Sunday, October 31, 2010

GQC: Meadow Valley Wash - Lyman Crossing to above Leith

This is a continuation of my retracing George Q. Cannon’s 1849 journey.

November 9, 1849 (Friday):

Flake and Smith Companies (Meadow Valley Wash: Lyman Crossing to above Leith):

“At day light,” Charles Rich took J. Henry Rollins and one other man to “a high rise two miles west” to look for “prospects for water” (they ultimately found none). About the same time, as the rest of the camp awoke, “they found that their “mules and horses was scattered in every direction.” One of the men that had not made it to camp the night before arrived that morning. While Brother Rich was still out in search of water, the two companies “left camp and traveled up the bed of the creek”[1] “northward, expecting to find water at the mountains.”[2] Below, Lyman Crossing, looking north to the canyon in Meadow Valley Wash.
When Brother Rich returned to camp, he “found both companies” had “started up the creek” without waiting for his observations or his “council.”[3] “The weather was very warm for the season, and, after the sun arose, its rays felt oppressive.” Before they “reached the mouth of the canyon, about eight miles distant, above Leith, one of the brethren became almost crazy with thirst.” He ultimately resorted “to the dreadful expedient of drinking his urine.” However, instead of quenching his thirst, “it had the very opposite” effect. “It made him more thirsty, and almost maddened him. There were several of Smith’s men also whose reason was nearly upset through their excessive thirst. There were a number of the animals belonging to Captain Smith’s company which ‘gave out,’ as well as some” of Flake’s company. “It seemed as though” they “would never reach the canyon for which they were aiming. The distance was not very great, and men with plenty of food and drink would have soon traveled it.” But they “were all weak,” and did not eat “for fear of increasing” their thirst. They “found it difficult to drag” themselves “through the sand in the bed of the creek. The travel of that morning tested the endurance of all very thoroughly and the company straggled along in a broken condition. The men on the lead reached the canyon a long time ahead of those who were behind. After proceeding up the canyon a little distance
they found running water.
As soon as they saw it they shouted ‘water, water’ at the top of their voices. The cry was caught up by those behind,” and was “repeated the whole length of the line.” This news “infused new life” into the men, and they “pushed forward with increased energy. Some of them were so long, however, in reaching the water, that an impression began to prevail among them that they had been deceived. But they reached it at last. Pure, sparkling, cold water was there, gurgling as it ran over the rocks in the channel.”
It was “not a large stream, but it was sufficient.” They “rushed eagerly to the stream and stretched at full length on the ground, slaked” their “thirst by copious draughts taken at such intervals as not to hurt” them. They named the place Providence Canyon as the finding of the water had been “providential.” It appears that they were in Meadow Valley Wash, a bit north of Leith.[4]
George Cannon later noted:

A body of water as large as Lake Superior could not have produced more joy or thankfulness. I thought that morning, and many times during that journey, that I would never cease to be thankful for the precious gift of water. Though nearly twenty years have elapsed since then, the impression still remains; I cannot bear now to see water wasted.[5]
Henry Bigler was of the Flake company that struggled in the rear. After about three miles, one of his animals gave out. He “left her and put the pack” on the animal he rode. This remaining animal had also nearly given out and Bigler knew he would be “late in getting into camp” as it took him “much labor” to “get her along.” Brother Keeler, who had wounded his foot two days previous, was told by Bigler to “go ahead with the camp, and if they found water to send” someone to meet him “with a canteen full of water.” Bigler “was soon left behind without any arms and no one knew” he “was so far behind.” He “frequently scratched holes in the sand for water and chewed bullets to make moisture” in his mouth. About 3:00 p.m., he saw “Brother Cain coming” with a “tin cup” glistening “in his hand.” He raised his hand and shook it. Bigler “understood the sign.” When they met, Cain handed Bigler a “canteen” and Bigler drank “every drop.” Bigler’s mouth “began to feel bitter” and he “began to feel like vomiting. It was not far to camp” and when Bigler arrived “supper was ready.” By the time Bigler had eaten, “two of the men who had overtaken” them the day before “came in on foot, leaving the other four behind with their animals.”[6] These two had “pushed ahead with the hope of finding water that they could carry back” to the other four.” After eating, these two men, started back in search of their four comrades.[7] They were accompanied by Henry Bigler, in search of his mare,[8] and “two of Smith’s company” that had also left a horse behind.[9] When they came upon Bigler’s mare, the other four men helped him pour “a canteen full of water down her throat.” The two in search of their four comrades continued back “with their canteens of water”[10] and the two in Smith’s company continued on in the search for their horse,[11] while Bigler returned to camp alone. “It was sometime after dark” when Bigler got back to camp with his mare.[12] Later, the two in search of their four comrades returned after an unsuccessful search. The two members of Smith’s company also returned after an unsuccessful search for their horse. However, they had seen “a band of Indians, about twenty-two or twenty-three in number, three of whom had rifles.” The men in camp “were afraid the Indians had lain in ambush and killed the four men as they passed through one of the narrow canyons”[13] they had to “descend.”[14] They traveled 10 miles that day.[15] 
November 10, 1849 (Saturday):

