After The War

With the return of the people to their homes, the peaceful

avocations of life in Utah were resumed. The federal judges

received assignments to their districts, and the other federal

officers took possession of their offices. Chief Justice Eckles

selected as his place of residence Camp Floyd, as General

Johnston's camp was named; Judge Sinclair's district included

Salt Lake City, and Judge Cradlebaugh's the southern part of the


Judge Cradlebaugh, who conceived it to be a judge's duty to see

that crime was punished, took steps at once to secure indictments

in connection with the notorious murders committed during the

"Reformation," and we have seen in a former chapter with what

poor results. He also personally visited the Mountain Meadows,

talked with whites and Indians cognizant with the massacre, and,

on affidavits sworn to before him, issued warrants for the arrest

of Haight, Higbee, Lee, and thirty-four others as participants

therein. In order to hold court with any prospect of a practical

result, a posse of soldiers was absolutely necessary, even for

the protection of witnesses; but Governor Cumming, true to the

reputation he had secured as a Mormon ally, declared that he saw

no necessity for such use of federal troops, and requested their

removal from Provo, where the court was in session; and when the

judge refused to grant his request, he issued a proclamation in

which he stated that the presence of the military had a tendency

"to disturb the peace and subvert the ends of justice." Before

this dispute had proceeded farther, General Johnston received an

order from Secretary Floyd, approved by Attorney General Black,

directing that in future he should instruct his troops to act as

a posse comitatus only on the written application of Governor

Cumming. Thus did the church win one of its first victories after

the reestablishment of "peace."

An incident in Salt Lake City at this time might have brought

about a renewal of the conflict between federal and Mormon

forces. The engraver of a plate with which to print counterfeit

government drafts, when arrested, turned state's evidence and

pointed out that the printing of the counterfeits had been done

over the "Deseret Store" in Salt Lake City, which was on Young's

premises. United States Marshal Dotson secured the plate, and

with it others, belonging to Young, on which Deseret currency had

been printed. This seemed to bring the matter so close to Young

that officers from Camp Floyd called on Governor Cumming to

secure his cooperation in arresting Young should that step be

decided on. The governor refused with indignation to be a party

to what he called "creeping through walls," that is, what he

considered a roundabout way to secure Young's arrest; and, when

it became rumored in the city that General Johnston would use his

troops without the governor's cooperation Cumming directed Wells,

the commander of the Nauvoo Legion, who had so recently been in

rebellion against the government, to hold his militia in

readiness for orders. Wells is quoted by Bancroft as saying that

he told Cumming, "We would not let them [the soldiers] come; that

if they did come, they would never get out alive if we could help

it."* The decision of the Washington authorities in favor of

Governor Cumming as against the federal judges once more restored

"peace." The only sufferer from this incident was Marshal Dotson,

against whom Young, in his probate court, obtained a judgment of

$2600 for injury to the Deseret currency plates, and a house

belonging to Dotson, renting for $500 year, was sold to satisfy

this judgment, and bought in by an agent of Young.

* "History of Utah," p. 573, note.

To complete the story of this forgery, it may be added that

Brewer, the engraver who turned state's evidence, was shot down

in Main Street, Salt Lake City, one evening, in company with J.

Johnson, a gambler who had threatened to shoot a Mormon editor. A

man who was a boy at the time gave J. H. Beadle the particulars

of this double murder as he received it from the person who

lighted a brazier to give the assassin a sure aim.* The coroner's

jury the next day found that the men shot one another!

* "Polygamy," p. 192.

Soon all public attention throughout the country was centred in

the coming conflict in the Southern states. In May, 1860, the

troops at Camp Floyd departed for New Mexico and Arizona, only a

small guard being left under command of Colonel Cooke. In May,

1861, Governor Cumming left Salt Lake City for the east so

quietly that most of the people there did not hear of his

departure until they read it in the local newspapers. He soon

after appeared in Washington, and after some delay obtained a

pass which permitted his passage through the Confederate lines.

