I took a scenic route to drive from St. George back up to Cedar City. It was a beautiful drive but I did notice two signs which I was curious to learn more about. When I got back to my Airbnb I did some research and learned of a tragic event in Mormon, and American, history.
The first sign said “Mountain Meadows Massacre – Men’s Burial Site” pointing to the left side of the road, and a short ways up the road another sign which said “Mountain Meadows Massacre – Women’s Burial Site” pointing to the right side of the road.
The Mountain Meadows Massacre occurred between September 7 and September 11, 1857. A wagon train of emigrants from Arkansas was passing through southern Utah on their way to California. They were attacked by the “Nauvoo Nation,” part of the Utah Territorial Militia, which was comprised of Mormons!! They are thought to have recruited some members on the Paiute Native American tribe to assist in the massacre so they could put the blame on them. Between 120 and 140 men, women and older children are thought to have been killed, and only 17 children under the age of 7 were spared.
The men who headed the attack wrote to, then President of the Mormon Church, Brigham Young asking for his advice but the response tragically arrived two days after the slaughter occurred. The advice was to leave them alone and let them be on their way.
Only one of the organizers of the attack was convicted of the crime, and was executed by firing squad.
The burial sites were only recently discovered, in 2014, by archeologists.