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Mountain Meadows Massacre
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The Victims of the Mountain Meadows Massacre

Approximately 120 men, women, and children were massacred at Mountain Meadows in southern Utah on September 11, 1857.  In the past few years, the Mormon church has acknowledged that the Mormons who lived in the area were part of those that perpetrated the massacre.  The emphasis of this site will be two fold.  First, to concentrate on the victims.  Second, to be a reference site that will give as much information as possible on the event.

  1. A list of victims of this massacre can be found at http://www.cswnet.com/~sschmitz/ccmmm.html .  Most were in one of two wagon parties that were traveling through the area.  Many were from Arkansas.  I have not checked the list against books, so I cannot guarantee that the list is correct.  The honest truth is that we do not know everyone who died at Mountain Meadows from September 7 - 11, 1857.

  2. The Mountain Meadows Association maintains the site at http://www.mtn-meadows-assoc.com/  A saying at the opening of the home page shows the spirit that permeates the site.  It says Forgiveness measures the love we have for one another -  Marshall Ray Tackett.  This group, as well as the Mormon church President Gordon B. Hinckley, have worked hard to repair 145 years of hatred and misunderstanding.  This site also has a ton of photos.

  3. A victim oriented site, with many photos, can be found at http://members.aol.com/tnf49/mm.html .   It shows photos of all of the relevant markers, with some explanations.

The Other Side of the Mountain Meadows Massacre

For many years, the Mormon church said that the Indians did the killings.  Twenty years after the massacre, Mormon Bishop John D. Lee was charged and convicted of the killing a few people that fateful day.  We now know that John D. Lee was a scapegoat, though guilty of what he was charged with.  Others known at the time to have participated were not tried for the crime.  About 50 years ago, Juanita Brooks wrote her ground breaking book, Mountain Meadows Massacre, which clearly laid out who the victims were, and that the Mormons, including at least the southern Utah hierarchy, were involved in the planning and the execution of the massacre.  Recently, Will Bagley wrote another ground breaking book which presents much history about the victims which had not been previously published, and made the case even more airtight as to who did the killing.  The one part that is still not fully shown is whether Brigham Young himself ordered the attack, either directly or indirectly.  

In the past few years, President of the Mormon Church Gordon B. Hinckley, has gone a long way to make peace with the Arkansas decendants of the massacre, and has put the Mormons somewhere in the battle.  Inwardly, I suspect he knows that Juanita was right.  

  1. A site that deals fairly with the "who did it" angle is found at http://www.greaterthings.com/Topical/Mountain_Meadows_Massacre/.  It has many source documents, and represents the massacre for what it was - a tragedy of killing of 120 or so men, women, and children organized and most carried out by Mormon men.

 

Books about Mountain Meadows Massacre

Here are the books, in order of importance from most important to least important, about Mountain Meadows and the events that occurred there 145 years ago. 

  1. Blood of the Prophets: Brigham Young and the Massacre at Mountain Meadows by Will Bagley; University of Oklahoma Press. (Oct. 2002)  This is the most important book on the topic.  It is exquisitely researched, and very well written in an entertaining yet scholarly style.  An presentation that Will gave in October 2002 can be found at http://www.salamandersociety.org/snapshots/bagley/   It is very much

  2. The Mountain Meadows Massacre by Juanita Brooks.  Brooks broke brave ground, and this book is the most important historical Mormon book.  Even though this book is more than 50 years old, it has aged very well.

  3. An extract from John D. Lee's book MOMONISM ( sic ) UNVEILED; OR 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 MORMON CHURCH. ALSO THE TRUE HISTORY OF THE HORRIBLE BUTCHERY KNOWN AS THE MOUNTAIN MEADOWS MASSACRE.  -PUBLISHED 1877--Pages 213-248 LAST CONFESSION AND STATEMENT OF JOHN D. LEE.  CHAPTER XVIII.  WRITTEN AT HIS DICTATION AND DELIVERED TO WILLIAM W. BISHOP, ATTORNEY FOR LEE, WITH A REQUEST THAT THE SAME BE PUBLISHED can be found at http://www.xmission.com/~country/reason/lee_mm.htm  This is the part of his book that talks about Mountain Meadows and the events that happened there.

  4. Forgotten Kingdom : The Mormon Theocracy in the American West, 1847-1896 by David L. Bigler

  5. John Doyle Lee: Zealot, Pioneer Builder, Scapegoat by Juanita Brooks.  This book is not nearly as well researched or well written at her MMM book.

