Mountain Meadows Massacre Victims & Members

Mountain Meadows Site

In this beautiful valley, occurred one of the most horrific and controversial
massacres in U.S. history, drawing by H. Steinegger, Pacific Art Co, 1877.

Mary M. Wharton Dunlap (1818-1857) – Mary Wharton was born in Tennessee in 1818. However, by the time she married Jesse Dunlap, Jr. in March 1828, she was living in Arkansas. The couple had 10 children, including Ruth Ellenor, Nancy Rachel, James D.,  Lucinda, Susannah, Marguerette, Mary Ann,  Rebecca, Louisa, and Sarah Elizabeth. In April 1857, the family, along with Jesse’s brother Lorenzo’s, who happened to be married to Mary’s sister, joined the John T. Baker train in Marion County, Arkansas. In the massacre, the entire family was killed, with the exception of the three youngest daughters,  Rebecca,  Louisa, and Sarah Elizabeth. The three girls were placed in the Mormon family of Jacob Hamblin, in Santa Clara, Utah. However, after two years, they were rescued and returned to Carrollton, Arkansas, where they were raised by their uncle, James Dunlap.

Nancy Jane Wharton Dunlap (1815-1857) – Nancy Jane Wharton was born in Tennessee in 1815. However, by the time she married Lorenzo Dow Wharton in 1839, she was living in Arkansas. The couple had eight children, including Thomas, John, Mary Ann, Talitha, Nancy, America Jane, Prudence, and Georgia Ann Dunlap. In April 1857, the Dunlaps joined the John T. Baker Company to travel to California from Marion County, Arkansas. Nancy, her husband, and all of their children, with the exception of five-year-old Prudence and 18 month old, Georgia Ann were killed.

Prudence Angeline Dunlap (1852-1918) – Born on January 9, 1852, in Jackson, Arkansas, to Lorenzo Dow Dunlap and Nancy Jane Wharton Dunlap, the seventh of eight children. In the Mountain Meadows Massacre, her parents and six of her siblings were killed. Only five-year-old Prudence, and her 18 month-old sister, Georgia Ann, were spared. The two sisters were separated, with Prudence residing with the Sam Jakes family of Cedar City, Utah. When the girls were rescued, they were returned to Marion County, where they resided with William C. Mitchell, a friend of Lorenzo Dunlap’s. Prudence married Claiborne Hobbs Koen on December 31, 1874. The couple soon moved to the Central Texas community of Caradan, where they raised their children. She died on November 5, 1918, in Mills County, Texas.

William M. Eaton – A native of Indiana, Eaton was living in Illinois in the mid-1850s where he owned and operated a farm. Early in 1857, he met some men from Arkansas who were visiting relatives in Illinois before they moved to California with the Fancher Wagon Train. Eaton, who had a niece who lived in Salt Lake City, was intrigued, and soon sold his farm, and with plans to move his family to California, he “temporarily” he took his wife and young daughter to stay with family in Indiana before joining the Arkansas company. As the wagon train was ready to pull out of Salt Lake City, Utah to continue their journey westward, Eaton wrote a cheerful letter to his wife stating that all was well. It would be the last communication from the group. He was killed in the Mountain Meadow massacre in September 1857.

Wagon Train Children

Captain Alexander Fancher (1813-1857) – Born in Overton County, Tennessee to Isaac and Anne Tully Fancher, Alexander was familiarly known to his friends and family as “Piney Alex.”  He moved with his parents and siblings from Tennessee to Illinois around 1823. On May 12, 1836, he married Eliza Ingram in Coles County, Illinois. The couple would eventually have ten children, all but two of whom would be killed in the Mountain Meadows Massacre. In 1841, the couple and their children moved to Missouri, and a few years later, they were living in Carroll County, Arkansas. There, Fancher served in the County Militia in the 1849 Tutt-Everett War, an event that grew out of a feud between two powerful Ozark families.

Over the years, Fancher worked as a farmer, a cattleman, and was said to have made three different trips to California in the 1850s. In 1852 Alexander Fancher was back in Carroll County, Arkansas where he purchased 40 acres of land and by 1854, he owned more than 200 acres. In April 1857, Fancher led a number of families on the trek to California.

