Report on the Mountain Meadows Massacre
Major J. H. Carleton, U.S.A.
SPECIAL REPORT OF THE MOUNTAIN MEADOW
MASSACRE BY J. H. CARLETON, BREVET MAJOR; UNITED STATES ARMY, CAPTAIN,
Camp at Mountain Meadows,
May 25th, 1859
Major: When I left Los Angeles, the 23rd ultimo, General Clarke,
commanding the Department of California, directed me to bury the bones
of the victims of that terrible massacre which took place on this
ground in September, 1857. The fact of this massacre of (in my opinion)
at least 120 men, women and children, who were on their way from the
State of Arkansas to California, has long been well known. I have
endeavored to learn the circumstances attending it, and have the honor
to submit the following as the result of my inquiries on this point:
Brewer, United States Army, whom I met with Captain Campbell's command
on the Santa Clara River on the 15th inst., informed me that as he was
going up the Platte River on the 11th of June, 1857, he passed a train
of emigrants near O'Fallons Bluffs. The train was called "Perkin's
Train," a man named Perkins, who had previously been to California,
having charge of it as a conductor; that he afterwards saw the train
frequently; the last time he saw it, it was at Ash Hollow on the North
Fork of the Platte.
Doctor says the train consisted of, say, 40 wagons; there were a few
tents besides, which the emigrants used in addition to these wagons
when they encamped. There seemed to be about 40 heads of families, many
women, some unmarried, and many children. A doctor accompanied them.
The train seemed to consist of respectable people, well to do in the
world. They were well dressed, were quiet, orderly, genteel; had fine
stock; had three carriages along, and other evidences which went to
show that this was one of the finest trains that had been seen to cross
the plains. It was so remarked upon by the officers who were with the
doctor at that time. From reports afterwards received, and comparing
the dates with the probable rate of travel, he believed this was the
identical train which was destroyed at Mountain Meadows.
could get no information of these emigrants of a date anterior to this.
Here seems to be given the first glimpse of their number, character,
and condition; and an authentic glimpse, too, if the train destroyed
was the one seen by the doctor, of which there can hardly be any doubt.
The doctor was confirmed in his belief that the train he saw was the
one destroyed, by many reasons. Among them one fact seemed to be very
convincing. He observed a carriage in the train in which some ladies
rode, to whom he made one or more visits as they journeyed along. There
was something peculiar in the construction of the carriage and its
ornaments its blazoned stag's head upon the panels, etc. This carriage,
he says, is now in the possession of the Mormons. Besides, he
afterwards heard as a fact that this train had been entirely destroyed.
people who owned it would not have been likely to have to sell such an
important part of their means of transportation midway their journey.
The road upon which these emigrants were seen by Dr. Brewer crosses the
Rocky Mountains through the South Pass, and thence goes on down into
the Great Basin to Salt Lake City, and thence Southward along the
western base of the Wasatch Mountains to what is called the rim of the
basin. Here the "divide" is crossed, when it descends upon the valley
of the Santa Clara affluent toward the Colorado. Fillmore City is upon
one of the many streams which run westward down from the Wasatch
Mountains into the basin. It is about 140 miles from Salt Lake City;
then upon another stream, 90 miles farther south, is Prawn [Parowan]
City; then upon still another stream, 18 miles south of Prawn
[Parowan], is Cedar City; then to a settlement on Pinto Creek is 24
miles; thence to Hamblin's house, on the northern slope of the Mountain
Meadows, 6 miles.
Hamblin's house over the rim of the basin to the southern point of the
Mountain Meadows, where there is a large spring, is 4 miles, 1,000
yards. This swell of land or watershed, called the rim of the basin,
runs west across nearly midway the valley called the Mountain Meadows.
This valley runs north and south; its northern portion is drained into
the basin, its southern toward the Santa Clara. Down on the Santa Clara
is a Mormon settlement called "The Fort": here some 30 families reside.
It is 34 miles from Mountain Meadows. East of Cedar City, say 18 miles,
on the east slope of the Wasatch Range, drained by Virgin River, is the
town of Harmony, of 100 families; and farther down the Virgin River, 12
miles from "The Fort," on the Santa Clara, is Washington City, also of
100 families. The Santa Clara joins the Virgin River near Washington
Pah Vent Indians live near Fillmore City. The Pah Ute Indians are
scattered along from Parowan southward to the Colorado.
train of emigrants proceeding southward from Fillmore toward the
Mountain Meadows are next seen, so far as my inquiries go, by a Mr.
Jacob Hamblin, a leading Mormon, who has charge of "the Fort," on the
Santa Clara, and resides there in the winter season, but who has a
cattle ranch and a house, where he lives in the summer time, at the
Mountain Meadows. I here give what he said, and which I wrote down
sentence by sentence, as he related it. He told me he had given the
same information to Judge Cradlebaugh:
"About the middle
of August, 1857, I started on a visit to Great Salt Lake City. At Corn
Creek, 8 miles south of Fillmore City, I encamped with a train of
emigrants who said they were mostly from Arkansas. There were, in my
opinion, not over 30 wagons. There were several tents, and they had
from 400 to 500 head of horned cattle, 25 head of horses, and some
information I got in conversation with one of the men of the train. The
people seemed to be ordinary frontier homespun' people, as a general
thing. Some of the outsiders were rude and rough and calculated to get
the ill will of the inhabitants. Several of the men asked me about the
condition of the road and the disposition of the Indians, and where
there would be a good place to recruit their stock.
