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During the long summer days that the Mormons passed in preparation for war, an emigrant train, known on the road as Captain Fancher’s train, was passing through Utah. It reached Salt Lake City in August, and took the “southern route ” which led through Provo, Nephi, Fillmore, Beaver, and Cedar City, and at the last named place joined the Spanish trail from Los Angeles to New Mexico, which ran thence southwest to the coast of California. These emigrants numbered originally fifty-six men and sixty-two women and children, most of them being from Carroll, Johnson, Marion, and other northern counties of Arkansas. At Salt Lake City they were joined by several disaffected Mormons. They had thirty good wagons, about thirty mules and horses, and six hundred cattle. Dr. Brewer, of the army, who met them on the Platte, in June, said it was ” probably the finest train that had ever crossed the plains. There seemed to be about forty heads of families, many women, some unmarried, and many children. They had three carriages, one very tine, in which ladies rode. Slowly this long line wound its way up the Jordan, around the sedgy border of Utah Lake, through Juab Valley, and down the long, dreary stretch of road from the Sevier to Little Salt Lake. At Beaver they were joined by a Missourian, who had been held in custody there for some alleged offense, and he urged them to hurry on beyond the power of the Mormons. They passed through settlements from day to day, but they were friendless as in the voiceless desert. They wished to buy grain and hay to recruit their failing stock, but the edict had gone forth for all supplies to be “hid up” in the mountains, and there was no grain to be bought by their money. One man did trade them a small cheese, but he was seen by the special policeman who was detailed to watch the train, and was ”cut off” from the church for it. Sell supplies to these Gentiles? Oh, no! They were but a portion of the mob that would soon be battering at the gates of Zion. Rumor wearied her countless wings in incessant flight, carrying before them the reports of their evil deeds, which grew and spread until their original inventors might have blushed for them. It was said that they were taking property by force; that they broke down and burned fences; that they insulted men; that they ravished Mormon women; that they were a part of the mob that drove the Saints from Missouri; that they boasted of having the pistol with which the Prophet Joseph was killed; that they were connected with the recent murder of the apostle, Parley Pratt; that they threatened to return from California with enough men to destroy all the Mormon settlements; that they poisoned an ox with strychnine, causing the death of some Indians and one white man; that they poisoned the spring at Corn Creek with arsenic, causing the death of twenty Pah-vant Indians; that they were, in short, a crowd of hardened, godless wretches, whose sins could never be washed away except in their own blood. The chief hierarch of Southern Utah announced that he believed there was not “a d___d drop of innocent blood among them.” The charges made against them were to the people of Southern Utah as words of certain truth, for the fanaticism and bigotry of Northern Utah was only luke warmness in the southern settlements. Men scowled and women glared their righteous hatred at the doomed party, and little children peered through half opened doors, in curious fear, at the wicked people who had raised their hands against God’s anointed. True, they saw none of this evildoing as the emigrants passed them, but their belief in it was not shaken by that. They had Mormon testimony to its truth, and that was sufficient.
The emigrants kept on as fast as they could conveniently. They crossed the Great Basin; they climbed up the southern rim; and on this border of Mormondom they stopped for a few days to let their cattle revel in the rank, coarse mountain grass, before they went on into “the Ninety Mile Desert.” The location of the Mountain Meadows, their stopping place, is in the southwestern corner of Utah, in the present county of Washington, about eight miles south of the village of Pinto. The place is a pass – sometimes called a valley – about five miles in length and one in width, but running to a rather narrow point at the southwest end. At about its centre, lengthways, is the “divide” between the Basin and the Pacific slope, the ascents being very gradual, and at each end is a large spring, the waters of the eastern one flowing into the Basin, and those of the western one to the Santa Clara, and thence to the Rio Virgen. At the eastern spring was the house and corral of Jacob Hamlin, Mormon subagent for the Pah-Utes, who, with some assistants, all Mormons, was pasturing cattle on the meadows. The train passed his place on the 3d of September, and camped at the western spring on the 4th. The spring, which is a large one, is in the southern end of the narrow part. The bank rises from it to a height of about eight feet, and from its top there reaches a level stretch of some two hundred yards. Beyond this there comes an irregular ridge or row of hills, fifty or sixty feet in height, back of which is a valley of considerable extent, which opens into the main Meadows three or four hundred yards below the spring. The emigrants were camped on the level ground just north of the spring. They were now on the edge of the Pacific slope, and must have felt the gladness of the wayworn traveler who knows that another stage of his journey is finished. Just across there, to the southwest, was golden California – they could almost see it – a few more miles of desert, a few more days of dust and alkali water, and they would be through.
