Frank Kirkman's Mountain Meadows Massacre Site

Eyewitnesses and Sources to the Mountain Meadows Massacre

Col. William H. Dame
This lists eyewitnesses to the massacre or to important events in its aftermath. Where a position in a militia unit is identified, these are from the 1857 muster rolls of the Tenth Regiment or Iron Military District. 27 This district covered the Mormon villages of Beaver, Parowan, Paragoonah, Cedar City, Washington, Pinto, and Gunlock and the small "fort" villages of Fort Johnson, Hamilton Fort, Fort Harmony, and Fort Clara. The regiment consisted of nine companies in four battalions. Each company had four to five platoons, but for simplicity's sake the platoons are omitted. (Click on image for information on Col. William H. Dame)

Anonymous militiaman, witness, or participant at Mountain Meadows--interview, 1859

Anonymous Ute Indian, witness, central Utah—interview, 1857

Arthur, Christopher J., adjutant to Captain Edwards, Co. G, 3rd Bat.—interview, 1892

Ashworth, William B., witness—autobiography, undated

Barton, William, 2nd lieutenant, Co. C, 1st Bat.—interview, 1892

Bradshaw, John, private, Co. F, 3rd Bat.—Lee trial testimony, 1875

Bringhurst, John B., witness, Toquerville, 1873–74 (observations of Isaac Haight)—statement, 1928

Call, Anson, witness, Bountiful, 1857 (observations of J. D. Lee)—affidavit, 1877

Chatterley, John, private, Co. F, 3rd Bat.—statement, 1919

Farnsworth, Philo T., captain, Co. A, 1st Bat.—Lee trial testimony, 1875

Campbell, Mary Steele, witness, Cedar City—interview, 1892

Clews, Joseph, private, Co. F, 2nd Bat.—statement, 1876

Edwards, William, private, probably attached to Parowan unit—affidavit, 1924

Fish, Joseph, private, Co. C, 1st Bat.—autobiography, undated

Hakes, Collin R., witness, Beaver and Mountain Meadows (Lee execution)—affidavit, 1907; statement, 1914; affidavit, 1916

Hamblin, Jacob, 2nd lieutenant, Co. H, 4th Bat.—journal, 1857; interviews, 1859; affidavits, 1859; statement, 1871; Lee trial testimony, 1876

Hamblin, Rachel, witness, Mountain Meadows—interviews, 1859

Hamblin, Albert, witness, Mountain Meadows—interview, 1859

Hamilton, John, Sr., private, Co. F, 3rd Bat.—Lee trial testimony, 1875

Hamilton, John, Jr., 2nd lieutenant, Co. F, 3rd Bat.—Lee trial testimony, 1875

Hancock, George W., witness, Payson—interview, 1857

Haslam, James H., regimental fifer—Lee trial testimony, 1876; affidavit, 1885

Henderson, John H., private, Co. C, 1st Bat.—interview, 1892

Higbee, John M., major, 3rd Bat.—statement, 1894; statement, 1896

Higgins, Henry, sergeant, Co. G, 3rd Bat.—affidavit, 1859

Hoag, Annie Elizabeth, witness, Fort Harmony—Lee trial testimony, 1875

Hoops, Elisha, private, Co. A, 1st Bat.—Lee trial testimony, 1875

Jackson, Samuel, private, Co. F, 3rd Bat.—Lee trial testimony, 1875

Johnson, Nephi, 2nd lieutenant, Co. D, 2nd Bat.—Lee trial testimony, 1876; interview, 1895; affidavit, 1909; statement, 1910

Kershaw, Robert, private, Co. A, 1st Bat.—Lee trial testimony, 1875

Klingensmith, Philip, private, Co. D, 2nd Bat.—affidavit, 1871; Lee trial testimony, 1875

Knight, Samuel, private, Co. H, 4th Bat.—Lee trial testimony, 1876; interview, 1892; interview, 1895; affidavit, 1896

Macfarlane, John M., adjutant to Major Isaac C. Haight, 2nd Bat.—Lee trial testimony, 1875

Macfarlane, Daniel, adjutant to Captain Joel White, Co. D, 2nd Bat.—affidavit, 1896

