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

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SOON after the arrival of the Federal officials who accompanied and immediately followed Johnston's army to Utah, the three judges, David R. Eckels, Charles E. Sinclair, and John Cradlebaugh, were assigned to their respective districts, and the machinery of the United States courts was set in motion. Chief Justice Eckels, preferring the military atmosphere to which for several months he had been accustomed, took up his residence at Camp Floyd; Associate Justice Sinclair was assigned to the Third Judicial District, which, as now, embraced Salt Lake City, while Associate Justice Cradlebaugh, who was the last of the three to arrive, was appointed to the Second District, comprising the southern counties. The other officials were: John Hartnett, Secretary; Alexander Wilson, United States Attorney; Peter K. Dotson, Marshal, and Jacob Forney, Superintendent of Indian Affairs. It had been deemed proper by the authorities at Washington to separate the last-named office from that of Governor. All but one of the new officials were non-residents of Utah. The exception was the United States Marshal, Mr. Dotson.

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Judge Sinclair opened court at Salt Lake City in November, 1858. His first move was not a reassuring one to the people, who, trusting in the pledge given by Governor Cumming and the Peace Commissioners, that the Federal representatives would keep faith with the citizens and hold sacred the amnesty extended by President Buchanan, had abandoned their exodus and returned to their homes and various avocations. It seemed to them an attempt to ignore or override the President's decree; to render null and void his offer of pardon which the people had accepted. In short, Judge Sinclair, in charging the grand jury of his court, urged them to indict ex-Governor Young, Lieutenant-General Wells and other prominent Mormons for treason; also for intimidation of court and for, polygamy. The Judge held that President Buchanan's pardon,' while it was "a public fact in the history of the country," "ought to be brought judicially by plea, motion or otherwise." This meant that the decree of the Chief Magistrate of the nation was not to have full force and effect until he, Charles E. Sinclair, appointed by said Chief Magistrate an Associate Justice of Utah, had sat upon it and pronounced it valid; or, as Mr. Stenhouse puts it, "he wanted to bring before his court Brigham Young and the leading Mormons to make them admit that they had been guilty of treason, and make them humbly accept from him the President's clemency."*

The vain-glorious attempt failed, as it deserved to do. A sensible man, one not so anxious to re-open the wound then healing, to renew the strife which had just been brought to a close, was the United States Attorney, Alexander Wilson. He refused to present to the jury bills for indictments for treason, on the ground that the President's pardon had been presented by the Peace Commissioners and accepted by the people, whereupon peace had been proclaimed by the Governor of the Territory. An indictment was secured against James Ferguson for intimidation of court, the act of which occurred in Judge Stiles' district at Salt Lake City in 1854, and grew

* The Rocky Mountain Saints," page 402.
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out of the rivalry existing between the Federal and Territorial officers and tribunals referred to in a former chapter. The case against Mr. Ferguson never came to judgment. As to polygamy, there being no law against the practice,—for it was not until 1862 that Congress legislated against polygamy as "bigamy,"—the grand jury failed to return any indictments on that score.

The only other act of Judge Sinclair's that causes his name to be remembered in Utah—barring his collusion with other officials to secure the arrest of Brigham Young on a trumped-up, baseless charge of counterfeiting—was his sentencing a man who had committed murder to be executed on the Sabbath. This man was Thomas H. Ferguson, a non-Mormon, who, while drunk, had shot and killed his employer, Alexander Carpenter, another non-Mormon. The homicide occurred September 17th, 1859, and the execution—the day originally set having been changed—on Friday, the 28th of October.* Judge Sinclair was quite a young man, which may partly account for some of his idiosyncrasies.

Meantime Judge Cradlebaugh had begun operations in the Second Judicial District. This court convened at Provo on the 8th of March, 1859. The seat of the Second District was at Fillmore, the former capital of the Territory, and it was there, on the first Monday of November, 1858, that Judge Cradlebaugh should have opened court. Such was the appointment made for him before his arrival by Judges Eckels and Sinclair, constituting a majority of the supreme bench of Utah, empowered by Congress to arrange those matters. The appointment was made in August, 1858, but Judge Cradlebaugh did not arrive upon the scene of his labors until the first week in November. This was probably his reason for not

* Said the condemned man on the scaffold: "I was tried by the statutes of Utah Territory, which give a man the privilege of being shot, beheaded or hanged. But was it given to me? No, it was not. All Judge Sinclair wanted was to sentence some one to be hanged, then he was willing to leave the Territory; and he had too much whiskey in his head to know the day he sentenced me to be executed on, and would not have known, if it had not been for the people of Utah laughing at him. It would have been on Sunday. A nice Judge to send to any country!"
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beginning on time; but why he did not open court at the place appointed, but arbitrarily changed it from Fillmore to Provo, in the absence of an avowed reason must be surmised. We surmise, therefore, that it was in order to be nearer Camp Floyd; it being the design of Judge Cradlebaugh, in inaugurating the extraordinary proceedings by him contemplated, to call to his aid the strong arm of the military. That design, as we shall see, was strictly carried out.

