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Mountain Meadows Massacre Information


Mountain Meadows Massacre
Comprehensive History of the Church - B.H. Roberts

Responsibility for the Mountain Meadows Massacre
Comprehensive History of the Church - B.H. Roberts

Refutation of falsehoods appearing in the Illustrated American, January 9, 1891
Messages of the First Presidency - President Wilford Woodruff

A Great Tragedy - Emigrant trains in Utah & the Mountain Meadows Massacre
The Restored Church - William E. Berrett


HERE, in these chapters dealing with calamitous events of the period of 1851-7, may as well be considered that event which is the most lamentable episode in Utah history, and in the history of the church. I refer to the Mountain Meadows Massacre. The writer recognizes it as the most difficult of all the many subjects with which he has to deal in this History. Difficult because it is well-nigh impossible to sift out the absolute truth of the matter from the mass of conflicting statements made by witnesses and near witnesses of the affair; and equally difficult to reconcile the differences of contending partisans. Anti-"Mormon" writers have been determined to fasten the crime upon the Church of the Latter-day Saints, or at least upon her leaders; and also, as a rule, holding that in some way "Mormon" doctrine and "Mormon" church polity was responsible for the crime. On the other hand, church people who in all good conscience, and justly, resent this imputation against their church and its leaders, have been naturally slow to admit all the facts that history may insist upon as inevitable.

One of the most pathetic things connected with the case is that none of the Arkansas company of emigrants survived who were competent to relate the events as they saw them take place, since all were killed who could have had any certain memory of the circumstances, and it follows that the emigrants' story must be pieced together from the admissions and confessions of their murderers, Indians and white men, told at different times and under varying circumstances; prompted sometimes by self-interest, admissions and confessions alike, made in the hope of escaping censure, sometimes in the hope of avoiding the just consequences of participation in the crime; sometimes told in despair; and then again in the bitterness of revenge against some fellow participant who had betrayed the deed of blood; sometimes told haltingly, to shield those who may have been unwillingly brought into the wretched affair. And then some of these admissions, confessions, and relations have reached us only through second and third parties who have, in all probability, colored them to their own interested or biased views of the subject.

But at this point it is necessary to present, in outline, at least, the main facts in the case, before proceeding to the discussion of them.


The emigrants attacked at Mountain Meadows were a company made up chiefly of people from the state of Arkansas, and a few from Missouri, numbering in all about one hundred and forty souls, men, women, and children. They were reported to have been an exceptionally well-to-do company; with plenty of cattle, and horses and mules for teams, besides a number of loose cattle not subject to the yoke. Stenhouse, who describes the company from information supplied by a close gentleman friend [1] of his who traveled with them from Fort Bridger to Salt Lake City, speaks of them in highest praise. He declares that they were wealthy; [2] that in addition to the ordinary emigrant wagons they had several riding carriages; that in the main they were a collection of families closely related by the ties of consanguinity; that one of their number was a Methodist preacher, and that they were close observers of religious services night and morning, as well as upon the Christian Sabbath. This authority, and for their character we have no other that speaks directly for them, states that there was a company of Missourians traveling in proximity with the Arkansas company, who were "a rough-and-ready set of men, regular frontier Pioneers; the other [the Arkansas party] a picked company." [3] The Missouri contingent called themselves "Missouri Wildcats." [4] Bancroft dismisses the theory that there were two distinct companies by saying that "the truth appears to be that there were a few Missourians in the Arkansas party, as stated in Hutchings California Magazine." [5] It must have been that the "Missouri Wildcats" dominated the company as it made its way through southern Utah, and gave to it the general character it bears in Utah annals, which, as we shall see, is the very opposite to that given to it by Stenhouse and Kelsey.


This mixed company of Arkansas and Missouri emigrants arrived in Salt Lake City about the last of July and camped on the Jordan. It would appear that their arrival in the valley created no special interest as no mention of it appears in the Deseret News of the period, and Brigham Young declared that he only heard of its arrival by rumor. [6] The emigrants were encamped for some time on the Jordan, west of Salt Lake City, and were advised by Elder Charles C. Rich to take the route around the north end of Salt Lake, as being preferable to the southern road. The company was so far impressed with his advice that they went as far north as Bear river, then changed their minds and concluded to take the southern route. [7] In their journey the company passed through Provo, Springville, Payson, Fillmore and the smaller intervening settlements. No complaint is made against their deportment as emigrants until they reach Fillmore—a distance of about 150 miles south of Salt Lake City—and at Corn Creek, in Millard county—about 15 miles south of Fillmore. At the former place "they threatened the destruction of the town," says George A. Smith, "and boasted of their participation in the murders and other outrages that were inflicted upon the 'Mormons' in Missouri and Illinois." [8] At the latter place, Corn Creek, "they poisoned the springs and the body of an ox which had died. The carcass was eaten by a band of Pieds from the desert who were on a visit to the Pahvantes"—the local tribe of Indians. "I was informed by the people living at Meadow Creek, the nearest settlers to Corn Creek," continues our authority, "that ten Indians died from this poisoned meat, and that a considerable number of cattle also died from the poisoning of the water. Some of these cattle were fat, and the owners 'tried them up,' to save the tallow. A son of Mr. Robison of Fillmore, was poisoned from the handling of the meat, and died. Among the cattle that died of poison were several belonging to the Hon. John A. Ray. He, being at the time in Europe, Mrs. Ray attended to saving the tallow, and was so poisoned as to endanger her life and permanently injure her hand. * * * While passing through the lower settlements the emigrants boasted of their participation in the expulsion of the 'Mormons' from Missouri, and threatened to stop at some convenient point, and fatten their stock, that when the United States troops should arrive, the emigrants would have plenty of beef to feed them with, and would then help to kill every 'Mormon' that there was in the mountains. This course of conduct on their part, coupled with the rumor which they spread, that some four or five hundred dragoons were expected through on the Fremont trail (i.e. from California), whom they would join, caused them to be regarded by the settlers with a feeling of distrust." [9]


It is alleged that these emigrants could not purchase provisions in Salt Lake City, nor in the settlements through which they passed; that they were ordered by Brigham Young to leave Salt Lake City; that a courier preceded them, through the southern settlements, with written instructions for the settlers to have no dealings or intercourse with them. [10] This is contradicted, however, as we shall see later by the sworn statements of men who sold grain to the emigrants until they were satisfied and would purchase no more. Attention has already been called to the partial famine in Utah in 1855-56, and the necessity it enjoined upon the people of Utah, in their peculiar situation, to husband their food supplies, especially their grain. [11] In addition to the possibility of the recurrence of drought and grasshoppers, there was now an army approaching the territory, with no very clearly defined purpose, with no official notification of its purpose at all, or the fact of its having started, served upon the civil authorities of the territory; and in what it might eventuate no one knew, except that on the part of the Latter-day Saints there was a strong determination not to submit to oppression, even though that should involve them in another exodus from their homes; and as a preliminary step to such a possible eventuality, word was sent throughout the settlements to the people to carefully husband their grain; to feed none to their own stock, to sell none to passing companies of emigrants for that purpose, and for food supplies only sufficient to see them through to where they could purchase of other communities. [12]

Elder George A. Smith who had been at the national capital and in the eastern states for about a year, urging the claims of Utah for admission into the Union, returned to Salt Lake City in the summer of 1857, and as some members of his family lived at Parowan, and he had property interests in the southern settlements—it will be remembered that he was prominent in the founding of these settlements—he paid a visit to the south part of the territory. In his capacity of an elder in the church, and a member of the council of the twelve apostles, he gave counsel to the saints respecting the care of their grain, and the necessity of being prepared for possible emergencies. But in as much as Elder Smith went south in advance of the Arkansas emigrant company, he is the "courier" of the anti-"Mormon" writers; the one who went to instruct the southern settlements in the policy of non-intercourse with the emigrants, and refusal to sell them food supplies, [13] both of which charges Elder Smith by affidavit specifically denies, as he also denies that he knew even of the existence of the Arkansas company until he was returning from his journey to the south, and met them at Corn Creek, fifteen miles south of Fillmore. [14] President Young denied that the Arkansas emigrants had been ordered away from Salt Lake either by himself or any one in authority under him; or that any order had been given by him not to sell grain or to trade with the emigrant trains passing through Utah at the time. "Counsel and advice," President Young explains, "were given to the citizens not to sell grain to the emigrants to feed their stock, but to let them have sufficient for themselves if they were out. The simple reason for this was that for several years our crops had been short, and the prospect was at that time that we might have trouble with the United States army, then en route for this place, and we wanted to preserve the grain for food. The citizens of the territory were counseled not to feed grain to their own stock. No person was ever punished or called in question for furnishing supplies to the emigrants, within my knowledge." [15]

At Lee's first trial, July, 1875, Jesse N. Smith, for a number of years a member of the Utah territorial legislature, a prominent Pioneer in the southern settlements of Utah and later in Arizona, where he was elected a member of that territorial legislature, and was president of the Snowflake stake of Zion—Mr. Smith testified that he lived in Parowan in 1857, that he came to Utah ten years before. Saw the [Arkansas] emigrant train at the town above named [Parowan], sold them flour and salt, had flour to spare and asked if they wanted more; they wanted vegetables, but witness had none to spare. Saw George A. Smith in Parowan August 8th; he came in from the north, went down among the settlements, witness accompanying him. A meeting was held in every settlement. Witness attended them all. He [George A. Smith] deprecated selling grain and breadstuffs to feed to horses and mules. Never heard him in his public addresses allude to this train." [16]

Silas S. Smith, brother to the above witness, corroborated, in the main the statements given by Jesse N. Smith. "Heard nothing said to discourage the sale of provisions to emigrant trains for food;" and heard nothing said by George A. Smith "against allowing emigrant trains to pass through the country." [17]

Accompanying Geo. A. Smith northward their party met the Arkansas emigrants at Corn Creek where they were encamped, and where the Smith party camped also. Some of the emigrants visited the Smith party and made inquiries. Some one asked if the Indians would be likely to eat the flesh of an ox that laid dead near the camp, and was answered that most likely they would. [18] From Cedar Springs in Millard county, Silas S. Smith separated from his cousin, Geo. A. Smith, and returned southward to his home in Paragoona. When so returning he overtook the Arkansas emigrants at Indian Creek near Beaver, camped with and had supper with them. And heard the captain of the company called "Mr. Fancher." [19]

The Arkansas company passed through the "Mormon" settlements of Cedar and Pinto in the latter part of the first week in September and encamped at Mountain Meadows. [20]


The Mountain Meadows are situated about three hundred and twenty miles south and a little west of Salt Iake City. They are on the plateau which forms the rim of the basin, the watershed separating the streams that flow to the Colorado river, and those flowing northward to lose themselves in the semi-desert of the Escalante valley. The "Meadows" are really a narrow valley about five miles in length by one mile in width, narrowing down to a few rods in width at the southern end, through which the old emigrant road passed. Near the south end of the Meadows is a large spring, a short distance north of which the Arkansas emigrants went into encampment, expecting, according to reported outgivings of theirs, to remain there some time for the purpose of resting their cattle before commencing their journey through the desert and semi-desert country between them and southern California.


Meantime the effect of the bad conduct of this emigrant company while passing through the southern "Mormon" settlements and the adjacent Indian tribes had culminated in a great excitement among the latter, and of anger and resentment among the former. It was customary for the local leading men at Cedar and from the smaller settlements in its vicinity to gather in a council meeting after the close of the regular Sunday services of the church, to consider questions of local community interest. At such a meeting on the 6th of September the question concerning the conduct of, and what ought to be done with, the Arkansas emigrants was brought up and debated. Some in the council were in favor of destroying them, and others were not. Finally, and largely through the influence of Mr. Laban Morrill, it was "unanimously decided" in that council to suspend all hostile action relative to the emigrants until a message could be sent to Brigham Young to learn what would be the best course to pursue. [21] The next day James Haslem, a resident of Cedar at the time, was sent as such messenger to Governor Young. Word had come to Cedar before this express started for Salt Lake City that the Indians had the Arkansas emigrants surrounded at Mountain Meadows and John D. Lee (farmer to the Indians in southern Utah) wanted to know what should be done. [22] Haslem testifies that this was the substance of the message handed to him. [23] Haslem arrived in Salt Lake City in the forenoon of Thursday, the 10th of September. Governor Young after reading the message asked Haslem if he could stand the return trip; Haslem answered in the affirmative, and was then directed by the governor to take a few hours rest and then return with the answer that would be prepared. After several hours rest, Haslem presented himself to the governor and received a written message, unsealed, the governor saying to him as he prepared to ride away:—


"Go with all speed, spare no horse flesh. The emigrants must not be meddled with, if it takes all Iron county to prevent it. They must go free and unmolested." [24]


"President's Office,

G. S. L. City, Sept. 10th, 1857.

Elder Isaac C. Haight,

Dear Brother: Your note of the 7th inst. is to hand. Captain Van Vliet, acting commissary is here, having come in advance of the army to procure necessaries for them. We do not expect that any part of the army will be able to reach here this fall. There are only about 850 men coming, they are now at or near Laramie. A few of the freight trains are this side of that place, the advance of which are now on Green river. They will not be able to come much, if any farther, on account of their poor stock. They cannot get here this season without we help them. So you see that the Lord has answered our prayers and again averted the blow designed for our heads.