McMurdy, Samuel, sergeant, Co. E, 2nd Bat.—Lee trial testimony, 1876

Martineau, James H., regimental adjutant to Col William. H. Dame—numerous contemporary records, 1857; article, 1890; statement, 1890 ??? ; statement, 1907; autobiography, various dates

Morrill, Laban, private, Co. D, 2nd Bat.—Lee trial testimony, 1875; autobiography, undated

Morris, Elias, captain, Co. E, 2nd Bat.—interview, 1892

Nowers, Willson Gates, sergeant or private, Co. A, 1st Bat.—interview and statement, 1892

Pearce (Pierce), James, private, Co. I, 4th Bat.—Lee trial testimony, 1875

Pete, Indian boy, witness, Pahvant camp near Beaver—interview, 1857

Pitchforth, Samuel, witness, Nephi—diary, 1857

Platt, Benjamin, private, Co. H, 4th Bat.—autobiography, undated

Pollack, Samuel, sergeant, Co. E, 2nd Bat.—Lee trial testimony, 1875

Riddle, Isaac, private, Co. H, 4th Bat.—Lee trial testimony, 1875

Roberts, William, private, Co. B, 1st Bat.—Lee trial testimony, 1875

Robinson, Richard, 2nd lieutenant, Co. H, 4th Bat.—Lee trial testimony, 1875; interview, 1892

Rogerson, Josiah, court reporter, Beaver and Mountain Meadows (Lee trials and execution)—stenographic record, 1875, 1876, 1877

Shelton, Marion Jackson, witness, Fort Harmony—diary, 1858–59

Shirts, Don Carlos (Carl), 2nd lieutenant, Co. H, 4th Bat.—interview, 1859

Smith, Silas S., captain, Co. B, 1st Bat.—Lee trial testimony, 1875

Smith, Jesse N., captain, Co. C, 1st Bat.—journal, 1857; Lee trial testimony, 1875

Spoods, Ute Indian, witness, southern Utah—interview, 1857

Thompson, Edward W., 2nd lieutenant, Co. A, 1st Bat.—Lee trial testimony, 1875

Tullis, David W., private, Co. H, 4th Bat.—interview, 1859; interview, 1892

White, Joel W., captain, Co. D, 2nd Bat.—Lee trial testimony, 1875 and 1876

White, Mary Hannah Burton, witness, Hamilton Fort—interview, 1892

Willden, Elliott, private, Co. F, 3rd Bat.—interview, 1892

Willis, John Henry, 2nd lieutenant, Co. G, 4th Bat.—Lee trial testimony, 1875

Willis, Thomas T., private, Co. G, 3rd Bat.—Lee trial testimony, 1875

Young, William, private, Co. I, 4th Bat.—Lee trial testimony, 1875

Sources to the Mountain Meadows Massacre:

