The New International Encyclopædia/Mountain Meadows Massacre
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Mountain Meadows Massacre
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MOUNTAIN MEADOWS MASSACRE. In American history, the massacre, near Mountain Meadows in Utah, in September, 1857, of a party of emigrants from Arkansas and Missouri passing through Utah on their way to Southern California. They numbered all told about 140 men, women, and children. On their way they were everywhere refused food until they reached the neighborhood of Mountain Meadows, a valley in Iron County, about 350 miles south of Salt Lake City. Here they stopped to rest their horses, and on September 7, 1857, were fired upon by Indians, and, it is alleged, by Mormons disguised. They withstood siege until September 11th, when, on promise of protection by John D. Lee (q.v.), Mormon bishop and Indian agent, they left the shelter of their wagons. All adults and children over seven years of age were killed, and seventeen younger children were distributed among Mormon families, but were afterwards restored to relatives by the United States Government. Lee was executed for this crime in 1877, and though the effort to inculpate other high officers of the Church failed, there can be little doubt that the project was known and approved by them, especially since Brigham Young (q.v.) had a short time before announced that ‘no person shall be allowed to pass or repass into or through or from this territory without a permit from the proper officer.’ H. H. Bancroft in his History of Utah (San Francisco, 1883) places blame on Lee entirely. Consult: Linn, Story of the Mormons (New York, 1902); and Confessions of John D. Lee (Saint Louis, 1891).