Place item was collected
Point of Discovery/Informant Bio
My informant’s name is Mrs. B. She was raised in Springville, UT and currently resides in Gilbert, AZ. She is a stay-at-home mother, but has attended both SUSC (aka SUU) and BYU in the past. Some of her favorite hobbies include sewing, learning new cooking techniques, and going on “foodie adventures.”
We were emailing back and forth. My informant was sitting at her desk working on some projects for her church when she got my email and I was sitting in my room working on various homework assignments. This story concerns her great-great grandmother and an experience she had with a Native American. The story might be shared with anyone if Mrs. B. thought the situation deemed it appropriate. When I’ve heard this story, it’s usually been told in utter admiration of the hardy stock she has descended from. She has great pride in her roots.
Samuel and Elizabeth first settled to the north of Salt Lake City in the Kaysville, Davis County area. Their first home was at Blooming Grove, later called Popular Grove, now called Lagoon, which is a pleasure resort. Their first home was a dugout.
A general description of the pioneer dugouts (a cellar) is that they were usually about four to five feet deep with dirt steps leading to the entrance. There was a fireplace in the end opposite the entrance, which generally made the dugout warm and comfortable during the cold of winter. Often the dugouts were without windows or a door. Merely a cloth hung in the doorway to keep out some of the cold. In order to have light, the cloth or the door had to be left open.
After having lived in a house of royalty in England, one can’t help but wonder what Elizabeth’s feelings were about her new home. But whatever her feeling she certainly tried to make the best of things. Cultured and well-educated for those times, she tried to make her home livable and as nice as possible. She had brought some brass curtain rings with her from England, for she loved curtains. Apparently she had a window in her dugout because she had curtains hanging in this primitive shelter.
Elizabeth must have had a door in her dugout for she told of s day when she was busy preparing food and she heard someone push the door open. She turned around and there stood a big Indian with his blanket around him and a hunting knife in his belt. Looking around he spotted the brass curtain rings that Elizabeth had used to fasten her curtains up with. The Indian continued to carefully look around for a while and then, pointing to the rings, demanded “gimmee.”
Elizabeth emphatically shook her head and replied, “no, no, mine.”
The Indian drew his knife from his belt and snarled, “me kill you squaw,” and he advanced towards her.
Calmly and courageously Elizabeth picked up the rolling pin that she had been using and aimed it at the Indian. He must have thought it was a new kind of weapon, for he ran out of the dugout so fast that his blanket flew straight out behind him.
Mrs. B tells this story with a tone of pride. Any time she has told me a story concerning her ancestry, she talks about the traits that have been passed down and not putting up with nonsense (whether from and Indian or anyone else) is one such characteristic she’s proud of. She also wrote the words spoken by the Indian and her ancestor with a note of humor due to the childish nature of the words exchanged. Another aspect of the story is the detailed description of the dug-out- wanting to place us in the setting so we could understand why the curtain rings were so special.
Introduction to Folklore, ENGL 2210
Dr. Lynne McNeill
Semester and year
G7: Ethnic or Religious Encounters
Burdett, Alyssa, "Rolling Pins and Indians" (2017). USU Student Folklore Fieldwork. Paper 147.