Brigham's Destroying Angel


p. 197



    The statement that "no attempt was made to punish Smith's murderers," is a great error; but it is not surprising that Hickman should believe it, as every Mormon in Utah has heard it from the pulpit a thousand times. The priesthood had worked up such a state of feeling in Hancock County, that the law was utterly powerless; and yet they heap execrations upon all the officers of the State and of the United States, because the law did not avenge the Smiths. Governor Ford, and most of the prominent men of the State, used their utmost exertions to bring to justice all parties connected with the assassination, but were defeated by the defects of the jury system—a system which the Mormons had taught their enemies too well how to take advantage of. From Ford's "History of Illinois" I condense his account of the trial of those accused of the murder of The Smiths:—

    "About one year after, the apostles abandoned for the present the project of converting the world to the new religion. The missionaries were ordered home, and it was announced that the world had rejected the gospel by the murder of the Prophet and Patriarch. The congregations were regularly called for worship, but instead of expounding the new gospel, the zealous and infuriated preachers now indulged only in curses and strains of abuse of the Gentiles. A sermon was no more than an inflammatory stump-speech, relating to their quarrels with their enemies. and ornamented with an abundance of profanity—curses upon their enemies, upon government, upon all public

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officers, were now the lessons taught by the elders to inflame their people with the highest degree of spite and malice against all who were not of the Mormon church, or its obsequious tools.

    "The Mormons invoked the assistance of Government to take vengeance upon the murderers of the Smiths. The anti-Mormons asked the Governor to violate the Constitution which he was sworn to support, by erecting himself into at military despot, and exiling the Mormons. The latter in their newspapers invited the Governor to assume absolute power, by taking summary vengeance on their enemies, by shooting fifty or a hundred of them without judge or jury. Both parties were thoroughly disgusted with constitutional provisions, restraining them from summary vengeance; each was ready to submit to arbitrary power, to the fiat of a dictator, to make me a king for the time being, and abolish both the forms and spirits of free government, if the despotism to be erected upon its ruins could only be wielded for their benefit, and to take vengeance on their enemies.

    " ***** In this state of the case I applied to General J. J. Hardin, of the State Militia, and to Colonels Baker, Merriman, and Weatherford, who, with my own exertions, succeeded in raising five hundred volunteers. With this little force, under command of General Hardin, I arrived in Hancock County early in October. The malcontents (anti-Mormon mob), abandoned their design, and all the leaders fled to Missouri. The Carthage Greys fled almost in a body, carrying their arms along with them. **** We reached Warsaw about noon; that night we were to cross the Mississippi at Churchville and seize three anti-Mormons, for whom we had writs for the murder of the Smiths; but that afternoon Colonel Baker visited the hostile camp, and on his return refused to participate in the expedition, and so advised his friends. There was no authority for compelling men to invade a neighboring State, and for this cause, much to the vexation of myself and others

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the matter fell through. Colonel Baker had already partly arranged the terms for the accused to surrender. They were to be taken to Quincy for examination, under a military guard; were to be admitted to bail, and to a continuation of their trial at the next term of court at Carthage. Upon this two of the accused come over and surrendered themselves prisoners.

    "I employed able lawyers to hunt up the testimony and prosecute the offenders. A trial was had before Judge Young, in the summer of 1845. The Sheriff and panel of jurors selected by the Mormon Court were set aside 'for prejudice,' a new panel was selected and elisors were appointed for this purpose; but as more than a thousand men had assembled under arms at the Court, to keep away the Mormons and their friends, the jury was made up of these military followers of the Court, who all swore they had not formed or expressed an opinion as to the guilt or innocence of the accused. The Mormons had one principal witness, who was with the troops at Warsaw, had marched with them until they were disbanded, heard their consultations, went before them to Carthage, and saw them murder the Smiths. But before the trial came on they had induced him to become a Mormon; and being much more anxious for the glorification of the Prophet than to avenge his death, the leading Mormons made him publish a pamphlet giving an account of the murder, in which he professed to have seen a bright and shining light descend upon the head of Joe Smith to strike some of the conspirators with blindness, and that he heard supernatural voices in the air confirming his mission as a Prophet. Having published this in a book he was compelled to swear to it in Court, which of course destroyed the credit of his evidence. Many other witnesses were examined who knew the facts, but under demoralization of faction denied all knowledge of them. The accused were all acquitted.

    "The next term the leading Mormons were tried and

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acquitted for the destruction of the heretical press. Not being interested in objecting to a Sheriff or jury selected by a Court elected by themselves, they in turn got a favorable jury, determined on acquittal; and yet the Mormon jurors all swore they had formed no opinion as to the guilt or innocence of their accused friends. It appeared that the laws furnished the means of suiting each party with a jury; the Mormons by the regular jury, the Anti-Mormons by objecting to the Sheriff and regular panel. Henceforth no leading man on either side could be arrested without the aid of an army, as the men of one party could not surrender to the other for fear of being murdered; no one could be convicted of crime in Hancock; Government was at an end there, and the whole community delivered to the dominion of a frightful anarchy."

