Eulogy to Peter Gottfredson
Speech By Taylar Thurber;
I have never been more honored than I am today to be asked to say a few words on this occasion, and I deeply appreciate that honor.
The life of Peter Gottfredson is like the life of other men who traveled along the whole trail of the Mormon Pioneers. So many things of his own life has reminded me of those things in connection of the lives of my own people that I wish to dwell upon it for a few moments.
At the age of 12 years, he walked across the plains; my mother did the same thing at 13. He spent one year in Salt Lake. Then in 1858 the family, consisting of the parents, two brothers, and a sister, and he, went as pioneers to Mount Pleasant. And if you read the descriptions of the fort they built, you will more nearly understand the great trials they had to contend with. In 1864 they came to Sevier County. In 1873 Brigham Young called or asked for men to organize a company and make a trip into the southwestern part of the state. The company consisted of a group of men from Provo. They were A. K. Thurber, George W. Bean, William Jex, Bishop Abraham Holiday, General William E. Pace, George Evans, and others. They came down here about the first of June and settled in Prattsville, just east of here, in June 1873. It was there they met and organized.
They captured Brimhall Springs, Right in the north end of Bare Valley. The next morning they started out they found where a bear had been slaughtered. In the book “Indian Depredations” brother Gottfredson says it was “as large as a cow.” They traveled on a short distance to the north and came upon a small grove. The largest tree in it was 7” in diameter, and when they reached it it was scared up. And it was this tree an Indian had spent 24 hours with the fight with the bear, until he had cut off its toes and other parts of it’s body, and it had died for loss of blood. Peter Gottfredson and his brother were in this company.
Next I want to speak here for just a moment on what brother Gottfredson describes as Bare Mountain. Notice it is spelled B-A-R-E. For he remarks riding through this valley the grass was growing everywhere and it touched their feet in the stirrups. They made their camp at Plateau, in those natural meadows, and they named it Grass Valley. On June 13th they arrived at Fish Lake. I’m not going into the detail of that fact. Arrangements were made there to have a peace pow-pow, held at the Cedar Grove in a few days after their visit to the Fish Lake. From Fish Lake they went to an Indian who’s name was Tabiona, and he was the chief of the tribe. He had been sent to Washington D.C. to confer with Ulysses S. Grant. He returned and said he had had a very, very good spirit while he was there. He said that at that time the heavens were opened up and 5 personages came to him, and he describes them as men in white robes and having long white flowing beards. He said that they were friends of the Indians and that they were very, very friendly. And evidently the impression was that these men were angles who had appeared to him. But that the white men could not see these visions. And he returned in a peaceful [sic] mood and he had told this company of this vision. On June 15th they left Fish Lake and went to Rabbit Valley. There brother Gottfredson named Deer Creek. They went in time until they came into the beautiful pine forest , they named the stream there, Pine Creek.
They went to Escalante and named the places as they passed through them, and they bare those names today. In this company was the father of Peter, G.W. Bean, Tabiona, and Albert K. Thurber.
I want to speak again of the influence of the names of valleys, and streams, and mountains in a new territory, and the effect that it has upon those who have to venture it. Brother Gottfredson was one of these pioneers and he has written it all in his “Indian Depredations”. And it is a most interesting history. The most interesting history and it is a most interesting history of the United States is that which concerns the pilgrims and puritans. And so it is with these early pioneers and the things they did and so we honor the name of this man.
He is one of leaders in organizing the Black Hawk War Veterans Organization. This occurred on July 4, 1893. A few of the veterans were assembled on the public square in Springville, and here they discussed their experiences, and they decided it would be a good thing to have a organization. And so on the 25th of January the Black Hawk War Veterans Organization was organized in Springville. It grew to be a county affair, then a state affair known as the Sons and Daughters of the Utah Pioneers and Indian War Veterans Organization. You who were here last summer were witness to the greatest affair that was ever held in this county, and it will be the greatest in our state.
And so I speak of Peter Gottfredson with what he has done. He has spent 20 years of his life, the best years of his life, in compiling an authentic history of the Indian Depredations in the State of Utah. It is a book that will go down through the ages because of the close contacts he has made. Just think of man without an education to undertake and write a book! It must have been a tremendous impulse behind this man. He had no wealth, he was one of the last of the pioneers. It was a gigantic task, and there must have been a will to do a thing of that sort. And there is no more pleasant record—it is one that his sons and daughters would be pleased to read and dwell upon.
His greatest interest was in labor, in services that would not bring to him anything. But he was interested in the things he was doing. He was a busy man and the men who think of Peter Gottfredson are the men who think of the grandness of his character. But the things that he has done will grow as the years pass. He became the master of the situation with which he has confronted. By working every day along the line of his desire, when the opportunity came to him to do the thing that he would do, he was the master of the situation.
He was always among common people. This is another of the goodness's of their father, and it dwells within the children. It left to us to teach his life to our children as a valued and priceless heirloom, which he has begotten to us. Life is a measure. Any other definition is false. Religion, science, fellow, brother, sister, every existence must have it’s aim. Brother Gottfredson had his aim and he carried it through. He never would undertake anything that he would or could not finish. It is not learning but good will that joins him with God.
