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Orson Pratt Brown's Father's Acquaintance

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Miles "Red Deer" Goodyear 1817-1849

Miles Morris Goodyear
"Red Deer"

Born: February 24, 1817 at Hamden, New Haven, Connecticutt
Died: November 12, 1849 at Benicia, California at age of 32

by Eugene E. Campbell, Brigham Young University

"When the famous Whitman-Spalding missionary party arrived at Fort Hall in 1836, they were accompanied by nineteen-year-old Miles Goodyear, who was to gain a certain fame as a Mountain Man and trader even though he came West almost at the end of the fur-trading era. Thirteen years later he was dead, but in that relatively short period he established himself as a trader and guide; built Fort Buenaventura at the location of present-day Ogden, Utah; and figured in many important events in western history. These included the pursuit of the Arapahoes and Cheyennes after their attack on Fort Bridger in 1843; Sir William Drummond Stewart's famed pleasure rendezvous in the Green River Valley; the entrance of the Mormon pioneers into Utah; and the California Gold Rush of 1849. His participation in the Gold Rush was preceded by one of the longest horse drives in western history.

Born at Hamden, Connecticut, February 24, 1817, Miles Goodyear, along with five brothers and sisters, was orphaned when his father [Andrew Goodyear] died in [October 16,] 1819 and his mother [Patty Bradley Goodyear] passed away in [April 17,] 1821. The eldest son, William Goodyear, was unable to keep the family together and with the exception of infant Andrew Goodyear, the Goodyear children were "bound out" to anyone who would "assume" the responsibility of their "keep" in exchange for such labor as they were able to perform.1 It is not known who cared for Miles until he was ten, but at that

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age he was "bound out" to a Squire Peck of North Haven for a period of six years.2 During this time he learned to read and write and "doubtless to cipher" and gained a liking for poetry.3 He also gained a hearty dislike for farm work and a great desire for absolute freedom. He dreamed of establishing a home in some "beautiful valley of the Rocky Mountains far from the scene of his servitude." 4 His brother, Andrew Goodyear, said of him that no savage came to his lodge but he would divide with him his last morsel.

The first step in making this dream a reality came in 1834 when he began moving westward, stopping to earn the necessities of life. It was over a year before he reached Detroit in June, 1835, and almost another year before he set out for Chicago on foot in the spring of 1836. 5 Continuing on to the Missouri in an apparent attempt to contact agents of the American Fur Company he met the Oregon­bound missionaries "some 40 miles from Fort Leavenworth." 6

This meeting proved to be a fortunate one for both Goodyear and the Whitman party. It gave young Miles a source of food, supplies, and transportation while traveling West, and contact with Thomas Fitzpatrick and other Mountain Men with whom the Whitman party was traveling; and it provided the missionaries with an able-bodied worker who could care for stock, cook over the open fire, and scout for roads and camping sites.

Mr. Gray, lay assistant to Whitman and Spalding, was favorably impressed with young Goodyear, whom he described as being "about 16 year old . . . light flaxen hair, blue eyes, thin and spare." 7 He underestimated his age by three years, and apparently his hair was more auburn

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than flaxen, being later known as "Red-head" or "Red Deer."8

Young Goodyear unwittingly played an important part in the development of the Oregon Trail as an avenue for bringing wheeled vehicles into the West, for Dr. [Marcus] Whitman insisted on taking one of his wagons across the Green River and Horse Creek, beyond which point "no wheel had ever made a track." 9 Miles was required to do much of the backbreaking labor in bringing the wagon through to Fort Hall. Gray believed Whitman's determination to take the wagon beyond Fort Hall was the primary reason for Goodyear's separation from the missionary company.10 He may have been apprehensive also about the restrictive policies of the Hudson's Bay Company in the Columbia River area.11

He seems to have parted with the missionaries on good terms, for he "was furnished with a couple of horses and the best outfit the missionaries could give him and allowed to remain or go as he might choose." 12

In 1842 Miles wrote:

"My home's amid the mountains wild
       The land I fancied from a child
       To climb the cliff or tread the vale
       To hunt the roe, the stag, the deer
       Or breathe the mountain air so clear
       Or chase the buffalo, o'er the plain
       For here I am and here remain."

