Ira Samuel Sutton (1809 - 1894)

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Birthplace: Shelburne, Chittenden Co, Vermont
Death: Died in Green River, Emery Co, Utah
Managed by: Justin Swanström
Last Updated:

About Ira Samuel Sutton

He must have traveled to Utah in either 1849 or 1850. He could have traveled to Utah only during the emigration season, which was from May to October. He was present in Utah for the 1850 census, which was taken in the spring of 1851, so he must have arrived in 1850 or before. He had a daughter born in Illinois on 4 May 1849, so he could not have left his wife before or during the 1848 emigration season. He was also enumerated on the 1850 census in Illinois, but on 20 September when he was probably not physically present. Probably, he had only recently left. Finally, his living arrangements in the spring of 1851 suggest he was newly arrived. So, he probably came to Utah in 1850.

"There is also a slight possibility that he traveled to Utah in 1849, but it is more likely that he came in 1850. He appears on both the 1850 Illinois census (enumerated on 20 Sep. 1850) and the 1850 Utah census (enumerated in spring 1851)."

SOURCE: http://lds.org/churchhistory/library/pioneerdetails/1,15791,4018-1-53072,00.html

Biography

He was a farmer. He was living at Chateaugay, New York in 1830 and 1840. He converted to Mormonism in 1840, then migrated with his wife's brothers Loel and Samuel Edgerley to Lee County, Iowa in 1844/5, then to Will County, Illinois about 1847. He was probably in Will County, Illinois by September 1848, when his daughter Mary married Charles Dutton there. Sarah Jane, his youngest daughter by his first wife was born 4 May 1849 in Will County. The 1850 census shows him living at Crete, Will County, Illinois, with real estate valued at $1,000, but he was probably not present in the household, having already left for Utah.

Salt Lake City

According to family tradition, he "left our family in Iowa and joined the Mormons." He probably left for Utah in 1850. He must have traveled in the 1850 emigration season (between May and October) to have been present in Utah in the spring of 1851. The 1850 census of Utah, taken in the spring of 1851, shows him apparently newly arrived. He was listed as Ira Sutton (44), born in Vermont, living with John Semmons (42), born in Tennessee. This was a typical living arrangement for single men newly arrived in the Salt Lake Valley.

Fillmore

He was probably among the pioneers sent to settle Fillmore when it was created in October 1851. In 1855 he re-married (polygamously) to Mary King and was living in Fillmore, Millard County, Utah. They later divorced, and in 1859 he married Annie Julander.

Moroni

The 1860 census shows him near Moroni in Sanpete County, Utah, where he was a farmer with $300 of real property and $350 of personal property. In 1866 he was at Monroe, Sevier County, Utah when his daughter Julia was born. The settlement was later abandoned because of hostilities with the Indians.

Trade with Indians

STATEMENT OF GOTLIEB ENZ

Gotlieb Enz of Richfield makes the following statement:

"I came to Richfield in November, 1864, with a few head of cattle, having lost a yoke of oxen between Gunnison and Salina. Early in April, 1865, a band of Indians were camped at Richfield by the big spring, and a man by the name of Sutton came from Provo to trade with them. He exchanged a quantity of ammunition for buckskins. About the 8th of April, 1865, I went out to hunt for my oxen, expecting to find them in the Gunnison field. Being on foot, and failing to find them there, I, surmising that they might have strayed up Salina Canyon, left Gunnison and came to Salina. I called on Ellas Crane, who was living in a dugout. The Indians had left Richfield and were camped near the mouth of Salina Canyon, southeast of town, on the bench. I told the Crane family that I was going up the canyon to look for the oxen. Mrs. Crane asked me if I was not afraid of the Indians, to which I replied that I was not, as I was acquainted with them. I left my blankets there and went up the canyon about three miles into Soldier Fork. There I found one of the oxen. Having walked all day, I sat down on a rock to rest. An impression came to me that I should not stop there; the same impression came to me three different times. Consequently I got up and looked around, but saw nothing unusual. I then started down the canyon, leaving my ox there feeding on good grass; I intended to go after him the next day and drive him home. As I went down the canyon, I met two men going up to look for stock; I passed the time of day with them, and went on. Soon afterwards I met the Indians going up the canyon, most of them on the main road. I saw six or eight up on the south side of the canyon, driving up some stock. I passed the Indians unmolested and had no idea that they were angry. I stayed that night at Elias Cranes'. After singing and prayers we retired. About midnight a man carrying an express came from Gunnison with the information, that the Indians were on the war-path, and that the people must prepare to defend themselves. He further reported that the Indians had killed a man near Manti. All the people gathered at the little rock meeting house. While there a lady said, 'My husband went up the canyon last evening to look for some stock, and has not returned. I wonder what can have become of him.' This was Mrs. Ward. Then a young lady also said, 'My brother went up also and has not come home.' Towards morning we heard the report of some guns, seemingly a long ways off. Thinking something might be wrong. I, together with six or eight other men, went up the canyon. When we arrived at the place where I left my ox the previous day, we found the two men killed and scalped, and most of their clothing removed from their bodies. There were a lot of arrows sticking in them, and it appeared that the Indians had taken them captive, and tortured them for some time before killing them. We left the bodies and went down to the settlement and reported. A number of men went up with a team and brought the bodies down. When preparing the remains for burial, we examined them closely. The two men had been shot with a number of bullets, and many arrows. Some of the latter we were unable to get out, owing to the beards on the spikes. During the day a lot of men arrived at Salina from the settlements in Sanpete and elsewhere." [Peter Gottfredson, comp., History of Indian Depredation in Utah (Salt Lake City: Skelton Publishing Co., 1919), 138-40.]

