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Gadianton Robber territory


Sevenbak

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Without turning this into a another specific geography thread, I thought this would be a good topic for discussion. Having recently come across the following quote, I wonder if anyone has any further information or sources on this topic.

Thanks in advance.

While touring southern settlements in 1851, for example, Brigham Young commented to Saints at Parowan that he
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Without turning this into a another specific geography thread, I thought this would be a good topic for discussion. Having recently come across the following quote, I wonder if anyone has any further information or sources on this topic.

Thanks in advance.

http://en.fairmormon.org/Blood_of_the_Prophets:_Brigham_Young_and_the_Massacre_at_Mountain_Meadows/Omissions/Indians_as_instrument_of_vengeance

Well some of the Gadianton Robbers may still reside there but I think most of them no reside in or are closely connected to Washington DC. :P

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Well some of the Gadianton Robbers may still reside there but I think most of them no reside in or are closely connected to Washington DC. :P

LOL. How true.

It's the old secret combination territory I'm trying to find out about.

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Well, there first there were no -ites.

Then there was all manner of -ites.

Then there were no -ites and everyone was happy, united, and rich.

Then there were some robbers.

Then the robbers started calling themselves -ites.

Then one group of -ites killed the other -ites.

So I can see how the logical connection would be made.

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I'm not sure I'd put too much stock in this. Even though I believe that the Gadianton influence could have easily existed that far to the north, I think the colonists were just having problems with the Indians and that's how they dealt with it.

Despite what we see on TV these days, the Indians were just like any other people without law. In short, they were lawless, sometimes murderous, and often thieves. They weren't that different from the ancient Spartans. (In Sparta, it wasn't theft that was unforgivable; it was being caught that was unforgivable.) This whole bit about the noble savage was very much oversold. Mountain men learned to live with Indians to a certain degree, but they were generally careful not to be caught outnumbered or outgunned.

Indians also generally avoided the high timber areas of the mountains because of the grizzly bears. Mountain men ventured into these areas more because they tended to be better armed. Not many could afford the famed Hawken rifle, but there were other large caliber rifles that gave mountain men the edge against large, aggressive bears. (A large grizzly would have no qualms attacking an entire group of Indians.) In the mid- to late-1800s, white men had the high mountains and they were encroaching on the rich lowlands. Indians often preyed on each other, but were opportunists. I can see where some of the Utah settlers might be tempted to compare them with Gadiantons, but the truth was, the Gadiantons probably had more in common with the Cosa Nostra and Teamsters than they did the Indians of the late 1800s. I think the Utah settlers were just reacting. Brigham Young often had to remind the saints near the Utah Lake to take their guns with them when they went to get water or to go on outings. (Who was it who said an armed society is a polite society?) Indians who behaved themselves around armed settlers could become unpredictable when the settlers weren't armed.

I agree that the Gadiantons are now in Washington, D.C.

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I'm not sure I'd put too much stock in this. Even though I believe that the Gadianton influence could have easily existed that far to the north, I think the colonists were just having problems with the Indians and that's how they dealt with it.

Despite what we see on TV these days, the Indians were just like any other people without law. In short, they were lawless, sometimes murderous, and often thieves. They weren't that different from the ancient Spartans. (In Sparta, it wasn't theft that was unforgivable; it was being caught that was unforgivable.) This whole bit about the noble savage was very much oversold. Mountain men learned to live with Indians to a certain degree, but they were generally careful not to be caught outnumbered or outgunned.

Indians also generally avoided the high timber areas of the mountains because of the grizzly bears. Mountain men ventured into these areas more because they tended to be better armed. Not many could afford the famed Hawken rifle, but there were other large caliber rifles that gave mountain men the edge against large, aggressive bears. (A large grizzly would have no qualms attacking an entire group of Indians.) In the mid- to late-1800s, white men had the high mountains and they were encroaching on the rich lowlands. Indians often preyed on each other, but were opportunists. I can see where some of the Utah settlers might be tempted to compare them with Gadiantons, but the truth was, the Gadiantons probably had more in common with the Cosa Nostra and Teamsters than they did the Indians of the late 1800s. I think the Utah settlers were just reacting. Brigham Young often had to remind the saints near the Utah Lake to take their guns with them when they went to get water or to go on outings. (Who was it who said an armed society is a polite society?) Indians who behaved themselves around armed settlers could become unpredictable when the settlers weren't armed.

I agree that the Gadiantons are now in Washington, D.C.

Well, we know they settled in the wilderness and in the mountain retreats, so it makes sense to me that it could be true. I have yet to find the original sources...

I believe Brigham Young also said that the St. George temple site was dedicated by the Nephites (not just Moroni), and that the saints would build it for them.

If I were depicting gadianton robbers forming a secret combination in rock art, I think this might be it. :P

05396_grand-gallery2.jpg

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I believe Brigham Young also said that the St. George temple site was dedicated by the Nephites (not just Moroni), and that the saints would build it for them.

I have Brigham's quote about the St. George Temple at home. I'll get it out and post it, but I'm fairly certain that it was limited to Moroni.

As to the topic of Gadiantons or BOM people residing in Utah:

I wrote my MA thesis on the prehistoric organization of production and exchange in Parowan Valley. I done archaeology in Utah for several years, and currently edit Utah Archaeology, a scholarly journal devoted to the archaeology of Utah. I consider myself to be an expert on the prehistory of Utah.