  1. Juanita Brooks, The Mountain Meadows Massacre (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1950).
  2. William Wise, Massacre at Mountain Meadows: An American Legend and a Monumental Crime (New York: Crowell, 1976).
  3. Will Bagley, Blood of the Prophets: Brigham Young and the Massacre at Mountain Meadows (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2002).
  4. The editions Denton consulted were Fawn M. Brodie, No Man Knows My History: The Life of Joseph Smith, the Mormon Prophet , 2nd ed. (New York: Knopf, 1971), and Robert D. Anderson, Inside the Mind of Joseph Smith: Psychobiography and the Book of Mormon (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1999).
  5. See the discussion of Robert D. Anderson's study in Michael D. Jibson, "Korihor Speaks, or the Misinterpretation of Dreams," FARMS Review of Books 14/1–2 (2002): 223–60.
  6. Robert K. Fielding, The Unsolicited Chronicler: An Account of the Gunnison Massacre, Its Causes and Consequences, Utah Territory, 1847–1859: A Narrative History (Brookline, MA: Paradigm, 1993).
  7. Robert K. Fielding and Dorothy S. Fielding, eds., The Tribune Reports of the Trials of John D. Lee for the Massacre at Mountain Meadows , November, 1847–April, 1877 (Higganum, CT: Kent's Books, 2000). The Fieldings' book is engrossing, although not for the reasons Denton favors. The Tribune Reports grant a revealing view of the extremes of anti-Mormon prejudice in frontier Utah. In our current era of relative civility and tolerance, the blatantly anti-Mormon stance of the nineteenth-century Salt Lake Daily Tribune is jolting. The prejudices of some in Protestant America of that era—whether anti-Catholic, anti-Semitic, or anti-Mormon—were extremely virulent.
  8. The consensus view of the Gunnison massacre is that Gunnison's government surveying party was attacked and killed near the Sevier River in central Utah by a party from the Pahvant band of the Ute tribe in retaliation for the deaths of their fellow tribesmen killed earlier by a passing emigrant train. A detailed article is Josiah F. Gibbs, "Gunnison Massacre—1853—Millard County, Utah—Indian Mareer's Version of the Tragedy—1894," Utah Historical Quarterly 1/3 (1928): 67–75. Standard treatments are found in Robert V. Hine, "Kern Brothers: Edward Meyer (1823–63) and Richard Hovendon (1821–53)" and Richard A. Bartlett, "Transcontinental Railroad Surveys," in The New Encyclopedia of the American West , ed. Howard R. Lamar (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1998), 593, 1120; and Brigham D. Madsen, "John Williams Gunnison," in Utah History Encyclopedia , ed. Allan K. Powell (Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1994), 241. Will Bagley does not credit the accusation of Mormon involvement; see Bagley, Blood of the Prophets , 44–45; and David Bigler concludes, "there is no convincing evidence or motive for such involvement." David L. Bigler, Forgotten Kingdom: The Mormon Theocracy in the American West , 1847–1896 (Spokane: Clark, 1998), 83.
  9. Ronald W. Walker, "When the Spirits Did Abound: Nineteenth-Century Utah's Encounter with Free-Thought Radicalism," Utah Historical Quarterly 50/4 (1982): 314–15, 318, 321.
  10. At the time of Lee's second trial in September 1876, the prosecutors agreed not to prosecute Philip Klingensmith and William H. Dame. The trial transcripts and legal pleadings in the two trials of John D. Lee are in HM 16904, Jacob Boreman Collection, Mormon Americana Collection, The Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens, San Marino, CA.
  11. The five Lee sources upon which Denton relies are John D. Lee, Mormonism Unveiled ; Including the Remarkable Life and Confessions of the Late Mormon Bishop John D. Lee ; (written by himself) and Complete Life of Brigham Young (St. Louis: Vandawalker, 1891; reprint, Albuquerque: Fierra Blanca, 2001); Journals of John D. Lee , 1846–47 and 1859, ed. Charles Kelly (1955; reprint, Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1984); Robert G. Cleland and Juanita Brooks, eds., A Mormon Chronicle: The Diaries of John D. Lee , 1848–1876 (Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1983); Juanita Brooks, John Doyle Lee: Zealot, Pioneer Builder, Scapegoat (1973; reprint, Logan: Utah State University Press, 1992); and Writings of John D. Lee , ed. Samuel N. Henrie (Tucson: Hats Off Books, 2001).
  12. Robert H. Briggs, "Wrestling Brigham," review of Blood of the Prophets: Brigham Young and the Massacre at Mountain Meadows , by Will Bagley, Sunstone , December 2002, 62–65; a longer version, "Mountain Meadows and the Craft of History," was previously available online at
  13. John D. Lee, Mormonism Unveiled, or the Life and Confessions of the Late Mormon Bishop John D. Lee (St. Louis: Bryan, Brand, 1877).
  14. Writings of John D. Lee , 6.
  15. One thing that makes the Mountain Meadows massacre so difficult for Latter-day Saints to discuss even today is that it is still amazingly divisive within the LDS community. It is the closest thing we have to a family feud. There are still strong partisan positions among the descendants of Brigham Young, George A. Smith, Isaac C. Haight, John D. Lee, Jacob Hamblin, Samuel Knight, Samuel McMurdy, and Nephi Johnson, to name only a few. Each of these individuals now has thousands of descendants. The descendants of the much-married John D. Lee probably now number in the tens of thousands, many of whom are faithful members of the Church of Jesus Christ. In discussing the motives and actions of John D. Lee as contained in Mormonism Unveiled and the Lee-Howard statement, I do so to illustrate the results that can be obtained by applying a rigorous method that distinguishes between confession, incidental detail, and exculpatory statement. I do not mean to cause pain to Lee's descendants, although I appreciate that the process may be painful nonetheless. But since Mormonism Unveiled forms a key part of Denton's American Massacre , analyzing this alleged work of John D. Lee is unavoidable.
