Date of Award


Document Type

Union College Only

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



First Advisor

Robert Wells




Utah, massacre, murder, conflict, American West, US history


This thesis is a historiography of the Mountain Meadows Massacre. The Mountain Meadows Massacre occurred in southern Utah on September 11th, 1857. One hundred and twenty people, mostly from Arkansas, were killed. For historians, it is very difficult to piece together everything that caused and happened during the Massacre because there are only the statements of the murderers and surviving small children to work with. In addition, many of the documents that would have shed light on what really happened were either lost or destroyed to protect those involved in attempt to hide the crime entirely. As a result the histories that have been written about the Mountain Meadows Massacre vary widely. But the basic facts are that Mormons and Paiute Indians put the Fancher wagon train under siege on September 7th, and massacred the train on September 11th. I will delve into the historiography of the event, chronicling the causes of the Massacre, who was involved and what happened September 11, 1857. In discussing all of these things I will study how the story of the Massacre has been told over the last 153 years and in what ways a historian’s approach to the Massacre was based on his/her religious background. I will pay particular attention to historians that wrote just on the Mountain Meadows Massacre, instead of the history of Utah with a chapter on the Massacre.