Heart Throbs of the West - A History of James Andrus
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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.)