Flake and Smith Companies (Meadow Valley Wash: above Leith):

There were “orders to lay in camp all day.” Henry Bigler and “two or four others took charge of the animals to herd them” to the “best pasture.”[16] Five of the Flake company, including George Cannon, and “five of Captain Smith’s” company, along with the two men who were missing their four comrades, went back to “search for some traces” of the four men. They “armed” themselves and “started afoot,” each taking “a canteen of water apiece.” They “also took a spade” with them so that they could give the four men a “decent burial” if they should find them murdered. To their “great relief,” they found the men and their horses about four or five miles from camp. “They had wandered from” the “trail in search of water and had found some in a cave eight miles below” their camp the night before. They were “so pleased to find them” that, when they “neared the mouth of the canyon,” they “whooped and some fired off their guns with the intent of informing the companies that the men were safe.”[17] Several men from camp “went to their assistance,” expecting that the search party had been attacked by Indians.[18] Others “supposed the camp” was under attack and “seized their guns” and took “measures” for their “defense.”[19]

[1]  Rich states he took two men (but does not name them) to a “high rise”; Bigler states it was Rich and Rollins and that they went to a “mountain” and did not find prospects for water; Rich’s directions have been incorrect for several days and his “west” may be “south” if he was being consistent with his other directions.

[2]  Farrer; Rich indicated they were traveling east, but his directions the day before also appear to have been incorrect.
[3]  Rich
[4]  Landon, Michael N. (editor), The Journals of George Q. Cannon, Volume 1, To California in '49, (Deseret Book Company, Salt Lake City, Utah: 1999), pp. 86, 105;  Hafen and Hafen state that an early wagon road followed Toquap Wash from Bunkerville about 20 miles to “the pockets,” then turned east to Tule Spring. The road then went north to enter the Meadow Valley Wash at Gann’s ranch, a few miles below Elgin. They believe the site of Providence Creek was at Gann’s ranch. 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), pp. 155 and 157, nn. 23 and 24; Perkins believes they turned north and west from Toquop Wash, crossed through Tule Valley and came onto Meadow Valley Wash between Carp and Leith Sidings on the Union Pacific railroad. After following the wash a short distance, they reached Providence Creek. Perkins, George E. Pioneers of the Western Desert: Romance and Tragedy Along the Old Spanish or Mormon Trail and Historical Events of the Great West, Los Angeles: Wetzel Publishing Co. 1947, pp. 46-47.
[5]  Cannon; Bigler states that “both men and animals drank greedily for all had suffered.”
[6]  Bigler
[7]  Cannon
[8]  Bigler
[9]  Cannon
[10]  Bigler
[11]  Cannon
[12]  Bigler
[13]  Cannon; These Indians were the Panaca subgroup of Southern Paiute Indians. (Indian Handbook, p.
[14]  Farrer
[15]  Bigler and Farrer; Rich stated 12 miles.
[16]  Bigler
[17]  Cannon
[18]  Bigler
[19]  Cannon

Saturday, October 30, 2010

GQC: Indian Canyon to Lyman Crossing

This is a continuation of my retracing George Q. Cannon's 1849 journey.

