Black Hawk War (1865-1872)
As the American Civil War came to a close, the Territory of Utah erupted into violence as Ute Indians and LDS settlers fought to occupy the same land. Ephraim was in the middle of this way. The white invaders had taken possession of the hunting and fishing grounds of their ancestors, some of them were insolent, and there were incidents of “whipping and occasional killing… [of] his warriors.” He also said at least one local raid “was forced by the starvation of his people.” Of these reasons, hunger had the greatest military impact because the main object of most of the raids was to take cattle for food.
Brigham Young in July 1866:
“[We] occupy the land where they used to hunt the rabbit … and the antelope were in these valleys in large herds when we first came here. When we came here, they could catch fish in great abundance in the lake in the season thereof and love upon them pretty much through the summer. But now their game has gone, and they are left to starve.”
Stealing cattle was the main purpose of nearly all the attacks, and the warriors showed they were often desperate for food. Black Hawk stated to Soren A. Sorensen the purpose of the October 17, 1865, raid on “Ephraim” was for food.
Black Hawk befriended the Sorensen’s because his mother would frequently invite him to eat with us and would give him almost anything he asked for. “Black Hawk” told the Sorensen’s the object of the road was “to get some cattle for food.”