Captain James Andrus, indian fighter
Contributor: smithc Created: 3 years ago Updated: 3 years ago
James was a captain in the militia and was called upon on a number of occasions to defend the settlements in Washington County and on toward the more populated north. On one occasion, when two cow hands were killed by renegade Indians, Captain Andrus called his company of troops, light cavalry, and they pursued the indian band into the wilds north of the divide. They were gone for two weeks. The skirmish with the Indians is recorded in the military history of the State.
Heart Throbs of the West - A History of James Andrus
Contributor: smithc Created: 3 years ago Updated: 3 years ago
Heart Throbs of the West, Kate B. Carter, Vol. 6, p. 433
James Andrus was born June 14, 1835, at Florence, Huron County, Ohio, and died December 8, 1914, at St. George, Washington County, Utah.
He crossed the plains at 14 years of age, and from then on he took the part of a man or "grown-up," as his father was called on a mission to England, leaving James in charge of getting his mother with her family to the Rocky Mountains. He wrote: "We have all of our possessions for the family of six in one small wagon, and I took my part, although but a child, in all the guards of both camp and cattle." This was in 1848.
He spent the winter of 1855-56 as a trader among the Flathead Indians in Washington Territory. Soon after his marriage to Laura Altha Gibson in March, 1857, he was called on a mission to England, but was released from his mission in 1858 due to the coming to Utah of Johnston's army. In 1861 he was married to Manomas Lovina Gibson, and soon after the family came to Southern Utah with the Dixie Pioneers, settling in Grafton, Washington County, with others.
In 1862 the Indians destroyed stations between Fort Bridger and North Platte, burned coaches, mail bags, killed the drivers and ran off with the stock. Because of this the Adjutant General in Washington, D. C., made a call from President Brigham Young for a company of cavalry to protect the mail routes and James Andrus was called under Captain Lot Smith.
In 1863 when the call came for volunteers from Utah's sunny Dixie for drivers of teams to bring the emigrants across the plains, he went as assistant to Captain Daniel D. McArthur and successfully brought a large company to Utah. The following year he made a similar trip east after merchandise, traveling with a mule team.
In January of 1866, word came that James M. Whitmore and Robert McIntyre had been killed by the Piute and Navajo Indians in Pipe Valley, southeast of Pipe Springs, in Arizona. He, with others, responded to the call made to form an expedition to go and recover the bodies. He says that they were armed and mounted, that was indispensable, but there were no shelter tents. The equipment was primitive and inadequate, the provisions scanty. Some were mounted on mules, without saddles, some without even a coat. Their quilts served as saddles, cloak and bed, and in their shirt sleeves they did a soldier's fully duty on the trying campaign.
The expedition was made up with Col. D. D. McArthur, Major J. D. L. Pearce, Lieut. Col. Angus M. Cannon, Captain James Andrus, Captain David H. Cannon, Captain Samuel Cunningham, and eighty-seven volunteers. They were gone from January 10 to February 9—31 days. The weather was exceedingly cold. Snow had fallen and on the high plateau at Pipe Springs it was three feet deep, with mercury below zero. When Pipe Springs was reached, no trace could be found of either the ranchers or Indians. Tracks which ordinarily guide the scouts were obliterated by the heavy fall of snow. Finally, after several days of scouting, James Andrus found two Indians, an elderly man and a boy, dressing a beef which they had killed, and brought them to camp. They refused to talk until the following morning, when they admitted that Whitmore and McIntyre had been shot by Navajo and Piute Indians, and offered to conduct them to the place where the bodies were, and to the camp of the hostiles.
Divided into two companies, one with Colonel McArthur and the other with Captain James Andrus, the old Indian going with McArthur, and the boy with Andrus. The route taken by Colonel McArthur was east of Pipe Springs, while that of Captain Andrus led in a southeasterly direction to the vicinity of the Kanab Gulch. Captain Andrus encountered the hostiles in their camp and nine Indians were killed. While the searchers rode over the plain, searching for the murdered men, a horse's hoof brushed away the snow, exposing the hand of a man. It was the body of J. W. Whitmore.