asked them how many men they had. They said they had between forty and
fifty "that would do to tie to." I told them I considered if they would
keep a good lookout that the Indians did not steal their animals, half
that number would be safe, and that the Mountain Meadows was the best
place to recruit their animals before they entered upon the desert, I
recommended this spring, and the grazing about here, four miles south
of my house, as the place where they should stop. The most of these men
seemed to have families with them. They remarked that this one train
was made up near Salt Lake City of several trains that had crossed the
plains separately, and being Southern people, had preferred to take the
southern route. This was all of importance that passed between us, and
I went on my journey and they proceeded on theirs. On my way back home,
at Fillmore City, I heard it said that that Company, meaning the train
referred to, had poisoned a small spring at Corn Creek, where I had met
was some considerable excitement about it among the citizens of
Fillmore and among the Pah-Vent Indian who live within 8 miles of that
place. I was told that eighteen head of cattle had died from drinking
the water; that six of the Pah-Vents had been poisoned from eating the
flesh of the cattle that died, and that one or two of these Indians had
also died. Mr. Robinson, a citizen of Fillmore, whose son was buried
the day I got there, said that the boy had been poisoned in 'trying
out' the tallow of the dead cattle. I am satisfied that he believed
what he said about it. I thought at the time that the spring had been
poisoned as stated. I encamped that night with a company from Iron
County, who told me that the Company from Arkansas had all been killed
at Mountain Meadows except seventeen children.
afterwards met, between Beaver and Pine Creek, Colonel Daim [William H.
Dame] of Parowan, who confirmed what these people from Iron County had
said. He further stated that the Indians were collecting on the Muddy
with a determination to 'wipe out' another company of emigrants which
was several days in rear of the first. He mentioned that the Indians
had supplied themselves with arms and ammunition from the train
destroyed at the Meadows. After consulting with him, he advised me to
go forward and spare no pains in trying to prevent their carrying their
purpose into execution, and he gave me an order to press into service
any animal I might require for that purpose. I got a horse at Beaver
about 8 o'clock that evening, and the next evening at Pinto Creek, 83
miles distant, I met Mr. Dudley Leavett [Leavitt], from the settlements
on the Santa Clara.
told him what I had heard. He told me it was true, and that all the
Indians in the Southern Country were greatly excited and "All Hell"
could not stop them from killing or from at least robbing the other
train of its stock. He further stated that several interpreters from
the Santa Clara had gone on with this last grain. I told him to return
and get the best animal he could find on my ranch and go on as fast as
he could and endeavor to stop further mischief being done. That is, if
the Indians ran off the stock of the train, for himself and all the
interpreters to go and recover it, if possible, and prevent further
depredation. He left me under these instructions.
next morning, which, I think, was the 18th of September 1857, I arrived
at my ranch, 4 miles from the Meadows. Here I had left my family. I
found at the ranch three little white girls in the care of my wife, the
oldest six or seven years of age, the next about three, and the next
about one. The youngest had been shot through one of her arms below the
elbow by a large ball, breaking both bones and cutting the arm half
off. My wife, having a young child of her own, and these three little
orphans besides, my home appeared to be anything but cheerful. About
one or two o'clock that day I came down to the point where the massacre
had taken place, in company with an Indian boy named Albert, who had
been brought up in my family.
boy told me that the inhabitants from Cedar City had come down and
buried the murdered people in three large heaps, which he pointed out
to me; the boy showed me two girls who had run some ways off before
they were killed. The wolves had dug open the heaps, dragged out the
bodies, and were then tearing the flesh from them. I counted 19 wolves
at one of these places. I have since learned from the people who
assisted in burying the bodies that there were 107 men, women and
children found dead upon the ground. I am satisfied that all were not
found. The most of the bodies were stripped of all their clothing, were
then in a state of putrefaction, and presented a horrible sight. There
was no property left upon the ground except one white ox, which is
still at my ranch.
Indians have told me that they made an attack on the emigrants between
daylight and sunrise as the men were standing around the camp fires,
killing and wounding 15 at the first charge, which was delivered from
the ravine near the spring close to the wagons and from a hill to the
west. That the emigrants immediately corralled their wagons and threw
up an entrenchment to shelter themselves from the balls. When I first
saw the ditch, it was about 4 feet deep and the bank about 2 feet high.
The Indians say they then ran off the stock but kept parties at the
spring to prevent the emigrants from getting to the water, the
emigrants firing upon them every time they showed themselves, and they
returned the fire. This was kept up for six or seven days. The Indians
say that they lost but one man, killed and three or four wounded.
the end of six or seven days, they say, a man among them who could talk
English called to the emigrants and told them if they would go back to
the settlements and leave all their property, especially their arms,
they would spare their lives, but if they did not do so they would kill
the whole of them. The emigrants agreed to this and started back on the
road toward my ranch. About a mile from the spring there are some
scrub-oak bushes and tall sage growing on either side of the road and
close to it. Here a large body of Indians lay in ambush, who, when the
emigrants approached, fell upon them in their defenseless condition and
with bows and arrows and stones and guns and knives murdered all,
without regard to sex or age, except a few infant children, seventeen
of which have since been recovered.
is what the Indians told me nine days after the massacre took place.
From the position of the bodies this latter part of their story seems
to be corroborated, and I should judge that the women and children were
in advance of the men when the last attack upon them was made. When I
buried the bones last summer, I observed that about one third of the
skulls were shot through with bullets and about one third seem to be
broken with stones.
train I sent Leavett [Leavitt] to protect had gotten as far as the
canyon, 5 miles below the Muddy, when the Indians made a descent upon
its loose stock, driving off, as the immigrants have since said, 200
head of cattle. Leavett and the other interpreters recovered between 75
and 100 head, which were brought to my ranch. Of these the Indians
afterwards demanded and stole some 40 head, and last January I turned
over to Mr. Lane from California, the balance.
