The book, Piano Meadows by RG Bud Phelps, includes true historical events in the lives of Horace Tabor and Brigham Young.
Horace Tabor – The following is an excerpt from my book, but true history tells us that Horace Tabor did have two men work his claim in the same location referred to in the book. Maybe the partnership agreement was not exactly the same but Horace did make two men very wealthy after working his claim. Also, it is true history that he had a store and swapped supplies for mining claims or portions of claims. Anyway, the following gives you a sampling how his relationship started with two key characters in the book Piano Meadows.
“I’m Horace Tabor and I understand my friend Al Smith sent you here with a request to see me?”
“That’s right Sir, I got to know Al when I was panning for gold in the South Platte just before winter set it. I wintered with Tom Swanson in the Foxton area until spring.”
“When spring arrived Tom and I went down to Foxton to continue my prospecting for gold. That’s when Al told us you had left the South Platte area and were having some better luck over here in Leadville.”
honest men to partner with on this claim.”
“That’s true, and Al wouldn’t have given you that information unless he trusted you and reckoned I’d trust you too. Fortunately for you, I am presently looking for a couple of gentlemen I can trust to work a claim for me. Honest hardworking men are hard to find in these parts as most of the roughnecks over here would steal you blind. Al wouldn’t have sent you if he didn’t believe you were honest and hardworking men.”
“Mr. Tabor, Al did say you were one of the most honest and fair men that he had ever met and had a way to test the mettle of men. That’s all we really want, a chance to prove ourselves.”
“Since we will be working together please call me Horace, Mr. Tabor was my father. I have a supply store here in Leadville and have been very fortunate in building up my business as well as being able to stake a claim up California Gulch. I have been looking for two honest men to partner with on this claim.”
“Mr. Tabor, I mean Horace, Tom and I promise you that we our honest believers and will do whatever you require us to do while protecting your interests. Both of us pack pistols for short range protection and rifles for long range protection and they will be utilized at your command to protect your interest. We just want the opportunity to prove ourselves to you.”
Brigham Young – The following is an excerpt from my book, but true history tells us that Brigham Young did have a Gardner that I referred to in the book. William Staines was Brigham Young’s Gardner and Lorenzo Smith did live in Brigham City and was assigned the Box Elder Creek project by Brigham Young. True history is so fun to utilize in the development of a historical fiction story.
The first thing the three families noticed was, how this desert around Salt Lake City actually blossomed with thousands of orchards and vineyards, thriving in Utah, in what they felt was a fulfillment of Isaiah’s promise. Joshua felt blessed when he met William Staines, Brigham Young’s gardener, for the first time. Mr. Staines took Joshua on a tour showing pardonable pride in his development of the orchards and vineyards.
Because of Joshua’s interest, William asked, “Joshua, would you like to assist me in nurturing my desert gardens?”
“William, that would be a dream come true! I would be honored to assist you in whatever you would like me to do.”
“Well the orchards and vineyards have many dedicated gardeners however, I would like you to work closely with me in the development of additional orchards, reflecting on your experiences back in Illinois. Would you like to tour some of the orchards we have developed?”
“Yes, we certainly would like to tour your desert gardens! I couldn’t ask for a better opportunity than to help in the development of additional orchards! My two sons, Joseph and Jeremiah, assisted me in Illinois and they would also be available to assist you in whatever role you feel they could contribute.”
“That would be wonderful Joshua! Your sons would be welcomed to work alongside you on this orchard project that I have been praying about. I’m sure they have been trained well in the faith by you. You mentioned that Johnathan Jurgens and Ezra Jones were working with you back in Illinois. I suggest they be included, along with their sons, in this orchard development.”
William took the three men and their sons on a tour of the orchards and vineyards closest to Salt Lake City, and they marveled at all that had been accomplished. After finishing their tour William requested a separate meeting with just the three men. He wanted to explain what he had in mind for them in this future development of the orchards.
“Gentlemen, in 1853 Brigham Young gave Apostle Lorenzo Smith a special assignment. He was to take 50 families up to the Box Elder Creek area to organize a system of cooperative living in which the people would produce everything they consumed. Earlier I had talked to Lorenzo Smith about adding Apple orchards near the Box Elder Creek as an addition to the peach orchards that were already existing in his cooperative. Now, with your arrival and learning of Joshua’s leadership and experiences in planting and managing back in Illinois, I feel the three of you would be able to accomplish developing apple orchards in this fertile valley. I would like to take the three of you up to Brigham City to meet Lorenzo Smith.”
As they rode into the Box Elder Creek valley, William was so pleased that he would be able to bring Joshua and his sons, as well as Johnathan and Ezra, and their sons, to Lorenzo as an answer to their prayers. He also noticed the pleasure on Joshua’s face, knowing that his new friend understood the potential of developing an apple orchard right here in the Box Elder Creek valley. They rode on to Lorenzo Smith’s home and upon hearing their approach Mr. Smith came out to greet them. Smiling, Lorenzo said, “Welcome back William, it’s so good to see you.”