A spokesman from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, commonly known as the Mormon Church, said the victims were not members. These claims caused quite an uproar in Washington, where the nascent Republican Party demanded that something be done about the Mormons. Photo by Kenneth Mays. Commencing with the opening of Oregon Territory, and accelerated by the discovery of gold in California, large numbers of emigrants crossed the interior of the continent to the West Coast. Thus it was that on September 11, a flag of truce was carried to the Baker-Fancher party by William Bateman. The extermination order is the name commonly used to refer to an executive order signed on October 27, 1838, by Lilburn W. Boggs, the governor of Missouri during the Mormon-Missouri War of 1838. The presence of the train did nothing to alleviate the tensions already present due to the Utah War. Emigrants could purchase foodstuffs and other supplies from businesses in Salt Lake City and other towns, while their animals—both beasts of burden and any livestock—could find excellent grazing at a spot near Cedar City known as las Vegas de Santa Clara or the Mountain Meadows. Almost as soon as news of the massacre reached the eastern United States, enemies of the Church began exploiting it for polemical purposes. "Mothers were screaming for the fire to stop.". Church leaders wanted to help support all Latter-day Saints, especially the poor, who wanted to gather. It is at this point that the exact nature of the events becomes sketchy; most are provided by Lee, and the veracity of his testimony is naturally suspect. "If Mexico needs or requests help in cleaning out these... monsters, the United Stands stands ready, willing & able to get involved and do the job quickly and effectively," he wrote. One of the two was killed, and the other was able to make his way back to the Baker-Fancher party. There were no reports of problems related to the Baker-Fancher party until they reached Fillmore (about 150 miles south of Salt Lake City). Many years later, José Lugo reported that perhaps a hundred Luiseños were killed, but no other evidence has been found to support his claim. Dawna was one of the three mothers killed in the ambush. Bagley relies upon a strained interpretation of some new evidence, including minutes of a meeting that took place between Dimick Huntington and some Southern Utah Indian chiefs on September 1, 1857, ten days before the massacre. The decision was apparently made on the morning of September 11 to destroy those in the Baker-Fancher party who were over the age of seven. Castañeda said there were long-standing tensions between the families and cartels. For the next five months until their discharge on 16 July 1847 in Los Angeles, the battalion trained and also performed occupation duties in several locations in southern California. Perhaps the best-known of the recent polemical accounts are: (1) Will Bagley, Blood of the Prophets: Brigham Young and the Massacre at Mountain Meadows. Acting without benefit of an investigation, U.S. President James Buchanan appointed Alfred Cumming as territorial governor and, on June 29, 1857, ordered federal troops to escort Cumming to Utah. Royce complied but, fearful that he wouldn't In 1850, Royce Oatman, his wife Mary Ann, and their seven children joined a wagon train traveling west toward Yuma. By late 2010 it appeared that National Landmark status was assured — a National Parks Service Advisory Board subcommittee voted unanimously to recommend a petition to elevate the Mountain Meadows Massacre site to landmark status. In the wake of the attack, US President Donald Trump called for war against the drug cartels in a. The weather could also be dangerous, with winter coming early to the high country and sudden storms occurring during all seasons of the year. At the time of the massacre he was a major in the Iron County militia, and commander of its Fourth Battalion. A brother, Lorenzo, 15, was gravely wounded but sur… This terrible massacre occurred at what is now known as “Oatman Flat,” about 100 miles east of Yuma, Arizona. Some report thirty-three and still others report one hundred and twenty-five. Eventually, as more information came to light, some of the principal participants were excommunicated from the Church. (The treaty ceded all of what would become California, Nevada, and Utah, as well as parts of modern-day Texas, Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, and Wyoming.). He served numerous missions for the Church and eventually moved to southern Utah in 1850 or 1851. Most scholars and historians are quick to admit that we don't have all the facts related to the massacre, and we probably never will have all of them. The old Cookes spring that supplied water for the fort is still intact and pointed out on the map. Despite the efforts of Buchanan to keep the advance of the army secret, Mormon mail runners notified Brigham Young, the incumbent territorial governor, the very next month that the troops were on their way to Utah. Tragedy Spring, Amador County, California. Howard Miller, the man in the black shirt, and the three children with blurred faces survived the attack. The Battalion boys played some role in ensuring the transition of California from Mexican to American control. In the words of B.H. Mexico arrests suspect in Mormon family massacre, 'I'll fire you on the spot': Biden tells staff to treat others with respect, Biden signs executive actions aimed at dismantling Trump's policies, A proud Harris smiles as she swears in new senators in her new role, Clyburn reveals what Bush said about Trump and Biden at inauguration, Officer who lured Capitol rioters away