In the chilly dawn of Monday, September 7, as they were grouped about their campfires, preparing and eating their breakfasts, they were stunned by a volley of guns from the little gully through which the waters of the spring ran away.
Seven of their number were killed, sixteen were wounded, and the remainder thrown into confusion; but it was only for a moment. They were brave men, and they had lived too long on the frontier not to be ready for an Indian attack on short notice. The women and children were hastily placed in the shelter of the corralled wagons, and the rifles of the men were soon replying effectually to those of their foes. This was discouraging to their assailants, for they had counted on a massacre, not a fight. They were not warriors of much eminence. On the contrary, Captain Campbell afterwards classed them as “a miserable set of root diggers,” and said, “nothing is to be apprehended from them but by the smallest and most careless party.” They were Pah-Utes from the neighborhood of Cedar City, under Moquetas, Big Bill, and other chiefs; and others from the Santa Clara settlements, extending thirty-five miles below, under Jackson and his brother; Upper Pi-Edes, under Ka-nar-rah, and Lower Pi-Edes under Tal-si-Gob-beth; but at this time they were all directed and controlled by John D. Lee, subagent, Nephi Johnson, interpreter, and two or three others, all disguised as Indians. It required all their efforts to keep the Indians at their work. Several were killed early in the engagement, and two of their war chiefs had their knee joints shattered by rifle balls, from the effects of which both died. The Indians moved back to safer quarters, and, after driving away all the cattle that were out of range of the spring, vented their rage by shooting the remainder that they dared not attempt to drive away. An occasional shot was fired at the emigrants, as a reminder that they were still in the neighborhood. White reinforcements were sent for at once, after the first repulse, and began to arrive on the following day. They stopped out of sight of the emigrants to camp. Occasionally they would put on a little paint and go take a shot at the wagons; then they would return and amuse themselves by pitching quoits. The little party of the besieged meanwhile were improving their time. They drew their wagons close together, chained them wheel to wheel, and banked up earth to the beds, making a fortress which they could easily hold against all the Indians within a hundred miles of them. On Wednesday night a young man named Aden, a son of Dr. Aden of Kentucky, with one companion, stole out of the valley and started to Cedar City for aid. At Richards’ Springs they met three Cedar City men, William C. Stewart, Joel White, and Benjamin Arthur. As their horses drank from the spring, Stewart shot and killed Aden, and White wounded his companion, but the latter escaped and made his way back to the camp. The emigrants now began to realize the desperation of their situation. Aden might surely have hoped for assistance if anyone could, for his father was known to have saved the life of a Mormon bishop of the neighborhood; yet he was assassinated by a Mormon. There could be little doubt that the white men, of whom occasional glimpses had been caught by them, were Mormons, and that they were aiding the Indians. They prepared a statement of their situation, giving their reasons for believing that the Mormons were their real besiegere, and directed it to Masons, Odd Fellows, the leading religious denominations, and to ”good people generally.” This they entrusted to three of their best scouts, who, on Thursday night, slipped down through the arroyo of the spring branch, across the strip of valley, and off towards California. The paper implored assistance, if assistance could reach them, and, if not, that justice might be meted to their murderers.
