell, Jr.
  • Stephen C. Perry
  • Thomas E. Ricks
  • William C. A. Smoot
  • George G. Snyder
  • John Steele
  • John Turner, and
  • William Vance.

Said George Bean of the Mission call, "I was stunned to learn that my name had been listed and voted upon to go on a mission. I immediately went to President Young's office and found the mission call was true and that I was wanted to go as interpreter to the Las Vegas Springs on the Southern California road and form a settlement, in company [p.101] with President William Bringhurst and about thirty others. The object of the Mission was to teach those wild Piede Indians the blessings of peace and industry, and honesty, and kindred principles. President Young asked me how I liked the call as missionary. I told him that I loved my religion above all else and that I was ready to go wherever I could serve the Kingdom best. He was pleased with the answer and blessed me. I was set apart for my mission by Apostle Wilford Woodruff.

"I was indeed pleased to get this blessing before going home. There was much to report to my wife, and the great surprise was my call for the Mission. She too was comforted with my visit to President Young and his blessing, and that I was set apart while in the City. She assured me that she would take good care of things in my absence and had faith all would be well with us. I was glad to see our baby girl was well and growing more interesting. Ten days was not much time to prepare for a mission, but we had been trained to be minutemen with cooperative spirits and determined wills to do our duties. Having some money, I bought up a bin full of wheat, some land, but this being the great grasshopper year in Utah there was nothing much raised in the fields. We had several cows, etc., and some cash, leaving the wife and child, my most concern, well provided for, so my thoughts were at ease.

"After this we had to travel slow for some days until the lame animals got well. Some men were inclined to grumble because of my care of the lame ones, causing delay. By the time I got to Parowan I was glad to turn over the responsibility to a mail carrier, Jim Williams, who was ready for the job. I was paid $110 for 34 days of service. I stopped at Parowan and stayed with my sister Nancy Bean Decker until President Bringhurst came along. I fell in line with my Brother, James A., John Turner, Ben Cluff, [p.102] and W. A. Follett, who brought my outfit. There were thirty of us, William Bringhurst was our President in charge. We reached our destination June 15th, 1855, which was considered 450 miles from Salt Lake City. On the way, however, when we reached Santa Clara, we fell in with some brethren on a similar mission to ours, and they decided to bear us company and introduce us to the Lamanites on the Muddy (river) and elsewhere, as they had been in that part for some years.

"Rufus Allen, Isaac Riddle, Thomas D. Brown and Peter Shirts made up the party that went with us. We had a hard time getting through the sandy Rio Virgin River and up the Big Bluff from Virgin to Muddy. When we reached the latter place, we found Brother Allen and company baptizing Indians by scores and Hundreds. On that stream many hundreds of Indians were then living in a savage state. Robbing and sometimes killing stragglers was common; even an old experienced Mountaineer, Ike Brown, was returning alone from Southern California and in some way offended the Natives here and he was killed in a kind of running fight. It was almost a daily occurrence that some depredation was committed. We held some meetings with the Natives here, teaching them good principles and to some extent repentance and baptism. The Chiefs were all baptized and received English names such as Thomas, Rufus, Isaac, etc., which were retained for years. The Muddy stream afterwards sustained several Mormon settlements for a few years, where cotton, cane, corn and grapes were a certain crop.

"Our next drive was to Las Vegas, 55 miles without water, but we found excellent sand grass and other kinds about half way across the desert near a dry lake. Many of us drove ox teams. It took us about thirty hours to get across. We passed through a large mesquite grove in the Las Vegas Valley about five miles from the water. We found excellent fuel and lots of wheat grass watered by periodical floods which caused a lake of no small dimensions at times. We reached the water at last, also fine meadow grass. This was the 15th of June, the hottest weather I ever saw. A few Moapats, Muddy Indians, came with us but we found no Natives at the Las Vegas Springs. We started to clear off the land to plant the crops forthwith, but the heat was terrible. The indians were very shy at first, but good, kind treatment won them over in time so that we used them for much of our labor. We sent out runners to gather in the Lords of the Soil, but it was about ten days before the proper ones arrived. After they learned our intentions, they made good promises and we made some and then set to work to clear off some willows and brush. We taught them to be honest, truthful, industrious and peaceful, and to keep good feelings among the Indians and with our people. Meanwhile, myself and our Santa [p.103] Clara brethren went down to the Colorado River and thence down said river as far as El Dorado Canyon, suffering terribly from the heat. For instance, our dear old Father Hulet who was in company, gave out eight or ten miles from the Vegas, and the rest pushed on until we reached a green spot which proved to be a spring and stream of warm water, where we drank about a gallon each and sent Brother Isaac Riddle back to fetch Brother Hulet who was found leading his horse and trudging on foot not having strength to get on his horse. He arrived safely just after dark, by the aid of Brother Riddle and his good mule. We planted corn about the first week in July and had a good crop, also some fine squashes and melons and garden truck.

