As a duty to myself, my
family, and mankind at large, I propose to give a full and true
statement of all that I know and all that I did in that unfortunate
affair, which has cursed my existence, and made me a wanderer from
place to place for the last nineteen years, and which is known to the
world as the the Mountain Meadows Massacre.
I have no
vindictive feeling against any one; no enemies to punish by this
statement; and no friends to shield by keeping back, or longer keeping
secret, any of the facts connected with the Massacre.
I believe that I must tell all
that I do know, and tell everything just as the same transpired. I
shall tell the truth and permit the public to judge who is most to
blame for the crime that I am accused of committing. I did not act
alone; I had many to assist me at the Mountain Meadows. I believe that
most of those who were connected with the Massacre, and took part in
the lamentable transaction that has blackened the character of all who
were aiders or abettors in the same, were acting under the impression
that they were performing a religious duty. I know all were acting
under the orders and by the command of their Church leaders; and I
firmly believe that the most of those who took part in the proceedings,
considered it a religious duty to unquestioningly obey the orders which
they had received. That they acted from a sense of duty to the Mormon
never doubted. Believing that those with me acted from a sense of
religious duty on that occasion, I have faithfully kept the secret of
their guilt, and remained silent and true to the oath of secrecy which
we took on the bloody field, for many long and bitter years. I have
never betrayed those who acted with me and participated in the crime
for which I am convicted, and for which I am to suffer death.
attorneys, especially Wells Spicer and Wm. W. Bishop, have long tried,
but tried in vain, to induce me to tell all I knew of the massacre and
the causes which led to it. I have heretofore refused to tell the tale.
Until the last few days I had in tended to die, if die I must, without
giving one word to the public concerning those who joined willingly, or
unwillingly, in the work of destruction at Mountain Meadows.
longer, or to die in silence, would be unjust and cowardly. I will not
keep the secret any longer as my own, but will tell all I know.
earnest request of a few remaining friends, and by the advice of Mr.
Bishop, my counsel, who has defended me thus far with all his ability,
notwithstanding my want of money with which to pay even his expenses
while attending to my case, I have concluded to write facts as I know
them to exist.
I cannot go
before the Judge of the quick and the dead with out first revealing all
that I know, as to what was done, who ordered me to do what I did do,
and the motives that led to the commission of that unnatural and bloody
immediate orders for the killing of the emigrants came from those in
authority at Cedar City. At the time of the massacre, I and those with
me, acted by virtue of positive orders from Isaac C. Haight and his
associates at Cedar City. Before I started on my mission to the
Mountain Meadows, I was told by Isaac C. Haight that his orders to me
were the result of full consultatation [sic] with Colonel William H.
Dame and all in authority. It is a new thing to me, if the massacre was
not decided on by the head men of the Church, and it is a new thing for
Mormons to condemn those who committed the deed.
forced to speak from memory alone, without the aid of my memorandum
books, and not having time to correct the statements that I make, I
will necessarily give many things out of their regular order. The
superiority that I claim for my statement is this:
ALL THAT I DO SAY IS TRUE AND
NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH.
begin my statement by saying, I was born on the 6th day of September,
A. D. 1812, in the town of Kaskaskia, Randolph County, State of
Illinois. I am therefore in the sixty-fifth year of my age.
the Mormon Church at Far West, Mo., about thirty-nine years ago. To be
with that Church and people I left my home on Luck Creek, Fayette
County, Illinois, and went and joined the Mormons in Missouri, before
the troubles at Gallatin, Far West and other points, between the
Missourians and Mormons. I shared the fate of my brother Mormons, in
being mistreated, arrested, robbed and driven from Missouri in a
destitute condition, by a wild and fanatical mob. But of all this I
shall speak in my life, which I shall write for publication if I have
time to do so.
I took an
active part with the leading men at Nauvoo in building up that city. I
induced many Saints to move to Nauvoo, for the sake of their souls. I
traveled and preached the Mormon doctrine in many States. I was an
honored man in the Church, and stood high with the Priesthood, until
the last few years. I am now cut off from the Church for obeying the
orders of my superiors, and doing so without asking questions--for
doing as my religion and my religious teachers had taught me to do. I
am now used by the Mormon Church as a scape-goat to carry the sins of
that people. My life is to be taken, so that my death may stop further
enquiry into the acts of the members who are still in good standing in
the Church. Will my death satisfy the nation for all the crimes
committed by Mormons, at the command of the Priesthood, who have used
and now have deserted me? Time will tell. I believe in a just God, and
I know the day will come when others must answer for their acts, as I
have had to do.
became acquainted with Brigham Young when I went to Far West, Mo., to
join the Church, in 1837. I got very intimately acquainted with all the
great leaders of the Church. I was adopted by Brigham Young as one of
his sons, and for many years I confess I looked upon him as an inspired
and holy man. While in Nauvoo I took an active part in all that was
done for the Church or the city. I had charge of the building of the
"Seventy Hall;" I was 7th Policeman. My duty as a police
man was to guard the residence and person of Joseph Smith, the
Prophet. After the death of Joseph and Hyrum I was ordered to perform
the same duty for Brigham Young. When Joseph Smith was a candidate for
the Presidency of the United States I went to Kentucky as the chairman
of the Board of Elders, or head of the delegation, to secure the vote
of that State for him. When I returned to Nauvoo again I was General
Clerk and Recorder for the Quorum of the Seventy. I was also head or
Chief Clerk for the Church, and as such took an active part in
organizing the Priesthood into the order of Seventy after the death of
destruction of Nauvoo, when the Mormons were driven from the State of
Illinois, I again shared the fate of my brethren, and partook of the
hardships and trials that befel [sic] them from that day up to the
settlement of Salt Lake City, in the then wilderness of the nation. I
presented Brigham Young with seventeen ox teams, fully equipped, when
he started with the people from Winter Quarters to cross the plains to
the new resting place of the Saints. He accepted them and said, "God
bless you, John." But I never received a cent for them--I never wanted
pay for them, for in giving property to Brigham Young I thought I was
loaning it to the Lord.
reaching Salt Lake City I stayed there but a short time, when I went to
live at Cottonwood, where the mines were afterwards discovered by
General Connor and his men during the late war.
I was just
getting fixed to live there, when I was ordered to go out into the
interior and aid in forming new settlements, and opening up the
country. I then had no wish or desire, save that to know and be able to
do the will of the Lord's anointed, Brigham Young, and until within the
last few years I have never had a wish for anything else except to do
his pleasure, since I became his adopted son. I believed it my duty to
obey those in authority. I then believed that Brigham Young spoke by
direction of the God of Heaven. I would have suffered death rather than
have disobeyed any command of his. I had this feeling until he betrayed
and deserted me. At the command of Brigham Young, I took one hundred
and twenty-one men, went in a southern direction from Salt Lake City,
and laid out and built up Parowan. George A. Smith was the leader and
chief man in authority in that settlement. I acted under him
as historian and clerk of the Iron County Mission, until
January, 1851. I went with Brigham Young, and acted as a committee man,
and located Provo, St. George, Fillmore, Parowan and other towns, and
managed the location of many of the settlements in Southern Utah.
In 1852, I
moved to Harmony, and built up that settlement. I remained there until
the Indians declared war against the whites and drove the settlers into
Cedar City and Parowan, for protection, in the year 1853.
my then numerous family to Cedar City, where I was appointed a Captain
of the militia, and commander of Cedar City Military Post.
commanded at Cedar City about one year, when I was ordered to return to
Harmony, and build the Harmony Fort. This order, like all other orders,
came from Brigham Young. When I returned to Harmony and commenced
building the fort there, the orders were given by Brigham Young for the
reorganization of the military at Cedar City. The old men were
requested to resign their offices, and let younger men be appointed in
their place. I resigned my office of Captain, but Isaac C. Haight and
John M. Higbee refued [sic] to resign, and continued to hold on as
Majors in the Iron Militia.
returning to Harmony, I was President of the civil and local affairs,
and Rufus Allen was President of that Stake of Zion, or head of the
resigned my position as President of civil affairs, and became a
private citizen, and was in no office for some time. In fact, I never
held any position after that, except the office of Probate Judge of the
County (which office I held before and after the massacre), and member
of the Territorial Legislature, and Delegate to the Constitutional
Convention which met and adopted a constitution for the State of
Deseret, after the massacre.