    Note the result of five years of Mormon rule among Gentiles: the latter, accused of crime, would not surrender to any officer, ever to the Governor of the State unless they could be taken to another county "under a military guard; a thousand armed men gathered to keep the Mormons from assassinating Gentiles in legal custody, and no man on either side could surrender to the other "for fear of assassination.

    Just this would be the condition of Utah in two years, if the Mormons had a State Government there under their absolute control, unless, indeed, all the Gentiles abandoned the State in a body.


    "With full power to organize the county." This brief hint points to one fact which explains many of the difficulties presented by the Mormon question, viz.: the excessive power of Mormon Probate Courts. Unlike any other Territory or State, in Utah these County Judges were granted, by the Legislature complete, civil and criminal jurisdiction, concurrent with the District Courts in all other matters, and exclusive jurisdiction in matters in divorce and

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alimony. There is good cause for this: the District Judges are appointed at Washington, and are supposed to be supporters of national law; the Probate Judge is simply the leading Bishop or Elder in each county, appointed by the Legislature, which was "counselled," of course, by Brigham Young. This usurpation endured twenty years, until it was overthrown by the decisions of Judges McKean and Hawley. These Probate Judges had power to organize counties, appoint under officers, and do forty other things which sound republicanism condemns, but which all aided to keep power in the hands of the Priesthood. For full exposition of this matter, see Life in Utah, Chap. XVI, (New Edition just issued by National Publishing Company of Philadelphia and St. Louis). The editor would not venture on the egotism of a reference to his own work, were it not that the book is extensively distributed, and can easily be obtained in almost any part of the country by those who wish to inquire more particularly into the history of the Mormons, and other points alluded to by Hickman.


    In a few brief words Hickman narrates one of the most cruel, causeless, and cold-blooded murders ever perpetrated. Hartley's case is the one most generally known in Utah of all mentioned in this book, and there is scarcely a question of his innocence of any serious fault. Of all the crimes committed by Hickman this one seems to rest most heavy on his conscience. In conversation he strove to avoid it, and at this point his manuscript is heavily blurred and blotted, with frequent erasures, and every evidence of an uncertain hand and hesitating mind, impelled to, yet dreading the narration.

    From the various popular accounts in Utah I select that of Hartley's wife, as told to Mrs. Marietta V. Smith, and published in her work, "Fifteen Years among the Mormons."

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Be it noted that Mrs. Smith's work appeared fourteen years before Hickman made his confession, and that three-fourths of her statements as to other matters are proved true by testimony lately developed, and no other corroboration will be required. Mrs. Smith says:

    "About that time Jesse T. Hartley came to Salt Lake City. He was a man of education and intelligence, a lawyer. I never heard where he was from, but he was a Gentile, and married soon after a Mormon girl named Bullock, which involved at least a profession of Mormonism. It was afterwards supposed by some that his aim was to learn the mysteries of the church in order to expose them. At all events the eye of the Prophet was upon him from the first; and he was not long in discovering, through his spies, good grounds for suspicion. Hartley was named by some one unacquainted with that fact as a fit person to be appointed missionary preacher among the Gentiles. As customary in such cases he was proposed in open convention when all the heads of the church were on the stand, and the Prophet rose at once with the air of judicial authority from which those who know him best understand there is to be no appeal, and said, 'This man Hartley is guilty of apostasy. He has been writing to his friends in Oregon against the church and has attempted to publish us to the world, and should be sent to hell across lots.' This was the end of the matter to Hartley.

    "His friends after this avoided him, and it was understood that his fate was sealed. He knew that to remain was death, so he left his wife and child and attempted to effect an escape. Not many days after Wiley Norton told us, with a feeling of exultation that they had made sure of another enemy of the Church. That the bones of Jesse Hartley were in the Caņons, and he was afraid they would be overlooked at the resurrection unless he had better success in pleading in the next world than in this, referring to his practice as a lawyer.

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    "Nearly a year and a half after this, when on my way to the States, I saw the widow of Jesse Hartley at Green River. She had been a very pretty woman, and was at that time but twenty-two years old. I think she was the most heart-broken human being I have ever seen. She was living with her brother, who kept a ferry there, and he was also at Mormon. We were waiting to be taken over, when I saw a woman with a pale, sad face, dressed in the deepest black, sitting upon the bank alone. The unrelieved picture of woe which she presented excited our curiosity and sympathy. Accompanied by my sister I went to her, and after some delay and the assurance, that although we were Mormons, we were yet women, she told us her brief story without a tear, yet with an expression of hopeless sorrow, which I can never forget.

