is not the complete book, but contains
Preface vii - ix
Pages 214 - 292
THE LIFE AND CONFESSIONS
OF THE LATE MORMON BISHOP,
JOHN D. LEE;
(Written by Himself)
EMBRACING A HISTORY OF MORMONISM
FROM ITS INCEPTION
DOWN TO THE PRESENT TIME, WITH AN EXPOSITION
OF THE SECRET HISTORY, SIGNS, SYMBOLS AND CRIMES OF THE
ALSO THE TRUE HISTORY OF THE HORRIBLE BUTCHERY
THE MOUNTAIN MEADOWS MASSACRE.
I WAS requested by John Doyle Lee, after he had been
sentenced to be shot for the part he took in the commission of the Mountain
Meadows Massacre, to publish an account of his life and confessions, in
order to inform the world how it was that he had acted as he had, and
why he was made a scape-goat by the Mormon Church. I accepted the trust,
and, in giving publicity to the facts now, for the first time fully brought
to light, I am only performing what I believe to be a duty--to him, and
to the public.
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.
Over one hundred and twenty men, women and children were surrounded by
Indians, and more cruel whites, and kept under constant fire, from hundreds
of unerring rifles, for five days and nights, during all of which time,
the emigrants were famishing for water. When nearly exhausted from fatigue
and thirst, they 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, and left nude and mangled upon
the plain. All this was done by a band of fanatics, who had no cause of
complaint against the emigrants, except that the authorities of the Mormon
Church had decided that all the emigrants who were old enough to talk,
should die--revenge for alleged insults to Brigham Young, and the booty
of the plundered train being the inciting causes of the massacre.
John D. Lee was one, and only one of fifty-eight Mormons, who
there carried out the orders of the Mormon Priesthood. He has died for
his crimes-shall the others escape?
The entire history of this atrocious crime is given in the confession.
How it was done, and why it was the wish of the Mor-
mons that it should be done, all Is fully stated. As one of the attorneys
for John D. Lee, I did all that I could to save his life. My associates
were, and are able men and fine lawyers, but fact and fate
united to turn the verdict against us. The history of the first and second
trials is familiar to most of the American people; therefore, I will not
describe them here, any more than to say, Mormonism prevented conviction
at the first trial, and at the second trial Mormonism insured conviction.
After Brigham Young and his worshipers had deserted Lee, and marked him
as the victim that should suffer to save the Church from destruction,
on account of the crimes it had ordered; after all chances of escape had
vanished, and death was certain as the result of the life-long service
be had rendered the Church, the better nature of Lee overcame his superstition
and fanaticism, and he gave to me the history of his life, and his confession
of the facts connected with the massacre, and wished me to have the same
published. Why he refused to confess at an earlier day, and save his own
life by placing the guilt where it of right belonged, is a question which
is answered by the statement, that he was still a slave to his Endowment
and Danite oaths, and trusted until too late to the promises of protection
made to him by Brigham Young. John D. Lee was a fanatic, and as such,
believed in the Mormon Church, and aided in carrying out the orders of
that Church. I believe it is my duty to publish this work, to show mankind
the fruits resulting from obedience to Mormon leaders, and to show that
Mormonism was as certainly the cause of the Mountain Meadows Massacre,
as it is that fanaticism has been the mother of crime in all ages of the
world. I also wish the American people to read the facts, as they are
told by a mistaken and fanatical follower of the Mormon doctrines, yet,
one who was a brave man, and, according to his ideas and teaching, a good
man; who did not believe he was doing wrong when obeying the commands
of the Mormon Priesthood. I wish the American people to read this work,
and then say, if they can, what should be the fate of those who caused
the crime to be committed. The following pages contain simply true
copies of material, furnished me by John D. Lee, for the purpose of being
published; all of which was written by him while in prison, and after
the jury had returned its verdict of guilty.
have no excuses to offer for publishing the work just as it
is. It is what it purport. to be, a full history of the Mountain Meadows
Massacre, and also a sketch of the life of John D. Lee, embracing a revelation
of the secret history of Mormonism, from its inception down to
the death of Lee; with a correct copy of his confession as given to me
for publication. If any feel injured by the facts, I cannot help it. If
this publication shall, in any degree, aid in securing the much needed
legislation, demanded by the American citizens of Utah, from the National
Government, so that Church criminals, as well as Gentiles, can be convicted
in Utah, I shall feel that I have been paid well for all the vexations
I have endured in the land of the Saints, where they murder men,
women and children for the glory of God, and the upbuilding of His kingdom.
also believe this publication will be an advantage to the large number
of naturally good and honest people, who inhabit Utah, who joined the
Church, and moved to Utah, believing it their Christian duty to do so.
To that class of people I am indebted for many favors, and wish them future
Wm. W. BISHOP,
Confidential Att'y of John D. Lee.
Pioche, Nevada, May 17, 1877.
LAST CONFESSION AND STATEMENT OF
JOHN D. LEE.
WRITTEN AT HIS DICTATION AND DELIVERED
TO WILLIAM W. BISHOP,
ATTORNEY FOR LEE, WITH A REQUEST THAT THE
SAME BE PUBLISHED.
AS A DUTY to myself, my family,
and mankind at large, I propose to give a full and true statement of all
that I know and all that I did in that unfortunate affair, which has cursed
my existence, and made me a wanderer from place to place for the last
nineteen years, and which is known to the world as the MOUNTAIN
have no vindictive feeling against any one; no enemies to punish by this
statement; and no friends to shield by keeping back, or longer keeping
secret, any of the facts connected with the Massacre.
believe that I must tell all that I do know, and tell everything just
as the same transpired. I shall tell the truth and permit the public to
judge who is most to blame for the crime that I am accused of committing.
I did not act alone; I had many to assist me at the Mountain Meadows.
I believe that most of those who were connected with the Massacre, and
took part in the lamentable transaction that has blackened the character
of all who were aiders or abettors in the same, were acting under the
impression that they were performing a religious duty. I know all were
acting under the orders and by the command of their Church leaders; and
I firmly believe that the most of those who took part in the proceedings,
considered it a religious duty to unquestioningly obey the orders which
they had received. That they acted from a sense of duty to the Mormon
never doubted. Believing that those with me acted
from a sense of religious duty on that occasion, I have faithfully kept
the secret of their guilt, and remained silent and true to the oath
of secrecy which we took on the bloody field, for many long and bitter
years. I have never betrayed those who acted with me and participated
in the crime for which I am convicted, and for which I am to suffer death.
attorneys, especially Wells Spicer and Wm. W. Bishop, have long tried,
but tried in vain, to induce me to tell all I knew of the massacre
and the causes which led to it. I have heretofore refused to tell the
tale. Until the last few days I had in tended to die, if die I must, without
giving one word to the public concerning those who joined willingly, or
unwillingly, in the work of destruction at Mountain Meadows.
hesitate longer, or to die in silence, would be unjust and cowardly. I
will not keep the secret any longer as my own, but will tell all I know.
At the earnest request of a few remaining friends, and by the
advice of Mr. Bishop, my counsel, who has defended me thus far with all
his ability, notwithstanding my want of money with which to pay even his
expenses while attending to my case, I have concluded to write facts as
I know them to exist.
cannot go before the Judge of the quick and the dead with out first revealing
all that I know, as to what was done, who ordered me to do what I did
do, and the motives that led to the commission of that unnatural and bloody
immediate orders for the killing of the emigrants came from those in authority
at Cedar City. At the time of the massacre, I and those with me, acted
by virtue of positive orders from Isaac C. Haight and his associates at
Cedar City. Before I started on my mission to the Mountain Meadows, I
was told by Isaac C. Haight that his orders to me were the result of full
consultatation [sic] with Colonel William H. Dame and all in authority.
It is a new thing to me, if the massacre was not decided on by the head
men of the Church, and it is a new thing for Mormons to condemn those
who committed the deed.
Being forced to speak from memory alone, without the aid of my memorandum
books, and not having time to correct the statements that I make, I will
necessarily give many things out of their regular order. The superiority
that I claim for my statement is this:
ALL THAT I DO SAY IS TRUE AND NOTHING
BUT THE TRUTH.
will begin my statement by saying, I was born on the 6th day of September,
A. D. 1812, in the town of Kaskaskia, Randolph County, State of Illinois.
I am therefore in the sixty-fifth year of my age.
joined the Mormon Church at Far West, Mo., about thirty-nine years ago.
To be with that Church and people I left my home on Luck Creek, Fayette
County, Illinois, and went and joined the Mormons in Missouri, before
the troubles at Gallatin, Far West and other points, between the Missourians
and Mormons. I shared the fate of my brother Mormons, in being mistreated,
arrested, robbed and driven from Missouri in a destitute condition, by
a wild and fanatical mob. But of all this I shall speak in my life, which
I shall write for publication if I have time to do so.
took an active part with the leading men at Nauvoo in building up that
city. I induced many Saints to move to Nauvoo, for the sake of their souls.
I traveled and preached the Mormon doctrine in many States. I was an honored
man in the Church, and stood high with the Priesthood, until the last
few years. I am now cut off from the Church for obeying the orders
of my superiors, and doing so without asking questions--for doing
as my religion and my religious teachers had taught me to do. I am now
used by the Mormon Church as a scape-goat to carry the sins of that people.
My life is to be taken, so that my death may stop further enquiry into
the acts of the members who are still in good standing in the Church.
Will my death satisfy the nation for all the crimes committed by Mormons,
at the command of the Priesthood, who have used and now have deserted
me? Time will tell. I believe in a just God, and I know the day
will come when others must answer for their acts, as I have had to do.
first became acquainted with Brigham Young when I went to Far West, Mo.,
to join the Church, in 1837. I got very intimately acquainted with all
the great leaders of the Church. I was adopted by Brigham Young as one
of his sons, and for many years I confess I looked upon him as an inspired
and holy man. While in Nauvoo I took an active part in all that was done
for the Church or the city. I had charge of the building of the "Seventy
Hall;" I was 7th Policeman. My duty as a police
man was to guard the residence and person of Joseph
Smith, the Prophet. After the death of Joseph and Hyrum I was ordered
to perform the same duty for Brigham Young. When Joseph Smith was a candidate
for the Presidency of the United States I went to Kentucky as the chairman
of the Board of Elders, or head of the delegation, to secure the vote
of that State for him. When I returned to Nauvoo again I was General Clerk
and Recorder for the Quorum of the Seventy. I was also head or Chief Clerk
for the Church, and as such took an active part in organizing the Priesthood
into the order of Seventy after the death of Joseph Smith.
After the destruction of Nauvoo, when the Mormons were driven from the
State of Illinois, I again shared the fate of my brethren, and partook
of the hardships and trials that befel [sic] them from that day up to
the settlement of Salt Lake City, in the then wilderness of the nation.
I presented Brigham Young with seventeen ox teams, fully equipped, when
he started with the people from Winter Quarters to cross the plains to
the new resting place of the Saints. He accepted them and said, "God bless
you, John." But I never received a cent for them--I never wanted pay for
them, for in giving property to Brigham Young I thought I was loaning
it to the Lord.
After reaching Salt Lake City I stayed there but a short time, when I
went to live at Cottonwood, where the mines were afterwards discovered
by General Connor and his men during the late war.
was just getting fixed to live there, when I was ordered to go out into
the interior and aid in forming new settlements, and opening up the country.
I then had no wish or desire, save that to know and be able to do the
will of the Lord's anointed, Brigham Young, and until within the last
few years I have never had a wish for anything else except to do his pleasure,
since I became his adopted son. I believed it my duty to obey those in
authority. I then believed that Brigham Young spoke by direction of the
God of Heaven. I would have suffered death rather than have disobeyed
any command of his. I had this feeling until he betrayed and deserted
me. At the command of Brigham Young, I took one hundred and twenty-one
men, went in a southern direction from Salt Lake City, and laid out and
built up Parowan. George A. Smith was the leader and chief man in authority
in that settlement. I acted under him
as historian and clerk of the Iron County Mission,
until January, 1851. I went with Brigham Young, and acted as a committee
man, and located Provo, St. George, Fillmore, Parowan and other towns,
and managed the location of many of the settlements in Southern Utah.
1852, I moved to Harmony, and built up that settlement. I remained there
until the Indians declared war against the whites and drove the settlers
into Cedar City and Parowan, for protection, in the year 1853.
removed my then numerous family to Cedar City, where I was appointed a
Captain of the militia, and commander of Cedar City Military Post.
I had commanded at Cedar City about one year, when I was ordered to return
to Harmony, and build the Harmony Fort. This order, like all other orders,
came from Brigham Young. When I returned to Harmony and commenced building
the fort there, the orders were given by Brigham Young for the reorganization
of the military at Cedar City. The old men were requested to resign their
offices, and let younger men be appointed in their place. I resigned my
office of Captain, but Isaac C. Haight and John M. Higbee refued [sic]
to resign, and continued to hold on as Majors in the Iron Militia.
After returning to Harmony, I was President of the civil and local affairs,
and Rufus Allen was President of that Stake of Zion, or head of the Church
soon resigned my position as President of civil affairs, and became a
private citizen, and was in no office for some time. In fact, I never
held any position after that, except the office of Probate Judge of the
County (which office I held before and after the massacre), and member
of the Territorial Legislature, and Delegate to the Constitutional Convention
which met and adopted a constitution for the State of Deseret, after the
I will here state that Brigham Young honored me in many ways after the
affair at Mountain Meadows was fully reported to him by me, as I will
more fully state hereafter in the course of what I have to relate concerning
that unfortunate transaction.
Klingensmith, at my first trial, and White, at my last trial, swore falsely
when they say that they met me near Cedar City, the Sunday before the
massacre. They did not meet me as they have sworn, nor did they meet me
at all on that occasion or on
any similar occasion. I never had the conversations
with them that they testify about. They are both perjurers, and bore false
testimony against me.
There has never been a witness on the stand against me 'that has testified
to the whole truth. Some have told part truth, while others lied clear
through, but all of the witnesses who were at the massacre have tried
to throw all the blame on me, and to protect the other men who took part
About the 7th of September, 1857, I went to Cedar City from my home at
Harmony, by order of President Haight. I did not know what he wanted of
me, but he had ordered me to visit him and I obeyed. If I remember correctly,
it was on Sunday evening that I went there. When I got to Cedar City,
I met Isaac C. Haight on the public square of the town. Haight was then
President of that Stake of Zion, and the highest man in the Mormon priesthood
in that country, and next to Wm. H. Dame in all of Southern Utah, and
as Lieutenant Colonel he was second to Dame in the command of the Iron
Military District. The word and command of Isaac C. Haight were the law
in Cedar City, at that time, and to disobey his orders was certain death;
be they right or wrong, no Saint was permitted to question them, their
duty was obedience or death.
When I met Haight, I asked him what he wanted with me. He said he wanted
to have a long talk with me on private and particular business. We took
some blankets and went over to the old Iron Works, and lay there that
night, so that we could talk in private and in safety. After we got to
the Iron Works, Haight told me all about the train of emigrants. He said
(and I then believed every word that be spoke, for I believed it was an
impossible thing for one so high in the Priesthood as he was, to be guilty
of falsehood) that the emigrants were a rough and abusive set of men.
That they had, while traveling through Utah, been very abusive to all
the Mormons they met. That they had insulted, outraged, and ravished many
of the Mormon women. That the abuses heaped upon the people by the emigrants
during their trip from Provo to Cedar City, had been constant and shameful;
that they had burned fences and destroyed growing crops; that at many
points on the road they had poisoned the water, so that all people and
stock that drank of the water became sick, and many had died from the
effects of poison. That these vile Gentiles publicly proclaimed that they
had the very
pistol with which the Prophet, Joseph Smith, was
murdered, and had threatened to kill Brigham Young and all of the Apostles.
That when in Cedar City they said they would have friends in Utah who
would hang Brigham Young by the neck until he was dead, before snow fell
again in the Territory.. They also said that Johnston was coming, with
his army, from the East, and they were going to return from California
with soldiers, as soon as possible, and would then desolate the land,
and kill every d--d Mormon man, woman and child that they could find in
Utah. That they violated the ordinances of the town of Cedar, and had,
by armed force, resisted the officers who tried to arrest them for violating
the law. That after leaving Cedar City the emigrants camped by the company,
or cooperative field, just below Cedar City, and burned a large portion
of the fencing, leaving the crops open to the large herds of stock in
the surrounding country. Also that they had given poisoned meat to the
Corn Creek tribe of Indians, which had killed several of them, and their
Chief, Konosh, was on the trail of the emigrants, and would soon attack
them. All of these things, and much more of a like kind, Haight told me
as we lay in the dark at the old Iron Works. I believed all that he said,
and, thinking that he had full right to do all that he wanted to do, I
was easily induced to follow his instructions.
Haight said that unless something was done to prevent it, the emigrants
would carry out their threats and rob every one of the outlying settlements
in the South, and that the whole Mormon people were liable to be butchered
by the troops that the emigrants would bring back with them from California.
I was then told that the Council had held a meeting that day, to consider
the matter, and that it was decided by the authorities to arm the Indians,
give them provisions and ammunition, and send them after the emigrants,
and have the Indians give them a brush, and if they killed part
or all of them, so much the better.
said, "Brother Haight, who is your authority for acting in this way?"
replied, "It is the will of all in authority. The emigrants have
no pass from any one to go through the country, and they are liable to
be killed as common enemies, for the country is at war now. No man has
a right to go through this country without a written pass."
lay there and talked much of the night, and during that
time Haight gave me very full instructions what
to do, and how to proceed in the whole affair. He said he had consulted
with Colonel Dame, and every one agreed to let the Indians use up the
whole train if they could. Haight then said:
expect you to carry out your orders."
knew I had to obey or die. I had no wish to disobey, for I then thought
that my superiors in the Church were the mouth pieces of Heaven, and that
it was an act of godliness for me to obey any and all orders given by
them to me, without my asking any questions.
orders were to go home to Harmony, and see Carl Shirts, my son-in-law,
an Indian interpreter, and send him to the Indians in the South, to notify
them that the Mormons and Indians were at war with the "Mericats"
(as the Indians called all whites that were not Mormons) and bring
all the Southern Indians up and have them join with those from the North,
so that their force would be sufficient to make a successful attack on
It was agreed that Haight would send Nephi Johnson, another Indian interpreter,
to stir up all the other Indians that he could find, in order
to have a large enough force of Indians to give the emigrants a good hush.
He said, "These are the orders that have been agreed upon by the Council,
and it is in accordance with the feelings of the entire people."
asked him if it would not have been better to first send to Brigham Young
for instructions, and find out what he thought about the matter.
