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Art Stone and Indian Friends

At age 20 Arthur Stone married and in about 1863 he built a rubble rock house fronting a 37-acre farm on the south side of 2nd Street across the street and a little to the east from his father’s farm. [1] In building this house he joined forces with his father and three brothers, and they built a sturdy rock house in a familiar English style with a cellar and an upper half story. At this time the other houses on 2nd Street were log and a few were adobe. [2] Arthur’s rock house was unique and was meant to be a very permanent, long-lasting structure. In 2020 Ogden City added this house to the Ogden Register of Historic Places.

Built c. 1863, this rock house was a gathering place for Art’s Indian friends; the present owners, Rick and Tammy Creeger, restored the house and made it eligible for the Ogden Register of Historic Places.
Built c. 1863, this rock house was a gathering place for Art’s Indian friends; the present owners, Rick and Tammy Creeger, restored the house and made it eligible for the Ogden Register of Historic Places.

“Art” was twelve years old when his family left England and was seventeen years old when his parents settled in Bingham’s Fort in 1858. From 2nd Street he could look into the Indian camps along the road and see young men practicing to be warriors. They would paint their faces with different colors of clay, ride bareback and practice horse maneuvers and target shooting, and yell war cries. There were numerous tribes of Indians encamped in the Meadows, and the wickiups of the chiefs were decorated with rows of scalps. Art was fascinated. [3]

By the 1860s Art had become a great favorite with the Indians. He was not a fatherly friend or benefactor, but a peer to certain Indian young men. They came to his house, and he went to their teepees.

On Sunday, when there was never any work in the fields, Art would be surrounded by his friends, and he participated in their games of all kinds. Sometimes it was riding horses, and Art had a wonderful riding horse; the saddle and bridle trappings were ornamented or embroidered beautifully with Indian handwork. He had a wonderful suit of buckskin with leggings, moccasins, etc. to match Everything he had seemed to be as nice as the chiefs’ sons. The Indians seemed to admire him greatly. His face was painted like the Indian’s faces as he joined them in their games, and sometimes it was hard to discern who was Indian and who was not. [4]

Art was a gifted musician and a fiddler for dances [5], and it was not unusual for Indian young men to come to the Mormon dances at the schoolhouse. However, the Indians never danced with white girls, just with each other or a white boy. It wasn’t unusual for boys to dance together as there were more boys than girls.

However, Art took a certain Indian friend with him to the dances who was handsomely dressed in white doe-skin, heavily embroidered and fringed. He was a beautiful dancer, and he danced with the white girls. The girls liked to dance with that Indian as he could dance as many fancy steps as any of the white boys. Indian women did not come to the dances. [6]

Art was a versatile fiddler. Old pioneers danced the English dances like the minuet, especially William Stone of England, Robert E. Baird of Ireland, and an old English couple living in the Hutchens’ tent. Younger folks like to step dance. Willard Bingham would start to step dance – others would join him until there would be a floor full of dancers. Not many would stay until the end because Turkey in the Straw goes pretty fast. Waltzing and quadrilling were also popular. [7]

Uncle Art Tries to Scare Them

A story from 1861 told by Mary Hutchens about her Uncle Art.

It was on a Saturday night because Mary, her brother Charles and sister Mel had all had their baths and had been put to bed while her mother washed their clothes. Her Aunt Sarah was staying with them at the time. Mary was still awake, so she must have been the last one to take a bath because she was watching her mother as she worked around the room talking to her Aunt Sarah, as their clothes hung on chairs before the fire in the fireplace drying.

All at once, the door opened and a terrible-looking something with a mask crawled into the room. It was dressed in a fringed jacket of buckskin, but it seemed to be in cased in a sort of skin tube or sack which extended to the feet, and then its feet protrude it in long fringed moccasins. The mask entirely covered the head; the face was a horrible shape. There were little slits for eyes and the nose was enormous, and the mouth was a wicked grin. Long hair covered the head and fringed the horrible mask face. Back of this crawling, squirming thing crowded several Indians in their fringed suits, and wearing masks also, but their masks were simply pieces of tanned skin in which were slits cut for eyes, nose, and mouth, and the mask was tied at the back of the head with buckskin leases.

Mary remembers her mother picking up the fire shovel immediately and raising it as though to strike, saying, “Art that’s you! You get right out of here, and don’t you scare my babies,” and she rushed to meet the intruders.

Sure enough, it was Eliza’s brother Art, and he called to her, “Eliza don’t strike me. Can’t you take a little joke?”

But he scrambled up, and the other Indians helped him out of the door, laughing at Art’s chagrin because Mary’s mother had gotten after them and had not been frightened at all. Mary always loved her Uncle Art. [8]


[1] - Arthur’s father, William Stone, established a cabin and farm in 1858 that is now Aspen Acres subdivision.

[2] - Fred N. Stone, A Reminiscent History of the Lynne Ward, 1934, manuscript, p. 2.

[3] - Autobiography of Mary Elizabeth Hutchens Sherner, Mary Elizabeth – Her Stories, dictated to her daughter Dorothy A. Sherner, manuscript, 1933, p 83.

[4] - Ibid, p. 2.

[5] - Editor Milton R.Hunter, Beneath Ben Lomond’s Peak, Daughters of Utah Pioneers, 1944, p. 139.

[6] - Autobiography of Mary Elizabeth Hutchens Sherner, p. 88.

[7] - Ibid, p. 1,24, 27; Norman F. Bingham, Lillian B. Belnap and Lester S. Scoville, Sketch of the Life of Erastus Bingham and Family, c. 1951, p.51.

[8] - Autobiography of Mary Elizabeth Hutchens Sherner, p 1.

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