• Born 22 August 1837 - Bibb Co, Alabama
  • Baptized in 1847 - Bienville Par, Louisiana
  • Deceased 14 June 1915 - Holland, Bell Co, Texas,aged 77 years old
  • Buried - Holland, Bell Co, Texas

 Spouses and children

 Notes

Individual Note

source: Upshaw.FTW - 1 REPO - 2 CALN - OtherDate of Import: 21 May 2010

reference: U
2 CONC [Upshaw.FTW]

PRIMARY SOURCES:

1. 1870 census, Bell Co, Texas, Beat No. 4,, P.O. Salado, 24 Aug 1870, page 71, dwelling #151, family #151 (T.A. Upshaw household): Mary Upshaw, age 30, Keeping house, b Ala.m died from it, and thus the Indian involvement in the massacre. The train continued its way across Utah and stopped at Mountain Meadows to rest. This would be their last opportunity to provide good grazing for their livestock before heading into the deserts that lay between them and California. It is also reported that the death of Mormon Elder Parley Pratt in Arkansas was the catalyst of the massacre. Pratt had come to Louisiana and Arkansas as the first Mormon missionary in that area. While there, he had converted a Mrs. McLean to become his polygamous wife. Mrs. McLean's husband set out after Pratt and had him arrested. Not satisfied with the outcome of the court hearing, McLean then followed Pratt as he headed west and stabbed him to death. Word of Pratt's death spread to Utah and Mormon followers felt his death should be avenged. The already angry Indians were bribed to participate by the local Indian agent, Mormon Bishop John D. Lee.

On Tuesday morning, September 8, 1857 the Indians attacked the emigrants, killing seven men and wounding sixteen others before they were turned back. The pioneers withstood the attacking Indians for four days, leaving the pioneers with no water and their ammunition nearly gone.

One account of the event tells the tale of two of the pioneers who did manage to escape to seek help. They told their story to three men who then shot the two, killing one. The wounded man managed to escape and return to the train, where he reported that the white men were "in with" the Indians. Consequently, the decision was made that all those old enough to talk had to be destroyed.

There are many accounts as to the reasons for the massacre. The entire truth will probably never be known because most of the documents and diaries of the participants were destroyed. The surviving children were able to supply details on the massacre itself, however.

It is believed that Brigham Young sent a messenger saying to allow the emigrants safe passage, but that the message was never received. In fact, it is thought that Bishop Lee was lied to. A Lieutenant Colonel in the Mormon Militia, Isaac Haight, lied to a Major Higbee who then passed a message to Lee to that he was to "Kill everyone old enough to talk". If Brigham Young did not condone the act, he did much to help conceal it however, becoming an accessory after the fact.

I could locate no differing account on what happened next. Bishop John D. Lee approached the train under a flag of truce and convinced the pioneers that he had persuaded the Indians to let them go if they would leave their wagons and possessions to the Indians. After deliberating, the suffering group could find no other way out and they agreed. The pioneers were told that it should appear to the Indians that they were the Mormon's prisoners. A wagon was sent in by Lee and the emigrants weapons were load in to it. The wounded were then loaded into two wagons and two other wagons were loaded with the youngest of the children. These wagons left first, followed by the women and older children on foot. The men were lined up single file, and parallel to a single file of Mormon Militia men, and this group followed about a quarter of a mile behind. As the group moved out, the waiting Indians moved in and began to loot the goods the pioneers had left behind. A short distance later, Lee rose up in his stirrups and shouted "Do your duty!" and the lined up Mormon Militia shot the male members of the train. At about the same time up ahead, Mormon Militia, disguised as Indians and the real Indians, moved in on the women and older children, shooting, clubbing and tomahawking them to death.

No effort was made to give the bodies a decent burial. Foraging animals scattered the bones over a great distance. In 1859, a passing detachment of U.S. Cavalry stopped and gathered what bones they could find into one grave. A rock cairn was erected with a carved stone and the words "Here lie the bones of one hundred and twenty men, women and children from Arkansas, murdered on the 10th day of September, 1857. An officer painted a cross-line beam above the cairn with the words "Vengeance is mine, saith the Lord. I will repay."

The two wagon loads of children who had not been killed were adopted in to Mormon homes. It is believed that 18 of the children survived. In 1859, Captain James Lynch of the U.S. Army took possession of these young survivors and returned them to relatives in Arkansas. It is not known what became of the 18th child. Some say that she had to be disposed of, because she was talking. Others say that she was adopted by a childless Mormon couple and later married and reared a Mormon family. Captain Lynch became very attached to the children and always referred to them as "my children". A romance later developed between him and one of the surviving Dunlap daughters and they were married.

