S. L. Tribune Co.
The Lee Trial!
(SLC: Tribune Printing Co., 1875)

  • Title Page    Preface     Introductory
  • Lee's Confession    Judge Carey's Address
  • Philip Klingensmith's Testimony
  • Testimony Continued    Case for the Defense
  • Testimony for the Defense
  • Brigham Young's Deposition
  • Charge to the Jury    Arguments of Counsel
  • Opinions of the Press

  • Transcriber's Comments

  • 1857 L. A. Star report  |  1857 Western Standard article  |  1857 Deseret News report
    1869 Cannon-Smith News article  |  1884, 99 Penrose booklet  |  Children of the Massacre




    Mountain  Meadows  Massacre,

    BEING  A






    [ 3 ]

    P R E F A C E.

    The Tribune Printing Company have been induced to issue this pamphlet edition of the Lee Trial to satisfy the demand which their Daily and Weekly issue was unable to meet. The report furnished herewith is by no means full, as a complete transcript of the testimony and arguments of counsel would swell this publication into the dimensions of a volume. The interest in the Lee Trial centers in the extraordinary character of the developments made upon the witness stand. Philip Klingensmith and Joel White, both participants in the butchery, were the principal witnesses, and the story told by these men, although differing slightly in minor details, was so coherent and substantially similar, that all who heard their testimony could not fail to be impressed with its truth. They were further corroborated by fully a score of other witnesses, who in various ways brought out and illustrated numerous subsidiary facts either not known to the two first-named witnesses, or not fully brought out in their examination. The result of the trial, as shown by the unanimous verdict of the entire newspaper press of the United States, has been to clearly establish the fact that the Arkansas emigrant company, numbering about one hundred and thirty souls, were butchered at Mountain Meadows by the Iron County regiment of the Mormon militia, known as the Nauvoo Legion, assisted by Indian allies, in obediance to "Orders" issued by the higher ecclesiastical authorities. John D. Lee being placed upon trial, of course, the ibject of the prosecution was to produce testimony to convict the prisoner. This the reader of the following pages will admit was unquestionablly accomplished; but the jury being composed of two-thirds Mormons, who are bound by their oaths in the Endowment House, not to aid in the prosecution of a brother Saint in any Gentile Court, the testimony was not allowed to have any weight in their minds, and the result of the trial was a disagreement of the jury. The only remedy for this block upon the wheels of justice, rests with Congress. If the laws are to be executed in Utah and high crimes punished, the Act of 1874

    4                                                           PREFACE.                                                          

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    -- A --




    The massacre of an Arkansas emigrant company, numbering about one hundred and twenty souls -- men, women and choldren -- was perpetrated at Mountain Meadows, Washington County, Utah Territory...

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    6                                           TRIAL  OF  JOHN  D.  LEE.                                          

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                                                  LEE'S  CONFESSION.                                               7

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    8                                           TRIAL  OF  JOHN  D.  LEE.                                          

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                                                  LEE'S  CONFESSION.                                               9

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                                    JUDGE   CAREY'S  OPENING  ADDRESS.                                 11

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    THE   TRIAL.

    At the opening of the Court on Friday morning, District Attorney Carey delivered the following address.


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                                    JUDGE   CAREY'S  OPENING  ADDRESS.                                 13

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                                  PHILIP   KLINGENSMITH'S  TESTIMONY.                               15

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    16                                           TRIAL  OF  JOHN  D.  LEE.                                          

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                                  PHILIP   KLINGENSMITH'S  TESTIMONY.                               17

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    18                                           TRIAL  OF  JOHN  D.  LEE.                                          


                                  PHILLIP   KLINGENSMITH'S  TESTIMONY.                               19

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                                            TESTIMONY  CONTINUED.                                         21



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                                            TESTIMONY  CONTINUED.                                         23

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    24                                           TRIAL  OF  JOHN  D.  LEE.                                          

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                                            TESTIMONY  CONTINUED.                                         25

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                                            TESTIMONY  CONTINUED.                                         27

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    28                                           TRIAL  OF  JOHN  D.  LEE.                                          

