Saturday, April 27, 2013

Trek Prep Devotional - John Young

While reading through early pioneer accounts of those who settled in the Salt Lake Valley, it has been enlightening to me to learn of the ever present Indian threat they lived with.  

For the most part, the saints treated the "Indians" with compassion, compared to the standards of the day.  They saw in them the ancestors of the Lamanite nation and as such were likely to entreat them with an extra measure of tolerance.   

For example, Preston Nibley recounts a story of two boys, aged 12 and 9, who were asked to go out and gather wood.  Such a task required a full day, for wood was only to be found  in the mountain canyons.  These boys hitched up their wagon and oxen and were successful in gathering their wood.  Their journey took them 12 miles from home, and on their way home as dusk was setting in they missed a turn.  

The boys knew about the threats out there and they were scared.  The older boy, named Karl, put on a brave face and tried to downplay his own fears and comfort his younger brother.  The noises in the night sounded odd.  On the advice of the older brother, they prayed for comfort and for safety.  They made a huge fire in hopes of attracting anyone who might have been searching for them.  They had their guns at their side.  

Then out of the darkness came two Ute braves in full warpaint.  Such was the surprise that they bound the boys and took their guns and the 2 oxen and commenced a forced march all night long up the canyon.  They hiked all that night and the next day and finally stopped after a 24 hr forced march.  The braves bound the older boy and separated them and put the guns next to their heads by the fire.

Before stopping, the boys decided that they would attempt an escape. The older boy had a razor blade in his pocket.  Neither boy had slept for 36 hours.  The older brother could see the younger brother across the fire.  They were both exceedingly tired, and their heads would droop at times, but they would always upright themselves.  About midnight, the younger brother got up, easily cut the cords binding the wrists of his brother, and knew that for them to stand a chance they had to get the rifle and pistols.  They had to attempt retrieving the firearms, for when the braves realized their captors were missing, they would easily overtake them and guns were the only thing that might level the playing field.  

They quietly escaped with the firearms and quietly roused the oxen grazing in the field.  They stumbled along in the night holding onto the oxen tails until they collapsed from exhaustion.  They crawled onto the backs of the oxen, who plundered along into morning when they woke after sliding off the back of one of the oxen.  A short time later they heard the whoop of the war party who saw the new footprints in the trail.  They took shelter behind a rock and took aim at the party as they rounded the bend in the trail.  One of the braves took a ball in the leg.  Arrows and black powder balls flew through the air in that small clearing, until the boys had expended their ammunition.  As the braves advanced toward the rock sheltering the boys, from further down the canyon, they heard the search party advancing.  Both braves disappeared in the undergrowth and the boys father, overjoyed to have found his sons before their sure demise, delivered his sons safely home.  

Years later, after peace had been established between the settlers and the Indians, the boys recognized their captors.  The brave who had been hit in the leg, who still walked with a limp, recognized the bravery of those boys and smiled admiringly as he said, "brave boys, heap brave."

Story recounted in "Pioneer Stories" Bookcraft Publishing 1976

John Young

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