by Edward Leo Lyman
Chapter Three: Building a Commonwealth
[p.85]During the initial phases of the San Bernardino settlement the unity of purpose and effort was probably equal to that of any community then in existence. In the ensuing period of development there was less need to maintain the same degree of sacrifice for the group, and in fact a considerable measure of encouragement to focus primarily on individual interests emerged. Meanwhile, an influx of new emigrants, almost entirely Latter-day Saints, failed to accept the same sense of obligation toward the ranch debt or to the needs of the entire settlement. Thus there continued a core of community but it was no longer the exclusive condition of the settlement. Nevertheless, the maturation process continued.
After two years of growth a Los Angeles Star correspondent visited San Bernardino in 1853 and lavished the settlement with praise. With unusual perception he observed that the citizens had “the power to accomplish whatever they wish,” elaborating: “For what difficulty is too great to be overcome where a people are all of one mind, and are ready to concentrate all their energies to accomplish whatever appears conducive to their welfare?” This was one of the highest compliments Mormons could have received, with words resembling a description of one of the ideal communities in their scriptures, the utopian City of Enoch. It was certainly what settlers had strived to attain. The writer mentioned that final details of the town had not yet been fully developed, [p.86]but concluded by predicting: “I believe that in two years, San Bernardino will be one of the most beautiful towns in California.”1
Although San Bernardino’s citizens would fulfill this prediction, it would be done more as neighborly individuals than as a semi-communal extended family. The former course could probably have continued among the original settlers if their leaders had so directed, but subsequent advice and example favored the private enterprise present in other western settlements. This was the primary reason for the transition in the nature of the settlement’s economic endeavor.
News of San Bernardino’s success spread rapidly, particularly in Utah where winters continued to be hard and harvests lean. The late Eugene Campbell estimated that as many as ten thousand Latter-day Saints abandoned Brigham Young’s Zion in the first ten years of its existence. If as many went to northern California and returned east as gravitated to southern California, the estimate is close.2An examination of final residences of Mormon Battalion veterans bolsters such conclusions: A full 30 percent abandoned Mormondom for the remainder of their lives.3
[p.87]Despite the colony’s initial accomplishments Lyman and Rich worried that some newcomers might influence settlers to abandon their customary generosity and selflessness. Emigrant companies of varying sizes had arrived periodically from Utah. Rich described one of the first of these groups as “milk and water” Mormons who had “all come on their own hook,” leaving their assigned colonies without the prescribed permission of their ecclesiastical leaders. Few of these arrivals located in close proximity to the established settlement, setting a pattern that would endure. Faithfulness to church leaders was roughly proportionate to proximity to the community’s center. The influx of the less-faithful would continue to grow over the years, much to the concern of Lyman, Rich, and Young.4Probably following directions, Bishop William Crosby assisted “authorized” immigrants who came into his jurisdiction, giving them bread and seed for crops to tide them through to their first harvest. Those without a recommend from their previous bishop or branch president were doubtless on their own. Distinctions between disaffected and practicing Mormons became increasingly noticeable at San Bernardino in the first years of colonization.5
Some Salt Lake City residents expressed relief that less-desirable elements were gravitating to California. One elder, Robert Campbell, wrote that dissent had mostly subsided because most such residents had departed stating that “California [was] like a great reservoir, to take off the filth of corrupt men and relieve [p.88][Utah] of such influences.” Thomas Bullock, chief clerk at church headquarters, confided to Jedediah M. Grant that in Utah “peace prevails in our midst [since] all the discontented spirits left for California.” Although referring primarily to those gravitating to the gold fields, some of these remarks were also aimed at the southern colony.6
By the beginning of 1853 Lyman and Rich may have received some hints of official dissatisfaction with the growth of the colony at the expense of other Mormon settlements. Early in the year they wrote to the editor of the church’s Deseret News denying reports that they had encouraged Utah Saints to emigrate. They reaffirmed Young’s principle of colonization, that “the place for the Saints is wherever the counsel of the Lord through the presidency of the church may place them,” stressing further that it was “the privilege and duty of all Saints, without thinking for a moment,” to go wherever church authorities sent them and to remain there until released. One part of the vineyard was not to be built up “by pulling down” another part elsewhere. They cautioned: “[I]f any think to leave [Utah] without counsel, and think to be fellowshipped by us, they are mistaken … . [T]hose who love not God sufficiently to serve him in one place, will not do it in another.” They recommended that unauthorized travelers take the northern route which would “sooner bring them to the palace of the Golden God” and spare San Bernardino “the curse of their faithlessness.”7
Soon after, the First Presidency warned even more explicitly against leaving Utah for San Bernardino, also denouncing those who decided individually that a move to California would be best for them, a refrain they were hearing frequently. People could go if they wanted to, the leaders said, but only if they had no regard [p.89]for the church. Those “who preferred to dwell in the tents of wickedness than to tarrying among the saints” should go, but those who were faithful would stay in Utah where “the valleys [were] the chambers of the Lord for his people.” They clarified that San Bernardino had been established as “a place of gathering for the Pacific Islanders, Asiatics and those who [had become] accustomed to tropical climates” and for those among the transient gold-rush population “such as might be saved.” The colony was emphatically not for Mormon emigrants from either Utah or points farther east, except for those who had been called originally to settle that place. The presidency concluded that all others gravitating to San Bernardino “have done so in answer to their own desires, through a spirit of disaffection.” Young and his closest advisors had already formed unfavorable opinions of some aspects of the burgeoning city, and no developments in the ensuing years would soften this attitude.8
It would never be easy for those who had embraced the Latter-day Saint gospel—or any other such cause—to abruptly abandon that faith and way of life. With the discipline imposed in many Utah congregations by those with vivid recollections of problems arising from apostates in the past, expressing dissent or even choosing to lapse into non-participation might not be a viable option there. While other destinations were often chosen by those in Utah who had elected to sever their ties with Mormonism, San Bernardino became the gathering place for many who still held some affinity for the church. Many gravitating there undoubtedly desired to escape from the isolated confines of the Intermountain West and be closer to the outside world, while still remaining to some degree associated with the church. This was much more possible in the southern California colony than anywhere else at the time. Whatever the motives, over the ensuing [p.90]years San Bernardino attracted a number of citizens holding the range of attitudes toward the dominant church from full devotion to total alienation.
During the national elections of 1852 San Bernardino Mormons voted in bloc fashion, without noticeable enthusiasm, for Whig presidential candidate Winfield Scott. Of greater local significance Jefferson Hunt was elected as one of two Los Angeles County representatives to the state assembly. As a Democrat, he led San Bernardino rather securely into that party. Perhaps because of his Mormon Battalion service during the Mexican War, Hunt was received in Sacramento with marked cordiality and established good relationships with virtually all other state legislators. He would later report to Young that he received no negative comments or incidents, not even allusions to polygamy, in which he was a participant, during his entire first term.9
Stimulated by a petition circulated by Daniel M. Thomas, Hunt introduced a bill to form a separate San Bernardino County from the eastern portion of Los Angeles County. The bill passed easily and officials cooperated fully in the division which included a $4,500 share of the existing liabilities. In June the new county elected officials to act until the regular fall elections. Hunt was chosen sole assemblyman for the new county; Daniel M. Thomas as county judge; Robert Clift, sheriff; Richard R. Hopkins, clerk; Quartus S. Sparks, district attorney; Henry G. Sherwood, surveyor; William J. Cox, coroner; and William Stout, assessor and ex-officio superintendent of schools. All were church members and all but Stout were re-elected in September, with Valentine J. Herring being chosen assessor at that time. Andrew Lytle and John Brown were designated as justices of the peace and, with Thomas, comprised the county court of sessions, the closest thing to a governing body before the board of supervisors was organized [p.91]in 1855. The court of sessions quickly established election precincts. The Mormon community was divided into three: one at the fort, another at the old mission, and a third in the mountain sawmill district. Other county subdivisions were at Jurupa, San Salvadore, and Chino, all predominantly Hispanic and easily outvoted by the Mormons.10
Just as these divisions were taking place, favorable attention was given to Mormon petitions for a road that shortened the route from San Bernardino to Los Angeles. Public funds were expended to improve the road north of the just-established survey baseline. From this road the present Foothill Boulevard developed, in places penetrating underbrush so thick a mounted horseman could hardly leave the road. The new San Bernardino court of sessions also authorized a public road running from the fort past the gristmill to the mission district, to the southeast across the Santa Ana River. The men residing at the latter place were assessed to work five days per year, with a similar labor levy placed on residents of other districts to work on roads closer to them. Similar road districts were organized for the lower Cajon Pass, the route to Jurupa and Chino, and one eastward through San Gorgonio Pass. Throughout this period road building and maintenance preoccupied county government primarily and became a major legacy of the Mormon settlers for future generations.11
In the fall of 1852 the federal government finally began to prepare the remaining public domain for eventual sale. Colonel Henry Washington, a United States deputy surveyor, erected a [p.92]monument on the top of one of the highest peaks east of the fort, designated as Mt. San Bernardino. The monument was visible with spyglasses from the town, some twenty-four miles away. A base line ran from this monument, establishing the point from which all subsequent land surveys in southern California would be made. Over the next three years government surveyors would transverse much of the county, laying out townships as outlined in the old American Land Ordinance of 1785. Just then the national interest in a transcontinental railroad was reaching a high pitch, with controversy over which route should be favored. Several major surveys were run, including one along the thirty-fifth parallel into the San Bernardino area by Lieutenant Amiel W. Whipple. Lieutenant Robert S. Williamson also conducted surveys of the passes through the Sierra Nevada, including the Cajon and San Gorgonio passes. His report briefly praised the fertility of the soil and the “salubrity” of the climate, along with the neatness of the dwellings and well-tilled fields of San Bernardino.12
Local citizens provided food and other supplies for men and animals from the survey crews. This may have encouraged Lyman and Rich to open their own store. A new adobe structure was erected within the fort, and Rich and at/other partner in the enterprise [p.93]Richard R. Hopkins, procured stock and shipped it by steamer from San Francisco. Ten wagons hauled the material to San Bernardino, where in August 1853, Lyman noted, they opened and “had a good run of trade.” The Mormon proprietors may have had some prior urging from Lieutenant George Stoneman, future governor of California, who had served as an officer with the Mormon Battalion. Acting as government quartermaster, he soon contracted for 25,000 pounds of barley, at a good price of $4.50 per hundredweight. This with a supply of beef netted $1,475 in cash. This was the first of many such transactions over the next few months, including some not promptly paid for.13
By the time Lyman, Rich, and Hopkins entered the mercantile business, at least one other such company had already been established: the firm of J. Henry Rollins and Morris Minor. The former was a long-time Mormon who had operated several stores, including one for Joseph Smith in Nauvoo. The latter was born in Hungary and was also an experienced merchant. Minor was originally called as a missionary to the Sandwich Islands in 1851, travelling to California with Parley Pratt, but his call was dismissed because he apparently lacked faith to properly fulfill the assignment at that time. In poor health, and upon the advice of Lyman and Rich, Minor took Rollins in as a partner. The company procured a half-dozen wagon loads of goods from San Francisco, including calico cloth and sixteen iron cook stoves. As the merchandise arrived at San Bernardino, fifteen of the stoves were sold immediately and the remaining goods disposed of within a few days. At the end of the first year Rollins bought out Minor’s share of the store. The latter was never thereafter known to be involved in the colony.14
[p.94]New arrivals noted at San Bernardino included “both Gentile and Jew.” There had always been a few non-Mormons moving into the vicinity, including some who eventually converted. One of the first of a significant number of Jewish merchants was Lewis Jacobs, born in Prussia in 1831, who came to San Bernardino in the fall of 1852. Jacobs commenced business selling “yankee notions” from a backpack door to door and soon opened a store, probably the first outside the fort. At about the same time Marcus Katz, who arrived from Germany in 1850 and promptly gravitated to the California gold fields, moved on to San Bernardino. There he sought and received permission from church leaders to open a store inside the fort. With almost no cash then available, business was conducted on a barter basis, with merchants accepting eggs, butter, and garden produce as payment. The items received by the storekeepers were hauled by ox team to Los Angeles.
