Mountain Meadows Massacre
With the Life and Confession
of John D. Lee

(Philadelphia: Barclay & Co. Pub. 1877, 1880)

  • Title Page (1880 ed.)
  • Introduction
  • Confession of J. D. Lee
  • Execution of J. D. Lee
  • Corroborative Evidence

  • Transcriber's Comments

  • (higher resolution image)

    1860 President's Message   |   1863 Judge Cradlebaugh Speech   |   1875 The Lee Trial
    1884 C. W. Penrose booklet   |   1910 Josiah F. Gibbs book   |   Children of the Massacre





    JOHN  D.  LEE,







    Helpless Women and Children Butchered in Cold Blood
    by Merciless Mormon Assassins.



    Will be Sent by Mail on Receipt of 25 cts.


    [ 19 ]





    With Full Account of the Mountain Meadows
    Massacre, and Execution of Lee.


    "Vengeance is mine, saith the Lord," and it has been visited upon one at least of as blood-thirsty a band of assassins as ever trod this earth of ours. The massacre of "The Arkansas Emigrant Train" will ever remain a blotted page amongst the fairer pages of our country's history, and the execution of one of the Mormon leaders but partly atones, is but scanty justice; a retributive justice should unhesitatingly be dealt out to others equally guilty of participation in that awful crime.

    In the terrible confession of John D. Lee we are brought face to face with a startling revelation; the merciless butchery in cold blood of innocent men and helpless women and children, and the cowardly attempt of Brigham Young to forever fasten the deed upon Indians. The poor emigrants were deceived, betrayed and murdered by these fanatics of the "Mormon Church." Their bodies were stripped of everything, and after the slaughter their clothing, still stained with the blood of the victims, was actually put up at auction, where it was purchased by those who well knew whence it came. One hundred and twenty men, women and children citizens of free America, on that bright September morn, came forth full of life and hope, full of joyous bright thoughts of the homes they would make for themselves, full of praise to God that the many miles they had travelled had thus far been passed in safety, and full of trust in the future.

    But it was not to be: "The morning sun looked down, and saw not one." Where had stood and breathed these hardy pioneers of the Far West, lay but the inanimate, mutilated bodies of the slain; slain by those who (even as they killed) in blasphemy -- born only of Satan -- prayed; aye, prayed! prayed to our God who hath said, "Thou shalt not kill!"

    20                                         JOHN  D.  LEE  THE  MORMON.                                          

    John D. Lee was indicted with several others by the Grand Jury of Beaver county, Utah Territory, September 24th, 1874, for the crime of murder committed by him in the part he took in the Mountain Meadows massacre in Washington county, Utah Territory, on September 16th, 1857, at which time one hundred and twenty men, women and children, known as the Arkansas emigrant train, passing through the Territory on their way to California, were, after several days' fighting, decoyed from their fortifications and butchered in cold blood by Mormons and Indians. All of the emigrants who were old enough to disclose anything of the butchery were killed on the spot. Seventeen small children were spared from the massacre; the train was plundered and the most of the property turned over to the Mormon Church at Cedar City. The bloody clothing, stripped from the mutilated bodies, was sold at auction by order of the Church authorities at Cedar City, Utah. Lee was first tried af Beaver City, Utah, in the Territorial District Court, in July, 1875, Judge Boreman presiding. At this trial the jury disagreed. Nine were for acquittal and three for conviction. A second trial was had on the same indictment in September, 1876, in the same court and before the same Judge, resulting in a verdict of guilty. Lee was then sentenced to be shot on January 26th, 1877, he choosing that mode of execution, the laws of Utah permitting a party capitally convicted to choose the mode of his death. On an appeal to the Supreme Court of the Territory the judgment of the lower courts was affirmed at the January term in 1877, and the sentence of the lower court was ordered to be enforced at the March term in 1877. Judge Boreman set Friday, March 23d, 1877, as the day of execution.

    After sentence of death had been passed upon Lee in September, 1876, he made a full confession in writing of his participation in the Mountain Meadows massacre, which document he delivered to. Mr. W. W. Bishop, one of his counsel, and directed him to have the same published after his execution. The following is the confession made by Lee:


    "My name is John D. Lee. I was born on September 6th, 1812, at Kaskaskia, Randolph county, Illinois. My mother belonged to the Catholic Church and I was christened in the faith. My parents died while I was still a child and my boyhood was one of trial and hardships.


    "I married Agathe Ann Woolsey in 1833, and moved to Fayette county, Illinois, on Rock Creek, where I became wealthy.


    "In 1836 I became acquainted with some travelling Mormon preachers. I bought, read and believed the Book of Mormon. I sold my property in Illinois and moved to Fair [sic - Far?] west in Missouri, in 1837, where I joined the

                                            MOUNTAIN  MEADOWS  MASSACRE.                                       21

    Mormon Church and became intimately acquainted with Joseph Smith, Brigham Young and other leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.


    "I was subsequently initiated into the Order of Danites, at its first formation. This Order was solemnly sworn to obey all the orders of the priesthood of the Mormon Church; to do any and all things as commanded. The Destroying Angels of the Mormon Church were selected from this organization.

    "I took an active part as a Mormon soldier in the conflicts between the people of Missouri and the Mormons which made Jackson county, Missouri historic ground. When the Mormons were expelled from Missouri, I was one of the first to settle at Nauvoo, Illinois, where I took an active part in all that was done for the Church or city.


    "I had charge of the construction of many of the public buildings there. Was a policeman and body guard of Joseph Smith at Nauvoo. After his death I held the same position to Brigham Young, who succeeded Smith as prophet, priest and revelator in the Church.


    "I was Recorder for the Quorum of Seventy, head clerk of the Church, and organized the priesthood into the Order of Seventies. I took all of the degrees in the Endowment House and stood high in the priesthood.


    "I travelled extensively through the United States as a Mormon missionary, and acted as trader and financial agent for the Church from the death of Joseph Smith until the settlement of Salt Lake City in Utah. I was on the Locating Committee that selected the sites for the various towns and cities in Utah Territory.


    "I held many offices in the Territory, and was a member of the Mormon Legislature and Probate Judge of Washington county, Utah.


    "Immediately after Joseph Smith received the revelation concerning polygamy I was informed of its doctrines by said Joseph Smith and the apostles. I believed in the doctrine, and have been sealed to eighteen women, three of whom were sisters and one was the mother of three of my wives.


    I was sealed to this old woman for her soul's salvation.

    22                                         JOHN  D.  LEE  THE  MORMON.                                          


    "I was an honored man in the Church, flattered and regarded by Brigham Young and the apostles until 1868, when I was cut off from the Church and selected as a scape-goat to suffer for and bear the sins of my people. As a duty to myself and mankind I now confess all that I know and all that I did at the Mountain Meadows massacre, without any animosity to any one, shielding none, giving facts as they existed.


    "Those with me on that occasion were acting under orders from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. The horrid deeds then committed were done as a duty which we believed we owed to God and our Church.


    "We were all sworn to secrecy before and after the massacre. The penalty for giving information concerning the same was death. As I am to suffer death for what I then did and have been betrayed, both by those who gave me the orders to act and the most active of my assistants, I now give the world the true facts as they exist, and tell why the massacre was committed and who were active participants.


    "The Mountain Meadows massacre was the result of the direct teachings of Brigham Young, and it was done by the orders of those high in authority in the Mormon community.


    "The immediate orders for the massacre were issued by Colonel Dame, Lieutenant-Colonel Isaac C. Haight and the Council at Cedar City, Utah. I had no position either in the civil or military departments, or in the Church at that time. About September 7th I went to Cedar City, where I met Isaac C. Haight, President or Governor of that Stake of Zion, and also Lieutenant-Colonel of the Iron county Mormon militia. This was on a Sunday. Lieutenant-Colonel Haight was the leader there in all things, civil, clerical and military. It was a crime punishable by death to disobey his orders.


    "Lieutenant-Colonel Haight gave me a full account of the emigrants who were coming. We slept in the iron works all that night and arranged our plans.


    "Lieutenant-Colonel Haight said the emigrants were a rough set; that they were bad men, robbers and murderers, and had helped to kill the Mormon prophets. I believed him. I was ordered to raise the Indians to attack the train and run off the cattle and to have the Indians kill the emigrants. I sent Carl Shirts, my son-in-law, to raise the Southern Indians for the work. Nephi Johnson went to other tribes.

                                            MOUNTAIN  MEADOWS  MASSACRE.                                       23

    [ blank page ]

    24                                         JOHN  D.  LEE  THE  MORMON.                                          

    (View high resolution image of this illustration)

                                            MOUNTAIN  MEADOWS  MASSACRE.                                       25

    "On Monday morning I left the iron works to obey my orders. Lieutenant-Colonel Haight said, 'We are acting by orders -- it is all right. We will let the Indians bear all the blame.'


    "I said we are forbidden to shed innocent blood. The reply of Haight was, 'There is not a drop of innocent blood in the whole lot. Go, Brother Lee, and carry out the instructions of those in authority.

    "'If you are dutiful in this your reward shall be great in the kingdom of God, for God will bless those who obey counsel and make all things fit for the people of the Lord in their days.'


    "On my way home I passed many Indians out on the warpath. I promised to join thein the next day. On Tuesday morning the Indians attacked the train, just at daylight, and killed seven and wounded sixteen emigrants. The Indians lost some of their warriors. The emigrants then fortified their position, and the Indians surrounded them and sent for me.


    The whole county was aroused, both whites and Indians rushing to Mountain Meadows from all directions.

    "I arrived at the camp late on Tuesday ailernoon and found the Indians in large force. They demanded that I should lead the attack. I refused until further orders were received from Haight or Dame.

    "I then went south ten miles and met some whites and Indians coming from that direction. I camped there that night and on Wednesday went to the Meadows and sent a man to Cedar City for further orders.

    "On Thursday the orders came by Major Higby. There were fifty-eight whites and about five hundred Indians there. Then Major Higby made a speech and said that the emigrants were all to be killed who could talk; that we must get them out of the fortifications by treachery.


    I was to follow the flag of truce and make a treaty with the besieged, and promise protection. I was also to get the arms of the emigrants and the sick and wounded, and also the children into wagons. Then the troops, under Major Higby, would meet the emigrants. The Indians were to remain in ambush. The women were to go ahead. The Indians were then to kill the women. The militia were to kill the men, and I and the drivers of the wagons were to kill the wounded and sick that were in the wagons.

    "Several other men then made speeches. Then we had a prayer circle, and then more speeches were made, and it was agreed by all parties that it was the will of God for us to do as we were ordered.


    "On Friday morning the emigrants had a white flag flying, and the Mormon brethren again assembled. Speeches were made, and all expressed themselves as willing to act.