I will here
state that Brigham Young honored me in many ways after the affair at
Mountain Meadows was fully reported to him by me, as I will more fully
state hereafter in the course of what I have to relate concerning that
at my first trial, and White, at my last trial, swore falsely when they
say that they met me near Cedar City, the Sunday before the massacre.
They did not meet me as they have sworn, nor did they meet me at all on
that occasion or on
any similar occasion. I never had the conversations with them that they
testify about. They are both perjurers, and bore false testimony
never been a witness on the stand against me 'that has testified to the
whole truth. Some have told part truth, while others lied clear
through, but all of the witnesses who were at the massacre have tried
to throw all the blame on me, and to protect the other men who took
part in it.
the 7th of September, 1857, I went to Cedar City from my home at
Harmony, by order of President Haight. I did not know what he wanted of
me, but he had ordered me to visit him and I obeyed. If I remember
correctly, it was on Sunday evening that I went there. When I got to
Cedar City, I met Isaac C. Haight on the public square of the town.
Haight was then President of that Stake of Zion, and the highest man in
the Mormon priesthood in that country, and next to Wm. H. Dame in all
of Southern Utah, and as Lieutenant Colonel he was second to Dame in
the command of the Iron Military District. The word and command of
Isaac C. Haight were the law in Cedar City, at that time, and to
disobey his orders was certain death; be they right or wrong, no Saint
was permitted to question them, their duty was obedience or death.
When I met
Haight, I asked him what he wanted with me. He said he wanted to have a
long talk with me on private and particular business. We took some
blankets and went over to the old Iron Works, and lay there that night,
so that we could talk in private and in safety. After we got to the
Iron Works, Haight told me all about the train of emigrants. He said
(and I then believed every word that be spoke, for I believed it was an
impossible thing for one so high in the Priesthood as he was, to be
guilty of falsehood) that the emigrants were a rough and abusive set of
men. That they had, while traveling through Utah, been very abusive to
all the Mormons they met. That they had insulted, outraged, and
ravished many of the Mormon women. That the abuses heaped upon the
people by the emigrants during their trip from Provo to Cedar City, had
been constant and shameful; that they had burned fences and destroyed
growing crops; that at many points on the road they had poisoned the
water, so that all people and stock that drank of the water became
sick, and many had died from the effects of poison. That these vile
Gentiles publicly proclaimed that they had the very
pistol with which the Prophet, Joseph Smith, was murdered, and
had threatened to kill Brigham Young and all of the Apostles. That when
in Cedar City they said they would have friends in Utah who would hang
Brigham Young by the neck until he was dead, before snow fell again in
the Territory.. They also said that Johnston was coming, with his army,
from the East, and they were going to return from California with
soldiers, as soon as possible, and would then desolate the land, and
kill every d--d Mormon man, woman and child that they could find in
Utah. That they violated the ordinances of the town of Cedar, and had,
by armed force, resisted the officers who tried to arrest them for
violating the law. That after leaving Cedar City the emigrants camped
by the company, or cooperative field, just below Cedar City, and burned
a large portion of the fencing, leaving the crops open to the large
herds of stock in the surrounding country. Also that they had given
poisoned meat to the Corn Creek tribe of Indians, which had killed
several of them, and their Chief, Konosh, was on the trail of the
emigrants, and would soon attack them. All of these things, and much
more of a like kind, Haight told me as we lay in the dark at the old
Iron Works. I believed all that he said, and, thinking that he had full
right to do all that he wanted to do, I was easily induced to follow
that unless something was done to prevent it, the emigrants would carry
out their threats and rob every one of the outlying settlements in the
South, and that the whole Mormon people were liable to be butchered by
the troops that the emigrants would bring back with them from
California. I was then told that the Council had held a meeting that
day, to consider the matter, and that it was decided by the authorities
to arm the Indians, give them provisions and ammunition, and send them
after the emigrants, and have the Indians give them a brush, and if
they killed part or all of them, so much the better.
"Brother Haight, who is your authority for acting in this way?"
"It is the will of all in authority. The emigrants have no pass from
any one to go through the country, and they are liable to be killed as
common enemies, for the country is at war now. No man has a right to go
through this country without a written pass."
there and talked much of the night, and during that
time Haight gave me very full instructions what to do, and how
to proceed in the whole affair. He said he had consulted with Colonel
Dame, and every one agreed to let the Indians use up the whole train if
they could. Haight then said:
you to carry out your orders."
I knew I
had to obey or die. I had no wish to disobey, for I then thought that
my superiors in the Church were the mouth pieces of Heaven, and that it
was an act of godliness for me to obey any and all orders given by them
to me, without my asking any questions.
were to go home to Harmony, and see Carl Shirts, my son-in-law, an
Indian interpreter, and send him to the Indians in the South, to notify
them that the Mormons and Indians were at war with the "Mericats" (as
the Indians called all whites that were not Mormons) and bring all the
Southern Indians up and have them join with those from the North, so
that their force would be sufficient to make a successful attack on the
agreed that Haight would send Nephi Johnson, another Indian
interpreter, to stir up all the other Indians that he could find, in
order to have a large enough force of Indians to give the emigrants a
good hush. He said, "These are the orders that have been agreed upon by
the Council, and it is in accordance with the feelings of the entire
I asked him
if it would not have been better to first send to Brigham Young for
instructions, and find out what he thought about the matter.
Haight, "that is unnecessary, we are acting by orders. Some of the
Indians are now on the war-path, and all of them must be sent out; all
must go, so as to make the thing a success.
It was then
intended that the Indians should kill the emigrants, and make it an
Indian massacre, and not have any whites interfere with them. No whites
were to be known in the matter, it was to be all done by the Indians,
so that it could be laid to them, if any questions were ever asked
about it. I said to Haight:
what the Indians are. They will kill all the party, women and children,
as well as the men, and you know we are sworn not to shed innocent
said he, "there will not be one drop of innocent
blood shed, if every one of the d--d pack are killed, for they
are the worse lot of out-laws and ruffians that I ever saw in my life."
upon the whole thing, how each one should act, and then left the iron
works, and went to Haight's house and, got breakfast.
breakfast I got ready to start, and Haight said to me:
Brother Lee, and see that the instructions of those in authority are
obeyed, and as you are dutiful in this, so shall your reward be in the
kingdom of God, for God will bless those who willingly obey counsel,
and make all things fit for the people in these last days."
Cedar City for my home at Harmony, to carry out the instructions that I
had received from my superior.
believed that he acted by the direct order and command of William H.
Dame, and others even higher in authority than Colonel Dame. One reason
for thinking so was from a talk I had only a few days before, with
Apostle George A. Smith, and he had just then seen Haight, and talked
with him, and I knew that George A. Smith never talked of things that
Brigham Young had not talked over with him before-hand. Then the
Mormons were at war with the United States, and the orders to the
Mormons had been all the time to kill and waste away our enemies, but
lose none of our people. These emigrants were from the section of
country most hostile to our people, and I believed then as I do now,
that it was the will of every true Mormon in Utah, at that time, that
the enemies of the Church should be killed as fast as possible, and
that as this lot of people had men amongst them that were supposed to
have helped kill the Prophets in the Carthage jail, the killing of all
of them would be keeping our oaths and avenging the blood of the
to myself I will give the facts of my talk with George A. Smith.
latter part of the month of August, 1857, about ten days before the
company of Captain Fancher, who met their doom at Mountain Meadows,
arrived at that place, General George A. Smith called on me at one of
my homes at Washington City, Washington County, Utah Territory, and
wished me to take him round by Fort Clara, via Pinto Settlements, to
Hamilton Fort, or Cedar City. He said,
been sent down here by the old Boss, Brigham Young,
to instruct the brethren of the different settlements not to
sell any of their grain to our enemies. And to tell them not, to feed
it to their animals, for it will all be needed by ourselves. I am also
to instruct the brethren to prepare for a big fight, for the enemy is
coming in large force to attempt our destruction. But Johnston's army
will not be allowed to approach our settlements from the east. God is
on our side and will fight our battles for us, and deliver our enemies
into our hands. Brigham Young has received revelations from God, giving
him the right and the power to call down the curse of God on all our
enemies who attempt to invade our Territory. Our greatest danger lies
in the people of California--a class of reckless miners who are
strangers to God and his righteousness. They are likely to come upon us
from the south and destroy the small settlements. But we will try and
outwit them before we suffer much damage. The people of the United
States who oppose our Church and people are a mob, from the President
down, and as such it is impossible for their armies to prevail against
the Saints who have gathered here in the mountains."
continued this kind of talk for some hours to me and my friends who
were with me.
