Cultures at a Crossroads: An Administrative History
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The Utah Pioneer Trails and Landmarks Association's Marker

In late 1930 Zion's Superintendent Eivind T. Scoyen wrote Director Horace Albright that Lafayette Hanchett of Salt Lake City had recently informed John D. Giles of the Utah Pioneer Trails and Landmarks Association (association) that there still remained a $190 balance in the fund that was raised to purchase Pipe Spring. Hanchett suggested Stephen T. Mather and the "citizens of Utah" use the excess to erect a suitable tablet at the monument giving its history and acknowledging that it was a gift to the United States. He was willing to turn over the money if the association would take responsibility for working with the NPS on the matter. Scoyen subsequently discussed the idea in person with Hanchett. [657] Albright immediately wrote Scoyen in support of the idea and asked him to have the association work with Pinkley on the plaque. Albright wrote,

The first thing to do is to do the research work that is necessary to write a statement to be placed on the tablet, then send the statement to the landscape division for the designing of the tablet.... Please advise Mr. Hanchett that I think it would be a very fine thing to erect a tablet at the old fort and hope that this idea appeals to him. President Grant told me about this fund but I did not know what the balance was. [658]

Soon after, Albright informed Pinkley of his interest in seeing an interpretive tablet erected on the fort. Pinkley, however, wrote back in January 1931 saying, "I am not very strong for putting up any tablets." [659] Pinkley preferred that the people in charge of the excess funds spend it on "old Mormon furniture" to donate to the fort, arguing antique furnishings would be of far more interest to visitors than the proposed plaque. Assistant Director Demaray replied to Pinkley that Albright would support either option. The Utah Pioneer Trails and Landmarks Association, however, was determined to erect a marker. In February a representative from the association wrote Pinkley and asked permission to erect a marker at the monument. Pinkley said that if the wording and design met with the approval of Albright and an NPS landscape engineer, he would approve it.

Nothing was done until March 1933, at which point the Utah Pioneer Trails and Landmarks Association informed Heaton they wanted to erect the marker at Pipe Spring by May. They sought NPS advice on where to put it, with some wanting it affixed to the fort. [660] Again in June, when Charles C. Heaton was in Salt Lake City, some men of the association mentioned to him that they would be coming to Pipe Spring to put up a marker, but gave no date. [661] Nothing was heard again until August, when George A. Smith (president of the association) wrote Director Cammerer to request permission to have the association's marker affixed to the fort at a ceremony already scheduled for September 2. [662] The order had already been placed with Salt Lake Stamp Company of Salt Lake City for the casting of the bronze, 18 x 24-inch marker. Smith apologized for the association's oversight in not having the marker pre-approved, but asked Cammerer to authorize their going forward with their plans "as a special favor."

Due to the short time frame, Cammerer deferred the final decision to Pinkley. Judging from the contents of a letter the association received from Cammerer and in correspondence from Pinkley, there was more concern among NPS officials with the design and placement of the plaque than with the text content. Pinkley granted permission for the association to proceed with their ceremony but requested that Landscape Architect Harry Langley first go to Pipe Spring to survey the situation, review the text, and decide where the marker should be mounted on the fort. Langley made the trip on August 29, just days before the ceremony was to take place. His only criticism of the plaque was that the National Park Service wasn't mentioned in the text. Langley recommended it be affixed on the south wall of the fort near the entrance door. The marker was thus attached to the fort during formal ceremonies on September 2, 1933. It is still in its original location.

Utah Pioneer Trails and Landmarks Association
55. Utah Pioneer Trails and Landmarks Association plaque affixed in 1933 to fort
(Photograph by author, 1996, Pipe Spring National Monument).

