All of the plunder from the Massacre filled the tithing room of Bishop Philip Klingensmith's Cedar City Ward, tithing room.
The following is an except from the book THE INDIAN WARS OF THE FAR WEST
BY J. P.' DUNN, JE., M.S., LL.B. Published by HARPER & BROTHERS, 1886 (pages 297 - 301):
It is just after noon , and the day is bright and clear. Tramp, tramp, tramp ; they march down from the camping place. The men have reached the militia, and give them three hearty cheers as they take their places, murderer and victim, side by side. Tramp, tramp, tramp. They are rounding the point of the ridge which has served as a screen for the Mormons and Indians for the past week. A raven flies over them, croaking. What called him there ?
The wagons have just passed out of sight over the divide. The men are entering a little ravine. The women are opposite the Indians. They have regained confidence, and several are expressing their joy at escaping from their savage foes. See that man on the divide! It is Higbee. He makes a motion with his arms and shouts something which those nearest him understand to be: " Do your duty." In an instant the militiamen wheel, and each shoots the man nearest him ; the Indians spring from their ambush and rush upon the women ; from between the wagons the rifle of John D. Lee cracks, and a wounded woman in the forward wagon falls off the seat. Mormon Ethics
CEDAR CITY WARD
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Swiftly the work of death goes on. Lee is assisted in shooting and braining the wounded by the teamsters Knight and McMurdy, and as the latter raises his rifle to his shoulder he cries; " O Lord, my God, receive their spirits, it is for thy kingdom that I do this." The men all fell at the first fire but two or three, and these the horsemen ride down, knock over with their clubbed guns, and finish with their knives. Their throats are cut, that the atoning blood may flow freely. The women and older children are not hurried out of the world quite so quickly as the others. Some are on their knees begging for life.
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Others run shrieking over the Meadows. Swiftly the work of death goes on. Lee is assisted in shooting and braining the wounded by the teamsters Knight and McMurdy, and as the latter raises his rifle to his shoulder he cries; " O Lord, my God, receive their spirits, it is for thy kingdom that I do this." The men all fell at the first fire but two or three, and these the horsemen ride down, knock over with their clubbed guns, and finish with their knives. Their throats are cut, that the atoning blood may flow freely. The women and older children are not hurried out of the world quite so quickly as the others. Some are on their knees begging for life. Others run shrieking over the Meadows. They receive but two answers—the tomahawk crashing through the skull, and the knife plunging through the heart. These are all left to the Indians, for fear there may be " innocent blood " among them, which no Mormon may shed. There is alarm on this account already, for one of the emigrants had carried his infant child in his arms, and the bullet that pierced the father's heart went through the babe's brain. It is decided, however, that it was accidental and that no criminal wrong is done. Several of the Mormons run to the Indians, to see that they do their work properly. Among them is Lee. It is discovered that two of the girls are missing. Some one saw them run to a ravine fifty yards away. Lee and one of the Cedar City chiefs run to the place and find there the Indian boy, Albert, who lives with Hamlin. He says the girls came there, and shows where they hid in the brush. They drag them forth and brutally ravish them. This was the only act on that field that was not inspired. Was it wrong, under the Mormon code of morality ? The question is too subtle for me to answer; certainly it was not punished. Lee next tells the chief the girls must be killed. The chief answers : " No, they are too pretty to kill; let us save them ;" but he meets a grim refusal. The unhappy child that Lee holds, with the terror of death upon her, flings her arms round his neck and promises to love him as long as he lives, if he will spare her life. The wolf has keener fangs but no more merciless heart. He throws her head back with his arm, and with one stroke of his keen bowie-knife severs her neck to the spine. The chief brains the other with his tomahawk.
The author is a descendent of Bishop Philip Klingensmith, or P.K., the man whose conscience stirred a confession to his role in the atrocity. P.K. is portrayed as conflicted, but not strong enough to refuse orders. “I expect I'll be answering for what I've done every minute of every day for the rest of my life.” Attitudes vary among other Mormon characters, from blind followers of millenialism, to those whose complicity is driven by fear. (Click here for more information)
This finished the slaughter at the Meadows, but there remained a little more to do. The trail of the three scouts, who went out on the night before, had been discovered, and Ira Hatch, with a party of Indians, was sent after them. The fugitives were found sleeping, in the Santa Clara Mountains, and, from the volley fired at them, two slept on in death. The third fled with a bullet-hole through his wrist. He met two Mormons, who were much afflicted over his sad plight, and persuaded him that he could not get across the desert. They induced him to turn back with them, promising to smuggle him through Utah . They soon met Hatch's party and the man was killed; but they did permit him to pray first. The paper calling for assistance, which he carried, was in Mormon custody for some time, and is said to have been destroyed by John D. Lee. The man killed by Hatch's party brings the number killed to one hundred and twenty-one—ten at the camp, yonng Aden at Richards' Springs, one hundred and seven on the Meadows, and the three messenger scouts. The main massacre was on Friday, September 11, 1857 . There has been some confusion as to this, arising from a failure to consult calendars. Judge Cradlebaugh fixed the date as September 10; Dr. Forney as " Friday, September 9 or 10;" all the Mormon witnesses, and Lee, in his confessions, fixed the day of the week as Friday, and the second Friday in September was the llth, in the year 1857. On the evening of the same day the surviving children, seventeen in number, ranging in age from three to eight years, were taken to amlin's, and afterwards divided out among Mormon families.
