Friday, October 29, 2010

GQC: Beaver Dam Wash - Motoqua to Indian Canyon

November 6, 1849 (Tuesday):

Flake and Smith Companies (Beaver Dam Wash: Motoqua to North of Indian Canyon):

The Flake and Smith companies were on their way by 9:00 a.m. “The road grew better” and the canyon opened “wider.” Below, Beaver Dam Wash, just below Motoqua, as viewed from above to the southeast.
The water was “getting scarce” and “sinking in the sand.” Below, Beaver Dam Wash, just a bit further south.
They “passed an Indian shanty”[1] which had been “deserted” by the Indians upon their approach. “Several things of Indian manufacture” were “lying around and some pieces of ox or cow hide which had recently been” removed from the animal. There were “also a number of bitter squash seeds spread out to dry” which they believed the Indians were “preparing for food.”[2] George Q. Cannon noted “a robe made out of rabbit fur was also lying close by.” They “troubled nothing. The “cowhide” was an indication that the Indians “had been on the Spanish Trail.”[3] Henry Bigler felt, correctly, that from the “looks of the country,” they were “near the Spanish Trail” and had not “cut-off much yet.”[4] George Q. Cannon noted “very large specimans of Cactus or Prickly Pear[,] 4 or 5 inches in diameter.” He also described Joshua trees, or “Prickly Pine as large round the butt as a man’s body[,] it resembled Pine apples [in] the leaves[. T]he bark was a good deal like oak bark.” After “traveling about 12 miles” for the day, [below, Beaver Dam Wash looking further south toward Indian Canyon]
they “came to a beautiful grove of Cottonwood” trees which made for “fine shade on the banks of the creek.”[5] Henry Bigler stood guard for the night.[6] LeRoy and Ann Hafen believe they camped near the present town of Motoqua, Utah.[7] Michael Landon believes they were below Motoqua, because Motoqua does not match the mileage estimates.[8] I believe Landon’s argument about mileage is credible and think they could have been even further south than he states.

November 7, 1849 (Wednesday):

Flake and Smith Companies (Beaver Dam Wash: North of Indian Canyon to Indian Canyon):

In the morning, “Captain Flake and some others went ahead to see what the country was like.[9] As the balance of the company was going to be staying there “part of the day,” William Farrer “thought it best to get” shoes “set on the hind feet” of his “mare, as her feet had” worn considerably while “traveling over the rocks and through the creek so much.” Farrer “got a black-smith in Captain Smith’s company to set them on.”[10] Others spent time “shaving, mending shoes and boots” and “cleaning guns.” “Brother Keeler and Joseph Peck got to playing and accidentally Brother Keeler received a wound in his foot from the spur of Joseph Peck.” It drove Brother Keeler “almost crazy.” Captain Flake and the other men “returned” from their scouting trip and said “they had been six or eight miles” and that “the country” became “more level but broken.” There was “no sign of water” and the creek they were on completely sank “a few miles below.” They said another corn field” was “below” them about one mile. So the companies “packed up”[11] about noon[12] and traveled “to the cornfield intending to lay by and let” their “animals rest and eat fodder.”[13] At the cornfield, they found “some wheat” had been “sowed,” and also found that “pumpkins” and “broom corn” and “been raised” there.[14] They called it “Farm Creek.”[15]
They determined that if they “continued on the course” they “were then pursuing,” they would reach “the Spanish Trail before long,” as they “were traveling in a southerly direction.”[16] George Q. Cannon noted that they “had not been able to find any trail with the exception of Indian trails[,] small ones not leading to any particular spot, running in all directions over the country.” He also indicated that they “intended to strike Westward about 1 mile below.” They camped there that night.[17] Landon believes they were camped in Indian Canyon.[18] Below, looking down into Beaver Dam Wash from the west. Guy Wash runs to the left on the west (closest) side of the ridge in the center. Beaver Dam Wash runs to the left on the east (further) side of the ridge in the center and then continues to the right. 
Indian Canyon runs into Beaver Dam Wash in the right center of the picture below and runs southeast. The significant greenery reflects the abundant water on the floor of the wash.
Today, BYU operates Lytle Ranch in this area. It is an area where permanent springs flow in what is otherwise an intermittent stream in Beaver Dam Wash.
There is an amazing amount of water in Beaver Dam Wash at the intersection of Indian Canyon and Beaver Dam Wash. Below, my cousin Ted Barne's Jeep sends up a nice plume of water as he travels through the creek.
[1]  Bigler; Farrer noted that the canyon was “more open than it had been,” and was “pleasanter traveling.” He also noted that the creek “had considerably decreased so as scarcely to run.” It “had been sinking for sometime.”
[2]  Farrer; Rich indicates that they “met some Indians traveling up the creek” which “left all” they had and “ran for the mountain.”
[3]  Rich
[4]  Bigler
[5]  Farrer; Bigler and Rich both indicated 15 miles for the day.
[6]  Bigler
[7]  Hafen, LeRoy R. and Hafen, Ann W. Journals of Forty-Niners, Salt Lake to Los Angeles: With Diaries and Contemporary Records of Sheldon Young, James S. Brown, Jacob Y. Stover, Charles C. Rich, Addison Pratt, Howard Egan, Henry W. Bigler, and Others, Glendale: Arthur H. Clark. 1954 (49ers), p. 154, n. 20
[8]  Landon, Michael N. (editor), The Journals of George Q. Cannon, Volume 1, To California in ’49, (Deseret Book Company, Salt Lake City, Utah: 1999) (Landon), p. 104.
[9]  Bigler
[10]  Farrer
[11]  Bigler; Farrer and Rich each indicate it was 1 ½ miles.
[12]  Rich
[13]  Bigler
[14]  Rich
[15]  Bigler
[16]  Cannon
[17]  Farrer; The Hafens believe this was at Guererro’s ranch a mile below Motoqua. (49ers, p. 154, n. 21)
[18]  Landon, p. 104.

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