Charles Pears Smith:
B. 9 January 1833 -- Leeds, Yorkshire, England
M. 13 January 1863 -- Salt Lake City, Utah
D. 19 December 1910 -- St. David, Arizona
Charles Pears Smith, 1 June 1907 while residing in St. David, Arizona, wrote this story.
My grandfather’s name was Richard Smith, sometimes called “Dicky Blind Eye.” I suppose he lost one eye in the ring, as he was a wrestler. He broke the neck of his opponent in the ring, and was the only man in England that got off with a fine instead of a hanging. He had three sons, John, Thomas and William, the younger. William had seven sons and one daughter who died in infancy, the day she was born. The sons were: John, William, Thomas, Richard, Charles, William and John W. (Two of the boys died so they gave the same names to two other boys born later).
Father, William Smith, was born 10 September 1799 at Market Dresden, Staffordshire, England. I, Charles Smith, was born at Leeds, Yorkshire, England on 9 January 1833. When I was 12-13 years old I was baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. My father and mother having joined the Church previously. I have no dates. Mine was 13 December 1845. Bishop Sheets was there and said it was 1845 so it will have to be settled by the records at Bradford.
We emigrated to the United States in 1849. When we were in Liverpool, England, we were walking down the street and there was a soldier coming toward us. My father says, “There is a man that belongs to the regiment your uncle is Colonel of.” Both of father’s brothers were Colonels of regiments in some foreign countries. They saluted each other and called each other by name of Smith. My father inquired after his brother, the Colonel, and he said he had been dead for eight years. He inquired after the other brother, and was told that he was dead for eight years. He turned to us boys and said, “There is 75,000 pounds coming to you boys yearly.” But we were ready to sail in two days, and father would not cancel our passage, so we sailed on the 5th of September 1849, (on the ship Berlin) and landed in the United States in New Orleans, Louisiana in October 1849, six weeks from sailing.
On the way, cholera broke out and on the 17th, my father was thrown overboard, with a lot of iron tied to his feet in a new feather bed with bedding he had slept in. He never suffered like others who died with cholera. My mother, Mary Smith, always said that my father was not dead, but was “catnapping.”
We stayed all winter in New Orleans and sailed up the river to Ft. Lewis, then exchanged to another boat, up to Council Bluffs, Kanesville, and then moved to Chicken Creek. There we bought a farm and raised a crop of corn and bacon, the corn to eat with our bacon and plenty of molasses.
My mother was a delicate woman, and father being put over alive, as she thought, made her very sick and weak, but we pulled her through the next Spring. As the other boys, Richard and the two younger boys (don’t understand), I concluded to go ahead after much persuasion with John Banchard, who promised he would give me a two year old heifer for driving a team of oxen across the plains 1000 miles.
I was too anxious to get to the valley to notice I was getting nothing for my labor. I think it was August when I landed in Salt Lake City. Conference was being held, and a call for volunteers to settle Iron County, so I went with an old acquaintance from Lou Morre, Bradford, England, named Joe and his wife, Betty Walker. She was a She Devil, he was good but she was boss. She robbed me of six months hard labor, and robbed me of my good name and tried to trap me with a loose girl, but could not succeed, as I was warned in a dream.
Soon after mother and brother came, we lived 7 years in Cedar City. I was one of the first company and first to go into the timbers, and also to help open up the coalmines, and they are dormant yet. My youngest brother, John, who was five feet and one inch tall at seventeen years old, went to California–while I was at conference in Salt Lake, 285 miles away. So two years later I concluded to try to get him back to Utah. It was nearly a year before I found him, then he had no means to come home with, so I worked around for two years. Then my oldest brother, Thomas, had left Utah and gone to California, via the northern route, so I went to live with him in Butte, Jackson County. I was not satisfied to live in California, so I wrote my brother to meet me in Sacramento as I was going back to mother, as I heard she was very sick. But he missed me and spent the last dollar he had to come to San Francisco. The people where he lived at Butte closed him out and took all he had, so he was broke again. We were very glad to meet again, for it was the last time we were to meet on earth. He was a dear brother and I mourn for him yet, as he forgot the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Well when we parted I gave him a hand full of gold and never knew how much it was. I paid all his expenses and they were high then; he said I gave him enough to give him a good start so he wrote me afterwards.