The Indian boy asked whether "It was the man with a beard, or the one without." "The one with the beard," was the answer. The boy walked some distance and, pointing, said, "The other is there." The snow was removed and the body of McIntyre found as stated. Each man had been shot with both bullets and arrows. The bodies were packed in snow and taken to St. George, where Samuel L. Adams and Charles L. Walker prepared their bodies for burial. S. L. Adams recovered 14 arrows from Whitmore's body and seven from McIntyre's. The arrows were sent to Salt Lake Museum. After the bodies had been prepared for burial, very impressive funeral services were held.
At this time a large number of horses and sheep were driven off by the Navajos and the personal effects retained by the Piutes. It was he first depredation in the Dixie country in which white men lost their lives, but they were not the last victims of the long war waged by the Navajos and Piutes against the white settlers of Southern Utah.
On February 14, 1866, Mr. Andrus received Special Orders from the Headquarters Washington Military District N. L. as follows:
Captain James Andrus:
You are hereby ordered to call 30 men from your command, armed and equipped as the law directs, and proceed forthwith in pursuit of the Indians who have committed the late depredations in the neighborhood of Kane, who are supposed to be in the vicinity of Pahreah Creek.
You must be vigilant and ascertain by reconnoitering their probable strength and if they are too numerous for your small force to punish, you will endeavor to cut off their retreat by way of the Colorado and express to Major Maxwell for the additional force necessary. You will also furnish Peter Shirtz and family a suitable force necessary to convey them to the nearest settlement and keep us regularly informed in relation to your discoveries and acts.
D. D. McArthur, Col. Commanding.
The company was mustered on February 2, 1866, and served until March 12, 1866, serving twenty days. William D. Clark was badly wounded in the foot and three Indians were killed during the campaign. At another time a company was mustered out at Grafton, Washington County, Utah, when Joseph and Robert Berry and Robert Berry's wife were killed by Indians about four miles south of Short Creek. These people were in a covered wagon, returning from Salt Lake City, where they had been to get supplies. They were pursued by the Indians and in trying to get away had thrown most of their provisions out of the wagon. When their bodies were found, each had several arrows in it. Their faithful dog was still guarding the bodies.
During one expedition, while trying to cut off the retreat of the Navajos toward their own country, night found a company camped on the Cedar Ridge about eight miles west from Pipe Springs, with Ammon M. Tenney standing the last guard. About 4 o'clock A.M., Tenney saw away off across the plains, near Bull Rush, on the west side of Kanab Gulch, a light which he thought was a fire. He awoke the corporal of the guard, and after consultation they called Captain James Andrus.
The latter unbesitatingly declared that the light was reflected from a fire, and that there were Indians there. "I can smell them," he declared. Orders were immediately issued and the men were soon mounted and moving noiselessly toward the light which shone in the darkness, several miles away. A convenient wash, or gully, made it possible for the militia to approach to within one hundred and fifty yards of the unsuspecting Navajos, who were busily occupied with their breakfast of broiled beef.
Dismounting his men, Captain Andrus, to whom the direct command had been entrusted, left a detail to hold the horses, and with the remainder of his forces, attacked the camp. At the first fire the Navajos scattered, but as the commands of their chief rang out they came together and faced their assailants, notwithstanding the great odds arrayed against them. Slowly they retreated to the top of a neighboring ridge, where they made a stand, returning shot for shot. Captain Andrus now ordered his men to remount and take the position which the Indians were holding by assault.
Charging straight up the bluff, the captain rode, leading his men. As he rushed up the slope toward the rocks above, Ammon Tenney, who was at a different angle, saw an Indian on the crest of the ridge, one knee on the ground, his bow bent to the arrowhead, waiting for the captain to appear. Frantically Tenney shouted, "Look out, captain, that Indian will kill you." Instantly Captain Andrus reined his horse, a high-spirited one, which threw up its head and received the arrow intended for the rider in its forehead. The arrow was so deeply imbedded in the skull of the horse that it could not be removed until the settlements were reached, when it was extricated with a pair of blacksmith's shoeing pincers.
The battle was soon over. The Indians were either killed or scattered, and when Captain Andrus called his men together, none were missing, notwithstanding the stubborn resistance of the enemy and many hairbreadth escapes.