    26                                         JOHN  D.  LEE  THE  MORMON.                                          


    "Major John M. Higby; Philip K. Smith, Bishop of the church at Cedar City; Joel White; William C. Stewart; Benjamin Arthur; Alexander Wilden; Charles Hopkins; Tate Ita Ellew; Robert Wiley; Richard Harrison; Samuel Pollock; Daniel McFarlane; John Ure; George Hunter; Joseph Smith; Samuel Jukes; Nephi Johnsen; Carl Shirts; Swen Jacobs; John Jacobs; E. Curtis; Thomas Cartwright; William Bateman; Anthony Stratton; A. Loveridge; Joseph Clews; John Durfey; Columbus Freeman; and others, making fifty-four or fifty-eight whites and about four hundred or five hundred Indians.

    "Major Higby then addressed the party and said: -- "Brethren, it is the orders of the President that all the emigrants must be put out of the way. President Haight has counselled with Colonel Dame and has received orders from him to put all of the emigrants out of the way. All of them must be killed, especially those that might talk again."

    "He spoke of the character of the emigrants. He said that the Church authorities of Southern Utah were all there, and that we were acting as a church for the sake of Christ.

    "We were then told we were there to do a duty we owed as good church people. That the orders of those in authority were that all of the emigrants that could talk must die.

    "Major Higby concluded as follows: -- 'Our orders are from our leaders, who speak with inspired tongues, and their words are the will of good men. You have no right to question them. You must obey as you are commanded.'

    "The flag of truce was then sent forward. It was carried by William Bateman. He was met half way by the emigrants, and they held a parley with him. Bateman then returned and reported that the emigrants would surrender their arms and do as they had been requested. The Mormon soldiers then marched out to within two hundred yards of the emigrants. They next took wagons and went to the camp and stated their orders.

    "The emigrants then surrendered and put their arms, the sick and the wounded and the children into the wagons. While they were burying their dead men the emigrants burst into tears and said they feared treachery. As soon as the wagons were loaded the train was started. The emigrants marched in single file, the women and the large children being ahead; then the men came.


    "When the wagons were half a mile off the fire commenced. The Indians killed all the women and large children. The Mormons killed the men. The drivers with me killed the sick and the wounded. We saved seventeen of the children. The dead were stripped and mutilated and the corpses left on the field. The Mormons camped on the field. The next day Lieutenant-Colonel Haight, Colonel Dame and other leaders came over. Finally they quarrelled. Lieutenant-Colonel Haight said to Colonel Dame: --

                                            MOUNTAIN  MEADOWS  MASSACRE.                                       27

    "'You ordered it, and, damn you, it is too late to go back!

    "Dame said he did not know there were so many of them. We buried the dead and drove the cattle to the Iron Springs.


    "All the wagons and other property were sold in Cedar City by the order of the Church authorities. All of these orders were fully obeyed. The horrors attending the massacre of the emigrants were beyond my description.


    "The brethren were sworn again to secrecy. This was also done by order of the Church, which was then at war with the United States government.


    "George A. Smith, who was the second in the priesthood, having just happened to be there giving orders, visited the Indian camp with me. He said he came to instruct the people to let none of the emigrants go through without a pass from President Young, Colonel Dame or Lieutenant-Colonel Haight; that they must not sell the emigrants any more good grain, in fact anything. He said that the Americans were a mob of ruffians, from The President down. He asked if the Indians would kill all bad emigrants? I told him that the Indians and the Mormons were both hostile to them, and would kill all not under the protection of the Church.

    "This pleased him, and he laughed and said, 'All right.' Lieutenant-Colonel Haight and Colonel Dame told him the same thing. He taught the people that it was their duty to kill all emigrants, and massacre them just as Brother Smith and the other leaders wanted.

    "Colonel Haight then sent me to Salt Lake City for the purpose of reporting to Brigham Young, and be promised me a crown celestial as my reward for what I had done.

    "I went to Salt Lake City and made my report to Brigham Young ten days after the massacre. I told him all, everything -- who were there, who were guilty and who were active in killing the emigrants; in fact, all I knew. I said to him, 'You must sustain us or release us from the endowment oath to avenge the death of the prophets.'


    "Brigham Young said, 'I will communicate with God.' I went back the next morning, when Young said, 'Brother Lee, not a drop of innocent blood has been shed. I have gone to God in prayer. God has shown me it was a just act. The people did right, but were only a little hasty. I have direct evidence from God that the act was a just one, that it was in accord with God's will.


    "'I sustain you and the brethren in all that you did. All I fear is treachery on the part of the brethren concerned. Go home and tell the

    28                                         JOHN  D.  LEE  THE  MORMON.                                          

    brethren I sustain them. Keep all secret as the grave. Never tell any one, and write me a letter laying all the blame on the Indians.


    "'I will then report to the United States government that it was an Indian massacre.'

    "Brigham Young was then and for many years after fully satisfied with me and my act. He gave me three wives after that and appointed me Probate Judge of Washington county.

    "Nothing but cowardice has made him desert me now. Fifty head of cattle were sold in Salt Lake City by the authorities for merchandise. The emigrants had four hundred and fifty, making five hundred cattle in all. They had only a little money. When Cradlebaugh was Judge in Utah and went to Mountain Meadows to investigate the massacre, Brigham Young came with him; he then knew all about the massacre and upheld the brethren. He preached at Cedar City and said about the emigrants: -- 'Do you know who they were? I will tell you. They were the fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts and children of the men who killed the saints in Jackson county, and afterwards killed the Prophet in Carthage jail. Their children are in the poorhouse; their relatives refuse them because they are the children of thieves, outlaws and murderers. I have been told there are many brethren who are willing to inform on those who did this thing. I hope there is no truth in the rumor. I hope no such person lives.


    "'If there is, I tell you what your fate will be. Unless you repent at once, keep secret all that you know, and protect each other, you will die a dog's death. You will soon go to hell as damned, lost souls. Let me hear no more of treachery among my people. Any one who had proved traitor there would have met the destroying angel at once.'

    "After I reported to Brigham Young I went home and met Lieutenant-Colonel Haight and gave him a full report of Young's statement. Haight said: 'Well done, faithful servant; you shall receive a celestial reward for your services. You have deserved well of God and the Church!'


    "I next went to work to write up an account of the massacre, laying it to the Indians. I wrote a long letter, the same as has been introduced in evidence against me. Brigham Young knew that it was false and written to save the Mormon Church. His report to the government was a part of the plan to save the Mormons from blame. It was years afterward before I knew that I had been made a tool of by the leaders. I only obeyed the orders of my superiors. I then believed I was serving God and would receive a celestial reward. Now I know it is wrong and that my reward is not to be celestial.

                                            MOUNTAIN  MEADOWS  MASSACRE.                                       29


    "It was the first plan to have none but Indians take part in the massacre, but William C. Stewart, Joel White and Benjamin Arthur were coming to Mountain Meadows on Wednesday night; they met young Aden and another man going from the emigrants to Cedar City for help. They told of the Indian attack and asked aid from the settlers.


    "The only reply was a shot from Stewart, which killed Aden. The other man was wounded by White and Arthur, but escaped, and carried word that the whites had come to help the Indians. After this the authorities said that there was no safety, except in killing all who could talk.


    "William C. Stewart was the most bloodthirsty of any one there. He cut throats just for amusement. Klingensmith, the bishop at Cedar City, killed a man. Every one there took part in killing men, women and children as a religious duty.


    "We were at that time in the midst of the excitement of the reformation, and were made to believe by the teachings of our leaders that the fulness of time had come -- that the Mormons were to conquer the world at once and inherit all the wealth of the universe; that Christ was to come and rule for one thousand years, and that the Mormon doctrine was to be universally accepted.


    "We were followers of false teachers. I have fallen a victim to the arts of foolish and wicked men that I once believed were divine. I have had eighteen wives. Eleven of them have been divorced from me by Brigham Young; three still remain true to me, and have clung to me during my imprisonment. I am the father of sixty-four children. Ten are dead; fifty-four are still living. The witnesses on my trial have not told the whole truth. They are all guilty of helping to kill the emigrants. This is the only act of violence that I ever took part in except when in lawful battle. I would not have acted on that occasion as I did to have saved my body from torture had I not believed I was obeying the orders from the heads of the Church. I knew I was doing according to the teachings of the priesthood, and I still think Lieutenant-Colonel Haight had his orders from the heads of the Church.


    "My journals and private writings have been destroyed by order of Brigham Young. I have nothing left but my memory to give as my account of the foul deeds done in God's name during the years when Brigham Young was chief ruler in Utah.

    30                                         JOHN  D.  LEE  THE  MORMON.                                          


    "I know of many other murders, castrations, and robberies committed by order of the priesthood, all of which I have fully stated in my writings delivered to my attorney, W. W. Bishop.


    I have told the whole truth, and the God I am soon to meet face to face knows that my assertions are nothing but truth.   JOHN D. LEE.

    Attest. -- The foregoing is a full abstract of the confession of John D. Lee, taken from the original manuscript now in my possession, and gives so far as such a condensed report can do, a full statement of the facts disclosed in the writings of John D. Lee which relate to the Mountain Meadows massacre.   WILLIAM W. BISHOP.



    On the exact Spot where Fell the Poor Victims of the Massacre.


    "Aim at my heart!" he said.

    JOHN D. LEE, the Mormon Bishop, one of the leaders of the Mountain Meadows massacre, expiated his crime by death on the morning of the 23d of March, 1877, at the scene of the butchery, thus lending to the scene of the execution a dramatic surrounding at once thrilling and awe-inspiring. The proceedings attending the execution were conducted with a gravity and decorum appropriate to the occasion. The condemned man died instantly, all five of the bullets aimed at him entering his heart. Lee died repentant and in a brave manner, making a short speech just before being shot, in which he declared his innocence of the crime of murder, as he acted under the orders of those over him in authority. He claimed to have been sacrificed in a cowardly and dastardly manner by those who had given him his orders.

    Counting the military escort, the Marshal and his deputies, and a few officials, there were probably eighty persons present. A singular feature was the presence of a photographer, who came, provided with his camera and paraphernalia, for the purpose of taking pictures of Lee in his last moments, and of the scene of the execution.

    Messrs. Barclay & Co., of Philadelphia (the publishers of this book), had telegraphed to Beaver City, Utah, to secure the services of a first-class photographer. Our engravings are from photographs.

                                            MOUNTAIN  MEADOWS  MASSACRE.                                       31

    [ blank page]

    32                                         JOHN  D.  LEE  THE  MORMON.                                          

    (View high resolution image of this illustration)

                                            MOUNTAIN  MEADOWS  MASSACRE.                                       33

    There was very little ceremony observed, for as soon as,we arrived at the scene of the massacre a halt was called and Lee was ordered to descend from the wagon in which he rode. Marshal Nelson then read the order and sentence of the court. Marshal Nelson concluded reading the order of the court at precisely twenty-five minutes to eleven A. M. The document was simply in the usual formula, directing the Marshal of the Territory to conduct his prisoner from the place where he was confined to the place of execution, and then to see that he was shot to death. The Marshal read the order in a clear tone, his words being audible to every one present. As he concluded the reading he asked Lee if be had anything to say before the sentence of the law was carried out.