Re-settlement of Monroe

In the spring of 1868 Ira Sutton was one of 23 people who formed a company under the leadership of Frederick Olsen of Spring City, intending to re-settle Alma or Monroe, or look for gold. The company was ambushed by Indians at 5 p.m. on Saturday, 4 April 1868 at Cedar Ridge near Rocky Ford.

"Some of Olsen's company had ox teams and traveled slow. As they came along the upper road, the Indians came in behind them and when those with horse teams saw the Indians, they stopped to let the ox teams catch up. The savages led by White Horse Chief, the successor to Black Hawk, circled out around into the cedars on the west of the company and got a little way ahead. The men seeing that the Indians meant mischief, corralled their wagons as speedily as possible placing the back ends of the wagons in such a position that each wagon would shield the team of the next wagon to it from the fire of the Indians. Lars who was driving his team had just yelled 'whoa' to the horses when a bullet struck the wagon wheel and glanced off and struck Lars in the skull just behind the ear. He fell instantly, a dead man. His son Louis ran to him and dragged him back to shelter, a heartbroken, helpless kid of fifteen years of age. Louis tells us that 'I didn't have time to realize the enormity of the loss, for we all had to pitch in immediately and dig rifle pits from which we could fire. You can see those pits we dug today (1931), near the road between Salina and Richfield.'

"The fight was kept up for an hour or more. In the meantime volunteers were asked for, to go back to Gunnison for help. Axel Einersen and Adolph Tompson offered. As the men traveled, the Indians overtook them and Tompson was shot through the thigh. He later had to have his toes taken off. He was also hit in the back with an arrow. The Indians finally left, but the company kept up a guard all night. The next morning Einersen came with a posse of men to help the company back to Gunnison. The incident was reported in the Deseret News of Wednesday April 15, 1868. The article stated that the Indians had taken a span of horses, a yoke of oxen, and a cow."

Another Account

BATTLE AT ROCKY FORD, JUSTESEN AND WILSON KILLED.

"In the spring of 1868 it was believed that Indian hostilities were over and that it was safe for the people to return to the deserted homes on the Sevier.

"A company was formed under the leadership of Frederick Olsen of Spring City, Sanpete County. Their intention was to resettle Monroe. There were twenty-three persons in the company with twelve teams, namely, Frederick Olsen and son Ole, Richard Davis, Benjamin Davis, David Davis (a boy), Axel Einersen, John Knighton, C. C. Brown, John Fern and his brother (a small boy), Walter Jones, Lars Alexander Justesen and his step son (Simon T. Beck), Adolph Tomson, Ira Sutton, J. W. Bohman, Andrew Rasmussen, Rasmus Sorensen, and Louis Barney. When at Cedar Eidge, (now within the limits of the present Vermillion), near the Rocky Ford, April 5, 1868, some thirty Indians, who had just previously attacked George and Charles Wilson from Scipio, Millard County, a short distance north of the Rocky Ford. These men were on their way to Monroe after some mill irons. Charles Wilson was killed by the Indians who cut the tugs of the harness, taking the horses and supplies.