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                                      THE  CASE  FOR  THE  DEFENSE.                                   29

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                                      THE  CASE  FOR  THE  DEFENSE.                                   31

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    32                                           TRIAL  OF  JOHN  D.  LEE.                                          

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                                      TESTIMONY  FOR  THE  DEFENSE.                                   33

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                                      TESTIMONY  FOR  THE  DEFENSE.                                   35

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                                      BRIGHAM  YOUNG'S  DEPOSITION.                                   37

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                                        JUDGE'S  CHARGE  TO  JURY.                                     39



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                                        JUDGE'S  CHARGE  TO  JURY.                                     41

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                                          ARGUMENTS  OF  COUNSEL.                                       43



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                                          ARGUMENTS  OF  COUNSEL.                                       45

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    46                                           TRIAL  OF  JOHN  D.  LEE.                                          

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                                          ARGUMENTS  OF  COUNSEL.                                       47

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    48                                           TRIAL  OF  JOHN  D.  LEE.                                          

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                                          ARGUMENTS  OF  COUNSEL.                                       49

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                                          ARGUMENTS  OF  COUNSEL.                                       51

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    52                                           TRIAL  OF  JOHN  D.  LEE.                                          

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    (Below we give the opinions of a portion of the newspaper press upon the Lee trial, and the failure of the jury to reach a verdict. With the exception of the two or three journals published in the interest of the Mormon Church, which have attempted faintly to palliate the crime, and justify the jury by making light of the evidence, every paper in the United States, which has expressed an opinion upon the subject, has joined in the universal chorus of condemnation of a religious system which deprives its followers of their manhood, and is capable of influencing one portion to commit crimes and another portion to violate their oaths in order to cover up the sins of their co-religionists.)


    By this time the case of John D. Lee has been given to the jury, and if any verdict is to be rendered it will probably be brought in to-day. One of the Indian chiefs who participated in the massacre has made his statement, declaring that the Indians were bribed by a promise of spoils of the emigrants, to do their bloody work; that Lee commanded them, and that the story that the animosity of the Indians had been provoked by an attempt to poison their springs was groundless. All the evidence, it will thus be seen, strikingly corroborates our history of the butchery. It is to be hoped that a clear case having been made out, justice may be done in the premises and those really guilty of this gigantic crime adequately punished, even if they are of greater social and political importance than the tool, Lee. Unhappily this is to be hoped rather than to be expected. -- N. Y. World.

    The horrible details of the Mountain Meadoes Massacre reveal the cruel tyranny of the Mormon Priests in the days of their power, and emphasize the necessity of punishing the authors of these terrible crimes. But the fact that eight Mormons, among them relatives of the accused, are on the jury, gives little hope for anything but a mockery of justice in this trial. If, when a man is tried by his peers, his accomplices are abettors in crime were to be thus considered, there would be an end to all government but that of cut-throats. We hope that some means will be found to bring the persons responsible for this crime to justice, which should smite not the followers but the leaders in this infamous business. -- S. Jo. (Mo.) Herald.

    The sickening and blood-curdling details of this horrible massacre of an entire emigrant train, men, women and children, except a few supposed to be too young even to bear witness against the perpetrators, occurring as long ago as 1857, but just coming to light in authentic shape in the trial now taking place at Beaver

    54                                           TRIAL  OF  JOHN  D.  LEE.                                          

    City, Utah... Helana (Mon.) Herald.

    It is doubtful... Helana (Mon.) Independent.

                                          OPINIONS  OF  THE  PRESS.                                       55

    As a literary curiosity... Sacramento Record.

    Brigham Young's affidavit... St. Albans (Vt.) Advertiser.

    Fanaticism develops itself...

    56                                           TRIAL  OF  JOHN  D.  LEE.                                          

    ... Young was the instigator of the massacre? -- San Francisco Call.

    The Mormons are making a desperate effort to clear Brigham Young of the Mountain Meadows massacre, but they will never succeed in convincing the world that the old sinner was not guilty of participation in the preliminaries to the inhuman outrage, nor that the work of butchery was not perpetrated with his sanction, if not by his positive command. -- Leavenworth (Kansas) Commercial.