    Lee looked up quickly and noticing Mr. Fennimore, the photographer, in the act of fixing up his canvas preparatory to taking a photograph of the prisoner, pointed with his finger toward him and said:

    "I wish to speak to that man. Come over here," at the same time beckoning with his hand.


    Mr. Fennimore nodded and said, "In a second, Mr. Lee." As the words were uttered by'the artist I involuntarily thought over the incongruity of the reply, which measured a second of time to a man about to enter into eternity. Mr. Fennimore, however, occupied over a minute before he was ready to comply with Lee's simple request.

    Lee said: -- "I want to ask a favor of you, Sir. I want you to furnish each of my three wives a copy of the photograph -- one to Rachael A., Emma B. and Sarah C."

    Mr. Howard, the District Attorney, who was standing by the side of the instrument, responded for the artist, whose head at the moment was covered by the hood as he was adjusting his camera.

    "He says he will do it."

    He replied: -- "Please forward them to my wives Sarah C., Emma B., and Rachel A."

    As the prisoner uttered the names of his wives he seemed to pose himself involuntarily and the picture was taken. He then rose from his seat, and looking around at his guards and the spectators, spoke as follows:

    "I have but little to say this morning. Of course, I feel that I am on the brink of eternity, and the solemnity of eternity should rest upon my mind at the present moment. I have made out, or endeavored to do so, a manuscript and an abridged history of my life. This will be published. Sir -- (turning to District Attorney Howard) -- have given my views and feelings with regard to all these things. I feel resigned to my fate.

    "I feel as calm as a summer morning. I have done nothing adversely wrong. My conscience is clear before God and man, and I am ready to meet my Redeemer. This it is that places me upon this field. I am not an infidel; I have not denied God or His mercy. I am a strong believer

    34                                         JOHN  D.  LEE  THE  MORMON.                                          

    in these things. The most I regret is parting with my family. Many of them are unprotected and will be left fatherless. When I speak of those little ones they touch a tender chord within me."

    At this moment the prisoner's voice trembled, and he perceptibly faltered in his words. He continued, however, as follows: --

    "I have done nothing designedly wrong in this affair. I used my utmost endeavors to save those people. I would have given worlds were they at my command to have avoided that calamity, but I could not. I am sacrificed to satisfy feelings, and am used to gratify parties; but I am ready to die. I have no fear of death. It has no terrors for me; and no particle of mercy have I asked for from Court or officials to spare my life. I do not fear death. I shall never go to a worse place than the one I am now in. I have said it to my family, and I will say it to-day, that the government of the United States sacrifices their best friend, and that is saying a great deal, but it is true.

    "I am a true believer in the gospel of Jesus Christ. I do not believe everything that is now practised and taught by Brigham Young. I do not agree with him. I believe he is leading his people astray. But I believe in the gospel as taught in its purity by Joseph Smith in former days. I have my reasons for saying this.

    "I used to make this man's will my pleasure (evidently alluding to Brigham Young), and did so for thirty years. See how and what I have come to this day! I have been sacrificed in a cowardly, dastardly manner. There are thousands of people in the Church -- honorable, good-hearted -- whom I cherish in my heart.

    "I regret to leave my family. They are near and dear to me. These are things to rouse my sympathy. I declare I did nothing designedly wrong in this unfortunate affair. I did everything in my power to save all emigrants, but I am the one that must suffer. Having said this I feel resigned. I ask the Lord, my God, to extend His mercy to me and receive my spirit. My labors are here done."

    It was now eleven o'clock, and as Lee ceased speaking he was informed that his hour had come, and he must prepare for execution. The spot chosen for carrying the sentence of death into effect was on the ground where the ill-fated emigrant party made their last camp, and quite near to the monument erected to their memory. The condemned man could easily read the well-known words which comprise the inscription on the little stone cross that stood over the graves of his victims:


    These awful words stared the condemned man in the face and told him that there was a God to fear as well as to love.

    As soon as Lee reached the spot selected he quietly seated himself on the coffin provided for his body, and coolly looked at the small group of rifle-men who were to shoot him. He was still very calm and resigned.

                                            MOUNTAIN  MEADOWS  MASSACRE.                                       35

    Parson Stokes, a Methodist minister, who was attending the condemned man as his spiritual adviser, then knelt on the sward and delivered a short prayer. He commended the soul of the doomed man to the mercy of his Maker, and prayed earnestly that he might be forgiven his sins. The minister was quite affected by the solemnity of the occasion, and he was earnest in his prayer, and the prisoner listened with an attentive car.

    The prayer ended, Marshal Wilson advanced and proceeded to tie a white handkerchief over the eyes of Lee. While this was being done, the prisoner quietly submitting, Lee began speaking in a low voice.

    "Let them shoot the balls through my heart. Don't let them mangle my body."

    The Marshal reassured him that the aim would be true, and then stepped back. As he did this be gave the requisite orders.

    The five men selected as the executioners obeyed promptly. They raised their rifles to their shoulders, took deliberate aim at the blindfolded man sitting on his coffin about twenty feet in front of them.

    As the fatal word, "Fire!" rang out clear and strong on the morning air a sharp report was heard, and Lee fall back on the coffin dead and motionless. He must have died in a single instance for there was not a cry or groan and not even a tremor of the body.


    A few minutes were then allowed to elapse, all present standing motionless and with uncovered heads. The Marshal stepped alone, moved and walked over to the body to examine it and ascertain if death had resulted. Even at that moment the photographer was busy taking a view of the scene.

    I should remark here that none of Lee's relatives were present, which was contrary to general anticipation, as Rachel was often heard to declare that she would be present, if, indeed, her husband was executed. The change of programme and scene of execution was no doubt the reason for this failure on her part.

    The utter silence prevailing was at length broken by Marshal Nelson exclaiming: -- "He is quite dead. The law is satisfied at last."

    Then a general movement was made by the party, and all gathered near to view the corpse. Looking at the body I found that the features were quite composed, but ghastly white. The breast was bleeding profusely, and the limbs were partially straightened out after the involuntary movement attending the death spasm. Beyond these signs there was nothing to denote that Lee had met any other than a peaceful death.

    The body was tenderly picked up by the Deputy Marshal and placed in the coffin. The casket was then carried over to the wagon and put in, and the entire party began dispersing. The execution was a very remarkable one and was entirely successful. The body was delivered to relatives at Cedar City.

    36                                         JOHN  D.  LEE  THE  MORMON.                                          

    Corroborative Evidence Taken on the Trial of Lee --
    Brigham Young's Statement.

    The evidence of Philip Klingensmith created intense excitement. He described a council composed of Haight, Higbee, himself, his two counsellors, Morrell, Allen and some others where the question of annihilating the emigrants, then passing through the Mormon settlements, was discussed. He, with some others, was opposed to the massacre, while the rest favored it. That meeting ended in a row. A few days after another meeting, was held to discuss the subject, and at its close Haight said to witness, "You may go over with Joel White and tell the President to let the emigrants go through." The witness met Lee on the road and told him where he was going. Lee said, I have something to say to that." Coming home the following day Klingensmith met Ira Allen, who said, "The die is cast; the doom of the emigrants is sealed." Lee, he said, had received his orders from head-quarters at Parowan. This witness described how, "under orders," he went and procured his horse and arms and started out with Charley Hopkins, Higbee, Willis, Sam McMurdy and others. Willis and Sam McMurdy had their wagons along; reached Hamblin's ranch at night, where they found Lee and some more men, and from Lee they learned how matters stood in camp. Lee called witness aside and produced a letter which he said contained orders sent to him from Parowan. He then detailed to witness the condition of the train; he said the emigrants were strongly fortified and there was no way to get them out. Higbee said he had orders to decoy them out disarmed. This plan was agreed upon and the execution of the stratagem intrusted to Lee.

    After the firing the "soldiers" left and witness took charge of the children, who were subsequently distributed among the neighbors. The property was taken to the tithing-house cellar, where witness saw Lee, Haight and Higbee said Lee had been sent to give Brigham Young a report of the massacre. Klingensmith said he reached Salt Lake about October 15th, and met Lee, who said he had told Brigham Young everything that had occurred and the Prophet had approved of it all. The next day Lee, Hopkins and Klingensmith met in Young's office and he received them well, showing them his horses, carriages and other fine things. Brigham then said to them: -- "What you know about this affair do not tell to anybody; do not even talk about it among yourselves."

    Klingensmith did not know the names of any of the victims. Lee was engaged an hour or two in consultation with them; had no conversation with the prisoner as to what passed between them. Subsequent to the massacre had a talk with him, but does not remember what was said; always understood that George A. Smith was commander of the Nauvoo Legion of Southern Utah; Lee had direction of the troops on the ground; W. H. Dame was colonel; John M. Higbee, lieutenant-colonel, and Isaac

                                            MOUNTAIN  MEADOWS  MASSACRE.                                       37

    C. Haight, major; does not know whether the order for the massacre emanated from George A. Smith; be was general commanding officer from the organization of the Nauvoo Legion till witness left the country.

    During the cross-examination of Klingensmith one of the counsel for the defence said: -- "I suppose you fired your piece over the heads of the emigrants?" and the witness answered: --

    "I fired at my man, and suppose I killed him."

    After detailing in part the organization of the Mormon Church in the cross-examination Klingensmith said he was afraid of personal violence if he offered any active opposition to the massacre, and this fear grew out of experience. He had seen one man put away and heard of other cases.

    The oldest [sic - youngest?] child spared was only two and a half years.

    Joel M. White told a somewhat similar story to that of Klingensmith, only he did not know as much about the butchery.

    The defence entered to prove that the slaughter of the emigrants was an Indian massacre, although admitting that Lee was present thereat The witnesses called endeavored to show that the emigrants provoked the anger of the Indians by poisoning springs and selling them poisoned meat, and made a sad mess of the case in their zeal to save Lee. Among the evidence introduced was the following deposition of the Prophet himself, who excused himself from attendance on the plea of ill health.


    Q. State your age, the present condition of your health, and whether in its condition you could travel to attend in person at Beaver the Court now sitting there? If not, state why not. A. I am in my seventy-fifth year; it would be a great risk, both to my health and life, for me to travel to Beaver at this present time; I am and have been for some time an invalid.

    Q. What offices, either ecclesiastical, civil or military, did you hold in the year 1857? A. I was the Governor of this Territory, ex-officio Superintendent of Indian Affairs and President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints during the year 1857.

    Q. State the condition of affairs between the Territory of Utah and the Federal Government in the summer and fall of 1857? A. In May or June, 1857, the United States mails for Utah were stopped by the Government; all communication by mail was cut off; an army of the United States was en route for Utah with the ostensible design of destroying the Latter Day Saints, according to the reports that reached us from the east.