Although there were many investigations, no punishment was handed out for the crime until 20 years later. The federal judge for the Utah territory was Judge Cradlebaugh. After his investigation, Brigham Young excommunicated Isaac Haight, John Higbee, Philip Klingonsmith and John Lee. Klingonsmith then turned against the others and in an affidavit, he placed the blame for the event on them. Haight and Higbee avoided arrest. Lee was captured by U.S. Marshal William Stokes. The first trial ended in a mistrial but by the second, Lee had been deserted by the church and wrote out a full confession He was found guilty and sentenced to death by firing squad. On March 23, 1877, the government transported him to the exact spot where he had approached the emigrants with the white flag and promised them their safety. He sat on his own coffin for a few minutes and then stood and spoke, saying " I feel resigned to my fate. I feel as calm as a summer morn, and I have done nothing intentionally wrong. My conscience is clear before God and Man. I am ready to meet my Redeemer...A victim has to be had and I am the victim. I studied to make Brigham Young's will my pleasure for thirty years. See now what I have come to this day! I have been sacrificed in a cowardly, dastardly manner." When Lee finished, he turned to the Marshal and said "Let them shoot the balls through my heart! Don't let them mangle my body!" Five rifles roared and John Doyle Lee fell into his coffin.

On September 4, 1955, the Richard Fancher Society unveiled in Harrison, Arkansas a monument to the victims and survivors of the massacre at Mountain Meadows. Author Juanita Brooks was invited to attend and made the principal address. Mr. A.R. Mortensen, the Secretary of the Utah Historical Society was unable to attend, and sent a letter to Mr. John Kenner Fancher, the head of the Richard Fancher Society and a cousin of Captain Alexander Fancher, declining. In part his letter stated:

"All my adult life I have been concerned with the history of the Mountain Meadows, the most tragic event that took place there, and the unhappy aftermath that has existed in many quarters down to our own time. For a variety of reasons, one of which is paramount above all the rest, I am personally affected just as much as you are by the great tragedy of September 1857. My great-grandfather died there also--but twenty years after the massacre. His name was John D. Lee. The letter closed with "The spirit of your letter to me, and the spirit in which you are holding your affair, is indeed the epitome of Christianity. May I extend sincere greetings to you and your family and all those who participate with you on September 4th next, and I hope that the Guardian of us all favors you with a happy and successful day."

John K. Fancher had worked for years in an attempt to get a more fitting monument erected at the actual massacre sight, as it had been neglected for well over 100 years. He appealed to the Arkansas Congressional delegation and most of the members responded favorably but, John died suddenly in April of 1968 and the momentum was lost.

Another Fancher descendant, Ron Loving, read about the massacre and wondered what had happened through the years to the other side, the families of the men who committed the murders. A Viet Nam veteran, he said he understood about violence and panic and fear and he wanted to know the families and see if a peace could be made. In 1988, through the connections of a Utah man who was researching the event, arrangements were made for Mr. Loving to meet a Lee family member at the massacre site. Two women arrived in a green Cadillac, one an elderly retired school teacher. As Loving helped her over a slippery rock, she laughed and said "A Fancher, helping a Lee!". She invited him to the next Lee Family reunion. When he arrived at the reunion, along with a distant Fancher cousin, Loving says that they stood at the front gate for awhile, trying to think what to say. About that time, a group of Lee family members approached and inquired what branch of the Lee family they were from. Ron replied, "Well, we're not." Then she said, "Well, are you friends of the Lees?" Ron replied "We certainly hope so." And then she said, "Well, just who are you?" Loving replied, "Well, we're Fanchers'." A somewhat lengthy silence followed! It was discovered through this meeting that both families had been thinking along the same lines, of building a more appropriate monument at the massacre site.

In the spring of 1989, a meeting of the Boone and Carroll County Arkansas Historical Societies convened, and members of the Lee family and Ron Loving presented their proposals for a new monument. It was then discovered that others in Utah had also taken in interest in building a new monument. Among the members of the joint committee that then formed were Stewart Lee Udall, former U.S. Secretary of the Interior and a Lee descendant, Utah Senator Dixie Leavitt, as well as the Utah Historical Society and the Latter Day Saints Church.

The inscription on the Mountain Meadows Memorial that was dedicated on
September 15, 1990:

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

IN MEMORIAM
In the valley below,
between September 7 and 11, 1857,
a company of more than 120 Arkansas emigrants
led by Captain John T. Baker and Captain Alexander Fancher
was attacked while en route to California.
This event is known in history as the Mountain Meadows Massacre.
Those believed to have been killed at or near the Mountain Meadows were:
William Allen Aden, 19
William Fancher, 17

