George Albert Adams (1864-1935)
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George Albert Adams (1864-1935)
WHO IS IN THIS STORY?
GEORGE ALBERT ADAMS
PIONEER OF 1864
Written by George Albert Adams
George Albert Adams was born in Paragoonah, Iron County, Utah, December 4, 1864, son of William Adams, born in Ireland and Mary B. Bolanz, born in Germany, was the oldest child of a family of four, all boys.
I grew up on a dairy farm in Iron County, Utah, near Parowan, living on the farm in the summer and in Parowan in the winter, going to school. The schools of early days were very crude, the furniture in the first school consisted of a slab plank with legs in the bottom, no back for seats, but in later years better school facilities were arranged and best modern conveniences of that day.
It was customary in caring for cattle for them to run out on the range the year around. Our cows would range from the Escalante Desert on the west to the Sevier River on the east and to the sink of Beaver on the north and each spring we would attend the general round-up and gather cattle to our home ranch in the Parowan valley. During a drought it was customary to drive our cattle over in the Escalante country, 100 miles east, and winter them, driving them back in the spring of the year. When I was about 12 years old, we were returning home with a bunch of cows and calves with the Wilcox boys, driving up to Fish Lake over that high range of mountains. One evening we camped early on a small stream above Fish Lake. After fishing and making a bounteous catch, we prepared supper and had our usual jollification as was customary among boys.
Will Wilcox, a young fellow about 15 years old, in his fun, grabbed an automatic revolver, which we had in camp and deliberately placed it against my head, pulling the trigger in rapid succession with a command to surrender. Knowing the revolver was not loaded, I refused to surrender, which caused repeating of the automatic snap. Henry Wilcox, and older brother, came up and grabbed the gun and reprimanded his brother for such a desperate act, warning that the gun was loaded. Of course, this brought an absolute silence for a few minutes, and after we got over the scare, I took the gun and to my amazement, found four loaded bullets which had been snapped several times without exploding. In order to learn the cause of the non-explosion, I fired one shot, which exploded in the usual way. Of course, we rather thought that my days had come to pass away, but I'll assure the readers, that the remainder of the trip was made with caution, and this incident has served a warning to me, not to play with loaded pistols.
The year 1877 or 1878, there was a family moved on our ranch, having some boys and girls. Among them was one little white headed girl,two years younger than myself, and from this acquaintance there was a boyish affection created that finally developed into true love.
In the spring of 1881, my father and family were called to assist in settling the San Juan country, and before leaving to fulfill that call, I entered into an agreement with my best girl, to wait for each other, and to be married a few years later. This important event took place the 22nd. day of April, 1885, in the St. George Temple. From my youth I was taught the benefit of prayer, and followed the practice through all my life, in which I acknowledge my Heavenly Father guided me from time to time, and especially in the union of one particular Adams and his Eve. (Evelyn Mortensen)
The four years I spent on the San Juan was a most interesting experience, but it took me away from my schools and deprived me of my scholastic desires, which I feel is a handicap to any man in this age. Of course, we had the benefits of our Church Organizations which improved under all conditions.
Our first trip from Parowan to San Juan, a distance of about 300 miles, I was placed in charge of a bunch of cattle, about 100 head. This was an easy task as I had grown up in that kind of work, although when it came to the Colorado River, it was an experience I had never had before. It was unknown to me except in the Geography Book. In my youth I had learned to swim in the ponds and lakes, but when it came to facing a torrent of water, I hesitated in taking too many chances. Crossing the river we had joined our herd with other herds, which swelled the bunch to about 250 head. We were directed by Henry Hollyoak, an old timer, in getting the cattle across the river, but failed in several attempts, drowning several head in the quick-sands. It looked to me as though they were making a complete failure, as the cattle would start out, but when they struck the turbulant water they would turn back, refusing to take to the water. I was laboring under a handicap, not being able to ride a horse for several days, owing to a boil high up on the inside of one of my legs, but it looked to me as there was no way of getting the cattle over. I asked Brother Holyoak to let me plan the drive. I selected George Ayers and two more men to follow me in pointing the cattle, and we rushed them into the swimming water, and I soon discovered my horse could be controlled. I pointed the cattle until I could see that they were bound for the other side, then turning my horse I swam back, pointing more cattle while the other boys rushed them in. In about 30 minutes we succeeded in crossing the entire bunch without loss. My pet boil, which was one of the most painful things I had ever witnessed for four or five days had exploded during these exciting 30 minutes, which relieved me of the excruciating pain. This seemed to make the whole camp rejoice.
We arrived in Bluff sometime in December, 1881, being on the road about a month.
My first introduction to Navajo Indians was in Comb Wash. They appeared to be friendly but I was having trouble with the cattle going into the quick sands at the river, as they were thirsty, and had been stringing for miles down the Comb Wash. After the cattle had been watered we took them up the Riprap Cliffs, into the Butler Wash. There we turned the cattle loose for water, upon the virgin range that had never been molested. The Indians followed us and challenged us for a rough and tumble fall. I took my first side-holt fall with the Indian, and before he knew what had happened I gave him a hip-lock, throwing him about five feet in the air and down on his back, which seemed to satisfy the young athlete. He then wanted to match me for an archery contest, which was entirely out of my line, but as I had given him such a hard fall, I thought it was no more fair to give him a chance to get even. He had a fresh rabbit that he had previously killed. He throwed it out about 20 steps and handed me his bow and arrow, wanting me to take the first shot. I pulled back unaccustomed to the arrow and bow, knowing that I would make a wild shot and let the arrow go. To my surprise I had plunked the arrow square in the head of the rabbit! The older Indians seemed to enjoy my skill, and laughed so heartedly that the young nimrod refused to compete. So once more, through fool, luck I gained the admiration of my newly found friends. Still they had another contest that was truly in their own hands, as they wanted to run a race. Had they made the distance 25 yards, I might have made a showing, but when they fixed the pace about 200 yards, I learned that I was no match for the Navajo Indians. When we parted I learned the first Navajo word, which meant, "Goodbye, my friend."
