This site highlights the fraught relationship that often existed between white settlers and Native Americans in Utah Territory. The Battle Creek Marker is in what is now known as Pleasant Grove, Utah. Here, on the morning of March 5, 1849, the relationship between Mormon settlers and a local band of Timpanogos Indians deteriorated into brutal hostility. On March 1, 1849, a company of men from Salt Lake City were called up to find a group of Indians that were accused of stealing horses and cattle from Mormon settlers. Their orders were to find the band of thieves and to “take such measures as would put a final end to their depredations in the futures.” Eventually the leader of the company, Captain John Scott, received messages that stated the rogue Utes had not taken any horses, but they had only taken cattle. However, he and his men were ordered to continue the expedition into the Utah Valley. After a meeting with a local tribal leader and help from an Indian guide, the armed company found the cattle thieves’ camp. They surrounded the camp, and attempted to negotiate a peace. The suspected cattle thieves refused, and after the situation escalated, fighting broke out.
After the fighting ended, the Mormon company had killed 4 Indians, and sustained zero casualties themselves. After the battle, the chief of the Indians that the company had met with the night before, whose name was Little-Chief, came riding up to the site of the battle. After seeing the massacre, Little-Chief was distraught. Although he reportedly agreed that the killing of the thieves was justified, he understood this would cause a rift to form between white settlers and local tribes. The effects of this conflict were far reaching, and permanently damaged the already delicate relationship between the Native American tribes and the Mormon settlers. After this event, the creek and canyon became known as Battle Creek.