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San Francisco Daily Bulletin Supplement, 24 March 1877


The Treachery of the Mormons: The Horrible Butchery
Responsibility of Mormon Leaders
The Survivors of the Massacre Testimony Given at John D. Lee’s Trial: Brigham Young and John D. Lee’s Official Reports of the Massacre.

At present a brief review of the popular story of the Mountain Meadows massacre, the causes leading to it, and the part which Lee and other Mormon leaders are generally credited with having taken in it, is opportune. The Mormon faith had its rise in the alleged discovery of the disputed Golden Bible, in Ontario county, New York, in 1827, by Jo Smith, and the translation of its plates of clumsy hieroglyphics. Among the earliest priests of the church were Orson Pratt and Parley P. Pratt, Brigham Young being a later accession. There were rival claimants to the origination of the Golden Bible, the chiefs among whom were Rigdon and Spalding. The latter is now accepted by non-believers as the true author of the fiction. Dissensions early grew up, and some of the original witnesses who saw the angel of God made manifest to Smith, inside of ten years declared the falsity of their testimony and withdrew from Mormonism.

Then came the cooperative and communistic organization of the new church at Kirtland, Ohio, where the peculiar financial transactions of the new brotherhood led to their immigration and settlement in Missouri; where the Prophets laid claim to the whole land as that of the Lord and His Saints. Arrogance and intolerance enkindled opposing fires, and the Saints met with persecutions which resulted in their being driven across the Missouri into new counties of the State, where they prospered and grew, drawing the ignorant and superstitious in large numbers to their ranks. But crime was laid at the door of the Church, and in 1838 the aroused people drove the obnoxious sect out, and they went into Hancock County, Illinois, where but a few years was needed to secure their expulsion by a people indignant and alarmed.

In Illinois, by order of Smith, to whom all things were revealed by God himself, the Mormons built the city of Nauvoo, from whence missionaries went out to all civilized nations, and proselytes came by thousands from the poor and lowly classes of all Europe, lured by the charms of a theocratical government and the wonderful allurements of temporal gain. Here they grew and prospered, established a military arm, built a temple, and Smith received a revelation authorizing polygamy or the spiritual wife doctrine, which began to be practiced, though publicly denied. In 1844 the practice led to a riot, the arrest of Smith and his brother, and their assassination in jail by a mob. Civil war seemed imminent, and the Mormons in 1845 left Nauvoo, a part being driven out at the point of the bayonet. They gathered at Council Bluffs, and pioneered by Brigham Young who succeeded to the Presidency, crossed the plains to Utah, settling in the Great Salt Lake Valley. Here they erected the city of Salt Lake, built a spacious Tabernacle, took up public lands, and by industry under hardship, and a system of easy irrigation, reclaimed what was a sterile country, and made it a prolific and yielding region for a distance of 400 miles (with here and there barren spots only) north and southward along the western base of the Wasatch Mountains.

In 1849 Utah, under the title of Deseret (signifying the land of the honey bee, or the hive of industry), sought admission to the Union, but was refused. Young became Governor of the Territory by appointment of President Fillmore. He led his people to despise the Federal Government, dispute and disobey its laws, and drive out its Judges. The Government named a new governor and sent out soldiers to install him, but he declined to risk a contest, and left the Prophet in possession.

In 1856 a Mormon mob drove the United States Judge from his bench at the point of the bowie knife, and he fled the Territory. This, coupled with the frequent and horrible murders of non-believers, the butchery of apostates and the persecution of Gentiles, led President Buchanan in 1857 to send an army to Utah to displace Young, seat a new Governor and enforce the laws. As the troops drew near, Young issued a proclamation denouncing the army as a mob, and called the Mormons to arms to repulse it. At that critical juncture occurred the Mountain Meadows massacre. The new Governor declared the Territory to be in rebellion, but in 1858 an understanding was reached, and President Buchanan issued a proclamation of pardon to all who would submit. the army entered the valley and remained two years.

The history of the crimes perpetrated in Utah under the protection and by the direction of the Mormon Church would fill a ponderous volume. The arm which the Church has used for its vilest deeds is known as the Danite Band, or the Destroying Angels, an organization of murderous ruffians. To use up a man is a command they well understand, and their acts are held against them by the Church as no crime, but rather as steps to celestial rewards. By their early entrance into the Utah Valley the Mormons gained much influence with the Indian tribes, and by shrewd devices have used them for years as weapons with which to wreck vengeance upon Gentiles. A third powerful arm of the priesthood is the doctrine of blood atonement, teaching that blood may be justifiably spilled to punish apostasy, prevent heresy, or avenge the Church. Thus, with these three, the Church stands a power in Utah.

For a fuller understanding of the incidents about to be related, a brief sketch of the line of localities to be mentioned will not be amiss. Utah lies between the 42d and 37th parallels of latitude, and the 34th and 37th of longitude, being nearly a perfect parallelogram. A chain of mountains on the east side runs from the northern end along the east boundary half the distance of the Territory, and then treading westward and southward across it, striking its west boundary 100 miles north of the Colorado River, at or near the supposed head of navigation on that stream. Along the base of this range of mountains, from which flow the irrigating streams, is the chief settled section, occupying comparatively narrow valleys, which are bounded on the west by various low ranges, the chief of which is the Oquirrh. On the extreme north is Smithfield, and going south along the chief highways, the settlements and main points are in this order in direct distances along the old Emigrant Road, some of the roads giving greater and lesser distances by their routes: Logan, 8 miles; Brigham, 30 miles; Ogden, 16 miles; Great Salt Lake City, 37 miles; Little Cottonwood, 7 miles; Lehi, 24 miles; Provo City, 22 miles; Payson, 16 miles. Inclining a little more westward, Nephi, 24 miles; Chicken Creek, 12 miles; crossing of the Sevier River, 14 miles; Round Valley, 8 miles; Old Fort Union, 12 miles; Fillmore, 8 miles; Corn Creek, 12 miles; Cove Creek, 15 miles where Brigham Young has a stone fort; Beaver City, 22 miles where Lee was tried; Parowan, 20 (sic) miles; Cedar City, 25 miles where the rally to destroy the emigrants was made. Going due south we come to Pinto, 32 miles; Hamlin’s Ranch, 4 miles is at the north end of the Mountain Meadows, the scene of the massacre; Santa Clara River, 12 miles which is but 24 miles from the southwestern Corner of the Territory.

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 at Mountain Meadows, in September, 1857, in which John D. Lee was the chief agent, and from which he sought to shield himself to the last. Even in his confession he cast all blame on others, and denied that he personally shed blood.

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

The Arkansas Company and Its Property

In the Summer of 1857, a train of emigrants 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 seventy or eighty fine horses. It was a rich train, and carried money, jewelry, bedding, household goods and superior wearing apparel. Its strength and wealth made it independent and doubtless its members were boastful and bold. 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 southern route.

Mormon Version of the Conduct of the Emigrants

Some of the emigrants 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. Mormons, when asked 104

whether their religion would exonerate the man who should kill the desperado that boasted of murdering the prophet, have bluntly answered Yes, [torn]_________ several of the emigrants were from McLean’s neighborhood in Arkansas, and at least one was believed to have had a hand in the killing of Pratt.