    Q. Were there any United States judges here during the summer and fall of 1857? A. To the best of my recollection there was no United States judge here in the latter part of 1857.

    Q, State what you know about trains of emigrants passing through the Territory to the west, and particularly about a company from Arkansas en route for California, passing through the city in the summer or fall of 1857? A. As usual emigrant trains were passing through our Territory

    38                                         JOHN  D.  LEE  THE  MORMON.                                          

    for the west. I heard it rumored that a company from Arkansas, en route to California, had passed through the city.

    Q. Was this Arkansas company of emigrants ordered away from Salt Lake City by yourself or any one in authority under you? A. No, not that I know of. I never heard of any such thing, and certainly no such order was given by the then acting Governor.

    Q. Was any counsel or instructions given by any person to the citizens of Utah not to sell grain or to trade with the emigrant trains passing through Utah at that time; if so, what were those instructions and counsel?

    A. Yes; counsel and advice was given to the citizens not to sell grain to the emigrants to feed their stock, but to let them have sufficient for themselves if they were out; the simple reason for this was that for several years our crops had been short, and the prospect was at that time that we might have trouble with the United States army, then en route for this place, and we wanted to preserve the grain for food; the citizens Territory were counselled not to feed grain to their own stock; no people was ever punished or called in question for furnishing supplies to the emigrants within my knowledge.

    When did you first hear of the attack and destruction of this Arkansas company at Mountain Meadows in September, 1857? A. I did not learn anything of the attack or destruction of the Arkansas company until some time after it had occurred; then only by floating rumors.

    Did John D. Lee report to you at any time after this massacre what had been done at that massacre, and if so, what did you reply to him in reference thereto? A. Within some two or three months after the massacre he called at my office and had much to say with regard to the Indians, their being stirred up to anger and threatening the settlements of the whites, and then commenced giving an account of the massacre; I told him to stop, as, from what I had already learned by rumor, I did not wish my feelings harrowed up with a recital of details.

    Q. Did Philip Klingensmith call at your office with John D. Lee at the time of Lee's making his report, and did you at that time order Smith to turn over the stock to Lee and order them not to talk about the massacre? A. "No; he did not call with John D. Lee, and I have no recollection of his ever speaking to me nor I to him concerning the massacre or anything pertaining to the property.

    Did you ever give any directions concerning the property taken from the emigrants at the Mountain Meadows massacre, or know anything as to its disposition? A. No; I never gave any directions concerning the property taken from the emigrants at the Mountain Meadows massacre, nor did I know anything of that property or its disposal, and I do not to this day, except from public rumor.

    Q. Why did you not as Governor institute proceedings forthwith to investigate the massacre and bring the guilty authors to justice?

                                            MOUNTAIN  MEADOWS  MASSACRE.                                       39

    [ blank page]

    40                                         JOHN  D.  LEE  THE  MORMON.                                          

    (View high resolution image of this illustration)

                                            MOUNTAIN  MEADOWS  MASSACRE.                                       41

    A. Because another Governor had been appointed by the President of the United States and was then on his way here to take my place, and I did not know how soon he might arrive, and because the United States judges were not in the Territory soon after Governor Cumming arrived I asked him to take Judge Cradlebaugh, who belonged to the Southern District, with him, and I would accompany them with sufficient aid to investigate the matter and bring the offenders to justice.

    Did you about the 10th of September, 1857, receive a communication from Isaac C. Haight, or any other person of Cedar City, concerning a company of emigrants called the Arkansas Company? A. I did receive the communication from Isaac C. Haight or John D. Lee, who was then a farmer for the Indians.

    Have you that communication? A. I have not. I have, made a diligent search for it, but cannot find it.

    Did you answer this communication? A. I did to Isaac C. Haight, who was then the acting President at Cedar City.

    Q. Will you state the substance of your letter to him? A. Yes. It was to let this company of emigrants, and all companies of emigrants pass through the country unmolested, and to allay the angry feelings of the Indians as much as possible.  BRIGHAM YOUNG.

    George A. Smith's deposition was also introduced, and in it he denied that he had any military command in 1857, or that he discussed any measures for attacking the emigrant train.


    The General Opinion of Lee's Confession.

    The confession of Lee bears the appearance of a labored effort to extenuate his guilt rather than of a candid recital of the circumstances attending the terrible crime for which he suffered. According to his account, he was from the first opposed to the treacherous murder of the men, women and children who had placed themselves under the protection of himself and his accomplices, and exposed himself to great danger in endeavoring to save the lives of the emigrants. While the preparations for entrapping and killing the victims of fanatical hatred were in progress, Lee says that he was continually weeping, and that he was finally forced into acquiescence in the project to exterminate the emigrant train by fearing for his own safety.

    This story does not agree with any of the accounts that have been given of the massacre. On the contrary, it has always beer understood that Isaac C. Haight, the Mormon high priest of Southern Utah, Lee, and Colonel Dame were the three most active leaders in the massacre. Lee, who was Indian Agent for Southern Utah at the time of the massacre, commanded the Mormon regiment that marched from Cedar City in pursuit of the emigrants, and it was he who extended an invitation to the

    42                                         JOHN  D.  LEE  THE  MORMON.                                          

    Indians to accompany him and take part in the fiendish slaughter having in his capacity of Indian Agent great influence over them. An eye-witness has sworn that on the fourth day of the fight between the Indians and the emigrants, Lee massed his troops at a distance of half a mile from the beleaguered camp and made them a speech, in which he informed them that his orders from head-quarters were to kill the entire company except the children; and there, is no doubt that it was he who sent the flag of truce to his intended victims, assuring them that if they would lay down their arms he would protect them; and it was Lee who superintended all the horrible details of the slaughter.

    The children whose lives were saved, under the supposition that they were too young to give an intelligent account of the murders, were afterwards gathered together by United States officers, and Judge Cradlebaugh, who made earnest but ineffectual efforts to bring the murderers to justice, once related the following incident:

    "I recollect one of the children, John Calvin Sorrow, after be found be was safe, and before he was brought away from Salt Lake City, although not yet nine years of age, sitting in a contemplative mood, no doubt thinking of the extermination of his family, saying: 'Oh, I wish I was a man; I know what I would do; I would shoot John D. Lee. I saw him short my mother.'"

    In the "Rocky Mountain Saints," a history of the Mormons, written by T. B. H. Stenhouse, who for twenty-five years was a Mormon elder and missionary, and who, before be repudiated the Mormon faith, stood high in the confidence of Brigham Young, the following passage occurs in relation to the Mountain Meadows massacre:

    "The author's friend, who travelled with the company from Fort Bridger, speaks of a lovely creature with dark flowing curls, who had been the life and oy of the camp, and the companion of the venerable patriarch of the company. When the first volley of rifles had strewn the ground with the dead, she flew into the arms of young Lee and begged protection. The manly instinct of the youth was instantly aroused by the supplicating look of that pure and innocent being, and he sheltered her by his person. In an instant his father seized him by the collar, and by greater force bending his son's head, fired his revolver and shot the maiden in the forehead. She fell lifeless at his feet."


    The Story of the Mountain Meadows Massacre.

    Scarcely any crime in the history of the land equals in atrocity that which was perpetrated by order of the Mormon Church.

    Parley P. Pratt was one of the original twelve apostles. One of his wives was Eleanor McLean. She left her home in Arkansas [sic] and fled with Pratt. Pining for her children, she induced him to return with her to

                                            MOUNTAIN  MEADOWS  MASSACRE.                                       43

    obtain them from her husband, and on their attempt to do so the outraged husband slew the seducer. The Mormons saw nothing wrong in Pratt's action, and vowed vengeance upon McLean and his friends.


    In the summer of 1857 a train of e migrants hailing from Arkansas, and bound for California, entered Salt Lake City. It was a wealthy and populous train. There were in it one hundred and fifty persons, men, women and children; four hundred head of cattle, and severity or eighty fine horses. It was a rich train and carried money, jewelry, bedding, household goods and superior wearing apparel. They were told that snows would prevent their making the northern passage, and they resolved to pass down through Utah and go into California by the southern route. Some members of the train were from Missouri and Illinois, and Mormons say that in Salt Lake one of the emigrants swung a pistol above his head and swore that it helped to kill "Joe Smith and was then loaded for "Old Brigham."


    It is abundantly proven that the emigrants were orderly, peaceable, Sabbath loving and generally Christian people, holding religious services frequently. Eli B. Kelsey travelled with them from Fort Bridger to Salt Lake City, and he spoke of them in the highest terms. Jacob Hamblin, Indian interpreter, who has four wives, twenty children and eighteen grandchildren, said, "They seemed like real old-fashioned farmers." A resident of Parowan visited them often, and became well acquainted with them, and he had never seen a company of finer people, he declared. When the emigrants entered Salt Lake they found to their great surprise that nothing could be procured of the Mormons, for love or money. Their cash, their cattle, could not purchase provisions enough to keep them from starving. Trains were always accustomed to obtain a fresh outfit at Salt Lake prior to crossing the deserts intervening between Utah and California. As a climax to this inhospitable reception, they were peremptorily ordered to break canip, and move away from Salt Lake City. Slowly they passed down through the villages that blossomed at the foot of the Wasatch Range, expecting to reach Los Angeles by the San Bernardino route. The corn had ripened and the wheat bad been harvested, every granary was filled to bursting, yet money could not purchase food. At American Fork, Battle Creek, Provo, Springville, Spanish Fork, Payson, Nephi and Fillmore they received the same harsh refusal to their requests for trading or buying. They were ordered away from at least two places where they were halting to rest and refresh their weary cattle.

    The avenger preceded them, in the person of George A. Smith, the second man in the theocracy. At every settlement he preached to the Mormons, and

    44                                         JOHN  D.  LEE  THE  MORMON.                                          

    gave strict orders to sell no food or grain to emigrants under pain of excommunication. To the earnest, sincere Mormon, death is preferable to being "cut off" from the privileges of his religion. At last Smith visited and viewed the very place chosen for the slaughter. On his return up the valleys he met the emigrants at Corn Creek, and on their request for advice where to recruit their teams before going out upon the desert, he told them to pause at Cane Spring in the Mountain Meadows, the very spot where they were butchered.

    Their camp was in a hollow overlooked by low hills, and from there and from behind stone breast-works Lee and his men kept them under constant fire, killing the cattle, wounding and killing emigrants, and making the corral a veritable death-pen. Water was the great need of the emigrants. Every attempt to go to the spring was met by death. A tunnel was started to reach it, but never completed. A woman who stepped outside the corral to milk a cow fell pierced with bullets. Two innocent little girls, clothed in pure white, were sent down to the spring. Hand-in-hand, tremblingly, these dear little rosebuds walked toward the spring. Their tender little bodies were fairly riddled with bullets. The old breastworks still remain in places, and no one can visit the spot without being surprised that the emigrants held out so long.