In regard to emigration trains passing through our settlements we must not interfere with them until they are first notified to keep away. You must not meddle with them. The Indians we expect will do as they please, but you should try and preserve good feelings with them. There are no other trains going south that I know of if those who are there will leave let them go in peace. While we should be on the alert, on hand and always ready we should always possess ourselves in patience, preserving ourselves and property, ever remembering that God rules. He has overruled for our deliverance this once again, and he will always do so if we live our religion, be united in our faith and good works. All is well with us. May the Lord bless you and all saints forever.

I remain as ever your brother in the Gospel of Christ


Haslem returned by relay of horses, arriving at Cedar on Sunday the 13th of September, and delivered his message from Governor Young to Isaac C. Haight, who as he read it, burst into tears and said:

"Too late, too late!"

"The massacre," adds Haslem, "was all over before I got home." [26]

Not only was a messenger sent to President Young in pursuance of the agreement of the council held at Cedar on the 6th of September, but messengers were also sent to leading men at Pinto, a small settlement within five or six miles of the Mountain Meadows, directing that the Indians be held in check until word could be received from Brigham Young with reference to the emigrants, and giving the information that a messenger was then starting for Salt Lake City. [27]


Meantime several hundred Indians had gathered at Mountain Meadows, and at break of day on Monday or Tuesday morning—began an attack upon the emigrant camp, [28] killing—it was afterwards learned—seven and wounding sixteen at the first volley. Though taken unawares the emigrants fought bravely and repulsed the Indians, killing several braves and mortally wounding two of their chiefs. This checked the attack, and afforded the emigrants an opportunity to draw their wagons into a close circle, sink the wheels to the hubs, and in the center of the enclosure dig a rifle pit large enough to afford protection to the whole party. They were in a state of siege.

Meantime the Indians sent runners into the surrounding country to gather more tribesmen, [29] and one to John D. Lee, urging him to come to the place of the conflict and lead them to victory. Lee crossed the mountains from his home at the settlement of Harmony, and arrived among the Indians, whom he reports as in a frenzy of excitement and demanded that he lead them in an attack upon the now intrenched camp, threatening if he did not do it they would declare war upon the "Mormons" and kill every one in the settlements.

Unfortunately for these statements we only have the word of Lee to support them, as he was the only white man up to this stage of the proceedings with the Indians, and he can never be accepted as a reliable witness. But according to his statements he induced the Indians to allow him to leave the vicinity of the Meadows to bring up more Indians from the south. Sixteen miles southward he met about one hundred Indians and a number of white settlers from the Santa Clara valley. The Indians proceeded forthwith to join their friends at the scene of conflict, the whites camped together with Lee that night, and moved on to the Meadows the next day. From the encampment which these whites formed near Hamblin's ranch, and at no great distance from the emigrant train, word was sent to Cedar detailing the situation. But whether that was a message asking for help to protect and save the emigrants and pacify the Indians, as claimed by Lee; [30] or a call for reinforcements to help effect their destruction; or a call for a gathering of more settlers for consultation to determine what could be done, and what it would be best to do, may not be determined, as Lee's statement cannot be trusted. The call, however, whatever its purport, brought to Mountain Meadows a number of white settlers from Cedar, on Thursday, the 10th of September, enough to swell the number of whites now there to between fifty and sixty, many of whom were but very young men.

That night and the following morning the fate of the emigrants was debated among the leaders of the settlers. One incident which may have been a large determining factor in the subsequent tragedy was the killing, the night before, of one of the emigrants by white men some distance from the emigrant camp. It appears that two men of the emigrant company on Wednesday left their camp in the Meadows, evaded the watchfulness of the Indians and were making their way to Cedar for help; at or near the settlement of Pinto they met three white men to whom they told their errand, but were immediately attacked and one of them was killed. The other escaped and returned to the emigrant camp, with his news, of course, that the white settlers were doubtless in league with the Indians for their destruction, since his companion had been killed by white men. Should any of the emigrants escape with that story to California, in the then excited state of mind towards the "Mormons," the likelihood would be that a military force would soon be moving upon them from the west as well as the one now invading the territory from the east. This is not said by way of palliation for the crime of the massacre which followed, but is mentioned as one of the important facts of the tragedy, and as one of the contributing causes, doubtless, to the decision arrived at that all of the emigrants should be killed who would be likely to retain any memory of what had occurred, or was likely to occur. [31]


This gives fear a large place among the motives that led to the crime of the Mountain Meadows. It has already been stated that the course of the emigrants in passing through the southern settlements had awakened the resentment of the people. Though much of their boasting about participation in the Missouri and Illinois "Mormon" troubles may have been the mere bravado of the "Missouri Wildcats;" and their threats against the then presiding "Mormon" leaders, and their expressed intention to return in force and destroy the Latter-day Saint settlements, may have been but the vain ranting of the reckless spirits of the camp, yet it was suicidal to indulge in that bravado and such ranting. It would have been so in any community who had suffered such injustice as the Latter-day Saints had suffered; with which suffering they were now taunted, and of which there was now—as the settlers viewed it—a threatened repetition, and in which repetition the reckless part of this company of emigrants expressed determination to participate. Such procedure even under normal conditions would have aroused resentments and led to trouble, and most likely to some acts of violence. But to make these boasts, and to indulge in these threats at a time when great excitement prevailed in the "Mormon" settlements, and the war spirit of the people was aroused by reports of the approach of an invading army whose purpose the saints were left to suspect by their cruel experiences with state troops in both Missouri and Illinois—for the Arkansas emigrants to indulge in boastings of past achievements with armed movements against the saints, to swagger and threaten a repetition of these things was, under all the circumstances, to invite calamity. And now that one of their number had been shot down by white men, and they had evidence that white settlers of Utah were leagued with the Indians, it doubtless made it easy for some of the leaders to persuade the white settlers gathered at Mountain Meadows to conclude that the emigrants if allowed to escape would be able to carry out their threat of returning from California with the necessary force to destroy the "Mormon" settlements. And so I say this fear became a weighty argument in determining the fate of the emigrant company. [32]

The fate of the emigrants was debated among the leaders of the white settlers at the Meadows; we need not attempt to trace the discussion in detail where there is so much that is unreliable on account of the character of the witnesses, and so much that is contradictory. Nor is it possible to know the distress and suffering of the besieged emigrants. It is known, however, that their suffering was very great. Their corral of wagons was some distance from the spring on the north side of which they had camped, and they could get no water without exposing themselves to the attacks of the Indians who watched the spring; and the same is true as to wood, though at intervals, and usually at night, both were obtained, but at great risk. Great and sickening must have been their consternation when they learned from their man who had escaped from the Pinto assault that white men as well as the Indians were arrayed against them.


After the discussion as to the disposition of the emigrants referred to ended, it appears that leading spirits among the white settlers who had assembled at Mountain Meadows determined upon the destruction of the emigrants; and in order that it might be accomplished without risk to themselves it was decided to decoy the emigrants from their fortified camp, disarm them and treacherously put them to death. The conception was diabolical; the execution of it horrible; and the responsibility for both must rest upon those men who conceived and executed it; for whatever of initiative may or may not have been taken by the Indians in the first assault upon these emigrants, responsibility for this deliberately planned massacre rests not with them.

A flag of truce was sent to the emigrant camp, carried by one William Bateman; he was met outside the camp by a Mr. Hamilton from the emigrant company, and an arrangement was made for John D. Lee to hold a parley with the emigrants and explain in what way they could be delivered from the vengeance of the surrounding Indian tribes. The terms were that the emigrants give up their arms; that the wounded be loaded into wagons followed by the women and larger children, the men of the company in single file coming after them. On condition of such surrender the white settlers were to give the emigrants safe conduct back to Cedar, where they would be protected until they could continue the journey to California in safety. The surrender was made by the emigrants; two wagons were brought to their camp and the arms and the wounded loaded into them, the procession formed, and the march toward Cedar began.


Meantime the Indians, several hundred in number, had been concealed in patches of scrub oaks and cedars behind a swell of the hillside, out of view from the emigrant camp, but beside the road over which this forming procession would move. A short distance from the emigrant camp the settlers from Cedar City and the Clara valley were drawn up in double file, and between the files the procession of wagons, women and children and men passed. The file of settlers was then changed from double to single order, an armed settler by this arrangement marching on the right of each unarmed emigrant man. When the wagons and the women and children had reached the stretch of road beside which the Indians were in ambush, the signal agreed upon was given, and in from three to five minutes the Mountain Meadows Massacre was made a horrible fact of history.

Only three men escaped the first deadly assault, and these were followed to the desert and killed. [33] Seventeen young children were all that were saved from the slaughter. From one hundred and fifteen to one hundred and twenty men, women and older children were slain, and then given but an imperfect burial.


The children that were saved were distributed among the settlers, but two years later they were gathered up by Mr. Jacob Forney, who succeeded Brigham Young as Indian agent for the territory of Utah, and were sent east where, as far as possible, they were given in charge of relatives or friends of the ill-fated emigrants, congress having in the meantime appropriated the sum of $10,000 for their recovery and restoration; [34] but most of them were received into and cared for by a child's orphanage in St. Louis.

The property of the emigrant company was seized upon by both Indians and white men, some of it being sold in Cedar, at public auction, and referred to as the "property taken at the siege of Sevastopol." [35] The same authority mentions a report that Lee, Haight, and Klingensmith counseled with Brigham Young "about what should be done with the property. They took with them the ready money they got from the surrender of the emigrants and offered it to Young. He said he would have nothing to do with it. He told them to divide the cows and cattle among the poor. They had taken some of the cattle to Salt Lake City when they went up, and after the talk with Brigham they sold these to the merchants there. Lee told Brigham that the Indians would not be satisfied if they did not have a share of the cattle. Brigham left it to Lee to make the distribution." [36] Of course these were merely the rumors current in southern Utah at the time (1859) Major Carleton wrote this letter from Mountain Meadows. In his deposition admitted in evidence at the second Lee trial, on the subject of the distribution of this property, President Young said:

"Eleventh Question—Did you ever give any direction concerning the property taken from the emigrants at the Mountain Meadows massacre, or know anything as to its disposition?

Answer—No, I never gave any directions concerning the property taken from the company of emigrants at the Mountain Meadows massacre, nor did I know anything of that property, or its disposal, and I do not to this day, except from public rumor." [37]


1. This "gentleman friend," according to Mrs. Stenhouse, was Eli B. Kelsey, Tell it All: The Story of a Life's Experience in Mormonism, by Mrs. T. B. H. Stenhouse, 1878, p. 325. Mr. Kelsey was an apostate "Mormon;" as was also Mrs. Stenhouse and her book, an anti-"Mormon" book.

2. Mr. Jacob Forney, who succeeded Brigham Young as Indian agent for the territory of Utah, reports that they had 600 head of cattle, 30 head of horses and mules. In Waite's Mormon Prophet, though upon what authority is not stated, that author puts the number of cattle at 800 head, 60 horses and mules, 40 wagons and 150 emigrants (pp. 65, 66). Forney in a letter to the commissioner of Indian affairs at Washington dated from Provo, March, 1859, estimated that $30,000 worth of property was distributed, after the massacre, "among the leading church authorities;" an estimate in the one case, and an unwarranted assumption in the other. (Senate Documents, 36th Congress, 1st Sess., ii, No. 42). Cradlebaugh estimated the value of the company's property at from $60,000 to $70,000. Beadle, quoting Dr. Brewer of the United States army, who saw this train at O'Fallon's Bluff on the Platte, on the 11th of June confirms Stenhouse's account as to the ease and leisure with which the company traveled, referring to it as "probably the finest train that had ever crossed the plains," and that there seemed to be "about forty heads of families" (Life in Utah, p. 179). Major Carleton confirms the party being a wealthy one. "This train," he remarks, "was undoubtedly a very rich one. It is said the emigrants had nearly 900 head of fine cattle, many horses and mules, and one fine stallion valued at $2,000; that they had a great deal of ready money besides." (Carleton's Report to Major W. W. Mackall from Mountain Meadows, May 25th, 1859, Hand Book of Mormonism, pp. 67-69).

3. Tell It All, Mrs. Stenhouse, p. 325.

4. The Rocky Mountain Saints, Stenhouse. Stenhouse was an apostate "Mormon" and his book anti-"Mormon."

5. Vol. lv, p. 345. See Bancroft's History of Utah, pp. 544-5, note 3.

6. Brigham Young's Deposition, read and accepted in evidence at John D. Lee's second trial, September, 1876.

7. See Mountain Meadows Massacre, p. 7, by Elder (later in the apostles' quorum and counselor in the first presidency) Chas. W. Penrose, 1884, p. 7; also Bancroft's History of Utah, p. 547; also Tullidge in Millennial Star, vol. xxxix, p. 785; see also Interview with President Brigham Young, in New York Herald of May 6th, 1877, copied into Deseret News of May 12, 1877. The interview is a very long one, and important for the data it contains as to conditions in Utah at the time of the massacre.

8. This, however, may have been mere bravado, as there is no evidence beyond their reported boasts that they were connected with those events, though, in addition to the above statement, both Laban Morrill and Joel White testified that the emigrants were alleged to have boasted that they had "killed old Joe Smith." (See the testimony of Morrill and White at second trial of John D. Lee, September, 1876). Bancroft quotes Lee as saying that the Arkansas emigrants had publicly boasted that they "had the very pistol with which the Prophet Joseph Smith was murdered and had threatened to kill Brigham Young and all the apostles." Lee represents Isaac C. Haight as charging the emigrants with even more serious offenses such as "that they had insulted, outraged and ravished many of the Mormon women; that they had burned fences and destroyed growing crops; that at many points on the road they had poisoned the water springs; that it was their intention to return from California with soldiers as soon as possible and they would then desolate the land and kill every G—d—ed Mormon, man, woman and child, that they could find in Utah," etc., etc. (See Bancroft's History of Utah, p. 549, note. Mormonism Unveiled, Lee's Confession, pp. 218-219). It should be remembered, however, that John D. Lee in his confession was seeking excuses for his own atrocious deeds.

