All of us can unite as annalists before we separate as analysts.
Truman G. Madsen, BYU Studies1
The rumor was that Mormons had “ten hundred thousand” Indian allies ready to avenge Joseph’s death,2 but these were not Mormon Indians.3 There were not many more than 10 Indians who had joined the early church. Penina Cotton (Cherokee)4, William McCary (Choctaw)5, Anthony Navarre (Potawatomi)6, William Clute (Seneca)7, Solomon Zundel (Delaware)8, Moses Otis, Edward Whiteseye, Peter Cooper9, and, by some accounts, William McLellin (Cherokee).10 Among the Mormon Indians, a few served as guides for the westward movement. They were: Lewis Dana (Oneida)11, George Herring (Mohawk), and his brother Joseph Herring, called Nigeajasha. These three men were baptized, ordained, and intimately involved with Mormon insiders.
Hopes for the Lamanites
Mormons set out to save the Lamanites. Right on the title pages of the Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith told the world who the book was for: “Written to the Lamanites, who are a remnant of the house of Israel.” Early Mormons knew who Lamanites were. The book belonged to the Indians.
The common version of early Mormon contacts with Indians—the first mission to Indian territory and a few delegations to Nauvoo—does not constitute the whole of Mormon-Indian relations during that time. Mormons and Indians were overlapping and connected peoples on the frontier. As Mormons moved “on the borders by the Lamanites,” they inevitably met Indians. Sometimes Indians showed an interest in the book presented to them as the history of their ancestors. Some Indians became Mormons.
Mormons did not write all they knew of Indians in part because of the explosive potential of what could be said. Because most records are silent about Indians, most grand narratives of Mormon history are silent, too. But, if we dig in and around the stories we already know, more stories of Indians, even Mormon Indians, are waiting to be told.
The new exploring expedition (1845)
After Joseph Smith died in June of 1844 and Brigham Young asserted the authority of the Twelve Apostles to lead the church, the exploring mission given by Joseph Smith in the spring of 1844 to convert the Lamanites and find a home for the Saints was not forgotten. Joseph Smith began organizing an exploratory company for California and Oregon in early 1844.12 Diplomatic missions, small companies, westward exploration—all were related to the political Kingdom of God or the Council of Fifty. Sometimes, Indians were part of these plans as guides, allies, builders of Zion, or legions of God’s soldiers.
Optimism about Lamanites and Indians flowed freely in Nauvoo, in part because of the conversion in 1840 of Lewis Dana, an Oneida. That the gospel was spreading to Indians was big news.13 Oliver B. Huntington, whose brother Dimick taught Lewis Dana, told the story of Dana’s conversion.
This Louis Dainy; I think in the year 1840 was a kind of agent for his tribe to go from Green Bay west of the Missouri River to report concerning the practicability of the tribes removing there. He was desending the River Mississippi in a canoe with his family; and had stopped for the night just below Nauvoo where Dimmicks oldest boy, Allen, was the means of getting him back to his fathers house to stay, as he was fond of the Indians.
By the great friendship which he met. . . , he stayed 2 or 3 weeks in my brother Dimmicks house. . . .
He read to him the whole of the Book of Mormon and promised to be baptized and was; and the prophet Joseph confirmed him and ordained him an elder. One of the brethren, took his team and carried him near to the end of his journey. He had a wife and one girl and one boy. His wife and daughter died in a short time. He was not educated but got into company with a Lamanite that was, and as he had a book of Mormon, (Dainy) they went even to the Rocky Mountains and preached the word some.14
As unlikely as it seems, a group of Oneidas who had already removed from New York to Wisconsin petitioned the United States government for further removal west of the Mississippi.15 Lewis Dana acted as their investigator until at least 1844, during which time he was apparently absent from Nauvoo.16
At the beginning of 1845, rumors of Indians were still flying. “[T]here is,” wrote one woman, “all ready ten hundred thousand of the lamanites baptized into the Church and that they are waiting very impatient to avenge the blood of Joseph and Hyrum. We have to keep men among them to keep them back or they would [have] been here before this time.”17 At least one Lamanite was threatening men generally believe responsible for Joseph and Hyrum’s deaths. On Lewis Dana’s return from Wisconsin, he saw William Law, whose publication of the Nauvoo Expositor set off events leading to the deaths.18 Law was clearly afraid of Dana, hiding beyond bar posts and such. After Dana arrived in Nauvoo, he continued to defend Mormon honor. As one of the accused murderers left the local court, Dana followed him, and “with tru Mormon and Lamanite feeling’s,” Dana whispered to the prisoner that “he wanted to mark him (with his eyes) so as to know him if he ever should meet him in the woods.”19
February 1845, Brigham Young called the Council of Fifty for the first time since Joseph Smith’s death. They renewed their mission to move the church, conversing “on the subject of sending six brethren with brother Lewis Dana to the West, and especially to Texas.”20 The leadership was pulling together, and Lewis Dana was on the inside of the circle as a member of the Council of Fifty. Nine men were chosen “to start immediately after conference and proceed from tribe to tribe, to united the Lamanites and find a home for the saints.”21
Little was written about the mission except by Phineas Young. Young “decided to go with Brothers Dana, Dunham and Shumway to the Indian Council at Council Bluffs and thence if they think best to the Pacific Ocean. It was also decided that Brother Solomon [Zundel] should go with them to his tribe the Delawares.”22 Young’s companions for the next two months, erratically, were Jonathan Dunham, Lewis Dana, Charles Shumway, and S. Tindale—all men over 40, members of the Council of Fifty, Freemasons, two former Danites, and three among those chosen by Joseph Smith in 1844 for the original exploring expedition.23 This was not a mission for the young and brash but for men mature, tested, true to the faith and to the Twelve.