    "It was not until I had suggested to her that perhaps I had also a woe to unburden as the result of my Mormon life, which might have some comparison to her own, that she commenced by saying: 'You may have suffered; and if you have been a Mormon wife you must have known sorrow. But the cruelty of my own lot is, I am sure, without a parallel, even in this land of cruelty. I married Jesse Hartley, knowing he was a Gentile in fact, though he passed for a Mormon; but that made no difference with me, because he was a noble man, and sought only the right. By being my husband he was brought into closer contact with the heads of the Church, and thus was soon enabled to learn of many things he did not approve, and of which I was ignorant, though brought up among the Saints, and which if known to the Gentiles, would have greatly damaged us. I do not understand all he discovered or all he did; but they found he had written against the Church, and he was cut off, and the Prophet required as an atonement for his sins, that he should lay down his life; that he should be sacrificed in the endowment rooms, where such atonement is made. This I never knew until my husband

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told me; but it is true. They kill those there who have committed sins too great to be atoned for in any other way. (See note on the blood atonement. Ed.) The Prophet says if they submit to this, he can save them; otherwise they are lost. Oh! that is horrible. But my husband refused to be sacrificed, and so set out alone for the United States, thinking there might be at least a hope of success. I told him when he left me, and left his child, that he would be killed; and so he was. William Hickman and another Danite shot him in the Caņons; and I have often since been obliged to cook for this man, when he passed this way, knowing all the while he had killed my husband. My child soon followed its father, and I hope to die also; for why should I live? They have brought me here, where I wish to remain rather than to return to Salt Lake, where the murderers of my husband curse the earth, and roll in affluence unpunished.'

    "She had finished her sad story, and we were choking down our sobs of pity in silence, when she rose and walked away, wearing the same stony expression of agony as when we first saw her. But this is but one case among a thousand that never will see the light until the dark history of the 'Destroying Angels,' as the Prophet is sometimes pleased to call them, is unveiled."

    Let the reader observe the convincing agreement of the two accounts. Those who are still determined to believe nothing but good of Brigham Young, may fix some sort of a theory; that Mrs. Smith and Bill Hickman, who scarcely knew each other by sight, could construct a conspiracy so complete that their evidence would substantially agree, though given at intervals of fourteen years; that Mrs Hartley, now living in Utah, merely imagined that her husband was killed by the Church, and that these three witnesses should all be mistaken or willfully false, when agreeing in every particular! But those accustomed to judging the weight of evidence can come to but one conclusion: Jesse Hartley was murdered for apostasy, and the charge of

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counterfeiting was cooked up to furnish some sort of excuse to those of the Mormons who could not "swallow the strong doctrine of blood-atonement."


    A plurality of offices as well as of wives obtains in Utah. The number and variety of offices held by the same man is both curious and amusing; and I have never discovered any particular limitation either in the written laws of Utah or the common custom, to the number allowed to a "good Mormon." When I first went to Salt Lake City, the Robt. T. Burton often mentioned by Hickman, was Collector of Internal Revenue for the Territory, Sheriff of the County. Assessor and Collector of Territorial Taxes, besides being a Bishop in the church, General in the Nauvoo Legion, husband of four wives, and, with no Gentile knows how many duties, as secret policeman and Danite. One man in Fillmore held the offices of County Clerk and Recorder; Town Clerk and Justice of the Peace; Assessor and Collector of Internal Revenue, and ex-officio Overseer of the Poor.

    All these arrangements trace back to the one cardinal principle: to keep all power consolidated in the hands of the Priesthood.—See Life in Utah, pp. 398-400.


    Through the indefatigable labors of United States Marshals and detectives, the entire history of Yates has been made known. His wife, residing at present in Nevada and married again, has written to Salt Lake enclosing photographs of the murdered man, taken a short time before his death. She had always supposed he was killed by the Indians. His remains have been disinterred from the spot named by Hickman. and the chain of evidence is complete. Hosea Stout, a Mormon lawyer of considerable prominence, who was arrested for complicity in this murder, and on Hickman's testimony, admits that Yates was killed as a spy;

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but insists that he was not present and had no knowledge of the transaction; that Yates was delivered to Hickman to be taken to the city, and neither he nor any other officer saw him again.


    Of all the cowardly and cold-blooded acts which have made the Mormon Priesthood infamous, this wholesale murder of the Aikin party stands pre-eminent. Second to that of Mountain Meadow only in extent, it even excels it in wanton cruelty, treachery, and violation of every principle of hospitality, that virtue held sacred even by marauding Arabs or wild Indians, by all savages except Mormon fanatics. Fourteen years had the blood of these victims cried from the ground before the whole truth was known, and now, with the establishment of national power in Utah, a cloud of witnesses rise, and every incident in the tragedy is fully proved. From the evidence before the grand jury and in possession of the officers, I condense the history of the Aikin party, and their treacherous murder. The party consisted of six men: John Aikin, William Aikin, —— Buck, a man known as "Colonel," and two others whose names the witnesses do not remember. They included a blacksmith, a carpenter, one or two traders, and others whose business was unknown, but they were supposed to be "sporting men." They left Sacramento early in May, 1857, going eastward to meet Johnsnon's army, as was supposed. On reaching the Humboldt River they found the Indians very bad, and waited for a train of the Mormons from Carson, who were ordered home about that time. With them they completed the journey. John Pendleton, one of that Mormon party, in his testimony on the case says: "A better lot of boys I never saw. They were kind, polite, and brave; always ready to do anything needed on the road.

    The train traveled slowly, so the Aikin party left it a hundred miles out and came ahead, and on reaching Kaysville, twenty-five miles north of Salt Lake City, they were

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all arrested on the charge of being spies for the Government! A few days after Pendleton and party arrived and recognized their horses in the public Corral. On inquiry he was told the men had been arrested as spies, to which he replied, "Spies, h—ll! Why, they've come with us all the way—know nothing about the Army." The party in charge answered that they "did not care, they would keep them." The Aikin party had stock, property, and money estimated at $25,000.