These are all the facts within my knowledge
connected with the destruction of the one and the passing along of the
other of these two trains."
Mrs. Hamblin is a simple-minded person of about 45, and
evidently looks with the eyes of her husband at everything. She may
really have been taught by the Mormons to believe it is no great sin to
kill gentiles and enjoy their property. Of the shooting of the
emigrants, which she had herself heard, and knew at the time what was
going on, she seemed to speak without a shudder, or any very great
feeling; but when she told of the 17 orphan children who were brought
by such a crowd to her house of one small room there in the darkness of
night, two of the children cruelly mangled and the most of them with
their parents' blood still wet upon their clothes, and all of them
shrieking with terror and grief and anguish, her own mother heart was
touched. She at least deserves kind consideration for her care and
nourishment of the three sisters, and for all she did for the little
girl, "about one year old who had been shot through one of her arms,
below the elbow, by a large ball, breaking both bones and cutting the
arm half off."
A Snake Indian boy, called Albert Hamblin, but whose Indian
name was a word which meant "hungry," who is now about 17 or 18 years
of age, says that Mr. Jacob Hamblin brought him beyond where Camp Floyd
is situated and that he has lived with Mr. Hamblin about six years here
and about three years up north. He was sent by Mr. Hamblin to my camp
at Mountain Meadow on the 20th day of May 1859, and in speaking of the
massacre at this place related what follows in very good English:
"In the first part of September a year and a
half ago, I was at Mr. Hamblin's ranch 4 miles from here. My business
was to herd the sheep. I saw the train come along the road and pass
down this way. It was near sundown. I drove the sheep home and went
after wood, when I saw the train encamp at this spring from a high
point of land where I was cutting wood.
the train passed me, I saw a good many women and children. It was night
when I got home. Another Indian boy, named John, who lives at the Vegas
and talked some English, was with me. He lived with a man named Sam
Knight, at Santa Clara. After the train had been camped at the spring
three nights, the fourth day in the morning, just before light, when we
were all abed at the house, I was waked up by hearing a good many guns
fired. I could hear guns fired every little while all day until it was
dark. Then I did not know what had been done. During the day, as we,
John and I, sat on a hill herding sheep, we saw the Indians driving off
all the stock and shoot some of the cattle; at the same time we could
see shooting going on down around the train; emigrants shooting at the
Indians from the corral of wagons, and Indians shooting at them from
the tops of the hills around. In this way they fought on for about a
asked an Indian what he was killing those people for. He was mad, and
told me unless I kept 'my mouth shut' he would kill me. Three men came
down from Cedar City to our house while the fighting was going on. They
said they came after cattle. Other men passed to and from Santa Clara
to our house during the nights. The three men from Cedar City stayed
about the house a while "pitching horseshoe quoits" while the fighting
was on, when they afterwards went back to Cedar City. Dudley Leavitt
came up from Santa Clara in the night while the emigrants were camped
here; but he did not see them. He went on to Cedar City to buy flour.
When he got to the house we told him the emigrants were fighting here.
One afternoon, near night, after they had fought nearly a week, John
and I saw the women and children and some leave the wagons and go up
the road toward our house. There were no Indians with them.
and I could see where the Indians were hid in the oak bushes and sage
right by the side of the road a mile or more on their route; and I said
to John, I would like to know what the emigrants left their wagons for,
as they were going into "a worse fix than ever they saw." The women
were on ahead with the children. The men were behind, altogether 'twas
a big crowd. Soon as they got to the place where the Indians were hid
in the bushes each side of the road, the Indians pitched right into
them and commenced shooting them with guns and bows and arrows, and cut
some of the men's throats with knives. The men run in every direction,
the Indians after them yelling and whooping. Soon as the women and
children saw the Indians spring out of the bushes, they all cried out
so loud that John and I heard them.
women scattered and tried to hide in the bushes, but the Indians shot
them down; two girls ran up the slope towards the east about a quarter
of a mile; John and I ran down and tried to save them; the girls hid in
some bushes. A man, who is an Indian doctor, also told the Indians not
to kill them. The girls then came out and hung around him for
protection, he trying to keep the Indians away. The girls were crying
out loud. The Indians came up and seized the girls by their hands and
dresses and pulled and pushed them away from the doctor and shot them.
By this time it was dark, and the other Indians came down the road and
had got nearly through killing all the others. They were about half an
hour killing the people from the time they first sprang out upon them
from the bushes.
time in the night Tullis and the Indians brought some of the children
in a wagon up to the house. The children cried nearly all night. One
little one, a baby, just commencing to walk around, was shot through
the arm. One of the girls had been hit through the ear. Many of the
children's clothes were bloody. The next morning we kept three children
and the rest were taken to Cedar City; also the next morning the train
of wagons went up to Cedar City with all the goods. The Indians got all
the flour. Some of it I saw buried this side of Pinto Creek. There were
two yoke of cattle to each wagon as they passed up. The rest of the
stock had been killed to be eaten by the Indians while the fight was
going on, except some which were driven over the mountains this way and
The Indians stripped naked the dead bodies; that is all the men; some of the women had their underclothes left. There were a good many men who came over from Pinto Creek and about, and stayed around the house while the fight went on. I saw John D. Lee there about the house during that time. He lives in Harmony--and Richard Robinson, Prime Coleman, Amos Thornton, Brother Dickinson, who all live at Pinto Creek. Thornton I saw at the house. When father (John Hamblin) came back, I came down with him onto the ground. The bodies were all buried then so we could not see them. There were plenty of wolves around. The two girls had been buried also and I did show them to father, the Indians buried the bodies taking spades from the wagons. The people from Cedar City came down three days later, after the massacre, but the Indians had buried all the bodies before they came. This is all I know about it."