  16. Robert H. Briggs, The Tragedy at Mountain Meadows Massacre: Toward a Consensus Account and Time Line (St. George, UT: Dixie State College, 2002), lecture delivered 13 March 2002 for the Juanita Brooks Lecture Series in St. George, Utah.
  17. The editions cited by Denton are T. B. H. Stenhouse, The Rocky Mountain Saints: A Full and Complete History of the Mormons, From the First Vision of Joseph Smith to the Last Courtship of Brigham Young (London: Ward, Lock, and Tyler, 1871); Mrs. T. B. H. Stenhouse, "Tell It All": The Story of a Life's Experience in Mormonism, A Thrilling Record of Woman's Life in Polygamy (Hartford, CT: Worthington, 1874).
  18. As noted above, many of these references are to the Fieldings' Tribune Reports of the Trials of John D. Lee, an edited version of the Salt Lake Daily Tribune 's running series of reports on the progress of the criminal proceedings against Lee from the beginning of Lee's first trial in summer 1875 through his execution in March 1877.
  19. Denton's bibliography cites these works as follows: Catherine V. Waite, The Mormon Prophet and His Harem (Cambridge, MA: Riverside, 1866); C. P. Lyford, The Mormon Problem: An Appeal to the American People (New York: Phillips and Hunt, 1886); Ann Eliza Young, Wife No. 19 (1875; reprint, New York: Arno, 1972); William A. Hickman, Brigham's Destroying Angel: Being the Life, Confession, and Startling Disclosures of the Notorious Bill Hickman, the Danite Chief of Utah (Salt Lake City: Shepard, 1904); Nelson W. Green, Fifteen Years among the Mormons (New York: Dayton, 1859); B. G. Parker, Recollections of the Mountain Meadow Massacre (Plano, CA: Reed, 1901); Josiah F. Gibbs, The Mountain Meadows Massacre (Salt Lake City: Salt Lake Tribune Publishing, 1910); Frank J. Cannon and George L. Knapp, Brigham Young and His Mormon Empire (New York: Revell, 1913).
  20. For a discussion of this and many other issues facing historians of the New Indian History , see the essays in Donald L. Fixico, ed., Rethinking American Indian History (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1997).
  21. Robert M. Utley, The Indian Frontier of the American West , 1846–1890 (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1984), xv.
  22. Davis v. Beason , 133 U.S. 343 (1890).
  23. Analyzed and quoted in Sarah Barringer Gordon, The Mormon Question: Polygamy and Constitutional Conflict in Nineteenth-Century America (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2002), 227.
  24. Gordon's treatment of these complex political, religious, and constitutional issues in The Mormon Question is excellent.
  25. Postcolonialism offers an even more provocative example. Postcolonial studies focus on West versus East; European colonizers versus the non-European colonized; Eurocentric assumptions and European domination; and cultural imperialism, political control, and intellectual-cultural hegemony through controlling the content and transmission of texts. Norman J. Wilson, History in Crisis?: Recent Directions in Historiography (Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1999), 125–36. Analogizing to the Mormon experience in nineteenth-century Protestant America, are there any interesting points of comparison? We may need to reevaluate the manner in which Protestant America dominated Mormon Utah, its subservient colony. While the Protestant antipolygamy crusade failed to crush Mormonism, it did succeed in establishing Protestant hegemony on the issues of Mormon marital practices and direct church involvement in politics and economics, a substantial exercise of control. Moreover, as Protestant elites in all three branches of the federal government oversaw the criminalization of the Church of Jesus Christ and forfeiture of most of its assets, leading Protestant denominations (e.g., Episcopalians, Methodists, Presbyterians, and others) increased their "colonizing" efforts in Utah. The period is commonly called the "Americanization" of Utah. But was it not in fact an overt attempt to "protestanticate" Mormonism through compulsive means? The larger implications of the analogy are beyond the scope of this review. But cultural imperialism or dominance over the colonized through control of texts is not. The Mountain Meadows massacre occurred nearly one hundred fifty years ago. It was an awful disaster and should never be forgotten. But what of the virulent anti-Mormon treatments of it that have continued unabated for a century and a half? Are these not continuing attempts at cultural dominance through control of texts—texts here meaning, or at least including, history texts?
  26. Although some of the new sources show that Juanita Brooks's view of the massacre needs updating, they also show that she was not far off in her landmark study, The Mountain Meadows Massacre . Further, these sources reinforce the insight that she emphasized in later editions of her book: that the massacre "could only have happened in the emotional climate of war." Brooks, The Mountain Meadows Massacre , rev. ed. (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1962), vi. I'm sure that many of the new details concerning military matters—from the Iron Military District muster rolls to the threat southern Utahans perceived of military invasion from Texas or California; from the role of militia couriers and communiqués to the reliable chronology that Private Joseph Clews affords of "massacre week"—all these and more would have fascinated Brooks.
  27. Utah Territorial Militia (Nauvoo Legion), 10th Regiment Battalion and Company Muster Rolls, 10 October 1857, Utah State Historical Archives, Salt Lake City, Utah. This roster reflects the militia positions or offices as of September 1857 and has some slight changes from the previous militia roster in June 1857. The June 1857 Iron County Militia Roster is archived as MSS 801, L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah.
The above information was obtained from the BYU site. For information and sources for the list go to the BYU web site
BYU web site
Iron County Militia web for additional list and sources.

