Mountain Meadows Massacre Historical Accounts

What further outrage and insult is needed to prove to our rulers that there is a band of armed traitors in our midst who are making indiscriminate war upon men, women and children, simply because they are Americans, who are more dangerous because they are blinded by fanaticism, and who are instigating the savages to slay all who are not saints? A terrible example seems necessary to prove to them the power of those they are thus taught to slaughter-an example so fearful that it shall be remembered in all their villages and shall make them tremble with awe when they hear the American name.

The following statements took down from the lips of the gentlemen named. The manner of these gentlemen was in their statements, which have been duly authenticated and forwarded by mail to Washington. They arrived in town on the 10th instant. It will be seen that they were not permitted to see anything of the massacre-that they were detained one day near Parowan, that they might not arrive at the time of the massacre, and that they drove all night that the scene of the massacre might not be examined. Notwithstanding these precautions, it can scarcely fail to convince the unprejudiced reader that all these men saw and heard, goes to establish the complicity of the Mormons with the Indians in the wholesale butcheries reported — that if these Saints were not actually engaged in the slaughter, they must have stood pitilessly by, and encouraged the Indians, whose vindictive character they have so molded as to make it unsafe for any American to travel in that region unless he be under their protection.

Mr. George Powers, of Little Rock, left Arkansas, and with his train, arrived at Salt Lake in August. He says:

“We found the Mormons making very determined preparations to fight the United States troops, whenever they may arrive. On our way in, we met three companies of 100 men each, armed and on the road towards the pass above Fort Bridger (now in Wyoming.) I was told at Fort Bridger, that at Fort Supply, twelve miles this side of Fort Bridger, there were 400 armed Indians awaiting orders; they also said that there were 60,000 pounds of flour stored at Fort Bridger for the use of their army. We found companies drilling every evening in the city. The Mormons declared to us that no U.S. troops should ever cross the mountains, and they talked and acted as if they were willing to take a brush with Uncle Sam.

We remained in Salt Lake five days and then pushed on, hoping we might overtake a larger train, which had started ten days ahead of us, and which proved to be the train that was massacred. We came on to Buttermilk Fort, near the Lone Cedar, 175 miles, and found the inhabitants greatly enraged at the train which had just passed, declaring that they had abused the Mormon women, calling them names, and letting on about the men. The people had refused to sell that train any provisions and told us they were sorry they had not killed them there, but they knew it would be done before they got in. They stated further that they were holding the Indians in check until the arrival of their chief when he would follow the train and cut it in pieces.

We attempted to purchase some butter here; the women set it out to us, and as we were taking it away, the men came running and charging, and swore we should not have it, nor anything else, as we had misused them. They appeared to be bitterly hostile, and would hardly speak to us. We were unable to get anything we stood in need of. We camped at this place but one night.

At Corn Creek, we found plenty of Indians, who were all peaceable and friendly. We learned nothing of the train, except that it had passed that place several days before, and we were glad to find we had gained so much on them. The next place where we heard of the train was on our arrival at Beaver, 230 miles from Salt Lake. Here we learned that when the train ahead were camped at Corn Creek, which was thirty-five miles back, and at which place we found the Indians so friendly, an ox died, and the Indians asked for it. Before it was given to them a Mormon reported that he saw an emigrant go to the carcass and cut in with his knife, and as he did so, would pour some liquid into the cut from a vial. The meat was eaten by the Indians, and three of them died, and several more were sick and would die. The people at Beaver seemed also to be incensed against the train, for the same reason as before reported. I asked an Indian at Beaver if there was any truth in the poisoned meat story; he replied in English, that he did not know that several of the Indians had died, and several were sick. He said their water-melons made them all sick, and he believed that the Mormons had poisoned them.

We laid by at Beaver several days, as the Bishop told us it was dangerous for so small a company as ours to go on. Our train consisted of only three wagons, and we were hurrying on to join the larger one.

While waiting here, the train of William Mathews and Sidney Tanner, of San Bernardino, came up, and I made arrangements to come on with them. We came on to Parowan, and here we learned that the train ahead had been attacked by the Indians at the Mountain Meadows, fifty miles from Parowan, and had returned upon their road five miles, to a spring, and fortified themselves. We then drove out of Parowan five or six miles and camped at what is called the Summit.

The next morning an express arrived from Mr. Dame, President of Parowan, requesting us not to proceed any further that day if we pleased; also that Mathews and Tanner should return to Parowan, and bring me along with them. We returned and a council was held, at which it was advised by Mr. Dame, that I should go back to my own train, as they did not wish to have strangers in their train. He also stated, that at two o’clock that morning, he had received an express from the train ahead, stating they were surrounded by Indians, who had killed two or three of their number and asking for assistance. While we were talking, an express came in from Beaver, stating that the Indians had attacked my train in the streets of that place, and were fighting when he left. One reason given was, that ten miles the other side of Beaver, an emigrant train had shot an Indian, which greatly enraged them; that the people of Beaver went out in the night and brought the emigrants in, and were followed by the Indians, who made the attack after their arrival.

On the receipt of this news, another private council was held, after which I was called in and told, that in consequence of the fight behind, it would be for their advantage to bring me through, provided I would obey council and the rules of the train. To this I assented, being anxious to get on, and asked what was required of me. Mr. Dame replied, that in passing through the Indian country, it might be necessary for me to be laid flat in a wagon and covered with blankets for two or three days, as the Indians were deadly hostile to all Americans; that if I was seen, it would endanger the safety of the whole train. My friend Mr. Warn was told that he would also go on, upon the same conditions.

At Parowan, it seems, when it was ‘for their interest’ to bring us through, the elders had no control over the Indians, while at Buttermilk Fort, they were able to restrain them, as they declared under great provocation.

On Friday, the 18th of September, we left Parowan, and arrived at Cedar City, some eighteen miles, about one o’clock. During the afternoon, an express arrived from the Indians, stating that one of their warriors had run up and looked into the corral, and he supposed that ‘only five or six of the emigrants were killed yet.’ These were words of the express man. The same night, four men were sent out from the train, and, as they pretended, to save, if possible, some of its members.

I omitted to mention, in the proper place, that Mr. Dame informed me that the attack on the train commenced on Monday, the 14th of September. I asked him if he could not raise a company and go out and relieve the besieged train. He replied that he could go out and take them away in safety, but he dared not — he dared not disobey counsel.