A Sketch of the Life of William Bailey Maxwell, By Lorenzo B Maxwell, his son
William Bailey Maxwell was born March 14, 1821 in Shawneetown, Illinois, located in the southeastern part of the state on the Wabash River.William B. Maxwell was the only child born to Richard Maxwell and Ruthey Hodge.A few years later, Ruthey married a man by the name of William Barnett. Illinois, in those early days was known as the “Happy Hunting Grounds of the Shawnee Indians”.Illinois, with its gradually sloping hills and broad shallow valleys; early explorers found wild game everywhere and it was under those frontier conditions that father grew to manhood. At an early age, father was converted to the Gospel of Jesus Christ as taught by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints; migrated with his young wife, Lucretia Bracken and members of the Church from Illinois to Missouri and then thence on to Council Bluffs, Iowa.The Saints had endured all manner of inhumane treatment from religious fanatics and mob violence while in Illinois and Missouri and were enroute west to the Rocky Mountains, in quest of a peaceful land where God could be worshipped according to one’s own conscience.It was during the cold bitter winter of 1845, while quartered on the bank of the Missouri River that President Brigham Young was requested by the Federal Government for the Church to recruit 500 young men for the army to go to war with Mexico.President Young called the men together and told them of the government’s demand and asked for volunteers, not withstanding the fact that it meant leaving all they possessed., their loved ones and friends stranded in an Indian infested country with little or no food and only temporary quarters for shelter.The 500 volunteers enlisted over night and William B. Maxwell was one of the number. In February of 1846, the volunteers took their oath of induction into the Army of the United States and were known as the “Mormon Battalion”.The old cottonwood tree, where the oath of service was performed was still standing in 1904, as I visited the spot on several occasions in that year.Immediately following their induction into the army, the Battalion began its long trek to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, where they were outfitted for their long march across the western plains of Kansas.They were equipped with mule teams and were driving a herd of cattle and sheep with them for food.Under the command of General Stephen Kearny, the Battalion headed west across the Kansas plains for the east slopes of the Rocky Mountains.Considerable time was consumed in crossing the long miles of prairie country and in reaching the east foothills of the Rocky Mountains, in southeastern Colorado and northeast New Mexico.The Battalion, following as near as possible, the Old Santa Fe Trail, whose milestones are bones of the first pioneers, who crossed over this rugged land from Kaskaskia, Illinois, in 1804 and followed in 1805 by prairie schooners, accompanied by sunburned and weather beaten immigrants.After much road building and suffering from many days of travel across the Staked Plains, with insufficient water and food for livestock, the Battalion arrived at the Old Spanish Outpost of Santa Fe, New Mexico, some 800 miles west from Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. Santa Fe, the capital, founded in 1609 by Don de Peralta, is the first permanent Spanish settlement in the southwest, the second oldest settlement in the United States. General Stephens W. Kearny took possession of the province in the early summer of 1846, and met very little resistance from the Mexican Troops and the Indians in the vicinity.After resting and refreshing their livestock they traveled some 50 miles southwest where they reached the Rio Grande River, north of the present city of Albuquerque, New Mexico.The route followed from this point was in a southwesterly direction down the Rio Grande River some 150 to 200 miles to where the present city of Las Cruces, New Mexico is located. They left the Rio Grande and traveled in a southwestern course across the cactus covered plains and short rugged mountain ranges where the dawn of civilization had never trespassed.The foot sore weary soldiers moved on, but were leaving a trail strewn with bones of sheep and cattle that had perished from the long march on shortage of water and feed.They marched on and passed near where Deming, New Mexico is located and 50 miles south where they crossed over the northern boundary of Mexico.Since leaving Santa Fe, very little contact had been had with anyone.A few Mexican ranchers and nomadic Indians roamed along the Rio Grande.The extreme heat of this barren land was beginning to take its toll.The mule teams and cattle were dying from starvation and the temperature now ranged from 100 to 120 degrees.Travel had to be maintained under the most trying circumstances any human or animal had ever been in.They continued to where the present town of Nogales, Mexico is located.No Mexican troops had been found and General Kearny, headed north across the boundary of what is now southern Arizona, for the Gila River.It was in southern Arizona where the few remaining cattle and mule teams were completely exhausted and dying.The Battalion’s supplies were gone--hunger stalked their march.The soldiers were forced from hunger to eat the mules which had died from exhaustion and starvation.Many of the Battalion were suffering from malnutrition and scurvy.The very nature of the land with its extremes of altitude, temperature, and difficult terrain seemed to defy their efforts to cross. A welcome relief came as they were traveling slowly down the SanPedroRiver, north of Tucson, there they came upon a herd of wild cattle along the creek and