    They were then taken to the city and confined in a house at the corner of Main and First South Streets. Nothing being proved against them they were told they should be "sent out of the Territory by the Southern route." Four of them started, leaving Buck and one of the unknown men in the city. The party had for an escort, O. P. Rockwell, John Lot, —— Miles, and one other. When they reached Nephi, one hundred miles south, Rockwell informed the Bishop, Bryant, that his orders were to "have the men used up there." Bishop Bryant called a council at once, and the following men were selected to assist: J. Bigler (now a Bishop,) P. Pitchforth, his "first councillor," John Kink, and —— Pickton.

    The doomed men were stopping at T. B. Foote's, and some persons in the family afterwards testified to having heard the council that condemned them. The selected murderers at 11 p.m., started from the Tithing House and got ahead of the Aikins', who did not start till daylight. The latter reached the Sevier River, when Rockwell informed them they could find no other camp that day; they halted, when the other party approached and asked to camp with them, for which permission was granted. The weary men removed their arms and heavy clothing, and were soon lost in sleep—that sleep which for two of them was to have no waking on earth. All seemed fit for their damnable purpose, and yet the murderers hesitated. As near as can be determined, they still feared that all could

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not be done with perfect secrecy, and determined to use no firearms. With this view the escort and the party from Nephi attacked the sleeping men with clubs and the king-bolts of the wagons. Two died without a struggle. But John Aiken bounded to his feet, but slightly wounded, and sprang into the brush. A shot from the pistol of John Kink laid him senseless. "Colonel" also reached the brush, receiving a shot in the shoulder from Port Rockwell, and believing the whole party had been attacked by bandits, he made his way back to Nephi. With almost superhuman strength he held out during the twenty-five miles, and the first bright rays of a Utah sun showed the man, who twenty-four hours before had left them handsome and vigorous in the pride of manhood, now ghastly pale and drenched with his own blood, staggering feebly along the streets of Nephi. He reached Bishop Foote's, and his story elicited a well-feigned horror.

    Meanwhile the murderers had gathered up the other three and thrown them into the river, supposing all to be dead. But John Aiken revived and crawled out on the same side, and hiding in the brush, heard these terrible words:

    "Are the damned Gentiles all dead, Port?"
    "All but one—the son of a b—— ran."

    Supposing himself to be meant, Aikin lay still till the Danites left, then, without hat, coat, or boots, on a November night, the ground covered with snow, he set out for Nephi. Who can imagine the feelings of the man? Unlike "Colonel" he knew too well who the murderers were, and believed himself the only survivor. To return to Nephi offered but slight hope, but it was the only hope, and incredible as it may appear he reached it next day. He sank helpless at the door of the first house he reached, but the words he heard infused new life into him. The woman, afterwards a witness, said to him, "Why, another of you ones got away from the robbers, and is at Brother Foote's."

    "Thank God; it is my brother," he said, and started on.

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The citizens tell with wonder that he ran the whole distance, his hair clotted with blood, reeling like a drunken man all the way. It was not his brother, but "Colonel." The meeting of the two at Foote's was too affecting for language to describe. They fell upon each other's necks, clasped their blood-spattered arms around each other, and with mingled tears and sobs kissed and embraced as only men can who together have passed through death. A demon might have shed tears at the sight—but not a Mormon Bishop. The fierce tiger can be lured from his prey, the bear may become civilized, or the hyena be tamed of his lust for human flesh—religious fanaticism alone can triumph over all tenderness, and make man tenfold more the child of hell than the worst passions of mere physical nature. Even while gazing upon this scene, the implacables were deciding upon their death.

    Bishop Bryant came, extracted the balls, dressed the wounds, and advised the men to return, as soon as they were able, to Salt Lake City. A son of Bishop Foote had proved their best friend, and Aikin requested him to take his account in writing of the affair. Aiken began to write it, but was unmanned, and begged young Foote to do it, which he did. That writing, the dying declaration of "Colonel" and John Aiken, is in existence to-day.

    The murderers had returned, and a new plan was concocted. "Colonel" had saved his pistol and Aiken his watch, a gold one, worth at least $250. When ready to leave they asked the bill, and were informed it was $30. They promised to send it from the city, and were told that "would not do." Aiken then said, "Here is my watch and my partner's pistol—take your choice. Foote took the pistol. When he handed it to him, Aikin said; "There, take my best friend. But God knows it will do us no good." Then to his partner, with tears streaming from his eyes, "Prepare for death, Colonel, we will never get out of this valley alive."

    According to the main witness, a woman of Nephi, all

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regarded them as doomed. They had got four miles on the road, when their driver, a Mormon named Wolf, stopped the wagon near an old cabin; informed them he must water his horses; unhitched them, and moved away. Two men then stepped from the cabin, and fired with double-barreled guns; Aikin and "Colonel" were both shot through the head, and fell dead from the wagon. Their bodies were then loaded with stone and put in one of those "bottomless springs"—so called—common in that part of Utah.

