MOUNTAIN MEADOW AFFAIR
A Horrible Tale of Treachery and Murder.
We believe most of our readers have at some time or other heard with a feeling of horror, of the butchery of some 140 Missouri and Arkansas immi-grants by Mormon cut-throats in 1857, and which is known as the "Mountain Meadow Massacre." The leaders and perpetrators of that fearful crime have during the long period intervening since that event been permitted to go where they would, from one State to another, from one continent to another, with no one to bar their way, while the whiten-ed bones of the victims, covered only by the canopy of heaven, were a silent witness of the terrible crime. After eighteen years it now seems as if the perpetrators are to be ferreted out and punished and that the developments now being made will implicate many high officials and even threaten the safety of Brigham Young himself. The trial of John D. Lee, a Bishop in the church, and of Dame who are supposed to have been the ringleaders in the tragedy, began on Monday the 12th inst. Lee has turned State's evidence and has made a confession of the crime, a synopsis of which is published on the first page of to-days paper, in which he fixes the responsibility of the crime up-on Isaac C. Haight and John M. Higby, and asserts that it was the result of a Military order, the Territory then be-ing under martial law, and that Brig-ham Young was not aware of the mas-sacre and that upon learning of the transaction he wept like a child, saying that "it was a most unfortunate affair; the most unwarranted event that had ever happened to the Mormon people, etc;" but the evidence of one Kling-man Smith who formerly was a bishop in the Mormon Church, would seem to indicate that if he was not one of the instigators in the massacre, he was at least an accessory from the fact that af ter its commission he used all the means in his power to cover up the crime from the eyes of the outside world.
The Mormons have always been held responsible by the world at large for this crime, but it has been impossible to get proof sufficient to convict them. If the results are achieved that are expec ted, it will prove the death blow to Mormonism in that Territory and yet it is safe to say that this Mountain Meadow's Massacre is only one of the many bloody dramas that has been en-acted under the powerful, protection guaranteed by the Mormon Church. As this trial is at present attracting considerable interest, we publish the most important part of the proceed-ings so far; and also the evidence of Philip Klingman Smith an eye-witness and participant in the affair and of oth-ers who passed through Mountain Meadow shortly after the commission of the crime. The description which Smith gives of the treachery by which the emigrants were lured from their stronghold and the manner in which they were slaughtered is sickening in its details and nothing but the Saint Bartholomew massacre approaches it in fiendishness. The following is the ev-idence as reported by telegraph:
BEAVER. July 23.—The Lee trial was resum-ed to-day. The interest of the people is at fever heat. Lee's wife and a number of Gentile wo-men are in Court. United States Attorney Cary eloquently made a statement of the ex-pected proof. He drew a vivid picture of the rich emigrant train, bound for California, en-tering Utah, which was refused supplies, at tacked by Indians, the entrenched siege of days, the coming of Lee with troops, the flag of truce, the treachery and murder of men, women and children, the property taken to the tithing house, the sale of goods, bodies lying unburied for weeks following, and the killing of those who escaped, the report of the deed to Brigham Young, his orders to sell the property, and never mention the deed, the want of knowledge of the transaction on the part of the Mormon jury—all these things he would prove. The defence are greatly discomposed by the publi-cation of the outlines of Lee's confession, as it gives a clear idea of Lee's confessed guilt and destroyed the intended theory that the massacre is chargeable to the Indians. It is not an-nounced what new theory the defence have set up. No one expects a verdict from the jury as composed. The prosecution say their desire is to get the facts before the people and a pop ular verdict against the power of the Mormon Church, and think the trial will break the backbone of this priestly confederacy. The defence say they expect no verdict, but neither can there be a conviction. It is now openly charged that the Mormon authorities are aid-ing Lee's defence, notwithstanding his excom munication. The feeling of indignation is great over the jurors' swearing that they had no knowledge of the massacre, though old resi-dents of that region. Comments are loud and severe, especially over the attempt of one of the defendant's sons-in-law to sit on the jury. On the other hand, the Mormons declare they are taking no part in the defence; that the jurors live in remote regions, seldom discussing public matters, and are honest in saying that they have no opinion or knowledge of the mas-sacre. They declare Judge Cradlebaugh held Court at Cedar City in May, 1858, and had all the facts in the case before him; that he had Johnston and his army to aid him, but that he took no steps; that Lee lived there sixteen years, but no attempt was made to prosecute them; that the Church took no part in the trial, and had no part in the massacre, and defy proof.
BEAVER, July 23.—At 2 o'clock the first witness was called. Robert Keyes came to Utah October 2, 1857, through Mountain Meadow; saw two piles of bodies, women and children piled promiscuously about—some sixty or seventy; the children were from two months old to twelve years; the smaller were torn by wolves and crows, and some of the bodies were shot, some had their throats cut, some stabbed, and all torn by wolves, except one woman a little way off, who appeared as if asleep, with a ball-hole in her left side; the appearance of the body indicated that she had been dead fif-teen days; seven of us saw it; there was a pile of men's bodies, dead, further on; didn't go to see them; there was no clothing on the bodies, except one sock on a man; none were scalped.
