WEEKLY ARIZONA MINER PRESCOTT, ARIZONA PAGE 2, AUGUST 9, 1873
THAT MORMON FAILURE
The papers have a great deal to say about the failure of Brigham Young's advance party to establish a colony in Arizona. That said party failed in its mission is beyond dispute; that the failure was or is attributable to the nature of the country, is an assertion we cannot permit to go unchallenged. But first, let us review the account of the venture, as we find it in a recent copy of the SALT LAKE NEWS, Brigham Young's own organ.
The writer, Mr. Henry Holmes, states that the instructions were, "to proceed to the Little Colorado River and make a settlement at the most suitable place above the falls." The party started from some point in Southern Utah on the first of May, and on the 9th, arrived at the Big Colorado, near the mouth of Pariz Creek, where, the river was crossed. The little Colorado was reached on the 22d and found to be almost dry. A reconnoitering party was sent out, which went as far (at least) as the Prescott and Albuquerque road, and returned with bad news of the country they had seen. It is scarcely necessary for us to state that their report gave general dissatisfaction to all followers of the prophet on the Little Colorado, who, straightway, turned their faces Utahward, leaving behind them many useful articles. they recrossed the Big Colorado, with some difficulty, and, no doubt, thanked the God of Mormonish as soon as they struck the "sacred soil." A party of. Moqui Indians were met by the prospectors, the leader of whom told the Mormons that, long ago, Moquis had lived on the Little Colorado, but abandoned it, owing to drouth.
The chronicler of the expedition speaks of having seen ancient ruins, and much petrified wood. Indeed, he observes, immense trees were seen in this condition, narrow, alkaline valleys were frequently met with on the river, the water of which is denounced for its scarcity and blackishness. The Indians--Moquis and Navajoes--treated the party well, from which fact the "brothers" think they are ready to receive and embrace the doctrines of the Latter Day Saints. They give us this knowledge--not at all new to us--concerning the Moquis: Here are thousands of Lamanites, who have inhabited this barren region for many generations, and they have managed to obtain a living and depended mostly upon the rain to water their corn, etc. The Moqui Indians, for example, have been located at their villages for generations, and raise corn, peaches, onions, etc. When they need rain they meet together and dance and sing and supplicate the Lord to send rain. A big time of this kind has just taken place at the Oriba village, which contains about four hundred souls. There are seven villages of the Moquis Indians, numbering in all about two thousand five hundred. They are industrious and intelligent, have much faith in the Lord, and their hearts are being prepared to receive the gospel. Some Navajos have visited our camp and are very friendly." This, then, is the gist of the report of this Mormom failure, so we will proceed with a few MINER remarks.
The party came here in the wrong year, and at the wrong season. For the past five years, Arizona has had very short rations of snow and rain, -- a drouth, in fact, that would have made as irreclamable desert of almost any other Territory, yet, the Mormon cronicler tells us that, although his party traveled with ox-teams, there was no suffering for water. Concerning the Little Colorado, its course is through wide valleys and narrow, deep gorges. In the valleys, where the Mormons found it, its bed is of quick-sand, and little wonder is it that they saw very little water on the surface in the dryest portion of a dry year. They failed in that they did not follow the stream far enough south, towards its headwaters in the Mogollon and White Mountains. Had they done so, they would have found a fine stream of water in the river, large and rich valleys, and other inducements for settlement. By leaving the river and going south, they would have discovered as fine a grazing country as eye of man need wish to see; forests of pine, pinon, cedar, oak, and other timber; beautiful springs and rivulets; abundance of fish, bear, dear, antelope, turkey, etc. But, they turned back too soon, and, perhaps, for the best, as, in our opinion, they were not such people as our citizens would care to have in Arizona.
They saw the San Francisco range of mountains, and believed that they could have found homes. A fact. But, their "instructions" forbade them from going there, and a certain allusion to Apaches, warrants us in surmising that they were afraid of these savages, which fear is not shared by the "valorous" conductors of their own organ -- the SALT LAKE NEWS,-- which more than once, has hinted that the Apaches always were good at heart, and would have remained at peace but for the encroachments of bad "gentiles," It is hard to say whether or not another attempt will be made to establish Mormonism in Arizona. We rather think that Brigham will not give it up.
Reprinted from the newspaper archives of J. A. Becker