TRIPS BACK TO IRON COUNTY
I made two trips back to Parowan in 1883 and the fall of 1884. In the first trip with my father, L. H. Redd, Joseph Nielson, Bishop Jens Nielson, and others, we went to the San Juan River, found the boat on the opposite side of the river and no ferryman, so the company was worried as what to do about a boat. They had decided they would have to wait until the ferry-man came, but I was not exactly satisfied with their decision. I slipped on the bank of the river unobserved, went up about a quarter of a mile and made a dash in the river. My father, surmising something, yelled for me to come back. I told him I would be back in a few minutes, but went right in the river and swam over to the other side, and rowed the boat back. Of course, we were ready to ferry the wagons across. Bishop Nielson was so elated that he and I were great friends the entire trip, and even until his death many years later.
We stayed in Parowan about 10 days and then returned to Bluff. Of course, there was no need to say, but that I had had an enjoyable time in Parowan with the girl I had been absent from for a year, and as at one time when there was an excessive snow over the Cumbres Mountains in Colorado (between Alamosa and Durango), getting no mail for at least 3 months, during which time I had great apprehensions that my best girl would feel I had forgotten her and that she would take up with a better-looking man.
Our trip back to San Juan was successful. My only apprehensions were that I should be loving my father while I slept. I slept with my back to him and tried not to talk in my sleep.
My chief occupation while at Bluff was caring for cattle. In the winter of 1883, we took part of our cattle to the lakes near the Colorado River, on the Hole-In-The-Rock road. While we were ranging in this country, the summer of 1884, there was an Indian up-rising on the Blue Mountains on South Montezuma Creek, where some Indians were shot. The Indians disbursed the entire cow camp compelling them to leave their camp wagons and entire outfits, their horses amounting to 150 head. They burned the wagons after all the supplies had been taken by the Indians. They drove the horses over to White Canyon on the Soldier Trail, to the lakes, right where our cattle were ranging. They must have stayed there about one week. The soldiers and cowboys followed them as far as Soldiers Crossing. There the Indians made a stand, killing one cowboy and one government scout, who were left near the cliff where the Indians had killed them from ambush. The bodies were not recovered for months afterwards. The possee thought it unsafe to make a charge on the Indians over that cliff, which was about 2000 feet high with a very narrow pass before reaching the top. One Indian could easily defy an entire possee and at about this time, we returned to our cattle range and found that the Indians had passed through there, killing 40 or 50 head of the cattle. We found about two where they had taken any of the meat, so they could not have stayed but a few days. The cattle we found killed had a diamond shape cut out of the skin, I presume that was the Indian mark. The only thing that they left was their tracks and one beautiful beeded pouch which contained a large clay peace pipe. This would be used as a peace pipe among the Indian tribes. This they had lost near one of their camps. These ornaments are now held as souveniers of their daring deeds, now in the possession of Cornelia Mortensen of Sanford, Colorado. (M-i-l of writer)
We moved the cattle out of this range. Other stockmen ranging were Platte D. Lyman and L. H. Redd. We took our cattle back to Butler Wash, where Platte D. Lyman sold his to Mr. Smithers of Naturita, Colorado, who employed me and my brothers to drive them to La Sal, paying us $3.00 per day. This was mighty good wages for those days.
Our next trip to Parowan was in 1884, in the fall. We left Bluff and drove cattle for Mr. Smithers of Naturita, Colorado, in the western part of the state, driving them as far as La Sal (La Sal Mountains in the San Juan). Going with pack horses by way of Moab, San Raphel, Dirty Devil Creek (Freemont Creek) thru Rabbit Valley, to Parowan. At Moab, there were some improvements, several ranchers with small herds of cattle. We got our supplies from the only store, which consisted of wheat ground on a large coffee mill. The Baking Powder was soda and tartaric acid mixed. We could supply ourselves with meat in a few minutes in any camp by killing cotton-tails (rabbits) which were in abundance.
Before leaving Bluff, my brother John and I entered into an agreement with our father to buy cattle. He was to furnish the money and we would share the profits fifty-fifty. We took about $3000.00 in hundred dollar bills, carefully sewed in a safe place in my trousers.
Arriving in Parowan about the first part of October, we immediately set out to buy cattle. Hansen Bayles, in Parowan, was desirous of buying cattle also, so we sent in together going down through southern Utah, as far south as Bunkerville on the Muddy River, buying cattle as we went down and receiving them on the return trip. We bought 150 head, paying from $4.00 to $20.00 per head. After we arrived in Parowan we decided to divide the cattle by drawing $50.00 worth at a time, until the bunch was exhausted, using as a basis the actual cost of each head.
Brother Bayles, who had the first draw, selected some of the most expensive, which of course, was the grown cattle in the best flesh. I selected some of the cheaper cattle, principally calves and yearlings. After the division I owned about 100 head, Brother Bayles about 50 head. Brother Bayles accused me up until his death of beating him on the division. It did prove to be a very good thing for me, for the next spring, I sold all the steers for about three times the price I paid for them, keeping the heifers to go with the bunch to drive to San Juan. I continued to buy cows and heifers until the fall of 1885 when we started back for San Juan with Brother Bayles with about 300 head of cattle, assisted by my younger brother, Frank, who had accompanied my father to Parowan after John and I arrived there, and as it occurs to me, John returned with father to Bluff, I being left alone in buying the cattle. Besides buying cattle, I went to school during the winter and spring of 1884-1885. I was also married, the 22nd. Of April, 1885, leaving my young wife in Parowan while I assisted in driving the cattle thru.