"The Indians were soon partially converted to habits of industry, and helped us to grub the land, make adobes, attend the mason and especially to herd the stock. They were fairly honest and soon joined the Church. During the summer most of the adults were baptized and in many ways showed improvement. They herded the Emigrants' teams as they stopped on their way to California. They irrigated our land and assisted in making adobes and in construction of a fourteen foot wall around a space of one hundred and fifty feet square, which constituted our mission fort. Myself and Brother James T. S. Allred of Sanpete County, Utah, were the Interpreters for the Camp the first year. We also did a great deal of exploring in the mountains and along streams extending from the El Dorado to the mouth of the Rio Virgin River. We discovered the transparent ledges near the Rio Virgin, of Crystal Salt, tall ledges of it.

"The Indians were soon partially converted to habits of industry, and helped us to grub the land, make adobes, attend the mason and especially to herd the stock. They were fairly honest and soon joined the Church. During the summer most of the adults were baptized and in many ways showed improvement. They herded the Emigrants' teams as they stopped on their way to California. They irrigated our land and assisted in making adobes and in construction of a fourteen foot wall around a space of one hundred and fifty feet square, which constituted our mission fort. Myself and Brother James T. S. Allred of Sanpete County, Utah, were the Interpreters for the Camp the first year. We also did a great deal of exploring in the mountains and along streams extending from the El Dorado to the mouth of the Rio Virgin River. We discovered the transparent ledges near the Rio Virgin, of Crystal Salt, tall ledges of it.

"We also found and opened a lead mine in the mountain range southwest of Cottonwood Springs, thirty miles from Las Vegas. This was worked for a turn under charge of N. V. Jones of Salt Lake City, assisted by other Elders. About sixty tons of lead were shipped mostly to Salt Lake City and the rich silver slag was left on the ground for some enterprising Americans to carry off in time. It proved to be worth considerable money, and the mine was afterwards re-located and worked by others. The purpose of our explorations was to extend acquaintance with all the Indian Tribes and Bands which we did, viz: the Pahgahts, or Colorado Piedes, Moapats, or Muddys, the Pahruchats, or Rio Virgin, the Panominch, or western Piedes, the Quoeech or Diggers, the Pahrouegat Valley, and the Iatts, or Mohaves—a more intelligent industrious tribe located at Cottonwood Island, on the Colorado river, eighty or ninety miles below our settlement where they raised cotton, grain and other products. We found excellent timber in the high snow mountains to the west about thirty miles away. The lead mine was in the same range. This was reported to President Young and he said to work the mine, [p.104] as lead would be useful for tools and bullets, as pioneers had a few moulds, but he limited the workings.

"In September, 1855, President Wm. Bringhurst, myself and George G. Snyder, W. A. Follett and one or two more made a trip to San Bernardino, California, taking some oxen and cows of our country to sell, as prices for American cattle were then rather high. We sold our cattle and bought wild mares and mules. George Chrisman of San Bernardino was Interpreter. I believe we did well in the transaction. We were absent six weeks from the Mission. While in California I visited with many good friends of early days in Utah and took a trip via the old ranches of Cucamunga, San Luis Recardo and El Monte to Los Angeles and San Pedro of the great Pacific shore. Also San Gabriel Mission with its large Church Bells, its pepper trees, olives and other fruits; its prickly pear fence, a mile or more long and ten feet high, alive and growing; and the largest corn (16 feet tall) I ever saw. At the Monte, one large onion would cover a large dinner plate. We ate Spanish tortillas, and frijoles and chili at the Dominguez Ranch, cooked by a squaw, a native cook. We stopped at Williams' Ranch and came up by old Roubidoux ranch, on the Santa Ana River. He once lived in Uintah Valley and talked good Ute....

"We got our stock, mules and horses in shape and started back to me Mission Headquarters early in October, and found many of the Elders about ready to start home for the winter. In about two weeks Brothers Covert, George Snyder, my brother James A. Bean, John Turner, A. L. Hale and others left for home to return early in the Spring. We who remained were seventeen in number and probably one thousand Indians within sixty miles, but we had made considerable progress in civilizing those near us and we trusted in the Lord, although we had heard of the Elk Mountain Mission being broken up and some of the brethren killed. I have been miraculously preserved many times while in line of duty and trust the Lord in the future.

"We had our various school exercises almost every evening. We had four or five rooms in the Fort finished off so as to be quite comfortable. I was Clerk of the Mission and kept up the correspondence with President Young and others, receiving our mail once a month. My daily diary was the history of our activities in the Mission and travels and took some time. About this time I received instructions to visit and take a Census of all Natives within the boundaries of our Mission field and this required much travel. In one of these trips we followed up the Colorado River from Vegas Wash via the mouth of Rio Virgin and examined the Crystal Salt mines below the mouth of the Muddy river. Those were very fine tall walls of solid salt as clear as window glass and seemingly inexhaustible. We were cornered [p.105] on this trip by Chief Thomas' hostile Indians who required us to heal a very sick girl forthwith or we could go no farther. We were five in number, and if Elders were ever united in faith and administration to the sick, it was us at that time, for we saw that the Natives were well prepared to carry out their threats. The Lord was with us, however, and He preserved the little girl's life, and I may say ours, until we got peacefully and safely away from them. We obtained what information was possible from that and other Tribes of Indians in various locations before we returned to Las Vegas Fort. Our Indian schools, meetings and lyceum programs were continued regularly.

