This terrible massacre occurred at what is now known as “Oatman Flat,” about 100 miles east of Yuma, Arizona. 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 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. 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. On their way to Utah Territory, members of the Mormon Battalion spent the winter before the Mexican-American War in Pueblo. 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. born: August 5, 1835 at Farmersville, Cattaraugus County, New York died: September 30, 1909 at … Efforts to bring Haight and others to justice after the massacre proved to be fruitless. Royce complied but, fearful that he wouldn't Their arrival did not apparently raise any eyebrows or concerns, as there was no mention of them in the newspapers of the time. And it wasn’t, as you might expect, against Mexican forces, but against a rampaging herd of bulls. 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. NOTES. 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. This official failed to properly try the case against Lee, leading very little evidence against him, and instead focused upon an attempt to prove Brigham Young's complicity in the massacre. (The treaty ceded all of what would become California, Nevada, and Utah, as well as parts of modern-day Texas, Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, and Wyoming.). “Nits Make Lice”: The Dehumanization of Children at the Haun’s Mill Massacre of 1838 and the Bear River Massacre of 1863. One of the two was killed, and the other was able to make his way back to the Baker-Fancher party. An additional claim sometimes put forward is that Lee was a "scapegoat," and that some kind of corrupt agreement existed between Church leaders and territorial authorities to not pursue anyone else. The construction of … John Doyle Lee was born September 12, 1812, at Kaskaskia, Illinois, and baptized on June 17, 1838. According to Lee's later court testimony, the Indians asked him to help with the attack. You must not meddle with them. After much hardship the Mormon Battalion arrived in California where the Mexican-American War was still on. Three women and six children, all with dual US-Mexican citizenship, were killed in the attack, Security Minister Alfonso Durazo said in a news conference Tuesday. On September 11, 2011, flags flew at half-mast at the memorial site. Several of the emigrants were killed, as were several of the Indians, producing a stalemate situation. 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. Updated 0317 GMT (1117 HKT) November 7, 2019. A spokesman from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, commonly known as the Mormon Church, said the victims were not members. When writing about the Mountain Meadows Massacre in his Comprehensive History of the Church, B.H. In a meeting at Cedar City on the afternoon of September 6, 1857, local leaders received word that the wagon train, at Mountain Meadows, had been surrounded by Paiute Indians who were determined to attack the emigrants. This trial ended with a hung jury. The Mormon Battalion Center at San Diego is a visitors’ center that commemorates the Mormon Battalion’s historic journey from the Council Bluffs area of Iowa to San Diego, California. 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. San Diego Arrival Edit 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. Roberts. They also sent for John D. Lee, an area farmer on friendly terms with the Indians. In return for compliance with these terms, the white men would give the emigrants safe conduct back to Cedar City where they would be protected until they could continue their journey to California. We have all the water we could ever need.". The Mormon Battalion was the only religiously based unit in United States military history,  and it served from July 1846 to July 1847 during the Mexican-American War.The battalion was a volunteer unit of between 534   and 559  Latter-day Saints men led by Mormon company officers, commanded by regular US army officers. The only members of the original party remaining were those children judged to be under eight years old, numbering about 17 persons. The old Cookes spring that supplied water for the fort is still intact and pointed out on the map. A memorial ceremony was held there, with the commemoration conducted by Assistant Church Historian and Recorder Richard E. Turley, Jr. The family was supposed to go to Miller's wedding next week in La Mora, she said. Haight joined in the Mormon exodus into Iowa territory. Photo by Kenneth Mays. Before the completion of the trans-continental railroad in 1869, overland travel was both difficult and dangerous. Five children who were hospitalized in Tucson will survive, Willie Jessop, whose son married Dawna Langford's daughter, told CNN. 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. The emigrants agreed, the wagons were brought forward and loaded with the wounded and the weapons, and the procession started toward Cedar City. ", Alex LeBaron said the families were allegedly attacked "separately but simultaneously by two different groups of the same cartel," he said. By the mid-1840s it became known as the Gila Trail, known today as the Southern Emigrant Trail. It appears that two men from the Baker-Fancher party left the camp, evaded those surrounding their camp, and started toward Cedar City to request help. James H. Haslam, the messenger, left on Monday, September 7, and made the 300-mile journey in just a little more than three days. 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. Roberts stated that he. Shortly before July 24th, 1847, the first party of Mormon pioneers entered the Salt Lake Valley. Within three to five minutes the entire massacre of men, women, and older children was completed. The first trial occurred in 1875, before the anti-Mormon judge Jacob Boreman. Mexican Security Minister Alfonso Durazo said the attack could have been a case of mistaken identity of "conflicting groups in the area. 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. 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. Certain themes continue to re-emerge in polemical accounts of the massacre. Led by John T. Baker and Alexander Fancher, the train was reported to have been well-stocked, with plenty of cattle, horses, and mules. The five others were killed. Tragedy Spring, Amador County, California. William H. Dame was, at the time of the massacre, the commander of the Iron Military District with the militia rank of colonel. Marker at grave site of John D. Lee, in Panguitch, Utah. Several readers have pointed out discrepancies in the image of the Mormon Battalion on the cover of the July 2007 Ensign. In 1850, Royce Oatman, his wife Mary Ann, and their seven children joined a wagon train traveling west toward Yuma. The long hiatus between the massacre and Lee's trial is one of the factors which some feel supports the accusations of an institutional cover-up. There were remarks from Elder Marlin K. Jensen of the First Quorum of the Seventy, Church Historian, and representatives of the groups of survivor descendants. 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. In addition, Buchanan ordered the cessation of all mail service to Utah in an effort to provide the advantage of surprise for the advancing troops. 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. 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. 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. 