About John Lowry
Mormon version of events
The immediate causes of the Black Hawk War depend on which side is telling the story. The Mormon version is short and to the point. Black Hawk and Jake Arapeen and a group of Utes rode into Manti on April 9, 1865 to attend a meeting between local Utes and US government representatives there. The Utes came to make amends for butchering fifteen cattle to feed starving Ute families outside Manti, Utah. One of the cattle was owned by John Lowry, an interpreter for the Superintendent of Indian Affairs for Utah. Lowry and Jerome Kempton had been assigned to hand out food to the starving Utes who had congregated around Manti during the winter and spring of 1865. John Lowry, who was drunk, began shouting at the assembled Ute leaders; Jake Arapeen, the son of Chief Arapeen, began to argue back. Chief Sow-ok-soo-bet and Toquana, Chief Sowiette's son reminded Jake Arapeen that the Mormons had often helped the Indians with food and clothing, and urged a peaceful settlement of the issue. Black Hawk and Jake Arapeen refused, implying that if the Utes were hungry they would continue to take Mormon beef. When Lowry launched into a second drunken tirade, Jake Arapeen set an arrow to his bow; Lowry instantly grabbed Jake by the hair and dragged him from his horse. There was a brief scuffle in the dirt until anxious associates on both sides dragged the two apart. Furious, Lowry raced home to get his pistol, and the Utes hastily left town shouting threats over their shoulders.