Sunday, January 30, 2011

One of our Most Popular Posts ~ Manti Settlers Are Overtaken By Rattlesnakes, But Not A Single Settler Is Bitten

Chief Walker and a band of Ute Indians appeared in Salt Lake City, June 14, 1849 and requested that BrighamYoung send settlers to the Sanpitch Valley to teach the natives how to build houses and til the soil.  On the following August 20th, Chief Walker and an exploring party reached the present site of Manti  and were well entertained by the natives.  Favorable conditions for settlement must have been evident, because on November 19, 1849,  some fifty families under the spiritual leadership of  Isaac  Morley and Captain Nelson Higgings, made their camp on the north side of the creek  bottom and began what was destined to become Manti City.

All was not so rosy as might at first seem possible.  The  following winter proved severe and the  settlers lost 127 head of their cattle from a band of 240.  The male population was forced to shovel snow into winrows to provide shelter for the cattle and to uncover the dry grass for them to eat.  even the horns of the cattle were sharpened to enable them to break the snow crust and also as a better protection against the wolves. 

The first warm days of spring brought a most unexpected and unwelcome party to the camp.  Just after sunset on this memorable occasion, a weird hissing and  rattling was evidently heard coming.  It seems from all points at once and the very earth appeared to be writhing with spotted backed rattlesnakes which, to the horror of the pioneers  were invading the quiet camp.  They took quarters in their beds, cupboards and in every accessible place in these outlying domiciles.  And among a less hardy band would have created a perfect chaos of confusion.  The whole male population with pine tordches casting a lurid light upohn the wierd scene, began an extermination campaign, which resulted in nearly 500 rattlesnakes being killed the first night.  Although the fight against the deadly serpents continued for several days, not a single person was bitten.
 Excerpts taken from an  article written by Gerald Henrie for the Salt Lake Trubune in about 1922.
 It is  taken from Hilda's Scrapbook.

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