A BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH OF THE LIFE OF
ORSON PRATT BROWN
Orson patrolling the area surrounding the colonies, on the lookout for bandits and horse thieves.
Born: May 22, 1863 at Ogden (formerly Brownsville), Weber, Utah
Died: March 10, 1946 at Colonia Dublán, Chihuahua, Mexico
Submitted by his Granddaughter, Lucy Brown Archer
I was born May 22, 1863 in Ogden, Utah, the son of Captain James Brown, the founder of the City of Ogden, and of Phebe Abbott Brown.
My first early impressions were of my mother having me kneel at her side and teaching me to pray. The sincerity of her expressions made me feel that we were talking to the Father in Heaven who was hearing our humble supplications.
As a child, she used to take me to Relief Society meetings, where I have had the privilege of hearing the testimonies of those wonderful pioneer women such as Eliza R. Snow, my grandmother Abigail Smith Abbott Brown and many others. They impressed me with a feeling that they were testifying of the truth of the Gospel of the Master, and that Joseph Smith was in truth a Prophet of the living God. Later on I had the privilege of hearing the testimonies of President Brigham Young, John Taylor, Wilford Woodruff in the Ogden Tabernacle. These impressions never have left me.
I also remember an incident that impressed me very much. It was the testimony of Martin Harris, who bore testimony to the to the fact that Joseph Smith was a prophet of the Lord. That an angel from heaven brought the plates from which the Book of Mormon was translated and showed them to him, Oliver Cowdery, and David Whitmer, turning the leaves over which appeared to be of gold and declaring unto them that this was a history of the Nephites and Lamanites and that it contained the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
1875 Orson Receives the Aaronic Priesthood
There wasn’t much of any great consequence from this my early childhood until I was 12 years of age (May 1875). When I received the priesthood of a Deacon I remember that the three wards in Ogden City then were the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and as on that Sabbath day the Sunday meetings were held in the Tabernacle and it became the turn of our ward to be doorkeepers. How happy it made me feel when my turn came to be doorkeeper!
1880 Brown - Fife Family Move to Arizona
Then in the month of October of 1880, my stepfather William Nicol Fife, his two sons Walter and John and my mother, sister Cynthia and myself started on a trip to Arizona. We had one team of horses, two mule teams and three wagons as we traveled down through the settlements of Southern Utah. We arrived at Johnson, the most southern settlement in Utah, about the 20th of December we got on top of the Buckskin Mountains now known as Kiabab forest. There it snowed about six feet deep that night and one pair of our mules left us. We hunted them all day, but the snow had obliterated their tracks, so we had no success. I put a quilt over the back of one of the mules and went to Johnson, thinking they had gone there. I reached Johnson about two o’clock in the morning nearly frozen to death, but I was too shy to awaken anyone and crawled into a haystack beside some hogs and waited until daylight. The mules were not there, but I found a man with a bunch of horses coming from Montana and going to Arizona, so I arranged with him to borrow a pair of his horses to continue our journey to Arizona.
We came down off the Buckskin Mountains and arrived at Lees Ferry. There we met a company of men with teams and equipment going to work
on the Santa Fe Railroad that was just being built. They told us that a man by the name of Johnson had found our mules and had taken them to a little town about 60 miles north east of Lees Ferry. My stepfather arranged with the Montana Man to let me have a horse and saddle to go after them. I left Lees Ferry in a snow storm and arrived at a little town called Peoria (79 T4) about four o’clock in the next afternoon, wet and cold. There I learned that Johnson had taken the mules to Hillsdale, 125 miles north east of Peoria. Instead of going to Hillsdale I returned to the town of Johnson where the father of the mule thief lived. Joel Johnson wrote his son in Hillsdale asking him to return the mules to Johnson. After waiting about ten days, Joel Johnson received word that his son had sent the mules with the mail carrier to a town of Kanab which was sixteen miles west of Johnson. I immediately went to Kanab and saw the mules in a corral. When the lady who answered the door of the house nearby told me that there was a $20.00 bill against the mules, I was sunk. Then she asked me to come in and wait for her husband who was the sheriff. She asked who I was and where I had come from. When I told her tears came to her eyes and she embraced me and said over and over again“Can it be true? Is it possible? Why your father saved the lives of my father and mother and my husband’s father and mother together with their children. He saved then from starving to death!”
When the sheriff came in he said“Look who is hereit is the son of Captain James Brown and Phebe, from Ogden.” The sheriff then embraced me and cried with joy.
1879 Christmas Dinner While Searching For Lost Mules
It was Christmas day (c1879) and of course I (16 yrs old) joined them in a big turkey dinner. When the meal was over, the sheriff went to the corral with me to catch the mules. He helped me saddle one of them, and he bucked and bucked all around the corral. “Young man”, said the sheriff “Do you think you can ride him? Why he’s never been broke yet.” “Yes, I can” I said “I have to this pony I’m riding is too weak to make the trip.” So he held him and I got on. He bucked around and around again, and then I got him under control. The sheriff’s wife brought me a great bag of food, enough to last several days. I told the sheriff I didn’t have the money to pay him for the mules and he said, “You don’t owe me anything, and when I catch that damn rascal who stole your mules I’ll put him in jail.”
I arrived at Johnson Town about sundown and spent the night there. The next morning it was snowing and sleeting and I arrived at the sheep camp about noon. The boys invited me to stay there, and it snowed the rest of the afternoon and all night. The next morning I started again. The snowing had stopped and it had turned cold and clear. That night I dug a hole in the side of the hill, but I had neither bedding nor any wood with which to make a fire, I very nearly froze.
The next evening I arrived at Lees Ferry and the next morning ferried across the big Colorado River. About noon of that day I saw a team of mules grazing. Imagine my joy at finding that it was my stepfather William Fife and his son Walter. We remained there that night and the next morning went to Willow Springs where mother and sister Cynthia and John Fife were waiting our arrival.
That was indeed a time of rejoicing. Mother said that she knew we were coming for she had dreamed that she saw me come in with the mules.
The next morning we started out again. And after two or three days we arrived at the new colony Sunset, where President Lott Smith had established the United Order. It was a new experience for me to see all of the people of the colony sit at the long tables in the big hall and eat together. We remained there two or three days, and President Smith invited is to join the colony. They treated us nicely and it was some regret that we pushed on.
1880 Through Snowflake, Stories of Chief Victoria
We kept going south arriving at the Mormon colonies of H. Joseph Woodruff t Snowflake and to Fort Apache, where we were advised by the Colonel in command that the notorious Indian Chief Victoria had gone on the par path and had attached a government ambulance, killing some of the soldiers and mules. We stayed at Fort Apache for two days and then started south again until we reached Camp Tomas on the Gila River. On we went again for three or four days until we came to Pima, which was a new Mormon settlement.
1880 Beginning Work Hauling Lumber
We needed to go to work, so we made our camp and began hauling lumber to Tombstone. After a few months when I was seventeen (c. July 1880), I went up into the canyon to work at the logging camp. My job was the care of oxen. I had to take them up on the mountain at night and get up early enough to get them back down the next morning in time for the days work to begin.
We had been there a few days when a man by the name of Webbsfoot Smith arrived. He was a ferocious looking man, a typical mountaineer about 5 ft.6 inches tall, broad shoulders, large hands and $12 shoes. He had a heavy head of hair, black beard and little beady black eyes and weighed about 175 pounds.
We were having supper one night when he started to bait me. By some means he had discovered that I was a Mormon, and he began talking about them. He said he was from Missouri and Mormons were a bunch of thieves and murderers. He cited the Mountain Meadow Massacre, and said Brigham Young and the rest of the Mormons in Utah were a bunch of murdering thieves. At that, Samuel Ellsworth the boss said to me, “What about it kid?” and I replied, ”I don’t know who this man is, but he is a lying damn son of a bitch.” Smith jumped up and so did I. He said “I won't take that from any man. No one calls me that and lives.” I said “You’ll take that from me and swallow it!” Then I challenged him to a fight with a choice of any arms he wanted. He chose pistols and to fight it out the next morning.
After breakfast the men all gathered around to watch the fight. He asked me what my distance was. I took a red handkerchief from around my neck, took hold of one end of it and said “you take hold of the other end for this is my distance.” He had said to my boss “I don’t like to murder a damn kid.” When I offered him the other end of the handkerchief, he took his hand from his gun and turning pale said “My God, I don’t want to kill a kid.” Then I said “Then swallow what you told me last night,” and he replied, “Well, I guess I was mistaken, I beg your pardon.”
After that he did everything possible to become friends with me. Two or three months later he came to me in camp and told me that he was in serious trouble. He said that he had been hunting and upon looking up had seen an Indian in the brush. He had shot him, another appeared. He had thought they were renegade Indians, but upon examination of them, found they were Indian Scouts of the Government. He dragged them into a small arroyo, covered them up and hid their guns. He asked me if I wouldn't go with him. He said, "You know that all good Indians are dead one." I told him that he had better get out of the country, that if he didn't they would get him for sure. He took his jenny and left. About a week later there arrived a Lieutenant and five soldiers together with ten Indian Scouts. They had found the three Indians and tracked Smith to our camp. They went on, taking up his trail, and about a month later some prospectors found Smith's jenny, so it was a foregone conclusion that they had indeed found Smith and killed him as he was never heard from again.
The sawmill and logging equipment belonged to Major Dawning, a fine specimen of manhood, standing 6 feet tall and weighing 200 lbs. He wore a gray mustache and goatee, looking very much the southern gentleman. He had come from California bringing about a hundred head of fine cattle, keeping them in Pioneer Canyon where his sawmill was then located. He had a California Mexican man in charge of his ranch. One time while he was in California two murdering bandits went to the ranch chopped the head off the Mexican and stole his cattle. When Major Dawning returned to the ranch he discovered that the cattle had been sold to some people in the Animas Valley by two men, Joe Goss and Dave Estes.
Ed Elwood, one of the logging contractors, had been following the outlaw and murderer by the name of Ben Taxer, and had camped one night in the San Solmon Valley when he was approached by three men who asked to be invited to supper. He complied and after the meal was over the men took all of his equipment, his horse, packmule, guns, and provisions and drove him out of his camp afoot. This occurred some months after the stealing of Major Dawning's cattle.
Elwood came to camp and became a partner of Sam Elsworth. Several months later, Elwood and Elsworth had gone to Tombstone with loads of lumber and to get provisions. They left me at the camp which had been temporarily closed because of bad weather. While they were gone Buckskin Joe Goss came to camp and stayed overnight. He bragged about his valor and his courage and his meanness and said, "I may die with my boots on, but I will never surrender."
When Elwood and Elsworth returned I told them about Goss. We three went over to the sawmill and talked with Major Dawning. Elwood said, "He is the man that held me up, stole my outfit and forced me from my camp afoot." Major Dawning said, "He is one of the men that killed my foreman and stole my cattle. Let's do something about it." And thus was born the vigilante committee that was to end the reign of outlaws and murderers in that valley.
They appointed me as scout and lookout man. A few days later I was on top of the mountain with my long spyglass when I recognized a lone rider coming up the trail as Joe Goss. I hurried to inform the men and they instructed me to lead him to Pioneer Canyon where he had murdered the Mexican cowboy.
I went down the trail, met Goss, and started conversation with him. He asked if I had seen a hobbled bay horse. I directed him towards Pioneer Canyon where we found the horse, unhobbled it and then Goss offered to sell it to me. "I don't want a horse," I said. "Mules are much better for mountain work." "Well, then let me sell you four mules. You can pay me $200. down and $200.00 in three months. Or, let me sell you this horse. You could take him to Tombstone, but don't show him much around the street." I told him that I didn't want to do any of that kind of business, and we rode on down the canyon. About two or three miles up the canyon from the camp we met two men who knew me. I was afraid that they would give the play away, but they asked the time of day and went on. A little later Goss said, "There's some honey hives, I'll tip them hives over, and when we get farther down I'm going to kill old Major Dawning on sight."
When we got in front of the cabin I saw no signs of my friends so I jumped off my mule with my gun in my hands. The horse he was leading hung back, and as he was busy trying to get it loose, I got the bead on him, and told him to throw up his hands. He thought it was a joke and smiled. I told him to put them up and keep them up or I'd shoot him sure. Then I called and called for my friends. They came up out of the place on a run. We disarmed him, led him over a little creek and there under a juniper tree we put a rope around his neck. He cursed me roundly, swearing that if I hadn't held him up he would have killed the whole lot of them.
We hanged him there and before his spurs quit jingling we heard hoof beats of horses. We hid in the brush and the two men who rode up took one look at the outlaw and wheeled off as fast as they could ride. We took a board from the fence, nailed it to the tree and wrote "The End of Buckskin Joe Goss, the Bandit and Murderer. Any Other Of His Kind Coming Through This Way Will Suffer the Same Fate" and signed it…Vigilantes.
This was the beginning of the end of this class of people in the valley.
Some two months later there was a miners strike in Tombstone. Silver fell from $1.00 an ounce to 60 cents. The strikers burned the Grand Central Mining Plant and the smaller plants ceased operating. Major Dawning shut down his sawmill and returned to California, and the whole section of country was plunged into a depression.
I went to work with a man named Chris Grower building a concrete house. Shortly afterward Tom Kief came to Grower with a letter and said he was a carpenter and wanted a job. Grower hired him and he stayed about a month. Every once in a while he would mention Joe Goss and his hanging and intimated that I knew all about it. But when he asked me questions I evaded them and pretended that I knew nothing. We were living in a big tent and I overheard him and Grower talking. Kief said that he was a detective from San Francisco and bragged about his many exploits and talked of running down criminals. Among other things, he said he was in the party that ran down John D. Lee, the author of the Mountain Meadow Massacre. I heard him tell Grower that he was going to take me to Tombstone. Grower hired a light spring wagon from his neighbor in which to make the trip.
I went to the pasture and saddled my horse to be ready for anything that might happen. We had just finished supper that night. Kief was sitting at the head of the table and I was at the foot. He pulled out his British Bulldog pistol and said to me, "Kid, you're under arrest, and you're going to Tombstone with me tonight." I said, "Alright, I like Tombstone pretty well, anyway." Just then Grower called from the outside that all was ready. Kief turned his head in the direction of the door and I pulled my pistol on him, covered, and I made him drop his gun, walked over and picked it up and then herded him out to the wagon with Grower and drove off. When they had gone a little ways I got on my horse, followed them and told Tom Kief that if he ever came up there again that the same Vigilantes that hung Joe Goss would serve him with the same kind of medicine. He never came back.
Footloose and More Indian Trouble
Since there was no work in that section of the country I left with two companions, Mike Brown and John Sponseller, starting for Phoenix. We made camp in a valley where the San Pedro River enters the Gila River. About ten o'clock in the morning we had a visit from five young Indians who wanted to buy cartridges from us. W refused t let them have any and they wanted to have a shooting match. Sponseller shot with their best man and won three times at a dollar a hot. Then during the night we heard their war dance and their singing. Sponseller and I crawled close to their camp and after watching them for a time decided to break camp and leave.
We followed the Gila River until we came to Globe where we had breakfast and then went on. We hadn't gotten very far when we heard riding fast. Looking back we saw the mail carrier coming full speed. When he reached us he said that the Indians were on our trail, and that they had already killed two brothers who had operated the trading post farther back, and the squaws were carrying the merchandise away. He said he had taken a cut-off and had seen the Indians coming this way as fast as their horses would run.
We rode into a little arroyo, got off our horses and climbed up the brow of the hill. One of the Indians was about 160 yards in front of the others. I said to John, "You shoot the horse and I will shoot the Indian." We shot together, and as the other Indians saw what happened they turned and ran. We went on, arriving at a little mining camp that evening and found that all was excitement for not only were the San Pedro Apaches on the warpath, but the Tonto Basin Indians had joined them and had killed a number of families.
We returned to Globe where the whole community was churning with fear of the impending Indian raid. Later that night word came that the sheriff and his posse of twenty-five men that had gone up the valley to rescue the families in Tonto Basin had had their horses stolen by Indians and asked for teams and wagons to bring them out. We went with the rescue party and helped bring families and posse back to Globe.
After the scare had subsided we went our way making our first stop in Mesa where I found my mother's sister and family Edward and Emily Bunker. I stayed in Mesa three or four months then we all moved to Saint David on the San Pedro River. After a time in Saint David I had the urge to see my mother and sister who were still in the Sulphur Spring Valley.
Six o'clock on Christmas morning found me on my way. I had been to a dance the night before and before long became very drowsy. I unsaddled my horse, laid down and went to sleep. About sundown my dog Jeff began to whine and nudge and paw me. I jumped up to discover that my horse Whirlwind was snorting and raring. Then I knew there was something serious afoot. I saddled as quickly as possible and as I got onto the road discovered there were six horsemen closing in on me, three in the front and three in the back. I recognized them as Indians and I jerked my pistol and rode straight towards those that were coming to me from the east. The thought came to me quick as a flash that they wouldn't shoot for fear of hitting those behind me and those behind wouldn't shoot for fear of hitting those in front. They were going to try to take me alive. When I got within fifty yards of those in front I shot the horse from under the middle Indian and as he fell the other two in front ran off into the brush. As I came abreast of the fallen Indian he tried to get me with his rifle but I shot him before he could use it. Then I lay down on one side of my horse and let him run hard for a half mile until I reached a little ridge where I jumped off to rest both horse and dog and hid behind a big soap weed. The Indians had been chasing me all this time and now I kept shooting at them from behind this ridge. Suddenly they turned and ran off in the other direction.
When they were completely out of sight I started toward home, arriving late at night. The dogs at the ranch made an awful racket, waking my mother who recognized the dog first. "Oh, It's Orson"' she said, "I dreamed that you were coming, and I saw you have lots of trouble, but would arrive safely."
The Hunt Brothers Meet the Indians
Three or four days later we discovered that this band that had attacked belonged to a kid band of renegades and that they had attacked three American men the day before while the men were working in a hay field. They had surrounded me, killed them and burned them on a load of hay and made off with their horses and equipment. The day after they attacked me they had gone south to Rooker Canyon in the Chiricahua Mountains. There they came upon the camp of two Hunt brothers. One of the brothers was out looking for the horses and the other was lying wounded in the tent. The Indians surrounded the tent and as one came in the door the wounded man shot him and then one of the Indians shot Hunt.
The wounded Hunt brother had been a bandit in Tombstone and had been wounded in a gun fight with the sheriff's and had been in the hospital in Tombstone until his brother came from Texas to take him home.
After hearing the shots from the Indians the other brother rode to Camp Price about fifteen miles away where he spred the alarm. The colonel in command sent Lt. Glass with 25 soldiers and 10 Indians after the renegades. They surrounded them at Hunt's camp killed the four remaining Indians. It was the first time in
many years that the United States had made a clean up of renegade Apaches.
1881 In Bisbee Hauling Lumber - Dan Dowd and the Hall-Buckles Ranch
Shortly after this occurrence I went to work for Morris & Cheers, hauling lumber from the Chiricahua Mountains to Bisbee, Arizona. I stayed at this work for about a year. It was during this time that I met Dan Dowd. He was a huge man about 25 years old, over 6 feet tall and weighed about 180 lbs. Dan Dowd was one of the drivers for the mine as I was, and we made several trips together through the mountains. We had to pass a little ranch on the White Water Creek located between the sawmill and tombstone owned by a half breed named Milt Hall and his partner Frank Buckles. Another driver, Delaney and Dawd became very good friends and often they would stop at this little ranch for house while on the road.
