A Mormon Murder Yet Unavenged.
Some Incidents of the Morrisite Massacre as Related by an Eye Witness.
Now that speculation is rife as to wheth-er the efforts to unearth some of the bloody details which have stained the annals of Mormon history, and made the very name of Mormondom a terror and a disgrace to the civilization of the age, will be success-ful in bringing to justice the perpetrators of those dark and fiendish acts, the follow-ing narrative of the Morrisite massacre—a butchery second only in atrocity to that committed at Mountain Meadows—may not be devoid of interest to our readers. The story was reported to a MADISONIAN reporter by a citizen of Madison county who was present during the slaghter, and witnessed the killing of Morris and his fol-lowers, It appears that Morris was the leader of a band who had seceded from the main body of the Mormon church, on ac-count of their disbelief in and aversion to the odious doctrine of polygamy, and these "apostates" organized themselves into a church, retaining the original doctrines of the Mormon creed, but bitterly opposing the practice of polygamy and tithe-paying, with-several other pet swindles which, even at that early day, began to manifest them-selves among the Latter-day frauds. While Morris was regarded as the leader of the dissenters, the government of the new church was vested in one John Banks as President, and Richard Cook and John Parsons as Counsellors. As soon as the or-ganization was effected, Morris and his fol-lowers inaugurated a furious campaign against the obnoxious practices which had led to their defection, and denounced in unmeasured terms the crime of the Mor-mon leaders and their fanatical dupes. It was not long till the members of the new body, which had assumed the high-sound-ing title of "The True Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints," found they had stirred up a very hornet's nest, about their ears, and the vengeful Mormons made it so uncomfortable for them, by stealing their stock, shooting at them, and other like pastimes, that they were compelled to abandon their homes in the spring of 1862 and remove northward to the Weber river, where they formed a settlement and found-ed a town. But their removal availed them nothing, and their persecutors harassed them continually by frequent raids upon their herds, running their stock into the Mormon towns, and pillaging the Morrisite settlements whenever opportunity offered. The Morrisites submitted to this state of affairs without resistance for some time; but, their patience ceasing to be a virtue, they took the law into their own hands—there being no U. S. troops in Utah at that time—and arrested two or three of tin; dep-redators, holding that it was better to feed them as prisoners than to permit them to despoil the settlement of its possessions. The seizure of these thieves was at once her-alded by the Mormons as a terrible crime, and a deputy sheriff was sent to the Weber with a writ to demand their release. The Morrisites informed them that when the cattle that had been stolen were returned the men should be released. The emissary of the law then gave them to understand that he must be paid, anyhow, for his trouble, and was about to take away a fine stallion belonging to one of the Morrisites, but was induced to refrain from doing so after looking down the barrels of a couple of shotguns, and observing the contents, in readiness to leap forth it he led that horse away. He concluded he didn't want the animal, and left on the "double-quick." Alter this, peace reigned on the Weber for a few weeks, but it was only the lull be-fore the storm, and in June, 1862, orders were issued by Brigham and his aids for-bidding the millers to grind any grain for the Morrisites, and about the same time an army of about 800 men, with four pieces of of artillery, was started from Salt Lake City. The first intimation the Morrisites had of the coming of this army was given by a herd boy who came running into town, nearly frightened to death, and bearing a letter which he had been told to deliver "d—d quick, if he didn't want hell shot out of him." The people were called together with all possible speed, and assembled un-der a large bowery which was used as a pub-lic gathering-place, and one of them pro-ceeded to read the contents of the note. He had scarcely got the envelope open, however, when "crash!" came a cannon ball through the bowery, cutting a girl's chin off, then entering the left breast of a woman who was suckling an infant at the right breast, killing her on the spot, and passing so close to another woman that she was killed by the concussion of air. The infant in the arms of the woman who was shot in the breast escaped uninjured. Thus, by the first shot, two women were killed and one wounded. This had the ef-fect to scatter the assembly, and a general stampede ensued, amid the galling fire of shot, rifle balls and scrap iron, every one intent upon seeking a place of safety, which was difficult to find, as the habita-tions consisted principally of willow cabins, tents, and a few log buildings. In spite of the incessant fire of the Mormons, an or-ganization for defense was effected, and the men of the Morrisite camp, about six-ty or seyenty in number, armed with shot-guns and rifles, kept their assailants at bay for three days, when their ammunition gave out, and they were compelled to hoist the white flag. During the fight the non-combatants were engaged in digging trenches to put their women and children in, but several of the former were killed by cannon and rifle balls, which penetra-ted the willow cabins in every direction. The scene was heart-rending in the ex-treme. Having failed to carry the assault, the Mormons next attempted to turn the Weber river into the Morrisite camp, but were unable to do so on account of the strength of the current, the river being very high. During the fight there were killed—one Morrisite, one Mormon, and a Gentile who was accompanying the Mor-mon army.