    The trial of the participants in the Mountain Meadows Massacre took place on the 23d. It was one of the most horrible and cold-blooded butcheries that ever stained the catalogue of crime, and in behalf of humanity we hope the prepetrators may receive the just punishment due them. -- Fenton (Mich.) Gazette.

    The horrible details... Boston Glode.

    The disclosures at the Mountain Meadows... Springfield Republican.

    The evidence in the trial of the Mormon leader, John D. Lee, charged with participating in the Mountain Meadows massacre in 1857, clearly points to the unmistakable guilt of many distinguished Mormons, including Brigham Young, Hooper, the ex-Congressman, and others.The secret of the massacre was kept for twenty years, but at last one of the leaders who participated in that terrible affair is on trial and his guilt has been clearly proved. At this massacre nearly 150 men and women were shot down in cold blood, while encamped in Utah, on their way from Missouri to California, and all their property confiscated by the perpetrators of the bloody act. About twenty children of the ages of from five to eight years, were spared, too young to remember the details of the murder

                                          OPINIONS  OF  THE  PRESS.                                       57

    These children were adopted in Mormon families and have grown up ignorant of their parentage and the fact that brought them into the Mormon Church. It is hoped that the investigation will now continue till all the survivors who participated in the horrible massacre shall be tried and the just punishment that awaits the guilty be meted out to them. -- Fort Wayne (Indiana) Journal.

    The Mountain Meadows trial is fairly under way at Beaver, Utah... Chicago Tribune, July 23.

    Klingensmith's testimony in the Lee trial yesterday... Pioche Record.

    The jury impaneled in the trial of Lee... Virginia (Nev.) Enterprise.

    What could not be done by force without danger, could be done by stratagem...

    58                                           TRIAL  OF  JOHN  D.  LEE.                                          

    ... will they convict their prophet and bishop murderers? -- St. Louis Republican.

    The report again comes from Salt Lake City, that John D. Lee, who has been under arrest for so long a time, has consented to give evidence for the State...Boston Post.


    The jury in the case of Biship John D. Lee, accused of participation in the Mountain Meadows Massacre, failed to agree, and was discharged... It would be a waste of time and money to attempt to bring the Mountain Meadows assassins to justice. They have too strong a following. The Church of the Latter-day Saints is bound to stand by them. To convict Lee would be to convict the Church and strike a fatal blow at its foundation. Of course, whatever perjury, bribery or "pressure" of any kind may be necessary to escape from justice, will be furnished without hesitation. The developments on the trial were such as to satisfy every reasonable man that Lee was implicated in the massacre, and that the horrible deed was perpetrated in accordance with the policy of Mormonism. Leavenworth Times.

    A disagreement of the jury, nine standing for the defendant and three for the prosecution, is by no means equivalent to an acquittal. The question whether

                                          OPINIONS  OF  THE  PRESS.                                       59

    John D. Lee was a leader in the Mountain Meadows Massacre is still an open one... evidence may be procured to settle the question how far the Church of Latter-day Saints is responsible for the murder of the emigrants. -- New York Eve. Post.

    ... it will be difficult to get justice done upon the actual murderers. -- N. Y. Herald.

    The jury in the case of the Mountain Meadows Massacre has been discharged, unable to agree. This disposition surprises nobody, inasmuch as it was not expected the jury would reach a verdict. The facts, however, have reached the country, and the end of the matter is not yet. -- Helena (Montana) Independent.

    The jury in the case of John D. Lee at Beaver...

    60                                           TRIAL  OF  JOHN  D.  LEE.                                          

    This disagreement of the jury... Boston Glode.

    The failure to agree...Elko (Nev.) Independent.

    The prosecutors of Lee...

                                          OPINIONS  OF  THE  PRESS.                                       61

    ... The divinity which the law hedges around a crominal in this case should be rendered potentless, for the Mountain Meadows Massacre was a crime of too great magnitude to be dealt with by the feeble justice of courts. The general government would do its duty, its whole duty, and nothing but its duty, if it declared Utah under martial law, and tried and convicted by military commission the entire galaxy of much married murderers, from Lee to the patriarch himself -- Denver (Col.) News.