Little is known of Goodyear's activities between this time and 1842. Gray heard that he had "joined a party that went with the Bannock Indians and became a member of that tribe." 13 Matt Field, who talked with Goodyear in 1843, learned that he had spent the winter of 1836-37 at Blackfoot Creek, some forty miles from Fort Hall.14 In a letter written by Miles Goodyear to his brother Andrew, dated November 1, 1842, he indicated that he "had employed his time trapping, trading and hunting for the past three years . . ." with equipment derived from the Hudson's Bay Company." Since Fort Hall was controlled by Hudson's Bay Company after 1837 it seems quite likely he was operating out of Fort Hall. His travels certainly took him into Utah, because he

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acquired a wife, Pamona, the daughter of Ute Chief Pe-teet­neet who lived in the vicinity of present day Payson, Utah sometime during this period. Since she had borne him two children by 1843 when Matt Field contacted him, Morgan presumes that he must have taken Pamona "into his lodge" by 1839.16 Shoshone "women and horses" had a reputation of being the best in the West, 17 but apparently Goodyear found this Ute squaw more to his liking. Field described her in 1843 as "a fat squaw with a broad, glazed leather St. Louis fireman's belt around her waist, marked `Central' in large gold letters." 18 Three years later a young Swiss immigrant, Heinrich Lienhard, pictured her as "a beautiful Indian woman not above doing the family wash." 19 One is left to wonder whether she went on a reducing diet during those three years or whether young Lienhard had a different concept of physical beauty than that possessed by Field. 20

It seems reasonable to surmise that Goodyear traveled in many parts of the Rocky Mountain area, learning the trade from older trappers, traders, and Indians during those years.

Goodyear apparently shifted his operations from Fort Hall to the Uintah Mountains by 1842, for he was at Fort Wintey (Uinta) in October when Marcus Whitman stopped there during his famous ride from Oregon to the States. Miles used the opportunity to write his family for the first time in eight years. His letter reveals an excellent ability to express himself in writing, and indicates his fondness for poetic expression, which he used effectively. It suggests a

Page 183

sense of pride in his possessions and a determination to "gain his fortune" before returning to his family in the East. 21 Apparently Goodyear shifted his operations to Fort Bridger at this time, since those whose journals mention meeting him were in the vicinity of that post. He was there in July of 1843 when a band of Arapaho and Cheyenne Indians made a raid on the horse herd there. Miles led in the pursuit of the raiders and gained a reputation for his courage and daring in this episode. 22 Talbot reported that he had heard "from all accounts that he (Goodyear) had run the gauntlet with great bravery," and that his man, Le Meuse, had "got the scalp of the Cheyenne that was killed, and sold it to Sir William Stewart." 23

In August, 1843, Goodyear accepted the invitation of Sir William Drummond Stewart to join his party in a pleasure excursion in the Green River Valley not far from Fort Bridger. Sir William had been part of the same company that Goodyear had come West with, and doubtless had become acquainted with young Miles in 1836. Now, seven years later, Stewart had returned from Scotland with a title and considerable wealth. He wanted one last fling in the West and invited some of the Mountain Men to share his pleasures. Goodyear and Jack Robertson are mentioned specifically along with "other trappers" who accepted Sir William's invitation and joined his party at present-day Fremont Lake, a few miles northwest of South Pass. Here they spent "great days of exploring and fishing and storytelling and drinking, culminating in three days of Rocky Mountain Racing." Goodyear placed second in a dramatic horse race described in detail by Matt Field. 24

The first indication that Goodyear intended to establish a trading post of his own is found in a news item in the