applauded at inauguration. Haight's role in the massacre was a complex one; he was involved in its planning, but also made some efforts to stop or at least delay the actions against the emigrants. Mountain Meadows massacre The widely publicized Mountain Meadows massacre of September 11, 1857, during the Utah War, was a mass killing of about 130 emigrants, mostly from Arkansas and heading for California. An excellent summary of events in the days immediately preceding the massacre is provided by Robert H. Briggs, in his essay "Mountain Meadows and The Craft of History," published in Sunstone, December 2002. Shortly before July 24th, 1847, the first party of Mormon pioneers entered the Salt Lake Valley. However, the record does not back this up. San Diego Arrival Edit To effect the massacre with a minimum of loss among the white men, it was decided to lure the emigrants out of their circled wagons and into the open. The Mormon Battalion arrived shortly afterwards. It is also not yet clear if the attacks specifically targeted the family or if it was a case of mistaken identity. On March 23, 1877, Lee was executed at Mountain Meadows and buried in Panguitch, Utah. Commencing at this point and through settlements to the south, there were complaints that the emigrants boasted of participating the violence against Mormons in both Missouri and Illinois, that they poisoned a spring, and that they threatened to destroy one of the Mormon settlements. While there were no doubt many honest public servants among them, a number of the federal appointees to both territorial and federal positions, including some judges, turned out to be both morally venal and abusive of the prerogatives of their offices. This belief was shared by a number of eminent legal authorities, including some charged with law enforcement in Utah. Because of its territorial status, the federal government retained the right to appoint officials at various levels, in addition to actual federal offices that existed within the territory. Kendra Lee Miller told CNN her family has recently been threatened by cartels over where her family can travel. Following the discovery of gold at Sutter’s Mill, former members of the Mormon Battalion continued eastward to find Brigham Young and the Saints who were working their way to Zion. But former Mexican Foreign Minister Jorge Castañeda told CNN on Tuesday evening two attacks in two places by the same group makes it more likely that they were targeted. There is no doubt the news that both Indians and white men—Mormons—were attacking the emigrants was not well received. In addition, Buchanan ordered the cessation of all mail service to Utah in an effort to provide the advantage of surprise for the advancing troops. The leaders decided that they needed to ask Brigham Young what to do, so they dispatched a fast rider to Salt Lake City with a message to that effect. Lee was the only person ever brought to trial for his involvement in the massacre. Site of Tragedy Spring. Certain themes continue to re-emerge in polemical accounts of the massacre. As mentioned earlier, Governor Alfred Cumming believed that the massacre was covered by the Utah Amnesty, thus making any investigation pointless. However, the governor maintained that if whites were involved, they would be pardoned under the general amnesty granted by the governor to the Mormons in June 1858. He had not been officially notified that he was to be replaced, so he viewed the news—combined with the efforts to hide the movement of the troops—as an act of war by the United States government against the Mormons. At the time of its first settlement, the area that came to be known as Utah still belonged to Mexico, but was ceded to the United States in the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo following the end of the Mexican-American War in early 1848. It appears that one incident which factored into their eventual murderous decision was the killing, the night before, of one of the emigrants by white men. In return for compliance with these terms, the white men would give the emigrants safe conduct back to Cedar City where they would be protected until they could continue their journey to California. The best available evidence supports two levels of cover-up: (1) concerted denials of guilt by massacre participants, including attempts to shift the blame to their erstwhile Indian allies, and (2) attempts by Mormons not involved in the massacre to shield accused persons from capture or prosecution. Brigham's message said, in part, "In regard to the emigration trains passing through our settlements, we must not interfere with them until they are first notified to keep away. The latter actions did not normally arise out of any approval for the massacre, and indeed were usually undertaken without knowledge of the guilt of the persons being shielded; rather they reflected a feeling of community solidarity versus the coercive power of an often-hostile government, and a pervasive mistrust of U.S. authorities and their willingness or ability to ensure that Mormon defendants would receive a fair trial. The emigrants circled their wagons and dug into a rifle pit, and the Indians sent a call to the surrounding countryside for reinforcements. With the Mormon Battalion and onto Utah Nowlin experienced the "Mormon War" of 1844-45 and the expulsion of the Mormons in 1846 from western Illinois to Iowa Territory. In a meeting at Cedar City on the afternoon of September 6, 1857, local leaders received word that the wagon train, at Mountain Meadows, had been surrounded by Paiute Indians who were determined to attack the emigrants. The continuation of successful missionary work in the Eastern United States and Europe brought a steady influx of Mormon converts to the Mormon communities; the population continued to grow, and settlement expanded outward into present-day Idaho, Canada, Nevada, California, Arizona, Wyoming, and Northern Mexico. When the Mormon Battalion arrived in Temecula on January 25, 1847, they reported the Luiseños were burying their dead in the cemetery that today is located south of the Temecula Parkway. Unfortunately, the messenger arrived back in Cedar City two days after the massacre, on September 13, 1857. The Indians we expect will do as they please but you should try and preserve good feelings with them." On their way to Utah Territory, members of the Mormon Battalion spent the winter before the Mexican-American War in Pueblo. The Mormon Battalion was the only religiously based unit in United States military history,  and it served from July 1846 to July 1847 during the Mexican-American War.The battalion was a volunteer unit of between 534   and 559  Latter-day Saints men led by Mormon company officers, commanded by regular US army officers. The heightened anxiety brought on by rumors swirling about the train, the advancing federal troops, the drought that many had suffered through for the year, and the memories of violence in Missouri and Illinois all combined in an explosive atmosphere, yet the residents were unclear on what action they should take. The story of the Mormon Battalion began in early 1846 as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints prepared to abandon their city of Nauvoo, Illinois. When writing about the Mountain Meadows Massacre in his Comprehensive History of the Church, B.H. (CNN)Nine women and children from a Mormon community in Mexico were killed while traveling in a three-car caravan south of the US-Mexico border on Monday, according to Mexico's security minister. (Some historians are undecided as to whether Paiute Indians were actually involved in the massacre at all; some assert that it was white men disguised as Indians.) 19, Ann Eliza Webb Dee Young Denning accused Brigham Young of ordering the massacre so that he could appropriate the property of the victims. In spite of the tragedy, efforts have been made to heal the wounds that were gouged into the collective American psyche 150 years ago. The construction of … "This is the time for Mexico, with the help of the United States, to wage WAR on the drug cartels and wipe them off the face of the earth. 1 The order sought to put a quick end to the conflict by calling for the Mormons to be “exterminated or driven from the State if necessary.” 2. James H. Haslam, the messenger, left on Monday, September 7, and made the 300-mile journey in just a little more than three days. He was also serving as a bishop in the Mormon Church at that time. The official correspondence shows that a reward was offered for the capture of Isaac C. Haight, William Stewart and John Higbee, all suspects in the planning and/or execution of the massacre, and that this reward remained on offer for at least seven years. After serving briefly in the Mexican-American War as a member of Brigham Young's "Mormon Battalion," Lee joined the gathering masses of Zion in Utah. Regarding Oatman Massacre Site. CNN's Madeline Holcombe and Ray Sanchez contributed to this report. William H. Dame was, at the time of the massacre, the commander of the Iron Military District with the militia rank of colonel. The Mormons stood guard to prevent further bloodshed while the Luiseño people gathered their numerous dead into a common grave. Within an hour he had an answer from Brigham and began the journey back to Cedar City. On their approach to the San Pedro River in modern-day Arizona, the Battalion was forced to engage the cattle as they ran amok amongst their wagons, destroying supplies and wounding two soldiers. While there were no doubt many honest public … The family was supposed to go to Miller's wedding next week in La Mora, she said. When the Saints were forced to leave Nauvoo in 1846, one of the biggest challenges they faced was financing the migration. When all was in place, a pre-determined signal was given and each of the armed white men turned, shot, and killed each of the unarmed Baker-Fancher party members. The night of September 10 and the following morning the white men debated what to do. However, the true reasons for this delay are quite different. The emigrants agreed, the wagons were brought forward and loaded with the wounded and the weapons, and the procession started toward Cedar City. But earlier Tuesday, a US official said a rival cartel called La Línea is being looked at in connection with the attack. The sites for these settlements were often chosen because of proximity to an important natural resource; one such resource was the iron ore deposits found in what became known as Iron County in Southern Utah. The Baker-Fancher train consisted of California-bound emigrants who started their journey in Arkansas and Missouri. Some noted that the weapons appear to be bolt action rifles not in use until about 50 years after the Battalion disbanded. Within a few miles the two met three white men, whom they asked for help, but then they were attacked by the white men. The climate made overland travel a seasonal affair, as emigrant parties would try to complete their crossings during the warm months. The Mormon Battalion arrived in San Diego on 29 January 1847 after a march of some 1,900 miles from Iowa. Rumor had it that some of the members of the train were among those who had participated in Pratt's murder, or that they bragged about his killing. In 1851, they were attacked by Tolkepayas (Western Yavapai) Indians about 80 miles