    Thursday night the emigrants drew up a petition, or an humble prayer for aid. It was addressed to any friend of humanity, and stated the exact condition of affairs. In case the paper reached California, it was hoped that assistance would be sent to their rescue. Then followed a list of the emigrants' names. Each name was followed by the age, place of nativity, latest residence, position, rank and occupation of its owner. The number of clergymen, physicians, farmers, carpenters, etc., was given. Among other important particulars, the number of Free Masons and Odd Fellows was stated, with the rank and the name and number of the lodges of which they were members. It is the only expression that ever came from within that corral, but it gives a thrilling picture of their torture and mental anguish.

    Volunteers were called for to bear this letter to California, and three of the bravest men that ever lived stepped forward and offered to attempt to dash through the enemy and cross the wilderness and desert. Before they started, all knelt in the corral, and the white-haired old Methodist pastor fervently prayed for their safety. In the dead of night they passed the besiegers, but Indian runners were immediately placed on their track, and they were tracked weary miles, and at last killed and their bodies left to rot. It is believed one or more of them endured the Indian torture before being killed. The letter was found, and in after years shown to a leader in the massacre, and by him promptly destroyed. Two men, the Young brothels, not Mormons, still alive, saw one of these three messengers shot

                                            MOUNTAIN  MEADOWS  MASSACRE.                                       45

    to death near Cottonwood by Indians, under command of Ira Hatch, a Mormon.


    Meanwhile the decoy plan at the camp was put into effect. A white flag was displayed, and Lee marched tinder its cover and met an envoy from the beleaguered camp. He promised the emigrants protection if they would lay down their arms and march out. They could do nothing else and acquiesced. The arms, the wounded and the children were put into two wagons, driven by Mormons; behind them came the women, marching in single file, and a little back of them came the men, unarmed, starving, many wounded, and utterly despondent. On went the mournful procession. Lee marched between the two wagons. Suddenly he brought his gun to his shoulder and fired at a woman in the forward wagon, killing her instantly.


    It was the signal for the massacre. Indians rose from behind bushes, painted Mormons stepped from behind concealments, and all along the line the men and women were shot down like cattle in the shambles, while Lee and his aids dragged women and youths from the wagons and cut their throats from ear to ear. The venerable gray-headed clergymen, the sturdy farmers, the stalwart young men and the beardless youths, all were cut down, one, by one, and above their dead bodies waved the stars and stripes. But this was not all. It is said that Lee and an Indian chief cut the throats of two girls aged fourteen and fifteen behind some bushes whither they had fled. Their pure bosoms could not quiver 'neath the plunge of the cold steel blade, nor their white throats crimson before the keen knife's edge, until they had suffered the torments of a thousand deaths at the hands of their brutal captors.

    Sick women too ill to leave the corral were driven up to the scene of slaughter, butchered and stripped. Some of the younger men refused to join in the dreadful work. Jim Pearce was shot by his own father for protecting a girl that was crouched at his feet! The bullet cut a deep gash in his face, and the furrowed sear is there to-day. Lee shot a girl who was clinging to his son. A score of heart-rending rumors are afloat about the deeds of that hour. One rumor comes from a girl who lived in Lee's own family for years. She told Mr. Beadle, the author of several works, that one young woman drew a dagger to defend herself against John D. Lee, and he killed her on the spot. And this story is told too of that day's darkness: A young mother saw her husband fall dead. He lay with his face upward, and the purple life-blood crimsoned his pallid cheeks. She sprang to his side just as a great brutal ruffian attempted to seize her. Laying her tiny babe on her husband's breast, she drew a dirk-knife, and like a tigress at bay, confronted the vile wretch. He recoiled in terror, but the next instant a man stepped up behind the brave woman and drove a knife

    46                                         JOHN  D.  LEE  THE  MORMON.                                          

    through her body. Without a struggle she fell dead across her husband's feet. Picking up the dirk she had dropped, the fiend deliberately pinned the little babe's body to its father's and laughed to see its convulsive death-struggles.


    The orders were to spare children too young to remember. Bill Stewart and Joel White were to kill the rest. An old Indian who saw the deed says:

    "The little boys and girls were too frightened to do aught but fall at the feet of their butchers and beg for mercy. Many a sweet little girl knelt before Bill Stewart, clasped his knees with her tiny white arms, and with tears and tender pleadings besought him not to take her life. Catching them by the hair of the head, he would hurl them to the ground, place his foot upon their little bodies and cut their throats."


    Eight days after the massacre, witnesses who visited the field of death, and testified at the first trial of Lee, in 1875, saw the bodies of men, women and children strewn upon the ground and heaped in piles. Some were stabbed, others shot, and still others had their throats cut. There was no clothing left on man, woman or child, except a torn stocking leg which clung to the ankle of one. The wolves and ravens had lacerated every one of the corpses except one. There were one hundred and twenty-seven in all, and each bore the marks of wolves' teeth, except just one. It was the body of a handsome, well-formed lady, with a beautiful face and long flowing hair. A single bullet had pierced her side. Most of the bodies had been thrown into three piles, distant from each other about two rods and a half. Indians would certainly have taken scalps or burned bodies, if savage revenge had been the only thought. The closest examination was made, and not the slightest trace of the scalping knife could be discovered.


    Two months afterward a single Mormon -- all honor to the man -- gathered up the bones and placed them in the very hollow the emigrants had dug inside the corral. He acted upon his own responsibility, and went alone and unaided. He did the very best be could, but the task was horribly disagreeable, and the covering of earth which he placed upon the bodies was necessarily light. He testified at the first trial, and said he picked up one hundred and twenty-seven skulls. Aden was killed, and the three messengers, making one hundred and thirty-one. Eighteen children were saved, one or two emigrants were buried in the corral after the first attack; so that there must have been over one hundred and fifty instead of between one hundred and twenty and one hundred and forty of the company, as generally believed heretofore.

                                            MOUNTAIN  MEADOWS  MASSACRE.                                       47

    [ blank page ]

    48                                         JOHN  D.  LEE  THE  MORMON.                                          

    (View high resolution image of this illustration)

                                            MOUNTAIN  MEADOWS  MASSACRE.                                       49


    The Mountain Meadows are about five miles in length and from one and a half to two miles in breadth. At that time the meadows were well-watered and abounded in luxuriant grass, furnishing a desirable stopping-place for the traveller preparatory to entering the parched desert further on. But to-day, how changed! There is not now a green spear of grass, a live tree to shelter the traveller from the scorching sun. The floods from the mountains have cut out the old beaten road. Gullies and ravines have washed out the beds of the streams flowing from the springs, that once supplied water to the emigrant and his stock. Even the sagebrush, cut and scarred by the bullets of the assaulting saint and savage, or the heroic emigrant in defence of his wife and little ones, have withered and died, and to-day it seems that the curse of Almighty God is upon what was once the beautiful and fertile valley of the Mountain Meadows.

    The Mormons have ever charged this crime aL the Meadows upon the Indians, and the Indians as industriously deny it. The fact is that at Corn Creek the Indians, when the whites refused, furnished the emigrants with thirty bushels of corn. The Chief of the Beavers, named Beaverite, brother of Kanosh, the Chief of the Corn Creek Indians, a warm friend of the Pahvants, recently denied emphatically the Mormon story of the poisoned ox the poisoned spring, and the poisoned Indians. He said that no Corn Creek, Pahvants, nor Beaver Indians went to Mountain Meadows. "All the Indians there," he added, "were not more than one hundred; for I knew Moquepus, who was there with, his Cold Creek Indians. He my friend. So were all his Indians. I often talk with them during the last seventeen years. Moquepus always said, and his warriors always said, that they were making a living by hunting around Cedar. John D. Lee came and told them to come and help kill the emigrants. Moquepus said he had not guns nor powder enough. Lee said that the Mormons would furnish guns and powder. Moquepus asked him what the Indians would get. Lee said they would get clothing, all the guns and horses, and some of the cattle to eat. So they went. Moquepus was wounded, and died the year after of the wounds." All the Indians tell the same story. No Indians in Utah had any animosity against the whites.


    One young man in train was named William A. Aden, whose father, in Tennessee, had once saved the life of a Mormon, and out of gratitude he befriended the young man in some way. Soon afterwards a party of Mormons came up to the gate of the disobedient brother and struck him over the head with a club. His skull was cracked, and although he is still living his mind is seriously impaired. Aden and a companion were sent out by the emigrants for help. At Pinto Creek they were met by the notorious Bill Stewart and a boy. Stewart shot Aden, but the boy failed to fire and

    50                                         JOHN  D.  LEE  THE  MORMON.                                          

    the other man escaped. Years after Stewart took a friend to the bushes where Aden died, and showed him his victim's bones, and brutally kicked them about. Stewart still lives, lurking about the vicinity of Cedar City, but hidden from the authorities.


    It was a long time before the truth leaked out. The Deseret News, the Mormon organ at Salt Lake, never published a line in relation to the occurrence until thirteen months after it happened. The Duke train, passing afterwards to California, heard of it, and the news reached California early the following winter. Then the old Chief Kanosh complained that the spoil was unfairly divided, and made his complaints loudly. So public attention was attracted. In the memories of some of the children lingered recollections of the butchery. Attention was drawn by George Adair, who, in the streets of Cedar, often used to boast that he had taken babes by the heels and dashed out their brains against the wagon wheels. In his drunken revels be would laugh and attempt to imitate the pitiful, crushing sound of the skull bones as they struck the iron bands of the wagon hubs. George Adair lives. Two boys, named John Calvin and Myron Tacket, aged respectively nine and seven, were brought to Salt Lake City and placed under the charge of a most estimable lady until arrangements could be made for sending them to Arkansas. John would often tell how be picked arrows from his mother's body as fast as the Indians would shoot them into her flesh. He saw his grandfather, grandmother, aunt, father and mother murdered. Clenching his little fists, he would burst into a little passionate speech like this: "When I get to be a man I'll go to the President of the United States and ask for a regiment of soldiers to go and find John D. Lee. But I don't want to have any one kill him; I want to shoot him myself, for be killed my father. He shot my father in the back, but I would shoot him in the face." Many of the children saw Mormon women wearing their mothers' dresses. Haight's wives and Lee's wives were often seen in Cedar City wearing silks and satins that came from the Mountain Meadows women. Jewelry and ornamental articles found their way through almost all the southern settlements. John said that Lee drove his father's iron-gray horses for a few days, and then a Bishop obtained possession of them.

    Next came the confession of Philip Klingensmith and his flight to California. The Mormon Church now attempted to wash its hands of the affair, and so cut off Lee from the Church, and eight of Lee's eighteen wives left him, as that amounted to a divorcement, but still Brigham remained on intimate terms with Lee. At last the United States officers procured indictments against Lee and some of the leaders, and after a long and dangerous chase Lee was captured.

                                            MOUNTAIN  MEADOWS  MASSACRE.                                       51

    Brigham  Young's  Proclamation.

