A King of Western Scouts
A King of Western Scouts, Ephraim K. Hanks
by Solomon F. Kimball
Being of a roaming, restless disposition, Ephraim K. Hanks, the subject of this sketch, enlisted in 1842, as a sailor on the United States man-of-war Columbus. He served for three years. During this time he visited many of the interesting parts of the country and gained a knowledge of earthly things that proved of great value to him in later years.
Born at Madison, Lake County, Ohio, March 21, 1826, he was the youngest son of Benjamin Hanks and Martha Knowlden (sic). He resided with his parents until he was sixteen years of age, learning the blacksmith trade from his father who is a first-class mechanic.
On one of his ocean voyages, during a heavy storm, he and two of his companions were thrown from the fore-royal yard into the rigging below. One of his mates was instantly killed and the other fellow overboard, the big blue sharks eating the body. Eph, who seems to have been born an athlete grabbed a dangling rope, and amid shouts and cheers from his companions below, slide to the trembling foretop, where he calmly waited for further orders. This marvelous escape from death made him the hero of the crew, and from that time on, Eph enjoyed the best that the ship could afford.
When the Columbus sailed into the New York harbor, after a three years' cruise, Ephraim K. Hanks received from his superior officer an honorable discharge, after which he returned to his Madison home, a wiser if not a better boy. In the meantime, his father had died, and his brother, Alvin, had joined the "Mormon" Church and gone west.
Ephraim, who was now in his twentieth year, had developed into as strong a specimen of manhood as could be found in that section of the country. He was thus qualified for the work that providence had marked out for him. Being of a spiritual-minded nature, he possessed really at this early period in his life the gift of prophecy to a considerable extent, though at that time he little understood such gift. He was certainly a man who was destined to perform a work which in later years caused even the savages of the plains to consider him with ponder and amazement.
Shortly after he returned home, his brother Alvin, who was living at Nauvoo, Illinois, had a dream that made such a firm impression on his mind as to cause him to return to his mother's home to learn if possible its meaning. Once there, the interpretation was made plain to him as he beheld his long-absent, seafaring brother, Ephraim.
Alvin, who was bubbling over with the spirit of the gospel, began to unfold to his widowed mother and his brother, Ephraim, the principles of life and salvation as taught by the Prophet Joseph Smith. He testified to them of how he had been healed through the administration of the servants of the Lord.
This doctrine aroused the ire of Mother Hanks, who was very bitter against the "Mormons." It ended in her asking Ephraim to get the most able sectarian ministers that could be found in that part of that section of country to controvert his teachings. As soon as the ministers arrived, an earnest discussion upon the principles of the gospel ensued, Alvin holding his own on every point of doctrine. As usual in such cases, the ministers became abusive and began to call the Prophet Joseph Smith and his followers’ vile names.
Ephraim, who, up to this time, had been a silent listener became excited also, grasped a chair and, pointing to the door, commanded the ministers to leave. It is said that they departed so quickly that one of them left his silk hat behind as a souvenir of the occasion.
The young sailor then and there made a vow that from that time, henceforth and forever, he would be a defender of the gospel, and of Zion and her cause, let come what may and at once he went to Chicago, thence to Nauvoo, where he was baptized soon into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, by the late Horace S. Eldredge. Shortly after, he was ordained a Seventy. He then went to work on the Temple, where he remained until he joined a company of pioneers who were preparing to go west. Before they were ready to leave, he was sent by the authorities of the Church to Indianapolis after a company of Saints. These he successfully piloted to the Temple City, returning just in time to join the pioneer company and go west with them as far as Mount Pisgah. At this place they remained until President Brigham Young overtook them and called for volunteers to join the expedition known afterwards as the "Mormon Battalion."
Ephraim was among the first to offer his services on that occasion. How faithfully, how nobly, and how bravely he worked and sacrificed to make that dreary march a success will perhaps never be known in this world.
As soon as the battalion boys reached San Diego, California, Ephraim received an honorable release from the officers in charge and started on his seven hundred mile journey to meet the "Mormon" pioneers. After passing through many hardships, he reached Salt Lake Valley, July 29, 1847. Here he spent the winter with the Saints, sharing their joys and sorrows.