east of Fort Yuma along the Gila River. Roberts. We have all the water we could ever need.". The Mountain Meadow Massacre, as it is known, has remained a topic of interest and controversy as Mormons and historians struggle to understand this event, and the Church's detractors seek to exploit it for polemical purposes. The Utah Territorial Militia was known as the Nauvoo Legion and accused of perpetrating the 1857 Mountain Meadows Massacre in which 120–140 non-Mormon settlers were murdered. Here's what we know so far about the attack. The exact number of people in the train is estimated at 120, but some reports have put it as high as 140. Their arrival did not apparently raise any eyebrows or concerns, as there was no mention of them in the newspapers of the time. This effort began almost immediately, with John D. Lee's report to Brigham Young. If any of the emigrants should escape to California and tell the story, prejudice against the Mormons—already quite high—would be incited and there would be greater likelihood that a military force would move upon the southern settlements from the west. They got as far as the Bear River, and then decided to take the southern route. They were camped on this spot when a group of Yavapai Indians approached and asked for food. One of the most widely used wagon trails to California branched off the Oregon trail in Northern Utah, and ran almost due South through Salt Lake City to eventually join the Old Spanish Trail. Led by John T. Baker and Alexander Fancher, the train was reported to have been well-stocked, with plenty of cattle, horses, and mules. In 1866, Adair was among a militia party that recovered the bodies of two whites killed by Navajos near Pipe Springs, Arizona. This conflict, known as the Utah War, was ultimately resolved peacefully; but it was into this tense atmosphere that the Baker-Fancher wagon train entered in August of 1857. [Juanita Brooks, The Mountain Meadows Massacre, Revised Edition (Norman, Oklahoma: University of Oklahoma Press, 1991), 223.]. the Battalion provided protection while 38 slain Luiseno were buried near Temecula Creek. Officials and family members believe that Mexican drug cartels carried out the attack, though there's a question of which cartel did so. “Nits Make Lice”: The Dehumanization of Children at the Haun’s Mill Massacre of 1838 and the Bear River Massacre of 1863. There are also reports that some of the emigrants told a few Latter-day Saints that when they had transported their families to California they were going to return, join the army, and help subdue the Mormons. Joe Biden sworn in as 46th president of the United States, Youth poet laureate recites stunning poem at Biden inauguration, President Donald Trump departs the White House, See Trump's final message as President as his family looks on, Trump pardons 73 people, commutes sentences of 70 others, 12 Army National Guard members removed from inauguration duty, Mexico is scrambling to find whoever ambushed and killed 9 Mormon family members, leaving 200 bullet casings. We merely await a call from your great new president! As Haslam was leaving for Salt Lake City on September 7, the Indians' attack commenced. Nicholas Brian Shrum “Let the Son Go”: Religious and National Identity of the Women of the Mormon Battalion. All family members were clubbed and left for dead except for Olive, 14, and Mary Ann, 7, who were taken captive. National landmark status would guarantee public access and federal oversight that includes public input on any construction or development. Marker at grave site of John D. Lee, in Panguitch, Utah. The mood in the territory was grim and determined. Facing down an army from the east might be bearable, but facing one from both the east and the west was unbearable. It was common for emigrant parties to camp there for several days or even weeks while their animals gained condition for the grueling desert crossings still to come. He sent small parties to harass the approaching troops with the intent of slowing their progress while he prepared the Saints for the very real possibility of imminent battles. Several children survived. After Lee's execution, territorial authorities wanted to continue the investigations with a view to bringing more of the guilty parties to justice. The Attorney-General for the neighboring state of Chihuahua, Cesar Peniche Espejel, said he believes the newly-formed "Los Jaguares" cartel, an off-shoot of the Sinaloa cartel, may be behind the massacre. "The only thing they were activists for was their children, the education of their children and their homesteads," Langford said. The following year, the Black Hawk War broke out. Great Salt Lake City was built, and under Brigham Young's direction satellite settlements were established north, south, and west of the city. From their very beginnings, the Saints were persecuted! The five others were killed. "Women and children (between 14 years old and 10 months) were massacred, burned alive," LeBaron said. One of the most tragic and disturbing events in Mormon history took place on 11 September, 1857, when approximately 120 men, women and children, traveling through Utah to California were massacred by a force consisting of Mormon militia members and Southern Paiute Indians. But a preliminary investigation showed that the suspect is not involved in the case, Mexico's Secretary of Security Alfonso Durazo said Wednesday. Generally, the community practices a fundamentalist version of … The route was used by groups like the Mormon Battalion (1847), the Oatmans (1851), and by the San Antonio and San Diego Mail Line (1857). Over the next two years the bulk of the Church members who had been driven from