After two weeks overland to Indian territory in Kansas, Thomas Hendricks, Stockbridge leader, “cordially received” them.24 Hendricks knew Dunham from previous visits. Dana and Dunham left Young and Shumway. Young wanted to teach and preach. This was not the mission he had expected, and he showed great frustration at this in his journal. Finally, Young and Shumway left.25
Dana and Dunham continued their mission without an observer to tell us what they did. Some say Dunham was ill; some say he was depressed. Dana and Dunham were certainly very cagey with their kindly passive companions. When Joseph Smith had been in Carthage jail on 27 June 1844, he sent a note to Jonathan Dunham, Major-General of the Nauvoo Legion, to bring the Legion to his rescue. Dunham did not muster the Nauvoo Legion. Joseph Smith was murdered that day. Dunham “seemed to grieve over the matter.”26 Whether it was grief, fever, or dysentery,27 Jonathan Dunham was dead.28 Oliver Huntington told the story to Seymour B. Young over dinner sixty years later without naming Dana:
. . . one day Bro D [that’s Dunham] was seen going into the woods with a friendly Indian.
The Indian came back alone.
It is supposed that Bro Dunham had exacted a promise from the Indian and that after diging his grave he prevaled upon the Indian to Kill and bury him.29
Considering the oaths Dunham had taken in all of the military, police, Masonic, and religious organizations he belonged to over 15 years, the story is not far-fetched.
Within days of Shumway and Young’s return, Brigham Young rushed missionaries back to Indian territory to find out what happened. Brigham Young had just baptized Joseph Herring and Moses Otis.30 They and two others gathered to receive instructions and letters.31 They were to find out if Jonathan Dunham was dead and learn what became of the earlier mission. They left immediately.32
When they arrived in Indian territory, they were met on the short by Joseph Herring’s brother George Herring and by “Father Hendrix.”33 They found Lewis Dana, and he confirmed Jonathan Dunham’s death 6 weeks earlier after a three-week illness. Dana had buried Dunham.34 They also found that “Herrin[g] had accomplished all that could be done at present.”35
According to their report, “George Herring has been with several tribes and says they are all friendly and seem to understand what is going on and area ready to render us any assistance they can. . . . Denay had accomplished what they were sent for.”36 Several nations were ready to give assistance, including allowing Mormons to settle nearby. This was the real objective of the western exploring expedition—to find a home for the Saints and to secure alliance with as many Indians as possible.
Elder Nigeajasha and other Mormon Indians
In 1845, Mormons were about to be removed again. Knowing where to go and who would help them get there was of greatest importance during this year. They knew they would go to Indian country, and they knew they would pass through Indian country. Every Indian was a potential mediator, and Mormons continued to host diplomats from the west.
Hosea Stout, chief of the Nauvoo police since the death of Jonathan Dunham, hosted many Indians. In particular, he spent a lot of time with George Herring. Herring and other Indians who had not yet been baptized went with Brigham Young to the Mississippi River for baptism and confirmation.37 Stout and George Herring explored Nauvoo together and had long conversations. Stout wrote, “George understands the Policy of this government well is acquainted with many of its rulers at Washington his talk is interesting and agreeable.”38 Joseph Herring and Lewis Dana also offered leaders in Nauvoo “much conversation” and counsel “as to the traits of character of the red men.”39
After a month in Nauvoo, George and Joseph Herring revealed that they were on a mission TO the Mormons. “They [explained] . . . the nature of their mission to us and their standing at home, which was not understood by us heretofore. It was quite an important and interesting council and I expect will yet make a great alteration in their affairs and ours.”40 Very important, certainly intriguing, and from where we stand, unknowable. At the time when many Mormons were preparing companies and supplies to be removed from their home in Nauvoo, the already removed Mohawks prepared to go home to the west.
After Mormons left Nauvoo, when the main camps were in southeastern Iowa early in March 1846, Brigham Young called in his Indian diplomats.41 Messengers returned to the main camp with George Herring months later.42 They left Lewis Dana on the Missouri near a settlement of about 2,000 Potawatomis.43 George Herring told leaders that Indian agents had prohibited Mormons in particular from stopping amongst the Indians.44 As Mormons moved west, intelligence from Indian members and allies was invaluable.
On the Missouri, Mormon relations with Indians got more tense, and Mormon Indians’ own places were becoming less sure. Dana and the Herrings decided to winter with the Potawatomis.45
Joseph Herring had left Cherokee country quickly, leaving behind his sister and her family.46 He reluctantly wrote to the Twelve for advice on going to get them and providing for his large family. He was worried about white people’s laws and taxes. He signed his letter with his “best respect,” “Joseph F. Herring or Nigeajasha.”47 The council voted to send a team and wrote back.48 They liked his letter and admitted that in the midst of their own concerns, “we have not thought so much of your situation & feelings differing from the rest of our brethren as we might.” As soon as the Twelve could gather a team and wagon, Herring should go get her and bring her to the Mormon camps. “Now brother,” they wrote, “comfort your heart. Seek after the Spirit that you may have it burning in your bosom continually & it will make you happy & good.”49 He had a difficult time that winter being either happy or good.
