excerpt – San Bernardino: The Rise and Fall of a California Community
The year 1855 brought continued population growth and enterprise expansion in the valley and saw further rifts develop in the Mormon community. A slate of political candidates opposing those chosen by Amasa Lyman and his associates made its first appearance, an event that has long been seen as signaling the beginnings of the major rift in the community. Of greater long-term significance for the colony was the widening gulf between Lyman and Brigham Young—followed by Charles Rich—regarding the future status of the settlement as a place where committed Latter-day Saints might continue to reside. The political conflict helped transform the colony from a place of harmony to one of marked dissension. The latter formulation of a negative attitude toward the California colony among the highest LDS church leaders ultimately proved pivotal in the decision to call on the faithful to abandon San Bernardino.
Lyman began the year with a report to Young in which he expressed apprehension at “the constant influence of discordant feelings” in San Bernardino. This ill will, he feared, would accelerate “an evil already in existence” and continue to work against the “union that should mark the labors of the saints” who still comprised the majority of settlers. Another company of emigrants had just arrived from Iron County and other Utah settlements, few of whom had “yet manifested a disposition to renew their identity with the church by rebaptism.” That had continued to be the policy of Lyman and Rich regarding additions to the community, but Lyman was later dismayed to learn that some of these arrivals reported to former friends that the San Bernardino leaders allowed them more acceptance than they had enjoyed in Utah. Lyman denied the charge, explaining that those without vouchers from previous bishops were treated “as having been cut off from the church.” He did admit, however, that those who desired to join the church as new members could do so, but only if they were judged worthy.1
Lyman’s attempt to exonerate himself may have indicted him in the eyes of his superiors. They regarded him as too tolerant of “troublesome” church members and too willing to associate with non-Mormons. Yet his January report to Young concluded with the candid observation that his associates were “rather weaker in righteousness than in numbers,” though many demonstrated complete adherence to the “cause of truth.” Young repeatedly inquired about where the faithful had come from. Lyman explained that up to fifteen of the “good men” had come with the original companies from Utah, along with “a few” other faithful Mormons from the Pacific Islands and elsewhere. Lyman was overly harsh. At least five times that number were full tithe-payers, and more than eighty men volunteered to embark on fund-raising and preaching missions later that year. His assessment could have related to the lower degree of dedication to relieving the ranch debt.2
Early in 1855 several additional companies of faithful Latter-day Saints arrived from northern California. The San Bernardino rancho agent, Richard R. Hopkins, located them as close to the community center as he could. At about the same time, however, Henry Sherwood returned from Utah with a group of kindred spirits, and although Hopkins attempted to place them on ranch lands, this proved futile. These people exemplified a growing appeal of San Bernardino to those desiring more freedom while remaining, at least nominally, in the church. An integral part of this would be the geographical distance from the center of church authority embodied in the notably strict Brigham Young.3
Some of the “weakness in righteousness” Lyman observed might also have referred to the growing political independence considered undesirable by the hierarchy. San Bernardino was clearly becoming a haven for those who resented church leaders controlling all aspects of Mormon group life. The ultimate acts of defiance were to abandon assigned settlements to emigrate to California almost invariably without ecclesiastical permission. The budding independence movement would manifest itself most fully in politics in the ensuing years, particularly after some already alienated from church authority laid the groundwork. While Lyman opposed these actions, his own subtle disagreements with Young may also in time have encouraged some general insubordination.
Young had not received Lyman’s letter before he wrote a lengthy epistle to the apostle, including insights into his attitude toward the outside world and those who were moving away from the safe confines of his Zion to San Bernardino on the fringes of the corrupt world. He observed that some of the converts who had embraced the Mormon gospel had difficulty permanently overcoming the deeply-ingrained errors of their past and would, on occasion, revert to unrighteous ways. These, he explained, made “tolerably good saints anywhere else except with the saints,” and they were the only church members with whom the outside world should have contact. Such people “cannot be anything but Mormon wherever they are, and preferring to be with the world where they can see, hear and feel the continued profanity and abominations of the wicked,” the outside world would better endure them than “the pure-minded and strictly virtuous who so abhor the wickedness of this generation, [that] if they could have their desires granted would never again behold a devil in any form.” While Young pitied Lyman for having to live among the “scum and half-hearted, that float off upon the light air,” he encouraged him to take comfort as he observed a sifting process that in the long run would be beneficial to the remaining Saints. Young also assured Lyman that being situated in the midst of such persons, as he fulfilled his mission, the negative influence could not harm true principled people, since an apostate could not bring disgrace or discredit on anyone but himself.4
Young’s letter was notably cordial and sympathetic. Lyman’s grandson/biographer Albert R. Lyman stressed the consistent friendliness and respect characteristic of the entire correspondence between the two men up to this time.5 But in light of his subsequent comments the church president may not have fully believed that even the faithful could remain untarnished by influences of the outside word. Within a short while Young’s remarks in more private meetings in Utah were markedly less positive.
At a mid-April council meeting Young reiterated that San Bernardino was intended as a gathering place for those from the Pacific Coast and Islands, and not Utah. He added his opinion that San Bernardino also appeared to attract apostates who wished “to be near Zion, but not exactly in it.” On the same occasion the church leader complimented Rich who was visiting Utah. Alluding to the presumably greater spiritual fervor at the center of Zion, Young commented, “You feel better now than when you came here. When you get away from the stove you get cold. You are not weakened in your faith or integrity. I was glad to see you. I want a man to walk right into my heart and let me to walk into theirs.” Here the church leader not only expressed his appreciation for total dedication to the cause of their religion, but also for total frankness in personal relationships. Regarding the colony, he predicted that “every person who wants to be a saint will leave there and be glad to come away from San Bernardino.” This statement was his strongest yet against the California colony and its effect on faithful Latter-day Saints. Of perhaps greater importance, the statement reveals that those— even among the faithful—who might prefer to live in California rather than Utah appear to hold a place of lesser esteem in the eyes of Brigham Young.
Another of Young’s comments was fraught with subtle meaning concerning his real attitude toward Lyman. Young claimed Joseph Smith had said he “would take Amasa and put him in the First Presidency, but he will have the big head.” Based on the historical fact of the closeness of the relationship between Smith and Lyman, it is improbable that the statement was ever made. In fact, at the April church conference of 1844, just two months before Smith’s martyrdom, he attempted to remove counselor Sidney Rigdon and replace him with Lyman. However, Smith’s brother Hyrum led a movement to give Rigdon additional time to mend his ways and Joseph finally acquiesced. But confident that Rigdon would continue to neglect his responsibilities, the prophet “ordained Elder Amasa M. Lyman to succeed him, both as counselor and spokesman,” and when this action was subsequently questioned, he defended it by citing biblical precedents. Since Lyman’s name had not been presented to the congregation for a sustaining vote, his appointment was not complete prior to the prophet’s death. But there is no question of Smith’s preference of Lyman for the position in the First Presidency. It must be surmised that Young’s perception of the apostle’s lack of proper humility or submissiveness was his own and not Joseph Smith’s. Perhaps there is even a hint of jealousy exhibited by Young, who was then the senior apostle and a somewhat logical choice to be selected to the presidency, instead of Lyman, who had not yet even been called as an apostle. There is no evidence that Lyman was apprised of the comments made so far from his hearing. Although impossible to prove, these statements by the current church leader may have marked, along with Lyman’s experiments with spiritualism, the beginning of a growing gulf between Young and Lyman.6
Equally telling was a letter later that summer from Young’s first counselor, Heber C. Kimball, to young apostle Franklin D. Richards, then serving a mission in England. By that time it had been reported that San Bernardino’s wheat crop was once again severely damaged by rust, and Kimball made the callous remark that the settlers there had gathered rust as well. The comment was reprinted in the widely circulated British publication, Millennial Star, and would eventually find its way to San Bernardino. Kimball confided to Richards a statement sadly revealing of the thinking of the First Presidency toward Lyman in particular and the other brethren of his colony in general. The church leader stated that Rich was being considered for a mission to England, and that when Rich was gone there would be “not much good left there.” This, he cautioned, “was and is a secret.”7 It is possible to attribute too much to such brief comments, but when added to the others regarding both Lyman and the California colony, the significance of the attitude of the First Presidency toward both is clear.
Both Young and Kimball had a former plural wife residing in San Bernardino. Both had lost several wives for a variety of reasons. Supposedly church leaders encouraged those unhappy with the marriage arrangement to abandon it, but when some did so, there was occasionally cause for at least resentment. Mary Turley married President Young at age eighteen and after several years, still childless, requested a bill of divorcement, which was reportedly granted without dispute. She accompanied her father to San Bernardino with the original colonists, subsequently married John J. Cook, and remained in California the remainder of her long life. It cannot be determined when Frances Clark, formerly Kimball, arrived there to reside among her second husband’s extensive family, which included at least one other woman who had abandoned plural marriage in Utah. Nevertheless, such developments enhanced the reputation of the colony as a refuge for the unfaithful.8
Before any of these changes in attitude were perceptible in San Bernardino, the political developments equally crucial to the colony’s future began to unfold. Saturday, 20 April, was designated as a special election in response to the recent state law creating county boards of supervisors. A few dissenters against Mormon authority mounted a slate of opposition candidates, hardly a carefully planned affair and probably originating as a simple protest against the church’s habit of virtually selecting political officials by allowing only one candidate per office on the ballot. The movement centered south of the Santa Ana River where the main candidate, Benjamin F. Van Leuven, resided with his clan, rather than in the city of San Bernardino, which was a separate supervisorial district. Valentine Johnson Herring, whose dissent was already a year old, also lived in that area, and his political ambition and know-how were clearly apparent. Although he was likely the chief strategist of the supervisorial contest, his own personal sights were on Jefferson Hunt’s seat in the state assembly. That election would not take place until September, but he announced his candidacy in the spring. The former mountain men with whom he was closely associated, including John Brown, James Waters, Duff Weaver, and Louis Roubidoux, were located south of the river or in the adjacent Yucaipa Valley to the east. These independent-minded neighbors undoubtedly encouraged the few other dissidents, at least from a distance. Rubidoux was a virtually unopposed candidate for the third board position. While he had earlier worked in harmony with Mormon leaders, he now sympathized firmly with their opponents.
Benjamin F. Grouard, the opposition candidate for the city supervisory seat, had no contact with the dissidents up to the eve of the election. Two weeks prior to that event he spoke at the same worship service with Lyman, ironically “on the necessity of [the congregation] living in harmony with and among [each other] and of [their] duties to each other.” Although Grouard had already embraced spiritualism and would preach it openly later that year, at this time he was clearly in full fellowship with the hierarchy. A friendly eyewitness of subsequent events, Horace C. Rolfe, noted that the longtime missionary did not have “even a remote suspicion that he was doing anything wrong” in supposing he would like to place his own name forward as a candidate. His personal misfortune, so far as his future status in the church was concerned, was that he had been too long out of the Mormon mainstream to understand that Mormons did not act in political affairs as did other American citizens.