Page 184

Independence Western Expositor in September, 1845. He had traveled to St. Louis and was returning west to the mountains to build a "kind of a fort . . . and if possible make it a sort of half-way house between this and Oregon and California, where the companies may stop and refresh themselves and obtain supplies. . ." 25 He indicated that he intended to raise vegetables and grains as part of these supplies. He was ready to leave Fort Bridger to establish this post just at the time the Donner Party was preparing to venture over the newly-established Hastings cut-off, according to a letter written by James F. Reed, which Morgan believes clearly establishes the date of the founding of Ft. Buenaventura. This discredits legends that date the founding of the post as early as 1841 and also McBride's reminiscent account of having visited the fort in the summer of 1846.27 Reed's letter indicated that Goodyear had a partner in his new venture, an "Englishman by the name of Wills," but both Bryant and Egan give his name as "Wells." Bryant adds the title Captain to his name and states that he "once held a commission in the British army. He was in the battles of Waterloo and New Orleans. He was a man of about sixty, vigorous and athletic, and his manners, address, and general intelligence, although clothed in the rude buckskin costume of the wilderness, confirmed the statements in regard to him, made by himself and others." 28 Morgan wonders if this first meeting would justify such a partnership, but leaves the question unanswered.

Fort Buenaventura, apparently named after the legendary river of the Utah area, was.......

located on the Weber River about two miles above its junction with the Ogden River, a little south of what is now 28th Street, east and slightly

Page 185
north of a large sand mound. The site was magnificent, the rugged scarp of the Wasatch rising immediately to the east, and the broad Weber Valley sloping gently west to the distant band of shining water that was the Great Salt Lake. The fort consisted of about half an acre enclosed with pickets; as usual with the forts of the West, a log house stood at each corner of the enclosure, with adjoining corrals for the horses, cattle, sheep, and goats. This at any rate describes the fort as it existed in the fall of 1847, though some of the improvements may have been the product of a full year's labor.29

Miles M. Goodyear Cabin 1841-1847 when sold to CJB

Miles Goodyear sold this cabin to Captain James Brown in 1847-January 1848
Shrubs cleared away on left side.

Leaving his Ute wife and children together with his flocks, herds and Indian retainers with Captain Wells, Goodyear set out for California by the southern route and arrived in Los Angeles in January, 1847, just in time to sell his supply of dressed deer and elk skins to Frémont's ragged Battalion. Their quartermaster agreed to purchase Goodyear's entire supply, issuing vouchers in the amount of $1,225.50 in favor of Miles Goodyear. 30 Putting his capital to work, Miles purchased horses, perhaps several hundred, and with the aid of three Indians and four other companions, began a drive that was to take him to Sutter's Fort, through the Sierras to the Great Salt Lake and his post near Ogden, and on to Fort Bridger. It was while he was on his way to Fort Bridger that he made contact [July 10, 1847] with the Pioneer Company of the Mormon westward migration which was to bring thousands of settlers into the Great Salt Lake Valley, and was to force Miles Goodyear to make an abrupt change in his plans.

["July 10, 1847: Camp fires were discovered about 3 miles from our camp. G. A. Smith & others went over to them And found it to be Mr. Miles Goodyier & several others with him. Some were from Calafornia going back to the States. Mr Goodyier goes by the name of Miles though it is his Christian name. He has setled at the Salt lake. Has A garding & vegitation of all kind He says dong well. He spoke of 3 rodes to the Lake & talked about the Country. The Missourian that was going to the States came through the 80 miles drive without water or grass. Had to leave 5 of his mules on the road. Could not get any through. This is on the Calafornia road. The subject was brought up again concerning the emigant [Donner] Company who perished in the Mountains last winter. They were mostly from Independance & Clay County Missouri And were A mob company & threatened to drive out the mormons that were in Calafornia & started for Calafornia with that spirit in there hearts. But it seemed as though they were ripe for Judgement. The snows fell upon them 18 feet deep on a level & they died & eat up each other. bout 40 persons parished & were mostly eat by those who survived them. Mrs. L Murphy [1809-1847] of Tenn whom I baptized while on a mishion in that Country but since Apostized & joined the mob was in the company died or was killed & eat up. Her bones sawed to peaces for her branes & marrow & left strewed upon the ground." --Diary of Wilford Woodruff.

