George Staples

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The Story

George's Story

Lane Summerhayes, about his ancestor

When he was 14, George Staples left his family and home in England to join the Saints in Utah. He made it to the United States and joined a company of Saints, but as they crossed the plains, George caught mountain fever. He was nearly delirious and the lurching wagon was too painful, but the company had to keep moving or risk running into warring Sioux. Believing he was about to die, the company left him with a trapper.

That afternoon, a friendly band of Sioux stopped by the trapper’s home. A woman noticed George and asked if she could take and care for him. In the next few days, she and the tribal doctors nursed him with remedies the pioneers knew nothing about. Eventually George recovered and became a part of the tribe. For years, George lived as an honorary Sioux.

George became a legend. Other pioneers began telling stories about the white boy living as a Sioux. Eventually, a group from the Salt Lake Valley came looking for him. As they neared the tribe, George recognized a familiar face. With a wild whoop, he ran and fell into his father’s arms. Both father and son were thrilled to see one another, but George’s Sioux mother was devastated to lose her adopted son. So, before leaving with his father, George promised to return and visit his Sioux family.

He kept his promise.

(Maurine Proctor, The Gathering: Mormon Pioneers on the Trail to Zion [1996].)


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