This Albert Hamblin is nearly a grown
man in point of size, and from appearance and bearing has evidently had
engrafted upon his native viciousness all the bad traits of the
community in which he lives. Two of the children are said to have
pointed him out to Dr. Forney as an Indian whom they saw kill their two
story is artfully made up, evidently part truth and part falsehood.
Leavitt could not have passed up from "The Fort" to Cedar City without
knowing where the emigrants were besieged, as the road runs near the
spring where the corral was, and between it and some hills occupied by
the Mormons and Indians. That Albert stayed upon a neighborhood hill
"herding sheep" day after day while the fight lasted, and then to the
house of nights to go to sleep cannot be true. That Mormons were
passing and re-passing upon the road, day and night, and did not know
what was going on is simply absurd to one conversant with the
surroundings of the place.
this Indian's statement that some of the Mormons at the house were
"pitching horseshoe quoits," a glance is given at the fiendish levity
with which the murdering, day by day, of this artfully entrapped party
of gentile men, women and children was regarded. This "pitching
of horseshoe quoits" was during the time when dropping shots
from the Indians and the other Mormon concealed around the springs and
behind the crest of hills kept back the perishing emigrants from water.
There was time enough for some to go up to Hamblin's house for
refreshments. No danger of the emigrants getting away. It was all safe
in that quarter. "There is time enough for us to have a
game of quoits, the other boys will take care of matters down there."
The general will hardly fail to observe the discrepancy
between Hamblin's statement and that of Albert in relation to the
burial of the two girls and in relation to the burial of the bodies of
the others who had been murdered. Hamblin says the people from Cedar
City buried them; Albert that the Indians did it, taking spades from
the wagons, not a likely thing for bona fide Indians to do. My own
opinion is that the remains were not buried at all until after they had
been dismembered by the wolves and the flesh stripped from the bones,
and then only such bones were buried as lay scattered along nearest the
had evidently been trained in his statement. He gave much of it after
cross-questioning, keeping always the Mormons in the background and the
Indians conspicuously the prominent figures and actors, as Hamblin and
his wife had endeavored to do. It was not until after I told him that
Hamblin and his wife had informed me that John D. Lee and other Mormons
were there and had asked him how it was possible he had not seen them,
that he recollected about "Brother Lee" and "Brothers" Prime Coleman,
Amos Thornton, Richard Robinson, and "Brother" Dickinson from Pinto
Creek. He too had fallen into the general custom of the people and
called every man "brother."
questioned other Mormons in relation to the massacre, but many of them
said they had moved from the northern part of the Territory since it
took place; others, that they were harvesting at Parowan, Cedar, and at
"The Fort," and knew nothing of it until it was all over. Even
"Brother" Prime Coleman [said] that he was harvesting near Parowan just
before that time with Brother Benjamin Nell, but when the massacre took
place he was down on the Muddy River with Brother Ira Hatch to keep
down disturbances there among the Indians. (The Muddy is 163 miles from
Parowan, on the road to California; he had to pass Mountain Meadows to
go there.) He said that as he and Hatch were coming back they saw in
the sand the tracks of three men who wore fine boots. This was at
Beaver Dams (between Mountain Meadows and the Muddy and 50 miles from
and Hatch were frightened at this sign, were afraid of robbers, and did
not stop, even for water, until they reached the Santa Clara, 2 miles
off. At Pine Valley, near Mountain Meadows, they first heard of the
massacre. There is no doubt but that all three of these men were active
participants in the butchering at the Meadows. The foregoing is the
Mormon story of the Massacre. As it took place on Hamblin's ranch and
within hearing of his family, it was impossible for them to be "out
harvesting" or "up north" or "down on the Muddy"; he himself had gone
to Salt Lake City. At least he says so; but even this, I think, needs
proof. Some account had to be made up, and the one most likely to be
believed was that the whole matter had been started by the Indians and
carried out by them, because the emigrants had poisoned a spring near
Fillmore City. Mr. Rodgers, United States Deputy Marshal, who
accompanied Judge Cradlebaugh in his tour to the South, told me that
the water in the spring referred to runs with such volume and force "a barrel of arsenic would not poison it."
While the Mormons say the Indians were the murderers, they
speak with no sympathy of the suffer[er]s, but rather in extenuation of
the crime by saying the emigrants were not fit to live; that besides
poisoning the spring "they were impudent to the people on the road,
robbed their hen roosts and gardens, and were insulting to the church;
called their oxen "Brigham Young," "Heber Kimball," etc., and
altogether were a rough, ugly set that ought to have been killed
But there is another side to this story. It is said that some
two years since Bishop Parley Pratt was shot in Cherokee Nation near
Arkansas by the husband of a woman who had run off with that saintly
prelate. The Mormons swore vengeance on the people of Arkansas, one of
who was this injured husband. The wife came on to Salt Lake City after
the bishop was killed and still lives there.
this time, also, the Mormon troubles with the United States commenced,
and the most bitter hostility against the Gentiles became rife
throughout Utah among all the Latter-Day Saints. It will be recollected
that even while these emigrants were pursuing their journey overland to
California, Colonel Alexander was following upon their trace with two
or more regiments of troops ordered to Utah to assist, if necessary, in
seeing the laws of the land properly enforced in that territory.
train was undoubtedly a very rich one. It is said the emigrants had
nearly nine hundred head of fine cattle, many horses and mules, and one
stallion valued at $2,000; that they had a great deal of ready money
besides. All this the Mormons at Salt Lake City saw as the train came
on. The Mormons knew the troops were marching to their country, and a
spirit of intense hatred of the Americans and towards our Government
was kindled in the hearts of this whole people by Brigham Young, Orson
Hyde, and other leaders, even from the pulpits.
opportunely, was a rich train of emigrants--American Gentiles. That is,
the most obnoxious kind of Gentiles--and not only that, but these
Gentiles were from Arkansas, where the saintly Pratt had gained his
crown of martyrdom. Is not here some thread which may be seized as a
clue to this mystery so long hidden as to whether or not the Mormons
were accomplices in the massacre? This train of Arkansas Gentiles was
doomed from the day it crossed through the South Pass and had gotten
fairly down in the meshes of the Mormon spider net, from which it was
never to become disentangled.
