"Horrible Massacre of Emigrants!!" The Mountain Meadows Massacre in Public Discourse

Archive

Since September 1857, the events of the Mountain Meadows Massacre have been recounted and interpreted by innumerable writers. From newspaper articles, to government reports, to novels, to plays, and even to films, the massacre has been represented in popular culture and public discourse in ways that reflect the historical context of the writers and the meanings they derived from the events of September 11, 1857.

Rather than delving into the facts surrounding the massacre, this archive focuses on these portrayals of the Mountain Meadows Massacre and how their creators represented the event and its aftermath. Additionally, this archive gives users tools to explore these representations. With these tools, which include advanced browsing functions, concept highlighting that reveals narrative elements within texts, and visualizations that illustrate language usage and information dissemination, visitors can begin to develop their own understanding of the ways the massacre was reported on, ignored, contextualized, and reinterpreted over time.

The initial stages of this project focus on newspaper coverage of the massacre from 1857-1870. Many of the descriptions of the Mountain Meadows Massacre in later works spring from this early period of reportage, particularly from the earliest California reports of the massacre. Reports of a poisoned ox and the verbal abuse of Mormon women, as well as assertions of Mormon guilt and unburied corpses arise in these first articles and editorials and recur for many years.

Upon the completion of the first stages, newspaper accounts from the years following Philip Klingensmith’s confession and John D. Lee’s arrest, trial, and subsequent execution will be integrated into the archive. As these later newspaper articles are added, government reports about the massacre, burial of victims, the quest for reparations for families of the victims, and the Lee trial also will be folded into the archive.

In later phases of the project, fictional treatments of the Mountain Meadows Massacre will be added, as will depictions of the massacre in non-fiction works of Western Americana. Dramatizations of the massacre on stage and in film will round out the archive.