Judge Cradlebaugh proposed to investigate, among other things, the Mountain Meadows massacre, referred to previously. The facts relating to this terrible tragedy, as gathered from the most reliable sources,—some of which have never before been drawn upon,—will now be laid before the reader.

The summer of 1857 furnished the bloodiest page in all the history of Utah. The theme is approached by the chronicler with shuddering, and its recital must fill the heart of every reader with horror. There is a crime that is worse than murder—a massacre; and massacre never assumes form so horrid as when its victims are defenseless,—most dreadful of all when with the slain mingles the blood of helpless women and innocent children.

About midsummer of the year mentioned a large body of Missouri and Arkansas emigrants, en route to California, reached Salt Lake City. They traveled in two separate parties, and were well provided with stock, implements and the supplies constituting the usual emigrant outfit. For some days after their arrival, during which time they had repairs made in their vehicles and had their animals shod, they were in doubt as to which route of the two then commonly used to the Coast they should follow. At length the Arkansas party decided, probably upon the advice of General Charles C. Rich who was familiar with both, to take the northern route, which, it will be remembered, crossed Bear River and proceeded along the Humboldt. They started, but made only a few days' journey,—it was afterwards learned that they went no farther than Bear River—when for some reason, probably because southern California was their destination, the majority concluded to return  
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and take the southern route, leading through southwestern Utah. Proceeding southward through the Utah settlements, the two companies, one of which, the Arkansas party, was led by a man named Fancher, and the other, the Missouri party, was under command of a Mr. Dukes, became separated by several days' journey. It is known that Dukes' company were delayed some time near Beaver. Here they had trouble with the Indians, one of whom they had shot. Being attacked, they corralled their wagons and sought protection in a rifle pit. Two of them were wounded, but the Indians were soon placated through the intervention of officers of the Utah militia, who distributed to them liberal contributions of beef. Fancher's party in the meantime kept moving ahead, and had penetrated the Indian country and were beyond the line of settlements before the Missouri company advanced from this camp.

It was a time of great anxiety if not of intense excitement in Utah. News had just come that the troops sent by President Buchanan were nearing the Territory, and every express brought reports of the brutal and infamous threats with which the camps of the soldiery resounded. In their wagons, they declared, were the ropes with which the Mormon leaders were to be hanged. With their recent experiences in Missouri and Illinois fresh in their minds, the settlers were naturally in a state of the utmost anxiety as to the developments of the future. Martial law was all but declared in Utah, and the people were fully warned as to the exceeding gravity of the situation. Under the circumstances it was their plain duty to watch for signs of hostility on the part of emigrants or others who sought to pass through the Territory.

Whatever may have been the conduct of these companies when they encountered the Utah outposts on the east, there seems to be no question that not long after their arrival in Salt Lake Valley they gave abundant evidence of their hostility and vindictiveness. During their entire journey through the Territory they appear to have conducted themselves in the most offensive manner. They swaggered through the towns, declaring their intention, as soon  
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as they should have conveyed their women and children to a place of safety, to return with military force sufficient to complete such destruction of the Mormons as the United States soldiery might leave unfinished. They averred that the murdered leaders of the Church had received but tardily their deserts, and gave the impression, if they did not positively boast, that in their company were hands that had been reddened with the Prophet's blood. Nor were their offenses confined to harrowing and insulting words. They acted like a band of marauders, preying upon the possessions of those whose country they traversed, and committing all manner of petty indignities upon person and property. Still graver crimes were charged against them by the Indians. They were said not only to have wantonly shot some of the braves, but were known to have left poisoned beef where the savages would be likely to get it. Several deaths, attributed to this cause, occurred among the Indians near Fillmore, and numbers of their animals perished through drinking water from springs poisoned by the emigrants when about to break camp.