Cradlebaugh informed me that about this time Brigham Young, preaching
in the tabernacle and speaking of the trouble with the United States,
said that up to that moment he had protected emigrants who had passed
through the Territory, but now he would turn the Indians loose upon
them. It is a singular point worthy of note that this sermon should
have been preached just as the rich train had gotten into the valley
and was now fairly entrapped; a sermon good, coming from him, as a
letter of marque to these land pirates who listened to him as an
oracle. The hint thus shrewdly given out was not long in being acted
that moment these emigrants, as they journeyed southward, were
considered the authorized, if not legal, prey of the inhabitants. All
kinds of depredations and extortions were practiced upon them. At
Parowan they took some wheat to the mill to be ground. The bishop
replied, "Yes, but do you take double toll."
This shows the spirit with which they were treated. These things are
now leaking out; but some of those who were then Mormons have renounced
their creed, and through them much is learned which, taken in
connection with the facts that are known, served to develop the truth.
It is said to be a truth that Brigham Young sent letters south,
authorizing, if not commanding, that the train should be destroyed.
A Pah-Ute chief, of the Santa Clara band, named "Jackson,"
who was one of the attacking party, and had a brother slain by the
emigrants from their corral by the spring, says that orders came down
in a letter from Brigham Young that the emigrants were to be killed;
and a chief of the Pah-Utes named Touche, now living on the Virgin
River, told me that a letter from Brigham Young to the same effect was
brought down to the Virgin River band by a young man named Huntingdon
[Oliver B. Huntington], who, I learn, is an Indian Interpreter and
lives at present at Salt Lake City.
says there were 60 Mormons led by Bishop John D. Lee, of Harmony, and a
prominent man in the church named [Isaac C.] Haight, who lives at Cedar
City. That they were all painted and disguised as Indians.
this painting and disguising was done at a spring in a canyon about a
mile northeast of the spring where the emigrants were encamped, and
that Lee and Haight led and directed the combined force of Mormons and
Indians in the first attack, throughout the siege, and at the last
massacre. The Santa Clara Indians say that the emigrants could not get
to the water, as besiegers lay around the spring ready to shoot anyone
who approached it. This could easily have been done. Major [Henry]
Prince, Paymaster, U.S.A., and Lieutenant Ogle, First Dragoons, on the
17th inst., stood at the ditch which was in the corral and placed some
men at the spring 28 yards distant, and they could just see the other
men's heads, both parties standing erect. This shows how vital a point
the Assailants occupied; how close it was to the assailed, and how well
protected it was from the direction of the corral.
following account of the affair is, I think, susceptible of legal proof
by those whose names are known, and who, I am assured, are willing to
make oath to many of the facts which serve as links in the chain of
evidence leading toward the truth of this grave question: By whom were
these 120 men, women, and children murdered?
was currently reported among the Mormons at Cedar City, in talking
among themselves, before the troops ever came down south, (when all
felt secure of arrest or prosecution), and nobody seemed to question
the truth of it--that a train of emigrants of fifty or upward of men,
mostly with families, came and encamped at this spring at Mountain
Meadows in September 1857. It was reported in Cedar City, and was not,
and is not doubted--even by the Mormons--that John D. Lee, Isaac C.
Haight, John M. Higby [Higbee] (the first resides at Harmony, the last
two at Cedar City), were the leaders who organized a party of fifty or
sixty Mormons to attack this train.
They had also all the Indians
which they could collect at Cedar City, Harmony and Washington City to
help them, a good many in number. This party then came down, and at
first the Indians were ordered to stampede the cattle and drive them
away from the train. Then they commenced firing on the emigrants; this
firing was returned by the emigrants; one Indian was killed, a brother
of the chief of the Santa Clara Indians, another shot through the leg,
who is now a cripple at Cedar City. There were without doubt a great
many more killed and wounded. It was said the Mormons were painted and
disguised as Indians. The Mormons say the emigrants fought "like lions"
and they saw that they could not whip them by any fair fighting.
After some days fighting the Mormons had a council among
themselves to arrange a plan to destroy the emigrants. They concluded,
finally, that they could send some few down and pretend to be friends
and try and get the emigrants to surrender. John D. Lee and three or
four others, headmen, from Washington, Cedar, and Parowan (Haight and
Higby [Higbee] from Cedar), had their paint washed off and dressing in
their usual clothes, took their wagons and drove down toward the
emigrant's corral as they were just traveling on the road on their
ordinary business. The emigrants sent out a little girl towards them.
She was dressed in white and had a white handkerchief in her hand,
which she waved in token of peace. The Mormons with the wagon waved one
in reply, and then moved on towards the corral. The emigrants then came
out, no Indians or others being in sight at this time, and talked with
these leading Mormons with the three wagons.
talked with the emigrants for an hour or an hour and a half, and told
them that the Indians were hostile, and that if they gave up their arms
it would show that they did not want to fight; and if they, the
emigrants, would do this they would pilot them back to the settlements.