On November 8, 1849, “While breakfasting, six packers”[1] with five horses “overtook” them.[2] These packers indicated they “had left the wagons some three or four days ago” and that “the whole wagon train had left the Spanish Trail to follow” them. Bigler noted that he felt the wagons would have to “back out” and “take another route,” as they would “find a bad wagon road in this canyon.”[3] About 8:00 a.m., they started “down the creek” for about two miles[4] until the water of the creek sank into the sand.[5]  Below, Beaver Dam Wash just below the intersection of Indian Canyon. The Road in the center of the picture, on the other side of the wash, goes down Indian Canyon.
Further down Beaver Dam Wash. It appears that the "bluff" they needed to climb west out of the canyon got smaller as they headed south.
“Captain Smith, Flake, and others thought” they “had best to bear more to the north and leave the creek.” Charles Rich was against this and gave his “advice” to them “to go directly west leaving some high mountains” on their right.” However, the companies still headed north west.[6] “After climbing” a “bluff,” they “found the country nearly level, a dry sage plain.

In October 2010, I traveled from Lyman Crossing in Meadow Valley Wash to Indian Canyon with my brother, Chris, and cousins, Russell Cannon, Bill Barnes and Ted Barnes. This is the approximate route taken by George Q. Cannon and the rest of the Flake and Smith companies. I was surprised to find how varied the country was and how beautiful it is, in certain sections. Below, looking back (east), the Beaver Dam Mountains in the background and Guy Wash just visible in the center.
Looking east, some hills and the Beaver Dam Mountains more distant.
The Beaver Dam Mountains in the background and the secondary hills get farther away.
More small hills, looking east.
Deeper into the Tule Desert, an interesting mountain, looking east.
Then the most interesting portion of the Tule Desert, Joshua tree stands and other significant foliage, looking east.
More Joshua trees. This time looking west.
More Joshua trees, looking south.
Russ Cannon, Bill Barnes and Ted Barnes.
This view is to the north.
As you travel west, the vegetation gets more sparse. This view is to the south.
Looking east.
Looking north, further west.
Nearing Meadow Valley Wash.
Looking east, an arroyo near Lyman Crossing and Meadow Valley Wash. This could possibly be where they entered into Meadow Valley Wash.
Some of the “camp got separated.”[7] “About one hour after dark,” the forward portion of the company reached “a dry creek,”[8] likely Meadow Valley Wash in the vicinity of Lyman Crossing,[9] with “some Indians camped on it.” Below, Lyman Crossing as it looks today.
When they “drew near,” they “fired off a gun” and the Indians “put out the fire and fled.”[10] The “animals” were “very much exhausted for want of feed and water” and “many of the men” also “suffered very much for want of water. However, Captain Smith’s men “appeared to suffer more for the want of” water than the Flake company.[11] The rear portion of the company (apparently including at least the Whittle mess) “lost the trail” toward evening. They “hallowed and fired guns” and “at last” heard “some person answer.” They “continued towards the camp” but did not find it. “At length,” they “saw the flash from two guns but heard no report. Brother Whittle took the course by a star and got” them into camp about” 10 p.m. There was “not a drop of water.” They “dug in the sand for water, but” it was “all in vain. An emigrant, belonging to Captain Smith’s company, came into” the Flake camp and “offered to pay any price for a drink of water. There was none for sale.” Henry Bigler “had no water and but few of the boys” did. “The day had been vary warm” and Bigler “had walked all day so that” he was “exceedingly thirsty” himself. Although he “had started with a canteen full” of water in the morning, he had drunk “and divided it all out soon after starting.” Bigler indicated to this man that he was so dry himself, that if he had a drink he “would not take $50 for it. Brother Rich was” sitting nearby and said, ‘Have you no water?’ ‘No,’ Bigler replied. “After a few minutes” Brother Rich called Bigler over and handed him “his canteen saying, ‘Drink, you are welcome.’” Rich’s “canteen seemed to be about 2/3 full.” Bigler did “not expect to get a drink for it was only accidental on” his part that he had said what he did. Bigler “told Brother Rich” that he “would not drink” for he “was not badly suffering.” Rich told Bigler to “drink” as “he himself had not been very thirsty all day.”[12] “Gloomy despondent feelings prevailed with a great number” of the men, “as the prospect of finding water without going a great distance was not very promising.”[13] Seven men did not make it to camp at all.[14] They traveled 32 miles that day.[15]

Landon believes they crossed over the Tule Desert, using the approximate route of the dirt road that leaves Indian Canyon and goes west to Lyman Crossing at Meadow Valley Wash. This is the road we followed. He believes they camped in Meadow Valley Wash in the vicinity of Lyman Crossing.[16] Below, looking south from Lyman Crossing. We drove into the center of the wash and could find no running water.
My estimations put the middle of Meadow Valley Wash at Lyman Crossing about 29 ½ miles from Indian Canyon. If they went south two miles, then went back northwest, that would easily get them the 32 mile distance.

