- Col William H. Dame was named by John D. Lee as one of the principle masterminds behind the Mountain Meadows Massacre on 11 Sept 1857. http://www.mtn-meadows-assoc.com/jdlconfession.htm
See also Maj James Henry Carleton’s report at http://www.mtn-meadows-assoc.com/Carelton/maj.htm.
The movie “September Dawn” is a fictional version of this event and is not totally accurate. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0473700/
The Mountain Meadows massacre was a mass slaughter of the Fancher-Baker emigrant wagon train at Mountain Meadows, Utah Territory, by a local Mormon militia and members of the Paiute Indian tribe on September 11, 1857. The incident began as an attack, quickly turned into a siege, and eventually culminated in the murder of the unarmed emigrants after their surrender. All of the party except for seventeen children under eight years old were killed -- about 120 men, women, and children were killed, but precise numbers have been debated. After the massacre, the corpses of the victims were left decomposing for two years on the open plain, the surviving children were distributed to local Mormon families, and many of the victims' possessions were auctioned off at the Latter-day Saint Cedar City tithing office.
Initially intending to orchestrate an Indian massacre, local militia leaders including Isaac C. Haight and John D. Lee conspired to lead militiamen disguised as Native Americans along with a contingent of Paiute tribesmen in an attack. The emigrants fought back and a siege ensued. When the Mormons discovered that they had been identified by the emigrants, Col. William H. Dame, head of the Iron County Brigade of the Utah militia, ordered their annihilation. Intending to leave no witnesses of Mormon complicity in the siege and also intending to prevent reprisals that would complicate the Utah War, militiamen induced the emigrants to surrender and give up their weapons. After escorting the emigrants out of their hasty fortification, the militiamen and their tribesmen auxiliaries executed the emigrants. Investigations, interrupted by the U.S. Civil War, resulted in nine indictments in 1874. Only John D. Lee was tried in a court of law, and after two trials, he was convicted. On March 23, 1877, a firing squad executed Lee at the massacre site.