Harris Newmark, another German Jew who located in Los Angeles about the same time Jacobs and Katz came to San Bernardino, noted that the latter supplied much of the butter, eggs, and poultry for his own city. The three-day journey did nothing for freshness, but Newmark conceded that the lower prices accepted by the Mormons more than compensated for such problems. The first San Bernardino harvest brought 60,000 bushels of wheat and 3,000 of barley, which Katz recalled brought prosperity to the colony. The enterprising merchant purchased and transported sixteen wagon loads of flour and wheat to Los Angeles, selling the flour for $32 per barrel and the wheat for $4 per bushel.15
[p.95]The flush times did not carry over into 1853. In February Judge D. M. Thomas complained that the price of flour at Los Angeles had fallen to $14 per hundredweight, with two or three loads able to glut the market there. Some flour was apparently sent north, presumably for sale at a higher rate, but such an abrupt decline in prices certainly depressed prospects for outside sales. With the influx of new population at San Bernardino, most of the flour milled there that year was consumed locally. Thomas also complained that the gristmill was incapable of meeting the community needs and would be unable to grind all of the grain awaiting milling before the new harvest was undertaken. There was considerable talk at the time of building another mill, but nothing came of the idea, although the existing mill was improved in several stages. Thomas mentioned that the unprocessed surplus grain included that which had been donated as tithing and which would not be sold until milled. Certainly, any that might be sold to help repay the ranch debt was also caught in this backlog.16
At the end of the first week of February—ironically soon after outside observer District Judge Benjamin Hayes commented on the amazing health of the San Bernardino colony—the branch clerk recorded that the community was experiencing its first significant outbreak of illness since the settlers had been there. On 20 February, amid rain and thunder, John Holladay’s fourteen-year-old daughter, Leonora, died. This was the first known fatality in the colony’s year-and-a-half existence, aside from the three infants lost at Sycamore Grove and the infant twin daughter of Silas Harris who died in December 1852. It was followed a week later by the death of an eleven-month-old son of Andrew Jackson Cox and two weeks thereafter by that of ten-year-old Sariah [p.96]Tanner, daughter of Amasa Lyman’s widowed mother-in-law. That ended the season’s fatalities, though a recent immigrant from Iowa suffering from consumption, Mr. Van Norden, succumbed at the fort in July.
In the late fall of the same year Leonora Holladay’s married sister died. Keziah Holladay Boyle, one of the many beautiful southern belles gracing the community, became ill while waiting on her sick sister-in-law, Henrietta. She had been perfectly healthy at the recent birth of her second child, but the disease, perhaps pneumonia, struck suddenly, and she was gone within two weeks. Her grieving husband could only console himself and their children with the assurance of reunion in the hereafter, as taught by their religion, noting how happy they had been in their few years of married life.17
Around the same time Elizabeth Sanderson died of complications related to the birth of her fourth child. The family had just completed the “tedious” two-month journey from Utah and were pleased with their prospects in the new settlement. Elizabeth had a doctor’s attention, but to no avail. Just prior to her death the attending physician asked her if she was willing to part with her husband, to which she replied she was not but could not overrule Providence, then said, “Is it possible, can this be death?” and passed away.18
At the end of 1853 Lyman and Rich noted with brevity that the settlement had endured considerable sickness, “though fatal in very few instances and those [mostly to] children,” none of whom were named. Infant mortality was so common as to be natural. Lyman and Rich also reported an unfortunate instance [p.97]of suicide. An older husband and father, Hiram Clark, veteran of church missions to Britain and Hawaii, whom the branch clerk reported had “been slightly insane and low spirited,” went out into a field a short distance from his house and cut his throat with a razor. His son was close by and heard his father bid farewell with a severed windpipe.19
A number of accidental deaths added to the 1853 toll. David Cade, about forty years old and who had recently emigrated from San Diego with his uncle, was brought to the fort in early June after his horse fell on him, reportedly while racing some boys to a swimming hole. Probably suffering a broken neck or spine, he seemed to have little sensation and did not speak during the ten days he lingered before dying. In November a Native American, shot by Sheriff Robert Clift in the line of his duty, was brought to the fort, where he soon died. Both his internment and an inquest over his death transpired before fellow tribesmen visited the settlement where they satisfied themselves that all had been done with just cause.20
The deaths the following year included the second Tenney child, who died in July. About the same time an Indian was shot while trying to steal a horse belonging to a Mexican. In October the old mountain man Isaac Slover was brought from the top of Cajon Pass where he had been mauled by a grizzly bear. That same month young Nancy Rollins died of complications from an injury suffered when her cousin, Amasa Lyman, Jr., tipped his small wagon off the side of a bridge, spilling a group of children into a dry creek bed. The family blamed the attending physician [p.98]with negligence, but Amasa Lyman attributed the death to inflammation of the brain. Another 1854 fatality was a young wife, Rachael Hale Hoaglund.1
Although no specific burial site is mentioned in connection with any of these deaths, it is likely that all were interred in the same general area. The most logical location would be a half-mile northeast of the fort near where the town cemetery would later be situated. In the fall of 1989 construction crews unearthed bones at the site which were determined to be from the time period. The plot is situated on what was probably the most prominent hill in the area at the time, just beyond the plat of city lots being laid out.22
Another serious accident in the summer of 1853 had a more pleasant ending. On 13 August Jefferson Hunt’s adult son Marshall caught his foot in the working parts of a threshing machine, tearing his lower leg off almost to the knee. Dr. Ira Burrus was summoned, and, with Amasa Lyman witnessing and the young [p.99]man held by his father, the amputation was completed with only whiskey as an anesthetic. The doctor aimed to save the knee joint but confided to Lyman that he not only expected to perform an additional amputation farther up the leg, but predicted the patient would probably not survive the week. Lyman noted that the boy appeared to be unusually free from pain. Jefferson Hunt was reputed to possess a gift of healing to which the recovery would have been attributed, although if faith saved the boy, he apparently did not acknowledge it. He would be excommunicated prior to the demise of the San Bernardino colony. “Marsh” would use a peg leg the rest of his long life.23
Following this incident Dr. Burrus continued to be in considerable demand. Later that year he treated two of Lyman’s own children. But in the case of Francis Marion, whose illness was said by the father to be “inflammation of the brain,” it was the spiritualist ministrations of John Brown which patient and practitioner acknowledged to have affected the cure.24
Louisa Barnes Pratt had occasion, apparently by assignment from the bishop, to nurse several emigrants who had met with mishap on the desert crossing. A Mrs. Franklin was brought to her home after being shot through the arm and having traveled five weeks with no medical attention. The wound was “in terrible condition,” but through Dr. Burrus’s skill and Sister Pratt’s care the woman recovered, despite her apprehension at being treated by Mormons. Even before the grateful woman departed, a young man near the point of death from poison desert berries was brought to them. Shifts of “watchmen” kept a fire and lights burning throughout the night as the boy fought for his life, a [p.100]battle which two companions, apparently employees of a Mormon freighter, John Reese, had failed to win. After several weeks the patient was strong enough to wait on himself. Eventually, he found work, allowing him to repay Sister Pratt for her care. From that time on she recalled that he “always appeared grateful for what [she] had done for him.”25
As the time approached for putting in the spring 1853 crops, Daniel M. Thomas noted “people begging for more land.” In accordance with the direction of colony leaders, the Big Field was enlarged by about a thousand acres, intended to provide “plenty of work on hand.” In addition, some 700 acres were added to the fields near the asistancia and 200 more at the Bishop’s Garden. Prospects were good for another excellent wheat and barley harvest, although some of the grain had fallen down, probably because of spring rains. The community continued to acquire harvesting equipment, including several reapers not previously available at San Bernardino. Amasa Lyman witnessed a demonstration of one of these in July, along with a thresher-cleaner, and pronounced both to be great successes. At the same time he commented on the rust damage to the wheat yield which remained a persistent problem. Lyman expected more grain than citizens would need for their personal use, but the rust setback boded ill for redeeming the ranch debt. Another large payment was due before the next harvest.26
More threatening to the future of the ranch, though perhaps not as perceptible at the time, was the decision by the United States Land Commission, created to establish the legitimacy of Mexican land grants, to confirm only eight square leagues of land as the extent of the San Bernardino Rancho grant. Lyman and Rich assumed they had purchased over twice that much. The [p.101]Lugos had used the entire San Bernardino and Yucaipa valleys. But the fine print in Spanish, which Mormons had neglected to scrutinize more closely, clearly defined the legal limits. The Lugos may have had some loose agreement for broader grazing rights, but they did not volunteer knowledge of such limitations. In their subsequent communications with church headquarters, the San Bernardino leaders reported that only eight leagues—35,000 acres—would be confirmed, although they expressed hope for a more generous allotment from new land commissioners appointed by the incoming Franklin Pierce administration. However, no one expressed strong disappointment. Rich even conceded later that they would be able to claim and use most of the valley’s good land since much north of the baseline was marshy, the Santa Ana and other flood plains were boulder-strewn, and a considerable amount of hilly land was deemed uncultivatable.27
The commission stated that the proprietors could select whatever land they wished to the total extent of their grant, but all other land would eventually be purchasable in the public domain. Government prices would not be as high as what Lyman and Rich would need to fix on their property, so public land sales would compete favorably with their interests. It would mean that some of those expected to purchase from the company would succumb to the temptation to wait until the public lands came on the market, thereby making debt redemption on the ranch more difficult. Also, since Lyman and Rich were in no hurry to designate officially which lands they would claim, those on lands eventually chosen might have made improvements which would complicate legal claims. These kinds of problems did eventually [p.102]arise, leading to conflict and bitterness that disrupted and perhaps ultimately destroyed the colony.
In considering factors leading to the failure of the original community spirit of San Bernardino to envelope incoming citizens as well, the land situation looms large. Much more property than the early colonists needed was purchased, clearly for the benefit of future settlers, who would be expected to share the financial obligations entailed. But with the considerable amount of less expensive public domain available, people who might otherwise have cooperated with the Lyman and Rich land sales enterprise had an attractive alternative. In a larger sense it also enabled incursion into what had been exclusively Latter-day Saint domain by individuals and interests independent of the original group enterprise. The disruptive influences resulting from these developments cannot be overemphasized in explaining the lack of continued community among the citizens of the southern California Mormon colony.