1856: "On January 1st, 1856, Follett and myself took a bath in the Vegas Springs, four miles above the Fort, which shows the mildness of the climate and warmth of the water. Not a flake of snow fell here all winter. We got along fairly well during the winter with teaching these untutored sons of Laman and Lemuel their origin and the Gospel of Christ as well as cleanliness, honesty, industry and love of the Great Spirit they seemed to fear, yet recognize. Some were added to our number that winter. During the latter part of February, some of the Elders began to return to the Mission. President Bringhurst concluded to take a few of us back to Salt Lake City and report the good country we were in and ask for more settlers. Five of us started out on mule-back with packs and were more than twenty days on the road because of heavy snows in north sections. The snow was nearly two feet deep at Parowan. We had to travel slow with our poor animals that had no grain. It took us four days from Wild Cat Canyon to Corn Creek, and snow much of the way clear to Payson. We found the Tintic Indian War going on when we got to Nephi. The winter had been very severe and thousands of head of stock had perished; others had been driven south to Sevier and Millard counties to feed.

"I reached my home at Provo, March 25th, 1856, having been absent about eleven months. All was well at home but I remained to look after business, ranch, and supplies, until June 1st, when I returned to the Mission in company of Elder Thomas E. Ricks, deciding not to take our families. Some of the others were on the way and it was a very laborious trip for them. When we arrived at Las Vegas we found that Elder N. V. Jones had the lead manufacture under way and some discontent soon sprang up between the strict rule of President Bringhurst and the liberal ideas of some of the newcomers who were supported by N. V. Jones and his lead workers. This kept growing until the bad spirit affected the Natives and seriously impeded our success as Missionaries. Brother Jones invited men to join him, which President Bringhurst resisted strongly. The fact was that facilities had been too highly colored, and too many had been called which soon brought [p.106] dissatisfied feelings, and the consequence was that both parties made an appeal, that the First Presidency of the Church decide the most important action to take.

"President Bringhurst chose Thomas E. Ricks and myself to represent Mission interests, and E. K. Fuller and John Turner in behalf of the mines and the discontented. Ricks and myself left September 22 for Salt Lake City. A ton of lead ore was shipped with each of us, which was sold to Salt Lake potters. He and I were both cripples, one armed men, yet we struggled through the 500 miles, each driving four mule teams. Besides this I was severely kicked by one of the mules while down on the Rio Virgin River, which made it a very hard trip for me. We called at President Young's office and made report as to the various causes of disagreement.

"After many questions asked by President Young he realized the spirit of the Mission was broken and he thought best to abandon it, but to get all the lead possible before this Mission went out. Then suggested that the families could return to the settlements, and the boys with teams haul as fast as possible, until the lead was worked out. This was late in 1856. Brother Ricks and I were released to stay at home, unless we desired to haul ore. I declined because my Missionary work was done. My brother James A. looked after my property at Las Vegas Fort."

Table of Contents



FORT LAS VEGAS

"On the Southern route to California, Colonel Steptoe having decided to send Lieutenant Mowry down to Fort Tejen by the Southern route, I engaged as guide and interpreter at $3 per day, with James T Allred as assistant. I left Provo on the 4th of May. The rest of the Missionaries were to start in about 12 days. Brother Allred joined me at Fillmore , and that same night a stampede occurred among the Government Animals. They ran with their picket-pins & ropes some of the 25 or 30 miles. Several horses were crippled so much that they could not travel.

"I kept on with them until we got to Parowan, where I found my sister Nancy very sick. I left Movry & Company and staid with her until President Bringhurst and the rest of the Los Vegas Company arrived.

"Jim Williams the (completely blurred) took my place as guide. My Mother came over (blurred) Hurst (?) Young's company a few days ahead (blurred) missionaries. About the last of May I got under way from the settlements and arrived at our place of destination on the 15th of June (1855?) though the weather was very hot. We immediately set about farming & improving the (blurred) and the condition of the Indians in the neighborhood. I went exploring down the Colorado River, but the weather was so hot that we returned in a few days. The middle of September I started to San Bernardino with cattle to trade for horses, in Company with Bringhurst and 4 others. We had pretty good success and got back the 3rd of November. While in California, I visited Los Angeles, San Pedro, and got a glimpse of the broad Pacific.

"November 8 several of the missionaries returned home to their families. I remained with 16 others through the winter. We had Lyceums Indians’ School. I [held?] plenty of meetings regularly.

Heart Throbs of the West, Kate B. Carter, Vol.6, p.139: In 1855, President Brigham Young appointed a company of men to open a mission in Las Vegas. Part of this group left Salt Lake on May 10 and were joined by other members from different settlements along their route. When they were all assembled, there were thirty missionaries and their families, 40 wagons, 15 cows, and several riding horses. William Bringhurst was appointed president, Wm. S. Covert, first counselor, and Ira S. Miles, second counselor. Other members of the group were: Ariot Hale, James Dickenson, William Bruston, Albert Miles, George G. Snyder, William A. Follet, John W. Turner, Judge Shaver, Amasa Meriam, Sylvester Hulet, Artemus Millet, George W. Bean, William Vance, John Steele, Thomas E. Ricks, Brother Knapp, C. A. Smoot, Brother Foster, James T. S. Allred, Edward Cuthbert, J. S. Milam, Stephen C. Perry, Benjamin R. Hulse, James A. Bean, John Bleazard, Aaron Farr and Lemuel Redd.