The next spring he selected a farm on Mill Creek, near the site where John Neff built the first Utah flourmill. Here for the first time he commenced to till the soil. That fall he went as far east as the Sweetwater to meet President Brigham Young. After returning, he was selected Salt Lake City's first pound-keeper, with Horace S. Eldredge as his assistant.
But farming and pound keeping were too tame for Eph. As a consequence he hired out to a Mr. Magraw to carry mail from Salt Lake City to the Missouri River. In this avocation he was in his element, and during the next seven years he made the thousand-mile journey over the plains and mountains more than half hundred times. He kept no journal; consequently most of the incidents and achievements of his life during these stirring times are lost to the history of Utah.
Eph was always found in the front ranks, eagerly facing any danger that threatened the Latter-day Saints. A braver man probably never lived. During the winter of 1850, we find him in company with about one hundred of his comrades fighting hostile Indians on the banks of the Provo River. He was one of the fifteen invincibles who captured the stronghold of the red men on that occasion. He had his horse shot from under him while the gallant charge was being made. Chief Big Elk, the leading Indian in command, with about fifty of his warriors, were killed during the three-days' battle. The white men lost only one.
We next hear of this king of scouts in the Skull Valley fight, during the summer of 1851. For several years the Goshutes of Tooele County had been killing settlers, driving off their stock, and committing various kinds of depredations. Early one morning Ephraim and his companions charged in the headquarters of the hostile Indians, took them by surprise, and annihilated nearly every warrior in camp. Those were days that tried the souls of men. For eighteen years following, Ephraim K. Hanks was certainly one of these souls who were being tested, but he successfully emerged from the ordeal.
On one occasion while crossing the plains, the Indians robbed him of everything he had, except his clothing, and a butcher knife concealed in his bootleg pocket. Hundreds of miles from home, not knowing what to do under such circumstances was enough not only to frighten but to puzzle the most resourceful mind. Eph, however, continued on his way as if nothing unusual had happened. Inside his coat pocket was an important message sent by the authorities of the Church to the president of the British Mission. The failure to have that document reach its destination might cause much sorrow and trouble. Ephraim K. Hanks felt that he was on the Lord's errand, and he had received a promise from the Lord's authority on earth that his mission, on that occasion, should be crowned with success in every particular.
Our scout cautiously moved along until he came to a mountain stream almost hidden from view by heavy clumps of underbrush. On the south bank of the stream he spied in the distance a herd of buffaloes, warming themselves in the noonday sun. Keeping out of sight until he came in close behind them, with cat-like agility, he sprang behind a full-grown cow that was lying down, and cut her hamstrings. He then killed the animal, and jerked as much of the meat as he could carry with him. Not far on his way, he came in sight of a camp of Indians belonging to the same tribe that had robbed him two days before. He made up his mind to "get even" with them, if such a thing were possible. He soon located their herding ground, and during the late hours of the night he selected from their band of horses two of the finest steeds that could be found. By daylight, the next morning, he was thirty-five miles on his way and still going. He reached For Laramie the next day, and secured from the government officers another outfit which enable him to reach the Missouri River several days ahead of time.
One of the strange personal peculiarities of Eph was the he had double front teeth as well as double back teeth. He could bite accordingly. His stomach was very strong, and it is a fact that he could masticate a chunk of broiled rawhide just as readily as an ordinary person could a piece of boiled beef. On occasions, when his food supply was exhausted and could not be replenished, he had been known to kill his pack-mule and eat of that until a badger or other wild animal could be obtained to take its place. He crossed the plains during the winter months with as much readiness as during any other season of the year. It seemed not to matter to him what the conditions were, for he was always equal to the emergencies.
On one of his trips across the plains, he fell into the hands of a band of hostile Utes who began to arrange matters to burn him at the stake. Eph, being somewhat acquainted with the ways of the wild ways of the wild-men of the west, soon devised means to prevent them from carrying out their nefarious designs. He knew that Indians were dreadfully afraid of insane persons, and that a tradition existed among them that if such a one were killed at their hands it would bring destructions upon them. So, to save his own life, he began, it is said, to play the part of a crazy man, by singing songs, dancing jigs, making faces, and exhibiting his double front teeth in such a manner as to cause a general connection throughout the camp. Seeing that the Red man feared him, he began to tear tents, turn somersaults, chase bucks, break bows, bang buckets, burn bedding, and many other seemingly insane things,
That sent the fleeing Red man to caverns, coves and caves;
To hide from a "pe-up" captive, that cranky, crazy brave.