When the Southern rebellion became a certainty, Colonel Cooke and

his force were ordered to march to the East in the autumn, after

selling vast quantities of stores in Camp Floyd, and destroying

the supplies and ammunition which they could not take away. Such

a slaughter of prices as then occurred was, perhaps, without

precedent. It was estimated that goods costing $4,000,000 brought

only $l00,000. Young had preached non-intercourse with the

Gentile merchants who followed the army, but he could not lose so

great an opportunity as this, when, for instance, flour costing

$28.40 per sack sold for 52 cents, and he invested $4,000. "For

years after," says Stenhouse, "the 'regulation blue pants' were

more familiar to the eye, in the Mormon settlements, than the

Valley Tan Quaker gray."

When Governor Cumming left the territory, the secretary, Francis

H. Wooton, became acting governor. He made himself very offensive

to the administration at Washington, and President Lincoln

appointed Frank Fuller, of New Hampshire, secretary of the

territory in his place, and Mr. Fuller proceeded at once to Salt

Lake City, where he became acting governor. Later in the year the

other federal offices in Utah were filled by the appointment of

John W. Dawson, of Indiana, as governor, John F. Kinney as chief

justice, and R. P. Flenniken and J. R. Crosby as associate


The selection of Dawson as governor was something more than a

political mistake. He was the editor and publisher of a party

newspaper at Fort Wayne, Indiana, a man of bad morals, and a

meddler in politics, who gave the Republican managers in his

state a great deal of trouble. The undoubted fact seems to be

that he was sent out to Utah on the recommendation of Indiana

politicians of high rank, who wanted to get rid of him, and who

gave no attention whatever to the requirements of his office.

Arriving at his post early in December, 1861, the new governor

incurred the ill will of the Mormons almost immediately by

vetoing a bill for a state convention passed by the territorial

legislature, and a memorial to Congress in favor of the admission

of the territory as a state (which Acting Governor Fuller

approved). They were very glad, therefore, to take advantage of

any mistake he might make; and he almost at once gave them their

opportunity, by making improper advances to a woman whom he had

employed to do some work. She, as Dawson expressed it to one of

his colleagues, "was fool enough to tell of it," and Dawson,

learning immediately that the Mormons meditated a severe

vengeance, at once made preparations for his departure.

The Deseret News of January 1, 1862, in an editorial on the

departure of the governor, said that for eight or ten days he had

been confined to his room and reported insane; that, when he

left, he took with him his physician and four guards, "to each of

whom, as reported last evening, $100 is promised in the event

that they guard him faithfully, and prevent his being killed or

becoming qualified for the office of chamberlain in the King's

palace, till he shall have arrived at and passed the eastern

boundary of the territory." After indicating that he had

committed an offence against a lady which, under the common law,

if enforced, "would have caused him to have bitten the dust," the

News added: "Why he selected the individuals named for his

bodyguard no one with whom we have conversed has been able to

determine. That they will do him justice, and see him safely out

of the territory, there can be no doubt."

The hints thus plainly given were carried out. Beadle's account

says, "He was waylaid in Weber Canon, and received shocking and

almost emasculating injuries from three Mormon lads."* Stenhouse

says: "He was dreadfully maltreated by some Mormon rowdies who

assumed, 'for the fun of the thing,' to be the avengers of an

alleged insult. Governor Dawson had been betrayed into an

offence, and his punishment was heavy."** Mrs. Waite says that

the Mormons laid a trap for the governor, as they had done for

Steptoe; but the evidence indicates that, in Dawson's case, the

victim was himself to blame for the opportunity he gave.

* "Polygamy," p. 195.

