An Official Narrative of the Atro-city Written in 1859.
"If the Vengeance of the Lord Is Slow, it is Equally Sure."
[From the Cincinnati Gazette.]
WASHINGTON, July 21.
The trial now in progress in Utah gives interest to the following papers, copied from the files of the Indian Office, relating to the Mountain Meadows Massacre.
The papers were sent to Mr. Greenwood in 1859, he being at that time Buchanan's Commissioner of Indian Affairs, by an army officer stationed at Fort Floyd, Utah.
The statements then made in regard to the par taken in the murders by John D. Lee, agree closely with the confession which he has just made at Salt Lake:
CAMP FLOYD, U. T., August 17,1859.
SIR—Herewith you have a copy of Lynch's testi-mony with regard to the murder of the Arkansas emigrants at Mountain Meadows, in this Territory, in September, 1857.
I have known Lynch since 1847. He was in the Mexican war when I first met him. He is a re-markable and honest man, and I do not believe he would tell a lie under any circumstances. I am aware that the Mormons, and those in the confi-dence of the Mormons, will of course try to in-validate Lynch's statement, but those of us here now who know him will sustain him. * * *
I assure (you) Judge, I would most gladly pre-fer Fort Smith as a residence to Utah. People abroad from Arkansas give us a bad name, but, my dear sir, they have not learned of the doings of this people. Crime of every hue and dye is perpe-trated here, under the sanction of the Mormon Church, upon payment to the Church fund of ten per cent; it is serving the Mormon Lord. Kill, rob, murder, plunder, etc.; if the ten per cent is paid up, all right with the Church and the Mormon Government, and go ahead. I am satisfied that Mr. Buchanan has been misled with regard to the Mormons and Mormon character. I know if he slightly understood these people he would change the present policy toward them. It is but trifling with justice to treat them pacifically. Some more stringent policy must be adopted, and I hope Con-gress will give Mr. Buchanan power to do so. The President has treated them most humanely, but the Mormons refuse to appreciate his human-ity. I have the honor to be. respectfully, your old friend, S. H. MONTGOMERY.
Hon. A. B. Greenwood, Commissioner of Indian Aflairs.
CEDAR COUNTY, UTAH TERRITORY.
James Lynch, of lawful age, being duly sworn, states on oath: That he was one of the party who accompanied Dr. Jacob Forney, Superintendent of Indian Aflairs, in an expedition to the Mountain Meadows, Santa Clara, in the months of March and April last, when we received sixteen children, sole survivors of the wholesale massacre per-petrated at the former place in the month of Sep-tember, 1857. The children, when we first saw them, were in amost wretched and deplorable condition, with little or no clothing, covered with fiith and dirt. They presented a sight heart rending and miserable in the extreme. The scene of the fearful murder still hears evidence of the atrocious crime, charged by the Mormons and their frienps to have been perpetrated by Indians, but really by Mormons disguised as Indians, who, in their headlong zeal, bigotry and fanaticism, deemed this a favored opportunity of at once wreaking their vengeance on the hated people of Arkansas, and of making another of those in-iquitous "blood-offerings'' to God so often recom-mended by Brigham Young and their other leaders. For more than two square miles the ground is strewn with the skulls, bones, and other re-mains of the victims. In places the water has washed many of these remains together, forming little mounds, raising monuments, as it were, to the cruelty of man to his fellow-man.
Here and there may be found the remains of an innocent infant beside those of some fond, devoted mother, ruthlessly slain by men worse than demons; their bones lie bleaching in the noonday sun, a mute but eloquent appeal to a just but of-fended God for vengeance. I have witnessed many harrowing sights on the fields of battle, but never did my heart thrill with such horrible emo-tions as when standing on that silent plain con-templating the remains of the innocent victims of Mormon avarice, fanaticism and cruelty. Many of these remains are now in possession of Mr. Rogers, a gentleman who accompanied us on the expedi-tion.
Why were not the remains interred, if not in a Christian-like and proper manner, at least covered from the sight? But no; the hatred of their murder is extended to them after death—there they lay, a prey to the famished wolves, that run howling over the desolate plains to the unlooked for feast, food for the croaking ravens that through the tainted air with swift wing wended their way to revel in their banquet of blood.