In the summer of 1866 Captain Andrus was called with a company of men to learn if there were any crossings of the Colorado used by Indians in the stretch of country from the Buckskin Mountains to the junction of the Green and Grand Rivers. The company was mustered into service August 16, 1866. On August 18, the company set out on their long and adventurous expedition after the Indians. On this expedition, one of their company was killed—Elijah Everett, Jr.
Chief Walker visited Captain Andrus at his home after the Treaty of Peace and they became good friends. He told Captain Andrus that they had tried more than one time to kill him, realizing he was the most successful one in defeating their purposes.— (A. B. Andrus.)
Contributor: smithc Created: 3 years ago Updated: 3 years ago
History of James Andrus
Written by his son,
Alexander Burto Andrus
Bishop James Andrus of
St. George, Washington
Co, Utah, was born 14
June 1835, in Florence,
Huron Co., Ohio, the son
of Milo Andrus and Abigail
Jane Daley. He was the
oldest son of his father,
who had 57 children. He
was blessed as a child
under the hands of Sidney
Rigdon, his parents being already members of the
When about seven years of age, (May 1852) he was
baptized, and soon afterwards ordained to the office of
deacon. In the spring of 1846, he left Nauvoo, Ill.,
together with his parents, for the far west, in route for the
mountains. His family stayed in the area above Winter
Quarters until in the spring of 1848. When James was
about thirteen years old, he started across the plains with
his mother, one sister older than himself, two younger
sisters and a younger brother, having two yoke of oxen
and a yoke of cows at their disposal.
His father, Milo Andrus, left his family on the prairie, having
been called to go to England on a mission. James wrote,
"We had all of our possessions for the family of six in one
small wagon, and I took my part, although but a child, in all
the guards of both camp and cattle."
The family reached the Valley of the Great Salt Lake in the
fall of 1848, with the Heber C. Kimball Company. In the
history of his mother, Abigail Jane Daley, it records that
James, his brother, John, sister, Mary Jane and his mother
walked every step of the way, and barefoot too. James'
sister, Mary Jane, in her life history tells of stopping time
and again to pick the burrs from their feet. And, at one
time, they came to a place where the Indians had been in
battle. They picked out some of the hides to cover their
feet, as they were sore and bleeding. They often went
hungry and sometimes they were cold. James was a boy
chum of Joseph F. Smith, who later became President of
When James was 21 years of age, he bought his time
from his father, Milo. The winter of 1855-56 he spent in
Washington Territory, (Montana) as a trader among the
Flat Head Indians. This is where he got his start of fine
In March 1857, he married Laura Altha Gibson, who
thereafter bore him nine children. Shortly after his
marriage, he left for England to serve as a missionary for
the church, crossing the plains from Salt Lake City to the
Missouri River with a handcart, as was the custom of the
time. To say that it tries a young man's faith to leave a
band of some of Utah's best and finest horses and
proceed on foot with a hand cart across the plains to the
Missouri River, is putting it mild. He was released and
called home the same year owing to the unsettled
condition of affairs incident to the coming of Johnson's
army to Utah.
In the fall of 1861, James was called, together with many
others, to settle Southern Utah, where he passed through
all the trials and privations incident to pioneer life in a
barren desert country. But he was eminently successful in
his labors of developing the wilderness and turning it into a
fruitful garden spot. His family resided in Grafton, Utah.
In 1862, he filled a short mission to the Moquis Indians.
He was called by President Brigham Young to serve in a
company of cavalry to protect the mail routes between
Fort Bridger and North Platte from Indian attacks. He
served under Captain Lot Smith.
James married his second wife, Manomas Lovina Gibson,
a sister to his first wife Laura, on 20 Sept 1862, in the Salt
Lake Endowment House. James and Manomas had
eleven children. Both wives of James were the
daughters of George Washington Gibson and Mary Ann
Sparks. They were southern people who joined the
church in their native state, South Carolina, and crossed
the plains with their large family. They came to Utah in
Captain Brown's Company.
In 1863, when volunteers were called from Utah's Sunny
Dixie for drivers of teams to bring several emigrants
across the plains, James went as an assistant to Capt
Daniel D. McArthur and successfully brought a large
company to Utah. The following year he made a similar
trip east after merchandise, traveling with a mule team.