The Mormon leaders had heard that a man was "living and making a farm"" in Bear River Valley and were both pleased and displeased with the news. They were happy to know that food could be grown in that area, but were disturbed to learn that there were other settlers in

Page 186

the valley. They learned of his identity unexpectedly two days after they passed Fort Bridger when they came upon his camp on Sulphur Creek near the Bear River.32 Goodyear visited with the Mormons and told them about his post and of the area in general, and the following day, July 11, 1846, led several of the Mormons over the road that he thought was the best of two routes that had been used by the California immigrants of 1846. Leaving the Mormons, he continued on down the Bear River hoping to intercept travelers along the Oregon Trail in order to sell his horses.33

Brigham Young, the Mormon leader, after spending a month aiding his pioneers to establish a settlement in Salt Lake Valley, returned to the Missouri River encampment of the Mormons at Winter Quarters. Before leaving, he counseled Henry Sherwood to try to find the means to "buy out" Goodyear. This advice seemed especially urgent when some "saints" became dissatisfied with life in Salt Lake and headed north for Goodyear's post. Fearful that the Fort might be a gathering point for the dissatisfied and apostate Mormons in the area, the Mormon leaders determined to follow Brigham Young's advice. They found the means to do so when Captain James Brown, leader of Company "C" and then the sick detachment of the Mormon Battalion, rode into Salt Lake, from California, with $5,000 in gold, the back pay of the Battalion he had been sent to collect."

In the meantime, Miles Goodyear had been pleasantly surprised by a visit from his brother Andrew Goodyear, who arrived at Fort Buenaventura on November 13, 1847. He was carrying some letters sent by Brigham Young's party, which was returning to Winter Quarters, and so felt obliged to visit Salt Lake City as soon as possible. He and Miles rode into Salt Lake on the same day that Captain Brown returned from California with the back pay of the Mormon Battalion and apparently

Page 187

they began to negotiate for the sale of Fort Buenaventura. The deal was concluded on November 25, 1847, just a week after the initial contact, and Miles Goodyear disposed of his land (to which he held no legal title - Goodyear claimed he held a Mexican land grant), improvements and stock, with the exception of his horses, for $1950 in gold. 35 Goodyear's post was soon occupied by members of Brown's family, followed by other settlers, thus giving the area the nomer "Brownsville", and later re-named Ogden, the right to claim to be the oldest settlement in Utah, since Goodyear's fort was established in September of 1846, some ten months before the founding of Salt Lake City.

Miles Goodyear has been called "Utah's First Citizen," but his "citizenship" was short-lived, for after selling out to the Mormons he made another horse-buying trip to California and then became involved in one of the longest stock drives in U.S. history, driving some 230 horses all the way from the California ranchos to St. Joseph, Missouri, where he spent the winter of 1848-49. 36

It was here that Goodyear heard the first sensational reports of the discovery of gold in California, and having failed to sell his horses on his trip east, he decided to add to his herd and drive them back across the continent as soon as the weather permitted in the spring of 1849. He announced his intentions publicly in an interview which was printed in the Missouri Republican on March 30, 1849, in which he suggested the route "by the way of Kearny as the most practicable route." 37

Miles reached Ft. Kearny by May 17, 1849, and sent a letter to the Missouri Republican in which he described the "variety of conveyance" used by those heading for the gold fields and gave some practical advice concerning routes to follow after leaving South Pass. He signed the letter M.M.G. (A resident of the Prairie and Mountains, but now bound for Sierra Nevada's snowy fountains.)"

