Rachel Wansitz Allred

by Keith Allred

Lineage:  Rachel (adopted), Reuben Warren, James, William, Thomas, Solomon born 1680 Lancashire, England

In 1852 or early 1853, a young Native American girl became part of the family of Reuben Warren Allred (1815-1896), (son of James Allred, whose father was William Allred). Her early history is unknown, and her later life is sparsely documented. A chapter on her life will be included in a book on Reuben Warren on which Dawnell Griffin and I are working.  In trying to find out more about her life before she joined the Allreds, Dawnell and I have researched all of the known records that might document her life. Of particular interest are her early-life records, which include Native American records at the Utah State Archives and the federal national records archived in Denver and Washington D.C, Ute Indian records at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, memoirs and records of early Utah settlers located in the special collections of Brigham Young University and the University of Utah, and local church records of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Mormons).

While her early life is a mystery, with virtually no documentation, there is enough general history that informed guesses can be made that are very likely correct. During her life in the Reuben Warren family, she was known as Rachel Wansitz.  Wansitz is a Ute Nation word for antelope.(1)  This tells us that she was a Ute and that she had the name of Wansitz. Whether the name Wansitz is significant to her history – was she related to someone named Wansitz – is unknown. A number of possibilities exist and have been investigated,
but they remain, at best, speculative. According to records coming down from the Allred family, she was born about 1845, which
would have made her about seven to eight years old when she came to the Allred family. An oral history given by her granddaughter, Sarah Van Hackford, to an interviewer from the University of Utah, says that Rachel had a brother by the name of Jim Pant, who lived in Indianola, Utah, and who visited Sarah Hackford’s family.(2) 

Her brother’s Ute name was Pa’ant, which means tall.(3)  He lived for years in Indianola, Sanpete County, Utah, within 20 miles of where Rachel lived much of her life. He was living in the Thistle District (which included Indianola) in the 1880 U.S. census.(4)  He was the owner of a homestead granted in 1891 which was located in Indianola,(5) along with a number of other Utes who were granted homesteads in 1884. These Utes had been heavily influenced by the Mormon settlers (many having names taken from the Book of
Mormon, including a Ute named Nephi who became part of the families of Reuben Warren’s brother, James Tillman Sanford Allred, and James’s son, Andrew Jackson Allred).(6)  

Pa’ant and Nephi were among a number of Utes who legally renounced their tribal affiliation in 1877,(7) a step necessary to qualify for the acquisition of a homestead. Only citizens of the United States could qualify for a homestead, and Native Americans affiliated with a tribe were not U.S. citizens prior to 1924. Pa’ant was named a defendant in a lawsuit in 1894 asserting improper diversion of water.8
Despite his tribal renunciation, Pa’ant moved to the Uintah and Ouray Indian Reservation located in northeast Utah where he was enrolled on the tribal rolls in 1909.(9)  There he became well known as a tribal signer(10) where he died on October 14, 1921.(11)

While we can document much of her brother’s life, none of those documents indicate who were the parents of Pa’ant and Rachel. Her
granddaughter states that Rachel’s “mother and father were killed in the war” and that “Uncle Reuben Allred [Jr.] always said that her mother was killed.”(12) If her parents did indeed die in a war, the only “war” that occurred between Rachel’s birth in 1845 and her adoption by the Allred family in 1852-53 is what has been called the Battle of Provo River, a three-day engagement in February 1850 in which more than thirty Utes of the Timpanogot Band were killed. This raises the possibility that Rachel was made an orphan by that skirmish, and it would have been within Ute custom to “sell” an orphaned child, particularly a girl child, because the child constituted an additional mouth to feed when food was always in short supply.

The Battle of Provo River is one of innumerable clashes between Europeans and Native Americans as the United States was settled by Europeans, which reflects the differing world views held by the participants. The Mormons first arrived in Utah in 1847, where they initially settled what is now Salt Lake City.  By March 1849 the Mormon leadership had decided to send one hundred fifty persons to
settle near what is present-day Provo, Utah, about forty-five miles south of Salt Lake City.(13)  This area, in which the Provo River fed Utah Lake, was prime Ute country. Unlike many other areas where the Utes located, it offered year around fodder for horses, wood for fuel, and more importantly, a year around supply of fish from the Provo River and Utah Lake. The Timpanogot Band of Utes lived in this area and were called the “fish eaters.”  When the Mormon’s first arrived with an intent to settle (they had earlier been in this area to trade with the Timpanogots), there was an immediate confrontation. Negotiations ensued, and the settlers built Fort Utah, a stockade near where the Provo River empties into Utah Lake.

