Mountain Meadows Massacre Historical Accounts

On Saturday, at twelve o’clock we left Cedar City. About the middle of the afternoon, we met the four men who were sent out the night previous, returning in a wagon. Mathews and Tanner held a council with them, apart, and when they left, Mathews told me the entire train had been cut off, and, as it was still dangerous to travel the road, they had concluded it was better for us to pass the spot in the night. We continued on, without much conversation, and about dusk met Mr. Dame, and three other white men, coming from the scene of slaughter, in company with a band of some twenty Indian warriors. One of the men in company with Mr. Dame, was Mr. Haight, President of Cedar City. Mr. Dame said they had been out to see to the burying of the dead, but the dead were not buried. From what I heard, I believe the bodies were left lying naked upon the ground, having been stripped of their clothing by the Indians. These Indians had a two-horse wagon, filled with something I could not see, as blankets were carefully spread over the top. The wagon was driven by a white man, and beside him, there were two or three Indians in it! Many of them had shawls, and bundles of women’s clothes were tied to their saddles. They were also all supplied with guns or pistols, besides bows and arrows. The hindmost Indians were driving several head of the emigrants’ cattle. Mr. Dame and Mr. Haight, and their men, seemed to be on the best of terms with the Indians, and they were all in high spirits as if they were mutually pleased with the accomplishment of some desired object. They thronged around us and greeted us with noisy cordiality. We did not learn much from them. They passed on, and we drove all night in silence, and at daylight camped, and were told we were three miles beyond the scene of slaughter. We lay by here two or three hours, to rest, and then drove all day-twenty miles-at night camping on the Santa Clara River, near the Chief Jackson’s village.

The next morning, after driving a few miles, we stopped to water. Jackson and his band soon came to us, and in a few minutes pointed out Mr. Warn as an American. The Mormon boys denied it, but the Indians were dissatisfied and appeared restive. The chief came up and accused me of being an American, appeared mad, stepped around, shook his head, and pulled his bowstring. He then sent several men on our road ahead. Mr. Mathews advised us to leave there as quickly as possible, as it was getting dangerous.

At Jackson’s, we engaged Mr. Hatch to go on to the Muddy as an interpreter. It was a fortunate circumstance for us that this Mr. Hatch arrived at our camp at the very moment that we were wishing for him most. Mr. Mathews told me he was an Indian missionary, and of great influence among them. He could do more with them than anybody else, and if he could not get me over the road, nobody could. Mr. Tanner had declared that he would not go on without Mr. Hatch and pretended to be afraid of the dangers of the road.

The next morning Mr. Hatch left us and went on to the Muddy. About a day’s drive the other side of the Muddy, we met him returning in company with two young men, brothers Young, horse thieves, who were escaping from justice in San Bernardino, having been assisted in getting away by those who had them in custody. Mr. Hatch stated that when he reached the Muddy, he found the young boys in company with an emigrant who had escaped the massacre-that on his arrival, there was not an Indian in sight, and that he had to give the whoop to call them from concealment. He said in continuation, without appearing to notice the discrepancy, that on his arrival he found the Indians hotly pursuing the three men, and that they jumped upon the emigrant, and killed him before his eyes before he could interfere to prevent it. He said he threw himself between the boys and Indians, and had great difficulty in saving them. The Indians were in great excitement, as he said, but that as Mathews and Tanner were Mormons, they could pass without danger.

We arrived at the Muddy the day after we met Mr. Hatch and the Young boys. We found here 30 or 40 Indians, and the mail riders from Los Angeles, who had come in that morning. The Indians were very friendly and shook hands with everybody. No expression of hostility to Americans was heard, but this was accounted for on the ground that this was a Mormon train.

At the Vegas, we found another band of Indians. The chief asked our interpreter whether our captain had brought him no word from Brigham Young, whether he was nearly ready to fight the Americans yet; adding, that he was ready, had got his arrows poisoned, etc.

At the Cottonwoods, 15 miles from the Vegas, the chief, called Brigham Young, said he was afraid of the emigrant train behind, and wished to know if they would shoot.

On the 1st of October, we arrived at San Bernardino, and I was advised by R. Matthews, who, I learned, was a President or Elder in that place, not to associate with the damned apostates, that they were cutthroats of the worst character. If I wished, they would give me constant work at their mill in the mountains, and I must be careful not to talk too much of what I had seen.

Whilst in San Bernardino, I heard many persons express gratification at the massacre. At the church services, on Sunday, Captain Hunt occupied the pulpit, and, among other things, he said that the hand of the Lord was in it; it was right! The prophecies concerning Missouri were being fulfilled, and they would all be accomplished.

Mr. Matthews said the work had just begun, and it should be carried on until Uncle Sam and all the boys that were left should come to Zion and beg for bread.

I did not stay in San Bernardino, because it did not appear to be a free country, for I am an American, and like freedom of thought and speech.

Mr. P. M. Warn, of Bergen, Genesse County, New York, who was a fellow traveler with Mr. Powers on that fatal journey, corroborates the statements of Powers, so far as he was acquainted with the facts, and gives the following additional particulars, which did not come under the observation of Mr. Powers:

Mr. Warn states that there was a coolness between himself and Mr. Matthews, arising from the frankness with which he expressed his opinions, and, in consequence of this, he was not treated with as much confidence as Mr. Powers.

Mr. Warn arrived at Salt Lake, via Independence, on the 7th of August last, and remained until the 26th, on which day he started for California, as a passenger in Mathews and Tanner’s train. He states that on his journey through the settlements, which was a week or ten days subsequent to the passage of the murdered train, he at various places heard the same threats of vengeance against them, for their boisterousness and abuse of Mormons and Mormonism, as was reported, and these threats seemed to be made with the intention of preparing the mind to expect a calamity, and also, when a calamity occurred, it would appear to fall upon transgressors, as a matter of retribution.