George A. Smith held high rank as a military leader. He was one of the
twelve apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and
as such he was considered by me to be an inspired man. His orders were
to me sacred commands, which I considered it my duty to obey, without
question or hesitation.
I took my
horses and carriage and drove with him to either Hamilton Fort or Cedar
City, visiting the settlements with him, as he had requested. I did not
go to hear him preach at any of our stopping places, nor did I pay
attention to what he said to the leaders in the settlements.
The day we
left Fort Clara, which was then the headquarters of the Indian
missionaries under the presidency of Jacob Hamblin, we stopped to noon
at the Clara River. While there the Indians gathered around us in large
numbers, and were quite saucy and impudent. Their chiefs asked me where
I was going and who I had with me. I told them that he was a big
"Is he, a
said, "he is a Mormon."
Indians then wanted to know more. They wanted to have a talk.
told me to tell the Indians that the Mormons were their friends, and
that the Americans were their enemies, and the enemies of the Mormons,
too; that he wanted the Indians to remain the fast friends of the
Mormons, for the Mormons were all friends to the Indians; that the
Americans had a large army just east of the mountains, and intended to
come over the mountains into Utah and kill all of the Mormons and
Indians in Utah Territory; that the Indians must get ready and keep
ready for war against all of the Americans, and keep friendly with the
Mormons and obey what the Mormons told them to do--that this was the
will of the Great Spirit; that if the Indians were true to the Mormons
and would help them against their enemies, then the Mormons would
always keep them from want and sickness and give them guns and
ammunition to hunt and kill game with, and would also help the Indians
against their enemies when they went into war.
pleased the Indians, and they agreed to all that I asked them to do.
I saw that
my friend Smith was a little nervous and fearful of the Indians,
notwithstanding their promises of friendship. To relieve him of his
anxiety I hitched up and started on our way, as soon as I could do so
without rousing the suspicions of the Indians.
ridden along about a mile or so when General Smith said,
savage looking fellows. I think they would make it lively for an
emigrant train if one should come this way."
I said I
thought they would attack any train that would come in their way. Then
the General was in a deep study for some time, when he said,
emigrant train should come along through this southern country, making
threats against our people and bragging of the part they took in
helping kill our Prophets, what do you think the brethren would do with
them? Would they be permitted to go their way, or would the brethren
pitch into them and give them a good drubbing?"
a few moments, and then said,
the brethren are now under the influence of the late reformation, and
are still red-hot for the gospel. The
brethren believe the government wishes to destroy them. I
really believe that any train of emigrants that may come through here
will be attacked, and. probably all destroyed. I am sure they would be
wiped out if they had been making threats again our people. Unless
emigrants have a pass from Brigham Young, or some one in authority,
they will certainly never get safely through this country."
pleased him very much, and he laughed heartily, and then said,
really believe the brethren would make it lively for such a train?"
"Yes, sir, I know they will, unless they are protected by a pass, and I
wish to inform you that unless you want every train captured that comes
through here, you must inform Governor Young that if he wants emigrants
to pass, without being molested, he must send orders to that effect to
Colonel Wm. H. Dame or Major Isaac C. Haight, so that they can give
passes to the emigrants, for their passes will insure safety, but
nothing else will, except the positive orders of Governor Young, as the
people are all bitter against the Gentiles, and full of religious zeal,
and anxious to avenge the blood of the Prophets."
reply he made was to the effect that on his way down from Salt Lake
City he had had a long talk with Major Haight on the same subject, and
that Haight had assured him, and given him to understand, that
emigrants who came along without a pass from Governor Young could not
escape from the Territory.
rode along in silence for some distance, when he again turned to me and
Lee, I am satisfied that the brethren are under the full influence of
the reformation, and I believe they will do just as you say they will
with the wicked emigrants that come through the country making threats
and abusing our people."
my views to him, but at much greater length, giving my reasons in full
for thinking that Governor Young should give orders to protect all the
emigrants that he did not wish destroyed. I went into a full statement
of the wrongs of our people, and told him that the people were under
the blaze of the reformation, full of wild fire and fanaticism, and
that to shed the blood of those who would dare to speak against the
Mormon Church or its leaders, they would consider doing the
will of God, and that the people would do it as willingly and
cheerfully as they would any other duty. That the apostle Paul, when he
started forth to persecute the followers of Christ, was not any more
sincere than every Mormon was then, who lived in Southern Utah.
served to cheer up the General very much; he was greatly delighted, and
"I am glad
to hear so good an account of our people. God will bless them for all
that they do to build up His Kingdom in the last days."
Smith did not say one word to me or intimate to me, that he wished any
emigrants to pass in safety through the Territory. But he led me to
believe then, as I believe now, that he did want, and expected every
emigrant to be killed that undertook to pass through the Territory
while we were at war with the Government. I thought it was his mission
to prepare the people for the bloody work.
always believed, since that day, that General George A. Smith was then
visiting Southern Utah to prepare the people for the work of
exterminating Captain Fancher's train of emigrants, and I now believe
that he was sent for that purpose by the direct command of Brigham
I have been
told by Joseph Wood, Thomas T. Willis, and many others, that they heard
George A. Smith preach at Cedar City during that trip, and that he told
the people of Cedar City that the emigrant's were coming, and he told
them that they must not sell that company any grain or provisions of
any kind, for they were a mob of villains and outlaws, and the enemies
of God and the Mormon people.
Littlefield, of Panguitch, has told me that he was knowing to the fact
of Colonel Wm. H. Dame sending orders from Parowan to Maj. Haight, at
Cedar City, to exterminate the Francher [sic] outfit, and to kill every
emigrant without fail. Littlefield then lived at Parowan, and Dame was
the Presiding Bishop. Dame still has all the wives he wants, and is a
great friend of Brigham Young.
knowledge of how George A. Smith felt toward the emigrants, and his
telling me that he had a long talk with Haight on the subject, made me
certain that it was the wish of the Church authorities that Francher
[sic] and his train should be wiped out, and knowing all this, I did
not doubt then, and I do not
doubt it now, either, that Haight was acting by full authority
from the Church leaders, and that the orders he gave to me were just
the orders that he had been directed to give, when he ordered me to
raise the Indians and have them attack the emigrants.
through the whole matter in a way that I considered it my religious
duty to act, and if what I did was a crime, it was a crime of the
Mormon Church, and not a crime for which I feel individually
I must here
state that Klingensmith was not in Cedar City that Sunday night. Haight
said he had sent Klingensmith and others over towards Pinto, and around
there, to stir up the Indians and force them to attack the emigrants.
On my way
from Cedar City to my home at Harmony, I came up with a large band of
Indians under Moquetas and Big Bill, two Cedar City Chiefs; they were
in their war paint, and fully equipped for battle. They halted when I
came up and said they had had a big talk with Haight, Higby and
Klingensmith, and had got orders from them to follow up the emigrants
and kill them all, and take their property as the spoil of their
Indians wanted me to go with them and command their forces. I told them
that I could not go with them that evening, that I had orders from
Haight, the big Captain, to send other Indians on the war-path to help
them kill the emigrants, and that I must attend to that first; that I
wanted them to go on near where the emigrants were and camp until the
other Indians joined them; that I would meet them the next day and lead
satisfied them, but they wanted me to send my little Indian boy, Clem,
with them. After some time I consented to let Clem go with them, and I
When I got
home I told Carl Shirts what the orders were that Haight had sent to
him. Carl was naturally cowardly and was not willing to go, but I told
him the orders must be obeyed. He then started off that night, or early
next morning, to stir up the Indians of the South, and lead them
against the emigrants. The emigrants were then camped at Mountain
did not obey my instructions. They met, several hundred strong, at the
Meadows, and attacked the emigrants Tuesday morning, just before
daylight, and at the first fire, as I afterwards learned, they killed
seven and wounded sixteen of
the emigrants. The latter fought bravely, and repulsed the
Indians, killing some of them and breaking the knees of two war chiefs,
who afterwards died.
