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‘a. Chief Little Soldier

Posted by weberhistory on August 5, 2021

Chief Little Soldier and the North Western band of the Shoshone were at home in Weber County long before the pioneers arrived.   They occupied Weber Valley down to its entry into the Great Salt Lake.[1] Little Soldier was chief of this band for 44 years.[2]  After the pioneers came, 2nd Street continued to be a camping site for the Shoshone for twenty years and more.

In the Hard Winter of 1854, Little Soldier and his band gave up their guns and lived in Bingham Fort and other forts of Weber County with the white settlers in order to share food that was scarce for all.[3] The plants from Mother Earth that the Shoshone gathered for food had been upset by the farms and grazing animals of the pioneers.

In the 1860s there were 20 to 25 cabins along 2nd Street from the old Fort to 1200 W, a distance of 1 ½ miles.[4] Between these cabins were Indian encampments along both sides of 2nd Street.  Although some Indians stayed year-round, most of them migrated in the fall for a warmer climate and returned in the spring setting up camps again in the Meadows of 2nd Street and in other locations around Weber County.[5]

During the 1870s Little Soldier and his band homesteaded west of Deweyville near the Bear River. In 1874 Little Soldier gave up hard drink, and he and his wife and some of his band joined themselves to the Mormon Church.  In the 1880s, toward the end of his life, Little Soldier felt the need to return home to Weber County, and he left his homestead and built a lodge on the bench overlooking Ogden and the valley. He was a popular guest in the homes of many friends in Ogden. 

Little Soldier died in April 1884. His funeral was conducted in his lodge on the bench and was attended by respected community leaders.  George W Hill made a few remarks in English and then delivered a discourse in Shoshone to Little Soldier’s family.  He spoke to Wango-bit-y, the only surviving wife of Little Soldier’s four wives and to those who survived of his 12 children and to his 3 grandchildren.  A newspaper correspondent penned a summary of Little Soldier’s life, published in the Ogden Daily Herald, that time and perspective have proven accurate:

“He was a peaceful, honest, inoffensive man, a friend to the Mormon people, and was always a welcome guest at the houses of many people in this county.  Peace to his ashes.”[6]  

It was discovered in 2021 by an interested researcher that Little Soldier was buried in Ogden City Cemetery in an unmarked grave.  This information was unknown to historians and the Shoshone. A project is forming to raise money to place a monument in the cemetery to Chief Little Soldier and his family.

[1] Utah History Encyclopedia, Shoshoni Indians (NW Bands) by Brigham D Madsen.

[2] Scott Christensen, Chief Little Soldier, Sons of Utah Pioneers Magazine, 1995, p. 17-19.

[3] History of Weber County

[4] 1860 and 1870 US Federal Census; Fred N. Stone, A Reminiscent History of the Lynne Ward, manuscript, 1934, p. 1, 2.

[5] Mary Elizabeth – Her Stories, p 83, 88; Darren p. 12-14.

[6] Scott Christenesen, p.19; Ogden Daily Herald, 23 April, 1884.

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