Mountain Meadows Massacre

The Mountain Meadows Massacre

In early September 1857, about 140 people camped in this valley. Most of them were families from northwest Arkansas. Led by Captains John T. Baker and Alexander Fancher, they were headed to new opportunities in California. Their worldly possessions included about 35 wagons, several hundred cattle, and many mules, horses and oxen.

Beginning on September 7, the camp was attacked by a group of Mormon militiamen and the Paiute Indians they had recruited. In a five-day siege fueled by complex hostilities, the attackers killed at leave 10 men who fought valiantly to defend family and friends.

The emigrants fought off their attackers until September 11, when Mormon militiamen entered the encampment under a white flag of truce. The militiamen deceived their victims into surrendering weapons and property in exchange for protection and safety.

The militiamen separated the emigrants into three groups and marched them from the camp. The wounded and some small children rode in wagons, followed by women and older girls on foot with other children. Men and older boys walked some distance behind, each escorted by a Mormon militiaman.

At a prearranged signal, militiamen shot the men, older boys, and some of the wounded. Mormons and Paiutes surged from their hiding places and, in a matter of minutes, massacred most of the remaining emigrants, including the courageous women who were attempting to protect the children and flee. The victims’ voices fell silent, except for the sobbing of 17 small surviving children. The dead were stripped of their clothing and left without decent burial. Their wagons, livestock, and other property were plundered.

In 1859, soldiers in the United States Army buried the victims’ scattered, scavenged remains.

Seventeen years after the massacre, a federal grand jury indicted nine Mormon militiamen for crimes related to the siege and massacre. About 50 other militiamen were involved, along with an unknown number of Paiutes. Only one, John D. Lee, was brought to trail and convicted. He was executed near the massacre site on March 23, 1877.

The Mountain Meadows Massacre Site has 4 memorials:

  1. The Overlook Memorial where a trail leads to a memorial wall at the top of a small hill. Etched in the granite wall are names of victims in the Mountain Meadows Massacre.
  2. The Gravesite Memorial, where a rock cairn marks the resting place of at least 30 victims in the massacre. Another monument nearby honors some of the emigrants who were killed in the initial siege.
  3. The Memorial to the Men and Older Boys, a monument honors the men and older boys of the wagon train who were killed in the massacre.
  4. The Memorial to the Women, Children, and Wounded. A monument honors the women, children and wounded of the wagon train who were killed in the massacre.

A Senator’s Recollection

On September 16, 1859, 17-year-old James H. Berry witnessed an event that he would never forget. He saw 15 children return to relatives and friends in Carrollton, Arkansas. Those children were survivors of the Mountain Meadows Massacre. They were escorted by a group of their relatives, led by Arkansas Senator William C. Mitchell. Two other children would return in January 1860.

On February 11, 1907, James H. Berry stood before the United States Senate in Washington, D.C. By that time, he was a senator himself, and he had also served as governor of Arkansas. He was a veteran of military battles, including one in which he had lost his leg. His fellow senators listened as he shared his personal connection to the victims of the Mountain Meadows Massacre:

“In 1857 I lived in the county of Carroll, in the State of Arkansas. In the spring of that year there left that county and two adjoining counties between a hundred and forty and a hundred and fifty, including men, women, and children, emigrants for California. They consisted of the best citizens in that country. It was a large train. It excited large interest throughout the section of the country from which they went. They had about 600 head of cattle, several mule teams, a number of wagons, and each head of a family had more or less money…. Late in the fall or the early winter the news came back that the train had been assaulted… far out West, and every soul had perished.

“Later on there came news that some of the children, how many we did not know at the time, were saved, and that they were in the hands of the Mormons in Utah. Our Senators and Representatives here called upon the Interior Department. An agent… was sent there by the Commissioner of Indian Affairs. He gathered those children together… who had been preserved from the massacre….

“I was a boy 17 years old on that day when they were brought to the village court-house. I saw them as they were lined up on the benches, and [Senator] Mitchell told the people whose children they were, at least whose he thought they were…. One little girl, I distinctly remember, had had an arm broken by a gunshot wound. It had not united and the arm hung dangling by her side. I have seen much of life since that day; I have seen war along the lines of the border States in all its horrors; but no scene in my life was ever so impressed upon my mind as that which I saw there that day presented by those little children, their fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters dead on the far-off plains of Utah and they, absolutely without means.”

