John Bushman Participates in the Black Hawk War, 1865-67

From:  Lehi Centennial History 1850-1950: A History of Lehi for One Hundred Years, pp. 113-115

Bushman, John b. 1843.2

John Bushman abt 1865

The Black Hawk War 1865-1867
Almost twenty years had elapsed since the pioneers first essayed their fortune on the banks of the great Inland Sea. The two decades had witnessed many changes, both in the life of the settlers themselves and in the conditions which confronted them. Carrying out their colonization policy, they had spread into all parts of the Territory, founding little colonies on a basis of permanency and self-support. The southern and central parts of Utah, especially, had been the scene of numerous attempts at establishing settlements, and in the main they were successful.

Thus there grew up San Pete, Sevier, Piute, Iron, and Beaver counties. The colonists had almost universally been at peace with the Indians. Naturally, disagreements had arisen over various matters, but with patience and forbearance they had generally been adjusted without delay or trouble. Still, the never-ceasing advance of the whites had aroused the animosity of many of the Indians, so that by 1865 it was a delicate matter to restrain them.

On April 9, 1865, in Manti, during the course of a quarrel over some stolen cattle, John Lowry of that place unceremoniously pulled a certain Chief Jake from his horse, thereby seriously offending his dignity and inciting the ire of his tribesmen. It needed but this trifling cause to fan the subdued angel of the Indians into flames. The same night the red men raided the cattle and drove most of them off. Next day they attacked a rescuing party and killed one of its members.

Thus began the Black Hawk War, so named from the wily chief who later assumed the leadership of the savages. The Territorial militia was immediately mustered into service, and during the next three summers, under command of Daniel H. Wells, it performed valuable service in protecting the lives and property of the southern settlers.

As part of this citizen soldiery, forty men from Lehi participated in the war. At different times during 1866 and 1867, they joined expeditions to the south and served in the campaigns in San Pete and Sevier counties. At home the utmost vigilance was observed; the town was constantly under guard; the cattle and horses were watched with unceasing care. As a result, Lehi’s total loss in the Black Hawk War was a few horses.

Preliminary Expeditions
The first company to leave Lehi was under command of Washburn Chipman, of American Fork, and the date of its departure was March 3, 1866. Together with a number of men from neighboring towns, James V .Kirkham, William Simons, Elisha H. Davis, Jr., James Lamb, and Henry Mallet made up this party. The route lay through Cedar Valley, Tintic Valley and then south to Cherry Cheek. During the whole march, the expedition never once caught sight of an Indian, although several times they were in the near proximity of skirmishes between the savages and other troops. The company disbanded in Lehi, March 22.

A second relief party was organized in the following April to rescue some white men who had been taken captive by Chief Tabby, in Strawberry Valley, of whose condition the people of Lehi had learned through Joseph Murdock of Heber. Under the command of Colonel Paulinas H. Allred, Samuel Taylor, William Bone, Jr., John Bushman, Edward Cox, William Sparks, John Zimmerman, James Kirkham, Elisha H. Davis, Jr., Edwin Goodwin, Daniel W, Thomas, Henry Mallet, and Stephen Ross joined a like number of men from American Fork and four from Pleasant Grove, and proceeded to the mouth of Provo Canyon, where they expected to be joined by reinforcements from Provo. Shortly before reaching that place, however, a messenger from Heber met them and informed them that through a bribe of a number of cattle, the captives had been released. The company immediately returned home, but held themselves in readiness for service at a moment’s notice.

Second Company
Came another call for men on June 12. In response, William H. Winn was appointed captain of a company. John Zimmerman as his second lieutenant, Jasper Rolf as sergeant, and the following  as privates: Loren Olmstead, John Bushman, Henry Mallet, Edwin Goodwin, Samuel Taylor, Alfred Turner, and William Bone, Jr. Their work was similar to that of the first company guarding the property of the towns in San Pete and Sevier. Especially was this company active around Fountain Green and Mount Pleasant, although they made numerous expeditions into the neighboring mountains. Accompanying General Daniel H. Wells home, they disbanded August 13.

Fifth Company
The opening of spring, in 1867, saw hostilities between the Indians and whites break out with greater ferocity than ever. Chief Black Hawk proved an extremely sagacious and wily foe, hard to apprehend, and always striking at unexpected places. It was during this summer that the hardest campaign was waged against him and that he was practically subdued. Under Orson P. Miles, of Salt Lake City, a number of Lehi men enlisted April 22. They were Daniel W. Thomas, who acted now as second lieutenant, Stephen Ross, John Bushman, William Bone, Jr., Geo. McConnell, and Byron W. Brown. It will be observed that all of these men except the last had been in service the previous year, Since the settlers had decided to abandon, temporarily at least, their homes, this company assisted in the evacuation of Richfield, Glenwood, Alma, and Salina.* Just before July 24, some of the militiamen from Lehi were allowed to return home on furlough, while John Worlton, Thomas F. Trane, Wicliffe Smith, and Hyland D. Wilcox were sent forward to replace them. This relief party left Lehi July 20, joined their company at Ephraim and continued in service until the whole company was discharged, August 6. The men on furlough were on the point of returning when they received notice of the cessation of hostilities.

On August 19, Black Hawk made a treaty of peace with the white men in Strawberry Valley. This event marked the close of the war, although a few depredations were committed in the south the next year by Indians who did not know that an agreement had been reached. During the course of the war the men who had remained at home were equally as active as those of their townsmen who went to the front, Paulinas H. Allred and Edward W.Edwards assisted nobly in drilling the recruits in the first rudimentary knowledge of the manual of arms. Various others—-notably Andrew A. Peterson, Samuel Briggs, and James Harwood——furnished horses, saddles, mules, wagons, guns, and ammunition. Due to the abandonment of the towns in southern Utah, Lehi received a small increase in her population. Andrew R, Anderson, Peter J. Christofferson, and George Beck had lived in the districts where most of the fighting had taken place and now moved to Lehi.


About Ann Laemmlen Lewis

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