"No," said Haight, "that is unnecessary, we are acting by orders.
Some of the Indians are now on the war-path, and all of them must
be sent out; all must go, so as to make the thing a success.
was then intended that the Indians should kill the emigrants, and make
it an Indian massacre, and not have any whites interfere with
them. No whites were to be known in the matter, it was to be all done
by the Indians, so that it could be laid to them, if any questions were
ever asked about it. I said to Haight:
"You know what the Indians are. They will kill all the party, women and
children, as well as the men, and you know we are sworn not to shed innocent
h--l!" said he, "there will not be one drop of innocent
blood shed, if every one of the d--d pack are killed,
for they are the worse lot of out-laws and ruffians that I ever saw in
We agreed upon the whole thing, how each one should act, and then left
the iron works, and went to Haight's house and, got breakfast.
After breakfast I got ready to start, and Haight said to me:
"Go, Brother Lee, and see that the instructions of those in authority
are obeyed, and as you are dutiful in this, so shall your reward be in
the kingdom of God, for God will bless those who willingly obey counsel,
and make all things fit for the people in these last days."
left Cedar City for my home at Harmony, to carry out the instructions
that I had received from my superior.
then believed that he acted by the direct order and command of William
H. Dame, and others even higher in authority than Colonel Dame. One reason
for thinking so was from a talk I had only a few days before, with Apostle
George A. Smith, and he had just then seen Haight, and talked with him,
and I knew that George A. Smith never talked of things that Brigham Young
had not talked over with him before-hand. Then the Mormons were at war
with the United States, and the orders to the Mormons had been all the
time to kill and waste away our enemies, but lose none of our people.
These emigrants were from the section of country most hostile to our people,
and I believed then as I do now, that it was the will of every true Mormon
in Utah, at that time, that the enemies of the Church should be killed
as fast as possible, and that as this lot of people had men amongst them
that were supposed to have helped kill the Prophets in the Carthage jail,
the killing of all of them would be keeping our oaths and avenging the
blood of the Prophets.
justice to myself I will give the facts of my talk with George A. Smith.
the latter part of the month of August, 1857, about ten days before the
company of Captain Fancher, who met their doom at Mountain Meadows, arrived
at that place, General George A. Smith called on me at one of my homes
at Washington City, Washington County, Utah Territory, and wished me to
take him round by Fort Clara, via Pinto Settlements, to Hamilton Fort,
or Cedar City. He said,
have been sent down here by the old Boss, Brigham Young,
to Instruct the brethren of the different settlements
not to sell any of their grain to our enemies. And to tell them not, to
feed it to their animals, for it will all be needed by ourselves. I am
also to instruct the brethren to prepare for a big fight, for
the enemy is coming in large force to attempt our destruction. But Johnston's
army will not be allowed to approach our settlements from the east. God
is on our side and will fight our battles for us, and deliver our enemies
into our hands. Brigham Young has received revelations from God, giving
him the right and the power to call down the curse of God on all our enemies
who attempt to invade our Territory. Our greatest danger lies
in the people of California--a class of reckless miners who are strangers
to God and his righteousness. They are likely to come upon us from the
south and destroy the small settlements. But we will try and outwit them
before we suffer much damage. The people of the United States who oppose
our Church and people are a mob, from the President down, and as such
it is impossible for their armies to prevail against the Saints who have
gathered here in the mountains."
continued this kind of talk for some hours to me and my friends who were
General George A. Smith held high rank as a military leader. He was one
of the twelve apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints,
and as such he was considered by me to be an inspired man. His orders
were to me sacred commands, which I considered it my duty to obey, without
question or hesitation.
took my horses and carriage and drove with him to either Hamilton Fort
or Cedar City, visiting the settlements with him, as he had requested.
I did not go to hear him preach at any of our stopping places, nor did
I pay attention to what he said to the leaders in the settlements.
day we left Fort Clara, which was then the headquarters of the Indian
missionaries under the presidency of Jacob Hamblin, we stopped to noon
at the Clara River. While there the Indians gathered around us in large
numbers, and were quite saucy and impudent. Their chiefs asked me where
I was going and who I had with me. I told them that he was a big captain.
he, a Mericat Captain?"
"No," I said, "he is a Mormon."
Indians then wanted to know more. They wanted to have a talk.
The General told me to tell the Indians that the Mormons were their friends,
and that the Americans were their enemies, and the enemies of the Mormons,
too; that he wanted the Indians to remain the fast friends of the Mormons,
for the Mormons were all friends to the Indians; that the Americans had
a large army just east of the mountains, and intended to come over the
mountains into Utah and kill all of the Mormons and Indians in Utah Territory;
that the Indians must get ready and keep ready for war against all of
the Americans, and keep friendly with the Mormons and obey what the Mormons
told them to do--that this was the will of the Great Spirit; that if the
Indians were true to the Mormons and would help them against their enemies,
then the Mormons would always keep them from want and sickness and give
them guns and ammunition to hunt and kill game with, and would also help
the Indians against their enemies when they went into war.
This talk pleased the Indians, and they agreed to all that I asked them
saw that my friend Smith was a little nervous and fearful of the Indians,
notwithstanding their promises of friendship. To relieve him of his anxiety
I hitched up and started on our way, as soon as I could do so without
rousing the suspicions of the Indians.
had ridden along about a mile or so when General Smith said,
"Those are savage looking fellows. I think they would make it lively for
an emigrant train if one should come this way."
said I thought they would attack any train that would come in their way.
Then the General was in a deep study for some time, when he said,
"Suppose an emigrant train should come along through this southern country,
making threats against our people and bragging of the part they took in
helping kill our Prophets, what do you think the brethren would do with
them? Would they be permitted to go their way, or would the brethren pitch
into them and give them a good drubbing?"
reflected a few moments, and then said,
"You know the brethren are now under the influence of the late reformation,
and are still red-hot for the gospel. The
brethren believe the government wishes to destroy
them. I really believe that any train of emigrants that may come through
here will be attacked, and. probably all destroyed. I am sure they would
be wiped out if they had been making threats again our people. Unless
emigrants have a pass from Brigham Young, or some one in authority, they
will certainly never get safely through this country."
reply pleased him very much, and he laughed heartily, and then said,
you really believe the brethren would make it lively for such a train?"
said, "Yes, sir, I know they will, unless they are protected by a pass,
and I wish to inform you that unless you want every train captured
that comes through here, you must inform Governor Young that if he
wants emigrants to pass, without being molested, he must send orders to
that effect to Colonel Wm. H. Dame or Major Isaac C. Haight, so that they
can give passes to the emigrants, for their passes will insure safety,
but nothing else will, except the positive orders of Governor Young, as
the people are all bitter against the Gentiles, and full of religious
zeal, and anxious to avenge the blood of the Prophets."
only reply he made was to the effect that on his way down from Salt Lake
City he had had a long talk with Major Haight on the same subject, and
that Haight had assured him, and given him to understand, that emigrants
who came along without a pass from Governor Young could not escape from
We then rode along in silence for some distance, when he again turned
to me and said,
"Brother Lee, I am satisfied that the brethren are under the full influence
of the reformation, and I believe they will do just as you say they will
with the wicked emigrants that come through the country making threats
and abusing our people."
repeated my views to him, but at much greater length, giving my reasons
in full for thinking that Governor Young should give orders to protect
all the emigrants that he did not wish destroyed. I went into a full statement
of the wrongs of our people, and told him that the people were under the
blaze of the reformation, full of wild fire and fanaticism, and that to
shed the blood of those who would dare to speak against the Mormon
Church or its leaders, they would consider doing the
will of God, and that the people would do it as
willingly and cheerfully as they would any other duty. That the apostle
Paul, when he started forth to persecute the followers of Christ, was
not any more sincere than every Mormon was then, who lived in Southern
words served to cheer up the General very much; he was greatly delighted,
am glad to hear so good an account of our people. God will bless them
for all that they do to build up His Kingdom in the last days."
General Smith did not say one word to me or intimate to me, that he wished
any emigrants to pass in safety through the Territory. But he
led me to believe then, as I believe now, that he did want, and expected
every emigrant to be killed that undertook to pass through the Territory
while we were at war with the Government. I thought it was his mission
to prepare the people for the bloody work.
have always believed, since that day, that General George A. Smith was
then visiting Southern Utah to prepare the people for the work of exterminating
Captain Fancher's train of emigrants, and I now believe that he was sent
for that purpose by the direct command of Brigham Young.
have been told by Joseph Wood, Thomas T. Willis, and many others, that
they heard George A. Smith preach at Cedar City during that trip, and
that he told the people of Cedar City that the emigrant's were coming,
and he told them that they must not sell that company any grain or
provisions of any kind, for they were a mob of villains and outlaws,
and the enemies of God and the Mormon people.
Sidney Littlefield, of Panguitch, has told me that he was knowing to the
fact of Colonel Wm. H. Dame sending orders from Parowan to Maj. Haight,
at Cedar City, to exterminate the Francher [sic] outfit, and
to kill every emigrant without fail. Littlefield then lived at Parowan,
and Dame was the Presiding Bishop. Dame still has all the wives he wants,
and is a great friend of Brigham Young.
knowledge of how George A. Smith felt toward the emigrants, and his telling
me that he had a long talk with Haight on the subject, made me certain
that it was the wish of the Church authorities that Francher
[sic] and his train should be wiped out, and knowing all this, I did not
doubt then, and I do not
doubt it now, either, that Haight was acting by
full authority from the Church leaders, and that the orders he gave to
me were just the orders that he had been directed to give, when he ordered
me to raise the Indians and have them attack the emigrants.
acted through the whole matter in a way that I considered it my religious
duty to act, and if what I did was a crime, it was a crime of the Mormon
Church, and not a crime for which I feel individually responsible.
I must here state that Klingensmith was not in Cedar City that Sunday
night. Haight said he had sent Klingensmith and others over towards Pinto,
and around there, to stir up the Indians and force them to attack the
my way from Cedar City to my home at Harmony, I came up with a large band
of Indians under Moquetas and Big Bill, two Cedar City Chiefs; they were
in their war paint, and fully equipped for battle. They halted when I
came up and said they had had a big talk with Haight, Higby and Klingensmith,
and had got orders from them to follow up the emigrants and kill them
all, and take their property as the spoil of their enemies.
These Indians wanted me to go with them and command their forces. I told
them that I could not go with them that evening, that I had orders from
Haight, the big Captain, to send other Indians on the war-path
to help them kill the emigrants, and that I must attend to that first;
that I wanted them to go on near where the emigrants were and camp until
the other Indians joined them; that I would meet them the next day and
This satisfied them, but they wanted me to send my little Indian boy,
Clem, with them. After some time I consented to let Clem go with them,
and I returned home.
When I got home I told Carl Shirts what the orders were that Haight had
sent to him. Carl was naturally cowardly and was not willing to go, but
I told him the orders must be obeyed. He then started off that night,
or early next morning, to stir up the Indians of the South, and lead them
against the emigrants. The emigrants were then camped at Mountain Meadows.
The Indians did not obey my instructions. They met, several hundred strong,
at the Meadows, and attacked the emigrants Tuesday morning, just before
daylight, and at the first fire, as I afterwards learned, they killed
seven and wounded sixteen of
the emigrants. The latter fought bravely, and repulsed
the Indians, killing some of them and breaking the knees of two war chiefs,
who afterwards died.
news of the battle was carried all over the country by Indian runners,
and the excitement was great in all the small settlements. I was notified
of what had taken place, early Tuesday morning, by an Indian who came
to my house and gave me a full account of all that had been done. The
Indian said it was the wish of all the Indians that I should lead them,
and that I must go back with him to the camp.
started at once, and by taking the Indian trail over the mountain, I reached
the camp in about twelve miles from Harmony. To go round by the wagon
road it would have been between forty and fifty miles.
When I reached the camp I found the Indians in a frenzy of excitement.
They threatened to kill me unless I agreed to lead them against the emigrants,
and help them kill them. They also said they had been told that they could
kill the emigrants without danger to themselves, but they had lost some
of their braves, and others were wounded, and unless they could kill all
the "Mericats," as they called them, they would declare war against
the Mormons and kill every one in the settlements.
did as well as I could under the circumstances. I was the only white man
there, with a wild and excited band of several hundred Indians. I tried
to persuade them that all would be well, that I was their friend and would
see that they bad their revenge, if I found out that they were entitled
talk only served to increase their excitement, and being afraid that they
would kill me if I undertook to leave them, and I would not lead them
against the emigrants, so I told them that I would go south and meet their
friends, and hurry them up to help them. I intended to put a stop to the
carnage if I had the power, for I believed that the emigrants had been
sufficiently punished for what they had done, and I felt then, and always
have felt that such wholesale murdering was wrong.
first the Indians would not consent for me to leave them, but they finally
said I might go and meet their friends.
then got on my horse and left the Meadows, and went south.
I had gone about sixteen miles, when I met Carl Shirts with about one
hundred Indians, and a number of Mormons from the southern settlements.
They were going to the scene of the con-
flict. How they learned of the emigrants being
at the Meadows I never knew, but they did know it, and were there fully
armed, and determined to obey orders.
Amongst those that I remember to have met there, were Samuel Knight, Oscar
Hamblin, William Young, Carl Shirts, Harrison Pearce, James Pearce, John
W. Clark, William Slade, Sr., James Matthews, Dudley Leavitt, William
Hawley, (now a resident of Fillmore, Utah Territory,) William Slade, Jr.,
and two others whose names I have forgotten. I think they were George
W. Adair and John Hawley. I know they were at the Meadows at the time
of the massacre, and I think I met them that night south of the Meadows,
with Samuel Knight and the others.
whites camped there that night with me, but most of the Indians rushed
on to their friends at the camp on the Meadows.
reported to the whites all that had taken place at the Meadows, but none
of them were surprised in the least. They all seemed to know that the
attack was to be made, and all about it. I spent one of the most miserable
nights there that I ever passed in my life. I spent much of the night
in tears and at prayer. I wrestled with God for wisdom to guide me. I
asked for some sign, some evidence that would satisfy me that my mission
was of Heaven, but I got no satisfaction from my God.
the morning we all agreed to go on together to Mountain Meadows, and camp
there, and then send a messenger to Haight, giving him full instructions
of what had been done, and to ask him for further instructions. We knew
that the original plan was for the Indians to do all the work, and the
whites to do nothing, only to stay back and plan for them, and encourage
them to do the work. Now we knew the Indians could not do the work, and
we were in a sad fix.
I did not then know that a messenger had been sent to Brigham Young for
instructions. Haight had not mentioned it to me. I now think that James
Haslem was sent to Brigham Young, as a sharp play on the part of the authorities
to protect themselves, if trouble ever grew out of the matter.
We went to the Meadows and camped at the springs, about half a mile from
the emigrant camp. There was a larger number of Indians there then, fully
three hundred, and I think as many as four hundred of them. The two Chiefs
who were shot in the knee were in a bad fix. The Indians had killed a
number of the emigrants' horses, and about sixty or seventy head
of cattle were lying dead on the Meadows, which
the Indians bad killed for spite and revenge.
company killed a small beef for dinner, and after eating a hearty meal
of it we held a council and decided to send a messenger to Haight. I said
to the messenger, who was either Edwards or Adair, (I cannot now remember
which it was), "Tell Haight, for my sake, for the people's sake, for God's
sake, send me help to protect and save these emigrants, and pacify the
messenger started for Cedar City, from our camp on the Meadows, about
2 o'clock P. M.
all staid [sic] on the field, and I tried to quiet and pacify the Indians,
by telling them that I had sent to Haight, the Big Captain, for orders,
and when he sent his order I would know what to do. This appeared to satisfy
the Indians, for said they,
"The Big Captain will send you word to kill all the Mericats."
Along toward evening the Indians again attacked the emigrants. This was
Wednesday. I heard the report of their guns, and the screams of the women
and children in the corral.
This was more than I could stand. So I ran with William Young and John
Mangum, to where the Indians were, to stop the fight. While on the way
to them they fired a volley, and three balls from their guns cut my clothing.
One ball went through my hat and cut my hair on the side of my head. One
ball went through my shirt and leaded my shoulder, the other cut my pants
across my bowels. I thought this was rather warm work, but I kept on until
I reached the place where the Indians were in force. When I got to them,
I told them the Great Spirit would be mad at them if they killed the women
and children. I talked to them some time, and cried with sorrow when I
saw that I could not pacify the savages.
When the Indians saw me in tears, they called me "Yaw Guts," which in
the Indian language means "cry baby," and to this day they call me by
that name, and consider me a coward.
Oscar Hamblin was a fine interpreter, and he came to my aid and helped
me to induce the Indians to stop the attack. By his help we got the Indians
to agree to be quiet until word was returned from Haight. (I do not know
now but what the messenger started for Cedar City, after this night attack,
but I was so worried and perplexed at that time, and so much has hap-
pened to distract my thoughts since then, that
my mind is not clear on that subject.)
Thursday, about noon, several men came to us from Cedar City. I cannot
remember the order in which all of the people came to the Meadows, but
I do recollect that at this time and in this company Joel White, William
C. Stewart, Benjamin Arthur, Alexander Wilden, Charles Hopkins and ----
Tate, came to us at the camp at the Springs. These men said but little,
but every man seemed to know just what he was there for. As our messenger
had gone for further orders, we moved our camp about, four hundred yards
further up the valley on to a hill, where we made camp as long as we staid
[sic] there. I
soon learned that the whites were as wicked at heart as the Indians, for
every little while during that day I saw white men. taking aim and shooting
at the emigrants' wagons. They said they were doing it to keep in practice
and to help pass off the time.
remember one man that was shooting, that rather amused me, for he was
shooting at a mark over a quarter of a mile off, and his gun would not
carry a ball two hundred yards. That man was Alexander Wilden. He took
pains to fix up a seat under the shade of a tree, where he continued to
load and shoot until he got tired. Many of the others acted just as wild
and foolish as Wilden did.
wagons were corraled [sic] after the Indians had made the first attack.
On the second day after our arrival the emigrants drew their wagons near
each other and chained the wheels one to the other. While they were doing
this there was no shooting going on. Their camp was about one hundred
yards above and north of the spring. They generally got their water from
the spring at night.
Thursday morning I saw two men start from the corral with buckets, and
run to the spring and fill their buckets with water, and go back again.