James and his wives were settled in Grafton, Utah, in the
Dixie area, where James was running his cattle and
horses. Here they lived for one year, but the Indians were
giving the settlers trouble, so the people of these small
settlements were asked to move closer together. So the
two wives moved to Rockville.
At this time, 1866, James had been called to be a Captain
in the Militia in the Black Hawk War. These men were
called to protect the settlers from the marauding Indians,
and in doing so he was away from home much of the time.
James spent 15 years in military service. The nature of
one of his expeditions follows:
James received a message to hurriedly mobilize a small
force and take up and follow the trail of some Indian
marauders. This message came from Captain Copeland
to James, who was at the time in Virgin, Utah. He was to
meet and join forces with a Captain Freeman from
Washington, Utah. Together the militia numbered about
eighty men. This force moved rapidly forward, hoping to
cut off the retreat of the Navajos toward their own country.
By a forced march, nightfall found them camped on the
Cedar Ridge, about eight miles west of Pipe Springs.
About 4 am the man on guard saw, away off across the
plains, a light which he thought was a fire. He woke
Captain Andrus. The later unhesitatingly declared that the
light was reflected from a fire, and that there were Indians
there. He could smell them.
Orders were immediately issued, and the men were soon
mounted and moving noiselessly toward the light which
shone in the darkness several miles away. A convenient
wash or gully, made it possible for the Militia to approach
to within one hundred and fifty yeards of the unsuspecting
Navajo, who were busily occupied with their breakfast of
Dismounting his men, Captain James Andrus, to whom the
direct command had been entreated , left a detail to hold
the horses. With the remainder of his forces he attacked
the camp. At the first fire the Navajo's scattered. But at
the command of their Chief, they ran out, came together,
and faced their assailants, notwithstanding the great odds
arrayed against them. Slowly they retreated to the top of
a neighboring ridge, where they made a stand, returning
shot for shot.
Captain Andrus now ordered his men to remount, and take
the position which the Indians were holding, by assault.
Charging straight up the bluff, the Captain rode, leading
his men. As he rushed up the slope ;toward the rocks,
Ammon Tenney, who was at a different angle, saw an
Indian on the crest of the ridge, one knee on the ground,
his bow bent to the arrowhead, waiting for the Captain to
appear. Frantically Tenney shouted, "Look out, Captain,
that Indian will kill you." Instantly Captain Andrus reigned
his horse, a high-spirited animal named "Black Hawk,"
which threw up its head and received in its forehead the
arrow intended for its rider. The arrow was so deeply
imbedded in the skull of the horse that it could not be
removed until the settlements were reached, when it was
extracted with a pair of blacksmith's shoeing pincers.
The battle was soon over. The Indians were either killed
or scattered; and when Captain Andrus called his men
together, none was missing, notwithstanding the stubborn
resistance of the enemy and many hair-breadth escapes.
James Andrus was elected Lieutenant Colonel of the 1st
Regiment of Cavalry, on the February 22, 1868, and was
commissioned by acting Governor Edwin Higgins, on April
15, 1868. In November of 1871, Jacob Hamblin met the
Navajo Indians, principally Chief Defiance, and concluded
a Treaty of Peace with him. Chief Walker visited Captain
Andrus at his home after the Treaty of Peace and they
became good friends. He told Captain Andrus they had
tried more than any one thing to kill him, realizing he was
the most successful one in defeating their purpose.
In 1867, James moved his family from Grafton to St.
George, where he was to remain until his death.
When the pioneers came to Dixie they brought their
livestock with them, such as milk cows, work horses, and
what other animals they possessed. From the vast
amount of public domain, it was easy to see that the
livestock business could be made to be a great benefit to
the people in this part of the state.
As the livestock increased, it was necessary to extend
their grazing borders. They finally went out on top of
Hurricane Fault, on the Antelope, and what was then know
as the Canaan Ranch. It was later thought best to form a
corporation, which was done by each one turning in his
stock and receiving credit in the company. This company,
the "Canaan Cooperative Livestock Company," proved to
be a great benefit to the people.
In 1871, James Andrus became the General Manager of
the Canaan Cooperative Livestock Company, and he was
a very good and capable man for the position. The
business increased under his management. He was in
charge of this company for twenty-five years.