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. Site of Tragedy Spring. This work argues that Brigham Young actually ordered the massacre of the Fancher Party. In 1850, Utahwas established as a U.S. territory, with Brigham Young as its first governor. Lee was the only Mormon found guilty of murder after the massacre. 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. Church leaders wanted to help support all Latter-day Saints, especially the poor, who wanted to gather. They were camped on this spot when a group of Yavapai Indians approached and asked for food. 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. Responding to the charges that whites were involved, Brigham Young urged Governor Cumming to investigate the matter fully. In a series of meetings, the seeds of trust were planted and a hopeful sense of accord started to bloom. These Saints were the first vanguard of Church members who had been driven from Nauvoo, Illinois, by angry mobs. One person was arrested Tuesday that officials initially believed was connected to the attacks. Meanwhile, other officials have debated which specific cartels are involved. Lucas arrested Joseph Smith and a few other Mormon leaders and ordered their execution for the next day. Nearing the end of their journey (Jan 1847), the battalion passed through Temecula, California, shortly after the Temecula Massacre, a conflict between the Californios and the Luiseño tribe. Lee instead sent word to Cedar City on September 10, asking what should be done. Scandals arose over the behavior of some of these men, who left the territory in disgrace. However, the true reasons for this delay are quite different. The Mormon Battalion arrived shortly afterwards. In 1851, they were attacked by Tolkepayas (Western Yavapai) Indians about 80 miles east of Fort Yuma along the Gila River. 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." "This is the time for Mexico, with the help of the United States, to wage WAR on the drug cartels and wipe them off the face of the earth. He prepared to defend the territory against the approaching army by adopting a "scorched earth" policy. 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. Mormon Battalion Cover—July 2007. The militia, under the command of Major General Samuel D. Lucas, laid siege to Far West on October 31. (Some historians are undecided as to whether Paiute Indians were actually involved in the massacre at all; some assert that it was white men disguised as Indians.) After Lee's execution, territorial authorities wanted to continue the investigations with a view to bringing more of the guilty parties to justice. CNN's Madeline Holcombe and Ray Sanchez contributed to this report. The battalion arrived at Fort Leavenworth on August 1. Within a short distance, one armed white man was positioned near each of the Baker-Fancher party adults, ostensibly for protection. At the time of the massacre he was a major in the Iron County militia, and commander of its Fourth Battalion. Historians disagree on how many Luiseno warriors were killed at the massacre. The Mormon Battalion only ever fought one battle. He was also serving as a bishop in the Mormon Church at that time. One participant, John D. Lee, was found guilty of murder in federal court after twenty years and two trials. To be caught on the high plains or the mountain passes when winter came was often a deadly mistake. The group was advised by Elder Charles C. Rich to head toward California by circling around the northern edge of the Great Salt Lake, and they started to follow this advice. They got as far as the Bear River, and then decided to take the southern route. It's Mexico's responsibility.". Over the next two years the bulk of the Church members who had been driven from Nauvoo reached the valley. 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. Dawna was one of the three mothers killed in the ambush. . 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. Many Mormon settlers vividly remembered the hardships of being forcibly (and violently) expelled from Missouri and Illinois, and were resolved not to be driven from their homes again. However, the record does not back this up. 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. This time around, the case was properly tried; the jury heard overwhelming evidence against Lee, who was duly convicted and sentenced to be executed for his crime. Most scholars and historians are quick to admit that we don't have all the facts related to the massacre, and we probably never will have all of them. Here's what we know so far about the attack. Almost as soon as news of the massacre reached the eastern United States, enemies of the Church began exploiting it for polemical purposes. Officials and family members believe that Mexican drug cartels carried out the attack, though there's a question of which cartel did so. But former Mexican Foreign Minister Jorge Castañeda told CNN on Tuesday evening two attacks in two places by the same group makes it more likely that they were targeted. Although the particular item of evidence is new, the thesis which it is pressed into service to support actually dates to the nineteenth century; for example, in her book Wife No. 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. As Haslam was leaving for Salt Lake City on September 7, the Indians' attack commenced. The very brief minutes (actually a diary entry made after the fact) indicate that the purpose of the meeting, as with similar meetings held in the previous few days, was to enlist the Indians as allies against the approaching army, and not against the Fancher party. 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. From their very beginnings, the Saints were persecuted! In April of that year, he married Amanda A. Thomas (1827-1909) in Iowa Territory. "Most likely by accident, mistaken for their rivals.". 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. The Battalion boys played some role in ensuring the transition of California from Mexican to American control. It was led by a local leader and member of the church, John D. Lee over a Mormon militia. The mood in the territory was grim and determined. To effect the massacre with a minimum of loss among the white men, it was decided to lure the emigrants out of their circled wagons and into the open. The Mormon settlements of Utah provided important rest and re-provisioning points for overland travelers. In 1866, Adair was among a militia party that recovered the bodies of two whites killed by Navajos near Pipe Springs, Arizona. Following the discovery of gold at Sutter’s Mill, former members of the Mormon Battalion continued eastward to find Brigham Young and the Saints who were working their way to Zion. 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. 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. An excellent summary of events in the days immediately preceding the massacre is provided by Robert H. Briggs, in his essay "Mountain Meadows and The Craft of History," published in Sunstone, December 2002. 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. 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. Howard Miller, the man in the black shirt, and the three children with blurred faces survived the attack. After serving briefly in the Mexican-American War as a member of Brigham Young's "Mormon Battalion," Lee joined the gathering masses of Zion in Utah. Legion reformation in Utah [ edit ] This effort began almost immediately, with John D. Lee's report to Brigham Young. He was present at the massacre and subsequently turned state's evidence, but his testimony was of no real help to the authorities. It's called Massacre … 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.
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