In mid-December the High Council was still talking about raising a team for the Herrings but had not done so yet.50 By early January, Joseph Herring was losing patience. It had been four months since the Twelve agreed to help him get his sister before winter. Hosea Stout wrote that Joseph Herring was very angry.
Joseph Herring was here all day. He was entirely dissatisfied with the Twelve and swore he would take Br. Willford Woodruff’s life neither would he go on with us in the Spring but intended to take the team, which was now being raised for him to go after his people with, and leave us and never come back. . . . So it appears that all the trouble & expense laid out in them will prove futile because they have no integrity and stability enough be done well by when it is entirely gratis on our part.51
Stout did not seem to consider that the brothers might actually feel offended at the Twelve not keeping their promise of support.
Things only got worse over the next few days. It was 9 degrees below zero, and no one was in any mood to be generous. Stout gathered the leaders together, walking house to house, talking about Joseph Herring.52 For the next two days the Twelve held councils to discuss Herring.53 They considered Herring’s “evil intentions,” and “all gave their opinions which was one and the same thing to wit: the law of God to be administered in righteousness.” An ominous conclusion. Those gathered shared “utmost confidence & good feelings.”54 The next week, Herring was excommunicated.55
It was another year before Stout mentioned Herring again, still drinking and complaining—very emotional and clearly having a problem. But Joseph Herring was not see as having a problem; he was the problem. Stout wrote, “I took him out and had talk with him & found him as full of his bad and evil feelings as he was when he left here.”56 When Joseph Herring wrote to Brigham Young a week later, his handwriting was less elegant and his words less measured, but he did not seem to show evil feelings—just disappointment at betrayal. “I am very sorry that I heard you listen Every little wind blow and bird sing,” he wrote. He just wanted to know without question what they desired of him. “[I]f you dont want me in this country very good I am perfectly satisfied.” He just wanted to be told directly. “I know if any man in my control if I did not like him. I would walk to him like a man and tell him what is what Sir. well Sir. then we could have fair understand and part friendship and when we ever meet a gain meet friendship. . . . I will be alway Glat to see some Brethren where ever will be. I will allways say your affectionate Brothers as friend.” He signed, “J.F.H. Nigeajasha of Mohawk Indian.”57 There is no record that Brigham Young responded directly. Hosea Stout did not mention Joseph Herring again.
Alpheus Cutler’s Mission to the Indians (1847-1852)
Lewis Dana continued to act both as an Oneida agent and a Mormon missionary. May 1847 he sent a letter to Mormon leaders that the Oneidas were about to settle on their land in Kansas. His scribe wrote, “[T]hey have requested him to select their officers for them, and he has thought that perhaps this might be means of opening the way for the gospel in his nation.” Leaders agreed to fill the request.58 When Lewis Dana gave a glowing report, he did not mention that the New York Indians had already been and gone.59 Brigham Young asked Alpheus Cutler to preside over the Kansas mission.60 Dana and Cutler took their mission to Indian territory not to the Oneidas but to the Delawares.61
Cutler was enthusiastic about the possibilities. He imagined an army of Indians, a great alliance that could help Mormons avenge Missouri.62 Brigham Young reminded Cutler that it was he, Brigham Young, who held “the keys to open the Gospel to every Lamanite nation.” Nevertheless, the mission went forward, and Brigham Young kept their delicate business out of writing. He said, “Cutler has been there—he has got a verbal order what to do. I don’t like to put out a piece of writing.”63 Whatever exactly Cutler’s and Dana’s verbal orders were, we do not know.
For the next four years or so they worked to build the mission to the Delaware.64 They made a treaty, gave away copies of the Book of Mormon, and even baptized some Delawares.65 The mission did not take on the grand proportions envisioned, but Cutler and those with him went further than any Mormons before in establishing a full-time teaching and farming mission. The mission was clearly the fruition of years of work with Delaware and Stockbridge leaders.
As Alpheus Cutler established other settlements in Iowa, he continued his mission among the Delaware. The High Council sent out circuit riders to subdue “Lamanism.”66 In 1850, a worried Orson Hyde wrote to Brigham Young, “Everything is precarious with us here. Indian Cutlerism in 500 forms would rage like wild fire through this country if the strong arm of power were not upon it all the time.”67 Mormons wanted the Indian mission. They were ready—but leaders were not. Alpheus Cutler was excommunicated.68
Cutler and his followers left Kansas and soon after organized themselves into the Church of Jesus Christ.69 They did not proselytize among the Gentiles. Their growth was to come from Indian converts only.70
Saving the Lamanites
Their common experience of removal and expectation of renewal may have made them seem inclined to find alliance together. Mormons talked big; Indians talked big. But they acted small. There was not the will on either side for more than fleeting alliances in the shifting frontier.71 In the end no more than a few Indians joined Mormons, became Mormons, and sought mutual comprehensibility with these mostly white people who, though not like other white people, still came from very different worlds to American Indians. Mormons may have been tribal in many ways, but they were still a Western people building on concepts such as the ownership of property, the rightful division of humanity, and ultimate religious unification.
There are certainly many more stories of Mormon Indians. We cannot claim that contacts between Mormons and Indians were few and scattered.
Three Mormon Indians in particular were intimately involved in the Mormon movement through the mid-West. What happened to these three Mormon Indians?
- Lewis Dana lived as a Cutlerite until his death.