One day Dan Dowd declared himself. He said the world owed him a living and he'd be damned if he was going to work so hard any more. Then he quit his job and went away for about two weeks. When he returned to the Hall-Buckles Ranch he was accompanied by a chap named Johnny Heith, a dandy looking man who was well-dressed and riding a fine looking horse. He had two white-handled six shooters, a Winchester rifle and two belts of cartridges. Heith stayed at the ranch for a couple of days and then went off to Bisbee while Dawd went north. When Dawd returned to the ranch a few days later he brought with him three hard looking men, Red, Tex, and Kelly. And soon after when Hall and I came to the ranch with our oxen and loads of lumber we found five men there. Dan Dowd, Red Sample, Tex Howard, Dan Kelly, and Bill DeLaney. I asked Hall what they were doing there and he said they were looking for a ranch.
We traveled on and about sundown the next day we saw three horsemen off the east of us. We didn't recognize them but I knew two of the horses were from the Hall-Buckles Ranch. We made camp at the south of the Bisbee Canyon and the next morning as we were getting breakfast two men rode into camp. One was Heith. They drank a cup of coffee with us and told us there had been a hold up in Bisbee the night before. The bandits had robbed the Copper Queen Store and they had murdered two men and a woman. They said they were on their trail and that they had headed toward Tombstone.
My partner Walt was out rounding up the oxen and about an hour later five men approached. They had seen the smoke from our campfire and came over. It was Sheriff Daniels and his posse who had been following the trail of the bandits. They asked me whether I had seem any of them and I took Sheriff Daniels over to one side and told him what I knew.
I said that I had recognized two horses as being from the Hall-Buckles Ranch among the five horsemen that we had seen the day before. And that I suspected that Buckles himself knew something about it since these hard looking men in company with Dan Dowd had been at the Hall-Buckles Ranch the week before. I also told him of the two horsemen who had just gone by. The sheriff thanked me and sent two men after the horsemen. He and the others went immediately to the Hall-Buckles Ranch and arrested Buckles. Buckles turned states evidence and they took him to jail in Tombstone…
[Missing are pages 9, 10, 11]
Turned his horse and shot Hall killing him instantly thus ending two more of the would-be bad men.
1883 Chief Loco Leaves the Reservation
When I arrived at the sawmill after the trip from Bisbee and the Bisbee murderer. I went home to the Fife Ranch [Oak Grove] and then shortly afterwards the bandit subchief Loco broken away from his Chief Geronimo from the San Carlos reservation with about 75 young warriors. They came down through the Sulphur Spring Valley and then crossed into the San Salmon county north of Fort Vuhi(sp) and when they got opposite of little town of Gayly(sp) Bill thirteen of them crossed over the mountain and into the Pionery(sp) Canyon. My step brother John Fife and two men one by the name of Tom Fernoy and the other John Lobby went up the canyon with four mules and two wagons after mining timber. When they had just crossed the Pionery(sp) Creek they were attacked. Tom Fernoy was shot through the head and killed instantly. John Lobby as he ran down the road was shot 7 times in the back and killed. John Fife was shot through the left forearm and in the right leg. Just about the wrist. He kept to the bottom of the canyon running as fast as he could arriving at the little mining camp by the home of Tip Top. He arrived at the little mining camp about three and one half miles from the place where he had been wounded.
A runner came to the ranch about midnight advising us of what had happened as we had had previous arrangement that in case of serious Indian troubles. We were to congregate at the Riggs Ranch about six miles north of our place. We had no wagons nor teams available. There were three of us men, John Sponseller, a man by the name of Stevens, and myself. We all got up and dressed. Also there was my mother, my sister Cynthia, Aunt Diana Fife, and her daughter Agnes. We all went over the trail on foot. I was taking the trail on foot ahead and the other two men coming behind the women folks. We arrived at the Riggs Ranch about three o'clock in the morning. About five o'clock Thomas Riggs hitched up his mules on his team wagon and went up the Tip Top to get Hon Fife. There was a man by the name of Colonel Clutt who was general superintendent of the Tip Top and mining and smelting company. When we got there up in the canyon a little ways we men, Colonel Clutt on horseback, a Lieutenant of the U.S. Army, and about twenty- five soldiers. Stringing along behind them was about seventy-five miners and other men from the camp. They had become stampeded, they were scared half to death, as we got up to the camp. John my brother was lying under a tree with five soldiers guarding him. They said, "If you hadn't arrived they were going to tie him on a mule and bring him out." We lifted him into the spring wagon where we had a mattress springs and started down the canyon.
Mr. Tom Riggs said to the sergeant in charge of the soldiers, "if we are attacked by the Apaches, what shall we do?" He said, "We'll run like hell."
And I said, "The first one that runs I'll shoot him. First you fellows stand hitch or there will be serious trouble."
We arrived a the Riggs Ranch about ten o'clock in the morning where there was a captain with 5 American soldiers and a doctor who dressed John's wound. There was a party of five of us went up the canyon to bury the bodies of Tom Furnoy and John Lobby. Before we got to where the bodies were we saw where some Indians had crossed the road, they were wearing moccasins. Two of us stood guard. One on each side of the canyon while the other three men went up and brought Tom Furnoy's
body to where John Lobby's body was then they dug a hole and laid both bodies in it having wrapped them in a blanket.
Instead of going back down that canyon, the way we had come up, we decided on going into the Pine Canyon which was west of the Canyon where we buried the two men. I was asked to take the lead. As I came up a little divide between the two canyons I saw the fresh Indian track. I said to the two men behind, "Look out for I believe they're right here."
I had my pistol in my right hand ready for action. When the two shots being almost together. This Indian fell over backward and I shot, he jumped in the air and yelled like a wild animal throwing his gun over his head and falling dead. I emptied my pistol in the direction that I saw other movements and yelled to my companion to come on. As we rode around the bend of the canyon I stopped and waited for my companions to come up. The first one to arrive looked at me and went pale, he had seen a bullet hole in my jumper. I stuck my hand into the gusam of my shirt and pulled out the bullet, it was all flattened out. I didn't know that I had been wounded til I felt the blood running down my breast.
We rode on down to the ranch, staying there over night. The Doctor dressed my wound we were a pretty blood thirsty bunch of men, determined on revenge. We got two more men with us and the next morning we started up into the canyon where we had had the fight with the Indians, the evening before. On examining the ground where the first Indian had wounded me we found out that the bullet had hit a little limb which flattened it thus saving my life. We found also that the Indians had taken the two bodies of their dead companions, put them on one of the mules and had taken them up on a side of the mountain and put the bodies in a small cave that was there. Filling the mouth of the cave with brush and rock. After dragging the bodies out of the cave, we found out that one of the Indians had been shot at the left eye, the bullet coming out of the back of his head, and the other one was shot under the left arm the bullet coming out just about the right hip bone.
We followed the Indian trail and we found that they had gone up the top of the mountain, we went over to the Morris Sawmill and there got seven more men and we climbed the mountains in the night, leaving our horses under guard at the sawmill. When we got on top of the mountain as it was coming day light we saw to the sought of us, the mountain was on fire, we went over there and found that the Indians had left going south towards the Mexican border. They crossed into Mexico near the "Sierra Enmedio", going up the arroyo de Alisos, there was about 300 American soldiers following behind them, there was a ridgement of Mexican soldiers coming from the Yakke country in Sonora, being about five or six hundred of them. They were encamped in a bend of the canyon when the Apache Indians ran into them, neither of them knowing that the other was there. The Mexican soldiers immediately attacked the Indians surrounding them. Killing all of them but about 6 or 8 got away. After the battle was over the Mexican soldiers saw the American troops coming in sight, the American doctors attended to the Mexican wounded soldiers, and after a while, the Mexican General demanded the surrender of the American troops. The American Colonel refused and there came pretty near being a fight which was averted by the Mexican General rescinding his demand and allowing the America
to return to the U.S.A. thus terminating another Indian raid by the Chiricahua Indians.
INCIDENT AT THE FIFE'S OAK GROVE RANCH
I went to work building a little ranch about five miles to the east of the home ranch [Oak Grove Ranch], when one night my brother Charles Fife and William Nilson, who were living at the Fife Ranch, came to my camp and said that Aunt Diana Davis Fife had been murdered by a Mexican. I got my horse and started out, I found out that the murderer had gone to a ranch about seven miles north from the Fife Ranch and had gotten some supper that night at a small ranch belonging to Italian Joe. We called him and spent the rest of the night looking for this man at a little mining camp called "Dos Cabezaz"? We met Deputy Sheriff who had been advised of the killing and were on their way to the Fife Ranch. My brother Charly and Billy Nelson accompanied the two deputy sheriffs and I went by the Riggs Ranch to see if they had found out anything, one of the Riggs boys said to me, "YES, THEY FOUND HIM." and that was all he would say, as I came near to the Fife Ranch I looked at a big oak tree and there sure enough was the Mexican hanging with a rope around his neck.
I caught up with the deputy sheriff before they got to the ranch. They asked me if I had heard anything and I said "No, I haven't heard much, but I've seen the biggest acorn that I ever saw hanging to a black jack oak tree." One of them smiled and said "then they got him did they?" and I said, "Yes."A posse of settler's had captured him.
We went back to the ranch where they were getting ready to bury Aunt Diana Fife, the ranchers from all around the country that had heard of it were there. It was a very sad, sad funeral, this Mexican murderer tried to grab little Agnes who was 12 years old, and had made a proposal to the Mexican who was working on the Ranch that they burn the ranch, steal the horses, and take the girl, but the Mexican fought him and ran him off and went to the nearest ranch for help.
We buried the Mexican at the side of the hill and the coyotes in three days dug him up and ate him.
Fall 1884 Working the Chiricahua Cattle Co. Sheriff Daniels Killed
Just after this incident while working there the Chiricahua Apache Indian, Geronimo, and the balance of his renegade Indians came down through this country killing and murdering ranchers and stealing their stock. When they got near, where now is Douglas, Arizona on the American Mexican border, Sheriff Daniels and a companion hearing of the Indians murdering some ranchers down in the Sulphur Spring Valley went ahead expecting a posse of volunteers to follow immediately. The posse, for some reason or other, was delayed. The Indians, seeing Sheriff Daniel and his companion, laid an ambush, murdering both of them. When the posse arrived from Bisbee they found the sheriff and his companions dead bodies and that the Indians had crossed the border into Mexico.
This so infuriated the ranchers and people of this section of country that they demanded from the Government in Washington some protection or they would take the matter of their own protection in their own hands. General Miles, commander and chief of the U.S. army began a vigorous campaign against the renegade Apache Indians. And in 1886 having
[Pages 15 and 16 are missing from manuscript.]
his hands on my head and gave me a blessing and promised me, that I would be blessed beyond all of my expectations and that I should have the privilege of many blessings that would be impossible to receive if I'd remain where I was.
1887 Orson Prepares to Leave Safford for Mission to the Mexican Mormon Colonies
So I began to arrange my affairs [and obtain my passport] and on the first of May 1887 I started on my journey towards Mexico. Apostle Thure (sp) on returning to Mexico had stopped at the Fife Ranch and there advised my Mother to go to Mexico. So I went to the Fife Ranch and from there to Ththur (sp) and on arriving there my stepfather who had brought his last wife and children from Ogden, was to have sold out his ranch and come to Mexico also. But instead of him coming to Mexico he sold out his ranch and went back to Utah. On arriving at Colonia Juarez, on the first day of June 1887 with my mother, I took down with the chills and fever that I had acquired while I was on the Gila River. We pitched our tent down by the side of the river and the people were very kind to us. I remember very well one incident that happened.
My mother had gone to get Pres. A.F. MacDonald to come and administer to me. He brought with him a man by the name of Doctor Metts. After they had administered to me I heard Pres. MacDonald ask Doctor Metts what he thought about me and he replied, "Poor woman, she is going to be left alone, he can't live till morning, I called Pres. MacDonald back and she he came back to my bedside Doctor Metts coming to the door of the tent, I said to Pres. MacDonald, "Dr. Metts don't know what he is talking about, I will live to see him buried and many of his kind. Don't bring him back again to administer to me and I began to get better because I depended upon the Lord. I know I had a mission to perform, as soon as I could walk around I went and presented my letter to President Teasdale and he sent me to Bishop Seavey and Bishop Seavey asked me if I could make some adobes they wanted to build the schoolhouse and not withstanding my weakened condition I told him, yes, that I had never made any adobes but that I could and would make them.
Just as soon as I got a little more strength I went to the mountains and began to haul a little lumber and gradually got my strength back. I built an adobe mill and began to make adobes. Later I went with President [Alexander Findlay] MacDonald to Galeana where we built a reservoir for men who had a flourmill. There I earned a little money. I courted a nice young lady by the name of Martha Diana Romney and in November we were married. Which made me very happy for she was a beautiful girl.
In May of 1885, 400 Latter-day Saint families were on the banks of the Casas Grandes River waiting for the negotiations to purchase land. On December 7, 1885 Mormon colonists set up their first camp in what would later become Colonia Juárez…
Many of the Mormons who moved to Mexico at this time were polygamists seeking refuge from the law, but the Nelsons and Romneys were not polygamists. They came to Mexico because the Mexican government had issued grants of land to the Mormons for colonization.]
They questioned me very severely and put me under some very strict covenants. One of them was that I would not introduce Mormon girls to outsiders and that I would do everything in my power to serve the Lord and keep all of his commandments including specifically the entering in and obeying the law of plural marriage.
[On September 2, 1886, Orson's only sister from Phebe and William Fife, Cynthia Abigail Fife married Joseph Layton in Safford, Graham, Arizona.]
1888 Orson Begins Career as Rural Police Officer
The next spring some of the colonies were losing some of their cattle and horses being stolen and in a priesthood meeting the question came up about what we could do about it. We had been complaining to the authorities in Casas Grandes but could get no protection. During the discussion in the priesthood meeting I suggested that we should stop them. After the meeting Apostle George Teasdale and his two counselors, Pres. [A.F.] Macdonald and [A.W.] Ivins, together with Bishop Seavey and his counselors Miles P. Romney and Ernest L. Taylor called me into council and gave me a mission to stop the stealing of the colonists horses and cattle. So after having made the adobes for the school house and helped Brother Philip Cardon lay them in the walls of the school house I graduated from adobe maker and mud carrier to a rural police officer of the colony.
The stealing of the cattle and horses stopped after
arresting a number of thieves and taking them to Casas Grandes and suffering the inconvenience with Brigham Stowell, David Stevens and David Hawkins of being put in the Cases Grandes Jail for catching a bunch of horse and cattle thieves. We were finally released after 18 days. The judge in turn being given one year in prison for false imprisonment and the turning loose of the real thieves.
1888 Orson and Mattie's First Child Born
The next October [9-30-1888] our little daughter Carrie was born, which made us very happy. But to our sorrow, she passed on when she was eight months old [5-20-1890]. The in a few months [8-28-1890] a boy was born [Orson Pratt Brown II] and then to our sorrow again passed on at eighteen months old [4-10-1892], both dying with that terrible infantile disease paralyzes [polio]. Then we were made happy again [10-4-1892] by another boy, Ray, and after followed seven more, Clyde, Miles, Dewey, Vera, Anthony "Tony", Phoebe and Juárez Orson.
1893 Tomoche Indian Rebellion
It was in the year of 1893. The Tomoche Indians, intermixed with a few Mexicans, lived in a little town, in western Chihuahua, by the name of Tomoche.
Some two or three years before there had been a girl named Terecita de Cabora of Sinaloa, who claimed to have visitations of spiritual instructions. The spiritual messenger visiting her, had told her that the Catholic priests were not suppose to sell to the church the sacraments nor charge the people for sermons pertaining to the church. That they had through this sin lost contact with the Church of the Master.
These people at Tomoche, together with the people from the surrounding towns, as well as those scattered in the mountains, believing what they had heard of her, visited her at her home in her little mountain village of Cabora in northeastern Sinaloa. Among them went the President of Tomoche, Cruz Chavez, with several of the townspeople.
They returned to the homes very much impressed with the things they had heard and seen at Cabora with regard to the manifestations given to Teresita, Santa de Cabora.
When the priest from Guerrero came down to visit them in Tomoche, and was holding services in the church the people instead of going to these services went to the house of the President Cruz Chavez.
He had erected in his home and altar in his humble little parlor where the people of Tomoche were holding the Sunday services. This infuriated the priest of Guerrero and he forthwith went to the house of Cruz Chavez and started to tear down the altar and destroy the images that had been erected there.
Cruz Chavez in return entered and drove the priest out of his house and told him to leave his house and the town also.
The priest immediately went to Guerrero and informed his brother who was Jefe Politico, that he had be abused and driven out of the town.
The Jefe Politico sent an escort of seventy-five men to Tomoche with instructions to arrest all of the men and bring them to Guerrero.
Cruz Chavez anticipated this and made preparations for the
reception of the armed men from Guerrero.
They sent out a messenger to meet the escort and tell them not to come into Tomoche or there would be bloodshed.
The soldiers instead of heeding Chavez's announcement kept on coming into the town.
Chavez and his men met them with a battle cry of freedom. In defense of their homes and their lives they opened fire and killed about thirty of the soldiers sent to capture them. The balance returned to Guerrero and reported conditions.
The Mexican Federal Government then sent three hundred soldiers to Tomoche to subdue the Tomoches. And in like manner they were received. Cruz Chavez and his men scattering in bunches of five hid in the brush around the village and as the soldiers advanced they shot down their officers first then played havoc with the soldiers killing over one hundred during the first battle.
Cruz Chavez and his men numbered only thirty-seven. Then the Federal Government sent down to Tomoche five hundred soldiers and the same thing occurred. The Tomoche killed the officers first, then the soldiers who happened to linger. Conditions became intolerable.
Next the Federal Government sent fifteen hundred soldiers to capture the Tomoches, dead or alive. The General in command formed an attacking party, sending five hundred soldiers around to the west to come down the canyon thus surrounding the town completely.
The men from the west who were coming down the canyon were the first to come near to the village. The Tomoches shot down their officers and disarmed the soldiers and drove them into the church. When the General on top of the mountain demanded that they surrender he was shot and instantly killed by a Tomoche.
The battle had raged for some hours when the Federal army fired some incendiary explosives into the church from a cannon, thinking the Tomoches had taken refuge in the church. The roof of the church was of lumber and immediately began to burn. The Federal soldiers locked in that church were cremated.
The Tomoches left, escaped to the mountains through the entrance left in the west where the soldiers had come down. The army followed them into the mountains and the death rate to the soldiers was terrible.
It was estimated that before these Tomoches left the country they had caused two thousand soldiers to lose their lives during a campaign of over two years.
c1895 Tomoche Indians Exiled to U.S. Return and Begin to Raid Colonies. Orson & Posse Outwit Tomoche Band
The remainder of these Tomoche Indians then went to the United States. They remained there for a couple of years. Then they wanted to return to their homes and families. They came by appointment to the border at Palomas. In the early morning they assaulted the customs house guards, wounding some of the guards and capturing the Customs House. They gave the Customs Administrator a receipt for the money and other things they took. They then started on their way south with the six horses and saddles from the customs guards.
At Colonia Diaz they stole four horses belonging to W.D. [William Derby] Johnson out of a pasture. Johnson immediately sent a runner to tell us, and
give us warning so we could be on our guard against any stealing or plundering. Also about this time runners came in from Casas Grandes with the same warning of danger. At Casas Grandes the people had been warned by runners from Tamos where the Tomoches had stolen mules and all the provisions they could pack on their mules from wagons belong to the San Pedro ranch.
We knew the whole countryside had been warned as was the custom. Serious trouble lay in the air. I knew the symptoms well. My blood warned, and my heart beat faster, as we began to prepare for the fierce Tomoches coming.
I was at the house when the Mexican runner came. The first thing I did was to arm myself with pistol and rifle and belt full of cartridges. In the meanwhile some of my boys saddled my horse and brought him to me.
I rode over to brother Amos Cox place and I got Brother Cox to go up north of the Colony with me. Before we started off I sent a man named [Meliton Gonzalez] Trejo, a man working for me, to Cases Grandes to report and to ask them to send me some soldiers or volunteers to help out in case there was trouble.