The migrants had horses which had remained near their wagons; the loose
stock, mostly cattle, had been driven off--not the horses. Finally the
emigrants agreed to these terms and delivered up their arms to the
Mormons with whom they had counseled. The women and children then
started back toward Hamblin's house, the men following with a few
wagons that they had hitched up. On arriving at the Scrub Oaks, etc.,
where the other Mormons and Indians lay concealed, Higby [Higbee], who
had been one of those who had inveigled the emigrants from their
defenses, himself gave the signal to fire, when a volley was poured in
from each side, and the butchery commenced and was continued until it
The property was brought to Cedar City and sold at
public auction. It was called in Cedar City, and is so called now by
the Facetious Mormons, "property taken
at the siege of Sebastopol." The clothing stripped from the
corpses, bloody and with bits of flesh upon it, shredded by the bullets
from the persons of the poor creatures who wore it, was placed in the
cellar of the tithing office (an official building), where it lay about
three weeks, when it was brought away by some of the party; but
witnesses do not know whether it was sold or given away. It is said the
cellar smells of it even to this day.
It is reported that John D. Lee, Haight, and Philip Smith
[Klingonsmith] (the latter lives in Cedar City) went to Salt Lake City
immediately after the massacre, and counseled with Brigham Young about
what should be done with the property. They took with them the ready
money they got from the murdered emigrants and offered it to Young. He
said he would have nothing to do with it. He told them to divide the
cattle and cows among the poor. They had taken some of the cattle to
Salt Lake City merchants there. Lee told Brigham that the Indians would
not be satisfied if they did not have a share of the cattle. Brigham
left it to Lee to make the distribution. One or two of the Mormons did
not like it that Lee had this authority, as they say he swindled them
out of their share. Lee was the smartest man of the lot.
wagons, carriages, and rifles, etc., were distributed among the
Mormons. Lee has a carriage reported be one of them. The Indians have
but few of the rifles.
of this seems to be corroborated by a man named Whitelock, a dentist,
now at Camp Floyd. Whitelock says he was told by a Mormon, who
acknowledged that he was present at the massacre, but who is now in
California, "that orders to destroy the emigrants first
came from above" (Salt Lake City) and that a party of armed men
under the command of a man named John D. Lee, who was then a bishop in
the church, but who has since (as Brigham Young says) been deposed,
left the settlements of Beaver City, north of Parowan, Parowan City,
and Cedar City on what was called a "secret expedition," and after an absence of a
few days returned, bringing back strange wagons, cattle, horses, mules
and also household property.
is legal proof that this property was sold at the official tithing
office of the church. Whitelock says that this man could not report the
details of the massacre without tears and trembling. He said he was so
horrified at these atrocities he fled away from Utah to California. The
man said he saw children clinging around the knees of the murderers,
begging for mercy and offering themselves as slaves for life could they
be spared. But their throats were cut from ear to ear as an answer to
are now wagons, carriages, and cattle in possession of the Mormons
which can be sworn to, it is said, as having belonged to these
emigrants by those who saw them upon the plains.
hundred and forty eight head of cattle were sold on the Jordan River
after the arrival of the Army to United States commissaries by Mormons,
and it is said that they can be traced as having come through the hands
of Lee and [William H.] Hooper, who was Mormon Secretary of State, and
were without doubt the cattle taken from the emigrants. Others are seen
in the hands of the Mormons which are believed to have been captured at
the time of the massacre. The Pah-Ute Indians of the Muddy River said
to me that they know the Mormons had charged them with the massacre of
the emigrants, but said they, "where
are the wagons, the cattle, the clothing, the rifles, and other
property belonging to the train? We have not got or had them. No, you
find all these things in the hands of the Mormons." There is
some logical reasoning in that, creditable at least to the obscure
minds of miserable savages, whatever be the truth.
But there is not the shadow of a doubt that the emigrants
were butchered by the Mormons themselves, assisted doubtless by the
Indians. The idea of letting the emigrants come on to an obscure
quarter of the Territory, amid the fastnesses of the mountains, with a
formidable desert extending from that point to California, over which a
stranger to the country, without sustenance, escape with his life; to a
point were the Indians were numerous enough to lend assistance, and who
could plausibly be charged with the crime in case, in the future any
people should give trouble by asking ugly questions on the subject,
exhibits consideration as to future contingencies of which these
miserable Indians, at least are entirely incapable.
"fifty men that would do to tie to" in a fight, all well armed and
experts in the use of the rifle, could have wiped out ten times their
number of Pah-Ute Indians armed only with the bow and arrow. Hamblin
himself, their agent, informed that to his certain knowledge in 1856
there were but three guns in the whole tribe. I doubt if they had many
more in 1857. The emigrants were to be destroyed with as little loss to
the Mormons as possible, and no one old enough to tell the tale was to
be left alive. To effect this the whole plans and operations, from
beginning to end, display skill, patience, pertinacity and forecast,
which no people here at the time were equal to except the Mormons
themselves. Hamblin says three men escaped. They were doubtless herding
when the attack was made, or crept out of a corral by night.
fate of one of these he had never learned. He must have been murdered
off the road or perished of hunger and thirst in the mountains. At all
events he never went through to California or he would have been heard
from. One got as far as the Muddy River, ninety odd miles from Mountain
Meadows. There the Indians cut his throat. The other got as far as Las
Vegas, 45 miles still farther towards California, where he arrived
totally naked, some Indians having stripped him of his clothes. Hamblin
said an acquaintance of his coming from that way had seen marks in the
sand where the Indians had thrown him down and where there had been
struggling when he was stripped. The Las Vegas Indians cut his throat
likewise. The Mormons had a fort at Las Vegas, now abandoned, but which
was occupied at that time.