were successful in killing a number of them.The meat was made into jerky to be used for food on their march.They followed down the San Pedro to where it empties into the Gila River at Florence, Arizona.Their line of march from this point was down the Gila River to where it joins the Colorado River, near Old Fort Yuma, Arizona.The Colorado River was crossed at this point and they were in what is now eastern California.They were facing the great Imperial Valley, more of a desert than a valley.Across the west, the sun baked land of the valley with its mirage of lakes of water and green forest, glistened in the sun, but in reality the Imperial Valley proved to be a parched waste land unfit for man or beast.After crossing the Imperial Valley, the Great Sierra Nevada’s was the next barrier the Battalion conquered.Not far from the Pacific, the Coast Range was crossed.The year of 1846 was drawing to a close as the weary Battalion pushed on.After a year of travel on foot they arrived at or near where the present city of San Diego, California is located. On January 7, 1847, the historical battle of the Rio Hondo was fought, this being the major engagement with the Mexican troops and the deciding battle with Mexico.In a short time, California, Arizona and New Mexico became the undisputed possessions of the U.S.The records of the Mormon Battalion’s achievements in the Mexican War are now history and forever refute the accusations that the members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints were not loyal, law-abiding citizens. William Bailey Maxwell served as a Private in Company D under General Kearny, during the long trek from the Missouri River to the Pacific Coast.On a march and on the battlefield he acquitted himself with honor for his country and his faith. Father was discharged from the Army in San Bernardino, California.The big problem facing father on being released from the Battalion was to return to the Rocky Mountains in Utah.He wished to rejoin his wife, Lucretia, whom he expected to be in Utah.He had not heard directly from her since bidding her goodbye on the banks of the Missouri River in February 1846. He arrived in Salt Lake City in October 1847.He left immediately to find his family at Winter Quarters on the Missouri River, some eight miles from Omaha, Nebraska.He returned to the place where he had told her goodbye in 1846, and he returned with his family to Utah.My father, William Bailey Maxwell, and my mother, Martha Jane Mathis, were married September 1857 in Salt Lake City, Utah.The family lived in Utah where father engaged in the growing of livestock and general ranching.The first child born to my parents was Lucretia Jane, born July 18, 1859.The second child, born December 21, 1860, Julia Ann, and the first son, William Thomas, born February 8, 1863, all in the state of Utah. In the year of 1865, the family moved to Eagle Valley, Nevada, now Lincoln County.While in Eagle Valley my sister, Lillias, was born on the 11th of September 1867.In the year of 1868 father purchased Spring Valley, a strip of land approximately one mile wide and eight miles in length.Spring Valley is a continuation of Eagle Valley to the north.Spring Valley has numerous springs of fresh water which dot the valley from the north to south and a heavy growth of meadow grasses and wild hay.The family located in the north end of the valley, where father built a large two story house.The first story was constructed of stone and masonry.The second story was of hewed logs.This well-designed and constructed home, had a large fireplace in the living room with a large stone mantle which bears the inscription in the stone --”WILLIAM B. MAXWELL’.The writer visited the old home in October 1950 and found it in good repair and occupied by a family by the name of Foliani.The Foliani family has resided there during the past 50 years.The ranch is still known by old timers as the “BILL MAXWELL RANCH.’ Rich silver mines were being developed in Pioche, Nevada, a distance of 25-30 miles to the west of the valley and father secured the contract to furnish the mining company and their employees with beef.Pioche was his supply point and also his market for beef and farm produce.During the ten years that the family lived in Nevada, father had prospered and increased his herd of cattle and horses and accumulated a considerable amount of wealth. While residing in Spring Valley, the following children were born:Arch, born September 18, 1868, and sister Minnie, October 7, 1871, May on September 16, 1874 and Curtis, January 11, 1877. In addition to operating a large stock ranch and providing for a large family, father took an active part in tracking down the lawless element that infested that wild frontier.He acted as an Indian Scout against the renegade Indians of eastern Nevada and western Utah.The year of 1877 was a continuation of the drought of the winter of 1876, and father sold his Spring Valley ranch and moved with his family and livestock across southern Utah and after a long trip located temporarily in House Rock Valley, at the east foothills of the Buck Skin Mountains on the north rim of the Grand Canyon of the Big Colorado River in the Territory of Arizona. In the fall of 1878, he moved his family and stock across the Big Colorado River, at Lee’s Ferry and headed south along the west boundary of the Navajo and Hopi Reservations.This is an open rolling country to the Little Colorado River.A stop was made for a short rest at Tuba City, where Jacob Hamblin and other missionaries were working with the Indians, affecting a friendship and understanding which had been broken by trappers and lawless white men.As early fall and winter came on, the weary pioneers traveled southeast up the general direction of the river, skirting