July 26, 1891 pg. 3
MASSACRE OF MORRISITES
The inside History of that
Dreadful Deed of Barton’s. How he shot Morris and a Woman.
Banks Was Murdered and Disposed
of in the Night – The Number Slain - Deceptive Promises by Brigham –
Gen. Connor’s Kindness – The Morrisite Dispensation – Ninth Letter.
- In Fulfillment of our promise we now write the facts concerning
the surrender of the Morrisite group, the killing of Morris
and Banks and the women, after the surrender, and other events in
connection till a large portion of the Morrisite people were found in a
condition by General Connor, and were protected and cared for by him.
It was nearly sundown on
Sunday, the 15th. The
battle had continued for three days. Word
was taken to Morris that
and his men were
coming to close quarters. That
in proof of this a masked battery was seen moving toward the camp from the
west. An appeal was made to
for instruction; but he had no particular instructions to give.
He expected in a few minutes to die, and for that matter so did
they all, but differed as to
the manner in which death should come to them, some preferring to
die fighting. A promiscuous
___ gathered around Morris for consultation and
it was at this point that John Parson, one of the five for whom it
was said that writs were issued, took the most prominent part – he urged
five men give themselves up in a body – that if they would agree with
him to do this, he would take out a flag of truce, and use all his efforts
negotiations that he might make to prevent further bloodshed and save the
lives of the people. The other
four agreed to Parson’s proposition and
went immediately to wish their wives good-by and give themselves up
according to agreement. Parson
took with him a man by the name of Alonzo
Brown, to carry the white flag and was soon in communications with Judson
Stoddard of the (so-called) sheriff’s posse.
Parson surrendered to
Stoddard unconditionally, but with two requests, one was that the lives of
the people might be spared, which Stoddard promised he would do all he
could to accomplish, and the other was that he (Parson) being ready to die
wished Stoddard to be his executioner then and there, and not carry him
off into the night and let nobody know how he died.
Stoddard did his best with the first request and no doubt shielded
In a few minutes
and the men in immediate authority with him, on horseback and hundreds of
his men on foot, were in the open square of the
groups that we have before described.
Men, women and children armed and unarmed.
Brighamites and Morrisites all mixed up together.
was agitated, and ordered some of the Morrisite men to give up their arms,
which they were not willing by his orders to do.
Parson again became
prominent, for there was yet fear and more fighting would be done.
The people had been in the habit of being called together by a
bugle call, so
Parsons had a call sounded and all the people gathered.
He informed them that a surrender had been made, and that they must
stack their arms.
At his request they did so, and the arms were soon stacked and
honestly too, for had they not been it is more than probably that more
have been done.
Killing of Morris
By this time Morris and Banks
and the others were on the ground. All
had surrendered and the Morrisites were entirely without arms waiting
from Burton, but Burton, instead of giving order to secure his prisoners
and dispose of them as he chose, having unlimited power at his command to
do so spoke to Morris in an angry tone, and asked him if he would
surrender to the name of the Lord, and at the same time rode his horse
upon Morris as though he would ride him down.
Morris resisted this by seizing the horse bridle setting the horse
back somewhat and answering,
drew his revolver and shot him three or four times before he fell.
A Danish woman named ___
was shot at the same time and
killed, but whether by accident or design is not known, but another woman
named Bowman having in her arms the baby whose mother was killed by
the first cannon shot fired into the congregation, standing close to
Burton and Morris said to Burton, “O, you bloodthirsty villain.”
shot her also,
and the babe who fell from her mother’s arms when her mother was killed,
again fell with her foster mother and was again unharmed.
At the same time some men of
the Sheriff’s posse walked up behind John Banks and placing the muzzle
of his gun to John’s neck, shot him.
universal opinion as it has come down through the years is that he did
not necessarily die from that wound, but he was dead before he
a prisoner at Salt Lake City.
At this point in our history
the question arises, why were these persons killed after the surrender and
when they were entirely helpless, having given
up their arms? Why did
seek to irritate and force Morris into ___ ___ or antagonistic act or
speech when he stood entirely helpless – a prisoner
among the other prisoners? And
why did Morris answer as he did, inviting, as it were,
to kill him?