The news of
the battle was carried all over the country by Indian runners, and the
excitement was great in all the small settlements. I was notified of
what had taken place, early Tuesday morning, by an Indian who came to
my house and gave me a full account of all that had been done. The
Indian said it was the wish of all the Indians that I should lead them,
and that I must go back with him to the camp.
at once, and by taking the Indian trail over the mountain, I reached
the camp in about twelve miles from Harmony. To go round by the wagon
road it would have been between forty and fifty miles.
reached the camp I found the Indians in a frenzy of excitement. They
threatened to kill me unless I agreed to lead them against the
emigrants, and help them kill them. They also said they had been told
that they could kill the emigrants without danger to themselves, but
they had lost some of their braves, and others were wounded, and unless
they could kill all the "Mericats," as they called them, they would
declare war against the Mormons and kill every one in the settlements.
I did as
well as I could under the circumstances. I was the only white man
there, with a wild and excited band of several hundred Indians. I tried
to persuade them that all would be well, that I was their friend and
would see that they bad their revenge, if I found out that they were
entitled to revenge.
only served to increase their excitement, and being afraid that they
would kill me if I undertook to leave them, and I would not lead them
against the emigrants, so I told them that I would go south and meet
their friends, and hurry them up to help them. I intended to put a stop
to the carnage if I had the power, for I believed that the emigrants
had been sufficiently punished for what they had done, and I felt then,
and always have felt that such wholesale murdering was wrong.
the Indians would not consent for me to leave them, but they finally
said I might go and meet their friends.
I then got
on my horse and left the Meadows, and went south.
I had gone
about sixteen miles, when I met Carl Shirts with about one hundred
Indians, and a number of Mormons from the southern settlements. They
were going to the scene of the con-
flict. How they learned of the emigrants being at the Meadows
I never knew, but they did know it, and were there fully armed, and
determined to obey orders.
those that I remember to have met there, were Samuel Knight, Oscar
Hamblin, William Young, Carl Shirts, Harrison Pearce, James Pearce,
John W. Clark, William Slade, Sr., James Matthews, Dudley Leavitt,
William Hawley, (now a resident of Fillmore, Utah Territory,) William
Slade, Jr., and two others whose names I have forgotten. I think they
were George W. Adair and John Hawley. I know they were at the Meadows
at the time of the massacre, and I think I met them that night south of
the Meadows, with Samuel Knight and the others.
camped there that night with me, but most of the Indians rushed on to
their friends at the camp on the Meadows.
to the whites all that had taken place at the Meadows, but none of them
were surprised in the least. They all seemed to know that the attack
was to be made, and all about it. I spent one of the most miserable
nights there that I ever passed in my life. I spent much of the night
in tears and at prayer. I wrestled with God for wisdom to guide me. I
asked for some sign, some evidence that would satisfy me that my
mission was of Heaven, but I got no satisfaction from my God.
morning we all agreed to go on together to Mountain Meadows, and camp
there, and then send a messenger to Haight, giving him full
instructions of what had been done, and to ask him for further
instructions. We knew that the original plan was for the Indians to do
all the work, and the whites to do nothing, only to stay back and plan
for them, and encourage them to do the work. Now we knew the Indians
could not do the work, and we were in a sad fix.
I did not
then know that a messenger had been sent to Brigham Young for
instructions. Haight had not mentioned it to me. I now think that James
Haslem was sent to Brigham Young, as a sharp play on the part of the
authorities to protect themselves, if trouble ever grew out of the
We went to
the Meadows and camped at the springs, about half a mile from the
emigrant camp. There was a larger number of Indians there then, fully
three hundred, and I think as many as four hundred of them. The two
Chiefs who were shot in the knee were in a bad fix. The Indians had
killed a number of the emigrants' horses, and about sixty or seventy
of cattle were lying dead on the Meadows, which the Indians
bad killed for spite and revenge.
killed a small beef for dinner, and after eating a hearty meal of it we
held a council and decided to send a messenger to Haight. I said to the
messenger, who was either Edwards or Adair, (I cannot now remember
which it was), "Tell Haight, for my sake, for the people's sake, for
God's sake, send me help to protect and save these emigrants, and
pacify the Indians."
messenger started for Cedar City, from our camp on the Meadows, about 2
o'clock P. M.
staid [sic] on the field, and I tried to quiet and pacify the Indians,
by telling them that I had sent to Haight, the Big Captain, for orders,
and when he sent his order I would know what to do. This appeared to
satisfy the Indians, for said they,
Captain will send you word to kill all the Mericats."
toward evening the Indians again attacked the emigrants. This was
Wednesday. I heard the report of their guns, and the screams of the
women and children in the corral.
more than I could stand. So I ran with William Young and John Mangum,
to where the Indians were, to stop the fight. While on the way to them
they fired a volley, and three balls from their guns cut my clothing.
One ball went through my hat and cut my hair on the side of my head.
One ball went through my shirt and leaded my shoulder, the other cut my
pants across my bowels. I thought this was rather warm work, but I kept
on until I reached the place where the Indians were in force. When I
got to them, I told them the Great Spirit would be mad at them if they
killed the women and children. I talked to them some time, and cried
with sorrow when I saw that I could not pacify the savages.
Indians saw me in tears, they called me "Yaw Guts," which in the Indian
language means "cry baby," and to this day they call me by that name,
and consider me a coward.
Hamblin was a fine interpreter, and he came to my aid and helped me to
induce the Indians to stop the attack. By his help we got the Indians
to agree to be quiet until word was returned from Haight. (I do not
know now but what the messenger started for Cedar City, after this
night attack, but I was so worried and perplexed at that time, and so
much has hap-
pened to distract my thoughts since then, that my mind is not
clear on that subject.)
Thursday, about noon, several men came to us from Cedar City. I cannot
remember the order in which all of the people came to the Meadows, but
I do recollect that at this time and in this company Joel White,
William C. Stewart, Benjamin Arthur, Alexander Wilden, Charles Hopkins
and ---- Tate, came to us at the camp at the Springs. These men said
but little, but every man seemed to know just what he was there for. As
our messenger had gone for further orders, we moved our camp about,
four hundred yards further up the valley on to a hill, where we made
camp as long as we staid [sic] there. I soon learned that the whites were as
wicked at heart as the Indians, for every little while during that day
I saw white men. taking aim and shooting at the emigrants' wagons. They
said they were doing it to keep in practice and to help pass off the
one man that was shooting, that rather amused me, for he was shooting
at a mark over a quarter of a mile off, and his gun would not carry a
ball two hundred yards. That man was Alexander Wilden. He took pains to
fix up a seat under the shade of a tree, where he continued to load and
shoot until he got tired. Many of the others acted just as wild and
foolish as Wilden did.
were corraled [sic] after the Indians had made the first attack. On the
second day after our arrival the emigrants drew their wagons near each
other and chained the wheels one to the other. While they were doing
this there was no shooting going on. Their camp was about one hundred
yards above and north of the spring. They generally got their water
from the spring at night.
morning I saw two men start from the corral with buckets, and run to
the spring and fill their buckets with water, and go back again. The
bullets flew around them thick and fast, but they got into their corral
had agreed to keep quiet until orders returned from Haight, but they
did not keep their word. They made a determined attack on the train on
Thursday morning about daylight. At this attack the Clara Indians had
one brave killed and three wounded. This so enraged that band that they
home that day and drove off quite a number of cattle with
them. During the day I said to John Mangum,
cross over the valley and go up on the other side, on the hills to the
west of the corral, and take a look at the situation."