[1]  Bigler

[2]  Farrer
[3]  Bigler
[4]  Rich; Bigler says they started at 9:00 a.m. and that they traveled 2 or 3 miles.
[5]  Bigler
[6]  Rich actually stated they “bore north.” Bigler and Farrer both state they traveled west. It was likely more of a northwest direction.
[7]  Bigler; Farrer states they went over some “high hills” to the west.
[8]  Rich
[9]  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. 105. Hafen and Perkins believed they were at Toquop Wash. See 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. 155, n. 23; and Perkins, George E. Pioneers of the Western Desert: Romance and Tragedy Along the Old Spanish or Mormon Trail and Historical Events of the Great West, Los Angeles: Wetzel Publishing Co. 1947, p. 46.
[10]  Rich
[11]  Farrer
[12]  Bigler
[13]  Cannon
[14]  Rich states that six men did not make it and that they were Captain Smith’s men. From events the next day, it appears it was the same six that had abandoned the Hunt wagon train and arrived in camp that morning. Bigler states that one man did not make it to camp that night and arrived the next morning.
[15]  Bigler, Farrer and Rich all agreed on the distance.
[16]  Landon, pp. 86, 105

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.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

GQC: Beaver Dam Wash - above the Narrows to Motoqua

November 4, 1849 (Sunday):

Flake and Smith Companies (Beaver Dam Wash: above the Narrows to Holt’s Cabin):

