When all was in place, a pre-determined signal was given and each of the armed white men turned, shot, and killed each of the unarmed Baker-Fancher party members. Some have concluded that Brigham Young, himself, was involved in a cover-up, but others argue that the evidence does not support such a conclusion. Eventually, as more information came to light, some of the principal participants were excommunicated from the Church. It was led by a local leader and member of the church, John D. Lee over a Mormon militia. In the words of one scholar, "the complete—the absolute—truth of the affair can probably never be evaluated by any human being; attempts to understand the forces which culminated in it and those which were set into motion by it are all very inadequate at best." The plan involved the emigrants giving up their arms, loading the wounded into wagons, and then being followed by the women and the older children, with the men bring up the rear of the company in a single-file order. The official correspondence shows that a reward was offered for the capture of Isaac C. Haight, William Stewart and John Higbee, all suspects in the planning and/or execution of the massacre, and that this reward remained on offer for at least seven years. The Utah Territorial Militia was known as the Nauvoo Legion and accused of perpetrating the 1857 Mountain Meadows Massacre in which 120–140 non-Mormon settlers were murdered. Despite the efforts of Buchanan to keep the advance of the army secret, Mormon mail runners notified Brigham Young, the incumbent territorial governor, the very next month that the troops were on their way to Utah. (CNN)Nine women and children from a Mormon community in Mexico were killed while traveling in a three-car caravan south of the US-Mexico border on Monday, according to Mexico's security minister. IRA HATCH: IRA HATCH , a MORMON SHOOTER and CLUBBER; In 1857 Hatch was a private in one of the militia platoons attached to John D. Lee's 4th Battalion in the Iron Military District. Unfortunately, the messenger arrived back in Cedar City two days after the massacre, on September 13, 1857. As the Baker-Fancher train camped at Mountain Meadows, some of the residents of Cedar City and the surrounding areas determined that some action needed to be taken against the emigrants. After much hardship the Mormon Battalion arrived in California where the Mexican-American War was still on. The weather could also be dangerous, with winter coming early to the high country and sudden storms occurring during all seasons of the year. When the Mormon Battalion arrived in Temecula on January 25, 1847, they reported the Luiseños were burying their dead in the cemetery that today is located south of the Temecula Parkway. He did not participate personally in the massacre, but was, by the standards of military justice applicable both then and now, administratively responsible for the actions of officers and soldiers under his command. The emigrants circled their wagons and dug into a rifle pit, and the Indians sent a call to the surrounding countryside for reinforcements. In this latter role, he carried orders and other messages between various militia officers. The climate made overland travel a seasonal affair, as emigrant parties would try to complete their crossings during the warm months. They also sent for John D. Lee, an area farmer on friendly terms with the Indians. This page was last edited on 12 December 2019, at 06:52. He served numerous missions for the Church and eventually moved to southern Utah in 1850 or 1851. What there is disagreement on is how involved higher Church leaders were in any cover-up. It's Mexico's responsibility.". Isaac C. Haight was the commander of the Second Battalion in the Iron County militia with the rank of major, and Colonel Dame's second-in-command. If there is any truth to these rumors, it is clear that the travels of the Baker-Fancher train through southern Utah did not go unnoticed, as had been the case in northern Utah. A memorial ceremony was held there, with the commemoration conducted by Assistant Church Historian and Recorder Richard E. Turley, Jr. We have all the water we could ever need.". The family was supposed to go to Miller's wedding next week in La Mora, she said. The victims are part of a Mormon community of about 3,000 members living in Mexico. You must not meddle with them. "(Castañeda) said something about a conflict over water rights, (but) we live on a river. The five others were killed. This amnesty was issued at the behest of U.S. President James Buchanan, and covered all hostile acts against the United States by any persons in the course of the Utah War. This book attempts to show that no Indians had anything to do with the massacre, but that every part of it was carried out exclusively by white men. 1 When efforts to sell the Nauvoo Temple and other Church properties faltered, Church leaders dispatched Jesse Little, a leader of the branches of the Church in … Within three to five minutes the entire massacre of men, women, and older children was completed. “Nits Make Lice”: The Dehumanization of Children at the Haun’s Mill Massacre of 1838 and the Bear River Massacre of 1863. This belief was shared by a number of eminent legal authorities, including some charged with law enforcement in Utah. The Mormon Battalion arrived shortly afterwards. Though it is our understanding that they are not members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, our love, prayers and sympathies are with them as they mourn and remember their loved ones.". [Juanita Brooks, The Mountain Meadows Massacre, Revised Edition (Norman, Oklahoma: University of Oklahoma Press, 1991), 223.]