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‘Doc Faust’ revered for character, interactions with Indians   PDF  Print  E-mail 
Written by Jaromy Jessop  
Friday, 25 November 2005


The Power of Accurate Observation

Is frequently called Cynicism

By those who do not have it

- George Bernard Shaw

Before I begin the topic of this week about another exemplary pioneer, I would like to take a moment to talk a bit more about these articles. I have had a lot of feedback from them, and most of it is positive. There are some however that become offended when things are suggested which run contrary to personal beliefs. If this has happened to you, I apologize as no offense is ever meant. I do not posses a Ph.D. in history and I do not claim to be above reproach.

I have just covered a lot of country on foot, mountain bike, and vehicle, and have spent a good bit of time reading and researching topics of personal interest. By writing these articles I simply want to share some good ideas for hiking, exploring, and a bit of history concerning individuals who settled this land and operated in and around it. I am not a proponent for the LDS (Mormon) church and similarly, I am not a hostile critic of that church either. When I approach a story I try to be as unbiased as possible based on information gathered from pioneer journals, library holdings, state historical and national archives and military records.

Hopefully, most people are enjoying these articles which I will continue to write until my brain runs out of gas on the subjects or the Transcript-Bulletin pulls the plug ... whichever comes first. Until then, if anyone comes across a discrepancy that they know is errant, I welcome the opportunity to become educated myself. Please contact me through the Transcript-Bulletin and I will respond to any such instances.

Now on to something infinitely more interesting & Henry Jacob Faust.

"Doc Faust" was born at Hetezeim near Krautsnauch, Germany on June 18, 1833. When he was 5 years old, his family immigrated to this country via New Orleans. His father died shortly thereafter and his mother took the family to Missouri. He received training there in the saddlery trade and then started studying medicine. He became very ill while at school and was advised that the western climate might be beneficial to his health, so he headed west in search of gold and fortune like many other a man in that time period.

While stopped at Fillmore, Utah, he was converted and baptized into the Mormon Church and on that same day he met his wife Elise Ann Ackerley. Doc Faust was an industrious individual and according to journals of the day, he burnt the first brick ever made in Utah. He was married on Oct. 12, 1856.

On a trip to Salt Lake City, he met Brigham Young and the church leader was much impressed with his character and commissioned him to carry the mail between Salt Lake and Los Angeles, which he did during the winter of 1857. In July of 1857, he was made station keeper and horse buyer at Rush Valley under Major Howard Egan. The station was soon known as "Faust's" station. Doc Faust had his hand in all kinds of industry and he bought some property in downtown Salt Lake where he constructed a large rock building from which he operated several sub-business, namely a livery stable.

This building is significant because it eventually housed the Federal Court chambers where Brigham Young was tried. In this instance, Brigham Young was charged by the territorial officers of living in polygamy. However, the judge in the case was living with a prostitute at the time of the trial. The prostitute said she would swear in court that she had slept with the judge so the judge ensured that the verdict in the case was "not guilty" that Brigham Young was living in polygamy. Everyone, everywhere knew that Brigham Young did have multiple wives though. Doc Faust and Porter Rockwell even had a "fast team hitched" outside the courthouse in case the verdict was guilty. It is interesting how all of these individuals crossed paths back in the day i.e. Rockwell, Egan, Faust, etc.

Doc Faust was an early explorer for the Pony Express trail and he helped Howard Egan organize and establish the route. He even built a dugway from Antelope Spring to Schell Creek (now known as Schellbourne Canyon) and it was known as "Faust's Cut-off". Doc Faust had many interesting experiences with the Pony Express and would fill in as a rider when necessary.

Doc Faust was not a full-fledged doctor. He had studied medicine with the intention of becoming a surgeon but had as previously stated, left school due to ill health. However, he had a natural ability for the medical arts and even though he did not posses the proper credentials, he saved many lives and alleviated much suffering. He dealt with the Indians in the area a great deal becoming fluent in their language. He used his skill and medical knowledge for their benefit at every opportunity. His daughter Elsie Ada Faust said in recollection of her father that "There wasn't a bone in the body he was not called upon to set. Hardly an infectious disease that he did not attend over and over again. He also performed sundry lancings, patchings, and stitchings , some of which were of a very serious nature."

He understood the Indian character thoroughly and he was much revered by them for his kindness and generosity. His wife Elise was not so sure at times as she stated "It was rather alarming at times to have a group of them, Bucks, Squaws, and Papooses of varying ages take possession of the front porch or come right into the house and ask for bread or sugar, which seemed to be their greatest desire. They smelt badly and their tawdry clothing was none too clean, and the way they dug at their bodies with their fingernails left one with a crawly sensation. But it had to be borne while "Pawst" talked and laughed with them and finally gave them some food and perhaps some small coin or trinket and sent them on their way."

This generous, caring attitude to the Indians of the area made Faust legendary among the Indians. They called him "Pawst" because there was no sound for "F" in their language. When Doc Faust's son George became ill and died, Indians from as far as 60 miles around, namely chief Pe-anum came to see "Pawsts" little chief be buried.

Doc Faust gave a great description of the Faust residence along the old mail route in Pleasant Valley, which gives you a good idea of how rough frontier life was for these intrepid pioneers "The roof was of dirt, the floors of dirt, a wagon cover made a carpet, the windows were glazed with a flour sack, the doors with blankets. The table was an end of a wagon, the chair a block of wood with three legs put in with an oxbow for a back and a cushion made of badger skin. The bedstead was made of quaking aspen poles put together with an axe and auger and rawhides cut into strips and stretched over the poles constituted the springs. The first stagecoach west from Salt Lake City brought Mrs. Faust to this stately mansion where she lived for nine months without seeing one white woman."

One of the most entertaining stories associated with Doc Faust is when famous writer Horace Greeley was crossing the continent by stage in 1859. The Fausts were ever starved of news of the outside world and when they got wind of the fact that Mr. Greeley was going to be coming, they hid all of the tallow candles because they knew that Mr. Greeley would lose himself in his books and papers and not talk much if they didn't. As it was, it turns out that Mr. Greeley, upon finding no reading light available, kept them up late that night telling them fantastic tales of adventure, literature and news of the day.

Doc Faust was also a first rate cattle man. He brought the first blooded stock into the state including Hereford, Galloway, Holstien and Durham cattle as well as draught horses. It is said that at one time he owned the finest racing horses in the state. He organized and was president of the Utah Cattle convention. Eventually he sold his stock and holdings in Rush Valley to Porter Rockwell and retired to Salt Lake. He died in 1904 in Los Angeles, Calif. Doc Faust was an incredible character and his adventures with the Indians, and the Pony Express could fill a volume.

The road leaving state Route 73 from Five Mile Pass state Route 36 that crosses the southern end of Rush Valley is commonly referred to as the Faust Road or "Faust's Cutoff" (not to be confused with the one previously mentioned that is in Nevada). If you follow this road you will be in the middle of "Doc Faust" country. His station was located one mile west of Meadow Creek where there is now a Pony Express marker. This is some very lonely country but it is pretty in its own way. Doc Faust: another great pioneer that helped to tame the Great American Desert.

Jaromy D. Jessop grew up in West Valley City where he attended Kearns High School and earned the Eagle Scout award while exploring the Utah Desert. A graduate of the University of Utah, B.S. in geography, U.S. Army Reserve Captain Jessop lives with his family in Dugway where he is employed by Jacobs Sverdrup at Michael Army Airfield.

Last Updated ( Friday, 25 November 2005 )



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