9. It must be remembered by the reader that at this time—summer of 1857—a force of United States troops were en route for Utah to suppress a supposed rebellion against federal authority in Utah; and it was the coming of these troops the emigrants referred to, and whom they threatened to reinforce by joining those troops that were expected from the southwest over Fremont's trail, to form a juncture with the eastern force in demonstration against the "Mormons."

The quotations in the text of the history are from a letter addressed to President Brigham Young, by Geo. A. Smith, dated at Parowan, August 17, 1858, about one year after the massacre occurred, and is recorded in the History of Brigham Young, Ms., under the entry for Sept. 9th, 1857 (pp. 481-489), with the following explanatory note: "This is the day on which it is reported that the horrible Mountain Meadows Massacre by the Indians occurred [in reality it took place two days later], an account of which was written in a letter from George A. Smith to President Brigham Young, dated nearly a year after the terrible transaction." Then follows the letter in full. George A. Smith at this time was the representative to the council of the territorial legislature from the council district in which the southern settlements were located; and it was in the capacity of council representative that he conducted his investigations, and made his report to Brigham Young. It is a most valuable historical document on account of its having been written within a year of the event which, in the main, it treats; and because it represents the view of the massacre reported to Geo. A. Smith, which those who had engaged in it were evidently desirous should be the accepted version; and lastly on account of the high character of the author of the letter, George A. Smith, and his official standing in the community—member of the apostles' quorum in the church, church historian, and member of the legislative council of the territory.

10. Rocky Mountain Saints, pp. 432-3. Though Stenhouse here quotes an anonymous writer, "Argus," in the Corinne Reporter, a Gentile paper, published at the town of Corinne, about fifty miles north of Salt Lake City, yet Stenhouse vouches for him, knows who he is and holds that the "Open Letter" of "Argus" to Brigham Young was written by one of such standing as to make it worthy to be admitted into a serious history, (The Rocky Mountain Saints, p. 430, note. See also for alleged treatment of these emigrants by settlers, letter of Jas. H. Carleton, brevet major first dragoons, U. S. A., from Mountain Meadows encampment, May 25, 1859, Hand Book of Mormonism, pp. 67-69, anti-"Mormon," a compilation of miscellaneous documents).

11. See chapter xcix.

12. See Deposition of Brigham Young, received as evidence in the second trial of John D. Lee, at Beaver, Sept., 1876, Court Record of the trial; also affidavit of Geo. A. Smith. (Ibid). These documents are also to be found in Mormonism Unveiled, where the Court Record of the second trial of John D. Lee is given in large part, chapters xxi, xxii, and xxiii.

13. "What had they [the Arkansas emigrants] done * * * that a courier should be sent ahead of them bearing your [Governor Young's] written instructions to the Mormons, on said company's line of travel to have no dealing or intercourse with them; thus compelling [condemning (?)] them to almost certain starvation on the deserts." ("Argus," quoted by Stenhouse, Rocky Mountain Saints, pp. 431-2-3).

14. See Smith's affidavit, second trial of Lee. "Deponent further saith, that as an elder in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, he preached several times on his way south, and also on his return, and tried to impress upon the minds of the people the necessity of great care as to their grain crops, as all crops had been short for several years previous to 1857, and many of the people were reduced to actual want, and were suffering for the necessaries of life.

Deponent further saith, that he advised the people to furnish all emigrant companies passing through the territory with what they might actually need for breadstuff, for the support of themselves and families while passing through the territory, and also advised the people not to feed their grain to their own stock, nor to sell to the emigrants for that purpose.

Deponent further saith, that he never heard or knew of any attack upon said emigrant train until some time after his return to Salt Lake City, and that while near Fort Bridger he heard for the first time that the Indians had massacred an emigrant company at Mountain Meadows." (See also, in confirmation, affidavit of Jesse N. and Silas S. Smith, Court Record of John D. Lee's first trial, July, 1875, and Deseret News of Aug. 4th, 1875).

15. Affidavit, Brigham Young at Lee's first and also second trial, Court Record; also Deseret News, for 4th Aug., 1875, where the deposition is given at length. This deposition was presented at both the first and second trial of Lee, but was only admitted at the second trial.

16. Court Record, Lee's first trial, testimony of Jesse N. Smith, Salt Lake Tribune report of trial, pp. 33-34. Deseret News, August 4th, 1875.

17. Ibid. Silas Smith was equally prominent, with his brother, in both the civic life of the territory of Utah, and in the ecclesiastical life of the church. Elected to the territorial legislature in 1859, he served almost continuously in the house and council for twenty years, much of which time he was bishop of Paragoonah. In 1879 he led a party of Pioneer settlers into what is now called San Juan county, southeastern Utah, and founded the city of Bluff and other settlements. Subsequently he removed to San Luis valley, Conejos county, Colorado, where a number of Latter-day Saint settlements were being organized into a stake of Zion, of which he was made the president; and in which capacity and for the colonists he purchased some 20,000 acres of land at public sales, and secured titles for the people, and established them in prosperous settlements in the state of Colorado.

18. Elisha Hoops, who was a member of the Smith party when at Corn Creek, testified at the first Lee trial that he heard the inquiry respecting the likelihood of the Indians eating the dead ox; and also testified that just as the party he was with was starting out in the morning, he saw a German doctor traveling with the Arkansas train stick a knife into the carcass of the dead ox in question in three places and pour something in the cuts out of a vial. (See Court Record, testimony of Elisha Hoops; also Deseret News of Aug. 4, 1875; see also a statement of Historian George A. Smith under the title Account of the Mountain Meadows Massacre, History of Brigham Young, Ms., entry for 25th of Nov., 1864, pp. 879-883). On the other hand it is alleged that the poisoning of dead cattle resulted from their having eaten a poisonous weed that grows in southern Utah. Jacob Forney, who succeeded Brigham Young as Indian agent for the territory, makes this as an explanation in his report to the government and cites the case of the ox of Mr. Ray (referred to by Geo. A. Smith in this chapter as being killed by drinking from the springs poisoned by the emigrants) as being so killed while the Arkansas emigrants were in the neighborhood of Corn Creek (Senate Documents, 36th Congress, 1st Session, ii, No. 42, p. 76. Forney's Report was made in September, 1859). It is further asked what motive the Arkansas party could have for thus inviting the hostility of the Indians. The only answer, if any, would be the general contempt in which western emigrants held the Indians, the lightness in which they regarded the act of taking their lives, culminating in that most wretched of all aphorisms of the mountains and the plains—"The only good Indian is a dead one."

19. Deseret News, Aug. 4, 1875.

20. There is some conflict in dates as to the time of the arrival of the emigrants at the Meadows, and also as to the date on which the massacre occurred. For instance, "Argus," whom Stenhouse quotes, places the time of the massacre on the 15th of September, instead of the 11th. (Rocky Mountain Saints, p. 431). And Josiah F. Gibbs, author of Lights and Shadows of Mormonism, places the first attack upon the emigrants on the 19th of September (p. 223), saying, however, that the dates "are somewhat mixed."

21. Court Record, second trial of John D. Lee, testimony of Laban Morrill.

22. The message he was to carry was read to Haslem by Isaac C. Haight, then sealed up. The messenger carefully concealed it upon his person and began his journey. (Haslem's affidavit, Mountain Meadows Massacre, Penrose, p. 86).

23. See also affidavit of Haslem given 12th of January, 1885, before Joseph Howell, notary public at Wellsville, Utah. Mr. Howell later was representative to congress from the state of Utah. The testimony of Haslem is not given at length in the court proceedings in the second trial of Lee, but a synopsis only. See the court proceedings as reported in Mormonism Unveiled, compiled and edited by Lee's counsel, William W. Bishop, containing Lee's alleged confession and a full account of his second trial. Haslem's testimony as recounted there stands as follows: "James Haslem testified that he went as a messenger from Haight to Brigham Young, and that Brigham Young sent back word that 'those men must be protected and allowed to go in peace.' He got back with the message Sunday after the massacre, and reported to Haight, who said, 'It is too late.'" (Mormonism Unveiled, pp. 322-3). In the Deseret News daily report of the trial while in progress, the synopsis of Haslem's testimony was more extended and contained the words to be used presently in the text. In consequence of the detailed testimony of Mr. Haslem not being given in full in the Court Record, an attorney, S. A. Kenner, Esq., took his testimony in the form of questions and answers on the aforesaid 12th day of January, 1885, as above cited. The testimony will be found in extenso as a Supplement to The Mountain Meadows Massacre, by Charles W. Penrose, 1884.

24. Report of Lee trial, while it was in progress, Deseret News of Sept. 20th, 1876. Also Haslem affidavit, Supplement to Penrose's Mountain Meadows Massacre, pp. 94, 95. Haslem also said he knew the contents of the written answer. (News report, Ibid).

25. Church Business Letter Book, No. 3, above copied from original impression.

26. Haslem's testimony, Mountain Meadows Massacre, Supplement, p. 95. Haslem's ride stands among the foremost of such achievements. He had ridden over six hundred miles in six days, and largely through a wilderness country.

27. See Haslem's affidavit, Ibid, p. 102. Joel White and Philip Klingensmith were entrusted with this message to Pinto. En route they met, near Cedar City, and going towards it, John D. Lee. They acquainted him with the nature of their mission and message, to which Lee answered: "I have something to say about that." (Testimony of Klingensmith, at Lee's first trial, July, 1875, Court Record; and testimony of Joel White at Lee's second trial, Court Record, September, 1876).

28. Lee says the first attack was made on Tuesday morning. (Confession, Mormonism Unveiled, p. 226). Others place it on Monday morning, Sept. 7th. See Linn's Story of the Mormons, p. 521; Bancroft's History of Utah, p. 550).

29. The following statement is from the report of Hon. George A. Smith, to Brigham Young, on Aug. 17, 1858: "When the attack was made on the emigrant party, the Indians sent out runners to the various bands in every direction, to gather additional help. The news reached the settlement at Cedar through that means. Ahwonup, the Piede chief at Parowan, received an invitation to join the foray against the emigrants. He went to Colonel Dame to tell him what he was going to do, upon which the colonel succeeded in inducing him and the most of his warriors to abandon the project." (History of Brigham Young, Ms., entry for 9th Sept., 1857, pp. 481-9).

30. Lee's Confession, Mormonism Unveiled, p. 229.

31. Lee's Confession, Mormonism Unveiled, p. 235; also Lee's second trial, Court Record, testimony of Jacob Hamblin. Lee states that two men left the camp, Hamblin reports that Lee told him that there were three, and that two escaped. (Ibid).

32. Nearly all anti-"Mormon" writers mentions as motive for "Mormon" bitterness, or "animus" against the Arkansas company, the murder of Elder Parley P. Pratt in Van Buren county, Arkansas, and name revenge for his death as a motive for the crime at Mountain Meadows, Stenhouse viciously and wickedly saying, in this connection, that "the Indian is not the only human being who fails to discriminate between the innocent and the guilty." (Rocky Mountain Saints, p. 428). And even Bancroft attributes "Mormon" "disfavor" for the Arkansas company to "the murder of a well-beloved apostle of the Mormon church." (History of Utah, p. 545). Yet there is not a scintilla of evidence that justifies in the remotest manner any such suggestion, much less any such conclusion. Elder Pratt was killed on the 13th of May, near the line, between Indian territory and the state of Arkansas, and on which side of it is not quite certain, and while news of his death had reached Salt Lake City before the departure southward of the Arkansas company, no particulars of that sad event were known in Utah, as the eastern mail service between Independence and Salt Lake City had been suspended for several months; and there were no feelings of revenge existing in Utah against Arkansas citizens on account of the Pratt murder. Equally vain are the attempts to connect the Mountain Meadows tragedy with alleged threats made by Brigham Young in his conversation with Captain Van Vliet, and with which Bancroft's chapter on the massacre opens. In that conversation Brigham Young said: "If the government persists in sending an army to destroy us, in the name of the Lord, we shall conquer them. If they dare to force the issue, I shall not hold the Indians by the wrist any longer, for white men to shoot at them; they shall go ahead and do as they please. If the issue comes, you may tell the government to stop all emigration across this continent, for the Indians will kill all who attempt it." (History of Brigham Young, Ms., entry for 9th of September, 1857). This conversation is said by Bancroft to have occurred upon the 9th of September, two days later the massacre, over three hundred miles distant, took place. "In the absence of telegraph and railroads it would be impossible," Bancroft concedes, "to execute a deed three hundred miles away in two days." But as a matter of fact this Young-Van Vliet interview, in which the above statement occurs, took place on Sunday, the 13th of September, two days after the massacre at Mountain Meadows. (See Woodruff's Journal, Ms., entry for 13th September, 1857). Brigham Young's words to Captain Van Vliet constituted a warning instead of a threat.

33. There is some conflict as to the number of men who escaped the first assault. Lee says three escaped, but Indians were put upon their trail and they overtook and killed them (Mormonism Unveiled, p. 244). Forney reports that three escaped, but they were overtaken and killed. (Senate Documents, 36th Congress, 1st Session, ii, No. 42, p. 89). Cradlebaugh says two escaped and fled to the desert, but were followed and finally overtaken and killed, one of them 150 miles from the Meadows. (Congressional Globe, Appendix, 37th Congress, 1862-3, p. 123). Burton condensing from official reports tells of three escaping from the first assault, but being taken and killed. (City of the Saints, p. 340, note).

