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 old-west firsthand account of the Mormon's Black Hawk War in Utah. First published in 1919 by Skelton Publishing CO. Salt Lake City, Utah, only 100 copies were printed. This is Peter's first edition before he added the word "History" to the title page.
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 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 books that remained. The success of my new edition was short lived when Google Books came out with a free digital version and sales plummeted, and again it went out of print in 2005. Not long after another version of Peter's 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. Both editions are correct. Then Peter noted to the publisher there were a few minor corrections that needed to be made. 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 printing given to my father by Peter, which I inherited from my father and rebulished in 2002. It shall be noted that the cover remained the same in both editions.
I am grateful that great-grandfather's book has been held in such high regard though, Peter would be pleased as it was his wish that his book would have its place in Utah's history.
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 original 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.
An immigrant from Denmark, Peter Gottfredson wrote in his bio: "I can look back and see the mistakes I have made, also the successes. In my minds eye I can see where I could have done better, but would I. I hold here a manuscript of my life, including names of many who have associated with, socially, in business and the family relation. It contains more than three hundred pages. In the preface I mention the little daily occurrences and parts that make up the great whole."
"We can look back and see where we could have done better, but would we. Environments have much to do with shaping our natures character and destiny. Had we at certain stage in life taken a different course it is impossible to know where it would ultimately have led to. So I say, it is no use to harbor regrets, but necessary to make the best of the future."
"Life is a stream leading to somewhere. I have often in my minds eye compared it with starting out on a highway with many roads leading off in different directions, each leading to a different place and in each place conditions differ, as do the people with whom we would associate. Which would affect our condition in life, physically, morally and intellectually, and who shall say which would have been the best road for us to have followed; and here we are, so I say, and advice; try to so live each day that there will be no regrets." - Peter Gottfredson 1919.
Peter spent much of his time living among the Timpanogos during the Black Hawk War. 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. (See Excerpts from Indian Depredations in Utah)
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. I recall my late brother David and I we both wept seeing for the first time the senseless brutality, of man's inhumanity to mankind. It was then we vowed to pickup the torch for Peter and devote the rest of our lives in a quest for truth.
Racism has to be taught, no one is born a racist. And It should come as no surprise how racism has become institutionalized in Utah 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 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 Black Hawk War veteran. "It was a question of supremacy between the white man and the Indian," he said.
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.
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 story to tell. I give you an example:
Some say the years leading up to the war were "complex circumstances." A knowing member of the Timpanogos Tribe put it succinctly when I asked if causes of the war were complex, "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?"
As shocking as Peter's account is to many, I have always stood in awe and reverence of great-grandfather's courage and dedication to the truth. And I too believe the truth must be told regardless of what happened. The truth must be told before there can be much needed healing and spiritual enlightenment for those on both sides of the river that divides us. You know the river I speak of, the river of life. People say you should never swim to the other side, but your heart says do it anyway. On the other side you find its still the same river and rivers bank, nothing has changed but your perspective. But now you understand the river for you have seen it from both sides. Your fear of the other side disappears. As love vanquishes condescension and discrimination.
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 original version of Indian Depredations in Utah.
Very gratefully yours, Author Phillip B Gottfredson
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