. The latter actions did not normally arise out of any approval for the massacre, and indeed were usually undertaken without knowledge of the guilt of the persons being shielded; rather they reflected a feeling of community solidarity versus the coercive power of an often-hostile government, and a pervasive mistrust of U.S. authorities and their willingness or ability to ensure that Mormon defendants would receive a fair trial. Castañeda said there were long-standing tensions between the families and cartels. Painting depicting the skirmish between Missouri and Mormon militiamen at Crooked River. At the time of the massacre he was a major in the Iron County militia, and commander of its Fourth Battalion. San Diego Arrival Edit The Attorney-General for the neighboring state of Chihuahua, Cesar Peniche Espejel, said he believes the newly-formed "Los Jaguares" cartel, an off-shoot of the Sinaloa cartel, may be behind the massacre. Lucas arrested Joseph Smith and a few other Mormon leaders and ordered their execution for the next day. Though other Mormons were certainly as culpable as Lee (he did not act alone), he was the only one executed. Led by John T. Baker and Alexander Fancher, the train was reported to have been well-stocked, with plenty of cattle, horses, and mules. Brigham's message said, in part, "In regard to the emigration trains passing through our settlements, we must not interfere with them until they are first notified to keep away. Accusations of any more substantial cover-up, either by the Mormon Church as an institution, or by its highest leaders, are not supported by the available evidence. Before the completion of the trans-continental railroad in 1869, overland travel was both difficult and dangerous. Scandals arose over the behavior of some of these men, who left the territory in disgrace. The content of the various polemical accounts of the massacre varies considerably, but the intent of them is always and everywhere the same: to explain the massacre as a consequence of the doctrine, beliefs, practices or culture of the Mormon Church, and thus destructive of its truth claims. The first trial occurred in 1875, before the anti-Mormon judge Jacob Boreman. That hasn't stopped some people, for polemical reasons, from using a broad brush to denigrate the Church and its early leaders relative to the crimes of September 1857. A spokesman from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, commonly known as the Mormon Church, said the victims were not members. The emigrants agreed, the wagons were brought forward and loaded with the wounded and the weapons, and the procession started toward Cedar City. The extermination order is the name commonly used to refer to an executive order signed on October 27, 1838, by Lilburn W. Boggs, the governor of Missouri during the Mormon-Missouri War of 1838. This caused them to again pass through Salt Lake City, and then further south through Provo, Springville, and Payson. They killed the Paiute Indians caught in possession of belongings of the two dead white men. Several children survived. 1 The order sought to put a quick end to the conflict by calling for the Mormons to be “exterminated or driven from the State if necessary.” 2. This terrible massacre occurred at what is now known as “Oatman Flat,” about 100 miles east of Yuma, Arizona. Bagley relies upon a strained interpretation of some new evidence, including minutes of a meeting that took place between Dimick Huntington and some Southern Utah Indian chiefs on September 1, 1857, ten days before the massacre. ", "I will thank him for his support and we will discuss if we need assistance," he said. The Mountain Meadow Massacre, as it is known, has remained a topic of interest and controversy as Mormons and historians struggle to understand this event, and the Church's detractors seek to exploit it for polemical purposes. Because of its territorial status, the federal government retained the right to appoint officials at various levels, in addition to actual federal offices that existed within the territory. The heightened anxiety brought on by rumors swirling about the train, the advancing federal troops, the drought that many had suffered through for