DEATH RECALLS A VARIED CAREER, (Ottumwa: Ottumwa Courier, 1909), in possession of Stanley Wright, Albuquerque. "______
Made Prisoner of Brigham Young at Mountain Meadow Massacre --- Aided Cuban Insurgents and was captured by Spaniards.
Martin Florida, whose funeral took place this afternoon, was a man of wide experience and great travels. Born in Canada, March 10, 1840, he had crowded many into his sixty-nine years of life, much of which was spent in the far west and at a time when civilization in that section had not reached the standard it claims today. Mining, railroad construction and prospecting in Colorado and Utah were done by him, followed by teaching in an industrial school for Indians at Grand Junction, Colo., and after serving as a policeman in Salt Lake City for some time, he served about fifteen years as United States marshal in the same part of the country. Later, Mr. Florida served in the capacities of justice of the peace, police judge and sheriff, respectively, at Grand Junction, Colo.
  Arrested Chief Mormon
During the Mountain Meadow Massacre, in which the Mormons of Utah figured more or less prominently, Martin Florida was serving as United States marshal and had been pretty busily engaged in putting to rout the three-card-monte men and other gamblers and mischief makers whose traffic wrought much mischief among the camps of the railroads then in course of construction. Marshal Florida was the officer who arrested the famous Brigham Young following the massacre. He left Colorado in the late eighties or early nineties and connected himself with the American and Cuban insurgents, who at that time were planning against Spain's dominion over the Cubans.
  Captured by Spanish.
While on a filibustering expedition in Cuba, the vessel on which Florida shipped and on which were the arms, munitions of various kinds and supplies for the revolutionists that his associates and himself were bring to the island, were seized by the Spanish, who, getting familiar with signals under which the filibusters sailed, caused the capture of the vessel. Mr. Florida was injured in the capture of the vessel and was later released by the Spaniards, after which he returned to New York city.
  Visits Venezuela
From New York he went to South America, where in the Bermudez states in Venezuela, he was interested in a colonization scheme and through the assistance of the United States legation at Caracas was enabled to meet the then acting president, as well as several of the government officials of the South American republic. He remained in Venezuela until 1901, when, returning to legation at Caracas was enabled to meet the then acting president, as well as several of the government officials of the South American republic. He remained in Venezuela until 1901, when, returning to the states, he was met by Mrs. C. M. Johnston, his daughter, at the Panhandle exposition in Buffalo, N. Y. He then allied himself with a New York syndicate and served in the capacity of mining expert and superintendent throughout the British northwest, until, at the solicitation of his daughter, Mrs. Johnston, he gave up the work and came to Ottumwa about three years ago. Since then he divided his time between Ottumwa and the hospital at Fort Leavenworth until his death Sunday morning at the hospital in Ottumwa. The funeral service was conducted from the home of his daughter, Mrs. C. M. Johnston, 123 West Park avenue, this afternoon at 2 o'clock, conducted by Rev. Gray of the Church of Christ. Interment was in Ottumwa Cemetery."
Contributed by Glenn P. Wright
Read how the Mormon Killers got paid by the US Government for caring for the orphan children after they had killed their parents.