Mile 1678: Egan’s Station

“In the early part of October [1860] a war party of eighty Pah Utes descended upon Egan’s station while Mike Holt station keeper, and a rider by the name of Wilson were at breakfast. Leaping to their feet they grabbed their guns and began firing upon them. The Indians had no guns, but filled with confidence of victory due to overwhelming numbers, they swooped in for the kill. Holton and Wiison fought heroically and kept them at bay until their ammunition was exhausted. Then, as the Indians broke through the door they heard the chief utter the one word ‘bread.’

“Hoping to satisfy them, and thus escape death, the white men piled all the bread in the station on the table. To their dismay the chief remained unsatisfied. Pointing to the sacks of flour piled in one corner he ordered them to build a fire and bake more. Throughout the day Holton and Wilson continued to supply bread to their ravenous, unwelcome guests. As they worked they talked about William Dennis, rider from the west who was due to arrive late in the afternoon. When he did not come they concluded the Indians had killed him.

“About sundown, the stock of flour having been exhausted, the chief ordered Holton and Wilson taken outside and tied to a wagon tongue which had been driven into the ground. Having done this they proceeded to pile sage brush at their feet with the expectation of roasting them alive. Then, they set it afire and began to dance and yell like demons.

“But the Indians had not gotten Dennis. As he approached the station he saw the savages from the distance, whirled his horse around, and raced back the way he had come. They were so busy celebrating the torture of Holton and Wilson they did not see him. About five miles back he had passed Lieutenant Weed and sixty United States dragoons on their way east to Salt Lake City. Upon being informed of what was going on at the station they swept ahead full tilt, roared down upon the scene, and caught the merrymaking savages by surprise in time to prevent injury to the captives. When it was over the Indians had lost eighteen warriors and sixty horses.”

[Note: Other sources give the date of this event as July 15 or 16, 1860. See, e.g., Historic Resource Study, p. 183-84; Burton (p. 169) gives the date as August]