After a very long and hard journey the first division of the company reached Las Vegas at 3:30 p.m. Thursday, June 14, 1855. They established their camp-near where the old fort building now stands. After looking over the surrounding country for the purpose of selecting the most suitable location for a settlement, they decided to locate on the spot where they had first camped.

Sunday, June 17th, they built a bowery and held their first religious service, during which they gave thanks to the Almighty for their safe arrival at their destination.

They at once began to lay off the ground for the fort, measure off garden plots and farm lands. The fort was laid off one hundred and fifty feet square on a slope a few rods from the creek and was to be fourteen feet high, walls two feet thick at the base and one foot thick at top. The residences were to be built inside of the fort and were to be two stories high. After gardens and other crops were planted, a survey of the country was made for timber for building. Found it very far away and hard to get. Early in August some of the men began making the adobe bricks for the walls and three or four teams went to Cottonwood Springs to get poles and also some iron they found lying there. Others went for rock for the foundation. The fort and residences were completed before winter set in. On December 2nd, President Bringhurst and others staked out their preemption claims, taking in the whole valley on both sides of the creek, probably eight miles long and one or more miles wide. Early in the Fall, probably in September, a school was established for both white and Indian children, and A. A. Lemon was appointed the teacher. January 10, 1856, a post office was established with Wm. Bringhurst as postmaster. 4

"The year 1855 saw the advent of more pretentious school buildings, the Seminary, located at First North and Fifth West, was the first. It was a two story adobe structure and was used for many purposes aside from school. Its first teachers included George W. Bean, Charles D. Evans, Moses Mecham, and C. Waudell. A Mr. Hudson and a Mr. Benson also taught there." 8

1856: "On the first day of January, 1856, Follett and myself took a bath in the Vegas Spring 4 miles above our fort, which shows the mildness of the climate and warmth of the water. Not a flake of snow fell here all winter. In February a few of us took a tour up the Colorado, then across and up the Rio Virgin to the Muddy, then up that stream to the California road and back again to Vegas. While out we many Indians viewed in the Salt Mines, and acquired a better knowledge of the country. The latter part of February I started for home with Bringhurst, Thomas Ricks and Jones. We got to Parowan and was [sic] hindered about a week by a snowstorm. We then pushed through snow several feet deep between Beaver and Fillmore, and arrived at Provo March 25, found my family well. I remained at home until 10 of June, then went back again to Vegas. Several families had got there by this time. The Lead mines were opened about August, by N V Jones, assisted by us. I got a load of lead ore, and in company with Tom Ricks, started again for Provo in the first days of September. I arrived the 25th. Went to see President Young, and he told me to stay home, that he was going to call all away as soon as there was sufficient lead obtained.

"During the October Conference there was quite a revival preached by President Jedidiah M Grant. The handcart emigration were coming very late and hundreds of teams and loads of flour were sent back to assist them. They were brought in with feet and hands frozen, and distributed through all settlements. I and Follett took a 4-mule team and brought a load from G S L City to Provo. Dec 10th I took Emily Haws for my 2nd wife, and on the 15th, Mary Jane Wall became my 3rd. The ceremony for both was performed by Patriarch Isaac Morely. There was a great awakening among the Saints in Provo this winter. Many confessed their sins and turned away their evil practices."

George married Emily Haws Dec. 10, 1856, at Provo (daughter of John Haws and Martha Masters of Wayne county, Ill., pioneers 1850). She was born Feb. 27, 1836. Their children:

  1. Malinda b. Jan. 26, 1858, m. George A. Beal;
  2. Onias, died;
  3. Lola b. Sept. 10, 1861, m. Ruben Farnsworth;
  4. Ella b. March 9, 1865, m. A. D. Thurber;
  5. Charles L. b. Jan. 29, 1867, m. Mary Jensen;
  6. Emily b. July 17, 1869, m. Edward Payne;
  7. Burton John b. Dec. 2, 1871, m. Ora Bartlett at the family home Richfield, Utah.

George also married Mary Jane Wall Dec. 15, 1856, at Provo (daughter of William Wall and Nancy Haws of Illinois, pioneers Sept. 1850, William Wall company). She was born April 12, 1841. Their children:

  1. William James b. March 14, 1858, m. Natalia Outzen;
  2. Mary Geneva b. Dec. 15, 1859, m. William Collins;
  3. Leo Albert b. Sept 1, 1861, m. Ottaminnle Baker;
  4. Nancy Vilate b. April 6, 1864, m. Abram Johnson;
  5. Eliza Isabelle b. Dec. 4, 1865, died;
  6. Chloe Diantha b. Dec. 4, 1867, m. John E. Eversoll;
  7. Malissa b. Feb. 21, 1870, m. S. G. Clark;
  8. Virginius b. July 21, 1872, m. Annie Bartlett;
  9. Eda Jane b. Sept. 22, 1874, m. John H. Eversoll;
  10. Isaac Wall b. Nov. 30, 1876, m. Hattie Bartlett;
  11. Jesse Fuller b. Feb. 21, 1878, m. Cecil Gardner;
  12. Taylor Jay b. Nov. 5, 1881;
  13. Cornelia b. Dec. 11, 1884 at the family home Richfield.