The bullets flew around them thick and fast, but they got into their corral
Indians had agreed to keep quiet until orders returned from Haight, but
they did not keep their word. They made a determined attack on the train
on Thursday morning about daylight. At this attack the Clara Indians had
one brave killed and three wounded. This so enraged that band that they
home that day and drove off quite a number of cattle
with them. During the day I said to John Mangum,
will cross over the valley and go up on the other side, on the hills to
the west of the corral, and take a look at the situation."
did go. As I was crossing the valley I was seen by the emigrants, and
as soon as they saw that I was a white man they ran up a white flag
in the middle of their corral, or camp. They 'then sent two little boys
from the camp to talk to me, but I could not talk to them at that time,
for I did not know what orders Haight would send back to me, and until
I did know his orders I did not know how to act. I hid, to keep away from
the children. They came to the place where they had last seen me and hunted
all around for me, but being unable to find me, they turned and went back
to the camp in safety.
While the boys were looking for me several Indians came to me and asked
for ammunition with which to kill them. I told them they must not hurt
the children--that if they did I would kill the first one that made the
attempt to injure them. By this act I was able to save the boys.
is all false that has been told about little girls being dressed in white
and sent out to me. There never was anything of the kind done.
I staid [sic] on the west side of the valley for about two hours, looking
down into the emigrant camp, and feeling all the torture of mind that
it is possible for a man to suffer who feels merciful, and yet knows,
as I then knew, what was in store for that unfortunate company if the
Indians were successful in their bloody designs.
While I was standing on the hill looking down into the corral, I saw two
men leave the corral and go outside to cut some wood; the Indians and
whites kept up a steady fire on them all the time, but they paid no attention
to danger, and kept right along at their work until they had it done,
and then they went back into camp. The men all acted so bravely that it
was impossible to keep from respecting them.
After staying there and looking down into the camp until I was nearly
dead from grief, I returned to the company at camp. I was worn out with
trouble and grief; I was nearly wild waiting for word from the authorities
at Cedar City. I prayed for
word to come that would enable me to save that
band of suffering people, but no such word came. It never was to come.
Thursday evening, John M. Higbee, Major of the Iron Militia, and Philip
K. Smith, as he is called generally, but whose name is Klingensmith, Bishop
of Cedar City, came to our camp with two or three wagons, and a number
of men all well armed. I can remember the following as a portion of the
men who came to take part in the work of death which was so soon to follow,
viz.: John M. Higbee, Major and commander of the Iron Militia, and also
first counselor to Isaac C. Haight; Philip Klingensmith, Bishop of Cedar
City; Ira Allen, of the High Council; Robert Wiley, of the High Council;
Richard Harrison, of Pinto, also a member of the High Council; Samuel
McMurdy, one of the Counselors of Klingensmith; Charles Hopkins, of the
City Council of Cedar City; Samuel Pollock; Daniel McFarland, a son-in-law
of Isaac C. Haight, and acting as Adjutant under Major Higbee; John Ure,
of the City Council; George Hunter, of the City Council; and I honestly
believe that John McFarland, now an attorney-at-law at St. George, Utah,
was there--I am not positive that he was, but my best impression is that
he was there: Samuel Jukes; Nephi Johnson, with a number of Indians under
his command; Irvin Jacobs; John Jacobs; E. Curtis, a Captain of Ten; Thomas
Cartwright of the City Council and High Council; William Bateman, who
afterwards carried the flag of truce to the emigrant camp; Anthony Stratton;
A. Loveridge; Joseph Clews; Jabez Durfey; Columbus Freeman, and some others
whose names I cannot remember. I know that our total force was fifty-four
whites and over three hundred Indians.
soon as these persons gathered around the camp, I demanded of Major Higbee
what orders he had brought. I then stated fully all that had happened
at the Meadows, so that every person might understand the situation.
Major Higbee reported as follows: "It is the orders of the President,
that all the emigrants must be put out of the way. President
Haight has counseled with Colonel Dame, or has had orders from him to
put all of the emigrants out of the way; none who are old enough to talk
are to be spared."
then went on and said substantially that the emigrants had come through
the country as our enemies, and as the enemies of the Church of Jesus
Christ of Latter Day Saints. That they
had no pass from any one in authority to permit
them to leave the Territory. That none but friends were permitted to leave
the Territory, and that as these were our sworn enemies, they must be
killed. That they were nothing but a portion of Johnston's army. That
if they were allowed to go on to California, they would raise the war
cloud in the West, and bring certain destruction upon all the settlements
in Utah. That the only safety for the people was in the utter destruction
of the whole rascally lot.
then told them that God would have to change my heart before I could consent
to such a wicked thing as the wholesale killing of that people. I attempted
to reason with Higbee and the brethren. I told them how strongly the emigrants
were fortified, and how wicked it was to kill the women and children.
I was ordered to be silent. Higbee said I was resisting authority.
then said, "Brother Lee is afraid of shedding innocent blood. Why, brethren,
there is not a drop of innocent blood in that entire camp of Gentile outlaws;
they are set of cut-throats, robbers and assassins; they are a part of
the people who drove the Saints from Missouri, and who aided to shed the
blood of our Prophets, Joseph and Hyrum, and it is our orders from all
in authority, to get the emigrants from their stronghold, and help the
Indians kill them."
then said that Joseph Smith had told us never to betray any one. That
we could not get the emigrants out of their corral unless we used treachery,
and I was opposed to that.
was interrupted by Higbee, Klingensmith and Hopkins, who said it was the
orders of President Isaac C. Haight to us, and that Haight had his orders
from Colonel Dame and the authorities at Parowan, and that all in authority
were of one mind, and that they had been sent by the Council at Cedar
City to the Meadows to counsel and direct the way and manner that the
company of emigrants should be disposed of.
men then in council, I must here state, now knelt down in a prayer circle
and prayed, invoking the Spirit of God to direct them how to act in the
After prayer, Major Higbee said, "Here are the orders," and handed me
a paper from Haight. It was in substance that it was the orders of Haight
to decoy the emigrants from their position, and kill all of them
that could talk. This order was in
writing. Higbee handed it to me and I read it,
and dropped it on the ground, saying,
cannot do this."
substance of the orders were that the emigrants should be decoyed
from their strong-hold, and all exterminated, so that no one would be
left to tell the tale, and then the authorities could say it was done
by the Indians.
words decoy and exterminate were used in that message
or order, and these orders came to us as the orders from the Council at
Cedar City, and as the orders of our military superior, that we were bound
to obey. The order was signed by Haight, as commander of the troops at
Haight told me the next day after the massacre, while on the Meadows,
that he got his orders from Colonel Dame.
then left the Council, and went away to myself, and bowed myself in prayer
before God, and asked Him to overrule the decision of that Council. I
shed many bitter tears, and my tortured soul was wrung nearly from the
body by my great suffering. I will here say, calling upon Heaven, angels,
and the spirits of just men to witness what I say, that if I could then
have had a thousand worlds to command, I would have given them freely
to save that company from death.
While in bitter anguish, lamenting the sad condition of myself and others,
Charles Hopkins, a man that I had great confidence in, came to me from
the Council, and tried to comfort me by saying that he believed it was
all right, for the brethren in the Priesthood were all united
in the thing, and it would not be well for me to oppose them.
told him the Lord must change my heart before I could ever do such an
act willingly. I will further state that there was a reign of terror in
Utah, at that time, and many a man had been put out of the way, on short
notice, for disobedience, and I had made some narrow escapes.
the earnest solicitation of Brother Hopkins, I returned with him to the
Council. When I got back, the Council again prayed for aid. The Council
was called The City Counselors, the Church or High Counselors; and all
in authority, together with the private citizens, then formed a circle,
and kneeling down, so that elbows would touch each other, several of the
brethren prayed for Divine instructions.
After prayer, Major Higbee said, "I have the evidence of God's
approval of our mission. It is God's will that
we carry out our instructions to the letter."
said, "My God! this is more than I can do. I must and do refuse to take
part in this matter."
Higbee then said to me, "Brother Lee, I am ordered by President Haight
to inform you that you shall receive a crown of Celestial glory for your
faithfulness, and your eternal joy shall be complete." I was much shaken
by this offer, for I had full faith in the power of the Priesthood to
bestow such rewards and blessings, but I was anxious to save the people.
I then proposed that we give the Indians all of the stock of the emigrants,
except sufficient to haul their wagons, and let them go. To this proposition
all the leading men objected. No man there raised his voice or hand to
favor the saving of life, except myself.
meeting was then addressed by some one in authority, I do not remember
who it was. He spoke in about this language: "Brethren, we have been sent
here to perform a duty. It is a duty that we owe to God, and to our Church
and people. The orders of those in authority are that all the emigrants
must die. Our leaders speak with inspired tongues, and their orders come
from the God of Heaven. We have no right to question what they have commanded
us to do; it is our duty to obey. If we wished to act as some of our weak-kneed
brethren desire us to do, it would be impossible; the thing has gone too
far to allow us to stop now. The emigrants know that we have aided the
Indians, and if we let them go they will bring certain destruction upon
us. It is a fact that on Wednesday night, two of the emigrants got out
of camp and started back to Cedar City for assistance to withstand the
Indian attacks; they had reached Richards' Springs when they met William
C. Stewart, Joel White and Benjamin Arthur, three of our brethren from
Cedar City. The men stated their business to the brethren, and as their
horses were drinking at the Spring, Brother Stewart, feeling unusually
full of zeal for the glory of God and the upbuilding of the Kingdom
of God on earth, shot and killed one of the emigrants, a young man by
the name of Aden. When Aden fell from his horse, Joel White shot and wounded
the other Gentile; but he unfortunately got away, and returned to his
camp and reported that the Mormons were helping the Indians in all that
they were doing against the emigrants. Now the emigrants will report these
facts in California if we let them go. We must kill them
all, and our orders are to get them out by treachery
if no other thing can be done to get them into our power."
Many of the brethren spoke in the same way, all arguing that the orders
must be carried out.
was then told the plan of action had been agreed upon, and it was this:
The emigrants were to be decoyed from their strong-hold under a promise
of protection. Brother William Bateman was to carry a flag of truce and
demand a parley, and then I was to go and arrange the terms of the surrender.
I was to demand that all the children who were so young they could not
talk should be put into a wagon, and the wounded were also to be put into
a wagon. Then all the arms and ammunition of the emigrants should be put
into a wagon, and I was to agree that the Mormons would protect the emigrants
from the Indians and conduct them to Cedar City in safety, where they
should be protected until an opportunity came for sending them to California.
was agreed that when I had made the full agreement and treaty, as the
brethren called it, the wagons should start for Hamblin's Ranch with the
arms, the wounded and the children. The women were to march on foot and
follow the wagons in single file; the men were to follow behind the women,
they also to march in single file. Major John M. Higbee was to stand with
his militia company about two hundred yards from the camp, and stand in
double file, open order, with about twenty feet space between the files,
so that the wagons could pass between them. The drivers were to keep right
along, and not stop at the troops. The women were not to stop there, but
to follow the wagons. The troops were to halt the men for a few minutes,
until the women were some distance ahead, out into the cedars, where the
Indians were hid in ambush. Then the march was to be resumed, the troops
to form in single file, each soldier to walk by an emigrant, and on the
right-hand side of his man, and the soldier was to carry his gun on his
left arm, ready for instant use. The march was to continue until the wagons
had passed beyond the ambush of the Indians, and until the women were
right in the midst of the Indians. Higbee was then to give the orders
and words, "Do Your Duty." At this the troops were to shoot down the men;
the Indians were to kill all of the women and larger children, and the
drivers of the wagons and I were to kill the wounded and sick men that
were in the wagons. Two
men were to be placed on horses nearby, to overtake
and kill any of the emigrants that might escape from the first assault.
The Indians were to kill the women and large children, so that it would
be certain that no Mormon would be guilty of shedding innocent blood--if
it should happen that there was any innocent blood in the company that
were to die. Our leading men said that there was no innocent blood in
the whole company.
Council broke up a little after daylight on Friday morning. All the horses,
except two for the men to ride to overtake those who might escape, and
one for Dan McFarland to ride as Adjutant, so that he could carry orders
from one part of the field to another, were turned out on the range. Then
breakfast was eaten, and the brethren prepared for the work in hand.
was now satisfied that it was the wish of all of the Mormon priesthood
to have the thing done. One reason for thinking so was that it was in
keeping with the teachings of the leaders, and as Utah was then at war
with the United States we believed all the Gentiles were to be killed
as a war measure, and that the Mormons, as God's chosen people, were to
hold and inhabit the earth and rule and govern the globe. Another, and
one of my strongest reasons for believing that the leaders wished the
thing done, was on account of the talk that I had with George A. Smith,
which I have given in full in this statement. I was satisfied that Smith
had passed the emigrants while on his way from Salt Lake City, and I then
knew this was the train that he meant when he spoke of a train that
would make threats and illtreat our people, etc.
The people were in the full blaze of the reformation and anxious to do
some act that would add to their reputation as zealous Churchmen.
therefore, taking all things into consideration, and believing, as I then
did, that my superiors were inspired men, who could not go wrong
in any matter relating to the Church or the duty of its members, concluded
to be obedient to the wishes of those in authority. I took up my cross
and prepared to do my duty.
Soon after breakfast Major Higbee ordered the two Indian interpreters,
Carl Shirts and Nephi Johnson, to inform the Indians of the plan of operations,
and to place the Indians in ambush, so that they could not be seen by
the emigrants until the work of death should commence.
This was done in order to make the emigrants believe that we
had sent the Indians away, and that we were acting
honestly and in good faith, when we agreed to protect them from the savages.
The orders were obeyed, and in five minutes not an Indian could be seen
on the. whole Meadows. They secreted themselves and lay still as logs
of wood, until the order was given for them to rush out and kill the women.
Major Higbee then called all the people to order, and directed me to explain
the whole plan to them. I did so, explaining just how every person was
expected to act during the whole performance.
Major Higbee then gave the order for his men to advance. They marched
to the spot agreed upon, and halted there. William Bateman was then selected
to carry a flag of truce to the emigrants and demand their surrender,
and I was ordered to go and make the treaty after some one had replied
to our flag of truce. (The emigrants had kept a white flag flying in their
camp ever since they saw me cross the valley.)
Bateman took a white flag and started for the emigrant camp. When he got
about half way to the corral, he was met by one of the emigrants, that
I afterwards learned was named Hamilton. They talked some time, but I
never knew what was said between them.
Brother Bateman returned to the command and said that the emigrants would
accept our terms, and surrender as we required them to do.
was then ordered by Major Higbee to go to the corral and negotiate the
treaty, and superintend the whole matter. I was again ordered to be certain
and get all the arms and ammunition into the wagons. Also to put the children
and the sick and wounded in the wagons, as had been agreed upon in council.
Then Major Higbee said to me:
"Brother Lee, we expect you to faithfully carry out all the instructions
that have been given you by our council."
Samuel McMurdy and Samuel Knight were then ordered to drive their teams
and follow me to the corral to haul off the children, arms, etc.
troops formed in two lines, as had been agreed upon, and were standing
in that way with arms at rest, when I left them.
walked ahead of the wagons up to the corral. When I reached there I met
Mr. Hamilton on the outside of the camp.
He loosened the chains from some of their wagons,
and moved one wagon out of the way, so that our teams could drive inside
of the corral and into their camp. It was then noon, or a little after.
found that the emigrants were strongly fortified; their wagons were chained
to each other in a circle. In the centre [sic] was a rifle-pit, large
enough to contain the entire company. This had served to shield them from
the constant fire of their enemy, which had been poured into them from
both sides of the valley, from a rocky range that served as a breastwork
for their assailants. The valley at this point was not more than five
hundred yards wide, and the emigrants had their camp near the center of
the valley. On the east and west there was a low range of rugged, rocky
mountains, affording a splendid place for the protection of the Indians
and Mormons, and leaving them in comparative safety while they fired upon
the emigrants. The valley at this place runs nearly due north and south.
When I entered the corral, I found the emigrants engaged in burying two
men of note among them, who had died but a short time before from the
effect of wounds received by them from the Indians at the time of the
first attack on Tuesday morning. They wrapped the bodies up in buffalo
robes, and buried them in a grave inside the corral. I was then told by
some of the men that seven men were killed and seventeen others were wounded
at the first attack made by the Indians, and that three of the wounded
men had since died, making ten of their number killed during the siege.
I entered the fortifications, men, women and children gathered around
me in wild consternation. Some felt that the time of their happy deliverance
had come, while others, though in deep distress, and all in tears, looked
upon me with doubt, distrust and terror. My feelings at this time may
be imagined (but I doubt the power of man being equal to even imagine
how wretched I felt.) No language can describe my feelings. My position
was painful, trying and awful; my brain seemed to be on fire; my nerves
were for a moment unstrung; humanity was overpowered, as I thought of
the cruel, unmanly part that I was acting. Tears of bitter anguish fell
in streams from my eyes; my tongue refused its office; my faculties were
dormant, stupefied and deadened by grief. I wished that the earth would
open and swallow me where I stood. God knows my suffering
was great. I cannot describe my feelings. I knew
that I was acting a cruel part and doing a damnable deed. Yet my faith
in the godliness of my leaders was such that it forced me to think that
I was not sufficiently spiritual to act the important part I was commanded
to perform. My hesitation was only momentary. Then feeling that duty compelled
obedience to orders, I laid aside my weakness and my humanity,
and became an instrument in the hands of my superiors and my leaders.
I delivered my message and told the people that they must put their arms
in the wagon, so as not to arouse the animosity of the Indians. I ordered
the children and wounded, some clothing and the arms, to be put into the
wagons. Their guns were mostly Kentucky rifles of the muzzle-loading style.
Their ammunition was about all gone--I do not think there were twenty
loads left in their whole camp. If the emigrants had had a good supply
of ammunition they never would have surrendered, and I do not think we
could have captured them without great loss, for they were brave men and
very resolute and determined.