(distribution of Mormon plunder)
The property still remained to be disposed of. A part of it was given to the Indians, and for this, Lee as Indian agent, in his report of November 20,1857, charged the government over fifteen hundred dollars. The bodies of the dead were searched by Higbee and lingensmith, the Bishop of Cedar City, and the money found is supposed to have been kept by them. The remaining property was put in Klingensmith's custody temporarily, and afterwards, on instructions from Brigham Young, was turned over to Lee and sold by him for the benefit of the Church. The bodies were stripped entirely naked, and fingers and ears were mutilated in tearing from them the jewelry, to them no longer valuable. The bloody clothing and the bedding on which the wounded had lain were piled in the back room of the tithing-office at Cedar City for some weeks, and when Judge Cradlebaugh examined the room, eighteen months later, it still stank of them. These goods were commonly known as " property taken at the siege of Sevastopol ." • Carriages and wagons of the emigrants were in use long afterwards, and some of the jewelry is said to be worn yet in Utah . The value of all the property taken, as nearly as it can be ascertained, was over $70,000. People in Arkansas who saw the organization of the train estimated its value at $100,000.
It was for many years a hotly debated question whether Brigham Young was connected with this crime or not. To those who were familiar with the subordination of the Mormon Church, its system of espionage, its compulsory confessional, its obedience to "counsel," and its prompt punishment of everything contrary to the will of those in authority, his guilt was a matter of course. But many did not believe it. In 1875 he published a deposition in which he acknowledged himself accessory after the fact, saying that, within two or three months after the affair, Lee began giving him an account of it, and,says the deposition, "I told him to stop, as, from what I had already heard by rumor, I did not wish my feelings harrowed up by a recital of detail." Lee and Klingensmith say they reported it fully to him, and Hamlin says he did also. To Lee, by his account, Young professed to be much shocked by the killing of the women and children, but, after considering it over-night, he said: " I 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 were 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 that they acted a little prematurely ; they were a littie 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 part with you, but we will look to that." There is testimony also that he was accessory before the fact, and his proclamation, that "No person shall be allowed to pass or repass, into or through or from this territory without a permit from the proper officer," surely indicates that he was in an aggressive mood at the time. But this is now immaterial. He has passed beyond human punishment, aud his moral guilt is sufficiently established out of his own mouth. On occasions of self-gratulation he sometimes exposed his methods. On August 12,1860, he said, in the Tabernacle: " All the army, with its teamsters, hangers-on, and followers, with the judges and nearly all the rest of the civil officers, amounting to some seventeen thousand men, have been searching diligently for three years to bring one act to light that would criminate me; but they have not been able to trace out one thread or one particle of evidence that would criminate me; do you know why ? Because I walk humbly with my God, and do right so far as I know how. I do no evil to any one; and as long as I can have faith in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ to hinder the wolves from tearing the sheep and devouring them, without putting forth my hand, I shall do so. I can say honestly and truly, before God and the holy angels and all men, that not one act of murder or disorder has occurred in this city or territory that I had any knowledge of, any more than a babe a week old, until after the event had transpired ; that is the reason they cannot trace any crime to me. If I have faith enough to cause the devils to eat up the devils, like the Kilkenny cats, I shall certainly exercise it. Joseph Smith said that they would eat each other up as did those cats. They will do so here and throughout the world. The nations will consume each other and the Lord will suffer them to bring it about. It does not require much talent or tact to get up opposition in these days; yon see it rife in communities, in meetings, in neighborhoods, and in cities; that is the knife that will cut down this government. The axe is laid at the root of the tree, and every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit will be hewn down."
His guilt is most fully shown in the subsequent course of himself and the Mormon Church. It was unquestionably the intention of the Mormon Church to keep the participation of white men in the massacre a secret, and lay the blame on the Indians. LDS TRIAL LAWYER defends the Massacre