Lyman had not promptly made public his choices for candidates as all expected of him. Such practice was common among Mormon leaders, who barely tolerated the forms of democracy while essentially preferring theocracy. Their attitude was that they were entitled to spiritual inspiration in all aspects of the lives of those they were charged to lead and their enlightened judgment was far superior to the methods of the world. When finally announced they were predictable: Bishop William Crosby for the city district and Daniel Starks, a former Brooklyn Saint, gold mining partner of J. A. Sutter, and since his recent arrival in the area a prosperous farmer, for the San Bernardino mission district.
As the first real political campaign, make-shift as it was, it proved to be heated and not without demonstrations of intolerance from those accustomed to submitting to official direction. This reached a peak of fervor the night prior to the election when the Independents boldly staged a parade through the streets of San Bernardino, carrying hastily improvised banners with the names of their candidates, along with “appropriate mottoes.” The demonstration, accompanied by fife and drum, brought “taunts and jeers” from the much larger number of unsympathetic orthodox Mormon citizens. As the procession continued through the city, the banners were “pretty badly riddled by missiles [rocks] which had been flung at them,” and before the parade ended, an “ugly hole” was punched through the head of the drum. Nevertheless, the group had courageously made their statement for political independence. The outcome of the election was never in doubt, with Crosby garnering 100 to Grouard’s 13 votes and Starks besting Van Leuven 99 to 19. But a total of 32 out of 231 votes cast was one-seventh of the total and thus a significant beginning for the opposition.9
In the absence of documentary sources it is impossible to assess fully the initial motives of the political dissidents. In all likelihood the opposition stemmed from the question of whether those unwilling to submit to the terms of Lyman’s and Rich’s land policies would have legal title to San Bernardino Valley property. Such people would not want to resort to church-picked county officials if land disputes needed to be resolved through the court system. The so-called independents recognized that political opposition was the most effective manner of not only focusing attention but of gathering support for the need of greater separation of San Bernardino County affairs from those of the Mormon hierarchy. Soon after, an anti-Mormon sympathetic to the Independents disclosed to an outside newspaper that it would take “some judicious church-mauling” to bring about the political independence they sought.10
What little is known about the men who comprised the open opposition helps explain some of the hostility to the faction and the reason they did not generate more local support. William Stout, who had troubled his brethren in northern California by not fully sharing the property or profits of their agricultural ventures, was excommunicated during the period. “Old man” Patten was widely known to mistreat his Mormon wife who regretted her divorce from a fellow Mormon. Charles Hill and J. R. Kipp, along with probably several others unmentioned in the sources, were Caucasian converts married to Hawaiian women, all of whom were regarded by that time as apostates. At least three others of the Van Leuven men who voted with the opposition had been considered apostates since they arrived in California the previous year. Then too there were almost a dozen mountain men, mostly married to Hispanic women, whose lifestyle and attitudes did not conform to norms held by most Latter-day Saints. To this must be added the church members’ resentment against those who evaded responsibility for the common debt.11
At the time of the spring election Lyman simply noted “there was some opposition from a faction headed by V. J. Herring, F. M. Van Leuven and B. F. Grouard.” Henry Boyle’s more detailed diary account further stated that “these men came out in opposition to Amasa’s nominations, contrary to counsel and exhibited a ‘regular mob spirit.'” Based on past experience, most Mormons had strong opinions about mobs and their motives. But in this particular case any violence had been perpetrated by their own fellows and the mob spirit appears to refer simply to defiance of vested church authority. However, to faithful Latter-day Saints such actions were then tantamount to mob action.
Grouard, Van Leuven, and Herring were summoned before church leaders “to make satisfaction or be disfellowshipped.” At the appointed time they arrived with a group of supporters who, it was observed, “were not in the habit” of appearing at the council house. Lyman proceeded to explain the nature of their offense and the serious consequences that he anticipated from a course of independent political conduct. The defendants replied that Latter-day Saints were “slaves and not men” since they mindlessly followed ecclesiastical leaders in political affairs. They argued that under such circumstances individual citizens were denied “the privilege of thinking for [themselves].” The accused were disfellowshipped. When they subsequently accelerated their opposition to church authority, they were excommunicated.12
Boyle’s comments typified the reaction of faithful Mormons to the trial proceedings and in a larger sense illustrated the dedication to the cause and authority of the church which had cemented the San Bernardino community together until then. The defendants, he said, “raised a hue and cry” that church members allowed themselves to be dominated by one or two men. To this the committed Mormon said that he had always acted on his own convictions, as he assumed all the good men he associated with did, but that they had “always acted in unison with the authority and council of [the] church.” Boyle added compassionately, “it is a painful thing to be a witness to these transactions . . . To see men stubborn and unwilling to do fight—to see them act against their own interest.” As he saw the matter, the men were jeopardizing their salvation. There were, on the other hand, a few others whose sympathy for the dissidents began to develop. One of these, Bushrod W. Wilson, commented at the time of the church court that “my faith in such doings is weak. I hate usurpation and tyranny.”13
As developments over the next two years demonstrated, a substantial number of otherwise faithful Latter-day Saints were coming to value the right to choose political candidates and vote according to their own volition. While they were quiet in this initial confrontation, during the next election many attended independent caucus meetings and were inclined to support more moderate candidates not approved by ecclesiastical leaders. The more radical position of the anti-Mormon faction drove these Mormons back into bloc-voting, but by the 1857 local campaigns the same citizens, by then called “harmonalists,” allied with the less extreme candidates to bridge the gap which had formerly existed with the so-called outsiders to form a political coalition that showed every evidence of leading to more cordial relationships between Latter-day Saints and their neighbors.14
The actual beginnings of what Lyman called the “factionalist” movement may have been in a local election during the spring of 1855 and been totally undocumented except for Horace C. Rolfe’s recollections in his “Early Political History of San Bernardino County.” He asserted that when church authorities submitted the name of a newly arrived brother only slightly known to the voters, some of them discussed the matter and decided they would vote for one of their respected neighbors, Norman Taylor. Taylor neither sought the office nor even voted himself, but, when elected, he served effectively and was reportedly reelected at the end of his term. There was no disciplinary action. He remained fully committed to his religious beliefs and obligations. Rolfe concluded “by this time it had become apparent that at least some form or show of choice and selection of candidates by the people as citizens of a republican form of government must be observed even among Latter-day Saints.” Although there is no other known documentation of the fact other than the Los Angeles Star listing him as a candidate, Rolfe states that Taylor served with distinction.15
While still condoned by most fellow church members, the actions on the part of Amasa Lyman and his associates appear to outside observers then and later to be overreaction to political activities to which American citizens had long been entitled. The extent of the punishments also seems overly severe. Yet Lyman was acting in the prescribed manner practiced and expected by Brigham Young and other high church leaders in Utah. In their isolated circumstances the church hierarchy in the intermountain region could more easily demand political submissiveness, but even there they would encounter periodic opposition to this practice. In southern California, as elsewhere in the nation, there was little toleration for such church interference in political matters, and thus the Mormon actions did much to enhance the apprehension of some neighbors.
In the broad scope of Lyman’s life, his treatment of dissidents is truly ironic. His most decisive stand for orthodoxy came just when his presumed leniency was apparently being questioned by some of the hierarchy. A dozen years later, after he had been removed from the Council of the Twelve Apostles, Lyman became one of the prime movers in the so-called “Godbeite” movement which among other things sought independence from church domination of Utah politics. In that instance Lyman would essentially goad Mormon authorities into trying him for his membership, which he would forfeit in a manner and attitude strikingly similar to those excommunicated in San Bernardino. At that later juncture Lyman would receive a letter from Grouard complimenting him on his belated independence.16
Lyman’s actions in the spring of 1855 demonstrated his commitment to maintaining discipline. But news of his actions would not reach Utah until after the First Presidency apparently directed Rich to assert greater strictness against the opposition forces. Even though Lyman had at times been critical of the type of uncommitted Latter-day Saints that gravitated to his settlement, his action in the political crisis appears to be an isolated instance, uncharacteristic of the notably tolerant church leader. Perhaps he could see that such action would only further divide the community. But it appears, in light of the subsequent course taken by Charles C. Rich, that some of his superiors desired at least a separating, to the extent possible, of the faithful from those considered undesirable in the California settlement. Although there had never been a hint that Lyman would ever openly resist the will of the First Presidency, it is possible he had been negligent in carrying out instructions to be less cordial to unbelievers either in- or outside the church. Lyman was summoned to Utah for an extended visit while Rich was left to sift the wheat from its chaff.
Lyman may have been perceived as careless in associating with such men as Clark Fabin, James W. Waters, Alexander Kier, Dr. Ira Burrus, and Dr. Woodville M. Andrews. Each of these church members would eventually oppose Rich. Lyman’s own son, Francis Marion, while himself an apostle, recalled that at the time in question his father associated with “bad men,” specifically Burrus who would soon be implicated in a sensational divorce case as having been overly intimate with Mrs. Quartus Sparks.17
Rich made specific inquiry into the past of Dr. Andrews who had been a druggist in Nauvoo. He learned, from biased sources, that he had abandoned a wife and children and “run away” from a town to escape public fury over his seduction of a Mrs. Lightfoot who accompanied him to Council Bluffs, Iowa. Then, after residing for a time in Salt Lake City, during which he and Cyrus Canfield were suspected of stealing some fifty watches from a church member, he disappeared again. While in San Francisco in the summer of 1855 Lyman came into contact with the doctor and, learning of his intention to emigrate to San Bernardino, sent a letter there with him. Andrews and Canfield arrived in southern California 5 October 1855 and both declined the traditional rebaptism into the congregation. Within a year, during which associates alluded to Lyman’s close relationship with him, Dr. Andrews became one of the foremost opponents of the colony’s leaders.18
Amasa Lyman may have appeared to be even more distant from the mainstream of attitudes among the general church authorities in his relationships with non-Mormon associates. Evidence indicates that he, unlike other church leaders, not only got along well with California merchants, financiers, and lawyers, but mingled happily with them during his frequent visits to Los Angeles and San Francisco. In 1855 he conferred with Phineas Banning, head of what was becoming the foremost freighting company in southern California, about the feasibility of opening trade with Salt Lake City. Lyman not only encouraged their venture but wrote a letter of introduction to Banning’s potential customers, carried by Banning’s brother-in-law, William T. B. Sanford, and addressed to the “Saints” in Utah. The fifteen-wagon expedition embarked in late April.
The Sanford wagon train encountered Rich at Las Vegas, where Rich had stopped en route to California. Rich was far from optimistic about Sanford’s prospects, knowing that gentile merchants were not welcomed in Salt Lake City by the hierarchy. According to Sanford’s subsequent report, Mormon leaders preached from the pulpit against trading with the company. Banning alleged that Young forced him to abandon Utah at considerable loss. In light of this, the letter of introduction from Lyman would hardly have been welcomed by his Utah superiors. 19
One of the most perceptive students of Latter-day Saint social relations, Nels Anderson, observed that the emphasis on separateness of the Utah Latter-day Saints from the non-Mormon outside world—verging on hostility to it—made it easier for church leaders to generate and enhance an illusion of superiority. Citing Young’s statement that isolated church members were “the best people in the world,” and Kimball’s that “the Gentiles are our enemies, [who were] damned forever,” the Mormon sociologist observed that such “invidious comparisons fostered satisfaction with their insular objectives” and enhanced the value of maintaining purity through non-intercourse with outside (or apostate Mormon) society. Anderson asserted that “free association with outsiders would have minimized the differences between them and other people.”20 This may have been precisely what Utah church leaders found distasteful about both Lyman and the California colony.
