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An Early History of Franklin

This narrative is a summary of selected, existing, documented, pioneer historical events of Franklin, Idaho. It has been prepared at the request of Kelton Berrett. Kelton is a thirteen-year-old boy aggressively seeking to complete his "Eagle Scout Project". The compilation and summarization, from existing historic documents, have been performed under Kelton's scrutiny and persuasion. This historical sketch is a component of a website proposed as a gift to the City of Franklin from Kelton. Congratulations are extended to Kelton for eagerly pursuing this meaningful project.

As a statement of further recognition, thanks are expressed to Marion and Thad Shumway and also to "The Daughters of the Utah Pioneers" for the use of their trove of collected historical publications regarding the fascinating history of Franklin.

During the present year of 2004, construction is proceeding to expand the existing, two-lane, paved roadway (Highway 91) into a four-lane highway extending from Smithfield, Utah, through Franklin and on to Preston, Idaho comprising a distance of approximately 18 miles. The improvements have been considered necessary to accommodate the ever- increasing motor vehicular traffic, which presently exceeds 6,000 VPD (vehicles per day).

The construction has been performed, utilizing gigantic, high-tech, self-propelled, earth-moving equipment. The final roadway travel surfaces are prepared by equally massive, paving machines which spread hot, black, bituminous-asphalt concrete trucked from a stationary mixing plant to the construction site. After the steaming-hot asphalt concrete is meticulously compacted, bright, yellow stripes are painted on the ultra-durable and ultra-smooth paved surface providing a vivid color contrast to enhance traffic safety.

A drive between Logan, Utah and Preston, Idaho, in a temperature-controlled, sound-proof automobile, will thus take approximately twenty-five minutes. At the same time the occupants may leisurely view, through tinted glass windows, the landscaped homes, lush sprinkle-irrigated fields, lolling livestock and majestic mountains.

The above description of the current, advanced method of road construction and of the tranquil, pastoral views, are here proffered as a stark contrast to the bleak, dusty, rutted trail that was blazed by the 1860 pioneers traversing the same general area as the spacious, new highway now occupies. The original road builders, however, were limited to oxen-drawn wagons bouncing over sage brush, rocks and gullies, fording rivers, creeks and streamlets, meandering their progress as necessary to avoid the more precipitous obstacles. The stout-hearted pioneers had in mind to establish yet another frontier community, on an isolated, inconspicuous spot, with no name.

It is noted that the selected spot was originally presumed to be within the boundaries of the Utah Territory. Twelve years later (1872), however, an officially authorized survey discovered that the fledgling Franklin was actually within the Idaho Territory boundaries.

This misconception contributed to the often-heralded fact that Franklin, though inadvertently, became the "first permanent white settlement in the State of Idaho".

Brigham Young, who was president of the LDS church at that time, implemented the colonization of hundreds of communities throughout the intermountain west. The colonization process began shortly after the Mormon pioneers arrived in the Great Salt Lake Valley in July 1847. The northerly Cache Valley area, near the banks of the "Muddy" (Cub River), had been recommended to Brigham Young as an ideal spot for yet another of the multitude of such settlements. A typical, praiseworthy comment expressed by Brigham Young regarding Cache Valley was: "No other valley in the territory is equal to this", which the local inhabitants still intently proclaim.

By 1860, nearby Utah communities such as Wellsville and Logan had been tenuously established, and the nearest neighbor, Smithfield, was in the infant stages of settlement, having received its first settlers in 1859. And so it was on April 14, 1860 that thirteen families, with wagons accommodating the earthly possessions of the occupants, straggled to the spot on which they were destined to create homes and a community. Within days, numerous others called by Brigham Young from previously established Utah communities, joined them. By the fall of 1860, the number of families in Franklin had grown to approximately sixty. Surnames such as Dunkley, Hobbs, Lowe, Parkinson, Woodward, Packer, Bennett, Hatch, Doney, Corbridge, Hampton, Morrison, Hawkes, Wright, Webster, Comish, Kingsford, Haworth and others were prominent in those early, founding days and remain proudly embedded in the community to this day.

Of necessity, meager living quarters for the new-comers were improvised utilizing their wagon boxes, which were disassembled from the running gear and placed on the ground. The running gears thus became available to haul logs from the nearby, prolific, timber groves for fuel, and the construction of log cabins and temporary public buildings.

Early in the formative days, and after considering a name for the new community, the name of Franklin was selected, commemorating the name of Franklin D. Richards, at that time a member of the quorum of twelve apostles of the CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER DAY SAINTS. Preston Thomas was called to be the first Bishop of Franklin to care for the ecclesiastical and civil affairs of the community.

