Groups remember victims of 1857 massacre in Utah


ST. GEORGE, Utah — Historians, Mormon church officials and descendants of those connected with the Mountain Meadows massacre in 1857 gathered to mark the 150th anniversary of the reburying of bones from those killed in the attack.

The ceremony May 30 also was an opportunity for three descendant groups of the massacre victims to hear from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints about efforts to get national landmark status for the site.

On Sept. 11, 1857, 120 men, women and children from the Baker-Fancher wagon train were attacked and murdered at Mountain Meadows by Cedar City-area church and militia leaders.

The Arkansas-based travelers were bound for California when their stopover in the Utah meadows turned deadly.

A year and a half after the massacre, Army Maj. James Carleton and his troops visited the site, which is about 30 miles north of St. George, and collected the bones that were buried in hastily dug graves. The bones were then reburied.

The 2,500-acre Mountain Meadows site already is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Richard Turley Jr., an assistant church historian, said the proposal to get the site landmark status has been filed with the National Park Service.

If the proposal moves forward, it will be reviewed by several committees.

“All comments we’ve had in the process have been positive,” Turley said.


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