Thursday, April 1, 2010

Wessman 14: Philip Pugsley, Part 3 of 5

When the spring opened, and the tanners got out a little leather, times grew better with Pugsley and his family, for leather and shoes, being among the most essential needs of the community, those articles, more readily than others, commanded the limited supplies of the country in those times. The women could even do without their tea and sugar, the men without their tobacco, but shoes to the workers who plowed the land and went into the canyons to haul wood, for building purposes and for fuel, were nearly as needful as the "staff of life." Philip Pugsley "kept pitching in," to use his own homely but suggestive word-painting of the hard work and constant struggle of those days, when all our self-made men were "pitching in" to get their own start in life, found cities and settlements in the Great American Desert, and to establish the many industries of the Territory of which we now can boast. As we have already said, Pugsley was among the foremost of these industrial men, and the branch of business in which he engaged was the earliest of our manufacturing activities. He made some means in the leather trade, which was the basis of the capital which he has since controlled and invested in other branches of enterprise as fast as they developed.

In the early times much military work had also to be done by the settlers. Our citizens were often in the saddle day and night, protecting the country from Indian depredations. Some "Gentile" writers, either in malice or ignorance, have repeatedly told the public abroad that the Utah militia, and especially the famous Nauvoo Legion, were organized on purpose to engage in rebellion against the United States, but the veteran settlers of this Territory, who had to leave their wives and families, in seasons of great scarcity and privation, for months at a time, well know that this military organization was for the protection of the country from the Indian depredations which constantly threatened. Pugsley entered the Nauvoo Legion in the spring of 1854, and was first adjutant under Captain Barnes. In 1855 he was appointed captain, and received his commission from the lieutenant-general Daniel H. Wells.

But it must be confessed that the “Utah War,” as it was called, came, and then the famous Nauvoo Legion was ordered out into Echo Canyon to resist "invasion," as the Mormons considered it. Pugsley’s company was out, but its captain was left in the city, with the duty to recruit the men and send them out to strengthen the forces in Echo. One bitter night, or rather three o'clock in the morning, when a fierce snow storm was falling he was aroused from slumber by a messenger with an order from the adjutant-general's department, for him to arise immediately and call out men for a company to start that morning for the seat of action. His own horses had been out in the service for months, with Lot Smith's command, so Captain Pugsley had to start on foot in the face of the beating snow storm, the wind fiercely blowing from the northwest. Going down to Lorenzo Pettit’s to arouse him to have his men out to meet the other companies at the Council House early [in] the morning, he lost his way in the snow storm. At last, however, he succeeded in getting on the right track and the men were ready to start for Echo Canyon in the morning. He will never forget that bitter night and fierce snow storm in which he lost himself and nearly perished calling out men for service.

The version of the history in this page is from Edward W. Tullidge's History of Salt Lake City, (Salt Lake City, Utah: Star Printing Company, 1886) and is slightly expanded from the version found in Tullidge's Quarterly Magazine.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 4
Part 5

The picture of Echo Canyon is from

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