Brigham's Destroying Angel

Chapter Seven

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Organizes a Mining District—Disappointed  Again—Difficulty About a Plural Wife—a Spaniard  Marries Her and Takes the Children—Suit About Them  in Tooele City—Hickman Outwitted—Murder of the  Spaniard—Evidence of the Case—Flight of Hickman—His Adventures—Killing the Mountain Lion—Negotiations  Opened With Deputy Marshal Gilson—Hickman Gives Himself  Up—Flack Arrested—They Turn State's Evidence—Experience at Camp Douglass—Mental  Sufferings, Loneliness, and Remorse—Conclusion.

    Things kept in a kind of live-along condition with me, not doing much of anything but exploring the country for mines. I found in the vicinity I was living, good invitation of minerals, and told the people of my little town that they wished. Many of them were anxious, and wished me to explore for them, and they would do what was right with me for it. I found some leads I thought to be good, and made some locations; after which I drew up laws and organized what is known as the Camp Floyd district, called a meeting, and the laws and constitutions,

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together with the name I had given the district, were adopted. A clerk was appointed and a district formed, and after this I, in company with others, kept prospecting.

    During this time I had heard a great deal with regard to the course the Spaniard which married one of my wives while I was west three years previous, was taking. He, not satisfied with taking the woman, was making heavy threats on me, as can be shown by certificate sworn to in Tooele City, of the county in which he lived. The purpose was if ever I undertook to take my children away he would kill me; and if ever I came about his place, or he had a chance, he would kill me. I wanted no difficulty with him, and kept away, not daring to go and see my children for fear of serious trouble; but on hearing, and that from a reliable source, a now acting deputy , a United States marshal, that another low, degraded Greaser was after my oldest daughter, I thought it high time my children should be taken from such a place. To avoid difficulty, instead of going and taking them away as a father aught under such circumstances, I brought a law-suit on a writ of habeas corpus before the probate judge of their county. After all parties were in court, I asked the question fo Mr. Greaser and the woman, if they were willing to have the case tried in that court; to which they expressed entire satisfaction, and said they would rather have it tried before the Judge than anybody else. I asked her if she was willing to tell the truth; to which she answered she was, and I had her sworn. She said I had always treated

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her kindly, and left her plenty when I went away; but she had heard I was not coming back, and thought she had a right to marry.

    The court gave me the children, but on their entreaty gave them ten days to deliver them up to me, by their giving bond of five hundred dollars, at the expiration of the time. The Judge, being no good friend of mine and afraid of the Spaniard, assessed the costs of the suit to me. At the expiration of the ten days I sent for my children, giving the man an order for them. They accepted the order, put the children into the wagon, aud said to him, "Now we are clear," to which he answered, "Yes." When my man got a little ways, the children jumped out of the wagon and ran back into the house, and told him to drive on. The Greaser had my receipt of delivery, and was all right now.

    He and the woman then took my children and ran them to Salt Lake City, to see if they could not institute another suit, and keep the children in spite of me. They were sent back for a transcript from the court, so as to commence another law-suit, leaving the children in Salt Lake City. That night, a little after dark, some person called the Greaser* to the door and put, they say, a dozen buckshot through him, killing him instantly, and his chummy that was after my daughter was shot down, but has gotten well. Some four or five days after this I heard I was accused of it, and in about ten days, as near as I can recollect, I heard there was a writ issued for my arrest on the oath of the woman, who was in a

*See Appendix—N.

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second room back, but said she heard my voice outside of the house. From what I could hear she seemed to he willing to swear anything. I got alarmed about it, and concluded to keep out of the way awhile. This was in the fall of '70.

    I roamed around in the mountains, sometimes alone and sometimes I had company. I went to the Eastern outside settlements, and concluded to spend a month or two hunting elk and bear. The snow had just begun to drive the game out of the high mountains. I killed some deer and one mountain lion—a very large one—I had a great time in getting him. I tracked him fifteen miles, and saw him lying in some brush on a sunny hillside. I was within fifty steps of him when I first saw him, and he was looking straight at me. I thought the safest way for me was to shoot on my horse. I took aim at his head, and just as I pulled the trigger he raised his head, which caused the shot to pass through his nose just below his eyes; he bounded and scared my horse, which made such a lunge that I had to drop my gun to save myself from falling. Away my horse went with me, but as soon as I could gather the reins I wheeled him around and saw the lion close behind me. He ran against a tree and fell. I drew my revolver and gave him three shots which caused him to stretch out, making the worst roar I ever heard from any wild animal. I sat on my horse for some time to see if he was dead, then got off and was satisfied from examining him that he was blinded from the first shot I gave him.