On our way north we passed Brother Nielson's place. He was out in the field. He asked us where we were going. He knew by our serious and determined way that there was something up. I said to him, "We are on serious business. The Tomoches are on their way south and will very likely try to go through the Colony." He said, "I want to go with you." I said, "Good. We want volunteers. These Indians are horse thieves. I have just had word that they have stolen four horses from Brother Johnson at Colonia Diaz."
We waited till he went into the house and got his pistol and cartridge belt, and then all three stared up the west side of the river into Brother George F. Seavey, half way between his farm and the Colony. He was all excited and out of breath. A brave, strong-looking lad of sixteen or seventeen, by the look of concern on his fine honest face, I knew had bad news, and was speeding to the Colony to tell us. I called, "What is up?"
"Three suspicious-looking characters came up as near as the farm land of Loona Baker, who was at our place, she was standing at the gate when they happened by." They looked like Mexicans dressed in the ordinary Mexican camisa, sombrero, and American overalls, but they are strangers around these parts." There was not a doubt in my mind as to who these suspicious-looking characters were. They were the advance guard of the Tomoches coming to investigate at the farm to see if they dared to go through the colonies.
Loona Baker spoke Spanish fluently so they could talk to her, they asked her, "Where is the store?" "Did they have a good stock of flour, corn and beans?" "Did they have any Aguadiente, Mescal for sale? How about rifles? Cartridges, cloth to take to their families? How large was the store actually? Where was the door? Did she think they could buy cartridges there? How far from the farm? To the east or west? Sister Baker gave them very little satisfaction and answered their many importune questions vaguely.
Then they began asking about the Colonists. How many were there? Sister Baker answered, "Over a thousand." "Over a thousand men? They wanted to know. They did not believe it. She could see their incredulous faces. She pretended not to understand what they were driving at. Were all these men well armed?" Sister Baker answered promptly, "Oh yes, to be sure, everybody is armed and with the newest and best arms from the United States. All the colonies were well armed, particularly Colonia Juárez. There were always a few horse and cattle thieves. She finished, looking at their leader and spokesman.
She finished looking at their leader and spokesman in the eye. She also added that the town of Casas Grandes was well-garrisoned. But they did not seem impressed with this information.
I interrupted Nielson and dispatched him up the river back to the Colony to call some of the Brethren together to go back around to the Seavey Farm and try to capture these three men. I sent Seavy on to the colony to advise Major Tom Downey of the situation. Major Junius Romney was head of the militia and I was his Captain. I said to Brother Seavey before he started off. Go first to Major Romney and tell him everything you have told me. Tell him that Brother Cox and I are going toward the Tinaja (the deep arroyo wash, it was like a gorge during the rainy season.) and ask him to send us some help.
After talking to Brother George Seavey I was pretty well satisfied in my own mind that these Tomoches were hiding in the Tinaja, watching for an opportunity to come through the Colony. I knew what they wanted above all things, they wanted to go to the store and loot the place. I started my horse at a smart, hard pace in the direction of the Tinaja, Cox following close beside me. "Come on Cox," I called as I felt him just behind me, "I have got to know the exact location of these Tomoches. They are dangerous and not to be fooled with." We knew them through reputation. We had heard of their spirited defense of a few years before, as did the whole countryside. I was half-thinking out loud, half-talking to Brother Cox who was a few paces behind me. "We must not let them get a foothold inside the colony or else we will have real trouble. We will probably have trouble anyway. But the families must be protected against fright as much as possible. We must meet them before they get in, and put the fear of the Lord into them. We must show ourselves well-armed, determined, without fear of hesitation to keep them out. The sooner we meet them the better. I could hardly restrain my horse he wanted to fly as I did, I was so anxious to get at them.
There was a narrow path leading to the Tinaja which had been walked through by the women and children going to gather small wood to start fires in the dry seasons. Or to take the small cattle for water during the rainy season. The young men sometimes took the path to hunt ducks and jack rabbits.
This was in the month of September and it was dry and dusty as we stepped on crunchy mesquite. As we were nearing the Tinaje we abandoned the well-worn path and struck out through the dry mesquite sacaton (tall grass) more carefully and slowly, to avoid the surprise, although I was a little too determined to be very cautions. As we arrived near the Tinaja and were scouting along the south rim a few yards from us, suddenly, without warning, we almost stumbled into three of them without realizing they were upon us. They raised up from behind big boulders with rifles cocked and pointed towards us they demanded that we surrender. We were surprised to find them so suddenly upon us but I jerked my gun out without an instant's loss of time and Cox followed me so that it seemed as if we had rehearsed when to jerk our guns. I demanded in turn, "Put down your guns. Neither side lowered their guns. Cox and I watching for the least movement, the slightest lowering of their guard. There we stood tense for what seemed minutes, but it was probably only seconds. Finally, the climax was reached and the man who appeared to be the leader, to
group gave in and they lowered their guns. I signed in relief inside.
We had won the first round. There was a breathing spell. The third man had his gun on me. He was a pure blooded Indian. I knew the difference. A darker, deeper, richer color of skin, piercing black eyes, longer straighter blacker hair. He did not lower his gun with the rest. We went a step further, and half-distrustful, half-annoyed with the lowering of the guns of this leader and companion, he asked, "Are we going to surrender to these gringos?" He seemed to have more backbone, more boldness than the others, and I always suspected him of being one of the guiding spirit of the Tomoches. I cut in before they could say anything. "Of course, you will surrender to us. You are bandits and thieves going through the country stealing honest hard working people's horses and cattle!"
Their leader answered quietly, "No we are not thieves and bandits, and steal only when it is a matter of necessity, when we are hungry or to get home when we can no longer walk. Ours is another mission. We are on our way south to join our families and go back to our home. We have been away from them for a long, long time."
I told him: "You are Tomoches and have caused a lot of trouble for years, first in your home town with the federal soldiers then now with the officers at Paloma. We know all and now your have just stolen horses from Colonia Diaz, also mules and provisions from the San Pedro Ranch." They did not deny it.
"Now you want to steal from this colony. You want to go to the store perhaps and steal but I warn you that if you so much as steal one garment from this colony, I am here and I will follow you to the end, even if it leads to the very shore of the sea!"
They seemed impressed with what I said and remained quiet for a few seconds.
Finally I said, "Where are the rest of your companions?" The leader answered, "They are close by. Just about five hundred yards distant behind a little hill, still on our side of the Tinaja." I saw one of the men going out from their camp with a bucket in his hand for water from the Tinaja. This was about four or five hundred yards from where we stood. The Indian who had never lowered his gun said to the man in charge, "Why not send our companion down to the camp to tell the others to come up here?" That was all the third man needed, at that, he turned around to go. I called out sharply, "Stop or I will put a bullet through your back." He stopped and I went on. Even if you put two through me, I am in command here and you will do as I say."
The man in charge said, "You let us go to our camp and we will let you go to yours." We all agreed to this. But the Indian still did not lower his gun and I had to do something. I said, "If you do not lower your gun I will shoot you." As they stared toward their camp he gave in and lowered his gun but hesitantly and with very bad grace. As we turned to go to the colony their leader called to us, "There are three of our men down in your Colony and we recommend that you see to it that nothing happens to them. I called back, "All right."
As Brother Cox and I rode back, we came to the place where we had met Brother Seavey and there he was coming again. We stopped within a few yards of each other and I called, "What is new?" He said, "Brother Nielsen ran into the three men who talked to Sister Baker and followed them but when they saw they were being watched they beat it into the mesa east of the colony. Nielsen didn't
give up and was still in pursuit." After I talked with George Seavey I had the feeling that those Tomoches were going to try and come into the Colony. I knew there was not time to lose. I sent Brother Cox down to Major Romney:
"Tell him to hurry the men to help out. Tell them I feel sure those Tomoches are going to try to go through the Colonies and I need some men to help me hold them back, quick, before they get a foothold . He sped off and Brother George W. Seavy and I started in the direction of the hills by the Tinaja where we had just had our short encounter with the Tomoches.
On our way to the hills I met Brother David Johnson coming toward us with some horses. I said to him, "What is up? Any news?"
He replied, "I just saw Brother Nielson following three men, riding fast toward the north. I did not know what to make of it so I thought I would come down into the Colony and find out." I said, "Good Heavens! He is following those three Tomoches." I thought out loud: "It is really dangerous for Brother Nielson to be following those three Tomoches alone. We had better follow him. That is the only thing to do, follow Brother Nielson. He is the one in most danger right now," I said out loud. But just as we turned north I saw some men coming toward us from the Colony so I waited.
Cox had met Carlton, Judd, Taylor, and Stowell on the way. Major [Junius] Romney had already sent them when I sent word by Cox the second time. I saw they were all well armed and eager and ready for any emergency. I sized up my little band mentally. All were men of extraordinary valor, they had proved it many a time in past difficulties. They could be depended upon in any situation. What was more important they had faith in their great Creator that he would protect them in doing their duty. With the exception of one, [?]
They have all gone before me to the other side. We reached the Tinaja and following along up the north ridge saw Nielson. He was riding back and forth with only four hundred yards between him and the three Tomoches he had been following. The Tomoches were beckoning for him to come to them. When he saw us within calling distance he said, all excited, "Come on Captain. We got'em now! I could not help laughing. We had them like the fellow who had the bear and had to have help to let him loose.
The three Tomoches were north of Nielson and still further north we saw another bunch of Tomoches, about twenty-five in all, coming up out of the Tinaja wash onto the mesa.
The main body of the Tomoches joined the three and they kept on beckoning to us. Nielson joined us and said, "I believe they want a parley." I said, "There is no doubt about it."
I rode up to within talking distance of them, followed Brother Carl Nielson and Brother Amos Cox and when I knew they could not help but hear m, I called, "Send one of your leaders to meet with me, alone, for a parlay." They assented and sent their second in command. He walked out from among the Tomoches, a tall, straight Indian. When I saw that he let his gun down I let mine down also and went out to meet him. We walked toward each other until we were about fifty yards from each other. There was dead silence in our respective little armies. Everybody was tense, waiting for the outcome of the parlay.
I let him speak first. He said, "We are on our way south to join our families and go back to our homes after wandering for years and we want to go through the Colony." I knew why they wanted to go through our Colony, they wanted to replenish their supplies from our store. They want to rob us. I answered firmly.
"We will not permit you Tomoches to go through our Colony. You will have to go around it on your way home." He came back, "If you do not allow us to go through your colony peacefully we might go through anyway."
I answered just as quickly, "We have plenty of well- armed men, as you may see a sample yonder," and I swept my hand toward our men. "And we will clean you all out if you so much as try to go through the colony." With my hand then I proceeded to mark and point the way they should go.
"Besides," I continued, "you are bandits, pure and simple in trouble with the government and w are loyal citizens and cannot treat with bandits." Again I marked and pointed the way they should go. He left after that and went back to his people, and I rode back to mine. We could see that he was telling them what I had said.
We moved on up the ridge a little nearer to where I had left Brother Judd with some of the others to guard the canyon from a surprise attack. They were waving their hats back and forth three times, which was the signal of warning that the Tomoches were coming down to attack us.
As we got a little further up the ridge we saw six men on horseback, guns out, coming upon us. And as I looked down over the ridge, I saw ten men marching on foot to surround us from the other side. In an instant they had us almost surrounded. We were quite a ways down the canyon. For the moment it looked as if there was nothing to do but turn to run. I passed the word. We did start to run down the ridge. Then suddenly the thought came to me that they could roll rocks down and ill us like rats in a trap. I called to my companions to stop. They were only a few yards ahead of me.
With that we all stopped and I had them walk back and forth as if we had a lot of me. You see the enemy was over the brow of the hill and could not see us but we could see them. We were out of sight. It was a desperate bluff but we had nothing to lose and everything to gain. It worked.
Our attacking enemy stopped dead in their tracks when they realized that we were going to make a firm stand. Again I stepped forward and motioned them to come and finish the attack. There were only three of us behind the brow of the hill. There were sixteen of them surrounding us. They did not come on!
When I saw that our bluff had worked and that they had hesitated in their attack I knew we had won the battle. I motioned them again more calmly and more carefully the direction in which I expected them to pick their way south.
They turned from their original path and started in the direction I pointed. Five or six of us followed them. We kept them at a distance of five hundred yards, the rest of that day. By night we had located their camp. It was directly west of the Colony and McDonald Spring, on top of one of the mountains.
We went back to the Colony that night. We found that Casas Grande had sent us twenty-five soldiers and twenty-five citizen volunteers, and ten gendarme, sixty men in all.
[gendarme - formerly, a French cavalry man commanding a squad; an armed policeman.]
We held a council of war.
The Mexicans from Casas Grandes said that they were very anxious to capture the Tomoches, dead or alive, as they had been a source of great trouble and bloodshed for many years. The government had a price on their heads and there would be much glory to be earned through their capture.
I told them that we were ready and willing to help in every way we could. With that I marked a plan by which we could surround them and capture them. They began to argue about the plan and were not too anxious to get started. "Let us wait till morning." they advised. The next morning we had another council. This meeting they said,
"Captain [Orson] Brown, you take the trail and when you have found out which way they are going come back and tell us and we will come immediately and destroy the whole bunch." At daylight I left with Ernest L. Taylor, Jerome Judd, Peter C. Wood, Carl E. Nielsen, Cox, and Brigham Stowell.
We rode to the top of the mountain, west of McDonald Spring, there they had had their camp the night before. There we found the remains of camp and that their trail lead directly south. We followed the trail for the greater part of the day until we hit a canyon or the stairs country because the rains had formed a little creek that had been flowing down the country through hundreds of years and the water had cut stairs down the mountain.
Instead of following the trail across the canyon and up the high ground we went right up the canyon. When we neared the pass we saw a saddled horse and almost immediately a man stepped out and shot his gun in the ground as a signal.
We had come upon them again suddenly. There was not time to stew or plan, I said to Brother Taylor, "You know the trail, take it."
As we ran by them they opened up on us. When we reached a little ridge where we had some sort of defense we stopped. I told my companions we would return the fire there. We opened up on them for about twenty minutes and kept it up. But neither side gained anything. We were too far to do any harm. Then I noticed that they were gradually creeping upon us. They had the advantage of the ground. I told our men, "We had better get away now before it is too late for the bullets will soon be coming where we are."
We went on down the ridge, the bullets began falling around us. One bullet struck a rock a few feet from Brother [Peter C.] Wood. He was hiding behind the rock and the hot lead sprinkled on his thin hair.
Quickly we moved further on and took a good position about five hundred yards from the Tomoches. There we waited the coming of the Federal soldiers.
They did not come. Finally, we spied them at a distance but they were hesitant of coming any nearer. I guess they were afraid. The only ones who separated themselves from the main body of men were the ten gendarmes. I could not understand what was the matter.
I decided that I go out and meet them while the rest remained
in their fortified position.
Our last position was near the Alamita[Alameda] Ranch. In the meanwhile the Indians had come through the pass and were now onto the low ground. Their proximity was getting more and more dangerous, as the minutes went by.
As I neared I could tell the gendarmes were nervous. They did not seem at all anxious to meet the Tomoches.
Brother [Ernest D.] Nielson who had gone with [Ernest L.] Taylor recognized me. He called me: "Here is the Captain." He came forward to meet me with Brother Carlton. They were the soldier's guides. We held a parley with the Lieutenant in command of the gendarmes. He said: " I have instructions to tell you, mi capitan, to come on in to the Colonia."
It was an awful let down. We could have whipped them so easily. I could not fight that told my cheese alone with my bed. There was too much risk for so few. I could not fight the Tomoches alone with my men. There was too much risk for so few. I had no right to expose my men. That was not their mission. That was the duty of authorized government officials. We had done our part, and above all we had protected our homes and families. They had left even Johnson's four horses that the Tomoches had stolen from had been left for us by them.
I was baffled and furious at their cowardliness but there was nothing to do but to follow them into the town. We rode on into Colonia Juárez and I went straight to Major Junius Romney's home to report. He took us all up to Apostle George Teasdale's home. It seemed like everyone in the Colony had gathered at Brother Teasdale's. They were anxiously awaiting news of us. Brother Neilson unfortunately reported that the Tomoches had us surrounded and were surely going to exterminate us. There was some basis for his report. There were only six of us and the Tomoches counted thirty-seven.
When Brother Teasdale looked upon us, he blessed us saying, "Wherein you have protected your home town, the Lord will bless you and be with you and you will have power over your enemies and they will not have power to destroy you."
That afternoon we had a meeting at the schoolhouse building with the Mexican officials. These Mexicans instead of wanting to follow and capture the Tomoches were the most fear-filled lot of men I ever saw under arms. They tried to excuse their cowardliness by crying, "Those Indians have a charmed life and bullets will not harm them. Why one Tomache can whip a hundred ordinary men."
I could not make them budge. In vain I pointed out that the day before we had them bluffed and whipped them with only a handful of men.
As soon as dark came they sneaked off in the direction of Casas Grandes. Some of the more timid brethren were very much alarmed when they found out of the desertion of the Mexican soldiers and volunteers and gendarmes. They were sure the Tomoches were going to attack the Colony under cover of darkness. Again I pointed how twice with six men we had beaten them the day before. I said, "You need not fear that they will attack. For they
too are afraid for their lives." These few words seem to calm the colonists. But just the same some of us stood guard most of that night in order to avoid a surprise attack.
The next morning a small number of men went back wit me to the Alamita Ranch. We went up as far as the Pass that we had christened Tomoche Pass the day before.
We found where they had killed three of General Terrazas' beef and only taken a small portion of the meat with them.
We followed their trail most of that day and found where they had gone to the west of San Diego. From there they continued their way south into the mountains. I knew I would know the Indian who had refused to lower his gun anywhere I might meet him.
Pablo Soso's Undoing
It was not long after that I arrested a couple of Mexicans for drunkenness and carousing. I handcuffed them and left them under guard of Pablo Soso at the store with my gun in his hand. I was going to take them into Casas Grandes. I went home for a bite to eat before starting out.
When I returned Pablo Soso was gone but the men were there guarded by a stranger who had my gun in his hand. I went to thank him and take my prisoners on to Casas Grandes. As I thanked him and shook hands with him I recognized him and I knew he recognized me but he did not let on he had ever seen me before.
It was no other than the Tomache Indian who would not lower his gun when Cox and I met the Tomoche up in the mountains. Here he was back again and Pablo Soso turned out to be his brother.
Pablo had gone on an errand and left him behind. He had gone back to the colony and Brother Stowell hid hired him to put up some fence posts.
A short time after Soso came to the Colony I employed him. One day he was up in the mountain behind the Colony working on the last of a piece of road I had given him to do. I happened on my way to the sawmill and stopped for a minute to give him some instructions. In a burst of confidence he said to me, "You people are the only outfit that ever opposed us Tomoches to the amount of anything. I have often wondered why we could not kill you. I have thought about it a great deal."
He said they had fired about 300 shots at us and had seen with their own eyes plainly that not one of us were hurt. He continued, "In the fight at Tomoche Pass you killed two of our men and wounded three others."
I knew in my heart the reason they had been unable to harm us. The Lord had protected us. If it had not been for his protection undoubtedly we would have been destroyed. There were fierce Indians who not only outnumbered us but had the advantage of ground and who not only long past had caused the deaths of so many Mexican soldiers.
Juan Pablo Soso [Juan Sasa] came to a bad end. He was a natural bandit. He began stealing around Juárez and when they went to arrest him he tried to kill the police with a shovel and they shot him.
Church Officials Take Up Cause of Tomoche
A few months after the Tomoches passed through the country Apostle Teasdale and his counselors, Alexander Findlay MacDonald and Henry Eyring, learned the real reason of the uprising of the Tomoches. Some of the Mexican officials told them what it was all about. The Brethren saw the fairness of the fight in defense of their homes and land on the part of the Tomoches and they decided to take up their cause.