“It rained through the night.”[1] George Q. Cannon “arose in morning wet through [and] felt very uncomfortable.”[2]  It was dark, cloudy[3] and “very cold.” When Henry Bigler “arose,” he was told that his mare had miscarried her colt. He “attributed” the miscarriage “to the crossing” of “the mountains and to the storm.” After the “rain had subsided,”[4] about 10:00 a.m,[5] they “packed up and started.”[6] They “continued down the canyon,” entering the Narrows of Beaver Dam Wash, and it began “raining and snowing like all blazes.”[7] A few hours later, after “crossing and recrossing the creek a great number of times,”[8] they rounded a point[9] and “came to a place beyond which it seemed impossible to pass.” They “were hemmed in by high mountains impracticable to cross, and the channel by that way seemed to be barred.”[10] Captain Flake, Captain Smith and Brother Rich “with some others”[11] “climbed to the tops of the mountains surrounding” them,[12] which were “several thousand feet high, to see if they could see any out let. To think of climbing over” the mountains with their “horses was out of the question, for the mountains were almost perpendicular.” However, all they could see were “mountains raised one after another as far as they could see.”[13] They “were in a bad fix. Further progress seemed impossible.” If they were to turn back to the “regular trail,” they “would not have half enough provisions” and “there was no way of obtaining more short of Salt Lake City or California.” If they “were to return up this canyon and strike off to the right or left,” they had no “assurance” that they “could get through” the mountains “any easier than by the route” they were traveling. “These were anxious moments, but none” of them “could think of returning.” They “must proceed at all hazards. Those who had climbed the mountains” reported “that the canyon grew wider a little below where” they were, and if they “could surmount the obstacles right before” them, they “could still proceed. There was a gleam of hope in this. Captain Flake and one or two others concluded they would try and descend the canyon on foot.”[14] “In about three hours they returned saying it was extremely bad for animals.”[15] It was “exceedingly rocky” and “the creek took a leap over a precipice ten or twelve feet in height, and at this waterfall the mountains which rose on each side, were steep and slippery; but on one side, they thought, a passage might be made.”[16] They “were glad to hear of this for” they had “been standing for about four hours in a drenching rain.”[17] “The animals were chilled, the packs were well soaked, and the men were wet to the skin.” They commenced their “descent of the canyon. By rolling rocks out of the way” they “succeeded in getting along tolerably well until” they “reached the precipice.”[18] Henry Bigler commented that it was “surprising to see where horses can go.” Some of the horses “fell and rolled over with their packs on.” Some were “helped up the precipice by putting ropes around their necks and 8 or 10 men” were placed “at the end to pull and so help them up.”[19] George Cannon’s ‘Croppy’ “had been gradually failing, and was not very strong. By pulling and pushing him he succeeded in nearly reaching the top of the steepest part of the ascent, when his hind feet slipped and he fell.”[20] Croppy “rolled over and over down the side of the mountain with his pack on”[21] and nearly carried those that were pulling him “along with him.” They “tried to get him on his feet again, but without avail. He was too weak, and the place was too steep.” They “had to roll him over on to a more favorable place, and then he got up.” With the help of more men, “the next attempt was successful” and they “all got over into the canyon.” Croppy “had his knee badly cut in his fall, and was much shaken. He acted as though his fall had crazed him. A sensible horse would, when turned loose, have followed the others. Croppy would have done so before he had this fall; but now, when” they drove him ahead of them into the canyon, “he seemed determined to get into the creek.” Despite their efforts to prevent him, Croppy “rushed down the steep bank into the water. The bottom on the side of the creek…was probably two or three hundred yards wide; and the Indian trail which the company followed ran close to the base of the mountain. Between that and the creek there was a dense growth of willows, wild rose bushes, and other brush.” To “drive Croppy ahead it was necessary to pass through this undergrowth.” As evening arrived, they “found this very disagreeable. Brother Joseph Cain remained with” George Cannon to “assist” him in getting Croppy into camp. They “were afoot” and “scrambling along through the brush” when they “suddenly came on to an Indian wick-e-up. The first notice” they had of it was when they found themselves “at its entrance.” They “had heard so many tales of the treachery and cruelty of these Indians” that they had a “dread of exposing” themselves or their “animals to their attacks or depredations.” Cannon thought he “could distinguish in the gloom an Indian inside,” but may “have been mistaken. At any rate,” they “did not stop.” The “company was a long way ahead of” them and their “riding horses had kept with the company.” Cannon’s “rifle was fastened to” his “riding saddle,” so he was “unarmed,” except for a “butcher knife,”[22] which he carried “Spanish fashion” in his “legging.” Brother Cain “had his rifle; but, unfortunately, in trying to load it a day or two before he had used too thick a patching, and the bullet had stuck halfway down the barrel. There it was, immovable.” He did not dare “fire off the rifle for fear of it bursting.” They “were glad to get out of the brush and to get Croppy out of the creek on to the trail again, and before long” were “gladdened” to see “the light of the campfires in the distance.”[23] Camp was about 1 ½ miles below the precipice.[24] Below the Narrows, Beaver Dam Wash opens up north of the area that contains Holt’s Cabin on modern topographical maps. It appears they camped about five miles below their prior camp in the vicinity of Holt’s Cabin.[25] “There was considerable interest felt in camp about Croppy. The fear was very general that he could not hold out much longer,” and “the loss of a horse or a mule by any one of the company was a general loss.” They “were dependent upon one another” and were “compelled to look upon” themselves “to some extent as one family.” It almost seemed like Croppy “was determined to commit suicide by drowning” for “the creek seemed to have great attraction for him. If the weather had been warm,” it might have been understandable, “but it was November and the nights were cold.”[26] There was “little feed” near camp.[27] The canyon was rough traveling. Several of them climbed out to see whether a trail could be blazed outside the canyon. All returned with unfavorable reports. They continued down canyon on the recommendation of Captain Flake, but it was extremely rough.[28]

November 5, 1849 (Monday):

Flake and Smith Companies (Beaver Dam Wash: Holt’s Cabin to Motoqua):