    I passed the place in 1869, and heard from a native the whispered rumors about "some bad men that were sunk in that spring." The scenery would seem to shut out all idea of crime, and irresistibly awaken thoughts of heaven. The soft air of Utah is around; above the blue sky smiles as if it were impossible there could be such things as sin or crime; and the neat village of Nephi brightens the plain, as innocently fair as if it had not witnessed a crime as black and dastardly as ever disgraced the annals of the civilized world.

    Meanwhile Rockwell and party had reached the city, taken Buck and the other man, and started southward, plying them with liquor. It is probable that Buck only feigned drunkenness; but the other man was insensible by the time they reached the Point of the Mountain. There it was decided to "use them up," and they were attacked with slung-shots and billies. The other man was instantly killed. Buck leaped from the wagon, outran his pursuers, their shots missing him, swam the Jordan, and came down it on the west side. He reached the city and related all that occurred, which created quite a stir. Hickman was then sent for to "finish the job," which he did, as related in the text.

    The last of the Aikin party lies in an unmarked grave—even with Hickman's directions it cannot now be found—and for fourteen years their murderers have gone unpunished. The man most guilty is accounted a hero, and even

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now it appears that justice may be defeated through the mere indifference of Government.


    Hickman's account of Drown and Arnold differs very much from the popular account in Utah. Judge Cradlebaugh says that Drown has sued Hickman on a promissory note and obtained a judgment, which led to a quarrel. Nor did I ever hear the charge of horse-stealing before I saw Hickman's manuscript.

    But according to the best testimony of the best men who were then members of the Mormon Church, it was not for stealing or any other crime these men were killed, but for apostasy and spiritualism! This may sound ridiculous, but it is a singular fact that there is no other form of apostasy the Mormon Priesthood so fear, hate, and curse, and no kind of mysticism to which apostate Mormons are so prone, as spiritualism. The whole body of the Church seems only to be kept therefrom by constantly hearing from the Priesthood that it is the "doings of the devil," and nothing seems to interest a young and skeptical Mormon so quick as "circles," seances, visions, shadowy hands, and conjurations with boxes, "pendulum oracles," planchette, and every kind of forbidden and diabolical nonsense.

    Drown and Arnold were spiritualists, and were holding a "circle" —or seance—with one or two others, when the house was attacked—as testified to by a reliable man who was present.


    Like the foregoing this case differs materially from the popular account in Utah. But the case was never fully investigated. The Mormon Legislature has, practically, provided for the shooting of any who attempt the virtue of a woman; and the Mormons boast loud and long that this "killing in defense of virtue" is the glory of their system.

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The idea that woman might be so elevated and educated as to be the best guardian of her own honor, never seems to have entered their heads. Theirs is simply the Asiatic Idea modernized: woman belongs to man, and it is to punish any infringement on his property; if a man entice away another's horse or cow, punish him according to its value, and as woman is of most value, if he persuade her away, shoot him.


    Jason Luce was shot in pursuance of the sentence of law, in Salt Lake City, for the murder of a desperado from Montana. The circumstances were such that many people in Montana petitioned for Luce's pardon. The other had threatened to kill him on sight, and when Luce was in Montana the preceding year, he had narrowly escaped being killed. But just at that time the Priesthood needed a victim, over whom to make a parade of their zeal in defense of visitors, and as Hickman has stated, Lace's "fate was already sealed."


    In order to test Hickman's reliability on these matters, I addressed a note of inquiry to Governor Harding—resident at Milan, Indiana—who was Governor of Utah from 1862 to 1864, without repeating any of Hickman's statements, and received in reply the following interesting account:

Milan, Ind., December 23, 1871.

J. H. Beadle, Esq.:

    Dear Sir—Yours of the 16th instant reached me in due time. If I supposed that your object was merely to add to the notoriety of this man and his "Confession," I certainly should decline your request; but in the hope that the whole truth may be elicited in the present legal proceedings in Utah, I willingly comply.

    It was late in 1852 that I first met Bill Hickman, at Gilbert's store in Salt Lake City. I had often heard him, by the humbler class of the Mormon people, represented as a very bad man; but never remember hearing his character mentioned by any one "in authority." This term applies to all, from a "ward teacher" to

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 the "President" himself. The others spoke of Hickman always with bated breath. He was represented to me as one capable of taking a man by the hand, professing to be his friend, and stabbing him to the heart with the other hand. But I never heard any one charge him with being a thief, or liar, or coward. Naturally enough, I scrutinized him very closely, finding him coarse and rough, but very affable; and could not decide whether the animal or intellectual predominated in his looks.

    When introduced, Hickman gave my hand a grip which seemed to mean something; and he looked at me closely from head to foot, as if studying my person thoroughly. Not long after I delivered my message to the Utah Legislature, which has been extensively published in the country and become historical. This was the end of my social relations with Brigham Young.

    I think that Hickman called three or four times that winter, and took dinner with me. I found on closer acquaintance that I must modify my first views of him. This was caused by the sympathy he expressed for the miserable Morrisites, whose history has no parallel on this continent since the religious bigotry of the seventeenth century.