         The Poisoned Spring Story Exploded

Among the emigrants’ cattle were a pair of old stags which were named Brigham and Heber. In driving through the streets these old stags used to receive a generous share of abuse. Next to Joseph Smith, the Mormons worship Brigham Young and the First Presidency. Thus these emigrants publicly insulted President Young, it is charged, and Heber C. Kimball, his first counsellor, and this insult is always mentioned by the Mormons as one of the causes of provocation for the massacre. The very ground work of Mormon Theocracy rests upon unbounded reverence to President Young, their Prophet, seer and revelator. It is also charged that the emigrants wove his name into vulgar songs, which were chanted through the streets. A Territorial law prohibited profanity, and violation of this law on the part of some of the emigrants is charged, and for it they were ordered arrested at Cedar City, but they successfully resisted. Again, it is told that a teamster, in passing through the streets of Cedar, brought his heavy whiplash suddenly down among widow Evans’ chickens and killed two. Remonstrated with, the man swore he would kill the damned Mormons as quickly as their chickens, if they interfered with him much more.

Lee has said that while camped two miles beyond the town they tore down and burned fifteen rods of fence, and turned their stock upon the standing grain.

It is rumored that at Corn Creek they poisoned an ox, and a spring, or a running stream, and the Indians suffered from the effects. One is said to have died, and the rest were terribly incensed against the emigrants. But on the first trial of Lee this charge was utterly exploded. It was shown the spring was a very large running stream, and could not be poisoned, and, indeed was not, nor was the bullock, and lastly, that the party so charged was the Duke party, which came through some time after the Mountain Meadows party, and the Corn Creek Indians themselves deny the whole story, as we show further on.

                                                                                            Incentives to the Massacre

Johnston’s army was entering Utah, and the Mormons were marshalling to oppose him with force and arms. The United States was considered as an enemy, and its subjects were treated as foes. Practically the Territory was under martial law, and the Nauvoo Legion drilled regularly each week. Here was the richest and most 105

powerful company that ever traveled the southern route to California. Their wagons, teams and loose stock alone amounted to over $300,00, and they had the costliest apparel and jewelry. The wildest excitement prevailed, and murders were frequent. Driven from place to place in the East, the Mormons determined to fight for Utah. The emigrants are accused of having threatened to camp on the southern boundary of Utah, and when Johnston's army entered at the north, they would return and exterminate the southern settlements; before the snow fell they would hang Brigham Young and Heber C. Kimball.

It is said the doctrine of blood atonement had its part in the massacre which followed, as several disaffected Mormons joined the train, and it became necessary to blood-atone them. When their dead bodies were found, after the massacre, it is said they were clothed in their endowment shirts. From these causes, gleaned from the sayings of Mormons, a little idea may be gained of the reasons which actuated the murderers.

Gentle Version of the Emigrants’ Behavior

On the other hand, it is abundantly proven that the emigrants were orderly, peaceable, Sabbath-loving and generally Christian people, holding religious services frequently. Eli B. Kelsey traveled 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, their immense wealth, 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.

But neither in Salt Lake nor subsequently could they procure supplies, and it is probable many would have starved if they had escaped the massacre. As a climax to this inhospitable reception, they were peremptorily ordered to break camp, and move away from Salt Lake City. Slowly they passed down through 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 had 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 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.

 Mountain Meadows: Their Appearance Now and Then

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 traveler preparatory to entering the parched desert further on. But today, how changed! There is not now a green spear of grass, a live tree to shelter the traveler from the scorching sun. The floods from the mountains have cut out the old beaten road. Gullies and ravines have washed out the bed 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 defense of his wife and little ones, have withered and died, and today it seems that the curse of Almighty God is upon what was once the beautiful and fertile valley of the Mountain Meadows.

Did the Indians Participate in the Massacre?

The Mormons have ever charged this crime at 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 over the last 17 years. Moqueous (sic) 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 and that the Mormons would furnish guns and powder. Moquepas 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.

The Emigrants Encampment: The Mormon Council

The emigrants were not allowed to drive through Beaver or Parowan (a walled town) for in the latter place the militia were already assembled for their slaughter. At last they entered the Meadows, and encamped a little distance from the spring of water there and the small stream running through. Meanwhile their murderers were preparing. A council was held at Cedar City. Haight and Higbee, dignitaries of the Church, and Lee, the Indian farmer, and Klingen Smith, the bishop, were there, and the destruction of the emigrants was resolved upon and Lee sent on ahead to rally Indians to his aid, while Mormons painted and accoutered as Indians accompanied him. But a show of waiting for orders was made, and a messenger sent to Brigham Young; but before he could ride nearly 300 miles and back, the deed was done.

The Attack

Suddenly at daybreak Monday morning, September 7, 1857, the emigrants were attacked, and at the first fire seven were killed and fifteen wounded. Unprepared, while most of them were yet asleep, they fell helplessly before the bullets of their unseen foes. With a promptitude unparalleled in all the history of Indian warfare, these emigrants wheeled their wagons into an oblong corral and with shovels and picks threw the earth from the center of the corral against the wagon-wheels. In an incredibly short time they had an excellent barricade. So rapid was their work that the plans of the assassins were turned. Three Indians were wounded, and two died after being conveyed to Clear City, where Bishop Higbee anointed their wounds with holy ointment and solemnly laid his hands upon them to cure them, fervently praying that The Lord Jesus would heal them. The unexpected vigor of the defense made by the emigrants rendered it necessary to call for help. A rally was made at Cedar City and Washington, and the faithful were ordered to appear armed and equipped for duty.

Fate of Aden and His Mormon Friend

One young man in the 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 after the attack 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 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.

Mormon Treachery

The recruits arrived, were arranged in hollow square, and told that they were to aid in the murder of the emigrants. They were too strongly fortified to be attacked again without the loss of life to some of the Lord's Anointed. The plan resolved upon was to decoy the emigrants out under a white flag protection, and the plea that it was necessary to save them from the Indians. But all this recruiting had taken time, and the emigrants held their ground all the week. Their camp was in a hollow overlooked by low hills, and from there and from behind stone breastworks 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, trembling, 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. 

Fate of Messengers Dispatched for Help

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 started, 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 (tear)_____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 brother, not Mormons, still alive, saw one of these three messengers shot to death near Cottonwood by Indians, under command of Ira Hatch, a Mormon.

Decoying the Emigrants from Their Stronghold: The Horrible Butchery

Meanwhile the decoy plan at the camp was put into effect. A white flag was displayed, and Lee marched under 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 concealment, and all along the line the men and women were shot down like cattle in the shambles, while Lee and his aids (sic) 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 chef 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.

Sickening Scenes Of Slaughter: Human Fiends

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 scar is there today. Lee is said to have 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’ 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 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 pleading 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. 

Mountain Meadows Eight Days after the Massacre: Burial of the Remains

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 would 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 he 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 127 skulls. Aden was killed, and the three messengers, making 131. Eighteen children were saved, one or two emigrants were buried in the corral after the first attack, so that there must have been over 150 instead of 140 of the company, as generally believed heretofore.