** "Rocky Mountain Saints," p. 592.

Stenhouse says that the Mormon authorities were very angry

because of the aggravated character of the punishment dealt out

to the governor, as they simply wanted him sent away disgraced,

and that they had all his assailants shot. This is practically

confirmed by the Mormon historian Whitney, who says that one of

the assailants was a relative of the woman insulted, and the

others "merely drunken desperadoes and robbers who," he explains,

"were soon afterward arrested for their cowardly and brutal

assault upon the fleeing official. One of them, Lot Huntington,

was shot by Deputy Sheriff O. P. Rockwell [so often Young's

instrument in such cases] on January 26, in Rush Valley, while

attempting to escape from the officers, and two others, John P.

Smith and Moroni Clawson, were killed during a similar attempt

next day by the police of Salt Lake City. Their confederates were

tried and duly punished."*

* "History of Utah," Vol. II, p. 38.

The departure of Governor Dawson left the executive office again

in charge of Secretary Fuller. Early in 1862 the Indians

threatened the overland mail route, and Fuller, having received

instruction from Montgomery Blair to keep the route open at all

hazards, called for thirty men to serve for thirty days. These

were supplied by the Mormons. In the following April, the Indian

troubles continuing, Governor Fuller, Chief Justice Kinney, and

officers of the Overland Mail and Pacific Telegraph Companies

united in a letter to Secretary Stanton asking that

Superintendent of Indian Affairs Doty be authorized to raise a

regiment of mounted rangers in the territory, with officers

appointed by him, to keep open communication. These petitioners,

observes Tullidge, "had overrated the federal power in Utah, as

embodied in themselves, for such a service, when they overlooked

ex-Governor Young" and others.* Young had no intention of

permitting any kind of a federal force to supplant his Legion. He

at once telegraphed to the Utah Delegate in Washington that the

Utah militia (alias Nauvoo Legion) were competent to furnish the

necessary protection. As a result of this presentation of the

matter, Adjutant General L. L. Thomas, on April 28, addressed a

reply to the petition for protection, not to any of the federal

officers in Utah, but to "Mr. Brigham Young," saying, " By

express direction of the President of the United States you are

hereby authorized to raise, arm, and equip one company of cavalry

for ninety days' service."* The order for carrying out these

instructions was placed by the head of the Nauvoo Legion,

"General" Wells--who ordered the burning of the government trains

in 1857--in the hands of Major Lot Smith, who carried out that


* Tullidge's "History of Salt Lake City," p. 252.

** Vol. II, Series 3, p. 27, War of the Rebellion, official


Judges Flenniken and Crosby took their departure from the

territory a month later than Dawson, and Thomas J. Drake of

Michigan and Charles B. Waite of Illinois* were named as their

successors, and on March 31 Stephen S. Harding of Milan, Indiana,

a lawyer, was appointed governor. The new officers arrived in


* After leaving Utah Judge Waite was appointed district attorney

for Idaho, was elected to Congress, and published "A History of

the Christian Religion," and other books. His wife, author of

"The Mormon Prophet," was a graduate of Oberlin College and of

the Union College of Law in Chicago, a member of the Illinois

bar, founder of the Chicago Law Times, and manager of the

publishing firm of C. W. Waite & Co.

At this time the Mormons were again seeking admission for the

State of Deseret. They had had a constitution prepared for

submission to Congress, had nominated Young for governor and

Kimball for lieutenant governor, and the legislature, in advance,

had chosen W. H. Hooper and George Q. Cannon the United States

senators. But Utah was not then admitted, while, on the other

hand, an anti-polygamy bill (to be described later) was passed,

and signed by President Lincoln on July 2.

During the month preceding the arrival of Governor Harding,

another tragedy had been enacted in the territory. Among the

church members was a Welshman named Joseph Morris, who became

possessed of the belief (which, as we have seen, had afflicted

brethren from time to time) that he was the recipient of

"revelations." One of these "revelations" having directed him to

warn Young that he was wandering from the right course, he did

this in person, and received a rebuke so emphatic that it quite

overcame him. He betook himself, therefore, to a place called

Kington Fort, on the Weber River, thirty-five miles north of Salt

Lake City, and there he found believers in his prophetic gifts in

the local Bishop, and quite a settlement of men and women, almost

all foreigners. Young's refusal to satisfy the demand for

published "revelations" gave some standing to a fanatic like

Morris, who professed to supply that long-felt want, and he was

so prolific in his gift that three clerks were required to write

down what was revealed to him. Among his announcements were the

date of the coming of Christ and the necessity of "consecrating"

