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Jews in the Wild West

Chapter 32.

Incidents of Travel and Adventure in the Far West

Description of Parowan—Cedar City—Fish Lake—Iron Ore—Bituminous Coal—Future Destiny of Cedar City—Henry Lunt—Affecting Incident—Portrait of a dead Child—A Mother's Gratitude—Harmony City—Parley Pratt—Piede Indians—Personal Privations of Mormons—Bid Adieu to Gov. Young—Letter of Introduction to President of San Bernandino.

PAROWAN is situated immediately under a very high range of irregular, rugged mountains, fringed with timber. A fine stream of water runs through the city, which is sixty rods square, surrounded with a wall, six feet at the base, and tapering upwards to two and a half feet, the wall is twelve feet high, and extends back from the town six miles.

"The valley of the Parowan, or Little Salt Lake Valley, is about sixty miles east of the meadows of Santa Clara, between 37ยบ and 38' of north latitude, and between 113' and 114' west longitude; elevation above the sea, five thousand feet." (Fremont's letter.)

It contains one hundred families, five hundred head of cattle, one hundred and fifty horses and mules, and three hundred sheep.

Provisions of all kinds, are very scarce and high; their supplies are procured either from Salt Lake City, three hundred miles north, or San Bernandino, five hundred miles over the deserts to the south. C. V. L. Smith is president; Lewis, bishop; John Steele, mayor.

18th.—The whole party left this morning at ten o'clock, for Cedar City, Coal Creek; we arrived there at two o'clock-eighteen miles to the south of Parowan.

Mr. Henry Lunt, a well informed, and generous hearted Englishman, was, it is supposed, the first white man who ever entered this valley, or the river of the Great Basin. With twenty-two men he arrived at the present site of the city, two years and a half ago to form a settlement.

Cedar City now contains one thousand inhabitants, who possess fifteen hundred head of cattle, besides a large number of horses, mules, and sheep. The city is half a mile square, and completely surrounded by an adobe wall twelve feet high, six feet at the base to two and a half at the top; the building of the wall was attended by a great deal of labor; the persevering industry —of these people is unsurpassed. A temple block is in the ,centre of the city, covering twenty acres of ground, the building lots are each twenty rods by four rods.

Twenty miles to the eastward of Parowan, there is a fresh water lake, formed by a stream from the Warsatch Mountains, which is filled with salmon trout; out of this lake comes the Seveir River, which flows north into the Seveir Lake.

Immediately in the vicinity of the city, is an extensive bituminous coal mine.

Iron ore of superior quality, eighty per cent. pure iron, is found in great quantities; four miles from the city are two mountains of solid ore.

Iron works are in successful operation, all the railroad iron necessary to complete a road from there to San Bernandino, can be procured here.

This city is destined to become a great place of business, and, in case the Pacific Railroad does not come through or near Great Salt Lake City, it will be the channel through which all importations for the Territory of Utah will come, it being only about four hundred and fifty miles from San Diego, on the Pacific coast; a distance frequently travelled in ten days.

I renewed my acquaintance with the president, Henry Lunt, with much pleasure, I remained at his house during my stay, and to himself and kind lady, (they are among those who deprecate the spiritual wife system), I was indebted for many little attentions and civilities.

Mr. Lunt was about visiting the city of New York on his way to England, and I gave him a letter of introduction to my family, which he delivered afterwards in person, before I arrived at home.

The morning after my arrival, 1 arose very early, and taking my sketch-book along, I sauntered around the city; in the course of my peregrinations, I saw a man walking up and down before an adobe shanty, apparently much distressed; I approached him, and inquired the cause of his dejection; he told me that his only daughter, aged six years, had died suddenly in the night; he pointed to the door, and I entered the dwelling.

Laid out upon a straw mattress, scrupulously clean, was one of the most angelic children I ever saw. On its face was a placid smile, and it looked more like the gentle repose of healthful sleep than the everlasting slumber of death.

Beautiful curls clustered around a brow of snowy whiteness. It was easy to perceive that it was a child lately from England, from its peculiar conformation. I entered very softly, and did not disturb the afflicted mother, who reclined on the bed, her face buried in the pillow, sobbing as if her heart would break.

Without a second's reflection I commenced making a sketch of the inanimate being before me, and in the course of half-an-hour I had produced an excellent likeness.

A slight movement in the room caused the mother to look around her. She perceived me, and I apologized for my intrusion; and telling her that I was one of the Governor's party who arrived last night, I tore the leaf out of my book and presented it to her, and it is impossible to describe the delight and joy she expressed at its possession. She said I was an angel sent from heaven to comfort her.

She had no likeness of her child.

I bid her place her trust in Him "who giveth and taketh away," and left her indulging in the excitement of joy and sorrow. I went out unperceived by the bereaved father, who was still walking up and down, buried in grief. I continued my walk, contemplating the strange combination of events, which gave this poor woman a single ray of peace for her sorrowing heart.

When I was about starting the next day, I discovered in the wagon a basket filled with eggs, butter, and several loaves of bread, and a note to my address containing these words—"From a grateful heart."

19th—The Governor and a portion of the party proceeded to-day, to the city of Harmony, twenty-two miles farther south.

Parley Pratt and the party with whom I intended to travel to California, remained behind to complete their outfit of provisions.

At this point, the road to San Bernandino branches out thirty miles to the westward. We shall proceed on our journey, on the return of Brigham Young from Harmony.

The Payides, or Piedes, were considered the most degraded set of Indians in the Territory, living on reptiles, insects, roots, etc., and going about in a state of nudity.

Since the settlement of Cedar City, they have become more civilized; many of them live within the walls of the city. The Mormons have supplied them with clothes, and proper food. The Indians have become of very great assistance in ploughing and reaping. Several acres of ground have been placed under cultivation, and appropriated for the use of the Indians. They are now acquiring the arts of agriculture and husbandry.

A large number of them have been baptized into the Mormon faith.

It is really astonishing to see the sacrifices and personal privations to which these people willingly, and uncomplainingly submit. Hundreds of families who formerly lived more comfortably at home, are now contented with a mud hut, twelve to fifteen feet square, with a single room, in which they cook, eat, and sleep. In some of them I have seen eight persons, including children, yet they are perfectly happy in the plan of salvation held out to them by the religion they have embraced.

21st.—The Governor and party arrived this evening from Harmony.

He has appointed the following gentlemen to take up a permanent residence with Wakara's band of Utahs, viz.: Porter Rockwell, James A. Bean, interpreter; John Murdoch, and John Lott. These persons will follow them in their wanderings, and will, most probably, prevent many depredations and murders.

22nd.—Our party intend starting for California, some time during this day. I breakfasted with Gov. Young; he has given me a letter of introduction to the President of San Bernandino, and all Mormons everywhere. He says I have but to show it, and it will procure me all I require at any time. I have just taken leave of him and his lady, as well as of the rest of the party.

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