Parting the Raiment

The raiment of the dead was separated among the murderers. The cattle were driven upon Harmony range, and branded with the church brand a cross after a portion had been given to the Indians. The wagons were drawn to Cedar city, and they and the other properties were stored in the Mormon tithing-house and subsequently sold at auction, all marks of identity being destroyed by John M. Higbee, who acted as auctioneer. The tenth part due the Church was paid into the tithing office. The children saved were subsequently gathered up by a Government agent, and as far as possible restored to their friends at the East. To this day the Indians who had taken part in the massacre declare, first, that they had nothing to avenge, and had no animosity against the emigrants, they were hired assassins; second, that the Mormons cheated them egregiously in dividing the spoils.

Suppression of the Truth: How It Leaked Out

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 afterward 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 he 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 (Miller) and Myron Tackett (Emberson Milum Tackitt), 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 he 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 he 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.

Klingen Smith’s Confession and Lee’s Excommunication

Next came the confession of Philip Klingen Smith 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.

The Monument in Memory of the Dead: Its Inscription

When the facts became known relative to the exposure of the poor bones of the murdered emigrants, a company of United States troops was marched to the Meadows, and decent sepulture (sic) 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 Mormons 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. The monument now is again without its cross. The spot is marked by a heap of large stones gathered from the neighboring hillsides. It is an irregular pile twenty feet long and seven feet wide. It is highest in the middle and slopes like the roof of a house to each side. It is only three or four feet high, and bears no cross or inscription.

Lee and His Confederates Indicted

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 defense 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 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.

Witnesses at Lee’s Second Trial

At the second trial of Lee the following witnesses testified in behalf of the prosecution: Daniel H. Well, 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 dispatched 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.

Gleanings from the Testimony Given at the Second Trial of Lee
(Also See: Testimony in Trials of John D. Lee)

Laban Morrill testified that some of the emigrants had sworn that they had killed old Jo Smith, and there was excitement over it; that Haight and Klingen Smith were in favor at the Mormon Council of killing the emigrants.

Joel White testified that when Lee was informed by the messenger from the Mormon council that the emigrants were to be allowed to pass, he said, I don’t know about that, or, I have something to do about that.

Samuel Knight swore that Lee accompanied the men who carried the white flag into the emigrants’ camp, and that he superintended the loading of the wagons with the women, children and baggage. He saw Lee raise something, as if a gun or club in the act of striking a woman in the wagon ahead, and she fell; that Lee staid on the ground until all the party were killed.

Samuel McCurdy testified that a man named Bateman carried the flag of truce to meet the emigrants; that Lee went after him and met the emigrant's envoy; that Lee, who was behind witness, gave the order to halt; that he heard the report of a gun right back of him at that instant; that he looked back and saw Lee with his gun to his shoulder; that when it exploded he saw a woman fall; that he saw Lee draw his pistol and shoot in the head two or three men and women who were in the wagon, and must have killed them; that as soon as Lee fired his gun, volleys of firing were heard; that Lee’s shot was the signal for the slaughter. The witness refused to say whether he had killed any one that day himself.

Nephi Johnson said he got to the Meadows the midnight before the massacre for the purpose of burning the dead, represented to have been slain by the Indians; that he saw Lee and Klingen Smith the following morning; that he saw a bullet hole in Lee’s shirt, and thought he saw something like paint around Lee’s hair; saw the flag of truce; saw the emigrants file out of their camp unarmed; saw Lee fire his gun at a woman who fell dead in the lead wagon; saw Lee and Indians pull persons out of wagons; saw Lee make a motion as if cutting a throat, and believed he did so; that the massacre lasted not more than five minutes, possibly not over three minutes; saw several of the thirteen emigrant wagons subsequently at Harmony, where Lee lived, and saw some of the emigrant’s stock at Harmony range, near Lee’s residence; he (witness) went to the Meadows because it was dangerous to disobey; Haight, Higby and Klingen Smith were present at the massacre.

Jacob Hamblin visited the Meadows seven or eight days after the butchery and buried over 120 skulls. He also testified that he met Lee after the massacre at Fillmore; Lee gave as a reason for the massacre that the emigrants passed through and threatened to make their outfit out of the outlying settlements; that he went out with some Harmony Indians, and the latter attacked the emigrants and made him lead; that he decoyed the emigrants out of their camp and that they massacred them; that he thought it best to use them up all that would tell tales; that Lee told him the emigrants were unarmed; that two young ladies were brought out by an Indian Chief of Cedar city, and he asked Lee what he should do with them; that the Indian killed one and he (Lee) cut the other’s throat; they were from 13 to 15 years old. A little girl who belonged to the company, staying at witness house, told him that the young ladies were named Dunlap; that they were her sisters. Witness gathered up the children spared, 17 in all, and delivered them to Forney, Superintendent of Indian Affairs. Soon after the massacre, witness told Brigham Young and George A. Smith more than he told on the stand, because he remembered more of it then. Brigham Young said: "As soon as we can get a Court of Justice we will ferret this thing out; but till then don’t say anything about it."

Energetic Efforts of the United State Officials

At the first trial, Klingen Smith, one of the persons indicted, turned State’s evidence, and was examined as a witness for the prosecution. Klingen Smith 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, Klingen Smith 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, Klingen Smith was discovered. He was brought to Beaver, but was never put on the witness-stand. He was not needed. Mormons had suddenly 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 an affidavit purporting to tell what he knew about the massacres, but he allowed the Prosecuting Attorney free access to his own private papers.

Testimony of Klingen Smith at Lee’s First Trial

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

Klingen Smith’s Story of the Massacre

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 the 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.

Lee Has Something to Say about Letting the Emigrants Go Unmolested

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; 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 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 Commands the Mormon Assassins and Carries the Flag of Truce

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 entrenchments; 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 already to shoot at the word.

The Signal for Slaughter and Subsequent Scenes

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 Stewart, 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 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 in Beaver now, on it. I went to old Mrs. Hopkins and told her that I had the children. She rustled around and got places for them. I took one girl baby home. My wife suckled it. Afterward I gave it to Dick Beck, he having no children. They were all well treated, I believe. We got good places for them, where there were few children.

Distributing the Plunder

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 wagons 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 had 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. Afterward Lee was Indian Agent at the Harmony Agency, traded with the tribes, and issued good and rations of the Government to the Indians.

Klingen Smith’s Antecedents

___________ years of age went to Indiana; at 26 to Michigan; then _____________ 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; then to San Pete, and raised two crops; 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. Then 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 tithing, 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 councilors. 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 Councilors 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.

Why Klingen Smith Did Not Attempt to Prevent the Massacre.

Did not try to prevent any man going to the massacre. Had I undertaken that, it would have been bad with me.  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 issues. 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 heard of others, and believed it. I heard of Rasmus Anderson being put out of 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 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.

Distribution of the Survivors of the Massacre

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 Chas. 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.