I inquired of Jacob Hamblin, who is a High Church dignitary, why these remains were not buried at some time subsequent to the murder. He said the bodies were so much decomposed that it was impossible to inter them. No longer let us boast of our citizenship, freedom or civilization. There were one hundred and forty poor, homeless emigrants to California butchered in cold blood, by white men, too, with attending circumstances far exceeding anything in cruelty that we have ever heard of or read of being perpetrated by sav-ages. It is now high time that the actors and per-petrators of this dreadful crime should be brought to condign punishment. For years these Mormons have possessed an immunity from punishment, or a sort of privilege for committing crime of this na-ture, but soon it is to be hoped a new state of things must dawn—a retribution must come, ven-geance must be had—civilization, humanity and Christianity call for it, and the American people must have it. Blood may be shed, difficulties may be encountered, but just as sure as there is a son at noonday retribution will yet overtake the guilty wretches, their aids and abettors, whether open or hidden under disguise of government em-ployment.
John D. Lee, a Mormon President, has knowl-edge of the whereabouts of much of the property taken from these ill-fated emigrants, and, if Iam not misinformed, is in possession of a large quan-tity of it. Why not make him disgorge this ill-gotten plunder, and disclose the amount escheated to and sold out by the Mormon Church, as its share of the blood of helpless victims? When he enters it, to a league with hell and covenants with death, he should not be allowed to make feasts and en-tertain government officials at his table, as he did Dr. Jacob Forney, Superintendent of Indian Af-fairs, while the rest of his party refused, in his hearing and that of Lee, to share the hospitalities of this notorious murderer—this scourge of the desert. This man Lee does not deny, but admits, that he was present at the massacre, but pre-tends that he was there to prevent bloodshed, but positive evidence implicates him as the leader of the murederers too deeply for denial. The children point him out as one of them that did the bloody work. He and other white men had these children, and they never were in the hands of the Indians, but in those that murdered them, and Jacob Hamblin and Jacob Forney knew it.
The children pointed out to us the dresses and jewelry of their mothers and sisters that now grace the angelic forms of these murderers' women and children. Verily it would seem that men and women alike combined in this wholesale slaughter. This ill fated train consisted of eighteen wagons, eight hundred and twenty head of cattle, house-hold goods to a large amount, besides money esti-mated at $80,000 or $90,000, the greater part of which, it is believed, now makes rich the harems of John D. Lee. Of this train, a man whose name is unknown, fortunately escaped at the time of the massacre to Yegars, one hundred miles distant from the scene of blood, on the California road. Here he was followed by five Mor-mons, who, through promises of safety, etc., prevailed upon him to begin his return to Moun-tain Meadows, and, contrary to their promises and his just expectations, they inhumanly butchered him—laughing at and disregarding his loud and repeated cries for mercy, as witnessed and told by Ira Hatch, one of the five. The object in killing this man was to leave no witnesses competent to give testimony in a court of justice; but God, whose ways are inscrutable, has thought proper, through the instrumentality of the "babes and sucklings'' recovered by us, to bring to light this most horrible tragedy, and make, known its bar-barous, inhuman perpetrators. Already a step has been taken by Judge Cradlebaugh in the right direction, of which we see the evidence in the flights of presidents, bishops, and elders to the mountains to escape the just penalty of the law for their crimes. If the vengeance of the Lord is slow, 'tis equally sure. The Mormons, who know better, have reported that the principals and, in fact, all the actors in this fearful mas-sacre were Indian savages; but subsequent events have thrown sufficient light upon this mystery to fix the foul blot indelibly on the Mormon escutcheon. Many of the leaders are well known. John D. Lee was the commander in-chief. President Height and Bishop Smith, in Ce-dar City, and, besides these. 100 actors and ac-complices, are known to Judge Cradlebaugh and Dr. Forney. Some of those implicated are and have been in the confidence and under the em-ployment of the Superintendent of Indian Affairs. Bishop Hamblin, for instance, who is employed by Dr. Forney among the Indians down South, who knows all the facts, but refuses to disclose them; who falsely reported to Dr. Forney the children we brought away were recovered by him from persons who had bought them from Indians, and who knew that what he reported was false, and was so done to cheat the government out of money to again reward the guilty wretches for their in-human butcheries—It is pretended that this man is friendly towards the United States Government, yet it is a well-known fact that he screened some of these murder-ers about his house from justice, among whom are an Indian, named George, and a white man by the name of Tillis, recognized by one of these children, a little girl eight years old, who has been sent off to the States by Dr. Forney, as the man who killed her mother. Hamblin cannot be a Mormon Bishop and a friend of the United States, at least where Mormons or Mormonism is concerned. His creed and oaths forbid it, and he could not, if he would, with safety to himself, do it. Then why not out with him ? Dr. Forney can find another and more trustworthy agent than he. Why, then, keep and patronize the abettor of crime? Before I close, my duty to my country calls upon me to state to the public the course of Dr. Forney to engender in the minds of the Mor-mons feelings of antipathy and opposition to the judiciary, and the many obligations which he vio-lated and promises which he disregarded during this trip.