Besides past difficulties, President Young had the most compelling of personal reasons for just then deeply resenting the presence of non-Mormons in his domain. When Colonel Edward Jenner Steptoe was dispatched with troops to investigate the murder of Captain John W. Gunnison and his surveying party, supposedly by Indians, they were welcomed in Utah, as young lieutenant Sylvester Mowry conceded, “except in the case of admitting [them] quickly to the society of their women.” In fact, there were warnings by the highest church authorities to both Mormon women and military men to avoid all familiar contact. But there were also contrary messages clearly conveyed by some of the women. Mowry wrote candidly to an outside friend that “there [were] a great many disaffected persons [in Salt Lake City],” adding there were “many women who rebel against the plurality wife system.” The young officer lamented the general protectiveness of the church hierarchy including the most effective “system of espionage” into private affairs he had ever encountered. Still he found Young’s daughter-in-law “the prettiest woman [he had] seen . . . as hot a thing as you could wish,” and in the ensuing weeks expressed love for the woman, whom he met often privately and claimed was not adverse to his advances. However, “Brigham sent me word that if I took her away he would have me killed before I could get out of the territory”; the soldier added sarcastically that “he is a man of his word in little matters of this sort.” Mowry thereafter concluded he had better drop the affair for the present.
Within a short time Mowry had a young, unmarried Mormon girl living with him at the Rush Valley army camp, claiming she intended to accompany him as long as he would take her to California. Several other women were similarly inclined. When Steptoe dispatched some of the soldiers under Mowry by the southern route to Fort Tejon, north of Los Angeles, and he left for California by the northern route, Mormon women accompanied each group.21 Young warned that future offenders of this sort would “meet upon the spot the due reward of their crimes,” and, “so help me God, we will slay them.”22
Ellen Spencer Clawson, Young’s neighbor and a sister-wife to one of his daughters, observed to San Bernardino resident Ellen Pratt McGary that she understood “the authorities of the church [were] very particular in regard to women’s conduct with the Gentiles.” She confided that some of the women “were so willful that they commenced flirting with the officers just out of spite, thinking they could resist all temptation and flattery.” In this, Sister Clawson reported, they clearly miscalculated. In any case, such episodes rejuvenated long-held antagonisms toward the outside world.23
Amid continued economic depression in the mid-1850s, the irrepressible Lyman never ceased his efforts to raise funds to pay the ranch debt. Early in 1855 California newspapers began to publish lavish reports of gold discoveries in the Kern River basin about 125 miles from San Bernardino. Hoping to take advantage of the opportunity, Lyman proposed to furnish supplies for Mormons willing to go to the mines. Although hopes were high, including those expressed by Young who did not usually condone mining, there were no profits in the venture. The reports proved to be grossly exaggerated and although some miners found low-grade ore, it was not generally sufficient to pay expenses. In early May Lyman conceded that the venture had failed.24
That spring the outlook for good crops was propitious. The Star predicted a large surplus for export. As the ripening time approached, though, there was another onset of rust. Since it appeared earlier than in any previous season, farmers correctly surmised that the damage would be greater. At the time San Bernardino cultivated more wheatland than the rest of southern California combined, and the economic impact was particularly severe. As was often the case in the summer, Lyman suffered from recurring bouts with malaria and was almost too ill to write, but he managed to confide to Young that “the state of monetary matters in this county are anything but pleasant.” The wheat crop would barely provide sufficient bread for the colony. As the depression continued, they were experiencing difficulty selling their large stock of lumber, the community’s other cash product.25
As chances to generate money for repayment faded, Rich returned from Utah to suggest another desperate attempt to raise funds. A special conference was called for late June, and some eighty to ninety elders were appointed to go throughout the state, “gather[ing] up the means by loan and otherwise influencing those that were willing to invest a small amount in land to do so.” If each missionary could raise five hundred dollars, the money would meet their pressing liabilities. The missionaries embarked in July for various California locations, traveling in groups for part of the distance and holding camp meetings, primarily among themselves, each evening. Upon reaching their assigned destinations, some engaged assembly halls and preached Mormonism to considerable crowds. On occasion, as with William D. Kartchner, who preached in the Santa Barbara area to a threshing crew while they lounged during the heat of the day, the message was carried with boldness to anyone willing to listen.26
Each of these emissaries carried a copy of a lengthy letter addressed “to the saints and all friendly to the cause of truth in the state of California.” Written by Lyman, the document admitted the Mormons’ desire to secure backing to “meet and conquer [their] pecuniary embarrassments” caused by the poor harvest which threatened their possession of the ranch and thus would thwart a major part of their initial mission. The circular invited “all who may desire a home and a place to dwell where society is at peace and the virtues that render life prolific in happiness are cultivated” to relocate at San Bernardino. A similar appeal published in some state newspapers, hoped “to influence capitalists and others to purchase lots in their new city and farming land adjacent.” The debt crisis was fully explained, citing $35,000 as the amount yet due on the ranch.27
The drive was partially successful. A few scattered Latter-day Saints became convinced of their duty to sell their existing property and relocate at San Bernardino. Henry Boyle, one of the more effective missionaries, found so many lapsed Mormons in the region north of San Francisco that he was later sent back to gather them, which he did with marked success.28 The convert ultimately most helpful to the community was a relatively wealthy Mormon Battalion member, Ebenezer Hanks, from Salmon Falls in the center of the gold mining district northeast of Sacramento. Hanks apparently concluded it was his mission to dispose of his assets, move to San Bernardino, and personally assume some of the financial load. It would take most of a year for him to become fully involved in this endeavor, but in fact he did eventually remove much of the burden of ranch cares from the apostles and assumed it himself.
While supervising the fund-raising missionaries in the north, Lyman wrote to Young from San Francisco. Reporting on his brethren’s efforts, he explained that they were “not making a death struggle, but one for life and freedom from the bondage of their oppression.” Perhaps seeking to allay any suspicion of personal financial ambitions, Lyman explained his intent to retain a portion of the lands to “serve the interest of the cause for which we labor.” Although it was easy to anticipate considerable financial gain several years hence, when the debts were all paid and much land was still salable at good rates, there are no indications that such thoughts even attracted either Lyman or Rich. Neither exhibited any inclination to seek individual financial rewards other than a regular livelihood needed for their several families. In fact, Lyman commented that so far as he was concerned, the entire purpose of the San Bernardino colony was to provide a “home and resting place for the Saints.” He continued, with the statement closest to discouragement ever noted in his writings, that if for such purposes the ventures had “no prospective or present value, then it [was] poor indeed and hardly worth the toil and anxiety [it was] costing.”29 In a similar manner Rich commented that he had done what he could and “if my labors should be accepted” by God, it was sufficient reward.30
Perhaps sensing some disapproval with his direction of the southern California endeavor, Lyman appealed for empathy, expressing hope that the Utah leaders would understand the uniqueness and difficulty of their situation. He referred to the immigrants who had arrived “to escape those hardships their love of truth would not strengthen them to endure,” and noted of their arrival in his midst that their already “overtaxed capacity for practical righteousness [did] not undergo any improvement.” He cited as a prevailing excuse for their leaving Utah “the corruption of the church who have all gone astray while they alone have remained in the way to sound the tocsin of alarm.” Lyman had no sympathy or patience with such excuses but recognized a great many of the incoming settlers held such views. Most would never become advocates of direct violence against practicing Mormons, but the remarks of one woman recently arrived from Cedar City were illustrative to Lyman of his unique challenges. When asked why her family would locate among Mormons again when they had left Utah to escape them, she replied that they had been driven from Ohio, Missouri, and Illinois, and she and her husband expected that within several years the same would recur at San Bernardino. This time, after the Saints were driven out, her family expected to “get land and improvements cheaper” than in any other place. Sadly, her expectations were partially on the mark.31
Earlier in the year a rare offer of assistance came from Utah. While Rich was yet in Salt Lake City in January, Young asserted that if his colleagues would back him, they could promptly relieve the beleaguered southern California colony. Naturally, his fellow general authorities approved the proposal. The First Presidency sent a circular to intermountain church leaders explaining Lyman’s and Rich’s financial undertaking and mentioning that the stringency of the current economic situation had caused them to need outside assistance. “Let us have money, cows and oxen as they can spare, either on tithing or as a loan until the property of the ranch can be made available to refund it.” They outlined a plan “to drive sufficient cattle to California in order to obtain the means that we cannot raise in this territory, and make up the deficiency that the brethren of the ranch cannot supply.”32 It is difficult to ascertain why this plan was not implemented in the ensuing months. Sometime later Young informed Lyman he had intended to send the herd to California but rather weakly explained that he doubted if they could be sold in time to assist with the payments. Young promised that if the opportunity did arise for such a sale in Utah, the money would be sent to the California brethren. No such assistance ever came.33
Before any such action could be taken, Utah agricultural prospects were devastated by the recurring curse of insect infestation. Grasshoppers and crickets commenced a terrible onslaught on the young sprouts of early crops. The Deseret News reported people apprehensively scrutinizing “the movements of the depredator, destroying them, laying new plans for their destruction, and taking advantage of such localities as they [had] vacated.” But the account did not veil the prevalent discouragement about expectations of little to harvest in the fall, confessing “both classes of these devouring insects [were] still constantly hatching out [reproducing].” The primary hope of relief from anticipated famine was the Mormon colony in southern California. The newspaper suggested that while eight hundred miles was a long way to haul wheat, there was “no nearer place than San Bernardino from which to procure it.” At that time Utah readers had just learned of the bright prospects for a bumper harvest for their California brethren. They would not be informed of the rust damage until early the following month, dispelling any hopes of assistance from that quarter.34
As usual Young was unflappable. Probably as a joke, he speculated that the Lord had sent the insects “in lieu of Gentile soldiers or a more severe ordeal.” Perhaps in the same mood he stated to Lyman that if the grasshoppers “continue their ravages perhaps we may have to take up our line of march to your point in order to save ourselves from threatened starvation.” Even in jest this is an amazing statement for Young to make in light of his previously expressed and subsequent statements about San Bernardino.35
Young had more clearly demonstrated his real feelings on these matters during a May meeting at Fillmore, Utah. There he explained that in the testing process of individual lives, important in Mormon theology, some may conclude that although they had thought they were Saints, they in fact were not strong enough to endure the trials that such lives entailed. Young once again suggested that if this proved to be the case, they should probably leave Zion for California. The specific trial then at issue was the prospect of a lack of grain in Utah. The church leader philosophized that the grain shortage might actually benefit the Saints by discouraging undesirable people from locating in Utah. He would rather live entirely on beef and milk products “all the days of my life [rather] than to see another wicked Gentile in these mountains.” Young then reiterated: “I would like that the Word of the Lord should come that C. C. Rich and Amasa Lyman should be called home, for that is a cage of every unclean and hateful bird and I hope that the time will come when the word of the Lord will be ‘come home.'” But, he conceded, the “good wheat,” meaning people worthy of being saved, needed to be gathered first from that region.36
The destruction of such a large proportion of the Utah crops in 1855 was a source of some embarrassment to church authorities. On the first of June, in light of Utah food prospects, Young advised Lyman and Rich to “husband [their] grain well, store it and take good care of it,” and not allow it to be sold to speculators at any price until he had given further direction. Soon after the meager harvest Young confided to Rich that “we never seriously contemplated being dependent on California,” although, he lamented, some had allowed that impression to be spread abroad. During the ensuing winter, as word reached California of considerable hunger and want in Utah, the San Bernardino colonists commenced efforts to alleviate the suffering. Church newspaper spokesman at San Francisco George Q. Cannon first denied the crisis, contending that the Mormon system of caring for those in need already exceeded that of any other society. But as reports persisted, the condition was finally acknowledged. However, just as San Bernardino brethren were about to embark for Salt Lake with proffered food, Utah mail carriers brought word that conditions had improved, and the supply expedition was canceled. Later church leaders expressed appreciation for the concern from California Saints but firmly asserted there had been but little real suffering.37