    ... and uses President Grant as its tool, to-day. -- Mrs. Ann Eliza Young.

    Though the jury in the case of the Mormon Lee failed to agree, as was expected -- it being composed of nine Mormons and three Gentiles ... The investigation, however, has resulted in fixing an indelible stain on the Mormon Church and settling the responsibility for an act of barbarism which was even regarded as a reproach by the lawless savages of the west, who are supposed to know no shame nor pity, but who protested against the infamy of such a deed. -- Mrs. Chicago Inter-Ocean.

    This notable trial has finally ended as everybody predicted...

    62                                           TRIAL  OF  JOHN  D.  LEE.                                          

    and we do not believe that any candid person will doubt for a moment that these emigrants were murdered in cold blood by Lee and his bandits, through orders from Brigham Young... This circumstance is so enormous and crime so heinous, and the evidence so plain, that it must and will be laid at the door of the Church with Brigham Young as its leader, and be remembered by every man, woman and child wherever the name of Mormon is mentioned. -- Idaho (Mon.) Statesman.

    As we predicted, the trial of John D. Lee, of Mountain Meadows infamy, has proved a farce... Owyhee (Idaho) Avalanche.

    The trial of John D. Lee... That much at any rate has been shown by Lee's trial, and the guilt of mercilessly sacrificing unarmed men, women and children to religious fanaticism are justly chargeable against the Mormon Church. It now remains to be seen whether American justice will much longer allow the existence of such a bloodthirsty and barbarous organization in the country. The good repute of our institutions is at stake in permitting Mormonism a place in the land. -- Hartford (Conn.) Times.

    The jurymen in the Lee trial in Utah, failed to agree. They stood nine for acquittal and three for conviction. It has been reported that there were nine Mormons and three Gentiles on the jury. Will it pay to again try the experiment of trying a Mormon before a Mormon jury? -- Denver (Col.) Tribune.

                                          OPINIONS  OF  THE  PRESS.                                       63

    We sometimes, being short-sighted mortals, despair of the ultimate triumph of righteousness... Zion's Herald.

    From the commencement of Lee's trial... San Francisco Call.

    The disagreement of the jury in the Lee case disappoints but few persons who understand the radical defects in our jury law. By the provisions of the "Poland Bill," the jury is made up one-half of Mormons and one-half of Gentiles, an arrangement which no fair-minded man could object to, if the former were fit to be entrusted with the rights and duties of American citizens. But their conduct in the jury box shows their utter unfitness for the exercise of any such trust. A Latter-day Saint regards himself as one of God's peculiar people, and the everlasting priesthood are accepted as infallible oracles of God. The disloyalty of these latter is well known. Fleshly laws the affect to despise; the entire human race is under condemnation and will shortly be destroyed from off the face of the earth, that room may be made for the universal reign of the

    64                                           TRIAL  OF  JOHN  D.  LEE.                                          

    Saints * * * Mr. Baskin hit the nail on the head in his closing argument for the people. "If there is a man on this jury," said he, "who has been through that sink of iniquity -- the Endowment House, and wears endowment garments on his limbs, he will not find a verdict according to the law and the testimony. He has parted with his manhood; when he swore those lewd and blasphemous oaths which bind him a lifelong slave to the Mormon hierarchy, he divested himself of his individuality, and is under obligation to think and act as he is instructed."

    The results of the Ricks trial, a few months ago, and of the Lee trial last week, only set this state of things more conspicuously before the public; because of the flagrant perversion of justice perpetrated by the jurors and because of the universal interest which attached to the two cases. Both were murder trials, and in both cases the evidence was convincing and beyond reasonable doubt. In the former case a verdict of acquittal was found; in the other, the eight Mormons on the jury and one apostate Mormon, obstinately refused to bring in a verdict of guilty, and justice, if not thwarted, was delayed. -- Salt Lake Tribune.


    Transcriber's Comments

    1874 John D. Lee Trial

    Beaver County Courthouse - 1870s

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