Thursday, April 16, 2015

The Mountain Green Indian battle that never happened …

DID you ever hear about the Mountain Green Indian battle of 1862?
No, because it didn’t happen, though it could have.
According to a story in the Ogden Standard-Examiner on July 20, 1916, all the men of the Morgan Valley were absent and busy in Uintah, with the Morrisite War (June 13-15, 1862).
Some of the nearby Indians became bold after quickly realizing that the men of the area were gone. So, they began feeding their horses in the settlers’ field and demanded food from the area homes in Mountain Green. They also took chickens, pigs and calves.
According to recollections by Mary R. Jessop, about age 62 in 1916, and on which the newspaper account is based, it became a very fearful situation for the women and children in the area.
“We had hoped that soldiers would be sent to protect us,” Jessop recalled. “But instead Bishop Chauncey West of Ogden sent up six wagon loads of provisions and some six head of cattle as a present to the Indians. At once there was a change. The Indians killed the cattle and had a great feast. After that they were very quiet and friendly. That was the favorite method of the pioneers in dealing with the Indians. It was found to be cheaper to feed them than to fight them.”
That’s how an Indian was avoided in Mountain Green.
Yet, Jessop said a year or two later in Ogden Valley there was a battle between Cheyenne and Shoshone Indians, southwest of Huntsville, with many Indian casualties – and no settler involvement.

                        Today's Lucin Cutoff, as viewed from Fremont Island.

More historical notes:
-“To reduce lake area” was a Dec. 16, 1903 Standard headline. With the Lucin Cutoff being finished then, the idea was being explored to use the Cutoff as a dam, to allow the north end of the lake to totally disappear, replaced by a desert.
It was speculated that such a dam could raise the south arm of the lake up to six feet, at a time when some lake resorts had been left high and dry by a receding lake.
Still, the story urged caution because if the GSL totally dried up, it could ruin the local climate and raising certain crops in the area might then be impossible.
-Almost 11 years later, on July 11, 1914, a Standard headline was “Large fresh water lake near Ogden.”
This story stated the north arm of the Great Salt Lake was being made fresh by the Lucin Cutoff and some fish were reported thriving in portions. The possibility of planting fish was being explored.
There were also reports then of carp swimming southward in the north arm of the lake, only to be blinded by the briny waters they encountered. The carp would then swim to the surface, where they were easy prey for seagulls, or they died and washed up on a lake shore.
However, in 1959, a solid fill railroad causeway was constructed across the lake. With this “dam,” salinity then soared in the north arm. Today, salinity averages about 26-28 percent in the north arm and only about 13 percent in the south arm of the lake.

 (-Originally published on-line and in print on April 16-17, 2015, by Lynn Arave in the Ogden Standard-Examiner.)

-NOTE: The author, Lynn Arave, is available to speak to groups, clubs, classes or other organizations about Utah history at no charge. He can be contacted by email at:

No comments:

Post a Comment