Peter Gottfredson 1836 - 1934
Hi, this is Author Phillip B Gottfredson and It gives me great pleasure to announce that my great-grandfathers book Indian Depredations in Utah is back in print as of Aug. 1, 2020.
2019 marks the 100th anniversary of Peter Gottfredson's classic first-hand account of the Utah Indian Wars from 1847 to 1872 including the Black Hawk War in 1865. First published in 1919 by Skelton Publishing CO. Salt Lake City, Utah, only 100 copies were printed.
In that same year Theodore Roosevelt died, Liberace was born, and 2 million gallons of molasses flooded the streets of Boston killing 21 and injuring 150, known as "The Great Molasses Flood of 1919." For those who love trivia. Anyway…
In 2002 I republished Peter's book and added a new preface to the delight of historians and history buffs throughout the state of Utah and beyond. Back then there were but a few copies of his original book that remained. The success of my new edition was short lived when a free digital version hit the internet and sales plummeted, and again it went out of print in 2005. Not long after some knock-off version's of Peter's original book hit the market titled "History of Indian Depredations in Utah" all decked out in an array of new and imaginative covers.
Why are there two different titles and content to Peter Gottfredson's book?
The reason is simple. There were two separate printings of Peter's book by Skelton Publishing Co. both occurring in the same year of 1919. The second printing came about when Peter noted to the publisher there were a few minor corrections that needed to be made to the first edition. The publisher then added the 'Corrections' page to the second edition. Also, some additional content was added such as the "Supplement" pages in the back of the book, and the title page was changed to read "History of Indian Depredations in Utah." None of the added content appears in the first edition given to my father by Peter in 1919, which I inherited from my father and republished in 2002.
It should be noted that the cover title with the iconic flag-shield of the Utah Indian War Veterans remained the same in both original editions printed by Skelton Publishing in 1919. Peter is credited for having organized the Utah Indian War Veterans organization and dedicated his book to the veterans.
I am grateful that great-grandfather's book has been held in such high regard by scholars, historians, and history buffs though, Peter would be pleased as it was his wish that his book would have its place in Utah's history.
Peter's book is a treasure trove of firsthand accounts of the Utah Black Hawk War dating from 1847 to 1914. And if any of your ancestors were in the war most likely their names are in his book. Not only is his account bursting with information, what I found to be most interesting are his detailed descriptions of battle sites. My brother and I had a lot of fun locating the actual locations where the battles took place because of Peter's detailed descriptions.
Out of respect for Peter and the Gottfredson family, I feel it is duty to honor our ancestor's legacy and preserve the dignity of his work that Peter Gottfredson so much deserves with this official first edition of Indian Depredations In Utah, which is an exact facsimile of the book Peter gave to my father Merrill Gottfredson in 1919. It is the first of two printings of Peter's book by Skelton Publishing. It's a paperback edition for now, however we are working on a beautiful cloth bound anniversary edition like Peter's original first edition we hope will be out by years end.
About The Author:
Peter spent much of his time living among the Timpanogos during the Utah Indian Wars. He enjoyed playing with their children and helping them gather food. The "Sheep Captain" they called him as he was often seen herding sheep which he did for a living. My father Merrill lived with his grandfather Peter for many years and told me, "I can still see Peter get on his horse and ride off to get just one more story for his book. Grandpa was invited into the camp of Chief Antonga Black Hawk on numerous occasions," Merrill said. Later in life Peter was a bishop in Glendale, Utah for twenty years. Still he found himself in the company of Native people, the Koosharem who had a great respect for Peter.
Peter Gottfredson with Koosharem Tribe circa 1930
To the honor of Peter Gottfredson, researchers, journalists, and scholars cite his work in countless publications and articles underscoring the importance of this time-honored classic account. But I really wonder if they truly understand the seriousness of Peter's sobering message. Historian Will Bagley put it succinctly when he wrote in the Salt Lake Tribune in 2002, "A product of its time, Indian Depredations is bitterly racist: the Utes and Paiutes are “skulking savages,” “murderous marauders,” “Mr. Redskin” and “the sleepless foe.”
It shouldn't come as any surprise that Peter's book is 'bitterly racist' as Bagley puts it. It’s no more or less than the people who wrote those stories so Peter could publish them in his book. People often overlook that Peter's account is a compilation of stories he solicited from Utah Indian War veterans which became the subtitle of his book. It's a testament to the mind-set of Mormon colonizers their attitude toward Utah's aboriginal people. Native Americans who read Peter's book find it neither amusing nor entertaining, rather see it is a document that testifies to fact that their ancestors were the victims of genocide.
