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


The Mountain Meadows Massacre—A Tale of Horror. 

One of the dread mysteries of Mormondom which the U.S. Judges in Utah are endeavoring to unravel, greatly to the consternation of the “Saints,” is the horrible massacre at Mountain Meadows, of one hundred emigrants, on their way from Arkansas to California. At the time, we were told that the unfortunate victims fell under the weapons of the Canosh band of Paravant Indians; but various subsequent developments have established the conviction that these were merely tools in the hands of the Mormons themselves. An eye-witness of the transaction has been found, at last, and we have received, from an official source in Salt Lake, a statement of his account of the affair. He says the massacre was designed and carried into execution for mere purposes of plunder, to get possession of the thirty wagons and seven or eight hundred head of cattle belonging to the emigrants. It will be remembered that our Salt Lake Correspondent, last summer, presented some evidence sustaining this view–but still the subject was left partially in doubt. Now, the whole fearful truth stands revealed, present one of the most shocking cases of cruelty and crime that has ever stained the records of a civilized community. The witness says:

While I was residing at Cedar City, I was called upon by Messrs. Isaac Hight, 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 30 or 40 others, selected from different settlements. We were addressed by the above officers, who told us that they had sent Canosh, the Paravant Chief, with his warriors, to destroy the Arkansas company, and that if he had not done it we must; and that if any of us 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 into 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.

Hight and Lee formed their men into two companies, and made a precipitant rush at the poor defenceless victims. The men inside of the circles rose up, but instantly fell dead or mortally wounded, under the fire of the wretched 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 no more savage Indian assailants.

John D. Lee now sent to the Indian chief, and his 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 demoniac yells of the savage monsters, mingled with the shrieks and pray[er]s of helpless mothers and daughters, whilst the death-blows were dealing with unflinching hands, and scalps were torn from hears 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 booty of cattle, and wagons, and a great quantity of goods, etc.

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

G. D. Potter, William Parrish, and Beetson Parrish, were all murdered on the road to Springville, in the month of March, 1857. All that is requisite to bring the murderers to justice, is a thorough investigation by the United States Court.

Henry Forbes came into Springville last winter, from California, and put up with J. A. Terry, 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.

[This case was mentioned by our Salt Lake correspondent last summer, but at that time the name of the missing man could not be ascertained.—ED. BULLETIN]