The day before we left we were going across Fremont Street, and I said to Thomas, “Look there is John.” He said, “How can you tell him in that crowd?” And I said, “By his legs.” So we stood and he came up to us and we had not seen him for two years, so we went to a fine restaurant and had a fine dinner together.
We parted the next day. I was sorry to leave them for I was afraid I would never see them again, which proved to be true for Thomas. I saw John twice, promised to come again, but never saw him. That ends both, as Thomas moved back to Sacramento City and lived at 405 15th Street, Sacramento, California. His wife wrote me very often as we were very well acquainted. I returned home and found my mother and brother Richard and William had moved to Beaver City, a very small place. So I dwelt there two years them went to Salt Lake City, Utah with Brother Richard. He got married to Tobatha Holroyd while there at American Fork, at George Rouls. He went blind after that and was called “The Blind Fiddler” ever after. Poor George.
I returned to Salt Lake City the next year and was married to Mary Wilkenson 11 January 1863. That winter returned to Beaver. Charles William was born that winter 24 January 1864. I was called to go to the Muddy and stayed there seven years, and was called to Long Valley to settle. The former settlers having been driven out by Indians, some of the old settlers returned with us. Two brothers from there came back, Morris and Hasional from Dixie. From there I went to visit my wife’s people, and got me a new wagon, as mine was not satisfactory. While here I was called by the Bishop of Hoystville to take charge of the co-op herd on Bear River in Wyoming, 40 miles below Everston on the Railroad. The company was composed of a lot of chronic grumblers, and they never kept their contract with me, so I had to leave the ranch and go to Green River County to winter my stock. I settled on Brush Creek that emptied into Green River twenty miles above Ash Fork (Ashley Fork). The climate was too severe for me so I sold and gave away all I had and moved back to a warmer climate. We settled in Williams Valley, later called to settle in Pleasanton, New Mexico. This settlement broke up so we moved to the Gila Valley and settled in Pima, Arizona, then moved to Curtis, now called Eden. There we all got sick with chills and fever so we had to leave and go to the mountains for our health.
Parley P. Sabin and Rile Plumb, Truman Tryan and others went to Sulpher Springs Valley and settled. We took up land, Tryan and Plumb returned to the valley (Gila). Sabin and myself remained hauling lumber from the sawmill to Bisbee. Parley got discouraged and moved to St. David on the San Pedro River. We remained alone, as my family was not willing to leave. We heard there was malaria there also. We stayed about 15 years, and then a neighbor stole my water, which was the cause of us moving to St. David. After so many years my sons had gotten settled there and could not move, so they are scattered, neither in church, nor out, which grieves me sorely, as I do not know what will be the end. After coming to St. David I was ordained a High Priest, under the hands of Andrew Kimball, 7 June 1903 at Thatcher, Arizona.
In 1857-8, a man by the name of Leech came to Cedar City and had a contract for the mail route to California, so he called all the men to meet him at the public square. He chose two men by the name of James William Scott and James William English, both 6 foot 2 inches tall, and said, “Now boys pick out 15 men–so my name, Charles Smith, was called second, and a good many laughed, but the boss 6 feet 7 inches tall said, “Don’t laugh boys, I’ll bet he is a good one or they wouldn’t have called him so soon, as I was the smallest man in the crowd, but not the lightest as the Williamsons would take as partners if the others were not there. It proved a good thing for the company, as I was left to go to the Meadows to meet the wagon. We camped about a mile from the water and had nothing to carry water in for them to drink. I shall never forget the last drink I had, it was toe jam in reality.
Next day we went to work at the St. Clara and I was left behind to cut down the trees that grew in the side of the bank, so they wouldn’t catch the bed of the wagon while at work. All the others gone ahead, I was alone. Black Jim, an Indian Chief gave a yell right over my head, pulled his bow to shoot me. My heart stood still, as he had every advantage of me. Yet, I put on a bold front and asked him if he wanted to fight, to come down. I showed him a knife and pistol I had. He laughed, as he knew he had the advantage of me. While dancing on the cliff over head he broke 8 arrows to impress me with fear and he proceeded to tantalize me more than he knew. My heart stood still while he jumped and yelled and broke more arrows, then he came down and made friends with me, and said, “You are too brave to kill, yet you will make meat as I was fat. He said if any trouble comes call Black Jim, he is your friend, as it proved after a few days. After that, I asked my youngest brother, John, who was cook, how the provisions were getting along. He informed me they were half gone and as we were only half way we would be at the end of our journey and nothing to eat, and 200 miles to go. I thought it was a hard-looking proposition, so I went to the President, as we have an organization. They talked all night then the boss, Mr. Leech, came to me and said he had tried everybody in camp, but couldn’t get anyone to go back for provisions, from the settlements. I was told to go and could pick any man in the outfit to go with me, and if he refused he would hang him to the wagon tongue, if he wouldn’t go.
