The Tintic War and the deaths of George and Washington Carson – The Second Posse

Published on February 25, 2013 by Carol

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Utah Lake

After hearing Colonel Conover’s report and hearing of the deaths of the herdsmen at Utah Lake, Governor Young issued a proclamation in the Deseret News:

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“I therefore deem it a duty which I owe to our common preservation, to take such measures as will be best calculated to prevent the shedding of blood … I call upon the military forces of the Territory to hold themselves in readiness to march to any point, as they shall be directed … to suppress … the Indian hostilities at present so unfortunately existing …

“To those persons residing in isolated locations and small settlements, as also to those who are herding stock upon the ranges, I say, place yourselves in a position of defense, either by removing to a safe place, or in strengthening up your defenses and increasing you numbers …

“It is particularly enjoined upon all the citizens to conciliate the Indians in their respective settlements, and keep them friendly disposed, and induce them, if possible, not to join the war parties now in the field.”

By the time this proclamation had been issued and distributed, the Tintic War or uprising was essentially over. Tintic and his bands had reunited in the Tintic Mountains with whatever cattle had survived the cold and exhaustion of the trip, and he was prepared to spend the winter in hiding.

On March 1, Colonel Conover had gathered between one and two hundred men at the north end of the West Mountains near Lehi. The force had been given the instructions of Governor Young “not to fight [Tintic]; if they could not take him peaceably to let him go… and get the cattle Tintic’s band had stolen if possible.”

John Banks, a member of this posse, has left a good description of the posse’s activities over the next few days. He records:

“This was a very exciting time. We camped the first night on the north end of the so-called West Mountains where we experienced an extremely cold night, without any bedding except our saddle blankets, and were not allowed to have any fire after sundown.

“When day dawned we learned that several of our men had frozen feet, and consequently had to return home… Early in the morning we saddled our horses, and the order, ‘mount, forward, march’ was given.

They had not gone far before they struck the trail of an Indian, which track they followed on the ice across Utah Lake until they came to Carson’s Ranch. North of the dugout they found where Washington Carson’s and Henry Moran’s bodies had been found. Banks says that “the blood was lickered [frozen] in the sand, the sight of which caused quite a sensation.”

The posse killed and roasted an ox which they found on the range and spent the night at the ranch.

In the morning they posse found the trail which the Indians had taken in to the mountains. They reached a valley which they named Tintic Valley and then followed the trail in a south westerly direction.

Conover records that they “went over the Tintic Mountain; it took us all day to go over the mountain. We found a good many cattle dead on the trail. When one [of the cattle] would mire down in the snow, they [the Indians] would kill it. My horse slipped off the trail in one place and down horse and rider went but I stuck to him and he brought me out all right.”

On the third day, the posse saw the campfire smoke of the Indians, but the location was bad and they feared that they were marching into a trap.

During the night the Indians scattered in every direction, making it impossible for the posse to follow them in the unexplored territory. The posse gathered what cattle they could find and camped on the Sevier River. The next day they drove what cattle they had found into the little settlement of Nephi where they “rejoiced on being well treated, and having plenty of good food to eat, having had nothing to eat for seven days previous except fresh beef, without salt.”

The next morning they left Nephi and drove the recovered cattle north into Utah Valley where they notified Hunsaker and the Carson family to come and take the stock which belonged to them.

The posse had met no resistance from the Indians who were safely hidden in the mountains, undoubtedly with sufficient meat to keep them through the winter.

One Indian, however, who had been named in the original writs issued by Judge Drummond had been arrested, although it is not known how, or by whom.

The Deseret News reported on March 5 that:

“the noted Washear, or Squash… while momentarily from under the eye of his keepers so effectively cut his throat with a case [table] knife furnished him to eat with, [that] he soon died. He had been frequently heard to say that he would not go to Great Salt Lake City to be hung up like a dog, alluding to the fate of the two [Indians] who were hung during the administration of the Hon. Leonidas Shaver, late U.S. Associate Justice.

Source: Legendsofamerica Unabridged
Based on the collective work of, © 2015 Native American Encyclopedia.
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