They directed a communication to President Diaz telling him the reasons for the uprising and asked that these men be forgiven for the past and be given another chance.
The President replied, as always, graciously to the Colony. He wrote that he and his cabinet were taking the Tomoches rebellion into advisement. As a result of our intervention these poor Indians were given a reprieve.
Teresita of Sinaloa de Cabora, the unwitting cause of all this loss of life had had to leave her native town and country because of opposition by the Catholic clergy there. She came out through the mountains and went down to Florence, Arizona, where the Mexican people all over the surrounding country, even from northern Chihuahua and Sonora visited her.
All who visited her returned to their homes greatly impressed and influenced by her words and counsel. She later married an American in Florence, Arizona and lost her power of influence.
What became of her I do not know.
Orson Seeks Mines with Aid of Tomoches
I had another encounter with the Tomoches of a different nature. It was a friendly and business meeting years later and it was then that I learned all the details of their rebellion.
I had been fooling around a mine for a long while. I could not help it. I had talked to prospectors, miners, mining engineers, had guided them through passes in the mountains, had warned them against Indians, so that I thought I knew something about mines and the time came when I began to dabble a little in mines myself. Of course, in that primitive country new travels fast and everybody knew I was a little interested in mining. So the second in command of the group who had tried t scare us on the march home in the south accompanied by one other Tomoches came. They had in the heads the history of three famous mines: La Guynopa, La Gunopita, La Tyopa.
They sounded interesting and worthwhile taking time to look into it was on this trip that they told me the whole story of their rebellion and the reason for it. At first we went over to find the famous Guynopa mine. This was in the month of July, our rainy season, and there had been some heavy rains. We never found it. When we came to the river the water was high and we could not cross. But on the trip we did find La Guynopa, an old rich silver mine. They had
taken out much silver out of that mine. The Tomoches assured me that there was lots of gold bullion hidden in the Tayopa. It was suppose to be on the other side of the Arizona River but the river was too high to cross.
Another Incident 1893 Trip to Salt Lake City
In March 1893 together with my good friend Joseph F. Cardon and his wife Rhoda, we went to Salt Lake City and to Logan Temple where we had the privilege of having our wives sealed to us by Apostle Merrill President of the Logan Temple. Then we returned to Salt Lake City in time for the dedication of the Salt Lake Temple which was very inspiring privilege. While Joseph Cardon and his wife, my wife and I stood in the Assembly Hall of the temple we heard the most wonderful singing and while we couldn't distinguish the words we knew by the inspiration that came to us that they were the voices of angels. This gave us great satisfaction and joy.
We returned to Mexico with thanksgiving to our Heavenly Father for the privilege that we had had.
Orson Learns a Hard Lesson About Questioning the Decisions of Leaders
I am just reminded now of a very important incident and circumstance that came unto my life. There had been some discord and President MacDonald who was first counselor had gone out and who was President of the Juarez Colonization Company had gone to Mexico City and a false report had come to us that he was using his office as President of the Colonization Company to power his own personal interest.
The Bishop and about two thirds of the members of Colonia Juarez signed a petition and sent it to the Presidency of the Church asking that President MacDonald be removed from his office without having made proper investigation. The Presidency of the Church sent Apostles Brigham Young and John Henry Smith down and they together with Apostle George Teasdale called all of the Brethren together to find out what the matter was. After several hours of hearing it became evident that the complaint that had been sent was without foundation in fact. President MacDonald was exonerated with the satisfaction of the Brethren. But because of my stubbornness I was not converted. In the conference following I voted against President MacDonald and so Apostle Teasdale who presided over the Colonies instructed Bishop George Seavy and his counselors to call me before them to see if they could not convert me of the error of my ways. And that if they couldn't convert me to send me to him and as they didn't convert me they sent me to Apostle George Teasdale.
He was waiting for me in his office. I knocked on the door and he said to come in and as I entered, he said for me to take a chair in front of him and he said to me, 'My boy did the brethren convert you of the errors of your way?" and I said "no" I asked him this question "SHOULD A MAN FORGIVE HIS BROTHER WHEN HE DOESN'T REPENT?"
He didn't answer but just looked at me as though he was looking clear through me. I hung my head in shame and when I raised my head I said to him in tears. "Forgive me Apostle Teasdale I know my duty now, for these words have come to me. 'Of you it is required that you forgive all men and I will forgive whom I will.'"
I was as humble as a lamb and he said to me, "My son as with Peter of old slight(sp)? And blood has not revealed this to thee? But my Father who art in Heaven. For I have been praying to Him that He would reveal this unto you." And as we stood up he clasped me in his arms and kissed me and blessed me.
It was another very important turning point in my life, forever since then I have known my duty, in regard to that great principle of forgiveness.
After the Tomache incident I went in business with Ernest L. Taylor and Joseph C. Bentley. In buying and selling of cattle and after the first year of successful business, Brother Bentley withdrew from our co-partnership. Brother Taylor and I continued in business for a number of years.
An incident…Kids Renegade Apaches..
The Apache Indians had been raiding through the country. They were called the Kids Renegade Apaches. They had killed a part of the Thomson family who were living at the Pratt's ranch, killing Sister Thomson and her oldest son and wounding her second son. The Apaches had been raiding and stealing stock in the colonies when Bishop Smith from Colonia Pacheco came down and advised President Teasdale and asked what could be done. They had just been another raid of the Kids Renegade Apache Indians and President Teasdale advised Bishop Smith to came and consult with me. I went to Pacheco with Bishop Smith and we organized a little party of men consisting of Bishop J. Smith, John Whetten, Jorge Nutly, Robert Beecroft, Samuel Jarvis and myself.
We left Colonia Pacheco in the morning going into the Gavilan country and making our first night camp on Quigley Creek about twenty miles west of Pacheco. The next morning we went into the Apache Valley which was at the head of the whole country about a month previous to going in there. There had been three prospectors, one man with the name of Quigly. When they got into the Apache Valley they saw an Apache Indian, he immediately ran and they made their way to the north of a very high mountain where they made their camp at the rim of the mountain. They stood guard that night. The very next morning just before daylight one of t hem was making breakfast, the other two making guard. Not seeing anything the one that had made breakfast told them to come and get their breakfast. They went down and were eating when three Indians raised up from behind the fortifications they had built and shot at them. They being in a low place their bullets went over their heads. They ran as hard as they could run and arrived at Colonia Juárez in two days and a half and the other two in three days and a half, all coming in separately. As I was saying before, when we arrived at the Indian valley we found one of the burros belonging to these Americans, we also found that the Indians had seen us and they went down to a box canyon on the right hand canyon. Going west we camped
that night in the box canyon where it rained and snowed all night. We knew that it would be impossible for us to follow those Indians any farther because the snow and rain would obliterate their tracks. After a council of war we decided on returning to Colonia Pacheco. We climbed up out of the deep canyon and when we got on top of the mountain we found about one foot of snow on the ground and it was still snowing very hard. The clouds were down on the mountain so that we couldn't see only a little distance ahead of us.
As we didn't have a compass we couldn't tell which direction we were going. We stopped and Brother Samuel Jarvis said he could lead us out of there blindfolded. So we told him to take the lead and after traveling about an hour we came back on to our own tracks. We had made a perfect circle. Brother Jarvis said, "Here's the Indians trail and when we examined the tracks we all decided that we had made a perfect circle getting back on our own trail. So we made camp tied up our animals so they wouldn't leave us. It cleared up and when daylight came. We found our way and arrived at Colonia Pacheco that night. Because of this trip through Gavilan Valley and country I purchased a Gavilan ranch from the Colonization Company. This was one of the best investments that I ever made for it paid me a profit first and last of approximately forty thousand pesos. It was another evidence to me that if I was willing to do my duty in defense of the interests of the people of the Colonies the Lord would open up the way and shower down his blessings upon me.
After five or six years of a coop partnership with Brother Ernest L. Taylor, which had been very beneficial to both of us. The fact that he had three or four grown up son's whom he desired to participate in the business of our coop partnership and he and his son-in-law. Joseph C. Bentley and his three oldest sons formed a coop partnership. Thus I operated from my own account separate from theirs. I prospered in my efforts very greatly not withstanding I had some reverses.
Kansas City, Missouri Trip
I went up to Kansas City, Missouri to settle up an old account. While I was there a very peculiar circumstance happened to me. I had learned the lesson that if I wanted to know the will of the Lord concerning me, to seek him in earnest prayer. I went down to Independence and there on the temple lot I saw a big oak tree and the spirit admonished me to seek the Lord in prayer.
I looked around and found that I was alone, and I kneeled down under that tree and I sought the Lord in humble prayer, asking my Heavenly Father to guide me and make known unto me his will concerning me. The spirit came over me and said, "My son, you are going to be called unto a special mission." I thanked him for this inspiration. I got up and hunted up the missionaries who were Mormons in Independence. I found them in a fast meeting. I had the privilege of bearing my testimony to them and the saints who were gather there. In the evening I accompanied two missionaries home and with five other missionaries I invited them out to supper at a large restaurant and took them all to a large theater then we all returned to the missionary home and talked till two o'clock in the morning.
The next morning I took the train for El Paso, Texas. In the Pullman car that I boarded there was an English Lord who was a colonel in the British army and a millionaire financier from New York City. They had in the baggage cars their equipment including eight beautiful dogs, among them two staghounds and the others being bloodhounds. At a station in Oklahoma where there was a twenty-minute wait they got off to see how their dogs were getting along in the baggage care. I heard them talking about them, I got off with them to look at the dogs. I admired them very much and by this we struck up a conversation. They asked me where I was from and as we were journeying along a Protestant minister got on the train and came by bowing to these two distinguished gentlemen. Then this New York financier made the remark, "There goes one of those long-tailed hypocrites, you can tell them by their dress." And he said with a laugh, "They are the ____D __crooketest people in the whole world. They are educated to the science of bleeding people. One of them got into the confidence of my wife and beat her out of ten thousand dollars and tried to seduce my daughter." and he said, "They are the limit of everything that is low and full of deception. If Jesus Christ supports those kind of things and those kind of men then I don' want to have anything to do with them." Then I told them that I was a believer of the words of Jesus Christ and I told them that I was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. "Well," he said, "Where is your paraphernalia, your long-tail coat and your collar turned the wrong way?" He told me I must not be a very good preacher. This gave me a wonderful opportunity to explain the principles of the Gospel as revealed through the Prophet Joseph Smith.
I was so earnest in what I had to say and bearing testimony to these men of the simplicity of the principles of the Gospel that they were very favorably impressed. As we traveled along down into Mexico a man that we called Colonel Hunt got onto the train and I introduced him to these gentlemen. Colonel Hunt only rode from this station to the other. This English Lord said to me, "Of what regiment of the army does Colonel Hunt belong?" I said, "Colonel Hunt belongs to the army of construction rather than the army of destruction. We honor our men who are the captains, colonels, and generals of industry. Who are leaders in the opening up and development of the resources in the frontier." And then he said, "That is a wonderful idea. It is truly very commendable." Then they got off the train going into the White Mountains to hunt bears, lions and wolves with their dogs and equipment. This great financier from New York shook my hand very cordially and begged my pardon if he had offended me and said, "I feel that for once in my life I have met with a Christian gentleman and not with a ______hypocrite."
On arriving home at Colonia Juárez a few days later, we had a Stake Conference. In attendance were the presiding brethren of the Church, President John Henry Smith, who was counselor to President Joseph F. Smith. During the conference I was asked to speak. I recited the experience that I had just had with these gentlemen that I had met on the train from Kansas City to El Paso. I very emphatically suggested that our missionaries who were preaching the Gospel in the world that they were aping or following the customs of the ministers of the world, that it was my opinion that we should change our mode of apparel. That instead of following the system of the Christian
ministers we should use neat business suits. President John Henry Smith followed me in speaking and said, "The remarks and suggestions of Elder Orson Brown are very timely and when I return to Salt Lake City, I, as Chairman of the Missionary Committee, will suggest the changes as suggested by Elder Brown. And it was done.
The change was made and the elders going in to the mission field from then on wore business suits instead of long-tailed Protestant minister suits.
I owe more to my mother than to any other person in the world. She taught me to pray and to have faith in the Lord and in his many great works, as Well as to have faith and reverence for the Prophet Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, and John Taylor, Wilford Woodruff and all of the apostles she constantly watched over me and I have heard her voice many, many times since she passed on.
The year that Apostle Reed Smoot was elected to the United States Senate (served from 1903 -1933) I had been to Denver, Colorado to purchase some mining machinery for the purpose of concentrating ore. On my return to El Paso from Denver Dalhart (sp) Texas, before the train arrived the conductor said to me, "You may be able to catch the Rock Island train to El Paso, which is due to arrive at Dalhart at the same time that we are due to arrive. But they have a different station than we have. It usually arrives a little late and we came into the Dalhart station he said, "There comes the Rock Island now, I think you can catch it. I took my overcoat in one arm and my suitcase in my other hand. I started along the Rock Island railroad track towards the Rock Island Station that was about 500 yards distance. Just before I got to the station I went to cross the railroad track, the engine had blown its whistle and started. I stubbed my toe and fell in front of the engine about 20 steps from it. The engineer saw me fall, it seemed to be a solar plexus blow for I could not move. He reversed the engine jumped down and he and the fireman picked me up within two steps of the engine. They took me back to the conductor who placed me on the car in charge of the Pullman porter who gave me a stimulant, to be more specific the stimulant was a glass of whisky, which revived me. The porter undressed me and put me to bed. The next morning on arriving at some station we met the eastbound train that had the latest newspaper and the account of the big fight in U.S. Congress over the seating of Apostle Reed Smoot in the United States Senate. The man who was in the seat just in front of me bought a paper as well as myself. This man's name was Watson who had been an ambassador or counselor representative of the U.S.A. in one of the smaller European countries. It seemed to be a highly educated gentleman. He was on his way to Tucson, Arizona to be with his son, who had been in the forest service but was now in a hospital, not expected to live. As result of fighting forest fire and getting to much smoke in his lungs. When he finished reading the article in regards to the seating Senator Smoot in the United States Senate he said to me, in a very vehement manner, "This is the most despicable and outrageous thing that I have ever read. These Mormons are the blackest spot in the American history and should be burned out and destroyed from the body politic. As well as religion being blotted out from America and this man Smoot, a Mormon apostle who undoubtedly is a polygamist should not be allowed to enter the sacred hall of congress of the U.S.A. Much less as a Senator of the U.S."
"Well, I said, "My friend you seem to have pretty hard feelings about these Mormons."
"Yes," he answered, "I have, I've heard in Chicago that one wife of Brigham Young, Anna Liza Webb Young [wife No. 19] and her husband Dr.___, a Christian gentleman, tell of the damnable practice under the guise of the Christianity of the Mormons in Utah. Then I read their book telling of the most diabolical unchristian action of those debased Mormons of Utah."
"Well," I said, "My friend I guess that your prejudices are based upon hearsay, of unscrupulous people." Then I asked him if he belonged to some church, and he said, "Yes," that he belonged to the first Christian Church of Chicago, which church was commonly known as the Canvolight Church. Well, I said, 'I am really surprised that a man claiming to be a Christian should have formed such a dislike and a feeling of contempt for people that he knows nothing about, only hearsay," and then he said to me. "What Church do you belong to?"
I belong to the Church of Jesus Christ." Then he said, "We're brothers", and he began asking me questions about my faith and I began very earnestly seeking the Lord in secret to help explain to this man the principles of the Gospel. There were two middle age refined looking ladies that were seated across the aisle from us. They seemed to be very much interested in what we were discussing, the principles of Eternal Life. When he said,
"There is one thing that has been a stumbling block to me and that is this, When Columbus discovered America he found millions of people here who had never had the opportunity of receiving the Gospel of the Master and then the opportunity came to explain to them the coming forth of the Book of Mormon and the principles the vicarious work that had been revealed through a prophet of God. For the redemption of those who had died without having had the opportunity of receiving the Gospel in this life. I also explained to him that this Book of Mormon was a record from the time of Adam down through the ages and that the Master told his disciples that he was going to preach the gospel to another people who were not of those people in Jerusalem. And after his resurrection he did come to this continent of America and established his church among them. with prophets, apostles and evangelists, and so forth. I told these people that when ever the Lord had people on the earth that kept his laws and commandments he'd always have prophets among them that would recognize and that he spoke through in other words a living divine prophet. That without revelation the people perished, that it was the foundation of Christian life. Then one of the ladies spoke up and said, 'Why Mr. those principles that you have been advocating are true Christian principles. Then Mr. Watson said, Mr. Brown they say there is no perfection in this life, but I pronounce you and the principles you have explained a 99% Christian.' and he said, 'What Church do you belong to?" I said, "I belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint, commonly called the Mormon Church." Then he said, "My God, is it possible?" I said, "Yes, it is possible, it is the truth." Then he said, "Do you believe in polygamy?" and then I said, "Yes" I believe in plural marriage, and I had the opportunity of explaining that wonderful principle to them. Then I told him who Anna Liza Webb was, and whose book he had read that made him prejudiced against the Mormon People. I said, "She was the wife of a man by the name of James Dee who drove her away from his home because she was immoral and was cohabiting with another man. He divorced her and married my sister Ellen Brown. After this Anna Liza Webb's mother went to President Brigham Young and told him that her beautiful
daughter wanted to marry him. He married her and when he found out the deception that they had played on him he immediately divorced her and sent her home. Her first husband James Dee had two children that he kept and educated. And that was the class of woman Ann Lisa Webb Dee Young that married a Protestant minister and together they did all the harm they could against an innocent people. Mr. Watson was very much impressed, I gave him the address of the Elders in Chicago and later received a letter from him saying that he had been converted to the Mormon faith.
Ordained a Seventy - Spring 1885
When I was ordained to the office of a seventy by President Seymour B. Young the first president of the seven first presidents of the Church, there were present at the Ordination, Apostle Amos (Amasa) Lyman and John Henry Smith, they questioned me very severely and put me under some very strict covenants. One of them was that I would not introduce Mormon girls to outsiders and that I would do everything in my power to serve the Lord and keep all of his commandments including specifically the entering in and obeying the law of plural marriage.
1897 Mattie and Orson Proceed with Plural Marriage, Jennie Galbraith Joins Family
After coming to Mexico and getting married and seeking the Lord in earnest prayer in regards to my entering into this holy and sacred law of plural marriage I was reminded of the covenant that I had made when I was ordained a seventy. The spirit of the Lord admonished me that it was my duty to enter into this la and keep this commandment of plural marriage. My wife Mattie was very much opposed to it and no amount of explanation or argument on my part had any affect upon her to convert her to this principle. She would obdurate in regard to it. Just before Apostle Teasdale left for the U.S.A. I was at Colonia Diaz with him. Not withstanding the many times that he had blessed and assured me that as long as I was willing to protect the interests of the people of these colonies that the Lord would sustain and protect me from all evil. That the element that my enemies might use against me for my destruction would be turned against them. That my life would be preserved. But on this special occasion he put his arm through mine and said, "Come with me Brother Orson, the Lord has a blessing for you. We were at Colonia Diaz at Bishop Johnson's home. It was a beautiful moonlit night. We walked to the back of Bishop Johnson's house. There he put his hands on my shoulders and gave me a wonderful blessing. In which he said, "The Lord has heard your prayers and supplications and in his name I bless you and promise that you shall have the privilege of entering into the Holy sacred law of plural marriage."
Time went on and there was a young lady who lived at Colonia Diaz who made it a special point to come to the house where I stayed everytime that I went to Colonia Diaz. Finally Sister Henny(sp)[Haynie] who was President of the Young Ladies Mutual Improvement and at whose home I stayed, having brought lots of cattle into that vicinity from the colonies, it was necessary for me to go there quite frequently. On one visit Sister Hanyon(sp)[Haynie] said, "Brother Brown, you ought to know by this time that Jenny Galbraith is in love with you and she said that there was no other man that she wanted only you."