1857: "The beginning of 1857 was very severe cold and deep snow. About the 1st of April we were all re-baptized for the remission of our sins. This spring I had farming going on by William Dowdle. On the 24th of July the Presidency got word from the frontiers that President Buchanan was sending a large Army out here in Utah, to 'use up the Mormons', and preparations were immediately made to defend ourselves. On the 16th day of August I, in company with others, was sent across to Carson Valley to call in the Mission. From there, we took the cut-off South of Salt Lake and Humbolt, and came near being cut-off ourselves, for some of the party were very ill [having been] provided with provisions which in fifteen days brought us all without food, ... and nearly crazy for lack of water we all suffered extremely, but we slew an old mare of Dr. Riggs’ which gave out. We feasted on poor horse flesh, filled its entrails with water, for lack of canteens, jerked the meat, packed it up and pushed on for Sink of Carson, which was reached in safety. We replenished our larder at Ragtown, and two days after reached Washoe Valley, the head quarters of the Saints. In a short time all was bustle and excitement preparatory to removal. I was detailed with others to take surplus stock over to California, make sales thereof, and purchase wagons, teams & goods. I enjoyed this task very much , notwithstanding a severe cold that operated considerably against my natural feelings. I had charge of Brother J C Naile's cattle, who was back in Utah. I sold to a man named Douglass, and came into possession of $1100 dollars in gold, at Placerville. With this I took [a] stage for Folsom, thence by Railroad to Sacramento. This was my first acquaintance with that mode of travel and I was surprised to find everything so comfortable and pleasant. At Sacramento we put up at the Belvidere Hotel. Here we met with William R Smith, agent of W H Hooper. He was very glad to see us and hear the news from home. He likewise felt very anxious about some cash drafts he had in possession, and upon consultation together, it was thought best to hurry him off to Carson in company with one of us. I was detached for that service, consequently only remained in Sacramento City, about 24 hours."

1858: Davis Bitton, Guide to Mormon Diaries and Autobiographies (1977), pg.228; Title: "Journal of the Southern Exploring Company for the Desert: "Forty-four members of company listed. William Horne Dame, president. Martineau was "Historian." Rendezvous, 23 April 1858. Description of scenery. Indian encounters. Dame made altar of stones. Names assigned to natural features: White Mountains, Altar Peak, Three Butte Valley, Pinnacle Peak. Close attention to minerals, soil, and water for irrigation. Encountered another party led by George W. Bean. Indian cave. ("The Indians say the cave is inhabited by another race of beings, who live there always.") Meadow Valley Springs. Explored canyon. ("This kanyon as far as we explored it, contains several thousands of acres of good mowing grass, and can be fortified so as to be almost impregnable.")

B. H. Roberts, Comprehensive History of the Church, Vol.4, Ch.111, p.362 - p.363: "Four years before Bishop David Evans, of Lehi, had been called upon to explore that region, but he had failed to find the country described. President Young felt that he had not penetrated far enough into the interior desert waste to find the succession of watered areas, and was not satisfied with his efforts. Later, namely in March, 1858, he sent George W. Bean from Provo, and Colonel W. H. Dame and Nephi Johnson from Parowan, to make a more extended exploration. These parties were made up chiefly of men from the southern settlements. Bean's company numbered one hundred and four persons, and were equipped for making settlements, teams, wagons, agricultural implements, seeds of various kinds, etc. They moved down the Sevier river some distance southward, thence went southwestward, crossing alternating low mountain ranges and desert valleys, with occasionally very limited fertile spots, but few places suitable for settlement. In the White river valley, about one hundred and fifty miles from Cedar Springs, however, they left forty-five of their number to open a farm. The remainder of the company divided and explored northwest and southwest through various valleys, but such springs and small streams as they found were too far north for settlement under the present Instructions. Turning southward they went over the "rim of the basin" to the headwaters of the Muddy river, and in Muddy river valley met with the Dame and Johnson party -numbering between sixty and Seventy men. Westward from this valley they learned from Indians met with that there was a great desert--doubtless the Ralston, the Great Admargosa and Death Valley Deserts-which observation from the mountain range overlooking it confirmed. From the Muddy river valley the whole body of explorers divided, Dame taking with him twenty-eight men from Bean's party for the purpose of locating them in some suitable valley southward if one were found; while the remainder of the party under Bean started eastward for Beaver City, at which place they arrived on the 31st of May. In all, the Bean party had traveled about eight, hundred miles; they had crossed seven ranges of mountains and as many valleys, the latter ranging from ten to thirty miles in width, and from fifteen to one hundred miles in length; but they found no such place for habitation for the people as President Young had hoped for; but confirmed the correctness of Bishop David Evans' previous report."

1863: An Enduring Legacy, Volume Three, p.244: "Serious colonization did not begin until after George Washington Bean, at the calling of the Church president, tramped the length of the valley in 1863 and pronounced it suitable for settlement. Close upon his heels came the first group, arriving at Warm Springs (Richfield) in January of 1864. The following month, a second group of thirty-two families led by Walter Barney passed through this parent community to stop on a spot ten miles to the south. They made camp beside a sparkling stream gushing from the canyon, and with Bishop Wiley Allred and counselors Walter Jones and Michael Johnson in charge, named their community Alma. Hurriedly the men drew for lots, and in the chilling weather of February set about building dugouts for shelter."

