Peter Gottfredson's Autobiography
by Peter Gottfredson
A CRICKET DRIVE
In August the grass got dry in the hills. The country was covered with large black wingless crickets south of the divide between Thistle Valley and Sanpete. The females had long forked tails, more than an inch in length. This they bored into the ground the full length and between the two prongs discharged their eggs in the hole. They laid a dozen to twenty eggs in the hole. While they would not pull loose and many were crushed by being stepped on. There were so many that we could not walk without stepping on some. When a cricket was wounded, other crickets, three or four at a time would eat them alive, the cricket struggling to get away. As the grass dried in the hills the crickets came down into the valley where the grass had more juice in it. A band of Indians were camped in the valley and they had a cricket drive. A big ditch that brought water from the creek to water some meadow ground ran down through the valley. The squaws made long willow baskets which they placed in the ditch for the crickets to float into. The male Indians with long willows strung along about twenty feet apart and whip the ground behind the crickets driving them towards the ditch. The crickets were so many that they pile over each other till they tumbled into the ditch and floated down into the baskets. When a basket was nearly full the squaws would lift it out and empty them in big piles and cover them with blankets to keep them from getting away till they smothered. My brother and I helped drive, it was lots of fun. They got a lot of crickets. More than fifty bushels. They had a lot of berries that they had gathered before that they mixed and crushed with the crickets and made into loaves the size of a persons head. Then they dug holes in the ground about eighteen inches deep and buried the loaves and left them to go through a sweat or fermentation for about a month. After that I do not know what they did with them. The berries which were plentiful in the hills and wild currants, both black and red that grew along the creek and sour squaw berries, and some choke cherries.
They ate some of their meat raw. At one time an ox got into a spring hole and drowned. We pulled it out with a team and skinned it. The Indians asked if they might have the meat. We said they might. They cut it open and some young Indians reached in and got tallow off the entrails and shook off the blood and ate it. The Indians cut up the ox and took away the meat.
I followed some cattle tracks into the west mountains over hills and canyons to the foot of Mountain Nebo, a distance of about twelve miles. It looked as if they had been driven, but I could see no other tracks other than those of the cattle. It was late in the day when I started back towards the valley and night overtook me. The night was dark and I did not remember how many canyons I had crossed and I went down a wrong canyon. Near midnight I was attacked by a lot of dogs. I knew they were Indian dogs. and that a camp was near. The dogs were fierce, had it been for my dog Tyler I do not know what the result would have been. I yelled and two Indians came up and called of the dogs. I went to them down to the camp. The Indians knew me and called me the sheep captain. Some young squaws came out of a wikiup and stirred up a fire and roasted deer meat for me. They offered me some of their bread made of berries and crickets. They called "queash", and I pointed at the cricket legs and said they were "key-wino". Not Good. They laughed at me and said it was "wino" good. The Indians offered me blankets to sleep in. I said my folks would be worried about me and would be out hunting for me. An Indian went down the canyon with me about a mile to where a trail let to the valley. I got to the herd-house about daybreak.
SETTLING SEVIER VALLEY
In the spring of 1864 a move was on to settle Sevier Valley. The authorities called a number of families in different towns in Sanpete to move out and make homes. Some favored one locality, others another. Mat Hambleton of Manti like cove in the east side of the valley. At a meeting in Glenwood, in describing the place said, the land there is so rich, that if you drive a crowbar in the ground in the evening, by morning a ten penny nail will be sprouted out. Father was called Omni, now called Richfield, but because he had contracted to herd the Mount Pleasant dry stock in Thistle Valley he was excused from moving out till fall.
He sold his house and land in Mount Pleasant to Hans C. Davidsen of Pleasant Grove for a thousand dollars and got most of his pay in stock and teams.
In November he sent me and my sister Chrestine to Richfield with my oxen and a wagon that he got off Davidsen with a load of provisions and household goods.
Owing the fertility of the land the name had been changed from Omni to Richfield. There six ox teams went out together. When we got to Willow Creek, Now Axtel, it rained on us most of the night and part of the next day. The roads got bad and we had to travel slow. Towards night it cleared up and turned cold. We were anxious to get to Cedar Ridge where feed was good for the teams and plenty of wood. Before getting to camp my clothing was frozen stiff. The wagon was filled up so there was not room for me to ride. My sister was tucked in a small space wrapped in the bedding. Our teams were tired and we had to stop often to let them rest. I got so cold and tired that when we stopped to rest the cattle I would lie down by the side of the road till we were ready to drive on again. I got over feeling cold but was so tired that when we were ready to start on I asked them to let me rest a few minutes longer. I could scarcely understand what was said. I heard one of the men say I was freezing. He had a long whip and began thrashing me with it. My clothes were so hard that he could not hurt me. When I raised up he threw the lash around me and jerked me down. He repeated it several times till I got mad and tried to get a hold of him. I got warmed up and when we got to Cedar Ridge I was the only one who could hold a match to start a fire.
Next day we got to Richfield in good time. The first settlers had gone there early in the spring of 1864 and had put in a little grain where the first ward of Richfield is now located. They had taken out a ditch from Spring Creek to water it with. The soil was so rich and they had raised good crops. There was some meadow ground east of town where the water from the creek spread over the ground. They had cut enough hay to nearly supply them through the winter.
Some log houses had been built, but most of the people lived in dugouts covered with dirt. August Nielsen had built a neat little house of sawed logs that he hauled from Mount Pleasant. He had not yet brought out his family. We, my sister and I got it to live in during the winter. We being youngsters it was a gathering place for young people and we had a good time. I played the violin to dances during the winter and earned a little in that way.
INDIANS GO ON THE WAR PATH