- George Herring planned to go west with his extended family, but it seems unlikely he would go without his brother.72
- Joseph Herring did not seem to be someone who would play a particularly significant role. His companions found his drinking and his unreliability a hindrance on the mission to Kansas. It was exactly his drinking, his unreliability, and his loyalty as a Mormon that combined to make him a problem to be taken care of.
Joseph Herring wrote to Brigham Young in April 1848 that he would always be glad to see any of the brethren wherever he went. He may not have received a letter in reply, but he did receive an unmistakably clear message. Bill Hickman, a hit man for church leaders, was the messenger. Hickman later wrote,
The Spring of 1848 rolled in. Young, Hyde and others had some bitter enemies. One half breed Indian from some of the tribes south, well educated, had been to Nauvoo, joined the Church, gone home and have to come to Council Bluffs to see Brigham Young. Brigham had made him very mad, and he was swearing vengeance. He said he was well acquainted with the tribes west, and would be out ahead of him, collect them together, and scalp Brigham Young before he reached Fort Laramie—that he would have a war dance over his scalp in less than three months. Brigham Young’s boys in Winter Quarters had got after him, but could not catch him, and he came on our side of the river. Brigham sent me to work to look out for him. I found him, used him up, scalped him, and took his scalp to Brigham Young, saying— “Here is the scalp of the man who was going to have a war-dance over your scalp; you may now have one over his, if you wish.” He took it and thanked me very much. He said in all probability I had saved his life, and that some day he would make me a great man in the Kingdom. This was my first act of violence under the rule of Brigham Young.73
So much for saving the Lamanites.
PUBLICATION & PRESENTATION HISTORY
Taylor, Lori Elaine. Telling Stories about Mormons and Indians. Ph.D. dissertation, American Studies. State University of New York at Buffalo, 2000. Supervisor, John C. Mohawk.
Invited paper, John Whitmer Historical Association conference, Independence, Missouri, September 2000. Delivered to accept award “Best Dissertation” of 2000.
Taylor, Lori Elaine. “Elder Nigeajasha and Other Mormon Indians Moving Westward.” The John Whitmer Historical Association Journal 24 (2004): 111-24. Available through JSTOR or from the John Whitmer Historical Association.
- Truman G. Madsen, “Guest Editor’s Prologue,” BYU Studies 9/3 (Spring 1969), 237.
- A Mormon woman wrote “there is all ready ten hundred thousand of the lamanites baptized into the Church and they are waiting very impatient to avenge the blood of Joseph and Hyrum. We have to keep men among them to keep them back or they would been here before this time.” 15 January 1845, D. Michael Quinn, Mormon Hierarchy: Origins of Power, 649. He cites no source.
- The imprecision with which I use the term “Mormon” reflects historical and contemporary usage around me. It may mean members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints based in Salt Lake City, Utah; it may mean those culturally connected though excommunicated, inactive, or “less active,” as is so often said; or it may mean those who are actively involved in other restoration groups, other churches and organizations who claim Joseph Smith or the Book of Mormon as their own. There is no one precise usage of the term possible as it is continually negotiated. It is sometimes possible to be more precise in referring to Latter-day Saints (LDS, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, those who followed Brigham Young after this early period), Latter Day Saint (RLDS, members of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, those who organized around Joseph Smith III, some of Joseph Smith the founder, by 1860; as of April 2001, they are known as Community of Christ), or others in their locations within the broader movement. I make an effort to refer to people as they refer to themselves, and I favor vernacular rather than institutional usage. For the same reasons, when arguments break out over “Native American,” “indigenous,” “autochthonous,” and so on, I tend to stay with “Indian,” being more specific when I can. Both “Mormon” and “Indian” are common enough nicknames among insiders and outsiders. Both create the illusion of a coherent body of people where none exists. Their use here is strategic.
- Susan Easton Black, comp., Membership of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 1830-1848. Microfiche at LDS Historical Department Library, Penina Shropshire Cotton, married 27 January 1846, Nauvoo. She was born in southern Illinois (Vienna, 12 March 1827), but her family were all from North Carolina.
- In the winter of 1846/1847, William McCary (McGarry, McCairey, McCay), entertained those at Winter Quarters playing flute, saucepan, and other instruments. When he was in favor, he was a Lamanite prophet. When he was out of favor, sharing with young women his own version of polygamy, he was “Negro.” Newell G. Bringhurst, “Elijah Abel and the Changing Status of Blacks within Mormonism,” Dialogue 12/2 (Summer 1979). Article also appears in Neither White Nor Black: Mormon Scholars Confront the Race Issue in a Universal Church, eds. Lester E. Bush, Jr., and Armand L. Mauss (Midvale, Utah: Signature Books, 1984), 130-148; and much of the information is in Newell G. Bringhurst, Saints, Slaves, and Blacks: The Changing Place of Black People within Mormonism, Contributions to the Study of Religion, Number 4 (Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1981).