34. See Bancroft's History of Utah, pp. 557-8, and Forney's Report in Senate Documents, 36th Congress, 1st Session, ii, No. 42, passim, Appendix, p. 123. Relative to the charge made by some anti-"Mormon" writers that the children were ill-cared for and poorly clad by the people who had charge of them in Utah, it is only necessary to quote Forney's report on this point: "It is proper to remark that when I obtained the children they were in a better condition than children generally in the settlements in which they lived." (Senate Documents, 36th Congress, 1st Session, ii, No. 42, pp. 87, 89). All the official reports deny the charge that the children were left in the custody of the Indians.

35. Letter of Major James H. Carleton to Major W. W. Mackall, assistant adjutant general, U. S. A., San Francisco, Cal., from Mountain Meadows, date of May 25, 1859, Hand Book of Mormonism, p. 67, et seq. "The property of the emigrants was taken to Cedar, where it was put up at public auction and sold." (Report of Captain R. P. Campbell to Major F. J. Porter, Senate Documents, 36th Congress, 1st Session, vol. ii, p. 208). Hon. George A. Smith's report to Brigham Young states concerning the conduct of the Indians in seizing upon the emigrant property that on the arrival of Colonel Haight at the Meadows he found "the Indians were pillaging and destroying the property, and driving off the cattle in every direction; each one endeavoring to secure to himself the most plunder, without respect to others. When they had secreted one back load in the hills, they returned and got another, thus continuing with the most unremitting energy till everything was cached." (History of Brigham Young, Ms., 1857, pp. 481-9).

36. Carleton's Report. Also Life in Utah, Beadle, p. 184, and Stenhouse in Rocky Mountain Saints, p. 452; and Cradlebaugh's speech, Congressional Globe, 37th Congress, 3rd Session, Appendix, p. 123.

37. Court Record, second Lee trial, Sept., 1876, Deposition of Brigham Young.
(Source: B. H. Roberts, A Comprehensive History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Vol. 4:139-159)


RESPONSIBILITY for the Mountain Meadows Massacre is a subject of gravest importance. About two weeks after the tragedy, being urged thereto by Isaac C. Haight, John D. Lee visited Salt Lake City to report what had been done at Mountain Meadows to Governor Young. According to Lee's statement, he made a full report of all that had been done. [1] According to Governor Young's deposition at the second trial of Lee, he (Governor Young) refused to hear the story in detail. [2]

Wilford Woodruff was present at this interview, and at the time set down in his most excellent daily journal what took place, and this may be relied upon as being more accurate than anything that would be remembered in subsequent years. Following is his record of the interview:

"29th [September, 1857]. We have another express in this morning, saying that the army are rapidly marching towards us, will soon be at Bridger, and they wish men immediately sent out. Elder John D. Lee also arrived from Harmony with an express and an awful tale of blood. A company of California emigrants, of about 150 men, women and children, many of them belonging to the mob in Missouri and Illinois, had been massacred. They had many cattle and horses with them. As they traveled along south, they went damning Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball and the heads of the church, saying that Joseph Smith ought to have been shot a long time before he was. They wanted to do all the evil they could, so they poisoned beef and gave it to the Indians, and some of them died. They poisoned the springs of water, several of the saints died. The Indians became enraged at their conduct and they surrounded them on the prairie, and the emigrants formed a bulwark of their wagons, and dug an intrenchment up to the hubs of their wagons, but the Indians fought them five days until they killed all the men, about sixty in number. They then rushed into their corral and cut the throats of the women and children, except some eight or ten children which they brought and sold to the whites. They stripped the men and women naked and left them stinking in the boiling sun. When Brother Lee found it out he took some men and went and buried their bodies. It was a horrid, awful job. The whole air was filled with an awful stench. Many of the men and women were rotten with [unnameable disease] before they were hurt by the Indians. The Indians obtained all the cattle and horses and property, guns, etc. There was another large company of emigrants who had 1,000 head of cattle, who was also damning both the Indians and the 'Mormons.' They were afraid of sharing the same fate, and Brother Lee had to send interpreters with them to the Indians to help save their lives, while at the same time they were trying to kill us. We spent most of the day in trying to get the brethren ready to go to the mountains [i. e. brethren going out to resist the approach of Johnston's army]. Brother Brigham while speaking of the cutting of the throats of women and children by the Indians down south, said that it was heart-rending; that emigration must stop, as he had before said. Brother Lee said that he did not think there was a drop of innocent blood in their camp, for he had two of the children in his house, and he could not get but one to kneel down in prayer-time, and the other would laugh at her for doing it, and they would swear like pirates. The scene of blood has commenced, and Joseph said that we should see so much of it that it would make our hearts sick." [3]

From this statement of Woodruff's Journal, as also from President Young's own deposition in which he states that he refused to hear Lee's story in detail, it is clear that Brigham Young, unfortunately, as I think, did not then get the full account of the great crime. Also it is to be noted that John D. Lee most likely was not anxious to tell the whole story of white men's presence and responsibility in the massacre, as he had to be "urged" by Isaac C. Haight to report the affair to Brigham Young at all, although Lee was the local Indian agent, and Haight had no connection with that department. It is quite evident from Woodruff's account of the interview of Lee and Governor Young that the former did not report any white men as being connected with or responsible for the massacre.

It appears from all the circumstances that it was the intention of the white men engaged in the tragedy to place the responsibility for it upon the Indians. This is emphatically the assumption of the formal report made by George A. Smith to President Young in 1858, about one year after the event; as will be observed from the following letter which I quote entire because of the civil and ecclesiastical standing of its author; for he was not only one of the apostles' quorum in the church, but also he was a member of the legislature—to the council—from the district in which the unfortunate affair had occurred; and his letter was in the nature of a report from a member of such "council district."


"Parowan, Aug. 17, 1858.

President Young,

Dear Sir:—I have recently canvassed the precincts in my council district. I have been enthusiastically received, and listened to by the people, with seeming pleasure. I have gathered some information in relation to the difficulties between the emigrants and Indians, which terminated in the horrible massacre at Mountain Meadows.

It appears that the emigrants, who passed over this route last fall, conducted themselves in a hostile manner towards the Indians, as well as the citizens. While at Fillmore they threatened the destruction of the town, and boasted of their participation in the murders and other outrages that were inflicted upon the 'Mormons' in Missouri and Illinois.

While camping at the sink of Corn Creek, fifteen miles beyond Fillmore, they poisoned the springs and the body of an ox which had died. The carcass of the ox was eaten by a band of Piedes from the desert, who were on a visit to the Pahvantes.

I was informed, by the people living at Meadow Creek, the nearest settlers to Corn Creek, that ten Indians died from eating this poisoned meat, and that a considerable number of cattle also died from the poisoning of the water. Some of these cattle were fat and the owners "tried them up" to save the tallow. A son of Mr. Robinson, of Fillmore, was poisoned from the handling of the meat, and died. Among the cattle that died of the poison, were some belonging to the Hon. John A. Ray. He being in Europe, Mrs. Ray attended to the saving of the tallow and was so poisoned as to endanger her life, and permanently injure her hand.

This party of emigrants consisted of some fifty or sixty men. They were attacked in the fore part of September by Indians, near what is called the 'Cane Spring,' about forty-five miles beyond Cedar City, which was the most southern settlement of any importance on the way to California.

While passing through the lower settlements the emigrants boasted of their participation in the expulsion of the 'Mormons' from Missouri, and threatened to stop at some convenient point, and fatten their stock, that when the United States troops should arrive, the emigrants would have plenty [of] beef to feed them with, and would then help to kill every 'God damned Mormon' that there was in the mountains.

This course of conduct on their part, coupled with the rumor which they spread, that some four or five hundred Dragoons were expected through on the Fremont trail, whom they would join, caused them to be regarded by the settlers with a feeling of distrust.

When the attack was made upon the emigrant party, the Indians sent out runners to the various bands in every direction, to gather additional help. The news reached the settlement at Cedar through this means. Ahwonup, the Piede chief at Parowan, received an invitation to join the foray against the emigrants. He went to Colonel Dame, to tell him what he was going to do, upon which the colonel succeeded in inducing him and most of his warriors to abandon the project.

At this time another company of emigrants fired upon a party of Pahvantes in the neighborhood of Beaver, some thirty-five miles north of Parowan, and wounded one of them. This occurrence created so much excitement among the Pahvantes of that region, that they were determined to exterminate those emigrants, which was only prevented by a detachment of militia sent from Parowan, by Colonel Dame, who effected a compromise with the Indians, and guarded that company safely from that place to the Vegas, some three hundred miles.

No news of the attack at the Mountain Meadows had reached Parowan except the Indian rumor, until it was too late for Colonel Dame to take any measures to relieve the company, which was some sixty miles distant. On the 6th of September I understand that rumor reached Cedar that the emigrant train had been attacked in camp by the Indians at Mountain Meadows, that several of the emigrants and Indians had been killed and others wounded, and that more Indians were gathering from various parts in considerable numbers, being very much exasperated

Immediately upon the arrival of this intelligence, Major Haight dispatched some interpreters to conciliate the Indians. The interpreters left Cedar the same evening, and when they arrived the next day at the scene of the difficulty, they found the Indians in a state of intense excitement, in consequence of the killing and wounding of some of their men. The interpreters sought to conciliate them, but they threatened them with death if they did not either leave immediately, or turn in and help them, accusing them of being friendly to the emigrants, or 'Mericats,' as they called them. The Indians said that if the interpreters attempted to go to the emigrants' camp, they would kill every one of them. Finding that their services could avail the emigrants nothing, the interpreters returned to Cedar, after a ride of some 80 miles on the same animals, and dallying most of the day with the Indians, and reported the condition of the camp.

On the 9th Major Haight, with a party of about 50 men, started from Cedar City to endeavor to relieve the emigrants, and arriving at Mountain Meadows the next morning, found the Indians had killed the entire company, with the exception of a few small children, who were with difficulty obtained from them. The Indians were pillaging and destroying the property and driving off the cattle in every direction; each one endeavoring to secure to himself the most plunder, without respect to the others. When they had secreted one back load in the hills, they returned and got another, thus continuing with the most unremitting energy, till everything was cached.

Major Haight and party found the bodies of the company stripped of their clothing, and scattered along the road for half a mile. The party obtained a few spades from a ranch about six miles distant, and buried the dead as well as they could, under the circumstances. The ground was hard, and the party being destitute of picks, and having but a limited number of spades, the pits could not be dug to a very great depth.

From the appearance of the camp ground the wagons, previous to the attack were scattered promiscuously, but the emigrants, upon being attacked, gathered most of them into a close circle, inside of which they dug two rifle pits.

It appears that on the 9th the Indians withdrew from the siege; that, towards evening, the emigrants left their camp and started back towards Hamblin's ranch, and that after proceeding about half a mile and one (sic!), they were again attacked and slain except the children above mentioned.

It is reported that John D. Lee, and a few other white men were on the ground during a portion of the combat, but for what purpose, or how they conducted themselves, or whether, indeed, they were there at all, I have not learned.

It is supposed that there were upwards of two hundred warriors engaged in this massacre. A large number of the emigrants were killed with arrows, the residue with bullets, the Indians being armed with guns, as well as bows and arrows.

The Indians also killed some horses and a large number of cattle which lay scattered over the plain. This was probably done in accordance with their custom requiring a sacrifice to be sent along with their departed warriors.

Some sixteen or eighteen children were preserved from death, and placed in the charge of families, where they were well cared for. The prejudice that these emigrants had themselves excited during their passage through the territory, contributed not a little to inspire in the minds of the people an indifference as to what the Indians might do, but nobody dreamed of or anticipated so dreadful a result. There were not a dozen white men living within thirty miles of the spot where this transaction occurred; and they were scattered, two or three in a place, herding cattle. Mr. Hamblin, the nearest settler, was in Great Salt Lake City at the time, and the stock at his ranch was in the custody of his children and two or three Indian boys.

It was the impression of Major Haight that the interpreters would succeed in bringing about a compromise to enable the emigrants to buy the Indians off. For the citizens to have attacked and killed the Indians, in defense of the emigrants, would have been little less than suicide, as you are well aware of the exposed condition of the southern settlers, and the annoyance to which the Indians, who had been subjected for many years by emigrants killing them, as they passed through the Indian country.

I have been told that since this transaction many of the Indians who had previously learned to labor have evinced a determination not to work, and that the moral influence of the event upon the civilization of the Indians has been very prejudicial.

Considerable improvements have been made in every settlement, except Cedar, during my absence from this district. The failure of the iron company to make iron satisfactorily has caused a large number of the operatives in that department to seek employment elsewhere, thereby much reducing the population of that city.

I have given you the substance of the information I have received from various individuals during my canvass, and I regret exceedingly that such a lamentable occurrence should have taken place, within the limits of this territory.

