A surprising number of books, both fiction and nonfiction, have dealt with the massacre during the last five years. The next day, Brigham Young’s Washington agent reported that Forney had given the Mormon version of the massacre and would “be of service.” Young immediately responded that if Forney continued to be a “friend of Utah,” he would not lose“his reward.”. In his recollections, Lynch claimed he and a few men might have been sent ahead in disguise to find the children and determine what kind of reception awaited Forney. The travelers had few options: they surrendered and agreed to Lee’s strange terms. Bagley was also one of the people interviewed for a Mountain Meadows episode—coproduced by Bill Kurtis and Paul Andrew Hutton, and scheduled to air in late December 2004—of the History Channel’s Investigating History series. Lynch ran a store in Woodberry, and Sarah taught Sunday school. Massacre at Mountain Meadows offers the most thoroughly researched account of the massacre ever written. The answer was no mystery to the editor who first published the news in California. Nine days after the massacre, his interpreter, Dimick Huntington, told Ute leader Arapeen in Young’s presence, “Josephs Blood had got to be Avenged.” Why was this particular train the target of prophetic wrath? None of the Mountain Meadows orphans had bleaker prospects than Sarah Dunlap, who was only 1 year old when a gunshot wound almost severed her arm during the massacre. The Mountain Meadows Massacre stands as one of the darkest events in Mormon history. Events soon showed that neither of them had the courage to ensure justice was done for the victims of the massacre, let alone the gumption to stand up to a powerhouse like Brigham Young, “the Lion of the Lord.” Despite detailed, credible evidence that whites and not Indians had committed themassacre, Forney hired Mormons to escort him on his trip to southern Utah. The channel’s Standards and Practices Committee, which had never objected to any of Kurtis’ productions, took an intense interest in the Mountain Meadows episode. During that time, I’ve witnessed the dedication of two monuments—one near the highway on Dan’s Hill overlooking the killing ground, where a 1990 granite monument financed by descendants and the state of Utah honors the victims; and a second that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints raised in 1999 over the grave of the victims, whose remains were inadvertently unearthed by a backhoe during the monument’s hurried construction. On Tuesday, September 11, 2007, another wagon train from Arkansas will arrive at Mountain Meadows to commemorate the sesquicentennial of one of the grimmest anniversaries in American history. Following the success of Roots, the 1977 ABC television miniseries, David Susskind hoped to create a similar phenomenon with a series on the massacre. Forney told Lynch he was “doubtful” about the Mormons he had hired to escort him to Mountain Meadows. When descendants began to lobby to build a monument to the victims of the massacre in the late 1980s, their efforts went nowhere until they enlisted President Hinckley’s support. The final script (which won a Spur Award) bore only a passing resemblance to Hutton’s original. Jon Krakauer’s Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith was more successful. Young made no effort to investigate the crime or identify the perpetrators. The surviving men of the Fancher Party leveled their lethal long rifles at their hidden, painted attackers and stopped the brief frontal assault in its tracks. If nothing else, the movie will introduce millions of people to this forgotten stain on America’s history—and most importantly, it should doom forever attempts to blame the disaster on its victims. He stopped 40 miles south of Salt Lake City to testify before the grand jury that the fearless Judge John Cradlebaugh was holding in Provo. Poisoning The Well & Murder – In his official report about the Mountain Meadows Massacre, member of the First Presidency George A. Smith claimed that the wagon party poisoned a spring and killed ten local American Indians as well as local Latter-day Saint settlers. The day after visiting Mountain Meadows, Forney and his escort reached the Mormon settlement at Santa Clara, where they found 13 of the surviving children in the custody of Hamblin, who was just beginning his legendary career as a frontiersman and Indian interpreter for explorers such as John Wesley Powell. An Incident That Should Be Forgotten: Books. Rogers soon learned that one child was at a remote settlement named Pocketville. Yet events surrounding the upcoming sesquicentennial appear primed to bring more attention to the massacre than it has had since the death of Brigham Young. This militia was comprised of the Mormons that settled Utah. Despite the passage of 150 years, it appears that Latter-day Saints, survivors of the Southern Paiute Nation, descendants of the victims and their murderers, and a scattering of historians and the curious will gather at the meadows. Cut off from water and under continual gunfire,the emigrants