Black Hawk War (1865–1872) - Events - Scipio Raid and The Battle of Gravelly Ford

Scipio Raid and The Battle of Gravelly Ford

By June 1866 the threat against the Sanpete and Sevier settlements had grown with the telling. Black Hawk had threatened to bring enough men to destroy Manti and Warren Snow that year. 125 additional militia were sent south from Salt Lake to prevent such an attack. Black Hawk shifted his focus to Scipio upon being told of the show of strength in Sanpete Valley. Scipio illustrates the sometime personal nature of the attacks during the war. It was the home of the James Ivie family. Richard Ivie had been responsible for hostilities in the Fort Utah war when he murdered Bishop and sank his weighted body in the Provo River. James Ivie was blamed for starting the Walker War when he hit a Ute over the head with his gun and participating in the Tintic war which resulted in the death of Black Hawk's friend Squash Head and the wounding of Chief Tintic. A band of 100 Utes and allies began herding together 350 head of cattle from pastures near Scipio. They killed a 14-year-old herd boy and shot an elderly James Ivie full of arrows and stripped him of everything except his boots. Gathering up 75 horses the Utes and their allies moved the herd through Scipio Gap into Sevier Valley. Scipio's men charged out after the herd, but were forced back when the Black Hawk's rear guard moved to attack the town which had been left virutally undefended. The Utes withdrew moving toward Salina Canyon with the largest single capture of livestock in the conflict.

The Scipio settlers sent runners to Gunnison and Fillmore to get help. William Pace of the Nauvoo Legion gathered up 20 men hoping to catch Black Hawk before he could make his escape. They left Gunniosn and marched through the night to reach Salina before the herd could be driven away. He could see the herd head for Gravelly ford on the Sevier River and rode there to stop the Utes from stealing the cattle and horses. Upon approaching the ford he found about 60 Utes guarding the ford. He sent for help from Richfield and tried to delay the fording of the herd with a prolonged gun fight. Realizing he could not sustain the attack, he ordered his men to pull back out of range. Several Utes tried to force them farther back from the ford by charging the nearly defenseless militia. Black Hawk himself and his chief lieutenant, Tamaritz, were two of these men. Black Hawk's horse was shot from under him and then he was hit in the stomach. Tamaritz, too, had been wounded. Minutes later the Gunnison militia, out of ammunition took to their heels. The Utes drove the herd across the river toward Salina Canyon just as the Rishfield militia arrived on horseback to see the herd nearing the mouth of Salina Canyon and the Gunnison militia riding for home. The wounding of Black and Tamaritz eventually brought an end to the Black Hawk War and Black Hawk himself just four years later. In the interim several other sub chiefs took over including Black Hawk's brother, Mountain, Issac Potter and Richard James.

The attack on Scipio had two immediate consequences. Mormons who had since the beginning of the conflict been ordered to 'fort up' had resisted the order since the fighting was most often confined to Sanpete and Sevier Valeys. Scipio's failure to fort up was used as a bad example by LDS church leaders in their renewed call for forts to be built in larger towns and smaller outlying towns were to be abandoned until hostilities came to a halt. These temporary forts were often haphazardly built, but they would do against the lightly armed Utes and allies who were attacking white settlements.

The second involved the Ivie family again. James Ivie, the son of the elder Ivie murdered at Scipio, was crazy for revenge against the Utes. An old Pahavnt Ute medicine man by the name of Panikary made the mistake of visiting Scipio begging for food. He was known as a 'good Indian' with a peaceful disposition. Bishop Thomas Callister of Fillmore who happened to be in Scipio, advised Panikary to leave town because the Ivie's blood was up and there might be trouble. Panikary took the presents of food offered and headed toward Fillmore. Upon returning from the futile pursuit of Black Hawk, the younger James Ivie, hearing that a Ute had been in Scipio just hours before raced after Panikary and murdered him on the spot. The bishop of Scipio had ridden hard to stop Ivie but failed to prevent the killing. Callister was disgusted by the murder and rode directly to Chief Kanosh's camp to inform him of the incident. Up to that point the Pahavant Ute had not been openly involved in the fighting. Kanosh thanked Callister for being honest, but the war chief, Moshoquop and 27 warriors followed Callister to his home in Fillmore angrily demanding justice. Callister convinced the Utes that Brigham Young would be a fairer judge. The Utes agreed and rode away. Later Ivie was arrested and tried for murder by an all-Mormon judge and jury and was acquitted when it was suggested that Panikary was really a spy for Black Hawk. Bishop Callister was so upset by the outcome that he excommunicated Ivie from the church.

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