Gobo Fango was born in the Eastern Cape Colony in what is now South Africa around 1855, just before the beginning of the eighth of the nine Xhosa Wars (Cape Frontier Wars) against British and Boer settlers. Fango was a member of the Gcaleka tribe, a sub-group of the Xhosa peoples. These frontier wars brought poverty and privation to the Xhosa people forcing his starving mother to abandon him at the age of three, leaving him in the crotch of a tree where he was found by the sons of Henry and Ruth Talbot, English-speaking settlers on the Cape Frontier. They claimed him and raised him as an indentured servant. Two years later, in 1857, the Talbot family was baptized by Latter Day Saint (LDS) missionaries. Shortly afterwards the Talbots sold their belongings and made preparations for the migration to Utah Territory. On February 20, 1861, they boarded the ship Race Horse, bound for Boston, Massachusetts and from there took a train to Chicago, Illinois. Arriving in Chicago on the eve of the Civil War, abolitionists accused the Talbots of bringing a slave across the free states, forcing them to hide the six-year-old under a passenger’s skirts until the search ended.
The Talbot family continued west through Iowa and to Florence, Nebraska Territory and outfitted wagons for their remaining trek to Utah. They arrived in Salt Lake City on September 13, 1861 and eventually settled in Kaysville, Utah, where Fango worked as a farm laborer for the Talbots. Because he slept in a shed, his feet were frozen, forcing him to walk with a limp for the rest of his life.
When Fango was a teenager, the Talbots sold him to the Lewis Whitesides family even though he was officially freed at the age of seven when the U.S. Congress abolished slavery and indentured servitude in all U.S. territories including Utah. Fango was sold again (illegally) to Ruth Whitesides Hunter and brought to Grantsville where he helped with the family’s sheep herding. By the early 1880s he had settled in the Goose Creek Valley in Idaho Territory. By