From 1871 until the time of his death, he could be found
each year in the saddle. No finer specimen of manhood
ever sat upon a horse. Six feet one inch in height, and
weighing in his prime 230 pounds, he was always riding
on the finest horses that money and breeding could
produce. Cow horses are not raised, but are "born", just
like cowboys. Many men worked at the cow business all
their lives and never became efficient cowhands. A good
cowpuncher can ride a hackamore colt into a herd of
cattle, and he will know at once whether the animal is a
good cow horse. Such horses, owned and raised by
James Andrus were named, Bishop, Bollie and a score of
James was a trustworthy cowboy, a successful cattleman,
merchant, and banker. He was a wise statesman and a
true soldier. This man did his full part in the colonization of
the west, and keeping pace with its development. He was
at home at the old-time roundups, or at the new roundups.
After James resigned from running the Canaan
Cooperative Livestock Association, he engaged in the
cattle business for himself and became the leading
stockraiser in this section.
Later he became identified with the Wooley, Lund and
Judd Mercantile Co. He succeeded in buying this firm out,
which he was still managing at the time of his death, but it
was known as James Andrus & Sons, St. George, Utah.
In political affairs he was active and interested. After the
division of party lines when Utah joined the Union, he was
elected State Representative to the first Legislature,
November 5, 1895. He was a Democrat from Washington
County. He served as County Commissioner for several
terms, and he was chosen as the Presidential elector from
Utah on the Democratic Ticket in the election of 1912.
In 1896, he was ordained a Bishop by Franklin D.
Richards and set apart to preside over the St. George
Ward. He discharged his duties faithfully in that office until
he was honorably released. He was a member of the
High Council at the time of death.
James was especially interested in the farming,
stockraising, and mercantile business enterprises that
were started in the area. He was also interested in nearly
every irrigation project or business enterprise which was
started. His judgment was good, and he was respected by
his business associates.
He was liberal with his means for public purposes,
especially in the ******** of school buildings. He was the
father of the Woodwork department of Dixie College. He
was Vice President of the Bank of St. George, from its
organization until the time of his death. He was also
President of the Telephone Company for many years.
James died at his home in St. George, Utah, December 8,
1914, after leading a very successful life. His widow,
Manomas G. Andrus, and fourteen children survived him.
He had at this time forty-five grandchildren who survived
him. He was the father of twenty-one children.
James Andrus; DUP- An Enduring Legacy, Oct. 1986, pg 88
Contributor: smithc Created: 3 years ago Updated: 3 years ago
The first white men to enter the Escalante country came in 1866, after Brigadier General Erastus Snow of St. George had mustered into service a group of cavalrymen and sent them in pursuit of Black Hawk Indians who had been stealing livestock and harassing settlers in the Dixie country. Led by Captain James Andrus, the sixty-two cavalrymen left St. Georg on August 16, 1866, on the trail of the Indians. Among them was John Taylor Lay, age twenty-one, who lived for the rest of his life in Escalante. Others were Jesse Crosby, Jr., David Cameron, John Houstin, Hyrum Pollack and Samuel Adair, who afterward became residents of Panguitch. One of their number, Elijah Evert, was killed at Paria, the only casualty of the expedition. Pursuit took them up the Paria valley, through the Blue Hills into Upper Valley, which they named Potato Valley because of the wild, edible tubers they found growing there. Potato Valley became the established name for both the upper and lower larger valley
The cavalrymen followed the Indians northeastward over mountains and through canyons and plains to within a few miles of the Green River, where they gave up pursuit, knowing that the Indians had joined a much larger force and also that they would not likely be returning soon to Dixie.
Contributor: smithc Created: 3 years ago Updated: 3 years ago
James Andrus had two wives. Laura Altha was wife #1. They had 11 children. Wife #2 was Laura’s sister. Brigham Young ask him to take her as a wife when her husband died. He built side by side houses for these two wives in St. George and they still stand today as two of the lovely pioneer homes of St. George. His profession was a farmer, stockman, merchant and banker. He served as Bishop and was very devoted to his wife Laura during her illness before she died. He kept a bedside vigil day and night. James became one of the most noted leaders who dealt with the Indian uprisings of the area. He was a leader in the community in religious, political and business affairs. During one Indian uprising, the horse he was riding reared just as an arrow was shot at James. The arrow pierced the head of the horse saving the life of James.