One result of this deliberate policy of exasperation was the attack by Indians on the rear party, the Missouri contingent, at its camp near Beaver. Dissuaded at that time from their design to take summary revenge for the atrocities committed against them, the Indians hung on the horizon of their foe, as the latter drove out past the last settlements, and when in the very heart of the Indian country the attack was renewed. Again the services of the Mormons, two or three of whom had been detailed to overtake and accompany the emigrants as guides and interpreters, stood the besieged in good stead. The enraged savages were bought off with the loose stock of the company, agreeing to leave unmolested the teams and wagons and take no life. These emigrants resumed their journey and reached their destination in safety.*

* Soon afterwards the Indians were persuaded by the president of the Southern Utah Indian mission—Jacob Hamblin—to surrender the stock, and all that had not been killed was delivered by him to an agent who came to receive it in response to his notification that it was held subject to his order.
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For the leading party, however, a horrible fate was reserved. Though in the main composed of families that bore the appearance of respectability, there was a rough and lawless element in their ranks that lost no opportunity of exhibiting its bitterness and destructiveness. Against this company, as stated, was laid the fearful charge of injecting poison into the carcass of one of their oxen,* first having learned that the Indians would be likely to eat the meat, and of throwing packages of poison into the springs. In other ways they contrived to render themselves obnoxious to the settlers and hateful to the natives.

It is hinted, too, that coming from the state and some even from the county in which one of the Apostles, Parley P. Pratt, had been assassinated only a short time before, the blood-thirsty talk of the emigrants had intensified the feeling their other conduct had aroused among the people. In the spring of this same year Apostle Pratt had stood trial in Arkansas on the charge of having married the wife and abducted the children of Hector McLean, a Louisianian by birth but then a resident of California. The charge was not sustained, and the defendant was acquitted. But McLean's threat of vengeance and the solicitation of friends impelled the Apostle to seek safety in flight. Undertaking to make his way alone on horseback through a wild and sparsely settled country, he was intercepted by accomplices of McLean and held until the latter could come up and dispatch him. The assassin in his fury not only plunged his knife repeatedly into the body of his victim, but also shot him through the breast with a pistol snatched from the hand of a comrade. Neither principal nor accomplices in the tragedy were ever brought to justice, though the testimony at the coroner's inquest substantiated the facts here narrated.

* This act was witnessed by men who camped near the emigrants at Corn Creek.
Parley P. Pratt was murdered near Van Buren, Arkansas, May 13, 1857. George Q. Cannon was chosen to succeed him as one of the Twelve Apostles. His name was presented to the general conference of the Church by President Young, April 7, 1860, and he was ordained August 26th of that year.
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As the Arkansas emigrants drew farther away from the larger and stronger towns and approached the isolated and straggling settlements on the southern and western border, they grew more defiant in language and actions. Cedar City was the last place of any consequence on the route. Here their customary proceeding of burning fences, whipping the heads off chickens or shooting them in the streets or private dooryards, to the extreme danger of the inhabitants, was continued. One of them, a blustering fellow riding a grey horse flourished his pistol in the face of the wife of one of the citizens, all the time making insulting proposals and uttering profane threats. When the town marshal notified them that they were violating the city ordinances they set his authority at defiance, declaring they would fight before any of their party should be surrendered. They seemed to think they had completely intimidated the people, and as a parting threat told in some quarters that they were going to camp in the Mountain Meadows until they should have fattened their beef animals so that an invading auxiliary force, expected from the west, would have plenty of supplies. It is probable that they had chosen Mountain Meadows as the last point for a prolonged halt through a suggestion given them by Jacob Hamblin, a member of George A. Smith's party, whom they had met at Corn Creek, now Kanosh, fifteen miles south of Fillmore, about the 23rd of August. Knowing of Hamblin as a pioneer in the southern country, the emigrants asked him about the road, and inquired as to a suitable place to rest and recruit their teams before crossing the desert. He suggested to them the south end of Mountain Meadows, a few miles from his ranch, where there was plenty of good feed and water for the animals.

Apostle Smith was returning from a tour of the southern settlements, during which he had at almost every opportunity given pointed advice to the people on the crisis which seemed to be impending. He had only just returned to Utah after a year's absence, and as some of his family lived in Iron County, he had left Salt Lake City about the end of July to visit them. On this journey, both going and coming, he warned the people against wasting their  
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grain or using it for horse-feed, as crops had been short for several years. He advised against selling to emigrants for this purpose, but distinctly urged the duty of furnishing strangers with what bread-stuffs they needed for themselves and families. That these emigrants and others were able to supply themselves with the necessaries of life for their long journey was directly due to this humane counsel and its general acceptance.
The fact that he had never heard of the Arkansas emigrants before he met them at Corn Creek, where he camped near them one night on his way back to Salt Lake City, and that he immediately started east and heard no more of them until he reached Bridger, appears to have escaped the notice of those who subsequently sought to associate him with the tragedy at Mountain Meadows. He was as innocent of connection with that crime as a babe unborn.