the painted desert on the east and after several weeks over sand dunes and alkali flats, stopped at Old Fort Sumner, located about three miles north ofWinslow, Arizona.Continuing on southeast through the Petrified Forest of Arizona they arrived in Round Valley in February of 1879.At this season of the year, the bitter cold wind blows from the lofty peaks of the White Mountains and the new settlers were greeted with rough weather.On March 24, 1879 my sister, Daphne was born, she, being one of the first white children born in that new frontier. Round Valley had a very few white settlers in those days.A few Mexican ranchers who had moved up the Little Colorado river, from St. Johns, a small Mexican pueblo some thirty miles north.The Becker Brothers, Julias and Gustavis were operating a small trading post, which they had opened about four months before father arrived.A man by the name of Springer (from which later the town took his name), and the group that accompanied my parents, Willard Coleman and family, his son-in-law, Haywood, and a few others that I am not sure of their names lived here. The writer visited in Springerville, (Round Valley) in June 1953 and visited an old Spaniard by the name of Benito Baca, who is the only living person today who resided in Round Valley to that of Springerville. In the spring of 1880, father moved on southeast a distance of 25 miles to Bush Valley.A family by the name of Bush, from which the valley was named, had settled there and were growing small grain and raising small grain and raising cattle and horses.Father purchased the holdings of Mr. Bush and at a later date the name ofBush Valley was changed to that of Alpine and the name Round Valley to that of Springerville. Father had at last located in a wonderland for the growing of cattle and horses.The White Mountains which extend from the Grand Canyon on the north to New Mexico on the southeast contains many thousands of acres of the finest grazing land in the southwest.An abundance of fresh water which comes from the melting snow that mantle the lofty peaks of Old Mount Baldy, made this a stockman’s paradise.True to pioneer life which is often beset by obstacles, this paradise found was not long to be enjoyed without interruption.The new settlers were facing an outbreak of the hostile Apache Indians, who at this time were committing all manner of depredations on the white settlers.The family was also needing supplies.The nearest point where supplies could be had in quantity was Albuquerque, New Mexico, a distance of 250 miles away.There was little or no road for most of the distance.Team and wagon is a slow method of transportation and to complete the trip 500 miles had to be covered.Each mile must be made with caution to avoid the renegade Indians. While living in Nevada, father traded a horse for an Indian boy.It was decided, in talking to the boy’s father, that the boy was about six years of age and was born in the winter and so he was giving January 1 as his birthday and was named Jack.Indian Jack was about nineteen or twenty years of age and from experience gained under father’s care and by natural instinct and hereditary from his nomadic parents, Jack was fully qualified to go on a dangerous mission where every mile was a potential death trap.Indian Jack, accompanied by my sister Lucretia’s husband, William Black, began the long trip to Albuquerque.They were equipped with four good horses each and the best wagon that could be had.About 50 miles northeast from Alpine over the west boundary line of New Mexico, they were ambushed by the Indians and had a running fight for some three miles.Then suddenly they passed over a small ridge and came upon a small Mexican pueblo, Rito Camough.The Indians had shot and fatally wounded the most valuable horse in Jack’s team, but the horse continued on until he stopped at the pueblo and died before he could be freed from the wagon.A young doctor and his wife were riding with Billy Black and the doctor was shot through the hand during the running fight, but was able to continue on to Albuquerque.This is only one of the many incidents that could be related.After a long trip, Billy Black and Jack returned with the much needed supplies to their families in Bush Valley. The war crazed Apaches were becoming more desperate as time moved on and the settlers were living in constant fear for their lives.A fort of rocks and logs was built around the log cabins occupied by the families, and the men stood guard by night and early morning hours.The Apache’s usually attached in the early morning hours.My oldest brother, William, and Duane Hamblin, were fired upon while herding the horses in the valley near the fort and several shots were exchanged with the Indians, but the Indian’s escaped with some of father’s horses.Father trailed the Indians south through Coleman Pass and the Blue Range.Father returned with a few horses, but a large number of animals were never recovered. It was during these uncertain days that the writer, the fourth son of William B. Maxwell and Martha Jane Maxwell was born.Lorenzo Bailey Maxwell was born June 6, 1881 in Alpine, Apache County, Arizona in the old Indian fort.The Apaches were still an object of dread, breaking out in fierce forays upon the settlers, as their ancestors had done in years gone by.The old Apache Chief, Geronimo was a cunning, blood thirsty, relentless operator through Arizona, New Mexico and northern Mexico.Geronimo reached his all-time daring raids on the white settlers in the years from 1880 to 1887.He was taken prisoner and sent to Fort Sill Prison, Indian Territory, now Oklahoma. After a few years in Alpine, Father moved to New Mexico and settled on the Frisco River at Pleasanton, where my sister Ida was born December 