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


A Tale of Horror. 

One of the dread mysteries of Mormondom which the United States Judges in Utah are endeavoring to unravel, greatly to the consternation of the "Saints," is the horrible massacre at the Mountain Meadows, of one hundred emigrants on their way from Arkansas and California. At the time we were told that the unfortunate victims fell under the weapons of the Kanosh band of Pravant Indians: but various subsequent developments have established the conviction that these were merely tools in the hands of the Mormons themselves. An eyewitness of the transaction has been found at last, and from an official source at Salt Lake, a statement of his accounts of the affair has been sent to the San Francisco Bulletin. He says the massacre was designed and carried into execution for mere purposes of plunder, to get possession of thirty wagons and of seven or eight hundred cattle belonging to the emigrants.

The witness says:"While I was residing at Cedar City, I was called upon by Messrs. Isaac Haight, John D. Lee and John Higbee—all three Mormon military officers—to go a few miles out south of the city, which I did. There I found thirty or forty others, selected from different settlements. We were addressed by the above officers, who told us that they had sent out Kanosh, the Pravant Chief, and his warriors, to destroy the Arkansas company, and that if he had not done it, we must; and that if any of them refused, or betrayed them to the Americans, they would take good care of him hereafter. Here we were all ordered on the quick march to the Mountain Meadows, where we found the emigrants, with their wagons formed in two circles, with their families in the midst, trying to defend themselves against the merciless and blood-thirsty savages, who lay around in ambush, killing them as opportunity presented.

Haight and Lee formed their men into two companies, and made a precipitate rush at the poor defenceless victims. The men inside of the circle rose up, but instantly fell dead and were mortally wounded, under the fire of the wretches who so cruelly sought their lives. Nothing remained to be done, except to kill the frightened females and their innocent children clasped in their arms. Others clung with desperation to their bleeding, dying husbands, pleading in vain for mercy at the hands of the "Christians" who controlled the now more savage Indian assailants. John D. Lee now sent to the Indian chief and men in ambush to come out and finish the survivors, directing him to spare only the little children who could not talk. The savages came instantly with knives drawn, and speedily finished the bloody work.

The scene beggars description. The demonic yells of the savage monsters, mingled with the shrieks and prayers of helpless mothers and daughters, while the death blows were dealing with unflinching hands, and scalps were torn from heads which bloomed with beauty and innocence but a few hours before. Now the work of butchering ended. The murderers threw the dead into two heaps, covered them slightly with earth, and left them to 'feed the wolves and birds of prey.' And returned home with their blood booty of battle and wagons, and a great quantity of goods, &c."

The narrator of the above facts also furnishes the following statement of crimes within his knowledge. He says:

"G. D. Porters, William Parrish and Beetson Parrish, were all murdered on the road to Springville, in the month of March, 1847. All that is requisite to bring the murders to justice, is a thorough investigation by the United States Courts. Henry Forbes came into Springville, last winter, from California, and put up with Mr. T. Jerry, one of our bishop's policemen. A short time after he was missing, and has never returned. His horse, saddle and revolver were sold by Terry, and put to his own use."