Your friend and well wisher,

[Signed] "Geo. A. Smith." [4]

Three things in this semi-official communication, apart from the general implication and assumption that the deed of which it treats was altogether the work of the Indians, and those three things tend to disprove the main idea in the report that the massacre was the sole work of the Indians: These are, first, that "sixteen or eighteen children were preserved from death." This is not customary for Indians to do in war or in their murders; they do not spare children—especially of uniformly young age, as in this case; that was not the act of savages. Second, the demoralizing effect the massacre had upon the Indians: "Since the transaction [i. e. massacre] many of the Indians who had previously learned to labor have evinced a determination not to work; * * * the moral influence of the event upon the civilization of the Indians has been very prejudicial!" Inevitable consequence! For they had seen that their white neighbors, instructors in industry, had been capable of an act of treachery and savagery equal to their own, even if not more treacherous and murderous. Surely there could be no more white man's moral and spiritual influence over the red men after what the latter had witnessed at Mountain Meadows! Third, the cautious admission that "report" gave it out that John D. Lee and some other white men were present at the affair: "It is reported that John D. Lee and a few other white men were on the ground during a portion of the combat, but for what purpose, or how they conducted, or whether indeed they were there at all, I have not learned." This a year after the crime was perpetrated; and is the only indication from the whole report that white men were present at the massacre! But previous to this, and "soon after" the event, the presence of Lee and other white men at the massacre and even somewhat of their participation in it had been made known in Salt Lake City.


Jacob Hamblin, a reputable witness, testified at the second Lee trial that "soon after it [the massacre] happened," he reported to Brigham Young and George A. Smith what Lee had told him of the affair; of the part that white men had taken in it; and that in greater detail than he had given it, or was able to give in his testimony in court, because he then more clearly remembered it; and that Brigham Young said to him that "as soon as we can get a court of justice we will ferret this thing out, but till then, don't say anything about it." [5] All this seems to have been forgotten in the Smith "report."

It must be remembered that at the time of Hamblin's report everything was in a state of chaos in Utah; an army was within the borders of the territory on the east, the purpose of which was not clearly known; the territory was under martial law by proclamation of the governor de facto, Brigham Young; and the people were making preparations for the destruction of their settlements and another flight into the wilderness. Hamblin makes an important statement in his biography respecting the action of Governor Young in regard to this tragedy, locating the incident to be related as happening "soon after the United States Army had entered Salt Lake valley;" and the army entered the valley on the 26th of June, 1858.

Following is the incident which occurred:


"It is generally known that the enemies of the Latter-day Saints have accused them of shielding from justice the white men, who, it was supposed, joined with the Indians in the Mountain Meadows Massacre. Mr. Cumming succeeded President Brigham Young as governor of Utah territory in the early spring, before the arrival of the United States army in Salt Lake valley.

President Brigham Young requested Elder George A. Smith to have an interview with the new governor, and learn his views concerning the Mountain Meadows Massacre, and assure him that all possible assistance would be rendered the United States courts to have it thoroughly investigated.

Brother Smith took me with him, and introduced me as a man who was well informed regarding Indian matters in southern Utah, and would impart to him any information required that I might be in possession of. He also urged upon Governor Cumming the propriety of an investigation of this horrid affair, that, if there were any white men engaged in it, they might be justly punished for their crimes.

Governor Cumming replied that President Buchanan had issued a proclamation of amnesty and pardon to the 'Mormon' people, and he did not wish to go behind it to search out crime.

Brother Smith urged that the crime was exclusively personal in its character, and had nothing to do with the general officers of the territory, and, therefore, was a fit subject for an investigation before the United States courts.

Mr. Cumming still objected to interfering, on account of the president's proclamation.

Brother Smith replied substantially as follows: 'If the business had not been taken out of our hands by a change of officers in the territory, the Mountain Meadows affair is one of the first things we should have attended to when a United States court sat in southern Utah. We would see whether or not white men were concerned in the affair with the Indians.'" [6]


The reasons for Brigham Young not acting more promptly and vigorously in the matter, and the general conditions then prevailing in the territory are thus stated by himself in his deposition admitted in evidence at the second Lee trial:

"Twelfth Question—Why did you not, as governor, institute proceedings forthwith to investigate that massacre, and bring the guilty authors thereof to justice?

Answer—Because another governor had been appointed by the president of the United States, and was then on the way to take my place, and I did not know how soon he might arrive, and because the United States judges were not in the territory. Soon after Governor Cumming arrived, I asked him to take Judge Cradlebaugh, who belonged to the southern district, with him and I would accompany them with sufficient aid to investigate the matter and bring the offenders to justice."


It is often charged that Brigham Young made no report of this massacre to the government; he at least made such report of it as John D. Lee, in his capacity as farmer to the Indians in the locality where the event occurred, sent to him in writing. Governor Young had made a report on general conditions and current accounts to the Indian department at Washington on Sept. the 12th, 1857. Lee supplemented his verbal report to Governor Young—already considered,—by a written one from Harmony, his home in Iron county, under date of November 20th, 1857, in which the Lee version of the massacre was given.

The written report of Lee so far as it relates to the Arkansas company of emigrants is as follows:

"HARMONY, WASHINGTON CO., U. T., November 20th, 1857.

To His Excellency Governor B. Young, Ex-Officio and Superintendent of Indian Affairs:

DEAR SIR:—My report under date, May 11th, 1857, relative to the Indians over whom I have charge as farmer, showed a friendly relation between them and the whites, which doubtless would have continued to increase had not the white mans (sic!) been the first aggressor, as was the case with Captain Fancher's company of emigrants, passing through to California about the middle of September last, on Corn Creek, fifteen miles south of Fillmore City, Millard county. The company there poisoned the meat of an ox, which they gave the Pahvant Indians to eat, causing four of them to die immediately, besides poisoning a number more. The company also poisoned the water where they encamped, killing the cattle of the settlers. This unguided [sic!] policy, planned in wickedness by this company, raised the ire of the Indians, which soon spread through the southern tribes, firing them up with revenge till blood was in their path, and as the breach, according to their tradition was a national one, consequently any portion of the nation was liable to atone for that offense.

About the 22nd of September, Captain Fancher and company fell victims to their wrath, near Mountain Meadows; their cattle and horses were shot down in every direction, their wagons and property mostly committed to the flames." [7]

Then in an official letter to Hon. James W. Denver, commissioner of Indian affairs, Washington City, D. C., under date of January 6th, 1858, Governor Young as superintendent of Indian affairs, quoted as follows from Lee's report:

"'About the 22nd of September, Captain Fancher & Co. fell victims to the Indians' wrath near Mountain Meadows. Their cattle and horses were shot down in every direction; their wagons and property mostly committed to the flames."

This quotation the governor followed by the following comments:

"Lamentable as this case truly is, it is only the natural consequence of that fatal policy which treats the Indians like the wolves, or other ferocious beasts. I have vainly remonstrated for years with travelers against pursuing so suicidal a policy, and repeatedly advised the government of its fatal tendency. It is not always upon the heads of the individuals who commit such crimes that such condign punishment is visited, but more frequently the next company that follows in their fatal path become the unsuspecting victims, though peradventure perfectly innocent." [8]


Following the ill-fated Arkansas company, came one several days later of about the same size, captained by a man of the name of——-Duke, and hence it was known as "Duke's Train." They had some trouble with the Indians near Beaver. Lee's written report to Governor Young, which mentions the Mountain Meadows affair—quoted above—states that Duke's company "had many of their [the Indians] men shot down near Beaver City; [9] and had it not been for the interposition of the citizens at that place, the whole company [Duke's] would have been massacred by the enraged Pahvantes." From this place they were protected by military force, by order of Colonel W. H. Dame, through the territory, besides providing the company with interpreters, to help them through to the Las Vegas. On the Muddy, some three to five hundred Indians attacked the company, while traveling, and drove off several hundred head of cattle, telling the company that if they fired a single gun that they would kill every soul. The interpreters tried to regain the stock, or a portion of it, by presents, but in vain. The Indians told them to mind their own business, or their lives would not be saved. "Since that occurrence no company has been able to pass without some of our interpreters to talk and explain matters to the Indians." [10]

Hon. George A. Smith also reports this second company:

"At this time [i. e., about the time of the massacre] another company of emigrants fired upon a party of Pahvantes in the neighborhood of Beaver, some thirty-five miles north of Parowan, and wounded one of them. This occurrence created so much excitement among the Pahvantes of that region, that they were determined to exterminate those emigrants, which was only prevented by a detachment of militia sent from Parowan by Colonel Dame who effected a compromise with the Indians, and guarded that company safely from that place to the Vegas, some three hundred miles." [11]

This company is also spoken of by Jacob Hamblin, and he it was who selected the interpreters to go with the emigrants through the Indian country. The Indian tribes on the Muddy, however, taxed Duke's company heavily in cattle for the otherwise peaceful passage through their country, taking from them four hundred and eighty head, but the company continued its journey in safety to California, while the two interpreters, "Brothers Knight and Leavitt," who had safely conducted them beyond danger, returned to the Santa Clara settlements. "As soon as possible,' says Hamblin's Narrative, "I talked with the principal Indians engaged in this affair, and they agreed that the stock not killed should be given up. I wrote to the owners in California, and they sent their agent, Mr. Lane, with whom I went to the Muddy, and the stock was delivered to him as the Indians had agreed." [12]

Still later in the autumn of 1857, Hamblin piloted safely through the southern Indian country a company made up chiefly of merchants who had been doing business in Salt Lake City; but who, not desiring to be involved in the difficulties between the "Mormons" and the United States, then pending, were now fleeing to the eastern states via California and the Isthmus of Panama. The company carried with them a letter from Brigham Young to Hamblin directing him to see that the company was safely conducted to California, which was done. [13]


When the new United States judiciary for the territory of Utah, who, with Alfred Cumming as governor of the territory, were finally installed in their offices; [14] and when through the investigation of Indian Agent Jacob Forney he reported that "the massacre in question was concocted by white men and consummated by whites and Indians," it could but follow that the judiciary would seek to bring to judgment the guilty parties, notwithstanding the attitude assumed by Governor Cumming in refusing to investigate the matter as represented by Jacob Hamblin, and President Young. Accordingly Judge Cradlebaugh, to whom was assigned the southern judicial district, and who held his first term of court at Provo, opening on the 8th of March, 1859, called the attention of the grand jury he impannelled to the Mountain Meadows Massacre and also to some other homicides that had been committed at Springville, in Utah county. "To allow these things to pass over gives a color as if they were done by authority," said the judge significantly and accusingly; and then added:

"The very fact of such a case as that of the Mountain Meadows shows that there was one person high in the estimation of the people, and it was done by that authority; and this case of the Parrishes [The Springville homicides] shows the same; and unless you do your duty, such will be the view that will be taken of it. You can know no law but the laws of the United States and the laws you have here. No person can commit crimes and say they are authorized by higher authorities, and if they have any such notions they will have to dispel them." [15]

This was proceeding upon an unwarranted assumption, and of course gave offense. The grand jury not moving with that alacrity in these matters that the impatience of the judge demanded, after two weeks in session, and while still in deliberation, they were summoned into court, roundly lectured by his honor and summarily discharged "as an evidently useless appendage of a court of justice." [16] The judge announced that the court would "think of the propriety of venireing another grand jury," and concluded as follows:

"When this people [meaning the Mormons] come to their reason, and manifest a disposition to punish their own high offenders, it will be time to enforce the law also for their protection. If this court cannot bring you to a proper sense of your duty, it can at least turn the savages in custody loose upon you." [17]

The grand jury failing to indict according to the suggestions of the judge of the district, the court proceeded to issue bench warrants based upon sworn information, and the United States marshal for the territory aided by a military posse made some arrests of parties charged with committing the Springville homicides, and doubtless a like policy was intended to be pursued with reference to the perpetrators of the Mountain Meadows Massacre.

In the evident furtherance of such a project Judge Cradlebaugh, after closing his term of court at Provo, accompanied by a small detachment of United States troops, commanded by Captain Reuben P. Campbell, and by a deputy marshal, visited the southern part of the territory, including the Santa Clara valley, Mountain Meadows, Cedar City and all the surrounding settlements. En route the judge met the Indian Agent Forney returning from his investigations, with the surviving children of the massacre. Forney gave to Judge Cradlebaugh the names of a number of white men reported to be prominent in the affair at the Meadows. The judge and his deputy marshal made inquiries among the Indian tribes of the Santa Clara, and of the people at Cedar, and surrounding settlements, with the result that a formidable list of the names of men prominent in military, civil, and ecclesiastical life were enrolled as being connected with the tragedy. [18] At this juncture, however, Captain Campbell's command was recalled by the commanding General A. S. Johnston, as by instruction from the war department at Washington, "the services of the army in connection with the civil affairs of this territory—are to be invoked only to assist in the 'execution of the sentences of the law, or the judicial decrees of the court;' and then only on the written application of the governor when the service of a civil posse are found to be insufficient." [19] This put an end to the judge's overzealous civil-military activities as associate justice of Utah. He soon afterwards was appointed over the judicial district that included Carson valley, where he became one of the prime movers in the creation of the territory of Nevada from the western half of Utah, and was twice elected delegate to congress from the new territory; and in the national house of representatives continued his anti-"Mormon" attacks upon the leaders of the Church of the Latter-day Saints in the matter of the Mountain Meadows affair. [20]

Of this Cradlebaugh effort to probe into the Mountain Meadows affair, Agent Forney, who, earlier in the summer of 1859, had been zealous in the support of Judge Cradlebaugh, [21] in a letter to the commissioner of Indian affairs at Washington, in August, wrote:

"I fear, and I regret to say it, that with certain parties here there is a greater anxiety to connect Brigham Young and other church dignitaries with every criminal offense than diligent endeavor to punish the actual perpetrators of crime." [22]