To read certain portions of Elder Ephraim K. Hanks' life, as published in the December number of the Improvement Era, would perhaps cause those who are unacquainted with the ways of the remarkable man to believe that he was somewhat uncouth; but such is by no means the case. It will be admitted he was a diamond in the rough. He been anything else he would not have withstood the terrible hardships through which he passed, during the early settlement of this intermountain region. Probably no other man did more for the cause of Zion and her people, along the lines in which he worked, than did he; and the most of this he did without remuneration.
The part played by Elder Hanks during the winter of 1856, in helping the belated handcart people to reach the Salt Lake Valley, has already been told in part.
Before he had time to recover from the effects of that trying ordeal, he was called by the authorities of the Church to perform another mission which, in severity, was even greater, if possible, than the one he had just accomplished. It consisted in the work of carrying government mail and important messages from great Salt Lake City to Independence, Missouri. The winter was the severest experienced for years; and for the ordinary western scout to undertake a journey of this description, under such conditions, would of been nothing short of suicide. Few men connected with the "Mormon" Church were equal to the occasion, but Pres. Brigham Young knew who they were.
On the morning of December 11, 1856, Ephraim K. Hanks, in company with is bosom companion, Feramorz Little, after receiving a powerful blessing from the Presidency of the Church, started on their perilous journey to the East. They kept no journal, consequently nothing more than a brief account of what occurred to them while making that twelve hundred mile trip, can be recorded.
From Brother Benjamin Hampton, who was stationed at Devil's Gate that winter, it is learned that Elders Hanks and Little passed there two days before Christmas, after encountering, near the Continental Divide, one of the most severe snow storms ever witnessed in that section of the country. After resting a few hours, they continued on their way in snow up to their horses' knees.
The next time we heard of them was at Ash Hollow, three hundred miles beyond. Their experience up to this time was severe beyond measure, and their animals were greatly reduced in flesh and strength. However, they had made good time, and felt assured that they would be able to reach Independence, Missouri, on time, even if they should be compelled to walk the greater part of the way.
When they reached Ash Hollow, they were surprised to find eight of Major & Russell's snowed-in freight teams there. The wagons were loaded with mail for the East, and in care of a Mr. Remick, who was in great trouble as to what to do, since his food supply was nearly exhausted. Eph assured him that his outfit could be taken to Missouri River, and agreed to furnish the mail carrier with all the buffalo meat that his man would need while making the trip. The plan proposed was finally agreed upon, and everything was made ready for an early morning start.
A large tribe Sioux were encamped a short distance away, and Elder Hanks felt impressed to visit them. As soon as he reached their camp he made his way to the chief's tent, where he found no one present except an elderly female. Soon, however, the chief came, and the lodge was filled with representative members of the tribe. As Ephraim took his place among them, the chief wanted to know who he was, and where he had come from. Elder Hanks answered that he lived in the mountains and belonged to the people who had pulled handcarts across the plains, that his chief's name was Brigham Young, who sometimes talked with the Great Spirit. The chief then wanted to know if Hanks himself could talk with the Great Spirit, which question the scout answered in the affirmative. The chief then spoke a few words to the assembled warriors, after which a number of them left the lodge and in a few moments returned carrying an Indian boy in a blanket.
It seemed that the boy, while out on a buffalo hunt, had been thrown from his horse. His back was so badly injured that he had not been able to move for months. The chief, pointing to the boy, asked Elder Hanks if he would talk to the Great Spirit in behalf of the injured lad, which Ephraim consented to do. After the clothing had been removed from the boy's body, Elder Hanks anointed the afflicted parts with consecrated oil, which he always carried with him, and then administered to him in the name of Jesus Christ, promising that he should be made whole from that very moment. The boy immediately arose from his bed of affliction and walked out of the lodge, to the astonishment of all who saw.