fended off their assailants for five long, hellish days. Marshal William Rogers reported two years later, trusted Lee’s honor and agreed to his unusual terms. “I remember I called all of the women I saw `Mother,’” Sallie remembered. Lynch died about 1910 and was buried next to his wife in an unmarked grave. HistoryNet.com is brought to you by Historynet LLC, the world's largest publisher of history magazines. Gen. Albert Sidney Johnston, commander of the Department of Utah, ordered one company of dragoons and two of infantry to proceed to Santa Clara to protect travelers on the road to California, investigate reported Indian depredations and provide an escort for the Army paymaster who was on his way to Camp Floyd with a large supply of “spondulicks,” as Utah’s Valley Tan reported—back pay in gold, worth a rumored half-million dollars. Johnston then ordered the “Santa Clara Expedition ” to provide protection for Judge Cradlebaugh, who was on his way to investigate the crime and, if possible, arrest the murderers. Predicting how someone will come down on the issue is not hard: “It’s a story I’ve lived with my entire life, being a so-called gentile in Salt Lake City,” rare book dealer Ken Sanders said. At dawn on Monday, September 7, 1857, Major John D. Lee of the Nauvoo Legion, Utah’s territorial militia, led a ragtag band of 60 or 70 Latter-day Saints, better known as Mormons, and a few Indian freebooters in an assault on a wagon train from Arkansas. This massive slaughter claimed nearly everyone in the party from Arkansas and is the event referred to as the Mountain Meadows Massacre. The church itself shot down several attempts to make a movie about the massacre. The work will be drawn “from documents previously not available to researchers.” Like me, I suppose, although sources at the church’s historical department have told friends “Bagley got everything of significance” at LDS Archives. Lee led his charges three-quarters of a mile from the campground to a southern branch of the California Trail. … These spin doctors fooled no one. The children arrived home not long before Confederate guns opened fire at Fort Sumter, and Arkansas witnessed some of the most brutal conflict of the Civil War. This massive slaughter claimed nearly everyone in the party from Arkansas and is the event referred to as the Mountain Meadows Massacre. “I guess I was still hoping to find my own mother, and every time I called a woman `Mother,’ she would break out crying.”. “You will be well compensated forall the trouble you and Mrs. Hamblin will have,”Forney promised. The trial ended in a … “When I first passed through the place,” Rogers later wrote, “I could walk for near a mile on bones, and skulls laying grinning at you, and women and children’s hair in bunches as big as a bushel.” The bones of children were lying by those of grown persons, “as if parent and child had met death at the same instant and with the same stroke.” Lynch could not forget seeing the remains of those innocent victims of“avarice, fanatacism and cruelty,” adding, “I have witnessed many harrowing sights on the fields of battle, but never did my heart thrill with such horrible emotions.”. The Billinghurst Requa Battery, a breechloading gun, consisted of 25 horizontally arrayed barrels and required a crew of three to work it.... Get inside articles from the world's premier publisher of history magazines. I believe Mountain Meadows was a calculated act of vengeance directed and carried out by Brigham Young and his top associates. (Lynch’s captain title, however, was honorary, not military.) History of the Mountain Meadows Massacre Summary: In September 1857 a group of Mormons in southern Utah killed all adult members of an Arkansas wagon train that was headed for California.Critics charge that the massacre was typical of Mormon "culture of violence," and claim that Church leaders—possibly as high as Brigham Young—approved of, or even ordered the killing. My personal favorite among all the recent books on the massacre is Judith Freeman’s Red Water, which brilliantly reconstructs the lives of three of the wives of John D. Lee. The victims, most of them from Arkansas, were on their way to California with dreams of a bright future. Excerpt. I’ll be there, too, as I have been for about every other September 11 over the last 20 years. But the stain of the Mountain Meadows massacre was not so easily erased; Lee remained a fugitive until November 1874 and went on trial for murder the next year. The first attack resulted in a siege of five days with the wagon travelers fighting back. Mitchell wrote to Senator W.K. He found them“happy and contented, exceptthose who were sick” andinsisted the orphans were inbetter condition than most ofthe children in the settlementsin which they lived. As a group of militia men entered the camp under a white flag, they then lead the emigrants from their encampment to their death. The orphans and their ages at the time of the massacre included the children of George and Manerva Baker: Mary Elizabeth, 5; Sarah Frances, 3, and William Twitty, 9 months; of Alexander and Eliza