That continued to be the sentiment of those who manifested any interest in the matter of the Mountain Meadows affair; but fourteen years will pass away before another official agitation of the matter occurs, and eighteen years before the most conspicuous leader in that horrible crime is led to the Mountain Meadows by officers of the law and the death sentence of the court executed upon him at the scene of his great crime. [23] Of all those who participated in the massacre he alone was brought to execution. How meager the retribution in this world when weighed against the repulsive perfidy practiced against those emigrants, and the largeness of the crime!. But the end is not yet—"the murderer hath never forgiveness:" "Vengeance is mine, I will repay, saith the Lord;" [24] and in his own time and way he will doubtless be the minister of his own retribution. "Some men's sins are open before hand, going before to the judgment, and some men they follow after." [25] This much, and only this need to be said here, both in respect of this great crime of the Mountain Meadows and of other deeds of blood perpetrated in those troubled, and unsettled years of Utah's history, [26]n men's worst passions were highly wrought upon by memories of past injustice, and by threatening portents of oppression yet to come—of all this it will be enough to say, let the finger of accusation point at whom it may, and the just verdict of history pronounce guilty whom it will, this much I hold to be clear, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints bears no stain, and carries no responsibility for bloodshed at any time or any place. Her law was announced from the beginning, by the Son of God, saying:

"Behold, I speak unto the church. Thou shalt not kill; and he that kills shall not have forgiveness in this world, nor in the world to come. And again I say, thou shalt not kill, but he that killeth shall die. * * * And it shall come to pass, that if any person among you shall kill, he shall be delivered up and dealt with according to the laws of the land; for remember that he hath no forgiveness, and it shall be proven according to the laws of the land." [27]

Such the law of the church, and whosoever has violated that law of God or whosoever shall violate it in the future, he and not the church which forbids his wickedness, is responsible to God and to the laws of the land for his crime. And when Brigham Young said to Jacob Hamblin, after he had listened to the latter's report of the part Lee and other white men had taken in the crime, "As soon as we can get a court of justice, we will ferret this thing out, but until then don't say anything about it;" [28] when later Brigham Young sent Jacob Hamblin and George A. Smith to Governor Cumming—as already detailed in this chapter, to "learn his views concerning the Mountain Meadows Massacre, and assure him that all possible assistance would be rendered to United States courts to have it investigated;" [29] when Brigham Young, soon after Governor Cumming arrived in Utah, went to him and "asked him to take Judge Cradlebaugh, who belonged to the southern district, with him," and that he [Brigham Young] would also "accompany them with sufficient aid to investigate the matter and bring the offenders to justice"—when President Young did these several things he had up to that time fulfilled his moral obligations to the church and to the state.

In 1870, through some representations made by Elder Erastus Snow and Bishop L. W. Roundy, who had been meantime investigating the crime of the Mountain Meadows, President Brigham Young became convinced of the absolute responsibility of John D. Lee in that affair. Also of Isaac C. Haight's responsibility for failing to restrain Lee and to take prompt action against him, since he was Lee's superior officer in the church. These representations were made to President Brigham Young on the occasion of his visit to the southern settlements in the aforesaid year of 1870; and on his return to Salt Lake City the matter was taken up at the meeting of the twelve apostles, the facts laid before them, and "President Young himself proposed, and all present unanimously voted, to excommunicate John D. Lee and Isaac C. Haight." "President Young gave instructions at that time that John D. Lee should, under no circumstances, ever be again admitted as a member of the church." [30]

Later, when some of the accused were before the secular court, and Lee was tried and found guilty, Sumner Howard, the prosecuting attorney, in closing his plea in the case against Lee, said:

"He had had all the assistance any United States official could ask on earth in any case. Nothing had been kept back, and he was determined to clear the calendar of every indictment against any and every actual guilty participator in the massacre, but he did not intend to prosecute any one that had been lured to the Meadows at the time, many of whom were only young boys and knew nothing of the vile plan which Lee originated and carried out for the destruction of the emigrants." [31]

The report of the deed, at the time it was committed, sent a thrill of horror through the whole community of Utah, and when later developments compelled the belief that white men had taken the leading part in the betrayal and murder of the emigrants, sorrow, humiliation and a sense of shame prevailed. Perhaps the best description of the attitude of mind, and the sentiments of the Latter-day Saints towards this most unfortunate, pitiful and disgraceful affair, was voiced by the late President John Taylor when he said:

"I now come to the investigation of a subject that has been harped upon for the last seventeen years, [this in 1874] viz: The Mountain Meadows Massacre. That bloody tragedy has been the chief stock in trade for the above named time, for penny-a-liners, the press, and pulpit, who have gloated in turns, and by chorus, over the sickening details. Do you deny it? No. Do you excuse it? No. There is no excuse for such a relentless, diabolical, sanguinary deed. That outrageous infamy is looked upon with as much abhorrence by our people as by other parties, in this nation or in the world; and at its first announcement, its loathing recital chilled the marrow and sent a thrill of horror through the breasts of the listeners. It was most certainly a horrible deed; and like many other defenseless tragedies, it is one of those things that cannot be undone. The world is full of deeds of crime and darkness; and a question often arises, who is responsible therefor? It is usual to blame the perpetrators. It does not seem fair to accuse nations, states and communities of deeds perpetrated by some of their citizens, unless they uphold it." [32]

And this the Latter-day Saints have never done with respect of this masacre at Mountain Meadows, or other homicides which unhappily have been committed in their communities.



Elder Orson F. Whitney, author of a four volumned History of Utah also the author of A School History of Utah, under the title The Making of a State, very kindly prepared for the writer of this History the following statement of a "Fancher Incident," which shows that family prejudice even may not always blind men to truth.


"On the 24th and 25th August, 1912, in company with Elder Joseph W. McMurrin, I attended the Latter-day Saint Big Horn stake conference, held at Cowley, Wyoming. During one of the meetings connected with the conference a young man named Fancher, who I believe was clerk of the stake, was invited to the stand to address the congregation. He was about to resign his office, and remove to California, and this was his farewell address to the Latter-day Saints in Big Horn, with whom he had been identified as a member of the church for several years. He had come from Arkansas originally, and in Davis county, Utah, had fallen in with a 'Mormon' family who were about moving to Wyoming. He accompanied them, and subsequently married a 'Mormon' girl, became a convert to her faith, and rendered valuable service as a member of that stake. He was a relative of Captain Fancher, who was killed at Mountain Meadows in 1857, and at one time had shared the bitter prejudice felt by the family toward the 'Mormon' people. He had become convinced, however, that the church was in no way responsible for the awful affair at the Meadows, and that the people, excepting a few hot-headed zealots, who had joined with the Indians, were innocent of any participation in the crime. His conversion to the gospel was genuine. His father, on learning what he had done, disowned him, accounted him as one dead, and would not have his name mentioned in his hearing. Young Fancher wept at this point in his recital, and the whole congregation was visibly affected. He went on to say that he was not leaving because he had lost his faith; it was stronger than ever, and he hoped to continue faithful to the end. But his father, who now lived in California had softened toward him and had sent for him, needing his help in the management of his property. As none of his brothers were willing to go, he felt it his duty to rejoin his father and be with him in his declining years. He therefore resigned his office and parted regretfully from his many friends in that stake.

It was evident that he was held in high esteem by the authorities and the people in general, whose good wishes, he was assured, would follow him to his new place of residence."


1. Lee's Confession in Mormonims Unveiled, p. 252.

2. From the Deposition of Brigham Young, second trial of John D. Lee, 1876. Ninth Question: Did John D. Lee report to you at any time after this massacre what had been done at that massacre, and if so, what did you reply to him in refrence thereto? Answer: Within some two or three months after the massacre he called at my office and had much to say with regard to the Indians, their being stirred up to anger and threatening the settlements of the whites, and then commenced giving an account of the massacre. I told him to stop, as from what I had already heard by rumor, I did not wish my feelings harrowed up with a recital of details." (Court Record, the second Lee trial, Sept., 1876, Deposition of Brigham Young).

3. Woodruff's Journal, Sept. 29, 1857.

4. History of Brigham Young, Ms., entry for Aug. 17, 1858, pp. 929-937.

5. Court Record, Lee's second trial, testimony of Jacob Hamblin.

6. Jacob Hamblin, A Narrative of His personal Experiences, edited by James A. Little, 1881, pp. 56-7.

7. From Lee's Report, Mormonism Unveiled, p. 255. The faulty diction of the original is followed.

8. These reports of Brigham Young are published at length in the Court Records, second trial of John D. Lee, Sept., 1876, also in Mormonism Unveiled, pp. 302-16; these letters also appear in House Executive Documents, 35th Congress, 1st Session, vol. x, No. 71. For interesting incident in connection with a member of the Fancher family, see Note end of chapter.

9. Evidently Lee reported what rumors had brought to him of this incident; George A. Smith reports, as will be seen by a paragraph in his letter (ante), that the Beaver shooting resulted in only one Indian being wounded.

10. Lee's written report to Governor Young, from Harmony, under date of Nov. 20th, 1857.

11. History of Brigham Young, Ms., entry Sept. 9, 1857, pp. 481-89.

12. Jacob Hamblin, A Narrative of his Personal Experiences, etc., p. 47.

13. Jacob Hamblin, etc., ch. vii.

14. The new judiciary were D. R. Eckles, of Indiana, chief justice; Charles E. Sinclair and John Cradlebaugh, associate justices; Alexander Wilson, of Iowa, was United States attorney for the territory, and Peter K. Dotson, Marshal.

15. Judge Cradlebaugh to the Grand Jury, the charge is published in full in Deseret News of March 16th, 1859.

16. The words are from Judge Cradlebaugh's speech in the house of representatives, February 7th, 1863, Congressional Globe, 37th Congress, 3rd Session, Appendix, p. 122. Judge Cradlebaugh subsequently to being a judge in Utah, went to Nevada to live, from which newly made territory he was elected to be territorial delegate, and hence his speech in congress.

17. The remarks of Judge Cradlebaugh to the grand jury are published at length in Deseret News of March 30, 1859, and as corrected from a stenographic report by Mr. J. V. Long. Stenhouse says, "the grand jury would not have listened to such language had there been no foundation for the accusations" (Rocky Mountain Saints, p. 408). The fact is the grand jury did not listen to the judge without protest. "A remonstrance signed by the grand jury without a dissenting voice against Judge Cradlebaugh's unprecedented course in peremptorily and vindictively discharging them when about consummating the business before them," says the editor of the News, in a note immediately following the full statements of Judge Cradlebaugh to the jury, "was presented;" it appears in the same impression of the News as the Editorial. (vol. ix, p. 28). Besides Stenhouse's quotation from Judge Cradlebaugh in which he censures the jury for not resenting, were not addressed to the grand jury, but were the summing up of the evidence in the Springville murder cases. (Stenhouse's Rocky Mountain Saints, p. 408; cf., Deseret News, impression of April 6th, 1859, Court Record).

18. Judge Cradlebaugh claims that while at Cedar City he "was visited by a number of apostate Mormons," who gave him "every assurance that they would furnish an abundance of evidence in regard to the matter, as soon as they were assured of military protection." "While there;" he also says, "I issued warrants on affidavits filed before me for the arrest of the following named persons; Jacob [Isaac C.] Haight, president of the Cedar City stake; Bishop John M. Higbee, and Bishop John D. Lee [Lee never was, at any time or place, a "Mormon" bishop, though he was an "elder," and had presided over a small settlement or branch of the church], Columbus Freeman, William Slade, John Willis, William Riggs,—— Ingram, Daniel McFarlan, William Stewart, Ira Allen and son, Thomas Cartwright, E. Welean, William Halley, Jabez Nomlen, John Mangum, James Price, John W. Adair,—— Tyler, Joseph Smith, Samuel Pollock, John McFarlan, Nephi Johnson,—— Thornton, Joel White,—— Harrison, Charles Hopkins, Joseph Flang, Samuel Lewis, Sims Matheny, James Mangum, Harrison Pierce, Samuel Adair, F. C. McDulange, William Bateman, Ezra Curtis, and Alexander Loveridge. (Congressional Globe, 37th Congress, 3rd Session, Appendix, p. 123).

19. For Campbell's Report, see Senate Documents, 36th Congress, 1st Session, vol. ii, No. 56, p. 190; also No. 64, pp. 205-208; also Cradlebaugh's speech, 37th Congress, 3rd Session, Appendix, p. 123.

20. See his speeches in the 37th Congress, passim; and especially in 3rd Session, Congressional Globe, Appendix, p. 119, et seq.

21. See his letter to General Johnston, May 1st and June 15th, 1859, Senate Documents, 36th Congress, vol. ii, pp. 172-73. See also his letter to Judge Elias Smith in Deseret News of May 11th, 1859; in which he says of the Mountain Meadows Massacre: "I deem it my imperative duty to say that the Indians had material aid and assistance from whites; and in my opinion, the Pi-Ute Indians would never have perpetrated the terrible massacre without such aid and assistance. Mr. Hamblin and others, of Santa Clara, expressed much anxiety to bring the guilty to justice."