The ill-starred company, traveling slowly, reached Beaver, Parowan and Cedar City in succession, passing the last-named place about the 27th or 28th of August. Here, as at Parowan, they were able to purchase grain, and though doubtless regarded with distrust, were treated with humanity. Proceeding a few miles farther they camped several days near some of the springs in the vicinity, trading stock with the settlers and buying more grain. Their insolent conduct continued, and yet they seemed loth to leave the last signs of civilization,—the society of a people whom they hated.

Meantime the Indians were becoming aroused at the reports which had reached them of this company's deeds at Corn Creek and other places. The red men shared in no small degree the excitement of the whole country over the prospects of early war. No doubt the horses and herds of the emigrants were also something of a temptation to the savages.

Cedar was the most distant town from Salt Lake City on the line of travel to southern California, and for that reason the first point in the Territory which an expedition from that direction would reach. Their very remoteness made the settlers peculiarly alert and watchful for the first manifestations of that era of sanguinary distress that  
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was universally believed to be impending. It was accordingly the custom for the more prominent citizens to meet together frequently to discuss the situation and exchange ideas and suggestions as to what course should be taken with reference to any emergency. In their scattered condition,—many of them living on farms and ranches several miles distant,—it was no easy task to secure attendance at such a meeting except by previous appointment. Thus it happened that Sunday, when the people were accustomed to assemble for religious worship, came to be chosen for these brief consultations, the men folks meeting in council before the usual services began, or remaining a short time after they were concluded. Such was the case on Sunday, the 30th of August, the second or third day after the Arkansas company had passed through. The conduct of that company in and near Cedar, and the knowledge of their lawlessness all along the line of previous settlements, associated with the ferocious threat that their early return as a mob of destroyers might be expected, caused earnest and even indignant allusion to them at this particular council. By some it was suggested that as they were about to enter the Indian country the savages would be likely to harass and plunder them to a degree that would prevent their promised return. It is probable that others were in favor of bringing them back and holding them as prisoners of war. What other suggestions, if any, were offered at the time is not known; but it is a fact that it was then and there resolved that the Indians should be held in check, and the emigrants permitted to pass in safety. A dispatch to that effect was sent shortly afterward by Lieutenant-Colonel Haight to the presiding official at Pinto [or Painter] Creek.

The messenger who delivered this order remembers that on his return he met the emigrants just breaking camp for the last time before entering the Mountain Meadows. He was accompanied on his errand of peace by Philip Klingensmith, then Bishop of Cedar; and they had scarcely set out from that place before they met John D. Lee, to whom they communicated the object of their journey. Lee was a major in the militia; never a bishop in the Church—as so  
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often asserted—but acting at this time as farmer among the Indians, and doubtless possessing much influence with them. His response indicated that he was displeased with the peaceful decision of the council. But though the Indians were gathered in force and under much excitement, near Pinto, the emigrants pursued their way in safety past that point and went into camp at the south end of Mountain Meadows, about forty miles from Cedar. These elevated pastures were almost on the water-shed, or "rim of the Basin;" and as they proved to be a pleasant, grassy spot, the emigrants planned to remain there and recuperate before venturing upon the desert. They had been unable to purchase wagon grease at the settlements—the settlers had none for themselves—and after reaching camp, which was probably about Thursday, September 3rd, they sent two men into the pines to make tar to be used as a substitute.*

In the meantime two men were despatched from Cedar under military orders to visit the camp at the Meadows and ascertain if possible what the real program and intentions of the party were. About the same time there was a general movement looking to a concentration of the Indians, though they do not seem to have massed at one point in any considerable number until Sunday, the 6th. The two messengers proceeded to Hamblin's ranch, in the north end of the Meadows, from which place they twice visited the emigrants, on Saturday, the 5th, and Sunday, the 6th. They were civilly treated and informed that as soon as the two men who were making tar, and two others whom they intended sending back a few miles for some strayed cattle, returned, the company would vacate the Meadows. These latter men passed Hamblin's Sunday morning, stopping there to water their horses.

The Sabbath passed in peace at the Meadows, but it was a day of excitement among the Indians congregated near Pinto, by whom it had been arranged that after the emigrants started and while they were journeying along the Santa Clara in straggling order, they

* These men escaped the general massacre that followed, but are understood to have been pursued by Indians to the Muddy country, and there slain.
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should be attacked and plundered. Death was to be the portion of the men if they resisted, but the women and children were to be spared. The attack was precipitated, however, by the bloodthirsty haste of one of the chiefs, who, dozing while the corn and potatoes were roasting for the evening meal, dreamed that his double-hands were filled with blood. Regarding this as a favorable omen, and rousing his braves, whose sanguinary temper, long restrained, now needed no whet, the hot and furious march for the emigrant camp was forthwith begun, the untasted supper being left in the embers. John D. Lee appears to have been the only white man then with the savages.