Throughout the hectic attempts to raise funds for loan repayment during the summer of 1855, Lyman felt confident that should they fail, they could extend their current loan, hopefully at a lower interest rate. When that contingency arose, they did get continuation but were not able to secure better interest than 2.5 percent per month. They remained with the same lender, Pioche, Bayerque Company, which allowed them to take out a new loan while still owing some of the principal on the old one. The agreement stipulated that should financial conditions improve and the requisite funds become available, Lyman and Rich could pay off the obligations without penalty.38
With the ranch debt crisis postponed, Lyman headed for Utah in late October. While en route Young sent a letter requesting that he “leave the business matters at the ranch awhile to the care of themselves and sojourn in these [Utah] valleys with [his] friends.” Young was insistent that Lyman make the visit. He hoped that Rich could also return, but both understood that in his partner’s absence he was too much needed at the settlement. Rich often subsequently expressed his concern that Lyman get back to California as promptly as possible, so that he could leave, perhaps permanently. But Lyman was assigned to an extended speaking tour of mountain settlements and delayed his return for almost a year.39
Although heartily welcomed by his brethren in Salt Lake City, this speaking tour probably did little to ingratiate Lyman to Young. Some of his public talks from the period have been perceived as demonstrating the first hints of his liberal views on Jesus as a great teacher, with no atoning sacrifice necessary for human salvation—doctrines which ultimately cost him his apostleship.40 But if anything was upsetting to the still tolerant church superiors at that time, it would appear to be his clear difference of opinion about the possibilities of gaining salvation while living beyond the bounds of the center of Zion. In one of his first sermons at the Tabernacle, in December 1855, Lyman preached that “you need not take it for granted that because you live in Great Salt Lake City, you will be saved, but if there are not thousands of damned who live in this place, I shall be mistaken, and things turn out better than I expected.” He continued, querying: “[I]f that is the case in Salt Lake City, how are they doing in San Bernardino?” To which he replied that “they are doing as you are here.” He concluded by confessing that “I feel I am about the same sort of man there as here, I do not feel any better here today than I should if I were there.” His sermon concluded by stressing that the geographical location of a Latter-day Saint did not matter nearly so much as the changes wrought in individual hearts.41 Lyman may have simply meant to urge his listeners to more dedication in their religious observances. But he also understood that such views did not conform to the sentiments expressed to him in letters from Brigham Young earlier in the year, and in this first opportunity to express himself publicly on the subject, Lyman obviously chose to voice his contrary opinion.
While it might be too much to portray Lyman as the ideological forerunner of the more culturally pluralistic worldwide church, which is today’s Mormonism, certainly his concept of religion as an individual matter was closer to the focus of the late-twentieth-century church than what Young embraced and taught in 1855. The two men were approaching the classic religious conflict between “secularists,” stressing a greater degree of agency, and religious idealists, preferring a larger measure of institutional and perhaps geographical restraint.
President Young had concluded that the best course for Latter-day Saints was to avoid association with the unbelieving outside world to whatever extent possible. So many times in the past, bitterness and violence had erupted out of contact with non-Mormon neighbors and now, within the confines of the relatively isolated Intermountain West, the Mormon Zion could flourish under Young’s direction, in spite of the wickedness rampant beyond its bounds. Thus the Mormon leader adopted a solution not unlike that of his Puritan forbearers of retreating from the influence of the corrupt world to build a more ideally righteous Kingdom of God which might in some way ultimately regenerate the outside world, but in the meantime would serve as a haven for God’s elect. He may well have been correct in this approach for his time, but Utah was not large enough for that to be the ultimate solution to the challenge. In a sense Lyman’s southern California colony would eventually serve as the more realistic model for modern Mormonism.
At least as early as April 1855 general conference, Young had expressed his desire to send the younger apostles, including Rich and perhaps Lyman, to Europe on missions. Rich, who was in attendance at these meetings, appears to have reacted enthusiastically and never again displayed much attachment to San Bernardino. He returned that summer in time to be fully engrossed in the pressures of debt repayment and refinancing, but during that time he confessed he would “hail with joy the day when it [would] be [his] privilege to return to the mountains to enjoy [his] home and the society of the saints.” On another occasion he suggested to Young that should he go to Europe, he hoped to relocate his families to Utah prior to his departure. This request was granted. Young advised Rich that as soon as possible he should disengage from ranch affairs and return to Salt Lake City.42
Rich subsequently reported that he was “endeavoring to place matters in the best possible state,” both in church and ranch affairs, in order to prepare for his removal. A major aspect of this preparation was enlisting Ebenezer Hanks as a full partner in the firm of Lyman and Rich. Hanks sold his northern California properties and eventually applied $25,833 of the proceeds to the ranch payments, undoubtedly the largest factor in debt relief in the ranch purchase ordeal. He likely considered the undertaking as a personal mission to help relieve the apostles from worldly pressures that had so long distracted them from their spiritual affairs. Rich reported at year’s end that Hanks had visited San Bernardino and was “well satisfied” with the partnership proposition.43
After consulting with his new associate, Rich concluded to set land prices “down as low as possible,” at an average of ten dollars per acre. This, he reported, caused a “regular rush for land” and pressed the company surveyors to complete the lot lines essential for sales. Purchasers understood that they would not gain clear title until the property was released from the mortgage obligations for which it was collateral, but Lyman, Rich, and Hanks granted temporary deeds arid released portions of the land as loan repayments were completed. Rich expressed confidence that demand for land from his fellow Saints would soon relieve them of the debt, if the land purchasers could raise the requisite funds, and he predicted that by spring their own personal obligations would be small. That was his most fervent aim.44
If Rich had not returned that summer fully alarmed at the growing dissent in San Bernardino, there were sufficient local disputes to apprise him of that condition. In one such quarrel neither party was actively religious, although both were nominal church members. Gashum Case became embroiled in a disagreement with Charles Chapman which led to members of the latter’s family severely beating the former. This dispute was far from resolvable in the customary ecclesiastical courts, and while not nearly so serious as a subsequent incident a few years in which Chapman’s close friend, William McDonald, stabbed a Mormon to death in a barroom fight, it nevertheless caused Rich concern.45
An even more serious conflict erupted between David Seeley, the colony’s first stake president, and Lewis Jacobs, one of the town’s first Jewish merchants and the only one known to have become a Mormon. Seeley had quarreled the previous year with Charles Crismon, who like Jacobs owned a sawmill on the same small mountain stream as Seeley. Underlying bitterness could easily have stemmed from earlier disputes, but the immediate cause of misunderstanding, according to fellow Jew Marcus Katz, was over a store account involving chickens. Seeley, reportedly without provocation, struck the merchant on the back of the head with a stick, injuring him seriously enough that some feared for his life. The stake president surrendered to the city marshal, John D. Holladay, and subsequently posted a bail of $3,000. Within a week Rich summoned a special conference of priesthood brethren to determine Seeley’s fate. The erring brother confessed his fault and begged forgiveness. On motion of the conference Seeley was relieved of his leadership position, but because of his contriteness was allowed to retain his church membership. These proceedings were sufficiently private that at least one woman, Louisa Pratt, who usually knew the community news, did not know why the stake president was dismissed. The trial confirmed to the Hebrew community, then and later, their “belief that the Mormon people were fair and just in their dealings with Jews, and thus an erring member [or leader] of the church was not exempt from punishment.” Regular state court action was also instituted, but after the ecclesiastical resolution Jacobs dropped the civil charges.46
Not long thereafter, the church clerk recorded a stabbing in which Frank Dixon, assisted by Marshall Hunt and Charles Crandall, injured John Carroll nearly to the point of death. The incident reportedly stemmed from a quarrel over the victim’s wife. Dixon was later sent to the penitentiary. Both Hunt and Carroll were excommunicated within the year.47
These and other incidents continued to fan the fire of opposition, but Apostle Rich regarded the steady flow of seceders from the Utah congregations as the basic fuel for the conflagration. On 1 August he confided to Brigham Young that “he would be glad if [he] could say that [he] thought righteousness was on the increase” in the colony. But, he confessed, “I think a few more emigrations such as have been would place the balance on the wrong side.” Rich knew very well the type of people comprising these companies and understood the negative impact on San Bernardino, since “men that [would] not be governed in one place [would] not be governed in another.” A month later Rich commented, certainly with more of his own hopes and assumptions of what his correspondent wished to read than accurate assessment, that many new arrivals were prepared to admit they would have been better off spiritually and temporally to have stayed in Utah. He concluded by affirming the hope that those Saints still in Young’s realm would “have enough of the Spirit of God to enable them to abide council and stay there and not forsake His cause and the Kingdom on earth.”48
From the time Charles C. Rich returned to San Bernardino in early June 1855, he demonstrated primary concern for the spiritual welfare of those striving to be obedient to Latter-day Saint precepts. As his chief biographer Leonard Arrington observed, the prevailing theme of Rich’s messages at the time was the need to repent. “I know verily that righteousness has not been on the increase among this people here,” he observed in July, exhorting his listeners to secure the spiritual guidance essential to remain firm in the faith. He predicted that a time for God to try the faith of his people was “at hand” and those not acting with vigilance might be lost. In August he denounced spiritualism, stating emphatically that such practices were “not of God.”49
At the same time Rich demonstrated impatience with rumors that leaders were holding “secret meetings” in the upper room of the council house. These, he explained, were simply some of the brethren getting together and “praying for the good of this place,” which he presumed would do no one harm. He reiterated Lyman’s earlier prediction that the community’s troubles would not come from abroad, but would arise “right amongst [themselves].” It was “these little family troubles, neighbor troubles, about some trifling matter that cause[d] difficulties in [their] midst.”50
Rich confessed that since he first entered the valley in 1849, he had felt that it had once been occupied “by a very wicked people” whose spirits still frequented the vicinity, “seeking to instigate evil through those who could be influenced by them.” He warned that “there [were] many that [were so] influenced by them.” Further exhorting the Saints to renewed vigilance against such influences, he warned “there [were] many [there] that [were] influenced by these men, who profess to be good saints.” He then predicted once again that if they were “ever overthrown [in San Bernardino], the seeds of death [would] originate rite [sic] in [their] midst.”51
At about the same time Rich invited visiting Utah mail carrier David Savage to address the congregation. Savage cited scripture to verify that Zion had to be “in the mountains.” At the conclusion of the talk Rich testified to the truth of what had been said. It is not certain just how strongly this was stated at the time, but there were later instances in which the apostle advised people to save their money to relocate in Utah rather than invest in the southern California lands which he was supposed to be selling.52
During an autumn fraught with turmoil an election campaign would hardly be expected to soothe troubled waters. Both Mormons and outside political activists understood that San Bernardino voters often held the balance of political power in southern California. As the state elections approached in the fall of 1855, Rich compared the atmosphere to the besieged Sebastapol in the Crimean War. He noted that the Mormon vote was being “sought after with great warmth,” especially in the contest for the state senate seat from Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties. By this time Mormons had become regular Democrats. Although they held no convention, outside newspaper observers predicted they would support the regular party nominees from Los Angeles. The opposing parties, led by the Know-Nothings, had nominated a popular alternative in Benjamin “Benito” Wilson who could command the local Hispanic and former mountain man votes. Wilson may have understood he had little chance to win the Mormon vote. He sent a representative to San Bernardino for a last appeal prior to the election day. The Democratic candidate, Lewis Granger, a legal advisor to Lyman and Rich on ranch purchase matters, made a personal appeal on the same platform with Wilson’s stand-in.