the year, and the memories of violence in Missouri and Illinois all combined in an explosive atmosphere, yet the residents were unclear on what action they should take. Mexico arrests suspect in Mormon family massacre, 'I'll fire you on the spot': Biden tells staff to treat others with respect, Biden signs executive actions aimed at dismantling Trump's policies, A proud Harris smiles as she swears in new senators in her new role, Clyburn reveals what Bush said about Trump and Biden at inauguration, Officer who lured Capitol rioters away applauded at inauguration. Joe Biden sworn in as 46th president of the United States, Youth poet laureate recites stunning poem at Biden inauguration, President Donald Trump departs the White House, See Trump's final message as President as his family looks on, Trump pardons 73 people, commutes sentences of 70 others, 12 Army National Guard members removed from inauguration duty, Mexico is scrambling to find whoever ambushed and killed 9 Mormon family members, leaving 200 bullet casings. However, the governor maintained that if whites were involved, they would be pardoned under the general amnesty granted by the governor to the Mormons in June 1858. In April of that year, he married Amanda A. Thomas (1827-1909) in Iowa Territory. The Church, which owns much of the massacre site land, announced its plans to seek national landmark status in 2008. He was met outside the camp by one of the emigrants, a Mr. Hamilton, and an arrangement was made for John D. Lee to speak to the emigrants. The route was used by groups like the Mormon Battalion (1847), the Oatmans (1851), and by the San Antonio and San Diego Mail Line (1857). The Mormon settlements of Utah provided important rest and re-provisioning points for overland travelers. As mentioned earlier, Governor Alfred Cumming believed that the massacre was covered by the Utah Amnesty, thus making any investigation pointless. born: August 5, 1835 at Farmersville, Cattaraugus County, New York died: September 30, 1909 at … ", Alex LeBaron said the families were allegedly attacked "separately but simultaneously by two different groups of the same cartel," he said. It is also not yet clear if the attacks specifically targeted the family or if it was a case of mistaken identity. The attempts by some politically minded judges, such as John Cradlebaugh, to direct the investigation and prosecution of crime in Utah and conduct "crusades" against the Mormon Church actually hindered rather than helped prosecutorial and investigative efforts. If any of the emigrants should escape to California and tell the story, prejudice against the Mormons—already quite high—would be incited and there would be greater likelihood that a military force would move upon the southern settlements from the west. There are also reports that some of the emigrants told a few Latter-day Saints that when they had transported their families to California they were going to return, join the army, and help subdue the Mormons. He was present at the massacre and subsequently turned state's evidence, but his testimony was of no real help to the authorities. The news of the approaching army spread quickly through the body of the Saints as preparations were made. A few scattered signs can be found that will provide additional information about this historic area. Some noted that the weapons appear to be bolt action rifles not in use until about 50 years after the Battalion disbanded. NOTES. (2) Sally Denton, American Massacre: The Tragedy at Mountain Meadows, September 1857. Site of Tragedy Spring. With the Mormon Battalion and onto Utah Nowlin experienced the "Mormon War" of 1844-45 and the expulsion of the Mormons in 1846 from western Illinois to Iowa Territory. In the 1980s descendants of the victims and the perpetrators met together to start bridging the divide and make peace with the past. The site comprises a 2,500-acre valley about 30 miles north of St. George — the Mountain Meadows site is already on the National Register of Historic Places. They were driving together for safety reasons, said Kendra Lee Miller, whose sister-in-law was killed in the attack. The Battalion boys played some role in ensuring the transition of California from Mexican to American control. In the words of B.H. "Most likely by accident, mistaken for their rivals.". Two memorial quilts have been crafted, with one residing in Cedar City, Utah, and the other in Arkansas, embroidered with healing phrases of forgiveness and hope. Regarding Oatman Massacre Site. Generally, the community practices a fundamentalist version of Mormonism, and one of the victim's family members told CNN that some practice polygamy. The Mormon Battalion was the only religiously based unit in United States military history, [1] and it served from July 1846 to July 1847 during the Mexican-American War.The battalion was a volunteer unit of between 534 [2] [3] and 559 [4] Latter-day Saints men led by Mormon