Wednesday, March 30, 2016
Mountain Meadow Massacre Monument
In the 1800s before the railroads stretched across the country thousands of emigrants headed west - walking, riding in wagons or on horseback. Mormons seeking religious freedom in Salt Lake City, men with gold fever going to California and families wanting a new life in the fertile valleys of Oregon all followed the same trail for almost 1,000 miles. Their paths diverged at Fort Bridger, a supply post in what is now Wyoming. Some travelers bound for southern California followed the Mormon Trail to Salt Lake City and continued south through Utah territory. This was the path of the Fancher–Baker party, a loosely formed group of families from Arkansas, on their way to California. And this is where all of them with the exception of 17 children were murdered.
The reasons behind the massacre have never been completely clear. It may have paranoia over a perceived threat of invasion by the federal government, it may have been misguided revenge for previous persecution or it may have been simply a desire to obtain the cattle and possessions of the Fancher–Baker party. Whatever the reasons a group of local militiamen ambushed the party as they were camped in Mountain Meadow. After a five day siege members of the militia approached the camp bearing a white flag. The Fancher–Baker party was promised a safe escort if they would give up their weapons. Instead, after separating the woman and children from the men, all of them, except for the 17 young children, were killed.
The Mountain Meadow National Historic Landmark consists of four sites spaced about a mile apart. Each has a monument and signs with historic information. The original monument at Mountain Meadow was built by the US Army. New monuments have been built by descendents of the Fancher–Baker party and members of the Church of the Latter Day Saints. All have parking lots that are large enough for RVs.
None of the four sites are completely accessible. The men’s and women’s massacre sites have paths with loose gravel. The overlook and the Mountain Meadow site have paved paths with very steep sections.
Monument 37.47553, -113.64291