Lee’s Official Report of the Massacre as Indian Farmer

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

Harmony, Washington Co., Utah Territory,

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 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, firing 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 l able to atone for that offense. 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 Los Vegas, on the Muddy. Some 300 to 500 Indians attacked the company while traveling and drove off several hundred head of cattle, telling the company if they fired a single gun that they would kill every soul…


CEDAR CITY (UTAH), March 23. John D. Lee was shot at Mountain Meadows at 11 o'clock today. The execution took place near the emigrants’ monument. A squad of United States soldiers were stationed in the open field, and Lee was placed before them. The troops numbered six men, and at Lee's request he was placed near them.


He made a short speech, in which he expressed his confidence in the Mormon religion, as revealed to Joseph Smith. He denounced Brigham Young in severe terms; said he had never intentionally done a wrong, and was prepared to die. His language was evasive and contradictory of what he had previously said and written. He died as he had lived, a religious fanatic. The marshal, with the soldiers and Lee, district Attorney Howard and Rev. Mr. Stokes, arrived at Mountain Meadows about 8 o'clock Thursday evening. After eating, and stationing guards, they all retired around a camp-fire except Lee and Rev. Mr. Stokes. They slept together in a wagon. Lee slept all night, and took a light meal this morning.


He gave directions, as to disposing of his property, to District-Attorney Howard, dividing it about equally between three of his wives and their children. He requested the Marshal to deliver his body to his wife Rachel.


He also requested that he might be shot at short range, and that they would aim at his heart. He knelt down on his coffin, and was requested to remain there while a photographer present, took a picture. Lee called the artist to him, and requested that each of his wives should be forwarded a copy. He made a full confession, which he handed to District-Attorney Howard on the field. He seemed to be collected, and showed no fear.


After his remarks, Rev. Mr. Stokes offered a prayer, Lee kneeling on his coffin. The bandage was then placed on his eyes. He sat on his coffin, took off his coat and hat, handed them to the officer, held up his hands and said he was ready. The Marshal gave the word, and three shots went through his heart. He fell back upon his coffin and died without a struggle. Quite a number of spectators were present. The best of order prevailed. The body was immediately placed in the coffin and sent to his wife Rachael. During the last few days Lee had some hopes of Executive interference, in response to a petition recently presented by his children.


CEDAR CITY, March 23 (Evening) The execution of Lee occurred within about 200 yards of the spot where twenty years ago he decoyed the emigrants out, and about the same distance from the monument. About 100 persons witnessed the execution. United States Marshal Nelson and posse arrived at the Meadows about 8 o'clock last night from Beaver with three Government wagons containing a squad of twenty-two soldiers from Camp Cameron, and commanded by Lieutenant Patterson.


On the first night out a march of seventy miles was made, from Beaver to Leech’s, and came into camp about three o’clock in the afternoon. Lee ate a hearty breakfast, smoked, and rolled himself in his blankets under a cedar tree and slept soundly until about one o'clock. His manner was cool and collected, and he either failed to realize or was indifferent to the terrible fate so soon awaiting him. On the trip for the first time he confessed to the slaying of five emigrants. He spoke with great bitterness against Brigham Young, whom he accused of leading the Mormons to destruction. This morning about nine o’clock Lee was taken from camp in one of the Government wagons, headed by Lieutenant Patterson and his men, and the marching to the scene of execution commenced. He slept well all last night, and his appetite was in no wise diminished. He talked composedly, and acted and talked with remarkable indifference.


Arrived at the spot, he went to a convenient place and explained the situation of the emigrants when the massacre occurred. The picture presented this morning was weird and strange beyond description. The wagons, troops, etc., as seen from an overlooking promontory going through the Meadows was a scene not dissimilar to the one twenty years ago on the same spot.


The wagons were placed together, and behind these the six men selected to do the execution were posted, armed with needle guns. Lee, in company with the Rev. Mr. George Stokes, of Minnesota, Marshall Nelson, and Mr. Howard, advanced. His step faltered a little as he approached the coffin. He took off his overcoat, and as coolly seated himself on the head of his coffin as though he was taking a seat by a comfortable fire. The prisoner was about twenty-five feet from the wagons, and sat facing them.


The Marshal, in a clear, steady voice, read the death warrant, to which the condemned man paid little attention. He asked to make a statement. He spoke of the solemnity of the occasion, his willingness to die, his innocence, of his being the best friend the United States had, and of Brigham Young, whom he accused of going back on one who had served him. But he stood firm in the faith. He spoke of his family, and was from the first affected to tears. All kneeling, and the prisoner by his coffin, the Rev. Mr. Stokes offered a prayer. Lee again seated himself and told the men at the wagons not to mangle his legs, but to aim well for the heart. He said he was not at all excited, and that he could give the word to "fire" himself. The Marshal bandaged his eyes, but he would not permit his hands to be tied, and clasped them over his head. About the last thing, he told the boys to aim well, and murmured something against Brigham Young.


The Marshal then gave the command "Make ready, take aim, fire!" and John D. Lee fell quietly back on his own coffin, his feet resting on the ground, and died without a struggle. Five balls went through the region of his heart. He displayed the most extraordinary courage, and met his fate either in the belief that he was a martyr or a hero. In any event, he died with a fortitude and resignation that made death easy. His crime was a terrible one and after twenty years of waiting, the fearful punishment of the law overtook him and was consummated on the very spot where he plotted and executed the destruction of one hundred and thirty men, women and children. No member of his family was present. He has fifty children alive. He requested that his body be sent to Pangwitch, to his wife Rachel. His remains have just reached Cedar. They will be sent to Pangwitch tomorrow.

The Mormon Menace: John Doyle Lee
(Also See: Last Confession and Statement of John D. Lee)

Appended is the last confession of John D. Lee. It was written by himself, without aid or advise, and with the certainty of death staring him in the face, having been penned by him subsequent to his second trial and sentence to die. The document was originally placed by Lee in the hands of United States District Attorney Howard, in the Penitentiary at Salt Lake City, last month, with the understanding that it should not be published until after his death. The same statement was repeated by Lee on the field at the scene of execution yesterday. As a gentleman, Mr. Howard kept the faith reposed in him, withholding its publication until the prisoner had suffered the extreme penalty of the law. Following is Lee’s confession:

Arrival of the Emigrant Train in Utah

In the month of September, 1857, the company of emigrants known as the "Arkansas Company" arrived in Parowan, Iron County, Utah, on their way to California. At Parowan young Aden, one of the company, saw and recognized one William Laney, a Mormon resident of Parowan. Aden and his father had rescued Laney from an anti-Mormon mob in Tennessee several years before, and saved his life. He (Laney), at the time he was attacked by the mob, was a Mormon missionary in Tennessee. Laney was glad to see his friend and benefactor, and invited him to his house and gave him some garden sauce to take back to the camp with him.

Bishop Dame Crooks His Little Finger: What Came of It

The same evening it was reported to Bishop Dame that Laney had given potatoes and onions to the man Aden, one of the emigrants. When the report was made to Bishop Dame he raised his hand and crooked his little finder in a significant manner to one Barney Carter, his brother-in-law, and one of the "Angels of Death." Carter, without another word, walked out, went to Laney’s house with a long picket in his hand, called Laney out and struck him a heavy blow on the head, fracturing his skull, and left him on the ground for dead. Jacob Weeks and Isaac Newman, President of the High Council, both told me that they saw Dame’s manoeuvres. James McGuffee, then a resident of Parowan but through oppression has been forced to leave there, and is now a merchant in Pahranagat Valley, near Pioche, Nevada knows these facts.