While relations between the settlers and the Timpanogots were often rocky, the differences came to a head in early 1850. The event which precipitated the conflict, which became known as the Battle of Provo River, involved an Allred descendant by the name of Richard Anderson Ivie (a grandson of Anderson Ivie and Sarah Allred, Reuben Warren’s aunt). In January 1850, Ivie and two friends confronted an old Indian who was wearing a shirt claimed to be owned by Ivie.  Whether the shirt was Ivie’s is unknown - perhaps it was taken because the settlers were taking fish claimed by the Timpanogots.  The taking of the shirt certainly could have been viewed by the old Indian as repayment for fish claimed by the Indians. The confrontation escalated and ended when one of Ivie’s companions killed the Indian. They then tried to get rid of the body by filling the intestinal cavity with rocks and sinking the corpse in the Provo
River. The corpse was discovered a few days later and, understandably, the Timpanogots were furious. They blockaded the Fort, shooting at any settlers or livestock outside of its borders. The settlers asked for help from Brigham Young, who sent a militia force of one hundred ten and a cannon south to deal with the Indians. Over the next several days, one settler and at least thirty one  impanogots were killed, including two women.(14)

Whether Rachel’s parents were among those killed is unprovable, but it is highly likely. What is clear is that this battle shattered the
Timpanogots and left many Indian families without a “husband” on which the family depended for protection and care. This forced the survivors, particularly the children, to seek help where they could. I believe, but cannot prove, that the Ute settlers in Indianola were children survivors of this battle who were taken in by Mormons to be raised as were Rachel and Nephi.  Rachel’s brother, Pa’ant, was older than Rachel and Nephi and many of the other Indianola settlers, and may not have been as influenced by Mormon culture in his earlier life.

The stories vary in insignificant details about how Rachel came to the Allred family. All agree that she was sold, some saying for a bag of flour and others for a horse. The story that comes through some of her descendants is that her brother was present when she was “sold.”  Perhaps this was Pa’ant, who was probably five years her senior.(15)  From here, her story can be documented, although sparsely. When she came to the Allreds, it was during the lead up to what has been called the Walker War, named after Ute chief Walkara.  The spark which lead to the war was the killing of a Walkara relative by James Ivie, another Allred descendant.16 The death was the result of Ivie trying to intervene to stop a Ute who was going to beat his wife for failure to make a good trade in negotiations with Ivie. When the dispute reached his cabin, the Walkara relative was killed.(17)   The war caused Brigham Young, the Mormon leader, to order the Mormon settlements in Sanpete County, Utah (central Utah), be consolidated into a few fortified villages,
including Fort Manti (present-day Manti, Utah).

In 1852, James Allred and his children and their families, including Reuben Warren, had settled “Allred Settlement,” now called Spring City, Utah. On July 29, 1853 the residents of Allred Settlement were forced to flee to the safety of Fort Manti after the Indians attacked and drove off most of their cattle. They fled, in part, because of a warning given by Rachel to her adoptive family, when she overheard some Indians talking about returning and killing the settlers. Her timely notice of their intent is credited in many later
family histories with saving the Allreds.  Shortly thereafter, the settlers returned to Spring City, only to be forced soon thereafter to again evacuate, this time to Fort Ephraim (present-day Ephraim, Utah).

Upon the end of the Walker War in 1854, Rachel and her family again settled in Spring City, where she grew to adulthood. She was fondly remembered by her adoptive siblings. Her younger brother, John Lowe Allred, remembers her padding his pants to lessen the effect of the spanking that four-year-old John Lowe was to receive. Her brother, Ephraim, called her his favorite sister.

Rachel married John Bates Murray on May 3, 1869 in the Endowment House in Salt Lake City. He was born on July 19, 1836 in Monroe, Monroe County, Michigan, the second child of John Murray and Sarah Bates. His father was from Scotland and his mother was from Ireland.  The family joined the Mormon Church in 1844 and immigrated to Utah in 1852, settling near the south part of Utah Lake at what is now Spanish Fork, Utah, where he appears in the 1860 U.S. census working as a carpenter.(18)   When John married Rachel, he was already married to a wife twenty years his senior, Mary Ann Malley, with whom he had no children (they married probably when Mary Ann was past her child-bearing years).(19)

John and Rachel had at least six children, all but one were born in Spanish Fork. Their first child, Sarah Ellen Murray, was born on February 2, 1870.(20) A second child, Sophia Lucy Murray, was born two years later on February 12, 1872.  Their third child and first son, John Bates Allred Murray, was born on February 24, 1874. A new daughter, Margaret Frances Cora Murray arrived on July 17, 1877.