150 BOAT RIDES ACROSS THE RIVER
The course we followed with the cattle was up through the Little Creek Canyon, over on the Sevier, through Grass Valley down Capitol Wash, down Trackite Canyon, across the Henry Mountains, to the Dandy Crossing of the Colorado River, where we encountered the only trouble on the whole trip. We worked for 4 or 5 days trying to swim the cattle across the river. It was impossible to get them to take to the water. We towed the calves over on a boat, also the cows, tied the calves up on the banks so they would attract their mothers on the other side, but without success. So we built a chute that could take 2 head at a time with our small rowboat across the river until we got about 50 head of them over. It seemed that as soon as we turned them loose on the opposite side they would immediately try to swim back, and as we were short of men, only 3 of us besides the boat-man, it took the whole force to get the cattle into the water facing the opposite shore. Although we made frequent attempts to get the cattle across the stream, we were unsuccessful. So we were about 4 days in crossing the 300 head of cattle, two at a time across the river. This was one time in which I prayed earnestly, but it seemed our prayers only echoed back from the cliffs, without reaching any higher. Our only way to show our continued faith was by our works.
Our delay in crossing made our food supply scarce. Of course, we had plenty of meat in the herd, which we did not want to kill unless absolutely necessary. The old boat-man had his lines out to catch fish and kept us in fish while we were with him. The evening we finished crossing, I went down to one of his lines and from the way the line was floundering I thought it might be one of our calves fastened on the end of it, but with great care I managed to pull out a fish about four feet long, which I would judge weighed 30 or 35 pounds. It was a white salmon. It was large enough so we could cut a good full slice of back and sides larger than a man.s hand. This gave us plenty of meat for our trip.
Knowing that our food supply was almost exhausted I took one of the pack horses, went to Bluff, about 100 miles, and returned with supplies. At this time, I brought my brother Frank back with me, also Thales Haskell Jr. My brother Frank and I went back to Parowan, John, Brother Bayles and Haskell taking the cattle on to Bluff. We got back to Parowan in time to enter school, one week after it had started. Here we both remained until the close of school about the first of April, 1866.
OUR FIRST CHILD, MARY CORNELIA
Born January 28, 1886
At the close of school, Frank and I took a light wagon and one team, and went back to Bluff over the same route we had driven the cattle, making a very hasty and successful trip, arriving in Bluff about the 10th. of April. I purchased a lot and small log house from David Hunter, which I remodeled, making quite a respectable place to live in (respectable for those pioneer times).
June 1, I went to Thompson's Spring (170 miles distance) to meet my wife as this was the nearest railroad station. I had a four horse team and wagon in order to bring back our furniture and household goods, that we had shipped from Parowan to Thompson's Spring. I crossed the Grande River on a ferry boat, but as the river had backed up so far, up Court House Wash, we were unable to ford it so we had to take our wagons to pieces, ferrying it over a piece at a time. I met my wife and her father, Lars Mortensen, at the railroad station and on our return I drove up to the ferry at Court House Wash and ferryed most of my load over, so as to reach the ferry boat over the Grande River when a man came down from the ferry boat and notified me that the river had raised so high that the cable was under water so the ferry boat couldn't be used.
As there was no indication that the river would lower, I decided we would have to ferry over that river in a small boat. The river was then covering all the low lands below Moab and extending almost to the cliffs on the west. A torrent of water was raging and the ferrying was no easy task. Charles Walton, who had an outfit with some of his people whom he had gone to the railroad for, also Mrs. Thales Haskell Sr. (Margaret) was there with some of her people. We ferried part of the women over during the afternoon we arrived, and when the boat would strike the waves and water caps which would sometimes splash the water into the boat, the women went into hysterics. My wife and people stayed on the west side over night. The water raised so much in the night that it had left my wagon and outfit on a little sand island, that a few feet raise would have covered the entire knoll. As the waters were so still, we did not realize our danger until the next morning, after we had had a refreshing night's rest.
We got along in good shape, ferrying the river until it came to towing the horses. I had one horse called Buck that was the most vicious animal I ever handled while crossing this river. When we started, we jumped off in rather a swift current where we had to push the boat. Just as the animal plunged off the bank, and they usually plunged off and went down into the water, coming up swimming and snorting, but old Buck was not satisfied swimming and snorting, he actually tried to get into the boat, and it was with the greatest of effort that I could keep him from pawing the boat to pieces, and he kept this up, fully half way across the river. I thought by putting his nose in the water and strangling him, that it might cause him to quiet down, but upon releasing him, he was even more vicious than before. But we finally succeeded in getting over. I have been found in tight places that required quick action and judgement, but no time in my life was I placed in such a precarious situation as that river was a full half mile wide, with trees and other things floating in it, and had one of the immense objects struck our tiny boat, we would have been swallowed up in those watery depths, in less time than it takes to tell about it.
The sand waves were rolling so high that one observing from the bank would loose sight of the boat for a full minute at a time. My wife, who looked on from the bank upon those desperate occasions, of her first introduction to the peaceful Colorado, often recalls the anxiety with which she watched the procedure of this historic event.
Our last load consisted of my wife, our baby, Mary C., and my father-in-law. All of us were greatly relieved when we had crossed the river and were ready to continue on our way. The memory of this crossing always brought a dread to her mind, even in the thought of visiting her mother back in Parowan, until her mother moved to Sanford, in the San Luis Valley of Colorado.
