1865 April 16 Letter to Orson Hyde


1865 April 16 Letter to Orson Hyde


Brigham cannot ask that murderous Indians be surrendered because white men reciprocated. He does not want outside help but counsels kindness and preparation.


Indian Affairs


Brigham Young


Orson Hyde


1865 April 16


Great Salt Lake City
Springtown Sanpete County

Number of Pages



Indian Matters

Item sets

559 - 561

Presidents Office
G. S. L. City.
April 16th, 1865.

President Orson Hyde
Springtown Sanpete Co.,

Dear Brother:

Your favor, containing a statement of Indian difficulties in Sanpete County has just been received.

When we were down there we promised the Indians, if they wantonly killed the brethren, as soon as we could get hold of them we would use them up. On the 14th instant I wrote to Col. R. N. Allred to the following effect, in reply to a letter of his: "The better course for you to pursue will be to avoid risking the lives of your men, and not rush into danger through having a great eagerness to punish the Indians; but to keep a strict watch upon them, and be so vigilant that they can do no further damage; and when any of them come in where you are, treat them very kindly and you will soon be able to find out who the offenders are. Whenever these latter come within your lines, never let them pass out again. Let them understand that while we will not submit to them, we have no desire to inflict indiscriminate punishment upon both the innocent and guilty alike. They must be made to entertain a wholesome fear for our justice, as well as a feeling of respect and honor for our mercy."

The course which has been taken in fighting and killing the Indians has tied my hands. How can we use up the guilty Indians, or ask for them to be given up, without the Indians turning round and asking us for the whites who have killed the Indians to be given up in return The Indians have killed the whites and now the whites have killed the Indians, and thus the matter stands. Had they they not been killed we could with perfect justice and consistency have demanded from them the Indians who had shed blood, and have executed the appropriate penalty upon them for their misdeeds.

It is no time for us to have an Indian war on our hands; better for us to feed them and give them such necessaries as they may want than to fight them.

Your letter and several others which I have received speak about getting outside aid to quell this outbreak. I am surprised that you should expect or ask for such a thing. You would find if this aid were down there with you, it would be far better to have the Indians to war with and to deal with than to have to war with and deal with them.

If I had never given good and sufficient Counsel for the brethren to build Forts and situate themselves so as to have their women and children secure and in a position where the men could defend them and themselves in case of an attact, I would now commence to give such counsel; but it is too late in the day to begin to give counsel of this kind.

With love to yourself and the Saints and praying the Lord to give you necessary wisdom to discharge every duty which devolves upon you in a manner to work out salvation for Israel.

I remain Your Brother

Brigham Young

P. S.

As for sending you any help from here, if the people of Sanpete want a cannon let them buy one.

There are men enough in Sanpete to eat all the Indians that will be likely to come against them. If the brethren have any good rifles there, I wonder if the Indians were to come in next week and want to trade if they would not trade them for some buckskins?

B. Y.