Brigham’s Right-Hand Man Paving The Way for the Massacre.

About the last of August, 1857, some ten days before the Mountain Meadows massacre, the company of emigrants passed through Cedar City. George A. Smith then First Cousellor (sic) in the Church and Brigham Young’s right-hand man came down from Salt Lake City, preaching to the different settlements. I, at that time was in Washington County, near where St. George now stands. He sent for me. I went to him, and he asked me to take him to Cedar City by way of Fort Clara and Pinto settlements, as he was on business and must visit all the settlements. We started on our way up through the cañon. We saw bands of Indians, and he (George A. Smith) remarked to me that these Indians, with the advantage they had of the rocks, could use up a large company of emigrants, or make it very hot for them. After pausing for a short time he said to me, "Brother Lee, what do you think the brethren would do if a company of emigrants should come down through here making threats? Don’t you think they would pitch into them?" I replied that "they certainly would." This seemed to please him, and he again said to me, "And you really think the brethren would pitch into them?" "I certainly do," was my reply, "and you had better instruct Colonel Dame and Haight to tend to it that the emigrants are permitted to pass if you want them to pass unmolested." He continued: "I asked Isaac (meaning Haight) the same question, and he answered me just as you do, and I expect the boys would pitch into them." I again said to him that he had better say to Governor Young that if he wants emigrant companies to pass without molestation that he must instruct Colonel Dame or Major Haight to that effect, for if they are not ordered otherwise, they will use them up by the help of the Indians.

The Decree Issued Not to Sell Any Grain to the Emigrants

He told the people at the Clara not to sell their grain to the emigrants nor to feed it to their animals, as they might expect a big fight the next Spring with the United States. President Young did not intend to let the troops into the Territory. He said, "We are going to stand up for our rights and will no longer be imposed upon by our enemies, and want every man to be on hand with his gun in good order and his powder dry," and instructed the people to part with nothing that would sustain life.

Lee’s Interview with President Haight

From the 1st to the 10th of September, 1857, a messenger came to me "his name was Sam Wood" and told me that President Isaac C. Haight wanted me to be at Cedar City that evening without fail. This was Saturday. He told me that a large company of emigrants had gone south. I then lived at Harmony, twenty miles south of Cedar City. I obeyed the summons. President Haight met me. It was near sundown. We spent the night in an open house on some blankets where we talked most all night. He told me that a company of emigrants had passed through some two days before, threatening the Mormons with destruction, and that one of them had said he had helped to kill old Joe Smith and his brother Hyram; that other members of the company of emigrants had helped drive the Mormons out of Missouri; that others had said they had come to help Johnston's army clean the Mormons out of Utah; that they had the halters ready to hang old Brigham and Heber, and would have them strung up before the snow flew; that one of the emigrants called one of his oxen (a pair a stags) "Brig" and the other "Heber," and that several of the emigrants had used all kinds of threats and profanity. John M. Higbee, the City Marshal, and (sic) informed them that it was a breach of the city ordinance to use profane language, whereupon one of them replied that he did not care a damn for Mormon laws, or the Mormons either; that they had fought their way through the Indians and would do it through the damn Mormons; and if their God, old Brigham, and his priests would not sell their provisions, by God they would take what they wanted any way they could get it; that thus raging, one of them let loose his long whip and killed two chickens, and threw them into his wagon; that the widow Evans said, "Gentlemen, those are my chickens; please don't kill them. I am a poor widow." That they ordered her to "shut up," or they would blow her brains out, etc.; that they had been raising trouble with all the settlements and Indians on their way; that we were threatened on the north by Johnston’s army, and now our safety depended on prompt and immediate action; that a company of Indians had already gone south from Parowan and Cedar City to surprise the emigrants, who were then at the Mountain Meadows, and he wanted me to return home in the morning (Sunday) and send Carl Shurtz (Indian interpreter) from my home (Harmony) to raise the Indians south, at Harmony, Washington and Santa Clara, to join the Indians from the north and make the attack upon the emigrants at the Meadows. I said to him, "Would it not be well to hold a council of the brethren before making a move?" He replied that "every true Latter Day Saint that regarded their covenants knew well their duty, and that the company of emigrants had forfeited their lives by their acts." and that bishop P. K. Smith and Joel White had already gone by way of Pinto, to raise the Indians in that direction, and those that have gone from Parowan and here will make the attack, and may be repulsed. "We can’t now delay for a council of the brethren. Return immediately and start Carl Shurtz; tell him that I ordered you to tell him to go, and I want you to try and get there before the attack is made, and make the plan for the Indians, and I will call a council to-day to talk the matter over and will send Nephi Johnson, the interpreter, to the Meadows as soon as he can be got, to help Carl Shurtz manage the Indians."

Lee Starts on His Mission

I did just as I was ordered. The Indians from the north and about Harmony had already started for the Meadows before I reached home. Shurtz started immediately to do his part. I arrived at home in the night and remained till morning. I thought over the matter, and the more I thought the more my feelings revolted against such a horrid deed. Sleep had fled from me. I talked to my wife Rachel about it. She felt as I did about it, and advised me to let them do their own dirty work, and said if things did not go just to suit them, the blame would be laid on me. She never believed in blood atonement, and said it was from the devil, and that she would rather break such a covenant if she had to die for so doing than to live and be guilty of doing such an act. I finally concluded that I would go; that I would start by daybreak in the morning and try to get there before an attack was made on the company, and use my influence with the Indians to let them alone. I crossed the mountains by a trail and reached the Meadows between nine and ten in the morning, the distance from my place being about twenty five miles.

The Emigrants Attacked

But I was too late. The attack had been made just before daybreak in the morning, and the Indians repulsed with one killed and two of the chiefs from Cedar shot through the legs, breaking a leg for each of them. The Indians were in a terrible rage. I went to some of them that were in a ravine. They told me to go to the main body or they would kill me for not coming before the attack was made. While I was standing there I received a shot just above my belt cutting through my clothes to the skin some six inches across. The Indians with whom I was talking lived with me at Harmony. I was Indian farmer. They told me I was in danger and to get down into the ravine. I said that it was impossible for me to do anything there, and I dare not venture to the camp or to the emigrants without endangering myself. I mounted my horse and started south to meet Carl Shurtz. I traveled sixteen miles and stopped on the Megotsy to bait my animal, as there was good grass and water. I had rode it over forty miles without eating or drinking. This is the place where Mr. Tobin met his assassinators. About sunset I saw Shurtz and some ten or fifteen white men, and about one hundred and fifty Indians. We camped. During the night the Indians left for the Meadows. I reported to the men what had taken place.