The remainder of our trip was wonderful. My wife's first introduction to Bluff was June 3, 1886. On the 4th. of June, which was Sunday, Robert Allen, a young man, came rushing breathless into Bluff, with a story that he had been encountered by 4 men whom he met coming down Bunker Wash. He saw them coming and he turned off from his course for a friendly meeting. Just as he got within shouting distance, one of them pulled a gun on him and told him to come no further, but to retreat, which he obeyed without further notice. Allen stated that they were driving several pack-horses and one of them was riding a valuable stallion of Fletcher B. Hammond's, which had been running upon the Elk Mountain. Fearing that there was something wrong with our own horses, we immediately organized a posse to apprehend them and determine what they meant by ordering men to retreat under cover of rifle, and to view the livestock. Just as we were ready to leave, there were 4 cowboys from Colorado came into town and said they were following some horse thieves that had been at their camp all winter, taking 7 or 8 of their best horses when they left a few days before.
As the posse from Bluff was ready to go in pursuit, we offered to accompany the Colorado men to assist in recovering their stolen animals. We struck the tracks of the desperadoes as they crossed the Butler Wash over the Navajo Trail in the Comb Wash, which was almost impassable at this time. When we discovered they had gone down into Comb Wash, we went up on the edge of the cliff and found that they were still in camp right at the foot of the cliff about 1000 feet below. We had a conference on the best thing to do to capture the men. Some of the men wanted to shoot them down from the cliff without warning them. Kumen Jones and myself protested, claiming that they should have a chance for their lives by surrendering. Finally William Bell, the man in charge of the Colorado Posse, feared that they might make a run and escape rather than surrender and decided to go down the trail with another man, Ben Bishop, and he would get down it time to have them surrender at close range and in the meanwhile we were to cover them from the top of the cliff. He was to give a signal when to fire if necessary. Bell was too slow in getting down the long twisting trail, giving the men time to go and get their horses, pack up and peaceably ride away unmolested. After they had ridden out of sight of Comb Wash, we took our horses down the trail; Mike O=Donnel, Chas. Hosea, James B. Decker, Robert Allen and writer, Al Decker returning to Bluff disgusted.
When we descended to the foot of the mountain we then counciled as to the best method to pursue. It was decided to have two go to the Walton Trading Post to get provisions as we might have to stay out all night. The remainder of us, after waiting until dusk, started up Comb Wash in pursuit. We followed their trail about a mile and half up the wash to the place where the main trail turned out toward the left over the rolling hills for about 3 or 4 miles. We divided at this point on the trail, half of us going to the right over the rolling hills under the cliffs, the other half following the trail of the thieves.
I was the leader of the bunch on the right, hoping to head them off at the place where the road left the wash out of the Red Canyon, which we succeeded in doing, and waited in ambush to intercept the party as they came along, but they failed to come and we waited and waited for the remainder of our posse to make their appearance. Finally they came and expected the desperadoes to be on their trail any moment. We laid in readiness for hours until we decided the desperadoes had camped for the night. We remained in this place until morning. At daylight we were up cutting signs for tracks to determine which way the desperadoes had gone. We made observations across the entire Comb Wash to the cliffs on the east, which satisfied us that they had gone up the Wash. While going down the Wash, we saw the 4 men standing about 2 miles away in full view in the rough hills of Comb Wash, looking at us, but they soon went up the country out of sight. We felt that the only way they could get on the rim going west would be to cross Head Canyon and go up on the cliff at Muly Twist, which was the only known way at that time which horses could climb. Of course, we all felt that the parties to go over the Twist would be the ones to intercept the desperadoes, and all seemed to be reluctant to accept the job.
Finally, Charley Hosea and Mike O'Donnell ventured to go, and as no other party volunteered, I stepped up and I would make the third party with Kumen Jones, who also volunteered. We 4 made a hasty ride under cover of the small hills so we could reach the strategic point unobserved. We soon got in a position that we were ready to meet the retreating bandits, but to our great surprise, they never appeared. We waited there until the middle of the afternoon. We knew that there was an outlet down the San Juan River, going over the rough country to the Barton range, and that the desperadoes could escape in that direction. And as they had failed to appear at Muley Twist, we decided that they had gone south and that the other boys would intercept them.
So we retraced our steps homeward, hoping to hear of the success of the remainder of our party. We went to Bluff, arriving there late in the night ready to eat, as we hadn't had anything all day. We anxiously awaited returns from the other party. A few hours later Bob Allen came in and told us William Bell had been ambushed and killed, J. B. Decker's mare was shot dead, and the bandits escaped. The Colorado boys returned to Colorado and organized a company. Lou Paquin, Irvin McGrew, two of the possemen, went around thru Sanpete County into Rabbit Valley to locate the desperadoes west of the Colorado River. 18 men took up the trail on this side, going down Red Canyon to the Colorado River. Those desperadoes had crossed the river at this point and had camped for several days near the placer project of Cass Hite. After resting their worn out horses they went west, never being heard of anymore. It is not fully known what success Paquin and McGrew had. They said they were unsuccessful.
When I returned, my wife wanted to know if that was a sample of what her new married life was to be, left alone while I was out after desperadoes. However, we were soon settled in Bluff and were in the midst of all activities, religious, social and political. Our entertainments were strictly of our own making, consisting of songs, readings, plays etc. My father and I both took part in some of these.