- When Anthony Navarre, a 21-year-old Metís Potawatomi, arrived in Council Bluffs in 1848 after being away at school, he was intrigued enough by the Mormons that he joined them. He spent the next eight years in the new Mormon settlement at Great Salt Lake City, where he was involved and occasionally showed up in local records. After he was baptized, ordained, and blessed, he went back to the Potawatomi in 1857 as a missionary. James A. Clifton, The Prairie People, 217, 365-366, 400. Anthony Freichett (Freischutz) Navarre was born 6 March 1827 in South Bend Indiana. His mother was Kishwaquah, a Potawatomi, and his father was Peter Navarre, a French trader, the first white settler of South Bend. this is the same area Zion’s Camp passed through in 1834. When Navarre was a child, the Potawatomis throughout the Great Lakes removed to Missouri, Kansas and Iowa (though not all removed). He was baptized 27 July 1856. This could well have been a rebaptism since many in Salt Lake City were rededicating themselves at this time. He was ordained by Hosea Stout 11 January 1857 and given a patriarchal blessing by John Young 25 February 1857. Early Church Information File. LDS Historical Department Library. 11 January 1857, Hosea Stout, in Brooks, On the Mormon Frontier 2: 617.
Navarre seemed to have an established life in Salt Lake City. When he sued S. S. Brattleson for $120.80, Hosea Stout represented him and he won. Stout mentions that the plaintiff (Brattleson) was a non-resident but says nothing of Navarre, implying that he was a resident on and before 4 August 1855. 4 August 1855, Stout, in Brooks, On the Mormon Frontier, 2: 559.
- In January 1839, R.M. Brown and Henry More went from Chautauqua County north to the Senecas at “Tonevanta” (Tonawanda) to preach. They actually brought back a convert, William Clute, baptized and ordained him, sent him home to preach, and never heard from him again. Lorenzo Brown, Journal, Writings of Early Latter-day Saints and Their Contemporaries, 22 January, 29 January, 31 January, and 4 February. Comp. Milton V. Backman, Jr. 2 August 1993. From typescript in Brigham Young University Special Collections. http://www.math.byu.edu/~smithw/Lds/LDS/Early-Saints/brown,l (3 September 1999). The convert’s name, William Clute, is very close to that of Jonathan Dunham’s interpreter at Tuscarora, William Chue, 25 miles away and three years earlier.
- When the exploring expedition of 1845 was organized, “It was also decided that Brother Solomon [Zundel] should go with them to his tribe the Delawares.” 15 April 1845, William Clayton, in Smith, An Intimate Chronicle, 163.
Two years earlier at the small Augusta branch, about 15 miles north of Nauvoo and across the Mississippi in Iowa, one of the Elders in the branch was a Delaware, unnamed. He was ordained 1 April 1843. This may have been Solomon Zundel, whose name appears in no other records I found. As the Saints moved west across Iowa in the spring of 1846, Horace K. Whitney, husband of Helen Mar Kimball, mentions his “family horse physician, the Delaware.” When a horse was bitten by a rattlesnake, he wrote, “we have a civilized Indian of the ancient Delaware tribe with us, who is of great use to us in such cases.” This could have been Zundel. There is no record that he actually went with Lewis Dana on the exploring expedition. Augusta branch: History of the Church 5: 218; Times and Seasons 4/11 (15 April 1843): 176. Delaware doctor: 4 May and 24 April 1846, Horace K. Whitney, in Helen Mar Kimball Whitney, in Holzapfel and Holzapfel, A Woman’s View, 360, 362. Originally published in Women’s Exponent 12/17 (1 February 1883): 135-136.
- Moses Otis, nation unknown. Baptized by Brigham Young. 3 August 1845, Journal History. Edward Whiteseye and Peter Cooper, nations unknown. 24-29 September 1845, Hosea Stout, in Brooks, On the Mormon Frontier, 1: 72-77. Baptism: 29 September 1845, Heber C. Kimball, in Helen Mar Kimball, in Holzapfel and Holzapfel, A Woman’s View, 273. Originally published in Women’s Exponent 11/23 (May 1883): 177-178.
- Michael Quinn claims that, though McLellin did not talk about this, William McLellin’s mother was Cherokee, making him the first American Indian to become a Latter-day Saint apostle. Quinn does not cite his evidence, and I found no support for the assertion. D. Michael Quinn, Mormon Hierarchy: Origins of Power (Salt Lake City: Signature Books in association with Smith Research Associates, 1994), 563, 623.
- Lewis Dana’s name is spelled in the record many different ways: Dagney, Dainy, Dany, Dana, etc. Cutlerite sources used Denna. Danny Jorgensen takes Denna as definitive because that is the spelling his wife used on his gravestone. Quite understandable. LDS sources tend more often to use Dana, which could have been the result of the close presence of another New Yorker called Dana (Charles Root Dana). I use Dana as definitive because this is the spelling used by Lewis Dana’s father, John Dana. In all, it is not a terribly important question.
Lewis Dana’s father, John Dana, had been an interpreter at the removal treaty between Oneidas of Wisconsin and J.F. Schermerhorn for the United States on 16 September 1836. In Francis Jennings, ed., Iroquois Indians: A Documentary History of the Diplomacy of the Six Nations and their League (Woodbridge, Connecticut: Research Publication, 1985), reel 47. The original treaty is at the State Historical Society of Wisconsin in Madison. George Boyd Papers, Wisconsin Manuscript D, volume 5, item no. 12.
Lewis Dana received two or three patriarchal blessings in Nauvoo, all listing his father as Jonathan Dana. Patriarchal Blessing Index, 1830-1971. 14 February 1845, volume 9, p. 79; 16 February 1845, volume 14, p. 68. LDS Historical Department Archives. 11 April 1845. Early Church Information File. LDS Historical Department Library. This last one is probably the same blessing dated 14 February 1845. His mother was Nelly Dana.