    The proclamation issued by Brigham Young on the 15th of September, 1857, in view of the coming of the Federal troops, was put in evidence:

    "CITIZENS OF UTAH: -- We are invaded by a hostile force, who are evidently assailing us to accomplish our overthrow and destruction.

    "For the last twenty-five years we have trusted officials of the Government, from Constables and Justices to Judges, Governors and Presidents, only to be scorned, held in derision, insulted and betrayed. Our houses have been plundered and then burned; our fields laid waste, our principal men butchered while under the pledged faith of the Government for their safety, and our families driven from their homes to find that shelter in the barren wilderness, and that protection among hostile savages, which were denied them in the boasted abodes of Christianity and civilization. * * *

    Our opponents have availed themselves of prejudice existing against us because of our religious faith, to send out a formidable host to accomplish our destruction. We have had no privilege, no opportunity of defending ourselves from the false, foul and unjust aspersions against us before the nation. * * *

    "We know those aspersions to be false, but that avails us nothing. We are condemned unheard and forced to an issue with an armed mercenary mob, which has been sent against us at the instigation of anonymous letter writers, ashamed to father the base, slanderous falsehoods they have given to the public; of corrupt officials, who have brought false accusations against us to screen themselves from their own infamy, and of hireling priests and bowling editors, who prostitute the truth for filthy lucre's sake. * * *

    Therefore, I, Brigham Young, Governor and Superintendent of Indian Affairs for the Territory of Utah, in the name of the people of the United States in the Territory of Utah:

    "First -- Forbid all armed forces of every description from coming into this Territory under any pretence whatever.

    "Second -- That all the forces in said Territory hold themselves in readiness to march at a moment's notice to repel any and all such invasion.

    "Third -- Martial law is hereby declared to exist in this Territory, from and after the publication of this proclamation; and no person shall be allowed to pass or repass into or through or from this Territory without a permit from the proper office." * * *


    President Buchanan's Proclamation.

    The situation of affairs in Utah outlined in these proclamations and instructions called forth a proclamation from President Buchanan, under date

    52                                         JOHN  D.  LEE  THE  MORMON.                                          

    April 6th, 1858, in which the conduct of Brigham Young and his followers was treated as open rebellion against the United States, and which closed as follows:

    "Now, therefore, I, James Buchanan, President of the United States, have thought proper to issue this, my proclamation, enjoining upon all public officers in the Territory of Utah, to be diligent and faithful, to the full extent of their power, in the execution of the laws; commanding all citizens of the United States in said Territory to aid and assist the officers in the performance of their duties; offering to the inhabitants of Utah who shall submit to the laws, a free pardon for the seditions and treasons heretofore by them committed; warning those who shall persist, after notice of this proclamation, in the present rebellion against the United States that they must expect no further lenity, but look to be rigorously dealt with according to their deserts; and declaring that the military forces now in Utah, and hereafter to be sent there, will not be withdrawn until the inhabitants of that Territory shall manifest a proper sense of the duty which they owe to this Government."


    Proof of Brigham Young's Guilt.

    NEW YORK, March 28. -- A Tucson, Arizona, paper publishes the following: The following is a correct copy of the original order given concerning the Mountain Meadows Massacre. The order, with three affidavits authenticating it, was found among the papers of the late ex-Chief Justice John Titus, of Arizona, and formerly Chief Justice of Utah:

    "Special Order -- Salt Lake City, April 9th, 1857 [sic], -- The officer in command of the escort is hereby ordered to see that every man is well prepared with ammunition, and have it ready at the time you see these teamsters a hundred miles from the settlement. President Young advises that they should be all killed to prevent them from returning to Bridger to join our enemies. Every precaution should be taken, and see that not one escapes. Secrecy is required. By order of General Daniel H. Wells.
    "Assistant Adjutant General."    

    "The original order with the affidavits, are in my possession, and I have had frequent conversations with the late Judge Titus, who was my former law partner, in regard to the matter, and he never doubted the genuineness of the order or the guilt of Brigham Young. (signed) L. C. HUGHES."


    Brigham Young's Report of the Massacre

    The following is Brigham Young's report of the Mountain Meadows Massacre, which was put in evidence at the second trial:

                                            MOUNTAIN  MEADOWS  MASSACRE.                                       53

    GREAT SALT LAKE CITY, U. T., Jan. 6, 1858.    
    Hon. James W. Denver, Commissioner of Indian Affairs, Washington City, D. C.: -- SIR: -- On or about the middle of last September, a company of emigrants traveling the southern route to California, poisoned the meat of an ox that died, and gave it to the Indians to eat, causing the immediate death of four of their tribe, and poisoning several others. This company also poisoned the water where they were encamped. This occurred at Corn Creek, fifteen miles south of Fillmore City. This conduct so enraged the Indians that they immediately took measures for revenge. I quote from a letter written to me by John D. Lee, farmer to the Indians in Iron and Washington Counties: "About the 22d of September Captain Fanchers and 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." Lamentable as this case truly is, it is only the natural consequence of that fatal policy which treats the Indians like wolves or other ferocious beasts. I have vainly remonstrated for years with travellers against pursuing so suicidal a policy, and repeatedly advised the Government of its fatal tendency. It is not always upon the heads of the individuals who commit such crimes that such condign punishment is visited, but more frequently the next company that follows in their fatal path become the unsuspecting victims, though, peradventure, entirely innocent. Of this character was the massacre of Captain Gunnison and party in 1853. He was friendly and unsuspecting, but the emigrant company that immediately preceded him had committed a most flagrant act of injustice and murder upon the Indians, escaped unscathed, causing the savage feeling and vengeance which they had so wontonly provoked to be poured upon the head of the lamented Gunnison. Owing to these causes, the Indians upon the main traveled roads leading from this Territory to California have become quite hostile, so that it has become quite impossible for a company of emigrants to pass in safety. The citizens of the Territory have frequently compromised their own safety and other peaceful relations, by interfering in behalf of travellers; nor can they be expected to be otherwise than hostile, so long as the travelling community persist in the practice of indiscriminately shooting and poisoning them as above set forth. In all other parts of the Territory, except along the north and south routes to California, as above mentioned, the Indians are quiet and peaceful. It is owing to the disturbed state of our Indian affairs that the accounts of this quarter have been so considerably augmented. It has always been my policy to conciliate the native tribes by making them presents and treating them kindly, considering it much more economical to feed and clothe them than to fight them. I have the satisfaction of knowing that this policy has been most eminently successful and advantageous, not only to the settlements,

    54                                         JOHN  D.  LEE  THE  MORMON.                                          

    but to the Government, as well as to the emigrants and travellers. But the most uniform, judicious and humane course will sometimes fail in holding ignorant, wild and revengeful Indians by the wrist, to be indiscriminately murdered. We trust, henceforward, such scenes may not be re-enacted, and the existing bad feeling among the native tribes may become extinguished by a uniform, consistent, humane and conciliatory course of superior acts, by those who profess superior attainments.

    Respectfully, I have the honor to remain your obedient servant,
    Governor and Supt. Indian Affairs, U. T.   


    "Vengeance is mine, saith the Lord."

    Several years after the terrible massacre a party of emigrants and a company of United States troops marched to the Meadows, and decent sepulture given the crumbling remains, and above the dead a wooden cross was raised with the inscription, "Vengeance is mine, I will repay, saith the Lord." It did not stand long; vandal Mormon hands tore it down. Perhaps the perpetrators disliked the prophetic inscription, but this only succeeded in stamping it more deeply upon the hearts of the people of the United States. The Governor of the Territory, outraged at the destruction, of the monument, gave the Morinons notice that they must restore it. Accordingly Brigham Young had a new one put up; but lo, Brigham changed the inscription so as to read, "Vengeance is mine, I have repaid, saith the Lord." But very soon even this was torn down, and after its second destruction a company of United States volunteers restored it as it first stood.

    In the summer of 1874 indictments for murder were first found by the Grand Jury of the Second Judicial District Court against John D. Lee, and against W. H. Dame, Isaac C. Haight, John M. Higbee, George Adair, J. R. Elliott Wildena, Samuel Jukes, Philip K. Smith and W. C. Stewart, Lee's confederates in the Mountain Meadows massacre. After a long, patient and dangerous, pursuit Lee was arrested. He was tried in July, 1875, before a jury composed of two Gentiles, nine regular Saints, and one renegade Mormon. That jury disagreed. In the month of September, 1876, Lee was again placed on trial. This time the prosecution purposely managed to have a jury composed entirely of Mormons. Knowing that a Jury of Gentiles could not be had, new tactics were resorted to. The confession of Lee was proven to the jury, and the evidence of eyewitnesses, both willing and unwilling, was brought out, proving his personal participation in the tragedy. The evidence was so conclusive that Lee, to protect himself from its overwhelming force, was driven to make the defence that whatever he did on the field of carnage was by order of the priesthood, and his counsel were compelled to argue that his superiors in the Church, and

                                            MOUNTAIN  MEADOWS  MASSACRE.                                       55

    not Lee, were the responsible parties. It did not take long for that Mormon jury to make a choice between the conviction of Lee or the imputation against the "Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints," which the acquittal of Lee on the plea and justification which he had been forced to make would cast upon them. It was a sad dilemma for that "faithful twelve," but Lee was convicted -- a victim of his own indiscretion and want of foresight in forcing his counsel to return the heavy blows that the prosecution gave by the direct evidence of guilt, and send them back upon the heads of the priesthood, who were sure to be championed by the jury in preference to Lee. Lee's conviction astonished no one more than it did himself.

    At the second trial of Lee the following witnesses testified in behalf of the prosecution: Daniel H. Wells, formerly General of the Utah Militia and chief counsellor of Brigham Young, one of the Twelve Apostles and for years Mayor of Salt Lake City; Laban Morrill, a member of the council held at Cedar City at the time of the massacre; James Harlem, the messenger to Brigham Young; Joel White, a messenger despatched by Haight from Cedar City to Pinto to pacify the Indians and let emigrants pass; Samuel Knight, one of the participants in the massacre; Samuel McCurdy, a Mormon wagon-driver at the massacre; Nephi Johnson, a Mormon eye-witness, who denied having taken any part in the slaughter; Jacob Hamblin, whose ranch was at the north end of the Meadows, but who was absent at the time of the massacre, but testified to the condition of the scene seven or eight days after the butchery. Their testimony is corroborative of the preceding narrative. At the first trial Klingensmith, one of the persons indicted, turned State's evidence, and was examined as a witness for the prosecution. Klingensmith is an ex-bishop and an apostate Mormon. He was brought to the first trial from San Bernardino, California. During his stay in Salt Lake he was kept under constant guard, at his. own request, so great was his fear of the Mormons. As the second trial approached, little interest was felt in the result outside of Utah. The press and public complained that no verdict of guilty could be obtained in Beaver. Despite the hopelessness of the case, however, the United States Marshals determined to do their whole duty. As an instance, Marshal Crowe was sent by a circuitous route to a point on the Colorado river known as the Needles, where, at last accounts, Klingensmith resided. Arriving at the Needles, after a tedious, fatiguing journey, Marshal Crowe found that his man had not been heard from for several months, but was probably somewhere down the Colorado river. It was an almost hopeless task, and was strangely desperate and adventurous; yet the Marshal concluded to drift down the river in an open boat, with only Indians for guides, in quest of his witness. The country on either hand was desolate and uninhabited save by bands of savage Indians, and yet one morning, in an Indian camp, Klingensmith was discovered. He was brought to Beaver, but was never put on the witness stand. He was not needed. Mormons had suddenly

    56                                         JOHN  D.  LEE  THE  MORMON.                                          

    taken hold of the prosecution. Witnesses sprung up as if by magic; witnesses that no Marshal ever could have found; witnesses who knew all about the massacre; who could throw all the blame on Lee, and whose story would completely exonerate the Church and the First Presidency. Even Brigham Young did not hesitate to give the prosecution his personal encouragement and assistance. He not only prepared and signed all affidavit purporting to tell what he knew about massacres, but he allowed the Prosecuting Attorney free access to his own private papers.