TO TEN-CENT ARTIST
One outstanding circumstance occurred after we had settled in Monticello, which was in 1887. At one of the stake conferences held at Bluff, which was then the county seat, and the principal place in the San Juan Stake, the Monticello Primary Assn. put on a play in view of raising money for the Stake Primary Organization of which my wife was President. They were having a hard time to get the people to take the various parts, and when it looked like failure staring them in the face, Charlie Walton, Henry Wood and myself were enlisted to take some of these parts. (All of us have since retired from dramatic roles) The play was presented in Monticello where it was favorably received, with a request that it be repeated the following week, at which time the house was packed with visitors from the surrounding country. The Primary sisters got the permission to repeat the performance at Bluff after Quarterly Conference, which time was one of the outstanding occasions of the year. It was customary to have a few days of sports and amusements following the spiritual feast of Conference. The price of the tickets for the Primary show at Monticello was 35 cts. general admission with 50 cts. for reserved seats. At Bluff this price was considered extortionate as their plays had been presented for 25 cts. While the Ward and Stake authorities were discussing this matter, and who had fully decided to cut the price to the usual 25 cts. admission, I was present but had nothing to say. Being somewhat indignant in feelings, just before the close of the council I asked the privilege to say a word in behalf of the Monticello organization. I related the purpose for which the funds would be used, also the difficulty that had been experienced in getting the cast, and almost as they were ready to give up in despair, unable to get men to take parts, the drafter C. E. Walton, Henry Wood and myself. Then I ended in saying, "I want you gentlemen to understand that George A. Adams is no Ten-Cent Artist, and if you want to enjoy the pleasure of this entertainment there will be no cut in the price." That night the performance went on and they reserved every seat in the house at 50 cts. admission, the house being packed to full capacity, and many of the people wanted it repeated the next night, which we felt was going a little to strong.
Force of circumstances called me into public service at a very early date. In the year 1887, just after President Hammond was called to preside over San Juan Stake, there was a strong desire to branch out from the pioneer settlement at Bluff, into other places. So accordingly, they sent out scouting parties to investigate the different sections with a view to colonize where possible. There was a party of 10 or 12 men of the stake and county called for that purpose. As my father was one of the stake presidency (William Adams), I rung in on these explorations. We explored Recapture, the 2 mesas, the Mustange and White Mesa where Blanding is now, 3 creeks on the Blue Mountain, the south, middle and north fork of Montezuma Creek, also Indian Creek over the Elk, to Butler Wash, to Bluff.
There were no immediate steps taken after this exploration. Not until sometime in the winter of 1887, it was planned to have a colony established on the Blue Mountain. In accordance with this plan, F. I. Jones was called to lead a company which consisted of himself, C. E. Walton Sr., and C. E. Walton Jr., Parley R. Butt, and myself. The way I remember now, William Adams was placed in charge as a member of the Stake Presidency. This party left Bluff March 9, 1887, and we arrived on the junction of the north and south forks of the Montezuma on March 12 the same month. We appropriated the water by placing a dam in the creek and turning the water out for irrigation purposes. On the 13th. of March, C. E. Walton Jr. and myself were sent out as an exploring party, to determine what improvements had been made or appropriations had been made for water. We went up North Creek and found a location of two unknown persons for a certain amount of water from North Creek. We copied their notices, took measurements of the size of their ditches and later got in contact with these men and they had no intention of using the water themselves, but that it was for the Carlisle Cattle Company, of which I will say more later.
This was the only indication of rights at this time. We went back south to the pine timber. We found a man there cutting rails for the Carlisle Cattle Company. There could not have been much snowfall that winter, as there was not more than one foot up close to the base of the mountain. We returned to camp and in a few days President Hammond, Adams, with Peter Allen, a surveyor, arrived from Bluff, and we laid out the town of Monticello.
The first thing was to survey the Monticello townsite which took several days. The next thing was to survey the ditch from the south fork of the North Montezuma to the north fork, thence to the townsite, which consisted of about a two mile line. Diverting dams were placed in the creek from each of these creeks or streams and a legal claim of notice was placed to comply with the Territorial Law of Utah, which claim was filed with the county clerk of San Juan County. There wasn't much improvement went on in Monticello this year, but F. I. Jones, Parley Butt and N. A. Decker went back to South Montezuma Creek, now called Verdure, and made a location on that creek, dividing the land up into four pieces, each taking one fourth. I went up the Creek about 2 mile and made a location of a dairy, which improved that spring, and brought about 50 cows there, milking them during the summer.
We went to Durango and purchased a cheese vat of about 150 gal. capacity with which we made cheese that summer. We continued this cheese making 3 years, milking as high as 85 cows. We would milk the cows about 4 months in the year, after which we would drive the cows back to Butler Wash for the winter, taking them up again in the spring when they became fresh. I became quite expert in making cheese. We would make 80 to 100 pounds a day, pressed in blocks or round cakes from 25 to 50 pounds in a cake. It would take about 40 to 60 days to cure it when we would haul it to the mining camps in Colorado to sell, Mancos and Durango being our principal places of business. During this time I learned what hard work was. I was assisted sometimes by my wife, sometimes by her sister Laurette, and about 2 others, as it took about 4 to run our cheese factory. It was one continual round from daylight until long after dark every day, including Sunday. We also did the milking ourselves by hand.
In the winter time we would move back to Bluff and spend our happy days looking after our few cows and enjoying the many religious and social gatherings characteristic of that pioneer time.
Owing to the fact that modern cheese making machinery was being introduced, we found the old method unprofitable, so we therefore devoted our time to farming and caring for our cattle, producing beef rather than dairy products. In the year 1888 we located permanently at Verdure, building a 3 room house, close to the highway on the north in the creek bottom. I purchased the farm of N. Alvin Decker where we raised wheat and oats, the land being very productive, oats yielding as high as 100 bushels per acre. Our method of harvesting was in the primitive stage, having to cut the grain with a cradle, bind it into sheaves by hand and threshing it with an old-fashioned Nichols and Sheppard threshing machine, which would be a relic in one of the museums today. It was owned by C. E. Walton of Monticello. It was an old-fashioned 8 horse power separator, run by 8 horses.
