Music: Wayfaring Stranger                       

Eerilying the same September 11 date, the 1857 Meadows Massacre was the largest religious massacre in America's history until September 11, 2001.  Before the tragedies of Oklahoma City in 1995, and September 11, 2001, the Mountain Meadows Massacre was the largest civilian massacre in our Country's history. It was the worst atrocity in the annals of the West. Yet the massacre of more than 120 innocent men, women, and children of the Fancher Train by Mormons in Mountain Meadows, Utah is still largely unrecognized, and rarely recorded in history books...

       Mountain Meadows Monument
                    Mountain Meadows, Utah

In Memoriam

"Between September 7 and 11, 1857
A Company of More Than120 Arkansas Emigrants

Led By Capt. John T. Baker
  And Capt. Alexander Fancher

Was Attacked While En Route to California.
This Event Is Known In History As

The Mountain Meadows Massacre"

Do not stand at my grave and weep,
I am not there, I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glint on snow,
I am the sunlight on ripened grain,

I am the gentle Autumn rain.
When you wake in the morning hush,
I am the swift uplifting rush,
Of quiet birds in circling flight,
I am the soft starlight at night.
    Do not stand at my grave and weep,
I am not there, I do not sleep…
 Mary Frye   
Please help to memorialize
and preserve this historic site in  Mountain Meadows

   " This is the saddest place in Utah. It may even be one of the saddest places in the West.
      It is called Mountain Meadows..."

"Today, the site, which is just off State Route 18 as it winds through the foothills of the Pine Valley Mountains, is heavy with the judgment of history. It is somber, and quiet... 

"The shrieks of women and children mingle
with the frenzied cries of fiends incarnate, then the death like silence returns. He seems to feel the touch of spirit hands, to hear the murmur of spirit voices pleading for remembrance..."
(Mountain Meadows Massacre by Josiah F. Gibbs)

At the top is a granite memorial listing the names of the dead. Viewing scopes, cold to the touch,     direct the eye to the site of the attack, the encampment, the killing."   (

  Photos courtesy of George & Audrey DeLange


   Maps & Directions


"As the occasional visitor, with bared head, stands by the desert grave, his imagination recalls the death march up the valley...

"The public memorial is actually on a low bluff overlooking the valley. The short winding trail has several explanatory plaques along it.


"As many as 140 men, women, and children, traveling in one of the richest California bound wagon trains ever assembled, had been attacked, besieged for five days, persuaded to surrender under a flag of truce and a pledge of safe passage, and then murdered. According to contemporaneous accounts, including the evidence presented at the trial of the one figure held legally responsible for the murders, John Doyle Lee, the attack on the train and the ensuing killings were carried out by a combined force of Paiute Indians and members of a local militia of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or the Mormons. Lee was an adopted son and longtime intimate and military commander of the Mormons' leader, Brigham Young, and the atrocity he was part of, known as the Mountain Meadows Massacre after the pastoral valley where the murders took place, was the worst in the annals of the West." (Sally Denton, American Heritage Magazine, October 2001) 

                                  The Fancher Train

                     Detailed Map & Information Tour of  The Fancher Train Route


Today some records and tales relate a story about one large wagon train, and the men, women, and children who were murdered at Mountain Meadows, which is often referred to collectively as the Baker-Fancher Train. This is not accurate. This designation developed in 1990, intended as a recognition that there was more than one wagon train involved in the massacre.  In addition to the Fancher Train which is the most remembered, there were many other wagon trains that joined up along the way, broke off, or joined up again. Those other wagon trains included the Poteet-Tackett-Jones Train, the Crooked Creek Train, the Campbell Train, the Parker Train, the Baker Train, and others. (Some of these trains escaped the Massacre.) The Baker Train, named for Captain John Twitty Baker, was the last to arrive in Utah of those who had chosen to join up and travel south together through Utah. Each Spring, thousands of wagon trains left for California and the story of the Arkansas Emigrants and the Mountain Meadows Massacre has incorrectly morphed into one large, all-inclusive, "Baker-Fancher Train" that departed from Caravan Springs, Carroll County, Arkansas. Such a Train never existed.      

The Fancher Train, under the leadership of Captain Alexander Fancher, left from Benton County, Arkansas. The Huff Train also left from Benton County. The Poteet-Tackett-Jones Trains (all relatives) originally left from Johnson County and traveled up through Washington County. The Baker Train left from Carroll County, near present day Harrison. The Cameron and Miller Trains (previously from the Osage area) left from Johnson County, while the Mitchell, Dunlap and Prewitt Trains departed from Marion County. These trains all left at different times and were under the organization of each individual wagon train master. There were probably individuals and elements of other wagon trains that joined these trains along their journey, as was the custom at that time.  Because of this, it will never be known with certainty the names of all of those who were members of the trains on the fateful day they reached Mountain Meadows, in the Utah Territory.

(From the upcoming book "1857: An Arkansas Family Primer To The Mountain Meadows Massacre", by Lynn-Marie Fancher and Alison Wallner. Copyright 2006.)

                                 Arkansas Map showing the counties where some of the victim's trains originated.

                                More Information On The Mountain Meadows Massacre                           

 Those believed to have been killed at or near Mountain Meadows
Estimates range from 120 to 150. There are 82 names inscribed on the Monument, and 26 others are
noted, but their identities remain unknown. 17 Children survived.     