While these men were endeavoring to slip through the meshes of the net that was drawn about them, a strange scene was to be witnessed just over the little divide of the Meadows. There were now fifty-four white men in the attacking party and about two hundred Indians, all of whom were satisfied that no direct assault on the camp could be successful. The resolute defense of the emigrants had made a change of procedure necessary, and they were now obliged to obtain “counsel” from those in authority, and the approval of the Lord. Up to this time every step had been taken in that way. George A. Smith, one of the Twelve Apostles, had gone through the settlements and arranged the preliminaries; the day after the train passed through Cedar City a Church council was held, at which women were present, and, after due consideration, it was decided, by a unanimous vote, to be the will of the Lord that the Fancher outfit should be exterminated. The manner selected was an Indian massacre, but this had failed. A council of the Mormons in the Meadows was held on Thursday evening, and the orders from President Haight of Cedar City were read. They directed that the emigrants should be decoyed from their stronghold and exterminated. Haight was lieutenant colonel of the militia, and had received his directions to this effect from Colonel Dame, commander of the militia of the district, which was known as “the Iron militia.” The men in the Meadows were all members of it, and were commanded by Major John Higbee. There was some feeble remonstrance to the orders, so, after a little talk, they all knelt, with elbows touching, in “a prayer circle,” and asked for divine guidance. On the still night air of that mountain pass, one voice after another rose in fervent prayer, asking God to say to them whether or not they should betray and murder one hundred and twenty of their fellowmen. The last voice ceased; a moment of silence ensued; then Major Higbee announced, in confident tone, “I have the evidence of God’s approval of our mission. It is God’s will that we carry out our instructions to the letter.” In that declaration the “higher law” stands out in all its naked enormity. Mere polygamy is a virtue compared with such a devils’ faith. The council remained in session until daybreak, and all the minutiae of the following day’s work were arranged for. A hasty breakfast was despatched, and the preparation for the Lord’s work was begun at once.
The Indians were concealed in a thicket a mile and three quarters from the camp, on the road back to the Basin. The Mormons procured two wagons, with which they moved on towards the western spring. They stopped out of gunshot, and John D. Lee and William Bateman advanced under a white flag. An emigrant came out to meet them. They talked over the situation. Lee said that the Indians were much excited, on account of injuries done them by former parties, and could scarcely be controlled, but he had got them to promise that no harm should be done to the emigrants if they surrendered to the Mormons. Part of them had left already. It would be necessary to make a form of surrendering; the guns could be placed in the wagons brought by the Mormons, together with the sick, wounded, and small children; the men must march unarmed, each accompanied by a Mormon, to make the Indians believe they were captives. To this the emigrants consented. They were putting themselves wholly in the power of the Mormons, but it was all they could do. There was no escape without Mormon aid. Even if the Indians left them, their stock was all gone, and they were unable to move. Perhaps they thought the Mormons would be satisfied with getting their property and would save their lives, blaming what had happened to the Indiana. Perhaps they did not suspect the Mormons any longer. No one knows. The book is sealed till the last day. The wagons are driven up; the corral is opened; the guns are loaded in, also the sick, the wounded, and the smaller children; the wagons drive on. The women and older children follow, on foot. The men, part of whom have just finished burying two of their number, who had died of their wounds, making ten deaths at the spring, come last.
It is just after noon, and the day is bright and clear. Tramp, tramp, tramp; they march down from the camping place. The men have reached the militia, and give them three hearty cheers as they take their places, murderer and victim, side by side. Tramp, tramp, tramp. They are rounding the point of the ridge which has served as a screen for the Mormons and Indians for the past week. A raven flies over them, croaking. What called him there? Does he foresee that he shall peck at the eyes of brave men and gentle women who are looking at him? Tramp, tramp, tramp. The wagons with the wounded and the children are passing the hiding place of the Indians. How quietly they lie among the gnarly oak bushes! but their eyes glisten, and their necks stretch out to see how soon their prey will reach them. The women are nearly a quarter of a mile behind the wagons, and the men as much farther behind the women. A half dozen Mormon horsemen bring up the rear. Tramp, tramp, tramp. The wagons have just passed out of sight over the divide. The men are entering a little ravine. The women are opposite the Indians. They have regained confidence, and several are expressing their joy at escaping from their savage foes. See that man on the divide! It is Higbee. He makes a motion with his arms and shouts something which those nearest him understand to be: “Do your duty.” In an instant the militiamen wheel, and each shoots the man nearest him; the Indians spring from their ambush and rush upon the women; from between the wagons the rifle of John D. Lee cracks, and a wounded woman in the forward wagon falls off the seat.