is something which seems to point to the "tracks in the sand of three
men who wore fine boots" which brothers Ira Hatch and Prime Coleman saw
at the Beaver Dams, and at which they became so frightened that they
didn't stop to get water, although there was none other within 20
miles. During this "Siege of Sebastapol" or after the final massacre,
it was doubtless discovered that the three emigrants had escaped, and
Brothers Hatch and Coleman, perhaps two Mormons named Young, were sent
in pursuit to cut them off on the desert or to get the Indians to do
it. Hatch talks Pah-Ute like a native, and is now an interpreter of
their language whenever needed. One of the Youngs, who now lives at
Cotton Farm, near the confluence of The Virgin and Santa Clara, tells
this story of the emigrants murdered on the Muddy:
"He and his brother, each on horseback, and
leading a third horse, were traveling from California, as he says, to
Utah. Just before they arrived at Muddy River they met one of the
emigrants on foot. He had been wounded; was unarmed and without
provisions or water. It was at daybreak. He had traveled already nearly
100 miles from the Mountain Meadows. He seemed to be terror stricken.
His mind was wandering. He talked incoherently about the massacre and
his purposes. Under the awful scenes he had witnessed, the pain of his
wound, and the privations he had endured his senses had given away.
They told him of the long deserts ahead of which, if he pursued his
way, he would certainly perish. They persuaded him to return with them;
mounted him on their lead horse, and so came on to the Muddy, where
they stopped to prepare breakfast. One of the Young's laid his coat,
containing in its pocket $500 all their money, on a bush. And commenced
frying some cakes at a fire which had been kindled.
The Indians gathered around in great numbers. The
chief would seize the cakes from the pan as fast as they were done, and
eat them. At last one of the Youngs struck the chief with a knife,
whereupon all the Indians rose to kill the three men. Young says he and
his brother drew their revolvers, and holding them on the Indians, kept
them at a distance until they got to their horses, had mounted, and
were out of arrow shot. They then looked back for the emigrant who had
seemed as he sat abstracted by the fire, hardly to comprehend what was
going on. He had not left the spot where he sat. Three or four Indians
had him down and were cutting his throat. They themselves, then made
off, leaving coat, money, and all their provisions."
is their story, but the truth doubtless was the Youngs, Hatch and
Coleman, had followed up the man; had found him beyond the Muddy,
brought him back, and then set the Indians upon him. The fate of these
three men seems to close the scenes of this terrible tragedy on all the
grown people of that fine train which was seen journeying prosperously
forward at O'Fallons Bluffs on the 11th of the preceding June. There
were doubtless atrocious episodes connected with the massacre of the
women, which will never be known. Mr. Rogers, the deputy marshal, told
me that Bishop John D. Lee is said to have taken a beautiful lady away
to a secluded spot. There she implored him for more than life. She too,
was found dead. Her throat had been cut from ear to ear.
little children whom we left this John D. Lee distributing at Hamblin's
house after that sad night, have at length been gathered together and
are now at Indian Farm, 12 miles south of Fillmore City, or at Salt
Lake City in the custody for Dr. Forney, United States Indian agent.
They are 17 in number. Sixteen of these were seen by Judge Cradlebaugh,
Lieutenant Kearney, and others, and gave the following information in
relation to their personal identity, etc. The children were varying
from 3 to 9 years of age, 10 girls, 6 boys, and were questioned
The first is a boy named Calvin, between 7 and 8 [John Calvin Miller, 6]; does not remember his surname; says he was by his mother [Matilda] when she was killed, and pulled the arrows from her back until she was dead; says he had two brothers older than himself, named James [see below] and Henry, and three sisters, Nancy, Mary [see below] and Martha.
The second is a girl who does not remember her name. The
others say it is Demurr [Georgia Ann Dunlap, 18 mos.].
The third is a boy named Ambrose Mariam Tagit
[Emberson Milam Tackitt, 4]; says he had two brothers older than
himself and one younger. His father, mother, and two elder brothers
were killed, his younger brother [William Henry, listed below] was
brought to Cedar City; says he lived in Johnson County, but does not
know what State; says it took one week to go from where he lived with
his grandfather and grandmother who are still living in the States.
fourth is a girl obtained of John Morris, a Mormon, at Cedar City. She
does not recollect anything about herself [Mary Miller, 4 (see next
A boy obtained of E. H. Grove [Joseph Miller, 1, whose older brother,
Calvin (above)], says that the girl obtained of Morris is named Mary
and is his sister.
sixth is a girl who says her name is Prudence Angelina [Prudence
Angeline Dunlap, 5]. Had two brothers, Jessie [Thomas J., 17] and John
[John H., 16], who were killed. Her father's name was William [Lorenzo
Dow Dunlap], and she had an Uncle Jessie [Jesse Dunlap].
seventh is a girl. She says her name is Francis Harris, or Horne,
remembers nothing of her family [Sarah Frances Baker, 3].
eighth is a young boy, too young to remember anything about himself
[Felix Marion Jones, 18 mos.].
ninth is a boy whose name is William W. Huff [William Henry Tackitt, 19
tenth is a boy whose name is Charles Fancher [Christopher "Kit" Carson
eleventh is a girl who says her name is Sophronia Huff [Nancy Saphrona
twelfth is a girl who says her name is Betsy [Martha Elizabeth Baker,
thirteenth, fourteenth and fifteenth are three sisters named Rebecca,
Louisa and Sara Dunlap [Rebecca J. Dunlap, 6; Louisa Dunlap, 4; Sarah
E. Dunlap, 1]. These three sisters were the children obtained of Jacob
have no note of the sixteenth [Triphenia D. Fancher, 22 mos.].
seventeenth is a boy who was but six weeks old at the time of the
massacre [William Twitty Baker, 9 mos.]. Hamblin's wife brought him to
my camp on the 19th instant. The next day they took him on to Salt Lake
City to give him up to Dr. Forney. He is a pretty little boy and hardly
dreamed he had again slept upon the ground where his parents had been
children, it is said, could not be induced to make any developments
while they remained with the Mormons, from fear, no doubt, having been
intimidated by threats. Dr. Forney, it is said, came southward for them
under the impression that he would find them in the hands of the
Mormons say the children were in the hands of the Indians and were
purchased by them for rifles, blankets, etc., but the children say they
have never lived with the Indians at all. The Mormons claimed of Dr.