It was just at dawn on Monday, the 7th, when from the heights and ravines surrounding their camp a volley carried pain and death into the ranks of the emigrants. Seven men were killed and sixteen wounded. Rudely aroused to the fate threatening them, the men rushed to the shelter of their wagons, and immediately began to entrench themselves by throwing up a slight bank of earth against their wagon wheels, and excavating a rifle pit in the center of their corral. Their defense was so stubborn and their movements so expeditious that the attacking party withdrew, and taking position on the adjacent hills, instituted a state of siege, meantime pouring in a deadly fire upon such of the hapless garrison as ventured outside the barricade for water. All told, the emigrants numbered about one hundred and thirty-seven; twenty-three were already killed or wounded, four were away at the pines and after the cattle, and at least seventeen were children under seven years of age,—this number being spared the massacre that ensued. Of the remaining ninety-two or ninety-three a goodly proportion were probably women and maidens. The fighting strength of the company, including young and old, could not, therefore, have been very great. But they were nerved by desperation. The besiegers had driven off their animals, so all thought of advance was idle. Equally futile was any hope of retreat. If they left their entrenchments it was to expose themselves to savage marksmanship, and they would have been  
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speedily cut down. No course was open save to remain and resist until possibly relief might come. During Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday they kept up the unequal conflict, their stock of ammunition running lower and lower, and their sufferings from thirst during the day being intense.

Only a few hours before this first attack was made, while the Indians were still believed to be under control at Pinto, the question of dealing with the emigrants on account of their continued ill behavior again came up for consideration at a council held in Cedar. There were present as usual—it being Sunday—the leading officers of the local militia and other prominent citizens. Up to that time there had been no demonstration against the emigrants, though it must have been known from the assembling and demeanor of the savages that they were planning a raid upon them. Again there were suggestions that the company be intercepted and brought back; having declared themselves as enemies, it was argued that they should be treated as such. Some there were, notably the fiery Klingensmith, who advocated an immediate attack upon the camp. Lee was not present, but is said to have sent word that the Indians were growing restless and vehement. From all reports the debate was animated, if not heated. But at length the suggestion prevailed that a courier be sent to Governor Young at Salt Lake City with dispatches detailing the provocation to hostilities that had been given, noting the Indian desire for revenge and asking his advice in regard to the situation. Isaac C. Haight, in command of the Cedar militia, was to write and forward the letter, and instructions were to be sent to Lee to pacify the Indians and keep them from attacking the emigrants. Both dispatches were written, and on Monday afternoon they were put into the hands of riders who knew their contents, for delivery at their respective destinations. Joseph Clewes carried the letter addressed by Colonel Haight to a resident of Pinto Creek, enclosing an order to Lee to keep the Indians off the emigrants and protect them from all harm until further orders. Before this letter reached Pinto Creek, Lee and the Indians had left for the Meadows; and  
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before it was received by him there, as he afterwards acknowledged it was received, the first attack had been made. The Indians had tasted of blood, some of their own had been spilt, the emigrants having killed several and mortally wounded others, and no human power could now check their fury.

The dispatch to Governor Young was carried by James H. Haslam, who, riding express and changing horses frequently, was able to reach Salt Lake City on the morning of Thursday, the 10th. Delivering his message, he was asked to come at 1 p. m. of the same day for a reply. On making his appearance at the hour named, and answering affirmatively the Governor's question whether he could stand the journey back, injunction was laid upon him not to spare horseflesh in returning with the reply, for "the Indians must be kept from the emigrants at all cost, if it took all of Iron County to protect them."* He reached Cedar City on Sunday, September 13th, and delivered the letter to Colonel Haight, who, as he read it, cried like a child, and exclaimed: "Too late, too late!" The massacre had already taken place.