Date Source Author Title
1866 The Mormon Prophet and His Harem; or, An Authentic History of Brigham Young, His Numerous Wives and Children. Mrs. C. V. Waite [Catherine Van Valkenburg] The Mormon Prophet and His Harem
1868 Life Among the Mormons, and a March to Their Zion To Which is Added a Chapter on the Indians of the Plains and Mountains of the West. William Elkanah Waters [supposed]. Life Among the Mormons, and a March to Their Zion
1870 Life in Utah; or, the Mysteries and Crimes of Mormonism. Being an Exposť of the Secret Rites and Ceremonies of the Latter-Day Saints, with a Full and Authentic History of Polygamy and the Mormon Sect from its Origin to the Present Time. John H. Beadle Life in Utah
1873 The Rocky Mountain Saints: A Full and Complete History of the Mormons, From the First Vision of Joseph Smith to the Last Courtship of Brigham Young; including The Story of the Hand-Cart Emigration—The Mormon War—The Mountain-Meadow Massacre—The Reign of Terror in Utah—The Doctrine of Human Sacrifice—The Political, Domestic, Social, and Theological Influences of the Saints—The Facts of Polygamy—The Colonization of the Rocky Mountains, and The Development of the Great Mineral Wealth of the Territory of Utah. T. B. H. Stenhouse The Rocky Mountain Saints
1873 The Undeveloped West; or, Five Years in the Territories. Being a Complete History of That Vast Region Between the Mississippi and the Pacific, Its Resources, Climate, Inhabitants, Natural Curiosities, etc., etc. Life and Adventure on Prairies, Mountains, and the Pacific Coast. With Two Hundred and Forty Illustrations, from Original Sketches and Photographic Views of the Scenery, Cities, Lands, Mines, People, and Curiosities of the Great West. John H. Beadle The Undeveloped West
1874 'Tell It All': The Story of a Life's Experience in Mormonism: An Autobiography Mrs. T. B. H. [Fanny] Stenhouse 'Tell It All': The Story of a Life's Experience in Mormonism: An Autobiography
1874 The Mormon Country: A Summer with the Latter-Day Saints. John Codman The Mormon Country: A Summer with the Latter-Day Saints.
1875 Wife No. 19 Ann Eliza Young Wife No. 19
1876 Brigham Young’s Record of Blood! Or, The necessity for that Famous “Bible and Revolver.” A Lecture Delivered in the First M.E. Church, Salt Lake City, Jan. 23d, 1876 C. P. Lyford Brigham Young’s Record of Blood! Or, The necessity for that Famous “Bible and Revolver.” A Lecture Delivered in the First M.E. Church, Salt Lake City, Jan. 23d, 1876
1876 Fifteen Years' Residence with the Mormons: With Startling Disclosures of the Mysteries of Polygamy Nelson Winch Green Fifteen Years' Residence with the Mormons: With Startling Disclosures of the Mysteries of Polygamy
1877 Western Wilds, and the Men Who Redeem Them John H. Beadle Western Wilds, and the Men Who Redeem Them
1878 ‘Tell It All’: The Story of a Life’s Experience in Mormonism: an Autobiography...Including a Full Account of the Mountain Meadows Massacre, and of the Life, Confession, and Execution of Bishop John D. Lee Mrs. T. B. H. [Fanny] Stenhouse ‘Tell It All’: The Story of a Life’s Experience in Mormonism: an Autobiography...Including a Full Account of the Mountain Meadows Massacre, and of the Life, Confession, and Execution of Bishop John D. Lee
1880 An Englishwoman in Utah: The Story of a Life's Experience in Mormonism, An Autobiography…Including a Full Account of the Mountain Meadows Massacre, and of the Life, Confession, and Execution of Bishop John D. Lee Mrs. T. B. H. [Fanny] Stenhouse An Englishwoman in Utah: The Story of a Life's Experience in Mormonism, An Autobiography…Including a Full Account of the Mountain Meadows Massacre, and of the Life, Confession, and Execution of Bishop John D. Lee
1881 How I Know. Or Sixteen Years' Eventful Experience James Swisher How I Know. Or Sixteen Years' Eventful Experience
1882 Handbook on Mormonism John M. Coyner Handbook on Mormonism
1882 Polygamy; or The Mysteries and Crimes of Mormonism, Being a Full and Authentic History of this Strange Sect from its Origin to the Present Time with a Thrilling account of the inner life and teachings of the mormons and and expose of the secret tires and ceremonies of the deluded followers of Brigham Young John H. Beadle Polygamy; or The Mysteries and Crimes of Mormonism, Being a Full and Authentic History of this Strange Sect from its Origin to the Present Time
1882 Adventures in the Far West and Life Among the Mormons. C. V. Waite [Catherine Van Valkenburg] Adventures in the Far West and Life Among the Mormons.
1884 U.S.A. Uncle Sam’s Abscess, or, Hell Upon Earth for U.S. Uncle Sam W. [William] Jarman U.S.A. Uncle Sam’s Abscess, or, Hell Upon Earth for U.S. Uncle Sam
1884 The Crimes of the Latter Day Saints in Utah. A Book of Horrors! Anon. [by a Mormon of 1831] The Crimes of the Latter Day Saints in Utah. A Book of Horrors!
1885 New Light on Mormonism Ellen E. Dickinson New Light on Mormonism
1886 Mormon Portraits [vol. 1] W. Wyl Mormon Portraits [vol. 1]
1886 The Mormon Problem: An Appeal to the American People C. P. Lyford The Mormon Problem: An Appeal to the American People
1890 The Mormon Delusion: Its History, and the Outlook in Utah M. W. Montgomery The Mormon Delusion: Its History, and the Outlook in Utah
1900 The Mormon Monster; or, The Story of Mormonism Edgar E.[stes] Folk The Mormon Monster; or, The Story of Mormonism
1902 The Story of Mormons from the Date of Their Origin to the Year 1901 William Alexander Linn The Story of Mormons from the Date of Their Origin to the Year 1901
1903 The Mormon Menace Samuel Fallows and Helen M. Fallows The Mormon Menace
1909 Lights and Shadows of Mormonism Josiah Francis Gibbs Lights and Shadows of Mormonism
1912 The Mountain Meadows Massacre: Revolting Crime on the Plains in 1857, now an historic incident, laid at the door of the Mormon Church. R. B. Neal The Mountain Meadows Massacre: Revolting Crime on the Plains in 1857, now an historic incident, laid at the door of the Mormon Church.
1920 The Mystery of Mormonism Stuart Martin The Mystery of Mormonism
1931 Zealots of Zion Hoffman Birney Zealots of Zion