History[ edit ] Though the massacre had already been the topic of numerous books, the authors observed there was a modern feeling that the LDS Church should invite "true reconciliation" by showing "more candor about what its historians actually know about the event".
This massive slaughter claimed nearly everyone in the party from Arkansas and is the event referred to as the Mountain Meadows Massacre. They were headed toward California and their path took them through the territory of Utah. The wagon train made it through Utah during a period in time of violence history would later call the Utah War to rest in the area of Mountain meadows.
It was leaders from the nearby militia called Nauvoo Legion that staged the attack on the train of pioneers. This militia was comprised of the Mormons that settled Utah. With the intent of pointing the finger at Native Americans they armed Southern Paiute Native Americans and coerced them to join their party in the attack.
The first attack resulted in a siege of five days with the wagon travelers fighting back. After the siege both sides were growing desperate. The travelers were running low on food and water and the militia feared that they would be recognized for not being Native Americans and therefore complicate the war in Utah.
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 death total was and Mountain meadow massacre of men, women and children. They did spare the lives of 17 children who were younger than seven. They quickly buried all the bodies and their haste left the slightly exposed.
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. The company included about men, women and children—the women and children outnumbered the able-bodied men 2-to As daylight broke in the remote Utah Territory valley, a volley of gunfire and a shower of arrows ripped into the wagon camp from nearby ravines and hilltops, immediately killing or wounding about a quarter of the adult males.
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.
The Arkansans pulled their scattered wagons into a circle l and quickly improved their wagon fort, digging a pit to protect the women and children from stray projectiles. Cut off from any source of water and under continual gunfire, the emigrants fended off their assailants for five long, hellish days.
On Friday, September 11, hope appeared in the form of a white flag.
The emigrants let the emissary, a Mormon from a nearby settlement, into their fort, and then John D. Lee, the local Indian agent, followed. Lee told the Arkansans he and his men had come to rescue them from the Indians. If the emigrants would lay down their arms, the local militia would escort them to safety.
The travelers had few options: The Mormons separated the survivors into three groups: Lee led this forlorn parade more than a mile to the California Trail and the rim of the Great Basin. There, the senior Mormon officer escorting the men gave an order: Painted savages—a few of whom may have been actual Indians—jumped out of the oak brush lining the trail and cut down the women and children, while Lee directed the murder of the wounded.
Within five minutes, the atrocity was over.
For the men who committed this horrific atrocity, the legacy of Mountain Meadows became a haunting memory they could never escape. Those most guilty of the crime explained it with denials, lies and alibis that twisted and turned as the evidence inevitably came out.
Some of the killers went mad, some apparently killed themselves and several fled to Mexico, but only one man faced the music and was executed for the crime: Lee, regarded as a scapegoat by his descendants and historians alike.
For the children who survived and the families of the victims, the massacre became a deep and enduring wound. For many living descendants and relatives of the victims, who have long been slandered as frontier hard cases who got what they deserved, the massacre remains a bitter injustice.
For years, leaders and official historians of the LDS Church have worked hard to justify or explain away the crime, and a large part of the legacy of the murders is a tangled web of lies and deception.
On Tuesday, September 11,another wagon train from Arkansas will arrive at Mountain Meadows to commemorate the sesquicentennial of one of the grimmest anniversaries in American history. After a long forgetfulness, the last five years have seen a flurry of histories, biographies, novels, plays, films and articles about the massacre.In September , some two thousand persons gathered in Cedar City, Utah, to effect a reconciliation among those whose ancestors died or participated in what may be considered the most unfortunate incident in the history of the LDS Church, the Mountain Meadows Massacre.
(Blood of the Prophets: Brigham Young and the Massacre at Mountain Meadows, by Will Bagley, University of Oklahoma Press, , p. ) Even though James Pearce, my great-grandfather, evidently participated in the Mountain Meadows massacre, it was said he tried to spare one child.
Will Bagley writes: The Mountain Meadows Massacre. Nov 21, · The Mountain Meadows Massacre of Sept.
11, , has been hailed by historians as "the most hideous example of the human cost exacted by . New Volumes Contribute to Understanding.
May 11, –Two new volumes contribute to understanding the Mountain Meadows Massacre.. The volumes, titled Mountain Meadows Massacre: Collected Legal Papers, Initial Investigations and Indictments, and Mountain Meadows Massacre: Selected Trial Records and Aftermath, are now available from the University of Oklahoma Press and Amazon.
Renewed interest in the Mountain Meadows case developed in the early s, thanks largely to a series of stories in the Utah Reporter by Charles W. Wandell, writing under the pen name "Argus," that challenged Brigham Young's response to the massacre.
The Mountain Meadows Massacre has continued to cause pain and controversy for years. During the past two decades, descendants and other relatives of the emigrants and the perpetrators have at times worked together to memorialize the victims.