their property in a common fund. Having made a mistake in the

date selected for Christ's appearance, the usual apostates sprang

up, and, when they took their departure, they claimed the right

to carry with them their share of the common effects. In the

dispute that ensued, the apostates seized some Morrisite grain on

the way to mill, and the Morrisites captured some apostates, and

took them prisoners to Kington Fort.

Out of these troubles came the issue of a writ by Judge Kinney

for the release of the prisoners, the defiance of this writ by

the Morrisites, and a successful appeal to the governor for the

use of the militia to enable the marshal to enforce the writ. On

the morning of June 13 the Morrisites discovered an armed force,

in command of General R. T. Burton, the marshal's chief deputy,

on the mountain that overlooked their settlement, and received

from Burton an order to surrender in thirty minutes. Morris

announced a "revelation," declaring that the Lord would not allow

his people to be destroyed. When the thirty minutes had expired,

without further warning the Mormon force fired on the Morrisites

with a cannon, killing two women outright, and sending the others

to cover. But the devotees were not weak-hearted. For three days

they kept up a defence, and it was not until their ammunition was

exhausted that they raised a white flag. When Burton rode into

their settlement and demanded Morris's surrender, that fanatic

replied, "Never." Burton at once shot him dead, and then badly

wounded John Banks, an English convert and a preacher of

eloquence, who had joined Morris after rebelling against Young's

despotism. Banks died "suddenly" that evening. Burton finished

his work by shooting two women, one of whom dared to condemn his

shooting of Morris and Banks, and the other for coming up to him


* For accounts of this slaughter, see "Rocky Mountain Saints,"

pp. 593-606, and Beadle's "Life in Utah," pp. 413-420.

The bodies of Morris and Banks were carried to Salt Lake City and

exhibited there. No one--President of the church or federal

officer--took any steps at that time to bring their murderers to

justice. Sixteen years later District Attorney Van Zile tried

Burton for this massacre, but the verdict was acquittal, as it

has been in all these famous cases except that of John D. Lee.

Ninety-three Morrisites, few of whom could speak English, were

arraigned before Judge Kinney and placed under bonds. In the

following March seven of the Morrisites were convicted of killing

members of the posse, and sentenced by Judge Kinney to

imprisonment for from five to fifteen years each, while sixty-six

others were fined $100 each for resisting the posse. Governor

Harding immediately pardoned ail the accused, in response to a

numerously signed petition. Beadle says that Bishop Wooley

advised the governor to be careful about granting these pardons,

as "our people feel it would be an outrage, and if it is done,

they might proceed to violence"; but that Bill Hickman, the

Danite captain, rode thirty miles to sign the petition, saying

that he was "one Mormon who was not afraid to sign." The grand

jury that had indicted the Morrisites made a presentment to Judge

Kinney, in which they said, "We present his Excellency Stephen S.

Harding, governor of Utah, as we would an unsafe bridge over a

dangerous stream, jeopardizing the lives of all those who pass

over it; or as we would a pestiferous cesspool in our district,

breathing disease and death." And the chief justice assured this

jury that they addressed him "in no spirit of malice," and asked

them to accept his thanks "for your cooperation in the support of

my efforts to maintain and enforce the law." It is to the credit

of the powers at Washington that this judge was soon afterward


* Even the Mormon historian has only this to say on this subject:

"Of the relative merit or demerit of the action of the United

States and territorial authorities concerned in the Morrisite

affair the historian does not presume to touch, further than to

present the record itself and its significance."--Tullidge,

"History of Salt Lake City," p. 320.

After Smith's Death - Rigdon's Last Days Attitude Of The Mormons During The Southern Rebellion facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail