Jacob Forney discusses the massacre, including information gleaned from locals and the surviving children.

May 10, 1859
Jacob Forney

Jacob Forney, Letter, May 5, 1859, rep. The Valley Tan, volume 1, no 28 (May 10, 1859): 2

The Valley Tan
William Taggit, John Calvin Soriel, Ambrose Miram Taggit, Elisha W. Huff, Jacob Hamblin, Sophrona Mary Huff, Jacob Forney, Prudence Angeline
Reading Public

I informed my then guide and interpreter (Mr. Ira Hatch) that I was anxious to see the spot where the massacre took place, and also where the dead were buried. I saw the three places where the dead are buried. From information received from persons in and out of the Mormon Church, and observations whilst at the place, enables me to say that the emigrant party in question, arrived and camped at the spring in the south end of the valley, Friday, Sept. 7th or 8th, 1857. The amount of property is variously (given or estimated) from 200 to 700 head, and ten to thirty wagons. My own impression is, that they had 600 head of cattle and about 40 wagons. It is said the firing commenced Monday, Sept. 10, before daylight, and that the firing was by the Indians fighting the said emigrant party then in camp at the spring, as already stated. The firing was continued, some say five, others say seven days. During the five or seven days of firing and fighting by the Indians, the emigrant party was corralled, that is, they made a corral and temporary fort by their wagons, and filled under the wheels and to the, bed of the wagons with sand and earth dug in the center of corrall. Sept. 17th, 1857, morning, a friendly Indian who could talk English, came I the corrall, the inmates having then been without water from five to seven days; made arrangements or treaty with said Indian. The Indians to have the property, and to spare the lives of the whites, and permit them to return to Painter Creek and Cedar City. From the spring and corrall to the place where it is said they were murdered, and where I saw the graves (or imperfect holes) is at least one mile and a half. I walked over the ground where it is supposed they were killed, the evidences of this being unmistakable from skulls, & other bones and hair lying scattered over the ground. There are there buried, as near as I can ascertain, 106 persons, men, women and children; and from one to two miles further down the valley, two or three who, in attempting to escape, were killed, partly up the hill, north side of the valley, and there buried and three who got away entirely, but overtaken and killed at or near the Vegas or Muddy; in all 115. I made strict and diligent inquiry of the number supposed to have been killed, and 115 is probably about the correct number. April 15th arrived at Santa Clara this afternoon, and camped in town. Here I met Mr. Jacob Hamblin, who has been in my employ since last fall, collecting certain children, and other business among the Indians. Here (Santa Clara) myself and party were kindly treated during our stay, two days. I say in the beginning of my letter, that I purported bringing to this city certain children remaining of the Mountain Meadow massacre. These children, sixteen in number, I have now in my possession. Thirteen I got in Santa Clara, at Mr. J. Hamblin’s who collected them in pursuance to my directions, and three I got in Cedar City on our way home, left there by Mr. Hamblin. I am pleased to say that Mr. Hamblin has discharged his duty in relation to the collection and keeping of these children. The following is all I have been able as yet to collect of the history of these unfortunate, fatherless, motherless, and pennyless children. John Calvin, now 7 or 8 years old, does not remember his name; says his family lived at Horse Head, Johnson co., Arkansas. Ambrose Mironi, about 7 years, and William Taggit, 4 ½ years, brothers; these also lived in Johnston co. Prudence Angeline, 6 years, and Annie, about 3 years; these two are said to be sisters. Rebecca, 9 years; Louis, 5 years; and Sarah, 3 years, from Dunlap. Besty, 6 years, and Annie, 3 years, said to be sisters; these know nothing of their family or residence. Charles Fancher, 7 or 8 years, and his sister Annie, 3 ½ years. Sophronia or Mary Huff, 6 years, and Elisha W. Huff, 4 years. A boy; no account of him. Those among whom he lived call him William. Francis Hown or Korn, 4 1/2 years old . . . Mr. Hamblin has good reason for believing that a boy about 8 years and belonging to the party in question, is among the Navajos Indians, at or near the Colorado river . . . The massacre of an entire train, not one remaining to speak of the “drama” but sixteen fatherless, motherless and pennyless children, supposed probably to be too young to give the affair tangibility, cannot remain long uninvestigated. The cause or reason for the commission of a crime so terrible as that of killing 115 persons, must assuredly become a subject of enquiry with the proper legal authorities. The Pi-ute tribe of Indians have been, and are charged wit the above crime. Last August, my attention was called to the Mountain Meadows affair officially. Since then I have made diligent enquiry and finally visited the southern country; and now, after full enquiry and examination, I deem it to be my imperative duty to say that the Indians had material aid or assistance form whites; and in my opinion the Piu-ute Indians would not have perpetuated the terrible massacre without such aid and assistance. Mr. Jacob Hamblin and others, of Santa Clara, expressed much anxiety to bring the guilty to justice.

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