Mountain Meadow massacre.
Early in September, 1857, a party of immigrants known as “the Arkansas Company” arrived in Utah
from the East
, on their way to California
. One of the Mormons, named Laney
, then living in Utah
, had given some food to two of the immigrants, and this came to the ears of certain leading “saints.”
It appears that Laney
had some time previously been a Mormon missionary, and had labored in the interest of his sect in Tennessee
, where he was assailed by a mob. He was rescued by two men, father and son, named Aden
, and found his way back to Utah
The two men to whom he had given food out of gratitude were the Adens.
For this act Laney
was murdered by an “angel of death” at the instigation of a Mormon bishop.
While the immigrant company were on their way West
, the Mormon
among whom were Bishop Dame
(who instigated, as Lee
claimed, the murder of Laney
), George A. Smith
(then first counsellor of the Church
and Brigham Young
's right-hand man), and another Mormon dignitary named Haight
, as well as John D. Lee
, conspired to massacre the entire party.
The “saints” claimed that immigrants who had passed through Utah
en route to California
had on several occasions treated them and their people with indignities, had stolen or destroyed their property, and had given the Mormons just cause of complaint.
The followers of Young and his bishops and head men had won over to their interests the Indians residing near and among them, and had sent out Mormon runners, who gathered in the Indians to the number of several hundred to aid them in the butchery.
Under the lead of the Mormons the Inddians attacked the immigrants, killing some and wounding many more.
Then there was a lull in the fight.
The immigrants had defended themselves behind their wagons and in pits thrown hastily up in their camp.
Then it was urged among the Mormon
leaders, who held a council of war, that the immigrants be starved out, but the majority were for carrying out orders which were said to have been dictated by Brigham Young
It was arranged that there be a flag of truce, the Indians to be kept quiet until this was accomplished.
The pilgrims responded to this, and were advised by the Mormons to put away their arms in their wagons and move to another point.
This they did. The road they were to take was marked out, and the Mormons and Indians were secreted along the trail behind rocks and within easy range of the passing wagons.
When the unsuspecting company were driving past they were halted by their Mormon guides, the Indians and the rest of the Mormons rushed in upon them, and despatched them, man, woman, and child.
Only a few children escaped.
The wagons of the unfortunates were emptied, the bodies of the slain were stripped and left nude for the time, and later were thrown into shallow graves in a ravine near by. The remains were soon scented by the wolves and were unearthed and made a horrid repast.
When the military found the bones they gave them a decent burial, and some one carved on a rude stone raised over the graves the words: “Vengeance is mine!
I will repay, saith the Lord
On March 23, 1877, John D. Le
,, who had become a bishop of the Mormon Church, was, after capture, trial, and condemnation, executed by shooting, by military authority, on the scene of the massacre in 1857.
The foregoing narrative of the massacre is compiled from the confession of Lee
, while awaiting execution.