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Mountain Meadows Massacre

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Mountain Meadows Massacre Site

Mountain Meadows Massacre site April, 2008,  Kathy Weiser.

This image available for photographic prints  and downloads HERE!


Mountain Meadow Massacre

Mountain Meadows Massacre - 1889 Account

Primary Assassins

Wagon Train Members, Victims & Survivors

Historical Accounts and Testimony



"If any miserable scoundrels come here,

 cut their throats."


-- Brigham Young




History Tech - Documents on DVD & CD


The Mountain Meadows Massacre


On September 11, 1857 approximately 120 men, women, and children in a wagon train from Arkansas were murdered by a band of Mormons set on a holy vengeance. Known as the Mountain Meadows Massacre, the history of this event continues to generate fierce controversy and deep emotions even to this day.


In April, the California bound wagon train assembled near Crooked Creek, Arkansas, approximately four miles south of present day Harrison, Arkansas. The group included some 120-150 men, women and children, primarily from northwestern Arkansas, as well as hundreds of draft and riding horses and about 900 head of cattle. When the train began its journey it was first identified as the Baker train; however, en route, it became known as the Fancher train.


As the emigrants were traveling westward, tension was mounting among the Mormon people of Utah. Receiving distorted reports of terrible activities in the state, President James Buchanan had sent a new governor to replace the existing Mormon governor in office, Brigham Young. At the same time, there were widely reported news reports that President Buchanan had ordered a large contingent of the US Army to Utah to suppress what he believed was a "Mormon rebellion."


These actions contributed to a general distrust of outsiders and non-Mormons as the Mormon people feared their own destruction by the federal government. As a result, Brigham Young issued a proclamation of martial law on August 5th which, among other things, forbade people from traveling through the territory without a pass. In addition, the citizens of Utah were discouraged from selling food to immigrants, especially for animal use.


Mountain Meadows Massacre drawing

Mountain Meadows Massacre drawing by T.B.H. Stenhouse, 1873


It was into this atmosphere that the weary emigrants arrived in Salt Lake City on about August 10, 1857. A critical stop, the wagon train needed to refurbish their equipment, refresh themselves and their stock, and replenish their supplies. The once friendly Mormons, usually eager to trade agricultural commodities for manufactured goods, were now hostile and reluctant to trade.


However, they were soon told by a Mormon guide that they should take the southern route because the northern route was dangerous due to Indian attacks and had the potential for severe winter weather, while the southern route provided for more fodder for their stock and less danger.


The leaders of the train made the ill-fated decision to retrace their steps and take the southern route. However, there were some in the group who decided to continue the path along the Humboldt River. The train was divided with the understanding that it would later be reunited.



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Salt Lake City, 1871

Salt Lake City, photo by John James Reilly, 1871.

This image available for photographic prints and  downloads HERE!


Old Mountain Meadows Marker

Old Mountain Meadows Marker


The Mountain Meadows Massacre stands without a parallel amongst the crimes that stain the pages of American history. It was a crime committed without cause or justification of any kind to relieve it of its fearful character... When nearly exhausted from fatigue and thirst, [the men of the caravan] were approached by white men, with a flag of truce, and induced to surrender their arms, under the most solemn promises of protection. They were then murdered in cold blood.

- William Bishop, Attorney to John D. Lee


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