In 1879, tragedy came twice to the family. On January 6, 1879 their seven-year-old second daughter, Sophia Lucy Murray, died and was buried in Spanish Fork. Three weeks later, on January 27, 1879 Sophia’s sister, nine-year-old Sarah Ellen Murray, also died. According to at least one biographical sketch, the cause of death was cholera or typhoid fever.(21)  In the midst of their grieving because of the death of their two oldest children, Rachel and John were blessed by the arrival of a new child, Rachel Christine Murray, on November 30, 1879.  Tecumseh Horatio Murray was born shortly thereafter, on September 4, 1880 in Thistle Valley, Utah County, Utah.(22)  Thistle Valley is up Spanish Fork Canyon, at the confluence of the primary tributaries of the Spanish Fork River, about fifteen miles southeast of Spanish Fork and only about fourteen miles from Indianola, where Pa’ant was living. At the time of  Tecumseh’s birth, Thistle Valley was a primary place for the watering of the steam-driven railroad locomotives. John Bates Murray probably worked there as a carpenter.

Rachel and John may have had a seventh child, Elizabeth, who is noted in some family records as being born and dying in 1884 in Spanish Fork. Despite a thorough search for birth and burial records, nothing has been found to date that evidences her life.
In about 1889, John, Rachel and their family moved from Spanish Fork to the Uintah Ouray Indian Reservation in northeastern Utah. The reason for the move almost certainly was to obtain free land on the Reservation. In 1887, the Federal government enacted the General Allotment Act (sometimes called the Dawes Act) which offered what were essentially homesteads on the Indian Reservations to Native Americans and their families. Rachel’s family would have been entitled to 320 acres of land.

Rachel and John never received an allotment of land, but their children eventually did.  This move would have dramatic consequences
to Rachel and her family. According to her descendants, the family for a short period of time lived in Maeser, Uintah County, Utah, about two miles northwest of Vernal, Utah. Then they moved to the Reservation, to LaPoint, Utah, which is  located near a southern spur of the Uintah Mountains in western Uintah County. 

Margaret Frances Cora Murray was the first child to marry when she married Philip Van on December 15, 1892 in Ashley, Uintah County, Utah.(23)   They were the parents of nine children.  Margaret died on December 23, 1953 in Vernal, Uintah County, Utah.

Tragedy struck in 1894 when Rachel and John Bates Murray’s lives were cut short. In May, 1894, Jeremiah Hatch Murray, John’s brother, had gone to Diamond Mountain in Uintah County to cut wood. Someone notified him that his brother and Rachel were seriously ill with typhoid fever.  Jeremiah rushed to their home near LaPoint, Utah.(24) John passed away on May 5, 1894 and
Rachel passed away two days later.  Jeremiah buried them on the banks of the Uintah River about 6 ½ miles southeast of LaPoint. Their graves were not marked, and efforts to find their precise burial location have been unsuccessful.

When they passed, they left one married child (Margaret, age seventeen) and three surviving unmarried children (John Bates, age twenty), Rachel Christine, (age fourteen) and Tecumseh (age thirteen).  This must have been a great shock to the children, especially given their ages, and the fact that they were living on the Reservation.  The culture on the Reservation was very different from what they had experienced earlier in their lives.

Rachel Christine married James Bekenneth Reed about 1896.  They had eight children.  She died young, on February 6, 1911 in Whiterocks, Uintah County, Utah.

The son, John Bates, first married Lucinda Montez in 1896, with whom he had no children.  He then married Margaret Jane McConnell on July 23, 1904.  They were the parents of one child.  John died December 26, 1949 in Whiterocks, Uintah County, Utah.

When his parents died, Tecumseh went to live with his married sister, Margaret.  In 1901, he married Annie Louriel Reed, sister of James Reed who married Tecumseh’s sister Rachel Christine. Tecumseh and Annie had four children.  Tecumseh died on July 15, 1964, in Lake Fork, Duchesne County, Utah.

