Mormon History

Murder of Captain Gunnison - 1853

The Dixon Telegraph December 10, 1853

Arrival of the Salt Lake Mail.
Capt. Gunnison and his Exploring Party Massacred by Indians.

                                                                     St. Louis, Nov. 30.
The Salt Lake Mail has arrived at Independence and brings intelligence of the massacre of Captain Gunnison and his exploring party. An express reached Governor Young on the 31 of October, from Capt. Morris, giving an account of the massacre, by the Indians, on Lever [sic - Sevier?] river. The killed were Capt. Gunnison, Mr. Kern, the Topographical Engineer, Mr. Porter, a guide; two others, and three privates of "A," Mounted Riflemen. The following are the particulars.

Captain Gunnison and 12 of his party had separated from the main body, and while at breakfast, a band of Indians intending to destroy a Mormon village near at hand, came upon them, fired with rifles and then used bows and arrows. Shots were returned by the Gunnison party, but they were overpowered and only four escaped.

Capt. Gunnison had 26 arrows in his body, and when found one of his hands was off. The notes of the survey, which had been nearly completed, instruments and animals, were taken. Gov. Young sent aid to Capt. Morris, to release him from his critical position in the Indians, and endeavored to regain the stolen property. A party of Cheyenne surrounded the mail, and demanded nearly all the provisions; which were given to them.  

Liberty Weekly Tribune May 8, 1857

The Murder of Capt. Gunnison;

Letter from Judge Drummond.

The mystery of the murder of poor Capt. Gunnison, whose sad and tragic fate in Utah in 1853, we all remember, is gradually clearing up, confirming the suspicion that he and his eight companions were not murdered by Indians, but by Mormons. -- In the Chicago press of yesterday, is a correspondence between Mrs. M. D. Gunnison, widow of the murdered officer, and Judge Drummond, late Judge of the Federal District Court for Utah.

In answer to Mrs. Gunnison's inquiries concerning the death of her husband, Judge Drummond mentions a chain of circumstances which prove conclusively that the murderers of Gunnison and his party were Mormons and Indians, and that the whole affair, to use Judge Drummond's own words, "was a deep and maturely laid plan by the Mormons to murder the whole party of engineers and surveyors, and charge the murder upon the Indians." The murderers were a company of Indians and Mormons, led by one Enies, a friend and favorite of Brigham Young. The names of the Mormons who participated in the affair, are William A. Hackman [sic]. Anson Call, Alexander McRay, Ephraim Hanks, James W. Cummings, Edwin D. Wooley, George Peacock, Levi Abrams, and Bronson -- all of them members in good standing of the Mormon church. The Indians were tried for the offence, but acquitted in obedience with an express order to that effect from Brigham Young to the jury.

These disclosures by Judge Drummond will produce a sensation in the country.   St. Louis News.