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San Jose Pioneer, 21 April 1877

Lee’s Victims

The Families Murdered at Mountain Meadows: How One of the Emigrants Left the Party Before the Massacre and is Now a San Francisco Policeman

The confession of John D. Lee, who lately suffered the death penalty at Beaver, Utah, for his participation in the memorable, Mountain Meadows massacre, excited a profound interest. The statements made by the aged culprit, as his end inevitably grew near, differed materially from a previous confession which he tendered at the time of his first trial, in 1865 (sic:1875), in which he attempted to screen Brigham Young and other high functionaries of the Mormon Church from complicity in the terrible crime, in the evident expectation that they in turn would remain true to him to the end and effect his final liberation. Now that tardy justice has overtaken one of the leading participants in the massacre after an interval of twenty years, a brief account of one of the most atrocious crimes recorded in the history of the civilized world will be perused with interest, particularly by a large proportion of readers to whom are not familiar…

The horrible incidents

The leading families of the party were the Bakers of Arkansas, consisting of the elder Baker, with his wife and family and two married sons with families; the Hough (Huff) family from Arkansas; and the Reeds from Missouri, comprising Reed senior and his family, and his son and family; Mr. Duck and his party, including Officer Jacoby, joined the train from Ohio. The Reeds and the Bakers were the principal owners of the stock, and they also had in their possession a considerable amount of specie, designing (to make) large investments in land in the southern part of this State. There were also a half dozen other families, whose names are not now remembered by Mr. Jacoby. A large number of hired men accompanied the train as "bull-whackers" and stockherders, and the party included

Between thirty and forty children

Ranging from infancy up.

A group from Ohio led by W. B. Duck met the Baker train on the trail to Fort Bridger. P. K. Jacoby, Duck’s brother-in-law, recalled that the Bakers and the Huffs were the leading families in the train. At Fort Bridger, Jacoby said a small party under W. B. Duck withdrew 100 head of stock and set off down Bear River for California.

The company was composed of antagonistic elements, which months of weary journeying and common peril did not seem to allay.

Jacoby suggested that arguments over "the validity of the Fugitive Slave Act" divided the "respectable minority" of northerners from their southern comrades.

As the company approached Fort Bridger, Peter Huff, one of the leaders from Arkansas, was bitten on the hand by a tarantula or some other venomous creature as he slept.

Mr. Jacoby estimates that the Arkansas train was reduced to about 100 after reaching Fort Bridger, while accounts of the massacre have placed the number killed at from 130 to 150.

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