Nephi Johnson's 1910 recollection of the Massacre in a letter to Anthon Lund.

Mar 1910
Nephi Johnson

Nephi Johnson, Letter to Anthon H. Lund, March 1910, MS 2674, Church History Library

Nephi Johnson
Joel H. Johnson, Anthon H. Lund, Nephi Johnson, John Doyle Lee, Isaac C. Haight
Anthon H. Lund

Dear Brother Enclosed you will find my statement in relation to the Mountain Meadows Massacre. I will say by way of introduction to the Affidavit Enclosed that I came with my Father Joel H. Johnson to Salt Lake Valley in the year 1848. We arrived where Salt Lake City now stands Oct 19 of that year and when the Wards were organized my father was appointed Bishop of Mill Creek Ward. He claimed a piece of land south of Mill Creek near Big Cottonwood where we lived until the Fall of 1850 when my father was called to go with President George A. Smith to help make a settlement at Little Salt Lake (or Iron Co. Utah). My father not being able to settle up his business in time to go with the Company so he fitted up two teams & sent my oldest brother and myself with the company and we arrived where Parowan (Iron Co Utah) now stands by Jan 13 1851. My father came on in the spring bringing his family with him and in the fall of 1851 my father took all of the surplus stock of the 2 settlements Parowan & Cedar City to herd. We moved them to some springs six miles north of Cedar City now known as Enoch were I had to take care of them. I hired 2 young Indians to help me and keeping them near me most of the time I soon learned their language so I could converse with them on all common subjects. I was the first white man who learned the Piute language and for this reason I was cal[l]ed to go out with exploring parties and others who had business with the Indians. I was always kind to them and when I was present was successful in settling difficulties with them without killing them and I was known through Southern Utah as a friend to the Indians and in the fall of 1853 was called by Apostle Erastus Snow as a missionary to the Piute Indians of Southern Utah. And I often went with emigrant trains as far as the Muddy and Last Vegas to pilot them safely by the Indians who lived along the road. In 1854 or 5 Jacob Hamblin and other men were sent as missionaries to the Indians. They located at Harmony where John D Lee & others had a few Indians farming on Ash Creek. In 1856 the missionaries left Harmony & settled at Pinto Creek 25 miles west of Harmony. From there they visited the Indians on the Santa Clara[,] the Virgin and Muddy rivers. In 1857 the US Army started for Utah which made considerable excitement among the people of Utah and sometime in September of that year a company of emigrants came south from Salt Lake City going the southern route to California which could be traveled during winter without danger of snow or cold. This company were defiant and aggressive and took delight on telling the people that the Army was coming to hang Brigham Young & the leading Mormons and they said many things to excite the people at Cedar City. (I was informed of this by people that lived at Cedar City). A few days after they had passed through President Isaac C Haight who presided over Cedar City and the settlements in Washington County sent a boy out to the ranch where I was living six miles north of Cedar City. He said Prest Haight wanted me to come to Cedar to talk with the Indians or the Squaws [who] were stealing wheat out of the Field—when I arrived at Cedar he saddled his horse and rode with me to the Indian camp about 4 miles distant and while riding to the camp he told me that John D Lee had been up from Harmony the day before and that Lee had proposed to him to gather up the Indians and distroy the train of Emigrants who had passed through Cedar two days before. And said he had told him to go ahead & do so but Haight said he had sent a man to President Young to know what to do about it. Then he asked me what I thought about it. I said to him it would be a fearful responsibility for a man to take upon himself to distroy that train of Emigrants and that I would wait until I rec[eived] word from President Young. He replied that Lee had already gone to raise the Indians. I said in reply that I would sent [sic] a man to tell him to wait if I was in his place. I also told him that there was a much better place on the Santa Clara to attack the train. I was in hopes he would put off the distruction [sic] of the train until he received word from President Young for I was satisfied what his answer would be. I then went home to the ranch and a day or two after an Indian runner came from the Mountain Meadows and stated that they had made an attackt [sic] on the emigrant train the night before & had been repulsed. He also said that the Indians wanted me to come out there for they were tired of Lee[‘]s Indian boy intereter [sic] [as] he lied to them so much. I said to the Indian that I did not wan anything to do with killing the emigarnts for I was determined in my own mind that I would keep away from them but when the men came after me at the ranch they said to me that Haight said to them that I must come whether I wanted to or not [and] that he [Haight] would tell me what he wanted when I arrived at Cedar City (See Over). Bro Lund I have written the foregoing statement in a rather rough style but it is the best I can do for I am not educated but the statement is true as I saw it.

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