I was the only man on Verdure Creek, and when I had cut two acres of grain per day of the thrifty grain, I knew a day's work had been performed, although we would sometimes get an old cradler, J. E. Rogerson, of Monticello, to lay the grain in the silvery swaths. While at Verdure we had plenty of company. After locating on the Blue Mountains where we spend our summers, moving back to Bluff for the winters, returning in the early spring as soon as the road was open, which came around the head of Devil Canyon, where the snow was always exceedingly deep. While people were moving, it was our regular business to go and pull people over this deep snow, back and forth for months with our teams, before the road was passable, which was always done without remuneration.
UNDERNEATH A BLACK HAT
There was a very striking circumstance occurred when O. W. Warner of Moab, who had gone to Bluff to attend Stake Conference with some ladies from Moab ward, started homeward from Bluff. They were caught in one of our natural over-sized snow storms, the road being completely blocked from Alkali Springs to Verdure. My neighbor, Willard Butts, who was familiar with the packed road came on to Mr. Warner with his light wagon and extra fine team of horses buried in the snow, and his young damsels sitting out on the bank praying that their hero might succeed in getting out of the snow drift. Butts tells the story when he discovered Warner, he first discovered a black hat, just above the snow. He made his way to the hat and discovered Warner under it, and asked him if he could render him any assistance, whereupon Warner replied, "No, I think not, I think I will be able to make it. I have a mighty good pair of horses under me."
Mrs. Adams and Leona Nielson decided to surprise their husbands and brother by coming to Verdure from Bluff without notifying us. They made it all right until they got to Alkali, when the snow began to crawl up to their ankles, then to the knees, on to the hips until it reached their waists. When the horses which were pulling the wagon totally fagged out, they had a little grey mare on which they decided to wallow through the snow to Verdure. They succeeded in getting around Devil Canyon, to the foot of the Pine about 4 miles from Verdure when the faithful animal, exhausted all strength and energy, laid down refusing to be imposed upon any longer, leaving Mrs. Adams with Mary Cornelia, our one year old girl, and Miss Nielson to find their way through the deep slush snow, four miles from Verdure. They rolled and plunged, worked and prayed for strength that they might reach their destination. If it hadn't been for Frank Taylor, who had come over from the L. C. Ranch for some oats in a light sleigh, they would more than likely perished, but Frank quickly unloaded his grain and delivered them to their destination where the surprise was a complete success, although they had taken their lives in their own hands to bring it about.
INDIAN UPRISING - HEAD OF DEVIL'S CANYON
JULY 1887 -- JUNE 1888
I left my dairy ranch, leaving Al Decker there to take care of it, my wife and sister-in-law, while I went to gather some cows from the Elk Mountain. On my return with the cows at the milk ranch corral, Thales Haskell Sr. rode in to camp just after sundown where we had stopped for the night. He told me that Henry Hopkins had been killed by the Indians at the head of Devil Canyon and that my wife, who was then pregnant, had a mishap and that they wanted me home as soon as I could get there. I immediately saddled a horse and was on my way in a few minutes. I had gone only a short distance when it got dark, and of all the dark darkness I had witnessed it was that night. My horse was not familiar with the trail so I had to guess my way over that rough God forsaken country, but through perseverance and guidance of an unseen power, I reached home about daylight the next morning. I found my wife in a nervous condition from the thought of trouble with Indians. The next day my mother arrived from Bluff and when she came I asked her if she didn't think there was enough Adams' exposed without anymore coming under these conditions. She immediately informed me that she understood what she was doing and that it was none of my business!! She had come with Thales Haskell and my father who were then parleying with the Indians. It has been a mystery as to whom did the killing as the Indians all pled innocent of any knowledge of the crime. Henry Hopkins was a round-up cook and had also cooked over in the Disappointment Range where the cowboys had deliberately killed several Indians, squaws and papooses. There is no doubt but that the Indians had him spotted as an enemy and killed him for revenge, although he was an inoffensive young man of good character.
In 1882 the Indians went on the war path. They burned the wagons belonging to the cowboys; killed the mules and took their supplies. Dangers increased for 50 cowboys were all we could muster to protect our homes. 75 soldiers were sent from Fort Lewis to follow the trail of the warriors. They followed them over the Elk Mountain as far as the Natural Bridges. Two scouts were sent up 1000 foot Mountain and were killed. The soldiers followed them to White Mountain. I went down to the Lake country to see how the cattle were there and I found that the Indians had slaughtered the cattle and scattered them all over the Navajo country. The Navajos were friendly and returned the cattle.
About a year after my arrival to the Blue Mountains an old Indian by the name of Wash came to my door and told me he had seen a man through a spy glass that had apparently been killed by lightning. My Uncle Alvin went with Wash to Devil Canyon to find the man. They found him dead, lying on his face and they decided he had been shot in the back. When Wash found that this man was an Indian he became angry and he carried the war cry to the braves and again the Indians went on the war path. The cowboys joined together and took along Mr. Haskell and my father and mother as interpreters. Mother fed the Indians and Mr. Haskell called all the Indians together to make peace. There was a final agreement made but to be safe, the soldiers came to guard the rest of the summer.
When we came to the Blue Mountain we took advantage of squatters rights. The church called my father and others to settle in this territory. The rolling plains for hundreds of miles were waving with blue grass. There was cattle in herds and deer could be seen in any direction. We were the first settlers in this particular territory. We later moved to a homestead at what is now known as Verdure, then called South Montezuma. The two room log house still stands today where we entertained Governor West, John Q. Cannon, General Lawton, General Scott, apostles of the church, and no others than the Indian outlaws, Poke, Posey and Iznegat.
I served as Justice of the Peace, Assessor, Superintendent of Schools and County Attorney. The latter was an experience. It was in the territorial days when money was put out to outlaw cattle thieves. When the outlaws saw that the settlers meant business they scattered in all directions. The few thieves that were caught had to be sent to Beaver, a town 300 miles away, for their trial. I have contributed no small amount of money to "outlawing" outlaws.