Still, during the summer of 1853 nothing indicated a weakening in the resolve among current residents to meet the ranch payments. At the fall semi-annual conference the settlers once again pledged by unanimous vote to “use their utmost exertions, with all the means they might be able to influence, to meet promptly the next and last payments for the Rancho of San Bernardino.” By so pledging they again deferred private ambition and agreed to remain in the stifling confines of the fort for a third year. They also paid $4,500 in tithing and contributions to the newly instituted Perpetual Emigration Fund—a means to bring European converts to the American West—over $1,300 of which would be forwarded to general church headquarters at the first opportunity.28
A Star correspondent visiting San Bernardino reported on the conference, including the impressive choral music interspersed [p.103]among the sermons. The journalist described Rich’s opening speech, in which the latter praised the Saints for the general good feeling that prevailed in the community and exhorted everyone to cultivate habits of right living. In contrast, Lyman’s first sermon was described as “caustic” and tending to “cut the sensibilities of the ‘careless saints’ to the quick,” although the reporter noted that Lyman’s remarks on the Mormon concept of deity in his second sermon were “sublime beyond what we generally hear.”
Characteristic of Mormon worship services, business matters were interspersed throughout the conference. Lyman, Rich, and others had recently deliberated on prices for town lots and decided on $100 per lot, with corner property for $125. This was proposed to the congregation and “acquiesced in by a unanimous vote.” Lyman presented a full report on the history of ranch transactions. In connection with this, those present were urged to meet the $50,000 payment due the ensuing March. The following Thursday and Friday were proclaimed as general work days to improve the mill race, while Saturday was designated “to be enjoyed in feasting and dancing.”29
Along with the unauthorized Latter-day Saints filtering into the area, members continued to arrive from northern California and the foreign missions, as well as a few from Utah who traveled with permission. In November and December 1852 the families of Theodore Thorpe, Isaac Goodwin, Thomas Tompkins, and Addison Pratt, and others arrived early, mostly overland from the San Francisco Bay area and added to the consistently faithful. A Mexican War veteran, Colonel Alden A. M. Jackson, and his friend, former Brooklyn emigrant Caroline Joyce, joined the community and were among the three marriages performed there that season. Soon after, three others from northern California—William Stout, George Winner, and Quartus S. Sparks—[p.104]arrived, all of whom would serve the community in the first years but would eventually oppose church authorities.
A contingent of forty permanent settlers came from Salt Lake City. This company was led by Henry G. Sherwood, a prominent churchman who had recently been released as senior high councilman of the Salt Lake Stake. As the man who had actually surveyed and laid out Salt Lake City, his skills were recognized to be essential. But over a period of time Sherwood would become increasingly disaffected.30
The same was true of Benjamin Grouard, who had just completed a successful nine-year church mission in Tahiti. Upon settling at San Bernardino with his Polynesian wife and several children, the missionary traveled to Utah with Lyman and Rich to report his mission and, as it developed, to court another wife. This did not alter the relationship with the first wife, who was committed to polygamy. However, she may have been the first to realize, as did the wife of his longtime mission companion, Addison Pratt, that Grouard was already losing faith in the church and its leaders. Sometime after his arrival at San Bernardino, he made some “incautious remarks” which brought public commentary from a church official who perhaps in some way sought to discipline Grouard. Upon Lyman’s or Rich’s return, Grouard was “reinstated in the minds of the people,” and the erring church leader was chastised. The exact nature of his offense is unknown, but it probably centered on spiritualist doctrines common in the Pacific Islands which he and others embraced without perceiving them to be incompatible with their religion. Whatever the problem, Louisa Pratt believed that from that point onward Grouard “manifest[ed] a disaffected spirit.” These developments probably took place more gradually than Pratt recalled. In the first several years after his arrival at San Bernardino, Grouard was considered [p.105]to be in full fellowship and was in demand as a speaker at worship services. Still, Pratt was correct about his eventual apostasy.31
Another arrival who would later lead the disaffected was Frederick M. Van Leuven. Some of his family likely comprised part of the less-than-faithful group Rich described as “milk and water Mormons” who had arrived from Springville, Utah, during the first year of the colony. Church records indicate a time early in its history when Van Leuven had been staunch enough in the faith to serve as a presiding elder in Canada and to be an active priesthood holder in Kirtland, Ohio. However, by the time he and his extensive clan reached California, that fervor had vanished. Thereafter, “Uncle Fred” evaded participation in the church land purchase and would be at the forefront of the movement for political independence.32
Still among other 1852 arrivals who would ultimately oppose the church was a group of several Rocky Mountain fur trappers. John Brown, born in Massachusetts and for some twenty years a “mountain man,” was a sometime partner to the famous Kit Carson. He married Louisa Sandoval from Taos, New Mexico, who had previously been married to another famous mountain man, Jim Beckworth, by whom she had a daughter, Matilda. Brown had been operating a trading post at Pueblo, Colorado, in 1846, when the Mississippi Saints and the Mormon Battalion sick detachment wintered there. After assisting church members [p.106]that season, he and several of his associates, including James Waters and Valentine J. Herring, stayed temporarily in Salt Lake City on their way to the gold fields. For several years Brown operated a hotel at San Juan Bautista in association with Waters and Alex Godoy, but illness forced him to seek a warmer climate. He entered into transactions with several Mormons in this move. The Wixom family replaced him as proprietors of the San Juan hotel, and he was met at San Pedro harbor by Sheldon Stoddard who hauled Brown’s household items to San Bernardino. Upon arrival he promptly moved into one of the scarce houses in the San Bernardino fort, a situation probably only possible through prearrangement. It was noted soon after that he was baptized into the church, although his family, which included one of the best local historians of San Bernardino, later denied that he had become a church member.33
A number of other mountain men gravitated to the greater San Bernardino Valley following the end of the fur trade. The group actually comprised a majority of the non-Hispanic neighbors including Louis Rubidoux, Joseph Bridger, Pauline Weaver, Isaac Williams, and Isaac Slover, as well as some who lived farther from the valley but who were involved with local residents, such as John Rowland, Benjamin Wilson, J. J. Warner, and William Wolfskill. At least two other seasoned mountaineers, aside from Brown—James Waters and Rube Herring—became Mormons. In the second year of the colony these men were clearly in full fellowship with church leaders. Brown was among the first justices of the peace when San Bernardino County was organized, and Herring was the county assessor, making him ex-officio [p.107]superintendent of schools. Waters did not hold office but was close enough to the hierarchy that Amasa Lyman visited him during an illness and thereafter continued to note his health in his diary.34
Other mountain men joined the church elsewhere, but the strict standards of conduct and submissiveness to church authorities were incongruous with their former lifestyle. There was probably never a group of Americans more totally free from convention than the mountain men. The foremost early student of the mountain fur trade, Hiram M. Chittenden, observed that such men “sought the wilderness life because of its exemptions from the artificial restraints of civilization.” He concluded, as have others since, that “those who once entered the wild life of the wilderness, clung to it afterwards as if by an irresistible fascination, and were apt to return to it even if they abandoned it for a time.”35
No evidence indicates that Brown, Herring, or Waters ever reverted to their old ways, though nothing suggests that they gave up their inherent independence of mind either. Such being the case, it could not be long before they clashed with leaders, accustomed as the latter were to deference from church members. The first to nettle Lyman or Rich was Brown, who in July 1853 requested repayment of the thousand dollars he had loaned the community the previous year to purchase equipment, perhaps the threshing machine George Garner was supposed to procure in San Francisco. Brown discovered that these funds had been squandered in a gambling spree. Lyman, pressed as usual for cash, perhaps unfairly, concluded that the call for reimbursement was “a specimen of some men’s generosity, which accommodates you today, apparently to distress you tomorrow.” The [p.108]apostle set about to raise the money, calling upon Garner and others and putting up the final $200 himself. The note was paid three days later but likely at the expense of the cordiality between Lyman and Brown that had existed previously. Within a year Brown would locate on the rancho at Yucaipa, which many assumed would be beyond the final bounds of Lyman’s and Rich’s land claims. Lyman, on the other hand, regarded those moving into that area as trespassers on rancho land.36
Waters, a long-time friend of Brown, also eventually moved to Yucaipa, and although he was never in the forefront of opposition to the San Bernardino leaders, he was later regarded as an “apostate.” One factor that disappointed Mormons concerned his abandoning Condelario, a common-law Hispanic wife. She reportedly became prone to excessive spending, eating, and partying while “Jimmus” was absent on frequent cattle drives to Utah and northern California. Waters married a younger English widow, Louisa Margetson, also reportedly a lapsed Mormon then residing at El Monte.37
The conflict between Rube Herring and the Mormon leaders stemmed from Herring’s duties as the county assessor. Lyman and Rich felt that the ranch property should not be taxed before it generated any financial benefit. Lyman commented sarcastically that Herring was “scrupulously careful of the county’s interests, and as regardless of individuals.” When Herring submitted a claim to be reimbursed for his work as the assessor, the Mormon-controlled court of sessions reduced it from payment for sixty days’ to thirty-five days’ work. Herring was not reelected, but he would soon [p.109]be in the forefront of the fight to get others besides church candidates elected.38
The Brooklyn brethren—Sparks, Stout, and Winner—served northern and southern California Mormon communities prior to their disaffection. Sparks was an able preacher, a school teacher, a city attorney, and an attorney in private practice. Stout was also a school teacher and short-time public official at San Bernardino. He had been the subject of criticism for appropriating some of the most valuable church property at the earlier agricultural center of New Hope. He may also have been criticized for not recognizing the property limitations contained in the Spanish documents of the original San Bernardino land grant, which Lyman and Rich had asked him to examine prior to the purchase transaction. There is no known specific explanation for his excommunication later in the decade. Winner was the first to be noted living outside the Mormon fort for reasons of presumed incompatability with the more strictly orthodox residents there.39
It is significant that none of these future opponents were known to be party to the type of pledges made by the original body of San Bernardino pioneers to act in concert in purchasing the rancho and otherwise to uphold their leaders in building the “Kingdom” in southern California. Nor did most have sufficient experience in the mainstream of Mormondom to understand the expectations of self-sacrifice for the larger community expected by those dedicated to the colony. With hindsight it appears that what was being asked of them was too much, considering their [p.110]weakened religious conviction and proximity to the outside world.