"Well," I said, "She is a pretty nice girl but there is no use of thinking of marrying no other
wife with the present attitude of my wife. She is very bitter in regard to her feelings to plural marriage. When I spoke to my wife Mattie telling her what Sister Galbraith had said to me Mattie said, "Yes, that thief wanted to steal my husband, let her get a husband of her own." So that was that. Apparently at the time it appeared that the door was closed to me to the entering of plural marriage.
Some months later I was down at Colonia Diaz on business. I was thinking about this matter, how was it that the Lord through his Apostle Teasdale had made me the promise of entering into this law and that my wife Mattie was so strongly opposed. The other was the fact they were not solemnizing any plural marriages at that time. When the spirit of prayer came over me. I saddled up my horse and I rode up into the mesquite. I got off my horse, I knelt down in humble prayer saying to the Lord that he had spoken through his prophet Apostle Teasdale, promising me that I would have the opportunity and privilege. My wife was opposed and that it was impossible for me to convert her. I did not want to lose her, that I loved her, that unless he intervened and inspired her to give her consent for me to enter into this law of plural marriage. After this supplication I rose to my feet with a feeling of conviction. I got on to my horse and rode to Colonial Diaz. The next morning I hitched my horse to the buggy and rode back to Colonia Juárez. On arriving there my wife Mattie was waiting for me at the gate with a beautiful smile and a welcome I hadn't had for a long, long time. We went into the house and she had supper ready and after supper as it was our custom we kneeled down and said our prayers were getting ready to retire to our bed when she said to me, "Orson, I want to tell you something before we go to bed." She said, "In the door way there leading to the parlor there stood a man with a long white robe, like a temple robe and in front of him was a pulpit and on the pulpit was the largest book that I ever saw. He pointed his fingers at me and said, calling me by my name, "Martha don't you oppose your husband in doing what is right or your name shall never be written in this book." And she said, " I know then what my opposition had been and I knew that the book was the book of eternal life. The comforting influence of the Lord came over me and blessed me. Now I am just as anxious for us to enter into that high and holy law of plural marriage as you are."
I clasped her in my arms and we found ourselves both in tears. We knelt down by the side of our bed and thanked the Lord for the revelation that had come to her at this time.
Some months previous to this time Mattie and I went to Colonia Diaz to a conference and while walking along the sidewalk we met two young ladies, one of them being Miss Jane Galbraith. I introduced Mattie to her and her companion. Mattie refused to shake hands with her because I had previously spoken to Mattie about Miss Galbraith. But after she received this inspired vision the next time I went to Colonia Diaz she handed me a letter addressed to Miss Galbraith. When I got to Colonia Diaz to Mrs. Henny's[Haynie's] place where I stayed, Miss Galbraith came in and I said to her, "By the way I have a letter for you," I handed it to her, she read it, and began crying and handed the letter to Sister Henny[Haynie]. Sister Henny [Haynie] was also in tears and handed the letter to me. There was a time of rejoicing between the three of us, the letter said:
"My Dear Miss Jane Galbraith,
My husband has spoken to me about you joining our family and I assure you that you'll be made perfectly welcome to be a member of our family."
So after several months passed, President John Henry Smith and Apostle Heber J. Grant came to Colonia Juárez. I spoke to President Anthony Woodward Ivins about the matter of my having the privilege of marrying Miss Galbraith according to the promise made to me by Apostle George Teasdale before living in Mexico. I had this promise fulfilled and was married to Miss Galbraith .
When I returned home from Colonia Diaz I left her at home at Colonia Diaz.
When I arrived home at Colonia Juárez my wife Mattie asked, "Why didn't you bring Jane home with you?" I said, "What do you know about Jane?" And she replied, "I know that you were married to her because I saw you both together and it is alright, only you should have brought her home."
1901 Mattie Picks Another Wife For Orson Bessie MacDonald and Her Two Daughters Join the Family
Another evidence of the inspiration to the Lord concerning this matter. About five years later, discussing this matter of plural marriage, my wife Mattie said to me. I believe that you ought to get another wife and there is Bessie MacDonald. I believe that she would make a fine wife to you and a fine addition to our family. We kneeled down to pray about it. The next morning not having had any previous social contact with Bessie MacDonald, I said to my wife Mattie, "Well, I don't hardly know her not withstanding I think that she is a wonderful and very fine woman"
So I went down to her father's home where she was staying with her Aunt Fanny. I said to Aunt Fanny, "Where is Bessie?" She is down in the garden with her father." So Aunt Fanny called Bessie in and told her there was a man there to see her. I sat down and talked to her, my object of being there, saying, "My wife Mattie and I, after consultation, have decided to enlarge upon our family and we had decided upon asking her to join our family group." She said, "This is a surprise to me, I hardly know you." I asked her if she would consider the matter and then I said, "I will be back here to see you at 6 o'clock this evening." I then went and discussed the matter with my wife Jane and she was perfectly willing also.
When I returned to the MacDonald home that evening and discussed the matter with Bessie MacDonald she said, "I have discussed this matter with my father and I have prayed about it to the Lord and I am willing to accept your proposition." And the next night at ten o'clock in the presence of my wife Mattie, we were sealed together by one having the authority [on January 15, 1901].
1901 Orson to Preside Over Colonia Morelos
I had been called to preside over the new colony at Colonia Morelos, Sonora a few days later by President Anthony Woodward Ivins and Helaman Pratt. I took Bessie MacDonald and her two little girls, Elsy and Margarite, who were five and three years old. I was installed as Bishop at Colonia Morelos. This was in February 1901. And in July 3, 1902 I had a very extraordinary experience.
True to the manifestation made to me at that time of the first of January 1902 after a special meeting of the High Council President A. W. Ivins took my arm and we walked over in front of my house. He said, "Orson I can't think of Colonial Morelos without thinking of it in connection with you. And I feel that it is the will of the Lord that you go over there and preside over that colony. There are bandits and thieves molesting the people and there aren't any of them who speak the Spanish language. They need you very badly I know from what you have told me of your plans that it will break you up financially. I said to him, "If it is there the Lord wants me, it is there I want to be."
We separated, he going to his home and I going to mine. I said to my wife Mattie, "Here is the call of the Lord, and she asked, "What are you going to do about it?"
"Why," I said, "I'm going, of course." We prayed about it and the next morning before daylight I was up to President Ivins home and I found that he was up. He said, "Orson, I was expecting you."
He repeated again, "Orson, I know this will break you up financially but I know the Lord will bless you for accepting this call." I answered, "I am no better than you are. You were disappointed in your political aspirations and was broken up to come down here."
He and President Pratt and myself went over to Morelos and I was installed as Bishop. I saw the financial condition of the people. I first sold a bunch of steers for 7,800 pesos and went back to Casas Grandes and bought wheat, barley, considerable flour and took also a herd of cattle and went back to Morelos and furnished the people who were without flour and meat. Later I sold another herd of cattle for 24,800 pesos and bought a small grist mill, threshing machine, mower, header, and other tools, planes, pumps, etc. that were necessary and took them to Morelos. Next I bought 8000 pesos worth of merchandise and opened a store and put Brother Jameson in charge of it. Next we planted wheat and barley. Soon however, the two rivers that came together below Morelos dried up and we had no water with which to irrigate. We were rather in a distressing condition. Brother George Teasdale and his wife came to visit us and I explained the situation to him. Next morning being Sunday I asked Brother Charles Lillywhite, Superintendent of Sunday School to line up the children and the other Sunday School members in their classes in to files on each side of the entrance to the little school house and as Apostle Teasdale and his wife and my counselors and myself came up to begin singing the hymn, "In our Lovely Deseret where the Saints of God have me." And as we walked down through the two files of Sunday School children and into the improvised church building, everyone took his seat except Apostle Teasdale. He raised his eyes to the heavens and thus he spoke, "I have heard thy supplications and prayers and I say unto you that your crops will mature; that you will have plenty for yourselves and for your neighbors. And if you will be united this will be a land of peace and plenty unto your and if you will serve me and keep my commandments my blessings will be constantly with you. But if you allow the spirit of the adversary to come among you and divide you this will no longer be a land of peace and plenty unto you."
It was the voice of our Heavenly Father speaking through his Prophet Apostle Teasdale. And I have never before or since heard any man speak with such power as did Apostle Teasdale on this occasion. As time went on we got no water, we got no rain. Notwithstanding every morning on the head of the barley and the wheat there would be heavy dew. Some of the brethren came to me and said, "Bishop, we think we ought to cut the grain and get some food out of it as it will never mature. And I answered, "Oh ye, of little faith, the Lord through his prophet said that the grain would mature and that we would have plenty for ourselves and to spare for our neighbors."
And so it was. We had an abundant harvest, plenty for our sustenance and seed for another year and sold 10,000 pesos worth of flour and barley to our neighbors. And this was the word of the Lord through his prophet Apostle Teasdale fulfilled.
July 3, 1902
A MIRACULOUS HEALING
by Joel H. Martineau
The wonderful healing (July 3, 1902) of Bishop Orson Pratt Brown is without parallel in modern times. He was Bishop of Colonia Morelos in Sonora, Mexico. The ward was building a tithing granary and he, with three companions, were pulling up some heavy green timbers to lay across the building for beams to carry the roof of dirt. The scaffold gave way and all fell to the ground. I will give Bishop Brown's own words that followed:
"I fell fourteen feet head-first and as my head struck the ground, a log weighing about five hundred pounds struck me on the hips. My neck was broken, also my right shoulder and elbow, and this log crushed my skull. While I was under this log the impression came to me strongly that I would not die from these injuries. Pablo Sosa removed the log from my body. He straightened up my body and put me on one of the logs. I was conscious of the conditions and asked him to raise my head, which he did. The brethren carried me to the house and administered to me and I told them to not fear, for notwithstanding my critical condition I had a strong impression that I would not die from these injuries.
"They immediately sent for Dr. Keate, who was at a mining camp and he came four days later. On examining my neck, skull, and shoulder, he said my neck was broken and he feared if he tried to adjust the joints under present conditions it might cause my death. So I remained thus, with two joints of my neck out of place till the present time.
"My shoulder and elbow were adjusted and my skull seemed to have only been creaked. While I was suffering in these conditions I found in my right arm the severest pain that I ever have experienced and it was continued for twenty-four hours until I was left without any physical strength because of the severe pain. It seemed that I could get no relief and that my life was fast ebbing away and in my agency I cried out to the Lord and asked Him to relieve this suffering or take me to Himself. In that instant there came a voice to me.
"I heard, 'My son, if you cannot suffer the things your father suffered, you cannot come where I am. You must suffer without murmuring.' I knew that this was the voice of my earthly father, Captain James Brown (1801-1863), and that he was standing by my side. With this knowledge of my father being at my side and pleading for me and sympathizing for me, tears came into my eyes.
"I said, 'Oh Father! Forgive me for murmuring and help me to realize and feel the spirit of repentance and relieve me of this suffering by letting thy blessings come to me. And for this knowledge and testimony and the understanding that my earthly father is here with me, I would be willing that my body be torn to pieces or any other suffering thou seest fit to send me.'
"Immediately I was relieved of all suffering and pain and a blessing came to me that it is impossible to express in words for the spirit of the Lord was there to the extend that I could not express myself further.
"About three days later I had another experience. My left side was paralyzed, I had no feeling in my left side and no sight in my left eye. I was bolstered up in a large high-backed rocking chair and my head was tied to its back. By some means I must have slipped down and gone to sleep, my head fell forward and I became unconscious for the first time during all this time of suffering. The brother attending me immediately grabbed my head and he drew it back and tied it up again. When I became conscious again I was so weak that it took several hours for me to be able to speak. It seemed my life was ebbing away and after some twelve or fifteen hours in this distressing, weakened condition, my wife Bessie McDonald Brown, came to me. She said, ' Orson, shall I send for the Elders?' I told her yes and she sent for Patriarch Jameson, Charles Lillywhite, and George Bunker. It was in the very early morning just at daylight and as they came in Brother Jameson spoke. He said, 'Orson, what shall we do?'
"I whispered to him to kneel down in a circle and each pray for my relief, and they knelt down and in turn prayed for me and they arose and came forward and Brother Lillywhite anointed me with consecrated oil. Brother Jameson was mouth in the confirmation and before they had taken their hands from my head, I felt life come into my left side, which had been paralyzed and dead. Strength came to me and I was healed and the power of the Lord was so great in that room, though humble, that no one could speak for a long time. When I recovered I praised the Lord for His blessings that had come to me and we all rejoiced in the great manifestation of the spirit and power of the Lord as I rose up from the chair, loosened the bandages from my head, and spoke: 'I am healed.'
"I immediately asked for some nourishment. Later I asked for more nourishment and in the evening of that day, I took a cane and walked four blocks and did not feel a particle of pain in any part of my body. From that time my strength rapidly grew until I was able in three weeks time to get into a buggy and came to Juárez to conference over a very rough road, over 100 miles. A miracle had been wrought and, as Dr. Keate wrote in The Scientific Medical Journal, my case was one in a million that I should live under these conditions." And then on the second day of September 1902 I was blessed with the privilege of marrying Eliza Skousen and taking her back to Colonia Morelos, Sonora.
1903 [July 1903] VISION OF A GREAT FLOOD
I was crossing the Babispee River at Colonia Morelos and as I got into the middle of the stream and while my horse was drinking water I had a wonderful vision.
I saw a great flood of water coming down the riverbed which was about a half mile wide at this point. The water overflowed the banks and swept everything before it. The Lillywhite brothers, Charles and Morris, were building two small brick houses on the south side of the valley near a wide embankment. I saw that their rock foundation and that their wives, having married sisters, escaped up this high embankment and when I got over to where the Lillywhite brothers were building these houses I told them what I had seen in the vision. They both smiled and said they thought that I had a wonderful imagination. I advised the people of the Colony not to build any more homes on the low lands or in the way of the flood.
I preached in the church at least three times at the stand. This vision was in the month of July 1903 and in February 1905 the flood came just as I had seen it. Washing everything before it. Almost destroying Colonia Oaxaca twenty miles up the river from Colonia Morelos.
FURTHER EVIDENCE OF A FLOOD, SAVED FROM LIGHTENING
I was riding down a big wash know as the Caballero Wash in the month of July. A thunderstorm came up and it began to thunder and lightening and rain. I was on horseback, I rode fast to get under a big walnut tree when a voice came to me and said, "Get out from under that tree or you will be killed as Bishop Smoot (Scootr(sp)) was killed the year before in the same month. While Bishop Smoot was riding down on the bank above Colonia Oaxaca a thunderstorm came up and he got down off from his horse, and got under a tree. Lightening struck the tree, and came down and struck him and as he had the reins of the bridle in his hands lightening also killed his horse. They were both found dead the next morning.
When I heard this voice I took three steps away from the tree when the lightening struck to the bottom of the tree. I was full of electricity and my horse fell to the ground. When he got up he was trembling all over.
Because of listening to the warning of the voice of the Lord my life was saved.
Another most wonderful experience, in a vision I was standing on the banks of a beautiful river Bavispe (pronounced bah-VEES-pe), near Colonia Morelos. To the southwest was coming a terrible storm. Great black clouds were rolling as if they were going to destroy everything before them. It seemed as if a number of people were standing there with me and they began to run as they were frightened. I thought to myself, I can't outrun this terrible storm that is coming and I stopped there with amazement. The black clouds opened and a beautiful white cloud came out of the opening and out of the white cloud walked a man in a white robe. He had a small white beard and his hair hung down to his shoulder. He kneeled down on one knee and twelve little girls apparently eight or ten years old, circled around him like a scroll.
Then he stood up and said to me, "Unless you can become as these little ones here, you can't come into my father's kingdom."
And I knew that it was Jesus Christ, the Savior. There they all disappeared, going back into this beautiful white cloud.
The impression left with me was that I must be humble and clean like those little girls who were all dressed in white and they all had light white hair.
A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing
There came to Colonia Morelos a wolf in sheep's clothing in the form of a man by the name of George Noble. He began to sow the seeds of dissention among the people. Nearly one-third of the people joined him in a petition to have me released as the Bishop of Colonia Morelos. After deceiving the people and getting them to put up some money for him he fixed up a cart. Got a horse from one of the brethren, stating that he was going to Douglas, Arizona to arrange for money to help them build a dam to store water for irrigation purposes. But instead of going to Douglas he went to Deming , New Mexico, crossing the international line at the San Bernardino Ranch about 20 miles from Deming. He stopped at the little ranch, unhitched his horse, and then when he went to hitch him up to continue his journey the horse kicked him and broke his leg. Some people came along and took him to Deming and from there he went to El Paso, Texas. From there to Salt Lake City, where he died after three days.
Because of these circumstances and the people of the Colony not being united as they had been it worried me considerably and I wondered how much I was to blame. I sought the Lord in earnest prayer for many, many days and months I could get no answer as to how much I was responsible for the conditions. After more than a year had passed I found myself still inquiring of the Lord supplicating him to answer my prayers. Finally I remembered an incident that passed and was told to me by Apostle Owen Woodruff. He said that he desired to know the will of the Lord concerning a matter of importance to him. Then one day while he was preaching to the people at Snowflake, Arizona
the matter he had been praying about came into his mind. The spirit of the Lord said to him, "Why don't you ask the patriarch?"
And he said that immediately upon the dismissal of the meeting he went down into the congregation and took Patriarch Hatch by the arm and took him out back of the meetinghouse. They sat on a pine stump and he said to Patriarch Hatch, "The spirit of the Lord has directed me to ask you to answer my prayers. He said that Patriarch Hatch put his hands on his head and answered his prayers to his satisfaction.
All this came to me while I was praying in the evening. I thought to ask Patriarch Skousen, the father of my wife Eliza, to answer my prayer. I got up very early the next morning as usual and made my rounds visiting the families and Patriarch Skousen. I sat down at the table and were eating our breakfast and as I was leaving that morning for Douglas, Arizona I finished eating before he did. I had not mentioned this matter to him, and in fact it had slipped my mind. As I started to get up from the table he put his hand over mine and said, "Brother Orson, wait a minute, the Lord has a blessing for you." When he had finished breakfast he got up and put his hands on my head and instead of giving me a patriarchal blessing, he answered my prayers. He said, "The Lord has heard your many prayers and supplications and through this my servant Patriarch I say unto you that your labors and sacrifices have been acceptable unto me. In no way whatsoever do I hold you responsible for the adverse conditions that have existed in this colony, and bless you with this spirit of love, in the which you have been devoted."
This assurance to me gave me great strength to continue in the work of the Lord.
Another Incident … around the 1890's ...Moses Thatcher "resting his strength upon his own arm of flesh"
postle Brigham Young, Jr. came to Juárez to a General Conference of Juárez Stake. Ex-apostle Moses Thatcher, his brother-in-law, Aaron Farr, and a man by the name of Standing also came with Brother Young. During the morning session Apostle Brigham Young Jr. arose and said, "There are those here in this building who will not like what I am going to say and now I will give them an opportunity to retire from the building." And he stood without speaking for a few minutes. His words threw a cold wave over the whole congregation for without doubt it was Apostle Brigham Young Jr. speaking without the spirit of the Lord. Moses Thatcher and his two companions were sitting at the back of the stage but they made no move to retire. When Brigham Young Jr. resumed speaking he manifested that the spirit of the Lord was with him. And in humility and thanksgiving he bore one of the most wonderful testimonies and related many of the manifestations of the goodness of the Lord to him in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
At the dismissal of the meeting Brother Moses Thatcher and his two companions accompanied me to my home for dinner. After we were seated I said to Brother Thatcher, "There's something very strange. You have always sat at the front and we have always looked to you as one of the greatest leaders of Zion. I am not unmindful of the wonderful promises made to me when you set me apart in Pima, Arizona for the mission for coming to Mexico. When I said I enjoyed the outpourings of the spirit in the testimony of Brigham Young Jr. but there is something about all this I can't understand."