    In his last confession John D. Lee says that a great part of Klingensmith's testimony at the first trial was true. This gives that part of the records new interest, and it is consequently produced herewith.


    Lived at Cedar City from 1857 to 1872. The Meadows are forty-five miles south of Cedar City, on the California road. Was at the massacre in September, 1857. Heard of the emigrants coming. People were forbidden to trade with them. Felt bad about it. Saw a few of them at Cedar City. This was on Friday. Some swore, and Higbee fined them. They went on. Heard rumors of trouble. On Sunday it was customary to have meetings. The President and Council discussed the matter as to their destruction. Haight, Higbee, Morrell, Allen, Willis, myself and others were there. Some of the brethren opposed the destruction. I did. Haight jumped up and broke up the meeting. I asked what would be the consequences of the act. Then Haight got mad. Indians were to destroy them on Monday. Higbee, Haight, White and I met and discussed the same subject again.


    I opposed the destruction, and Haight relented. He told White and I to go ahead and tell the people that the emigrants should go through safe, We did so. On the road we met John D. Lee. Told him where we were going. He replied, "I have something to say about that matter." We passed the emigrants at Iron Springs. The next morning we passed them again as we came back. They had twenty or thirty wagons, and over one hundred people, old men and middle-aged, and women, youths and children. Near home we met Ira Allen. He said the emigrants' doom was sealed, the die was cast for their destruction; that Lee's orders were to take men and go out and intercept them. Allen was to go out and counteract what we had done. I went home. Three days after, Haight sent for me and said news had come from the men, and that they did not get along well and wanted reinforcements; and that he had been to Parowan and got further orders from Colonel W. H. Dame to finish the massacre; to decoy them out and spare only the small children who could not tell tales. I went off; met Allen, our first runner, and others. Higbee came out and said, "You are ordered out, armed and equipped." Hopkins, Higbee, John Willis and

                                            MOUNTAIN  MEADOWS  MASSACRE.                                       57

    Samuel Purdy went along; had two baggage wagons; got to Hamblin's ranch, three miles from the emigrants; there met Lee and others from the general camp, where the largest number of men were; found that the emigrants were not all killed.


    Lee called me out for consultation one side. He told me the situation. The emigrants were strongly fortified, with no chance to get at them, but that Higbee had been ordered to decoy them out the best way he could. That was agreed to, and the command given to John D. Lee to carry out the whole plan. They went to the camp. Lee formed all his soldiers into a hollow square and addressed them. They were all white men, about fifty in all. The Indians were in another camp; saw there Slade and his son, Jim Pearce, probably his son too. All these were from Cedar, and Bill Stewart and Seven Jacobs. Think Dan McFarland was there too. Slade and I were outraged, but we said, "What can we do? We can't help ourselves." Just then an order to march was given and we had to go. We were put in double file. Higbee had command of part of the men. It was the Nauvoo legion, organized from tens to hundreds. We marched to within sight of the emigrants.


    Either Bateman or Lee went out with the white flag, and a man from the emigrants met them. Lee and the man sat down on the grass and had a talk; don't know what they said. Lee went with the man into the intrenchments; after some hours he came out, and the emigrants came up with their wounded in wagons ahead. The wounded were those hurt in the three days previous fight; they said the Mormons and Indians couldn't oust the emigrants. Next came the women, next the men. As the emigrants came up the men halted, and the women on foot, children and wounded, went on ahead with John D. Lee. The soldiers had orders to be all ready to shoot at the word.


    When the word "Halt!" came the soldiers fired. I fired once; don't know if I killed any. The men were not all killed at the first shot. Saw women afterwards with their throats cut. I saw, as I came up to them, a man kill a young girl. The men were marched in double file first, then thrown into single file, with the soldiers alongside. Heard the emigrants' congratulations on their safety from the Indians. At last John M. Higbee came and ordered my squad to fire. Lee, like the rest, had firearms. No emigrants escaped. Saw soldiers on horses take on the wing those who ran. Saw a man run. Saw Bill Stuart, on a horse, go after and kill him. Saw a wounded man beg for his life. Higbee cut his throat. The man said, "I would not do this to you." Higbee knew him after he fired. Was told to gather up the little children as we went. Saw a large woman running

    58                                         JOHN  D.  LEE  THE  MORMON.                                          

    toward the men, crying, "My husband! my husband!" A soldier shot her in the back, and she fell dead. As I went on I found the wagons, with the wounded all out on the ground dead, with their throats cut. Went on and found the children. Put them in a wagon and took them to Hamblin's house. Saw no more, as the soldiers dispersed them. Two children were wounded, and one died at Hamblin's. Think I had to leave it there. There were many soldiers from the counties south whom I did not know. The next day McCurdy, Willis and myself took the children to Cedar City, leaving one at Pinto Creek. On the road met a freight train of wagons, with men, living here at Beaver now, on it. I went to old Mrs. Hopkins and told her that I had the children. She rustled round and got places for them. I took one girl baby home. My wife suckled it. Afterward I gave it to Dick Beck, be having no children. They were all well-treated, I believe. We got good places for them, where there were few children.


    After several days Haight sent me to Iron Springs, where the wagons came, and the goods of the emigrants were. Got them and put them in the tithing house. I was to brand the cattle, too. Found there John Urie and a hunter and Allen. I put the goods in the Church tithing-office cellar; left the wagon in front of the tithing-office, branded the cattle with the Church brand -- a cross. Lee was in the cellar with me, and saw the goods. Haight and Higbee told me that a council had been held, and that Lee had been deputed to go to President Brigham Young and report all the facts of the massacre. Lee went. I followed, to attend the conference, October 6th, at Salt Lake City. Met Lee at Salt Lake and asked him if he had reported to Brigham Young; he said, "Yes, every particular." On the same day I, Lee and Charlie Hopkins called on Brigham Young. He there, in the presence of them, said: "You have charge of that property in the tithing-office; turn it over to John D. Lee. What you know of this say nothing. Don't talk of it even among yourselves." When I came home I had to go to the Vegas lead mines to get ore. While I was gone Lee took the property and bad an auction, so Haight and Higbee told me. Haight sold part of the cattle to Hooper, Utah's Congressional delegate afterwards, for boots and shoes. There were Indians at the massacre. The hills were pretty full of them. They were deputed to kill the women. Saw one Indian cut a little boy's throat. Heard no effort to restrain the Indians. Some of the Indians were wounded, and three of them died of their wounds. The Indians came back to Cedar, where I lived. One was called Bill and one Tom, both chiefs. Saw some of the emigrants' property with the Indians. Saw Lee get dresses and jeans from the tithing-office out of the emigrants' plunder. I learned from Allen that Lee was the one to gather up the Indians to attack the emigrants, and talked with Lee about it. Afterwards Lee was Indian Agent at the Harmony Agency, traded with the tribes, and issued goods and rations of the Government to the Indians.

                                            MOUNTAIN  MEADOWS  MASSACRE.                                       59


    Am a Pennsylvanian. At twenty-two years of age went to Indiana; at twenty-six to Michigan; thence to Nauvoo in 1844. Left there with the Mormons in 1846 and went to Iowa; thence to Council Bluffs. In 1849 came to Salt Lake; thence to San Pete, and raised two crops; thence to Parowan; thence to Cedar City in 1852, and stayed until 1859. Then went to Toquerville; thence to Beaver, where I stayed a year and a half; then back to Toquerville, and stayed six months; then went on a ranch, and stayed one year; thence to Parowan, and stayed there one year; thence to the river Muddy, and stayed a part of two years. Left there in 1865, and went back to Parowan, and remained there over a year. Thence went to Meadow Valley, Lincoln county, Nevada, and live there yet; go out prospecting. At Nauvoo I was an Elder, and belonged to the Ninth Quorum of the Seventies. At Cedar City, in 1857, was Bishop over Cedar. My duty was to act in temporal affairs, collect the tithings, and see to making field and water ditches. Was under the Presidency of Haight, to whom I was subordinate. The people held councils with me. James Whittaker and old Daddy Morris were my councillors. The first I heard of the emigrants was their being ordered out of Salt Lake. President Haight gave out that the people were not to supply the emigrants. He gave the order at an afternoon meeting of the officials. Haight preached on the subject. He said the emigrants were to be destroyed. Allen favored it with Haight. Higbee also agreed to it. No particular reasons were given for the order. That astonished me, and as many opposed as favored the action. Morrill, myself and the Councillors opposed it. I had the right to appeal to the higher power, but did not. Knew of no power I could then resort to. Haight preached to the people not to furnish the emigrants with supplies, after he first heard of the emigrants' coming, only three or four days before they came. A year before, Haight preached to the people not to supply any emigrants. Do not know that Indians had been gathering to destroy that train; had they been so gathering I must have known it. I did hear that Indians were to go to the Meadows ahead and do the work. I never knew why the emigrants were to be killed. Did not try to rally the people to prevent the massacre; had no power to do so; went as far as I could, and protested against it.


    Did not try to prevent any man going to the massacre. Had I undertaken that, it would have been bad with me. (Sensation in Court.) I was afraid of both the Church and the military authorities. If a man did not then walk up to orders, it would not be well for him. I feared personal violence; I feared I would be killed. I had power only on small temporal cases. I had to obey Haight and his council, composed of Higbee and the younger Morris. I had my fears from my long knowledge of the discipline of the Church. I think I know of one man being put out of the way. I

    60                                         JOHN  D.  LEE  THE  MORMON.                                          

    heard of others, and believed it. I heard of Rasmus Anderson being put out or the way for adultery, and believe it. I heard of three others being put away. I do not know how Anderson was killed. I did not hear Lee's address to the men while formed in hollow square, as I was I at one side. I did say to the council on the field that if the orders came from due authority we must go and carry them out. Higbee said, as we went to the front, that two emigrants had escaped from camp; that they had been overtaken at Richard's Springs; one had been killed and the other wounded, and had again escaped. Did not say it was necessary to exterminate the emigrants to prevent the news going to California of the killing at Richard's Springs, and thus prevent the incursions of Californians to take revenge. Heard those say who came for troops, that during the first three days whites and Indians together fought the emigrants. I was ten feet from an emigrant wagon opposite me when I fired. Cannot say if I hit him. Did so probably. I obeyed orders. No motive of robbery moved me. Had not heard it talked of as a motive.


