Female 1817 - 1903


Billa Dickson-The Indian Peacemaker

A short story of Billa Dickson negotiating with some Indians in Utah.
From the book: A Compilation of personal histories of Morgan County's founding ancestors: Morgan Pioneer History Binds Us Together, published by Daughters of Utah Pioneers-Morgan County.

Billa Dickson-The Indian Peacemaker

By Forde Dickson (grandson)

When my ancestors crossed the plains, they spent the winter at Coucil Bluffs, Iowa, along with the other pioneers. It was there that John Dickson's mother died and was buried. John Dickson and his son, Billa, and my father, Albert Douglas Dickson, arrived in Utah in 1852. They made their home on the mountain road in Layton by the Adamses, who were with them crossing the plains. After they had been there a short time, the Indians were giving them a little trouble. The white boys and the Indian boys got in a kind of "sham battle" throwing mud-dobs at each other. And it later ended up in a fist fight with some of the Indian boys going home with bloody noses. This greatly upset the Indians, and it was rumored around that they were getting on the warpath and we'd have to look out. It so happened that Grandfather Dickson (Billa) was chosen to go down to make peace with the Indians. He took with him his little son, William Dickson, who was then about four years old.

The peace talks went on into the night, and Uncle Will laid down in the Indian's tepee and went to sleep. When Grandfather was ready to go home, he went over to pick him up to bring him home with him, the old Chief said, "leave papoose here. He'll be alright until morning. Come back in the morning and get him."

Needless to say, Grandfather tried to persuade the old Chief to let him take the boy home, but the more he talked, the more determined the Chief was that he should leave the boy all night.

When Grandfather got home, Grandmother was really upset and I'm sure there wasn't much sleep in the Dickson home that night. As soon as daylight came, Grandmother Dickson got Grandfather up and told him to go down and bring that boy back.

Grandfather arrived at the tepee (located where Ft. Lane is now) before any of the Indians were up. Then he waited and waited until finally the smoke started curling up out of the tepee, and the old chief came out. When he was questioned about the boy, he said, "Papoose is still asleep. You'll have to wait until he wakes up." So Grandfather waited again until finally Uncle Will woke up and was taken home. It was surely a grateful time.

The important thing about this story is the fact that the old chief said, "Now we know we can trust you because you leave your papoose in our camp all night." To me, this was a great lesson in honoring people, because Grandfather had the courage to leave the boy. It would be a great test to me to leave one of my children in the tepe of an Indian that didn't feel very kindly toward the white people in general.

It was about 1862 that Billa Dickson and my father, Albert Douglas Dickson, came to Morgan County from Layton and purchased the willow-covered land in Richville and built a house, then began clearing the acreage so that farming could be done. This is the same farm that I farm now and live on. It's a beautiful place to live.