At the meeting’s climax Rich appealed to his people to recognize the threat to their well-being posed by anything other than political solidarity. He reminded them of the efforts to secure a separate county, then pointed to the motives of “V. J. Herring and other corrupt apostates and men who would be pleased to see the saints” defeated and driven from the area. Some of his listeners, he realized, had some degree of sympathy with the appeals for political independence; and he warned that the election “should be the test [for] . . . Mormons and the friends of Mormons and anti-Mormons and their friends.” Richard Hopkins’s branch record clearly indicated some independent support for Wilson, which prompted Rich, acting as chair for the proceedings, to state: “Well, if you have all said what you want to I have a few words to say before the meeting closes. I believe it will be best for this people to vote for Mr. Granger for senator.” That was the extent of his remarks, but certainly all that was necessary. Granger garnered virtually the entire San Bernardino vote. Wilson carried the more populous Los Angeles and other outlying areas and was elected, while Granger served that year as the Los Angeles city attorney. Anti-Mormon party spokesman H. C. Rolfe later claimed his associates took pride in the outcome of the election, which they actually had little to do with.53
In his “Political History of San Bernardino,” Rolfe recounted an episode in which a few weeks before an election relative newcomer to San Bernardino Francis B. Noyes was approached at San Francisco by Know-Nothing functionaries about the possibility of the Mormons supporting that party. Rolfe claimed the incident was connected to an 1856 campaign, but since Noyes died early that year, if such an event occurred, it would have been in the fall of 1855. Noyes had arrived in town sometime earlier, tall, dapper in dress, and claiming connection with the best families of Virginia. He joined the church and was soon elected city attorney. In the summer of 1855 Lyman, also in San Francisco, was apparently offered up to $7,000 in cash in exchange for the Mormon vote. He informed Rich who summoned the leading brethren, who decisively rejected the proposition. It is possible that Noyes nevertheless entertained such an overture, hoping to be the party candidate for the state assembly at a time when rumor had it that Jefferson Hunt was no longer anxious to return to that post. Rolfe’s account stated that on his way home Noyes stopped off at Los Angeles and, while intoxicated, revealed his scheme and thereby ruined any chance of its being accomplished.
Both the branch clerk and contemporary newspaper correspondents from San Bernardino mention that “emissaries from the Know-Nothing Party have been trying hard to establish one of their lodges” among Mormons but without success. Their main tenet was nativist bigotry and anti-Catholicism, and the San Francisco Alta California correctly observed, “The Mormons have a great dread of any party that has proscription inserted upon its banners.” The San Bernardino dispatch concluded, “It is very improbable therefore, that the party [would] be regarded with favor by [the Mormons] there.” With little likelihood that he had read the Alta, the branch historian agreed the Know-Nothing principles “with us [are] not at all popular.” These were more accurate assessments of the real situation, whether Frank Noyes and Horace C. Rolfe recognized it or not.
In the assembly contest Jefferson Hunt bested V. J. Herring by a vote of 267 to 28. The San Bernardino voters chose, as they had in the previous election, to support incumbent Democratic governor John Bigler for reelection.54 As they would discover when the election news finally arrived by steamship, young Know-Nothing candidate Neeley Johnson was elected and would serve as one of California’s weakest executives. As soon as notice of the outcome of the fall election reached Utah, Young replied that “politics as practiced by the world are an exciting and entangling affair, and require the exercise of great skill and judgement to keep them from doing much harm.” The church leader expressed confidence that his brethren would continue to properly conduct such affairs in their midst.55
It remains unknown whether Lyman resigned as San Bernardino’s mayor prior to departing, but the primary burden of political leadership fell upon Rich. During the first month after Lyman left, Rich was sometimes too ill to preach publicly, but local church leaders met in his home for discussions of community affairs. When city elections were addressed, the group determined that Rich would stand as candidate for mayor, with Horace A. Skinner for city attorney (replacing the discredited alcoholic Frank Noyes). Functioning as already constituted civic leaders, the brethren discussed the possibility of drilling an artisan well on the public square, authorizing Archibald Sullivan to investigate the matter.56 They designated a committee to investigate erecting a new, presumably larger, meeting house. Pressing agricultural issues of irrigation and new farmland were also topics for consideration.
Naturally Rich was elected as San Bernardino’s second mayor, and in subsequent weeks he used that office, along with his ecclesiastical authority, to launch a fervent crusade against what he perceived as evil influences. A mayor’s court, unprecedented in the city but common in Nauvoo, Illinois, and in San Francisco, tried and convicted former city attorney Quartus S. Sparks for drunkenness and riotous conduct. The erring brother had strayed far from the acceptable Mormon lifestyle. The event exacerbated bitter feelings that would transform the former Latter-day Saint into the foremost leader of the opposition.57
On Sunday, 11 November 1855, Rich again gathered the local leaders to a special meeting at his home. Always a devotee of the “sifting process,” the apostle expressed determination to purify the membership, to rejuvenate all who could be reclaimed. He reorganized the block teaching force, relieving the high council of that responsibility and calling twenty other brethren to visit each family in the settlement. He reported to Lyman that the teachers were diligent in their work “which squeeze[d] some of [the] weak saints tolerable close.” Similarly he informed Young that the teachers were “closely applying the principles of the church, which fits quite snug with some that could not live [their religion] at the [Great Salt] lake.”58 Rich reported to Young that he and his associates had been able “to put to silence” what he considered corruption that had arisen in the vicinity. The zealous church leader presumptuously assumed he had restored electoral unity which in the long term proved was not the case. At the meeting where the local “Mormon Reformation” was launched, Rich referred pointedly to the recent political campaign when he expressed alarm that there were men presently being fellowshipped who sympathized with those who opposed the principles of righteousness. Clearly one of the primary goals of Rich’s crusade was to discourage further political dissent.59
Rich’s reform movement continued in earnest into 1856, with some progress reported in spiritual rejuvenation. There were a considerable number of excommunications and other cases “under advisement,” with the implication that unless changes were forthcoming those in question would likewise be cut off. One returning missionary, Francis A. Hammond, visiting in the area while he raised funds to continue to Utah, sympathized fully with Rich’s predicament. The temporary resident called San Bernardino “a regular catch-all of a place,” to which undesirable types congregated out of selfishness rather than common goals.60
Other Latter-day Saint observers on the scene were in agreement. Hopkins had recently reported that “the spirit of dissention [was] becoming more evident.” Some who had formerly been faithful had become “very violent against the authorities.” Hopkins had in mind people like Robert Smith, Benjamin Grouard, Quartus Sparks, and Henry Sherwood. Later the clerk added, “The spirit of apostasy [was] becoming more evident; men who for years apparently have labored zealously in the Church are turning against the brethren, abusing the authorities of the Church and swearing vengeance on all saints.” Hopkins observed, with exaggeration, that to be a Latter-day Saint at the time was becoming quite unpopular. The clerk went on to point out that the prevalence of this spirit of opposition simply fulfilled the prediction Amasa M. Lyman had made while the original pioneers were yet encamped at Sycamore Grove “that if [they] had trouble [at San Bernardino] it would be started by those in [their] own midst.” Another observer, school teacher and bishopric member William Warren, noted to Lyman that while there were numerous improvements within the colony in 1855, they were “not in morals and virtue.” He commented that what they really needed to make it “better would be less drunkenness, gambling, horse racing, swearing and their natural products.”61
Such negative reports fully conformed with Young’s conception of San Bernardino and its future. In a confidential letter at year’s end, he drew upon the description of Brother Lewis—probably missionary Phillip B. Lewis—who had resided in San Bernardino briefly before returning to Utah. Drawing on recollections of anti-Mormon Illinois, Young’s source referred to San Bernardino as “situated just half way between Carthage and Warsaw.” Although this was far from an accurate assessment at the time, Young considered it a “faithful description,” if not yet of the situation, then of “what the area would soon become.” He predicted that as the ranch promoters offered good land to outsiders and more gentiles moved into the vicinity, Latter-day Saints would either “imbibe the spirit of the world and strike hands with the enemy of all righteousness” or the two groups would eventually clash and “mobocracy [would] be the consequence,” which would necessitate that Mormon faithful withdraw from the region. At this time the active opponents of the church in the area were few and there was almost no valid evidence of serious threats. However, the highest authority in the church had vivid recollections of past conflicts with outsiders and his predictions, based on those, carried decisive weight.
While carefully stressing that church leaders did not wish to “dictate strictly” in San Bernardino matters, Young offered Rich the strong personal suggestion that those in southern California who desired to “live in peace, serve the Lord and walk humbly before Him, keeping His commandments and [were] disposed in any degree to sustain the living oracles and maintain the truth and spirit of [their] Holy Religion” should make every effort to sell out their interests at San Bernardino and leave for the “peaceful vales” of Utah. He cautioned that this should not be done in haste, which might create confusion and panic. It is clear from the letter that Young did not then intend to dissolve the colony or encourage all to return to Zion, but on the other hand, he was interested in encouraging such men as Rich to disengage. In further justification the church leader argued, with abundant personal bias, that the church could not “afford to spare good men enough to sustain such a place as [San Bernardino was] soon likely to be,” continuing to assert, significantly, that it was “not of sufficient importance to justify the expense.”62 The communication was confidential to Rich, and if he was not already emotionally detached from the California mission, this undoubtedly finished that process.