“Sometime in the night,” George Q. Cannon was awakened by Brother Joseph Cain, who wanted him “to get up. Croppy was in the creek, and help was needed to draw him out. He had been in the creek before, and it had taken three of the guard to bring him to the bank. With some trouble” they “managed to get him out and on to his feet, but he was chilled through.” George Cannon was “very doubtful” about Croppy “being able to live.” Cannon “led him away from the creek and left him under the shelter of some brush in a place where he could get feed and be warm” and “returned to sleep.” Croppy “wandered off again to the creek” where Cannon “found him the next morning stretched out stark and cold,” drowned. Cannon noted that his own “position” could have been “very disagreeable,” left “with but one animal at a distance of nearly five hundred miles” from where he could “obtain supplies,” but “the only feeling of unpleasantness” he had was from “being dependent” on the “brethren.” The brethren “divided” Cannon’s “pack” and “carried a portion on each of their horses.” This allowed Cannon to continue to ride his mare.[29] Also that morning, some of the men were sent to the “top of the mountain” and returned to “report” that they could “see a valley about eight miles ahead. This was good news” for there was little “feed in this canyon” as well as very bad traveling. At 10:00 a.m. they were “on the march” and “crossed the creek a great many times.” Bigler noted losing one of Brother Fife’s spurs.[30] They expected to “see a valley” at “every headland” they “rounded, but were disappointed until the afternoon about” 3:00 a.m. when they “came into a small valley” with “about 20 acres of cultivated land.” The soil was sandy and there were “old cornstalks standing around.” After three miles, they “came to another small valley with a standing cornfield” with the “ears of corn taken off.” There were also “beans, morning glories, squash vines,”[31] pumpkins, “prince’s feathers,”[32] wheat straw and sunflowers, all “in a very good state of cultivation.”[33] Large ditches[34] were evidence that the “crop had been raised by irrigation” and “the frost had only slightly killed” the “vegetation.”[35] It was “surprising” to them “to see the foliage so luxurious and green as it was.” It almost appeared to be “July rather than November.”[36] They camped in the “Indian cornfield” and allowed their animals to feed on the corn stalks. The road was better this day, but they still had not found the valley they expected. More men were sent to “the top the mountain” and returned to report that there was “a valley close by.”[37] Charles Rich estimated that they traveled eleven miles during the day.[38] Michael Landon, based on mileage and descriptions, believes they camped in the vicinity of Motoqua, Utah.[39]

In October 2010, I drove to Motoqua, Utah with my brother, Chris, and cousins Russell Cannon, Bill Barnes and Ted Barnes. As we drove into the canyon, large green fields jumped out at us from amidst the desert landscape.
No water was running in Beaver Dam Wash,
but it is obvious they are tapping the underground water for use in the fields.
We were stopped from driving into Motoqua by a locked gate, but had a nice lunch in the shade of some large trees. We drove a short way up Beaver Dam Wash from Motoqua,
but had to cut it short due to time.
The day before, we talked to Ramon Mathews who owns the property below Beaver Dam State Park. He indicated that there used to be a large precipice in the Narrows, but that a very large flood a number of years ago had deposited large boulders and eliminated the steep drop-off.

[1]  Rich

[2]  Cannon
[3]  Rich
[4]  Farrer
[5]  Bigler
[6]  Farrer
[7]  Bigler
[8]  Cannon
[9]  Farrer
[10]  Cannon
[11]  Bigler
[12]  Cannon
[13]  Bigler
[14]  Cannon
[15]  Bigler
[16]  Cannon
[17]  Farrer
[18]  Cannon
[19]  Bigler
[20]  Cannon
[21]  Bigler
[22]  George Brewerton carried a “large bowie-knife” with him on the Old Spanish Trail in 1848. (Brewerton, p. 40)
[23]  Cannon
[24]  Farrer
[25]  Bigler and Rich
[26]  Cannon
[27]  Rich
[28]  Landon, p. 103
[29]  Cannon
[30]  Bigler
[31]  Farrer
[32]  Rich
[33]  Bigler
[34]  Cannon
[35]  Rich
[36]  Cannon
[37]  Bigler
[38]  Bigler estimated 15 miles.
[39]  Landon, p. 104

Saturday, October 23, 2010

GQC: Tunnel Springs to Beaver Dam Wash (above the Narrows)