The messengers to Governor Young and John D. Lee could have scarcely started upon their errands when word came to Cedar that the Indians had attacked the emigrants at the Meadows. From that time on, Indian and white runners came almost daily from the scene of strife. The first reports were that the Indians, several hundred in number, had attacked and slain some of the emigrants, and that men were needed to guard the remnant and bury the dead. It was upon this call to Colonel Haight that John M. Higbee, a major of one of the battalions of militia, on Tuesday the 8th, set out with a body of men and wagons for the Meadows. His force was not numerous and the men were not all supplied with arms. Some were teamsters and others took along picks and spades. They reached their destination early Wednesday morning, only to find that there had been no such bloodshed as that reported, and that the emigrants were making good their defense. But they found an angry host of * Haslam's affidavit.  
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Indians bent on bloodshed, and outnumbering ten to one their own forces. An attempt by the militia to assist the emigrants would have transferred to themselves the Indian attack. During that day and the next, awaiting further orders they lay in camp, near to but out of sight of the entrenched emigrants, who were on the other side of a small hill. Thursday brought slight reinforcements, but by this time more Indians had arrived upon the scene. The whites, who were from the Santa Clara country, believed, as did Higbee's men, that they were summoned there on an errand of mercy, to bury the dead and protect the survivers. But the fury of the Indians was uncontrollable. Lee may have attempted, as he says, to restrain them. It is not improbable, however, that after some of the Indians had been wounded, and himself had had a narrow escape from the riflemen in the corral, he made no further attempt to check the assault. He exhibited bullet holes in his clothing and hat, where Arkansas marksmanship had given evidence of its accuracy. But the Indians for some reason were inclined to think that he and the white men were planning to cheat them of their prey. About the third day of the attack, two men from Hamblin's ranch approached the scene of battle, and came upon some wounded savages. Companions of the latter at once surrounded the two, upbraiding them with Lee's supposed desertion of the Indians' cause, and compelling them, probably in order to demonstrate whether a friendly understanding existed between the whites on both sides, to run the gauntlet of the emigrant fire. They were required to pass in full view and close range of the camp, down the hill, across the valley and up on the other side. To make the attempt seemed to court certain death, but to refuse the Indians was to invite the vengeance of a still more savage foe. They made the daring run and escaped unharmed, though bullets whistled past them thick and fast.

* There is another statement to the effect that these two men, prior to making the run, were compelled to don Indian attire. This furnishes the only foundation for the story that the militia disguised themselves as Indians.
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This was probably on Wednesday, the 9th, and in explaining how the emigrants came to fire upon the white men, we at once come upon the probable cause and explanation of the horrid massacre that ensued two days later. We have seen that among none of the men at the Meadows was there any other understanding than that the Indians had been engaged in bloody work, and were to be restrained from further operations of like character. This was the decision of every council that had been held. It was the substance of every dispatch sent and command issued. But it is said that after Monday's attack a couple of horsemen, coming upon the two emigrants who had been sent back after lost cattle, shot one of them, a young man named Aden, and pursued his companion with the same deadly intent. The latter, however, escaped the bullets sent after him and succeeded in making his way back to the corral. To his comrades his story must have conveyed the dreadful impression that white men were in league with the Indians. The slayers of Aden are supposed to have continued on to Cedar, where they probably urged upon some congenial spirits that since the emigrants now believed the settlers were accessory to the Indian attack, the killing of all who could tell the tale must be accomplished.

Prior to this tragic incident, two of the emigrants had endeavored, under cover of darkness, to break through the Indian lines and carry a call back to the settlement for assistance. These men were met in the cedars during the night time by a small party commanded by Klingensmith, who had left Cedar City the same evening. Both the emigrants were killed, one of them falling, it is said, by Klingensmith's own hand.

Meantime another council had been held, this time at Parowan, the regimental headquarters. At this council, over which William H. Dame as Colonel presided, the whole matter was once more discussed. The men present, of whom there were quite a number, listened to reports brought from Cedar to the effect that the emigrants had been attacked and were then surrounded. The decision of this council, like that of the preceding ones, was that the company should  
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be protected, and assisted to pass on in safety. Colonel Haight and his associates, after this conference, returned to Cedar, and he is understood to have sent a message to Lee that if it took all the property of the emigrants to appease the Indians, they were to have it; no more blood should be shed.

But Klingensmith, who was doubtless among those who had been informed of Aden's murder, and had divined its effect upon the emigrants, was already at work collecting men to go to the Meadows. He, and by this time some others, cannot have been guiltless of bloody intentions. His act, on meeting the two emigrant messengers in the cedars, is proof enough of his temper. There is no doubt that until he reached the Meadows the fatal order for the massacre had not been received. When he arrived he conferred with the leaders, and then for the first time was there talk as to a plan of attack. He brought encouragement and strength to those, if any there were, who were bent upon destroying the company—which had been his own plan in all the councils held at Cedar—and he undoubtedly gave the impression that the superior officers of the militia had given orders to that effect. Higbee, who as major of battalion was in command of militia on the ground, was of equal rank with Lee, though much younger in years. Lee was also major, but at this time devoted himself more especially to the Indian forces. It was Lee and Klingensmith, however, who seemed to have the direction of affairs, and it is not unlikely that Klingensmith by his ardor and representations—he was the latest arrival from Cedar—had more influence in the subsequent councils than any one else.