I did go.
As I was crossing the valley I was seen by the emigrants, and as soon
as they saw that I was a white man they ran up a white flag in the
middle of their corral, or camp. They 'then sent two little boys from
the camp to talk to me, but I could not talk to them at that time, for
I did not know what orders Haight would send back to me, and until I
did know his orders I did not know how to act. I hid, to keep away from
the children. They came to the place where they had last seen me and
hunted all around for me, but being unable to find me, they turned and
went back to the camp in safety.
boys were looking for me several Indians came to me and asked for
ammunition with which to kill them. I told them they must not hurt the
children--that if they did I would kill the first one that made the
attempt to injure them. By this act I was able to save the boys.
It is all
false that has been told about little girls being dressed in white and
sent out to me. There never was anything of the kind done.
[sic] on the west side of the valley for about two hours, looking down
into the emigrant camp, and feeling all the torture of mind that it is
possible for a man to suffer who feels merciful, and yet knows, as I
then knew, what was in store for that unfortunate company if the
Indians were successful in their bloody designs.
While I was
standing on the hill looking down into the corral, I saw two men leave
the corral and go outside to cut some wood; the Indians and whites kept
up a steady fire on them all the time, but they paid no attention to
danger, and kept right along at their work until they had it done, and
then they went back into camp. The men all acted so bravely that it was
impossible to keep from respecting them.
staying there and looking down into the camp until I was nearly dead
from grief, I returned to the company at camp. I was worn out with
trouble and grief; I was nearly wild waiting for word from the
authorities at Cedar City. I prayed for
word to come that would enable me to save that band of
suffering people, but no such word came. It never was to come.
evening, John M. Higbee, Major of the Iron Militia, and Philip K.
Smith, as he is called generally, but whose name is Klingensmith,
Bishop of Cedar City, came to our camp with two or three wagons, and a
number of men all well armed. I can remember the following as a portion
of the men who came to take part in the work of death which was so soon
to follow, viz.: John M. Higbee, Major and commander of the Iron
Militia, and also first counselor to Isaac C. Haight; Philip
Klingensmith, Bishop of Cedar City; Ira Allen, of the High Council;
Robert Wiley, of the High Council; Richard Harrison, of Pinto, also a
member of the High Council; Samuel McMurdy, one of the Counselors of
Klingensmith; Charles Hopkins, of the City Council of Cedar City;
Samuel Pollock; Daniel McFarland, a son-in-law of Isaac C. Haight, and
acting as Adjutant under Major Higbee; John Ure, of the City Council;
George Hunter, of the City Council; and I honestly believe that John
McFarland, now an attorney-at-law at St. George, Utah, was there--I am
not positive that he was, but my best impression is that he was there:
Samuel Jukes; Nephi Johnson, with a number of Indians under his
command; Irvin Jacobs; John Jacobs; E. Curtis, a Captain of Ten; Thomas
Cartwright of the City Council and High Council; William Bateman, who
afterwards carried the flag of truce to the emigrant camp; Anthony
Stratton; A. Loveridge; Joseph Clews; Jabez Durfey; Columbus Freeman,
and some others whose names I cannot remember. I know that our total
force was fifty-four whites and over three hundred Indians.
As soon as
these persons gathered around the camp, I demanded of Major Higbee what
orders he had brought. I then stated fully all that had happened at the
Meadows, so that every person might understand the situation.
Higbee reported as follows: "It is the orders of the President, that
all the emigrants must be put out of the way. President Haight has
counseled with Colonel Dame, or has had orders from him to put all of
the emigrants out of the way; none who are old enough to talk are to be
went on and said substantially that the emigrants had come through the
country as our enemies, and as the enemies of the Church of Jesus
Christ of Latter Day Saints. That they
had no pass from any one in authority to permit them to leave
the Territory. That none but friends were permitted to leave the
Territory, and that as these were our sworn enemies, they must be
killed. That they were nothing but a portion of Johnston's army. That
if they were allowed to go on to California, they would raise the war
cloud in the West, and bring certain destruction upon all the
settlements in Utah. That the only safety for the people was in the
utter destruction of the whole rascally lot.
I then told
them that God would have to change my heart before I could consent to
such a wicked thing as the wholesale killing of that people. I
attempted to reason with Higbee and the brethren. I told them how
strongly the emigrants were fortified, and how wicked it was to kill
the women and children. I was ordered to be silent. Higbee said I was
said, "Brother Lee is afraid of shedding innocent blood. Why, brethren,
there is not a drop of innocent blood in that entire camp of Gentile
outlaws; they are set of cut-throats, robbers and assassins; they are a
part of the people who drove the Saints from Missouri, and who aided to
shed the blood of our Prophets, Joseph and Hyrum, and it is our orders
from all in authority, to get the emigrants from their stronghold, and
help the Indians kill them."
I then said
that Joseph Smith had told us never to betray any one. That we could
not get the emigrants out of their corral unless we used treachery, and
I was opposed to that.
interrupted by Higbee, Klingensmith and Hopkins, who said it was the
orders of President Isaac C. Haight to us, and that Haight had his
orders from Colonel Dame and the authorities at Parowan, and that all
in authority were of one mind, and that they had been sent by the
Council at Cedar City to the Meadows to counsel and direct the way and
manner that the company of emigrants should be disposed of.
then in council, I must here state, now knelt down in a prayer circle
and prayed, invoking the Spirit of God to direct them how to act in the
prayer, Major Higbee said, "Here are the orders," and handed me a paper
from Haight. It was in substance that it was the orders of Haight to
decoy the emigrants from their position, and kill all of them that
could talk. This order was in
writing. Higbee handed it to me and I read it, and dropped it
on the ground, saying,
substance of the orders were that the emigrants should be decoyed from
their strong-hold, and all exterminated, so that no one would be left
to tell the tale, and then the authorities could say it was done by the
decoy and exterminate were used in that message or order, and these
orders came to us as the orders from the Council at Cedar City, and as
the orders of our military superior, that we were bound to obey. The
order was signed by Haight, as commander of the troops at Cedar City.
me the next day after the massacre, while on the Meadows, that he got
his orders from Colonel Dame.
I then left
the Council, and went away to myself, and bowed myself in prayer before
God, and asked Him to overrule the decision of that Council. I shed
many bitter tears, and my tortured soul was wrung nearly from the body
by my great suffering. I will here say, calling upon Heaven, angels,
and the spirits of just men to witness what I say, that if I could then
have had a thousand worlds to command, I would have given them freely
to save that company from death.
bitter anguish, lamenting the sad condition of myself and others,
Charles Hopkins, a man that I had great confidence in, came to me from
the Council, and tried to comfort me by saying that he believed it was
all right, for the brethren in the Priesthood were all united in the
thing, and it would not be well for me to oppose them.
I told him
the Lord must change my heart before I could ever do such an act
willingly. I will further state that there was a reign of terror in
Utah, at that time, and many a man had been put out of the way, on
short notice, for disobedience, and I had made some narrow escapes.
earnest solicitation of Brother Hopkins, I returned with him to the
Council. When I got back, the Council again prayed for aid. The Council
was called The City Counselors, the Church or High Counselors; and all
in authority, together with the private citizens, then formed a circle,
and kneeling down, so that elbows would touch each other, several of
the brethren prayed for Divine instructions.
prayer, Major Higbee said, "I have the evidence of God's
approval of our mission. It is God's will that we carry out
our instructions to the letter."