    The substance of their story is as follows, which may be relied on as correct. Joseph Morris had been a faithful follower of Brigham Young for many years, but at length concluded to turn prophet on his own account. He appears to have been a man of some remarkable gifts; at any rate he caused a schism in the Mormon Church, calling after him several bishops and elders, with the laymen, including five hundred rank and file. With him was one Joseph Banks, a Massachusetts man, I believe, well educated. He was the man who made the speech in Salt Lake City at the time of Greeley's visit. There was no great difference in the doctrines of Morris and Brigham, except in one particular: Morris taught that he was the true prophet, "anointed of the lord," and Brigham that he himself was "God's Anointed." Taking the testimony of both parties, it would be hard to settle the theological muddle, for both claimed to have the "gift of tongues," the power of healing, and "laying on of hands," of "casting out devils," and so on to the end of the chapter. It was but the old story over again: "There is not room in the Roman Empire for two Cæsars."

    Early in 1862 the Morrisites left the Mormon settlements and gathered in the name of the Lord on the banks of Weber River, some forty miles north of the city. They took all their movable property with them, including a large amount of grain. Various charges were made against them, and legal executions followed. Some men they had sent to a distant mill with grain

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were arrested and kept prisoners. Fines were assessed against them for refusing to drill the Utah militia; some of their cattle were seized on execution, and others stampeded and driven off. Some of them (there is good evidence) found their way to the church corral. This was carried so far, that the last cow of many a poor man was taken, on which they largely depended, and the little children, not able to appreciate the faith of their parents, often went crying and supperless to bed.

    This deliberate cruelty of course created great excitement in the camp of the new prophet. As might have been expected, he stepped over the commands of Jesus, and went back to Moses for guidance; and, in retaliation, ordered a raid upon the Mormon stock, and that their owners should be captured and held as hostages, as this, to say the least, seems to have been the primitive way in which such matters were settled. All this would seem food for laughter, if the ending had not been so tragical.

    There was one easy way to settle it: to stop the wrongs continually inflicted upon these poor and deluded people. But the "authorities" had other views. No railroad had then opened up the country to outside influence: twelve hundred miles separated Brigham's kingdom from the last belt of civilization, and he was monarch of all he surveyed. It was somewhat necessary for him to follow legal forms, and writs of habeas corpus and warrants were issued by Judge Kinney (Chief Justice), and placed in the hands of Sheriff Robert T. Burton. He called on the acting governor, Secretary Frank Fuller, for an armed posse; his request was granted, and he left the city with five hundred armed men and five pieces of artillery. On the way he received volunteers to the number of nearly five hundred more. Many of these joined Burton's forces, as they expressed it, "to see the fun."

    They marched to within half a mile of the Morrisite camp. which consisted of a few log-houses, and several others made of willows, interlaced like basket-work, and plastered inside—no more fit for a place of defense than if they had been made of cobwebs. The posse took possession of the Morrisite herd, and killed such as they needed for beef, while the boys in charge of it were sent in by Burton with a paper containing a notice to the commander of the besieged that if he did not surrender unconditionally within half at hour, firing would begin. This is the testimony of Burton himself, upon the trial. Burton had placed his cannon in such a position as to rake the camp with a cross-fire.

    Morris had called his people to the Bowery, their place of

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worship, to decide what they should do. He told them the Lord would reveal their duty, and the whole congregation raised a hymn of their own, hundreds of voices mingling with a wild charm, and producing a spirited effect upon the fanatical minds which can be imagined. Meantime Morris stood with imploring hands and eyes turned heavenward, and Banks stood by, believing the revelation would come in answer to their prayers. Morris encouraged his people, reminding them of the promises, "They who wait on the Lord shall not perish,"  "One shall chase a thousand, and two put ten thousand to flight."

    But no "revelation" came, and as the last hallelujah died away, the sound of a cannon broke upon the melody, but the shot fell short of the camp (some of the Brighamite posse testify that it was a blank shot). The next instant another cannon was fired, the shot struck the Bowery, two women fell dead, horribly mangled, and a girl of twelve years had her chin shot away. One of the women who fell had a child in her arms, which, strange to say, was not injured. Unhappily the poor girl did not die. I saw her at my office afterwards, the most ghastly human face my eyes ever beheld.

    All this time the doomed prophet stood looking up to the heavens, as if he expected them to open, and troops of angels descend with flaming swords to deliver him and his people from the hands of the spoiler.

    The Morrisites had not more than ninety able-bodied men, all told, with over three hundred women and children. And now commenced assault and repulse, scouting and counterplotting, which continued all night and the next two days. Some ten persons were killed in the camp of the new prophet, and two of the Brighamites had fallen by their sharpshooters. The third day, the besieged being exhausted, a white flag was raised as a signal of surrender. The order was given by Burton for the women and children to separate from the men, which was done, and the latter stacked their arms. Burton rode into camp with one of his officers beside him, and holding his revolver in his hand. He said: "Show him to me." Morris was pointed out, when Burton rode up to him and emptied one chamber of his revolver, the shot taking effect in the prophet's neck. He sank to the earth, mortally wounded. Burton then shouted sneeringly: "There's your prophet—what do you think of him now?" He then turned and discharged a second shot at Joseph Banks, who fell dead. A woman named Bowman ran up and exclaimed: "Oh! you cruel murderer!" Burton fired his third shot, and she fell dead. Morris was meanwhile struggling in the agonies of death, when a Danish woman raised him in her

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arms, crying bitterly. Burton rode upon her and shot her through the heart, and the spirits of the two victims mingled in one company to that bourne "where the wicked cease from troubling, and the weary are forever at rest."

