Brigham Young answers questions concerning the Massacre as part of his Deposition in July 1875. Denies role in planning the Massacre.

Jul 30, 1875
Speech / Court Transcript
Brigham Young
Scribed Verbatim

Brigham Young, Deposition, July 30, 1875, Collected material concerning the Mountain Meadows Massacre, 1859-1961, CHL MS 2674

Second Judicial District Court of the Territory of Utah. Beaver County
Brigham Young, Philip Klingensmith, John Doyle Lee, Isaac C. Haight

Territory of Utah} Beaver County} s.s. In the Second Judicial District Court of the Territory of Utah. Beaver County The People & c} vs} John D. Lee, Wm. H. Dame} Isaac C. Haight, et al} Indictment for murder September 16th 1875 Questions to be propounded to Brigham Young on his Examination as a witness in the case of John D. Lee, and others on trial at Beaver City, this 30th of July 1875, and the answers of Brigham Yong to the Interrogatories hereto appended were reduced to writing and were given after the said Brigham Young had been duly sworn to testify the truth in the above entitled cause and are as follows:-- 1st State your age, the present condition of your health, and whether in its condition you could travel to attend in person at Beaver the Court now sitting there? If not, state why not? Answer To the first interrogatory He saith:-- I am in my seventy fifth year. It would be a great risk to both my health and life for me to travel to Beaver at this present time, I am, and have been for some time an invalid. 2nd What offices, either Ecclesiastical, Civil, or Military di you hold in the year 1857? Answer He saith:-- I was the Governor of this Territory and ex-officio Superintendent of Indian affairs, and the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints during the year 1857. 3rd State the condition of affairs between the Territory of Utah and the Federal Government in the summer and fall of 1857? Answer He saith In May or June 1857. the United States mails for Utah were stopped by the Government, all communication by mail was cut off. An army of the United States was en route for Utah with the ostensible design of destroying the Latter day Saints, according to the reports that reached us from the East. 4th Were there any United States <Judges> here during the summer and fall of 1857? Answer He saith:-- To the best of my recollection there was no United States Judge here in the latter part of 1857. 5th State what you know about trains of emigrants passing through the Territory to the West, and particularly about a company from Arkansas, en route for California, passing through this City in the summer or fall of 1857? Answer He saith:-- As usual emigrant trains were passing through our Territory for the West. I heard it rumored that a company from Arkansas en route to California had passed through the City. 6th Was this Arkansas company of emigrants ordered away from Salt Lake City by yourself, or any one in the authority under you? Answer He saith:-- No ont that I know of—I never heard of any such thing, and certainly no such order was given by the then acting Governor. 7th Was any counsel or instructions by any person to the citizens of Utah not to sell grain to or trade with the emigrant trains passing through Utah at that time, if so what were those instructions? And co<u>nsel? Answer He saith:-- Yes,--Counsel and advice was given to the citizens not to sell grain to the emigrants to feed their stock; but to let them have sufficient for themselves if they were out. The simple reason for this was that for several years our crops had been short, and the prospect was at that time that we might have trouble with the United States army, then en route for this place, and we wanted to preserve the grain for food. The citizens of the Territory were counseled not to feed grain to their own stock. No person was ever punished or called in question for furnishing supplies to the emigrants within my knowledge. 8th When did you first hear of the attack and destruction of this Arkansas company at Mountain Meadows in September 1857? Answer He saith:-- I did not learn anything of the attack or destruction of the Arkansas company until sometime after it had occurred, then only by floating rumors. 9th Did John D. Lee report to you at any time after this massacre what had been done at the massacre, and if so, what did you reply to him in reference thereto? Answer He saith Within some 2 or 3 months after the massacre he called at my office, and had much to say with regard to the Indians, their being stirred up to anger and threatening toe settlements of the whites, and then commenced giving an account of the massacre. I told him to stop, as from what I had already learned by rumor, I did not wish my feeling harrowed up with a recital of details. 10th Did Philip Klingen Smith call at your office with John D. Lee, at the time of Lee making his report, and did you at that time order Smith to turn over the stock to Lee and order them not to talk about the massacre? Answer He saith:-- No. He did not call with John D. Lee, and I have no recollection of his ever speaking to me, nor, I to him, concerning the massacre or anything pertaining to the property. 11th Did you ever give any direction concerning the property taken from the emigrants at the Mountain Meadow massacre, or know anything as to its disposition? Answer He saith:-- No. I never gave any directions concerning the property taken from the company of emigrants at the Mountain Meadow massacre; nor did I know anything of that property or its disposal, and I do not to this day except from public rumor. 12th Why did you not as Governor institute proceedings forthwith to investigate that massacre and bring the guilty authors thereof to justice? Answer He saith:-- Because another Governor had been appointed by the President of the United States, and was then on the way here to take my place, and <i> did not know soon he might arrive, and because the United States Judges were not in the Territory. Soon after Governor Cumming arrived, I asked him to take Judge Cradlebaugh, who belonged to the Southern District with him, and I would accompany them with sufficient aid to investigate the matter and bring the offenders to Justice. 13th Did you about the 10th of Sept. 1857, receive a communication from Isaac C. height or any other person of Cedar City concerning a company of emigrants, called the Arkansas company? Answer I did receive a communication from Isaac C. height or John D. Lee who was thane a farmer for the Indians. 14th Have you that communication? Answer I have not; I have made diligent search for it but cannot find it. 15th Did you answer this communication? Answer He saith:-- I did to Isaac C. Haight who was then the acting President at Cedar City. 16th Will you state the substance of your letter to him? Answer He saith:-- Yes—It was to let this company of emigrants, and all companies of emigrants pass through the country unmolested, and to allay the angry feelings of the Indians as much as possible. (signed) Brigham Young

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