"Six months had passed
when we at last camped on the Jordan River in Utah."
"Our provisions were
running low. The cattle were weary and footsore, but we were
"At American Forks, a
small settlement, attempts were made to reprovision. The Mormons met our
offers with sullen shakes of their heads."
"We went through
Battle Creek, Provo, Springville, Spanish Fork, Salt Creek, and
Fillmore, then we reached Mountain Meadows."
"Near the lower end
the valley tapered to a mere three or four hundred yards, as a gap led
out to the scorched sands of the desert beyond. A spring made this
section of the meadow a natural camping ground. Here we halted to rest."
"The day before we
were to start was spent in a final check. Every family was on ration.
Most of us sought our blankets not long after sundown."
"I awoke early, a
coffee aroma permeated the wagons which had been drawn up in a
"Suddenly there was a
rattle of gunfire from the hillside nearest our camp."
tumbled down the slope and sliced off our milling stock."
"The men worked
frantically, shoving the heavy schooners and carriages into the form of
a huge corral. A few, armed with long rifles, stood on guard. The last
wagon was in line when the main band of savages charged down the
mountain side yelling and shooting. Rifles began to bark along the
train. The attackers hesitated before the viciousness of the fire and
fell back. The respite gave us time to dig in. Under Captain
Fancher's direction the wheels of the wagon corral were locked together
by means of chains. Others hurried out with picks and shovels and
dug feverishly to throw up a breastwork. Even the women helped."
"We were on a travel
route and it appears that all we have to do was to stand the indians off
until help arrived."
"The sun tortured us
with intense heat. By midday it was almost unbearable, and we were
almost out of water. Later in the day, the last brackish water was
"On the evening of the
third day the indians made their most determined attack. Crouched low,
they circled about the train, shooting inaccurately. The Meadow offered
little cover and our assailants felt the lash of the corral
sharpshooters. Back they went to the hillsides, carrying their
wounded with them. The seige was on again."
"The fourth day was
the worst of all. The wounded were actually dying of thirst. The entire
caravan was weak from lack of water."
"The morning of the
fifth day dawned. Our resistance was crumbling rapidly. Our ammunition
was nearly gone. The stench of our unburied dead was in our nostrils.
And always with us was the agony of thirst."
"The cry of a sentry
shook us from our stupor. Two men mounted on horses and bearing a white
flag, were advancing towards us."
"In a twinkling, hope
transformed our ranks. We cheered weakly. The horsemen came on at a walk
so slowly I thought they would never reach the corral. A square-made man
with an air of authority dismounted, smiling at our greetings. He left
his companion with the horses. Captain Fancher stepped forward. The
stranger took Fancher's hand. "John D. Lee", he said, Indian
Commissioner for this district".
"Eagerly we crowded
about him. He explained gravely that the Paiute indians were rebellious
and difficult to handle, but he believed he could persuade them to
parlay. In a lengthy conference between Lee and the men of our band, he
gained our complete confidence."
"When the Indian
Commissioner rode off our hope and prayer went with him. He was gone two
"He came back at a
gallop, a wagon following his dust. He said, "they've agreed to let you
go if you'll surrender your arms." At first the men objected, then
finally agreed to the terms. Slowly they filed to the wagon Lee had
brought with him, rifles clattered in the bed."
"John D. Lee smiled
grimly and and nodded to the driver. The wagon rumbled off over the low
rise. Mounting his horse, Lee spurred a short distance from the corral.
He rose in his stirrups and shouted, "Do your duty."
"Bewildered, we stood
there. The indians, shreiking, shooting, and yelling, tumbled down the
slopes triumphantly. For a moment the entire wagon train was frozen in
"I started to follow
my mother and stumbled. The last I saw of her, she was running toward
our carriage with little Billy in her arms. And the indians were upon
"Now I could see that
they weren't all indians. Whites had painted themselves to resemble
their savage companions. WIth bloodcurdling yells they leaped on the
defenseless pioneers. I sought shelter under a wagon and peered out
between the spokes."
"I saw my father fall
to the ground."
"The indians and their
white companions killed and killed. The sight of blood sent them into a
fanatical frenzy. One huge white kept shouting "For Jehovah."
"The fiends slackened
their butchering only when there were no more victims. Dripping paint
and blood, they stood panting, searching for any signs of life among the
hacked and clubbed bodies."
"A white man took me
by the hand and led me to a wagon where several other children had been
placed. I found my sister, Sarah Frances, there."
"As we left, the
indians and whites were completing their looting. Some of the
disguised Mormons were washing their paint (off) at the spring."
"Our wagon creaked to
the Hamblin ranch a mile away where it discharged its sobbing cargo."
"We were held at the
ranch for several days while the Mormons debated on how to dispose of