Nauvoo reached the valley. That hasn't stopped some people, for polemical reasons, from using a broad brush to denigrate the Church and its early leaders relative to the crimes of September 1857. "We are heartbroken to hear of the tragedy that has touched these families in Mexico. Most recently, at the sesquicentennial anniversary of the Massacre (September 11, 2007), then-Elder Henry B. Eyring was permitted to speak, and offered, “May the God of Heaven, whose sons and daughters we all are, bless us to honor those who died here by extending to one another the pure love and spirit of forgiveness which His Only Begotten Son personified.” (LDS Newsroom Report), Church officials and three organizations of descendants — the Mountain Meadows Monument Foundation, Mountain Meadows Association and Mountain Meadows Massacre Descendants — have worked to heal old wounds. "I do not believe that we will. This amnesty was issued at the behest of U.S. President James Buchanan, and covered all hostile acts against the United States by any persons in the course of the Utah War. IRA HATCH: IRA HATCH , a MORMON SHOOTER and CLUBBER; In 1857 Hatch was a private in one of the militia platoons attached to John D. Lee's 4th Battalion in the Iron Military District. His ecclesiastical position was stake president. Kendra Lee Miller, whose sister-in-law Rhonita Maria Miller was killed in the attack, said, "cartels have taken too many of our family members" and those killed yesterday were not the first. ormon Battalion Association™ Our theme is a repeating upward spiral of heritage, service, and legacy.To only retrospectively honor the heritage of the original Mormon Battalion is but a hollow sham if we learn nothing from their humble sacrifice. The militia, under the command of Major General Samuel D. Lucas, laid siege to Far West on October 31. The claim that it was the worst massacre in American history is a common one; accusations of direct complicity on the part of Brigham Young, of subsequent institutional cover-up or of the "scapegoating" of John D. Lee, are common. It's Mexico's responsibility.". Such reasoning does not excuse, of course, the decision that the white men in the area then made; it is only offered as a way to understand some of the excitement and the hysteria that enveloped those in the area. It was also common knowledge that the train originated in Arkansas, where earlier in the year beloved apostle Parley P. Pratt had been murdered near the town of Van Buren. They killed the Paiute Indians caught in possession of belongings of the two dead white men. You must not meddle with them. He was present at the massacre and subsequently turned state's evidence, but his testimony was of no real help to the authorities. Scandals arose over the behavior of some of these men, who left the territory in disgrace. The Mormon Battalion only ever fought one battle. Persecution and mob violence had made it impossible for them to stay. Virtual Tour of Massacre Loop. He indicated that in short order there were quite a few other Indians and white settlers who had joined the group outside of the siege. born: August 5, 1835 at Farmersville, Cattaraugus County, New York died: September 30, 1909 at … One participant, John D. Lee, was found guilty of murder in federal court after twenty years and two trials. A memorial ceremony was held there, with the commemoration conducted by Assistant Church Historian and Recorder Richard E. Turley, Jr. "(Castañeda) said something about a conflict over water rights, (but) we live on a river. It was led by a local leader and member of the church, John D. Lee over a Mormon militia. Though it is our understanding that they are not members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, our love, prayers and sympathies are with them as they mourn and remember their loved ones.". Lee's second trial occurred the following year; the prosecutor was U.S. District Attorney Sumner Howard, and Boreman was again the presiding judge. Mormon Battalion Cover—July 2007. Lucas arrested Joseph Smith and a few other Mormon leaders and ordered their execution for the next day. Cutting the first wagon trail from Santa Fe to the Pacific, the Battalion's efforts forged the Southern Emigrant Trail, the Butterfield Stage Coach route, and the route for the Southern Pacific To be caught on the high plains or the mountain passes when winter came was often a deadly mistake. Generally, the community practices a fundamentalist version of Mormonism, and one of the victim's family members told CNN that some practice polygamy. What there is disagreement on is how involved higher Church leaders were in any cover-up. The victims are part of a Mormon community of about 3,000 members living in Mexico. Authorities later arrested the alleged ringleader of a drug trafficking family that ran a smuggling operation on Mexico's border with Texas. How could such news factor into the decision to massacre the emigrants? An additional claim sometimes put forward is that Lee was a "scapegoat," and that some kind of corrupt agreement existed between Church leaders and territorial authorities to not pursue anyone else. This caused them to again pass through Salt Lake City, and then further south through Provo, Springville, and Payson. To assure the main body of the group benefited from the men's wages, Young sent Orson Pratt to see that the men handed over the pa… Polygamy is illegal in both the United States and in Mexico. The victims were "all shot while in vehicles while driving," family member Alex LeBaron told CNN on Tuesday. Lee instead sent word to Cedar City on September 10, asking what should be done. 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