Indians (Native Americans) were seasonally prevalent in the area consisting predominately of the Bannock and Shoshone tribes. They were not generally hostile to the local Mormon settlers, but were seriously troublesome and threatening. Brigham Young's constant advise was that: "It was much wiser to feed them than to fight them." Nevertheless, as

their log cabins were constructed, they were placed consecutively end to end and situated such as to form a rectangular-fort configuration, with the entrance to each cabin facing the interior of the rectangle. By time the fort was completed in 1863, it consisted of

approximately 96 cabins. The dimensions of the rectangular fort were 60 Rods X 90 Rods or (990 Ft. X 1,485 Ft.). The approximate location of the original, improvised fort has been superimposed on the attached, current map of the City of Franklin.

Site of Franklin Fort

In the center of the rectangle stood the bowery where their formal worship services and secular counsel meetings were conducted. Also within the rectangle was a common, community well and a corral to conceal their cattle from night-time, Indian raids and the ravages of wild animals.

As an additional precaution, the abnormal, isolated, geologic butte, we presently and affectionately call the "Little Mountain", was conveniently used as a lookout to detect any possible approaching trouble. Consequently, the mountain, at that time, was identified as "Lookout Mountain". Later the name was changed to "Smart Mountain" in respect for the prominent pioneer citizen and leader, Thomas Smart, and is currently known as "The Little Mountain".

The first child born to the recent arrivals to the settlement was John Read Jr. born June, 1860 to parents John Read Sr. and his wife---? The first girl baby born in the new settlement was Ellen Wright born October 6, 1860 to parents William Tweedy and Maria Brown Wright. The first death of a citizen of the new settlement was John Read Sr. who, coincidentally, was the father of the first child born in Franklin. He was shot in Smithfield on July 23, 1860 by a revengeful Indian. His monument headstone is located near the center of the northerly section of the Franklin cemetery. The appropriate monument was placed through the efforts of the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers.

The village was divided into blocks and with wide, north/south and east/west oriented streets. The village residential lots and the out-of-town agricultural lots were apportioned to heads of families by special drawings. Even though the lottery took place on April 19, 1860, most of the lots were not individually occupied until 1863.

Immediately upon their arrival, the families met the challenge of survival by urgent scampering to clear the ground, plant crops, dig irrigation ditches and build log cabins. William Nelson and James Packer surveyed and supervised the construction of the first, major irrigation ditch which conveyed water from Spring Creek into the village. Numerous other, and equally vital, ditches were completed later.

During the first winter, Hannah Comish conducted school for twenty students in her home. The next spring a combined log school-house/community-center was constructed. Straw was strewn on the dirt floor to diminish the cold dampness. George Alvin Davey taught seventy students there the first year. Improvements and enlargements were made

regularly, and in 1867 a larger, sandstone school house was built. A small, granite monument, presently located on the south side of Main Street and one block east of Highway 91, was erected by the Daughters of Utah Pioneers in 1927. The inscription on

the monument defines the location of that first log school house, relative to the location of the monument. The approximate locations of the original, log school house and the community well are superimposed on the attached, current, plot map of the City of Franklin.

Fortunately fatal events involving Indians in the immediate vicinity of Franklin were few and isolated. In areas beyond Franklin, however, plundering and deadly skirmishes between the Indians and miners and between Indians and other emigrant parties were too frequent. These events had been reported to the US military forces stationed at Fort Douglas near Salt Lake City, Utah.


Following are some typical, first-hand accounts of the serious conflicts between the Indians and the relentless intrusion of white settlers. The original accounts have been slightly edited by this writer for clarity and spelling. Conscious efforts have been made to retain the intended message of the prior recorders. Any errors or omissions, resulting from this editing, are the sole responsibility of this summarizer.

In the fall of 1856 the settlers started to come from the Salt Lake Valley into Cache Valley. Wellsville was the first town to be settled in Cache Valley. Chief Bear Hunter (Shoshone) was the most prominent of the Indians who held a grudge against the whites, until he was killed in the vicinity of Franklin seven years later. His hatred of the white people probably began with the founding of Wellsville and continued until his final stand against them in 1863. Peter Maughan, leader of the Wellsville settlers, met with Chief Bear Hunter in 1855, just prior to the influx of the Wellsville settlers one year later.

Peter Maughan was called to go to Cache Valley to establish a settlement. The valley had been explored the year before by Captain Brayant Stringham, seeking good forage for the growing herds of cattle belonging to the church. These men were impressed with the lush grass and clear streams of the valley and so reported to Brigham Young. They also left their cattle herds in the valley with headquarters at the church ranch.