We will ___ make a little
explanation so that the readers of THE TRIBUNE, be they Mormons or
Gentiles, may understand the matter better.
the Mountain Meadow tragedy we were told in the first place that the
Indians did the work and afterward that John D. Lee directed it, so the
people now vehemently urge that it was by the authority of Judge Kinney
and the power of the Government of the United States that the attack on
Morrisite camp was made, and that Sheriff Burton was by virtue of his
office legally seeking to arrest certain men.
All this is TECHNICALLY TRUE
but to show that he was controlled from what to him was a higher source we
here mention for the first time in this sketch that Joseph A. Young, an
adopted son of Brigham Young, was also John D. Lee, director of the
Mountain Meadow horror, was messenger between Burton and Brigham during
the three days’ siege forwarding the artillery and bringing daily
instructions from his father as to what should be done, and part of those
that no prisoners should be taken, but that all should die.
When Burton and his men entered
the camp the first thing they inquired for was the dead – they supposed
that they had killed hundreds and a dispute
likely to end in a quarrel
occurred between some of them and some of the Morrisites – Burton’s
men charging the Morrisites with having hid, or buried
their dead. That they had only
killed with the best work they could do, about half a dozen persons was
not a good report to take to Brigham, and was
very far from carrying out the original design, and by this time the end
of the third day, conditions not existing on the morning of the first day
super----, so that it was now too late for a general massacre.
These conditions were that the noise of the artillery on Sunday the
15th and the bulletins
arriving every few hours in Salt Lake City had induced ____spectators to
go up to the hills overlooking Morris’ camp and in this way, many of
being Gentiles, there were too many witnesses of what was being done for
the men who were leaders to be very well satisfied with the situation.
Besides this we have been assured by those who are intimately acquainted
with ___that Robert Burton is by nature a tender-hearted and good man,
but by degrees during the earlier years of his life had become bound by
those secret church oaths that we know so well and understand to do
the Presidency of the church required and ask no questions.
It is possible that
had received special instructions [regarding?] Morris, but whether that be
so or not, what we have written is sufficient reason
for his agitation and anger.
The reason why Morris may be said to have invited death is easier to tell.
None of the Morrisites expected to live long after they were in the hands
their enemies, the reader can only understand this by carrying his mind
back to the situation of those days. The
Mountain Meadow tragedy was yet
very fresh in the minds of the entire Mormon people.
Peculiarly so in the Morrisite mind, engraved there by their own
personal experiences and by the
proposition of the old man Watts at the time of Bishop Cook’s trial when
he said: “According to our rules we should cut their throats and lay
in the brush.”
If the readers of THE TRIBUNE
can but partially realize such a state of church society and priesthood
government, they will see why Morris invited
DEATH ON THE SPOT rather than be taken prisoner and put to death in
secret. After his death his
brother called for his body so that it might receive
a decent burial. The request
was refused, but none of the friends of either Morris or Banks ever knew
how the bodies were disposed of. As
said, perhaps the rules of the church required that the bodies would be
mutilated and therefore the secret manner of the burial.
A touching incident happened
after the killing of Morris. The
two men and two women lay there under the feet of the crowd and the men
to separate from the women and stand on the other side of the square.
No explanation was given, and the Morrisites could under the
only think of the pattern of the work done at Mountain Meadows.
When the men began to form a line as required, some of their wives
to go with them so, as they supposed, sure death.
Some of the women, therefore clung to the men and would not be
separated. Some of the more
’s men tore the women away from their husbands and dragged them on the
ground by the hair of their heads. Parson
Burton to interfere and he did so, and finally the men were separated from
the women – the women were left under guard in the camp and the men
marched about a mile towards Burton’s headquarters and corralled till
morning, and it was not until morning that it dawned upon their minds that
were to be taken as prisoners to Salt Lake, and not shot where they were.
As the men were marched away the women were left under guard.
houses were entered and searched, and any thing of value, watches,
jewelry, earrings, were taken, even to the blacksmith’s tools out of the
propositions were made to some of the younger good-looking women to go
with them and under the protection of their guard – that this was the
avenue to the future left open to them, for they would never see their
The account of the march to
Salt Lake City
we have given in a previous letter, the men were taken before Judge Kinney
and gave mutual bonds for
each other to the amount of $1500 each to appear for trial in March of the
succeeding year, 1863.
As soon as the men had returned to camp, and were considering what they
should next do, a committee of neighboring bishops went up also with a
letter of condolence and sympathy from Brigham.