- 7 April 1842 meeting in Andrew F. Ehat, “It Seems Like Heaven Began on Earth’: Joseph Smith and the Constitution of the Kingdom of God,” BYU Studies 20/3 (spring 1980): 254. Meetings and volunteers for Oregon and California Exploring Expedition, 21-29 February 1844, History of the Church 6: 223-227. Joseph Smith wanted 35 men. The following volunteered or were appointed: Jonathan Dunham, Phineas H. Young, David D. Yearsley, David Fullmer, Alphonzo Young, James Emmett, George D. Watt, Daniel Spencer, Samuel Bent, Joseph A. Kelting, Samuel Rolfe, Daniel Avery, Samuel W. Richards, Seth Palmer, Amos Fielding, Charles Shumway, John S. Fullmer, Ira S. Miles, Almon L. Fullmer, Hosea Stout, Thomas S. Edwards, Moses Smith, and Rufus Beach.
- “Late from America,” Millennial Star 1/4 (August 1840): 89. Woodruff paraphrased his wife’s letter in his journal. Scott G. Kenney, ed., Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 483.
- Oliver Boardman Huntington, Diary and Reminiscences, LDS Historical Department Archives. Mary Gont, the woman Dana later married and was sealed to, was not his first wife. Oliver Boardman Huntington, Diary and reminiscences, 1843 June – 1900 January. LDS Historical Department Archives. Oliver Huntington was 17 years old when Lewis Dana first arrived among the Mormons. Dimmick Huntington, after he crossed the Palins, “was best known among the early settlers of Utah as an Indian interpreter, and for his influence among the Indian.” Andrew Jenson, Latter-day Saints Biographical Encyclopedia. Volume 4 (Salt Lake City: Andrew Jenson Historical Company, 1936), 748.
- Reginald Horsman, “The Wisconsin Oneidas in the Preallotment Years,” in The Oneida Indian Experience: Two Perspectives, eds. Jack Campisi and Lawrence M. Hauptman, The Iroquois and Their Neighbors (Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 1988), 69-71. In Wisconsin, Oneidas moved to the Fox River, near Green Bay.
- Times and Seasons reprinted an article from the Green Bay Republican lamenting the Oneidas’ failure to move on. The Times and Seasons editor commented that it was only a few years since they had been moved from New York. “Now they have begun to live again, and the voice of the (white man) from Washington to the Wallamette murmurs ‘go.’ And why? O because the poor Indians (acquire the vices) and not the virtues of the whites!” It was the whites, the editor went on, who lacked the virtue to behave honorably toward the Indians. “The Oneida Indians,” Times and Seasons 6/1 (15 January 1845): 1080-1081.
- 15 January 1845. D. Michael Quinn, Mormon Hierarchy: Origins, 649. He cites no source.
- Law, one of Joseph Smith’s Presidency, published the paper to expose Joseph Smith as a fallen prophet; Joseph Smith ordered the press destroyed after one issue; and the lawlessness of this act moved other Illinois citizens to take Joseph Smith into custody for the crime. He was killed in custody. That, of course, is only a very simple version of events.
- Oliver Boardman Huntington, Diary and Reminiscences, LDS Historical Department Archives. Hosea Stout mentions going to the trial of J.C. Elliott on 12 February 1845 and gives some of the background to his arrest. Stout, in Juanita Brooks, ed., On the Mormon Frontier: The Diary of Hosea Stout. Volume 1, 1844-1848 (Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press and the Utah State Historical Society, 1964), 20.
- 14 February 1845, William Clayton, in Smith, An Intimate Chronicle, 158; 1 March 1845, 158-159.
- 1 March 1845, William Clayton, in Smith, An Intimate Chronicle, 158, 159. One of the men appointed, Daniel Spencer, was already acquainted with Indians. In a fragment of his journal from 24 January 1845 he mentions “Powchiech,” who is Powesheek, a Mesquakie leader living in central Iowa. On 1 March 1845 he wrote, “Saw Br Orson who informed me that I ben approved on mission to explore the contry in company with 8 others.” Within a week he was among the Mesquakie again. 7 March 1845 he wrote, “Camped out on the banks of the Ioway River in a Settlement of Indians.” Daniel Spencer, Journal, typescript, LDS Historical Department Archives.
- 15 April 1845, William Clayton, in Smith, An Intimate Chronicle, 163.
- Danites were Young and Dunham. All but Tindale were Freemasons. D. Michael Quinn, Mormon Hierarchy: Origins, 481, 484, 528-530. I have on information at all on Tindale or Tinsdale outside of the records that he left on the mission with the others. He was with Dana when Daniel Spencer and Charles Shumway returned to Indian territory in August. 18 August 1845, Daniel Spencer, Journal. LDS Historical Department Archives. Tindale does not seem to have been with them in Indian territory in May, or perhaps he was so unremarkable that Young simple did not remark on him. Phineas Young, Journal, LDS Historical Department Archives.
- 26 April, 5 May, 27 April, 3 May 1845, Phineas Young, Journal, LDS Historical Department Archives.
- 8-19 May 1845, Phineas Young, Journal, LDS Historical Department Archives.
- The note, which has never been found, was one of the documents reimagined by Mark Hofmann—a forgery which he sold in the mid-1980s and which appeared in some collections as authentic. For Dunham’s grieving, see Oliver B. Huntington story in Seymour Bicknell Young, Diary, LDS Historical Department Archives, 23 May 1903.