Lyman and Rich continued to worry about people who might disrupt the colony and its mission. In October 1853 they answered a letter from Brigham Young that recounted the tragic details of the “Walker War,” named for the Ute chief Walkara who was thought to have instigated the attacks on Utah Mormons. After expressing their condolences the San Bernardino apostles confessed that their own enemies could not be so easily flushed out. “The foes against whom we have to contend,” they wrote, “are not shut out by adobe walls, for they come to us in the spirits [or attitudes] that those who come here bring with them.” They observed that their opponents “exhibit the same spirit of discontent when here as caused them to come [to San Bernardino] in opposition to the counsel they should have respected elsewhere.” The church leaders conceded that they did not know the final outcome of what they perceived as their “principal troubles,” but they pledged their utmost to fulfill their charge as “watchmen in Zion over her interests and people,” that the “flood of corruption” would recede and their cause ultimately triumph.40
In fact, the Utah Indian war added directly to the number of dissidents in San Bernardino. Governor Young had placed his entire territory under martial law, giving military commanders authority over the civilian population. He ordered all surplus livestock driven to Salt Lake City and placed under custody of church officials, presumably for safekeeping, until further notice. A significant number of settlers in localities not directly threatened resisted these orders. The most persistent opposition centered at Cedar City in southern Utah, where some refused to relinquish their cattle and threatened to shoot anyone who tried to take them. Apostle George A. Smith, the sometimes overzealous [p.111]commander of the southern military district, arrested several individuals but found much of the community sympathetic with them. Cedar City’s militia leader resigned rather than support the decrees. Smith attempted to convince the people to follow orders but was met with insult and defiance.41
The central figures in this unique rebellion were Scottish coal miners who converted to Mormonism and had emigrated as a group to the United States in 1848. After enduring storms, disease, and water shortages, they landed at New Orleans and took passage up the Mississippi and Ohio rivers to Pittsburgh. Upon earning the required funds for equipment, the “Scotch train” embarked across the plains for Utah. Among the company first to arrive in Salt Lake City were the Burdicks, Hendersons, Eastons, and Kiers. Following the coming winter, in 1852 these and others were sent to the Iron Mission where they helped build the Cedar City irrigation system and meeting house, as well as working in the coal mining operation established there.
The natural leader of this group was Alexander “Sandy” Kier, born in Lanark Shire, Scotland, in 1815, and married at age twenty-three to Marion King, of the same locality. In Scotland the strong Sandy could complete his assigned coal mining tasks in half a day, which gave him time for his primary avocation, poaching on the game preserves of Scottish noblemen. The penalty, had he been caught, would have been severe. Kier, like his fellows, recognized in Mormonism an opportunity to better his family’s circumstances. Although doubtless sincere, he and other Scots like him could not give up their fierce independence.
According to Kier family reminiscences, when Bob Easton opposed church authority, his life was threatened by a “henchman” of an apostle, undoubtedly Smith. His friends seized weapons to defend him, but later he was allegedly taken into custody [p.112]until the livestock were given up as demanded. After what they perceived to be a ransom was paid, the Scotsmen gathered their remaining cattle and concluded to leave Utah, though they were not confident they could do so safely. Just then a Colonel Hannaford and his men were driving a large herd of sheep through the area en route to California. The Scots, undoubtedly anticipating adverse consequences for their defiance of militia orders, quickly packed their belongings and hurried to join the sheep herders. They claimed to have been followed some forty miles, with shots fired from a distance, but they made what they regarded as a successful escape. The subsequent church record stated that “about 30 souls had left for California, which much relieved the overburdened saints and they seemed to breathe a much purer atmosphere … . The most of those who had recently left for California were found unworthy of membership in the church and action was taken upon their cases accordingly.”42
Upon arrival in Cajon Pass Marion Kier summoned nine-year-old Alex Jr. and rhapsodized in her native brogue, “[S]on[,] ken ye the wards o th’ scriptures,” quoting the Twenty-third Psalm with emphasis on the green pastures they could see lying before them. Not all of the Scottish party settled in San Bernardino, but at least five more-or-less inter-related families did, none of whom are known to have ever become active in the colony’s religious affairs. Some, including Sandy Kier and Robert Walkinshaw, were among those later aligned against the authorities.43
[p.113]By autumn 1853 Lyman and Rich were ready to have Sherwood commence surveying the city and began by assisting him to locate a temple lot and public square. This had been started the previous year by a surveyor named Hess, but not to satisfaction. At the same time the ranch proprietors, through Los Angeles attorney Lewis Granger, were securing clear title to the townsite, even while other lands were still encumbered by debt. It was understood that there would be but little improvement of individual property until after the payment of the $20,000 due 1 March 1854. Yet there must have been anticipation after three years of sacrifice to finally commence family property development. Despite the absence of any known conflicts stemming from the close confines of the fort, the privacy of establishing homes on more widely separated lots must have held great appeal.44
Plans for home-building the coming spring correlated with the full development of the lumbering industry in the preceding months. Just prior to construction of the mountain lumber road in 1852, the state legislature enacted a law that enabled citizens to claim ungranted land. This would not help in the San Bernardino Valley until after the federal commission had resolved claims from the Mexican period. But the new law aroused interest in the timber lands where no such claims were recognized. As one of the first tasks undertaken by the new San Bernardino County Surveyor, Sherwood subdivided the so-called “San Bernardino Pine Mountain Survey.” Soon after, ten citizens made possessory claims to one hundred sixty-acre plots. These included Andrew J. Cox, John Stewart, Raymond Elmer, Norman Taylor, Amasa Lyman, Thomas Bingham, Charles C. Rich, A. S. Ward, William C. [p.114]Lewis, and David Frederick. Most of these men and others soon established various sawmills.45
Although others have been given credit for the first sawmill, the claims of Justus Morse appear to be most valid. His son recalled that his father, an experienced millwright, constructed a mill in the vicinity of present Lake Arrowhead in 1852. In June 1853 Amasa Lyman visited another sawmill constructed by his old friend, along with young Mormon Battalion veteran Thomas Bingham, apparently the beginnings of the Salamander Mill in what would later be designated as Huston Flat at present-day Lake Gregory. Lyman purchased a two-fifths share in this lumber and shingle operation from an absent partner, probably Ward, and was later joined in the enterprise by Charles Rich, David Frederick, Norman Taylor, and Bishop William Crosby. This mill was the most extensive water-powered operation on the mountain during the Mormon period. There were at least two houses on the premises, along with corrals, stables, outbuildings, and a shingle mill.
Soon after, Charles Crismon moved his sawmill operation from the lower part of Waterman Canyon to a location about a mile west of the Salamander Mill, probably near the dividing hill between the lower valleys of the Crestline area. He had the backing of outside partners Hazen Kimball and John C. Corey, of San Francisco, who not long after sold their $9,000 interest to Jefferson Hunt. William C. Lewis also became a partner. Hunt soon brought another steam engine and boiler from a wrecked ship at San Pedro to replace or supplement the other equipment which, despite mechanical complications, had an advantage over the other mills which operated only when the streams were running, something like half the year. [p.115]This mill too was operating when Lyman visited there in late July 1853.46
In the fall of 1853 several other milling operations were located still farther west in what was then designated as Seeley Flats on the main branch of Seeley Creek, named for President David Seeley and his older brother, Wellington, who were probably the first lumbermen there. The area was covered with a large growth of straight-grained, pitch-free sugar pine and cedar pine trees which were excellent for lumber. Later claims that this was the first sawmill in the mountains are not substantiated by the sources since Lyman noted that the Seeley milling equipment was not ordered from San Francisco until 23 July 1853. Their operation on the relatively small creek featured a fifty-foot high, six-foot square log cabin-like penstock reservoir fed at the top by a plank flume that diverted the creek flow to build water pressure for the mill. This make-shift water tank opened at the bottom through a gate, allowing water to spurt past an undershot wooden water wheel ten feet in diameter. This provided the power for a jerky, vertical-motion “muley saw.” The first lumber from this mill reached San Bernardino in mid-April 1854. When that shipment arrived, Lyman, with no hint of the usual motives of a rival, commented on the good quality of the product and noted that it not only spoke well for the Seeley mill but afforded “another evidence of the continual development of the resources of [their] country.”
At about the same time another mill was located a quarter-mile up Seeley Creek, near the center of Seeley Flats, by Henry G. Boyle and Mark David. They borrowed funds to purchase machinery from merchant-banker Lewis Jacobs. Boyle soon left the operation in order to fulfil a church mission, and Jacobs purchased his half interest for $100. Within a year Jacobs’s [p.116]brother-in-law, Louis Glaser, purchased Mark David’s share for $346 and some machinery and thereafter operated the mill. Since both Jacobs and Glaser were Jewish, this sawmill was undoubtedly the one designated by the Seeleys as the “Jew mill.” Another mill operated by Andrew J. Cox and Company was located a quarter-mile farther upstream from the Jew mill. The sixth mill in the vicinity was that of John Stewart and Raymond Elmer, described by Boyle to be one mile north of his temporary shingle mill operation, which would likely place it in the little hollow at the head of Burnt Mill Canyon.47
Mormons preferred sloped, shake shingle roofs rather than the flat, brea-covered ones common to Californios. Since this did not entail either heavy equipment or a permanent location, shingle makers were probably situated in several places during any given season. To make shake shingles, the wood was cut into chunks, then steamed to make the wood less brittle as it was being cut into finer widths. Working with large knives, shingle-makers were particularly skilled.48
Collectively, these operations had the potential to provide not only for San Bernardino but for the long-term needs of southern California. In July 1853 Lyman reported three mills in operation selling lumber for $50 per thousand board feet. The other three mills would be running within a year. City historian Harris Newmark stated that in the absence of lumber yards at the time in the Los Angeles area, materials were transported there by Mormon teamsters and peddled around the city. This kept the [p.117]region well supplied for the entire Latter-day Saint period in southern California. On occasion, boards would be designated as “Mormon currency.”49
Even before Lyman’s interest and involvement in lumber, he and Rich entered a partnership with Theodore Thorpe to complete a sawmill in Mill Creek Canyon at the east end of the San Bernardino Valley, which had the advantages of a more consistent stream of water and only a slight climb in elevation. Early Southland settlers Louis Vignes and Daniel Sexton had operated another mill there for some time previously, probably farther downstream since there was no road farther up the canyon. When stake president David Seeley sent a road construction crew there while Lyman and Rich were still absent in Utah, the men reported the task impossible. But Lyman and Rich concluded otherwise and had the road built by the time it was needed. In mid-July millwright George Sirrine took a crew of a half dozen workers to the mill site, and when Lyman visited during the first part of August, he found the mill assembly work progressing well, and several days later they started sawing lumber. The Mill Creek operations must have proved successful because later that fall Lyman not only received shipments of lumber for use in San Bernardino but contracted with the brother of Colonel Isaac Williams for delivery of $2,000 worth, probably for building at the Chino Rancho.50
While Lyman was helping to complete the sawmill in Mill Creek Canyon in August, he had the first experience with spiritualism mentioned in his personal diary. With some workmen Amasa met in a seance in which Calvin Reed acted as a writing medium, supposedly controlled by the spirit of Lyman’s departed friend, Hyrum Smith. The message, recorded in the back pages [p.118]of Lyman’s journal for that year, appealed to him to heed the communication if it was good and reject it if not. Lyman was supposedly asked by the spirit why he doubted a presence pledged to assist and warn him when in need.51
It is impossible to assess the immediate impact this experience had on Lyman. The week after he returned to the fort he preached on the subject of “spiritual communications,” though it is not known just what he said. Since the official church organ, the Deseret News, had earlier in the year denounced spiritualism, particularly the writings of the then-popular Andrew Jackson Davis, it is doubtful that he would have openly endorsed such doctrines. Two weeks later, in a letter from Lyman and Rich to Young and associates, they reported that “we have had some curious manifestations under the head of spiritual communications, by working table, tipping and writing,” but they concluded “the people are generally satisfied that God is not in the whirlwind or the storm … . ”
While there is little direct evidence that Lyman further dabbled with seances at San Bernardino, his devoted son, Francis Maron Lyman, later surmised that his father continued with the spiritualists in secret while publicly opposing it. “Marion’s” memoir of the perod, reconstructed years later with the assistance of his own and his father’s correspondence, recalled the elder Lyman reading Davis’s works. He deduced, from is father’s diary entry for 11 March 1855 about a night interview with Dr. Burrus and Bishop Tenney, that the gathering was actually “one of the many that was mischievous” for the doctor was allegedly a bad man and “Bro. Tenney was a spiritualist medium of the pronounced kind.”