Page 188

He was at Ft. Laramie during the early part of June, and arrived at his former headquarters, Ft. Buenaventura, about July 1, 1849. He apparently decided to remain there and celebrate the 4th of July with old friends and, presumably, his wife and children. 39

William Kelly, an Irishman from Liverpool, happened to stop off at Ft. Buenaventura at this time, and gained the impression that Goodyear was a wealthy Mormon, who was "preparing to drive a large caballada of horses and mules to the California market. . ." 40 He later recorded in his journal that Goodyear had arrived with the "horses in a wretched state in spite of the early season." 41

Although Miles Goodyear had come to California as a horse trader, he later disposed of his horses and became infected with gold fever, eventually locating a bar in the Yuba River which proved to be a rich strike and became known as Goodyear's Bar. He erected a fine cabin for Andrew and himself, and then in anticipation of the rainy season, made a trip for supplies. The labor and exposure of the trip brought on a fever and he died on November 12, 1849, at the age of thirty-two. His brother Andrew carried out his last wish and buried his remains at Benicia, California, where he erected a monument bearing the following inscription:" 42

Here sleeps, near the Western Ocean's Wave


Page 179:
1 Charles Kelly and Maurice L. Howe, Miles Goodyear: First Citizen of Utah (Salt Lake City, 1937), 14-15.
Unfortunately, Kelly and Howe failed to document their work with footnotes, but their bibliography indicates use of the basic sources available. They do not hesitate to use their imagination when such sources are unavailable, however.

Page 180:

2. Ibid.

3 Dale Morgan, "Miles Goodyear and the Founding of Ogden," Utah Historical Quarterly, xxi (July, 1953), 196.

4. Kelly and Howe, op. cit., 17.

5 Grace Goodyear Kirkman, Genealogy of the Goodyear Family (San Francisco, 1899), 182, 189-90, as quoted in Morgan. Mrs. Kirkman's work is undoubtedly the source for much of Kelly and Howe's information of Goodyear's early years.

6 William H. Gray, History of Oregon (Portland, 1870), 113-14.

7 Ibid.

Page 181
8 Matthew Field, Prairie and Mountain Sketches (Norman, Okla., 1955), 148.

9. Kelly and Howe, op. Cit., 29. A wheeled cannon had been taken to the rendezvous at Bear Lake in 1827.

10 Gray, op. cit., 114.

11 Ibid.

12 Ibid.

13 Ibid.

14 Field, op. cit., 148.

15 Kelly and Howe, op. cit., 43.

Page 182
16 Morgan, op. cit., 200.

17 Kelly and Howe, op. cit., 36.

18 Field, op. cit., 156.

19 J. Roderic Korns, "West from Fort Bridger," Utah Historical Quarterly, xix (19501 194-5•

20 The Manti Home Sentinel, August 15, 1889, carried an article by an undesignated author which described Goodyear's wife as "a handsome Ute squaw whose native grace, beauty, and amiability won the admiration of all who knew her." See Utah Historical Quarterly, vi (July, 1933).

Page 183
21 Kelly and Howe, op. cit., 43-4 (Quotes the Goodyear Genealogy).

22 Field, op. cit., 138-9, 144.

23 Journals of Theodore Talbot (Portland, Ore., 1931), 43.

24 Field, op. cit., 150

Page 184
25 Dale Morgan, Overland in 1846 (Georgetown, Calif., 1963) 1, p. 280. 2

6 Morgan, Utah Historical Quarterly, xxi (July, 1953), 210-11.

27 Ibid., 212-13.

28 Ibid., 214. See also Ruxton of the Rockies (Norman, Okla., 1950), 210.

Page 185
29 Morgan, op. cit., 215, based on a letter from Andrew Goodyear printed in Kelly and Howe, op. cit., 42.

30 Edwin Bryant, What I Saw in California (New York, x848), 413.

31 William Clayton's Journal (Salt Lake City, 192x), 229.

Page 186
32 Journal 0f Orson Pratt, L.D.S. Millenial Star, xii (June 1, 1850), 163-4.

33 Morgan, op. cit., 314. 34 Ibid., 316-17.

Page 187
a Ibid., 318.