Just as the wagons were loaded, Dan McFarland came riding into the corral
and said that Major Higbee had ordered great haste to be made, for he
was afraid that the Indians would return and renew the attack before he
could get the emigrants to a place of safety.
hurried up the people and started the wagons off towards Cedar City. As
we went out of the corral I ordered the wagons to turn to the left, so
as to leave the troops to the right of us. Dan McFarland rode before the
women and led them right up to the troops, where they still stood in open
order as I left them. The women and larger children were walking ahead,
as directed, and the men following them. The foremost man was about fifty
yards behind the hindmost woman.
women and children were hurried right on by the troops. When the men came
up they cheered the soldiers as if they believed that they were acting
honestly. Higbee then gave the orders for his men to form in single file
and take their places as ordered before, that is, at the right of the
saw this much, but about this time our wagons passed out of sight of the
troops, over the hill. I had disobeyed orders in part by turning off as
I did, for I was anxious to be out of sight of the bloody deed that I
knew was to follow. I knew that I
had much to do yet that was of a cruel and unnatural
character. It was my duty, with the two drivers, to kill the sick and
wounded who were in the wagons, and to do so when we heard the guns of
the troops fire. I was walking between the wagons; the horses were going
in a fast walk, and we were fully half a mile from Major Higbee and his
men, when we heard the firing. As we heard the guns, I ordered a halt
and we proceeded to do our part.
here pause in the recital of this horrid story of man's inhumanity, and
ask myself the question, Is it honest in me, and can I clear my conscience
before my God, if I screen myself while I accuse others? No, never! Heaven
forbid that I should put a burden upon others' shoulders, that I am unwilling
to bear my just portion of. I am not a traitor to my people, nor to my
former friends and comrades who were with me on that dark day when the
work of death was carried on in God's name, by a lot of deluded and religious
fanatics. It is my duty to tell facts as they exist, and I will do so.
have said that all of the small children were put into the wagons; that
was wrong, for one little child, about six months old, was carried in
its father's arms, and it was killed by the same bullet that entered its
father's breast; it was shot through the head. I was told by Haight afterwards,
that the child was killed by accident, but I cannot say whether that is
a fact or not. I saw it lying dead when I returned to the place of slaughter.
When we had got out of sight, as I said before, and just as we were coming
into the main road, I heard a volley of guns at the place where I knew
the troops and emigrants were. Our teams were then going at a fast walk.
I first heard one gun, then a volley at once followed.
McMurdy and Knight stopped their teams at once, for they were ordered
by Higbee, the same as I was, to help kill all the sick and wounded who
were in the wagons, and to do it as soon as they heard the guns of the
troops. McMurdy was in front; his wagon was mostly loaded with the arms
and small children. McMurdy and Knight got out of their wagons; each one
had a rifle. McMurdy went up to Knight's wagon, where the sick and wounded
were, and raising his rifle to his shoulder, said: "0 Lord, my God,
receive their spirits, it is for thy Kingdom that I do this." He
then shot a man who was lying with his head on another man's breast; the
ball killed both men.
also went up to the wagon, intending to do my part of the killing. I drew
my pistol and cocked it, but somehow it went off prematurely, and I shot
McMurdy across the thigh, my Pistol ball cutting his buck-skin pants.
McMurdy turned to me and said:
"Brother Lee, keep cool, you are excited; you came very near killing me.
Keep cool, there is no reason for being excited."
Knight then shot a man with his rifle; he shot the man in the head. Knight
also brained a boy that was about fourteen years old. The boy came running
up to our wagons, and Knight struck him on the head with the butt end
of his gun, and crushed his skull. By this time many Indians reached our
wagons, and all of the sick and wounded were killed almost instantly.
I saw an Indian from Cedar City, called Joe, run up to the wagon and catch
a man by the hair, and raise his head up and look into his face; the man
shut his eyes, and Joe shot him in the head. The Indians then examined
all of the wounded in the wagons, and all of the bodies, to see if any
were alive, and all that showed signs of life were at once shot through
the head. I did not kill any one there, but it was an accident that kept
me from it, for I fully intended to do my part of the killing, but by
the time I got over the excitement of coming so near killing McMurdy,
the whole of the killing of the wounded was done. There is no truth in
the statement of Nephi Johnson, where he says I cut a man's throat.
Just after the wounded were all killed I saw a girl, some ten or eleven
years old, running towards us, from the direction where the troops had
attacked the main body of emigrants; she was covered with blood. An Indian
shot her before she got within sixty yards of us. That was the last person
that I saw killed on that occasion.
About this time an Indian rushed to the front wagon, and grabbed a little
boy, and was going to kill him. The lad got away from the Indian and ran
to me, and caught me by the knees; and begged me to save him, and not
let the Indian kill him. The Indian had hurt the little fellow's chin
on the wagon bed, when he first caught hold of him. I told the Indian
to let the boy alone. I took the child up in my arms, and put him back
in the wagon, and saved his life. This little boy said his name was Charley
Fancher, and that his father was Captain of
the train. He was a bright boy. I afterwards adopted
him, and gave him to Caroline. She kept him until Dr. Forney took all
the children East. I believe that William Sloan, alias Idaho Bill, is
the same boy.
After all the parties were dead, I ordered Knight to drive out on one
side, and throw out the dead bodies. He did so, and threw them out of
his wagon at a place about one hundred yards from the road, and then came
back to where I was standing. I then ordered Knight and McMurdy to take
the children that were saved alive, (sixteen was the number, some say
seventeen, I say sixteen,) and drive on to Hamblin's ranch. They did as
I ordered them to do. Before the wagons started, Nephi Johnson came up
in company with the Indians that were under his command, and Carl Shirts
I think came up too, but I know that I then considered that Carl Shirts
was a coward, and I afterwards made him suffer for being a coward. Several
white men came up too, but I cannot tell their names, as I have forgotten
who they were.
Knight lied when he said I went to the ranch and ordered him to go to
the field with his team. I never knew anything of his team, or heard of
it, until he came with a load of armed men in his wagon, on the evening
of Thursday. If any one ordered him to go to the Meadows, it was Higbee.
Every witness that claims that he went to the Meadows without knowing
what he was going to do, has lied, for they all knew, as well as Haight
or any one else did, and they all voted, every man of them, in the Council,
on Friday morning, a little before daylight, to kill all the emigrants.
After the wagons, with the children, had started for Hamblin's ranch,
I turned and walked back to where the brethren were. Nephi Johnson lies
when he says he was on horse-back, and met me, or that I gave him orders
to go to guard the wagons. He is a perjured wretch, and has sworn to every
thing he could to injure me. God knows what I did do was bad enough, but
he has lied to suit the leaders of the Church, who want me out of the
While going back, to the brethren, I passed the bodies of several women.
In one place I saw six or seven bodies near each other; they were stripped
perfectly naked, and all of their clothing was torn from their bodies
by the Indians.
walked along the line where the emigrants had been killed,
and saw many bodies lying dead and naked on the
field, near by where the women lay. I saw ten children; they had been
killed close to each other; they were from ten to sixteen years of age.
The bodies of the women and children were scattered along the ground for
quite a distance before I came to where the men were killed.
do not know how many were killed, but I thought then that there were some
fifteen women, about ten children, and about forty men killed, but the
statement of others that I have since talked with about the massacre,
makes me think there were fully one hundred and ten killed that day on
the Mountain Meadows, and the ten who had died in the corral, and young
Aden killed by Stewart at Richards' Springs, would make the total number
one hundred and twenty-one.
When I reached the place where the dead men lay, I was told how the orders
had been obeyed. Major Higbee said, "The boys have acted admirably, they
took good aim, and all of the d--d Gentiles but two or three fell at the
said that three or four got away some distance, but the men on horses
soon overtook them and cut their throats. Higbee said the Indians did
their part of the work well, that it did not take over a minute to finish
up when they got fairly started. I found that the first orders had been
carried out to the letter.
Three of the emigrants did get away, but the Indians were put on their
trail and they overtook and killed them before they reached the settlements
in California. But it would take more time than I have to spare to give
the details of their chase and capture. I may do so in my writings hereafter,
but not now.
found Major Higbee, Klingensmith. and most of the brethren standing near
by where the largest number of the dead men lay. When I went up to the
brethren, Major Higbee said,
must now examine the bodies for valuables."
said I did not wish to do any such work.
Higbee then said, "Well, you hold my hat and I will examine the bodies,
and put what valuables I get into the hat."
bodies were all searched by Higbee, Klingensmith and Wm. C. Stewart. I
did hold the hat a while, but I soon got so sick that I had to give it
to some other person, as I was unable to stand for a few minutes. The
search resulted in getting a little money and a few watches, but there
was not much money. Higbee and Klingensmith kept the property, I suppose,
never knew what became of it, unless they did keep
it. I think they kept it all.
After the dead were searched, as I have just said, the brethren were called
up, and Higbee and Klingensmith, as well as myself, made speeches, and
ordered the people to keep the matter ,a secret from the entire
world. Not to tell their wives, or their most intimate friends, and we
pledged ourselves to keep everything relating to the affair a secret during
life. We also took the most binding oaths to stand by each other, and
to always insist that the massacre was committed by Indians alone. This
was the advice of Brigham Young too, as I will show hereafter.
men were mostly ordered to camp there on the field for that night, but
Higbee and Klingensmith went with me to Hamblin's ranch, where we got
something to eat, and staid [sic] there all night. I was nearly dead for
rest and sleep; in fact I had rested but little since the Saturday night
before. I took my saddle-blanket and spread it on the ground soon after
I had eaten my supper, and lay down on the saddle-blanket, using my saddle
for a pillow, and slept soundly until next morning.
was awakened in the morning by loud talking between Isaac C. Haight and
William H. Dame. They were very much excited, and quarreling with each
other. I got up at once, but was unable to hear what they were quarreling
about, for they cooled down as soon as they saw that others were paying
attention to them.
soon learned that Col. Dame, Judge Lewis of Parowan, and Isaac C. Haight,
with several others, had arrived at the Hamblin ranch in the night, but
I do not know what time they got there.
After breakfast we all went back in a body to the Meadows, to bury the
dead and take care of the property that was left there.
When we reached the Meadows we all rode up to that part of the field where
the women were lying dead. The bodies of men, women and children had been
stripped entirely naked, making the scene one of the most loathsome and
ghastly that can be imagined.
Knowing that Dame and Haight had quarreled at Hamblin's that morning,
I wanted to know how they would act in sight of the dead, who lay there
as the result of their orders. I was
greatly interested to know what Dame had to say,
so I kept close to them, without appearing to be watching them.
Colonel Dame was silent for some time. He looked all over the field, and
was quite pale, and looked uneasy and frightened. I thought then that
he was just finding out the difference between giving and executing orders
for wholesale killing. He spoke to Haight, and said:
must report this matter to the authorities."
"How will you report it?" said Haight.
Dame said, "I will report it just as it is."
"Yes, I suppose so, and implicate yourself with the rest?" said Haight.
"No," said Dame. "I will not implicate myself for I had nothing to do
Haight then said, "That will not do, for you know a d--d sight better.
You ordered it done. Nothing has been done except by your orders, and
it is too late in the day for you to order things done and then go back
on it, and go back on the men who have carried out your orders. You cannot
sow pig on me, and I will be d--d if I will stand it. You are
as much to blame as any one, and you know that we have done nothing except
what you ordered done. I know that I have obeyed orders, and by G-d I
will not be lied on."
Colonel Dame was much excited. He choked up, and would have gone away,
but he knew Haight was a man of determination, and would not stand any
soon as Colonel Dame could collect himself, he said:
"I did not think there were so many of them, or I would not have had
anything to do with it."
thought it was now time for me to chip in, so I said:
"Brethren, what is the trouble between you? It will not do for our chief
men to disagree."
Haight stepped up to my side, a little in front of me, and facing Colonel
Dame. He was very mad, and said:
"The trouble is just this: Colonel Dame counseled and ordered
me to do this thing, and now he wants to back out, and go back on me,
and by G-d, he shall not do it. He shall not lay it all on me.
He cannot do it. He must not try to do it. I will blow him to h--l
before he shall lay it all on me. He has got to stand up to what he did,
like a little man. He knows he ordered it, done, and I dare him to deny
Colonel Dame was perfectly cowed. He did not offer to deny it again, but
"Isaac, I did not know there were so many of them."
"That makes no difference," said Haight, "you ordered me to do it, and
you have got to stand up for your orders."
thought it was now time to stop the fuss, for many of the young brethren
were coming around. So I said:
"Brethren, this is no place to talk over such a matter. You will agree
when you get where you can be quiet, and talk it over."
Haight said, "There is no more to say, for he knows he ordered it done,
and he has got to stand by it."
That ended the trouble between them, and I never heard of Colonel Dame
denying the giving of the orders any more, until after the Church authorities
concluded to offer me up for the sins of the Church.
then went along the field, and passed by where the brethren were at work
covering up the bodies. They piled the dead bodies up in heaps, in little
gullies, and threw dirt over them. The bodies were only lightly covered,
for the ground was hard, and the brethren did not have sufficient tools
to dig with. I suppose it is true that the first rain washed the bodies
all out again, but I never went back to examine whether it did or not.
then went along the field to where the corral and camp had been, to where
the wagons were standing. We found that the Indians had carried off all
of the wagon covers, and the clothing, and the provisions, and had emptied
the feathers out of the feather-beds, and carried off all the ticks.
After the dead were covered up or buried (but it was not much of a burial,)
the brethren were called together, and a council was held at the emigrant
camp. All the leading men made speeches; Colonel Dame, President Haight.
Klingensmith, John M. Higbee, Hopkins and myself. The speeches were first--Thanks
to God for delivering our enemies into our hands; next, thanking the brethren
for their zeal in God's cause; and then the necessity of always saying
the Indians did it alone, and that the Mormons had nothing to do with
it. The most of the speeches, however, were in the shape of exhortations
and commands to keep the whole matter secret from every one but Brigham
Young. It was voted unanimously that any man who should divulge the secret,
or tell who was present, or do any-
thing that would lead to a discovery of the truth,
should suffer death.
brethren then all took a most solemn oath, binding themselves under the
most dreadful and awful penalties, to keep the whole matter secret from
every human being, as long as they should live. No man was to know the
facts. The brethren were sworn not to talk of it among themselves, and
each one swore to help kill all who proved to be traitors to the Church
or people in this matter.
was then agreed that Brigham Young should be informed of the whole matter,
by some one to be selected by the Church Council, after the brethren had
was also voted to turn all the property over to Klingensmith, as Bishop
of the Church at Cedar City, and he was to take care of the property for
the benefit of the Church, until Brigham Young was notified, and should
give further orders what to do with it.
CONFESSION CONTINUED AND CONCLUDED, MARCH
16, 1877, SEVEN
DAYS PRIOR TO HIS EXECUTION
COLONEL DAME then blest the brethren and we prepared to go to our homes.
I took my little Indian boy, Clem, on the horse behind me, and started
home. I crossed the mountains and returned the same way I had come.
When I got in about two miles of Harmony, I overtook a body of about forty
Indians, on their way home from the massacre. They had a large amount
of bloody clothing, and were driving several head of cattle that they
had taken from the emigrants.
The Indians were very glad to see me, and said I was their Captain, and
that they were going to Harmony with me as my men. It was the orders from
the Church authorities to do everything we could to pacify the Indians,
and make them the fast friends of the Mormons, so I concluded to humor
started on and they marched after me until we reached the fort at Harmony.
We went into the fort and marched round inside, after which they halted
and gave their whoop of victory, which means much the same with them as
the cheers do with the whites. I then ordered the Indians to
be fed; my family gave them some bread and melons, which they eat [sic],
and then they left me and went to their tribe.
will here state again that on the field, before and after the massacre,
and again at the council at the emigrant camp, the day after the massacre,
orders were given to keep everything secret, and if any man told
the secret to any human being, he was to be killed, and I assert as a
fact that if any man had told it then, or for many years afterwards,
he would have died, for some "Destroying Angel" would have
followed his trail and sent him over the "rim of the basin."
From that day to this it has been the understanding with all concerned
in that massacre, that the man who divulged the secret should die; he
was to be killed, wherever he was found, for treason to the men who killed
the emigrants, and for his treason to the Church. No man was
at liberty to tell his wife, or any one else, nor were the brethren permitted
to talk of it even among themselves. Such were the orders
and instructions, from Brigham Young down to
the lowest in authority. The orders to lay it all to the Indians,
were just as positive as they were to keep it all secret. This was the
counsel from all in authority, and for years it was faithfully observed.
The children that were saved were taken to Cedar City, and other settlements,
and put out among different families, where they were kept until they
were given up to Dr. Forney, the Agent of the United States, who came
did not have anything to do with the property taken from the emigrants,
or the cattle, or anything else, for some three months after the massacre,
and then I only took charge of the cattle because I was ordered to do
so by Brigham Young.
There were eighteen wagons in all at the emigrant camp. They were all
wooden axles but one, and that was a light iron axle; it had been hauled
by four mules. There were something over five hundred head of cattle,
but I never got the half of them. The Indians killed a large number at
the time of the massacre, and drove others to their tribes when they went
home from Mountain Meadows. Kingensmith put the Church brand on fifty
head or more, of the best of the cattle, and then he and Haight and Higbee
drove the cattle to Salt Lake City and sold them for goods that they brought
back to Cedar City to trade on.
The Indians got about twenty head of horses and mules. Samuel Knight,
one of the witnesses on my trial, got a large sorrel mare; Haight got
a span of average American mules; Joel White got a fine mare; Higbee got
a good large mule; Klingensmith got a span of mules. Haight, Higbee and
Allen each took a wagon. The people all took what they wanted, and they
had divided and used up much over half of it before I was put in charge.
The first time I heard that a messenger had been sent to Brigham Young
for instructions as to what should be done with the emigrants, was three
or four days after I had returned home from the Meadows. Then I heard
of it from Isaac C. Haight, when he came to my house and had a talk with
me. He said:
"We are all in a muddle. Haslem has returned from Salt Lake City, with
orders from Brigham Young to let the emigrants pass in safety."
In this conversation Haight also said:
sent an order to Highee to save the emigrants, after I had sent the orders
for killing them all, but for some reason the message did not reach him.
I understand the messenger did not go to the Meadows at all."
I at once saw that we were in a bad fix, and I asked Haight what was to
be done. We talked the matter over again.
Haight then told me that it was the orders of the Council that I should
go to Salt Lake City and lay the whole matter before Brigham Young. I
asked him if he was not going to write a report of it to the Governor,
as he was the right man to do it, for he was in command of the militia
in that section of country, and next to Dame in command of the whole district.
I told him that it was a matter which really belonged to the military
department, and should be so reported.
refused to write a report, saying:
"You can report it better than I could write it. You are like a ember
of Brigham's family, and can talk to him privately and confidentially.
I want you to take all of it on yourself that ou can, and not expose any
more of the brethren than you find absolutely necessary. Do this, Brother
Lee, as I order you to do, and you shall receive a celestial reward for
it, and the time will come when all who acted with us will be glad for
the part they have taken, for the time is near at hand when the Saints
are to enjoy the riches of the earth. And all who deny the faith and doctrines
of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints shall be slain--the
sword of vengeance shall shed their blood; their wealth shall be given
as a spoil to our people."
that time I believed everything he said, and I fully expected to receive
the celestial reward that he promised me. But now I say, Damn all
such "celestial rewards" as I am to get for what I did on that fatal
was then preached every Sunday to the people that the Mormons were to
conquer the earth at once, and the people all thought that the millennium
had come, and that Christ's reign upon earth would soon begin, as an accomplished
According to the orders of Isaac C. Haight, I started for Salt Lake City
to report the whole facts connected with the massacre, to Brigham Young.
I started about a week or ten days after the massacre, and I was on the
way about ten days. When I arrived in the city I went to the President's
house and gave to Brigham Young a full, detailed statement of the whole
affair, from first to last--only I took rather more on myself than I had
He asked me if I had brought a letter from Haight, with his report of
the affair. I said:
"'No, Haight wished me to make a verbal report of it, as I was an eye
witness to much of it."
then went over the whole affair and gave him as full a statement as it
was possible for me to give. I described everything about it. I told him
of the orders Haight first gave me. I told him everything. I told him
that "Brother McMurdy, Brother Knight and myself killed the wounded men
in the wagons, with the assistance of the Indians. We killed six wounded
He asked me many questions, and I told him every particular, and everything
that I knew. I described everything very fully. I told him what I had
said against killing the women and children.
Brigham then said:
"Isaac (referring to Haight) has sent me word that if they had killed
every man, woman and child in the outfit, there would not have been a
drop of innocent blood shed by the brethren: for they were a set of murderers,
robbers and thieves."
While I was still talking with him, some men came into his house to see
him, so he requested me to keep quiet until they left. I did as he directed.
soon as the men went out, I continued my recital. I gave him the names
of every man that had been present at the massacre. I told him who killed
various ones. In fact I gave him all the information there was to
When I finished talking about the matter, he said:
"This is the most unfortunate affair that ever befel [sic] the Church.
I am afraid of treachery among the brethren that were there. If any one
tells this thing so that it will become public, it will work us great
injury. I want you to understand now, that you are never to tell
this again, not even to Heber C. Kimball. It must be kept a secret
among ourselves. When you get home, I
want you to sit down and write a long letter, and
give me an account of the affair, charging it to the Indians. You sign
the letter as Farmer to the Indians, and direct it to me as Indian Agent.
I can then make use of such a letter to keep off all damaging and troublesome
I told him that I would write the letter. (I kept my word; but, as an
evidence of his treachery, that same letter that he ordered me
to write, he has given to Attorney Howard, and he has introduced it in
evidence against me on my trial.)
Brigham Young knew when he got that letter just as well as I did, that
it was not a true letter, and that it was only written according to his
orders to throw the public off of the right trail. He knew that
it was written simply to cast all the blame on the Indians, and to protect
the brethren. In writing that letter I was still obeying my orders and
earning that Celestial reward that had been promised to me.
then said, "If only men had been killed, I would not have cared so much;
but the killing of the women and children is the sin of it. I suppose
the men were a hard set, but it is hard to kill women and children for
the sins of the men. This whole thing stands before me like a horrid vision.
I must have time to reflect upon it."
then told me to withdraw and call next day, and he would give me an answer.
I said to him,
"President Young, the people all felt, and I know that I believed I was
obeying orders, and acting for the good of the Church, and in
strict conformity with the oaths that we have all taken to avenge the
blood of the Prophets. You must either sustain the people for what they
have done, or you most release us from the oaths and obligations that
we have taken."
The only reply he made was,
"Go now, and come in the morning, and I will give you an answer."
went to see him again in the morning. When I went in, he he [sic] seemed
quite cheerful. He said,
have made that matter a subject of prayer. I went right to God with
it, and asked Him to take the horrid vision from my sight, if
it was a righteous thing that my people had done in killing those
people at the Mountain Meadows. God answered me, and at once the vision
was removed. I have evidence from
God that He has overruled it all for good, and
the action was a righteous one and well intended.
["]The brethren acted from pure motives. The only trouble is they acted
a little prematurely; they were a little ahead of time.
I sustain you and all of the brethren for what they did. All
that I fear is treachery on the part of some one who took a with you,
but we will look to that."
was again cautioned and commanded to keep the whole thing as a sacred
secret, and again told to write the report as Indian Farmer, laying the
blame on the Indians. That ended our interview, and I left him, and soon
started for my home at Harmony.
Brigham Young was then satisfied with the purity of my motives in acting
as I had done at the Mountain Meadows. Now he is doing all he can against
me, but I know it is nothing but cowardice that has made him turn against
me as he has at last.
When I reported my interview with Young to Haight, and gave him Brigham's
answer, he was well pleased; he said that I had done well. He again enjoined
secrecy, and said it must never be told.
remember a circumstance that Haight then related to me about Dan. [sic]
McFarland. He said:
"Dan will make a bully warrior."
said, "Why do you think so?"
"Well," said he, "Dan came to me and said, 'You must get me another knife,
because the one I have got has no good stuff in it, for the edge turned
when I cut a fellow's throat that day at the Meadows. I caught one of
the devils that was trying to get away, and when I cut his throat it took
all the edge off of my knife.' I tell you that boy will make a bully
said, "Haight, I don't believe you have any conscience."
He laughed, and said, "Conscience be d--d, I don't know what the word
thought over the matter, and made up my mind to write the letter to Brigham
Young and lay it all to the Indians, so as to get the matter off of my
mind. I then wrote the letter that has been used in the trial. It was
LETTER OF JOHN D. LEE TO BRIGHAM YOUNG.
HARMONY, WASHINGTON Co., U. T.,
November 20th, 1857.
To His Excellency, Gov. B. Young, Ex-Officio and Superintendent
DEAR SIR: My report under date May 11th, 1857, relative to the Indians
over whom I have charge as farmer, showed a friendly relation between
them and the whites, which doubtless would have continued to increase
had not the white mans been the first aggressor, as was the case
with Capt. Fancher's company of emigrants, passing through to California
about the middle of September last, on Corn Creek, fifteen miles south
of Fillmore City, Millard County. The company there poisoned the meat
of an ox, which they gave the Pah Vant Indians to eat, causing four of
them to die immediately, besides poisoning a number more. The company
also poisoned the water where they encamped, killing the cattle of the
settlers. This unguided policy, planned in wickedness by this company,
raised the ire of the Indians, which soon spread through the
southern tribes, firing them up with revenge till blood was in their path,
and as the breach, according to their tradition, was a national one, consequently
any portion of the nation was liable to atone for that offense.
About the 22d of September, Capt. Fancher and company fell victims to
their wrath, near Mountain Meadows; their cattle and horses were
shot down in every direction, their wagons and property mostly committed
to the flames. Had they been the only ones that suffered we would have
less cause of complaint. But the following company of near the same size
had many of their men shot down near Beaver City, and had it not been
for the interposition of the citizens at that place, the whole company
would have been massacred by the enraged Pah Vants. From this
place they were protected by military force, by order of Col. W. H. Dame,
through the Territory, beside. providing the company with interpreters,
to help them through to the Los Vaagus. On the Muddy, some three
to five hundred Indians attacked the company, while traveling, and drove
off several hundred head of cattle, telling the company that if they fired
a single gun that they would kill every soul. The interpreters tried to
regain the stock, or a portion of them, by presents, but in vain.
The Indians told them to mind their own business, or
their lives would not be safe. Since that occurrence
no company has been able to pass without some of our interpreters to talk
and explain matters to the Indians.
Friendly feelings yet remain between the natives and settlers and I have
no hesitancy in saying that it will increase so long as we treat them
kindly, and deal honestly toward them. I have been blest in my labors
the last year. Much grain has been raised for the Indians.
herewith furnish you the account of W. H. Dame, of Parowan, for cattle,
From the above report you will see that the wants of the Natives have
increased commensurate with their experience and practice in the art of
With sentiments of high consideration,
am your humble servant,
JOHN D. LEE,
Farmer to Pah Utes Indians.
Gov. B. Young, Ex-officio and Superintendent of Indian affairs.
forwarded that letter, and thought I had managed the affair nicely.
put in the expense account of $2,220, just to show off, and help Brigham
Young to get something from the Government. It was the way his Indian
farmers all did. I never gave the Indians one of the articles named in
the letter. No one of the men mentioned had ever furnished such articles
to the Indians, but I did it this way for safety. Brigham Young never
spent a dollar on the Indians in Utah, while he was Indian Agent. The
only money he ever spent on the Indians was when we were at war with them.
Then they cost us some money, but not much.
Brigham Young, well knowing that I wrote that letter just for the protection
of the brethren, used it to make up his report to the Government about
his acts as Indian Agent. I obeyed his orders in this, as I did the orders
of Haight at the Mountain Meadows, and I am now getting my pay for my
falsehood. I acted conscientiously in the whole matter, and have nothing
to blame myself for, except being so silly as to allow myself to be duped
by the cowardly wretches who are now seeking safety by hunting me to the
The following winter I was a delegate to the Constitutional Convention,
that met in Salt Lake City to form a constitution, preparatory to the
application of Utah for admission into the Union. I attended during the
entire session, and was often in company with Brigham Young at his house
and elsewhere, and he treated me all the time with great kindness and
the close of the session of the Convention, I was directed by Brigham
Young to take charge of all the cattle, and other property taken from
the emigrants, and take care of it for the Indians. I did as I was ordered.
When I got home I gathered up about two hundred head of cattle, and put
my brand on them, and I gave them to the Indians, as they needed them,
or rather when they demanded them. I did that until all of the emigrant
cattle were gone.
This thing of taking care of that property was an unfortunate thing for
me, for when the Indians wanted beef, they thought they owned everything
with my brand on it. So much so, that I long since quit branding my stock.
I preferred taking chances of leaving them unbranded, for every thing
with my brand on was certain to be taken by the Indians. I know that
it has been reported that the emigrants were very
rich. That is a mistake. Their only wealth consisted in cattle and their
teams. The people were comfortably dressed in Kentucky jean, and lindsey,
but they had no fine clothing that I ever saw.
They had but few watches. I never owned or carried one of the watches
taken from the emigrants in my life, or had anything to do with any of
their property, except to take care or the cattle for the Indians, as
ordered to do by Brigham Young, as I have before stated in this confession.
There is another falsehood generally believed in Utah, especially among
the Mormons. It is this. It has generally been reported that Brigham Young
was anxious to help Judge Cradlebaugh arrest all the guilty parties. There
is not one word of truth in the whole statement. Brigham Young knew the
name of every man that was in any way implicated in the Mountain Meadows
Massacre. He knew just as much about it as I did, except that he did not
see it, as I had seen it.
Brigham Young had wanted one man, or fifty men, or five hundred men arrested,
all he would have had to do would have been to say so, and they would
have been arrested instantly. There was no escape for them if he ordered
their arrest. Every man who knows anything of affairs in Utah at that
time knows this is so.
is true that Brigham made a great parade at the time, and talked a great
deal about bringing the guilty parties to Justice, but he did not mean
a word of it--not a word. He did go South with Cradlebaugh, but he took
good care that Cradlebaugh caught no person that had been in the massacre.
I know that I had plenty of notice of their coming, and so did all the
brethren. It was one of Brigham Young's cunning dodges to blind the
government. That this is true I can prove by the statement of what he
did at Cedar City while out on his trip with Judge Cradlebaugh to investigate
the matter and arrest (?) the guilty parties.
Judge Cradelbaugh [sic] and his men were working like faithful men to
find out all about it, but they did not learn very much. True, they got
on the right track, but could not learn it all, for Brigham Young was
along to see that they did not learn the facts.
While at Cedar City, Brigham preached one night, but none of the Judge's
party heard him. In his sermon, when speaking of the Mountain Meadows
Massacre, he said:
"Do you know who those people were that were killed at the Mountain Meadows?
I will tell you who those people were. They were fathers, mothers, brothers,
sisters, uncles, aunts, cousins and children of those who killed the Saints,
and drove them from Missouri, and afterwards killed our Prophets in Carthage
jail. These children that the government has made such a stir about, were
gathered up by the goverment [sic] and carried back to Missouri, to St.
Louis, and letters were sent to their relatives to come and take them;
but their relations wrote back that they did not want them--that they
were the children of thieves, outlaws and murderers, and they would not
take them, they did not wish anything to do with them, and would not have
them around their houses. Those children are now in the poor house in
St. Louis. And yet after all this, I am told that there are many of the
brethren who are willing to inform upon and swear against the brethren
who were engaged in that affair. I hope there is no truth in this report.
I hope there is no such person here, under the sound of my voice. But
if there is, I will tell you my opinion of you, and the fact so far as
your fate is concerned. Unless you repent at once of that unholy
intention, and keep the secret of all that you know, you will
die a dog's death, and be damned, and go to hell. I
do not want to hear of any more treachery among my people."
These words of Brigham Young gave great comfort to all of us who were
out in the woods keeeping [sic] out of the way of the officers. It insured
our safety and took away our fears.
There has been all sorts of reports circulated about me, and the bigger
the lie that was told the more readily it was believed.
I have told in this statement just what I did at the Mountain Meadows
Massacre. The evidence of Jacob Hamblin is false in toto. Hamblin
lied in every particular, so far as his evidence related to me.
It is my fate to die for what I did; but I go to my death with a certainty
that it cannot be worse than my life has been for the last nineteen years.
FACTS THAT I KNOW TO BE FACTS.
I have been in some respects a prominent man in the Mormon Church, the
public may expect from me a statement of facts concerning other crimes
and other things besides the Mountain Meadows Massacre. I do know some
facts that I will state.
could give many things that would throw light on the doings of the Church,
if I had my journals, but as I said, nearly all of my journals have been
made way with by Brigham Young; at least I delivered them to him and never
could get them again.
have delivered to my Counsel, Wm. W. Bishop, such journals as I have,
and shall leave the one that I am now keeping in prison, when I am released
by death from the necessity of writing down my thoughts from day to day,
and he can make such use of it as he thinks best.
statement of outside matters must be brief, but such as they are, the
public can rest certain of this thing, they are true.
many people think that Brigham Young cut me off from the Church, and refused
to recognize me a short time after the massacre, I will relate a circumstance
that took place ten years after all the facts were known by him.
In 1867 or 1868, I met President Brigham Young and suite, at Parowan,
seventy miles from Washington, the place where a part of my family resided.
Lieut. James Pace was with me. The Prophet said to me, that he wanted
uncle Jim Pace to go with me and prepare dinner for him and his suite
at Washington, within three days. We were to go by my herd on the plains
and in the valleys, and take several fat kids along and have a good dinner
for them by the time they got there.
His will was our pleasure. We rode night and day, and felt thankful that
we were worthy of the honor of serving the Prophet of the Living God.
We did not consider the toil or loss of sleep a sacrifice, in such a laudable
The time designated for dinner was one o'clock. The company arrived at
eleven o'clock, two hours ahead of time. The Prophet drove up in front
of Bishop Covington's house, on the same block where I lived; he halted
about five minutes there, instead of driving direct to my house according
to the previous arrangement. Then he turned his carriage around and got
out with Amelia, his beloved, and went into the Bishop's house, leaving
his suite standing in the streets. The peevish old man felt his dignity
trampled on, because I was not present to the minute to receive him with
an escort, to welcome and do homage to him upon entering the town.
soon as I learned of his arrival I hastened to make apologies.
The Prophet heard my excuses, and said his family and
brethren, all except himself and wife, could go
to my house to dinner, that he would not eat until about two o'clock.
then whispered to me and said, "Cut me a chunk off the breast of the turkey,
and a piece of the loin of one of the fat kids, and put some rich gravy
over it, and I will eat it at 2 P.M."
two o'clock I again made his will my pleasure, and carried his dinner
to him as requested, when he did me the honor of eating it. The rest of
the company went to my house and took dinner.
Among my guests that day were George A. Smith, Bishop Hunter, John Taylor,
W. Woodruff, several of the Prophet's sons and daughters, and many others.
At dinner, George A. Smith and others of the Twelve Apostles laughed about
the anger of Brigham, and said if the Old Boss had not got miffed, they
would have lost the pleasure of eating the fat turkey. The party enjoyed
themselves very much that day, and had many a laugh over the Prophet's
anger robbing him of an excellent dinner.
had part of my family at Washington, but I also had quite a family still
living at Harmony, where several of my wives were staying.
The next morning the Prophet came to me and asked me if I was going to
Harmony that night. I told him I did intend going.
wish you would go," said he, "and prepare dinner for us."
He then gave me full instructions what to prepare for dinner, and how
he wanted his meat cooked, and said the company would be at my house in
Harmony the next day at one o'clock, P. M.
at once proceeded to obey his instructions. I rode to Harmony through
a hard rain-storm, and I confess I was proud of my position. I then esteemed
it a great honor to have the privilege of entertaing [sic] the greatest
man living, the Prophet of the Lord.
entire family at Harmony were up all night, cooking and making ready to
feed and serve the Lord's anointed, and his followers.
killed beeves, sheep, goats, turkeys geese, ducks and chickens, all of
which were prepared according to instructions, and were eaten by Brigham
Young and his party the next day.
Prompt to time, the Prophet, the President of the Church
and his suite, and an escort on horseback, came
into the Fort. There were seventy-three carriages, besides the escort.
I entertained the entire party, giving them dinner, supper and breakfast.
1858 Governor Young called upon me to go and locate a company of cotton
growers, of which Joseph Ham was captain. This company was sent out by
Governor Young and the leading men of Salt Lake City, to test the growing
of cotton on the Santa Clara and Rio Virgin bottoms. In obedience to counsel,
I located the company at the mouth of the Santa Clara River, about four
miles south from where St. George now stands.
1859 or 1860, the first trip that ex-Gov. Young took from Salt Lake City
to Southern Utah, he went by way of Pinto, Mountain Meadows, Santa Clara
and Washington. I was then at Washington, building a grist mill, some
two miles west of the town, when he came along.
was sitting on a rock about thirty steps from the road. His carriage was
in the lead, as was usual with him when traveling. When he came opposite
where I was sitting, he halted and called me to his carriage, and bid
me get in, I did so. He seemed glad to see me, and asked where I lived.
I told him I lived on the same block that Bishop Covington did, that he
would pass my door in going to the Bishop's, as I then thought he would
put up with the Bishop, and not with a private person.
crossing the creek, on the way into town, the sand was heavy. I went to
jump out and walk. He objected, saying,
"Sit still. You are of more value than horse-flesh yet."
When we neared my residence, he said:
"Is this where you live, John?"
said, "It is," pointing at the same time to the east end of the block,
and said, "That is where the Bishop lives."
The old man made no reply, but continued on. Then he said,
"You have a nice place here. I have a notion to stop with you."
said, "You are always welcome to my house."
Then he said to the company, which consisted, I think, of seventy-three
carriages, "Some of you had better scatter round among the brethren."
About half the company did so. The rest, with the Prophet, stayed at my
The next day, the whole company went on to Tokerville,
twenty miles from my residence. I went with them
to that place. In the evening all went to St. George, and held a two-days'
meeting. At the close of the meeting, the Prophet called me to the stand,
"John, I will be at New Harmony on Wednesday next." (By way of explanation,
I will here say, the town of Harmony changed its location three times.
The first fort was built at the crossing of the north fork of Ash Creek,
in 1852, and was abandoned in 1853, during the war with the Ute Indians.
In 1855, a new site was selected, four miles north-west of Harmony No.
1, and an adobe fort was built two hundred feet square, and twenty-two
feet high. In 1860, Harmony No. 2 was demolished by a rain-storm, which
continued twenty-eight days without stopping. At once after that, a site
was selected at the head of Ash Creek, where a new settlement was started,
which was called New Harmony.) "I want you to go and notify the Saints,
and have a Bowery built, and prepare for our reception."
Jas. H. Imday was then President of that place, and was at the meeting.
I here again tried to make the will of the Prophet my pleasure. I traveled
all night, and reported the orders of the Prophet to the people.
Great preparations were made for his reception. A committee of arrangements
was appointed, also a committee to wait on his Honor. Also an escort of
fifteen men was selected to accompany this committee. They went out fifteen
miles, where they met the Prophet and his followers and made a report
of proceedings. He thanked them, and said, "I am going to stop with Brother
John D.," as he often called me. I took no part in the proceedings except
to report the will of the Prophet to the people. I went on horseback alone,
and met the President, a [sic] he is now called. I met him a mile or more
outside of the town. As I rode up he halted and said,
"John, I am going to stop with you."
replied, "You know you are always welcome."
then drove to the center of the town and halted; then he said,
"John, where do you live?"
pointed across the field about half a mile.
Said he, "Have they fenced you out? You take the lead, and we will break
a road to your house."
being his will, we started and went to my house, sixteen
carriages going along with us. Quite a number of
the President's company had gone by Kanab, to Cedar City, to hold meetings
in the settlements they would go through. The arrangements of the committee
were treated with indifference, if not contempt by the President and his
party. All the company but one carriage went to my house, that one stopped
at James Pace's. During their stay at my house all were friendly. Brigham
Young asked me to go with them to Cedar City, which I did.
1870, sometime in the Fall, I went from Parowan, by way of Panguich, up
the Severe River with Brigham Young, on a trip to the Pareah country.
On this trip I was appointed a road commissioner, with ten men to go ahead,
view out and prepare the road for the President and his company to travel
While at Upper Kanab, I had a private interview with the Prophet, concerning
my future destination. Brigham said he thought I had met with opposition
and hardships enough to entitle me to have rest the balance of my life.
That I had best leave Harmony, and settle in some of those good places
farther South; build up a home and gather strength around me, and after
a while we would cross over into Arizona Territory, near the San Francisco
Mountains, and there establish the order of Enoch, or United Order. We
were to take a portable steam saw mill to cut lumber with which to build
up the Southern settlements, and I was to run the mill in connection with
Bishop L. Stewart. This I then considered an additional honor shown me
by the Prophet.
From Upper Kanab, I was sent across the mountains to Lower Kanab, to Bishop
Stewart's, to have him carry supplies to the Prophet and company. I had
to travel sixty miles without a trail, but I was glad of a chance to perform
any duty that would please the Prophet. I again met the company, and went
with the party to Tokerville, where I closed arrangements with President
Young about the saw mill. All was understood and agreed upon, and we parted
in a very friendly manner.
About two weeks after leaving President Young and party at Tokerville,
I was notified that I had been suspended from the Church.
The following Spring, I visited the Prophet at St. George, and asked him
why they had dealt so rashly with me, without allowing me a chance to
speak for myself; why they had waited seven-
teen years and then cut me off; why I was not cut
off at once if what I had done was evil.
replied, "I never knew the facts until lately."
said, "President Young, you know that is not true. You know I told the
whole story to you a short time after it happened, and gave you a full
statement of everything connected with the massacre, and I then put more
on myself than I was to blame for; and if your late informants
have told you a story different from the one that I gave you soon after
the massacre, when I reported the facts to you by order of Major Haight,
they have lied like h--l, and you know it. I did nothing designedly wrong
on that occasion. I tried to save that company from destruction after
they were attacked, but I was overruled and forced to do all that I did
do. I have had my name cast out as evil, but I know I have a reward awaiting
me in Heaven. I have suffered in silence, and have done so to protect
the brethren who committed the deed. I have borne the imputation of this
crime long enough, and demand a rehearing. I demand that all the parties
concerned be brought forward and forced by you to shoulder their own sins.
I am willing to bear mine, but I will not submit to carry all the blame
for those who committed the massacre.
The reply he made was this:
"Be a man, and not a baby. I am your friend, and not your enemy. You
shall have a rehearing. Go up to the office and see Brother Erastus
Snow, and arrange the time for the hearing."
did so. We arranged the time of meeting. It was agreed that if the telegraph
wires were working, all parties interested were to be notified of the
meeting, and required to be present at St. George, Utah, on the following
Wednesday, at 2, P. M.
All parties agreed to this, and after talking over the whole thing, I
again parted with President Young, in a very friendly manner.
I went to Washington and staid at my house and with my family there. The
next morning I started for Harmony, to visit my family there, and make
arrangements for the rehearing that was to me of the greatest of importance.
I then considered that if I was cut off from the Church I had better be
dead; that out of the Church I could find no joys worth living for.
Soon after I left Washington, Erastus Snow, one of the twelve apostles,
arrived at my house and asked for me. My family told
him that I had gone to Harmony to arrange for the
new hearing and trial before the Church authorities. He appeared to be
much disappointed at not meeting me, and told my family that Brigham Young
had reconsidered the matter, and there would be no rehearing or investigation;
that the order cutting me off from the Church would stand; that he would
send a letter to me which would explain all the matter, and that the letter
would reach Harmony about as soon as I did.
the next Tuesday night an anonymous letter was left at my house by one
of the sons of Erastus Snow, with orders to hand it to me. The letter
read as follows:
"JOHN D. LEE, of Washington:
"Dear Sir: If you will consult your own interest, and that of
those that would be your friends, you will not press an investigation
at this time, as it will only serve to implicate those that would be your
friends, and cause them to suffer with, or inform upon you. Our advice
is to make yourself scarce, and keep out of the way."
There was no signature to the letter, but I knew it came from apostle
Snow, and was written by orders of Brigham Young.
When I read the letter I knew I had nothing to hope for from the Church,
and my grief was as great as I could bear. To add to my troubles, Brigham
Young sent word to my wives that they were all divorced from me and could
leave me, if they wished to, do so. This was the greatest trouble that
I ever had in my life, for I loved all my wives.
the result of Brigham's advice, eleven of my wives deserted me, and have
never lived with me since that time. I gave them all a fair share of the
property that I then owned. I afterwards lost my large ferry-boat at my
ferry on the Colorado River. Brigham Young was anxious to have the ferry
kept in good condition for passing the river, for he did not know what
hour he might need it, so he sent parties who put in another boat, which
I afterwards paid him for.
visited Brigham Young at his house in St. George in 1874, and never was
received in a more friendly manner. He could always appear the saint when
he was meditating treachery to one of his people. He then promised to
restore me to membership in a short time.
Soon afterwards I was arrested (on or about the 9th of No-
vember, 1874), and taken to Fort Cameron, in Beaver
County, Utah Territory, and placed in prison there. A few days after my
arrest I was visited in prison by General George A. Smith, Orson Hyde,
Erastus Snow, A. F. McDonald, and many other leaders of the Church. They
each and all told me to stand to my integrity, and all would come out
right in the end.
this time the Prophet was stopping with Bishop Murdock, in Beaver City.
My wife Rachel went at night to see him and have a talk about my case.
He received her with the utmost kindness, saying:
"Sister Rachel, are you standing by Brother John?"
"Yes, sir, I am," was her reply.
"That is right," said he. "God bless you for it. Tell Brother John to
stand to his integrity to the end, and not a hair of his head shall be
This kindness was continued by the Churchmen until I was released on bail,
in May, 1875.
And I will here say, I did not believe, until I was released on bail,
that any member of the Church would desert me. I had every confidence
that Brigham Young would save me at last. I knew then, as I know now,
that he had the power, and I thought he had the will, to save
me harmless. No man can be convicted in Utah if Brigham Young determines
to save him, and I had his solemn word that I should not suffer. But now,
when it is too late for me to help myself, I find I am selected by him
as a victim to be offered up to keep the Gentiles from prosecuting any
of his pets for murder or other crimes.
When I gained my freedom after nearly two years of imprisonment, I found
that some of the good Saints had been tampering with my wife Emma, to
get the ferry out of my hands. The "One-Eyed Pirate," as the Tribune
calls him, told her that I was not a brother in the Church, and had
tried to alienate her affections from me.
to this time I had always tried to make the will of the Priesthood my
pleasure, but this last act of their kindness towards a brother who had
been in prison for nearly two years, began to shake my faith in the anointed
of the Lord.
The loss of the ferry--for I virtually lost control of it by their treachery--was
a great blow to me in my destitute condition. I then felt that the time
was near approaching when they would
sacrifice and sell me to screen their pets and
cover up their own sins.
When I came before the court, on the 11th day of September, 1876, I was
met with the same hypocritical smile and whisper, as on other occasions,
and told to "Stand to your integrity. Let the will of the Lord's anointed
be your pleasure. My mouth is sealed, but I know you will come out all
they talked to me, the leaders of the Church and its prominent men, all
telling me the same thing, while at the same time those low, deceitful,
treacherous, cowardly, dastardly sycophants and serfs had combined to
fasten the rope around my neck. No doubt they thought they could lull
me to sleep, until they could kill and make a scape-goat of me, to atone
for the sins of the whole Church, which fully endorsed this treacherous
treatment, as has been established by the oaths given by the false, treacherous,
sneaking witnesses who came on the stand by order and command of the Church,
to consummate the vile scheme formed for my destruction.
This last act of their charitable kindness let me out with them. All that
I have made by making their will my pleasure, and yielding myself to their
wishes, is the loss of my reputation, my fortune, my near and dear supposed
friends, my salvation, and my all. My life now hangs on a single thread.
But is there no help for the widow's son? I can no longer expect help
from the Church, or those of the Mormon faith. If I escape execution,
it will be through the clemency of the nation, many of whose noble sons
will dislike to see me sacrificed in this way. I acknowledge that I have
been slow to listen to the advice of friends, who have warned me of the
danger and treachery that awaited me. Yet I ask pardon for all the ingratitude
with which I received their advice. When the people consider that I was
ever taught to look upon treachery with horror, and that I have never
permitted one nerve or fibre of this old frame to weaken or give way,
notwithstanding the fact that I have been cut loose, and cast off and
sacrificed by those who from their own stand-point, and according to their
own theory, should have stood by me to the last, they may have some compassion
for me. Perhaps all is for the best.
it now stands, I feel free from all the obligations that have hitherto
sealed my mouth, so far as the deeds of which I stand accused are concerned.
I now consider myself at liberty to,
and I now will state all the facts in the case,
with which I am familiar. I am no traitor; I am only acting just to my
own reputation. I am not sorry for the stand which I have taken, or my
THE TRUTH ABOUT "DIRTY FINGERED
JAKE" HAMBLIN AND THE ACTS OF SOME GOOD SAINTS.
Jacob Hamblin, commonly called "Dirty Fingered Jake," when called as a
witness, gave as a reason for his long silence, concerning what he says
I told him, that he was waiting for the right time to come, and he thought
it had come now.
This reminds me of a circumstance that was related by Joseph Knight and
John Lay, who were missionaries to the Indians under President Jacob Hamblin,
at his headquarters at Santa Clara Fort, in 1859. In the Fall of 1859
two young men, on their way to California, stopped at the fort to recruit
their jaded animals, and expecting that while doing so they might be so
fortunate as to meet with some train of people going to the same place,
so they would have company to San Bernardino, the young men staid at the
fort some two months, daily expecting a company to pass that way, but
still no one came. Hamblin assured them that they could go through the
country with perfect safety. At the same time he had his plans laid to
take their lives as soon as they started. The Indians around the fort
wanted to kill the men at once, but Hamblin objected, and told the Indians
to wait until the men got out on the desert--that if they would wait until
the right time came they might then kill the men.
last these young men started from the fort. Hamblin had told the Indians
that the right time had come, and that he wanted the Indians to ambush
themselves at a point agreed on near the desert, where the men could be
safely killed. The Indians obeyed Hamblin's orders, and as the men came
to the place of ambush the Indians fired upon them, and succeeded in killing
one of the men. The other returned the fire, and shot one of Hamblin's
right-hand men or pet Indians through the hand; this Indian's name was
Queets, which means left-handed. By wounding this Indian he managed to
escape, and returned to the fort, but doing so with the loss of the pack
animals, provisions and the riding animal of his partner that lay dead
upon the desert. The survivor stayed with Mr. Judd for a few days, when
pany of emigrants passed that way, and with them
he succeeded in making his escape from the death that Hamblin had planned
Hamblin was at Salt Lake City when the Mountain Meadows Massacre took
place, and he pretends to have great sympathy with and sorrow for their
fate. I can only judge what he would have done towards the massacre if
he had been at home by what he did to help the next train that passed
that way. When this train was passing through the settlements, Hamblin
made arrangements with Nephi Johnson and his other interpreters (all of
them were tools for Hamblin) how and where to relieve this company of
the large herd of stock that belonged to the train. They had a large number
of horses and cattle, more than five hundred head in all. Several interpreters
were sent on ahead of the train. One of these was Ira Hatch. They were
ordered by Hamblin to prepare the Indians to make a raid upon the stock,
and these men and Indians obeyed orders then the same as my brethren and
I did with the first company. About 10 o'clock, A. M., just after the
train had crossed the Muddy, or a few miles beyond it on the desert, at
the time and place as agreed on by Hamblin, and just as he had ordered
it to be done, over one hundred Indians made a dash on the train and drove
all the stock off to the Muddy.
The emigrants fired at the Indians, but the treacherous Nephi Johnson
was acting as a guide, interpreter and friend to the whites; in fact that
was how he came to be along with them was to pretend to aid them and protect
them from Indians, but in fact he was there by order of Hamblin, to make
the Indian raid on the stock a success.
Nephi Johnson rushed out and told the emigrants that if they valued their
own lives they must not fire again, for if they did so he could not protect
them from the cruelty of the savages--that the Indians would return and
massacre them the same as they did the emigrants at Mountain Meadows.
The acting of Johnson and the other interpreters and spies that were with
him, was so good that after a consultation the emigrants decided to follow
his advice. The final conclusion was, that as Johnson was friendly with
the Indians, and could talk their language, he should go and see the Indians,
and try and get the stock back.
The emigrants waited on the desert, and Johnson went to the
Indians, or pretended to do so. After a few hours
he returned, and reported that the Indians were very hostile, and threatened
to attack the train at once; that he was afraid he could not prevent it,
and the only chance for the emigrants was in their instant departure;
that as the emigrants would be gaining a place of safety, he
would, at the risk of his life, make an effort to keep the Indians back,
and pacify them. Also that he would report to Hamblin as soon as possible,
and raise a force of men at the fort, and get back the stock, if it could
be done, and would write to the company, giving an account of his success,
so they would get his letter at San Bernardino, and if he recovered the
stock, the emigrants could send back a party to receive it, and drive
it to California.
Under the circumstances, the company adopted his plan, and he left them
on the desert, with all their loose stock gone; but the danger was over,
for the stock was what Hamblin and Johnson had been working for.
Johnson returned and ordered the Indians to drive the stock to the Clara.
The Indians acted like good Mormons, and obeyed orders. Hamblin gave them
a few head of cattle for their services in aiding him to steal the drove.
The remainder of the cattle and horses the secret keeper, Hamblin,
took charge of for the benefit of the Mission. As the cattle became fat
enough for beef, they were sold or butchered for the use of the settlers.
Some were traded to other settlements for sheep and other articles. In
this way Hamblin used all of the stock stolen from the Dukes Company,
except some forty head.
order to keep up an appearance of honesty and fairness, Hamblin wrote
a letter to Capt. Dukes, in the fall of 1860, saying that he had recovered
a small portion of the company's stock from the Indians, by giving them
presents, and that some of the stock had been traded to the settlers by
the Indians. This letter was to be confirmed by all the missionaries and
settlers, when the stock was to be called for by the former owners. No
one was to give information that would lead to the discovery of the stock.
This was always the way when the Mormons committed a crime against the
Gentiles. All the brethren were to help keep the secret. Some of the Dukes
Company came back to Hamblin's for their cattle and horses, and after
three weeks' diligent search among the secret keepers, they succeeded
in getting about
forty head of cattle, and returned with them to
California. Several of the settlers were severely censured for giving
the little information that was given, which led to the recovery of that
small portion of the large herd of cattle and horses that the Saints,
Hamblin and Johnson, had stolen by the help of the Indians, and the efforts
of the brethren.
THE MORMON METHOD OF DISPOSING OF SUSPECTED
the Winter of 1857-8 John Weston took an Irishman, that had been stopping
with him as his guest several days, on a hunt, and when he got him in
the brush and timber four miles west of Cedar City, he cut the throat
of the Irishman and left the body unburied. A son of Weston said that
his father received orders to kill the man because Isaac C. Haight considered
him a spy.
Near the same time, Philip Klingensmith laid in ambush to kill Robert
Keyes (now a resident of Beaver City, Utah Territory), while Keyes was
irrigating in his field. Klingensmith wanted to kill Keyes because Keyes
refused to give false testimony when requested to do so by Klingensmith,
who was then Bishop of the Church. When Keyes came within a few feet of
the hiding place of Klingensmith, this "holy" man raised his gun and took
deliberate aim at Keyes' heart, but the cap bursted without exploding
the powder, and so Keyes escaped.
After the Massacre, when Haight learned that Brigham Young did not fully
approve of the deed, he then sought to screen himself, Higbee and Klingensmith,
by putting me between them and danger. He reported that I was the big
captain that planned, led and executed it; that the honor of such a noble
deed for the avenging of the blood of the Prophets would lead to honor,
immortality and eternal life in the kingdom of God; that I must stand
to my integrity; that no man would ever be hurt. In this way it soon became
a settled fact that I was the actual butcher and leader in that awful
affair. Year by year that story has gained ground and strength, until
I am now held responsible, and am to die, to save the Church. However,
this is a regular trick of the Church leaders--use a man as long as he
is of any use, and then throw him aside.