Andrew Jenson, Encyclopedic History of the Church…, p.785: "In the summer of 1863 Apostle George A. Smith, then living in Provo, Utah, sent George W. Bean and other brethren to explore the valley of the Sevier in south-central Utah. These explorers, in traveling southward, reached Gunnison, where they found Barney or Elijah Ward, an old mountaineer who had lived in the country a long time and had raised a family of children by a Shoshone (Indian) wife. Barney spoke of the Sevier Valley as the finest country in Utah for wintering stock. Thus encouraged, the party went on, explored almost every nook and corner in the valley and reported in favor of making settlements of the saints in that part of Utah. As Elder Orson Hyde, at that time, presided over all the settlements in Sanpete Valley, the actual settlement of the Sevier Valley was assigned to him by the Church authorities at Salt Lake City. And so a number of families were called from Sanpete Valley and elsewhere for that purpose. Among them was Robert Wilson Glenn, who, in 1864, located on the east side of the Sevier River, in what was called Glenn’s Cove, afterwards known as Glencoe, and still later Glenwood. Richfield was settled by Albert Lewis in January, 1864, and Alma (Monroe) by Moses Gifford and others about the same time. A month later Salina was settled by Peter Rasmussen and others. During the year 1864 other settlements were formed in the upper valleys on the Sevier, such as Marysvale, Circleville and Panguitch. By united efforts and determination by these pioneers, the settlements made a good start, and in January, 1865, the Utah Legislature organized Sevier County, locating the county seat at Richfield. The so-called Black Hawk War broke out in April, 1865; it commenced in Sanpete County, where hostile Indians killed Peter Ludvigsen, a young man, near Twelve Mile Creek. The Indians then headed for Salina Canyon, Where they came upon Barney Ward, the old mountaineer, and James Anderson, whom they killed April 10, 1865, and drove stock owned by these men to the stronghold of the Indians, by way of Salina Pass. The people of Sanpete, being aroused, organized a party of militia, which under the leadership of Col. Reddick W. Allred started in pursuit. They followed the Indians up Salina Canyon, and at a point near the Alum Beds, about 12 miles up the canyon from the present Salina, the Indians attacked the brethren and from ambush killed William Kearns of Gunnison and Jens Sørensen of Ephraim, and wounded others. On July 14, 1865, Robert Gillespie was murdered at Gravelly Ford, eight miles south of Salina. The next day Anthony Robinson of Alma (Monroe) was found in his wagon, murdered by the Indians. The news of these tragedies [p.786] seemed to raise the martial spirit in Sanpete, and General Warren S. Snow with about a hundred men marched towards Fish Lake, and near the head of Grass Valley they had a fight with the Indians, a number of whom were killed, and one of the whites severely wounded. On July 26, 1865, a hostile raid was made by Indians on the Glenwood settlement, and one of the brethren was badly wounded. About this time General Snow, with 103 men, went up the Sevier River as far as Circleville, then up East Fork of the Sevier, where he got on the trail of the Indians, which he followed across the mountains into the lower end of Rabbit Valley, where they had a skirmish with the Indians during which some of the brethren were wounded."

1865: Heart Throbs of the West, Kate B. Carter, Vol.1, p.130: "In April 1865, an Indian war broke out in Sanpete County, spreading to adjacent districts; this lasted without intermission until the close of 1867. Chief Black Hawk was the leader of the Indians at that time.

"The Spanish Fork Indians and also those of the Spanish Fork Mormon Settlement, figure very prominently in the correspondence of Indian Agent Doctor Hurt with the Indian Department in Washington, as can be seen in documents furnished to Congress by President Buchanan.

"In June 1865, pursuant to an Act of Congress extinguishing Indian titles of certain lands, Superintendent Irish aided by the influence and presence of ex-Governor Young and other prominent citizens, made a treaty with fifteen Indian chiefs at Spanish Fork Indian Reservation Farm. Dimmick B. Huntington and George W. Bean acted as interpreters. The Indians promised to move within a year to Uintah Valley, and give up the land they then occupied. They agreed to be peaceable, to cultivate the reservation land, and to send their children to schools established for them. The government in return promised to protect them, to furnish them with homes and employment, to pay yearly sums to the principal chiefs, also to distribute among the tribes, $25,000 for the first ten years, $20,000 for the next twenty years, and $15,000 for thirty years thereafter. The Indians were permitted to hunt, dig roots, gather berries on all unoccupied lands, and to fish in their customary places. Among the chiefs present at the signing of this treaty were Kanosh, Sowiette, Sanpitch, and Tabby. All chiefs present signed the agreement."

1873: Treasures of Pioneer History, Vol.4, p.352: "Early in June of 1873, President Brigham Young and his counselors called a group of men to explore the country southeast of Sevier Valley and to make treaties of peace with the indians in that region. The company consisted of about twenty-two men from Utah and Sanpete counties. Among the number were Albert K. Thurber and William Jex of Spanish Fork; George W. Bean, Abraham Halladay, George Evans and William B. Pace of Provo. The men were fitted out with saddle and pack horses and carried two pack-horse loads of goods, obtained from the Federal Government, to give to the Indians. These were articles that the natives especially liked such as knives, beads, calicoes, trinkets of various sorts, shawls and blankets. Chief Tabiona accompanied them as guide while George W. Bean acted as interpreter. Bishop Thurber could also speak the Ute language.

