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Text of Mountain Massacre Letter

March 5, 2002

What follows is the text of a document found by a National Park Service volunteer that was allegedly written by John D. Lee, the only man officially blamed for the Mountain Meadows Massacre of 1857, in which 120 settlers on their way from Arkansas to California were slain in Utah by a combined force of Mormons and American Indians.

The authenticity of the letter has not been verified. It has created interest because it indicates Mormon church founder Brigham Young ordered the massacre.

The letter opens with a reference to the Paria River, a Colorado River tributary, and mentions ``Fancher.″ The Fancher party, named after Alexander Fancher, helped lead the group that was slain in the massacre.

The letter, with misspellings left uncorrected, reads:

``At the Pahreah I have now live longer than eccpected tho I am now ill - I do not fear athorty for the time is closing and am willing to tak the blame for the Fancher - Col. Dane-Maj. Higby and me - on orders from Pres Young thro Geo Smith took part - I trust in God - I have no fear - Death hold no teror - Lord hav merci on this resless soul.″

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