The story is told how bands of Indians, led by Chief Bear Hunter, understandably, objected to the coming of the white men. To express their displeasure, they defiantly camped their band in the midst of the hay fields of the new comers. Bishop Maughan, with a party of stalwarts, went to the chief, and through an interpreter informed the red warrior: "We have come into this valley to make our homes. We have come to live among you, and we want to be your friends. We must have hay for our stock in the

winter. We do not want you to camp in our hay fields. All around you there are fields with forage for your horses. You must go".

Chief Bear Hunter didn't like this-----The chief said, "We will not go. This valley belongs to the Indians. We own the grass, water, fish and game. The white man must go." Bishop Maughan stood up and said quietly, "We have spoken--You must go. We will give you two hours to get off our land.

Most of the chief's young warriors were daunted and left their leader to move their camps into the river bottoms. The humiliated chief vowed to get rid of the white men, and a few days later he decided to begin his personal plan of extermination. In this regard, one morning after breakfast, Bishop Maughan had a sudden impression that he should examine his gun. He took it from the pegs on the wall and began to examine it. As he stood holding the gun in such a position that the muzzle pointed at the door, the door burst open, and Chief Bear Hunter strode in with a gun in his own hands. His surprise and chagrin at finding the white man waiting with a gun pointed directly at the chief's heart, were enough to change his mind. In humiliation he left and later attempted to commit suicide, but was prevented.

It became immediately apparent that the settlers must have a powerful organization to combat the potentially marauding Indians. Consequently, a selected group called the "Militia" was formally organized and met monthly for military drill. The "Minute Men" consisted of all able-bodied men in each community. Some men, of course, belonged to both organizations. Each man provided himself with necessary arms, ammunition, blankets, provisions, cooking utensils, horse, saddle and bridle.

Somewhat later in Franklin, each "Minute Man" in the Franklin community took his turn standing guard on Mount Smart, located immediately west of Franklin. These minute men, in addition to local service, were called to Bear Lake a few times to stand guard at night when that settlement had trouble with the Indians.

During the summer of 1860, all the able-bodied men and boys of Franklin had been called to work on an irrigation ditch about four miles distant. In their absence, they had left William Gardner and a crippled boy to stay at home and take care of affairs. During the day, to the terror of the settlers, seventeen, red-skinned warriors, decorated with war paint and feathers, rode into the settlement. Mr. Gardner treated them kindly and ordered buttermilk and bread to be brought to them. He stood at the entrance to the settlement and entertained the warriors while the crippled boy rode the four miles to inform the men and boys working on the ditch. Meantime the Indians seemed satisfied with the kindness of the people and soon rode away. The Indians had just ridden away as the men arrived. The settlers rejoiced and named the event their "Buttermilk War".

About the middle of June of 1861, a large band of Indians from Oregon, more than a thousand in number, entered the valley and were determined to clear the country of whites. The value of the military organizations became evident, and the "Militia" and "Minute Men" of each settlement were assembled and were prepared for instant service at

any threatened point. Strong guards watched the herds by day and the settlements by night. The minute men were ready for service on a moments notice. A body of fifty selected men, under the command of Major Ricks with George L. Farrell and J. H. Martineau as aids, were stationed about a mile from the Indian encampment to act as an observation corp. The Indians also sent out spies to detect weak places for attack, but they found none so they gave up and returned to Oregon. In spite of the vigilance of the settlers, the Indians stole away many horses on that occasion.

During the fall and early winter of 1862, large bands of Indians under Chief Bear Hunter, Chief Sagwich and Chief Pocatello began to assemble at their wintering grounds on Battle Creek approximately twelve miles northwesterly of Franklin. The Indians, at this time were especially burdensome to the white settlers of Franklin because of their constant demands for food, and because of their stealing and thievery.

Yet, not all that the Indians did around Franklin was bad, as evidenced by the following account of a parent: "Our little girl, Sarah, was bitten by a snake. In a short time her leg turned dark, and although everything was done that could be done, she kept getting worse. Then one day when grandmother and grandfather had almost despaired for her life, an old Indian and his squaw came to our door begging food. Seeing grandmother's distress, the old Indian asked: "Papoose heap sick?". Grandmother told him she was very sick, whereupon he examined her and then said: "Me cure". A bargain was made and he proceeded to doctor the child with plug tobacco, wild peppermint and paint. Evidently the Indian believed that the sun had some supernatural power, because he came every morning as the sun was half way up and every evening when it was half way down. In a short time the leg began getting better and continued until she was cured.

For the most part, however, the Indians began getting more and more troublesome, stealing everything they could get their hands on, frightening the women and children, keeping everyone in a state of fear and suspense. They would wait until the men were at the fields, then they would come to the cabins, and if the women would not give them everything they would ask for, they would dance around them, yell and swing their tomahawks, all the time getting closer and closer until the women would fear they were going to be scalped".

