Earliest Report of Massacre

“The Immigrant Massacre”
Daily Alta California
17 October 1857
Page 1, Column 1.

Angels [Camp], October 14, 1857

Editors Alta: This morning, while conversing with some immigrants, who have lately arrived via the Plains from Arkansas, and are living within a few miles of this place, I related to them the circumstances of the massacre. They immediately informed me that they knew who the parties were. They stated that there were three, and perhaps four, companies from Arkansas, while the balance of the company was made up of Missourians, who fell in with them; of these latter, they knew nothing, but the Arkansas companies, consisted of Faziers [Fanchers], Camerons and the two Dunlaps, and perhaps Bakers. They were from the counties of Marion, Harrol [sic] and Johnson. They say when they saw them, they were encamped six miles from Salt Lake City, that they had been there for some time, and that they intended to stay there until the weather got cool enough for them to come by the South Pass [the Southern Route], expecting to make a stay of eight weeks all together. Baker had not arrived there when they left, but as they can learn nothing from him or his company, they concluded that he had fallen in and decided to come into California with these companies. The two Dunlaps had each nine children, some of them well grown. If these are the persons who were slaughtered, who can be so blind as not to see that the hands of Mormons are stained with this blood. How could so large a company remain among them for two months and they not learn one name? and why would the Indians kill every being, except those that were too young to communicate anything to their friends, or hardly tell a name, or tell who were the murderers of their parents, and brothers and sisters; or even discriminate between white men and Indians? Why all this concealment? and in the very face of it the Indians tell what they have done and sell all their spoils to the whites. It will do to lay this blood upon them, but I feel certain that investigation will throw it off. P.

Letter from Angel’s Camp
Daily Alta California, 1 November 1857, 1/3.

Further particulars about the murdered emigrants—their names and circumstances—the Mormons guilty of the crime—how they should be punished

Angel’s, October 29, 1857

By the late news from Los Angeles, I see that the information given by me in my last letter, in reference to the names of the murdered emigrants, is about to prove true. In view of this fact, I went out this morning to see the immigrants that gave me the information, to learn further particulars from them. I called on but one of the families, and they informed me that in Arkansas they lived but three miles from Baker’s farm, and that he was generally known by the name of “Jack” or “Captain Jack,” Baker. He was reported to be wealthy, and left home with four hundred head of cattle, accompanied by his two sons. One son, named George, had spent some years in California, and had lived about Stockton, Sonora and Columbia. The other son was single. The old man intended, as soon as he could settle here, to return by water and bring out the remainder of his family. In his company were two brothers, by the name of Mitchel, (one of whom had his family,) a man named Milan Jones, and a widow named Tacket, who was coming to live with her son in California. I think this son is living near Tuttletown. My informants saw all these persons at Fort Bridger, about the last of July. Fancier (I wrote Fazier by mistake in my other letter) had spent some years in California, but my informant did not know in what part. They think the whole company had at least a thousand head of cattle with them. They also had many splendid rifles and guns, and plenty of them. My informants tell me, that the day they passed the junction of the Cut-off and the main road through Salt Lake City, (thirty miles this side of the city,) they saw a party of Indians enjoying a feast given them by the Mormons. The Mormons said they had just finished a treaty with the Indians, the purpose of which was that the Indians were not to trouble the whites who travelled through by the Salt Lake route, as they wanted them to pass that way in order to trade with them.

The last news also confirms my opinion as to who were the perpetrators of this deed. There were some facts connected with the first information given by the Mormons of this slaughter, that convinced me that the murderers were not Indians. It may be true that Indians took part in the work, but the blame rests with those who led them on. The first of these facts is, that the young children were saved. This was no Indian act, but was natural for the Mormons, who wanted to train them to their faith. The second is, the suppression of all the names. Now, if no one of that large company did not tell his name to any Mormon, they certainly left some evidence among the property as to who they were and where they were from. The third is, the statement that the Indians had told the whites what they had done.

We are all at a loss to know what is to be done with these people, and we dread to contemplate the horrors of the future. If soldiers must be sent to conquer them, rivers of blood must flow through their valleys before it will be done. If they are to be left alone to do as they will, the great highway of travel between the Atlantic States and the Pacific will be closed, and Utah will be the place of refuge for all the villains who escape from justice in the States, and a worse set will be gathered there than the world has ever seen.

The only remedy seems to be to dissolve the Territorial government, declare their laws null and void, send large bodies of soldiers to be stationed at every town and settlement in the Territory, let martial law prevail, then hang or shoot every man that rebels, punish every one according to the crime he commits, and give encouragement to the Gentiles to settle there. By this policy the country will fill up with Gentiles.   P.