    A few days after I was taken with the typhoid fever,

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and as it served me three years before, it fell into my lame thigh, and in twenty hours it was so swollen that 1 could not walk. In this situation I remained until I had it lanced, but was not able to walk for two months. I was hauled home, and then to other places until I got well enough to ride around.

    During this winter I got word often of Deputy Marshal H. Gilson seeking to see me. When I learned that. I did not think it policy to see him, as I had been informed he was one of the deputies of M. T. Patrick, United States marshal, and could not understand why he wanted to see me, unless it was to arrest me. So I declined to see him. He seemed determined, and called on my son George and told him that if I would consent to see him he would go to any point I might direct without arms, and meet me and my friends armed. This seemed enough, and I concluded to wee him without delay, and told my son to inform him of the fact. He did so, and on the 15th April '71, I repaired to his herd-house, in Ferner Valley, sixteen miles west of Nephi, where his brother had a large band of horses.

    Not being entirely satisfied about his intentions. I kept my arms in readiness for immediate use if any treachery was intended on his part. I found him in the cabin. about to sit down to his dinner. He arose and came towards me with extended hands. saying: "How do you do? Sit down and partake of such as we have." I became asurred in a moment that he did not want to arrest me, and I sat down and partook of his fare. After

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dinner we took a stroll, and then I found the reason why he had sent for me. He informed me he was a detective, whose purpose it was to find out the real criminals of Utah, that he had been in the work for about eighteen months, and had learned much, and had found out how I had been treated in this country, and that I could give the key-note to all the villainous transactions. He said he could not give me any hope of pardon for the many crimes in which I had participated, further than that he believed, if I made a clean breast of it, it would be greatly in my favor. I informed him I had long wished for the time to come that I might unbosom myself where it would do some good; and I had confidence in him more than any other man that had ever talked to me on the subject.

    I asked him whom he was relying on to put the thing through? He told me that R. N. Baskin was the man. This satisfied me, as I knew that Baskin was a man that did not know the word fail; at least, would never give up beaten while there was a chance of success. I found Gilson to be a man that had had much experience in his life in his line, and was well posted on the crimes of Utah. He was conversant on the most prominent cases, and held the correct theory, that the leaders of the Church were the guilty party, and not the laymen. He conversed about many cases with which I was connected; and finally elected the case of Yates as the one on which we could with the greatest safety rely for prosecuting Brigham Young. I then gave him a full statement of

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the case and the names of the witnesses that would make the circumstances complete.

    Gilson is a man about thirty-five years of age, with dark hair, and six feet two in height, and weighs 230 pounds. He is always on the alert, quick of perception, and of a genial and kind disposition: and to him and R. N. Baskin may be largely credited the success of the Federal authority over Mormon terrorism and trickery. But with them alone nothing could have been done. All have done their part—all have done well; and Utah's future can now be seen with her rising sun of prosperity instead of lowering clouds of adversity and misrule.

    I told them I had made statements to honorable men years ago what I would do when the time came, that I thought I could do it and not be killed, and have the law enforced so as to accomplish something when I did, and not have to run for my life. Gilson assured me authoritatively that it could be done now, and that I should have every protection that I needed. I then told him whenever I was wanted to come for me and I would submit, and make full statements of facts as they were. On the last of September he came and arrested me and another man by the name of Flack. We were then taken before Chief Justice McKean for examination, which we waived, and were sent to Camp Douglass for safe keeping. After we had been there some two weeks we were taken before the Grand Jury, and I made a full statement of all the crimes committed in this Territory that I knew of—as I have related them in this history—which statement, together with that of Flack's and others,

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caused the Grand Jury to find indictments against several persons, and it has caused many threats to be made on me.

