With permission of David R. Gunderson, we include the following book to our blog. I will do a few increments at a time, as I have done with the Andrew Madsen and James Monsen histories. I will also paste the pages over to David's own blog page: http://davidrgunderson.blogspot.com/
This book will be of interest to not only the Gunderson Family but also to the Brotherson, Ericksen, Peel, Madsen, Larsen and more.
Because specific records of Erick’s work and contributions are not available, the following sections will describe the importance and magnitude of the various projects and situations that we know he and Caroline participated in as they helped to “Build the Kingdom”. Mt. Pleasant became the home of our Gunderson1 family for three generations (some of the. family still lives there) and it is still our spiritual home.
|Mt. Pleasant Scene in Pioneer Days Note Pleasant Creek and Fort|
Many of Mt. Pleasant’s earliest settlers3 had crossed the plains with Erick, Caroline, her Mother, Jens, and his family as follows:
At least 25 of Mt. Pleasant’s early settlers came in the Canute Petersen wagon company with Erick Gunderson.
At least 20 of Mt. Pleasant’s early settlers came in the Cowley Wagon Company and the Christiansen Handcart Company with Caroline and her Mother and Jens and his family, (C. C. A. Christensen, whose memoirs are noted above, was one of these early settlers.)
Therefore, they were not joining a settlement of strangers but a settlement of proven friends. The story of the settlement of Mt. Pleasant, still known as the “Queen City of Sanpete County”, follows
9.1 The First Settlement of Sanpete
The first settlement in Sanpete was made in 1849 at the invitation of the Ute Indians. Longsdorf, in her book4 “Mount Pleasant” describes this as follows:
“In June of 1849, scarcely two years after the arrival of the first company of pioneers in Utah, Chief Walker (Wakara, meaning yellow or brass) and Chief Sowiette with a band of Ute Indians visited President Brigham Young in Great Salt Lake City, and asked that colonizers be sent to the San Pitch Valley5, named after the Indian Chief, Sanpitch, a brother of Chief Wakara, to locate there and teach the investigate. They camped on the present site of Manti on 20 August, where they were kindly received and entertained by the Indians. After remaining there a few days, they returned to Great Salt Lake City and reported conditions favorable for settlement.” Soon after, Manti, Ephraim, Spring City,
In 1853 – 1855 trouble with the Indians erupted and the so-called Wakara War occurred. During this war all of the settlements in Sanpete except Manti had to be abandoned and all of the settlers had to gather to Manti for their defense. One of the settlements that was destroyed was Hambleton, which was located on Pleasant Creek near the present site of Mt. Pleasant
1 Many decedents of Erick and Caroline Gunderson still live in Mt. Pleasant.
2 Art work by C. J. Jacobsen (born in Mt. Pleasant) : Longsdorf, p. 221
3 Longsdorf, p. 43
4 Longsdorf, p. 15
5 The name Sanpete came from the name of Chief Sanpitch’s grandfather Pan-a-pitch who was captured by the Spanish while on a trip to Santa Fe, to sell Piede and Paiute slaves in the 1780 time frame. They tried, unsuccessfully, to force him to reveal the source of the Ute gold then held him for several years. During that time they gave him the Christian name of San Pedro (Saint Peter). In time it was shortened to “San Pete”. His people had a hard time saying it and it became San Pitch and the valley in which they lived, came to be known as the Sanpete Valley and the river was called the Sanpitch River. (Note that a river and its valley having different names is a middle eastern custom.)
6 Hambleton is the correct spelling. It is often mistakenly rendered as Hamelton. (Longsdorf, p. 18) and other settlements were established
9.2 Consent Sought for Establishing a New Settlement on Pleasant Creek
After the Hambleton Settlement was burned out in 1853, nothing was done, so far as it is known, about re-establishing a settlement on Pleasant Creek, until about the middle of August, 1858. This was shortly after the arrival at Manti and Ephraim1 of the Big Move Caravan. The Big Move was caused by the arrival of Johnson’s army in 1858 as part of the Utah War. This army had been dispatched by Washington to put down the so-called “Utah Rebellion” in 1857.
This action was taken because of false accusations made by two Territorial Officials who had abandoned their posts in Utah and a US Mail contractor who had lost the mail contract to a Mormon transport company. In addition, the U S President, and Southern Leaders in Washington, wanted to get the US Army out of the way because Southern secession was being considered. (The Cowley wagon company and the Christiansen Handcart Company both encountered this military expedition while crossing the plains as has been noted.)
Gov. Brigham Young, was not at all pleased by this development, and vowed that the Mormon people had “built for the last time for others to occupy”. As Governor, he placed the Territory under Martial Law and ordered the people living in the northern parts of the territory to abandon their communities, prepare to burn their homes, Pioneers2 cut down their orchards, burn their crops, and destroy their irrigation systems if the army caused any problems . In addition, He caused Johnson’s Army to be delayed on the plains through the winter of 1857 -1858. He also had fortifications built all along the north ridge in Echo Canyon (which are still visible as shown below) and he had the Utah Militia3 stationed behind those fortifications, ready to interdict the army if they caused any trouble.
About 30,000 people moved south as a result of this order. Thus it is referred to as the Big Move. Many stopped in the Provo area but many many more continued further south and filled the new communities in Sanpete and other areas to over flowing.
Needless to say, this caused a great strain on the local economies. Many of the Big Move Caravan did not return to their former homes in Northern Utah but stayed to help build the new communities in Sanpete and Sevier Counties, etc.
Government investigators, who came with the Army, found that the claims made by the truant territorial officers and the disgruntled mail contractor were false and issued pardons to all territorial officials who had been wrongly accused. It was further agreed that the Army would make a camp on the western side of Utah Lake, at least 40 miles from any Mormon settlement. This camp was called Camp Floyd.
As a result of the crowding and economic strain, James R. Ivie, and six others were chosen at Fort Ephraim as an exploring committee, to select a suitable location for a new settlement in the northern part of the valley. They decided upon a site on Pleasant Creek. They then returned to Fort Ephraim and stated their views to the immigrants and others, who had reached Fort Ephraim and planned to remain over the winter.
1 Longsdorf, pp. 29 -34
2 Art work by C. J. Jacobsen (born in Mt. Pleasant): Longsdorf, p.11
3 Then called the Nauvoo Legion. My great grandfather Andrew Madsen, who came in the Petersen Wagon Company with Erick Gunderson, was stationed in Echo Canyon when the army arrived.
Three Breastwork Defenses in Echo Canyon