On September 11th, 1857 a Mormon mob attacked and murdered 120 men, women and children who were passing through Utah Territory as they traveled from Arkansas to California on their way to a better life. Known as the Mountain Meadows Massacre, the following ballad performed by Pete Moore tells the tragic story.
The original words of this ballad (the variant below provided by Frank Kirkman’s Mountain Massacre Site) are believed to have been written within months of the massacre by a United States soldier who was encamped on the border of Utah Territory at the time of the murders (Austin E. Fife, Western Folklore, Vol. 12, No. 4 [Oct., 1953], 238-239).
Ballad of the Mountain Meadows Massacre
Come all you sons of liberty, unto my rhyme give ear
‘Tis of the bloody massacre you presently shall hear
In splendor o’er the mountains some thirty wagons came
They were awaited by a wicked band, oh Utah, bear the blame!
In Indian colors all wrapped in shame this bloody crew was seen
To flock around this little train all on the meadows green
They were attacked in the morning as they were on their way
They forthwith corralled their wagons and fought in blood array
Till came the captain of the band, he surely did deceive
Saying, “If you will give up your arms we’ll surely let you live.”
When once they had give up their arms, thinking their lives to save
The words were broken among the rest which sent them to their graves.
When once they had give up their arms they started for Cedar City.
They rushed on them in Indian style, oh what a human pity!
They melted down with one accord like wax before the flame,
Both men and women, old and young, oh Utah!, where’s thy shame?
Both men and women, old and young, a-rolling in their gore
And such an awful sight and scene was ne’er beheld before
Their property was divided among this bloody crew
And Uncle Sam is bound to see this bloody matter through.
The soldiers will be stationed throughout this Utah land
All for to find those murderers out and bring them to his hands.
By order from their president, this bloody deed was done
He was the leader of the Mormon Church, his name was Brigham Young.