Relic Home and Blacksmith Shop

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Journey of Faith ~ Eric and Caroline Gunderson ~ written by David R. Gunderson

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:
This book will be of interest to not only the Gunderson Family but also to the BrothersonEricksenPeel,   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

 A breastwork on a high cliff It could have been used for defense or its stones could have been rolled down to block the wagon road in the bottom of Echo Canyon.

The inset is a close-up of the remains of the original breastwork.


A meeting was called and a petition was drafted, and signed by sixty men who were desirous of locating farther north at the site selected. After some deliberations, James R. Ivie Sr., Joseph R. Clement, and Isaac Allred were chosen as a committee to wait upon President Brigham Young in order to obtain his advice. Leaving Fort Ephraim September 2nd, they arrived in Great Salt Lake City on September 6th. There they met Elder Orson Hyde on the street and at once stated the purpose of their visit. He kindly escorted them to Pres. Brigham Young's office.After considering the petition, President Brigham Young expressed himself as perfectly in favor of the new settlement. President Young wrote:Great Salt Lake City, Sept. 6, 1858Brother John Reese and the rest of the brethren whose names are on the list:In am perfectly willing that you should go there (Pleasant Creek) and make a settlement, but you must consider whether it will be safe or not. You wish to know my mind on the subject. It is this, that you must build you a good substantial fort and live in it, use every precaution that is necessary against the Indians. Your fort must be twelve feet high and four feet thick, built either of stone or adobe and laid in lime mortar. I also want you to select one of your number for president and one for bishop. You will have to be very careful of your stock or you will lose them. In choosing your farming land, get it as nearly together as possible. It would be better to have only one piece fenced. Then you are compact in case of an attack on you by Indians or white men.God bless you is my prayer and that of all other good men.(Signed) "Brigham Young.

9.3 First Permanent Settlement of Mt. Pleasant        

On 14 Sep.1858, the committee returned
to Fort Ephraim and notified the
petitioners who at once called a meeting,
where the letter from President Young
was presented and its contents noted.
The advice given was favorably received.
At this meeting, James R. Ivie, Joseph
Clement, and Isaac Allred were
appointed as a committee to wait upon
the surveyor at Manti and get him to
survey town lots and farming land on
Pleasant Creek. Drawing 1of the Pioneers at Work beneath their. beloved “Horseshoe” Mountain
This committee with surveyor Albert Petty, of Manti,
then visited the present site of Mount Pleasant and selected and surveyed a site where the fort was to be built2 together with a number of city lots and about 1300 acres of choice farmland in twenty acre lots.
Upon their return to Fort Ephraim, about the middle of October, a meeting was called and later the settlers drew by number for the land and lots which had been platted out by the committee. About the middle of February, the advanced group moved north until they were just west of where the settlement was to be located. They pitched their camp in a ravine in the cedar hills on the west side of the Sanpitch River and began preparing to establish the new community. More settlers came on 10 April, some bringing their families and a supply of wheat and grain and farming tools, such as they were. Among these were President James R. Ivie, C. C. A. Christensen, and others.
1 Art Work by C. J. Jacobsen (born in Mt. Pleasant): Longsdorf, p. 231
2 The fort was located one and one-half miles east of the site of the former Hamilton settlement.

A Painting of “Horseshoe Mountain” - Courtesy Sandra Johnson of Mt. Pleasant.

Erick & Caroline Gunderson lived most of their lives at the foot of this Beautiful Mountain.
Niels M. Burrison, and a number of others from Utah County arrived at about the same time, and as settlers continued to arrive. It became necessary for President Ivie to call upon the surveyors to plat out more land. At this time, there were 1200 acres more platted, which was given to the new-comers upon their arrival. It was a vast area of native grasses in abundance and huge patches of sagebrush imagine what was in the hearts of these pioneers from Utah County as they emerged from Salt Creek Canyon and entered the beautiful Sanpete Valley and, for the first time, viewed the broad valley and the majestic mountains to the east. They must have instantly fallen in love with the beautiful and majestic “Horseshoe Mountain”. Among them was Erick Gunderson.

The burned ruins of the Hambleton settlement1 and Potter's Saw Mill, gave mute evidence of the horror that had been, and could be again, were visible from the new settlement, and a continuous fear of the Indians was in the breast of the pioneers. There was nothing but hope and hard labor before them. The sage brush was dense and tall, and the settlers had to work hard; they had all they could do to manage.
In a month's time, although many were not accustomed to such work, and the oxen were slow and the tools mostly home-made, one thousand acres of ground were cleared of the tall dense brush, the ground cultivated, and a number of irrigation ditches dug.
9.4 Building of the Fort Walls
On 6 May a letter2 was received from Brigham Young reminding the settlers of the need to build a fort for their protection and on 13 May 1859, President Ivie called a meeting for the purpose of discussing the building of the fort wall, and as to what methods to pursue. Finally, four men were called to supervise the construction of the wall. Jahu Cox was allotted the north side, Thomas Woolsey Sr. the west side, W. S. Seeley, the south side, and John Tidwell Sr., the east side. The above named captains divided the brethren into four groups, after which they were organized into companies of ten, with a captain over each ten, and work commenced immediately with rapid progress. The following statement is made in Andrew Madsen's Journal:
"During the month of June, we were kept very busy in attending to our crops and the building of the large fort wall." 10 July, Apostle George A. Smith and Amasa Lyman visited the settlement to organize the Saints on Pleasant Creek into an ecclesiastical ward. William Stuart Seeley was chosen and ordained Bishop and the name Mount Pleasant Branch was adopted for the colony, giving credit to its pleasant location, beautiful mountains, fields and surroundings”.
ork continued on the fort wall until 18 July 1859, when it was completed, and it had the distinction of being the finest fort in Sanpete County.
Erick would have worked in building this important structure and lived within it for some time. When Caroline and the family arrived, they all would have lived within the fort for some time.
9.5 Description of the Finished Fort
The fort enclosed the block later known as the Tithing Yard. 26 rods by 26 rods (429’ X 429’), enclosing about five and one-half acres of ground, between Main Street and First North, and State Street and First East." "It was made according to instructions and was built of native rock, taken from the surface or dug out of the ground." "It was laid with mud mortar." "The wall was 12 feet high, four feet wide at the bottom, tapering to about two feet at the top. To allow the maneuvers of the Indians to be watched from the fort, the wall was built with port holes every 16 feet. and about seven feet from the ground. The holes were about two feet wide on the inside, about four inches wide on the outside and about 18 inches high."
"Later the inside of the wall was utilized for one wall in the erection of houses, 16 feet square, with one port hole in the middle of the outside wall of each house." "There was a flat roofed house in the northwest corner of the fort upon which guards could stand and view the country."

1 Lever, p. 201, The Hamilton settlement was established by Madison D. Hamilton and his associates in the spring of 1852 and burned out about July 25, 18532 Longsdorf, pp. 46 - 513 Calculations indicate that the area of the fort was actually about 4.225 acres. If the fort had enclosed 5.5 acres, the dimensions would have been about 29.66 rods (489.5’) on a side.

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