Asahel Bennett called—Was at the Meadow in December, 1857; saw bones there, and the horrible skeletons of women and children, curls and long tresses of hair and dried blood; the children were from ten to twelve years of age; saw some skulls that had flesh dried on them; the bodies had been buried, but the wolves evidently had dug them up.
Philip Klingman Smith (a defendant, of San Bernardino, California) called—The pros-ecution entered nolle prosequi as to himself Lived at Cedar City in 1857; the Meadow is forty-five miles south of Cedar City, on the California road; was at the massacre in Sep-tember, 1857; heard of emigrants coming; the people were forbidden to trade with them and they felt bad about it; saw a few of them at Cedar City; this was on a Friday; some of them swore and Higbee fined them; when they went on I heard rumors of trouble; on Sundays it was the custom to have meetings of the Present, Council and Bishop, when the matter of their destruction was discussed by Haight, Higbee, Morrell, Allen, Wells, myself and others; there were some brethren who were opposed to their destruction; I did also; Haight jumped up and broke up the meeting; I asked what would be the consequences of such an act; then Haight got mad; the In-dians were to destroy them on Monday; Hig-bee, Haight, White and I conversed again; I opposed their destruction; Haight relented and told White and I to go ahead and tell the people the emigrants should go through safe; we did so; on the road we met John D. Lee; told him where we were going; he replied: "I have something to say about that matter." We passed the emigrants at Iron Springs; next morning we passed them again as we came back; they had twenty or thirty wagons and there were over one hundred people, old, middle aged, old women, middle aged, youths and children; near home we met Ira Allen; he said the emigrants' doom was sealed, the die was cast for destruction; that Lee's orders were to take men and go out and intercept.
I went home; three days after Haight sent for me; said orders came from the camp; they did not get along, and wanted reinforcements; that he had been to Parowan and and got fur-ther orders from Colonel W. H. Dame to finish the massacre by decoying out the emigrants and to spare only the small children who could not tell the tale. Either Bateman or Lee went out with the white flag, and a man from the emigrants met them. Lee and the man sat down on the grass and had a talk, but I don’t know what they talked about. Lee went with the man into the entrenchments, and after some hours they came out and the emigrants came up, with the wounded in the wagons ahead. The wounded were those hurt the three days previous fight; said Mormons and Indians couldn't oust the emigrants; next came the women, next men; as the emigrants came up the men were hailed, and the women on foot, and the children and wounded went on ahead with John D. Lee. The settlers had orders to be ready to fire at the word; when the word “Halt!” came, the so-ldiers fired once; don't know if I killed any of the men; all were not killed at the first shot; saw the women dead afterward; their throats were cut; I saw, as I came up to them, a man kill a young girl; the men were marched in double file first, then thrown into single file, with the soldiers along by their side; heard the emigrants congratu-lating themselves on their safety from the In-dians. At last John M. Higby came and or-dered my squad to fire; Lee, like the rest, had fire-arms; no emigrants escaped; I saw sol-diers on horses ready to take after those who might run; saw a man run, and saw Bill Stew-art on a horse go after him and kill him; saw one wounded man beg for his life; Higby cut his throat; the man said, "I would not do this to you;" Higby knew him; after I fired I was told to gather up the little children; as I went I saw a large woman running toward the men, crying, "My husband! my husband!" and the soldiers shot her in the back and she fell dead; as I went on I found the wagons, with the wounded all out upon the ground, their throats being cut; I went on and found the children and put them in the wagons and took them to the Highlands House; I saw no more; the sol-diers dispersed then; two of the children were wounded one died at Hamblin's, I think; I had to leave it there; there were a good many soldiers from the counties south, whom I didn't know. After several days Haight sent me to Iron Springs, where the wagons, cattle and goods of the emigrants were; got them, and put them in the tithing house; I was to brand the cattle, too; found there John Urie and Hunter and Allen; I put the goods in the Church Tithing Office cellar and left the wag-ons in front of the Tithing Office; branded the cattle with the church brand—a cross; Lee was in the cellar with me and saw the goods; flight and Higby told me a council had been held, and that Lee was deputed to go to Presi dent Brigham Young and report all the facts of the massacre; Lee went; I followed Lee to attend to the Conference of October 6, at Salt Lake City; I met Lee at Salt Lake and asked if he had reported to Brigham Young; he said, "Yes, every particular;" on the same day I, Lee and Charley Hopkins called on Brigham Young, who there, in our presence, said: 'You have charge of that property in the Tithing Office; turn it over to John D. Lee; what you know of this say nothing of it; don't talk of it even among yourselves. There were Indians at the massacre; the hills were pretty full of them; they were deputed to kill the women; I saw one Indian cut a little boy's throat; heard no effort to restrain the Indians; several of the Indians were wounded, and three died of their wounds; the Indians came back to Cedar City where they lived; one was called Bill, and one Tom, both chiefs; saw some of the emigrants' property with the Indians; saw Lee get dresses and jeans from the Tithing Office out of the emigrants' plunder; I learned from Allen that Lee was the one to gather up the Indians to attack the emigrants; talked with Lee about it afterward; Lee was Indian Agent at Har-mony; agents traded with the tribes and issued goods and rations of the Government to the Indians.
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