    The posse at the same time came into camp, and robbed the houses of all valuables—watches, jewelry, and money—even tearing off the woman's finger rings.

    The men were marched to the city, and the women taken to different Mormon settlements, after which they roamed about in utter destitution, "scattered and pealed," mere Pariahs of the plains, fleeing from the face of their "brethren in the Lord," and appealing to the Gentile traveler in the name of the merciful Jesus for the pittance of charity.

    I soon after arrived in the Territory, and many of these poor creatures came to me, with tears and half reproaches, as if I had permitted it. Many of them were from Denmark, and the poor souls imagined that a governor was a person with almost the prerogative and resources of a king in their fatherland.

    March 3d, 1861, was held, under Brigham's management, the mass meeting which "requested" me and the two associate justices, Waite and Drake, to "leave the Territory forthwith." On the evening of the 6th Bill Hickman came to my house and remained late in the night. He assured me that he utterly condemned the action of the meeting, and had many things to say, protesting that he was personally my friend.

    It cannot be supposed that I put much confidence in it then, as I knew Hickman was a Mormon in good standing, and I had never heard a word to his discredit by any one "in authority." I am the more particular in reiterating this statement on account of the many charges the Brighamites are now making against him.

    He was particularly earnest about the cruelty done the Morrisites, and though pleased to see such humanity in one I had been led to consider so bad, I could not reconcile his previous life with his present conversation. He gave me a short sketch of his life, and did not seem very proud of his title as "Danite Captain." On this subject, however, he was reticent. I asked him how he dared to express such opinions contrary to the wishes of Brigham Young. At the word dare his blood seemed to rise. He stopped me and stood up (I often think now of the man and his manner), and said: "Governor, do you ask how I dare do anything that don't please Brigham Young? I know Brigham Young and his rabbit-tracks! Rabbit-tracks! I afraid o' Brigham Young! Governor, Brigham Young has more reason to be afraid o' Bill Hickman than Bill Hickman has to be afraid

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o' Brigham Young." I never looked on a face with more of a scowl of defiance.

    He ended by a cordial invitation for me to visit him at his ranch, assuring me that he would make me comfortable. I have no doubt he was sincere in this, though many around me thought differently. I remember one reason he was anxious for me to go was, that I had been a little hard on the personal appearance of some second wives I had seen. Hickman admitted that he would as soon be hanged as compelled to take care of and live with some that he knew; but he assured me he had made better selections. He said: "I want you to see my wives, and see for yourself the kind of stock who are the mothers of my children." This small talk may be of interest from the fact that some correspondent, writing from Utah in the interests of those whom Hickman's testimony might damage, says that his character was that of a wife-whipper, and for that reason one of them had fled from him to the Mexican, whom he lately killed.

    On another occasion I was sounding Hickman as to Brigham's being a prophet, when he replied: "A prophet! No more a prophet than you or I. Rabbit-tracks! All rabbit-tracks!" Just what that expression means, I cannot say. I then asked: "If he is not a prophet, how is it that you, with more brains than he ever had, allowed such a man to get you in such a position, to the disgrace of yourself and family?" His face showed that he had never faced that question before, and he made no reply.

    I learned that he had some knowledge of criminal law, and invited him to attend the trial of the Morrisites before Chief Justice Kinney, to come off in a few days. Fifteen of them were indicted for murder, and sixty for resisting legal process. Each lot was tried in a lump; the first found guilty of the murder in the second degree, and sentenced to the penitentiary from six to fifteen years each, and the others mulcted in fine and costs to more than the value of all their property. They were committed to jail till the fines should be paid. Those condemned to the penitentiary were loaded with ball and chain and put to work on Brigham's road, under the warden, Brigham's brother-in-law. We had attended through the trial, which was nothing but a mockery. Burton admitted his shooting the prisoners, and offered as an excuse that he did not think it safe to let Banks and Morris live. Had I been on the bench I should have had him arrested on a bench-warrant: but it would have been useless. The jurors would all be Mormons, and recognize no law but the commands of "authority." When I asked Hickman at the close what he thought of justice under such

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circumstances, he denounced in the strongest terms the injustice of the proceedings. In this we fully agreed.

    Petitions were gotten up for the unconditional pardon of the Morrisites, which were signed by all the Gentiles, including the two associate justices and the rest of the Federal officials, and all the officers at Camp Douglas. Not a Mormon signed them: but several called at my quarters, always after dark, and by the back way, to say they hoped mercy would be shown the poor creatures but they dared not let it be known they had taken any part in the matter. Scores of the wives and mothers of the condemned came and fell on their knees and begged with tears and sobs that I would show mercy to their sons and husbands. Many and angry threats were made on the other side in case I favored them, and one Bishop Woolley came to urge me against it, saying he could not answer for my safety in case I pardoned those men. Meanwhile the condemned, who were mulcted in fine and costs, remained in jail, and the others toiled by day on Brigham's road, and came back at night to brief seasons of misery and troubled dreams in their allotted cells.