They attacked the emigrants again about sunrise the next morning, which was Tuesday, and had one of their number killed and several wounded, with the white men, reached the Meadows about one o'clock p.m. On the way we met a small band of Indians returning with some eighteen or twenty head of cattle. One of the Indians was wounded in the shoulder. They told me that the Indians were encamped east of the emigrants at some springs. On our arrival at the springs we found about two hundred Indians, among whom were the two wounded chiefs, Moqueetus and Bill. The Indians were in a high state of excitement; had killed many cattle and horses belonging to the company. I counted sixty head near their encampment that they had killed in revenge for the wounding of their men. By the assistance of Oscar Hamblin and Shurtz we succeeded in getting the Indians to desist from killing any more stock that night.

The Emigrants Corral: Lee Pleads with the Indians

The company of emigrants had corralled all their wagons but one for better defense. This corral was about one hundred yards above the springs. This they did to get away from the ravine south, the better to defend themselves. The attacks were made from the south ravine and from the rocks on the west. The attack was renewed that night by the Indians, in spite of all we could do to prevent it. When the attack commenced Oscar Hamblin, William Young and myself started to go to the Indians. When opposite the corral on the north, the bullets came around us like a shower of hail. We had two Indians with us to pilot us; they threw themselves flat on the ground to protect themselves from the bullets. I stood erect and asked my Father in Heaven to protect me from the missiles of death and enable me to reach the Indians. One ball passed through my hat and the hair of my head, and another through my shirt, grazing my arm near the shoulder. A most hideous yell of the Indians commenced. The cries and shrieks of the women and children so overcame me that I forgot my danger and rushed through the fire to the Indians, and pleaded with them in tears to desist. I told them that the Great Spirit would be angry with them for killing women and little children. They told me to leave or they would serve me the same way; that I was not their friend, but a friend to their enemies; that I was a squaw, and did not have the heart of a brave, and that I could not see bloodshed, without crying like a baby, and call me Cry-baby, and by that name I was known by all the Indians to this day. I owe my life on that occasion to Oscar Hamblin, who was a missionary with the Indians, and had much influence with the Santa Clara Indians. They were the ones that wanted to kill me. Hamblin shamed them and called them dogs and wolves for wanting to shed the blood of their father (myself), who had fed and clothed them.

A Temporary Truce

We finally prevailed upon them to return to camp, where we would hold a council; that I would send for big captains to come and talk. We told them they had punished the emigrants enough, and may be they had killed nearly all of them. We told them that Bishop Dame and President Haight would come; and may be they would give them part of the cattle and let the company go with the teams. In this way we reconciled them to suspend hostilities for the present. The two that had been with Hamblin and myself the night before said they had seen two men on horseback come out of the emigrants’ camp under full speed, and that they went toward Cedar City. Wednesday morning I asked a man I think his name was Edwards to go to Cedar City and say to President Haight, for God’s sake, for my sake and for the sake of suffering humanity, to send out men to rescue that company. This day we all lay still, waiting orders. Occasionally a few of the Indians withdrew, taking a few head of animals Josiah Rogerson heard "from the lips of Bill Carter", that Dame "knew everything that went on at the Meadows every day before the finishing of that massacre." Carter told of carrying the messages back and forth.

Lee Reconnoiters (sic) The Wagon Fort

About noon I crossed the valley north of the corral, thinking to examine their location from the west range. The company recognized me as a white man and sent two little boys about 4 years old to meet me. I hid from them, fearing the Indians, who discovered the children. I called the Indians, who wanted my gun or ammunition to kill them. I prevailed with them to let the children go back into camp, which they very soon did when they saw the Indians. I crept up behind some rock, on the west range, where I had a full view of the corral. In it they had dug a rifle-pit. The wheels of their wagons were chained together, and the only show for the Indians was to starve them out, or shoot them as they went for water. I lay there some two hours, and contemplated their situation, and wept like a child. When I returned to camp some six or eight men had come from Cedar City. Joel White, William C. Stewart and Elliot C. Weldon were among the number, but they had no orders. They had come merely to see how things were. The Meadows are about fifty miles (sic) from Cedar City. Thursday afternoon the messenger from Cedar City returned. He said that President Haight had gone to Parowan to confer with Colonel Dame, and a company of men and orders would be sent to-morrow; that up to the time he left the council had come to no definite conclusion. During this time the Indians and men were engaged in broiling beef and making their hides up into lassoes. I had flattered myself that bloodshed was at an end. After the emigrants saw me cross the valley, they hoisted a white flag in the midst of their corral.

Arrival of Morman [sic] Reinforcements: The Decree of Extermination Goes Forth from the Mormon Council

Friday afternoon four wagons drove up with armed men. When they saw the white flag in the corral they raised one also, but drove to the springs where we were and took refreshments, after which a council meeting was called of Presidents, Bishops, and other Church officers and members of the High Council, Societies, High Priests, etc. Major John M. Higbee presided as Chairman. Several of the dignitaries bowed in prayer invoked the aid of the Holy Spirit to prepare their minds and guide them to do right and carry out the counsel of their leaders.

Higbee said that President J. (sic) C. Haight had been to Parowan to confer with Colonel Dame, and their counsel and orders were that "This emigrant camp must be used up." I replied, "Men, women and children?" "All," said he, "except such as are too young to tell tales, and if the Indians cannot do it without help, we must help them." I commenced pleading for the company, and I said though some of them have behaved badly, they have been pretty well chastised. My policy would be to draw off the Indians, let them have a portion of the loose cattle, and withdraw with them under promise that they would not molest the company any more; that the company would then have teams enough left to take them to California. I told them that this course could not bring them into trouble.

Fate of the Emigrant Messengers

Higbee said, "White men have interposed and the emigrants know it, and there lies the danger in letting them go." I said, "What white man interfered?" He replied that in the attack on Tuesday night two men broke out of the corral and started for Cedar City on horseback; that they were met at Richey’s Spring by Stewart, Joel White and another man, whose name has passed from me. Stewart asked the two men their names when they met them at the spring, and being told in reply by one of the men that his name was Aden, and that the other man was a Dutchman from the emigrants company, Stewart shoved a pistol to Aden’s breast and killed him, say, "Take that, damn you." The other man, the Dutchman, wheeled to leave as Joel White fired and wounded him. I asked him how he knew the wounded Dutchman got back to the emigrants’ camp. He said because he was tracked back, and they knew he was there. I again said that it was better to deliver the man to them and let them do anything they wished with him, and tell them that we did not approve of such things.

Lee Reproved for Trying to Dictate to the Priesthood

Ira Allen, High Counselor, and Robert Wiley and others spoke, reproving me sharply for trying to dictate to the priesthood; that it would set at naught all authority; that he would not give the life of one of our brethren for a thousand such persons. "If we let them go," he continued, "they will raise hell in California, and the result will be that our wives and children will have to be butchered and ourselves too, and they are no better to die than ours; and I am surprised to hear Brother Lee talk as he does, as he has always been considered one of the staunchest in the Church, now is the first to shirk from his duty." I said, "Brethren, the Lord must harden my heart before I can do such a thing." Allen said it is not wicked to obey counsel. At this juncture I withdrew walked off some fifty paces and prostrated myself on the ground and wept in the bitterest anguish of my soul, and asked the Lord to avert the evil. While in that situation Counselor C. Hopkins, a near friend of mine, came to me and said; "Brother Lee, come get up and don’t draw off from the priesthood. You ought not to do so. You are only endangering your own life by standing out. You can’t help it; if this is wrong, the blame won’t rest on you." I said, "Charley, this is the worst move this people ever made. I feel it." He said, "Come, go back, and let them have their way." I went back, weeping like a child, and took my place and tried to be silent, and was until Higbee said they (the emigrants) must be decoyed out through pretended friendship. I could no longer hold my peace, and said I, "Joseph Smith said that God hated a traitor, and so do I. Before I would be a traitor I would rather take ten men and go to that camp and tell them that they must die and how to defend themselves, and give them a show for their lives; that would be more honorable than to betray them like Judas." Here I got other reproof, and was ordered to hold my peace.