Most vivid in the younger Lyman’s experience was the time several months prior to his father’s Mill Creek seance when, as a [p.119]twelve-year-old, Marion lay on the verge of death. John Brown recalled in his book on “mediumistic experiences,” written as an old man, being taken by his guiding spirit to the Lyman home. Noting that the boy’s parents and others expected his demise, the healer performed a simple ritual then assured the loved ones that recovery was imminent. Three decades later, as a high official in the Latter-day Saint church, Marion wrote Brown to acknowledge the seemingly miraculous healing, which, he attested, his mother also tearfully recalled.
Brown attested that while he never before had been to the Lyman residence, he had often visited Lyman’s office. There he claimed to have written for Lyman and used his “clairvoyant power to enable him to communicate with his friends,” presumably those departed mortality. This corroborates Marion’s recollection of Amasa’s spiritualist activity.
The older Lyman did not see his encounters with spirits as undermining his faith or effectiveness as a church official. But in the eyes of his fellow apostles and the First Presidency, this would have indicated a serious flaw in his character and commitment to the church. Charles Rich held no sympathy for such dabblings and probably reported hearing rumors of Lyman’s involvement to Young, which would have contributed to some general authorities’ alienation from Lyman.52
The year 1854 commenced with Lyman and Rich and their associates preoccupied with the largest of the payments on the ranch debt coming due. The proprietors informed Brigham [p.120]Young that they were “making every effort to meet [their] March payment” with the means they had received from their crops along with what they expected to raise through additional loans abroad. But such optimism would be short-lived. Lyman’s fund-seeking journey to San Francisco could hardly have come at a worse time.53
After four years of amazing economic growth and prosperity, spurred mainly by gold production and a rapidly escalating population, a business depression struck California at the beginning of 1854. Contemporary observers point to the glut in merchandise markets due to the vast imported goods that had arrived in San Francisco on 1,000 incoming ships the previous year. This, along with marked drops in gold output, inflated real estate prices, and general overspeculation led to business failures. Theodore H. Hittell, historian of these events, noted that by mid-1854, 300 of the 1,000 business houses in San Francisco were vacant.54
Lyman was ill from the time he boarded the steamer at San Pedro until long after arrival at San Francisco Bay. Working earnestly to find funds despite his condition, he was dismayed to discover loan money scarce, with interest rates from 3 to 10 percent per month. It would have been impossible to raise all the funds needed to meet the various ranch payments due. Under these circumstances the embattled proprietor, who was virtually alone due to Rich’s more extended illness throughout the first quarter of the year, felt fortunate to be able to consolidate all but one of the “old notes” by securing a new loan for $19,617 for the term of four months at the bargain rate of 2.5 percent per month. This did little to resolve the matter of the $52,000 then due, but undoubtedly the sellers and creditors understood the situation [p.121]and cooperated with the Mormons’ best efforts.55 It was the ultimate misfortune of the San Bernardino Saints that virtually the only economic depression to hit California in three decades commenced just when they were struggling most to pay their debts.
Upon his return home Lyman addressed his fellow citizens “giving them an account of his success in arranging business matters in the north.” Despite the temporary respite he stressed the deepening financial crisis threatening permanent possession of their property. As usual he asked for their continued support. At the end of February the colonists placed $8,000 of their own funds at Lyman’s disposal, which he promptly carried to Los Angeles to make a partial payment, probably directly to the original owners. Later that summer Rich visited the Los Angeles creditors and again “put off [their] debts a short time.” On 18 July Jose Maria Lugo came to San Bernardino “after money” and the proprietors promised to make another payment within two weeks, which they apparently did.56As Lyman reported to Young, “the day that was to give us a home and land and fireside or turn us out homeless wanderers” had passed, and although the ranch was still unpaid for, their prospects were “not entirely dim.” He noted that theirs had been a reasonable effort considering “the few that cooperate with us.” It had not been a good previous harvest. Lyman was disappointed with some individuals, including several prominent in the community who had not fully participated in the effort to meet the ranch payments.
This led Lyman to observe that their problems stemmed from the presence of people who did not carry their share of the burdens, calling them “a clap of hangers on who have no interest but to seek whatever of advantage may arise from the labors of [p.122]others in building up the common cause.” He reported in exasperation that, except for the “good men” who came with him and Rich in the original pioneer company and four of the Brooklyn brethren who subsequently joined them, the people had done little to support the cause. This is a very revealing insight into the senior leader’s perception of those by then making up the majority of the San Bernardino citizenry. The newcomers had not pledged specifically to share the burdens and were thus less inclined to do so.57
The special object of the colony leader’s frustration was the surveyor, Henry Sherwood. Lyman and Rich appealed to Young that if there were anywhere else in the “wide range of Zion’s domains” where the old man could be “rendered useful,” it would be regarded “as a blessing rather than otherwise” to have him transferred. They described him as “too conceited to be taught, too old to be managed by men so much his junior,” as the colony leaders were. Sherwood returned to Salt Lake City briefly, perhaps to collect some money he thought Young owed him, but he soon returned, harboring resentment toward most local authorities. Sherwood’s primary offense was failure to cooperate in canceling the debt. The leaders recalled Sherwood making a promise to “operate in connection with [them] in the accomplishment of [their] labors [there].” But the surveyor recognized how much good land would soon be available from the government at prices far lower than those Lyman and Rich were compelled to charge. His failure to purchase land was a bad precedent encouraging others to follow a similar course.58
Another member who incurred displeasure in mid-1854 was high councilman Charles Crismon who left for a visit to Utah after quarreling with stake president David Seeley. They [p.123]owned adjoining timber lands and perhaps disputed that or associated water rights. Lyman and Rich commented that while Crismon had prospered sufficiently to owe considerable unpaid tithing, their feeling was that “whatever he may have done here for himself, he has been no assistance to us.” In this case, too, Crisman clearly antagonized the ranch proprietors by not assisting to the extent of his financial ability in relieving them of their burdensome debt obligations. Although Crismon remained on the high council and never openly opposed the church leaders, he was a party in three of the first five disputes decided by the high council. There would be little cordiality felt toward him when he later opened a liquor distillery in connection with one of his steam sawmills.59
Lyman and Rich had hoped for financial assistance “from abroad.” John Horner, a wealthy San Jose church member, was the object of their greatest disappointment. He had committed his “personal security” for the major portion of the initial loan and donated $10,000 outright, but financial reverses forced him to recall $4,000 of that sum before it was used. His speculative ventures made him hard-pressed to cover the obligations of his far-flung economic empire during the depression, and within a year he would be close to broke, physically as well as financially. The San Bernardino leaders demonstrated little sympathy for his plight, commenting only that “greatness has its inconveniences and riches its troubles.” When the real crisis came, Horner was not able to assist in acquiring further loans.60
Each of the frequent letters to Brigham Young during the spring of 1854 was signed by both Lyman and Rich, but [p.124] the latter’s illness indicates that Lyman faced the financial crisis essentially alone. Although both signatures were attached, Lyman probably wrote most of the communications to headquarters. On occasion he waxed philosophical, as well as critical—within the privacy of his letters—on human frailties, commenting specifically on cases like Homer’s. The California apostle expressed the opinion that if promises such as had been thus fulfilled “were the foundation of Israel’s hopes,” he would expect that the entire cause “might perish” and, using the metaphor of the sun, the vital force powering the movement would cease to shine. Lyman regarded his comments not as complaints but as illustrations of “the burden of responsibilities” they assumed in order to “establish in [that] land the standard of truth [and] a home [for] the pilgrim saints on the way to Zion, a place of rest and peace.”
In one such case Lyman reported a recent fire in the grain field immediately after people had been cautioned against such carelessness. He mentioned the matter so that Young would not “overrate the wisdom and prudent forethought of the people too restless to remain in peace” at the initially assigned homes in Utah and who had subsequently emigrated to San Bernardino. Lyman confessed: “[W]e have a great many hopes and some fears, which are that the tide of evil and corruption that is setting in this direction may prove too strong for the faithful few.” “Yet,” he continued, in biased allusion to the previous efforts of Franciscan missionaries in the area, it was “for victory [they had] planted the standard of truth on the ruins of heresy.” Speaking for Rich, Lyman pledged determinedly to “conquer or die” in bringing success to the colony.61
Rich and Lyman’s letters reporting events in San Bernardino exhibit deference to Young. There are frequent requests for direction, even for the layout of the contemplated city. Writing [p.125]in 1854 about the safest way to transfer local tithing funds to general church accounts, the California leaders stated: “[I]f [in] this or any other matter affecting our mutual interest … we have done any violence to your feelings, we shall be happy to receive your correction.”
The correspondence demonstrates cordiality, as many who have examined it, including Francis M. Lyman, recognized, but also shows Young’s preoccupation with keeping funds flowing toward Salt Lake City. The younger Lyman was particularly struck by how little concern Young appeared to have for the financial burden resting on Rich and Lyman. Despite such pressure the two apostles did exercise some discretion in using local tithing, as can be seen in a statement to Young on 30 April 1854: “[W]e shall continue to render the tithing means available as fast and to as great an extent as possible and only use them in making our payment for land if we fail to be able to draw the same from other sources.”62
Young’s lack of sympathy is evident in his inattentiveness to reports and seeming disregard for what was transpiring at San Bernardino. For example, after he had received the minutes of each semi-annual conference over a three-year period, including the list of sustained local officials, in early 1854 he directed Lyman and Rich to organize a high council. Young also directed Rich and Lyman to call missionaries, which they had been doing regularly. The entire matter seriously calls into question Young’s [p.126]reputation as “the great colonizer.” Perhaps the capable men to whom he assigned the direct implementation of such tasks have been too much ignored while he has been overrated.63
The most perplexing interaction between Young and the San Bernardino colonists came when the rancho proprietors were at the height of concern over their debts. Young conceived a scheme not only to organize a branch of the church at San Jose but to establish a townsite there on property belonging to John Horner. Lyman and Rich were directed to carry out the plan and advise the Saints to gather there if they so preferred. Some of San Bernardino’s most loyal church members had recently emigrated from San Jose and others contemplated a similar move, as their California church leaders had urged them to. Young’s new plan threatened to undermine San Bernardino’s financial security by discouraging new land buyers. This apparently had not occurred to Young.