Finally, on Friday morning, the 11th, the details of the plan were adopted. Shortly after noon two wagons were ordered up near the emigrant corral; a flag of truce was sent forward, and the besieged party answered it with one of their own. Lee advanced to meet their representative; there was a long parley; and at length Lee and his wagons entered the corral. His proposition was that the company should give up their arms, loading them into these two wagons, and, leaving their outfits on the ground, accept the escort of  
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himself and associates back to places of safety. The terms were acceded to; the wagons were quickly loaded, some of the children, two or three women, and a couple of wounded men also finding places thereon. The march back toward Cedar City began, the women walking behind the wagons, and the men behind the women, the whole making a straggling procession, with the militiamen in single file on the right hand and well toward the rear.* The Indians were invisible, being in ambush ahead and to the right of the militia. The precision that had been arranged for the scheme did not prevent a hitch, and as the column kept moving on beyond the point where the signal was to be given, the savages, impatient at the delay and fearful that they were to be robbed of their revenge, advanced stealthily, some creeping on all fours up to the line.† At last a gun-shot was heard in front, and immediately a volley of death blazed forth from the bushes, and from some parts of the militia line. At the first fire nearly all the adults were killed. Those who survived it were speedily dispatched. None but small children were spared.

The slaughter lasted but two or three minutes. It is not believed that indignities were put upon the corpses, and it is denied that any were scalped. The militia kept moving northward, and night soon threw its black mantle over the horrible scene. A few men were sent back to the emigrant corral to keep the Indians from plundering the wagons, but the redskins had made quick work of stripping the clothing off the bodies, and were already looting the camp. That night the air was full of the wild bellowings of the cattle and the triumphant shouts of the savages; and here and there along the

* It is said that one of the emigrants, after starting out with the rest, turned back, saying that treachery was intended. His comrades persuaded him to rejoin the party, which by this time was quite a distance in advance.
The signal was to be the word "Halt!" spoken when part of the procession had crossed the slight ridge which should separate the men and militia at the rear from the wagons and women in front. But the officer who was to give it delayed in the hope that other orders might be received or other counsels prevail, until the point of attack had long been passed and the Indians were threatening to break in indiscriminately and begin the slaughter.
[p. 707]

trail the cold, white face of a murdered man or woman looked up into the dark, dumb sky. It was an accursed, hated spot.

Scarcely had the dreadful work ended when two men from Cedar, riding as if for their lives, met the advancing column. They bore no dispatches, but had come on their own account to seek to check any attempt to overturn the decision of the Cedar and Parowan councils. They were fearful that danger was in store for the emigrants, and this suspicion was confirmed when they met a runaway from the Meadows, who told them of the crime that was on foot. Spurring their jaded horses to renewed speed, they reached the spot. But it was too late. The deed was done. Next morning, Saturday, the 12th, Colonel Dame, of Parowan, and Lieutenant-Colonel Haight, of Cedar, arrived on the scene. They were horror-struck, and it is said became involved in a heated quarrel.

In the meantime steps were taken to bury the bodies. The ground was dry and hard, but during the day all were interred where they lay, sometimes three or four in a grave.*

The orphaned children, seventeen in number, ranging in age from three months to seven years, were taken to Cedar and distributed among the families in the vicinity. They were well cared for, and during the following summer were surrendered to Indian Superintendent Forney who reported that "they were in better condition than children generally in the settlements in which they lived." In the year 1859 they were sent back to Arkansas, an appropriation for the purpose having been made by Congress.

* The graves were in most cases shallow, but there is no truth in the story that the first rains washed away the soil and left the bodies exposed. The bones that were afterwards collected had been dug from their resting place by wolves, and gnawed and scattered by the ferocious beasts. In the spring of 1859 a detachment of troops from Camp Floyd, sent out for the purpose, gathered up the scattered bones and buried them in one spot, erecting over them a rude cairn, against which leaned a slab bearing the inscription: "Here 120 men, women and children were massacred in cold blood, early in September, 1857." Surmounting the cairn was a cross bearing the words: "Vengeance is mine: I will repay, saith the Lord." Nothing remains now to mark the place of sepulchre. Cairn and cross have yielded to the action of the elements, and have crumbled and disappeared.
[p. 708]

Of the property of the murdered emigrants, the larger part, including nearly all the stock, was taken by the Indians. The remainder was conveyed to Cedar, arriving during the night of Sunday, the 13th.* Soon afterwards the property, consisting of some clothing, wagon covers, utensils, etc., was sold at auction at Cedar City, the ubiquitous Klingensmith acting as chief salesman. Not a dollar of it, and not a single hoof of stock belonging to the ill-fated company ever came into the hands of President Young or the Church, all assertions to the contrary notwithstanding.