Chief Bear Hunter seemed to delight in getting involved with affairs adverse to the white men. On September 28, 1862, some Indians from the north ran off with thirty horses stolen in Logan. Volunteers went after the horses and the Indians. Chief Bear Hunter sent one of his braves to inform the Indian horse thieves, so that they could get away. The volunteers overtook the Indians on the Cub River near Franklin. It was a dark, cold, rainy

night making it impossible to pursue them that night. The next morning they resumed the pursuit, but the Indians had left during the night. The pursuit lasted from Sunday until Tuesday. The volunteers finally gave up the chase, and the Indians got away with eighteen head of horses.

On October 1, 1862, a band of Bannock Indians near the present site of Soda Springs, were assembled planning a raid on Cache Valley. The Cache Valley settlers became aware of their plans, consequently, twenty-five "Minute Men" were assembled and sent to Franklin. The Indians found this out and abandoned the attack. The Indians would never attack unless the odds were greatly in their favor.

Coincident with the hostile skirmishes and the related reports, and during the winter of 1862-63, a band of Shoshone Indians, including men, women and children, had established themselves for the winter in a sheltered spot adjacent to Bear River, approximately twelve miles northwesterly of Franklin. Apparently the military attachment at Fort Douglas had been apprised of the presence and location of the band of winterized Indians. Also, apparently, the military concluded that the band represented the culprit Indians who had committed the reported plunderings and massacres.

In response to the request for help, Colonel Patrick E. Connor lead a detachment of 300 California Volunteers, consisting of infantry and cavalry troops, which arrived at the Indian encampment the sub-zero morning of January 29, 1863. ( Justified or outrageous, each person reading this account, must decide for himself), nevertheless, a horrendous massacre followed, annihilating all but a pitifully few of the some 300 encamped men, women and children. A few of the Indians escaped by hiding or pretending to be dead. Others swam down the frozen river. Twenty three of the troops were also killed as the out-maneuvered Indians attempted to defend themselves.

After the fighting was over, men of Franklin used their teams and sleighs to help remove the wounded Indians and soldiers from the scene of carnage, including the few, surviving, innocent women and children. Initially, they were taken to Franklin where they were cared for until other arrangements could be made. The settlers were deeply saddened by this tragedy, which turned out to be the last major clash with the Indians in the mountain west. Some of the orphaned children were taken into Franklin homes and raised to adulthood.

(Following is a more detailed account of the aggravating events preceding the massacre summarized above).

In the latter part of December 1862, a group of non-Mormon emigrants and miners, including David Savage and William Bevins, had come down from the Salmon River mining country of Leesburg for supplies and cattle. There was a blinding snow storm and they missed the Bear River crossing leading to Franklin. They continued to follow Bear

River about six miles further south to a spot approximately westerly of Richmond, Utah. The snow storm cleared and they proceeded to cross the Bear River to the east side. Indians from the Battle Creek camp had followed them down the river and fired upon them as they crossed the river. They killed one man, John H. Smith, of Walla Walla and wounded many others.

The miners hid until dark and then went to Richmond and told their story to the Mormon Bishop, Marriner W. Merrill who sent a party to salvage the remaining supplies and retrieve Smith's body. The rescuing party was also attacked by the Indians.

When Williams Bevins arrived in Salt Lake City, he went before Chief Justice Kinner, who made out warrants for the arrest of Chiefs Bear Hunter, San Fitch and Sagwich. These warrants were given to Marshal Isaac L. Gibbs, who called upon Colonel Patrick Connor to provide military escort while he served the writs. Colonel Connor was already preparing for an expedition into Cache Valley to deal with Chief Bear Hunter and others, and invited Marshall Gibbs to go along. Colonel Connor, however, had no intentions of taking any prisoners. Colonel Connor's report to the War Department clarifies his intentions.

"I have the honor to report to you that from information received from various sources of the encampment of a large body of Indians on the Bear River, 140 miles north of this point, who had murdered several miners, during the winter, passing to and from the settlements in this valley to the Bear River mines east of the Rocky Mountains. And being satisfied that they were part of the same band who had been murdering emigrants on the Overland Mail Route for the last 15 years, and the principal actors and leaders in the horrid massacre of the past summer. I determined, although the season was unfavorable to military expedition in consequence of cold weather and deep snow, to chastise them if possible".

NOTE: The officers at Camp Douglas were commissioned from the many "California Volunteers" who had been detained in Utah while on their way east to take part in the American Civil War.

On Thursday, 22 January, 1863, Captain Samuel N. Hoyt, under direction of Colonel Connor, started north from Fort Douglas with forty men of Company "K", the third California Infantry, two howitzers and a train of fifteen wagons loaded with enough supplies for twelve days. The Indians learned of this slow-moving group in advance and were expecting them.

