MOUNTAIN MEADOW TRAGEDY.
Particulars of the Massacre—The Most Horrid Event of the American Border —One Hundred and Thirty Men, Wo-men and Children Murdered by the Mormons.
The late arrest of John D. Lee, the chief actor in the Mountain Meadow Mas-sacre some twenty years ago, gives occa-sion to relate the particulars of that fright-ful tragedy, as far as they have been as-certained.
Discovery of the Massacre.
In 1858, while Gen. Johnston's army was encamped at Camp Floyd, fifty miles from Salt Lake, information was received in regard to the Mountain Meadow Mas-sacre, and the action of the Government at Washington, appropriating $10,000 for the recovery of the children presumed to have been saved from the massacre, and supposed to have been in the hands of the Indians. Mr. Rogers being appointed In-dian agent, was instructed during the summer, to proceed to the scene of the massacre and rescue the surviving chil-dren. He took a company of cavalry and left Camp Floyd for Cedar City near the scene of the massacre. On arriving on the ground, he found the bones of a hun-dred and thirty human beings, men, wo-men and children. In gathering up the remains for burial, he discovered that a large number of the murders persons had been shot through the head—the ball entering the back part of the head and coming out at the front. The wolves and coyotes had eaten the flesh from the bones. A two bushel basket of women's hair that was strewen around among the sage brush was gathered up by Mr. Rogers.
The Emigrants Slain.
In 1849, upon the excitement created by the gold discoveries in California, several pioneers of Arkansas went to California in search of the precious metal. They were very successful. In the fall of 1856, with their accumulated gains, they returned to Arkansas for the purpose of taking their families and some of their relatives to set-tle in the new El Dorado, in which they had been so fortunate. They purchased a large amount of blooded stock, and fitted out a train of about forty wagons. They numbered about one hundred and forty-six men, women and children. They were known to be a very wealthy train. In the spring of 1857, as we have stated, they started across the plains. On arriv-ing at Salt Lake City, they were told by the Mormons that they were too late to cross the Sierra Nevada Mountains by the old emigrant route. The Mormons as-sured them that there was a better pass by going down through Southern Utah, pass-ing through Southern Neavda, going over the range of mountains and coming out near Los Angeles, Lower California. This route the Mormons assured the emigrants to be practicable and safe. Placing confi-dence in the reports and statements of the Mormons, the emigrants started by the southern route.
Scene of the Massacre.
Passing down through the settlements unmolested, they encamped at what is known as Mountain Meadows, a little narrow valley dividing the hills and mountains on each side, with a plentiful supply of grass and water—a beautiful place to camp. Little did these emigrants think that this beautiful spot would in a short time be their sepulchre, the scene of a sanguinary massacre—the worst massa-cre that we have any record of in the his-tory of the bloody deeds of the savages upon the early defenceless American set-tlements. While encamped in this lovely spot they were attacked from behind the adjoining hills by, as they supposed, In-dians. Several of their number were wounded. The pioneers, however, being used to Indian warfare and well skilled with the handling of the old Kentucky rifle, were able to keep their assailants at a long range. Their wagons were drawn into a circle, forming a sort of fortification. The wheels were sunken down to the hubs. Earthworks were thrown up on the out-side of the wagons, making a temporary but somewhat formidable defence. A ditch was dug from this fortification to a spring near at hand to enable the emi-grants to reach water under cover. For five long days they were able to sustain themselves here without any further loss in wounded or killed. Their stock had been captured and driven off early in the attack.
Treachery of the Mormons.
On the sixth day, early in the morning, they discovered a large body of men com-ing up the road, from toward Cedar City. No firing had been done that morning, and no supposed Indians in sight. A white flag was hoisted by the white men ap-proaching them, and these doomed emi-grants, believing the new comers to be friends, dressed a beautiful girl in white and placed her outside of the fortifications in token of friendship. The presumed friends at once approached. They were Mormons—Latter-day Saints—and headed by John D. Lee. A parley ensued. Lee told the emigrants that there were large numbers of Indians in the hills; but if they (the emigrants) would lay down their arms they would protect them and take them back to the Mormon settlements, they then being 300 miles southwest from Salt Lake City, and near the Nevada line. After a long parley the emigrants consent-ed to the proposition of Lee. It may be here remarked that these emigrants had about one hundred and fifty thousand dol-lars in gold with them, which they had procured by their previous ventures in Cali-fornia. Lee told them that if they took their arms with them the Indians were in such great numbers that they would massa-cre them. Plunder, said the Mormon chief was all the Indians were after. The pio-neers thereupon laid down their arms, taking with them such of their valuables as they could conveniently carry, and con-sented to accompany the Mormons back to Cedar City—twelve miles. The emigrants marched out of their fortifica-tions in the direction of the above named place.
Consummation of the Tragedy.
The Mormons, headed by Lee fell di-rectly in their rear. At this time not an Indian was in sight, and 200 yards from the wagons of the emigrants was inaugu-rated the scene of this terrible deed. Lee and his party commenced firing upon the emigrants, shooting several of the most prominent men through the head at the first fire. The emigrants being entirely unarmed, the slaughter was an easy task. After all the men and most of the women had been killed, a young lady of eighteen summers sprung forward, and clasping her hands, fell upon her knees in front of Lee, begging him to spare her life. She then rose and clasped him round the neck, de-claring to him that she had a lover in Cal-ifornia to whom she owed her life; that she was engaged to marry him on her ar-rival there. Lee, after hearing her pitiful story, took her aside and ravised her, and then with his knife cut her throat, leaving her body on the spot to be eaten by the wolves.
Sixteen children were saved from the general massacre, two of them being seven years of age. Mr. Rogers gathered the children together, refusing to pay the ran-som demanded for their release by the Mormons. After he had the children in his camp, near the Mormon settlements at Cedar City, two of them, then about eight years of age, told Mr. Rogers that Lee and the white men had murdered their parents. Of course, Mr. Rogers was astounded at this, the first information he had received of the real authors of the di-abolical massacre. He pursued his inves-tigations among the children, and their testimony was corroborative of the intelli-gence he had previously obtained. It should be here stated that two Mormons came to the tent of Mr. Rogers at mid night, about this time, and told him that their hearts were heavy with grief. If he would spare their lives they would give him a true history of the awful massacre. Rogers told them to proceed and open their hearts.
These two Mormons, (the names of whom Mr. Rogers does not recall) told him they were summoned by John D. Lee, the then commander of the Nauvoo Legion at Cedar City, to appear in Indian costume, painted, with long hair, fully to represent the native savage, prepared to go to Mountain Meadows. The Mormons attacked the train of emigrants as Indians. Lee finding that the emi-grants were too strongly fortified, after five days' siege, retired back and dressed in citizen's clothes, and as we have above described decoyed the emigrants into a sur-render of their arms. The statement was made in full to Mr. Rogers by the two Mormons we have referred to, thus corrob-orating fully the statements made by the rescued children, furthermore, they sta-ted that the blooded stock and the wagons of the emigrants were taken back to Cedar City to the Mormon tithing establishment, and there sold at public auction for the benefit of the Mormon Church.
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