Then Brother Thatcher answered, "I too, enjoyed the testimony of Brother Brigham Young Jr., and I too have a great manifestation from the Lord Jesus Christ." He continued, "When my brethren of the authorities of the Church are persecuting me I went into my secret closet and in humble prayer sought the Lord and said unto him, "Oh Thou my Father in Heaven, in the
name of Jesus Christ why is it that Thou hast allowed my brethren who preside over me to persecute me the way they are doing? And the voice of the Lord came unto me and said, "Oh thou my servant Moses, why doest thou depend upon the arm of flesh?"
Then Brother Moses said, "My cause will yet be hailed from the housetops throughout all Zion."
And he spoke with the spirit of defiance and not humility. Then there came to me a great testimony that Brother Thatcher had been resting his strength upon his own arm of flesh and upon those of his evil advisors. For he said then, "How could I submit to their arbitrary rules after the Lord Jesus Christ had thus spoken to me?"
And I answered, "Brother Moses, I can't understand how you misinterpreted the voice of the Lord that spoke to you telling you in plain language that you were resting your strength upon your own wisdom and upon your own arm of flesh."
To me this was a most momentous occasion for I had learned to love and honor Brother Thatcher. Now the testimony that had come to me with regard to him was satisfactory; that it was he who was wrong and not his brethren who presided over him. And notwithstanding this testimony it grieved me very much that a man whom I had learned t love was in rebellion against the prophets of the Lord and by his actions had been disfellowshipped from the Church. And it grieves me now to think of it.
At a later conference Apostle Heber J. Grant came to Colonia Juárez and it was he who made the first statement with regard to Moses Thatcher and the fact that he had been cut off from the Church and it caused a feeling of mourning at what he said. He related how he and Moses Thatcher had been bosom companions and how at the quorum meetings he would second the propositions advanced by Brother Thatcher not realizing to the fullest extent what he was doing. He said they had been inn a council meeting. Brother Thatcher had opposed advice given by one of the Brother Apostles that was almost unanimously accepted. He and Brother Thatcher opposed it so vigorously that the other members of the quorum couldn't
sustain their opposition and so the question was suspended until another meeting. Then he said he and Brother Thatcher came out of the Temple arm in arm. Brother Moses Thatcher said in a loud voice, "Well, we showed those old fogies where to head in again." Meaning the other members of the Twelve Apostles.
Heber J. Grant went on to say, Apostle Erastus Snow caught up with us, slapped us both on the shoulders and as we turned around he said, "Unless you young men cease coming into the council of the Twelve Apostles and the President of the Church with your minds made up as to what you are going to do and are not willing to allow the spirit of the Lord to direct and counsel in those meetings you will apostatize and go to hell."
As they walked along Moses Thatcher said, "Well Heber, you again hear the predictions of a father-in-law had made upon our heads."
Heber J. Grant replied, "I don't know Moses, but I believe Brother Snow is right."
Apostle Grant continued by saying, "I know Brother Snow was right and from then on I avoided the company of Moses Thatcher. This showed the haughtiness and lack of humility of Moses Thatcher."
1893 or 1895 Orson Witnesses the Healing Faith of President Karl G. Maeser
"I am reminded of a trip I made to Colonia Diaz. President Ivins asked me to go there, and bring back to Colonia Juárez, President Karl G. Maeser [1828-1901], of the Brigham Young University at Provo, Utah. Brother Maeser was about 65-70 years of age.
When we arrived at the head of the Casas Grandes River we got out of the buggy, unhitched the team, watered and fed them. Then got out our lunch and Brother Maeser, very much excited exclaimed, Brudder Brown, I have left my catheter at Brother Johnson's house. I haven't been able to urinate in 10 years without it. I don't know what to do."
I answered, "We'll return if you wish but you won't be able to keep your appointment in Colonia Juárez tonight if you go back." He looked very pale and I felt very sorry for him. He was suffering very much. We had stopped under a big cottonwood tree. He stepped around the tree and knelt down and said, "Father in Heaven forgive me for not having faith in thee. I pray thee Father to relieve me. I am on your mission, doing your work. I must be in Colonia Juárez to keep my appointment with your servants. Help me and heal me. I have left der instrument in Colonia Diaz at Brudder Johnson's." He got up on his feet and immediately was relieved. And then in tears and humility he said to me, "Oh Brudder Brown, how thankful I am to the Lord for his blessing to me for I am healed."
Before we got to Juárez he got out of the buggy and was relieved again. He remained at Colonia Juárez two or three days and it was my privilege to take him back to Colonia Diaz and on to Deming, New Mexico. He never needed his instrument again. He related many instances wherein the Lord had blessed him and it was a great privilege to associate with such a grand, humble servant of the Lord."
March 1896 [this must have occurred after 1901]
While President Joseph H. Smith and Apostle Heber J. Grant were visiting at my home in Colonia Juárez, Mexico, a discussion of the colonists of Mexico was precipitated by President Smith in the which he said, "Heber, the people of these colonies are the salt of the Church. The salt of the world. The fact that they have left their comfortable homes of the north and have come down to these desert wastes to be able to live the higher law of the gospel of plural marriage marks them, as I have said before, "the salt of the earth.""
And the Apostle Grant replied saying, "Brother John, I believe you are correct. I have the same impression with regard to the people living here in these colonies." Apostle Grant further said, "My constant prayer is that I will be able to live in such a manner that I will be worthy of any calling the Lord sees fit to call me to." It was then revealed to me by the spirit of the Lord that Apostle Heber J. Grant would be the next President of the Church.
Next morning I went over to President Ivins home and I said, "President Ivins, Brother Heber is going to be the next President of the Church." And he answered, "that's almost impossible, at least it's very improbable because there are four members of the apostles ahead of him: Joseph Fielding Smith, Brigham Young Jr., Amasa Lyman, and John Henry Smith. These men are all strong vigorous meanwhile Heber is in very delicate health." And I replied, ""It doesn't matter, even the state of Brother Heber's health at present because the spirit of the Lord has revealed it unto me." He then answered, "Well, we'll wait and see, I don't believe it."
And later [after 1919] when Apostle Grant was made President of the Church I went to Brother Ivins, who was now an Apostle, and reminded him of this fact and he said, "Well, Orson, that's one time you were right and I was wrong."
c.1895 While Tracking Stolen Cattle Orson Becomes An U.S. Customs Officer, a Deputy in Deming, Captain of Rurales Police, and an Officer of the ISGPA
I received a telegram at Ciudad Juárez from our bankers, Kottleson and Degatian (Ketelson and Degeteau) , at El Paso to come out immediately as there seemed a discrepancy in our bank account. In particular with E.L. Taylor's buying and selling of cattle. Brother Taylor had gone out to Deming, New Mexico, enroute to Conference in Salt Lake City. I went to El Paso, wired him at Deming and received return wire to come immediately to Deming. On arrival he said that cattle thieves were not only stealing our cattle but cattle belonging to other Colonia Diaz residents.
I went to Chief of Customs at El Paso, Mr---- and told him undoubtedly they were smuggling those stolen cattle across the border into the U.S.A. There was no fence along the international line between Mexico and the U.S. Cattle drifted from one side to the other. The Chief of Customs made me a U.S. Customs Officer, wrote a letter to Mr. Jack Kyle, his man in charge at Deming. I went to Deming and my partner Taylor said that he had information that cattle had been stolen and brought to the U.S. I went to the sheriff of the county and he deputized me and I hired two gunmen and we started out.
In ten days we had six American cattle thieves behind bars. As we couldn't do a thing to them for stealing cattle in Mexico we applied the law of smuggling cattle without paying duty to the U.S. government. One bad man in particular with the alias of John Hall, had six notches on his six shooter saying he had killed six men along the Texas-Mexican border. He sent me word that if I didn't go back across the border and stay there he would leave my carcass on the desert for the buzzards to pick. I immediately offered $100,000 reward for information leading to his whereabouts. We had suspected that a man by the name of Tom Word had been buying stolen cattle from Mexico. We learned that he had written a letter and sent it to his ranch with a boy. We overtook the boy, took the letter
and found that Hall would be staying that night at an old deserted fort east of Deming about 20 miles. We arrived there just before daylight. The guide and myself stayed on the outside while the other three of our party went inside to get breakfast. I had given the guide with me my pistol, foolishly going into the house without a gun. I was sitting with my back to the door when I heard a horse coming. The guide shouted, "My God, it's John Hall. I said, "Give me my pistol," he was frozen with fear, couldn't move. I turned my chair around, jumped up just as John Hall stepped into the room pulling his pistol. I grabbed his gun twisted it from his hand and stepping back shouted, "Put'em up you son of a bitch."
Then the other three men came running down. We took him to where other ranchers had stolen cattle and I left John Kyle about a quarter of a mile from a ranch guarding Hall. No one was at the ranch when we arrived. After about two hours two ranchers came and with them was a Kansas City stock buyer. We'd left our guide with our horses down in the creek. One man was at the corner of the house. One man behind the chicken coop and I was in the doorway as these men rode up. I stepped out with a double -barreled shot gun and had the boys come out and disarm them. The man from Kansas City was so scared and smelled so strong that we had to get him a clean pair of pants. These ranchers by the name of Shaw and Eddie, were partners. Next morning we took them down to Deming, together with Hall and they said that they had bought the cattle from Hall and a man named Gurelle and that they had helped to bring the cattle from Mexico to the U.S.
The U.S. attorney made a case against all of them for smuggling stolen cattle from Mexico. Gurelle (sp) had turned states evidence. I then went to Chihuahua and laid the matter before Governor Ahumada. He authorized me to act for the State Government and made me Captain of Rurales Police for that district. I came back to Deming and got together all the prominent stockmen along the border, both from the Mexican and the American side and we organized the International
Stock Growers Protective Association. Lu Brown, President of the Bank of Deming and also President of a big cattle company of New Mexico was made President of this new organization. He was authorized and instructed to run down and bring to justice the cattle thieves on both sides of the border. He named me his officer. While I was there Apostle Teasdale came out from SLC and when I explained the situation to him he blessed me and set me apart to defend not only the interests of the Association but the interests of the colonists in general against bandits and thieves. He promised me that if I would serve the Lord and keep his commandments I would be protected against all such kinds of people. In performance of my duty I always depended upon that blessing and promise.
There had been a gang of men headed by one Israel King, attorney by profession, and who had bought a large tract of land near Deming on the Members(sp) River, nine-tenths dry. With maps and charts King showed that steam ships run up the Rio Grand on up the Members River to a town by that name. Going east he sold this interest out to people there for about $150,000. With this money he went into the cattle business on both side of the border. When I met him he said, "I have a bunch of gun men and we will take what we want and where and when we want it. And they started in with that kind of game. They bought a big herd of cattle at Palomas and as they had no permit from Mexican authorities to pass them over the line a Mexican lieutenant with 25 Federal soldiers stopped the cattle and the men. King's foreman, Henry Coleman, a gunman and a killer, called the lieutenant aside and pulling his pistol told him to tell his men to let the cattle pass or he would be killed. Coleman took the lieutenant and the cattle across into the U.S. Later we had evidence that part of these cattle were stolen. We also learned that King, Coleman and three other of their men had started a roundup crossing the border at a place away from the customs house. I took three of my men and went to the site of their operations. They weren't there but when
they came into camp we arrested them and took five of them to jail at Ciudad Juárez. Here they were taken care of for a while.
I received information that some of these stolen cattle were taken to north-eastern New Mexico. Ted Houghten who was superintendent of Corrolitos Cattle Company in Mexico accompanied me to a railroad station named Wagon Mound and here the stolen cattle were being rounded up and shipped into Indian Territory. We cut out some of the stolen cattle, killed four or five of them, skinned them and shipped the hides to El Paso, Texas as evidence against these thieves.
While we were here in New Mexico King got out of jail on $10,000 peso bond. Houghten received word that King would be on the afternoon passenger train. He said to me, "Be careful for I’m afraid there will be a killing." I asked, "What do you mean?"
Tom answered, "King is a killer and you want to watch out."
"I replied, "Well, if there is going to be anybody killed it will be the other fellow for I’m not going t take any chances."
So as King got off the train he was met by the man he had sold the cattle to with two other armed men and Houghten, King asked, "Where is Mr. Brown?"
"There he is standing by the water tank," they answered.
He came running toward me. I put my right hand on my pistol and awaited his coming, watching him very closely. As he came up to me he extended his right hand to shake hands with me. I stuck out my left hand and he asked, "Mr. Brown why do you do that?"
I answered, "I'm taking no chances with cattle thieves and murderers."
Then he exclaimed, "For God's sake don't put me in the penitentiary with my wife in the poor house and my daughter in the orphanage."
I said to him, "King, you are a member of the International Stock Growers Protective Association and know what my instructions are from the President and Manager of the Company.
Houghten went east to Kansas to look up more of our stolen cattle. Previous to going east King and his attorney came to me in El Paso and asked, "Brown, do you know who I am?"
I replied, "No." The attorney
continued, "We are Free Masons, if you continue to prosecute Mr. King you will suffer the consequences at the had of Free Masonry."
I said to him, " I know a lot of Free Masons and I know them to be gentlemen. You may be outlaw Free Masons and think you can intimidate me but if ever you cross the border into Mexico again I'll put you behind the bars with the rest of them."
Henry Coleman was a brother of a U.S. Senator and when he was sentenced to three years in a Mexican penitentiary they tried influence to get him out of jail.
A while later, a companion of Coleman's, John Cox had been to Juárez to arrange to get Henry Coleman out of jail. They planned to throw a rope over the wall. This rope H. Coleman would tie around his body and Cox on a horse would put him up to the top of the wall. Coleman would then slip down onto the back of Cox's horse and with four other companions, each with two six shooters apiece were to drive off any guards and so escape.
But when Cox pulled Coleman half way up the wall the horse balked and sending Coleman down. A guard saw this and hit Coleman over the head, untied him, and took him to his cell and locked him up. Then the guard gave the alarm. It was a running fight across the Rio Grande River into the U.S. Then these men, including Cox, had come into Deming. Here they swore vengeance against "Mormon" Brown and that if ever I came back to Deming I would be served the same medicine as was served Colonel Fountain and his son who were murdered in the sand hills while they were traveling from Las Cruses to Carlsbad, New Mexico. Colonel Fountain was prosecuting attorney for two counties and had been after outlaws and thieves and they had murdered him and his son.
Tracking Cattle Thieves Closer to Home
I received word from home in Mexico that thieves were stealing my horses and cattle among which was three mares, colts and a very fine stallion. I took an Indian guide as tracker. We followed them up a canyon over a mountain, into another canyon. The wind was blowing very hard. We saw the mares and stallion grazing and smoke coming out of a cave in the side of the mountain. I dismounted, the Indian was afoot, he wouldn't ride a horse, we slipped up to the cave and there were three men eating a piece of calf they had killed and roasted. We held them up, brought them out, and tied their hand behind them and then tied them together. We then partook of the roast dinner. I went to sleep leaving the Indian to guard them in the cave and telling him to awaken me when the moon reached a certain point, which would be about midnight. When he finally awakened me it was coming daylight. We gave them breakfast and ate. I let the Indian drive the horses ahead while I followed the thieves making them walk to Casas Grandes.
As I was needed at home it was a month before I went out again. While home a runner brought a letter from Father Gurelle to whom I had sold a lot of sheep the year before. The letter stated that bandits had driven his sheep and the herder across the border into Texas. He asked me to come and take care of the matter. I rode horseback to Colonia Diaz. Father Gurelle want me to get them back and sell them and
said, "They have murdered one of my boys and the other is in jail and I have one to take care of them."
So I went to Palomas and arranged with Mexican officials to release the sheep and have them taken back toward Deming. While I was at Deming I shipped Father Gurelle's sheep to Kansas City and he received about $2,000. more for his sheep than they had cost him the year before. This was settled, a very disagreeable situation.
'Mormon Brown' Confronts John Cox in Deming
While in Palomas a Jew who owned a local store came down from Deming and looked me up to say, "Mr. Brown, where are you going?"
I answered, "I'm going to Deming from here."
He said, "No you aren't, they'll murder you as soon as you get there."
I took the mail stage to Deming. The wind was blowing hard. I put a Mexican hat on my head to disguise me somewhat. I got off the stage at the Deming Hotel and went up to my room. Then I went down to a furnishing store to see a Mr. Pullock. He exclaimed, "My God, Mr. Brown, what are you doing here?"
"I'm here on business," I answered, "and I want you to go to Sheriff Peters to tell him to come up to my hotel room.'
Peters came to my room saying, "My God, Mr. Brown, these men have the town and any time you go down on the street there'll be a killing and I don't want to be seen here with you at all for I want to live a little longer."
Then down the back steps of the hotel he went, as I replied, "Well, I'll see what I can do."
Before going he had outlined a plan by which I could escape. He said, "I'll go to the depot and arrange with the freight train that goes to El Paso at 10:00 this evening. A car will pick you up and take you to the freight yards. Wrap up in an Indian blanket, he cautioned. "Well, I'll see" I answered. He left.
I knelt down and prayed, telling the Lord that I was here in the interests of his people. And if it was his will that I should stay here and tend to it to give me the heart of a lion that I would not fear any
thing and to protect me in so doing. And if I should get away to put fear in my heart so that I would accept the suggestions of Sheriff Peters.
When I got off my knees I felt that with the help of the Lord I could whip the whole bunch. I put on my hat and walked down into the street. A man by the name of Jack Gibbons was standing on the corner. He had bought a mule, a horse and saddle from a Negro who had stolen them. As I came up to him I said, "Jack, you've got those stolen animals and you take care of them or I'll put you behind the bars."
A man came near and I asked him pointing to another, "Isn't that John Cox?"
He replied, "Yes, and you had better go, he'll kill you."
I answered, "You stay here as witness." And as Cox neared the center of the street I was within five steps of him and I called him. He whirled with his hand on his pistol; I had mine cocked and I asked him, "Is your name John Cox?"
And he replied, "Yes."
I answered, "Well, I'm 'Mormon Brown', and as you and your gang have said you'd better bury me when I came out here so I thought I'd better come out and be present at the funeral." He commenced shaking his hands above his head and yelling, "You damned coyote you."
I said, "Get your gun and get into action." Shaking all over he said, "No, no, no." I drove him into a store, had the men take off his gun and then I told him just what he was and further told him that if he or any of his gang made another crooked move we'd hang them right here. Three of the International Stockholders Assn. came in just then and one of them remarked, "We'll have to do as they do in Montana, hang him from a telephone pole.
I answered, "Here's one right here, let's hang him right now." Cox was scared nearly to death. One of the men, Shorty Rector, who had accompanied Cox to Ciudad Juárez to get Coleman out of jail came to me and said, "Mr. Brown, you befriended me one time and I've never forgotten it. And I'm not going to be mixed up with this bunch anymore, but if I were you I'd leave this country for they plan to murder you."
I answered, "Shorty, I appreciate your advice but whenever they open up on me I will get two of them for
one. I'm not afraid of them."
Outlaw Henry Coleman
Just before all this happened John Cox had been to Juarez to arrange to get Henry Coleman out of jail. They planned to throw a rope over the wall. This rope H. Coleman would tie around his body and Cox on a horse would pull him up to the top of the wall. Coleman would then slip down onto the back of Coxes horse and with four other companions each with two six shooters apiece were to drive off any guards and so escape. But when Cox pulled Coleman half way up the wall the horse balked and Coleman went down a guard saw this and hit Coleman over the head. Untied him took him to a cell and locked him up. Then he gave the alarm. It was a running fight across the Rio Grande River into the U.S. Then these men including Cox had come into Demming and here they swore vengeance against "Mormon" Brown and that if ever I came back to Demming I would be served the same medicine as was served Col Fountain and his son when they were murdered in the sand hills while they were traveling from Las Cruses to Carlsbad, New Mex. Col. Fountain as prosecuting attorney for two cunties had been after outlaws and thieves and they had murdered him and his son.