In an address to the general church conference in April 1854, widely published thereafter, President Young proposed that someone be sent to upper California, mentioning Horner’s ranch, “to lay out a place for the gathering of the saints in that vicinity of the world.” This would be done in a manner similar to—and in fact in competition with—what Lyman and Rich had done in southern California. Without a word of question or protest, the California apostles promised to carry out the plan as promptly as possible. No records indicate that anyone was appointed to head up the new colony, although a branch was organized at San Jose. Perhaps the proposal was never fully carried out due to Horner’s subsequent financial and personal difficulties. Still, Young’s proposal, innocent though it may have been, demonstrates his inattentiveness to [p.127]the plight of his subordinates attempting to carry out their assigned mission.64
A similar problem occurred with the Perpetual Emigration Fund. San Bernardino had been generous in its contributions to this program, wisely instituted to assist poor converts to emigrate to Zion. By 1854 a substantial number of people, particularly from Australia, were entering the country by way of San Francisco, then by coastal steamship to San Pedro harbor and by wagon to San Bernardino. More than a few of these had experienced difficulties with shipwreck, shipboard fires, being marooned without funds short of their intended destination, and even some loss of life. Lyman and Rich requested discretionary power to use the funds raised in California that would otherwise be forwarded to Salt Lake City for European emigration. There was no response to this seemingly reasonable petition. According to the recent historian of the Australian Mormons, Marjorie Newton, when church members there organized their own Perpetual Emigration Fund, the First Presidency promptly disbanded it. Newton concluded that the church leaders “were convinced (perhaps mistakenly) that economic conditions in Australia were so good that church assistance for gathering was unnecessary.”65
Brigham Young’s persistent negative attitude toward several aspects of the San Bernardino colony continued to be a crucial factor in the future status of the entire venture. Illustrative of his views at the time is a letter he wrote to John Eldridge of Fillmore, who had requested permission to emigrate to San Bernardino. Prefacing his remarks, as usual, by saying all who wished to go to California should do so, Young then counseled that if one desired [p.128]”to live among the saints and bear a part in the work of God,” he would be best to remain in the intermountain region. Young observed that the riches of the golden state could not offset the spiritual blessings of building Zion. The crux of the church leader’s argument, as it had been consistently, was that Latter-day Saints could not live in close proximity to the sinful outside world without being tarnished. He specifically observed “those at San Bernardino [were] far more exposed to fall away and be led astray by the various spirits which are abroad in the world, than [in] any of [their] mountain settlements.” He conceded that there had been good reasons for establishing the California colony, “but it was not for the saints to leave these [Utah] valleys to go there.” While yet leaving the final decision to the erring brother, Young cautioned that should he decide to move, he should be prepared eventually to realize his mistake and perhaps not be financially able to return to Zion. He concluded by urging Eldridge to humble himself and seek divine guidance, which presumably would show him how misguided his intentions really were. Eldridge was soon thereafter called to serve a mission in Australia, and though he passed through San Bernardino and visited friends, he never located there.
It is clear from the continuing sermons on the subject that many of the church hierarchy had for several years regarded California as a gathering place for less faithful Latter-day Saints. In the April 1854 conference President Young discussed the stream of Mormons leaving Utah for California in terms of the biblical separation of sheep from goats. Apostle Orson Hyde picked up the same theme, drawing on the New Testament parables of wheat and tares. Young wrote to Apostle Parley P. Pratt, still a missionary in Latin America and the Pacific Islands, advising him to interview carefully the Latter-day Saints with whom he came into contact and ascertain the extent of their [p.129]commitment and obedience to authority, instructing him that “those who were faithful and determined to remain so” should be encouraged to come to Utah; “all others [were] to remain in California which would be a strainer to the streams from that direction leading into the reservoir” of Utah’s supposedly more righteous setting.67
The ranch debt remained unpaid and continued to hang like an ominous cloud over the colony. But the spring of 1854 was long anticipated as the time for families to abandon life in the fort and begin to pursue individual interests. Ranch proprietors could scarcely consider requesting citizens to further defer such cherished dreams. There is no evidence that any alternative policy was contemplated, and Lyman and Rich were themselves among the majority of family heads preparing to improve their own living accommodations as soon as possible. City blocks had been carefully laid out in typical Mormon fashion, with wide streets intersecting at right angles, subdivided into one-acre lots. Title to this property had been cleared; but that on much outlying farm land was still encumbered. Allocation of city home lots commenced, each family choosing its preferred location. Most of the first hundred citizens took more than one lot, usually adjacent, so that the average was one-and-two-thirds lots per family.
The Mormon concept of urban planning first applied in Missouri, which encouraged citizens to reside close to each other, is credited for promoting much of the communal spirit of Mormon towns. Farm land was some distance from homes, but city [p.130]lots were large enough to allow for vegetable gardens and fruit orchards, as well as corrals for milk cows and draft animals, pig pens, hen houses, chicken runs, and storage areas for some farm produce, especially what would be consumed on the premises.68
Just as if someone had fired a signal gun, in the spring of 1854 the raising of a city commenced. A frenzy of home building saw more than one hundred adobe and lumber houses, some noted to be “very fine,” arise within a six-month period. Carpenters and mechanics were nearly impossible to employ, even at the high wage of three dollars per day. Most did their own construction or traded work. Sometimes houses incorporated logs and adobes from the fort, but in most cases rooms were considerably larger and more numerous than in the fort residences. There was a tremendous demand for lumber. Even though the majority of homes would have adobe walls, they still required interior walls, door and window frames, and rafters for the wood shingle roofs. Many lots had temporary adobe brick-making yards where mud was mixed with straw or grass and baked in the spring and summer sunshine. The summer of 1854 witnessed unprecedented rainstorms which ruined a number of adobes. Fencing materials were needed for at least some individual yards, since cattle ranged freely throughout the valley. The initial construction outside the fort was almost entirely residential, although some brick commercial structures were anticipated to be commenced as soon as the home-building boom subsided.69
While most were vacating the fort, Lyman chose to remodel [p.131]his existing house. He extended the adobe walls of the ground floor to a length of 125 feet and a width of 50 feet and added a wood-constructed second story ultimately containing sixteen rooms. With a piazza (porch) extending around most of the building, a notable absence of ground floor windows, and a fence around the yard, some named the structure the “steamboat.” Since the house and contents were assessed the next year at $1,500—a notably high value for the time and place—a more accurate appellation was the “mansion,” although four separate apartments, each for a different wife and branch of the family, earned the name (outside the hearing of church authorities) of “the harem.” Lyman was assisted by engineer Fred T. Perris and a recent arrival from Tahiti, ship carpenter Thomas Whitaker. He contracted with James Bailey for adobes and probably for masonry work. Lyman carefully selected his own lumber and assisted Whitaker and others in the actual construction, on one occasion injuring his side by lifting timbers too heavy for him. Some descriptions mention skylights in the upper story rooms, and the roof seems to have been flat. Lyman’s diary mentions laying cloth on the roof with a sealant, probably tar or asphalt subsequently “painted” over. Visitors viewed the city from this rooftop. The structure remained an imposing landmark even after a fire destroyed much of it in 1865, until it was torn down in 1868 to make room for a commercial building.70
Bishop William Crosby’s residence was another exception to the modest-sized houses. His was large enough to serve as a hotel for temporary lodgers and as quarters for the dozen or so African-Americans still associated with his family. Lyman assisted in the planning. The bishop’s longtime associates, now designated as “hands,” also figured in his acquisition of an entire city block. The hotel/boarding house was completed and available [p.132]for a new group of converts when they arrived from Australia in mid-June. Judge Hayes thereafter made the Crosby house one of his regular stopping places on his judicial tours and in his careful and perceptive notes on the community designated the bishop and particularly his personable wife as among his favorite people in San Bernardino. Another hotel/inn erected even more promptly was at the corner of present-day Third and E streets, operated by Edward and Nancy Daley.71
Charles Rich, convalescing after a long illness and hard-pressed financially, built a “commodious” four-room house at what is now the corner of First and E streets for his two or three younger wives intending to remain at San Bernardino. He was about to take one of the other wives, Emaline, back permanently to Utah. While visitors commented on the good arrangement of the rooms, the house was typical of those being built at the time, larger than the former fort structures, but still relatively modest.72 With the shortage of funds and continued demands for ranch payments, many houses remained incomplete at the end of 1854. Visitors noted little extravagance. Residents looked forward to final improvements as soon as more pressing obligations were resolved.
On 12 July 1854 the city plan was officially filed with San Bernardino County clerk Richard R. Hopkins. It contained 72 blocks each 36 rods square subdivided into eight lots. The streets were five rods wide. This plat was laid out in a grid nine blocks long from south to north and eight blocks wide from east to west from the old fort. While the adobe apartments along the east wall of the fort remained occupied by people without families, as [p.133]hinted by the 1860 census, no families remained at the old location. After the poor harvest the previous year, it is doubtful that many receiving city lots could have paid for them in the spring and summer of 1854, but most had contributed sufficiently to ranch payments in previous years to have been credited for title to their lots.