On Saturday, November 3, 1849, both the Flake and Smith companies, spent the morning in camp near Tunnel Springs in Headwaters Wash. They “laid by until nearly noon” to allow their “animals to rest and eat grass.” During this time, Henry Bigler “cut the three first letters” of his name “on a rock and the date.”[1]
In 1938, Charles Kelly discovered the Bigler initials “H.W.B.” and “1849” carved in white rock near Tunnel Springs. This definitively established where the Flake and Smith companies camped the evening of November 2nd and helped greatly in determining their route in 1849.[2] In October 2010, I went with my brother, Chris, and cousins Russell Cannon, Bill Barnes and Ted Barnes into Headwaters Wash to try and locate the Bigler initials. Below, I stand next to the initials.
We are all great grandsons of George Q. Cannon and Russ is a great great grandson of Charles Rich. Below, Ted, Bill, Russ and Chris near the initials.
We found the initials south east of Tunnel Springs in the white rocks on the other side of Headwaters Wash. Below, the white cliffs where the initials are, set back from the wash.
 The initials can be found be following the small dry stream, to the right of Russ, below, up from the wash to the white rocks, about 200 feet.
Around noon, the Flake and Smith companies continued west down Headwaters Wash[3] (below, a view of Headwaters Wash below Tunnel Springs, looking from the side of the wash above)
with the expectation of camping that evening in the valley mentioned by Captain Smith.[4] Another view down the wash from the center of the wash.
Some interesting rock formations west of Tunnel Springs in the vicinity of the old Bauer Ranch. This is near where a dirt road comes into Headwaters Wash, our route in.
White rocks near the old Bauer Ranch.
The valley Smith had told them about was supposed to extend westward, would have “water and feed,” and would allow them to “travel without having to cross mountains.” They crossed “the creek a number of times, and found some of the crossings rather miry.
The canyon was narrow and the mountains on each side towered up perpendicular and rocky. There were a number of caves in the sides.”[5]
On our visit in October 2010, we found no water in Headwaters Wash until Tunnel Springs. The water from Tunnel Springs and from a source on the south side of the wash combined to provide a small, very small moving stream, which in places was much more like a marsh than a stream.
I was wearing boots and at no time while walking through the stream did I have water go over the top of my boots. Travel near the stream, and in fact everywhere in the tight canyon, was difficult
 because of the dramatic increase in vegetation
due to the water.
We also noted the striking number of caves
in the rocks
in the walls of the canyon.
More Headwaters Wash pictures:
A small beaver dam.
Chew marks of a beaver.
After traveling down the canyon about two miles[6] the Flake and Smith companies “found the canyon impassable and were compelled to climb a mountain, the sides of which were covered with cedar. The ascent of” the “mountain was very difficult for” their “pack animals.” They “then traveled over some cedar ridges, and found” themselves “in a position where, to get any farther,” they had to “climb a steep rocky mountain. It was difficult for a man on foot to make the ascent” and the pack animals had an even more difficult time reaching the summit.[7] At the summit they “found Captain Smith’s company stopped” and “busily” engaged in “fixing the road to descend the mountain.”[8] The Flake company likely jumped in to assist. The descent was “more difficult and dangerous” than the climb. The road they made wound “round the mountain to a spur that sloped gradually to the creek; but, even then, great care had to be taken; one false step would have precipitated an animal and pack down the mountain without any prospect of escaping with life.” They “all reached the bottom of the mountain without accident.”[9] They were back at the creek they had originally left that morning, but it had “increased in size very much”[10] and “had become a beautiful stream.”[11]

Michael Landon, editor of The Journals of George Q. Cannon, Volume 1: To California in ’49 (Deseret Book, Salt Lake City: 1999), believes they left the canyon, to the east, just north of Schroeder Lake.[12] I believe they left the canyon to the west in the vicinity of Hamblin Ranch. Headwaters Wash continues south from Tunnel Springs for about three miles where it meets Pine Park Canyon in a “Y” junction and becomes Beaver Dam Wash. Schroeder Lake, a man-made lake which has recently been drained and the creek bed restored to its original form, was another mile down Beaver Dam Wash. Two miles below Tunnel Springs would still have been within Headwaters Wash. If they had gone out to the east, they would have run into Pine Park Canyon which is much steeper than Headwaters Wash and I believe impassable with horses. If they left the canyon past the junction of Pine Park Canyon, it would have been well beyond the stated two miles and they would have known the reason for the increase in the size of the creek. The creek coming out of Pine Park Canyon has much more water in it than the creek coming out of Headwaters Wash. Below, in Beaver Dam Wash, below the confluence of Headwaters Wash and Pine Park Canyon.
When they combine at the “Y” junction the creek increases in size.
A beaver dam in Beaver Dam Wash.
In October 2010, my cousin, Russ Cannon, and I hiked from Tunnel Springs down to Hamblin Ranch through Headwaters Wash. There was only one spot I could conceive of them leaving Headwaters Wash to the east, or really the south at that point,
and it was so steep I don’t believe the horses could have made it out. There did not appear to be any reasonable places to leave the wash to the west or north until just north of Hamblin Ranch, about two and a half miles south of Tunnel Springs, where it opens up to the west but is still quite hilly. Hamblin Ranch, on the topographical map, is no longer in existence, except for some piled up lumber. It is located about a half mile northwest of the “Y” junction of Headwaters Wash and Pine Park Canyon. If they left Headwater Wash there, they would have been unaware of the creek coming in from Pine Park Canyon and they would have traveled over a number of cedar ridges, in what is now Beaver Dam State Park. Below, the vicinity of Hamblin Ranch looking southeast to where Pine Park Canyon and Headwaters Wash meet.
Mountain lion tracks in the mud just above Hamblin Ranch.
We spent some time talking to Ramon Mathews, the owner of land just below Beaver Dam State Park. He indicated that when he was young, old-timers talked about finding evidence of a road being built on the west side of the canyon with evidence of trees being chopped down. That would be consistent with the Flake and Smith companies leaving the wash on the west side and re-entering Beaver Dam Wash from the west side below Beaver Dam State Park.