22. Senate Documents, 36th Congress, 1st Session, ii, No. 2, p. 86; also quoted by Bancroft's History of Utah, p. 561.

23. Lee was executed on the 23rd of March, 1877.

24. Rom. xii:19. These were the words which Major James H. Carleton caused to be inscribed upon a rude wooden cross he erected above the cairn that marked the burial place of the Arkansas emigrants; but which later was destroyed either by some vandal's hand or the ruthless ravages of time; the cross has fallen and nothing now marks the resting place but the ruck of stones, placed above the common grave of the emigrants by United States troops some two years after the massacre (see Report of Charles Brewer, ass. surgeon U. S. A., to Captain R. P. Campbell, Senate Documents, 36th Congress, 1st Session, vol. ii, pp. 206-7; Judge Cradlebaugh's speech, in the 37th Congress, 3rd Session, Congressional Globe, Appendix, p. 123). The destruction of this inscription is unjustly connected by the judge with President Young's first visit to southern Utah after it was erected, (1861), (Ibid). It is also said that when Brigham Young read the inscription on that occasion, he "changed the purport of its language, and said to those around him that it should read thus: 'Vengeance is mine, saith the Lord, and I have repaid!'" (Stenhouse's Rocky Mountain Saints, p. 453; see also Woodruff's Journal, entry for May 25, 1860).

25. I Tim., v:24.

26. This has reference to some homicides committed at Springville in Utah county, in March, 1857. The victims were members of the Parrish family, and the deed was committed on the eve of the intended departure of the family for California. Also to the killing of the Aiken party, in 1857. The party received its designation from two brothers of the name of Aiken, who, with four other men, were returning from California to the eastern states. Four of the party were arrested in southern Utah as "spies," and en route for Salt Lake City via Nephi the party was attacked at night; two were killed outright, the other two, though wounded, made their way to Nephi, whence they started for Salt Lake, but were killed on their way at Willow Springs. The remark of the text also has reference to all other homicides committed in 1857, and in all antecedent years; whatever was done in that kind was done on the responsibility of the guilty individuals; and in all subsequent years, whatever was done stands upon the same footing. The law of God has not lodged the right of capital punishment with the church. Even where there is a church trial had, and proof given of the worthiness of death, at that point it becomes the duty of the church to turn over those guilty of offenses worthy of death to the law of the land, to be dealt with according to that law, and through its ministers. What the law of God does not auhorize the church to do, it has not authorized individuals to do.

27. Doctrine and Covenants, sec. xlii. This revelation was given Feb. 9th, 1831.

28. Court Record, Hamblin's testimony at Lee's second trial, Sept., 1876. It must be remembered that then, late in 1857, and early in 1858, a United States army was within the northeastern borders of the territory, and "the United States judges were not in the territory," (Deposition of Brigham Young, see Court Record, second Lee trial, Sept., 1857).

29. Jacob Hamblin, A Narrative of His Personal Experiences, etc., etc., p. 57.

30. See affidavit of Erastus Snow under date of 21st February, A. D. 1882, Mountain Meadows Massacre, Penrose, pp. 67, 68. Some mitigating circumstances subsequently were learned respecting Haight's responsibilities in the matter of not restraining Lee, and he was restored to church fellowship.

31. Second Lee trial, 1876, Court Record, also Deseret News of Sept. 27th, 1876.

32. From a series of letters to the Deseret News on "Utah and the Mormons," 1874, impression of April 15th, of that year.
(Source: B. H. Roberts, A Comprehensive History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Vol. 4:160-180)

Refutation of falsehoods appearing in the Illustrated American,
January 9, 1891

1891-January 9-Typewritten letter, Church Historian's Library; also Der Stern 21:97-116
(April 1, 1891).

This document or article is an answer to a series of articles which had appeared in the magazine, Illustrated American. The author of the articles (seemingly unsigned) claimed to be a "Mormon." Wilford Woodruff, as President of the Church, points out the historical inaccuracies and plagiarisms in the articles. The articles and President Woodruff's reply devote considerable space to the Mountain Meadows Massacre.

Salt Lake City, Utah, January 9th, 1891.

Editor Illustrated American:

My attention has been called to articles in your magazine of December 27th and January 3rd concerning the "Mormon" Church. I have neither the time nor the inclination to notice the numerous misstatements and vile aspersions that frequently appear in the public prints in reference to the "Mormons." They have been common for more than half a century, and the later productions are chiefly mere echoes of the falsehoods refuted years ago. There is nothing new in the articles that have been published in the Illustrated American, except this: The writer claims to be a Mormon, "the oldest Mormon in the Rocky Mountains;" to have been connected with the "Mormon" Church for nearly sixty years; to be a resident of this city now; to relate true "Mormon" History, and to express the present views and intentions of the "Mormon" people. Thus the old untruths and the current misrepresentations in reference to our people are presented under a new guise, and that which might pass unnoticed if published in the ordinary way or over the signature of the compiler, is likely to attract attention and obtain credence because it purports to be written by a "Mormon." This is why I devote some attention to these articles.

That the person who has gathered from various sources scraps of purported "Mormon" history, fragments of supposed "Mormon" doctrine and figments of imaginary "Mormon" sentiment, is not and never was a member of the "Mormon" Church, and that his whole pretension is false, is evident to every one familiar with the subjects which he attempts to treat.

In professing to relate how Nauvoo was settled, he speaks of "how Joseph Smith, our leader, became possessed of a large tract of land in Hancock County, Ill." and says, "The angel who revealed it to him bade him call the city Nauvoo, which he said meant "The Beautiful."

When the place on which Nauvoo was built was first occupied by the "Mormons," it was called Commerce, and at that time Joseph Smith, instead of becoming possessed of this "large tract of land," was suffering illegal imprisonment in the State of Missouri. It was never claimed that an angel revealed the place to him. It was offered to the Saints who had fled from their inhuman persecutors in Missouri, by the owner, and was purchased and paid for in an ordinary business manner. No "Mormon" would make the mistake that is here conspicuous.

He states that he was in the jail at Carthage with Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum when they were assassinated. That he put his head out of the window and watched to see if there were signs of life in the man he loved. That he expected to be shot the next moment, etc. It is a matter of undisputed history that when Joseph and Hyrum Smith were murdered, only two other persons were present in the prison where the attack was made. They were Willard Richards, who died March 11, 1854, and John Taylor, who died July 25, 1887. Their accounts of the tragedy have been published many times since 1844 and the words used by this pretended "Mormon" are the identical language of Dr. Willard Richards.

This plagiarist betrays himself in an equally conspicuous manner in his account of the exodus from Nauvoo and the enlistment of the Mormon Battalion at Winter quarters. It is stolen bodily from the celebrated lecture of Gen. Thos. L. Kane before the Historical Society of Pennsylvania which has been in publication for forty years.

He states that Col. Steptoe was in command of troops sent to the Mormon capital at the time of the famous so-called "Mormon war," in which, by the way, not one drop of human blood was shed. No Mormon or person acquainted with Utah history could fall into such a blunder. Col. Steptoe's visit occurred many years before, was of a pacific and civil character, and he gave due credit to Governor Brigham Young and the people here for their fidelity to the government and their peaceful and industrious life. He also recommended the reappointment of Brigham Young as Governor of Utah.

This pretended "Mormon," forgetful of some facts he previously presented, says in his second article that, "every member of the Territorial Legislature is a high dignitary of the Church; all local and municipal government is under the same control; and thus it comes to pass that, in America, a church absolutely governs a Territory."

The truth is that no high dignitary of the Church occupies a seat in the Legislative Assembly; that no polygamist can hold any office or vote at any election in Utah; that eight members of the last Assembly were "Gentiles"; that Salt Lake, Ogden and Park cities are entirely controlled by non-Mormon" municipal officers; that instead of the Church governing the Territory, the Governor, the Judges, the Prosecuting Attorney and other territorial officers as well as the postmasters, are appointed by the United States Government, and that even the registration officers and judges of elections are appointed by a Commission appointed itself by the President and Senate of the United States. No "Mormon" would so misstate the situation, because this anti-republican condition of affairs is a constant source of "Mormon" complaint, and no well informed anti-Mormon would commit such a palpable error which the writer himself refutes in the sixth chapter of his first contribution.

Minor inaccuracies still further prove the compiler of these articles to be a person unfamiliar with actual "Mormon" life, however diligent he may have been in culling anti-Mormon literature. He speaks of "The United Order of Orderville" as a present organization, when it has not existed for many years. He quotes a notice issued over forty years ago in this city by a Bishop long since deceased, as being now posted in all the settlements. He says that in each town, besides the ward bishops there is a Presiding Bishop, which is not true. He entirely misrepresents the functions of the Ward Teachers, and by many erroneous references shows that his statement that he is "a Mormon of nearly sixty years standing" is transparent and wilful fraud and deception.

This of itself should, in the eyes of all reasoning readers, vitiate his entire contribution to the literature of the day. But there are some statements artfully interwoven with the fabric of his story which require specific refutation. Others may be dismissed with a general denial. He puts remarks into the mouth of the late President Brigham Young and other Elders of the Church, which they never uttered, attributes acts to them which they never performed, repeats stories that are taken from anti-Mormon works as though they were utterances of his own, and expresses sentiments as entertained by the "Mormons" which are entirely foreign to their belief and feelings and intentions. These all lead up to the vain object of the articles-that is to deceive the American public and foster the latest scheme for the disfranchisement of the monogamic "Mormon" people, by conveying the ideas that polygamy is still taught and entered into in Utah, that the Church dominates the state, and that the "Mormons" are under military discipline and ready to fight against the Government.

To this end the oft-refuted and spurious story of the Mountain Meadows massacre is told, as fabricated by Utah romancers, and the Blood Atonement fiction is reproduced after the style of the dime novelist. As to the former, while the general public believe that the tragedy was perpetrated under the sanction, if not by the direction, of Brigham Young, the evidence elicited at the trial which resulted in the conviction of John D. Lee, demonstrated the entire disconnection of President Young and the Church over which he presided, with the awful occurrence that has been so widely misrepresented for evil purposes. The United States District Attorney officially and publicly announced this at the trial. He declared he had received all the aid he could ask for from the Church authorities to get at the root of the matter, and the accused was convicted of murder by a jury composed principally of members of the Mormon Church.

It is a fundamental doctrine of our creed that a murderer cannot be forgiven; that he "hath not eternal life abiding in him"; that if a member of our Church, having received the light of the Holy Spirit, commits this capital crime, he will not receive forgiveness in this world nor in the world to come. The revelations of God to the Church abound in commandments forbidding us to shed blood. There are no people living who have a greater horror of this offence against the law of God and of man than the Latter-day Saints, commonly; but erroneously, called "Mormons." This Church was no more responsible for the massacre at Mountain Meadows than any Christian Church is for the atrocities that may be committed by persons professing to be its members. It is but just to the memory of President Brigham Young to say that the evidence against his complicity with this dreadful crime, as accessory either before or after the fact, is abundant, convincing and complete.

It is part of our faith that the only atonement a murdered can make for his "sin unto death" is the shedding of his own blood, according to the fiat of the Almighty after the flood: "Whoso sheddeth man's blood by man shall his blood be shed." But the law must be executed by the lawfully appointed officer. This is "blood atonement," so much perverted by maligners of our faith. We believe also in the atonement wrought by the shedding of Christ's blood on Calvary; that it is efficacious for all the race of Adam for the sin committed by Adam, and for the individual sins of all who believe, repent, are baptized by one having authority, and who receive the Holy Ghost by the laying on of authorized hands. Capital crime committed by such an enlightened person cannot be condoned by the Redeemer's blood. For him there is "no more sacrifice for sin"; his life is forfeit, and he only can pay the penalty. There is no other blood atonement taught, practiced or made part of the creed of the Latter-day Saints.

We do not believe, as stated by the pretended "Mormon," that divulging the secrets of the Endowment House, marital unfaithfulness on the part of the wife, leaving the Mormon Church, are unpardonable, or that "the only atonement that can be made for any of these offences is the atonement of blood." The statement that "this doctrine is part of our duty" is another proof that the writer is not a "Mormon," and that he does not understand, or else that he wilfully misrepresents the faith which he pretends to explain.

The connection drawn between this alleged doctrine and the murders committed at Mountain Meadows, also proves the falsity of the claim that the writer is a "Mormon," and demonstrates his misapprehension of his own subject. The company that fell victims to Indian ferocity and white vengeance and rapacity were not "Mormons." They had revealed no secrets, they had not left the Church, they had done nothing to justify their slaughter, even on the false theory of Blood Atonement copied by the writer in the American from old newspaper fiction. This should be evident even to the casual reader.

Another statement is equally absurd and obviously untrue. Speaking of the Mormons said to have participated in the massacre, he says: "Some of them are alive today. They nod to me familiarly on the streets of Salt Lake City, and I nod back to them. The United States Government knows who they are, knows what they have done; and yet it has never dared to arrest them or interfere with them." This is as great a libel on the officers of the United States entrusted with the enforcement of the law, as it is upon the Mormon people. The whole machinery of the courts judges, juries, prosecutors and peace officers, also the municipal government and its police, are in the hands of anti-Mormons, who would all be eager to punish a participator in that crime, and most of whom would be glad to avail themselves of the opportunities for slander and excitement which a revival of this dead issue would afford. The nonsense of his statement, then, is only equaled by its falsehood, and in attempting once more to make it appear that he is a "Mormon" he only affords one more proof of his imposture.

As to the power and disposition of the Mormons to fight and the necessity of a resort to arms he is equally ridiculous and erroneous. There has been no militia, either Mormon or Gentile, in the Territory for more than twenty years. There are no Mormons under arms. There has been no drilling or military training. Peace and equal rights with other American citizens is all that the Mormons desire. They do not believe they will be required to handle the weapons of war. They have profound faith that God will fight their battles. There is not the slightest whisper of a carnal conflict among them. There is no pretext for a collision between the Mormons and the government. The only dispute that has arisen of late years between them was a question of law. That has been settled by the decisions of the Supreme Court of the United States and the action of the Church in general conference. Plural marriage has been judicially decided to be unlawful. The Church has accepted the decision as legally final, and by my official advice as President of the Church has in the most solemn and authoritative manner decided not to enter into any marriages in future that are contrary to the laws of the land.