On Sunday of 25 January, Colonel Connor with Companies "A", "H", "K" and "M", Second California Cavalry, along with Marshall Gibbs, left Salt Lake City.

Captain Charles H. Hampstead described the march as follows:

"Those who were there at that time or participated in the events encountered, can well remember that fearful night march--(How can they forget?) Clear and brilliant shone the stars upon the dreary, snow covered earth, but bitter and intense was the cold. The shrill north wind swept over the lakes and down the mountain sides freezing with its cold breath every river and stream. The moistened breath, freezing as it left the lips, hung in miniature icicles from the beards of brave men. The foam from their steeds stood stark and stiff upon each hair. Only continued motion made it possible for them to endure the biting, freezing blast.

All that long night the men rode on, facing the wintry wind, and uncomplainingly endured an intensity of cold rarely, if ever, before experienced, even in these mountain regions. Hour after hour passed on dragging its slow length along, with not a word save that of command at intervals to break the monotonous clamp, clamp of the steeds and the clatter of sabers as they rattled in their gleaming sheaths. As morning dawned, the troops, stiff with cold, entered the little town of Box Elder (Brigham City, Utah) The sufferings of that night march of 68 miles can never be told in words. Many were frozen and necessarily left behind. The troops, after a halt that day, again faced the severity of winter in the mountains and pressed on--the infantry by day and the cavalry by night, in order to deceive the wily, Indian foe".

On Tuesday, January 27, early in the morning, the cavalry caught up with the infantry at Mendon. On that same day, in Franklin, Chief Bear Hunter and some of his warriors came and demanded wheat. The settlers maintained a "food bin" for the Indians to draw on, to which all of the settlers contributed. On this occasion, the Indians outnumbered the settlers and so they would demand, haughtily, for their food. The settlers stacked out 24 bushels of wheat for them, but it didn't satisfy them, so they did a war dance around Bishop Preston Thomas' house.

The next day, January 28, Chief Bear Hunter and three of his braves went into Franklin again to demand more wheat. The three braves went to Robert Hull's home with three pack horses and an order from the Bishop for nine additional bushels of wheat. William and Thomas Hull were sent to the granary to sack the wheat. The Hull boys told the Indians that this grain had been saved for spring planting. The Indians laughed. As they loaded the pack horses, they saw Colonel Connor's infantry soldiers approaching from the south. The Indians didn't seem to be frightened because they already knew that the infantry was enroute. What they did not know was that there was a large cavalry section following the infantry. One of the settlers said to Chief Bear Hunter: "Here come the "Toquashos" (soldiers) maybe Indians will all be killed". The reply was: "May-be-so, Toquashos get killed too". Ice and snow were everywhere, in fact conditions for military

marching were so bad that when the Indians were told that they were going to be attacked, they laughed and said: "No, too cold for soldiers".

The Indians left the settlement toward the north just as the infranty entered from the south. The Indians were very sure of themselves at this time, and felt that it wouldn't be too long until they would have a few more scalps to carry around. On January 28 the cavalry caught up with the infantry at Franklin without the Indians knowing of the, now combined forces of infantry, plus cavalry.

After a short rest at Franklin, the infantry on January 29, was again on the march to the battle grounds. The infantry left Franklin at three o'clock a.m. The cavalry followed at four o'clock a.m. and passed the infantry, near where Preston, Idaho is now located. They reached the east banks of the Bear River, near the Indian encampment, as the dawn was breaking .

A line of soldiers was stationed at intervals from the area of the ensuing battle to Franklin. The soldiers, thus stationed, would be able to relay urgent news to the Franklin settlers should the Indians prevail in the battle. The anxious women and children of Franklin could then be rushed to the more southerly communities of Cache Valley for safety.

The Indians had selected their encampment very well. The natural topographic features, including a natural hot spring, provided some protection from the winter cold storms and from possible military intrusion. In addition to the natural, protective topography, the Indians had woven twigs and willows together for camouflage and protection. They left openings in the camouflage curtains for sighting and shooting. Forked sticks served as gun rests.

As Colonel Connor directed his infantry and cavalry forces to essentially surround the Indian encampment, the Indians came forth waving their previously "lifted" scalps crying obscenities at the soldiers. Chief Bear Hunter was swinging his buffalo robe in the air shouting, "Come on you California sons-of-bitches, we're ready for you".

The cavalry crossed the river with much difficulty, due to floating ice. Icy water splashed over the saddle seats, and sometimes the horses lost their footings and carried the riders downstream with them. After they crossed, each company of men dismounted and every fourth man was detailed to hold horses, and a line of skirmish was formed and the attack commenced. The Indians responded with fire, wounding one volunteer before all had dismounted. The company commander, Major McCarry, attacked from the front. The fire from the Indians was very successful. Many soldiers fell dead or wounded. Lieutenant Chase, mounted on a horse, with many attractive trappings, drew much fire, probably because the Indians wanted the trappings, or perhaps they thought he was Colonel Connor, or both.