Fancher: Christopher “Kit” Carson, 5, and Triphenia D., 22 months; of Joseph and Matilda Miller: John Calvin, 6; Mary, 4, and Joseph, 1; of Jesse and Mary Dunlap: Rebecca J., 6; Louisa, 4, and Sarah Ann, 1; of Lorenzo Dow and Nancy Dunlap: Prudence Angeline, 5, and Georgia Ann, 18 months; of Peter and Saladia Huff: Nancy Saphrona, 4; of Pleasant and Armilda Tackitt: Emberson Milum, 4, and William Henry, 19 months; and of John Milum and Eloah Jones: Felix Marion, 18 months. Every LDS public relations flak’s nightmare arrived this June with the release of September Dawn, director Christopher Cain’s romantic telling of the awful tale and the first feature-length film ever made about the massacre (see review in June 2007 Wild West). Again and again, I’ve had people ask, “Why haven’t I ever heard about this?” Upon consideration, the atrocity’s obscurity is easier to understand: After all, such a tale of blood and sorrow had little to recommend it to those who created the legend of the West. With Jon Voight, Trent Ford, Tamara Hope, Terence Stamp. Learn more. Meanwhile, both the U.S. Army and Federal Judge Cradlebaugh had launched their own investigations of the murders. It was not retribution, which is the just application of punishment for a bad act, but revenge, which simply involves getting even and is not particular about who gets the ax. The surviving men cheered their rescuers when they fell in with their escort. In addition to the printed volumes, the full John D. Lee Trial Transcript Archive is now available on this website. Interestingly, no record of what the two boys told federal officials survives, but even “Old Granny” had seen enough. He asked Sebastian to investigate: “I must have satisfaction for the inhuman manner in which they have slain my children,” he wrote,“together with two brothers-in-law and seventeenof their children.” Many of the murdered emigrantscame from powerful Arkansas families. The LDS Church presented its first systematic alibi for the massacre in 1884. The “Mountain Meadows Massacre,” as it has been called, has intrigued historians and laypeople alike for more than a century and a half. The death total was 120 and comprised of men, women and children. The Mountain Meadows Massacre has continued to cause pain and controversy for 150 years. For the men who committed this horrific atrocity, the legacy of Mountain Meadows became a haunting memory they could never escape. “You would have thought we were heroes,” Sarah Frances “Sallie” Baker recalled in 1940. Yet another battle in the ongoing war over how the story of Mountain Meadows will be told may begin soon. After returning to Arkansas, she was educated at the school for the blind in Little Rock and settledwith her sister Rebecca in Calhoun County. Her mother told him bluntly that because of what Brigham Young did to her ancestor, she wouldn’t let him date her daughter. Despite a host of legends about a surviving child who remained in southern Utah, all reliable evidence indicates that the federal officials successfullyrecovered every surviving child. Uncle Billy joined Forney at Nephi as an assistant. After retiring, Lynch visited his old charges in Arkansas, who greeted him “as a returned father.” The old frontiersman found Sarah Dunlap, now “a cultured lady of 34 years,” and he soon “wooed and won” Miss Sarah. Patrick became interested in the story after reading a news article about the reestablishment of the Mountain Meadows Association. A newspaper story about the association’s attempts at reconciliation among those who share the massacre’s legacy caught his attention. The party, led by veteran plainsmen familiar with the California Trail and its variants, consisted of a dozen large, prosperous families and their hired hands. On 11 September 1857, some 50 to 60 local militiamen in southern Utah, aided by American Indian allies, massacred about 120 emigrants who were traveling by wagon to California. They form part of a long tradition: Writers as renowned as Mark Twain and Jack London told the story, and Buffalo Bill Cody rescued his sister May from the massacre in a play that helped launch his career. It is as one‐sided and intolerant as the Brigham. The Mountain Meadows Massacre By Richard E. Turley Jr. On September 11, 1857, some 50 to 60 local militiamen in southern Utah, aided by American Indian allies, massacred about 120 emigrants who were traveling by wagon to California. Academic presses are primed to release at least three serious nonfiction studies of the event over the next year, including one by the forensic anthropologist who analyzed the bones of 28 men, women and children the U.S. Army buried in 1859. On September 11, 1857, a band of Mormon militia, under a flag of truce, lured unarmed members of a party of emigrants from their fortified encampment and, with their Paiute allies, killed them. Not long after setting out, Forney learned that $30,000 worth of property and presumably some cash had been distributed among Mormon church officials at Cedar City within a few days of the massacre.

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