My first run-in with this Henry Coleman had been at Colonia Diaz. We were sleeping in the same room when a young woman came to the door and said, "Henry, Henry, my husband has a shot gun and is coming to kill you."
He answered, "I'll just step out and kill that old man."
I said, "You'll just step out of here, take your saddle, saddle up and get out. Any man that will monkey with another man's wife needs killing." I followed him out and saw that he got away. He hadn't been gone ten minutes when the outraged husband came with a shotgun to kill him.
Finally Henry Coleman got out of jail by paying the jailer a big fee. By this time he was so weak that a big Negro had to carry him out. Coleman then went to Deming, married a sporting girl, moved to Gallup, New Mexico, bought a ranch. Later he divorced this girl, married another New Mexico girl. The woman he divorced went back to this
ranch and it was reported that he murdered his ex-wife and the boy helper and just as Coleman was running away from the ranch another rancher whom Coleman regarded as an enemy came along. Coleman was afraid this man would testify against him so had two Mexican deputies arrest this rancher and while they were leading him away from his ranch Coleman shot him in the back. Because of the influence of Coleman's brother who was a U.S. Senator, he went free. Next he got into trouble with a Mexican rancher and killed him.
He came over to El Paso and into Mexico and down to Juárez. His brother was arranging to get him land south of Juárez and trying to get his cattle from New Mexico onto this land. A friend of Coleman's said to me one day, "Mr. Brown, what would happen if you should meet Coleman?
"I've seen him. I know where he is," I answered.
"Well, he wants to meet you and see what can be done about getting his cattle down here."
I saw Henry Coleman later and he told me he was going down into New Mexico to get his cattle. I replied, "Well, I'll say goodbye to you then, for those people have your number and will kill you on sight."
Why?" he asked me.
I answered, "Well, I'd do the same if I had papers for Henry Coleman. I'd shoot first and then read the papers.
"Well, that's a pretty bad reputation," he answered.
"That's what you are," I replied.
He went into New Mexico and his old friend John Cox and six other men all of the afraid of Coleman found out he was at his ranch and went out to lay for him. When he came along all seven fired at him but only one bullet hit him The bullet cut an artery in his leg. He jerked his pistol laid in the wash where he bled to death. Finally, one man dared to look over to see shy he didn't move and saw him lying there and shot him in the back of the neck. Then they walked over to where he lay. Later the doctor said he was dead before the second shot hit him. So ended the career of a bandit and a murderer and a thief.
Mormon Brown' Receives Rewarding Opportunity from Israel King
About this time Israel King was dying in Deming from pneumonia and had authorized a Mr. Sim Holstead act with the power of attorney
in selling his interests and settling up his affairs. Mr. Holstead came to me saying, "Mr. Brown, we have an offer of $2,000.00 for Mr. King's interests on this side of the line as well as the cattle over the border in Mexico. We can close the deal if we can get a guarantee from you that the purchaser will get protection in going into Mexico to get the cattle. We talked awhile and finally he said, "Why don't you buy this outfit, Mr. Brown?"
"Well," I answered, " If I should then they'd raise a howl that I had King on his back where he couldn't help himself."
He replied, "Your friends know you better and you don't care a damn about your enemies anyway, so let them how. Make us an offer. How much would you pay if you wouldn't pay $3,000.00?"
Finally I said, "You make out a bill of sale for the remnant of his cattle and horses on this side as well as in Mexico together with the Three C Ranch, including all equipment on the ranch such as wagons, buggies, harnesses, drilling machine, etc. and I'll give you $3,000 for it. $1,500.00 now and a note to be cashed at the bank in six months. That will be $1,000. more than you have offered to sell it for."
This was the month of October and there was a general round up of cattle all over this southwestern country of New Mexico. I collected and delivered at stockyards at Deming enough cattle in three weeks time to bring $2,400.00. I took 50 head of fine cows, 3 bulls, 20 calves, 2 buggies, 4 sets of harnesses, a wagon, a drilling machine, and a lot of tools down into Mexico. I sold the ranch for another $1,000.00. By the end of the year had collected enough cattle in Mexico to bring another $2,000.00. All this helping to pay for the cattle they had stolen from us.
Mr. King died and his widow sold their home and returned to Illinois. Before she left Deming she sent her kind regards by Mr. Holstead thanking me for my liberality in purchasing their outfit. I got two of the …King outfit released from jail at Juarez and sent home because…so young.
Just before I had sold out the Three C Ranch I was down at the stock pens at Deming when John Cox and a murdering companion came there. It was six o'clock in the morning. I thought they had come to clean me up as they had threatened to do so many times, but they began talking to the corral man. I* was taking no chances, I pulled my pistol and moved behind a post. They saw I was ready for them so they moved on. I asked the corral man where they were going. He answered, "They are going to the Three C Ranch for horses." Then realizing it was the Ranch I had bought he changed by saying, "No, they were going up into the North Country."
That was enough for me. I took the corral man by the shoulders and bought him a few drinks and he began to talk. He admitted they were going after horses at the Three C Ranch. I went over to the livery stable and had Gibbons saddle my horse. While I went after my Winchester rifle and my double-barreled shotgun and with the six-shooter I always carried I got my horse and mule and started for Three C Ranch. About half way there I saw two men driving horses towards me. I stopped behind a big mesquite tree beside the road. As the horses came by they shied from me. The men reached for their pistols as I yelled, "Hold up your right hand and with your left unbuckle your cartridge belt and let it and your guns fall."
They were surprised and scared plenty and did as I told them. "Now ride forward a little, get off your horses and get out in front there." I said to Cox, 'I told you that if ever I caught you at this business again I'd kill you and that's just what I should no now. You are murdering thieves," just then two boys came riding from Deming hunting jack rabbits. I knew the boys and as they rode up one called, "Why what's the matter Mr. Brown?"
I answered, "I was just going to kill these thieves when you boys came, Now go unsaddle the horses they were riding and saddle their own and turn the rest of the horses back towards the ranch."
Then I said, "Take all the cartridges they've got, put them in this nose bag I have here and give them their rifles
and pistols. Then I turned to Cox and said, "These boys saved your lives, I was going to kill you and dump your bodies in that well over there. Now hit out and if ever you so much as turn around once I'll let you have it."
I hired the oldest of the two boys to go with me to the ranch and with two other men from the ranch we rounded up the cattle and horses and drove them into Mexico.
(Papa explained to me that in the many times he was at the point of justifiably killing some of the thieves' something always interfered and so he was prevented from committing murder. He felt that it was the hand of the Lord protecting and watching over him. G.B.K.)
c.1892 Kosterlitzsky and Williams Set Embargo on Colonists Land Holdings in Oaxaca
Relative to the early colonization of the Oaxaco Colony (pronounced oh haw ka). This colonization scheme was promoted by George C. Williams (a man who had apostatized from the church). A number of the brethren with their families went over to Oaxaca and began the colonization of a large tract of land. They were under contract with Williams and had paid some $20,000.00 pesos, and he in the contract had agreed to make title to them for their holdings. But as he had not made full payment to a one Colonel Kosterlitzsky (a Polish Russian) from who he had made purchase of this Oaxaca land therefore he had no title to this land and consequently could not give one to the colonists. Finally, Kosterlitzsky and Williams entered into an agreement. They made a scheme by which they could make the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints pay the balance of about $30,000.00 pesos to Kosterlitzsky by getting an embargo on the interests of G. C. Williams in the Federal Count at Montezuma, the head of the district and making it apply to the colonies.
Bishop Scott, who was then presiding over the colony sent a runner to President Anthony W. Ivins at Colonia Juárez, stating in the communication that Colonel Kosterlitzsky and his rural police were on their way to Colonial Oaxaca to embargo all of the interest of the colonists and he aked Brother Ivins to come immediately. President Ivins was having an appointment at Mexico City called me and said, "Orson, I would like you to go over to Colonial Oaxaca and untangle this difficulty. I immediately saddled my horse and covered the 150 miles by evening of the second day. The brethren were very much excited and did not know what to do. The next day Colonel Kosterlitzsky with 25 of his men and the President and Judge of Bavispe (pronounced Va vi spe), arrived about 10:00 in the morning. He sent word that he wanted to see all the men of the Colony. We met in the Little Schoolhouse and Colonel Kosterlitzsky, a tall military figure, arose and in his authoritative manner said, "I have come here with an embargo from the Federal Court on all your properties, your cattle, horses, wagons, household goods, agricultural equipment, every thing you have. And I state to you that I shall leave all of your interest here in the
hands of the judge and will leave also ten of my soldiers to see that my orders are enforced until you pay $30,000 pesos which is the balance due on the Oaxaca purchase. Bishop Scott had notified him that I was their representative. He turned t me and asked, "Do you understand this embargo?"
I answered, "No, I don't understand this embargo. These people have no contract with you whatsoever. Let's hear the contents of the embargo." He ordered the judge to read the embargo. And when the judge finished reading the embargo which was on all the interests of G.C. Williams in favor of Amelia Kosterlitzsky I arose and in a defying manner said, "Apply the embargo where it belongs and don't you try to apply it on the interests of these people for we won't stand for it."
He jumped up cursing and said to the judge, "Vamanos! Vamanos! as he went out of the door where two of his police were guarding I said to the brethren who where pretty much excited, "He's made his bluff and we have called it, and if needs be we'll protect these interests with force of arms!"
I then went to the house of G.C. Williams and knocked on the door. Sister Williams opened the door and I asked, "Is the Colonel and Brother Williams in?" She answered they were in that room, pointing to the door. I heard Williams going out the back door not wanting to confront me. As I entered Kosterlitzsky with an oath exclaimed, "You've raised hell with me."
"Well Colonel", I said, "you've barked up the wrong tree when you and Williams concocted this scheme to make the Church come to the rescue of G.C. Williams."
A few months later President Ivins received communication from Colonel Kosterlitzsky telling him the balance due on the Oaxaca purchase was due his superior officer and that if Mr. Ivins would come to Magdalena, Sonora, Mexico, where he was living they would be glad to take a discount and fix up the matter of the title. President Ivins asked Bishop Scott and me to accompany him to Magdalena. Here President Ivins made the deal with the superior officer, receiving title for the Oaxaca property and as I remember it was settled for $15,000 pesos instead of for $30,000
pesos. So was settled a very vexatious and disagreeable matter for the time being only.
c.1894 Like Bull Pups, You'd Rather Chew Bulldog Than Eat Venison."
Two or three years later Apostle J.W. Taylor, President Ivins, President Helaman Pratt and myself went over to Oaxaca to hold a ward conference and try to settle the difficulties which had arisen out of the purchase and colonization of this property. Upon arrival we called the brethren together in the evening and held forth until 2:00 o'clock (A.M.). This was a very disagreeable affair.
At 10:00 o'clock the next morning another meeting was held but with no favorable results. Then in the afternoon a general meeting was held in which Apostle J. W. Taylor said, "You people remind me of a couple of bull pups I have and which I think a lot of. I went to the market and bought a piece of venison and gave one piece to each pup. They began to growl at each other, dropped the venison and began to chew bulldog. A strange dog came along and ate the venison. You people are like these pups, you'd rather chew bull dog than eat venison.
We came here with the spirit of the Lord. I tell you in the name of Israel's God that unless you people repent of your selfishness and become united in your efforts in serving the Lord and keeping his commandments this will never be a land of peace unto you; and the elements will destroy these houses which should be homes and are not for the spirit of the Lord is not here with you. And there will not be any Latter-day Saints who will live here in this place. There will only be ranch houses for cowboys in this Oaxaca valley.
1905 Prophecy Fulfilled for Colonia Oaxaca
And verily so, today there is only a ranch house for cowboys and a mescal joint for making liquor. The great flood of 1903 washed away most of the houses, the canal, and the land. And now it is a place inhabited by one family of cowboys and several other families who are making mescal and here drunkenness and revelry abound fulfilling the prophecy made years ago by John W. Taylor.
In the first place this colony was established without the sanction of
the presiding authorities of the Church. And like many other efforts to colonize in different parts of the country by scheming, avaricious self-appointed men, they eventually failed. And there is only one safe guide for Latter-day Saints to follow. And this is to follow the lead of those who have authority, the right, and the responsibility to guide the affairs of the Church.
1906 President Ivins and President Pratt came to Morelos and President Ivins said to me, "Orson, this Colony can now carry on without you. You are needed more at Colonia Dublán than you are needed here."
And I answered, "Well, you know Brother Ivins that if that is where I'm needed that's where I want to go. What is there that I can make a living at? You know I have a large family."
He said, "The people of the Colony are very much divided on the matter of building the canal and doing the work on the lakes necessary for the growth and prosperity of the Colony. Brother Pratt and I feel that you can bring about harmony among the people and that the work can eventually be consummated." And then he told me that he had five tracts of land there that I could have. So I went to Colonia Dublán.
I bought a brick house and a couple of lots from George Clayson. Then traded the Morelos houses and lots to Minerly for his house and lots in Dublán and 20 acres of land. and then traded for another house from Brother Haynie.
I was released as Bishop of Morelos and Charles Lillywhite was made Bishop and Daniel H. Snow first counselor and Walter Steiner as second counselor. I made a satisfactory settlement of the funds that had been entrusted to my care of the Morelos Ward and turned over all accounts. I then moved my families to Dublán and began working out a plan by which we could begin operations on the canal leading from the river to the Lakes. (We organized a legal company to which a concession had been granted by the Mexican Government for the privilege of using all the surplus waters in the Casas Grande River. Also to build a large canal to conduct the waters to the Lakes and to enlarge the Lakes to full capacity for storage purposes.) When this was done the Green Gold Mining Company owned by William C. Green collapsed. He owed the union Mercantile Company of Dublán some 25,000 pesos. This Mining Company had all kinds of railroad equipment having bought the railroad known as the Mexican South Western running from Ciudad Juárez to Casas Grandes and had
started a grading running from Casas Grandes southeast towards San Bueno Ventura at the time of the collapse. We needed such equipment as owned by this Mining Company to complete the work on the canal and Lakes. And so President Ivins who was President of the Union Mercantile and Henry Bowman who was manager advised Mr. Green's agent that he would not take notes for the $25,000. pesos but would take a bill of sale for the mining and grading equipment which consisted of about 40 mules and construction equipment such as plows, fresnos, scrapers, drills, blacksmith outfit and other things. And so a bill of sale was made transferring all this equipment to the Manager of the Union Mercantile. And it was this equipment that was used for the construction of the canal from the Casas Grande River to the Dublán Lakes. This done made the water of the Lakes available for irrigation purposes thus greatly increasing the value of our farmlands.
In 1908 I received a telegram from L.E. Brooker, El Paso, asking me to come to see him. On arrival there he told me there was a Canadian Company which had bought an option on 500,000 acres of land in the territory of Tepic (now at the Junction of Highway 15 and 200), and the capital city of the State of Nayarit. And that their agent who had examined these lands had now contracted small pox. He had made his report from there and they now wanted me to go down to examine the land and check his report.
I went to the city of Mexico and got an extention on the option for 60 days and then went to the City of Tepic. From there into the mountains to examine the lands which had supposedly been examined by the agent of the Canadian Company. I found that he had never been on the land. I returned to Mexico City and had the pleasure of meeting President Diaz and reporting to him I had found that a company of exploiters were trying to sell the lands or more often options on the lands by representing their value falsely. The company of exploiters was composed of three Mexican Senators with a German as manager. President Diaz thanked me for the report and said that these four men would certainly be called on the carpet. While still in Mexico City the German manager offered me 25% of the $40,000. to be paid by the Canadian Company if I would return to El Paso and report favorably on the lands. I simply told him, "Nothing doing. You are barking up the wrong tree."
I returned to El Paso and reported my findings to the Canadian Company which had already paid out $10,000 as options on the worthless land.
During this same year, 1908, a spurious revolution headed by three men, Amelio Campas, Salazar, and one Alineze, was started. They got together a small band of about 100 men and were about to attack Casas Grandes and surrounding communities. One of the men's brothers told the Federal authorities and about thirty of the men together with the three leaders, Campa, Salazar, and Alinese, were put on the Island Prison, San Juan De Lua and
were kept there until the uprising of Francisco Madera in 1910.
In 1911 Madero was elected President. He then pardoned the three leaders, Campa, Salazar, and Alineze. They then returned to Mexico banded together and called themselves Socialists and organized a small army that was disbanded by President Madero. But these three men bided their time and later at Casas Grandes grabbed Juan de le Lus Blanco and forced him to deliver to them the command of his 350 soldiers stationed at Casas Grandes.
In 1910 before Madero became President he was put into prison by President Diaz and upon his release continued his propaganda against the Government as run by President Diaz. Little bands of rebels were making it very uncomfortable for the Federal Authorities. I went up to El Paso at this time and while walking down a strange alley I cam face to face with my old friend Albran Gonzalez. He said, "Why Mr. Brown, there isn't anybody I'd rather see than you. I want you to meet Madero who is in hiding in a back room of an upstairs building here.
I went up there and was introduced to Francisco I. Madero and several other patriots. Madero gave me a copy of their proposed operations. I discussed with them at some length the object of their uprising against the government and became converted that their cause was just. After reading the copy of their proposed ideals of government I went back the next day and had another conference with them. Mr. Gonzales told me he was afraid of complications with our Mormon Colonists and afraid too, that the U.S. Government might intervene in case of any trouble with the colonists. Notice was sent out to all military leaders not to molest in any way our people.
When I returned to the colonies the chief political head of the District of Galeana called me to his office at Casas Grandes. I was still head of the armed forced of the Colonies and he said to me, "I have called you down here to tell you we want 100 armed Mormons to come down here to Casas Grandes to help defend this municipality."
At a meeting previous to this call from the Chief of the District, I explained to the Colonists the situation, as I understood it. We decided to remain as neutral as possible. And when I told the Chief of our resolution he railed out, "I'll show you what neutrality is. If you don't furnish me a hundred men when the revolution is over I'll get an order of expulsion and drive you out of the country."
I replied, "When this revolution is over you may be the one driven out of the country."
A few days later someone saw a big herd of cattle coming from the west toward Gases Grandes. It was reported that the rebels were coming. The Chief climbed on the top of a roof and saw that the rebels were coming. It so scared him that he had to be helped down the ladder and he smelled so strong that they had to change his pants. He took the next train out and died three days from shock and fright.
Another Chief took his place and he too called me to Casas Grandes and also threatened me that if we didn't furnish armed men to help defend the Federal Government and her interests we would be driven from the country. In about two weeks time the rebels over powered the Garrison at Casas Grandes and took the Chief to Chihuahua City where he was shot. Then Madero and his aides crossed the Rio Grande River from El Paso and established their headquarters about three miles up the river from Ciudad Juárez.
Ciudad Juárez was occupied by about 3,000 Federal soldiers. One morning three or four men slipped along the canal bank and opened fire on the Federal advance guard. Running down the east bank of the river I saw a Madero soldier by the name of Vaca. He was wearing a red shirt. He with 3 o 4 others scattered along the bank of the river. The advance guards of the Federals were in an old brick kiln about a hundred yards away. As a soldier came around the corner of the brick kiln Vaca shot him, another came and he was shot, a third and he shot him too. Then the rebels came streaming down the riverbank shooting and going on into the town of Ciudad Juárez shooting as they went.
The rebels would pass back and forth from the riverbanks to the town, use up their cartridges, go back for more, or to eat, and return again. The battle had been going about 48 hours when Madero's second, Juan Sanches Ascona, and myself went down to the river and upon a balcony we were watching the rebels closing in on the Federal Garrison. At about 10:00 a.m. with field glasses I said to Ascona, "There goes up the white flag on the Federal Military Headquarters."