The Flag of Truce Decoy

The plan agreed upon there was to meet them with a flag of truce, tell them that the Indians were determined on their destruction; that we dare not oppose the Indians, for we were at their mercy; that the best we could do for them (the emigrants) was to get them and what few traps we could take in the wagons, to lay their arms in the bottom of the wagon and cover them up with bed clothes and start for the settlement as soon as possible, and to trust themselves in our hands. The small children and wounded were to go with the two wagons, the women to follow the wagons and the men next, the troops to stand in readiness on the east side of the road ready to receive them. Shurtz and Nephi Johnson were to conceal the Indians in the brush and rocks till the company was strung out on the road to a certain point, and at the watchword, "Halt! do your duty," each man was to cover his victim and fire. Johnson and Shurtz were to rally the Indians and rush upon and dispatch the women and larger children.

Celestial Rewards for the Faithful

It was further told the men that President Haight that those who assisted in following our instructions would receive a celestial reward. I said I was willing to put up with a less reward, if I could be excused. "How can you do this without shedding innocent blood?" Here I got another lampooning for my stubbornness and disobedience to the priesthood. I was told that there was not a drop of innocent blood in the whole company of emigrants; also referred to the Gentile nation who refused the children of Israel passage through their country when Moses led them out of Egypt that the Lord held that crime against them, and when Israel waxed strong the Lord commanded Joshua to slay the whole nation, men, women and children. "Have not these people done worse than that to us? Have they not threatened to murder our leaders and Prophet, and have they not boasted of murdering our Patriarchs and Prophets, Joseph and Hyrum? Now talk about shedding innocent blood." They said I was a good, liberal, free hearted man, but too much of this sympathy would be always in the way; that every man now had to show his colors; that it was not safe to have a Judas in camp. Then it was proposed that every man express himself; that if there was a man who would not keep a close mouth they wanted to know it then. This gave me to understand what I might expect if I continued to oppose. Major Higbee said, "Brother Lee is right. Let him take an expression of the people." I knew I dare not refuse, so I had every man speak and express himself. All said they were willing to carry out the counsel of their leaders; that the leaders had the Spirit of God and knew better what was right then they did.

Lee Reluctantly Gives His Consent

They then wanted to know my feelings. I replied, "I have already expressed them." Every eye was upon me, as I paused; but, said I, "You can do as you please, I will not oppose you any longer." "Will you keep a close mouth?" was the question. "I will try," was my answer. I will here say that the fear of offending Brigham Young and George A. Smith had saved my life. I was near being "blood-atoned" in Parowan, under J. C. L. Smith, in 1854, but of this I have spoken in my autobiography.

Saturday morning all was ready, and every man assigned to his post of duty. During the night, or rather just before daylight, Johnson and Shurtz ambushed [hid] their Indians, the better to deceive the emigrants. About 11 o’clock a.m. the troops, under Major Higbee, took their position on the road. The white flag was still kept up in the corral. Higbee called William Bateman out of the ranks to take a flag of truce to the corral. He was met about half way with another white flag from the emigrants’ camp. They had a talk.

The Mormon Treachery

The emigrant was told we had come to rescue them if they were willing to trust us. Both men with flags returned to their respective places and reported, and were to meet again and bring word. Higbee called me out to go and inform them the conditions, and, if accepted, Dan McFarland, brother to John McFarland, lawyer, who acted as aide-de-camp, would bring back word, and then two wagons would be sent for the firearms, children, clothing, etc. I obeyed, and the terms proposed were accepted, but not without distrust. I had as little to say as possible, in fact, my tongue refused to perform its office. I sat down on the ground in the corral, near where some young men were engaged in paying the last respects to some person who had just died of a wound. A large, fleshy old lady came to me twice and talked while I sat there. She related their troubles , said that seven of their number were killed and forty-six wounded on the first attack; that several had died since. She asked me if I was an Indian Agent. I said, "In one sense I am, as Government has appointed me Farmer to the Indians." I told her this to satisfy her. I heard afterward that the same question was asked and answered in the same manner by McFarland, who had been sent by Higbee to the corral, to hurry me up for fear that the Indians would come back and be upon them.

The Emigrants Abandon Their Stronghold

When all was ready, Samuel McMurdy, Counsellor to Bishop P. K. Smith, drove out on the lead. His wagon had the seventeen children, clothing and arms. Samuel Knight drove the other team, with five wounded men and one boy about 15 years old. I walked behind the front wagon to direct the course, and to shun being in the heat of the slaughter but this I kept to myself. When we got turned fairly to the east I motioned to McMurdy to steer north, across the valley. I at the same time told the women, who were next to the wagon, to follow the road up to the troops, which they did. Instead of my saying to McMurdy not to drive so fast as he swore on my trial I said to the contrary, to drive on, as my aim was to get out of sight before the firing commenced, which we did.

The Massacre : Revolting Scenes

We were about half a mile ahead of the company when we heard the first firing. We had drove over a ridge of rolling ground, and down on a low flat. The firing was simultaneous along the whole line. The moment the firing commenced McMurdy halted and tied his lines across the rod of his wagon-box, stepped down coolly with a double-barrelled shotgun, walked back to Knight’s wagon who had the wounded men, and was about twenty feet in the rear. As he raised his piece he said, "Lord, my God, receive their spirits, for it is for the Kingdom of Heaven’s sake that we do this," fired and killed two men. Samuel Knight has a muzzle-loaded rifle, and he shot and killed the three men, then struck the wounded boy on the head, who fell dead. In the meantime I drew a five shooter from my belt, which accidentally went off, cutting across McMurdy’s buckskin pants in front, below the crotch. McMurdy said, "Brother Lee, you are excited; take things cool; you was near killing me. Look where the ball cut," pointing to the place on his pants.

Children Snatched from the Jaws of Death

At this moment I heard the scream of a child. I looked up and saw an Indian have a little boy by the hair of his head, dragging him out of the hind end of the wagon, with a knife in his hand getting ready to cut his throat. I sprang for the Indian, with my revolver in hand and shouted to the top of my voice, "Arick, ooma, cot too sooet" (stop, you fool). The child was terror stricken. His chin was bleeding. I supposed it was the cut of a knife, but afterward learned that it was done on the wagon box as the Indian yanked the boy down by the hair of the head. I had no sooner rescued this child, than another Indian seized a little girl by the hair. I rescued her as soon as I could speak; I told the Indians that they must not hurt the children; that I would die before they should be hurt; that we would buy the children off them. Before this time the Indians had rushed up around the wagon in quest of blood, and dispatched the two runaway wounded men.