I said, "My
God! this is more than I can do. I must and do refuse to take part in
said to me, "Brother Lee, I am ordered by President Haight to inform
you that you shall receive a crown of Celestial glory for your
faithfulness, and your eternal joy shall be complete." I was much
shaken by this offer, for I had full faith in the power of the
Priesthood to bestow such rewards and blessings, but I was anxious to
save the people. I then proposed that we give the Indians all of the
stock of the emigrants, except sufficient to haul their wagons, and let
them go. To this proposition all the leading men objected. No man there
raised his voice or hand to favor the saving of life, except myself.
was then addressed by some one in authority, I do not remember who it
was. He spoke in about this language: "Brethren, we have been sent here
to perform a duty. It is a duty that we owe to God, and to our Church
and people. The orders of those in authority are that all the emigrants
must die. Our leaders speak with inspired tongues, and their orders
come from the God of Heaven. We have no right to question what they
have commanded us to do; it is our duty to obey. If we wished to act as
some of our weak-kneed brethren desire us to do, it would be
impossible; the thing has gone too far to allow us to stop now. The
emigrants know that we have aided the Indians, and if we let them go
they will bring certain destruction upon us. It is a fact that on
Wednesday night, two of the emigrants got out of camp and started back
to Cedar City for assistance to withstand the Indian attacks; they had
reached Richards' Springs when they met William C. Stewart, Joel White
and Benjamin Arthur, three of our brethren from Cedar City. The men
stated their business to the brethren, and as their horses were
drinking at the Spring, Brother Stewart, feeling unusually full of zeal
for the glory of God and the upbuilding of the Kingdom of God on earth,
shot and killed one of the emigrants, a young man by the name of Aden.
When Aden fell from his horse, Joel White shot and wounded the other
Gentile; but he unfortunately got away, and returned to his camp and
reported that the Mormons were helping the Indians in all that they
were doing against the emigrants. Now the emigrants will report these
facts in California if we let them go. We must kill them
all, and our orders are to get them out by treachery if no
other thing can be done to get them into our power."
Many of the
brethren spoke in the same way, all arguing that the orders must be
I was then
told the plan of action had been agreed upon, and it was this: The
emigrants were to be decoyed from their strong-hold under a promise of
protection. Brother William Bateman was to carry a flag of truce and
demand a parley, and then I was to go and arrange the terms of the
surrender. I was to demand that all the children who were so young they
could not talk should be put into a wagon, and the wounded were also to
be put into a wagon. Then all the arms and ammunition of the emigrants
should be put into a wagon, and I was to agree that the Mormons would
protect the emigrants from the Indians and conduct them to Cedar City
in safety, where they should be protected until an opportunity came for
sending them to California.
agreed that when I had made the full agreement and treaty, as the
brethren called it, the wagons should start for Hamblin's Ranch with
the arms, the wounded and the children. The women were to march on foot
and follow the wagons in single file; the men were to follow behind the
women, they also to march in single file. Major John M. Higbee was to
stand with his militia company about two hundred yards from the camp,
and stand in double file, open order, with about twenty feet space
between the files, so that the wagons could pass between them. The
drivers were to keep right along, and not stop at the troops. The women
were not to stop there, but to follow the wagons. The troops were to
halt the men for a few minutes, until the women were some distance
ahead, out into the cedars, where the Indians were hid in ambush. Then
the march was to be resumed, the troops to form in single file, each
soldier to walk by an emigrant, and on the right-hand side of his man,
and the soldier was to carry his gun on his left arm, ready for instant
use. The march was to continue until the wagons had passed beyond the
ambush of the Indians, and until the women were right in the midst of
the Indians. Higbee was then to give the orders and words, "Do Your
Duty." At this the troops were to shoot down the men; the Indians were
to kill all of the women and larger children, and the drivers of the
wagons and I were to kill the wounded and sick men that were in the
men were to be placed on horses nearby, to overtake and kill
any of the emigrants that might escape from the first assault. The
Indians were to kill the women and large children, so that it would be
certain that no Mormon would be guilty of shedding innocent blood--if
it should happen that there was any innocent blood in the company that
were to die. Our leading men said that there was no innocent blood in
the whole company.
broke up a little after daylight on Friday morning. All the horses,
except two for the men to ride to overtake those who might escape, and
one for Dan McFarland to ride as Adjutant, so that he could carry
orders from one part of the field to another, were turned out on the
range. Then breakfast was eaten, and the brethren prepared for the work
I was now
satisfied that it was the wish of all of the Mormon priesthood to have
the thing done. One reason for thinking so was that it was in keeping
with the teachings of the leaders, and as Utah was then at war with the
United States we believed all the Gentiles were to be killed as a war
measure, and that the Mormons, as God's chosen people, were to hold and
inhabit the earth and rule and govern the globe. Another, and one of my
strongest reasons for believing that the leaders wished the thing done,
was on account of the talk that I had with George A. Smith, which I
have given in full in this statement. I was satisfied that Smith had
passed the emigrants while on his way from Salt Lake City, and I then
knew this was the train that he meant when he spoke of a train that
would make threats and illtreat our people, etc.
were in the full blaze of the reformation and anxious to do some act
that would add to their reputation as zealous Churchmen.
therefore, taking all things into consideration, and believing, as I
then did, that my superiors were inspired men, who could not go wrong
in any matter relating to the Church or the duty of its members,
concluded to be obedient to the wishes of those in authority. I took up
my cross and prepared to do my duty.
breakfast Major Higbee ordered the two Indian interpreters, Carl Shirts
and Nephi Johnson, to inform the Indians of the plan of operations, and
to place the Indians in ambush, so that they could not be seen by the
emigrants until the work of death should commence.
done in order to make the emigrants believe that we
had sent the Indians away, and that we were acting honestly
and in good faith, when we agreed to protect them from the savages.
were obeyed, and in five minutes not an Indian could be seen on the.
whole Meadows. They secreted themselves and lay still as logs of wood,
until the order was given for them to rush out and kill the women.
Higbee then called all the people to order, and directed me to explain
the whole plan to them. I did so, explaining just how every person was
expected to act during the whole performance.
Higbee then gave the order for his men to advance. They marched to the
spot agreed upon, and halted there. William Bateman was then selected
to carry a flag of truce to the emigrants and demand their surrender,
and I was ordered to go and make the treaty after some one had replied
to our flag of truce. (The emigrants had kept a white flag flying in
their camp ever since they saw me cross the valley.)
took a white flag and started for the emigrant camp. When he got about
half way to the corral, he was met by one of the emigrants, that I
afterwards learned was named Hamilton. They talked some time, but I
never knew what was said between them.
Bateman returned to the command and said that the emigrants would
accept our terms, and surrender as we required them to do.
I was then
ordered by Major Higbee to go to the corral and negotiate the treaty,
and superintend the whole matter. I was again ordered to be certain and
get all the arms and ammunition into the wagons. Also to put the
children and the sick and wounded in the wagons, as had been agreed
upon in council. Then Major Higbee said to me:
Lee, we expect you to faithfully carry out all the instructions that
have been given you by our council."
McMurdy and Samuel Knight were then ordered to drive their teams and
follow me to the corral to haul off the children, arms, etc.
formed in two lines, as had been agreed upon, and were standing in that
way with arms at rest, when I left them.
ahead of the wagons up to the corral. When I reached there I met Mr.
Hamilton on the outside of the camp.
He loosened the chains from some of their wagons, and moved
one wagon out of the way, so that our teams could drive inside of the
corral and into their camp. It was then noon, or a little after.
that the emigrants were strongly fortified; their wagons were chained
to each other in a circle. In the centre [sic] was a rifle-pit, large
enough to contain the entire company. This had served to shield them
from the constant fire of their enemy, which had been poured into them
from both sides of the valley, from a rocky range that served as a
breastwork for their assailants. The valley at this point was not more
than five hundred yards wide, and the emigrants had their camp near the
center of the valley. On the east and west there was a low range of
rugged, rocky mountains, affording a splendid place for the protection
of the Indians and Mormons, and leaving them in comparative safety
while they fired upon the emigrants. The valley at this place runs
nearly due north and south.
entered the corral, I found the emigrants engaged in burying two men of
note among them, who had died but a short time before from the effect
of wounds received by them from the Indians at the time of the first
attack on Tuesday morning. They wrapped the bodies up in buffalo robes,
and buried them in a grave inside the corral. I was then told by some
of the men that seven men were killed and seventeen others were wounded
at the first attack made by the Indians, and that three of the wounded
men had since died, making ten of their number killed during the siege.
entered the fortifications, men, women and children gathered around me
in wild consternation. Some felt that the time of their happy
deliverance had come, while others, though in deep distress, and all in
tears, looked upon me with doubt, distrust and terror. My feelings at
this time may be imagined (but I doubt the power of man being equal to
even imagine how wretched I felt.) No language can describe my
feelings. My position was painful, trying and awful; my brain seemed to
be on fire; my nerves were for a moment unstrung; humanity was
overpowered, as I thought of the cruel, unmanly part that I was acting.
