1855 February 9 Letter to E. F. Steptoe


1855 February 9 Letter to E. F. Steptoe


Brigham gives his opinion that a forceful attempt to take the Pauvan Indians guilty of massacre would result in more lives lost and would be economically costly. He suggests Mr. Bean go among the Indians and gain their cooperation.


Indian Affairs


Brigham Young


E. F. Steptoe

Number of Pages



Indian Affairs

Item sets

Great Salt Lake City Feby 9th 1855.

Col. E. F. Steptoe
U. S. Army

Dear Sir,
I understand by Geo W. Bean, that you feel it incumbent upon you to seek to obtain those Pauvan Indians who were guilty of the massacre of Captain Gunnison and party. I do not wish to dictate in this matter, but learned from Mr. Bean that you wished my views in relation to the best manner of proceeding to accomplish this so desirable an object. I freely submit it as my opinion, that it will be far more economical both in money, and the lives of perhaps valuable men, to operate by means of an Agent through the Indians themselves.

I am sanguine, that if an armed force should attempt to take them, it would be a vast expense and perhaps danger, and all be of no avail. They would probably scatter, some to the Desert, some to the mountains, and remain secreted while the hunt should last, and probably not be heard from, or seen at all, unless from an ambush when a favorable opportunity should occur to select an unwary victim without the power to retaliate.

Mr. Bean is very well acquainted with the Indians, and can when things are quiet go among them with impunity, and if he should be authorized to make liberal presents to the Indians for their services in the accomplishment of this object, I do not entertain a doubt but that he will succeed He should have authority to call upon Arrowpin, San Pete, Ammon, Grose pin, and other besides Ka-nosha, as a portion of his band probably being engaged and interested in the massacre, he might not possess influence, or power enough unaided to take the guilty ones however well disposed he might be to do so. Two or Three thousand dollars expended in this manner, will I believe accomplish more than Thirty Thousand would in any other, and that too without the loss of a single life.

This policy would also leave a much better impression upon the Iddians, and better preserve the influence which it has been my constant aim to exercise among them, than to take a course which might end in a collision, which if even successful, would leave with them the impression that we were their enemies.

Trusting that you excuse the freedom of my suggestions.
I have the honor To Remain

Very Truly Your Friend
Brigham Young