As I have stated in other places in my writings, the people in Utah who
professed the Mormon religion were at and for some time before the massacre
full of wild-fire and fanatical zeal, anx-
ious to do something to build up the Kingdom of
God on earth and to waste away the enemies of the Mormon religion. At
that time it was a common thing for small bands of people on their way
from California to pass through by way of Cedar City on their journey.
Many of these people were killed simply because they were Gentiles. When
a Gentile came into a town he was looked upon with suspicion, and most
of the people considered every stranger a spy from the United States army.
The killing of Gentiles was considered a means of grace and a virtuous
remember an affair that transpired at the old distillery in Cedar City,
just before the massacre. I was informed of it when I went to Cedar City,
by the chief men there, and I may say I know it to be true. The facts
are as follows: Three men came to Cedar City one evening; they were poor,
and much worn by their long journey. They were on their way to California.
They were so poor and destitute that the authorities considered they were
dangerous men, so they reported that they were spies from Johnston's army,
and ordered the brethren to devise a plan to put them out of the way,
decently and in order. That the will of God, as made known through Haight
and Klingensmith, might be done, these helpless men were coaxed to go
to the old distillery and take a drink. They went in company with John
M. Highee, John Weston, James Haslem and Wm. C. Stewart, and I think another
man, but if so I have forgotten his name. The party drank considerable,
and when the emigrants got under the influence of the whisky the brethren
attacked them, and knocked the brains out of two of the men with the king-bolt
of a wagon. The third man was very powerful and muscular; he fought valiantly
for his life, but after a brief struggle he was over-come and killed.
They were buried near Cedar City.
This deed was sustained by all the people there. The parties who did the
killing were pointed out as true, valiant men, zealous defenders of the
faith, and as fine examples for the young men to pattern after.
ATTEMPT TO ASSASSINATE LIEUTENANT TOBIN.
Sometime in the Fall of 1857, not long after the Mountain Meadows Massacre,
it was decided by the authorities at Salt Lake City that Lieut. Tobin
must be killed. Tobin had left a train at Salt Lake, joined the Church
there, and afterwards mar-
ried a daughter or General Charles C. Rich, one
of the Twelve Apostles. Tobin was quite a smart man, and soon after his
marriage he was sent to England on a mission.
While preaching in England, it was reported that he had committed adultery
there, and he was ordered home. On his arrival in Salt Lake he was cut
off from the Church, and I think his wife was taken from him by order
of the Church. He made several efforts to get out of the Territory. Finally
he got with a company en-route for California, and left Salt Lake, intending
to go to California, to escape the persecutions that were being forced
upon him by the Church authorities. After he had been gone a few days
the "Destroying Angels" were put on his trail, with orders to kill him
without fail before they returned. Two desperate fanatics were selected,
who knew nothing but to obey orders. Joel White and John Willis were the
They started on the trail, determined to kill Tobin when they could find
him. They had no cause to find fault with him; he had never injured them,
but he had in some way fallen under the ban of the Church, and his death
had been decreed. These vile tools of the Church leaders were keeping
their oaths of obedience to the Priesthood, and were as willing to shed
blood at the command of the Prophet or any of the apostles, as ever Inquisitor
was to apply the rack to an offending heretic in the dungeons of the Inquisition.
In fact Mormonism is Jesuitism refined and perfected.
White and Willis overtook the company that Lieut. Tobin was traveling
with, at a point at or near the crossing of the Magottsey. They found
where he was sleeping, and going right up to him as he lay on the ground,
rolled up in his blanket, they shot him several times, and at last thinking
him dead, they concluded to shoot him once more to make certain that he
would not escape. So they put a pistol right up against his eye, and fired;
the ball put out his eye, but did not kill him.
The "angels " made their escape and returned to Salt Lake City, and reported
that their orders were obeyed.
Severely wounded as he was, Lieut. Tobin recovered, and was when I last
heard from him in the Union army.
POWER OF THE PRIESTHOOD.
Parowan, in 1855 or 1856, there was a case that for a while shook my faith
in the Church, but I soon got over it and
was like others, satisfied that all was done for
the glory of God, but that I was so sinful that I could not understand
There was a man living there by the name of Robert Gillespie. He was a
member of the Church, had one wife, and owned a fine property. Gillespie
wanted to be sealed to his sister-in-law, but for some reason
his request was denied. He had known of others obtaining wives by committing
adultery first and then being sealed to avoid scandal. So he tried it,
and then went to the apostle George A. Smith, and again asked to be sealed
to the woman; but George A. had a religious fit on him,, or something
else, so he refused to seal him or let him be sealed, giving as his reason
for refusing, that Gillespie had exercised the rights of sealing without
first obtaining orders to do so. A warrant was issued and Gillespie arrested
and placed under guard, he was also sued in the Probate Court, before
James Lewis, Probate Judge, and a heavy judgment was rendered against
him, and all his property was sold to pay the fine and costs. The money
was put into the Church fund and Gillespie was broken up entirely and
forced to leave the Territory in a destitute condition.
Many such cases came under my observation. I have known the Church to
act in this way and break up and destroy many, very many men. The Church
was then, and in that locality, supreme. None could safely defy or disobey
it. The Church authorities used the laws of the land, the laws of the
Church, and Danites and "Angels" to enforce their orders, and rid the
country of those who were distasteful to the leaders. And I say as a fact
that there was no escape for any one that the leaders of the
Church in Southern Utah selected as a victim.
The fate of old man Braffett, of Parowan, was a peculiar one, and as it
afterwards led me into trouble, I will give the story briefly, to show
the power of the Priesthood and the peculiarity of the people there.
Old man Braffett lived at Parowan, and in the Fall of 1855 a man by the
name of Woodward came to Braffett's house and stopped there to recruit
his teams before crossing the deserts. Woodward had two wives. He had
lived in Nauvoo, and while there had been architect for the Nauvoo House.
While Woodward and his family were stopping with Braffett, one of his
concluded that she would be damned if she went
to live in California--leaving the land of the Saints--and she asked to
be divorced from Woodward and sealed to Braffett. At first Braffett refused
to take her, but she was a likely and healthy woman. She made love to
the old man in earnest, and finally induced him to commit adultery with
her. The parties were discovered in the act by old Mrs. Braffett, and
she was not so firm in the faith as to permit her husband to enjoy himself
without making a fuss about it. The authorities were informed of Braffett's
transgressions, and he was arrested and taken before the Probate Judge
and tried for the sin of adultery. He made a bill of sale of some of his
property to me, for which I paid him before his trial. After hearing the
case, the Probate Judge fined him $1,000, and ordered him to be imprisoned
until the fine and costs were paid. Ezra Curtis, the then marshal at Parowan,
took all of Braffett's property that could be found and sold it for the
purpose of paying the fine, but the large amount of property which was
taken was sold for a small sum, for the brethren would not bid much, for
property taken from one who had broken his covenants.
Being unable to pay the fine, the old man was ordered to be taken to Salt
Lake City, to be imprisoned in the prison there. I was selected to take
him to Salt Lake. I took the old man there, and after many days spent
in working with Brigham Young and his apostles, I succeeded in securing
a pardon from Brigham for the old man.
Braffett was put to work at Salt Lake by Brigham Young. He dared not return
home at that time. His property was all gone, and he was ruined.
The part I took to befriend the old man made several of the brethren at
Parowan mad at me, and they swore they would have revenge against me for
interfering where I was not interested. I staid in Salt Lake some time,
and when I started home there were quite a number of people along. All
the teams were heavily loaded; the roads were bad, and our teams weak.
We all had to walk much of the time. After we had passed the Severe River
the road was very bad. My team was the best in the whole company, and
I frequently let some of the women who were in the party ride in my wagon.
One evening, just about dark, I was asked by a young woman, by the name
of Alexander, to let her ride, as she was very tired walking. I had her
get in the wagon with my wife Rachel, and she rode there until
we camped for the night. I got into the wagon after
dark and drove the team. We had ridden along this way an hour or so, when
Rachel said she was going to ride a while in the next wagon, which was
driven by my son-in-law, Mr. Dalton. Soon after Rachel got out of the
wagon, a couple of my enemies rode by. I spoke to them, and they rode
on. As soon as these men reached the camp they reported that I had been
taking improper privileges with Miss Alexander. I was at once told to
consider myself under arrest, and that as soon as we reached Parowan I
would be tried by the Council for violating my covenants. I was surprised
and grieved at the charge, for I was innocent, and the young woman was
a very fine and virtuous woman, and as God is soon to judge me, I declare
I never knew of her committing any sin. But she had to suffer slander
upon her good name simply because she was befriended by me.
When we reached Parowan there was a meeting called by the Priesthood to
try me. This Council was composed of the President of that Stake of Zion
and his two Counselors, the High Council, the City Council and the leading
men of Parowan. It was a general meeting of the authorities, Church and
civil, at Parowan. The meeting was held in a chamber that was used for
a prayer circle. It was called a circle room, because the people met there
to transact private business and to hold prayer in a circle, which was
done in this way. All the brethren would kneel in a circle around the
room, near enough to each other for their arms to touch, so that the influence
would be more powerful. When the meeting was called to order all
the lights were put out, and I was taken into the room and placed on trial.
The charge was stated to me and I was ordered to confess my guilt. I told
them I was innocent; that I had committed no crime--in fact had not thought
of wrong. I told the truth, just as it was. I was then ordered to stand
The young woman was then brought into the room, and as she came in a pistol
was placed to my head and I was told to keep silent. She was questioned
and threatened at great length, but not all the threats that they could
use would induce her to tell a falsehood. She insisted that I was entirely
Next her father, an old man, was introduced and questioned. He told the
Council that he had diligently enquired into the matter, and believed
I was innocent.
Neither the young woman nor her father knew who was in the
room. All they knew was that they were being examined
before the secret tribunal of Utah, and that a false oath in that place
would ensure their death.
When the evidence had been received and the witnesses retired; the candles
were again lighted. Then speeches were made by most of the men present,
and every one but two spoke in favor of my conviction. Without taking
a vote the meeting adjourned, or rather left that place and went somewhere
else to consult. I was left in the dark, the house locked and guards placed
around the building. I was told that my fate would soon be decided, and
I would then be informed what it was to be. I knew so well the manner
of dealing in such cases that I expected to be assassinated in the dark,
but for some reason it was not done.
Next morning some food was brought to me, but I was still kept a prisoner
and refused the liberty of consulting with any friends or any of my family.
Late that day I looked out of the window of the chamber where I was confined,
and saw a man by the name of John Steel. He was first Counselor to the
President of that Stake of Zion. I called to him and asked him to secure
my freedom. After stating the case to him he promised to see what could
be done for me, and went off. Through his exertions I was soon released
I was told to go home and hold myself subject to orders--that my case
was not yet decided.
went home, but for months I expected to be assassinated everyday, for
it was the usual course of the authorities to send an "Angel" after all
men who were charged or suspected of having violated
Nothing farther was done about the case, but it was held over me as a
means of forcing me to live in accordance with the wishes of the Priesthood
and to prevent me from again interfering with the Church authorities when
they saw fit to destroy a man, as they destroyed old man Braffett, and
I believe it did have the effect to make me more careful who I befriended.
In 1854 (I think that was the year) there was a young man, a Gentile,
working in Parowan. He was quiet and orderly, but was courting some of
the girls. He was notified to quit, and let the girls alone, but he still
kept going to see some of them. This was contrary to orders. No Gentile
was at that time allowed to keep company with or visit any Mormon girl
woman. The authorities decided to have the young
man killed, so they called two of Bishop Dames' Destroying Angels, Barney
Carter and old man Gould, and told them to take that cursed young Gentile
"over the rim of the basin." That was a term used by the people
when they killed a person.
The destroying angels made some excuse to induce the young man to go with
them on an excursion, and when they got close to Shirts' mill, near Harmony,
they killed him, and left his body in the brush.
The Indians found the body, and reported the facts to me soon afterwards.
I was not at home that night, but Carter and Gould went to my house and
staid there all night. Rachel asked them where they had been. They told
her they had been on a mission to take a young man, a Gentile, over
the rim of the basin, and Carter showed her his sword, which was
all bloody, and he said he used that to help the Gentile over the edge.
Rachel knew what they meant when they spoke of sending him "over
the rim of the basin." It was at that time a common thing to see parties
going out of Cedar City and Harmony, with suspected Gentiles, to send
them "over the rim of the basin," and the Gentiles were always killed.
This practice was supported by all the people, and every thing of that
kind was done by orders from the Council, or by orders
from some of the Priesthood. When a Danite or a destroying angel was placed
on a man's track, that man died, certain, unless some providential act
saved him, as in Tobin's case; he was saved because the "angels" believed
he was dead.
The Mormons nearly all, and I think every one of them in Utah previous
to the massacre at Mountain Meadows, believed in blood atonement.
It was taught by the leaders and believed by the people that the
Priesthood were inspired and could not give a wrong order. It was the
belief of all that I ever heard talk of these things--and I have been
with the Church since the dark days in Jackson County--that the authority
that ordered a murder committed, was the only responsible party, that
the man who did the killing was only an instrument, working by
command of a superior, and hence could have no ill will against the person
killed, but was only acting by authority and committed no wrong. In other
words, if Brigham Young or any of his apostles, or any of the Priesthood,
gave an order to a man, the act was the act of the one giving the order,
and the man doing the
act was only an instrument of the person commanding--just
as much of an instrument as the knife that was used to cut the throat
of the victim. This being the belief of all good Mormons, it
is easily understood why the orders of the Priesthood were so blindly
obeyed by the people.
Another circumstance came to my knowledge soon after it was done that
will speak for itself. Not far from the time of the Mountain Meadows massacre,
there was an emigrant who claimed to be a Mormon, but I never knew whether
he was one or not, that worked a number of months for Captain Jacob Huffine,
at Parowan. This man wanted his pay; it was not convenient to pay him;
he insisted on being paid, but not getting his wages, he determined to
leave there. He started away from the settlement at Summit, about seven
miles from Parowan. The Indians of Parowan were sent for and ordered to
overtake and kill the man. They did so, and shot him full of arrows. The
man called to the Indians and told them that he was a Mormon and they
must not kill him.
The Indians replied by saying,
"We know you, you are no Mormon, you are a Mericat; the Mormons told us
to kill you."
They then beat his head with rocks, and cut his throat, then went back
to Parowan and reported what they had done.
was told all about this by the Indians. But I never enquired into the
facts, for I then believed, and still have reasons to think the man was
killed by authority. He had offended in some way, and his death
was like that of many others, the result of orders from the Priesthood.
KILLING OF ROSMOS ANDERSON, ETC.
William Laney, of Harrisburg, Utah Territory, had formed the acquaintance
of the family or Aden while on a mission to Tennessee, and he was saved
from a mob who threatened his death because he was a Mormon preacher.
When Fancher's train reached Parowan, Mr. Laney met young Aden and recognized
him as the son of the man who had saved his life. Aden told him that he
was hungry, that he and his comrades had been unable to purchase supplies
from the Mormons ever since they left Salt Lake City, and that there appeared
to be a conspiracy that had been formed against that train by which the
Mormons had agreed to starve the emigrants. Laney took young
Aden to his house, gave him his supper, and let
him sleep there that night. The next day Laney was accused by leading
men with being unfaithful to his obligations. They said he had supported
the enemies of the Church and given aid and comfort to one whose hands
were still red with the blood of the Prophets. A few nights after that
the Destroying Angels, who were doing the bidding of Bishop Dame, were
ordered to kill William Laney to save him from his sins, he having violated
his endowment oath and furnished food to a man who had been declared an
outlaw by the Mormon Church. The "Angels" were commanded by Barney Carter,
a son-in-law of Wm. H. Dame, who now lives in Los Angeles County, California.
The Angels called Laney out of the house, saying that Bishop Dame wished
to see him. As Laney passed through the gate into the street, he was struck
across the back of the head with a large club by Barney Carter. His skull
was fractured somewhat and for many months Laney lay at the point of death,
and his mind still shows the effect of the injury he then received, for
his brain has never quite settled since. I have frequently talked with
Laney about this matter, but as he was fully initiated into the mysteries
of the Church, he knows that he will yet be killed if his life can be
taken with safety, if he make public the facts connected with the conspiracy
to take his life. He is still strong in the Mormon faith, and almost believes
that Dame had the right to have him killed. At the time Carter attempted
to take the life of Laney, the Mormon Church was under the blaze of the
reformation, and punishment by death was the penalty for refusing to obey
the orders of the Priesthood.
One of the objects of the reformation was to place the Priesthood in possession
of every secret act and crime that had been committed by a man of the
Church. These secrets were obtained in this way: a meeting would be called;
some Church leader would make a speech, defining the duties that the people
owed to the Priesthood, and instructing the people why it was necessary
that the Priesthood should control the entire acts of the people, and
it was preached that to keep back any fact from the knowledge of the Priesthood
was an unpardonable sin. After one or more such discourses, the people
were called upon by name, commanded to rise from their seats, and standing
in the midst of the congregation, to publicly confess all their sins.
If the confession was not full and complete, it was also made the
duty of the members of the Church, or any one of
them who knew that the party confessing had committed a crime, which he
had not divulged, it was then to he made public by the party knowing the
same. Unless the party then confessed, a charge was preferred against
him or her for a violation of covenants, and unless full confession and
repentance immediately followed, the sinful member was to be slain for
the remission of his sins, it being taught by the leaders and believed
by the people that the right thing to do with a sinner who did not repent
and obey the Council, was to take the life of the offending party, and,
thus save his everlasting soul. This was called "Blood Atonement." The
members who fully confessed their sins were again admitted into the Church
and rebaptized, they taking new covenants to obey any and all orders of
the Priesthood, and to refuse all manner of assistance, friendship or
communication with those who refused a strict obedience to the authorities
of the Church.
The most deadly sin among the people was adultery, and many men were killed
in Utah for that crime.
Rosmos Anderson was a Danish man who had come to Utah with his family
to receive the benefits arising from an association with the "Latter-Day
Saints." He had married a widow lady somewhat older than himself, and
she had a daughter that was fully grown at the time of the reformation.
The girl was very anxious to be sealed to her step-father, and Anderson
was equally anxious to take her for a second wife, but as she was a fine-looking
girl, Klingensmith desired her to marry him, and she refused. At one of
the meetings during the reformation Anderson and his step-daughter confessed
that they had committed adultery, believing when they did so that Brigham
Young would allow them to marry when he learned the facts. Their confession
being full, they were rebaptized and received into full membership. They
were then placed under covenant that if they again committed adultery,
Anderson should suffer death. Soon after this a charge was laid against
Anderson before the Council, accusing him of adultery with his step-daughter.