"The party left Prattsville, near Glenwood, June 11, 1873, and camped at Brimhall Springs. Next morning they traveled up a narrow [p.353] valley, where the grass, in places, touched the saddle stirrups. At the head of the valley they found a large grizzly bear that had just been killed and skinned. Half a mile farther on a bunch of quaking aspen trees. Up about seven feet from the ground, on one of the larger trees, the bark had been peeled off on one side. The men learned later that the bear had an Indian up that tree for about twenty-four hours. In his haste to get up the tree the Indian had dropped his gun, but managed later to get it and kill the bear. The company named the place Bear Valley, a name it still retains.

"On the night of the 12th the party camped at the place now called Burrville. Because of the bunch grass growing all over the hills and the beautiful natural meadows in the valley, the men called this region Grass Valley. The next day, June 13th, the company reached Fish Lake about 3 o'clock in the afternoon.

"It was then they saw the first Indian since beginning their journey. He was after fish, but when he saw the white men, he jumped on his pony and rode up the creek through the timber. Tabiona called for him to stop, but he went right on. One of the men quickly unsaddled and ran to the place where the Indian had been fishing. There he found about forty fish on the bank and thousands more in the little creek. He then began to throw out fish and had about 300 when others in the company came and stopped him. They threw the live fish back into the water, but they still had 210 to take to camp. These were cleaned and salted. Later the Indians dried and smoked them and turned them over—two seamless sacks full—to the white men in Cedar Grove, Grass Valley.

"After eating an early supper, the men picketed and hobbled their horses, keeping them between the camp and the lake. They then made their. beds. around in the brush, and it was agreed that they would remain quiet, no one speaking except Tabiona, George Bean, or A. K. Thurber. Not long after dark the horses began to snort and fuss. Tabiona called out and began talking as did Bean and Thurber. Finally two old squaws came into camp.

"After two days' travel the party reached Escalante Creek, where they found a small band of Indians. They made peace with these Indians and invited them to the Cedar Grove Council. Having completed their explorations the company now started back to Grass Valley, where they arrived about June 20th. The Fish Lake tribe of Indians were at the [p.355] Cedar Grove, and the next day was spent in feasting and talking with Indians who had gathered there. A peace treaty was made and signed by the chiefs and white men and was never broken."

1878: Treasures of Pioneer History, Vol.3, p.357: "In 1878, a second attempt was made to incorporate the city of Richfield in Sevier County. It was passed by the State Legislature and signed by the governor and the following officers were elected: Mayor, Franklin Spencer; Councilmen, George W. Bean, Albert K. Thurber, Paul Poulson, James M. Peterson, George W. Baker, Oke Salisbury, William Morrison; Recorder, John A. Hellstrom; Treasurer, Wm. C. C. Orrock; City Marshal, James Sellers; Pound-keeper, Andrew Poulson; Superintendent of streets, Hans Christensen; Policemen, Benjamin Carter, G. T. Bean and Henry Outzen."

1887: Heart Throbs of the West, Vol.11, p.107: "At the quarterly conference of the Sevier Stake held at Richfield on August 27th and 28th, 1887, Albert K. Thurber, William H. Seegmiller, George W. Bean, Theodore Brandley, Andrew Heppler, James I. Jensen and Harry M. Payne were sustained as a board of trustees for the proposed Stake Academy".

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MISCELLANEOUS INFORMATION

Jas. T. Jakeman, Daughters of the Utah Pioneers and Their Mothers, p. 232-33: "They all moved to Richfield and Brother Bean became Probate Judge, and being desirous of educating his children, he fixed up one room of the court house as a school room and hired Dennison Harris as teacher. He always [p.233] said, "Education is capital on hand, get all you can in all the ways you can."

"George Washington Bean was an 1847 pioneer, son of James Bean, and was born April 1, 1831, near Quincy, Illinois. Like his illustrious namesake, he was ever heroic in defending right and truth, at the risk of his life. He was head of a large family, three wives and thirty children. He was a teacher and thirteen of his girls and boys have been teachers. He would often read history, the Bible, literature, etc., around the campfire while his friends played cards and told wild west stories. In Nauvoo he worked on the temple and received his endowments there at the age of fifteen years, being a man over six feet tall. He acted as guard under Stephen Markham and in February, 1846, helped the first pioneer company across the river. On October 4, 1847, he arrived in Salt Lake Valley with the family of William Casper, a Mormon Battalion boy [and husband of his sister, Sarah Ann].

"Elizabeth Baum Bean was the daughter of Jacob and Agnes Harris Baum. She was born in Chester County, Pennsylvania, January 27, 1834, came to Nauvoo in 1842 and to Utah in 1852. Her mother died in Council Bluffs in 1846, leaving Elizabeth the executive head of the house. While she had little chance for schooling, her industrial education was perfect. Jacob Baum was an expert farmer and a professional weaver and Agnes was a splendid housewife and seamstress. Thus Elizabeth could drive six yoke of oven while her father held the prairie plow could cook a delicious supper and make her own clothes. They raised much of their own hemp, flax and wool; colored, spun and wove it into beautiful fabrics.