The Surviving Children

In 1859, Major James H. Carleton interviewed Mrs. Rachel Hamblin, who lived a few miles north of the massacre field. Major Carleton carefully recorded her account of the surviving children, who were brought to her home on September 11, 1857, after witnessing the murder of their parents:

“At length between sundown and dark of the last day, I heard a firing greater than before, and more distinct. This is the time when the last of them were killed…. In about an hour, a wagon drove up to our house containing seventeen children in it, the most of them crying; one, a girl about a year old [Sarah E. Dunlap], had been shot through the arm; and another girl, about four years old [Sarah Frances Baker], had been wounded in the ear; their clothes were bloody…. The little girl who was shot through the arm could not well be moved. She had two sisters, Rebecca and Louisa, one seven and the other five [records show they were ages six and four], who seemed to be greatly attached to her. I persuaded [John D.] Lee not to separate them, but to let me have all three of them. This he finally agreed to, and the children stayed with me, and I nursed the wounded child…, though [she] has lost forever the use of [her] arm. The next day…, Lee and the rest started up the road with all the rest of the children in a wagon; and the Indians scattered off.”

Leaders of the Arkansas Wagon Train

Accounts of the Arkansas wagon train list two leaders: John T. Baker (1805-1857) and Alexander Fancher (1812-1857).

John T. Baker was a farmer and cattleman, described as a shrewd trader, a warm friend, and a bitter enemy. He and his family lived along Crooked Creek, near the southern border of present-day Harrison, Arkansas.

In 1857, Baker led a group of relatives, acquaintances, and others in a wagon caravan headed to California, where he and his son John H. Baker had previously spent some time. He took 138 head of “fine stock cattle,” nine yoke of oxen, two mules, one mare, one large ox wagon, guns, saddles, bridles, camp equipment, and provisions for himself and five workhands. Three of his adult children went with him. His wife, Mary, and the other children remained in Arkansas, planning to go west later.

Before Baker left Arkansas, he wrote his will. He acknowledged that he knew “the uncertainty of life and the certainty of death” but not the time of his “dissolution.” He said, “First, I will at my death my body a decent burial in the bosom of its mother Earth and my spirit to the God who gave it.”

Alexander Fancher was a farmer and cattleman and a veteran of the Black Hawk War in Illinois. In the 1840s he and his wife, Eliza, moved with their children to Carroll County, Arkansas, and so did his brother John and his family. In 1850 the two brothers and their families moved to southern California. Soon after that, Alexander and his family returned to Arkansas. He obtained a land patent on Piney Creek in Carroll County in 1854 and settled in southern Benton County, where he acquired more land and became a justice of the peace.

Tradition suggests that Alexander, like John T. Baker, recruited family members, neighbors, and perhaps others to go to California in 1857. He and Eliza and their nine children set out on the adventure together. They took six toke of oxen, eight mules, three horses, four wagons, and as many as 200 head of cattle.

All these emigrants crossed the plains and went through the Rocky Mountains. They journeyed together from the Salt Lake City area, southward through Utah Territory.

In September 1857, the massacre at Mountain Meadow cur their journey tragically short and denied John T. Baker’s request for a decent burial. Baker was brutally murdered, along with his three children who were with him, one grandchild, a son-in-law, and a daughter-in-law. Alexander and Eliza Fancher were also murdered, as were seven of their children. Three Baker grandchildren and two Fancher children survived. Two years later, they and twelve other surviving children were returned to the care of relatives in Arkansas.

Mountain Meadows Massacre Site has been designated a National Historic Landmark. This site possesses National significance in commemorating the history of the United States of America.

Execution at the Scene of the Crimes

In September 1874, a federal grand jury indicted nine Mormon militiamen for crimes related to the siege and massacre. Some of those men immediately went into hiding as fugitives from justice. About 50 other militiamen were involved in the massacre, along with an unknown number of Paiute Indians. Only one, John D. Lee, was brought to trail and convicted.

On March 23, 1877, almost 20 years after the massacre, federal officials took Lee to the scene of the crimes. Not far from this very spot, he was executed by firing squad. He was buried about 120 miles from here.