Five or six years ago, traveling back to California from a visit to Utah, I made a quick visit to Beaver Dam State Park, hoping to hike up Beaver Dam Wash and find the Bigler initials. I had not looked at a topo map and was going solely on what I interpreted of Landon’s description of the Bigler initials being about two miles north near a spring. With hindsight and much greater knowledge of the area from looking at topo maps and hiking down Headwaters Wash, I determined that I hiked up Pine Park Canyon instead. It was where the canyon was much more perpendicular and had much greater water flow.

Returning to the Flake and Smith companies, after entering Beaver Dam Wash, they “crossed” the “creek a great number of times” until they “arrived at a large bend with a tolerable supply of grass” on it.[13] “As there was no prospect” of them “reaching the valley” they were looking for, they “concluded it best to camp for the night.”[14] The area had an abundance of different types of trees, including “hickory, ash, maple, box elder and mesquite.” Nearby camp, they also found an “Indian wigwam.” Its “occupants had evidently run away upon hearing” their “approach, as a pot made of earthenware, containing some food, was on the fire.”[15] All of the Indians’ “effects,” were “in and about” the wigwam, including “corn cobs, pumpkin seed, specimens of stone coal”[16] and a “bow.” They were in Paiute “territory” which were known for their “depredations” and determined they “had to be very vigilant.”[17] Henry Bigler noted that he stood guard that night, likely a nervous evening for him knowing that Indians were nearby. In retrospect, George Cannon noted that they “found the Indians all through this country very shy; they would run away” from them “like rabbits, they were so scared.” He was “convinced that many of them had never seen white men before,” and their “appearance in their country terrified them.”[18] They traveled about 10 miles that day.[19] As the “day had been cloudy, and in the evening” they “were threatened with a storm,” George Cannon thought he "would prevent the water from running under" them "as it had during the last rain, by making a small trench" around their bed. However, it did not save him “from a drenching. It rained heavily all night”[20] and "all the water that ran of[f[ the robe ran inside the tranch under the bed." On the other hand, Henry Bigler and others of the company made “wigwams of willow by planting them in the ground and lashing the tops together and spreading blankets over them.” This “turned the rain first rate.”[21]

Ten miles travel during the day would put them a mile or so north of the Narrows in Beaver Dam Wash.

[1]  Bigler
[2]  Charles Kelly found Bigler’s initials cut in the volcanic ash wall of the canyon in September 1938. His account is in Desert Magazine, February, 1939 (49ers, p. 151, n. 16); The initials “H.W.B.” were found at the Irving Bauer ranch near the head of the Beaver Dam Wash. (Pioneers, p. 46) In October 2010, I talked with Ramon Mathews who lives just below Beaver Dam State Park. Irving Bauer was his great uncle.
[3]  Bigler
[4]  Farrer
[5]  Cannon
[6]  Rich
[7]  Cannon
[8]  Farrer
[9]  Cannon; Bigler stated, “one place where we came along today that one false step would plunge a horse hundreds of feet down the mountain without any possibility of saving life.”
[10]  Farrer
[11]  Rich
[12]  Landon, p. 102.
[13]  Farrer
[14]  Farrer
[15]  Cannon; The Cedar Southern Paiutes had pottery that was sun-dried and unfired. (Indian Handbook, p. 375)
[16]  Rich
[17]  Farrer
[18]  Cannon; the Southern Paiutes were “notably pacific.” (Indian Handbook, p. 381)
[19]  Rich; Bigler estimated 12 miles.
[20]  Cannon
[21]  Bigler