Swiftly the work of death goes on. Lee is assisted in shooting and braining the wounded by the teamsters Knight and McMurdy, and as the latter raises his rifle to his shoulder he cries: “Lord, my God, receive their spirits, it is for thy kingdom that I do this.” The men all fell at the first fire but two or three, and these the horsemen ride down, knock over with their clubbed guns, and finish with their knives. Their throats are cut, that the atoning blood may flow freely. The women and older children are not hurried out of the world quite so quickly as the others. Some are on their knees begging for life. Others run shrieking over the Meadows. They receive but two answers – the tomahawk crashing through the skull, and the knife plunging through the heart. These are all left to the Indians, for fear there may be “innocent blood” among them, which no Mormon may shed. There is alarm on this account already, for one of the emigrants had carried his infant child in his arms, and the bullet that pierced the father’s heart went through the babe’s brain. It is decided, however, that it was accidental and that no criminal wrong is done. Several of the Mormons run to the Indians, to see that they do their work properly. Among them is Lee. It is discovered that two of the girls are missing. Someone saw them run to a ravine fifty yards away. Lee and one of the Cedar City chiefs run to the place and find there the Indian boy, Albert, who lives with Hamlin, lie says the girls came there, and shows where they hid in the brush. They drag them forth and brutally ravish them. This was the only act on that field that was not inspired. Was it wrong, under the Mormon code of morality? The question is too subtle for me to answer; certainly it was not punished. Lee next tells the chief the girls must be killed. The chief answers: “No, they are too pretty to kill; let us save them;” but he meets a grim refusal. The unhappy child that Lee holds, with the terror of death upon her, flings her arms round his neck and promises to love him as long as he lives, if he will spare her life. The wolf has keener fangs but no more merciless heart. He throws her head back with his arm, and with one stroke of his keen bowie knife severs her neck to the spine. The chief brains the other with his tomahawk.
This finished the slaughter at the Meadows, but there remained a little more to do. The trail of the three scouts, who went out on the night before, had been discovered, and Ira Hatch, with a party of Indians, was sent after them. The fugitives were found sleeping, in the Santa Clara Mountains, and, from the volley fired at them, two slept on in death. The third fled with a bullet hole through his wrist. He met two Mormons, who were much afflicted over his sad plight, and persuaded him that he could not get across the desert. They induced him to turn back with then, promising to smuggle him through Utah. They soon met Hatch’s party and the man was killed; but they did permit him to pray first. The paper calling for assistance, which he carried, was in Mormon custody for some time, and is said to have been destroyed by John D. Lee. The man killed by Hatch’s party brings the number killed to one hundred and twenty-one – ten at the camp, young Aden at Richards’ Springs, one hundred and seven on the Meadows, and the three messenger scouts. The main massacre was on Friday, September 11, 1857. There has been some confusion as to this, arising from a failure to consult calendars. Judge Cradlebaugh fixed the date as September 10; Dr. Forney as “Friday, September 9 or 10;” all the Mormon witnesses, and Lee, in his confessions, fixed the day of the week as Friday, and the second Friday in September was the 11th, in the year 1857. On the evening of the same day the surviving children, seventeen in number, ranging in age from three to eight years, were taken to Hamlin’s, and afterwards divided out among Mormon families.
The property still remained to be disposed of. A part of it was given to the Indians, and for this, Lee as Indian agent, in his report of November 20, 1857, charged the government over fifteen hundred dollars. The bodies of the dead were searched by Higbee and Klingensmith, the Bishop of Cedar City, and the money found is supposed to have been kept by them. The remaining property was put in Klingensmith’s custody temporarily, and afterwards, on instructions from Brigham Young, was turned over to Lee and sold by him for the benefit of the Church. The bodies were stripped entirely naked, and fingers and ears were mutilated in tearing from them the jewelry, to them no longer valuable. The bloody clothing and the bedding on which the wounded had lain were piled in the back room of the tithing office at Cedar City for some weeks, and when Judge Cradlebaugh examined the room, eighteen months later, it still stank of them. These goods were commonly known as “property taken at the siege of Sevastopol.” Carriages and wagons of the emigrants were in use long afterwards, and some of the jewelry is said to be worn yet in Utah. The value of all the property taken, as nearly as it can be ascertained, was over $70,000. People in Arkansas who saw the organization of the train estimated its value at $100,000.