A new “council house” was erected to serve as a business office, post office, and meeting place for leaders. Church council meetings were conducted in the upstairs portion of the two-story structure, and civil affairs, including a great many land transactions then in progress, took place on the downstairs floor. Situated near Lyman’s house on the west side of present-day Arrowhead Avenue, it remained something of a landmark for ten years after the practicing Mormons vacated the area. It was demolished in 1867 to make room for a more imposing business structure.73
At the first meeting in the new council house, leaders “considered the expediency of building a schoolhouse.” To this point, school affairs had been dealt with mainly as another aspect of community government, overseen primarily by ecclesiastical leaders, including the high council. Three school commissioners had been appointed before San Bernardino separated from Los Angeles County, and Theodore Turley in particular took an increasingly active role in education. Since he was also the senior member of the LDS stake high council, his role was probably regarded as mainly a church function. The council meetings also hired teachers and determined salaries, sometimes at the same sessions in which mission calls were issued.74 The commissioners, assisted by a special committee, formulated building plans, and two adjacent adobe structures were built that year on Fourth Street, near the corner of Arrowhead Avenue. Another school [p.134]was located at the old mission Asistancia on the south side of the Santa Ana River, serving citizens there and along the so-called cottonwood row. This school was conducted that year by Bishop Tenney’s wife. Mack Van Leuven, a pupil, later recalled some forty students at that time, indicating that it must have served San Gorgonio Pass area children, perhaps including a few Native Americans. The new adjacent schools probably divided the students by age or grade level, although one was referred to at times as the boys’ school.75
Another important feature of the growing city was the diversion of water from Lytle Creek to the west. After Lyman, Rich, and several others initially determined the feasibility of the project, Lyman and Samuel Rolfe surveyed and laid out the water course. Volunteer manpower was once again requisitioned to complete the diversion ditch, designated in Californio terminology as the zanja. The plan called for branch ditches to pass along every street, likely on two sides of each block, providing culinary water as well as irrigation for the extensive orchards and gardens and shade trees each property owner was to plant along the ditch banks. William Cox was appointed water master and charged with supervising the digging and maintenance of the entire delivery system, along with the distribution and use of the water.76
The San Francisco Daily Alta California in 1854 stated that “in no portion of the state is there a more busy or thriving settlement [p.135] or one which, in proportion to number, is working more effectively” than San Bernardino. The article cited a promise by the citizens that “San Bernardino shall be the most beautiful city of California,” and that “to judge by their beginnings and what they have done elsewhere, their promise will be kept.” The Alta also commented that in the golden state, Mormons were generally regarded as good neighbors and considered upright and moral. Tying the church firmly to the beginnings of the state, the article recalled, without total accuracy, “It is worthy of notice that the discoverer of gold, the first farmer, and the wealthiest man in California, are or were all Mormons.” The newspaper commented that little had been said in the state about plural marriage, with the assumption that the Latter-day Saints had not introduced the practice in California “for the sake of peace.” The article affirmed that California was “fortunately free from the prejudices and hate against Mormons which prevailed in the Mississippi Valley” and expressed hope that such would continue to be the case.77
In the spring of 1854, with impetus from Assemblyman Jefferson Hunt, the California legislature incorporated the city of San Bernardino. In June the citizens elected their first officials. Amasa M. Lyman was chosen as mayor, with a city council including Charles C. Rich, George W. Sirrine, Daniel Starks, William J. Cox, and Quartus S. Sparks. John D. Holladay was elected marshal, Theodore Turley assessor, J. Henry Rollins treasurer, and Alden A. M. Jackson attorney. Lyman was already functioning as the community’s chief civil leader even before this was confirmed by the voters. In the absence of Sherwood, Lyman engaged Arvin Stoddard to complete the details of surveying and marking individual city lots. He consulted closely with William Matthews, supervisor of San Bernardino road construction then in progress. [p.136]When one man began obstructing a city street to bake his adobe bricks, Lyman intervened to convince him to desist.78
The mayor’s diary noted with dismay instances of public intoxication, even among some of his own workmen. During his first month in office he observed that some “newcomers,” attracted by the building boom, “presented some cases of drunkenness.” The most notable ordinances passed in the first sessions of city council meetings restricted drinking and gambling within the city limits. Some men from neighboring Jurupa had recently been drunk and disturbed the town’s quiet. Twice later that fall Justice of the Peace Jackson found several people guilty of public drunkenness and fined them a seemingly stiff $50. The problem persisted. Although the state’s district court system was becoming more active, it was still used primarily by those outside the Mormon church. Judge Hayes, a Catholic, understood this and maintained a cordial relationship with church leaders.79
Despite the effort to resolve misconduct among themselves, some offenses by Mormons demanded trials. Charles Allen and Jasper Wilson were convicted of stealing a barrel of pork from the store of Jewish merchant Louis Glaser. Church authorities “labored” with the accused when they could, as with Newman Hart and his son, the latter accused of stealing wheat from the Lyman and Rich gristmill. In this case the family apparently left the settlement without making a promised reimbursement. But by and large, San Bernardino was said to be markedly more quiet and law-abiding than most cities.80
Lyman and Rich were acutely aware of the need to make final selection of the 35,000 acres of farmland they wished [p.137]designated as part of their domain. The government survey of the valley had recently been completed, but land grants from the Mexican period were still tied up in litigation. The proprietors may have hesitated, being particularly visible in ranch matters prior to the final commission decisions on the Lugo grant. Even so, the colony leaders were allocating land for crop cultivation. The survey marked certain areas into 5-, 12-, 20-, 40-, and 80-acre subdivisions. In the summer and fall of 1854 they began to sell individual plots, although everyone would have understood that whatever warrantee deeds were issued, final ownership would only be accomplished when the entire debt (on which the farmland served as collateral) had been canceled.81
Farmers had already begun to question the feasibility of centering their agricultural operations in future years in the same locality as the Big Field. Committees had been designated to investigate various other areas of the valley. In 1854 the main wheat field was moved to “higher ground,” probably nearer the mountains. There was a wheat field near the Asistancia in 1854, along With the already flourishing fruit orchards and vineyards. Rainfall had thus far been sufficient to mature the grain, but with the persistent rust problems, some were undoubtedly more interested in other crops which demanded irrigation. Thus some brethren were inclined to urge the ranch proprietors, as part of the final selection of ranch property, to include the land that could most easily use irrigation water.
Many area farmers had prior experience with the relatively unknown techniques in irrigation either from observing New Mexican farmers while on their Mormon Battalion march or from personal experience diverting streams of the Salt Lake Valley during their several years’ sojourn there. Dam and ditch construction were clearly underway after the 1853 harvest in several areas [p.138]besides the Mill Creek zanja, one of the best examples of Spanish irrigation technology.82
When the first lands known to have been claimed as farms are plotted on the ranch map, the pattern of field locations closely follows the water courses of the valley. There were substantial numbers of lots selected in all directions from the city, but in each case they were situated in close proximity to the streambeds. It is not known whether the intent was to divert water onto the land or simply use the greater amount of natural moisture in soils adjacent to the streambeds then reportedly at the same level as the adjoining floodplain lands, though probably some of both were used. The largest amount of acreage was along the Lytle Creek channels to the west and southwest of San Bernardino, near the present-day Inland Center. The farmland located to the north of town was close to either Town Creek or the Twin Creeks. Similarly, the farmlands to the east were apparently well-served by Warm Creek and City Creek. In like manner the families interested primarily in the old mission neighborhood hoped they could expand the flow of the old zanja.
Among those inquiring about opportunities at San Bernardino were non-Mormons from as far away as Marysville. Newspaper items invited those interested in living in the peaceful community to come and do so. There is no evidence of church membership or activity being a prerequisite for acquisition of ranch lands, although the colony leaders undoubtedly continued to follow Brigham Young’s advice not to encourage persons unwilling to submit to the authority of vested church-community leaders. There are several accounts of former Mormons of defiant personality who were informed that rancho land would be more expensive for them than more prospective buyers were compelled to pay. For whatever reasons, the number of residents [p.139]of the area who never affiliated with the Mormon church would not have exceeded more than a dozen families.83
In the fall of 1854 Judge Benjamin Hayes estimated the population of the San Bernardino settlement at 1,200, of whom 960 were practicing Mormons. This appears accurate, excluding children. The largest group to emigrate from Utah that year was still en route and was thus uncounted. This was near the chronological midpoint of Mormon San Bernardino, albeit the growth in the second half of that period, after the proprietors commenced redistributing the land, mushroomed at a phenomenal rate.84
In early July 1854 Rich visited Los Angeles to meet with the Lugos or with fellow ranch creditor, nephew Diego Sepulveda, and secured a short postponement of the next ranch payment. There had been no respite from the general financial stagnation in California that summer, but the colony was still optimistic that they would meet their obligations. One opportunity presented by gentile neighbor Isaac Williams was a contract to construct thirty miles of lumber fence on his ranch for a sum of more than $30,000. Lyman and Rich signed a contract for the work, but upon discussing the matter with those who they expected would do most of the labor, they decided to withdraw from the commitment. In light of subsequent events this appears to have been a serious mistake, but people were then in the midst of building their own homes and establishing their private farmsteads. This [p.140]was not evidence of lessened commitment to the ranch purchase, but individual interests were beginning to divert attention from the three-year preoccupation with debt repayment. If Lyman and Rich had been presiding over the colony in a strictly theocratic manner, the fence would have been built, and the ranch debt canceled, but they clearly deferred to immediate individual preferences of the families involved.
During the time the fence contract was under consideration, there was a simultaneous effort to “collect subscriptions from the people for payment of the debt.” Church members offered an estimated $20,000 worth of livestock and grain for the disposal of Lyman and Rich. Undoubtedly, it was after estimating the amount subscribed that Williams’s fence contract was canceled. However, amid the continuing economic stringency the generous contributions could not easily be transformed into liquid assets, and as the proprietors confided to Brigham Young, the generous offerings could not then be used to make the required payments and save the sagging good credit.85
The next month Lyman journeyed once again to San Francisco to seek loan money to meet the past-due obligations. After inquiring at several banking houses over a week’s time, he met a Mr. Wheeler, of Norris and Company, who agreed to loan him the required funds. The transaction, which apparently included relinquishing the deed to the ranch, or a portion thereof, was completed by the end of September. Lyman received a draft for over $20,000 and returned home. Within a short time the financial firm sent an attorney to San Bernardino to complete further details, after which Lyman went to Los Angeles and paid off the [p.141]original ranch owners. This transaction simply transferred obligations to another group of creditors and bought more time. But the financial pressures facing the San Bernardino brethren persisted, and probably proliferated.86
While Lyman was in San Francisco, he met a group of businessmen interested in exploring the Colorado River to determine the feasibility of steamboat transportation there. In keeping with long-held American tradition, they hoped, if possible, to get “uncle,” meaning the government, to undertake such an investigation. Knowing Young’s interest in such a venture and recognizing the potential for conveying goods to the main Mormon settlements, Lyman approached General John E. Wool, commander of the United States Army on the Pacific coast. The general agreed to the proposition, promising to order such exploration to the highest navigable point on the river. By the time the plan was implemented, Lyman would regret stimulating such interest. By 1857 and 1858 conflict had erupted between Mormons and the government. Lyman would be charged with guarding the southern approaches to Utah, with particular attention to possible invasions by way of the Colorado River. Nevertheless, the proposal brought attention to one of the last unexplored regions of the United States.87
Later that fall, for the fourth time in five years, Rich journeyed to Salt Lake City. At the end of 1854 he delivered a lengthy report at the Salt Lake City Tabernacle. Whether he had input into what Rich would say or not, Young could not have been more pleased with Rich’s effort to discourage emigration to California. He stated, “Some persons get an idea that they cannot work so well here [Utah] for the building up of the Kingdom, and they will therefore go to San Francisco, San Bernardino or some other place according as they feel.” He then cautioned that “this [was] [p.142]not the right way to work,” adding significantly, “where the authorities put us is the proper place for us to be.” Rich observed that all tasks assigned by church authorities were of equal value in earning the ultimate rewards for which Latter-day Saints were to strive. He admitted that the coastal economy was not always as lucrative as many assumed, saying that if any were poorer in earthly goods than his family, they were truly deserving of pity. This was undoubtedly an accurate assessment of his current financial status. But in discouraging further emigration, Rich was no more successful than he claimed to be economically.88
The years 1853 and 1854 were an important transition period for the San Bernardino settlement. Among the new arrivals as the population doubled was a significant number likely to be as insubmissive to church authority in California as they had been previously in Utah—as evidenced by the act of departing their assigned former residences without ecclesiastical permission. Equally marked were the changes that had taken place among the faithful in the area of economic endeavor. After three years of life in the fort and farming primarily at the joint “big field,” most colony members acquired and commenced developing family farms and home lots. While this was in marked contrast to the predominantly group efforts of the past, it was fully encouraged by the presiding church authorities, Lyman and Rich, who were similarly embarking on individual enterprises. Yet the faithful Latter-day Saints remained not only committed to continued payments on the common ranch debt, but, as their fellows elsewhere, maintained a primary obligation to dedicating their time, talents, and all they possessed to the upbuilding of the Kingdom of God. While continuing to believe that improving the California colony was as much a mission for them as when others [p.143]of their fellows were called to preach the gospel, most would eventually demonstrate dramatically how little they were actually attached to a specific location or the property acquired there.
