|I hope everyone is having a great summer! I have been busy traveling back and forth between Salt Lake and my parent’s home in Mesquite, Neveda with my kids the past few weeks – so my reading and blogging are both a little behind. But, we’re back for a month, so I’m back in!|
|The Fancher Train by Amelia Bean|
While in Southern Utah, we visited the site of the Mountain Meadows Massacre (the second time for me) and I had a great idea! About 10 years ago I read The Fancher Train by Amelia Bean and haven’t been the same since. What has been called “the darkest deed of the nineteenth century”, the story of the Fancher Train is one of the most horrendous and mind boggling stories of our country – a story of Americans killing other Americans in cold blood – in the name of religion. Bean’s story is considered historical fiction, but from everything I know, is completely accurate in all known details.
Below is a little about the story and a reading map of some pertinent parts of the Fancher Train story. Also, I have ordered an original hardback copy (1958) from Paperbackswap.com and am offering this as a giveaway.
|In April of 1857 a group of California bound ranchers and farmers headed out from the Ozarks of Arkansas in a wagon train. They brought cattle, horses, money and everything they could carry with them – including their families. The train consisted of about 40 wagons and 120-140 people. Their story is like any other wagon train, full of hardships and trials, until they enter Utah Territory. The Mormon settlers of Utah had previously had negative and often fatal encounters in other states due to their religion, one of the most famous being Hauns Mill in Missouri (where some of the Fancher Train party may have been from). The train’s journey through Utah was fraught with encounters with angry Mormons who didn’t want them in the territory.
When the emigrants met up with John D. Lee in the southern portion of Utah territory, he offered to let them rest themselves and their cattle in a beautiful meadow on his land before crossing the feared desert area between Utah and California. They were relieved.
What they didn’t know was that this meadow would be the end of their journey. What ensues is a jaw-dropping story of a mass murder – thought throughout history to be a massacre in the name of religious retaliation and one that will forever be steeped in secrecy, denial and mystery.
|Map – This is the route taken by the Fancher Train from Arkansas to Utah.|
|Rock Carin – This is the site of the mass burial for the members of the Fancher Train.|
|In Memoriam – This is one of two monuments dedicated to the memory of the Fancher Train. This one contains a complete list of all members and is on a small hill overlooking the Mountain Meadow.|
|Second Memorial – This is a memorial marker on the site of the burial – which is owned by the Mormon Church. Almost no information about the reason for the site is given – only a history of previous markers is mentioned.|
|Meadow (bottom right) – This is a picture of the Mountain Meadow as it is today. Very little has changed – and after reading The Fancher Train, it was a haunting experience for me to visit the site – the siege could be imagined like it happened yesterday.|
|September Dawn Movie Poster – In 2006 a movie was released depicting the events leading up to the massacre and the murders themselves.|
|Books – What would a reading map be without a path for more reading? Both books mentioned here are nonfiction accounts of the massacre: The Mountain Meadows Massacre by Juanita Brooks and Blood of the Prophets: Brigham Young and the Massacre at Mountain Meadows, by Will Bagley.|
|John Doyle Lee – John D. Lee, a prominent Mormon member, was the only person every punished for the Mountain Meadow massacre.|
|I am giving away an original copy of The Fancher Train by Amelia Bean. Since the title has been out of print for quite a while, this giveaway is for a used copy (1958). Simply leave your name and email in a comment to this post to enter. I will choose a winner on July 16th. Good luck!|