It was for many years a hotly debated question whether Brigham Young was connected with this crime or not. To those who were familiar with the subordination of the Mormon Church, its system of espionage, its compulsory confessional, its obedience to “counsel,” and its prompt punishment of everything contrary to the will of those in authority, his guilt was a matter of course. But many did not believe it. In 1875 he published a deposition in which he acknowledged himself accessory after the fact, saying that, within two or three months after the affair, Lee began giving him an account of it, and, says the deposition, “I told him to stop, as, from what I had already heard by rumor, I did not wish my feelings harrowed up by a recital of detail.” Lee and Klingensmith say they reported it fully to him, and Hamlin says he did also. To Lee, by his account, Young professed to be much shocked by the killing of the women and children, but, after considering it overnight, he said: “I have made that matter a subject of prayer. I went right to God with it, and asked him to take the horrid vision from my sight, if it were a righteous thing that my people had done in killing those people at the Mountain Meadows. God answered me, and at once the vision was removed. I have evidence from God that he has overruled it all for good, and the action was a righteous one and well intended. The brethren acted from pure motives. The only trouble is that they acted a little prematurely; they were a little ahead of time. I sustain you and all of the brethren for what they did. All that I fear is treachery on the part of someone who took a part with you, but we will look to that.”There is testimony also that he was accessory before the fact, and his proclamation, that “No person shall be allowed to pass or repass, into or through or from this territory without a permit from the proper officer,” surely indicates that he was in an aggressive mood at the time. But this is now immaterial. He has passed beyond human punishment, and his moral guilt is sufficiently established out of his own mouth. On occasions, of self-gratulation he sometimes exposed his methods. On August 12, 1860, he said, in the Tabernacle: “All the army, with its teamsters, hangers-on, and followers, with the judges and nearly all the rest of the civil officers, amounting to some seventeen thousand men, have been searching diligently, for three years to bring one act to light that would criminate me; but they have not been able to trace out one thread or one particle of evidence that would criminate me; do you know why? Because I walk humbly with my God, and do right so far as I know how. I do no evil to any one; and as long as I can have faith in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ to hinder the wolves from tearing the sheep and devouring them, without putting forth my hand, I shall do so. I can say honestly and truly, before God and the holy angels and all men, that not one act of murder or disorder has occurred in this city or territory that I had any knowledge of, any more than a babe a week old, until after the event had transpired; that is the reason they cannot trace any crime to me. If I have faith enough to cause the devils to eat up the devils, like the Kilkenny cats, I shall certainly exercise it. Joseph Smith said that they would eat each other up as did those cats. They will do so here and throughout the world. The nations will consume each other and the Lord will suffer them to bring it about. It does not require much talent or tact to get up opposition in these days; you see it rife in communities, in meetings, in neighborhoods, and in cities; that is the knife that will cut down this government. The axe is laid at the root of the tree, and every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit will be hewn down.”
His guilt is most fully shown in the subsequent course of himself and the Mormon Church. It was unquestionably the intention of the Mormon Church to keep the participation of white men in the massacre a secret, and lay the blame on the Indians. On January 6, 1858, after he was acquainted with the general facts, according to his deposition, Brigham Young reported to Commissioner Denver: “On or about the middle of last September a company of emigrants, travelling the southern route to California, poisoned the meat of an ox that died, and gave it to the Indians .to eat, causing the immediate death of four of their tribe, and poisoning several others. This company also poisoned the water where they were encamped. This occurred at Corn Creek, fifteen miles south of Fillmore City. Tin’s conduct so enraged the Indians that they immediately took measures for revenge. I quote from a letter written to me by John D. Lee, farmer to the Indians in Iron and Washington counties. ‘About the 22d of September, Captain Fancher and company fell victims to the Indians wrath near Mountain Meadows. Their cattle and horses were shot down in every direction; their wagons and property mostly committed to the flames.’ Lamentable as this case truly is, it is only the natural consequence of that fatal policy which treats the Indians like the wolves, or other ferocious beasts.” This plan was, perhaps, as ingenious as any that could have been adopted, but there is no possibility of keeping such a crime secret. A murder by a single hand, under carefully planned circumstances, seldom fails to come to light, but with a crime of this magnitude the exposure of the truth is only a question of time, and a short time at that.