    Of the seventeen children saved, the oldest was a boy of two or three years. I kept one of them. Higbee got the oldest boy. Hamblin got the wounded ones. Ingham got one. Do not remember who got the rest. Did not talk to Brigham Young of the massacre. Told Charles Dalton of it in Salt Lake. Had no right to speak to Young, Cannon, or George Smith of it unless they asked me. I first made public about the massacre three years ago, at Bullionville, in an affidavit to Charles Wendell, sworn to before the County Clerk at Pioche. Was out of the Mormon Church five years ago. Resigned as Bishop in 1858-9. Never considered myself in full fellowship after that. Am not now a Mormon, and never expect to be again.


    John D. Lee's Report of the Massacre.

    One of the documents put in evidence at the second trial of John D. Lee was his report is farmer to the Paiute Indians to Brigham Young, then Governor of Utah, in which allusion is made to the massacre at Mountain Meadows. The report reads as follows:

    November 20, 1857.   
    To His Excellency, Governor B. Young, ex-officio, and Superintendent of Indian Affairs. -- Dear Sir: -- My report under date May 11, 1857, relative to the Indians over whom I have charge as farmer showed a friendly relation between them and the whites, which doubtless would have continued to increase had not the white man been the first aggressor, as was the case with Captain Fanchers' company of emigrants passing through to

                                            MOUNTAIN  MEADOWS  MASSACRE.                                       61

    California about the middle of September last, on Corn Creek, fifteen miles south of Fillmore City, Millard County. The company there poisoned the meat of an ox which they gave the Pahute Indians to eat, causing four of them to die immediately, besides poisoning a number more; the company also poisoned the water where they encamped, killing many of the cattle of the settlers. This unguided policy, planned in wickedness by the company raised the ire of the Indians, which soon spread through the southern tribes filling them up with revenge till blood was in their path, and as the breach, according to their traditions, was a national one, consequently any portion of that nation was liable to atone for that offence. About the 22d of September Captain Fanchers and company fell victims to their wrath near Mountain Meadows, their cattle and horses shot down in every direction, their wagons and property mostly committed to the flames; and had they been the only ones that suffered, we would have less cause of complaint. But the following company, of near the same size, had some of their men shot down near Beaver City, and had it not been for the interposition of the citizens of that place the whole company would have been massacred by the enraged Pahvants. From this place they were protected by military force by order of Colonel W. H. Dame through the Territory, besides providing the company with interpreters to help them through to the Los Vegas, on the Muddy. Some three hundred to five hundred Indians attacked the company while travelling and drove off several hundred head of cattle, telling the company if they fired a single gun that they would kill every soul. Interpreters tried to regain the stock or a portion of them by presents, but in vain; the Indians told them to mind their own business or their lives would not be safe.

    Since that occurrence no company has been able to pass without some of our interpreters to talk and explain matters to the Indians.

    Friendly feelings yet remain between the natives and the settlers, and I have no hesitancy in saying that it will increase so long as we treat them kindly and deal honestly towards them. I have been blessed in my labors the present year. Much grain has been raised for the Indians.

    I herewith furnish you the accounts of W. H. Dame, of Parowan, for cattle, wagons, etc., furnished for the Chief Owanup (ss.):

    For two yoke of oxen, $100 each..........$200 00
    One wagon and two chains..........75 00
    Two cows, $30 each..........60 00
    For labor..........80 00

    Total..........$415 00

    P. K. Smith, Iron county:

    For two yoke of cattle, $100 each, for Wano and Moqueeteo's bands.....$200 00
    For one Cow..........35 00
    One wagon..........80 00
    Total..........$315 00

    62                                         JOHN  D.  LEE  THE  MORMON.                                          

    Jacob Hamblin's account, for the benefit of Patsogobbitt's band, Santa Clara, Washington county (ss.):

    Two yoke of cattle, $100 each..........$200 00
    Wagon and two chains..........l00 00
    Two cows, $35 each..........70 00
    Total..........$370 00

    Henry Barney's account, for the benefit of Janiquiko's band, Harmony:

    Two yoke of cattle, $100 each..........$200 00
    One wagon..........100 00
    One plough..........40 00
    Four cows, at $35 each..........140 00
    For labor in helping to secure crops, etc..........40 00
    Total..........$520 00

    To my services the last six months, and for provisions, clothing, etc.. ..$600 00

    Sum total.........$2,220 00

    From the above report you will see that wants of the natives have increased commensurate with their experience and practice in the art of agriculture.

    With sentiments of high consideration, I am your humble servant,
    JOHN D. LEE,    
    Farmer to Pahute Indians.    


    Brigham Young's Report to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs.

    Other documents submitted at the second trial of Lee consisted of a report from Young to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, James W. Denver, under date of September 12th, 1857, from which the following extract is taken

    In like manner the Indians in Cache Valley have received but little at the expense of the Government, although a sore tax upon the people. West, and along the California and Oregon trail, they continue to make their contributions, and I am sorry to add, with considerable loss of life to the traveller. This is what I have always sought, by all means in my power, to avoid, but I find it the most difficult of any to correct. I have, for many years, succeeded better than this. I learn, by report, that many of the lives of emigrants and considerable quantities of property have been taken. This is owing principally to a company of some two or three hundred returning Californians, who travelled these roads last spring to the Eastern States, shooting at every Indian they could see, a practice utterly abhorrent to all good people, yet I regret to say, one that has been indulged in to a great extent by travellers to and from the Eastern States and California; hence the Indians regard all white men alike their common enemies,

                                            MOUNTAIN  MEADOWS  MASSACRE.                                       63

    and kill and plunder whenever they can do so with impunity, and often the innocent suffer for the deeds of the guilty. This has always been one of the greatest difficulties that I have had to contend with in the administration of Indian Affairs in this Territory. It is hard to make an Indian believe that the whites are their friends and the Great Father wishes to do them good, when, perhaps, the very next party which crosses their path shoots them down like wolves. This trouble with the Indians only exists along the line of travel west and beyond the influence of our settlements. The Shoshones are not hostile to travellers as far as they inhabit in this Territory, except, perhaps, a few called "Snake Diggers," who inhabit as before stated along the line of travel west of the settlements. There have, however, been more or less depredations the present season north, and more in the vicinity of the settlements, owing to the cause above mentioned, and I find it of the utmost difficulty to restrain them. The sound of war quickens the blood and nerves an Indian. The reports that troops were wending their way to this Territory has also bad its influence upon them. In one or two instances this was the reason assigned why they made the attack which they did, upon some herds of cattle; they seemed to think that if it was to be war they might as well commence and begin to lay in a supply of food when they had a chance. If I am to have the direction of Indian Affairs for this Territory, and am expected to maintain friendly relations with the Indians, there are a few things that I would most respectfully suggest to be done:

    First -- That travellers omit their infamous practice of shooting them down when they happen to see one. Whenever the citizens of this Territory travel the roads, they are in the habit of giving the Indians food, tobacco and a few other presents, and the Indians expect some such trifling favor, and they are emboldened by this practice to come up to the road with a view of receiving such presents. When, therefore, travellers from the States make their appearance, they throw themselves in sight with the same view, and when they are shot at, some of their numbers killed, as has frequently been the case, we cannot but expect them to wreak their vengeance upon the next train.

    Second -- That the Government should make more liberal appropriations, to be expended in presents. I have proven that it is far cheaper to feed and clothe Indians than to fight them. I find, moreover, that after all when the fighting is over, it is always followed by extensive presents, which, if properly distributed in the first instance, might have arrested the fight. In this case, then, the expenses of presents are the same, and it is true in nine-tenths of the cases that have happened.

    Third -- The troops must be kept away, for it is a prevalent fact that wherever there are the most of these we may expect to find the greatest amount of hostile Indians, and the least security to persons and property.

    If these three items could be complied with, I have no hesitation in saying

    64                                         JOHN  D.  LEE  THE  MORMON.                                          

    that so far as Utah is concerned, that travellers could go to and from, pass and repass, and no Indians would disturb or molest them or their property.


    Instructions to Colonel Dame

    The following instructions to Colonel Dame, which accompanied the Brigham Young proclamation, were also produced at the trial of Lee.

    GREAT SALT LAKE CITY, September 14, 1857.    
    Colonel Wm. H. Dame, Parowan, Iron County: -- Herewith you will receive the Governor's proclamation declaring martial law. You will probably not be called out this fall, but are requested to continue to make ready for a big fight another year. The plan of operations is supposed to be about this: In case the United States Government should send out an overpowering force, we intend to desolate the Territory, and conceal our families, stock and all of our effects in the fastnesses of the mountains where they will be safe, while the men waylay our enemies, attack them from ambush, stampede their animals, take the supply trains, cut of detachments and parties sent to the canyons for wood, or on other service, to lay waste everything that will burn houses, fences, trees, fields and grass, [so] that they cannot find a particle of anything that will be of use to them, not even sticks to make a fire to cook their supplies [sic - suppers?]. To waste away our enemies and lose none, that will be our mode of warfare. Thus, you see the necessity of preparing first secure places in the mountains where they cannot find us, or if they do, where they cannot approach in [any] force, and then prepare for our families, building some cabins, caching flour and grain. Flour should be ground in the latter part of the winter, or early in the spring in order to keep. Sow grain in your fields as early as possible this fall, so the harvest of another year may come off before they have time to get here. Conciliate the Indians and make them our fast friends.

    In regard to letting the people pass or repass, or travel through the Territory, this applies to all strangers and suspected persons. Yourself and Brother Isaac C. Haight, in your district, are authorized to give such permits, examine all such persons before giving to them permits to pass. Keep things perfectly quiet, and let all things be done peacefully, but with firmness, and let there be no excitement. Let the people be united in their feelings and faith, as well as works, and keep alive the spirit of the reformation; and what we said in regard to saving the grain and provisions we say again, let there be no waste, save life always when it is possible, and [sic - we?] do not wish to shed a drop of blood if it can be avoided. This course will give us great influence abroad.
    DANIEL H. WELLS.    


    Transcriber's Comments

    (under construction)


    Back to top of this page.

    History Vault   |   The Bookshelf   |   Spalding Library   |   Mormon Classics   |   News Articles

    last updated: Dec. 1, 2007