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Mountain Meadows victims remembered by ancestors
April 23, 2007
Mountain Meadows Massacre gathering at Beller Spring, Saturday, April 21, 2007.
Mountain Meadows Massacre gathering at Beller Spring, Saturday, April 21, 2007. (Staff Photo/James L. White)
By James L. White, Times Staff
It looked like something out of the past - and it was.
Saturday, members of the Mountain Meadows Massacre Descendants gathered at Beller Spring outside of Harrison to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the event that saw more than 100 Arkansas settlers slaughtered in southwest Utah.
Pat Norris of Carroll County is the great-great-great-granddaughter of Alexander Fancher, one of the captains of the wagon train that left Beller Spring headed for California in 1857.
She said the event Saturday was designed to help remember their ancestors as they would have been preparing for a trip to find happiness far away.
"Hopefully, it will be a happier time of remembering their excitement and anticipation as they were preparing for their California journey," she said last week.
According to the Mountain Meadows Association, the settlers had camped in Mountain Meadows and in the early morning hours of September 7 they were attacked by a party of local Mormon settlers and Indians, who also laid siege to their encampment.
During the siege, 15 emigrant men were killed in the fighting or while trying to escape, but in the afternoon of September 11, the attackers persuaded the settlers to lay down their weapons and surrender. They apparently were promised safe passage from the valley.
After they were all out of the encirclement or wagons, the unarmed settlers were set upon and slaughtered, leaving only 17 young children as survivors.
"At least 120 souls died in what became known as the Mountain Meadows Massacre," the Association's Web site said.
Saturday, ancestors and others gathered at the spring, setting up camp "just as similar as possible to what we believe their camp would have looked like," Norris said.
The Saturday event wasn't about brooding on past wounds, but about trying to make sure those who perished were memorialized as people and not remembered as statistics.
"We just decided it was time for us to have a big memorial here in Arkansas, where the wagon train started from," Norris said. "It's about the people who left here and never made it."
Roger V. Logan, Jr.
Boone County historian Roger Logan was one of the speakers at the Mountain Meadows Massacre
memorial ceremony at Beller Spring south of Harrison. (Staff Photo/James L. White)
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