Lieutenant Chase was wounded in the wrist and a few minutes later was shot in the lung, but kept in his saddle, urging his men to fight on. He finally reported himself to Colonel Connor as mortally wounded and asked to retire. Captain McLean was wounded in the hand, but kept on until stopped by a debilitating thigh wound.

After about twenty minutes of fighting, the soldiers had been repulsed three times. The strategy was revised and the attack resumed. Colonel Connor then made his infamous remark, when asked what should be done with the squaws and children, "Kill everything, Nits make Lice".

It must be remembered that the Indian women fought as desperately as the men, and all fought like tigers. It is reported that a young drummer boy fell wounded, and as he lay in the snow, two Indian lads ran out with their knives and attempted to cut his throat and might have succeeded, had not Colonel Connor, himself, intervened.

The Indians were finally driven into the central and lower portion of the ravine. The soldiers had been divided such as to attack from three directions which subdued the Indians, and they had to make a break through one of the three forces. A wild yell from the downstream soldiers let the others know that the Indians were breaking in their direction. Colonel Connor sent a detachment of cavalry charging to cut off the escape route. The Indians were now completely surrounded and hand-to-hand fighting ensued.

The battle continued for about four hours, from six o'clock a.m. until ten o'clock a.m. After a few of the Indians had escaped, the remaining survivors sought hiding in the willows along the streams, but were soon dislodged. Many were shot while they attempted to swim the river. Chief Bear Hunter and Chief Lehi (Leight) were killed. At first it was thought that Chief Sagwich had also been killed, but later reports tell that he ran down the ravine, fell into the river and floated down under some brush, hiding until night. At night he came back to the battle ground with some other surviving warriors, and took two abandoned military horses and rode off toward the north. The son of Chief Sagwich, during the battle, ran to the river and fell in as though he were shot. He floated down stream with the ice, being shot at several times. He was wounded in the thumb. He swam to some bushes near one of the "hot springs" and there remained until he could escape. Later in his life he was interviewed at his home in Washakie, and was reported to have said that about twenty two of the young bucks had escaped in various ways. He also revealed that the Indians had planned on raiding the white settlement of Franklin in the spring of 1863.

Colonel Connor's count of the Indian dead revealed 224 bodies on the battle field and 48 more at a curve on the river for a total of 272. Other estimates range from 368 to 400. Of the soldiers, fourteen were killed, four officers and forty nine men were wounded, of whom one officer and eight men died later. Seventy nine were disabled by freezing.

A herd of about 100 Indian horses entering the Franklin settlement was the first evidence of the returning men. Then arrived Colonel Connor in a buggy, accompanied by the renowned Porter Rockwell, who had been his guide. Soon after appeared Major McMurry at the head of the cavalry. The infantry followed, mounted on Indian ponies they had salvaged.

Thus was completed one of the saddest yet most successful expeditions of the west against hostile Indians. The battle causalities on each side were the greatest of any engagement fought in the Washington Territory between the whites and the Indians. The

emigrant route, in the general vicinity, was made comparatively safe, and Cache Valley, except for rare occasions, was essentially free of Indian intrusions.

One such rare occasion, however, occurred in May of 1863, just five months after the tragic battle. Andrew Morrison and William Howell were returning from Maple Creek canyon with two wagons loaded with firewood. A lone Indian approached them and tried to converse with them. Morrison could speak the Indian language. Howell wanted Morrison to run while there was but one Indian present, but Morrison said he would not run from an Indian. Soon another Indian appeared from the brush.

After finding that the men were not armed, the Indians gave a war whoop and were joined by two more Indians. Morrison tried to reason with them, but they were angry and said because the white men had killed Indians at Battle Creek, they were going to kill every white man they could. Morrison offered to give them his horses if they would go away, but they wanted scalps. As a delay tactic, Morrison and Howell invited them to ride toward town with them. The Indians accepted and climbed up on the load of wood. They had gone but a short distance when Howell's team became mired down in a boggy, stream bed. While the two men were struggling to get the team out of the mire, the Indians caught them off guard and shot at them with arrows. Mr. Morrison was hit with an arrow just under his left collar bone. A short moment later, another arrow penetrated his body just below his heart. As he was hit by the second arrow, he shouted for Howell to run, for there was no need for both to be killed. Howell ran and made good his escape running all the way into town to give the alarm. Morrison pulled both arrow shafts out, but the spikes broke off and remained in his flesh. The Indians left with both teams of horses. A posse of men rushed to the canyon to retrieve Morrison's body, but they found him alive. Efforts to apprehend the Indians failed.