Young further heightened Rich’s hopes by granting his previous request to move his families back from San Bernardino to Utah prior to his departure for his European mission, contemplated for later in 1856. However, it was implied that he would first need to redouble his efforts to clear up ranch debt matters as much as possible while awaiting the return to California of Amasa Lyman. In the ensuing communication from the church president, Rich was informed that even if the ranch property was about to become valuable to the proprietors, it was Young’s wish that he sever his ties so that he could be more occupied with the spiritual affairs more implicit in his apostolic calling.63
Subsequent developments indicate Young was more interested in having Rich dispose of ranch property, perhaps unencumbered by a hesitant partner, than in getting the anxious missionary promptly on his way to England, or he would not have delayed Lyman’s trip home with the extensive speaking tours assigned in Utah. That absence was far too lengthy to have been routine, raising the possibility of Young’s intent to have the colony leader more interested in future involvement in San Bernardino kept away from the scene during the period when Rich was so precipitously engaged in selling property. As Young later explained, he deemed it better for Lyman to remain in Utah for the summer, while counseling Rich “you have the run of business pretty well at the ranch” which, it was stated, might be materially injured if he left too promptly. It may also be implied that the instruction was for Rich to dispose of the ranch property as fast as possible without interference from anyone who might be able to oppose such action.64 Lyman did not return to his primary home until early October of 1856, over eleven months after his departure from California.
The reduced prices on ranch lands kept sales brisk enough to retain the few company employees hard-pressed to stay ahead of the demand for more property. By early March 1856 they had sold land worth over $100,000 if the buyers met their payment commitments. This, Rich affirmed to Lyman, would “relieve us of all our liabilities—the great point which we so anxiously have been endeavoring to obtain.” But Rich understood the difficulty of securing money and loans and thus accepted livestock in lieu of cash. When it was impossible to offer a deed, he promised a bond for a deed. He informed purchasers that those still owing money as of 1 September 1856 would pay interest to the company. Placing the burden of debt upon the actual beneficiaries was fair and should have been implemented sooner.65
Rich’s March 1856 report to Lyman demonstrated his resolve to dispose of his interests and his increasing lack of enthusiasm for their common enterprise there. He probably shocked his absent partner by announcing that he had sold 640 acres of the most valuable mission vineyard lands to Daniel Starks for $5,000—less than eight dollars per acre for what had previously sold at over three times that. Rich reasserted that Young had advised him “to dispose of the land,” and that in the future “there would be no particular benefit accrue” to them from the ranch lands which would actually be a “continued expense.” He had already severed himself emotionally, if not economically, from the colony. Rich consulted with the other partner, Hanks, and said he wished that Lyman were also close enough to help make decisions. He further justified the action by expressing certainty that Young did not intend for the apostles to “operate” at San Bernardino much longer. He admitted that his most recent letter from Young “had some influence in shaping [the way he dealt with ranch] affairs.”
Another of Rich’s motivations for his rapid disposal of the ranch lands was his increasing lack of confidence in the continued support of the people for their enterprise. He sought to gather 500 head of the livestock owed as partial payment for the recently-occupied individual farm lands and drive them to northern California for sale. At the appointed time only thirty-seven head of cattle and horses were delivered, some of which were less valuable bulls, which nettled the apostle considerably. This contrasted with the dedication and cooperation during previous attempts at debt payment. He finally gathered about 250 head, which was probably not sufficient to justify a drive to northern California to be sold.66
Prior to the sale of the livestock donated under increased pressure from Rich, neighbor Louis Rubidoux, who had by then allied openly with church opponents, placed a loan note he held against Lyman, Rich, and Hopkins in the hands of attorneys for collection. Hopkins thought this was an “act of persecution” since he claimed they were willing to pay without being sued. Under this financial contingency Rich used the donated livestock to pay the debt even though the transaction was made at a considerable loss.67
Although there is no specific record extant of negative comment over this action, such mixing of funds from the more public undertaking of the ranch debt repayment and the clearly private debt to Rubidoux appears ill-advised. Undoubtedly the cattle contributors were fully credited for their payments, but recalling the pressure exerted to make the payments at that time and then not having the livestock used for the designated purpose of clearing title to some of the individual farm plots could easily have added to the general discontent becoming discernible at the time over the entire ranch matter. Rich understood that critical sentiments were developing and confessed he would not have willingly encountered such feelings for all the profits the ranch might ever generate. But instead of recognizing that there were legitimate causes for the discontent, including the long duration of what Rich biographer Arrington has called “incessant debt,” he concluded that “the very devil [had] stirred the whole people” to oppose him.68
After the initial failure to deliver the requisite number of cattle on the ranch debt, Rich summoned the stake high council and “brought them to their senses” by asking them to take the entire ranch enterprise off the company’s hands. When the council hesitated, Rich offered to share all future profits equally with them if they would bind themselves equally with Lyman, Rich, and Hanks so far as the ranch debt was concerned. When this too was refused, the angry apostle told them that thereafter there should be no further criticism of his policies if they did not wish to share the responsibilities with him. Rich concluded that he had taught them a good lesson. A similar course was followed with the community as a whole. They too were gathered at a mass meeting and given the same opportunity to share in the burdens as well as the rewards of overall ranch ownership. When they also hesitated, Rich reported “all [was] still on the subject.” His final conclusion was that after this “torrent of opposition,” if he and his partners succeeded in getting free from debt, he would “thank the Lord more than [he would thank] the people,” implying that he did not believe they were doing their full part in the undertaking. Although he was undoubtedly justified in his actions, the entire episode could not have further ingratiated Rich to the San Bernardino Saints.69
In fact, the lack of confidence in their willingness to continue cooperation in the lands sales was undoubtedly another motive for Rich’s overly-generous sale policies. He confessed to Lyman a fear “that the people might take a notion to leave the land on [their] hands.” A justifiable part of this apprehension may have been related to the recent state law placing the burden of responsibility on the landowners in their conflicts with the so-called squatters on the old Mexican land grant properties. Rich understood that this boded ill for their interests, since he predicted, “The disaffected [might] use [it] to their advantage,” by occupying ranch lands and forcing Lyman, Rich, and Hanks to reimburse them for any improvements made during such occupancy.70
The law was soon declared unconstitutional and the federal land commissioners finally confirmed title to the eight square leagues the company now expected to possess. This amount, Rich conceded in February 1856, would “about cover all the good land in the grant” and enable him and his associates to designate which lands they would finally possess. Rich, acting through County Clerk Richard R. Hopkins, sought to do this. Maps outlining the lands within the Lyman, Rich, and Hanks property were finished, although public announcement appears to have been delayed until the federal land commissioner approved the final selections. Rich still worried that even some faithful brethren would wait for the sale of public domain, which was anticipated to be soon. The ensuing nine months proved this lack of confidence unjustified.71
With cash and other means yet in short supply, Rich and Hanks appealed successfully to their “French capitalists” in San Francisco for another extension. Rich also arranged for more prompt releases of encumbered lands as individual landowners made their final payments. The rancho office staff was busy settling accounts and probably preparing to commence the interest charges Rich had announced earlier. At long last it appeared that the ranch burden would be lifted.72
The spring and summer of 1856 must have been lonely for Rich, so far as ranch affairs were concerned. He frequently expressed hope that his actions would not displease Lyman. Although nothing indicates that Lyman ever demonstrated anything but support, he did hear from friends that his presence was more needed than ever. William Warren, a faithful Latter-day Saint, hesitantly confided to Lyman in August that he was “anxious to hear you preach once more.” Although Rich was a “very good man,” Warren explained, he lacked the ability to express himself as well as his partner could. Lyman was also perhaps more diplomatic in dealing with problems that constantly arose in the settlement, including the calls for continued contributions for ranch repayment. But it was clearly not him Brigham Young wished to supervise San Bernardino affairs at that time.73
Not long after Lyman’s October 1856 return, he requested permission to leave some of his plural families in San Bernardino while he served his anticipated European mission. He was better situated to have them well cared for there than in Utah. Although he did not so state, it was clearly implied he wished to resume his assignment and involvement with San Bernardino whenever his European assignment was completed. Several of Lyman’s families did remain at the settlement long after he departed, although there is some indication that the object of his requests was not encouraged. However, subsequent events would completely alter all plans even before the missions commenced.74
Throughout the era, one of the most widely-publicized sources of discord between the Mormons and their dissident neighbors was over relations with the Indians of southern California. Early in 1855 Lyman and others had ventured into San Timoteo Canyon to confer with their Native American neighbors, apparently to help secure additional lands for them formerly held by illegal squatters. For several years Mormons had engaged in some quiet missionary work among the Cahuilla-Serrano Indians in their vicinity who were reportedly “anxious to learn” about the church. Some twenty-five were baptized before the end of 1855 and prospects for further success appeared only to await overcoming language barriers.75
In mid-November 1855 reports reached San Bernardino of an “Indian excitement” in the San Gorgonio Pass vicinity. Settlers adjacent to Juan Antonio’s relocation site were alarmed over rumors that a white man had been killed. Twenty militia were dispatched from the Mormon colony under the command of Captain Andrew Lytle, and although they soon returned home with no reliable information, the commander’s impression that all was not right there led to another visit the next week. This time Rich and Hunt went with a military escort, accompanied by Louis Rubidoux as interpreter and supplies provided by John Brown. They met with Juan Antonio and some of his braves who denied any hostile intent. Rich concluded that the problem had arisen, as usual, from whites mistreating Indians. He doubtless was referring to Duff Weaver, a contentious and aggressive nearby resident.76
A corps of soldiers under Sergeant H. C. Rolfe was assigned to Weaver’s ranch for some time, although no further trouble was noted. Meanwhile reports reached Captain H. S. Burton, commanding officer of the United States Army at San Diego, that San Bernardino’s Indians were restive because they had not been provided for as generously as other, more troublesome Indians. Subsequent reports from Mormon George Sirrine and special Indian agent Cave J. Coutts denied any particular Indian problem but rumors persisted that Juan Antonio and his associates were angry. Burton sent his subordinate, Lieutenant William H. Winder, to ascertain the real nature of the grievance. Winder discovered that neighboring whites were taking garden plots and other lands from Indians without proper compensation, and that Indians, consequently short of food, appropriated cattle they felt justified in taking as remuneration.
Burton made his own investigation. Juan Antonio formally expressed a desire to confer with the Superintendent of Indian Affairs to discuss the dozen families encroaching on his lands at San Gorgonio. Mentioning the terms of the never-ratified treaty of 1852, he asked that his people be supplied with farm implements. The army officer predictably reported that Juan Antonio had acquired too much power and intended to use it until the Mormons made their show of strength. Burton commended the Latter-day Saints for their prompt militia support and estimated that if necessary the San Bernardino community could provide from three to five hundred well-armed men. He concluded, probably with little substantial evidence, that the Cahuilla chief had backed down because he could not get the backing of either the Yuma or Mohave tribes. Few result, then, derived from Juan Antonio’s appeal for attention.77 Undoubtedly the Indians had a legitimate grievance. They had consistently demonstrated friendship and loyalty to the Lugo ranchers and the Mormons. They had willingly abandoned their homes in that valley when their presence was no longer convenient for the new occupants. But there was little success in seeking compensation from either state or national government officials, although some individual southern Californians had at times expressed appreciation with relatively generous gifts.