I served as a Mormon Missionary to the Southern States for two years, of which some of the time was spent as President of the Conference.
In the business of farming I have obtained all modern machinery, improving methods and taking the lead in improvements. For a time I raised registered Herefords and attempted to raise the standards of better breeding stocks.
I served as a Home Missionary for 6 months, and was the Bishop of the Monticello Ward for one year. I was then called to act as counselor for the Stake President. This position I held for many years. I served one term as representative in the House of Representatives at Salt Lake City. During the World War I served as chairman of the County Finance Committee in which I gave 2 years of my time.
Today I am only rich in experience and friends.
George Albert Adams
PIONEER UTAH RESIDENT DIES
George Albert Adams was prominent in San Juan affairs
George Albert Adams, 70, of Monticello, pioneer of southeastern Utah and former San Juan county state representative died in a local hospital Wednesday at 7:55 p.m. of complications following an operation.
Mr. Adams was born at Paragonah, Dec. 4, 1864, son of William and Mary Barbara Bolanz Adams, and married Evelyn Mortensen, April 22, 1885. The couple celebrated their golden wedding last month.
At the age of 18, Mr. Adams moved to Bluff and at 20 moved to Monticello, where he had lived since. He had been a farmer and stockraiser for 52 years and introduced the first pure blood Hereford cattle into San Juan county. He was elected to the state legislature 18 years ago. His Church record includes being Bishop of the Monticello Ward and later a member of the San Juan stake presidency.
Surviving, besides his widow, are nine sons and daughters; Mrs. Mary Cornelia Perkins, George Albert Jr., Mrs. Adella Jensen, Donald and Leon Adams, all of Monticello; Mrs. Zola Peterson, Sanford, Colo.; Mrs. Hazel Baird, Casper, Wyo.; Vaughn Adams, Midwest, Wyo., and Mrs. Fay Davis, Long Beach, Cal.; 12 grandchildren; three brothers, William Adams of Parowan, and John and Franklin Jacob Adams of Blanding.
GEORGE ALBERT ADAMS 1864-1935
Contributor: 8diggin Created: 2 years ago Updated: 2 years ago
GEORGE ALBERT ADAMS
(Reduced from an autobiography written in 1934)
George Albert Adams was born Dec. 4, 1864, in Paragonah, Utah, the oldest child of William Adams and Mary Barbara Bolanz. Mary Barbara had been married, had one daughter, and was widowed when she was 18 years old.
She was disowned by her family after joining the Mormon Church. She came to America and crossed the plains in a handcart company. George grew up on a dairy farm in Iron County, Utah, near Parowan, living on the farm in the summer and attending school in Parowan in the winter. As he grew up, he worked with his father, caring for the cattle which ran the open range the year round. He learned early in his life to ride horses, camp out, round up cattle and was accustomed to all the rigors of frontier life.
In 1877, the family of Lars Mortensen moved on the Adams Ranch. One of the children was a little tow-headed girl, 2 years younger than George, and from this acquaintance, there was a boyish affection created that finally developed into true love.
In the spring of 1881, William Adams and his family were called to assist in settling the San Juan County. Before leaving Parowan, George entered into an agreement with his "best girl” to wait for each other and be married a few years later. This they did. They were married on 22 April 1885, in the St. George Temple. George says, “From my youth I was taught the benefit of prayer and followed this practice through all my life, in which I acknowledge my Heavenly Father in guiding me from time to time, and especially in the union of one particular Adam with his Eve." (Evelyn Mortensen)
George spent the year 1882 in San Juan. Because of this move, he was unable to go to school, which he missed, but appreciated the benefits of the Church and realized he was gaining invaluable experience for his later life. He went to Parowan occasionally and renewed his pledge with Evelyn. Mail was very uncertain then in San Juan, and the two young lovers would often go for months without hearing from one another.To get to Parowan from San Juan, and vice versa, one had to cross the Colorado River, and the only way to cross it, with a herd of cattle they were usually driving, was to swim. Sometimes the animals refused to enter the turbulent stream, so it took considerable force and contriving to get them across. George, with his father and brothers would buy cattle in Parowan, take them to San Juan to fatten them, and drive them back to Parowan to sell them. George showed his good business sense by buying calves and yearlings. After a year of good food, he could sell them for 3 times as much as he paid for them.
George learned to get along with the Indians. He tells of one experience when a young Navajo challenged him, first to a rough and tumble fight. George knew how to do that and soon had the Brave at his mercy. Then he was challenged on an archery contest. He won this also. Then they wanted to try him on a race. He said if they had wanted a short race he could have won easily, but they placed it at 200 yards, and he found he was no competition for the Navajo Indians. However, they parted friends.
He was on a visit to Parowan in the winter of 1885 when he and Evelyn decided to get married. They made the trip to St. George to be married in the Temple. Both of them attended school in Parowan until he had to go back to Bluff with the cattle. He left his young wife with her family while he drove the cattle. They had a hard time getting the cattle to swim the river and it took them much longer than they had anticipated. They ran short of provisions, but found fish in the river, and George caught a salmon, which was 4 feet long. Since they were having so much trouble with the cattle, George decided to get help, so he rode into Bluff, 100 miles from the river, and brought supplies back to his comrades. His brother, Frank, and Tha1es Haskell Jr. returned with him, and he and Frank continued on to Parowan. The next winter he and Frank both remained in Parowan and he went to school until April 1866. George and Evelyn's first child, Mary Cornelia, was born Jan. 28, 1886.
