Monday, March 28, 2011

Edwin Pettit Autobiography, Part 6

We spent the following winter in Salt Lake, and in March of the following spring, another big company of Mormons was fitted out to start for San Bernardino, being sent there by Brigham Young to establish a colony. My brother-in-law, David Seeley, was made captain of the company.

Photo of David Seely from the San Bernardino Public Library.

Again the ox teams plodded their weary way through the wild country. When camping for the night, our wagons were formed into a corral to hold the stock to keep them from the Indians. On one occasion the Indians drove off two of our cows which were never recovered.

While I was on guard at the mouth of the corral one night, the Indians fired a shower of arrows at two men who were sitting by a camp fire. The fire was extinguished immediately, but it caused a great excitement in the camp. There were a number of arrows picked up next morning, but they had gone wide of their mark and no one was hurt.

Two nights after that, while I was out herding the cattle, an Indian passed between me and the herd, shooting arrows at them. I did not stop him, nor even say goodbye, for fear he would take a shot at me. He shot one mule and one ox in broad daylight, but they did not prove to be poisoned arrows, consequently we pulled the arrows out and the animals both got well.

Don Antonio Maria Lugo. Lugo is dressed in the customary costume of gentlemen from León, Spain. Photo from the San Bernardino Public Library.

We finally encamped at Sycamore Grove, at the mouth of the Calhoun pass, June 11th of the same year. Negotiations immediately were opened with the Lugos, which resulted in a sale of the great ranch, covering a great portion of the present San Bernardino valley, for the sum of $75,000. The Mexicans took their herds of horses and wild cattle with them, leaving the bare ground for the new owners.

First, a stockade was erected, for Indians lurked in the mountains and on the plains. Several ranchers from around about joined the settlers, and the earth felt the touch of agriculture for the first time since the creation. Fields were plowed and planted, and in the following spring the townsite was surveyed and laid out in town lots of one acre each.

I put in a crop of grain and went to farming. I paid $125.00 for a one-acre lot in San Bernardino, and in a short time bought the next one to it, and paid $200.00, which made me the possessor of a quarter of a block. My brother-in-law purchased land directly across the street where my sister and family lived. I worked in the mountains logging, at the saw-mill, and finally, after about six years’ time, returned to Salt Lake.

I have seen service with the San Bernardino rangers or “Minute Men.” This was a company formed to intimidate and hold in check the lawless with which the country abounded at that time.

When I decided to return to Salt Lake, I traded my two lots in San Bernardino for a small home in Salt Lake City in the Fourteenth Ward. On returning from San Bernardino, when I reached a spot near Cedar City, I came up with the Seeley family, and traveled with them as far as Pleasant Grove, staying with them for a short time. I then returned to Salt Lake and went to live with Lorenzo Pettit down near the Jordan River.

To be continued...

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