Virginia McConnell Simmons,
The Ute Indians of Utah, Colorado and New Mexico
(Boulder: University Press of Colorado, 2000), 77.
Interview with Sarah Van Hackford, January 31, 1968,
transcript, Doris Duke Number 297, Doris Duke Oral
History Project, Western History Center, University of
Utah, 2.
Francis Densmore,
Northern Ute Music
(Washington: Government Printing Office, 1922), 19.
1880 U.S. census, Thistle District, population schedule,
enumeration district 68, p. 472B (stamped), p.22
(penned), dwelling 191, family 193, Pant; image,
: accessed 15 February 2016); citing National Archives
microfilm publication T9, roll 1338.
Bureau of Land Management, “Land Patent Search,”
General Land Office Records
: accessed 15 February 2016), Pant (Sanpete County,
Utah), homestead patent no. 2631.
Ibid., (accessed 15 February 2016), Nephi (Sanpete
County, Utah), homestead patent no. 2340. Nephi appears
in the 1860 U.S. Census living in the household of
Andrew Jackson Allred, nephew of Rachel’s adoptive
father, Reuben Warren Allred. 1860 U.S. census, Sanpete
County, Utah, population schedule, Fort Ephraim, p. 43
(penned), dwelling 368, family 333, Nephi; image,
: accessed 15 February 2016; citing National Archives
microfilm publication M653, roll 1314. During the
Black Hawk War with Utes in Sanpete County, Utah,
Nephi served as a private in the Captain James T.S. Allred
Allred Family Organization 10 No. 106
Company from 1 May 1867 to 1 Nov 1867 and in another
company from 1 April to 12 November 1866. Other
’s settling in Indianola and obtaining patents included
Utes named Moroni, Mormon, Moronihah and Joseph, all
names coming from the Book of Mormon.
Sanpete County, Utah, Probate Court Minutes, Vol. A
(1866-1884), In the Matter of Renunciation of Indian
Tribal Relations, 26 October, 1877, p 152, Pant and
Nephi, Utah State Archives, Salt Lake City; digital image,
4 : accessed 15 February, 2016).
Evening Dispatch (Provo), 8 June 1894, digital,
; accessed 16 February 2016), p. 4, col. 2.
“Report of the Acting Indian Agent of the Uintah and
Ouray Agency to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs,”
dated 13 July 1909; Jim Pan added to tribal roll.
10 Densmore, Northern Ute Music, 17.
11 Utah Division of Archives and Records Service, “Utah
Death Certificate Index,” database with images
: accessed 16 February 2016), entry for James Pant;
death certificate no. 2103867.
12 Sarah Van Hackford Interview, p. 18.
13 Howard A. Christy, “Open Hand and Mailed Fist:
Mormon-Indian Relations in Utah, 1847-1852,”
Utah Historical Quarterly
, 46 (December 1977): 216-135, specifically 220.
14 Ibid., 224-26. The footnotes in this article are very
informative. The author has read all journals and articles
available on the battle, many of which are contained in
the special collections department of the Harold B. Lee
Library at Brigham Young University and all of the
military dispatches housed at the Utah State Archives.
15 His death certificate says he was born in 1840.
16 Whether this was James Russell Ivie, son of Anderson
Ivie and Sarah Allred, or James Russell’s son, James
Anderson Ivie is unclear, since both of them were living
in the area where the dispute occurred in the 1850 U.S.
census. James Russell was the son Anderson Ivie and
Sarah Allred.
17 Thomas G. Alexander,
Utah: The Right Place
: The Official Centennial History, 2nd
Revise ed. (Salt Lake City: Gibbs Smith, Publisher,
2007), 113-14.
18 1860 U.S. census, Utah County, Utah, population
schedule, Spanish Fork, p. 227, dwelling 2015, family
1610, John Murray; image,
(http: www.ancestry.com
: accessed 17 February 2016); citing National Archives
microfilm publication M653, roll 1314.
19 At the time of this marriage, Mormons practiced
polygamy. Its practice was officially ended in 1890.
Mary Ann did not arrive in Utah until late 1856. They
were married by the time the 1860 U.S. census was
taken. In 1856, she was forty years old. In 1860 she was
20 John, Rachel, and Sarah Ellen Murray are listed on the
1870 U.S. census, as is John’s first wife. 1870 U.S.
census, Utah County, Utah, population schedule, Spanish
Fork, p. 5 (penned), dwelling 33, family 30, John Murray
household; image,
Ancestry.com http://www.ancestry.com
: accessed 18 February 2016); citing National Archives
microfilm publication
21 Norma Mitchell, “Rachel Wanzitz Allred Murray.” A
copy is held by the author. Mitchell is a direct descendant
of Rachel.
22 John and his family were living in Spanish Fork, Utah
on June 15, 1880 when the 1880 U.S. census was taken.
1880 U.S. census, Utah County, Utah, population
schedule, Spanish Fork, p 38 (penned), dwelling 330,
family 330, John Murray household; image,
: accessed 18 February 2016); citing National Archives
microfilm publication T9, roll 1338. Between that
census date and the birth of Tecumseh in September, the
family had apparently moved to Thistle from Spanish
23 “Utah, County Marriages, 1887-1940,” database,
Family Search
: accessed 18 February 2016), Mr. Philip Van and Miss
Margaret F C Murray, 1892.
24 Mitchell, “Rachel Wanzitz Allred Murray.”