Senator William C. Mitchell's List of the Victims

Captain Alexander and the Fanchers who were killed At Mountain Meadows

 The  children who survived and were returned to their families in Arkansas

Identifying The Children Who Survived
The Fancher Survivors: Christopher "Kit"  Carson Fancher & Tryphena D. Fancher
1860 Depositions


The Killing Field  

                                   mmm.jpg (190588 bytes)
                                                       The Scene Of The Mountain Meadows Massacre, Utah Territory
                                          Steel engraving from Dunn's Massacres of the Mountains
                       Said to
have been made by a person who helped re-bury the victims nearly two years
                     after the Massacre. This haunting depiction appeared in Harper's Weekly August 13, 1859.

"On Sept. 11, 1857, a group of California-bound pioneers camping in southern Utah were murdered by a Mormon militia and its Indian allies. The massacre lasted less than five minutes, but when it was over, 120 men, women and children had been clubbed, stabbed or shot at point-blank range. Their corpses, stripped of clothes and jewelry, were left to be picked apart by wolves and buzzards." (New York Times, October 11, 2002) 

Maj. James H. Carleton, commanding a troop of U. S. dragoons from California, was the first federal officer to investigate the massacre. He visited the site two years after the bloody massacre. In a special report to Congress in 1859, Carleton stated: "In pursuing the bloody thread which runs throughout this picture of sad realities, the question how this crime, that for hellish atrocity has no parallel in our history, can be adequately punished often comes up and seeks in vain for an answer." Major Carleton's Report.  

         Engraving of the Mountain Meadow
by T.B.H. Stenhouse  

       The Mountain Meadows Massacre stands without a
       parallel amongst the crimes that stain the pages of
       history. It was a crime committed without cause or
       justification of any kind to relieve it of its fearful
       character... When nearly exhausted from fatigue and
       thirst, (the men of the caravan) were approached by
       white men, with a flag of truce, and induced to
       surrender their arms, under the most solemn promises
       of protection. They were then murdered in cold blood."
(William Bishop, Attorney to John D. Lee)


                                The First Monument At Mountain Meadows

Major Carleton, and others, gathered up skulls and scattered bones representing the partial remains of thirty-six of the emigrants that had laid strewn across Mountain Meadows for almost two years. They erected a stone cairn which covered these remains, and added a small granite marker set against the north side of the cairn which was marked
"Here 120 men, women, and children were massacred in cold blood early in September, 1857. They were from Arkansas."

On top of the cairn Major Carleton erected a cedar cross on which he carved the legend: "Vengeance is mine, and I will repay, saith the Lord." Some time later the cedar cross disappeared. Military officials marked some other burial sites in the valley with simple stone cairns. Replica of Original Stone Cairn Monument

According to Mormon Apostle Wilford Woodruff 's diary, Mormon President Brigham Young visited the site of the Mountain Massacre: "May 25 (1861)... The pile of stone was about twelve feet high but beginning to tumble down. A wooden cross is placed on top with the following words, Vengeance is mine and I will repay saith the Lord... Pres. Young said it should be Vengeance is mine and I have taken a little."

                 All the Land of Mountain Meadows Is A Gravesite

The remains of all of those who died in the Mountain Meadows Massacre have never been recovered. The Fancher Train emigrants buried the bodies of ten men killed during the five-day siege somewhere within the circled wagons of the encampment located west of the current monument in the valley. Most of the Fancher party died at various locations northeast of the 1859 memorial.

Before Carleton’s arrival, Captains Reuben T. Campbell and Charles Brewer, along with men from Camp Floyd, Utah, had collected and buried the remains of twenty-six emigrants in three different graves on the west side of the California Road about one and one-half miles north of the original encampment. Brewer reported that “the remains of 18 were buried in one grave, 12 in another and 6 in another.” 

The 1859 stone cairn was not maintained. (Photograph of the old stone cairn ca 1898.) In September 1932 the Utah Trails and Landmarks Association built a protective stone wall around what remained of the 1859 grave site and installed a bronze marker. The 1932 marker was replaced, and a new memorial located on San Dan Hill, overlooking the Mountain Meadows Valley, was dedicated on September 15, 1990.

                                      That which we have done here...

Under the direction of President Gordon B. Hinckley and with the cooperation and efforts of the Mountain Meadows Association and others, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints replaced the 1932 wall and installed the present Grave Site Memorial. The new memorial was dedicated on September 11, 1999.  

On September 10, 1999 the remains of the twenty nine individuals, recovered during the construction of the new 1999 monument, were re-interred in a pine-lined concrete burial vault.

Burial Sites Plaque



   There are currently two Memorials at the Mountain Meadows site:

                                  The 1990 Monument   

The 1999 Monument

                                               The 1955 Harrison, Arkansas Monument



                   Mountain Meadows Massacre Links

New book by Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Larry McMurty (author of Lonesome Dove): Oh What A Slaughter - Massacres In The American West 1846-1890, prominently features the Mountain Meadows Massacre. Available November 29, 2005. Click on BOOKS link below for additional information.


Mountain Meadows Association ~
Join Today! The MMA is having a membership drive!
The MMA is a non-profit, volunteer organization that works to identify, remember, and honor those killed in the Mountain Meadows Massacre of 1857. It is their goal to protect and preserve the graves of the victims, and surrounding areas, and to remember those who were killed in deference to the wishes of the descendant families. The MMA acts as a resource for research, and provides historical data and genealogical information about those who died at Mountain Meadows, and promotes inquiry, discussion, and dissemination of accurate information about the event. MMA membership is open to everyone!

Mountain Meadows Massacre Descendants ~ Open to those with a blood connection to the Massacre, or an historical interest. Only descendants have voting priviledges.

Mountain Meadows Massacre Resources:






Videos & Film


Other Resources:

The Origin of the American Fancher Surname - Fanshawe


                                                    Thank You For Stopping By!