Brigham seemed to be leaning in the direction of BOM related people in Utah. We get a sense of this from his 1851 description of the ruins at Parowan:

We visited the ruins of an ancient Indian village on Red Creek, where we found quantities of broken, burnt, painted earthenware, arrow points, adobes, burnt brick, a crucible, some corn grains, charred cobs, animal bones, and flint stones of various colors. The ruins were scattered over a space about two miles long and one wide. The buildings were about 120 in number, and were composed apparently of dirt lodges, the earthen roofs having been supported by timbers, which had decayed or been burned, and had fallen in, the remains thus forming mounds of an oval shape and sunken at the tip. One of the structures appeared to have been a temple or council hall, and covered about an acre of ground.

This, and a few other quotes, can be found in the following article:

Janetski, Joel C.

1997 150 years of Utah Archaeology. Utah Historical Quarterly 65:100-133.

The 1 acre "structure" that Brigham spoke of was partially excavated by Neil Judd on behalf of the Smithsonian in the early 1900s (see Judd, Neil 1919 Archaeological Investigations at Paragonah, Utah. Miscellaneous Collections vol. 70 no. 3. Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.). From these excavations, it seems that the now destroyed "Judd's Mound" was an accretional mound composed of several generations of pithouse construction and abandonment. The structures piled up on top of each other making the mound.

The Fremont settlements in Parowan Valley were the largest in prehistoric Utah, with the possible exception of a few poorly documented Chacoan Great Houses outlying on the San Juan River. We estimate that between 500-1000 people lived in Parowan Valley at its peak. C14, tree-ring, and intrusive tree-ring dated Anasazi ceramics recovered from Parowan Valley indicate that the Fremont settlements there were occupied from the late A.D. 900s through the 1200s. People in Utah may have started farming in the A.D. 200s, and were definitely growing a fair amount of maize by the 400s, but don't get any villages of more than a few households until the A.D. 900s.

At the time of the end of the BOM, the prehistoric peoples of Utah were just getting the cold-resistant Fremont Indian Dent Maize that allowed them to begin to farm in earnest. Prior to this time, people lived as hunters and gatherers for thousands of years. There is a lot of material culture continuity between the late hunting and gathering period (Late Archaic) and the early agricultural horizon in the form of projectile points. The same points were used in both periods, indicating that the bulk of the agricultural population came from indigenous hunter-gatherer groups.

I've thought about writing an article for JBMS or whatever it's called now contrasting the archaeology of Utah against the BOM, but I had decided that there wasn't a demand. Maybe I should reconsider that. I think that Mormon settlers of Southern Utah didn't like the Paiutes because they were dirty and they sometimes stole from them. Of course, the Mormons struck first in this case stealing all the good land from the Indians. At any rate, I think what we're seeing here is the classic antagonism between sedentary farmers and mobile hunter-gatherers. The Mormons just translated the antagonism into their own cultural context, associating the plundering robbers with the nomadic peoples they encountered in Southern Utah.

It also seems likely that the mostly farming Fremont of prehistoric Utah were replaced by the mostly hunting and gathering Numic-speaking Ute and Paiute sometime after A.D. 1350 or so. There is a big change in subsistence practices and material culture at this time. There is a big literature on this replacement, but it seems that the Numic-speakers cameo out of southeastern California and spread through the Great Basin and on to the northern plateau into places like Idaho (Shoshone), Nevada (Northern Paiute), etc.

A direct cultural relationship between the Gadiantons and the Ute-Paiute is therefore pretty unlikely. A direct cultural relationship between either the prehistoric Fremont, or the historically known Ute-Paiute is also unlikely. The Ute-Paiute may have Lehi as an ancestor on one way or another, but the prehistoric and historic Native Americans of Utah have very little to do with BOM peoples otherwise.

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I have Brigham's quote about the St. George Temple at home. I'll get it out and post it, but I'm fairly certain that it was limited to Moroni.

As to the topic of Gadiantons or BOM people residing in Utah:

I wrote my MA thesis on the prehistoric organization of production and exchange in Parowan Valley. I done archaeology in Utah for several years, and currently edit Utah Archaeology, a scholarly journal devoted to the archaeology of Utah. I consider myself to be an expert on the prehistory of Utah.

Brigham seemed to be leaning in the direction of BOM related people in Utah. We get a sense of this from his 1851 description of the ruins at Parowan:

This, and a few other quotes, can be found in the following article:

That's helpful, thanks!

Here's the quote about the Nephites dedicating the temple site.

Brother Brigham Young had written to Robert Gardner, president of the stake high council. In this letter he expressed a wish that a temple be built in St. George. Also, the Brother Gardner select a few leading brethren, and, as a group, visit sites where it might be best to build the Temple. This they did. Visiting spots each thought might be best. They could not agree, and so informed President Young.

President Young, arriving later, somewhat impatiently chided them, and at the same time asked them to get into their wagons, or whatever else they had, and with him find a location. To the south they finally stopped. "But, Brother Young," protested the men, "This land is boggy. After a storm, and for several months of the year, no one can drive across the land without horses and wagons sinking way down. There is no place to build a foundation." "We will make a foundation," said President Young.

Later on while plowing and scraping where the foundation was to be, my horse's leg broke through the ground into a spring of water. The brethren then wanted to move the foundation line 12 feet to the south, so that the spring of water would be on the outside of the Temple. "Not so," replied President Young. "We will wall it up and leave it here for some future use, but we cannot move the foundation. This spot was dedicated by the Nephites. They could not build it, but we can and will build it for them."

(David Henry Cannon Jr.)

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