Thursday, August 20, 2015

Sidney Tanner and the Mountain Meadows Massacre

Daily Alta California, Mountain Meadows Massacre, October 27, 1857, 1.

Sidney Tanner and William Mathews were freighting between Salt Lake City and San Bernardino. They left Salt Lake City and made their way down along the rough pioneer road and drove into Cedar City just after the horrible tragedy at Mountain Meadows.

Their wagons were stopped and they were not allowed to go any further. Finally they negotiated travel through the area, guided by Indian missionary Ira Hatch. They could not have known that Hatch had just murdered Abel Baker, the last of the Arkansas emigrants killed in a massacre directed by Isaac C. Haight and John D. Lee and others, and carried out by the men of the Iron County Military District of the Nauvoo Legion. 

The account in the Daily Alta California was collected by a reporter writing under a pseudonym, and included the accounts of two travelers, George Powers of Arkansas and P. M. Warn of New York, who had been traveling with Sidney Tanner and William Mathews.

Sidney Tanner and William Mathews were not participants in the Massacre, and although they were taken past the massacre site at night, they must have seen proof of the awful carnage, which was represented to them as being the work of the local native tribes. Mathews was a former Southerner and a slave-owner and had a fiery temper, which is evident in the newspaper report of his comments after the Massacre.

For reliable information about the massacre, see the book Massacre at Mountain Meadows (Walker, Turley, Leonard), with important data summarized at http://mountainmeadowsmassacre.org/.

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