It was taking your life in your hands as the Indians would eat a white man in those days, as Black Jim took me to a cave covered with bones, and said, “They are white man’s bones and I have helped to eat them. You would make good meat,” and he pinched my arm. I picked out an Indian boy to go with me. Mr. Leech pitied me from the bottom of his heart as he saddled or helped me saddle an old mule that had carried mail for 20 years, not showing her age. The saddle was made for Mr. Leech, a man of 6 feet 7 inches and 300 pounds weight. The saddle so large for me to ride, my legs just 25 inches long, they would scarcely reach over the saddle. That is why he pitied me to ride that way 200 miles, to get food for my brothers. I started at night so the Indians would not know where I was going. There were many tears shed by strong men for it depended upon my success if they ever saw their families again. I found after starting that the Indian was not a native, but a Snake, so I sent him to the mountains for I could not have saved him as they were very hungry. I suppose it was the Snake Indians they or he talked about. So I rode into every camp and told them I was going to bring two wagon loads of food as I got them in good humor, but I never let them know where I slept as that was the only safety I had for they looked at me and my mule, she was fat also. I saw them walking around her and eyeing her very close. One Indian told me a Mormon Missionary was at the Cliffs on the Clara. It was good as I had started without anything to eat and I had a choice bull whip with me, so I went to see the Missionary and Jacob Hamblin’s men had come in after we left, to learn the Indians how to farm. This was the first of that mission so I asked him how much flour he could spare. He showed me about ten pounds was all he had. It would last four fold. He baked me a thin cake about the size of a tea saucer. I gave half to my dog; the other half was all I had to eat during the ride of 100 miles on. My dog had pups as soon as we got home.
I rode the 200 miles in two days and one night, no two nights and one day. I gathered provisions of flour and other food and started back in 24 hours, with 2 four-horse teams loaded with all the wagons could hold. When we got to the Muddy I cut across the Indian trail and got half a day ahead of the Indians, as I had fed them as I promised. They were good men. (This isn’t clear).
Mr. Leech gave a yell as he saw me come over the hill and the word went far and wide for the men had been out of food four days. Only coffee was plentiful. Mr. Leech took me off the old mule, he wept over me like a mother that had just found a lost child, and said, “You are the savior of this crew, and they, as brethren should never forget you, if they do God ought forget them.” Mr. Leech had given up all hope of ever seeing his family again.
We had a feast and then all started back next morning. When we were at the Clara Creek going up, the boss hired an Indian boy to herd our stock at night and thought they would be safer in his hands than ours. The boss agreed to give him two red shirts and a blanket. He got one shirt and a blanket, while I was away the boss gave the Indian a blue shirt instead of the red one he promised. He threw it down and left mad. The boss thought nothing of breaking his promise to the Indian but he was to learn a lesson in keeping faith with them. We always kept a guard on at night. When I got back to camp the guard was there with a small fire so I threw on an arm full of brush and made a light while standing there to warm. A crow called, “Caw, caw” all around the camp. I said, “Has there been any trouble with the Indians?” They had not heard any, then a quail cried all around the camp. I gave the fire a kick so they would not be so quick to see us. I yelled, “Every man to his arms!” We were surrounded by Indians, so then I yelled “Black Jim, where are you?” He jumped out of the brush within 20 feet of me. He called me by that name, so I asked the boys what was the matter. Jim said that American had lied to the boy about a red shirt so the boys answered. You do just as you like only leave us enough grub to get to the settlement with. He said you boy, knew more than all the rest. If it had not been for you we would have been to the end of our journey and out of provisions, so you do, as you like. I then got some red shirts from the men who had bought them and gave the boy a red shirt and filled the tail of it with flour. He went off rejoicing but I had to give my friend Black Jim a red shirt and a lot of flour. So I settled without bloodshed, what at first seemed to be serious trouble. The Indians never forgot me, but I think my brethren did, especially one called David.
I went to some caves to see the missionaries, we were old friends. I stayed up late with the missionaries talking about old times. These men were staying at a place called the Cliffs.