Tears of bitter anguish fell in streams from my eyes; my tongue refused
its office; my faculties were dormant, stupefied and deadened by grief.
I wished that the earth would open and swallow me where I stood. God
knows my suffering
was great. I cannot describe my feelings. I knew that I was
acting a cruel part and doing a damnable deed. Yet my faith in the
godliness of my leaders was such that it forced me to think that I was
not sufficiently spiritual to act the important part I was commanded to
perform. My hesitation was only momentary. Then feeling that duty
compelled obedience to orders, I laid aside my weakness and my
humanity, and became an instrument in the hands of my superiors and my
leaders. I delivered my message and told the people that they must put
their arms in the wagon, so as not to arouse the animosity of the
Indians. I ordered the children and wounded, some clothing and the
arms, to be put into the wagons. Their guns were mostly Kentucky rifles
of the muzzle-loading style. Their ammunition was about all gone--I do
not think there were twenty loads left in their whole camp. If the
emigrants had had a good supply of ammunition they never would have
surrendered, and I do not think we could have captured them without
great loss, for they were brave men and very resolute and determined.
Just as the
wagons were loaded, Dan McFarland came riding into the corral and said
that Major Higbee had ordered great haste to be made, for he was afraid
that the Indians would return and renew the attack before he could get
the emigrants to a place of safety.
up the people and started the wagons off towards Cedar City. As we went
out of the corral I ordered the wagons to turn to the left, so as to
leave the troops to the right of us. Dan McFarland rode before the
women and led them right up to the troops, where they still stood in
open order as I left them. The women and larger children were walking
ahead, as directed, and the men following them. The foremost man was
about fifty yards behind the hindmost woman.
and children were hurried right on by the troops. When the men came up
they cheered the soldiers as if they believed that they were acting
honestly. Higbee then gave the orders for his men to form in single
file and take their places as ordered before, that is, at the right of
I saw this
much, but about this time our wagons passed out of sight of the troops,
over the hill. I had disobeyed orders in part by turning off as I did,
for I was anxious to be out of sight of the bloody deed that I knew was
to follow. I knew that I
had much to do yet that was of a cruel and unnatural
character. It was my duty, with the two drivers, to kill the sick and
wounded who were in the wagons, and to do so when we heard the guns of
the troops fire. I was walking between the wagons; the horses were
going in a fast walk, and we were fully half a mile from Major Higbee
and his men, when we heard the firing. As we heard the guns, I ordered
a halt and we proceeded to do our part.
pause in the recital of this horrid story of man's inhumanity, and ask
myself the question, Is it honest in me, and can I clear my conscience
before my God, if I screen myself while I accuse others? No, never!
Heaven forbid that I should put a burden upon others' shoulders, that I
am unwilling to bear my just portion of. I am not a traitor to my
people, nor to my former friends and comrades who were with me on that
dark day when the work of death was carried on in God's name, by a lot
of deluded and religious fanatics. It is my duty to tell facts as they
exist, and I will do so.
I have said
that all of the small children were put into the wagons; that was
wrong, for one little child, about six months old, was carried in its
father's arms, and it was killed by the same bullet that entered its
father's breast; it was shot through the head. I was told by Haight
afterwards, that the child was killed by accident, but I cannot say
whether that is a fact or not. I saw it lying dead when I returned to
the place of slaughter.
When we had
got out of sight, as I said before, and just as we were coming into the
main road, I heard a volley of guns at the place where I knew the
troops and emigrants were. Our teams were then going at a fast walk. I
first heard one gun, then a volley at once followed.
Knight stopped their teams at once, for they were ordered by Higbee,
the same as I was, to help kill all the sick and wounded who were in
the wagons, and to do it as soon as they heard the guns of the troops.
McMurdy was in front; his wagon was mostly loaded with the arms and
small children. McMurdy and Knight got out of their wagons; each one
had a rifle. McMurdy went up to Knight's wagon, where the sick and
wounded were, and raising his rifle to his shoulder, said: "0 Lord, my
God, receive their spirits, it is for thy Kingdom that I do this." He
then shot a man who was lying with his head on another man's breast;
the ball killed both men.
went up to the wagon, intending to do my part of the killing. I drew my
pistol and cocked it, but somehow it went off prematurely, and I shot
McMurdy across the thigh, my Pistol ball cutting his buck-skin pants.
McMurdy turned to me and said:
Lee, keep cool, you are excited; you came very near killing me. Keep
cool, there is no reason for being excited."
shot a man with his rifle; he shot the man in the head. Knight also
brained a boy that was about fourteen years old. The boy came running
up to our wagons, and Knight struck him on the head with the butt end
of his gun, and crushed his skull. By this time many Indians reached
our wagons, and all of the sick and wounded were killed almost
instantly. I saw an Indian from Cedar City, called Joe, run up to the
wagon and catch a man by the hair, and raise his head up and look into
his face; the man shut his eyes, and Joe shot him in the head. The
Indians then examined all of the wounded in the wagons, and all of the
bodies, to see if any were alive, and all that showed signs of life
were at once shot through the head. I did not kill any one there, but
it was an accident that kept me from it, for I fully intended to do my
part of the killing, but by the time I got over the excitement of
coming so near killing McMurdy, the whole of the killing of the wounded
was done. There is no truth in the statement of Nephi Johnson, where he
says I cut a man's throat.
the wounded were all killed I saw a girl, some ten or eleven years old,
running towards us, from the direction where the troops had attacked
the main body of emigrants; she was covered with blood. An Indian shot
her before she got within sixty yards of us. That was the last person
that I saw killed on that occasion.
time an Indian rushed to the front wagon, and grabbed a little boy, and
was going to kill him. The lad got away from the Indian and ran to me,
and caught me by the knees; and begged me to save him, and not let the
Indian kill him. The Indian had hurt the little fellow's chin on the
wagon bed, when he first caught hold of him. I told the Indian to let
the boy alone. I took the child up in my arms, and put him back in the
wagon, and saved his life. This little boy said his name was Charley
Fancher, and that his father was Captain of
the train. He was a bright boy. I afterwards adopted him, and
gave him to Caroline. She kept him until Dr. Forney took all the
children East. I believe that William Sloan, alias Idaho Bill, is the
the parties were dead, I ordered Knight to drive out on one side, and
throw out the dead bodies. He did so, and threw them out of his wagon
at a place about one hundred yards from the road, and then came back to
where I was standing. I then ordered Knight and McMurdy to take the
children that were saved alive, (sixteen was the number, some say
seventeen, I say sixteen,) and drive on to Hamblin's ranch. They did as
I ordered them to do. Before the wagons started, Nephi Johnson came up
in company with the Indians that were under his command, and Carl
Shirts I think came up too, but I know that I then considered that Carl
Shirts was a coward, and I afterwards made him suffer for being a
coward. Several white men came up too, but I cannot tell their names,
as I have forgotten who they were.
when he said I went to the ranch and ordered him to go to the field
with his team. I never knew anything of his team, or heard of it, until
he came with a load of armed men in his wagon, on the evening of
Thursday. If any one ordered him to go to the Meadows, it was Higbee.
