Blame is placed on the Indians, and the emigrants poisoned the animals is repeated.

Apr 13, 1859
George A. Smith

George A. Smith to T.B.H. Stenhouse, April 13, 1859 in Journal History of the Church (April 13, 1859), 2-4

Journal History of the Church
James Silas Calhoun, T. B. H. Stenhouse, George A. Smith, J. C. Fremon
T. B. H. Stenhouse

Dear Stenhouse:-- During the Fall of 1857 a party of emigrants were inhumanly massacred at or near the southern boundary of this Territory. Whether the transaction occurred within the jurisdiction of the Utah or New Mexico authorities, has been a matter of dispute among lawyers, as no observation of latitude to determine whether it was a north or south of 37 Degrees, has ever been made in the vicinity. The Prosecutors of the Mormons have attributed this massacre to these, and a great deal of ink has been shed to give universal currency to this charge. Being intimate to some extent with the south part of the country of this Territory, as well as the south western party of New Mexico, and somewhat acquainted with the different Indian tribes who inhabit that desert and mountainous region, and having taken some pains to collect facts in relation to the above named transaction, I submit for your consideration the following statement:-- It has been customary for many years for emigrants in passing through these southern deserts to shoot these Indians, whenever they approach their camps. By reference to Col. J.C. Fremont’s tour through this country as early as 1845, it will be seen that his party killed several of these Indians and that he was surrounded by about a thousand of them and closely besieged for several days until the Indians succeeded in killing one of the number of his party, which it would seem according to the Indians account, settled for the four that had been killed by them. The man killed for one, his gun for another, his mule for the third, and his clothes and tobacco for the fourth. The tribes of which I speak which were concerned, have been denominated “Pah Utahs,” they reside on Coal Creek, Ash Creek, Santa Clara, the Rio Virgin, the Muddy and about other small streams and springs in that vicinity. They are most adroit thieves and exceedingly fleet on foot, making little use of horses, except to eat and steal them from the Emigrants for that purpose. These are a part of the Indians whose extermination was recommended by Gov. Calhoon [Calhoun] of New Mexico some years since. From the commencement of the settlement of Southern Utah, the settlers have endeavored to conciliate the feelings of these Indians, and made efforts to induce them to work, and in a some instances proceeded so far as to induce them to cultivate some patches of grain. Their benevolent and peaceful efforts are constantly frustrated by emigrants passing to California, and continuing the old policy of shooting three Indians whenever they approached their camps, without even ascertaining their intentions were friendly or otherwise. This mode of treatment grew into an intolerable enmity, which caused them to distinguish between Mormons and “Americats.” The settlers invariably treated them with the utmost kindness, and in all their dealings endeavored to preserve the most exact justice, teaching them to understand labor or something else, for provisions and other necessaries with which they were furnished. In fact this was the only one policy for these pioneers of civilization, who were few in number, hundreds of miles from settlements; their families exposed and unprotected, a peaceful policy was the only one that could preserve them and their families from the poisoned arrows and tomahawk of these saves, whose mode of warfare was extermination of adults and slavery of children. Many of the Indians gradually became provided with rifles and other arms in addition to their bows and arrows which with their poisoned points are dangerous weapons. The party of Emigrants who were destroyed had about twenty wagons and a considerable amount of stock and had manifested a very singular hostility to the natives. When encamped at the sinks of Corn Creek they gave an ox which died to a party of Ondians, they ate of it and then of them died immediately. Some of the survivors said they saw the Captain of the Company go to the carcass with a bottle after the main body of the camp had left the ground, the water was also poisoned so that several Indians died from drinking of it. The Indians poisoned were members of different bands of the Pah Utahs and Pah Edes, who were up from the South on a visit to their friends, the Pahvantes. The news of this tragedy spread through the different bands of Indians for hundreds of miles and caused the concentration of reckless warriors who consummated the massacre. News of the attack of the Indians upon the emigrants reaching the settlements, some interpreters repaired to the spot to effect a compromise. Some of the Indians had been wounded and others killed and the whole migrant party were closely invested and all communication with them, cut off. The interpreters were prohibited from having any intercourse with them. The Indians manifested considerable hostility towards them because they (the interpreters) were unwilling to assist them. Finding that they were unable to render the emigrants any assistance, they returned to Cedar City, about 50 miles. A party of about 50 volunteers was raised and repaired as speedily as possible to the spot, but alas, too late to afford any other assistance than to rescue a few children that had bene preserved by the Indians in accordance with their usual custom for the purpose of trade or slavery. Whenever a fair and impartial investigation of this bloody massacre is had, the establishment of the above facts will doubtless be the result.

BHR Staff Commentary

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