Elder Hanks informed the Indians that the company of freighters at Ash Hollow, which he was about to escort to the States, were nearly out of provisions, and wanted to know what they could do towards replenishing their food supply. They told him that there had been no buffaloes in that section of the country for months, and that their people were on the eve of starvation on account of it. Upon this, it is related that the spirit of prophesy came upon Ephraim, to a remarkable degree, and he promised them, in the name of the Great Spirit, that within three days from that time the whole country for miles around would be overrun with buffaloes, which prediction caused a general stir throughout the camp. He then bade them good-bye and returned to his camp, filled with the Spirit of the Lord, but said nothing to his companions about what had occurred.
Next morning, as the company was about to start on it six-hundred-mile journey, about thirty prominent Indians formed into line on either side of the road and, as Elder Hanks passed by in the lead wagon, each of them gave him a package of the choicest kind of sausage, made from buffalo meat, which proved to be nothing short of a Godsend to them all. The Indians were anxious to learn when their pale-faced benefactor would return; for, by this time, they had become intensely interested in the man whose prayer could heal the sick and who had promised them meat when they were in need of food. Ephraim informed them that he would return later in the season, and as he passed that way, would call upon them. Tears were seen upon their dusky cheeks as Elder Hanks gave them another parting shake of the hand and bade them farewell.
Messrs. Remick and Little asked to know what all this meant, as this was the first that they ever had known the Indians to give food away, and especially in times of famine. Eph told the boys that he had always been kind to the Redman of the plains, and they were a class of people who never overlooked a kind act. This answer did not satisfy his companions, as they were fully convinced that something of an unusual nature must have occurred the night before between Hanks and the Indians.
On these long and tedious journeys across the plains, Elder Hanks was often blessed with impressive dreams and inspirations that proved of great benefit to him on numerous occasions. The predictions he made, while journeying from Ash Hollow to Fort Kearney, were so literally fulfilled in every instant that Captain Remick, on more than one occasion, declared him to be the man of very unusual foresight.
One night, soon after leaving Ash Hollow, Eph dreamed that his companion had all the fresh bison that they could take care of, and that even their animals joined them in the feast. The next morning, he predicted that such would be the case. He was ridiculed by the crowd, who said that such a thing as mule eating fresh meat was nonsense in the extreme.
The next day the boys began to taunt Eph about his ridiculous prediction, but he took it all in good part, at the same time reiterating what he had predicted the day before. That evening, as he was looking for a camping ground, he spied and killed a big buffalo bull near a small stream of water. When the teams drove up, the boys could hardly believe their eyes. All admitted that part of the prediction had been fulfilled, but the other part, relating to their mules enjoying the feast, never would be. That evening the cook filled a large camp kettle with fresh bison that had been cut into small pieces. As he did so he mixed plenty of flour with it. The fire was booming, the kettle boiling, and before the cook was aware of it, the pot of stew was burned. The cook, not overly good-naturedly, dumped the meat out on the ground. After smothering the hungry freighters with his apologies he soon started another pot of meat boiling. By this time the hungry animals began to stroll into camp and soon discovered the burned meat and stew scattered over the ground. They made a rush for it, and in a short time the mules cleaned up everything, meat and all. Each man looked at the other in wonderment, while Eph looked on and smiled.
A day or two later Eph told his companions that they would cross a river that day, and if they would do as he told them they would not get wet.
"What is that, Mr. Wizard?" asked Captain Remick, thinking, of course, that Hanks intended to play some practical joke on them. However, they soon came to the river, and as Mr. Remick was driving over the ice, Eph called to him to halt, but Mr. Remick, thinking that it was all meant for a joke, continued on his way. He had not gone far, when down went his wagon, mules and all, in water up to the wagon bed. No one was hurt but Mr. Remick and several of his teamsters were drenched to the skin before they reached shore.
When the company arrived within twenty-five or thirty miles of Fort Kearney, Captain Remick said to Eph, "What's next, Mr. Prophet?"
"You will go into Fort Kearney blindfolded," was the reply.
"Will I get sick?" asked Mr. Remick.
"No; you will simply ride into the Fort blindfolded."
"When the sun came out bright, the next day, the reflection on the snow was so great that Captain Remick and several of the teamsters became so snow blinded that they were compelled to bandage their eyes, so intense was the pain.