School closed in April, so George and Frank took a light wagon and went back to Bluff, a quick and successful trip. He then purchased a small log house, remodeled it and, made it a respectable place to live for that time and place! In June, his wife made the trip by train to Thompson Springs, 176 miles from Bluff. George took a 4-horse team and wagon and met her and her father with their household furniture. They still had to cross the River, which was very high and rough. They had to take the wagon apart and go across the river on a small ferryboat. It took several dangerous trips to complete the transfer. Getting the horses over almost capsized the boat. The memory of this event stayed with Evelyn almost all her life and she dreaded to cross the Colorado. She did not see her mother again until the Mortensens moved to Sanford Colorado.
The young couple became part of the life of the town of Bluff. They took part in Church Socials and political rallies. Any entertainment had to be strictly of their own making. They loved to put on plays. The men would make up exploring parties and go all over San Juan County. They had to contend with the Indians the desperadoes who sometimes came to this land to hide or to cause trouble. They had to provide irrigation water and insist on public water rights. They ran cattle, milked cows and made cheese.
In l888, George moved his family to Verdure, a new settlement on the South Montezuma Creek. He built a 3-roomed house and purchased a farm and raised wheat and oats. The oat yield would run as high as 100 bushels per acre. They had to cut the grain with a cradle and bind the sheaves by hand, threshing it with an old-fashioned thresher run by eight horses.
The roads over the mountains were almost impassable in the winter months. Unsuspecting travelers would be caught in the snow and it seemed to George that he made a regular business of getting people out of the snow. One time Evelyn and her sister decided to go to Verdure from Bluff without telling anyone. They got in the snow so deep the horses lay down and refused to move. The women with the baby tried to walk carrying the year old Mary Cornelia. A friend making the trip in a light sleigh found them and saved their lives.
The Indians were always with them. If an Indian was killed by an unscrupulous white man, they would go on the warpath and everyone was in danger. Thales Haskell was an Indian Scout, interpreter and peacemaker. The Adams treated the Indians kindly fed them and always tried to keep the peace. Everyone came to their home. They entertained Governor West, George Q. Cannon, General Lawton, General Scott, and Apostles of the Church as well as Indian Outlaws Polk, Posey and Iznegat.
George served as Justice of the Peace, Assessor, Superintendent of Schools and County Attorney. This was in the territorial days when money was put out to outlaw cattle thieves. When the outlaws saw that the settlers meant business, they scattered in all directions. The few thieves, which were caught and convicted, had to be sent to Beaver 300 miles away, for their trial; George said he had contributed no small amount of money to the “outlawing “of outlaws.
He served as a Missionary to the Southern States for 2 years.
He served as a Home Missionary for 6 months, was the Bishop of Monticello Ward for one year and was a counselor for the Stake Presidency for many years. He served one term as Representative in the House of Representatives in Salt Lake City. During World War I, he served as chairman of the County Finance Committee for 2 years.
George Adams, from his daughter Cornelia's sketch of him, was a good man, tolerant and hospitable. The family's hospitality was proverbial - they never ate a meal alone. Indian, White, friend or foe were all treated alike. If strangers came to him asking for charity, he would hire them to work on his ranch until they were able to stand on their own feet and become useful members of the community. His children worked with him and developed into able men and women.
He built the first modern home in Monticello about 1912, a fine 2-story brick building. His son Donald still lives there as an alternate home to his Salt Lake residence.
He had very little formal education and he was determined to his children should not be thus handicapped. Each child had an opportunity to go away to the schools of Utah or Eastern Colleges. He loved to spend time with his children and would spend long evenings telling them of his missionary experiences, and in this way teaching them the Gospel. His days began and ended with prayer and his children knelt with him.
He loved good things and took every available opportunity to improve himself. He loved to go to Salt Lake for special events, Conference, Political Conventions, Tabernacle Choir Concerts, plays and to do Temple work.
George died on May 8, 1935, in Salt Lake City after his leg had been amputated because of Phlebitis. He was buried in Monticello.
George Albert Adams
George Albert Adams, son of William Adams and Mary Barbara Bolanz, was born December 4, 1864, in Paragonah, Utah, where he grew to manhood. At an early age, he became acquainted with the farming and cattle business that later became his life vocation.
His parents, who had received a call from the L.D.S. Church to settle at Bluff, arrived there with George and his brothers in 1882. He married his childhood sweetheart, Nancy Evelyn Mortensen, in the St. George Temple, 1885. A year after George, his wife, and infant daughter reached Bluff, another call to establish a settlement at the foot of the Blue Mountains resulted in the Adams family moving to Verdure in 1887. Again, the fulfillment of church duty (this time as a member of the Ward Bishopric) made it necessary for George to settle in Monticello in 1902.
Mr. Adams held many other positions of trust in his church and in the community. Leaving his wife and a family of five children at home, he filled a two-year L.D.S. mission in the southern states. He was the Presiding Elder at Verdure for many years, Bishop of the Monticello Ward, a counselor to Stake President L. H. Redd, and a member of the High Council. He was just as active in social and community affairs. His home was open to friend and stranger alike. He took part in amateur plays and was a member of Monticello's first band. He was Monticello's first mayor, president of the Monticello State Bank, and the Blue Mountain Irrigation and the Monticello Cooperative companies. He served his county as commissioner, attorney, school board member, superintendent of schools, and representative to the State Legislature.
When he died May 8, 1935, at the age of 71, San Juan County lost one of its most rugged, colorful and forward looking citizens.
During his married life, his wife Evelyn (born December 17, 1866) to Lars Mortensen and Cornelia Decker) stood loyally at his side through all the vicissitudes of a rugged pioneer life. She had taught school one year before coming to San Juan. She had a beautiful alto voice, was a splendid reader and a fine homemaker. She had the ability to turn a three-room log cabin into an attractive home for her large family of eleven. She presided over the San Juan Stake Primary for thirty years at a time when it took three weeks to journey around the stake. She was a devoted wife, mother and friend. An automobile accident caused her death near Globe, Arizona, January 27, 1938.