The Murder of Morris.
Upon the raising of the white flag the Mormons marched into the camp and gave orders that the Morrisite arms be stacked, and this being done four or five files of men were placed between the people and their weapons, each man with his gun cocked and leveled upon the captives, who were huddled together in a crowd. Col, R. T. Burton, then Sheriff of Salt Lake, and now under arraignment for murder, rode in front of his posse, and shouted: "Where is the man that calls himself Joe Morris?" Morris having step-ped out and made himself known, Burton angrily commanded him to "say what he had to say, and say it d—d quick." Morris replied: "I have done no wrong; I have taught these people true principles—prin-ciples they can live by—principles they can die by—" Here he was interrupted by Burton, who, with a face livid with pas-sion. exclaimed: "I'll have no more of your G—d—treason," and fired five shots from his revolver at Morris, killing him and a woman who stood behind him. About this time one of the Mormons stepped be-hind John Banks, the aged President of the Morrisite church, and shot him in the back of the skull, after which he was dragged by the hair of his head a distance of several rods, a feat which seemed to af-ford intense gratification to these Latter Day Saints(!) While this inhuman tragedy was being enacted, a woman who was stand-ing by, nursing the child of the woman who was killed by the first shot, and her-self far advanced in pregnancy, exclaimed in horrified tones, as she gazed upon the sickening spectacle: "What Bloody Butchers!" when one of two men who were standing by shouted to his companion, "G—d— her, pop her," and the other, raising his pistol, shot her in the neck, killing her instantly, while the child, for the second time, fell to ground unhurt. After Burton and his myrmidons had completed their fiendish work the men were marched to one of the benches near the foothills, and, with the memory of the Mountain Meadow massacre fresh in their minds, the uppermost thought was that they would be the victims of a similar slaughter, and our informant is of opinion that the fact that Gen. Connor was on his way to Utah with his troops at that time was the only thing that detered Burton from a repetition of the scenes of that tragedy. Those of the Mormon army who were not engaged in guarding the prison-ers, ransacked the wardrobes and effects of the Morrisites, carrying off every thing of real or supposed value, and destroying that which was of no use to themselves. The dead were taken to headquarters, and the venerable President, Banks, who was still liying, was carried into a tent, from which he never came out alive. It is said that while he lay there he asked for a chew of tobacco, when his bloodthirsty guard re-plied: "Yes, G—d—you; here's a chew;" and drawing his pistol, shot Banks through the bowels. That night the prisoners were Crowded together, and guards, three feet apart, placed around them, while the rain descen-ded in torrents, and this in addition to the fact that they had little or nothing to eat for three days, made the night anything but a pleasant one. In the morning their guards taunted them by shaking out the crumbs of the provision sacks for their breakfast, and giving them in addition beef-bones smear-ed with the excrement of the beasts that had been slaughtered, and which they had stolen from their captives' herds. They were then marched to Farmington, fifteen miles distant, when a repetition of the morning meal was had, and the next day they were taken to Salt Lake City, where they were bound, over to appear at the Dis-trict Court and answer the complaint of the grand jury. When that Court convened, Brigham’s pliant tool. Judge Kinney, sen-tenced some of the unfortunates to various terms of imprisonment for resisting a gang of ruffianly murderers, but they were all released by Governor Harding in response to a petition gotten up by the Gentiles of Salt Lake, who were familiar with the cir-cumstances. Had the Governor not exer-cised his prerogative, the prisoners would, doubtless, all have died, as they were heav-ily chained day and night, and confined in wet, filthy dungeons, with an insufficiency of food. The above is a "plain, unvarnished tale," given as nearly as possible in the words of our informant, who bears a reputation for veracity which can not be impeached among his neighbors. How long shall the blood-curdling horrors that he relates go unavenged, and how long shall the disgust-ing diabolism of the Latter-day iniquity continue to blacken the enlightenment of the nineteenth century?
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