23, 1883.After living a few years in Mexico, he returned to St Johns, Apache County, Arizona, where Leo was born October 2, 1889.We then moved to Nutrioso, which is located on a small stream that flows north and is a tributary of the Little Colorado River.In 1894, we spent the winter in Salt River Valley at Mesa, Arizona.Father’s health had been failing for some time due to the long strenuous pioneer life he had been called upon to live.The family returned to Nutrioso the Spring of 1895.Father remained with his daughter, Lillias Millet and family in Mesa.It was decided that the return trip back to Nutrioso would be too difficult for him to endure and that the warm climate was more suitable for his health.Father, however, did not regain his health and passed away from the life on August 27, 1895. William B. Maxwell was a strong athletic type of a man, and in his prime was six feet one inch in height, weight 190 to 208 pounds, with keen black eyes and black hair, and a dark complexion.His inborn honesty and integrity was above reproach.He was mild mannered with a highly developed sense of humor, fearless and courageous, with a love for his family and friends.He was an unyielding man in his faith in the gospel, which he had embraced as a young man, but was not a religious fanatic.He was a lover of music and played the violin for others to enjoy.Father’s accomplishments were attained by his own efforts as a young man, but he was deprived the privilege of attending school.He had a very liberal knowledge of the scripture and was widely read on world affairs.William B. Maxwell was an outstanding pioneer, in the true meaning of the term and richly deserves to be honored and equally ranked with the all-time great pioneers of the western continent. In concluding this brief outline of my father’s life, I wish to relate an opportunity that came to me to take an active part in the dedication of a monument to the brave soldiers who were in the battle which decided the war with Mexico. On January 7, 1947, in commemoration of the Centennial of the Battle of the Rio Hondo River in Montebello, California, the Historical Society of California dedicated a fitting monument to the soldiers who were engaged in the battle of January 7, 1847.On the 100th anniversary of this historical event, the writer---son of William B. Maxwell and Martha Jane Maxwell--had the distinction of being one of the speakers at the dedication as far as could be learned, he was the only person present who could make a valid claim to being a son or near relative of a soldier who took an active part in the war with Mexico. From early childhood, I have been intensely interested in the life happenings of my father and remember listening for long periods of time while he would relate his many experiences.In fact, I was not content until I had followed his line of travel from his birthplace in Illinois to the end of his days.I recall making two trips by wagon and father would point out the old Mormon Battalion road which was plainly marked across the desert, by erosion from wind and rain.In 1894, while enroute to Mesa, Arizona, father called our attention to where the Battalion was traveling down the SanPedroRiver when they came upon the wild cattle which saved them from starvation. Father was an interesting conversationalist and had a memory that recorded all occurrences.He would describe the canyons and mountains ahead that the Battalion passed 50 years before. In justice to my father, many chapter should be written dealing with the intimate and everyday life which he lived; a symbolic life of greatness. While writing this short resume of father’s life, I was constantly reminded of my very dear mother.My mother, Martha Jane Maxwell, was endowed with all the attributes of a great and good woman.Her father was, Isaac Mathis, her mother, Elizabeth Ross Mathis.Mother was born in Dyer County, Tennessee on October 12, 1844.The family consisted of six boys and two girls of which Mother was the youngest child.Isaac Mathis passed away while living in Tennessee and her mother with her large family, migrated to Utah with the Saints during the general exodus to the Rocky Mountains. Mother married my father while in her teens and I have previously listed the children’s names, year born and place of birth. From birth in middle Tennessee, where the terrain of the Cumberland Plateau drops abruptly from the irregular jagged edge of the level plains, furrowed by many ravines and streams, sloping to the Central Basin and thence across the plains of Nebraska and Wyoming, from Utah to Nevada, thence, across southern Utah to northern Arizona, western New Mexico to Old Mexico and back to Arizona and on to southern Colorado caring for her large family of twelve and many grandchildren from birth to maturity, living for the most part under the most adverse conditions of pioneer life…weaving cloth for her family for clothing, spinning wool into yarn, preparing meals for family and often for many ranch workers.After all the years of hard labor, exposure to rough weather and all manner of danger, fearing for her and her family’s life and that of friends, during the many hostile raids from blood-thirsty Apaches, mother was always composed, patient, long suffering, with only kind words for the mistakes of others.In sickness of friends or neighbors, who was the first to act.She was a devout Latter Day Saint; truly a follower of the lowly Master. The last few years of Mother’s life were spent in Kline, Colorado.Mother lived with brother Leo while in Kline and was a neighbor to her two daughters, Daphney Baird and Ida Eaton.Mother passed away in Kline, Colorado on August 31, 1911.No man or family ever had a more loving, loyal or dutiful mother than Martha Jane Maxwell.