company officers, commanded by regular US army officers. The sites for these settlements were often chosen because of proximity to an important natural resource; one such resource was the iron ore deposits found in what became known as Iron County in Southern Utah. The Indians we expect will do as they please but you should try and preserve good feelings with them." One of the most tragic and disturbing events in Mormon history took place on 11 September, 1857, when approximately 120 men, women and children, traveling through Utah to California were massacred by a force consisting of Mormon militia members and Southern Paiute Indians. In 1864, Adair accompanied the legendary Mormon scout Jacob Hamblin to quell unrest among the Paiute Indians near Harrisburg on the Virgin River. Mormon Battalion’s trail marker at the Oatman massacre site February 18, 1851, would be a date and memory that would live in the legends of the surviving Oatmans and annals of western history. On September 11, 2011, flags flew at half-mast at the memorial site. It was also common knowledge that the train originated in Arkansas, where earlier in the year beloved apostle Parley P. Pratt had been murdered near the town of Van Buren. In spite of the tragedy, efforts have been made to heal the wounds that were gouged into the collective American psyche 150 years ago. Such reasoning does not excuse, of course, the decision that the white men in the area then made; it is only offered as a way to understand some of the excitement and the hysteria that enveloped those in the area. The Baker-Fancher train arrived in Salt Lake City about the end of July 1857 and camped west and a little south of the city, on the Jordan River. This trial ended with a hung jury. In 1851, they were attacked by Tolkepayas (Western Yavapai) Indians about 80 miles east of Fort Yuma along the Gila River. Because of its territorial status, the federal government retained the right to appoint officials at various levels, in addition to actual federal offices that existed within the territory. The following year, the Black Hawk War broke out. And it wasn’t, as you might expect, against Mexican forces, but against a rampaging herd of bulls. Within a short distance, one armed white man was positioned near each of the Baker-Fancher party adults, ostensibly for protection. Several of the emigrants were killed, as were several of the Indians, producing a stalemate situation. Responding to the charges that whites were involved, Brigham Young urged Governor Cumming to investigate the matter fully. In 1850, Utah was established as a U.S. territory, with Brigham Young as its first governor. For protection against all of these hazards, emigrants typically banded together in large parties called "wagon trains," as covered wagons of the "prairie schooner" type were the most typical vehicles used. In a series of meetings, the seeds of trust were planted and a hopeful sense of accord started to bloom. In the wake of the attack, US President Donald Trump called for war against the drug cartels in a. He indicated that in short order there were quite a few other Indians and white settlers who had joined the group outside of the siege. In 1866, Adair was among a militia party that recovered the bodies of two whites killed by Navajos near Pipe Springs, Arizona. [1]. Great Salt Lake City was built, and under Brigham Young's direction satellite settlements were established north, south, and west of the city. But a preliminary investigation showed that the suspect is not involved in the case, Mexico's Secretary of Security Alfonso Durazo said Wednesday. He said one of the women killed was an activist and there were frictions over water rights. Haight enlisted in the Mormon Battalion and was elected a captain of Ten. One of the most widely used wagon trails to California branched off the Oregon trail in Northern Utah, and ran almost due South through Salt Lake City to eventually join the Old Spanish Trail. Historians disagree on how many Luiseno warriors were killed at the massacre. "I do not believe that we will. At the time of its first settlement, the area that came to be known as Utah still belonged to Mexico, but was ceded to the United States in the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo following the end of the Mexican-American War in early 1848. The construction of … On March 19, 1851, Royce and Mary Ann Oatman and their seven children were part of a Mormon wagon train heading to the Arizona – California border area. By late 2010 it appeared that National Landmark status was assured — a National Parks Service Advisory Board subcommittee voted unanimously to recommend a petition to elevate the Mountain Meadows Massacre site to landmark status. In 1850, Utahwas established as a U.S. territory, with Brigham Young as its first governor. They were camped on this spot when a group of Yavapai Indians approached and asked for food. The new memorial was a rendition