On October 2, 1857, eleven men, partly Mormons, who were secretly escaping from Utah, passed through Mountain Meadows and saw the fruits of divine guidance. One of them afterwards described it, on the witness stand, thus: “Saw two piles of bodies, one composed of women and children, the other of men; the bodies were entirely nude, and seemed to have been thrown promiscuously together; they appeared to have been massacred. Should judge there were sixty or seventy bodies of women and children; saw one man in that pile; the children were aged from one and two months up to twelve years; the small children were most destroyed by wolves and crows; the throats of some were cut, others stabbed with knives; some had balls through them. All the bodies were more or less torn to pieces, except one, the body of a woman, which lay apart, a little southwest of the pile. This showed no signs of decay, and had not been touched by the wild animals. The conntenance was placid and seemed to be in sleep. The work was not freshly done – supposed the bodies had been here fifteen or sixteen days.” These men went on to California and told their story. A meeting of citizens at Los Angeles examined the testimony, decided that the Mormons had committed the crime, and called on the President for protection. The report flew on wings of the wind to every part of the country, which was already excited over the resistance offered to the army. How secret the brethren in Utah kept it! On December 31, fifteen brief weeks after it occurred, William C. Mitchell, of Dubuque, Arkansas, wrote to Senator Sebastian of that state:
“Two of my sons were in the train that was massacred, on their way to California, three hundred miles beyond Salt Lake City, by the Indians and Mormons. There were one hundred and eighteen unmercifully butchered; the women and children were all killed with the exception of fifteen infants. One of my sons, Charles, was married and had one son, which I expect was saved, and at this time is at San Bernardino, I believe in the limits of California. I could designate my grandson if I could see him. . . . Four regiments, together with what regulars can be spared, is too small a force to whip the Mormons and Indians, for rest assured that all the wild tribes will fight for Brigham Young. I am anxious to be in the crowd- I feel that I must have satisfaction for the inhuman manner in which they have slain my children, together with two brothers-in-law and seventeen of their children.”
The people of the neighborhoods whence the emigrants went were satisfied with the evidence they had. The press announced the organization of volunteer companies in a dozen counties of Missouri and Arkansas. The government, however, did not decide so quickly. Many wild reports concerning the situation in Utah had been current – reports of battles in which seven or eight hundred on a side had been killed – of the army being captured and the officers hung – and possibly this was only a canard too. It was decided to investigate first, and Dr. Forney, Superintendent of Utah, was instructed to look into the matter. The Western men did not let the case drop, however. On March 18, 1858, Mr. Gwin, of California, introduced a resolution of inquiry in the Senate, asking what steps had been taken to punish the murderers of the one hundred and eighteen emigrants. He said he knew the Indians were guilty, and it had been charged, and was believed, that the Mormons were, but at any rate the guilty should be punished. On June 22, 1858, Dr. Forney reported: “It affords mc great pleasure to inform you, and the friends of the children in question through you, that I learned today where the children are. In my inquiries about the children I met a gentleman who lives at or near where the massacre took place. This gentleman, Mr. Hamlin, has one of the children, and informs me that all the children (fifteen) in question are in his immediate neighborhood in the care of whites. These unfortunate children were for some days among Indians; with considerable effort they were all recovered, bought and otherwise, from the Indians.” Forney was as impartial a man as the Mormons could have asked for – in fact, he was prejudiced in their favor. He evidently believed Hamlin, of whom more anon, but, as he went south and gathered facts, here and there, the truth gradually forced itself upon him, and on May 1, 1859, when he had recovered sixteen of the children, he wrote: ”Four of the oldest of the children know, Without Doubt Know, enough of the material facts of the Mountain Meadow affair, to relieve the world of the white hellhounds who have disgraced humanity by being mainly instrumental in the murdering of at least one hundred and fifteen men, women, and children, under circumstances and manner without a parallel in human history for atrocity.”
Dr. Forney had cause to change his mind, outside of the evidence of the children. He went first among the Pah-Uant Indians under chief Kanosh, at Corn Creek – the Indians who had been poisoned by the emigrants and taken vengeance on them. he found that none of them had been poisoned by the waters of the spring; that the spring ran so strong that a barrel of arsenic would not have poisoned it; that an ox belonging to Dr. Ray, a Mormon living at Fillmore City, had died about the time the emigrants were camped at Corn Creek, from eating a poisonous weed – a not unusual occurrence – and some Indians who ate of the ox were poisoned, but they had made no complaints of the emigrants, and had no trouble of any kind with them; that none of the Pah-Uants were at the Mountain Meadow massacre; that the conduct of the emigrants all through Utah had been most exemplary; that none of the children had been with the Indians for an hour. And yet, as if desirous of adding a little more to the awful infamy of this affair, all the Mormons who had had custody of these children put in claims for the purchase money expended in buying them from the Indians, as well as for their maintenance, the total claimed amounting to over $7000. Of this amount Forney paid $2961.77 for what he considered proper charges, and reported as to the rest that he “cannot condescend to become the medium of even transmitting such claims to the department.”