The Grass Valley Massacre
One of the more appaling stories from the Black Hawk War in Utah that is better known as the "Squaw Fight". Phillip B Gottfredson offended by the title renamed it the Grass Valley Massacre.
The Timpanogos account of the incident is that when the soldiers first approached their camp, the leader of the band showed the paper to one of the soldiers, and he was the first one shot, and the soldier who shot him then beheaded him with his sword. The soldiers then surrounded the camp and opened fire on them killing women, men, and children. Two managed to escape, and one little boy was found laying next to his dead mother was taken custody.
JULY 18, 1865
The Old Chief Was Beheaded and Ten Timpanogos Murdered
On July 14, 1865 A. Robinson had been killed south of Salina when he went to mill flour at Manti. He had made his way to Gravely Ford with his wagon loaded with flour, where the two washes come together, and the Indians had laid some brush across the stream and were hiding there. When Robinson got within 30 feet of them, the Indians opened fire hitting Robinson who then fell backward on to the sacks of flour. The Indians then scalped him, stripped him of his gun and belongings and poured flour over him.
The day before Robert Gillispie had been hunting horses south of Salina with his friend Jake Harris. They were walking together when they were ambushed by Indians, Gillispie was shot in the back killing him. Harris managed to hide in a creek under some willows. He said he was so close to Indians at times he could have reached out and touched them. He hid there til night fall when he traveled bare foot to Gunnison for help.
Hearing of the double murders, Gen. Warren S. Snow took command of a hundred men and was soon on the march in pursuit of the Indians that were now camped near Fish Lake. They stayed all day at Glenwood, then before day break on the 18th they stopped to rest near a grove of cedars in Grass Valley. What the soldiers didn't realize was a Indian camp hidden from view that were in the cedars.
A Indian keeping guard on the camp saw a man standing covered in a blanket, and when he could see that he was white he told the others there were soldiers nearby. Among them a Chief said not to worry that he had a paper from the Bishop of Glenwood that says they are friendly and no harm will come to them.
When the soldiers realized they were camped in proximity to the Indian camp is when the trouble began. According to one account an Indian hiding behind a fallen log was first to fire on the soldiers wounding one. That the soldiers then opened fire on the camp.
The Timpanogos account of the incident is that when the soldiers first approached their camp, the old Chief showed the paper to one of the soldiers, and he was the first one shot, and the soldier who shot him then beheaded him with his sword.
The soldiers then surrounded the camp and opened fire on them killing women, men, and children. Two managed to escape, and one little boy was found laying next to his dead mother was taken custody.
The soldiers believed this was the band that had killed Robinson as they said they found some of his belongings in the camp. After the massacre some soldiers wanted to look among the dead for guns when the Colonel said " No let the squaws go hunt up their papooses." The soldiers then left, but a few men stayed behind looking for guns and rummaging through the dead for what other items of interest to them. They reported later that only one escaped, that all were dead, perhaps a dozen or more.
The Timpanogos story continues that their dead lay in the grove for a long time until the white men took away their bones and remains.
When Brigham Young heard of the massacre he was furious, but as before no action was taken against the aggressors. Every attempt was made to keep the incident out of the papers for fear of the government taking action against them, and may have interfered with Utah achieving statehood. Eventually the word got around but surprisingly nothing happened.
Note: The Term "squaw" is a derogatory term to the American Indian. The forgoing account is taken from historical records as they were written, and does not reflect the attitude of this website our anyone associated with it. We respect and honor the customs and traditions of the First Nation peoples of Utah. - Phillip B Gottfredson
See Also: Beheadings at Fort Utah