We may here incidentally say that the chief of that committee was
so deficient in a common school
education that when the people were assembled to hear the letter read he
was unable to read it. Parson
read it for him, and the same was true of
Lot Smith when he went up with the writs of attachment for property in
relation to the fines which we have mentioned.
Parson read his writ for him.
Such were the kind of men that Brigham employed, but all times not
any of them went to the camp they were treated with marked courtesy and
respect - - all that has been said to the contrary is untrue.
The Morrisites had no idea of resisting no officer of the law by
force. When the congregation
was assembled to bear the notice read, there Burton sent in by the cowboy,
and his chief aids could see
from the hills perfectly well what people were
doing, that there were no signs whatever that the Morrisites intended any
had an abundance of men to have marched down and
surrounded that meeting and taken them all prisoners, it could have been
done in ten minutes. The fact
of firing a cannon into that congregation could
only give the impression to the Morrisites that extermination and not
arrest was the thing intended. Brigham
stated in his letter that he had heard that
there was a body of people at Weber who had met with a great misfortune
– that he sympathized with them and had sent some of the bishops to
them work and help and take them from the scene of their recent disaster.
The Morrisites accepted the proffered kindness and small parties
the bishops to the neighboring wards, only to discover that this was a
move to scatter them and make it easier to further distress them.
In a few days
other orders were issued forbidding any person from renting a dwelling of
any kind, or giving employment to a Morrisite.
This process soon brought the
Morrisites to the increasingly destitute condition in which General Connor
found them when he entered the territory in the fall of the same year.
took them under his protection and gave them employment – sent a large
number as we have related to the western part of
, and a large party
he colonized at
. About [eighty?] of the
Morrisites appeared for trial in Judge Kinney’s court in March of 1863.
Seven men were sentenced to
terms of imprisonment varying from two to six years.
A petition was circulated for their pardon and Governor Harding,
the then acting Governor of the Territory, pardoned them and they were
liberated. Their names were
Peter C. Klenyard, John E. Jones, Abraham Taylor,
George Lee, Christian Nelson, Jons Christenseon and John Nielson.
There were in all of the Morrisites killed eleven persons, seven during
the siege and four as we have stated after the surrender.
The girl who had her
chin shot off had it patched up by some skillful surgeon – became a wife
to a Mr. Niels Anderson at
, and is mother of a fine family
of boys and girls.
The baby of Joseph March that
we have mentioned as having fallen twice to the ground unharmed, once from
the arms of its mother, and afterwards from
the arms of Mrs. Bowman, who had adopted it, lives and married as well.
We saw her and her father Joseph March at Reese Rive in 1864 and
at the same place about ten years later as we passed through that country.
Bishop Cook, Parson, Eardly and many others of the Morrisites
Carson Valley, and for several years we enjoyed their society and
acquaintance in that section of country, and both from them and from their
we have learned the particulars that we have here given, and can vouch to
the readers of THE TRIBUNE for their truth.
And besides this, General
Connor is yet with us and we are satisfied that he will be ever willing to
relate what he knows concerning the Morrisites.
We have also had the strongest
assurance from those who went that but very few of them went up against
Morris camp willingly; of course there are
a few exceptions, but the great bulk of the men who went only went on
account of the church covenants which required to OBEY THE PRIESTHOOD
no matter what they are required to do, and ask no questions.
Judge Kinney himself apologized to the Morrisites for what had
happened, and he was
himself deceived – that he had no idea of sending any such expedition to
arrest those men.
It is well enough to say that
this happened long ago, but the readers of THE TRIBUNE will do well to
remember that the church priesthood has not
changed its nature, or its principles – those who think so will find
themselves miserably mistaken. If
they were sincere there are a few simple things
that they might easily do, which indeed their professions of honesty
demand that they should do. There
is not a number of the church that does not
perfectly know that Joseph Smith of Lamoni is the head of the church –
this is a proposition that cannot be disputed.
Invite him to take his place,
and what ___ ___ ___ would be
taken toward reconciling all parties now in conflict.
To refuse to do this shows that the church is nothing but a
political machine and lest there is no truth or sincerity in it not even
refusing to do this let the politics of the world be honestly and
from the church. The Mormon
Church or any other church perverted
into a political machine cannot live on American soil, and no book tells
fully and completely than the Book of Mormon.