This Council was composed of Klingensmith and his two counselors; it was
the Bishop's Council. Without giving Anderson any chance to defend himself
or make a statement, the Council voted that Anderson must die for violating
his covenants. Klingensmith went to Anderson and notified him that the
orders were that he
must die by having his throat cut, so that the
running of his blood would atone for his sins. Anderson, being
a firm believer in the doctrines and teachings of the Mormon Church, made
no objections, but asked for half a day to prepare for death. His request
was granted. His wife was ordered to prepare a suit of clean clothing,
in which to have her husband buried, and was informed that he was to be
killed for his sins, she being directed to tell those who should enquire
after her husband that he had gone to California.
Klingensmith, James Haslem, Daniel McFarland and John M. Higbee dug a
grave in the field near Cedar City, and that night, about 12 o'clock,
went to Anderson's house and ordered him to make ready to obey the Council.
Anderson got up, dressed himself, bid his family good-bye, and without
a word of remonstrance accompanied those that he believed were carrying
out the will of the "Almighty God." They went to the place where the grave
was prepared; Anderson knelt upon the side of the grave and prayed. Klingensmith
and his company then cut Anderson's throat from ear to ear and held him
so that his blood ran into the grave.
soon as he was dead they dressed him in his clean clothes, threw him into
the grave and buried him. They then carried his bloody clothing back to
his family, and gave them to his wife to wash, when she was again instructed
to say that her husband was in California. She obeyed their orders.
move of that kind was made at Cedar City, unless it was done by order
of the "Council" or of the "High Council." I was at once informed of Anderson's
death, because at that time I possessed the confidence of all the people,
who would talk to me confidentially, and give me the particulars of all
crimes committed by order of the Church. Anderson was killed just before
the Mountain Meadows massacre. The killing of Anderson was then considered
a religious duty and a just act. It was justified by all the people, for
they were bound by the same covenants, and the least word of objection
to thus treating the man who had broken his covenant would have brought
the same fate upon the person who was so foolish as to raise his voice
against any act committed by order of the Church authorities.
Brigham Young knew very well that I was not a man who would willingly
take life, and therefore I was not ordered to do
his bloody work. I never took part in any killing
that was desired or ordered by the Church, except the part I took in the
Mountain Meadows Massacre. I was well known by all the members of the
Church as one that stood high in the confidence of Brigham Young, and
that I was close-mouthed and reliable. By this means I was usually informed
of the facts in every case where violence was used in the section of country
where I resided. I knew of many men being killed in Nauvoo by the Danites.
It was then the rule that all the enemies of Joseph Smith should be killed,
and I know of many a man who was quietly put out of the way by the orders
of Joseph and his Apostles while the Church was there.
has always been a well understood doctrine of the Church that it was right
and praiseworthy to kill every person who spoke evil of the Prophet. This
doctrine had been strictly lived up to in Utah, until the Gentiles arrived
in such great numbers that it became unsafe to follow the practice, but
the doctrine is still believed, and no year passes without one or more
of those who have spoken evil of Brigham Young being killed, in a secret
Springfield, Utah, was one of the hot-beds of fanaticism, and I expect
that more men were killed there, in proportion to population, than in
any other part of Utah. In that settlement it was certain death to
say a word against the authorities, high or low.
Utah it has been the custom with the Priesthood to make eunuchs of such
men as were obnoxious to the leaders. This was done for a double purpose;
first, it gave a perfect revenge, and next, it left the poor victim a
living example to others of the dangers of disobeying counsel and not
living as ordered by the Priesthood.
Nauvoo it was the orders from Joseph Smith and his apostles to beat, wound
and castrate all Gentiles that the police could take in the act of entering
or leaving a Mormon household under circumstances that led to the belief
that they had been there for immoral purposes. I knew of several such
outrages while there. In Utah it was the favorite revenge of old, worn-out
members of the Priesthood, who wanted young women sealed to them, and
found that the girl preferred some handsome young man. The old priests
generally got the girls, and many a young man was unsexed for refusing
to give up his sweetheart at the
request of an old and failing, but still sensual
apostle or member of the Priesthood.
an illustration I will refer to an instance that many a good Saint knows
to be true.
Warren Snow was Bishop of the Church at Manti, San Pete County, Utah.
He had several wives, but there was a fair, buxom young woman in the town
that Snow wanted for a wife. He made love to her with all his powers,
went to parties where she was, visited her at her home, and proposed to
make her his wife. She thanked him for the honor offered, but told him
she was then engaged to a young man, a member of the Church, and consequently
could not marry the old priest. This was no sufficient reason to Snow.
He told her it was the will of God that she should marry him, and she
must do so; that the young man could be got rid of, sent on a mission
or dealt with in some way so as to release her from her engagement--that,
in fact, a promise made to the young man was not binding, when she was
informed that it was contrary to the wishes of the authorities.
The girl continued obstinate. The "teachers" of the town visited her and
advised her to marry Bishop Snow. Her parents, under the orders of the
Counselors of the Bishop, also insisted that their daughter must marry
the old man. She still refused. Then the authorities called on the young
man and directed him to give up the young woman. This he steadfastly refused
to do. He was promised Church preferment, celestial rewards, and everything
that could be thought of--all to no purpose. He remained true to his intended,
and said he would die before he would surrender his intended wife to the
embraces of another.
This unusual resistance of authority by the young people made
Snow more anxious than ever to capture the girl. The young man was ordered
to go on a mission to some distant locality, so that the authorities would
have no trouble in effecting their purpose of forcing the girl to marry
as they desired. But the mission was refused by the still contrary and
unfaithful young man.
was then determined that the rebellious young man must be forced by harsh
treatment to respect the advice and orders of the Priesthood. His fate
was left to Bishop Snow for his decision. He decided that the young man
should be castrated; Snow saying, "When that is done, he will not be liable
the girl badly, and she will listen to reason when
she knows that her lover is no longer a man."
was then decided to call a meeting of the people who lived true to counsel,
which was to be held in the school-house in Manti, at which place the
young man should be present, and dealt with according to Snow's will.
The meeting was called. The Young man was there, and was again requested,
ordered and threatened, to get him to surrender the young woman to Snow,
but true to his plighted troth, he refused to consent to give up the girl.
The lights were then put out. An attack was made on the young man. He
was severely beaten, and then tied with his back down on a bench, when
Bishop Snow took a bowie-knife, and performed the operation in a most
brutal manner, and then took the portion severed from his victim and hung
it up in the school-house on a nail, so that it could be seen by all who
visited the house afterwards.
The party then left the young man weltering in his blood, and in a lifeless
condition. During the night he succeeded in releasing himself from his
confinement, and dragged himself to some hay-stacks, where he lay until
the next day, when he was discovered by his friends. The young man regained
his health, but has been an idiot or quiet lunatic ever since, and is
well known by hundreds of both Mormons and Gentiles in Utah.
After this outrage old Bishop Snow took occasion to get up a meeting at
the school-house, so as to get the people of Manti, and the young woman
that he wanted to marry, to attend the meeting. When all had assembled,
the old man talked to the people about their duty to the Church, and their
duty to obey counsel, and the dangers of refusal, and then publicly called
attention to the mangled parts of the young man, that had been severed
from his person, and stated that the deed had been done to teach the people
that the counsel of the Priesthood must be obeyed. To make a long story
short, I will say, the young woman was soon after forced into being sealed
to Bishop Snow.
Brigham Young, when he heard of this treatment of the young man, was very
mad, but did nothing against Snow. He left him in charge as Bishop at
Manti, and ordered the matter to be hushed up. This is only one instance
of many that I might give to show the danger of refusing to obey counsel
frequently happened that men would become dissatisfied with the Church
or something else in Utah, and try to leave the
Territory. The authorities would try to convince
such persons that they ought to remain, but if they insisted on going,
they were informed that they had permission to do so. When the person
had started off, with his stock and property, it was nearly always the
rule to send a lot of Danites to steal all the stock and run it off into
the mountains; so that in the majority of cases the people would return
wholly broken up and settle down again as obedient members of
the Church. It was a rare thing for a man to escape from the
Territory with all of his property, until after the Pacific Railroad was
built through Utah. It was the general custom to rob the persons who were
leaving the country, but many of them were killed, because it was considered
they would tell tales that should not be made public, in the event of
their reaching Gentile settlements.
Brigham Young discouraged mining at all times, and when any man found
any metal he was ordered to keep it a secret. The people were taught to
believe that the Latter-Day Saints would soon own all the wealth of the
earth, and that no people but Mormons would be alive in a few years. That
when the earth was conquered and the truths of Mormonism were universally
acknowledged, the people would then have all the wealth they desired.
Gold would be as plenty as silver, silver as plenty as brass, brass as
plenty as stone, and stone as plenty as wood. That this gold, silver and
other metals and precious stones would then be used for beautifying places
of worship, and to make holy vessels of, and each man was to have all
the wealth be could use or enjoy, if he was only faithful in these last
a matter to satisfy the public, I will give the following facts connected
with my personal history:
When I moved to Nauvoo, I had one wife and one child. Soon
after I got there, I was appointed as the Seventh Policeman. I had superiors
in office, and was sworn to secrecy, and to obey the orders of my superiors,
and not let my left hand know what my right hand did. It was my duty to
do as I was ordered, and not to ask questions. I was instructed in the
secrets of the Priesthood to a great extent, and taught to believe,
as I then did believe, that it was my duty, and the duty of all
men to obey the leaders of the Church, and that no man could commit sin
so long as he acted in the way that he was directed by his Church superiors.
I was one of the Life Guard of the Prophet Joseph Smith.
HOW I FIRST HEARD OF THE DOCTRINE OF POLYGAMY.
One day the Chief of Police came to me and said that I must take two more
policemen that he named, and watch the house of a widow woman named Clawson.
She was the mother of H. B. Clawson, of Salt Lake City. I was informed
that a man went there nearly every night about ten o'clock, and left about
day light. I was also ordered to station myself and my men near the house,
and when the man came out we were to knock him down and castrate him,
and not to be careful how hard we hit, for it would not be enquired into
if we killed him.
did not believe that the Chief of Police knew just what he was doing.
I felt a timidity about carrying out the orders. It was my duty to report
all unusual orders that I received from my superiors on the police
force, to the Prophet Joseph Smith, or in his absence, to Hyrum, next
in authority. I went to the house of the Prophet to report, but he was
not at home. I then called for Hyrum, and he gave me an interview. I told
him the orders that I had received from the Chief, and asked him if I
should obey or not. He said to me,
"Brother Lee, you have acted wisely in listening to the voice of the Spirit.
It was the influence of God's Spirit that sent you here. You would have
been guilty of a great crime if you had obeyed your Chief's orders."
Hyrum then told me that the man that I was ordered to attack was Howard
Egan, and that he had been sealed to Mrs. Clawson, and that their marriage
was a most holy one; that it was in accordance with a revelation that
the Prophet had recently received direct from God. He then explained to
me fully the doctrines of polygamy, and wherein it was permitted, and
why it was right.
was greatly interested in the doctrine. It accorded exactly with my views
of the Scripture, and I at once accepted and believed in the doctrine
as taught by the revelations received by Joseph Smith, the Prophet. As
a matter of course I did not carry out the orders of the Chief. I had
him instructed in his duty, and so Egan was never bothered by the police.
few months after that I was sealed to my second wife. I was sealed to
her by Brigham Young, then one of the Twelve. In less than one year after
I first learned the will of God concerning the marriage of the Saints,
as made known by Him in a revelation to Joseph Smith, I was the husband
of nine wives.
took my wives in the following order: first, Agathe Ann Woolsey; second,
Nancy Berry; third, Louisa Free (now one of the wives of Daniel H. Wells);
fourth, Sarah C. Williams; fifth, old Mrs. Woolsey (she was the mother
of Agathe Ann and Rachel A. I married her for her soul's sake, for her
salvation in the eternal state); sixth, Rachel A. Woolsey (I was sealed
to her at the same time that I was to her mother); seventh, Andora Woolsey
(a sister to Rachel); eighth, Polly Ann Workman; ninth, Martha Berry;
tenth, Delithea Morris. In 1847, while at Council Bluffs, Brigham Young
sealed me to three women in one night, viz., eleventh, Nancy
Armstrong (she was what we called a widow. She left her first husband
in Tennessee, in order to be with the Mormon people); twelfth, Polly V.
Young; thirteenth, Louisa Young (these two were sisters.) Next, I was
sealed to my fourteenth wife, Emeline Vaughn. In 1851, I was sealed to
my fifteenth wife, Mary Lear Groves. In 1856, I was sealed to my sixteenth
wife, Mary Ann Williams. In 1858, BrighamYoung gave me my seventeenth
wife, Emma Batchelder. I was sealed to her while a member of the Territorial
Legislature. Brigham Young said that Isaac C. Haight, who was also in
the Legislature, and I, needed some young women to renew our vitality,
so he gave us both a dashing young bride. In 1859 I was sealed to my eighteenth
wife, Teressa Morse. I was sealed to her by order of Brigham Young. Amasa
Lyman officiated at the ceremony. The last wife I got was Ann Gordge.
Brigham Young gave her to me, and I was sealed to her in Salt Lake by
Heber C. Kimball. This was my nineteenth, but, as I was married to old
Mrs. Woolsey for her soul's sake, and she was near sixty years old when
I married her, I never considered her really as a wife. True, I treated
her well and gave her all the rights of marriage. Still I never count
her as one of my wives. That is the reason that I claim only eighteen
After 1861 I never asked Brigham Young for another wife. By my eighteen
real wives I have been the father of sixty-four children. Ten of my children
are dead and fifty-four are still living.
This is all I care to say about my own acts or the affairs of my family.
have but little more to say.
the jurymen who tried me, I say I have no unkind feelings. The evidence
was strong against me, and with that, and the in-
structions of the Court as they were given, the
jury could do nothing but convict.
the officers who have had me in charge during my confinement I return
my thanks for their personal kindness. I give them the thanks of an old
man, who is about to leave this earth and go to another sphere of existence.
The few guardsmen who misused me I forgive, for they were not conscious
of their own wickedness.
I have sinned and violated the laws of my country, I have done so because
I have blindly followed and obeyed the orders of the Church leaders. I
was guided in all that I did which is called criminal, by the orders of
the leaders in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I have
never knowingly disobeyed the orders of the Church since I joined it at
Far West, Missouri, until I was deserted by Brigham Young and his slaves.
have selected Wm. W. Bishop as the person that I wish to publish my life
and confessions, so that the world may know just what I did do, and why
I acted as I have done. I have delivered Mr. Bishop all of the manuscripts
and private writings that are in my possession, and wish him to have all
that I may hereafter write. I have assigned him all my writings, and he
is the only person on earth who has a right to publish my life or my confessions.
To my attorneys, one and all, who have given me their valuable services,
I return my kindest thanks, and regret that poverty prevents my paying
them for what they have done for me.
my family I say, may God pour rich blessings upon you, one and all. I
ask you to live here on earth so that you can justly claim a seat in the
realms of bliss after life's troubles are ended.
my enemies I say, judge not, that ye be not judged. In life you
were often unjust to me. After I am dead remember to be charitable to
one who never designedly did a wrong.
CONCLUSION OF THE CONFESSION OP JOHN D. LEE.
Written in prison at Fort Cameron, near Beaver City, Utah Territory. Delivered
to Hon. Sumner Howard by John D. Lee, on the field of execution, just
before the sentence of death was carried into effect.
Forwarded to Wm. W. Bishop, by Hon. Sumner Howard, according to the last
request of John D. Lee.
CAMP CAMERON, March 13th, 1877.
Morning clear, still and pleasant. The guard, George Tracy, informs me
that Col. Nelson and Judge Howard have gone. Since my confinement here,
I have reflected much over my sentence, and as the time of my execution
is drawing near, I feel composed, and as calm as the summer morning. I
hope to meet my fate with manly courage. I declare my innocence. I have
done nothing designedly wrong in that unfortunate and lamentable affair
with which I have been implicated. I used my utmost endeavors to save
them from their sad fate. I freely would have given worlds, were they
at my command, to have averted that evil. I wept and mourned over them
before and after, but words will not help them, now it is done. My blood
cannot help them, neither can it make that atonement required. Death to
me has no terror. It is but a struggle, and all is over. I much regret
to part with my loved ones here, especially under that odium of disgrace
that will follow my name; that I cannot help.
know that I have a reward in Heaven, and my conscience does not accuse
me. This to me is a great consolation. I place more value upon it than
I would upon an eulogy without merit. If my work is done here on earth,
I ask my God in Heaven, in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, to receive
my spirit, and allow me to meet my loved ones who have gone behind the
vail. The bride of my youth and her faithful mother, my devoted friend
and companion, N. A., also my dearly beloved children, all of whom I parted
from with sorrow, but shall meet them with joy--I bid you all an affectionate
farewell. I have been treacherously betrayed and sacrificed in the most
cowardly manner by those who should have been my friends, and whose will
I have diligently striven to make my pleasure, for the last thirty years
at least. In return for my faithfulness and fidelity to him and
his cause, he has sacrificed me in a most shameful and cruel
way. I leave them in the hands of the Lord to deal with them according
to the merits of their crimes, in the final restitution of all things.
TO THE MOTHERS OF MY CHILDREN.
beg of you to teach them better things than to ever allow themselves
to be let down so low as to be steeped in the vice, corruption and villainy
that would allow them to sacrifice the meanest wretch on earth, much less
a neighbor and a friend, as their father has been. Be kind and true to
each other. Do not contend about my property. You know my mind concerning
it. Live faithful and humble before God, that we may meet again in the
mansions of bliss that God has prepared for His faithful servants. Remember
the last words of your most true and devoted friend on earth, and let
them sink deep into your tender aching hearts; many of you I may never
see in this world again, but I leave my blessing with you. FAREWELL.
wish my wife Rachel to take a copy of the above, and all my family to
have a copy of the original. My worthy attorney, W. W. Bishop, will please
insert it in my record or history, should I not be able to write up my
history to the proper place, to speak of my worthy friend Wm. H. Hooper.
Please exonerate him from all blame or censure of buying the stock of
that unfortunate company, as there is no truth in the accusation
whatever. He is a noble, high-minded gentleman. And let it appear also
of Bishop John Sharp, honorably, for the nobleness of the man who advanced
me money in the time of trouble, and if my history meet with the favor
of the public, pay those two gentlemen. My friends Hoge and Foster, as
well as yourself and Spicer, some. You understand our agreement.
JOHN D. LEE.