Historian Speaks on Mountain Meadows Near Site of Incident

The Salt Lake Tribune, Jan. 24, 2003

CEDAR CITY — Agree or disagree with him, historian-author Will Bagley draws a crowd.

At least he did Thursday at Southern Utah University where he addressed an auditorium of 300 people about his book on the Mountain Meadows Massacre.

Bagley’s lecture had particular relevance in this southwestern Utah city, 50 miles from the site where, on Sept. 11, 1857, a group of Mormon men and American Indians slaughtered 120 men, women and children from an Arkansas wagon train in a grassy valley known as Mountain Meadows.

The massacre still haunts nearby communities, where descendants of some of the participants are divided between those who wish the atrocity would disappear and those who insist that justice demands that unresolved questions be answered.

“I’m not here to pick at an old scab or open an old wound,” said Bagley, a history columnist for The Salt Lake Tribune who describes himself as a Mormon but one “who owes 38 years’ worth of tithing.”

“I just want to share what I found in seven years spent trying to understand why decent men did such terrible things,” he said.

The result of Bagley’s research is