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Overlook Memorial at Mountain Meadows Massacre Site

This is one of the four memorial sites for the victims of the Mountain Meadows Massacre. See this page for more information.

The Arkansas Wagon Train

The Arkansas emigrants were members of respectable families. The lists to the right and the left include information about heads of household in the group. More is known about some families than others, and these are not exhaustive lists of names. A more complete list of names is etched into the memorial wall in front of you.

About 140 people were in the caravan that arrived at Mountain Meadows in early September 1857.

About 10 of those people were murdered in the the initial attack and siege.

About 110 were murdered in the final massacre. Of those 110:

35 were children ages 17 and younger (at least 20 were ages 12 and younger)

13 were women ages 18 and older, 11 of whom were mothers.

33 were men age 18 and older.

The identities of the others are uncertain or unknown.

17 children, ages 6 and younger, survived. They were distributed among local Mormon families – including families of some of the men who had carried out the massacre. The children were held by those families until 1859, when the United States government returned them to relatives in Arkansas.

John T. Baker was a husband, father, grandfather, landowner, prominent farmer and cattleman, and slave owner. Abel Baker was a young son of John T. Baker. George W. Baker, an older son of John T. Baker, was a husband and father. He had owned land, and he had a substantial herd of cattle. His group traveled with two ox wagons.

Manerva A. Beller Baker, George’s wife, was a mother and homemaker. Her siblings Melissa Ann Beller and David W. Beller were orphaned children of the late William Beller, a prominent landowner and farmer and a former treasurer for Carroll County, Arkansas, and his wife, Lovina.

John Beach, a young adult, was 4 feet 6 inches tall. His parents lived west of present-day Berryville, Arkansas, near Beach Iron Works and the mouth of Osage Creek on the Kings River.

William Cameron, a husband, father, and grandfather, was the owner of a herd of cattle and a prize horse. One of his sons had been a merchant in Fort Smith, Arkansas.

Allen P. DeShazo, a young man traveling along, brought 17 head of cattle, his clothes, and a violin.

Jesse Dunlap Jr. was a husband, father, farmer, and merchant and had been a justice of the peace. His family traveled with three wagons.

Lorenzo Dow Dunlap, Jesse’s brother, was a husband, father, farmer, and bear hunter and had been a justice of the peace. His family traveled with one wagon.

Silas Edwards had a large bay horse.

Alexander Fancher was a landowner, first in Carroll County and then in Benton County, where he served as justice of the peace. He was a farmer, western traveler, stockman, and veteran of the Black Hawk War in Illinois. He was a nephew of Colonel James Fancher, who was a wealthy landowner and a member of the Arkansas House of Representatives in 1842 and 1843.

Robert and James Fancher were also nephews of Colonel James Fancher.

Saletha Ann Brown Huff was a widow, mother, and homemaker. Her husband, Peter Huff, had been bitten by a poisonous creature east of Fort Bridger and had died on the trip west.

John Milum Jones was a husband, father, and farmer who traveled with his wife and children. He also traveled with his brother Newton Jones; his mother-in-law, Cynthia Tackitt, and some of her children; and the family of Pleasant Tackitt. The Jones brothers’ wagon was large and heavily loaded.

Lawson A. McEntire was a son of Champion McEntire, a farmer and wagon maker.

Josiah (Joseph) Miller was a husband, father, and farmer. His wife, Matilda, was a daughter of William and Martha Cameron.

Charles R. Mitchell, a husband, father, landowner, farmer, and stockman, and Joel D. Mitchell, a farmer and stockman, were sons of William C. Mitchell, who was an Arkansas state senator and a Confederate Colonel, and his wife, Nancy Dunlap Mitchell, who was a sister of Jesse and Lorenzo Dow Dunlap. The Mitchells traveled in one large ox wagon.

John and William Prewit were sons of the Reverend David Prewit, a Baptist minister. Their father and their brothers David and Elijah were Union soldiers in the Civil War. Relatives in North Carolina sent a letter in 8157, asking how John and William were doing in California, how much gold they could find there, and which county they had settled in.

Milum L. Rush, a widower, father, and hunter, was a son of Lorenzo D. and Frances Rush. After the Civil War, Lorenzo Rush was a landowner and was active in the development of the new town of Harrison, Arkansas.

Cynthia Tackitt was the widow of Martin Tackitt, who had served in the Arkansas House of Representatives in 1844 and 1845. Martin’s sister was the wife of a judge in Pope County, Arkansas.

Pleasant Tackitt, a son of Martin and Cynthia Tackitt, was a husband, father, and farmer, and he traveled with one wagon. He was a nephew of another Pleasant Tackitt, a noted Methodist minister, missionary to the Indians in Arkansas and Texas, Confederate officer, and Indian fighter.

Richard Wilson, a husband, father, and farmer, was from Marion County, Arkansas.

William Wood, a husband, father, farmer, and deer hunter, and his brother Solomon R. Wood were sons of George Wood, a miller, and grandsons of a judge in Marion County, Arkansas.

Five young men in the wagon train, probably including some of those listed on these signs, were hired to care for John T. Baker’s livestock, and two were hired to care for George W. Baker’s stock. It appears that some of these drovers also had livestock of their own.

A few members of the caravan, including those listed below, were from states other than Arkansas:

Will Aden was a writer, artist, poet, and western traveler. He was a son of a physician in Paris, Tennessee. The heroic young man was murdered outside the meadows on an errand for the emigrants.

William Eaton, a husband, father, and landowner, was from Indiana.

Those believed to have been killed at or near the Mountain Meadows were:

  • William Allen Aden, 19
  • George W. Baker, 27
  • Manerva A. Beller Baker, 25
    • Mary Lovina, 7
    • Melissa Ann Beller, 14
    • David W. Beller, 12
  • John T. Baker, 52
    • Abel Baker, 19
  • John Beach, 21
  • William Cameron, 51
  • Martha Cameron, 51
    • Tillman, 24
    • Isom, 18
    • Henry, 16
    • James, 14
    • Martha, 11
    • Larkin, 8
    • Nancy, 12
  • Allen P. DeShazo, 20
  • Jesse Dunlap, Jr., 39
  • Mary Wharton Dunlap, 39
    • Ellender, 18
    • Nancy M., 16
    • James D., 14
    • Lucinda, 12
    • Margerette, 11
    • Mary Ann, 9
  • Lorenzo Dow Dunlap, 42
  • Nancy Wharton Dunlap, 42
    • Thomas J., 17
    • John H., 16
    • Mary Ann, 13
    • Talitha Emaline, 11
    • Nancy, 9
    • America Jane, 7
  • William M. Eaton
  • Silas Edwards
  • Alexander Fancher, 45
  • Eliza Ingrum Fancher, 32
    • Hampton, 19
    • William, 17
    • Mary, 15
    • Thomas, 14
    • Martha, 10
    • Sarah G., 8
    • Margaret A., 7
  • James Mathew Fancher, 25
  • Frances Fulfer Fancher
  • Robert Fancher, 19
  • Saladia Ann Brown Huff
    • William
    • Elisha
    • Two Other Sons
  • John Milum Jones, 32
  • Eloah A. Tackitt Jones, 27
    • One Daughter
  • Newton Jones
  • Lawson A. McEntire, 21
  • Josiah (Joseph) Miller, 30
  • Matilda Cameron Miller, 26
    • James William
  • Charles R. Mitchell, 25
  • Sarah C. Maker Mitchell, 21
    • John, infant.
  • Joel D. Mitchell, 23
  • John Prewit, 20
  • Milum L. Rush, 28
  • Charles Stallcup, 25
  • Cynthia Tackitt, 49
    • Marion, 20
    • Sebron, 18
    • Matilda, 16
    • James M., 14
    • Jones M., 12
  • Pleasant Tackitt, 25
  • Armilda Miller Tackitt, 22
  • Richard Wilson
  • Solomon R. Wood, 20
  • William Wood, 26
  • Others Unknown

The following children survived and were returned to their families in Northwest Arkansas in September, 1859.

Children of George and Manerva Baker:

  • Martha Elizabeth, 5
  • Sarah Frances, 3
  • William Twitty, 9 months.

Daughters of Jesse and Mary Dunlap:

  • Rebecca J., 6
  • Louisa, 4
  • Sarah E., 1

Daughters of Lorenzo Dow and Nancy Dunlap:

  • Prudence Angeline, 5
  • Georgia Ann, 18 months

Children of Alexander and Eliza Fancher:

  • Christopher Kit Carson, 5
  • Triphenia D., 22 months

Daughter of Peter and Saladia Huff:

  • Nancy Saphrona, 4

Son of John Milum and Eloah Jones:

  • Felix Marion, 18 months.

Children of Josiah and Matilda Miller:

  • John Calvin, 6
  • Mary, 4
  • Joseph, 1

Sons of Pleasant and Armilda Tackitt:

  • Emberson Milum, 4
  • William Henry, 19 months

At least one other survivor remained in Utah.

Other names associated with the caravan included:

  • (George D.?) Basham
  • (Tom?) Farmer
  • (Thomas?) Hamilton
  • (James C.?) Haydon
  • (David ?) Hudson
  • Laffoon Family
  • (Charles H.?) Morton Family
  • Poteet Family
  • Poteet Brothers
  • (John Perkins?) Reed
  • (Alf?) Smith
  • (Mordecai?) Stevenson

Gravesite Memorial at Mountain Meadows Massacre Site

This is one of the four memorial sites for the victims of the Mountain Meadows Massacre. See this page for more information.

In September 1874, a federal grand jury indicted nine Mormon militiamen for crimes related to the siege and massacre. Some of those men immediately went into hiding as fugitives from justice. About 50 other militiamen were involved in the massacre, along with an unknown number of Paiute Indians. Only one, John D. Lee, was brought to trail and convicted.

On March 23, 1877, almost 20 years after the massacre, federal officials took Lee to the scene of the crimes. Not far from this very spot, he was executed by firing squad. He was buried about 120 miles from here.

Ever Remembered

In honor of those who rest in this field. They were innocent and died in unjust attacks that began on September 7, 1857. They were defending their friends and families, who buried them before leaving the protection of their camp.

To the other victims of the Mountain Meadows Massacre who lie in unknown graves, rest in peace, and be assured you are remembered.

In Memory of Milam Lafayette Rush

Echoes of a distant past can be heard throughout these meadows.

The sounds of innocent victims which will never be forgotten.

Each life was more than just a name inscribed on a monument,

They were living family members, friends and neighbors.

The story of their lives should be recorded, shared and cherished.

And, we must share these stories of our forefathers that will forever last.

Not only for our ancestors passed of long ago, but for all our descendants to come.

For, we cannot live our future without looking at our past.

Every joy and sorrow, every triumph and loss bears witness to their struggles.

These lives will never be lived in vain: they will forever live in our hearts.

By: Billy Hightower, descendant of Milam Lafayette Rush.

Memorials

1859

The original monument at this site was established by the U.S. Army. It consisted of a stone cairn topped with a cedar cross and a small granite marker set against the north side of the cairn and dated 20 May 1859. Military officials marked some other burial sites in the valley with simple stone cairns.

1932

The Utah Trails and Landmarks Association built a protective stone wall around the 1859 grave site in September 1932. The association president was George Albert Smith of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and later President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

1936

The Arkansas Centennial Commission and Arkansas History Commission placed a cast iron historical marker on Highway 7 about three miles south of Harrison, Arkansas. The marker, near the William Beller home and what is now known as Milum Spring, identifies the area as the departure place for some members of the caravan.

1955

On 4 September 1955, the Richard Fancher Society of America unveiled a granite memorial to the victims in a park at Harrison, Arkansas.

1990

The State of Utah, families of the victims, and local citizens erected the Mountain Meadows Memorial on a nearby hill. The granite marker lists the known victims and surviving children. President Gordon B. Hinckley of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints dedicated the memorial on 14 September 1990 during a meeting in Cedar City.

1999

Under the direction of President Gordon B. Hinckley and with the cooperation of the Mountain Meadows Association and others, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints replaced the 1932 wall and installed the present Grave Site Memorial. President Hinckley dedicated the memorial on 11 September 1999.

Siege, Murder, and Burials at the Emigrants’ Campsite

Members of the Arkansas wagon train set up camp at this site on Saturday, September 5, 1857. On Sunday they likely rested and gathered for a Christian worship service – a pattern they had followed throughout their journey.

The next morning they were attached without warning. They pulled their wagons into a circle slightly larger than the fenced area where you are now. They chained the wagon wheels together and dug below each wheel to lower the wagon beds to the ground. This provided a shield against gunfire. They also dug a long defensive trench that served as a rifle pit. About 140 men, women, and children tried to take cover in the wagon circle, with many huddling together in the trench.

At least seven emigrants were killed here in the first attack. The emigrants repulsed the attackers, killing one and wounding two. Three or more other emigrants died here during the five-day siege that followed.

Each time firing resumed on the camp, the women and children could be heard screaming with fear. And with each attack, the emigrants put up a brave and determined defense. Not all the defenders were men. Survivor Milum Tackitt told of his aunt Eloah Angeline Tackitt Jones valiantly joining the fight, grabbing a gun that had belonged to one of the fallen men.

Throughout the siege, the emigrants were cut off from their water supply. Courageous men ran from the wagon circle to get water at the nearby spring. Despite heavy gunfire, some managed to fill their buckets and return to the circle. Two men once left to gather firewood, finished their task under gunfire, and returned unharmed.

Others bravely left the wagon circle. Stories about these men differ. Some accounts say that three or four young men left the safety of the camp and went northeast. They were most likely going to Cedar City to seek help. Only one of those young men made it back to the campsite alive. Another account tells of three other men, one of them with the last name Baker, escaping during the siege. They headed southwest, carrying a document that described the emigrants and what they had endured. All three were tracked down and murdered in the desert. The document they carried has disappeared.

On the fifth day of the siege, attackers came to the camp. Under a white flag, they deceived the emigrants with a false promise of safe passage to Cedar City. The emigrants were almost out of ammunition. They needed water. The wounded required attention. Realizing that they could not endure much more, they surrendered. Grieving , they rapped their dead in buffalo robes, buried them reverently, and walked away from the campsite. The men were the last to leave, relying on their captors’ promise to protect them and their families.

Gravesite Memorial

This rock cairn is patterned after one that was built in May 1859, almost two years after the Mountain Meadows Massacre. The original was 50 feet around and 12 feet high. It was topped by a cedar cross extending another 12 feet high.

Soldiers in the United States Army erected the original cairn to mark the place where they had buried bones of 34 members of the Arkansas wagon train. They used a trench – dug by wagon train members during the attack – as the mass grave. They also buried bones in at least two other mass graves in the valley.

Other the next several decades, the original memorial was damaged by vandalism, floods, and erosion. In September 1932, the Utah Trails and Landmarks Association built a stone wall around the site.

In 1999, after years of neglect, the memorial received renewed attention. Volunteers from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints prepared the site for the memorial that stands here today. The current memorial contains stones from the original cairn.

In the process of constructing the current memorial, workers found bones of 29 persons. Those bones were reinterred in a crypt, now marked by an engraved granite paver inside the northeast corner of the stone wall surrounding the cairn. Relatives of the victims wrapped the bones in beautiful hand-woven shrouds and encased them in oak ossuaries. The ossuaries were respectfullu placed on a thin layer of Arkansas soil.

On September 9, 2017, relatives of the victims buried a child’s skull that had been removed from the site by U.S. Army personnel.

Statements from the Leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Statement of Dedication, President Gordon B. Hinckley, September 11, 1999

“We intend to maintain the memorial and keep it attractive….

“… We have a Christian duty to honor, to respect, and to do all feasible to recognize and remember those who died here. May this cairn stand as a sacred monument to honor all of those who fell, wherever they might have been buried in these Mountain Meadows….

“May the peace of heaven rest upon this hallowed ground and may no evil hand do damage of any kind. May all who visit here do so in a spirit of reverence and respect for the honored dead.”

Statement of Regret, Elder Henry B. Eyring, September 11, 2007

“The gospel of Jesus Christ that we espouse abhors the cold blooded killing of men, women and children. Indeed, it advocates peace and forgiveness. What was done here long ago by members of our Church represents a terrible and inexcusable departure from Christian teaching and conduct. We cannot change what happened, but we can remember and honor those who were killed here.

“We express profound regret for the massacre carried out in this valley 150 years ago today and for the undue and untold suffering experienced by the victims then and by their relatives to the present time.

“A separate expression of regret is owed to the Paiute people who have unjustly borne for too long the principal blame for what occurred during the massacre. Although the extent of the involvement is disputed, it is believed they would not have participated without the direction and stimulus provided by local Church leaders and members….

“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. “

Memorial to the Men and Boys at Mountain Meadows Massacre Site

This is one of the four memorial sites for the victims of the Mountain Meadows Massacre. See this page for more information.

Never to be Forgotten

In memory of the emigrant men and boys from Arkansas massacred here in Mountain Meadows on September 11, 1857. Their lives were taken prematurely and wrongly by Mormon militiamen in one of the most tragic episodes in western American history.

May we forever remember and honor those buried in this valley. May we never forget this tragedy but learn from the past.

Memorial to the Women and Children at Mountain Meadows Massacre Site

This is one of the four memorial sites for the victims of the Mountain Meadows Massacre. See this page for more information.

In Honored Remembrance

May we forever remember the women, children and wounded who died near here on September 11, 1857, as part of the Mountain Meadows Massacre. They were killed without just cause. Most lie in unmarked graves somewhere in this valley.

Only seventeen small children survived. They were alter reunited with their extended families in Arkansas.

Southern Pacific Hotel

Montello, one of the largest railroad sidings in Elko County, had a roundhouse and switching yards. The Southern Pacific Hotel (shown above) served travelers, schoolteachers, and railroad employees.

Thousands of cattle from the U.C. Ranch were shipped by rail, and in 1915, the Southern Pacific payroll in Montello was the company’s largest.

Now a much smaller town, it is one of the few railroad sidings that survived into the 21st century. (Courtesy of Northeastern Nevada Museum Archives)

Morrison Charcoal Ovens

Morrison Charcoal Ovens 1882

These charcoal ovens are evidence of a historic man using natural resources. Reminders, which once upon a time, formed the basis of a man’s industrial enterprise. In 1882 that man, George Morrison, hired Nicholas Paul to build four charcoal ovens. Records indicate he was aided by Ole Hans Jacobson and Herman Lundahl. Records also indicate that Christian Overson at one time was in charge of operations.

Wood in mountain canyons to the East was cut into four foot logs, put on mules and horses and hauled to the mouth of the canyon (one of which still has the name of Wood Canyon). Each mule carried approximately one-fourth cord of wood. Young 18 year old Mathias Caleb Dutson made three such trips each day. Total for the day, three cords. The wood was then brought to the ovens by wagon or cart. Records indicate that John Carson and Louis Nielson and other men from the area helped cut and haul the wood and fire the charcoal ovens.

The wood was put through the charge door (the higher window), stacked on end, around and above a wooden fire place which had been built in the center of the oven, filled with chips and wood shavings to provide tinder for the later fire. The wood continued to be stacked until the oven was full (about 25 cords). A long torch was pushed through to the tinder box to light a fire. The burning fire’s oxygen supply was controlled by placing or removing rocks in the two rows of holes, which can be seen around the base of the ovens. Control of the burning wood was determined by the color of the smoke. After six to eight days all the air was shut off, smothering the fire. The ovens and wood were then let cool. The charcoal was removed from the ovens and sold.

The charcoal was used by smelters in making steel. It was also used as insulation to keep foods an even temperature. As charcoal burns with a hot, smokeless flame, it was used on trains and other places for cooking. It was also used by blacksmiths in their forges.

Exactly how long the ovens were used, the record is not clear. It seems their use overlapped one year the establishment of the Ibex Smelter (1895) two miles to the northwest. The smelter closed after one year of operation, because of lack of ore. This probably ended the use of charcoal ovens. Standing inside the oven or outside looking to the top of Wood Canyon, one can almost hear the sound of axes, of men and mules, wagons and trains. The sounds of history are silently heard in our minds as we go back to once upon a time.

These ovens are located near Leamington, Utah

Emigration Canyon

Emigration Canyon was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1961. It is significant in Utah history as the original route used by pioneers entering Utah. It was part of the Hastings Cutoff route used by the Donner Party in 1846, and where the Mormon pioneers entered the Salt Lake Valley in 1847. As Brigham Young looked over the canyon, he declared, “This is the right place. Drive on.” These words have become famous in Utah history. The event is commemorated with This Is The Place Heritage Park at the mouth of the canyon. Throughout Emigration Canyon, there are several historic markers designating camps, trail markers and milestone where the Mormon Pioneers passed while on their way to the Salt Lake Valley. One example of these milestones is called Lost Creek Camp.

Emigration Canyon is home to Emigration Township.