"On January 6, 1853, she married George W. Bean at Provo and raised nine children, the tenth one dying in infancy. She was indeed a helpmate to her husband, being able to do any kind of work. When Eliza R. Snow organized the Relief Society of Sevier Stake she chose Elizabeth B. Bean as president. Mrs. Bean said she had no education, she was too busy, she was too timid to work in the public, etc., but Sister Snow brushed all excuses away and said, "You are the woman. Will you do your best?" She did her best and during the twenty-two years of arduous labor she helped to organize Relief Societies, Young Ladies' Mutual improvement Associations and Primary Associations through the Stake, started the storing of grain and the silk industry in Sevier Stake. With such parents there is no wonder that their children have executive ability."

LDS Biographical Encyclopedia, Andrew Jenson, Vol. 4, p.611: "Bean, George Washington, first counselor in the presidency of the Sevier Stake, Sevier Co., Utah, from 1888 to 1894, was born April 1, 1831, in Centre Township, Adams Co., Illinois, the son of James Bean and Elizabeth Lewis. He was baptized July 12, 1841, ordained a Seventy in Nauvoo, Illinois, in November, 1845, filled a mission to the Lamanites in New Mexico in 1855-1856, was ordained a High Priest in 1877, and sustained as first counselor in the Sevier Stake presidency May 27, 1888. He was set apart to that position by John W. Taylor."

Our Pioneer Heritage, Vol. 16, p.10, Nov. 7th-17th: "A delegation of Ute Indians (Wanderodes, Antero, Tabiona and Kanosh), accompanied by Dr. Dodge, Indian agent, and Geo. W. Bean, interpreter, left Salt Lake City for Washington, D.C., they had an interview with President U. S. Grant. 20th. —The Saints who had settled on the bench northwest of Richmond, Cache Co., Utah, were organized into a branch of the Church (now Lewiston), with Wm. H. Lewis as president."

Treasures of Pioneer History, Vol.4, p.290: "He moved to Provo and in 1854 became the Indian interpreter for the court. This experience gave him a desire to study law. In 1861 he was appointed to the office of Prosecuting Attorney. In 1865-66 he was elected Probate Judge of Utah County and later, in 1874, became the Probate Judge of Sevier County. While living at Richfield he held court in his own home. In 1876 a courthouse was built. When court was not in session, school was held in the building."

Heart Throbs of the West, Kate B. Carter, Vol.12, p.215: "In 1849-50 Parley P. Pratt started his scientific and thorough exploration of the country lying south of Salt Lake Valley. Before ten years had passed, Governor Brigham Young had sent out colonists to practically every site recommended by Pratt, among them settlements in Sevier County. In the summer of 1863, Apostle George A. Smith, who was then living at Provo, called G. W. Bean to take a small company of men and explore Sevier Valley for the purpose of settlement."

Treasures of Pioneer History, Vol.3, p.361: "The first session of the reorganized Utah County Court was held April 19. According to the record, "Court met, pursuant to previous notice, in Provo City in the surveyor's office. Present, Hon. Preston Thomas and Lucius N. Scovil, who had been appointed clerk, also Dominicus Carter, Alfred Bell and James McLellan, who had been appointed Selectmen." At this session George W. Bean was appointed assessor and collector; and at the following session in May, Edson Whipple was selected as County Treasurer, William M. Wall as prosecuting attorney and Absalom P. Dowdle as sheriff. The court levied a tax of one-half per cent for county purposes, and one-fourth per cent for road purposes. It was ordered by the court "that the [p.362]collector shall be allowed to take wheat at one dollar and fifty cents per bushel for county and road taxes, or stock."

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BIBLIOGRAPHY

  1. Davis Bitton, Guide to Mormon Diaries and Autobiographies (1977), pg.22
  2. George Washington Bean, Autobiography; Richfield, Sevier Co., Utah; Utah Territory; 15 June 1878; [original autobiography and business transactions of George Washington Bean, written in ink by himself and contained in a cardboard binding, 7 1/2 X 12 inches. A copy was started by Ivy Myers, of the Historical records Survey of the Works Progress Administration at Salt Lake City, Utah and completed by Louise R. Mathews of the Historical Records Survey of Ogden, Utah, on October 26, 1937. This sketch embraces the period from 1831 to 1870. This is a verbatim copy of the original autobiography; Autobiographical section of volume followed by 118 pages of Bean family genealogy.]

  3. Pioneers and Prominent Men of Utah, p.744
  4. Heart Throbs of the West, Kate B. Carter, Vol.6, p.139-140
  5. Ibid, Vol.6, p.462
  6. Jas. T. Jakeman, Daughters of the Utah Pioneers and Their Mothers, p. 233
  7. Heart Throbs of the West, Kate B. Carter, Vol.10, p.51
  8. Ibid, Vol.12, p.33
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Web Author: Dianne Elizabeth, © 1999
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Web Site: Dianne Elizabeth's Family History, Created July 17th, 1999
Page Title: George Washington Bean
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