And I saw the man shot down from the pole for they had been fooled before. Soon another man hoisted the flag as we heard the bugle sound of surrender from the Federal Garrison. When I told Ascena he shed tears and thanked God for this surrender. We immediately got in touch with Madero and told him the good news. We all went over to Juárez together and made the customs house Madero's headquarters.
Then the Federal commander came into the Customs House, General Pascal Orozco of the Madero troops demanded that the Commander and his aides be turned over to him to be executed, but Madero and some of his aides slipped the Commander and his party below Juárez to the Rio Grande River to let them wade across to El Paso, Texas. And this was the beginning of the collapse of the Federal Government over all of Mexico.
General Pascal Orozco as commander of all rebel forces in Chihuahua demanded that all Federal troops be withdrawn from the State of Chihuahua, leaving him in supreme command. Madero then, with his aides, went to Mexico City and took charge of the Federal Government. President Diaz and his cabinet and all other officials had left the country. A Provisional President was in charge pending an election. He remained as such for several months until an election put Francisco I. Madero in as President (October 1911), Pinas Suarez as Vice President.
Meantime, the Scientific Party, as they were known, which was the old Federal or aristocratic, wealthy, domineering party, of Mexico began to work to overthrow the Madero regime. Terrases and Creel were two of the leaders of the Scientific Party and they had their elements approach
General Pascal Orozco at Chihuahua to persuade him to rebel against the Madero government. So General Orozco went to Mexico City and demanded of President Madero 100,000 pesos, 50,000 for himself and 50,000 for his father as bonus for their services. Abran Gonzales who was Secretary of the Interior in the cabinet of Madero was present when this demand was made and he told me he said to Orozco, "Why this demand is ridiculous. I thought that we were fighting for the principle of freedom."
And Orozco replied, "If you don't give me this money there are those who will give it to me without further asking." And he turned and walked out, not even saying goodbye to his lifelong friends. He returned to Chihuahua and there inaugurated his revolution against the Madero government. He had made a truce with Campa, Alinex and Salazar and withdrew his troops from Ciudad Juárez allowing them to take Juárez without resistance. They robbed banks, stores, and everything else in the city. Later going on to Chihuahua City where they joined General Orozco in further uprising and rebellion against the Madero government. They started on the southern campaign arriving about 150 miles north from the city of Torreon. General Salies who was commander in chief of the army at Mexico City came north with 10,000 soldiers and met Orozco and his rebels. During the preliminary skirmishes a Captain Pone conceived the idea of loading an engine with dynamite and starting it down the tract toward the Federal Camp. When the engine struck the Federal Train the great explosion killed a number of soldiers. General Salies thinking all was lost went into his car and committed suicide and his men retired toward Torreon. Here President Madero named Huerta as General to lead an expedition to come north to battle the rebels. He had with him artillery, infantry, and cavalry. He asked President Madero for Secret Service men to go down and find out the extent of General Orozco's army and artillery, a general topographical map of the country where he had dug in awaiting the coming of the Federal soldiers.
General Llorenti and Alvert (Uncle of President Madero) who were in charge of Mexican affairs in and
around El Paso had sent two different secret service men to the Orozco army they had never returned. Then they asked me if I didn't have a man I could send down. I had a man whose wife had a wounded soldier cousin with Orozco. I sent him down with his wife pretending friendship. He cam back with a small topographical map together with the number and kind of artillery, cavalry, infantry that Orozco's bunch of rebels had.
He also brought his wife's cousin back and left him in the hospital at Juárez. We enlarged the map and by special courier sent it around by Lorredo to General Huerta who had just arrived at Torreon. With the information and map Huerta began his advance northward toward the city of Chihuahua. He deployed his cavalry on each side of the railroad coming around and flanking the rebel army and driving them back into the city of Chihuahua. Then the rebel army split. Orozco and the majority of the army came on north toward Ciudad Juárez. While Salazar, Campa, and Alinecs, with about 600 men started west over the railroad coming thru Madera and Casas Grandes. General Huerta remained in Chihuahua. For at least a month Pascual Orozco with his 1500 men came north, tearing up the railroad, burning the ties, piling the rails on top of them, burning bridges. I went to counsel Alberto Madera, who was still in charge of Mexican affaires in El Paso. I suggested that they be an army raised and sent into the northern states of Chihuahua and Sonora to protect the Mormon Colonies and other Americans against all this bunch of thieving and killing bandit rebels.
President Madero was advised of the need and sent General Garevaldie with his aides to organize and take command of forces from the northern state of Sonora. I accompanied General Garevaldie and his staff to Douglas, Arizona and when we arrived there Colonel Juan Dozal who had been Pancho Villa's chief of staff began a tirade against General Garevaldie complaining, "Why did we need a foreigner to organize and lead our army. He caused so much difficulty that General Garevaldie was unable to do anything. Then President Madero sent an old Federal general named
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Someone came in and said that Obregón was on his way to attack. They left in a hurry leaving many burros to die still laden with loot. Bandi General Orozco was destroying railroad while this was going on and General Huerta has turned rebel and was in Chihuahua meeting the Scientific Party and trying to overthrow the Madero Government. And when he saw the fires of Orozco's army he made the attempt to attack. He stayed in Juárez two or three months while Orozco moved over the railroad toward Casas Grandes and on into the mountain country near Madero. Several months passed and Huerta having equipped himself and his men, who was very friendly with one of Huerta's Generals by the name of Rabago, reported to me that he believed that Huerta together with others were planning to overthrow the Madero Government.
Huerta's chief of staff had been appointed to deal with me for the purchase of 100 saddle horses. I delivered the saddle horses and was waiting for the money from Mexico City to pay for them. While waiting I began working on Huerta's Chief of Staff. I wined and dined him and finally asked, "Why wait for a few thousand dollars from Madero? Looks to me that a man like Huerta wouldn't stand for such much longer."
And over his cup of wine he spilled the beans. He said that they were going to overthrow Madero and his government. That General Ferris Diaz, nephew of ex- president Porfirio Diaz, would rise up in Vera Cruz and march on Mexico City and at the same time General Fernando Reys would be released from the penitentiary and with armed prisoners would also march upon the City. Another General would join General Huerta in helping to overthrow the Madero Government in the northern part of the country. And finally that General Huerta would be made President of Mexico. And that the Scientific Party headed by Tarrascas and Creel were putting up the money and backing the project of overthrowing the Madero Government.----- I immediately wrote it all down making four copies of it. I sent one copy to Washington, D.C., one to Gonzales in Chihuahua and one to Madero.
and one to Gonzales in Chihuahua and one to Madero. When President Madero received this message there was present one of his councilors who afterward told me that President Madero said, "It cannot be true. General Huerta is not a traitor." His friend and councilor advised him to believe it for he said that he knew me and knew that I wouldn't send that kind of information unless it was correct. President Madero wired General Huerta to entrain his soldiers and return to Mexico City.
On his arrival President Madero called him to his office and confronted him with this information. Of course he denied it. At the same time in Mexico City the American Ambassador, Henry Lane Wilson, dean of foreign representatives in Mexico City, began one of the worst diabolical, treacherous, damnable, outrageous,, course of maneuvers that ever was done by any foreign representative in an foreign country. He backed Huerta and the Scientific Party and without the knowledge of the approval of the President of the United States. Consequently they began to fight the Madero army. Huerta pretended to be on Madero's side yet ordering Madero volunteers into the streets where they were shot down. After eight days President Madero and Vice President Pinas Juárez were taken from the palace and murdered in the streets of Mexico. President Madero's brother, Raoul Madero was also killed. Huerta usurped the power of President and was backed by Henry Lane Wilson. When the facts were learned H.L. Wilson was dismissed in disgrace. Then Huerta tried to subdue the people all over the country. But the republic wouldn't stand for it and the people rose up in arms all over Mexico. Pancho Villa in the north rallied the mountaineers and started south, cleaning Huerta's followers in Chihuahua and then marched on south. General Carranza raised up in the east with an army and others in the southwest. Senator Obregón came with big body of men and drove Huerta out of Mexico. The Generals agreed to meet in Agua Caliente in the center of Mexico and there discuss a man for president. General Obregón joined Carranza and Villa joined other generals from the southwest and they met. But now they couldn’t agree. Carranza and Obregón retired to Vera Cruz not willing to submit to
the decision of the other Generals, Villa and his army marched into Mexico City and then General Obregón organized a large army and came north driving Villa out of Mexico City they made a stand at Saylua, Jalisco and here General Obregón defeated Villa's army and took the greater part of his equipment. Villa came on north.
In a general election Carranza was elected President. However a constant fight between Villa and Obregón forces continued. Finally the U.S. Government recognized the Carranza government. But fighting still was going on. Villa took the cream of his army, some 5,000 men and started for Sonora. General Obregón sent an army from the north and General Calles from the south and they overpowered Villa. He returned to the state of Chihuahua with only about 500 of the 5,000 men. The Generals of the men he left in Chihuahua and Colonia Juárez had been bought over by Andres Garcia, the Carranza Mexican Consul while he was away. When Villa learned that the U.S. had permitted reinforcements to cross into the U.S. and back into Agua Prieta to the aid of General Calles he marched along the Sierra Madre Mountains. Villa crossed the border into the U.S. and attacked the town of Columbus, New Mexico on the American side. He commenced burning houses, killing people, robbing stores, in revenge for the U.S. permitting the Mexican army to cross over into the U.S. so as to reach Agua Prieta more easily and so to attack him. Most of his men were killed when the soldiers got their rifles released.
Soon General Pershing with 5,000 men crossed the Mexican border at Palomas (south of Agua Prieta across from Douglas, New Mexico) and followed Villa's trail making his headquarters near Colonia Dublán. From there he sent out scouting parties trying to capture Villa and his bandits. They went as far south as Parral, Chihuahua. Here the American soldiers were fired upon by a group of Mexican citizens. They were ordered not to go any further south but to go north. The Mexican government then put soldiers east and advised General Pershing not to send out any more scouting parties, as it was practically impossible to catch Villa.
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…tried to stop them. The Mexicans opened fire and the colonists returned it killing one of the Mexicans. The other went to Ascension and told the people there that the Mormons were up in arms and had hanged a Mexican to a mesquite tree. They immediately sent a runner to Ciudad Juárez and at the same time President Ivins sent word to El Paso to me to advise me of the true situation. One of the men I had as Secret Service agent told me that General Pascual Orozco had 100 men ready to go down to disarm and clean out the Mormons. I immediately went to their agent Professor Hernandez and told him that if Orozco sent troops there to drive out the Mormons they would be met with many free American frontiersmen with many arms to clean them up. And further if they wanted international complications now is a good time. Then he asked me to go over to Juárez to see General Pascual Orozco. I answered, "You know that the officers in Ciudad Juárez have orders to arrest and shoot me for the part I played in denouncing Victoriano Huerta and his bunch of bandits."
"Well," he said, "We'll guarantee your safety." He immediately went to the telephone and called General Pascual Orozco in Juárez and told him we were coming over and that my safety had been guaranteed. I advised General Stiever at Fort Bliss at El Paso and he too called Orozco and told him that he would hold Orozco personally responsible if anything happened to me. So Professor Hernandes and I got on the streetcar and as we crossed the international line two secret service men got on to the car and accompanied us to military headquarters. On arriving there were escorted into the presence of General Orozco who said, "What is this all about? What do you want?"
Professor Hernandez very much excited replied, "My General we are confronted with a very serious situation and he began to explain. General Orozco turned to me and asked, 'What is it you want? I answered, "I want you to know the seriousness of the situation and the facts of the matter. This bandit who was killed is the same man who killed a Mormon colonist two weeks ago. Now he and another man robbed a store and when two of the Mormon colonists tried to stop them and in returning fire one man was killed and
as his horse ran he fell into a mesquite bush. There is no fact that he was hanged to a mesquite tree. And if your men go down there to drive out the Mormon colonists there are American ranchers there who are ready with machine guns to cross the line and exterminate them. If you want international complication this is a good time to have them."
Then he said, 'Do you want an international complication?"
"No, but if you send these men down there you are going to bring them about."
He turned to his chief of staff and said, "Order all those soldiers to detrain and return to their quarters." And it was done.
After my visit to General Orozco with Professor Hernandes and while I was still employed by General Bell there came a report from a German who was employed by the Department of Justice of the U.S., General [Elias] Alles(sp) Calles, who was then Governor of the State of Sonora, had amassed the in the northeast of the capitol of Sonora about 50,000 Mexican soldiers who being trained by German officers with the view of attacking the U.S. was there was a great deal of friction between the two countries. And since it was reported that American gun boats had shelled Vera Cruz and Tampico and the American Marines had landed in these two towns because of President Carranza's attitude towards Americans and American interests the feeling was strong and the report of the soldiers training of great importance.
The government wanted to determine whether the German agent was reporting fact. There had been two secret service men who had gone to Nogales and were refused entrance into Mexican territory. So at this time General Bell asked me if I thought I could get in there and get first hand information. I told him that I thought I could for at this time I had Mexican citizenship papers. So I went to Nogales and while stopping at the hotel on the American side I met a man who said he was a master mechanic for the South Pacific Railroad Company at Tucson, Arizona. And that a young man 25 years old, half Mexican, half white had stolen his daughter of 16 years of age and had taken
her to Guaymas, Sonora. He plead with me to try to find her and bring her back. On arriving at Hermosillo I immediately went to the Governor's palace and met Governor [Plutarco Elias] Calles and asked for a salvo conducto - a pass to go to Sierra Prieto where I had previous papers to look at a mine located there. It was in the vicinity the 50,000 soldiers were reported to be in training. I received the pass and went out to the mine and spent a …talking to a guard of the mine, making examination, cutting samples, and talking to the guard about the large training camp. I finally got into the car and drove to the military headquarters in the vicinity and found about 3,000 Mexican soldiers encamped there for the purpose of guarding against a surprise attack from the Yaqui Indians of Sonora who were in revolt against the Mexican Government. So I found the whole story as told by the German agent of the U.S. Department of Justice a pack of lies. So arriving at Hermosillo I went down about 60 or 80 miles to see if I could find the daughter of the master mechanic of the railroad. The same evening I saw her sitting with a bunch of Mexican women. As her father had given me a photograph of her I walked up, showed her the photo and asked, "Do you know this girl?" She jumped up and said, "Oh."
I told her that her father wanted her home and asked her where the man was who had brought her here. She said, "I want to go but the man is in Sinaloa and is due back here tomorrow and if he sees you here with me he will kill us both. So I told her to go where she was staying and…..send the old woman after something and…..
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...told me that Molly was married and happy. She also was half Mexican on her mother's side.
On arriving in El Paso I reported my findings concerning the 50,000 soldiers and that it was all a lie.
Conditions were very disagreeable between the U.S. and Mexico and continued to get worse until an arrangement was made for General Scott of the U.S. Army and General Obregón of the Mexican Army to meet in El Paso and try to reach an understanding. At the arrival of General Scott in El Paso, General Bell sent for me to confer with him and he asked me what I thought of the chances for settlement. And I said to him "You have been very successful in settling Indian affairs in the U.S. but you have a different class of people to deal with in Mexico. And so he asked me to go see General Obregón and I did. Then I reported to General Scott, then to General Obregón and Scott went into a series of conferences. The first was held in Ciudad Juárez in General Obregón's private car. Present at the meeting General [Franklin] Bell, Brigadier General Frederick Funston (of Philippine Insurrection fame 1899-1902)), and General Scott. With General Alvaro Obregón were Secretary of the Interior Juan N. Amador (he was also a prominent lawyer),and Andres Gonzalos (Mexican Consul in El Paso at the time). No results from this first meeting. The second meeting was held in General Scott's private car in El Paso with the same results. Then General Scott asked me to come to another meeting where present were besides General Scott and myself, General Bell and General Funston. He said to me, "Mr. Brown I'd like you to go over to General Obregón, for he seems to like you, and tell him that unless we can get together and sign some sort of an agreement that within the next 20ays American troops will cross the borders of Mexico and American warships will attack her ports. I proceeded to General Obregón's private care where present were General Calles, Secretary of the Interior Amador, and General Obregón. I said to General Obregón, "I have watched your career from the time I met you in Colonial Morelos with your Yaqui Indians and I believe you to be a patriot and a good man."
He answered, "Mr. Brown, what is a patriot?"
I replied, "A patriot is a man who will sacrifice his own interest, as you have done,
going with your men in the defense of your country."
He answered, "There are mighty few of them in this world."
I answered, "I think your are mistaken General Obregón, there are thousands of them. History repeatedly speaks of them in every country. They are men who lay down their lives if need be for the good of the country and other people. And I believe you are a good man and a patriot," I repeated.
Then he said, "There never was but one good man and he was Jesus Christ. And they sacrificed him and I don't want to be sacrificed."
I then answered, "You have espoused a cause of sacrifice and you are going to be sacrificed for that cause before you get through with this work."
And he turned pale and was nervous. Then I said to him, "If you don't make an agreement with General Scott at the next meeting the U.S. Army will cross your borders and the U.S. ships will attack your ports within 20 days. I don't feel so sorry for you officials as I do for the countless families who will suffer through the invasion of an army."
Then he answered. "We don't want the United States or any other country for a stepfather or stepmother. The weak ones always have to pay. We are neighbors and should be friends and we why can't we fix this disagreement up before a war instead of after?"
I then said, "Any pact that is made between you and General Scott will have to be approved by Congress of Mexico and signed by the President before it becomes valid. And as you know there is a war in Europe (First World War, June 28,1914- June 28,1919) which may drag in the U.S.(4-6-1917) and time is a great healer of these troubles and there may be great change before the Congress or President of these two countries confirm this agreement."
He then answered, "Maybe you're right Mr. Brown, maybe you're right. Let's see what calls can be done tonight."
I left and reported to General Scott what happened. And I told him further that I thought that they might be able to come to an agreement because there was a change of attitude on the part of General Obregón.
They met together at the Hotel del Norte at 4:00 P.M and at 4:00 A.M. the next
morning they had signed an agreement. A copy was sent to the American Government and one to the Mexican. The American Congress approved and President Wilson signed it. The Mexican Congress could never agree and neither did President Carranza sign the copy sent to them. And in the meantime The American Government had declared war on Germany on April 6, 1917. And by this time the war was over. President Carranza of Mexico had been killed and General Obregón had been elected President.
While General Obregón was still in Ciudad Juárez and before he was elected President, an agent from a New York bank came to El Paso and asked me to go over to see General Obregón, "Undoubtedly with the great drain of the revolution on the Mexican government it is in need of funds and our banking institution (naming the bank) will assist you in the rehabilitation of your government by loaning your government money necessary for that purpose if and when you have come to an agreement with the U.S. Government."
General Obregón seemed to be pleased with the offer and said, "We will take it into consideration." But later when he became President of Mexico he remembered the incident and accused the American government through this N.Y. banking institution of trying to bribe his government into making an agreement at that time with the American government. This showed his utter duplicity.
PAF - Archer files = Captain James Brown + (7) Phebe Abigail Abbott > Orson Pratt Brown
The content of this original work began from notes by Orson Pratt Brown. Also much of the content was dictated to his daughters Bertha E. Brown and Gwendolyn Brown Klein beginning in 1940 until his death in 1946. Where this work is committed in first person it is representing Orson P. Brown's own words.
John Sponseller was born January 22, 1827 in Canton, Stork, Ohio. He married Mary Bowers. She was born in 1832 in Ohio and died Ap;ril 21, 1896 in Seneca, Ohio. John also married (2) Emeline. He died on April 3, 1901 at unknown location. His parents are John Sponseller and Catherine Elizabeth Herbster Sponseller.
Nov 2002: Entered into MSWord, some spelling corrected, some other minor corrections, subtitles added, full names of individuals, bold, [bracketed] information, etc. by Lucy Brown Archer
Brown Family Copyright 1945 + 1999 www.OrsonPrattBrown.org