The marker reads as follows:

Established May 31, 1923
Through efforts of Stephen T. Mather and friends

Occupied in 1863 by Dr. James M. Whitmore, who, with Robert McIntyre,
was killed 4 miles S.E. of here January 8, 1866 by Navajo and Piute
Indians. [663]

Erected by direction of Brigham Young in 1869-70 by Anson P. Winsor for
handling the Church tithing herds and as a frontier refuge from Indians. It
became the first Telegraph Office in Arizona when the Deseret Telegraph
line reached here in December 1871.

Utah Pioneer Trails and Landmarks Association
and the citizens of Kanab Stake

Thus it was that the Utah Pioneer Trails and Landmarks Association and citizens of Kanab Stake were responsible for erecting the first interpretive marker at Pipe Spring. The plaque-unveiling ceremony had 124 people in attendance. Those present that day included Dr. Howard R. Driggs, President of the Oregon Trails Association, George A. Smith, President of the Utah Pioneer Trails and Landmarks Association, John D. Giles, secretary of the association, Andrew Winsor, son of Anson P. Winsor, H. J. Meeks, and Leonard Heaton's father, Charles C. Heaton. According to Heaton's record of the event, the presentation focus was on early settlement and the value of preserving "our early pioneer history spots for those who come after us." [664]

Prior to the installation of the plaque in 1933, there was no time to formally review the accuracy of the historical information included on it. One problem in particular arose over a part of the history included on the marker. The Kaibab Paiute have long denied involvement in the Whitmore-McIntyre slayings. Even the legal settlement to the heirs of the deceased men stated the killings were by Navajo. Heaton reported on what happened the day that the marker was affixed to the fort:

[On] September 2, 1933, the Utah Trails and Landmarks Association placed a bronze plaque marker on the southwest corner of the fort, at which time a large number of Indians were present, descendants of the Paiute that were blamed for the killing of Whitmore and McIntyre. And after the story had been told about how the two men had been killed by one of the speakers, there was manifest among the Indians quite a bit of discussion and uneasiness. And a young Indian name of Levi John, stood out from among the Indians and facing the crowd and said in a defiant voice, 'We want you people to understand that it was not our people who killed them. It was the other Indians, not us.' So to this day they still maintain their innocence. [665]

In a history of the monument that Heaton wrote in 1936 he stated that a son and brother of two of the Indians who were slain by the militia lived "a couple of miles north of Pipe Spring" (that would be in old Moccasin, or Kaibab Village). The man's name was Captain George. [666]

It is doubtful that we will ever know for certain whether there was Paiute involvement in the murders of the Whitmore and McIntyre, and if so, which Paiute band they belonged to. The fact that a number of Kaibab Paiute men were slain by the militia in retaliation, however, is well documented (only the number slain is in question). The cruel manner and injustice of the retaliatory, vigilante-style killings is sufficient to cause considerable resentment among the Kaibab Paiute, but even more so since the descendants and friends of the murdered Paiute men believed the executed men were innocent of any crime.

On the other hand, descendants of the militia men involved in the killings (as well as other Latter-day Saints) had (and perhaps still have) a vested interest in maintaining that at least some Paiute men were involved in the slaying of the two white men, otherwise they would be forced to acknowledge a terrible wrong was done to the Indians. Some have made such an acknowledgment (even before the turn of the century) but the 1933 marker is affixed to the fort to this day. It attests to the all-too-human human tendency to record one's history in a manner which often obscures or changes the facts, particularly if historical events appear in direct opposition to the ideals or values one's religion or culture upholds.

While the plaque commemorates the hardships and dangers Latter-day Saint settlers faced as they colonized the West, it is also a painful reminder of a period in history that created tremendous upheaval and suffering in the lives of American Indians. The fact that it was erected long after many Latter-day Saints knew (and quietly admitted) that innocent Paiute men had been killed, also attests to the fact that some whites wanted to preserve an untarnished image of their forefathers. In doing so, they demonstrated considerable insensitivity toward their Kaibab Paiute brothers, ensuring that an old and deep wound would remain unhealed, festering for years to come.

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Last Updated: 28-Aug-2006