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‘a. Arthur Stone and Indian Friends

Posted by weberhistory on May 11, 2021

May I have this dance…..


At age 20 Arthur Stone married and in about 1863 he built a rubble rock house fronting a 37-acre farm on the south side of 2nd Street across the street and a little to the east from his father’s farm.[1]  In building this house he joined forces with his father and three brothers, and they built a sturdy rock house in a familiar English style with a cellar and an upper half story.  At this time the other houses on 2nd Street were log and a few were adobe.[2] Arthur’s rock house was unique and was meant to be a very permanent, long lasting structure. In 2020 Ogden City added this house to the Ogden Register of Historic Places.

Built in c. 1863, this rock house was a gathering place for Art’s Indian friends

“Art” was eight years old when his family left England and was thirteen years old when his parents settled in Bingham’s Fort in 1858.  From 2nd Street he could look into the Indian camps along the road and see young men practicing to be warriors.  They would paint their faces with different colors of clay, ride bareback and practice horse maneuvers and target shooting, and yell war cries.  There were numerous tribes of Indians encamped in the Meadows, and the wicki-ups of the chiefs were decorated with rows of scalps. Art was fascinated.[3]

By the 1860s Art had become a great favorite with the Indians.  He was not a fatherly friend or benefactor, but a peer to certain Indian young men. They came to his house, and he went to their teepees.

On Sunday, when there was never any work in the fields, Art would be surrounded by his friends, and he participated in their games of all kinds.  Sometimes it was riding horses, and Art had a wonderful riding horse; the saddle and bridle trappings were ornamented or embroidered beautifully with Indian handwork.  He had a wonderful suit of buckskin with leggings, moccasins, etc. to match.  Everything he had seemed to be as nice as the chiefs’ sons.  The Indians seemed to admire him greatly.  His face was painted like the Indian’s faces as he joined them in their games, and sometimes it was hard to discern who was Indian and who was not.[4]

Art was a gifted musician and a fiddler for dances[5], and it was not unusual for Indian young men to come to the Mormon dances at the schoolhouse.  However, the Indians never danced with white girls, just with each other or a white boy.  It wasn’t unusual for boys to dance together as there were more boys than girls.

However, Art took a certain Indian friend with him to the dances who was handsomely dressed in white doe-skin, heavily embroidered and fringed.  He was a beautiful dancer, and he danced with the white girls.  The girls liked to dance with that Indian as he could dance as many fancy steps as any of the white boys. Indian women did not come to the dances.[6]

Art was a versatile fiddler. Old pioneers danced the English dances like the minuet, especially William Stone of England, Robert E. Baird of Ireland and an old English couple living in the Hutchens’ tent.  Younger folks like to step dance.  Willard Bingham would start to step dance – others would join him until there would be a floor full of dancers.  Not many would stay until the end because Turkey in the Straw goes pretty fast.  Waltzing and quadrilling were also popular.[7]

Arthur Stone, 1841-1876

[1] Arthur’s father, William Stone, established a cabin and farm in 1858 that is now Aspen Acres subdivision.

[2]Fred N. Stone, A Reminiscent History of the Lynne Ward, 1934, manuscript, p. 2.

[3]Autobiography of Mary Elizabeth Hutchens Sherner, Mary Elizabeth – Her Stories, dictated to her daughter Dorothy A. Sherner, manuscript, 1933, p 83.

[4] Ibid, p. 2.

[5] Editor Milton R.Hunter, Beneath Ben Lomond’s Peak, Daughters of Utah Pioneers, 1944, p. 139.

[6] Autobiography of Mary Elizabeth Hutchens Sherner, p. 88.

[7]  Ibid, p. 1,24, 27; Norman F. Bingham, Lillian B. Belnap and Lester S. Scoville, Sketch of the Life of Erastus Bingham and Family, c. 1951, p.51.

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