Every witness that claims that he went to the Meadows without knowing
what he was going to do, has lied, for they all knew, as well as Haight
or any one else did, and they all voted, every man of them, in the
Council, on Friday morning, a little before daylight, to kill all the
wagons, with the children, had started for Hamblin's ranch, I turned
and walked back to where the brethren were. Nephi Johnson lies when he
says he was on horse-back, and met me, or that I gave him orders to go
to guard the wagons. He is a perjured wretch, and has sworn to every
thing he could to injure me. God knows what I did do was bad enough,
but he has lied to suit the leaders of the Church, who want me out of
back, to the brethren, I passed the bodies of several women. In one
place I saw six or seven bodies near each other; they were stripped
perfectly naked, and all of their clothing was torn from their bodies
by the Indians.
along the line where the emigrants had been killed,
and saw many bodies lying dead and naked on the field, near by
where the women lay. I saw ten children; they had been killed close to
each other; they were from ten to sixteen years of age. The bodies of
the women and children were scattered along the ground for quite a
distance before I came to where the men were killed.
I do not
know how many were killed, but I thought then that there were some
fifteen women, about ten children, and about forty men killed, but the
statement of others that I have since talked with about the massacre,
makes me think there were fully one hundred and ten killed that day on
the Mountain Meadows, and the ten who had died in the corral, and young
Aden killed by Stewart at Richards' Springs, would make the total
number one hundred and twenty-one.
reached the place where the dead men lay, I was told how the orders had
been obeyed. Major Higbee said, "The boys have acted admirably, they
took good aim, and all of the d--d Gentiles but two or three fell at
the first fire."
that three or four got away some distance, but the men on horses soon
overtook them and cut their throats. Higbee said the Indians did their
part of the work well, that it did not take over a minute to finish up
when they got fairly started. I found that the first orders had been
carried out to the letter.
the emigrants did get away, but the Indians were put on their trail and
they overtook and killed them before they reached the settlements in
California. But it would take more time than I have to spare to give
the details of their chase and capture. I may do so in my writings
hereafter, but not now.
Major Higbee, Klingensmith. and most of the brethren standing near by
where the largest number of the dead men lay. When I went up to the
brethren, Major Higbee said,
now examine the bodies for valuables."
I said I
did not wish to do any such work.
said, "Well, you hold my hat and I will examine the bodies, and put
what valuables I get into the hat."
were all searched by Higbee, Klingensmith and Wm. C. Stewart. I did
hold the hat a while, but I soon got so sick that I had to give it to
some other person, as I was unable to stand for a few minutes. The
search resulted in getting a little money and a few watches, but there
was not much money. Higbee and Klingensmith kept the property, I
suppose, for I
never knew what became of it, unless they did keep it. I think
they kept it all.
dead were searched, as I have just said, the brethren were called up,
and Higbee and Klingensmith, as well as myself, made speeches, and
ordered the people to keep the matter ,a secret from the entire world.
Not to tell their wives, or their most intimate friends, and we pledged
ourselves to keep everything relating to the affair a secret during
life. We also took the most binding oaths to stand by each other, and
to always insist that the massacre was committed by Indians alone. This
was the advice of Brigham Young too, as I will show hereafter.
were mostly ordered to camp there on the field for that night, but
Higbee and Klingensmith went with me to Hamblin's ranch, where we got
something to eat, and staid [sic] there all night. I was nearly dead
for rest and sleep; in fact I had rested but little since the Saturday
night before. I took my saddle-blanket and spread it on the ground soon
after I had eaten my supper, and lay down on the saddle-blanket, using
my saddle for a pillow, and slept soundly until next morning.
awakened in the morning by loud talking between Isaac C. Haight and
William H. Dame. They were very much excited, and quarreling with each
other. I got up at once, but was unable to hear what they were
quarreling about, for they cooled down as soon as they saw that others
were paying attention to them.
learned that Col. Dame, Judge Lewis of Parowan, and Isaac C. Haight,
with several others, had arrived at the Hamblin ranch in the night, but
I do not know what time they got there.
breakfast we all went back in a body to the Meadows, to bury the dead
and take care of the property that was left there.
reached the Meadows we all rode up to that part of the field where the
women were lying dead. The bodies of men, women and children had been
stripped entirely naked, making the scene one of the most loathsome and
ghastly that can be imagined.
that Dame and Haight had quarreled at Hamblin's that morning, I wanted
to know how they would act in sight of the dead, who lay there as the
result of their orders. I was
greatly interested to know what Dame had to say, so I kept
close to them, without appearing to be watching them.
Dame was silent for some time. He looked all over the field, and was
quite pale, and looked uneasy and frightened. I thought then that he
was just finding out the difference between giving and executing orders
for wholesale killing. He spoke to Haight, and said:
report this matter to the authorities."
you report it?" said Haight.
"I will report it just as it is."
suppose so, and implicate yourself with the rest?" said Haight.
Dame. "I will not implicate myself for I had nothing to do with it."
said, "That will not do, for you know a d--d sight better. You ordered
it done. Nothing has been done except by your orders, and it is too
late in the day for you to order things done and then go back on it,
and go back on the men who have carried out your orders. You cannot sow
pig on me, and I will be d--d if I will stand it. You are as much to
blame as any one, and you know that we have done nothing except what
you ordered done. I know that I have obeyed orders, and by G-d I will
not be lied on."
Dame was much excited. He choked up, and would have gone away, but he
knew Haight was a man of determination, and would not stand any
As soon as
Colonel Dame could collect himself, he said:
"I did not
think there were so many of them, or I would not have had anything to
do with it."
it was now time for me to chip in, so I said:
what is the trouble between you? It will not do for our chief men to
stepped up to my side, a little in front of me, and facing Colonel
Dame. He was very mad, and said:
trouble is just this: Colonel Dame counseled and ordered me to do this
thing, and now he wants to back out, and go back on me, and by G-d, he
shall not do it. He shall not lay it all on me. He cannot do it. He
must not try to do it. I will blow him to h--l before he shall lay it
all on me. He has got to stand up to what he did, like a little man. He
knows he ordered it, done, and I dare him to deny it."
Colonel Dame was perfectly
cowed. He did not offer to deny it again, but said: "Isaac, I did not
know there were so many of them."
no difference," said Haight, "you ordered me to do it, and you have got
to stand up for your orders."
it was now time to stop the fuss, for many of the young brethren were
coming around. So I said: "Brethren, this is no place to talk over such
a matter. You will agree when you get where you can be quiet, and talk
said, "There is no more to say, for he knows he ordered it done, and he
has got to stand by it."
That ended the trouble between them, and I
never heard of Colonel Dame denying the giving of the orders any more,
until after the Church authorities concluded to offer me up for the
sins of the Church.
went along the field, and passed by where the brethren were at work
covering up the bodies. They piled the dead bodies up in heaps, in
little gullies, and threw dirt over them. The bodies were only lightly
covered, for the ground was hard, and the brethren did not have
sufficient tools to dig with. I suppose it is true that the first rain
washed the bodies all out again, but I never went back to examine
whether it did or not.
went along the field to where the corral and camp had been, to where
the wagons were standing. We found that the Indians had carried off all
of the wagon covers, and the clothing, and the provisions, and had
emptied the feathers out of the feather-beds, and carried off all the
dead were covered up or buried (but it was not much of a burial,) the
brethren were called together, and a council was held at the emigrant
camp. All the leading men made speeches; Colonel Dame, President
Haight. Klingensmith, John M. Higbee, Hopkins and myself. The speeches
were first--Thanks to God for delivering our enemies into our hands;
next, thanking the brethren for their zeal in God's cause; and then the
necessity of always saying the Indians did it alone, and that the
Mormons had nothing to do with it. The most of the speeches, however,
were in the shape of exhortations and commands to keep the whole matter
secret from every one but Brigham Young. It was voted unanimously that
any man who should divulge the secret, or tell who was present, or do
anything that would lead to a discovery of the truth, should suffer
brethren then all took a most solemn oath, binding themselves under the
most dreadful and awful penalties, to keep the whole matter secret from
every human being, as long as they should live. No man was to know the
facts. The brethren were sworn not to talk of it among themselves, and
each one swore to help kill all who proved to be traitors to the Church
or people in this matter.
It was then
agreed that Brigham Young should be informed of the whole matter, by
some one to be selected by the Church Council, after the brethren had
It was also voted to turn all the
property over to Klingensmith, as Bishop of the Church at Cedar City,
and he was to take care of the property for the benefit of the Church,
until Brigham Young was notified, and should give further orders what
to do with it.