(1853) - At this site a band of
massacred Captain John W. Gunnison's Pacific Railroad Survey party, one of
several sponsored by the War Department's Corps of Topographical Engineers.
Unaware that the Walker War had broken out between the
Utah and the
Mormons, Gunnison and seven men set out on October 21, 1853, from their camp at
Cedar Springs, just west of Fillmore, Utah, to
explore the Sevier Lake country, in the area of Indian hostilities. Four days
later a band of Ute massacred the
party. Searchers found the bodies and buried them at the site. The massacre
halted surveying activities in Utah until
the following year, when Ute hostilities
ended. Lieutenant Edward G. Beckwith resumed the survey and completed it to the
Pacific. A monument marks the massacre site, which is in Millard County, on an
unimproved road, about nine miles southwest of Deseret.
Mountain Meadows Massacre (1857) - On September 11, 1857
approximately 120 men, women, and children in a wagon train from
were murdered by a band of Mormons
and their Indian allies, who were 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.
(1853) - When the Mormons began to settle on the hunting
grounds of the Ute Indians,
the natives were at first friendly, working out accommodations with
the immigrants and even inviting Brigham Young to send Mormon
colonists to the Sanpitch (now Sanpete) Valley. Relations between the
two groups were helpful and cooperative when they first began to
settle in 1849. However, when the Mormons began to attempt to suppress
New Mexican trade, tensions developed with the Ute, who had long
depended on the trade, especially that of native slaves, to which the
Mormons strongly objected. Though Young had negotiated a trading
relationship with Chief Walkara in 1850,
the colonists began to interfere in many of the Ute transactions.
At the same time, the area was being traveled more and more with
non-Mormon trading expeditions and settlers and in a few isolated
instances, some Ute Indians
The tensions came to ahead on July 17, 1853 when several Ute were trading
at James Ivie's home near Springville. During the transaction, a
dispute erupted between a Ute man and his wife over her failure to
strike a good bargain. When Ivie tried to intervene, the dispute
turned violent and in the end, Ivie killed an Indian brave named
Shower-Ocats, who was a relative of Walkara.
The Ute were
In response, Captain
Stephen C. Perry of the Springville Militia led a unit into Walkara's camp the next day to try to
mollify the Indians;
Utes demanded the
death of of a white settler in retribution. When their demands were
not met, the Ute were even
angrier and Perry’s militia fled. The Walker War had begun, which
primarily consisted of Ute raids against
the Mormon outposts and retaliations by the pioneers. As a result,
Brigham Young directed settlers to move from outlying farms and
ranches and establish centralized forts.
The Walker War ended through negotiations
between Young and Walkara during the
winter of 1853. Casualties during the war equaled about twelve white
settlers and an estimated equal amount of Indians.
The next summer, about 120 of Walkara's
tribe were baptized as Mormons.