Lee’s Demoralization: The Dead

In justice to my statement, I would say that if my shooter had not prematurely exploded I would have had a hand in dispatching the five wounded. I had lost control of myself, and scarce knew what I was about. I saw an Indian pursue a little girl, who was fleeing. He caught her about one hundred feet from the wagon, and plunged his knife through her. I said to McMurdy that he had better drive the children to Hamblin’s ranch and give them some nourishment, while I would go down and get my horse at the camp. Passing along the road I saw the dead strung along the distance of about half a mile. The women and children were killed by the Indians. I saw Shurtz with the Indians, and no other white man with them. When I came to the men they lay about a rod apart. Here I came up with Higbee, Bishop Smith and the rest of the company. As I came up, Higbee said to me, let us search these persons for valuables, and asked me to assist him. Gave me a hat to hold. Several men were already engaged in searching the bodies. I replied that I was unwell, and wanted to get upon my horse and go to the ranch and nurse myself. My request was granted.

Quarrel Between Dame and Haight

Reaching Hamblin’s ranch being heart-sick and worn out, I lay down on my saddle blanket and slept, and knew but little of what passed through the night. About daybreak in the morning I heard the voices of Colonel Dame and Isaac C. Haight. I heard some very angry words pass between them, which drew my attention. Dame said that he would have to report the destruction of the emigrant camp and the company. Haight said, "How as an Indian massacre?" Dame said he did not know so well about that. This reply seemed to irritate Haight, who spoke quite loudly saying, "How the hell can you report it any other way without implicating yourself?" At this Dame lowered his voice almost to a whisper, I could not understand what he said, and the conversation stopped.

The Survivors of the Massacre
(MMA Note: None of this section, regarding the Fancher children, is true.)

I got up, saw the children, and among the others the boy who was pulled by the hair of his head out of the wagon by the Indian and saved by me. That boy I took home and kept home until Dr. Forney, Government Agent, came to gather up the children and take them East. He took the boy with the others. That boy’s name was Wm. Fancher. His father was Captain of the train. He was taken East and adopted by a man in Nebraska, named Richard Sloan. He remained East several years, and then returned to Utah, and is now a convict in the Utah penitentiary, having been convicted the past year for the crime of highway robbery. He is now known by the name of "Idaho Bill," but his true name is William Fancher.

His little sister was also taken East, and is now the wife of a man working for the Union Pacific Railroad Company, near Green River. The boy (now man) has yet got the scar on his chin caused by the cut on the wagon-box, and those who are curious enough to examine will find a large scar on the ball of his left foot, caused by a deep cut made with an axe while he was with me.

 Burying the Slain: Condition of the Bodies

I got breakfast that morning, then all hands returned to the scene of the slaughter to bury the dead. The bodies were all in a nude state. The Indians through the night had stripped them of every vestige of clothing. Many of the parties were laughing and talking as they carried the bodies to the ravine for burial. They were just covered over a little, but did not long remain so, for the wolves dug them up, and, after eating the flesh from them, the bones laid upon the ground until buried some time after by a government military officer.

Dame Terror-Stricken

At the time of burying the bodies Dame and Haight got into another quarrel. Dame seemed terror-stricken, and again said he would have to publish it. They were about two paces from me. Dame spoke low, as if careful to avoid being heard. Haight spoke loud, and said: "You know that you counselled it, and ordered me to have them used up." Dame said: "I did not think that there were so many women and children. I thought they were nearly all killed by the Indians." Haight said: "It is too late in the day for you to back water. You know you ordered and counselled it, and now you want to back out." Dame said: "Have you the papers for that?" or, "Show the papers for that." This enraged Haight to the highest pitch, and Dame walked off. Haight said: "You throw the blame of this thing on me and I will be revenged on you, if I have to meet you in hell to get it." From this place we rode to the wagons. We found them stripped of their covers and every particle of clothing, even the feather beds had been ripped open and the contents turned out upon the ground, looking for plunder. I crossed the mountains by Indian trail, taking my little Indian boy with me on my horse. The gathering up of the property and cattle was left in the charge of Bishop P. K. Smith. The testimony of Smith in regard to the property and the disposition that was made of it was very nearly correct. I must not forget to state that after the attack a messenger by the name of James Haslem was sent with a dispatch to President Brigham Young, asking his advice about interfering with the company, but he did not return in time. This I had no knowledge of until the massacre was committed.

Lee’s Report of the Massacre to Brigham Young

Some two weeks after the deed was done, Isaac C. Haight sent me to report to Governor Young in person. I asked him why he did not send a written report. He replied that I could tell him more satisfactorily than he could write, and if I would stand up and shoulder as much of the responsibility as I could conveniently, that it would be a feather in my cap some day, and that I would get a celestial salvation, but the man that shrunk from it now would go to hell. I went and did as I was commanded. Brigham asked me if Isaac C. Haight had written a letter to him. I replied not by me; but I said he wished me to report in person. "All right," said Brigham. "Were you an eye-witness?" "To the most of it," was my reply. Then I proceeded, and gave him a full history of all, except that of my opposition. That, I left out entirely. I told him of the killing of the women and children, and the betraying of the company; that, I told him, I was opposed to; but I did not say to him to what extent I was opposed to it, only that I was opposed to shedding innocent blood. "Why," said he, "you differ from Isaac,  for he said there was not a drop of innocent blood in the whole company."

When I was through he said that it was awful; that he cared nothing about the men, but the women and children was what troubled him. I said, "President Young, you should either release men from their obligation, or sustain them when they do what they have entered into the most sacred obligation to do." He replied, "I will think over the matter and make it a subject of prayer, and you may come back in the morning and see me." I did so. He said, "John, I feel first rate. I asked the Lord if it was all right for the deed to be done, to take away the vision of the deed from my mind, and the Lord did so, and I feel first rate. It is all right. The only fear I have is of traitors." He told me never to lisp it to any mortal being, not even to Brother Heber. President Young has always treated me with the friendship of a father since, and has sealed several women to me since, and has made my home his home when in that part of the Territory until danger has threatened him. This is a true statement according to my best recollection.

(Signed:) John D. Lee

Lee’s Autobiography and Its Startling Revelations

This statement I have made for publication after my death, and have agreed with a friend to have the same, with very many facts pertaining to other matters connected with the crimes of the Mormon people under the leadership of the priesthood, from a period before the butchery of the Nauvoo to the present time, published for the benefit of my family, and that the world may know the black deeds that have marked the way of the Saints from the organization of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, to the period when a weak and too pliable tool lays down his pen to face the executioners' guns for deed which he is not more guilty than others who to-day are wearing the garments of the priesthood and living upon the "tithing" of a deluded and priest-ridden people. My autobiography, if published, will open the eyes of the world to the monstrous deeds of the leaders of the Mormon people, and will also place in the hands of the attorney for the Government the particulars of some of the most blood-curdling crimes that have been committed in Utah, which, if properly followed up, will bring many down from their high place in the Church to face offended justice upon the gallows. So note it be.

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