Henry M Standage (1818 - 1899)

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Birthplace: London, Middbane, England, England
Death: Died in Mesa, Maricopa, Arizona, United States
Managed by: Dr. J
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About Henry M Standage

The following information was taken from an online book entitled, "Mormon Settlement in Arizona; a Record of Peaceful Conquest of the Desert," and reads as follows: One of the treasures of the Arizona Historian's office is a copy of a journal of about 12,000 words kept by Henry Standage, covering his service as a member of the Mormon Battalion from July 19, 1846, to July 19, 1847. The writer in his later years was a resident of Mesa, his home in Alma Ward. His manuscript descended to his grandsons, Orrin and Clarence Standage. Standage writes from the standpoint of the private soldier, with the soldier's usual little growl over conditions that affect his comfort; yet, throughout the narrative, there is evidence of strong integrity of purpose, of religious feeling and of sturdiness befitting a good soldier. There is pathos in the very start, how he departed from the Camp of Israle, near council Bluffs, leaving his wife and mother in tears. He had been convinced by T.B. Platt of the necessity of obedience to the call of the President of the United States to enlist in the federal service.

The narrative contradicts in no way the more extensive chronicle by Tyler. There is description of troubles that early beset the the inexperienced soldiers, who appear to have been ill prepared to withstand the inclemency of the weather. There was sage dissertation concerning the efforts of any army surgeon to use calomel, though the men preferred the exercise of faith. Buffalo was declared the best meat he had ever eaten. On November 1 satisfaction was expressed concerning the resignation of George P. Dykes as adjutant and over substitution to the place of Philemon C. Merrill. When the sick were sent to Pueblo, November 10, Standage fervently wrote, "This does in realty make solemn times for us, so many divisions taking place. May the God of Heaven protect us all."

San Bernardino, in Sonora, was reached December 2, being found in ruins, "though all around us at a pleasant valley with good water and grass." Appreciation was expressed over the flavor of "kind of root, baked, which the Spaniards called mas kurl" (mescal). Many of the cattle had Spanish brands on their hips, it being explained, "Indians had been so troublesome in times past that the Spaniards had to abandon the towns and vineyards, and cross the Cordillera Mountains, leaving their large flocks of cattle in the valley, thus making plenty of food for the Alpachas."

In San Pedro valley were found "good horse feed and fish in abundance (salmon, trout), large herds of wild cattle and plenty of antelope and some bear." The San Pedro River was especially noted as having "mill privileges in abundance." Here it was that Lieutenant Stoneman, accidentally shot himself in the hand. Two old deserted towns were passed. Standage tells that the Spanish soldiers had gone from Tucson when the Battlaion arrived, but that, "we were kindly treated by the people, who brought flour, meal, tobacco and quinces to the camp for sale, and many of them gave such things to the soldiers. We camped about a half mile from the town. The Colonel suffered no private property to be touched, neither was it in the heart of any man to my knowledge to do so."

Considering the strength of the Spanish garrison, Standage was led to exclaim that, "the Lord God of Israel would save his people, inasmuch as he knoweth the causes of our being here in the United States." Possibly it was unfair to say that no one but the Lord knew why the soldiers were there, and Tucson then was not in the United States.

Teh journey to the Gila River was a hard one, but the chronicler was compensated by seeing, "the long looked-for country of California," which it was not. The Pimas were found very friendly, bringing food, which they readily exchanged for such things as old shirts. Standage especially was impressed by the eating of a watermelon, for the day was Christmas. January 10, 1847, at the crossing of the Colorado, he was detailed to the gathering o mesquite beans, "a kind of sweet seed that grows on a tree resembling the honey locust, the mules and men being very fond of this. The brethren use this in various ways, some grinding it and mixing it in bread with the flour, others making pudding, while some roast it or eat it raw." "January 27, at 1 o'clodk, we came in sight of the ocean, the great Pacific, which was a great sight to some, having never seen any portion of the briny deep before."

At San Diego, wh ich was reached by Standage and a small detachment January 30, provisions were found very scarce, while prices were exorbitant. Sugar cost 50 cents a pound, so the soldier regaled himself with one-quarter of a pound and gathered some mustard greens to eke out his diet. For 26 days he had eaten almost nothing but beef. He purchased a little wheat from the Indians and ground it in a hand mill, to make some cakes, which were a treat.

Late in April, at Los Angeles, there was a move to another camping ground, "as the Missouri volunteers (Error, New York volunteers--Author) had threatened to come down upon us. A few days later we were called up at night in order to load and fix bayonets, as Colonel Cooke had sent word that an attack might be expected from Colonel Fremont's men before day. They had been using all possible means to prejudice the Spaniards and Indians against us." Los Angeles made poor impression upon the soldiers in the Battalion. The inhabitants were called "degraded" and it was declared that there were almost as many grog shops and gambling dens as private houses. Reference is made to the roofs of reeds, covered with pitch from tar springs nearby. Incidently, these tar "springs" in a later century led to development of the oil industry, that now is paramount in much of California, and have been found to contain fossil remains of wonderful sort.

The Indians were said "to do all the labor, the Mexicans generally on horseback from morning till night. They are perhaps the greatest horsemen in the known world and very expert with lariat and lasso, but great gamblers." Food assuredly, was not dear, for cattle sold for $5 a head. Many cattle were killed merely for hides and tallow and for the making of soap. About the most entertaining section of Standage's journal is that which chronicles his stay in Southern California, possibly because it gave him an opportunity to do something else beside tramping. There is much detail concerning re-enlistment, but there was general inclination to follow the advice of Father Pettegrew, who showed "the necessity of returning to the prophets of the Lord before going any further."

Just before the muster-out, the soldiers were given an opportunity to witness a real Spanish bull fight, called "a scene of cruelty, savoring strongly of barbarity and indolence, though General Pico, an old Mexican commander, went into the ring several times on horseback and fought the bulls with a short spear." What with the hostility of the eastern volunteers, the downright enmity of Fremont's company and the alien h abits of the Mexican population, the sober-minded members of the Battalion must have been compelled to keep their own society very largely while in the pueblo of Los Angeles, or, to give its Spanish appellation, "El Pueblo de Nuestra Senora la Reina de los Angeles de porciuncula."

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Henry Standage's Timeline

1818
February 26, 1818
London, Middbane, England, England
March 22, 1818
Southwark, London, England, United Kingdom
March 22, 1818
St. Savior Paris, Southwark, London, England
1842
April 6, 1842
Age 24
1846
January 31, 1846
Age 27
Nv
1851
April 16, 1851
Age 33
Salt Lake City, Ut.
1852
January 23, 1852
Age 33
PROVO, Utah, UT
1853
April 30, 1853
Age 35
Filmore, Millard, UT
1854
November 18, 1854
Age 36
OGDEN, Weber, UT
1856
September 28, 1856
Age 38
Brigham City, Box Elder, UT