I pray that our Heavenly Father will direct the influence that accentuated the life and soul of brother Gottfredson, that it may be passed on to his children. And I pray that we will ever appreciate the grand character and noble life of this man who has done so much for us, is my prayer in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
Speech by John Dastrup
"He that would be truly great must serve." This was the wonderful characteristic, without exception, of Peter Gottfredson. He was always on hand to serve wherever he could and he gained the esteem and good will, and love, and confidence of all who knew him, to an extent that was truly envious.
I feel truly complemented this day in being asked to say a few words upon this occasion, but if I had my wish I would sit with the mourners. I have known Bishop Gottfredson possibly as long as any one living, with exception perhaps of some of his immediate family, and I know of his worth. I know of the many things he has said and done and the interest he took in me as a boy, my father having died while I was in youth, and happily I received Mr. Gottfredson's tutorship.
I remember upon one occasion similar to this. I remember that he made this statement that always seemed very fitting to me. He said something like this upon an occasion of this kind. "It is fitting, very fitting, as it were, for individuals to take a inventory of themselves. Of this earth's activities and to see whether or not it was worth while to live in accordance with the plan of living, and to think about the life to come." And I thought upon occasions of this, when our friends and our dear ones about us, our thoughts our thoughts do go out possiably [sic] more in that direction and it has always left that impression upon me and I wonder if it isn't true to a great extent.
We have always known that we should learn those, and not alone to learn but to do those things when we have learned them, to learn to rise ourselves from this condition and degree, to a higher degree and make ourselves like God that we may dwell with him one day in perfect harmony with his spirit. That is the mission of earth's life, and I think that no one who has come under my remembrance and under close aquaintance [sic] has there been any one who lived more strictly with these laws than Peter Gottfredson, nor have they done more to obtain this. He was truly a great man. He did all those things which are necessary, that can not be done elsewhere, and he will dwell in the celestial kingdom. That is his place; there can be no doubt. He was a person of general perseverance. He sought to do good to all his fellow men and he did excert [sic] himself in many ways to do all the good possible in whatever line, whether in religious viewpoint or otherwise, he help strengthen and benefit the human race. A real fabulous--a wonderful individual.
He was Bishop with the ward. He presided over that ward for 20 years. He was not alone bishop but the ward undertaker in connection with the Relief Society. When anyone was ill bishop Gottfredson was there, and he would make them feel better. He had wonderful gifts along that line. When anyone passed away he was there to lay them out in connection with the Relief Society. It does not now seem to be in the line of bishop.
My wife stayed there and lived sometimes, and she can't remember when that house wasn't filled. He was very hospitable.
When the bishop of that ward, some of you possibly may remember, it was six miles long and one house wide. Just imagine the work that a man would have to do to look over the conditions of that ward. I remember that he gathered the people at the north of the ward, and we would come to a certain place in the ward and there they would have Sabbath School and meeting. He was always there and had the fire made for us. And he was somewhat skilled in music and we would learn to sing the songs of the Sabbath School and elsewhere that we sung at that time.
He was a brave and fearless man, regardless of whom it would effect in anyway.
He was a builder; he was a contractor. He builded [sic] the Vermillion canal and the damn in the river. He had wonderful abilities. He had a crude instrument that he made out of an old shot gun barrel and a couple bottles. And then he would place water in it and someone would go around with him and he would say, "Place that stick here." And we followed these sticks and we builded the canal and water ran through just as good as in modern canals when the canal was constructed. Wherever the staff indicated was a proper place we would drive a stick upon which the canal was builded. We had to join it with Sevier river and is was a difficult matter to back the water up. It had to be raised about six or eight feet, but he did it and did it well. He was a confident and he was always successful.
He was County Commissioner when the court house was builded, [sic] and he did much in the way of supervizing the construction of that building.
He was studious, he was busy with this, that, and the other, always his thought going out with the interest of the betterment of the conditions in which he was in charge. He was a real scholar and his memory will never die. He was a real benefactor to the race. He was a strong character and his memory will never die. He raised a noble family, a splendid family of boys and girls and may the Lord bless and preserve them. May they continue in his foot steps, and I ask in God's name, Amen.
Brothers and sisters, I think the proper way would be to address this congregation as sons and daughters of Indian War Veterans.
I am mighty proud to be here today and ask to say a few words at these services. I don't know anybody who loved Peter Gottfredson as I do.
I want to tell you this: On my word of honor I do say my duty to God and my country, and obey the Scout Law, and to help other people at all times, and to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight. It is a code He has lived and proved. He was everything that a man could be. I claim that he was one of the greatest that this state ever had. Everything goes to show it. It was only two hours before he died, he got a letter from a commissioner the adjutant of the Sons and Daughters and he had been kind of unconscious and out of his head, and he had been told told of it, and Ed read it, and after he had read it he wanted to see it, and he took it and moved it back and forth, and answered it perfectly----------------------------------
Well, I am sorry that I have got touched so, but I wanted to say that, and I wanted to let his good sons and daughters know how I feel, but I think it will be just as well for me to pass it up and say, God bless you sons and daughters, and thank you.
Please see "My Great Grandfather" by Phillip B Gottfredson