    The petitions came to me at last, too late to be acted on that night. I had sunk to sleep, when a voice was heard outside, calling for the Governor. My son, who slept below, with a six-shooter always in reach, inquired, "Who is there?" The reply came back, "Bill Hickman. Let me in; I have business with the Governor." He was admitted, and spoke: "Governor, did you think Brigham had sent for you when you heard my voice, and was you afraid?" I replied with the slang phrase, "Not enough to do any hurt." He grasped me by the hand, and said: "Governor, I'll bet on you, and you may bet on me." He then stated that he had lain awake that night, thinking about the petitions, and added: "I have been in bed awhile, got up, and rode fourteen miles to sign them. Has any Mormon signed?" I answered that they had not. He called for them, took up a pen, and wrote across both in letters as large as John Hancock signed to the Declaration, his name— "BILL HICKMAN." Then shoving aside the paper, he said in a confident tone of satisfaction, "There; he can make the most of it. There's one Mormon who does as he pleases for all of him."

    The next day I issued the pardon, and soon the Morrisites were united to their now homeless families. Had it not been for the force under General Connor, it is more than probable they and the Governor would have had a hard time. But some mounted mortars at Camp Douglas, commanding the Bee-hive

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House and Lion House, made things tolerably smooth on the surface.

    Since then I have never seen Hickman. His troubles may be deserved. I would not shield him from the effects inevitable on the perpetration of crime. The rules well settled in criminal law, in relation to approvers, should be strictly applied to him; but it may be that he is able to give facts and data which place his testimony above suspicion. If it prove true that his implication of Brigham Young, Daniel H. Wells, and others, is well founded, and through him the horrid crimes committed in Utah by somebody, be brought home to the guilty, he will have done much to atone for his own share in them.

    Brigham Young is no fanatic; it is nonsense to say that a man of his coldness, executive ability, and acuteness, can be fooled by such stuff as makes his system. When they talk to me about a man like Brigham believing such fooleries, I can only adopt the saying of Bill Hickman, "All rabbit-tracks! All rabbit-tracks!"

Very respectfully,


    The editor has many other accounts of the Morrisites, from members of the sect and of the Brighamite posse, agreeing substantially with the foregoing.

    For more complete particulars as to these and other recusant Mormons, see Life in Utah, pages 402-434 inclusive.


"Killing men to save their souls."

    This horrible and blasphemous doctrine of "blood-atonement" is not often alluded to now by the Mormon preachers, but is as clearly taught in their former works as any doctrine can be in language, and that it was often acted upon does not admit of a doubt. The theory is simply this: The spirit of the Lord warns the prophet that some men are in a "spirit or apostasy"; to kill them before they commit this sin will save their souls. Others have apostatized; to shed their blood will entitle them to a new probation in eternity. See Journal of Discourses, Vol. I., pp. 82, 83, 72, and 73; Vol. II., pp. 165-166; Vol. III., pp. 246, 247, 279, 337, 241, 236, 226,

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225, and many others. Consider that these sermons were published by authority of the church, and are found in their recognized works, and you can appreciate the following, from a sermon by J. M. Grant, in the Tabernacle, March 12, 1854, and recorded in the Deseret News:

"The Lord God commanded to not pity the person whom they killed, but to execute the law of God upon persons worthy of death. This should be done by the entire congregation, showing no pity. I wish we were in a situation to keep God's law, without any contaminating influence of Gentile laws; that the people of God might lay the ax to the root of the tree, and hew down every tree that did not bring forth good fruit. **** Putting to death the transgressors would exhibit the law of God. *** Do not traitors to earthly governments forfeit their life? But people will argue that we can try them on, but not for property or life. That makes the devil laugh, etc.  See Life in Utah, pp. 410-412.


    General Connor examined Hickman's manuscript, and verifies all statements in regard to their relations with each other, but did not think it necessary to make a written statement. He resides in Utah, and his corroborative evidence can be had if desired.


    Hickman is careful not to say he killed the Mexican. I suspect because he could not turn State's evidence on that case. I have no doubt, however, from the evidence, that he was the perpetrator.


    As these lines are preparing for the press, the telegraph brings the news that Brigham Young has returned to Salt Lake City, being formally arrested on the indictments for murder, and is now a prisoner in his own house. The public

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will soon be able, from a judicial examination, to judge more accurately of the truth of this book.

    I have in this Appendix submitted to the reader only the most important, and smallest part, of the corroborative evidence. As Utah affairs have been my study for years, a few may desire to know my opinion of Hickman's work. It is briefly this: I am convinced that what he has told is substantially true; but he has not told all the truth. There is good evidence of his having been engaged in other matters of doubtful import, not alluded to in this work, particularly about Nauvoo and in the Mormon march through Iowa. But this evidence is not now at my command in such shape as to present it in convincing form. Many old residents in that section will remember in the work published by E. W. Bonney, of Montarose. Ia., and in old numbers of the Burlington Hawkeye, and Warsaw Signal, many allusions to Hickman. But the popular verdict will doubtless be that Hickman has confessed enough, in all conscience, and that if each of the other Danites has as much to tell, our worst opinions of Brigham Young have fallen far short of the bloody realty.



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