The officer at Fort Kearney informed Mr. Remick that it would be impossible to go any farther with the mail on account of the deep snow; whereupon the captain remarked, "We can go through all right, as we are being piloted by a man who can take us anywhere." The officer said, "Very well, Captain, if that is so, go ahead and we will furnish you with such things as you need."
The company then continued on their way in snow almost two feet deep and arrived in Independence, Missouri, February 27, 1857, the Salt Lake boys having been on the road just seventy-eight days.
As soon as they reached their destination they were dumbfounded to find the air filled with rumors of war, and government agents scurrying over the country in every direction, buying supplies for Johnston's Army, who were about to march against the "Mormons," who had, according to Judge Drummond's untruthful stories, destroyed the Supreme court records of Utah.
We next hear of Elder Hanks and Little in a letter published in the New York Herald under the date of April 15, 1857, and signed by the latter. The first paragraph is as follows:
"As myself and Mr. E. K. Hanks are the last persons who have come to the States from Great Salt Lake City, I deem it may duty to bear testimony against the lying scribblers who seem to be doing their utmost to stir up a bad feeling against the Utonians. We left our home on the 11th of December, brought the last mail to the States, and certainly should know of the state of things there. The charges of Judge Drummond are as false as he is corrupt. Before I left for the States I was five days in every week in Great Salt Lake City, and I witness to all the world that I never heard one word of the burning of nine hundred volumes of law, records, etc., nor anything of that character, nor do I know, or every heard, of anything of the dumb-boy story he talks of."
Elders Hanks and Little remained in the States for several months, and after gathering what information they could concerning the Johnston army they started for home about the first of June with three wagons loaded with mail. When they arrived in the neighborhood of Ash Hollow, the mountaineers in that vicinity wanted to know what they had done for the Indians to cause such a stir among them. They said that the Redmen had been inquiring after them for the last month or two, and had been going up and down the country for miles looking for them. Eph asked the men if they had seen any buffaloes since he left there, several months before. Their answer was: "Yes; about three days after you left, one of the largest herds of bison that has been seen in that part of the country for a long time passed by here, and they came just in time to save us from starvation, as our food supply was nearly gone." The moment Elder Hanks made his appearance among the Ash Hollow Indians the news spread throughout their camp like wildfire, and the whole tribe turned out en masse,
Warring Redmen wept for joy; the women danced with gladness;
Shouts from Redskins rent the air,that vanished care and sadness.
Perhaps subordinate military man connected with the "Mormon" Church played a more prominent part in the so-called Echo Canyon war, during the winter of 1857-58, than did Elder Ephraim K. Hanks. So daring was he in some of his exploits that the bravest men in his company were not anxious to follow him on his reconnoitering expeditions. One dark night he crawled so near the army officers' tents that the cook unwittingly threw scraps from the general's table over him. Nothing went on around the Officers' Headquarters that he was not familiar with; consequently, he kept General Wills posted on every important movement made by Johnston's Army. He captured many of Uncle Sam's teams, so as to prevent the troops from moving towards the valley, until President Brigham Young had time to make the authorities at Washington acquainted with the true condition of things.
During the move south, in 1858, he made his home at Provo, and after his return to Salt Lake, that fall, he took up a ranch between Big and Little Mountain, east of the city, which was named by him Mountain Dell. Here he established a trading post and did a thriving business with the emigrants who passed, during the summer months. He also kept the stage station and looked after the Pony Express boys who always enjoyed with him a plate of hot refreshments before speeding on their way to the East or to the West.
During the winter months, Mr. Hanks had great difficulty to keep the roads open over the Big Mountain where the snow, near the east brink, sometimes drifted to the depth of ten or twelve feet. In opening the way through this place he generally used a yoke of his oxen called Buck and Blow. On occasions of deep snow he drove the cattle into the drift as far as possible and then unyoked them.
Buck, who understood the meaning of it, moved forward until he came into snow up to his eyes. He then tramped around until he secured a good footing, preparatory to the next move. When everything was ready, that old bovine bunted into that bank of snow with such vim that Eph on several occasions, thought he had lost him forever; but the old fellow nearly always backed out on time. As soon as he was out of the way, old Blow lined up for the hay, and the bucking and blowing indulged in on such occasions was enough to make the student of animals smile with delight.