1. L. A. Star, 22 Oct. 1853, item signed C. W. W., which might have been Star proprietor Waite, who visited the colony again the following summer. See Amasa M. Lyman Journal, 19, 20 June 1854, archives, Historical Department, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah (hereafter LDS archives).
3. Using Carl V. Larson, ed., A Data Base of the Mormon Battalion (Providence, UT: Keith W. Watkins and Sons Printing Co., 1987), 10-193, I counted sixty-one battalion members who remained or returned to the Pacific Coast to reside, along with fifty-five others who returned to reside east of the Great Basin. Another twenty-five who survived the tour but about whom we have no further information are presumed to have abandoned Mormondom. Certainly the largest number, 324, remained within the centers of church influence, from Arizona to Idaho. Still, the number that left Zion was almost a third of the march’s survivors.
5. Andrew Jensen, comp., History of San Bernardino, California,” being mainly material recorded by Richard R. Hopkins, San Bernardino branch and stake clerk in his “San Bernardino Branch Record,” 2 Jan. 1853, both LDS archives (hereafter Hopkins-Jensen).
10. San Francisco Alta California, 1 Aug. 1853, stated Los Angeles County’s debt was $257,256, of which only $4,500 was determined to be San Bernardino’s share; Hopkins-Jensen, 2, 11 Nov., 9, 17, 27 Dec. 1852.
12. Gertrude K. Brown, “Initial Monuments for California’s Base and Meridian Lines,” California Historical Society Quarterly 34 (Mar. 1955): 11-13; William P. Blake, “Geological Report” of Explorations and Surveys for a Railroad Route from the Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean; War Department, Routes in California to Connect with the Routes near the Thirty-second Parallels Explored by Lieut. R. S. Williamson, Corps Topographical Engineers, in 1853, Part 4, 80-85; Explorations and Surveys for a Railroad Route from the Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean; and War Department, Routes in California, to Connect with the Routes near the Thirty-fifth and Thirty-second Parallels Explored by Lieut. A. W. Whipple, Topographical Engineers in 1853-1854, Part IV, Report on the Geology of the Route (all Washington, D.C., 1856), 85; Hopkins-Jen-sen, 7, 9 Nov. 1852.
15. Daniel M. Thomas to (Richard R.) Hopkins, 6 Feb. 1853, published in Deseret News, 19 Mar. 1853; “Dictated Statement of Marcus Katz,” Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley; Harris Newmark, Sixty Years in Southern California, 1853-1913 (Los Angeles: Zeitlin & Ver Brugge, 1970), 88, 151, states that Lewis Jacobs joined the Mormon church and was an authority on all matters of finance connected with his town. In common measures a barrel is 105 dry quarts and a bushel is thirty-two dry quarts, or just under one-third as much as a barrel.
17. Hopkins Branch Journal, 7, 20, 27 Feb., 12, 19 Mar. 1853; Reddick Allred Diary, 9 Dec. 1852; Lyman Journal, 27, 28 July 1853; Henry G. Boyle Journal, 29 Nov. 1855; Amasa M. Lyman to Brigham Young and Council, 29 July 1853, Young Papers.
20. Albert R. Lyman, Francis Marion Lyman: Apostle (Delta, UT: privately printed by Melvin A. Lyman, 1958); Lyman Journal, 28 Nov. 1853; Jason Marmor, Phillip L. Walker, Carl Lipo, Phase II Archaeological Investigation and Removal of Human Burials from an Historic Cemetery in Seccornbe Lake Park, San Bernardino, California (Irvine, CA: LSA Associaes, Inc., 1991), 27.
21. Life of Mellisa Kaziah Rollins Lee, LDS archives; Lyman Journal, 8, 13 July, 6 Oct. 1854; Luther A. Ingersol, Ingersol’s Century Annals of San Bernardino County, 1769 to 1904 (Los Angeles: the Author, 1904), 667.
22. San Bernardino City and other agencies were approached at the time by myself and others to have the burial site examined by experts. Instead, city officials engaged another historian, less familiar with the documentation for the era in question, to ascertain what could be determined about the site from existing records. I expressed the opinion at the time to the city attorney and others, and still believe, that some city officials were seeking to absolve San Bernardino from further responsibility regarding the site by discovering it impossible to document who was buried there or when such burials occurred. I was quoted in the local newspaper at the time as saying, “Few communities have so callously disregarded protection of their early historical sites as has San Bernardino” (in Marmor, Walker, and Lipo).
27. Charles C. Rich to Brigham Young, 2 Feb. 1856, Young Papers; Paul W. Gates, “Adjudication of Spanish-Mexican Land Claims in California,” The Huntington Quarterly 3 (May 1958): 213-36; Paul W. Gates, “California’s Embattled Settlers,” California Historical Society Quarterly 41 (1962), 2:99-125.
32. Journal History, 29 June 1835, 3 Jan. 1837, 9, 28 Jan. 1838. One young observer humorously recalled Fred’s inflated conception of himself when, as a “very corpulent” old man, he was conversing on politics with Judge Alden A. M. Jackson, who had deplored the state of affairs, including the passing of some great statesmen. To this Van Leuven agreed, saying, “Gen’l Jackson’s dead and Dan’l Webster’s dead and Henry Clay’s dead and I don’t feel very good myself.” See Augusta Joyce Crocheron, “California Memories,” The Contributor 8 (1885): 468.
33. Burr Belden, “John Brown,” in LeRoy Hafen, ed., The Mountain Men and the Fur Trade of the Far West (Glendale, CA: Arthur H. Clark Co., 1969), 7:45; John Brown, Jr., and James Boyd, History of San Bernardino and Riverside Counties, 3 vols. (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1922), 2:697; Hiram H. Blackwell to Charles C. Rich, 17 May 1852, Rich Papers.
37. Cocheron, “California Memories,” 286-88. Condelario later resided at Agua Mansa, where her new husband, Hoffman, was a political official as well as a merchant, and the woman was subsequently excommunicated from the church.
39. Blackwell to Rich, 17 May 1852, states that “Winner and his family have moved into the cottonwood grove. The fort was too close a place for their liberal souls to dwell in.” Winner too was eventually excommunicated.
42. Journal History, 20 Nov., 6 Dec. 1853. The shots fired at the company may well have been by Pauvan Indians embittered by the herders apparently shooting an old tribesman at Meadow Creek, which ultimately led to the tragic Gunnison Massacre. See also Robert Kent Fielding, The Unsolicited Chronicler: An Account of the Gunnison Massacre, Its Causes and Consequences, Utah Territory, 1847-1859 (Brookline, MA: Paradigm Publications, 1993), 101.
48. Helen Pruitt Beattie, “The Lumber Industry in the San Bernardino Mountains,” unpublished paper, Beattie Papers, 17; San Francisco Alta California, 15 July 1853, reported a steam sawmill and a water-powered sawmill in operation, with two others almost ready to commence operations.
52. Hopkins-Jensen, 15 Aug. 1853; Amasa M. Lyman and Charles C. Rich to Brigham Young, 1 Sept. 1853, Young Papers; Brown, Medium of the Rockies, 76-79; Loretta L. Hefner, “Amasa Mason Lyman, the Spiritualist, Journal of Mormon History 6 (1979): 75-87; Loretta L. Hefner, “The Apostasy of Amasa M. Lyman,” M.A. thesis, University of Utah, 1977, 98-121; Ronald Warren Walker, “The Godbeite Protest in the Making of Modem Utah,” Ph.D. diss., University of Utah, 1977, 110-47.
62. Amasa M. Lyman and Charles C. Rich to Brigham Young and Council, 10 Apr. 1854, Young Papers; A. R. Lyman, Amasa Mason Lyman, 216; Brigham Young to Charles C. Rich, 31 Aug. 1853, Rich Papers, states: “You will please be careful to forward me all the tithing funds you can raise by every safe and reliable opportunity.” In the early 1970s I examined the Francis M. Lyman diaries for the years 1891-95, now stored in the office vault of the LDS First Presidency. I remember the entry referred to, but unfortunately am unable to cite it exactly.
67. Journal History, 19 Feb., 29 Oct. 1853; 6 Apr. 1854. Apostle George A. Smith followed Young and Hyde, saying, “The men that have left for California and complain of stringent measures, etc., went because their hearts were corrupt, and they did not love the gospel of Jesus Christ.” See “History of Brigham Young,” 19 Aug. 1854, copied into Journal History, same date, for Young’s instructions to Pratt.
68. Lowery Nelson, The Mormon Village: A Pattern and Technique of Land Settlement (Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1952), xiii-xv, 25-53; San Bernardino County Deedbook “A” states “on July 12, 1854, the city plan was filed with San Bernardino County Clerk, Richard R. Hopkins. It included 72 blocks layed out in a grid, each block 36 rods square, with eight lots per block.”
71. Lyman Journal, 31 Mar. 1854; L.A. Star, 22 Oct. 1853, contained correspondence from a Crosby hotel visitor complimentary of the “ample and varied provision made by our host and hostess” at what was called the San Bernardino House. Brown and Boyd, San Bernardino, 2:863.
75. In light of the fact that at the time there were only six to eight families living in the area, forty students in 1854 appears high, unless students from the San Gorgonio and/or Agua Mansa areas were being boarded at the mission district and thus able to go to school there. This is a distinct possibility, since a separate school district was opened the next year at San Gorgonio.
76. Lyman Journal, 13, 14, 17, 21, 22 Apr., 25 Dec. 1854. The latter entry mentions “this evening commenced to lay out a ditch for the water in front of my house.” Los Angeles Southern Californian, 8 Feb. 1855.
79. Ibid., 14 Apr., 7 June, 4, 12, July, 23 Oct, 25 Nov., 13 Dec. 1854; Beattie, Heritage of the Valley, 255-56; Hayes letter in L.A. Star, 1 July 1854, and Benjamin Hayes Notes, unpublished typescript and clippings, v. 94, Bancroft Library.
83. L. A. Star, 4 Aug. 1855. Such promotional ads and invitations worried Brigham Young, who anticipated more outsiders would gather than actually did so. See Brigham Young to Charles C. Rich, 31 Dec. 1855, Rich Papers.
84. Southern Californian, 19 Oct. 1854, contains Hayes’s letter. These figures appear accurate if, as the judge stipulated, only those eight years old and older were numbered as church members and those no longer active participants in the religion, though former members, were counted among the other 300.
85. Lyman Journal, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 July 1854; Amasa M. Lyman and Charles C. Rich to Brigham Young, 27 July 1854, Young Papers; Hopkins-Jensen, 6 July 1854. This is the only mention of the Norris Company, which may well have been an agent for either Burgoyne and Ness or Pioche and Bayerque, to whom the ranch proprietors were mainly indebted thereafter.