Forney sums of money, varying from $200 to $400, for attending them
when sick, for feeding and clothing them, and for nourishing the
infants from the time when they assumed to have purchased them from the
of the parents and despoilers of their property, these Mormons, rather
these relentless, incarnate fiends, dared even to come forward and
claim payment for having kept these little ones barely alive; these
helpless orphans whom they themselves had already robbed of their
natural protectors and support. Has there ever been an act which at all
equaled this devilish hardihood in more than devilish effrontery?
Never, but one; and even then the price was but "30 pieces of silver."
my arrival at Mountain Meadows, the 16th instant, I encamped near the
spring where the emigrants had encamped, and where they had entrenched
themselves after they were first fired upon. The ditch they there dug
is not yet filled up.
same day Captain Reuben P. Campbell, United States Second Dragoons,
with a command of three companies of troops, came from his camp at
Santa Clara and camped there also. Judge Cradlebaugh and Deputy
Marshall Rogers had come down from Provo with Captain Campbell, and had
been inquiring into the circumstances of the massacre. The judge cannot
receive too much praise for the resolute and thorough manner with which
he pursues him investigation. On his way down past this spot, and
before my arrival, Captain Campbell had caused to be collected and
buried the bones of 26 of the victims. Dr. Brewer informed me that the
remains of 18 were buried in one grave, 12 in another and 6 in another.
the 20th I took a wagon and a party of men and made a thorough search
for others amongst the sage brushes for a least a mile back from the
road that leads to Hamblin's house. Hamblin himself showed Sergeant
Fritz of my party a spot on the right-hand side of the road where had
partially covered up a great many of the bones. These were collected,
and a large number of others on the left hand side of the road up the
slopes of the hill, and in the ravines and among the bushes. I gathered
many of the disjointed bones of 34 persons. The number could easily be
told by the number of pairs of shoulder blades and by lower jaws,
skulls, and parts of skulls, etc.
with the remains of two others gotten in a ravine to the east of the
spring, where they had been interred at but little depth, 34 in all, I
buried in a grave on the northern side of the ditch. Around and above
this grave I caused to be built of loose granite stones, hauled from
the neighboring hills, a rude monument, conical in form and fifty feet
in circumference at the base, and twelve feet in height. This is
surmounted by a cross hewn from red cedar wood. From the ground to top
of cross is twenty four feet. On the transverse part of the cross,
facing towards the north, is an inscription carved in the wood. "Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord." And
on a rude slab of granite set in the earth and leaning against the
northern base of the monument there are cut the following words: "Here 120 men,
women, and children were massacred in cold blood early in September,
1857. They were from Arkansas."
are other heinous crimes to be punished besides this. Martial law would
at best be but a temporary expedient. Crime is found in the footsteps
of the Mormons wherever they go, and so the evil must always exist as
long as the Mormons themselves exist. What is their history? What their
antecedents? Perhaps the future may be judged by the past.
their infancy as a religious community, they settled in Jackson County,
Mo. There, in a short time, from the crimes and depredations they
committed, they became intolerable to the inhabitants, whose self
preservation compelled them to ride and drive the Mormons out by force
of arms. At Nauvoo, again another experiment was tried with them. The
people of Illinois exercised forbearance toward them until it literally
"ceased to be a virtue." They were driven thence as they had been from
Missouri, but fortunately this time with the loss on their part of
those two shallow imposters, but errant miscreants, the brothers Smith.
United States took no wholesome heed of these lessons taught by
Missouri and Illinois. The Mormons were permitted to settle amid the
fastnesses of the Rocky Mountains, with a desert on each side, and upon
the great thoroughfare between the two oceans. Over this thoroughfare
our Citizens have hitherto not been able to travel without peril to
their lives and property, except, forsooth, Brigham Young pleased to
grant them his permission and give them his protection. "He would turn the Indians loose upon them."
The expenses of the army in Utah, past and to come (figure
that), the massacre at the Mountain Meadows, the unnumbered other
crimes, which have been and will yet be committed by this community,
are but preliminary gusts of the whirlwind our Government has reaped
and is yet to reap for the wind it had sowed in permitting the Mormons
ever to gain foothold within our borders.
are an ulcer upon the body politic. An ulcer which it needs more than
cutlery to cure. It must have excision, complete and thorough
extirpation, before we can ever hope for safety or tranquility. This is
no rhetorical phrase made by a flourish of the pen, but is really what
will prove to be an earnest and stubborn fact. This brotherhood may be
contemplated from any point of view, and but one conclusion can be
arrived at concerning it. The Thugs of India were an inoffensive,
moral, law-abiding people in comparison.
have made this a special report, because the information here given,
however crude, I thought to be of such grave importance it ought to be
put permanently on record and deserved to be kept separate and distinct
from a report on the ordinary occurrences of a march. Some of the
details might, perhaps, have been omitted, but there has been a great
and fearful crime perpetrated, and many of the circumstances connected
with it have long been kept most artfully concealed. But few direct
rays even now shine in upon the subject. So that however indistinct and
unimportant they may at present appear to be, even the faint side
lights given by these details may yet lend assistance in exploring some
obscure recess of the matter where the great truths, that should be
diligently and persistently sought for, may yet happily be discovered.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your