Evacuation of the Muddy
from a letter of
Brigham Young to Horace S. Eldredge, 7 Mar. 1871

Historical Department Archives, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
CR 1234 1, Letterbook 12, p. 572-577 (Romney typescript)

"The evacuation of the settlements on the Muddy is now completed. It was arranged for the citizens of St Joseph to leave on 8th February, those of Overton on 16th, and those of St Thomas on 1st march. Preparations were made to send teams to help them, so that each settlement could leave in a body, and no family be left to the mercy of the Indians. The people of St Joseph left on the day appointed and on 12th teams were sent from St George to the help of Overton. In the mean time the County sheriff of Lincoln Co. Nevada, had been down and served summonses on every man in Overton, to appear at Hico, on the 15th Mar and answer to the charge of delinquant taxes for the years 1869 and 1870. Finding the people were leaving the State, the Sheriff declared his intention to return and make oath of the facts, and get attachments on personal property, and to return with sufficient posse to enforce the writ. the total amount of tax and cost for 1870 alone would have been about twelve thousand dollars in gold coin. In view of these circumstances the presiding authorities in Southern Utah determined to get the saints from St Thomas so soon as possible. All was bustle, excitement and preparation in St George, and on the 17th some fifteen four-mule teams in charge of Col. James Andrus were on the rod to the help of the Saints across the Nevada line, and they soon succeeded in bringing all the people this side of the line, leaving behind a hundred thousand dollars worth of houses and improvements to satisfy the unjust demands of the debt ridden state of Nevada. As the brethren left their homes at St Joseph there were stragglers hanging around like sharks in the wake of a ship who slipped into the houses of the saints so soon as they left them and commenced gathering up every thing of value and taking possession of the best houses &c. At Overton the Indians set fire to the houses as soon as the Saints left, and before the latter were out of sight Nothing remained of their pleasant homes but the blackened walls. This hasty and unprepared move, caused by the rapacity and hostility of the political cormorants who devour the earnings of the people of Nevada, has not altogether been without suffering to the saints, for a severe snow storm prevailed for two days during their enforced journey, the snow falling from eighteen inches to two feet deep on the divide between the Santa Clara and the Beaver Dams. Some of the Saints not well provided with clothes and bedding had to sit by the camp fires all night to escape the rigor of the storm. The region where the Saints from the Muddy will generally locate is one of great promise, exceeding most parts of Utah, in richness of soil, salubrity of climate and general fitness as a home for the saints."