John M. Higbee's 1894 recollection of the Mountain Meadows Massacre.

Feb 1894
John M. Higbee

John M. Higbee's February 1894 account of MMM (signed "Bull Valley Snort"), as found in John M. Higbee and Mountain Meadows Massacre papers, circa 1860-1958, MS 17201, Church History Library

John M. Higbee
Philip Klingensmith, John M. Higbee, William H. Dame, John Doyle Lee, Isaac C. Haight
General Public

About this time Indian Farmer Lee was heard of as being with Savages who reported to him that they had killed all the emigrant company and if Mormons wanted to bury them they could. Accordingly Lee sent an express to Cedar City asking for help to come and bury the dead. The bell was rung. The people came together; the express was read from Lee in regard to emigrant company. After which a dozen or more of as honorable good citizens as lived in the country volunteered and started at once to go and bury the dead . . . . Upon our arival aterible picture met our gaze the valey was strewn with carkuses of catle and horses which the Indians had shot down through revenge. Indians were painted like devils, as though they had just arived from the Infernal regions & Howling with rage over some of their braves being wounded. All tending to make everything as hideous and deamon like as could be imagined. Lee was trying to Pasify them and have them Scatter and go away and let the Emigrants go. So he said to us. The Savages then came to Lee and said if he and the Mormons did not help them to kill the Merry Cats they would join the Soldiers and fight the Mormons. The Number of Indians there were variously estimated at anywhere from three to six hundred all determined it seemed to accomplish the destruction of the company if they had to fight all the Mormons in the Southern Country. J.D. Lee was being a Major in the Nauvoo Legion and Commander over Kane [Washington] Country where we were then said we dare not make war with Indians. He then ordered all men President to Join his Command for Self Preservation . . . It was agreed to Send Higbee to inform Col. Wm. H. Dame Commander of Iron Military district the condition of things at M.M. [Mountain Meadows]. Higbee proceeded at once to Cedar about thirty five miles and reported to Major Haight that Emigrant Company were not killed as Lee Express had stated the day before But were fortified and were under a State of Siege Surrounded night and day by Savages who were blood Thirsty and crazy because some of their number had been Wounded. To all appearances and attitude of Indians there were not Men enough in Southern Utah to Protect Company with force against the Savages. Under these circumstances Col. W.H. Dame was asked to Say what Should be done. I.C. Haight went to Parowan in the night and Made the report to Col Dame and returned next morning with orders which Higbee Caried Same day to Lee . . . When Messenger returned he Said Col. Dames Orders given to Haight for Higbee to Carry to Major J.D. Lee were Compromise with Indians if Posible by letting them take all the Stock and go to their Homes and Let Company alone but on no Conditions you are not to precipitate a war with Indians while there is an army marching Against our People. As Indian Faroerm and a Major in the Legion I trust you will have Influence enough to restrain Indians and Save the Company. If not Possible save Wimen and Children at all Hazards. Hoping you will be able to give a good account of the Important duty Entrusted to your Charge I call upon all good Citizens in that Part of the District to help you Cary out the above Orders. In helping to Make Peace between the two Parties. . . . Lee said he and Clingensmith had desided there was onley one way to Stop having an Indian war and Save wimen and children. After all this Talk we have agreed that we would Get the Men of the Company out where they could get at them without their Loosing any more of their Men on the following Conditions that they would let the Wimen and Children go to Cedar City unmolested and they take all the Stock and other Property. Indians agreeing to Perform there part of the Compact. Lee Said then to whites as Major in Command of this County I call on all of you in the Interest of Humanity and the liberty of the Scattering and Helpless condition of our Settlements to help Me to Carry out our Part of this agreement . . . Some say Clingensmith gave Order who was at head of company. One thing is Known by all Persons out there. It was Major Lee's Orders whoEver gave them. That was the Signal for guns to fire. Lee said those that are too big Cowards to help the Indians can Shoot in the air then Squat down So Indians can rush Past them and finish up their Savage work begun Many days Since. It is said Most of our Company were nervious and afraid of Indian Treachery and Kept their guns loaded for their Own Protection no doubt Each Individual knows more about that then any other Person Living and How they felt at that Particular Moment when Some Guns were fired and the Men Squated down and Indians Seemed to be there the Same Moment as they jumped out of the Brush, and rushed like a Howling tornado apast us. And the Hideous Deamon like yells of the Savages as they thirsting for blood rushed Past to Slay their helpless Victims it Seemed to chill the Blood in our veins.

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