Wednesday, May 2, 2012

John D. Lee is convicted for his Participation in the Meadow Mountains Massacre of 1857

From the Doniphan Prospect, October 13, 1876 (page 1). Mention of the conviction of John D. Lee for his participation in the Mountain Meadow Massacre in southern Utah in 1857. Lee was convicted on September 20, 1876, but the story was not picked up until October 13, 1876 in Doniphan. Doniphan was the neighboring town to where my ancestors, Robert King and Tabitha House resided in 1876. I found this article while I was looking for the death notice of Robert King who supposedly died in 1876.

Here is the transcript of the article:

Justice at Last.

SALT LAKE, Oct. 10. – At Bea-
ver, Utah, to-day, Judge Bore-
man passed sentence upon John
D. Lee for participation in the
Mountain Meadow massacre, 19
years ago. In doing so he call-
ed attention to the attrocities of
the crime and tae [sic] inability,
heretofore, of the authorities to
procure evidence, stating that
the conspiracy to murder was
widespread, that Lee was finally
offered up as a sacrafice to pop-
ular indigna ion, but that others,
equally as guilty, might here-
after expect punishment. The
prisoner, having the right under
the laws of the Territory, to
choose death by hanging, shoot-
ing or beheading, and having
chosen to be shot, was sentenced
to be shot to death January 26,

Wow, he had a choice to be shot, hanged or beheaded? And they think capital punishment is harsh today! Needless to say he chose to be shot. He was shot by a firing squad on March 23, 1877.

I included this article because my Dunlap family was one of the families that was killed during the Meadow Mountain Massacre. The Utahians believed the wagon convoy of familes from Arkansas had poisoned their people, farm animals, crops, and water supply so they retaliated by killing everyone in the convoy. Only a few children survived. You can read more about the massacre and find references on its Wikipedia page here. Lee was the only man convicted and as you can see, it took 19 years to do so. 

Here is a photo of John D. Lee from the Wikipedia page (original source is the Utah Historical Society) as it is in the public domain.

You can read John D Lee's memoir that he wrote in prison here.

More information about the Mountain Meadows Massacre of 1857

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