Starting near present-day Harrison, Arkansas, the group included some 120-150 men, women, and children, primarily from northwestern Arkansas, 20 wagons, four carriages, as well as hundreds of draft and riding horses, and about 900 head of cattle. It was one of the richest wagon trains ever assembled, carrying with it some $100,000 in cash, property, and livestock. In September 1857, after the wagon train had been besieged at Mountain Meadows, Utah for five days, Fancher surrendered under a flag of truce.

He was killed anyway, along with his wife, Eliza, sons, James and his wife, Frances “Fanny” Fulfer Fancher, sons, Hampton, 19, William, 17, and Thomas, 14; daughters, Mary, 15, Martha, 10, and twins, Margaret and Sara, 7. Only his two youngest children, Christopher “Kit” Carson Fancher, 5 years old, and his daughter, Tryphena, were spared. The two youngest children were taken and placed in Mormon homes initially, but two years after the massacre, they were returned to Arkansas, where they were raised by a cousin.

Christopher Kit Carson Fancher

Christopher “Kit” Carson Fancher (1853-1873) – The eight of the nine Fancher children, Christopher was born to Alexander and Eliza Fancher in 1853. Just five-years-old at the time of the massacre, he witnessed his father being killed. He and 22 month-old sister, Tryphena, were the only ones in the family who were spared.  He and his sister were then placed with a Mormon family in the area, where the boy was called “Charley.” After two years, they were returned to Arkansas where they were raised by a cousin, Hampton Bynum Fancher, and his wife Eliza in Osage, Arkansas. During the Civil War, Kit traveled to Texas with James F. Fancher, the father of Hampton Bynum, and returned to Osage in 1866. Before his death in 1873, he had been initiated into the Osage Masonic Lodge with his closest friend and cousin, Spencer Jarnigan Morris. At the age of 20, he died, unmarried, at the home of Hampton Bynum Fancher, and is buried in the historic family Fancher-Seitz Cemetery in Osage, Arkansas.

Eliza Ingram Fancher (1820?-1857) – Born in Illinois around 1820, or perhaps earlier, Eliza married Alexander Fancher in Coles County, Illinois on May 12, 1836. The couple would eventually have ten children, all but two of whom would be killed in the Mountain Meadows Massacre. In 1841, the couple and their children moved to Missouri, and a few years later, they were living in Carroll County, Arkansas. The Fanchers and all their children were caught in the Mountain Meadows Massacre of September 1857. Alexander, Eliza, and their children, Hampton, 19, William, 17, Mary, 15, Thomas, 14, Martha, 10, and twins, Margaret and Sara, 7, were killed. Only their two youngest children, Christopher “Kit” Carson Fancher, 5 years-old, and daughter, Tryphena, were spared.

Tryphena D. Fancher Wilson

Tryphena D. Fancher (1855-1897) – The youngest of the Fancher’s nine children, Tryphena was born to Alexander and Eliza Fancher, on November 18, 1855. Twenty-two months old at the time of the massacre, she and her five-year-old brother, Christopher, were the only ones in the family to survive. She and her brother were placed with a Mormon family for two years, where she was referred to as “Annie.” Afterward, they were returned to Arkansas where they were raised by a cousin, Hampton Bynum Fancher, and his wife Eliza in Osage, Arkansas. Tryphena grew up and married a farmer named James Chaney Wilson on July 8, 1871, in Carroll County, Arkansas. The couple had ten children. Tryphena died on April 30, 1897. Her husband, James remarried, and he and his new wife raised those children not yet grown. James died On May 1, 1923.

2 thoughts on “Mountain Meadows Massacre Victims & Members”

  1. This is such a crazy story. I just stumbled across it as I was digging into my genealogy. My 3rd great grandfather and grandmother were Lorenzo Dow Dunlap and Nancy Jane Wharton Dunlap. My great-great grandmother was Prudence Dunlap, one of the children who was spared. I never knew this story. Mind blown…

  2. I was 14 when I found out about this story..My family was from that area. I confronted my father who said “There are two sides to every story.” Yes, there are- but Murder?” Yes there were reasons, but no justification for what happened. Researching the events over forty years it was hard to know the truths of thing but the cover ups from the church was obvious. Where are the journals of the shooters and family members, don’t tell me no one spoke of it because of a vow. This had to troubled people. It obviously did my father- an ancestor of a possible shooter. His eyes were haunted by not knowing the truth.

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