Within a year a more sympathetic view of the Native Americans and their plight was reported by another U.S. Army officer, Captain Edward O. C. Ord. Sent to investigate the need for an army outpost in the San Bernardino area, the officer lamented the ease with which southern California law enforcement officials could provide cheap labor to local ranchers by sentencing offending Indians to work off petty offenses. Ord was “struck by the singular absurdity of the attempt by Congress to legislate and provide for Indians” in California when the state law allowed such “bondage by the owners of large estates.” In his specific observations of the Indians located in San Timoteo Canyon, he noted they appeared content, with good crops, despite the fact that the most desirable canyon lands had been taken by squatters. He also reported the seemingly good relationship between the Mormons and Indians. Ord recommended against an army post in the region but voiced genuine concern for the situation of the Native Americans he found there.78
The one item both captains Burton and Ord agreed upon was that the Mormons were a pacifying influence on the Native Americans in the region. From their arrival in California, the San Bernardino citizens had cooperated with officials from neighboring municipalities not only by providing men to patrol during times of Indian unrest, but in all other situations occasioned by the rampant lawlessness in the region. A Mormon posse answered a plea in 1853 to rescue travelers in the Temecula area supposedly threatened by the legendary Juoquin Murrietta. In this incident Sheriff Robert Clift encountered Major Horace Bell of the Los Angeles Rangers who recalled that the Mormon posse were “the best fellows I ever had anything to do with.” After response to Chino residents’ request to “follow and punish” horse thieves in the autumn of 1854, a group of local men followed the Los Angeles pattern and organized a company of rangers “to be in readiness at all times to pursue any further depredator.” The list of officers subsequently published in the Star indicated that almost all of those selected to lead the group were former Mormon Battalion members. The unit was armed with sabers, carbines, and revolvers, each man mounted and supposedly self-supporting, although they apparently received some remuneration from the state legislature. There had been a notable absence of lawlessness since the arrival of the Latter-day Saints compared to most frontier towns, a condition often noted and widely appreciated. This semi-official posse unit undoubtedly helped enhance that condition.79
Despite their civic-mindedness, Mormons demonstrated a marked antipathy for most civil government. This was not only demonstrated in their unwillingness to use the regular court system but perhaps even more so in their failure to construct a jail or courthouse. While the community was sometimes lauded for not having such facilities, there was a need, as some of their leaders admitted from time to time. While the settlement was still part of Los Angeles County, Jesse D. Hunter, a prominent battalion officer, secured a contract to construct a jail. But when the adobe walls were up, a heavy rain undercut the exposed foundation and the entire structure collapsed. In 1854 Lyman made plans to build a “city prison,” enlisting the aid of Andrew Lytle. But that structure too remained unbuilt. In the absence of a detention facility, Sheriff Robert Clift boarded prisoners in private quarters, for which the county reimbursed him. When William McDonald was arrested for killing Marion Perkins in the summer of 1857, he was detained in a vacant house with as many as a dozen volunteer guards requisitioned in shifts to prevent a lynching. By that time the Board of Supervisors had already decided to build a jail and a courthouse. They were in the process of making preliminary plans when most of the Mormon citizens abandoned the town later that year.
The Los Angeles Star commented in seeming amazement at the low sums allocated as salaries for county officials. County judge Daniel M. Thomas was paid only $500 per annum, with other officials receiving similarly meager fees. The first county meetings and court sessions were probably held in the Mormon council house, but fairly early in the court’s history some meetings, particularly the court sessions of district judge Benjamin Hayes, were held in rented rooms of the Crosby Hotel. Schoolhouses generally served well for public meetings, so there was nothing like negligence in the lack of meeting places. Still, few cities of San Bernardino’s size would have had as little visible government as San Bernardino.80
By late 1856 the branch clerk noted almost weekly arrivals of new settlers from Utah.81 Since so many of these were not particularly committed to church authority, the harmonious ideal community that San Bernardino had once been had long since come to an end. Though the majority of inhabitants retained all of the commitment and dedication they had always displayed, a vocal opposition element was now also firmly established. Even more threatening to the future of the colony, President Brigham Young had essentially declared it expendable. It would still be many months before events culminated in the end of Latter-day Saint involvement in southern California, but the .outlines of the final problems were already set. Perhaps the unity of purpose and outlook essential to such community spirit were inherently impossible among a population of 3,000 individuals which the city approached at that time.
1. Amasa M. Lyman to Brigham Young, 8 Jan., 3 May 1855, Young Papers, archives, Historical Department, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah (hereafter LDS archives).
2. Lyman to Young, 8 Jan. 1855. An incomplete set of minutes of the San Bernardino Prayer Circle for 1854 indicates at least twenty-eight brethren regularly attending this spiritual gathering. Even this was more than the total Lyman indicated were fully up to the standards expressed in the letter to Young; Tithing Office Account Book, San Bernardino Branch, 1852-57, LDS archives.
3. Lyman to Young, 3 May 1855; (unsigned fragment apparently Richard R. Hopkins) to Amasa M. Lyman and Charles C. Rich, 8 Feb. 1855, Lyman Papers, LDS archives.
4. Brigham Young to Amasa M. Lyman, 29 Jan. 1855, Lyman Papers.
5. Albert R. Lyman, Amasa Mason Lyman, Trailbuilder and Pioneer from the Atlantic to the Pacific (Delta, UT: privately printed, 1957), 216.
6. Council Meeting minutes, Salt Lake City, 15 Apr. 1855, Thomas Bullock minutes, LDS archives.
7. Heber C. Kimball letter is found in Journal History, 31 Aug. 1855, LDS archives.
8. Nancy Romans Turley, The Theodore Turley Family Book (privately printed, 1977), 59-61; Louisa B. Pratt Journal, in Kate B. Carter, ed., Heart Throbs of the West, 12 vols. (Salt Lake City: Daughters of Utah Pioneers, 1947), 7:307; Jeff O. Johnson, “Determining and Defining ‘Wife’: The Brigham Young Households,” Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 20 (Fall 1987): 68.
9. Horace C. Rolfe, “The Early Political History of San Bernardino County,” 1-2, in H. C. Rolfe Scrapbook, San Bernardino County Library, San Bernardino, California; Henry G. Boyle Journal, 7 Apr. 1855, LDS archives.
10. Sacramento Union, 12 June 1855, quoting letter of J. A. Lewis to San Francisco Alta California.
11. Boyle Journal, 21 Apr. 1855, lists the following supporters of the opposition ticket: B. F. Grouard, Charles Hill, William McDonald, Ezra Eastman, Henry Jackson, N. Chapman, Kipp, old man Patten, Frank Dunbar, James Coburn, Moses Moss, Whitet the tinner, F. M. Van Leuven, Ruben Herring, William Kimball, Nathan Hart, William Stout, Thomas Blackburn, Horace Rolfe, A. Van Leuven, P. Van Leuven, and B. Van Leuven.
12. Lyman Journal, 21, 22, 29 Apr. 1855, Lyman Papers; Boyle Journal, 21, 22 Apr. 1855.
13. Boyle Journal, 29 Apr. 1855; Bushrod W. Wilson, “A Family Record,” 20 Apr. 1855, LDS archives.
14. Carolyn B. Crosby Journal, 4 May 1856, Utah State Historical Society, Salt Lake City.
15. Rolfe, “Political History,” 2; L.A. Star, 1 Sept. 1855.
16. Loretta L. Hefner, “From Apostle to Apostate: The Personal Struggle of Amasa Mason Lyman,” Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 16 (Spring 1983): 90-104; Francis M. Lyman Journal, 12 Apr. 1893, LDS archives, recounts a visit of Grouard to F. M. Lyman, when he was shown his old letter.
17. J. H. Rollins to Amasa M. Lyman, 3 Mar. 1856, Lyman Papers; Francis M. Lyman Journal, “Number Zero,” 11 Mar. 1855, cited by Loretta L. Hefner, “Amasa Mason Lyman, the Spiritualist, “Journal of Mormon History 6 (1979): 79, who explains the journal was actually a personal memoir written around 1885 using the father’s journals as a partial basis; Richard Hopkins to Amasa M. Lyman, 1 July 1856, Lyman Papers.
18. Joseph Caine to Rich, 1 June 1856, Rich Papers, LDS archives; R. R. Hopkins to Brigham Young, 6 Oct. 1855, Young Papers; Fred T. Perris to Charles C. Rich, 2 Feb. 1855, Rich Papers.
19. Lyman Journal, 18 Mar., 30 Apr. 1855; Byron Grant Pugh, “History of Utah-California Wagon Freighting,” M.A. thesis, University of California, Berkeley, 1949, 45-48.
20. Nels Anderson, Desert Saints: The Mormon Frontier in Utah (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1966 ), 420-21.
21. Sylvester Mowry to [Ned] Bicknall, 17 Sept., 31 Dec. 1854, 27 Apr. 1855, Mowery Papers, Utah State Historical Society, Salt Lake City; Lynn R. Bailey, “Lt. Sylvester Mowry’s Report on his March in 1855 from Salt Lake City to Fort Tejon,” Arizona and the West 4 (Winter 1965): 329-32; David Henry Miller, “The Impact of the Gunnison Massacre on Mormon-Federal Relations: Colonel Edward Jenner Steptoe’s Command in Utah Territory, 1854-1855,” M.A. thesis, University of Utah, 1968, 214-16; L.A. Star, 23 June 1855; Charles C. Rich to Amasa M. Lyman, 3 July 1856, Lyman Papers.
22. Journal of Discourses, 26 vols. (Liverpool, Eng.: Latter-day Saints’ Bookseller’s Depot, 1855-86), 2:182, 322.
23. S. George Ellsworth, ed., Dear Ellen: Two Mormon Women and Their Letters (Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1974), 234; Rich to Lyman, 3 July 1856.
24. L.A. Star, 24 June 1854; L.A. Southern Californian, 22 Feb., 7 Mar. 1855; San Francisco Alta California, 13 Mar. 1855; Lyman Journal, 25 Feb., 5, 30 Mar. 1855; Boyle Journal, 6, 11, 23, 26 Mar. 1855; Amasa M. Lyman to Brigham Young, 3 Mar., 3 May 1856, Young Papers; Brigham Young to Amasa M. Lyman, 27 Mar. 1855, Lyman Papers, states significantly: “[W]e hope that your enterprise of mining on Kern River will prove successful and enable you to accomplish your objects.” Orson F. Whitney, History of Utah, 4 vols. (Salt Lake City: George Q. Cannon & Sons Publishers, 1892-1904), 4:381.
25. L.A. Star, 28 Apr. 1855; Leonard J. Arrington, Charles C. Rich: Mormon General and Western Frontiersman (Provo, UT: Brigham Young University Press, 1974), 187; Amasa M. Lyman to Brigham Young, 1 June 1855, Young Papers.
26. Lyman and Rich to Young and Council, 2 July 1855, Young Papers; William D. Kartchner Journal, undated, 37-8, copy, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah; David H. Holladay Diary, 7 July-10 Aug. 1855, LDS archives.
27. Broadside, “To the Saints and All Friendly to the Cause of Truth in the State of California,” dated 1 July 1855, signed Amasa Lyman, copy in LDS archives; Lyman and Rich to Young, 2 July 1855; L.A. Star, 4 Aug. 1855; Southern Californian, 4 July 1855.
28. Andrew Jenson, 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,” 10 Oct. 1855, both LDS archives (hereafter Hopkins-Jensen); Boyle Journal, 19 July-16 Sept. 1855; Henry G. Boyle to Amasa M. Lyman, 31 Jan. 1857, Lyman Papers.