"George Wilson escaped by running to the river and hiding in a hole in the bank till night, when he made his escape back to Scipio.

"Some of Olsen's company had ox teams and traveled slow. As they came along the upper road the Indians came in behind them and when those with horse teams saw the Indians, they stopped to let the ox teams catch up. The savages circled out around into the cedars on the west of the company and got a little way ahead. The people seeing that the savages meant mischief, corralled their wagons as speedily as possible placing the back ends of the wagons in such a position that each wagon would shield the team on the next wagon to it from the fire of the Indians.

"As soon as the Indians were prepared, some behind cedars and rocks and others in a ravine, they opened fire on the company. A bullet from an Indian's gun struck a wagon tire; it glanced and struck Alexander Justesen, killing him instantly. Andrew Rasmussen turned his oxen loose with the yoke on; they wandered away and were never recovered. While some of the best marksmen did the shooting, others were loading guns, and still others were digging rifle pits, (holes in the ground), about three feet deep, and from six to twelve feet across. Th fight was kept up for an hour or more. In the meantime volunteers were asked for to go back to Gunnison for help; Axel Einersen and Adolph Tomson offered their services which were accepted. The Indians had pulled off and gone towards the ford, and were seen holding a council. When the expressmen started they were seen by the Indians who tried to head them off. Einersen rode a pretty good horse, and when he saw the Indians coming, he headed away from them towards the hills. The Indians, seeing that they could not overtake him, went after Tomson who was following the road. They gained on him and fired several shots ; a bullet passed through his thigh, cutting an artery and lodged in the saddle. He was also hit in the back with an arrow. Seeing that he could not get away from them, the impression came to him that if he would turn back and rush at the Indians, it would save his life. Consequently he turned, and with gun in hand rushed on them. The Indians opened ranks, seemingly surprised and let him pass, but then they gave chase. The men is camp seeing what was going on ran out, firing at the Indians, and one of them fell off his horse. The Indians then turned and went away, followed by the riderless horse; they returned in the night and carried away the fallen Indian. On his arrival in camp Tomson was nearly exhausted from the loss of blood; but the men removed the arrow and dressed the wounds as best they could; he was badly hurt, and it took a long time for him to recover. During the fight the White Horse Chief was constantly riding around, directing the movements of the warriors. Walter Barney was hit on the shin, the bullet going through his pants and boot, but did not cut his under garments. The men kept up a guard all night. The four boys in the company dug a trench about three feet wide three feet deep and covered it with a door which they took out of one of the wagons and placed some rocks on it, and laid there two deep on top of each other.

"The next morning Einersen came with a posse of men to help the company back to Ghinnison. In the meantime the Indians had left. All went back with the relief sent with Einersen. No further attempt was made to resettle the Sevier country until 1871." [Peter Gottfredson, comp., History of Indian Depredation in Utah (Salt Lake City: Skelton Publishing Co., 1919), 279-282.]

Monroe

Ira was living at Monroe in Sevier County in June 1868 when his son Ira was born. He was still there in 1880, when the census shows: Ira Sutton (67), a farmer, Caroline (36), Julia (14), Ira (12), Minerva (5), Lucretia (3), and Camdia (3 months).

Hanksville

Ira Sutton was an early settler at Hanksville, according to An Enduring Legacy: Vol. Eight, The Year 1884, New Settlements, Hanksville: "Hanksville is a small settlement adjacent to the Fremont River. . . . Soon after the Hanks company came [1 April 1882], David King, William Bacon, Henry Rich, Ira Sutton and Peter Brown arrived."

Green River

He died in 1894 at Green River, Utah.

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Ira Sutton's Timeline

1809
March 29, 1809
Shelburne, Chittenden Co, Vermont
1825
1825
Age 15
1829
May 4, 1829
Age 20
NY, USA
December 31, 1829
Age 20
Chateaugay, Franklin, New York, United States
1833
January 20, 1833
Age 23
Chateaugay, Franklin, New York, United States
1835
May 1, 1835
Age 26
New York
1837
August 6, 1837
Age 28
New York
1840
March 22, 1840
Age 30
Chateaugay, Franklin, New York, United States
1842
March 8, 1842
Age 32
Chateaugay, Franklin, New York, United States
1845
November 4, 1845
Age 36
String Prairie, Lee, Iowa, USA