Such are the facts relating to the most dreadful occurrence in Utah's history. John D. Lee, one of the chief actors, told a different story when on the 29th of September he brought to Governor Young a verbal report of the affair. He said that Indians surrounded, massacred and stripped the bodies of the adults of the party, and sold the children to the settlers; that no white men were concerned in the massacre and that when he heard of it he took some of his neighbors and went and buried the bodies.† Among all save the actual participants there was the completest acceptance of the story that the crime was committed solely by Indians. Scarcely had the bodies been buried when the leaders in the bloody work called their men together and under the most binding oaths pledged them to secrecy. For years the unholy promise was kept, and when at length the truth began to leak out, the names of men entirely innocent were mingled in fatal proximity with those of the guilty. Of the militia, ordered or lured to the scene of the massacre by Lee and Klingensmith, nearly all were young men who

* Next day the Missouri party of emigrants passed through Cedar. They had heard of the fate of their associates, but believed it to be the work of Indians.
† Wilford Woodruff's Diary. Governor Young in his report as Superintendent of Indian Affairs to the Commissioner, January 6th, 1858, says: "I quote from a letter written to me by John D. Lee, farmer to the Indians in Iron and Washington counties: '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.'"
[p. 709]

acted in innocence of evil under military orders. In most instances they took no part whatever in the actual killing. It was not until 1870 that Lee's complicity was established; when upon investigation and recommendation of Apostle Erastus Snow made to President Young, it was moved and unanimously carried in a council of the Apostles held at Salt Lake City that John D. Lee be expelled from the Church, with a solemn ban against re-admission under any circumstances, and that his superior officer, Isaac C. Haight, for failing to restrain him and take prompt action against him, be also excommunicated. Klingensmith, one of the most guilty throughout the whole affair, left the Church soon after the massacre, and was ever after burning with anxiety to turn states evidence.*

As said, it was this awful crime, the Mountain Meadows massacre, that Judge Cradlebaugh, of the Second District Court, sitting at Provo in March, 1859, sought to investigate. So interested was he in the matter that he had paid a personal visit to the scene of the massacre. Other criminal cases that came before him at the same session of court, were the Potter and Parrish murders, which occurred at Springville, six miles south of Provo, in March, 1857. William R. Parrish, his son Beason and G. G. Potter were the persons killed,—shot and stabbed to death on the night of the 14th of March. The verdict of the coroner's jury was "that they came to their deaths by the hands of an assassin or assassins to the jury unknown." Judge Cradlebaugh, however, was determined to make the Mormon Church responsible for the crime; and not only for this, but for the Mountain Meadows massacre, and in fact for nearly every other deed of blood or lesser depredation committed in his district. His zeal and that of his coadjutors in this direction caused Superintendent Forney to remark, in his report to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs in August, 1859: "I fear, and I regret to say it, that with certain parties here there is a greater anxiety to connect

* Though sometimes referred to as Bishop Smith, and his name appearing to an affidavit dated April 10th, 1871, as Philip Klingon Smith, he was usually known as Klingensmith.
[p. 710]

Brigham Young and other church dignitaries with every criminal offense, than diligent endeavor to punish the actual perpetrators of crime." In charging the grand jury of his court on March 8th of that year, Judge Cradlebaugh used the following language:

I will say to you, Gentlemen of the Grand Jury, that from what I learn, it has been some time since a court, having judicial cognizance in your district, was held. No person has been brought to punishment for some two years; and from what I have learned I am satisfied that crime after crime has been committed.

In consequence of the Legislature not having provided proper means, there is not that aid given that is desired to enable the judiciary to prosecute its duties; but I will say that the Legislature, in my opinion, have legislated to prevent the judiciary from bringing such offenders to justice.

They have provided the Probate Courts with criminal jurisdiction, and it would seem that the whole machinery was made so that they should be brought before that court and tried, and the fact that there is no additional legislation to provide for bringing them before this court, proves that it was done to prevent.

The Judge then proceeded to find fault with the Deseret News for indulging in certain strictures on the Federal courts, and with ex-Governor Young for an alleged similar cause. Finally he came to the Mountain Meadows massacre and the Potter and Parrish affair, also mentioning the murder of one Henry Fobbs at Pondtown, and the killing of Henry Jones and his mother at Payson.* He then said:

To allow these things to pass over gives a color as if they were done by authority. The very fact of such a crime as that of the Mountain Meadows shows that there was some person high in the estimation of the people, and it was done by that authority; and this case of the Parrishes 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.

I saw something said in that paper of some higher law. It is perhaps not proper to mention that, but such teachings will have their influence upon the public mind.

* Fobbs was said to have been killed by Indians while passing through the Territory. Jones and his mother were guilty of incest and were shot by an enraged mob of citizens, who pulled down the house in which they dwelt. Both events took place in 1857.