I left Camp Floyd in March last, in charge of thirty-nine men emigrating to Arizona. About the 27th of that month we came up with Dr. Forney at Beaver City, who there informed me that he was en route to the scene of the Mountain Meadows massacre and Santa Clara, to procure evidence in relation thereto, and to secure the surviving children. He informed me that all his men had left him, being Mormons, and who, before leav-ing, had infermed him, Forney, that if he went down South that the people down there would make an eunuch of him, and asked us for aid and assistance. I cheerfully placed the whole party at his command, telling him that he had started upon an errand of mercy, and it was strange that he should have employed Mormons, the very con-federates of these monsters who had so wantonly murdered unoffending emigrants, to ferret out the guilty parties.
He was left without a man, and we found him guarding his mules and wagons. He requested two of the men of my party (Thomas Dunn and John Lopunk) to return to Great Salt Lake City with him, promising to give them employment during the following summer and winter. They consented to abandon their trip to Arizona upon these terms, and return with the Doctor. I am sorry to say he violated his plighted faith and his solemn contract on reaching the city, by immedi-ately discharging them without cause and hiring Mormons to take their place, as I am informed has been his custom since he came into the valley. I was with Dr. Forney from the time I joined him until he returned to the city of Salt Lake, having voluntarily abandoned my expedition to Arizona to aid his humane enterprise, and during the trip I repeatedly heard him tell the Mormons that they need not fear Judge Cradlebaugh (whose disclosures and energy had created some alarm), that he (Forney) would have him re-moved from office, that the Mormons (murderers and all) were all included in the President's proc-lamation and pardon, and would not be tried or punished for any offense whatever committed prior to the issuing of the pardon. That Judge Cradlebaugh was not a fit man for office, in fact abusing and slandering the Judge in unmeasured terms, no language being too low or filthy to apply to him. I could arrive at no other conclusion from his conduct than that the Doctor desired to influence the minds of the Mormons against the judiciary, and that he cared more to create a prej-udice against Judge Cradlebaugh's course in at-tempting to bring these murderers to light than he did to elicit the truth relative to his murders, and that he was only following out his instructions from the general government in going after the children, while he was availing himself of this journey to make a pilgrimage to the south settle ments to abuse and traduce Judge Cradlebaugh, and arouse a feeling of resistance to his authority among the guilty murderers.
It is to be regretted that the doctor has manifest-ed so hostile a feeling to his associate Federal offi-cer, and that the course of thejudge, especially that of Judge Cradlebaugh, has to be criticised by such a man as Jacob Forney—a more veritable old granny than whom, in my opinion, never held an official position in this country, and in this opinion I am borne out by the concurrent opinions of nearly all the Gentile population in Utah who know him, as well as by many of the Mormon peo-ple. I now reside in Cedar county, U. T.
(Signed) JAMES LYNCH.
James Lynch being duly sworn, states on oath that all the material facts stated by him in the fore-going affidavit, so far as he states the same as of his own knowledge, are true; and so far as he states the same as from information derived from others, as also the conclusions drawn from the same, he believes to be true, and further saith not.
(Signed) JAMES LYNCH.
Sworn and subscribed to, July 27. 1859.
[Signed] R. D. ECKELS,
Chief Justice of Supreme Court.
The under mentioned state on oath that the foregoing affidavit has been carefully read to them; that they are the identical persons named in it as having been employed by Dr. Jacob For-ney to return with him to Salt Lake City; that they went from Beaver City with said Forney south and back again; and that we fully concur in the state-ments made by James Lynch, Esq., in the forego-ing affidavit, as to what we saw and heard on the trip, and the conduct of Dr. Forney, Superin-tendent of Indian Affairs, and further say not.
[Signed] THOMAS DUNN.
[Signed] JOHN LOPUNK.
Subscribed and sworn to before me, July 27, 1859.
[Signed] D. R. ECKELS,
Chief Justice of Supreme Court.
Click tabs to swap between content that is broken into logical sections.