- T[homas]. B[rown]. H[olmes]. Stenhouse, The Rocky Mountain Saints: A Full and Complete History of the Mormons, from the first vision of Joseph Smith to the last courtship of Brigham Young. . . (New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1873), 164n.
- He died in the early morning, 28 July 1845.
- Oliver Huntington story in Seymour Bicknell Young, Diary, LDS Historical Department Archives, 23 May 1903.
- 3 August 1845, Journal History.
- James R. Clark, Messages of the First Presidency, 1: 275. No other record of these letters could be found. The Twelve kept no letterbook for this period.
- 6-17 August 1845, Daniel Spencer, Journal, typescript, LDS Historical Department Archives.
- The Herrings were Mohawks, but the presence of Mohawks in Kansas and Indian territory is not easily untangled. They may have been part of a group of Mohawks who settled in Ohio, on Honey Creek, among the refugee Iroquois there. Some were Anglican, originally from the Six Nations in Upper Canada (Ontario), those who followed Joseph Brant after the Revolutionary War. Others were Catholic, from Caughnawaga (Kahnawake), near Montreal, though it seems all were considered Anglican (Episcopal) by the time of emigration to Oklahoma in 1831. The Iroquois who emigrated from Ohio are usually called Sandusky Senecas because there were far more Senecas among them than others of the Six Nations. They were 200 Senecas, 211 Seneca Shawnees, and 50 Mohawks. William C. Sturtevant, “Oklahoma Seneca-Cayuga,” The Handbook of North American Indians, ed. William Sturtevant, volume 15, 537-542; Grant Foreman, The Last Trek of the Indians (Chicago: University of Chicago, 1946), 339n50, 165-166.
This makes it seem even more likely that George and Joseph Herring were of this group, because they have been described in Mormon records as Seneca and Shawnee as well as Mohawk—though they always referred to themselves as Mohawks. In 1835 in Indian territory, George Herring signed a treaty between Comanches, Wichatas, Cherokees, Creeks, Choctaws, Osages, Quapaws, and Senecas. He was a part of the party of Senecas. 24 August 1835, Treaty No. 198 at Camp Holmes, Documents Relating to the Negotiation of Ratified and Unratified Treaties with Various Indian Tribes, 1801-1869, National Archives and Records Service, Legislative and Natural Resources Branch, Washington, D.C. In Francis Jennings, Iroquois Indians, reel 47.
There was also a group of Caughnawaga (Kahnawake) Mohawks, from near Montreal, who in 1866 petitioned the Cherokee nation for citizenship. The Herrings seemed to go often to the Cherokees, and their sister lived among the Cherokees, so they could also have been part of this group. Grant Foreman, The Last Trek of the Indians, 339n50.
- Dana’s date would put Dunham sick by mid-June and dead in early July. They seem to have confirmed the 28 July date later.
- 18 August 1845, Daniel Spencer, Journal, typescript, LDS Historical Department Archives.
- 9 September 1845, William Clayton, in Smith, An Intimate Chronicle, 181. Dana and Dunham must have been among the Senecas at least part of the time, because the nasty letter from the agent reached Dunham at the Seneca nation—otherwise it would not be preserved among his paper.
- 24-29 September 1845, Hosea Stout, in Brooks, On the Mormon Frontier, 1: 72-77. Baptism: 29 September 1845, Heber C. Kimball, in Helen Mar Kimball, in Holzapfel and Holzapfel, A Woman’s View, 273. Originally published in Women’s Exponent 11/23 (May 1883): 177-178.
- 1-4 October 1845, Hosea Stout, in Brooks, On the Mormon Frontier, 1:79-80.
- Heber C. Kimball and Helen Mar Kimball, in Holzapfel and Holzapfel, eds., A Woman’s View, 276-277. Originally published in Women’s Exponent 11/24 (15 May 1883): 186. Mary Gont was not Dana’s first wife with whom he was baptized in 1840. The first wife died soon after the Danas first came to Nauvoo. After Lewis Dana died in 1885 in Clitherall, Minnesota, Mary Gont Denna lived out her life there. They were married 40 years. Danny L. Jorgensen, personal communication, June 1999. Lawrence Coates not only called her Mary Goat but assumed she was Indian. Coates published three articles on this period: “Refugees Meet: The Mormons and Indians in Iowa,” BYU Studies 21/4 (Fall 1981): 491-514; “Brigham Young and Mormon Indian Policies: The Formative Period, 1836-1851,” BYU Studies 18/3 (Spring 1978): 428-451; and “Cultural Conflict: Mormons and Indians in Nebraska,” BYU Studies 24/3 (Summer 1984): 275-300.
- 29 October 1845, Hosea Stout, in Brooks, On the Mormon Frontier, 1:87.
- 6 March 1846, Journal History. 30 April 1846, Hosea Stout, in Brooks, On the Mormon Frontier, 1: 158.
- 26 May 1846, Journal History.
- 31 May 1846, James Willard Cummings, Diary, LDS Historical Department Archives. 26 May 1846, Horace K. Whitney, in Helen Mar Kimball, in Holzapfel and Holzapfel, eds., A Woman’s View, 368. Originally published in Women’s Exponent 12/18 (15 February 1884): 138.
- Horance K. Whitney, in Helen Mar Kimball, in Holzapfel and Holzapfel, eds., A Woman’s View, 368. Originally published in Women’s Exponent 12/18 (15 February 1884): 138.