of the original rock cairn constructed at the site by a military expedition under the direction of Major James H. Carleton about two years after the massacre. All family members were clubbed and left for dead except for Olive, 14, and Mary Ann, 7, who were taken captive. The Luisenos asked the battalion to guard them as they buried the dead. The LeBaron family has previously been the victim of drug cartel violence in Mexico. On their approach to the San Pedro River in modern-day Arizona, the Battalion was forced to engage the cattle as they ran amok amongst their wagons, destroying supplies and wounding two soldiers. For the next two weeks, they drew their clothing allowance of $42 per man, received their equipment (Model 1816 smoothbore flintlock muskets and a few Harper's Ferry Model 1803 Rifles), and were more formally organized into a combat battalion. How could such news factor into the decision to massacre the emigrants? Mexican Security Minister Alfonso Durazo said the attack could have been a case of mistaken identity of "conflicting groups in the area. Several readers have pointed out discrepancies in the image of the Mormon Battalion on the cover of the July 2007 Ensign. He had not been officially notified that he was to be replaced, so he viewed the news—combined with the efforts to hide the movement of the troops—as an act of war by the United States government against the Mormons. Polygamy is illegal in both the United States and in Mexico. Lee described to them a plan to get them through the hostile Indians. From their very beginnings, the Saints were persecuted! Brigham instructed all missionaries to return to Utah, ordered Church missions closed, and ordered the abandonment of the more isolated Mormon colonies. Two months later, Benjamin LeBaron, 32, and his brother-in-law Luis Widmar were beaten and shot to death after armed men stormed their home in Chihuahua. "Mothers were screaming for the fire to stop.". Lee was the only Mormon found guilty of murder after the massacre. 19, Ann Eliza Webb Dee Young Denning accused Brigham Young of ordering the massacre so that he could appropriate the property of the victims. John Doyle Lee was born September 12, 1812, at Kaskaskia, Illinois, and baptized on June 17, 1838. The Mormon Battalion, the only religion-based unit in United States military history, served from July 1846 – July 1847 during the Mexican–American War of 1846–1848. The Mormon Battalion only ever fought one battle. Almost as soon as news of the massacre reached the eastern United States, enemies of the Church began exploiting it for polemical purposes. Shortly before July 24th, 1847, the first party of Mormon pioneers entered the Salt Lake Valley. The best available evidence supports two levels of cover-up: (1) concerted denials of guilt by massacre participants, including attempts to shift the blame to their erstwhile Indian allies, and (2) attempts by Mormons not involved in the massacre to shield accused persons from capture or prosecution. "If Mexico needs or requests help in cleaning out these... monsters, the United Stands stands ready, willing & able to get involved and do the job quickly and effectively," he wrote. Lee instead sent word to Cedar City on September 10, asking what should be done. We merely await a call from your great new president! Meanwhile, other officials have debated which specific cartels are involved. Lee was not tried as a "scapegoat" but as an actual participant—evidently the leading participant—in the massacre, who had done more than any other person to bring it about, and who had actually killed five people. Officials and family members believe that Mexican drug cartels carried out the attack, though there's a question of which cartel did so. Perhaps the following comments relative to Brigham Young's involvement may be instructive: The events that transpired during the Mountain Meadows Massacre have (and should) live in infamy; there is no explanation that will justify the murders of those five days in September, and we cannot fully understand them. The only members of the original party remaining were those children judged to be under eight years old, numbering about 17 persons. Many years later, José Lugo reported that perhaps a hundred Luiseños were killed, but no other evidence has been found to support his claim. This conflict, known as the Utah War, was ultimately resolved peacefully; but it was into this tense atmosphere that the Baker-Fancher wagon train entered in August of 1857. There have been many accounts of the events that occurred in relation to the Mountain Meadows Massacre, and a small library could be filled with pertinent materials. They were constantly under pressure from unholy and unsympathetic groups. Three historians working with church records have published an official Mormon account of a 151-year-old incident that remains a PR nightmare for Mormons. To assure the main body of the group benefited from