In an effort to save Mr. Morrison's life, Samuel Parkinson drove a team of mules and wagon to Salt Lake City to obtain a competent doctor. He brought back with him a Mr. Anderson. It was a round trip of 220 miles in 48 hours. The doctor found the arrow head so close to Morrison's heart that he could not extract it. He filled the wound with cotton leaving a three inch incision open. The doctor gave no encouragement regarding Morrison's life. The wounded Mr. Morrison, however, survived and carried the arrow head in his body until he died 27 years later.

If Chief Bear Hunter, when threatening Franklin on January 28, 1862, had become aware of the large contingency of cavalry following the infantry, it is quite probable that he would have scattered his camp, before the soldiers could have arrived to wage the assault on his people.

In 1864, Chief Washakie, a more friendly Indian, with about a thousand of his people, camped in the river bottoms near Franklin. This band of Indians were just returning from

a battle with other Indians on the Platte River in Wyoming, and were enroute to Bear Lake on a migrating and hunting trip.

A few of the young warriors came into town. Some of the Franklin settlers sold some "Fire Water" to some of the young bucks. This, of course, was asking for trouble. About four o'clock p.m. the bucks became drunk, and provided a wild demonstration of riding up and down the streets through the town. One of the Indians began breaking the windows from the home of Mr. and Mrs. George Alder. (Some of the settlers, at this time, had begun moving out of the fort). Mr. Alder was away from home, so Mary Ann Alder, his wife, came out to stop the destruction. The Indian, indignant about the whole affair, began to whip Mrs. Alder with a willow stake. Every time she would try to get up, he would hit her again. This not satisfying his drunken state, he attemped to trample her with his horse's hoofs.

She screamed for help, and a group of men, some of which were John Doney, Edward Kingsford, Samuel Handy and Ben Chadwick, who were threshing grain in a nearby field, came running to her rescue. They were held off , momentarily by the Indian as he brandished his club. As the men rushed from the fields, they brought their farm implements with them including a rake, pitch fork and a knife. Ben Chadwick ran at the Indian with his knife, after the Indian had knocked Ben's father down with the club. Mr. Handy arrived with a pistol and the men shouted for him to shoot! shoot! shoot him! Mr. Handy hesitated, so Ben Chadwick grabbed the pistol and shot the Indian through the neck, and he dropped from his horse to the ground. Ben's father urged Ben to leave town for safety reasons, so he took William Davis' horse and rode to John Lard's home on High Creek. He disguised himself by cutting his long hair and shaving off his beard. He changed horses and rode back to Franklin about 12 o'clock that night accompanied by some Minute Men.

The Indians, of course, were outraged and began their war dances in preparation to invade the settlement. Riders sped off in all directions to alert the Minute Men of the neighboring settlements. The Minute Men assembled in Franklin as soon a possible. What a sight!! Fathers, cousins, uncles, brothers all leaving to go to Franklin. The next morning, when the Indians came into town, they were aghast to find 400 men on the town square. They had come from Mapleton, Richmond, Smithfield, Wellsville and elsewhere to quell the expected uprising.

Even after considerable peace talks, the Indians were not satisfied and demanded retribution, a portion of which was the surrender of Ben Chadwick to them. A certain faction of the community was in favor of doing so, and met with Bishop Hatch to express their feelings. John Corbridge was strictly opposed to surrendering Ben to the Indians, and emphatically stated: "No, I will fight to my knees in blood, before I would give up a man that saved the life of one of our women!!"

The intensity of the issue continued to rage which prompted the intervention of Bishop Peter Maughn and Ezra Taft Benson, who were the presiding authorities of the LDS

church for all of Cache Valley. A meeting was subsequently called which was held in the Franklin bowery. Chief Washakie and some of his braves were called to attend, and the Indians were given seats in the front.

Bishop Maughn was presiding and asked Chief Washakie: "What would you do if our men should go to your camp and start whipping and killing one of your women?" Washakie answered: "We kill him". Bishop Maughn then responded: "That is exactly what we have done". Chief Washakie then addressed the congregation: "Until the white man come there was no fire water, and the Indian was sober. Your people sold fire water to my people and made my warrior loco (crazy). If my people had sold fire water to your braves and made them drunken, how would you feel about it? Would you like to see him shot down like a dog because he had made a fool of himself? Will the white father put himself in Washakie's place?

Bishop Maughn continued comments made toward the white attendees regarding the surrender of Ben Chadwick to the Indians: "Talk about giving a man up that would save a woman's life! If you want to give anyone up to the Indians, give the ones up who sold the liquor to them. In this speech Bishop Maughn had agreed, to a certain extent, with Washakie.