- 5 August 1846, Hosea Stout, in Brooks, On the Mormon Frontier, 1:184.
- 10 July 1846, Horace K. Whitney, in Helen Mar Kimball, in Holzapfel and Holzapfel, eds., A Woman’s View, 383. Originally published in Women’s Exponent 13/1 (1 June 1884): 2.
- 5 September 1846, Joseph F. Herring to Brigham Young and the Council of Twelve, Brigham Young Papers, LDS Historical Department Archives.
- September 1846, Journal History.
- 13 September 1846, Willard Richards and Brigham Young for the Council to Joseph F. Herring or Nigeajasha, Brigham Young Papers, LDS Historical Department Archives.
- 15 December 1846, Journal History; 15-16 December 1846, Hosea Stout, in Brooks, On the Mormon Frontier, 1: 218.
- 8 January 1847, Hosea Stout, in Brooks, On the Mormon Frontier, 1:224.
- 9 January 1847, Hosea Stout, in Brooks, On the Mormon Frontier, 1: 224.
- 10 January 1847, Hosea Stout, in Brooks, On the Mormon Frontier, 1: 225-226.
- 11 January 1847, Hosea Stout, in Brooks, On the Mormon Frontier, 1: 226.
- 17 January 1847, Hosea Stout, in Brooks, On the Mormon Frontier, 1: 229-290. 18 January 1847, Brigham Young, in William S. Harwell, Manuscript History, 17.
- 7 April 1848, Hosea Stout, in Brooks, On the Mormon Frontier, 1: 308.
- Joseph F. Herring to Brigham Young, 14 April 1848, Brigham Young Papers, LDS Historical Department Archives, Brigham Young had returned to Winter Quarters to take another party west.
- 9 May 1847, Lewis Dana, Charles Bird as scribe, from the Kickapoo Nation, Journal History. Original letter in the LDS Historical Department Archives has not been found.
- 13 August 1847, Hosea Stout, in Brooks, On the Mormon Frontier, 1: 269. Grant Foreman, The Last Trek of the Indians, 333, 335. The New York Indians who had considered emigrating arrived in 1846 and left again as soon as they could in 1847. They were not prepared for the hardship they found.
- 8 November 1847, Meeting of the Quorum of Twelve and others. Quoted in Richard E. Bennett, “Lamanism, Lymanism, and Cornfields,” 50. Two days later the report was heard at another council meeting, 10 November 1847, Hosea Stout, in Brooks, On the Mormon Frontier, 1: 287.
- This was not the Oneida land; that lay about 80 miles south on the Neosho River.
- 2-25 December 1847, James Willard Cummings, Diary, LDS Historical Department Archives.
- 31 March 1848, John D. Lee minutes of meeting at Recorder’s Office, Brigham Young Microfilm Collection, LDS Historical Department Archives; 31 March 1848, Journal History. The Journal History also cites a report from Lewis Dana on file, but this was not found. A few days before this meeting, Lewis Dana attended by invitation a “political caucus” in what became Kanesville with Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, Phineas Young, and many other “prominent citizens.” They listened to Whig candidates court their votes. 27 March 1848, Journal History; 27 March 1848, Brigham Young, in William S. Harwell, Manuscript History, 94-99.
- Danny L. Jorgensen, “Building the Kingdom,” 205-206.
- Danny L. Jorgensen, “Building the Kingdom,” 206.
- Richard E. Bennett, “Lamanism,” 54-55. Pottawattamie was the Mormon spelling 1848-1851.
- 27 April 1850, Orson Hyde to Brigham Young, Brigham Young Papers, LDS Historical Department Archives. Quoted in Richard E. Bennett, “Lamanism,” 52.
- 20 April 1851, Pottawattamie High Council, Conference Minutes, 1848-1851, LDS Historical Department Archives.
- Danny L. Jorgensen, “Building the Kingdom,” 207-208.
- After Cutler’s death in 1864, many Cutlerites, including Lewis Dana, went to Minnesota.
- Actual circumstances and relations changed, but rumors of a grand treaty or alliance with the Indians persisted from New York in the 1830s to Utah later in the century. A traveler through Utah 35 years after they crossed the Plains, English journalist Phil Robinson, spent three months with the Mormons, intending to find out if there was a “Secret Treaty” between Mormons and Indians as was commonly assumed. He determined that there was none because: 1) it could not have been kept secret, 2) they did not need it since the Indians would gladly choose the Mormons over the United States, and 3) “The conciliatory policy of the Church toward the Indians obviates all necessity for further measures of alliance.” Mormons could go safely where Gentiles could not. Robinson said the Mormons and Indians had great mutual admiration. He was editor of the Court and Society Review in London. Phil Robinson, Sinners and Saints, 124-125, 128.
- A single man, George Herring, went to Great Salt Lake City with the Keighams and the Carvers in David Wilkin’s company in 1853. 15 July 1853, Journal History.
- William A[dams]. Hickman, Brigham’s Destroying Angel: Being the Life, Confession, and Startling Disclosure of the Notorious Bill Hickman, The Danite Chief of Utah. Written by himself, with explanatory notes by J.H. Beadle, Esq. of Salt Lake City (New York: Geo. A Crofutt, 1872), 46-47. In this case, the details fit well the circumstances outlined in other sources. Joseph Herring was persistent. It would not make sense that he would not be around anymore if he were still able.