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Bill Thayer

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 [decorative delimiter] Class of 1837

Vol. I

(Born N. H.)

John W. Gunnison

(Ap'd N. H.)


John Williams Gunnison: Born Nov. 11, 1812.

Military History. — Cadet at the Military Academy, July 1, 1833, to July 1, 1837, when he was graduated and promoted in the Army to

Second Lieut., 2d Artillery, July 1, 1837.

Served: in the Florida War, as Ordnance Officer, 1837‑38; in the Cherokee Nation, 1838, while transferring the Indians to the West; as

(Second Lieut., Topographical Engineers, July 7, 1838)

Asst. Topographical Engineer in the Florida War, 1839, — on the improvement of Savannah and St. Mary's Rivers, Ga., 1840‑41, — on Survey of Lake Michigan, 1841‑42, and of Northwestern Lakes, 1842‑49,

(First Lieut., Top. Engineers, May 9, 1846)

— on Explorations in Utah and Survey of Great Salt Lake, Utah, 1849‑51, — and on Survey of Northwestern Lakes, 1851‑53; and in charge of Explorations and Survey of Central Route for Railroad from

(Captain, Top. Engineers, Mar. 3, 1853, for Fourteen Years' Continuous Service)

the Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean, 1853.

Massacred, Oct. 26, 1853, near Sevier Lake, Utah: Aged 41,

with seven of his exploring party, by a band of Mormons and Parvan Indians, his body being pierced by seventeen arrows, and otherwise horribly mutilated.​a

Thayer's Note:

a Whether there was Mormon complicity in the attack by the Parvan (i.e., Piute, Paiute or Pahvant) Indians — now usually referred to as the Gunnison Massacre — is a matter of controversy. According to most sources, he is buried in Fillmore, UT; others have it that he was buried near the site of the massacre itself, along with the half-dozen others who died there.

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Page updated: 11 Oct 10