29. Lyman to Young, 3 May, 27 July 1855, Young Papers.
30. Charles C. Rich to Brigham Young, 2 Sept. 1855, Young Papers.
31. Lyman to Young, 3 May 1855.
32. Council Meeting, 14 Jan. 1855; Circular, undated, signed by Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, and Jedediah M. Grant, copy in Arrington, Rich, 201.
33. Brigham Young to Amasa M. Lyman, 27 Mar. 1855.
34. Deseret News, 6 June 1855; same date in Journal History.
35. Brigham Young to Amasa M. Lyman, 1 June 1855, Lyman Papers.
36. Fillmore Meetinghouse Discourse of Brigham Young, 15 May 1855, LDS archives.
37. Brigham Young to Amasa M. Lyman and Charles C. Rich, 1 June 1855, Lyman Papers; Brigham Young to Charles C. Rich, 28 Sept. 1855, 28 May 1856, Rich Papers; L.A. Star, 29 Mar. 1855; San Francisco Alta California, 26 May 1856; San Francisco Western Standard, 5 Apr., 17 May 1856.
38. R. R. Hopkins (for Rich) to Brigham Young, 6 Oct. 1855; Lyman to Young, 3 May 1855; Charles C. Rich to Brigham Young, 1 Nov. 1855, Young Papers.
39. Brigham Young to Amasa M. Lyman and Charles C. Rich, 30 Oct. 1855, Lyman Papers.
40. Hefner, “Lyman the Spiritualist,” 80; Amasa M. Lyman to Charles C. Rich, 15 Dec. 1855, Rich Papers.
41. Journal History, 2 Dec. 1855; Journal of Discourses 3:150-52.
42. Charles C. Rich to Brigham Young, 1 Aug., 1 Nov. 1855, 3 May 1856, Young Papers; Charles C. Rich to Mary A. Rich, 1 June 1856, Rich Papers.
43. Charles C. Rich to Brigham Young, 2 Dec. 1855, 2 Mar. 1856; Charles C. Rich to Amasa M. Lyman, 30 Dec. 1855. Hanks may have been motivated partly by penitence for declining an earlier mission to the Society Islands, probably in the midst of his mining success at Salmon Falls. Journal History, 23 Apr. 1850; Eugene E. Campbell, “A History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in California, 1846-1946,” Ph.D. diss., University of Southern California, 1952, 228, states Hanks paid $25,833 for his one-third interest in the ranch.
44. Charles C. Rich to Amasa M. Lyman, 2, 30 Dec. 1855.
45. Hopkins-Jensen, 30 Oct. 1855; Richard Hopkins to Amasa M. Lyman, 1 Nov. 1855, Lyman Papers.
46. San Diego Herald, 30 June 1855; Hopkins-Jensen, 23 June 1855; The Pinkos (Jewish Chronicle) (San Bernardino: Sun Printing & Publishing House, 1935), 15; Court Proceedings, 14 June 1855, before Alden A. M. Jackson, Justice of the Peace, and San Bernardino Court of Sessions, minutes, 6 Aug. 1855.
47. Hopkins-Jensen, 2 Sept. 1855, 16 Mar. 1856.
48. Charles C. Rich to Brigham Young, 1 Aug., 2 Sept. 1855, Young Papers.
49. Arrington, Rich, 188; Journal History, 29 July 1855; Hopkins-Jensen, 29 July 1855. Throughout the remainder of Latter-day Saint occupation at San Bernardino—and for a long time thereafter—much interest and activity were put into attempting to communicate with spirits of individuals beyond the grave.
50. Arrington, Rich, 189; Hopkins Branch Record, 9 Sept. 1855.
51. Arrington, Rich, 190-91.
52. Hopkins Branch Record, 29 July, 25 Nov. 1855.
53. Rich to Young, 2 Sept. 1855; Hopkins Branch Record, 1 Sept. 1855; Rolfe, “Political History,” 34. Amasa M. Lyman and Charles C. Rich to Lewis Granger, 22 Sept. 1852, typescript, Bancroft Library, shows that Lyman and Rich earlier had affirmed: “[W]e shall take the liberty to vote for the best men regardless of the political party to which they belong and believing as we do that which is good for one or a few is good for all, we shall act accordingly” as a unit.
54. Rolfe, “Political History.” San Francisco Alta California, 17 Aug. 1855; L.A. Star, 8 Sept. 1855; Hopkins Branch Record, 23 Aug., 3, 5 Sept. 1855. The latter entry notes a “meeting of those who are considered leading men of the place by order of Pres. Rich to hear a letter sent from Pres. Lyman, San Francisco. Also to hear certain propositions from one of the political parties to assist us in raising means to pay the ranch debt. . . . The proposition was unanimously rejected.”
55. Young to Lyman and Rich, 29 Sept. 1855.
56. Frederick C. Finckle, “Water Engineer Says Early Settlers Did Not at First Realize Artisan Basin’s Potentialities,” San Bernardino Sun, 21 Dec. 1947, shows Finckle’s own ignorance of actual historical facts. Well-drilling technology was available at Los Angeles and the Mormons were fully aware of it, but with the water table so high, simple household wells dug in each yard were all that was necessary at the time.
57. Journal History, 21 Dec. 1855; Hopkins Branch Record, 21 Dec. 1855; Jefferson Hunt to Charles C. Rich, 7 Mar. 1855, Rich Papers, reported Sparks in San Francisco with a Mrs. Coburn “as wild as a buck.” See San Francisco Daily Alta California, 2 Mar. 1856, for an instance of a contemporary mayor’s court.
58. Hopkins Branch Record, 25 Nov., 2, 9 Dec. 1855; Journal History, 11 Nov. 1855; Charles C. Rich to Amasa M. Lyman, 2 Dec. 1855, Lyman Papers; Charles C. Rich to Brigham Young, 2 Dec. 1855, Young Papers.
59. Rich to Young, 2 Sept. 1855; Hopkins Branch Record, 23 Aug., 2, 9 Dec. 1855, 4 May 1856; Paul H. Peterson, “The Mormon Reformation,” Ph.D. diss., Brigham Young University, 1981, 55-83, 166-67.
60. Hopkins-Jensen, 1 Jan., 16 Mar. 1856; Francis A. Hammond Journal, 12, 13 May 1856, 18 Jan. 1857, LDS archives.
61. Hopkins Branch Record, 17 Aug. 1855; Hopkins-Jensen, 28 Nov. 1855; William Warren to Amasa M. Lyman, 27 Dec. 1855, Lyman Papers.
62. Young to Rich, 31 Dec. 1855, 31 Jan., 3 Apr. 1856, Rich Papers.
63. Young to Rich, 30 Nov. 1855, Rich Papers; Charles C. Rich to Amasa M. Lyman, 30 Dec. 1855, Lyman Papers; Brigham Young to Charles C. Rich, 2 (or 5?) Apr., 10 July 1856, Rich Papers; Hopkins-Jensen, 18 Feb. 1856.
64. Young to Rich, 3 Mar., 28 May 1856, Rich Papers; Lyman to Rich, 15 Dec. 1855, reported, “The President has given me a mission to preach in this city [Salt Lake City] [and] to the saints all through the settlements north and as far south as Fillmore.” Lyman’s speaking tour may have been intended to rekindle his spirituality. Also there is some indication that his health was not good during the ensuing spring and summer season.
65. Charles C. Rich to Amasa M. Lyman, 2 Dec. 1855; 2 Mar. 1856, Lyman Papers.
66. Hopkins Branch Record, 16, 17, 18 Feb. 1856; Charles C. Rich to Amasa M. Lyman, 2 Mar. 1856, Lyman Papers; Young to Rich, 31 Dec. 1855; Amasa M. Lyman to Charles C. Rich, 31 Jan., 3 Apr. 1856, indicate Lyman promptly assured his partner he approved of all his transactions regarding the ranch in his absence.
67. James Henry Rollins to Amasa M. Lyman, 4 Mar. 1856, Lyman Papers; Hopkins-Jensen, 6, 22 Apr. 1856.
68. Rich to Lyman, 2 Mar. 1856; Arrington, Rich, 196.
69. Hopkins-Jensen, 16, 18 Feb. 1856; Rich to Lyman, 2 Mar. 1856.
70. Charles C. Rich to Amasa M. Lyman, 2 Mar., 2 June 1856, Lyman Papers; L.A. Star, 5 Apr., 7 June 1856.
71. Charles C. Rich to Brigham Young, 2 Feb. 1856, Young Papers; Paul W. Gates, “California’s Embattled Settlers,” California Historical Society Quarterly 41 (1962), 2:114-16.
72. Hopkins-Jensen, 8 Oct. 1856; Charles C. Rich to Brigham Young, 9 Oct. 1856, Young Papers.
73. Rich to Lyman, 2 Mar. 1856; Ira Burrus to Amasa M. Lyman, 3 Feb. 1856, Lyman Papers; William Warren to Amasa M. Lyman, 8 Aug. 1856, Lyman Papers.
74. Amasa M. Lyman to Brigham Young, Dec. 1856, Young Papers.
75. Hopkins-Jensen, 14 June 1856; Lyman Journal, 14, 17 June 1854, 16 Jan. 1855; Amasa M. Lyman to Brigham Young, 26 Aug. 1854, Young Papers; Charles C. Rich to Brigham Young, 3 June 1856.
76. Hopkins-Jensen, 16, 18, 23, 24 Nov. 1855.
77. San Diego Herald 17 Nov. 1855; Edward O. C. Ord, The City of the Angels and the City of the Saints, or A Trip to Los Angeles and San Bernardino in 1856, ed. Neal Harlow (San Marino, CA: Huntington Library, 1978), 23-24; Hopkins-Jensen, 7 Jan. 1852; gifts to Indians, Report of B. D. Wilson, Indian agent, 1852, stated: “General Kearney . . . breveted Juan Antonio a general” in the California militia, Beattie research notes, Huntington Library; see also Benjamin D. Wilson Report reprinted in L. A. Star, l8 July, 1 Aug. 1868.
78. Ord, 13, 23, 24, 27, 32, 34.
79. Lyman Journal, 14, 15, 17 July 1853, 20 Mar. 1854; Southern Californian, 10 Aug., 12 Oct. 1854; Hopkins to Rich, 7 Nov. 1854; Hopkins-Jensen, 10 Dec. 1851, 8 July 1853, 20 Mar., 28 Oct. 1854, 21 Jan. 1855; L.A. Star, 12 Oct. 1854, 30 Jan., 14 Feb. 1857; Journal of the Proceedings of the [California State] Assembly, 1856, 492; Horace Bell, Reminiscences of a Ranger, or Early Times in Southern California (Los Angeles: Premavera Press, 1923), 288; Journal History, 8, 11 July 1853.
80. Daniel M. Thomas to Richard R. Hopkins, 6 Feb. 1852; Lyman Journal, 20 Nov. 1854; San Bernardino County Court of Sessions, 4 Oct. 1853; San Bemardino Board of Supervisors, 1857; L.A. Star, 4 Mar. 1854.
81. Hopkins-Jensen, 10 Dec. 1856.