36 Ibid., 320-21.

37 Missouri Republican, March 30, 1849.

38 Morgan, op. cit., 324-5.

Page 188
39 Kelly and Howe, op. cit., 104-5. According to their account Miles "split his herd here, leaving sixty head of good animals in charge of Hector Haight, a Mormon, to be sold and the proceeds used for the support of his wife and children, as needed." The ultimate fate of Goodyear's wife and children is discussed at length by Kelly and Howe, op. cit., 122-9.

40 Wm. Kelly, Across the Rocky Mountains (London, 1852), 170.

41 Kelly and Howe, op. cit., 107-8.

42 Ibid., 112-13, 120.


PAF - Archer files = Captain James Brown bought Miles Goodyear's Fort Buenaventura late 1847 or January 1848, the area around the fort became Brownsville, then Ogden, Weber, Utah (in 1861-1863).

Add from --Heart Throbs of the West, Vol. 10, 1949, Pages 231. Miles meets Orin Porter Rockwell July 10, 1847.

Add: " Miles Goodyear and the Founding of Ogden" by Dale L. Morgan. Utah Historical Quarterly, Utah State History Society, Vol. XXI, July 1953, No 3, Pages 195-218 Part I, Pages 307-329 Part II. Includes signed photo of Miles M. Goodyear cabin between pages 198-199.

Add: "Miles Goodyear, Explorer" from DUP, Heart Thobs of the West, Vol. 12, 1951, pages 187-193. Map pg 188.

Add: "Two Types of Cattlemen- Miles Goodyear and Peg-Leg Smith.", Heart Throbs of the West, Vol. 12, pages 299-302.

"Mountain Men and the Fur Trade of the Far West - Biographical sketches of the participants by scholars of the subject and with introductions by the editor. Vol .II" by Eugene E. Campbell, Brigham Young University, under the editorial supervision of LeRoy R. Hafen, State Historian of Colorado, Emeritus Professor of History, Brigham Young University. The Arthur H. Clark Company, Glendale, CA. 1965. Pages 179-188.


"Women of the West", Page 27, regarding events in 1836, "In this stretch of the journey they added to their party: William Gray, an egocentric young man who, like Spaulding, would make a lot of petty trouble; a hired man to drive the wagons named Dulin; another Nez Perce youth; and a young man named Miles Goodyear, who was now a green horn but in these twilight years of the mountain men would make a name for himself....On May 24, 1836, they finally overtook the fur company caravan. Now at least their fears concerning Indian attacks were eased.....(Page 28)..Thoroughly fed up with the terrible struggle to bring along the [Narcissa] Whitman's wagon where no other wagon had gone, Miles Goodyear turned south at Fort Hall for Utah where he became the first white man to settle in that area." ISBN: 0-89087-911-7 by Dorothy Gray

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- (Diane Davis ) Emma Fife (child) 1871-1874

- (Diane Davis) Robert Nicol Fife (infant) 1873-1874

- (Diane Davis) Barnard Fife (infant) 1881-1881

- (Cynthia Abbott) Mary Lucina Fife Hutchins 1868-1950

- (Cynthia Abbott) Child Fife (infant) 1869-1869

- (Cynthia Abbott) David Nicol Fife 1871-1924

- (Cynthia Abbott) Joseph Stephen Fife (child) 1873-1878

- (Cynthia Abbott) James Abbott Fife (infant) 1877-1878


- (Diana) Caroline Lambourne 18461979

- (Diana)  Miles Park Romney 1843-1904

- (Jane) Emma Sarah Bodily 1858-1935

- (Jane) William Wilkie Galbraith 1838-1898

- (Elizabeth) Alexander F. Macdonald 1825-1903

- (Elizabeth) Elizabeth Atkinson 1841-1922

- (Eliza) Anne Kirstine Hansen 1845-1916

- (Eliza) James Niels Skousen 1828-1912

- (Angela) Maria Durán de Holguin 1876-1955

- (Angela) José Tomás Gabaldón 1874-1915












Contact Us:
Orson Pratt Brown Family Organization
P.O. Box 980111
Park City, Utah 84098-0111