The stage that passed by Mr. Hanks' place was a semi-occasional affair, but when it did arrive it was generally loaded with the kind of people who appeared to have been born hungry. The fare across the plains in those days was so high that only the rich could afford to ride, consequently his visitors were a class of people who were well able to pay their way. Eph was not long in finding this out, and aimed to give each passenger his money's worth of pie, even if sugar was a dollar a pound.
In those days beef, also, was scarce; and in order to keep his table supplied with fresh meat, he was compelled to resort to many schemes. His past experience had taught him that the meat of many animals not generally considered wholesome was as good as the used by the general public-it was sometimes better. When Eph was caught in an unusually tight place for meat, he would kill badgers, or hedge-hogs, boil the meat in several changes of water until the strong taste and smell were gone, and then serve it up to the high-toned stranger in a way that made him smack his lips and look for more. On of these occasion, a rich banker had enjoyed several slices of boiled badger, when he wanted to know what kind of meat it was, as he had never before tasted anything quite so good. Eph, with a twinkle in his eyes said, "Mr. Banker, this is cub, our Mountain Dell cub." The banker, turning to his accomplished wife, said, "Yes, I thought so, it is certainly the most delicious meat that has been set before us since we left home."
About the year 1860, the road through Parley's Canyon and over the summit, was completed. After that, most of the travel went that way. This change, of course, affected business at the Dell, and the result was that Eph sold his mountain home and moved to Parley's Park. He found the surrounding country there in a state of wild nature; nor could a more beautiful spot be imagined. Here he built his home and commenced to raise stock. There were but two other families in the Park at that time besides his own, and the families resided about two miles apart. Marauding bands of Indians overran the country; hence, great care had to be used by the settlers to prevent the redskins from committing depredations. Many scenes of thrilling nature occurred during these trying times, but Ephraim K. Hanks was always at his post when danger was in sight, or at it worst.
From 1856 to 1863, much of his time was spent among the hostile Indians of the plains, in the interest of "Mormon" emigrations. He visited first one tribe and then another, and in this way, he by his intelligent diplomacy saved the lives of many people. All this work he did without renumeration-for his love of God's children, which knew no bounds.
Eph could go from the sublime to the ridiculous probably as quickly and with as little effort as any man who ever lived, no matter what the conditions were. About the year 1862 he had an old character by the name of Bill Braffett working for him. Braffett had much conceit in his baldpate. He was always boasting about what he could do. One day he had the nerve to tell Hanks that he could do anything he could. The latter was skinning an ox at the time. When he came to the skin on the back of the animal's neck he cub out a piece about two by 12 inches long. He scraped the hair off, split it in two, and then asked Mr. Braffet to take his choice. Bill, realizing what was coming, chose the smaller piece, of course, Eph, turning to Mr. Braffett said, "Now Bill, go to it, and we will see which of us can eat this hide in the shortest time." They went to work in earnest. In less than ten minutes Eph had eaten the last morsel of his piece of rawhide. He then went to where Braffett was standing and asked him what had become of his portion of old Blue's neck. Bill answered that he had eaten it long ago. The words had no more than escaped his mouth, when Eph pulled the one-by-twelve-inch strip of rawhide out of Bill Braffett's bosom. George W. Naylor, of Salt Lake, and other parties who witnessed this amusing incident, laughed to this day when they tell about it.
Eph was certainly a man of many ideas. It was hard to catch him napping. Brother John Walsh, of Farmington, who lived in Emigration Canyon during these stirring times, said that the last time he saw Mr. Hanks he had a pair of live cub bears hung across his shoulders and was "making for home" as fast as his horse could carry him. He had probably killed the mother bear and was on his way to secure a wagon to haul her home.
The experience of Ephraim K. Hanks along certain lines was most marvelous, and all who knew him were astounded at his resourcefulness. For instance, there was a man moving a steam boiler from Salt Lake to Heber City. Just before he reached Eph's place, he came to a mud-hole in Sam Snyder's slough. The moment the front wheels struck the slough crossing they dropped almost out of sight. The man worked around there for a day or two, but accomplished nothing. About the time he had given up all hopes of getting boiler over, Eph happened along.
He said to the stranger, "Mr., what will you give me to land that thing on the other side of this slough between now and sundown?"