What folly then for this assumed "Mormon" to say: "We must fight or we must perish." "We would rather die than give up this article of our creed." And what absurdity to say, "In every endowment house in Utah plural marriages are being secretly celebrated today." There never was but one endowment house in Utah and that, by my orders, was taken down in 1889. If the temples are meant by that term, I say most emphatically the statement is false, and that no plural marriages are or have been celebrated in Utah, to my knowledge or that of any of my associates for some years. And I cannot conceive how they could be performed without my sanction and official consent.

I object to the publication of the articles in the ILLUSTRATED AMERICAN, chiefly on the ground that they pretend to be written from a "Mormon" standpoint, and that thus the public are misled and the people whom I represent are correspondingly injured. For, while objections might reasonably be made to the many misrepresentations those articles contain, yet they are principally old stories retold, and they have been often disproved. But when they are attributed to a "Mormon" source, their falsehood becomes doubly shameful, and they can only be characterized as cowardly and contemptible.

The editorial remarks that have accompanied them follow the line and lead to the end they have in view. They credit the Mormons with lives which are "models of decorum," yet they assert that the Mormons massacred men, women and children at Mountain Meadows. The same people who are held up to admiration for their honesty, truth, and fidelity to their religion, are accused of "a policy of deception" and while yielding to the demands made upon them at a great sacrifice of feeling, they are charged with defying the government, "flinging down the gauntlet," and wanting and preparing to fight.

All this is a libel upon the Latter-day Saints. They have no such belligerent feelings or intentions. They are not deserving of the imputations cast upon their veracity. They intend to obey the law and sustain good government. They revere the Constitution of our country and desire to promote republican institutions. They are under no Church obligations or restrictions which interfere with their perfect freedom, whether in politics or in business. Their faith is different from that of the orthodox sects and they claim the right to worship as they choose without hindrance from any earthly power, while conceding that right to all who differ with them. If any one of their number violated the law, he is amenable to the law. But a community should not be condemned for the unapproved wrongful acts of individuals. That our views on the subject of civil government as it relates to religion may be understood, I quote from the Doctrine and Covenants of the Church, which with the Bible and the Book of Mormon forms our standard of religious principle:

"We believe that religion is instituted of God, and that men are amenable to him, and to him only, for the exercise of it, unless their religious opinions prompt them to infringe upon the right and liberties of others; but we do not believe that human law has a right to interfere in prescribing rules of worship to bind the consciences of men, nor dictate forms for public or private devotion; that the civil magistrate should restrain crime, but never control conscience; should punish guilt, but never suppress the freedom of the soul.

"We believe that all men are bound to sustain and uphold the respective governments in which they reside, while protected in their inherent and inalienable rights by the laws of such governments; and that sedition and rebellion are unbecoming every citizen thus protected, and should be punished accordingly; and that all governments have a right to enact such laws as in their own judgment are best calculated to secure the public interest, at the same time, however, holding sacred the freedom of conscience.

"We believe that every man should be honored in his station: rulers and magistrates as such, being placed for the protection of the innocent, and the punishment of the guilty; and that to the laws, all men owe respect and deference, as without them peace and harmony would be supplanted by anarchy and terror; human laws being instituted for the express purpose of regulating our interest as individuals and nations, between man and man, and divine laws given of heaven, prescribing rules on spiritual concerns, for faith and worship, both to be answered by man to his Maker. ...

"We do not believe it just to mingle religious influence with civil government, whereby one religious society is fostered, and another prescribed in its spiritual privileges, and the individual rights of its members as citizens denied.

"We believe that all religious societies have a right to deal with their members for disorderly conduct according to the rules and regulations of such societies, provided that such dealings be for fellowship and good standing; but we do not believe that any religious society has authority to try men on the right of property or life, to take from them this world's goods, or to put them in jeopardy of either life or limb, neither to inflict any physical punishment upon them; they can only excommunicate them from their society, and withdraw from them their fellowship."

The following are the articles of faith of the Church as published for many years, and re-affirmed and adopted at the last general conference:

"1. We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.

2. We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam's transgression.

3. We believe that, through the atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.

4. We believe that these ordinances are: First, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, Repentance; third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; fourth, Laying on of hands for the Gift of the Holy Ghost.

5. We believe that a man must be called of God, by "prophecy, and by the laying on of hands," by those who are in authority, to preach the Gospel and administer in the ordinances thereof.

6. We believe in the same organization that existed in the primitive church, viz: apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, evangelists, etc.

7. We believe in the gift of tongues, prophecy, revelation visions, healing, interpretation of tongues, etc.

8. We believe the Bible to be the word of God, as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the Word of God.

9. We believe all that God has revealed, all that he does now reveal, and we believe that he will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God.

10. We believe in the literal gathering of Israel and in the restoration of the ten tribes. That Zion will be built upon this continent, that Christ will reign personally upon the earth, and that the earth will be renewed and receive its paradisiacal glory.

11. We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.

12. We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers and magistrates, in obeying, honoring and sustaining the law.

13. We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul, "We believe all things, we hope all things;" we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report, or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.-JOSEPH SMITH."

I am eighty three years old. I expect before very long to meet my Maker and give account for my earthly acts and words. In view of this I testify before God and all mankind that the foregoing articles of faith and discipline are the true doctrines of our Church, that God has established that Church by revelation and has given authority to His servants to administer its ordinances, and that it will prevail against the errors and forces which are used for its destruction. But its weapons are not carnal, it claims no civil authority, it wields no political domination, and it seeks no quarrel with any earthly government. All men and all nations are responsible to the Almighty for their acts, and with Him I am willing to leave the issue between us and our enemies and defamers. WILFORD WOODRUFF. President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
(Source: Messages of the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 3: 210)

A Great Tragedy

Emigrant trains in Utah

While the Army of the United States was approaching the territory of Utah, a courier rode posthaste into Salt Lake City. He had covered the three hundred miles from Cedar City in three days. As James Haslam stood before President Young he recounted a story and delivered a message which caused that beloved leader grave concern and galvanized him into action.

During this period of Utah's history there was a constant string of emigrant trains passing through the territory on their way to California. The feeling between such emigrants and the Saints was not always a wholesome one. The emigrants often entered the territory with a deep-seated prejudice against the Mormons. Often these companies contained Missourians who had taken part in driving the Saints from that State. Toward these, some of the Mormons could not help feeling resentful and suspicious.

These emigrant trains did much to antagonize the Indians throughout the territory. Easterners generally did not share the feeling of brotherliness toward the Red Man which the Mormons had manifested. They looked upon them as little higher than animals and often fired upon them without provocation. Indians entering their camps for peaceful trading were often treated badly, and some Indians were wantonly killed. This aroused the anger of the Indian tribes. This was especially true throughout the southern settlements. The ire of the white settlers was also aroused. The Indians had been difficult to control before, but now it became impossible to control them.

A crisis in feeling was reached during the time that a large company of Arkansas emigrants were on their way to California via southern Utah, in 1857. This company contained a group of Missourians who styled themselves the "Missouri Wildcats." Their spirit seemed to dominate the caravan. They boasted openly of having helped to oust the Mormons from Missouri and Illinois; that they were going to return and help the Army which was approaching Utah to exterminate the Saints.

The evidence concerning their actions in passing through the southern settlements is so conflicting that it is difficult to determine the entire truth. Among the charges against them was the assertion that they had poisoned a dead ox, which caused the death of a number of Piute Indians who ate it. It was also alleged that they had poisoned the springs, causing the death of a number of cattle, and illness to the settlers who attempted to save the fat of the animals.

The Indians were thoroughly aroused. All the accumulated insults of the many caravans caused them to seek vengeance. To the Indian mind all whites except the Mormons belonged to one tribe, the "Mericats." Their law demanded blood vengeance against any of the offending tribe.

Ordinarily the influence of the settlers was exerted to keep the peace, and at any cost prevent an attack upon emigrant trains. At this time it appears that this restraint was not used. Many of the whites were goaded by the taunts of the "Missouri Wildcats," and by their depredations to a point of extreme bitterness.

On the sixth of September, while the emigrant train was making an extended camp on "Mountain Meadows," forty miles southwest of Cedar City, a council of leading Saints was held in Cedar City. It was decided that a messenger should be sent to Brigham Young, acquainting him with the situation. James Haslam, of Cedar City, was that messenger.

After reading the message Haslam brought, Governor Young asked him if he could stand the return journey. He was answered in the affirmative. After several hours' sleep he mounted his horse for the return ride. As the President handed him an unsealed answer, he said:

"Go with all speed; spare no horse flesh. The emigrants must not be meddled with, if it takes all Iron County to prevent it. They must go free and unmolested." [1]

In the instructions Haslam carried back to Isaac C. Haight of Cedar City we read:

"In regard to emigration trains passing through our settlements we must not interfere with them until they are notified to keep away. You must not meddle with them. The Indians we expect will do as they please, but you should try and preserve good feeling with them." [2]

Haslam arrived at Cedar City on September 13, having made the remarkable ride of over six hundred miles in six days. As Isaac C. Haight: read the message he burst into tears and said:

"Too late, too late!"

"The Massacre," added Haslam, "was all over before I got home." [3]

The Mountain Meadows Massacre

Mountain Meadows is a narrow valley five miles in length, situated three hundred and twenty miles south and a little west of Salt Lake City. It is on the plateau which forms the southern rim of the Great Basin. The Arkansas and Missouri emigrants, in the first week of September, 1857, went into encampment in the south end of the valley near a spring.

Several hundred Indians gathered in the vicinity, and at break of day on September 8 or 9 commenced an attack upon the emigrants. The attack was repulsed and the emigrants "dug in" for a siege.

The Indians, meanwhile, sent runners to the neighboring tribes to gather warriors. A number of white men also arrived upon the scene of conflict.

It was a deliberately planned massacre, treacherously carried into execution. On the morning of September 11, a flag of truce was sent to the emigrant camp and terms of surrender proposed. The emigrants were to give up their arms. The wounded were to be loaded into wagons, followed by the women and children, and the men to bring up the rear, single file. Thus they were to be conducted by the whites to Cedar City. This was agreed to, and the march began.

A short distance from the encampment, the white men at a given signal, fell upon the unarmed emigrant men. At the same time hundreds of Indians, who had lain in ambush, rushed upon the hapless party. In five minutes the terrible tragedy was enacted. Only three men escaped the first deadly assault. These were pursued by the Indians and killed. Only the smallest children were spared. These were taken into the homes of settlers and cared for. Later the United States government provided a fund to gather the children and transport them to relatives in Arkansas and Missouri and to an orphanage in St. Louis.

Responsibility of the Tragedy

News of the Mountain Meadows' Massacre was a shock to the leaders of the Church, and brought a deep and sincere sorrow to the entire territory. Unfortunately, no thorough investigation to bring the perpetrators to justice was held until twenty years later. George A. Smith was sent by Brigham Young to investigate the affair and made formal report to Brigham Young in 1858. By that time Brigham Young had relinquished all civil authority to his successor, Governor Cumming. John D. Lee, the Indian Agent, in his report of Indian affairs to the government, gave his own story of the tragedy, but the government did not order an investigation.

Brigham Young urged Governor Cumming to investigate the charge of white men participating in the massacre. In 1876, Brigham Young said on the witness stand:

"Soon after Governor Cumming arrived, I asked him to take Judge Cradlebough, who belonged to the southern district, with him and I would accompany them with sufficient aid to investigate the matter and bring the offenders to justice." [4]

Governor Cumming, in the face of settling the difficulties of the "Utah War" and the pardoning of offenders against the United States Government, made no move to prosecute any participant in the crime.

An attempt was made by non-Mormons to hold Brigham Young responsible for the tragedy. Judge Cradlebough took the lead in that attack and made an attempt, in 1859, to probe into the affair. Of this effort, Forney, the Indian agent, reported:

"I fear, and I regret to say it, that there is with certain parties a greater anxiety to connect Brigham Young and other Church dignitaries with every criminal offence than diligent endeavor to punish the actual perpetrators of crime." [5]

For the deed at Mountain Meadows there is no excuse. The perpetrators were never held guiltless by the Church and the Church must not be condemned because of the vile deeds of a few of its members. The law of the Church was announced from the beginning by the Son of God:

"Behold, I speak unto the Church. Thou shalt not kill; and he that kills shall not have forgiveness in this world, nor in the world to come. And again I say, thou shalt not kill, but he that killeth shall die. * * * And it shall come to pass, that if any person among you shall kill, he shall be delivered up and dealt with according to the laws of the land; for remember that he has no forgiveness, and it shall be proven according to the laws of the land." [6]


1. Report of Lee trial. Deseret News, September 10, 1876. Also Penrose, , pp. 94-95.

2. Church Business Letter Book, No. 3. See Roberts, Comprehensive History of the Church, Volume 4, pp. 150-151.

3. Haslam's testimony, Penrose, , Supplement, p. 95.

4. Court Report, second Lee trial, 1876. See Roberts, Comprehensive History of the Church, Volume 4, p. 168.

5. Senate Documents, 36th Congress, 1st Session, No. 2, p. 86. See also, Bancroft, History of Utah, p. 561.

6. Doctrine and Covenants, Section 42.

(Source: William E. Berrett, The Restored Church, [Deseret Book, 1953], 470.)