the men's wages, Young sent Orson Pratt to see that the men handed over the pa… The victims were "all shot while in vehicles while driving," family member Alex LeBaron told CNN on Tuesday. Kendra Lee Miller told CNN her family has recently been threatened by cartels over where her family can travel. But earlier Tuesday, a US official said a rival cartel called La Línea is being looked at in connection with the attack. This also repeats a nineteenth-century theme; Mark Twain in Roughing It implied that the Indian participants in the massacre were really white men "tricked out" as Indians. The prosecutor was an even more notorious anti-Mormon named R. N. Baskin. Authorities later arrested the alleged ringleader of a drug trafficking family that ran a smuggling operation on Mexico's border with Texas. The most significant service the battalion provided in California and during the war, was as a reliable unit under Cooke that General Kearny could rely on to block Fremont's mutinous bid to control California. The old Cookes spring that supplied water for the fort is still intact and pointed out on the map. T The battalion was a volunteer unit of between 534 and 559 Latter-day Saint men, led by Mormon company officers commanded by regular U.S. Army officers. Rumor had it that some of the members of the train were among those who had participated in Pratt's murder, or that they bragged about his killing. It was common for emigrant parties to camp there for several days or even weeks while their animals gained condition for the grueling desert crossings still to come. "The only thing they were activists for was their children, the education of their children and their homesteads," Langford said. Mountain Meadows Massacre site (Jason Olson, Deseret News archives), Videos about the Mountain Meadows Massacre, Mountain Meadows Massacre -- Reburying the Dead, Frequently asked questions about Mormonism, FAIRlds:Shedding New Light on the Mountain Meadows Massacre, https://www.mormonwiki.com/wiki/index.php?title=Mountain_Meadows_massacre&oldid=51676. In 1858 John Butterfield used a similar route in his establishment of the Butterfield Overland Mail service. Emigrants could purchase foodstuffs and other supplies from businesses in Salt Lake City and other towns, while their animals—both beasts of burden and any livestock—could find excellent grazing at a spot near Cedar City known as las Vegas de Santa Clara or the Mountain Meadows. On March 23, 1877, Lee was executed at Mountain Meadows and buried in Panguitch, Utah. However, the Navajo perpetrators escaped. For the next five months until their discharge on 16 July 1847 in Los Angeles, the battalion trained and also performed occupation duties in several locations in southern California. "We are heartbroken to hear of the tragedy that has touched these families in Mexico. As Haslam was leaving for Salt Lake City on September 7, the Indians' attack commenced. Thus it was that on September 11, a flag of truce was carried to the Baker-Fancher party by William Bateman. Acting without benefit of an investigation, U.S. President James Buchanan appointed Alfred Cumming as territorial governor and, on June 29, 1857, ordered federal troops to escort Cumming to Utah. The Baker-Fancher train consisted of California-bound emigrants who started their journey in Arkansas and Missouri. Here's what we know so far about the attack. Some report thirty-three and still others report one hundred and twenty-five. Rather than accept responsibility for their own failures, a group of them, upon returning to the East, published claims that they had been forcibly expelled, and that the Mormons were rebelling against federal authority. When writing about the Mountain Meadows Massacre in his Comprehensive History of the Church, B.H. Philip Klingensmith was a bishop in Cedar City and an officer in the Iron County militia. One of the two was killed, and the other was able to make his way back to the Baker-Fancher party. The story of the Mormon Battalion began in early 1846 as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints prepared to abandon their city of Nauvoo, Illinois. Most recently, at the sesquicentennial anniversary of the Massacre (September 11, 2007), then-Elder Henry B. Eyring was permitted to speak, and offered, “May the God of Heaven, whose sons and daughters we all are, bless us to honor those who died here by extending to one another the pure love and spirit of forgiveness which His Only Begotten Son personified.” (LDS Newsroom Report), Church officials and three organizations of descendants — the Mountain Meadows Monument Foundation, Mountain Meadows Association and Mountain Meadows Massacre Descendants — have worked to heal old wounds. A local leader and member of the Church began exploiting it for purposes. An area farmer on friendly terms with the attack, though there 's a question of which cartel did.. 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