Mass graves of migrants Massacred by Mormons in 1857 found (general)
Mass graves of migrants Massacred by Mormons in 1857 found
Mountain Meadows Massacre graves found
Archaeologist: Mountain Meadows Massacre graves found
Nichole Osinski, The (St. George, Utah) Spectrum 6:29 p.m. EDT September 20, 2015
ST. GEORGE, Utah -- An archaeologist from California believes he may have found the two mass grave sites that hold the bodies of men, women and children murdered in the Mountain Meadows Massacre in southwest Utah in 1857. However, the graves aren't on land the Mormon church purchased in order to memorialize the victims in one of the darkest chapters in Utah's pioneer history.
Everett Bassett said it took him about 20 minutes to discover the two mass graves sites in August 2014. After speaking with descendants of the victims, he presented his findings on Sept. 12 at the Mountain Meadows Massacre Foundation’s meeting in Harrison, Ark.
Bassett said that after reading U.S. Army documents from 1859 about the burials and visiting the site previously thought to hold the graves, he determined the current burial locations were incorrect.
The massacre was the center of controversy almost from the beginning, a violent culmination of the friction between members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and other pioneers at the time.
Historians have pieced together the details of the attack, which took part during a territorial conflict later called the Utah War.
It occurred on Sept. 11, 1857, about 30 miles north of St. George.
The Baker-Fancher party, made up mostly of Arkansas emigrants, was camped in the meadows on their way westward when nearby militia leaders made plans to attack the wagon train and blame the attack on Native Americans, the local Paiute Indians. Some of the militiamen tried to disguise themselves by wearing Native American dress.
After a five-day siege near Cedar City, Utah, militia leaders deceived the emigrants into coming out. Maj. John D. Lee offered safe passage if they would surrender and follow them north.
Escorted by the armed militiamen, the party walked about a mile before the Mormon militia turned and attacked, killing approximately 120 men, women and children and sparing only 17 children younger than seven.
For decades, church leaders asserted that the Paiute committed the act, raising the ire of the descendants of the survivors. Lee was executed in 1877 for his role in the massacre.
The bodies were either quickly buried or left out in the open along one of the primary pioneer roads. In 1859, the Army sent 207 men to properly bury the bodies in two rock cairns.
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- Mass graves of migrants Massacred by Mormons in 1857 found - bibleprobe, 09.20.2015 (general)