George W. Baker, 27
Mary Fancher, 15

Manerva A. Beller Baker, 25
Thomas Fancher, 14

Mary Lovina Baker, 7
Martha Fancher, 10

Wards of George and Manerva Baker:
Sarah G. Fancher, 8

Melissa Ann Beller, 14
Margaret A. Fancher, 7

David W. Beller, 12
James Mathew Fancher, 25

John T. Baker, 52
Frances "Fanny" Fulfer Fancher

Abel Baker, 19
Robert Fancher, 19

John Beach, 21
Saladia Ann Brown Huff

William Cameron, 51
William Huff

Martha Cameron, 51
Elisha Huff and two other sons

Tillman Cameron, 24
John Milum Jones, 32

Isom Cameron, 18
Eloah Angeline Tackitt Jones, 27

Henry Cameron, 16
and Daughter

James Cameron, 14
Newton Jones

Martha Cameron, 11
Lawson A. McEntire, 21

Larkin Cameron, 8
Josiah (Joseph) Miller, 30

William Cameron's niece, Nancy, 12
Matilda Cameron Miller, 26

Allen P. Deshazo, 20
James William Miller, 9

Jesse Dunlap, Jr., 39
Charles R. Mitchell, 25

Mary Wharton Dunlap, 39
Sarah C. Baker Mitchell, 21

Ellender Dunlap, 18
John Mitchell, Infant

Nancy M. Dunlap, 16
Joel D. Mitchell, 23

James D. Dunlap, 14
John Prewit, 20

Lucinda Dunlap, 12
William Prewit, 18

Susannah Dunlap, 12
Milum L. Rush, 28

Margerette Dunlap, 11
Charles Stallcup, 25

Mary Ann Dunlap, 9
Cynthia Tackitt, 49

Lorenzo Dow Dunlap, 42
Marion Tackitt, 20

Nancy Wharton Dunlap, 42
Sebron Tackitt, 18

Thomas J. Dunlap, 17
Matilda Tackitt, 16

John H. Dunlap, 16
James M. Tackitt, 14

Mary Ann Dunlap, 13
Jones M. Tackitt, 12

Talitha Emaline Dunlap, 11
Pleasant Tackitt, 25

Nancy Dunlap, 9
Armilda Miller Tackitt, 22

America Jane Dunlap, 7
Richard Wilson

William M. Eaton
Solomon R. Wood, 20

Silas Edwards
William Wood, 26

Alexander Fancher, 45
And the Others

Eliza Ingrum Fancher, 32
Who are Unknown

Hampton Fancher, 19



Other Names Associated With the Caravan Included:

(George D.?) Basham
(Charles H.?) Morton Family

(Tom?) Farmer
Poteet Family

(Thomas?) Hamilton
Poteet Brothers

(James C.?) Haydon
(John Perkins?) Reed

(David?) Hudson
(Alf?) Smith

Lafoon Family
(Mordecai?) Stevenson


The following children survived and were returned to their families in northwest Arkansas in September, 1859:
Children of George and Manerva Baker: Daughter of Peter and Saladia Huff:
Mary Elizabeth, 5 Nancy Saphrona, 4
Sarah Frances, 3 Son of John and Eloah Jones
William Twitty, 9 months Felix Marion, 18 months
Daughters of Jesse and Mary Dunlap: Children of Josh and Matilda Miller:
Rebecca J., 6 John Calvin, 6
Louisa, 4 Mary, 4
Sarah E., 1 Joseph, 1
Daughters of Lorenzo and Nancy Dow: Sons of Pleasant and Armilda Tackitt:
Prudence Angeline, 5 Emberson Milum, 4
Georgia Ann, 18 months William Henry, 19 months
Children of Alexander and Eliza Fancher: At least one other surviving child is believed to have remained in Utah.
Christopher "Kit" Carson, 5
Triphenia D., 22 months

This memorial
erected September 1990
by the State of Utah
and the families and friends of
those involved and those
who died


A web search of the words Mountain Meadow Massacre will provide other links to information on this tragic event. Some of them are not favorable to the Latter Day Saints Religion. This web site is not about religion and I have chosen not to include those links here. I am not a member of the LDS Church but, I have tired to tell both sides of this story fairly. No doubt, some LDS members will be offended by what I have written. I believe I have only written what are known facts and where I haven't, I have stated so. This event is part of the history of our Fancher ancestors. To not tell it would be a disservice to these courageous people. The event is in the past and today's descendants cannot be blamed. Peace and forgiveness have finally been achieved.

Visit the web site of the Mountain Meadows Association

Beautiful picutures of the site, taken by Terry Fancher.

Tackett Family Association Website

Canyon Spirit

Some other accounts: Utah Education and InfoWest.

Wagon Graphic courtesy of Yoggs Graphic

-27 November, 1997Kandy Fancher Bowden

Family Note


reference: 24111

 Sources

  • Birth, baptism, Spouse, death, burial: Upshaw.FTW - 1 REPO - 2 CALN - Other - Date of Import: 21 May 2010

  Photos and archival records

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