The man, looking dubiously at Hanks, said, "If you will get this boiler over there by dark I will give you thirty-five dollars, cash down, and furnish you with five yoke of oxen besides."
"Enough said," was Eph's reply.
He had three hours to complete the job, with no time to "spin yarns." He pulled off his coat, and felled two quaking-asp trees, stripped the bark from them, rounded the butt-ends in sleigh-runner fashion, slipped the timbers under the axles, lashed one to either side, and hitched six yokes of oxen to the big end of the poles, with his Mountain Dell pets in the lead. When all was ready,
He grabbed a whip and let it slip. He yelled at Buck and Blow.
He goaded all, both great and small, till things began to go.
And things did go, until that 7,000-pound boiler was landed on the other side of the Sam Snyder slough.
The stranger, looking on with amazement, said, "That's a new one on me," and at the same time handed Eph is thirty-five dollars. The Reese boys, and other Salt Lake residents were witnesses to this little incident, and often enjoyed a good laugh over it.
Eph built his home under the hills just north of where Park City is now located, and was the first man to discover silver quartz in that neighborhood. He lived in Parley's Park until the Black Hawk war broke out, in 1865, and then moved to Salt Lake City. For the next two or three years much of his time was spent in helping to subdue the savages of the south who were making life a burden to the inhabitants of that part of the state.
In 1877, he was advised, by the Church authorities to purchase Lee's Ferry, on the Colorado River. He made all preparations to remove thither, when his plans were frustrated by the death of President Brigham Young. He had already sold his home, and so, on the advise of Pres. John Taylor, he moved his family to Burrville, in Wayne County, Utah. That being a cold country, he changed his location to the mouth of a box canyon some distance east of that place, on a small tributary to the Fremont River, called Pleasant Creek. Here he built a comfortable home and set out about two hundred fruit trees. It was in this location that Assistant Church Historian Andrew Jenson visited Elder Hanks, in June 1891, and gathered from this King of Scouts many interesting incidents of his life, some of which are contained in this series of articles.
Just prior to the death of President Woodruff, he sent Elder Brigham Young, of the Quorum of Twelve, on a special mission to southern Utah to ordain Elder Hanks a Patriarch, realizing that he was worthy of that high exalted office. Ephraim K. Hanks was first counselor to Bishop Henry Giles, of Blue Valley ward, Wayne County, Utah, up to the day of his death which occurred June 9, 1896.
President Brigham Young, in speaking of the virtues of Elder Hanks, once said, in substance, that there is a man who has always been ready to lay down his life for the authorities of the Church, as well as for the cause of Zion and the her people, and in due time he will receive his reward.
It would require volumes to place properly before the Latter-day Saints all the heroic deeds performed by this remarkable man. He was certainly an instrument in the hands of the Lord in helping to make it possible for the thousands of emigrants who came to Utah, in the early days, to dwell in peace in these valleys of the mountains. The Indians of the plains learned to love and respect him; and, in later years, he wielded an influence with them that was nothing short of marvelous. There was not a man in the Church who had more influence with them than he had. So many cures he performed among them that they almost looked upon him as a superhuman being. They fed him when he was hungry, clothed him when he was naked, and cared for him when he was sick. The Spirit of the Lord was with him, and no one realized that fact more then did the redmen of the plains.
He was naturally intelligent, God-fearing, and liberal to a fault. Of course, he was somewhat rough, as he had but little opportunity to attend school or to enjoy the comforts of home life. He was a good at relating stories and never permitted any point to be lost in the story's telling. Under the most trying circumstances he was always cheerful, and scarce a word of complaint was ever heard to come from his lips. His life marvelously and often miraculously spared while he passed through terrible dangers. This generation of Latter-day Saints will never fully appreciate what this King of Scouts did towards the establishment of this Church in these valleys, until the books spoken of in the revelations of John shall have been opened. When the dead, small and great, shall stand before God and be judged according to their works, Father Hanks will be found in the front ranks, among the noble and great, "which came out of great tribulation."
We'll drop a tear as we draw near, the tomb of this our noble brave;
Our hero dear, who knew no fear,-we'll strew sweet flowers o'er his grave.
The above series of articles was published in the Improvement Era, in three installments, appearing in the December 1914, and January and February 1915, numbers.