John Pierce Hawley rode with the Fancher-Baker party through Utah for a short time.
Mel: On the way back, the Hawleys end up riding along for about a week with the Fancher-Baker wagon immigrant train, and then they go on their way.
GT: So they got on their way before they got to the Mountain Meadows,
GT: Good thing for them.
Mel: Well, they still met up again. John says that he was very opposed to the plans to wipe out the train.
GT: So he was aware of these plans?
Mel: Early on [he was aware]. He was part of the men that were called out.
GT: So part of the Nauvoo Legion?
Mel: Well, it wasn’t the Legion, though they were Legion members. Notice the units were not called out. They were called out by priesthood relationship, and family relationships. Look at the number of brothers, uncles, nephews, cousins, that are among those 50 men. You don’t have a pattern, a militia organization. You have a pattern of family and relationships, and that makes sense.
Was his pistol used in this atrocious crime?
Mel: Several Masonic Mormon scholars have suggested that John D. Lee gave Masonic signs and promises that the immigrants would be protected. Whatever. They were lured out and we have all read the stories of the massacre. The only small thing other than John Hawley’s story that I’ve come up with would have been…
GT: Because you said the John Hawley was involved in the planning?
Mel: No, no, not at all. Let me finish this, then we’ll go to John Hawley. Medical forensics work showed that there were a number of pistol holes in the skeletons and skulls of men, women and children. The only two revolvers that I can find in the Iron County Militia Musters: men who owned revolvers that were thought to be at the killing fields was Indian missionary Ira Hatch and John Pierce Hawley.
Mel: Now Hawley says that he did not approve. Hawley says he was not there. But his brother, George, was there. His brother, William, was there and at least one, if not both, actively participated. Maybe George or William borrowed John’s pistol. I don’t know. But, also, there’s another possibility for those pistol shots. Maybe revolvers were removed from the possession of the immigrants and then used against them. But, there’s indication that John could have been there. John D. Lee said John was there.
Historian Mel Johnson tells us that Hawley was a vocal critic of the crime. Check out our conversation….
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275: Intro to Hawley