After a while the Indians agreed to peace. They were given flour and cheese and other foods plus two yokes of oxen, each yoke from the men (reputed to be S. R. Parkinson and N. W. Packer) who had sold the liquor to the Indians.


After the battle, the troops crossed to the south side of the river and made camp for the night. Porter Rockwell, famed Mormon scout and guide, was sent to Franklin to engage teams and wagons to haul the dead and wounded back to Camp Douglas. The citizens of Franklin made temporary preparations for the soldiers returning from the battle by arranging warmth and places for them to sleep. Straw was strewn on the meeting house floor, beds were made and fires were built.

Two surviving Indian boys were given good homes. One of them was called "Shem" and lived in the home of William Nelson for two years, after which he went to live with the Samuel R. Parkinson family. Shem died when he was 25 years old. Bishop Hatch adopted the other boy. Mary Benson Hull nursed a little girl back to health. They named her "Jannie" and she was considered a member of the Hull family. Jannie grew up, married a white man from Ogden and raised a fine family of boys and girls.

As the absorbing shock of the tragic battle subsided, the enterprising settlers established mills and trading centers to provide much of the local needs of the isolated populous. The urgent, domestic needs became the mother of innovation resulting in many of Idaho's

"firsts", including a saw mill, grist mill, woolen mill, creamery and department store. Other firsts included the telegraph, railroad and telephone.

In December of 1868, the Deseret Telegraph lines, which connected the settlements in Utah, were extended to Franklin. It was first installed in the southeast corner of the Franklin Mercantile Cooperative Store (now a prized artifact of Franklin's honored past). It was from this location that a telegram announced to the world that the Sioux Indian warriors had defeated and massacred General Custer and his troops at the Battle of the Little Big Horn in Montana, on June 25, 1876. At that time the nearest telegraph lines were in Bozeman, Montana, some 150 miles from the battlefield, and it was to Bozeman that the dispatch riders first brought their news.

As fate would have it, the temperamental telegraph equipment at Bozeman was malfunctioning. Consequently, the message was, of necessity, sent by stagecoach to Eagle Rock (now Idaho Falls, Idaho). Again the telegraph equipment at Eagle Rock was also malfunctioning, and the stage must hasten all the way to Franklin before the driver could deliver the dispatches into the hands of a telegrapher whose transmitting key was operable.

The young, Franklin operator was Hezekiah Eastman Hatch who was somewhat inexperienced and, admittedly, slow with the telegraph key. He did, however, dutifully and laboriously tap out the very long and detailed dispatch to Salt Lake City. Finally after five hours of work, Hatch ended the message stating: "that is all", to which the Salt Lake receiver replied "Thank God".

Just two years prior to the Big Horn episode, the Utah and Northern railroad had been extended northerly from Ogden, Utah. On May 2, 1874 the first train (a freighter) to enter Idaho territory, arrived triumphantly in Franklin. For two years Franklin was the railroad's most northerly terminal and, consequently, experienced bustling prosperity. At one time there were over 200 wagoneer freighters transporting goods from the Franklin railroad terminal into Montana and points north. As the railroad extended northerly, each subsequent terminal generated spontaneous community growth, excitement and a fleeting turn for prosperity.

Life in Franklin gradually became less difficult and less stressful as modern conveniences were invented and found their way into the outlying communities. Now the people had more time to devote to social issues and personal talents. Stage plays were frequent and orchestras and bands became popular and numerous. Talents and competition were exchanged between the small communities. Times were, for the most part, safe and tranquil-----For example:

Occasionally a person of questionable qualifications would come into town and make a nuisance of himself. Jake Skinner was such a person. He had, in sequence, proposed

marriage to Mary Chadwick, Martha Thomas, Eliza Packer, Hanna Huff and Till Paton. These young women compared proposals and insults and decided to teach him a lesson. They caught and bound him securely to a post in the center of the, by now partially abandoned fort, and gave him a good whipping with a strap. This happened in the evening. Some boys later came along and untied him a few hours later. He left town the next day.

A man by the name of Jake Broom, who drank heavily, had introduced card games among the boys of the community. Whenever a group of girls would catch the boys playing cards, they would gather up dead chickens or fill bags with chicken feathers and stealthily climb on the roof of the house in which the boys were playing. They would then silently drop their collected trophies down the chimney into the flaming fire place. The odorous result would immediately stop the card games. The boys would then give chase to the "provocative" girls.

As time went by, along came the automobile, motorcycles, movies, school buses, electricity, indoor plumbing, central heating, airplanes, television, rockets, satellites, cell phones, computers, GPS--etc--etc for which we gratfully accept, and which must surely stir the spirits of our honored, pioneer ancestors. God bless their enduring, wonderful souls!!

Summary prepared by Eldon T. Bennett

November 2004

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