Mountain Meadows Massacre
John Doyle Lee was born in September of 1812 in the Illinois Territory. In 1838 Lee joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. He was a personal friend of Joseph Smith, the founder of that religious movement and the adopted son of Brigham Young who was the successor of Joseph Smith. As a Mormon, Mr. Lee practiced plural marriage. He had nineteen wives and fifty-seven children. He is also alleged to have been a member of the Danites. This may have been a paramilitary group that was formed the same year that Lee joined the Mormons.
Lee was also a member of the Council of Fifty. As a member of this group he helped plan and guide the religious group’s move from the Midwest to Utah. Lee was a successful farmer and rancher, and in 1856 he became an Indian Agent serving the Iron County, Utah area. In this position he was to help Native Americans establish farms.
In April of 1857, the Baker-Fancher party left the Ozarks in northwest Arkansas to make the move to California. The members of this group were mostly affluent ranchers and farmers who were well equipped to make the trip to California. They had a herd of about 1,000 cattle, oxen and horses. Along the way, some other small groups joined this group, and some of the original group left to settle in areas they passed along the way.
During the first week of August, 1857…
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