Built and maintained by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day
Saints out of respect for those who died and were buried here and
in the surrounding area following the massacre of 1857. Dedicated
11 September 1999. Inside of the wall surrounding the rebuilt rock cairn, to the left
front and embedded into the granite covering is the final marker for 29 of the victims of
the massacre. This marker reads: Here lie twenty-nine victims of the Mountain
Meadows Massacre Re-interred on 10 September 1999 by their descendants.
1859. The original monument at this site was established by the U.S. Army.
It consisted of a stone cairn topped with a cedar cross and a small granite
marker set against the north side of the cairn and dated 20 May 1859.
Military officials marked some other burial sites in the valley with simple
stone cairns. 1932. The Utah Trails and Landmarks Association
built a protective stone wall around the 1859 grave site in September 1932.
The Associationís president was George Albert Smith of the Quorum of the
Twelve Apostles and later President of The Church of Jesus Christ of
1936. The Arkansas Centennial Commission and Arkansas History Commission placed a cast
iron historical marker on Highway 7 about three miles south of Harrison, Arkansas, near
the William Beller home and what is now known as Milum Spring to identify the departure
place for some members of the caravan.
1955. On 4 September 1955, the Richard Fancher Society of America unveiled a granite
memorial to the victims in a park at Harrison, Arkansas. In 1990, the State of Utah
and families of the victims and local citizens erected the Mountain Meadows Memorial on a
nearby hill. The granite marker lists the known victims and surviving children. President
Gordon B. Hinckley of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints dedicated the
hilltop memorial on 14 September 1990, during a meeting in Cedar City.
1999. Under the direction of President Gordon B. Hinckley and with the cooperation of
the Mountain Meadows Association and others, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day
Saints replaced the 1932 wall and installed the present Grave Site Memorial. President
Hinckley dedicated the memorial on 11 September 1999.
THE MOUNTAIN MEADOWS MASSACRE
Led by Captains John T. Baker and Alexander Fancher, a California-bound wagon train
from Arkansas camped in this valley in the late summer of 1857 during the time of the
so-called Utah War. In the early morning hours of September 7th, a party of local Mormon
settlers and Indians attacked and laid siege to the encampment. For reasons not fully
understood, a contingent of territorial militia joined the attackers. This Iron County
Militia consisted of local Latter-day Saints (Mormons) acting on orders from their local
religious leaders and military commanders headquartered thirty-five miles to the northeast
in Cedar City. Complex animosities and political issues intertwined with deep religious
beliefs motivated the Mormons, but the exact causes and circumstances fostering the sad
events that ensued over the next five days at Mountain Meadows still defy any clear or
simple explanation. During the siege, fifteen emigrant men were killed in the
fighting or while trying to escape. Then late Friday afternoon, September 11th, the
emigrants were persuaded to give up their weapons and leave their corralled wagons in
exchange for a promise of safe passage to Cedar City. Under heavy guard, they made their
way out of the encirclement. When they were all out of the corral and some of them more
than a mile up the valley, they were suddenly and without warning attacked by their
supposed benefactors. The local Indians joined in the slaughter, and in a matter of
minutes fourteen adult male emigrants, twelve women, and thirty-five children were struck
down. Nine hired hands driving cattle were also killed along with at least thirty-five
other unknown victims. At least 120 souls died in what became known as the Mountain
Meadows Massacre. Seventeen children under the age of eight survived the ordeal and were
eventually returned to Arkansas. One or more other children may have remained in
*Additional Information - No child remained in Utah.
The Baker-Fancher emigrants buried the bodies of ten men killed during the five-day
siege somewhere within the circled wagons of the encampment located west of the current
monument in the valley. Most of the Baker-Fancher party died at various locations
northeast of the 1859 memorial. In May 1859, Brevet Major James H. Carleton, commanding
some eighty soldiers of the First Dragoons from Ft. Tejon, California, gathered scattered
bones representing the partial remains of thirty-six of the emigrants, interred them near
the wagon camp, and erected a stone cairn at the site. Before Carletons arrival,
Captains Reuben T. Campbell and Charles Brewer along with 207 men from Camp Floyd, Utah,
collected and buried the remains of twenty-six emigrants in three different graves on the
west side of the California Road about one and one-half miles north of the original
encampment. Brewer reported that the remains of [an additional] 18 were buried in
one grave, 12 in another and 6 in another. Since the erection of the memorial
by Major Carleton, several local families, including the Platts, Lytles, and Burgesses,
have preserved and protected the graves in this area from being desecrated by souvenir
hunters, land developers, curiosity seekers, and other intruders. In 1999, the Mountain
Meadows Association collaborated with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in
erecting the new monument over the spot of the original 1859 grave. On August 3rd, 1999,
workers excavating for the wall around the new monument accidentally uncovered the
Carleton grave. On September 10th, 1999, the remains recovered from that grave were
re-interred in a burial vault inside the new wall. The monument was dedicated the following
day, September 11th, 1999.