    Several have said if I ever get out of here I will not be privileged to live but a short time; others have tried to get me out of camp under promise of any amount of money I wanted to make my escape; but it was too plain to be seen that I would not get far before I would be cared for in such a manner that I would not tell more stories. I could easily enough have escaped, as I had the privilege of the garrison without guard or being locked up at nights; but even had I believed I could safely make my escape, there was not money enough in Utah to have caused me to do it. I have taken my stand, made my statements, and I intend to stick to it, let the consequences be what they may.

    I have written this while I have been under arrest for the Yates' murder, awaiting my trial I have received the utmost kindness from soldiers and officers of this garrison—all, so far as I know, approbating the course I have taken. Some of them I wish to mention.

    Major D. S. Groden, acting captain of 2d Cavalry, Company D, on the 26th of April, '61, entered the United States service. He is a Pennsylvanian by birth, and was appointed in the army from Kansas. He was officer of the day when I first came to this post, and probably more through curiosity than anything else, spent an hour or so in conversation with me. I was assigned to his company of cavalry for rations, where I have, through his kindness, remained ever since. They

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are a fine set of whole-souled, clever fellows, of whom he is proud, and indeed he well might be of such a clean, man-like looking company. They are proud of their commander, and when in parade their showing is not excelled by any I ever saw. Lieut. Townsend, one of the best shots I ever saw, was officer of the guard a few days after I came to this place, and necessarily we had an interview, after which war and hunting stories ensued. When he was leaving, he said: "I know your situation. I am glad to have made your acquaintance, and hope you will not back down, but will disclose the facts of things that have transpired in Utah, and if you want any help that I can co call on me." After this he pulls out a $5 bill and says: "Go to the sutlers and get a couple of bottles of brandy and cheer up; you are in a good cause, and all honorable men will stand by you."

    I have remained in a kind of solitary and lonely situation for the last four or five years, often meditating on the past, and at no time have I rested with a contented mind. I came here to Utah in all good faith, and obeyed my leader; I got a plurality of wives as I then thought (yes, so did thousands of my brethren), in all conscience was my right, intending to treat them as wives, and raise up a posterity who I expected would be honorable in society; but what do I find? My wives, through other advices, have left, and my children are, some in Cache Valley some in Ogden Valley, some on Weber, some in Rush Valley, all of which I might have stopped, and been able to give, them a father's care and

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instructions, had I not been such a man, and afterwards doing business for the Government, as I had a mind, and associating with whom I pleased, instead of keeping still.

    I have had ten wives, and have twenty-four children living, six grandchildren, and one little great-grandson, only a year and a half old; though I am now but fifty-six. I had one daughter born when I was eighteen years old, and she had a daughter, and I was a grandfather when I was thirty-six. But my property has mostly been taken, my children scattered and my life sought, and I lonesome and lonely am, and have been, passing my time in this situation. And now only my good old wife, the same girl I told you I courted and married when a boy, sticks to me and owns me.

    Tongue cannot express or man imagine some of my feelings in the few past years. Many is the time when the sun would rise I would wish for night; and when night came I would wish to God it was morning. But I dared not say I had been robbed and ruined, and deprived of all that was near and dear to me; I thought it was all I could do to live by keeping still. I would rather have died a dozen deaths than to pass through what I have, if I could only be alive again and see right and justice triumph! Thank God! I think the day has come, and now is, and in justice to myself, my posterity, the living, the dead, and my country, I think it right to come out and show the damnable course pursued by Brigham Young—guilty as I have made myself, and

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with no excuse to offer except my fanatical belief. Believe me or not, I was sincere.

    O my God! if any of my brethren (who used to be anyhow) in Utah think they can break the laws of heaven or this free Government, and Brigham will take care of them, let them come and see me here—a good enough place of the kind—but me, lonely and no show to do anything for my family, and, scarred all over my body, lame, and old, and poor, when I was once rich, and hated by man, and my life threatened if I stir away from this post. I have not given this as a confession or a hugbear story, but have given you, in short, a sketch of all the most important transactions that I was personally knowing to. I might go into the detail of family affairs—women in polygamy, property appropriations, thievings, and when, how, and by whom ordered, and the consequences when not ordered, and many other atrocious deeds of murder done by the order of Brigham Young, which I was not witness to—all of which would make a larger book than this. This I have written not for any speculative purposes, as has been the case with many books in which there was very little truth; but no matter what you think now, the day is coming fast—yes, in Utah!—that you will know the things set down in this book for truth.

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