Major Powell sat on a chair in the middle section of the Emma Dean. From there he could better see over the rapids, and was able to warn the following boats of hazards, such as rocks, eddies, and debris carried by the river.
Man of vision, courage, determination, and decision. Born March 24, 1834, in Mount Morris, New York. His parents were immigrants from England. He was named after John Wesley, founder of Methodism. “Wes” was curious. He set a goal to become a naturalist, was not educated formally and worked on the family farm. As a teenager he did six months worth of cramming, then applied to become a teacher in a one roomed school. He got that job. Wes spent years gaining his self taught education, attended college for a few years, joined the Union Army, became a Major, married Emma Dean and became not only a naturalist, but a geologist, a historian, a botanist, an ethnologist, a surveyor, a college professor, a museum curator, an explorer and more.
Wife, devoted companion to John Wesley PowellEmma Dean was “Wes’s” constant companion. When he was wounded at the Battle of Shiloh, during the Civil War, she took over the duties of nurse and cared for him. When Wes traveled to Denver, Colorado, to gather flora and fauna for the Universities and Museums in the Eastern United States, Emma Dean was with him. On the second trip to Denver, the party stayed the winter on the White River, in crudely constructed cabins. Emma Dean was there. When Wes, decided to explore the Green and Colorado Rivers in 1869, Emma Dean, stayed in Chicago. On the second expedition, 1871- 2, she stayed in Salt Lake City, Utah, where their only child, a daughter, Mary Dean, was born.
Major Powell had a different feeling about the Native Americans than was often expressed by citizens of the West. He saw them as people, with a long human history, of struggle to survive. A people with ambitions, and hopes. In a letter of introduction, given for Jacob Hamblin, to the U.S. Indian agent for Southern Utah, Major Powell expressed a desire for the agency to consider the destitute condition of the Paiutes and to do something for them.Major Powell was interested in writing the Native American languages, for better communication and understanding between the Whites and the Indians. He started some of his men writing the Ute language, when they were snowed in at the White River in 1868.
An uncommon man, born with a love for the outdoors and a hunger to experience the natural world. A determined one armed man with a vision and a goal.