  6. The Life and Times of Bishop Philip Klingensmith By Anna Jean Backus. Arthur H. Clark Co.  This book is not recommended.

  7. Hiking and Exploring the Paria River : Including : The Story of John D. Lee and Mountain Meadows Massacre  by Michael Kelsey, 1997

  8. Red Water by Judith Freeman, presents MMM in novel format.  I do not recommend

  9. Massacre at Mountain Meadows : An American Legend and a Monumental Crime by William Wise

  10. Mountain Meadows Massacre ( the book is online ) by Josiah F

  11. Fielding, Robert Kent and Dorothy S. Fielding. The Tribune Reports of the Trials of John D. Lee for the Massacre at Mountain Meadow. Higganum, Conn: Kent's Books, 2000.

Books Reviews about the Mountain Meadows Massacre

  1. Rob Briggs wrote a full review of Blood of the Prophets for Sunstone.  An online version of that review ( much longer than his review in the printed Sunstone ) can be found at http://www.sunstoneonline.com/magazine/issues/125/briggs_more%20complete%20review%20for%20web.pdf   Please note that Will Bagley and Rob Briggs will present on February 8, 2003 at the Miller-Eccles Study Group.  The agenda for the next Miller-Eccles Study Group can be read at:  http://www.mesg.tierranet.com/  under the link Current Newsletter.

  2. The Mormon Murder Case - The New York  Review previews Blood of the Prophets by Bagley, and Red Water by Freeman.

  3. The SL Trib book review of Backus' Klingensmith book.  Not a very good book, and a review that says so.

 

Newspaper Accounts about the Mountain Meadows Massacre ( reverse chronological order )Image

  1. Alleged John D. Lee Letter Contains 19th Century Ore ( SL Trib, March 6, 2003 ) and 

    Plate is dated as pre-1861 - But the writing by 'Lee' may still be forgery ( Deseret News, March 9, 2003 ).  A lead sheet, possibly a forgery, was found in January 2002.  It is signed by John D. Lee, and says that Brigham Young ordered the massacre.  None of this is news, of course, since that was Lee's contention at the end of his life.  The dating of this sheet at 1861 will give pause to those who think it is a forgery.  A picture of the lead plate is at right, and a picture of the fort at Lee's Ferry where he lived late in his life is below.

  2. Mountain Meadows debate still smolders (Deseret News, Jan. 9, 2003) - Oral histories of descendants rife with controversy, a short account of Shannon Novak's presentation.

  3. Massacre Version Depends on Viewpoint ( SL Trib, January 9, 2003 ).  A short account of a talk by Shannon Novak. She conducted the forensics on the remains dug up at Mountain Meadows, and is writing a book about the events and evidence of September 1857.

  4. Historian Takes New Look at Massacre ( SL Trib, August 11, 2002 ).  A short account of the sales succesImages of Blood of the Prophets.

  5. John D. Lee Statue Vexes Town of Washington (SL Trib, July 6, 2002)

  6. Mountain Meadows Debated Anew ( SL Trib, May 19, 2001 ).  Report of the Mormon History Association meeting.

  7. The Salt Lake Tribune ran a three part series on Mountain Meadows from March 12 - 14, 2000.  All three parts, together, can be found at http://www.cesnur.org/testi/morm_01.htm 

    (I) Backhoe at a S. Utah killing field rips open 142-year-old wound
    A project to rectify a historic injustice accidentally reopens an ugly past, prompting vain attempts at a cover-up and a high-level decision to skirt state law.

    (II) Voices of the Dead
    After a century of conflicting accounts of a horrible crime, science begins to piece together the unvarnished truth from the victims themselves.

    (III) The Dilemma of Blame
    Although the modern LDS Church has declared the book closed on the massacre, its legacy is not easily put to rest.

  8. The LDS Church used ground penetrating radar to find the graves.  This April 1999 article is important to understand the stories about the disturbing of the bones a short while later.

  9. LDS Church Pledges to Rebuild Mountain Meadows Grave Marker - In January 1999, the Mormon Church offered to rebuilt the Mountain Meadows grave marker.

  10. Mountain Meadows Association organized ( SL Trib, Sept 29, 1998 ).  

  11. A play about Mountain Meadows ( SL Trib, May 31, 1992 )  

 

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Last modified: March 19, 2006