Racism has to be taught, no one is born a racist. And It should come as no surprise why racism has become institutionalized and still exists in Utah on some level as it has been passed on by one generation to the next. The point being, Peter's book more importantly points to any number of 'White depredations' and the unrighteous motives that destroyed the Timpanogos Nation, a once vibrant and thriving ancient culture whose only crime was that they were Native to Utah. "We had to do these things, or be run over by them," wrote John Lowry, a Utah Indian War veteran. "It was a question of supremacy between the white man and the Indian," he said. “Once the Mormons began the invasive action of reconfiguring the land for settlement, the scarcity of food placed them in direct competition with the Timpanogots" Robert O. Barney noted. "We have no peace until the men are killed off—never treat the Indian as your equal" said Polygamist leader Brigham Young.
"This is the land promised by the Eternal Father to the Faithful, since we are commanded by God in the Holy Scriptures to take it from them, being idolaters, by reason of their idolatry and sin, to put them all to the knife, leaving no living thing save maidens and children, their cities robbed and sacked, their walls and houses leveled to the earth" wrote Steven T. Newcomb Indigenous Law Institute and author of "Pagans in the Promised Land.
I find it curious that Peter wrote in his introduction "It was the inherent nature for the Indian to steal..." he said. When in fact "We took from them almost all their land—the reservations are just a tiny remnant of traditional tribal homelands," U of U professor Dr. Daniel McCool explained. "We tried to take from them their hunting rights, their fishing rights, the timber on their land. We tried to take from them their water rights. We tried to take from them their culture, their religion, their identity, and perhaps most importantly, we tried to take from them their freedom."
"The Mormons when they first commenced the settlement of Salt Lake Valley, was friendly, and promised... many comforts, and lasting friendship... until they became strong in numbers" said Timanogos Chief Wakara.
The Timpanogos today ask "What choice were we given? To walk knee deep in the blood of our people, or give up our sacred land and culture and accept white man's ways... it was a matter of what's right... our honor... survival... why is that so complicated to understand?"
The war on the Timpanogos would result in over 150 bloody confrontations with Brigham Young's Mormon colonists whose intention was to "exterminate" the Timpanogos Nation. "The war created a vortex of fear and hatred that led to greater violence and brutality on both sides" said historian Will Bagley
Who are the Timpanogos, why have they been left out of Utah's History?
That question kept me up at nights for many years. I couldn't find anything about who they were, or if the Ute and Timpanogos are two separate tribes, or if they even exist. All the accounts I read and everyone I talked to said the Timpanogos are Ute. Later I found out why all the confusion, it's because no one has ever taken the time to ask the Timpanogos or Utes about their history, was my conclusion. I spent several years with the Utes, and when I asked who was Chief Wakara, or Tabby and others they didn't know. They kept referring to Colorow as their Chief, and that they came from Colorado in 1881. But Utah history says they were in Utah when the Mormon's arrived in 1847, but Chief Colorow wasn't. The more research I did the more confusing it became. It wasn't until 2015 I was contacted by Mary Meyer who introduced herself as the Chief Executive of the Timpanogos Tribe, that's when things got very interesting. Mary said "I been following your website, you got the history right but you got the wrong Tribe. Have you never heard of the Timpanogos?" I argued that they are Ute, she argued they are not and "I'll prove it to you if you will meet with me" she said. Well, what was meant to be a two hour meeting turned into a life-long friendship.
It followed I wrote a companion book, an antithesis to Peter's book I titled My Journey To Understand Black Hawk's Mission of Peace. Mary and the Timpanogos collaborated with me on the book and now we see the rest of the story, the other side of the coin.
As for the Timpanogos Nation they were only defending themselves, their ancestral land, their aboriginal rights, their human rights, their treaty rights, and their rights as a sovereign nation. But that gets left out of the conversation in Peter’s book. But truth-be-told very few have even heard of the Timpanogos as they have been written out of history, but they do exist and have their own version of the story to tell.
And by-the-way, the Timpanogos are Shoshoni NOT Ute as historians would have us believe. (See: Timpanogos Ute Oxymoron)
Meanwhile, I hope you will lend your support to the preservation of Peter's time-honored work by purchasing our official republication of Peter Gottfredson's first edition of Indian Depredations in Utah. And while you're at it, please consider buying a copy of my new book too.
Very gratefully yours, Author Phillip B Gottfredson
Peter Gottfredson's original version of Indian Depredations in Utah: