Smith's report to Brigham concerning massacre based on interview with various people 11 months after the event.

Aug 17, 1858
George A. Smith
2nd Hand

George A. Smith statement from August 17, 1858 in Journal History, September 11, 1857, pp. 1-5

Journal History of the Church
Brigham Young, William H. Dame, George A. Smith, Jacob Hamblin, Isaac C. Haight
Latter-day Saints

While passing through the lower settlements the emigrants boasted of their participation in the expulsion of the Mormons from Missouri and threatened to stop at some convenient point, and fatten their stock, that when the U.S. troops should arrive, the emigrants would have plenty of beef to feed them with, and would then help to kill every “God damned Mormon” that there was in the mountains. This course of conduct on their part, coupled with the rumor which they spread, that some four or five hundred dragoons were expected through on the Fremont trail, whom they would join, caused them to be regarded by the settlers with a feeling of distrust. When the attack was made upon the emigrant party, the Indians sent out runners to the various bands in every direction, to gather additional help. The news reached the settlements at Cedar through that means. Ahwonup, the Piede Chief at Parowan, received an invitation to join the foray against the emigrants. He went to Col. Dame to tell him what he was going to do, upon the Colonel succeeded in inducing him and most of his warriors to abandon the project. At this time company of emigrants fired upon a party of Pahvants in the neighborhood of Beaver, some 35 miles north of Parowan, and wounded one of them. This occurrence created to much excitement among the Pahvants of that region, that they were determined to exterminate those emigrants which was only prevented by a detachment of militia sent from Parowan by Col. Dame, who effected a compromise with the Indians, and guarded that company safely from that place to the Vegas, some three hundred miles. No news of the attack at the Mountain Meadows had reached Paraowan, except the Indian rumor until it was too late for Col. Dame to take any measures to relieve the company, which was some 60 miles distant. On the 6th of September I understand that rumor reached Cedar City that the emigrant train had been attacked in camp by the Indians at Mountain Meadows, that several of the emigrants and Indians had been killed and others wounded, and that more Indians were gathering from various parts in considerable numbers, being very much exasperated. Immediately upon the arrival of this intelligence, Major Haight dispatched some interprets to conciliate the Indians, The interpreters left Cedar the same evening, and when they arrived the next day at the scene of the difficulty, the found the Indians in a sate of intense excitement, in consequence of killing and wounding of some of their men. The interpreters sought to conciliate them, but they threatened them with death if they did not either leave immediately, or turn in and hep them, accusing them of being friendly to the emigrants or maricats, as they called them. The Indians said that if the interpreters attempted to go to the emigrants camps they would kill every one of them. Finding that their services could avail the emigrants nothing, the interpreters returned to Cedar, after a ride of some 80 miles on the same animals and dallying most of the day with the Indians and reported the condition of the camp. On the 9th Major Haight, with a party of about 50 men started from Cedar City to endeavor to relive the emigrants and arriving at Mountain Meadows the next morning, found the Indians had killed the entire company with the exception of a few small children, who were with difficulty obtained from them. The Indians were pillaging and destroying the property, and driving off the cattle in every respect to the others. When they had secreted one pack load in the hills, they returned and got another, thus continuing with the most unremitting energy, till everything was cached. Major Haight and the party found the bodies of the slain stripped of their clothing and scattered along the road for half a mile. The party obtained a few spades from a ranch about 5 miles distant, buried the dead as well as they could, under the circumstances. The ground was hard and the party being destitute of picks, and having had a limited number of spades, the pits could not be dug to a very great depth. From the appearance of the camp ground, the wagons previous to the attack, were scattered promiscuously, but the emigrants, upon being attacked, gathered most of them into a close circle, inside of which the dug two rifle pits. It appears on the 9th the Indians withdrew from the siege; that, towards evening, the emigrants left their camp and started back towards Hamblin’s ranch, and that after proceeding about a mile and a half they were again attacked, and slain, except the children above mentioned. It is reported that John D. Lee and a few other white men were on the ground during a portion of the combat, but for what purpose or how they conducted or whether indeed they were there at all, I have not learned. It is supposed that there were upwards of 200 Indian warriors engaged in this massacre. A large number of the emigrants were killed with arrows, the residue with bullets, the Indians being armed with guns, as well as bows and arrows.

The Indians also killed some horses and a large number of cattle, which lay scattered over the plain. This was probably done in accordance with their custom required a sacrifice to be sent along with their departed warriors. Some 16 or 18 children were preserved from death and placed in charge of families, where they were well cared for. The prejudice that these emigrants had themselves excited during their passage through the territory, contributed not a little to inspire in the minds of the people an indifference as to what the Indians might do, but nobody dreamed of nor anticipated so dreadful a result. There were not a dozen white men living within 30 miles of the spot where the transaction occurred, and they were scattered two or three in a place herding cattle. Mr. Hamblin, the nearest settler, was in G.S.L. City at the time, and the stock at his ranch were in the custody of his children and two or three Indian boys. It was the impression of Mr. Haight that the interpreters would succeed in bringing about a compromise, to enable the emigrants to buy the Indians off. From the citizens to have attacked and killed Indians in defense of the emigrants would have been little else than suicide, as you are well aware of the exposed condition of the Southern settlers, and the annoyance to which the Indians had been subjected for many years by emigrants killing them, as they passed through the Indian Country. I have been told that, since this transaction, many of the Indians who had previously learned to labor have evinced a determination not to work and that the moral influence of the event upon the civilization of the Indians has been very prejudicial. Considerable improvements have been made in every settlement, except Cedar, during my absence from this district. The failure of the Iron Company to make iron satisfactorily, has caused a large number of the operatives in that department to seek employment elsewhere, thereby much reducing the population of that city. I have given you the substance of the information I have received from various individuals during my canvass, and I regret exceedingly that such a lamentable occurrence should have taken place within the limits of this territory.

BHR Staff Commentary

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