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Posted by: JoD3:360 ( )
Date: January 27, 2011 09:03AM

Notwithstanding the fact that Brigham Young was warned by his own brother that Bill Hickman was "a cold blooded murderer," he continued to use him in early Utah to rob and assassinate enemies of the church. Mrs. Hilton informs us on page 62 of her book, that in 1857, "hands were laid on Hickman's head and he was given a blessing by church patriarch, John Young: '...You shall have power over all your enemies, even to set your feet upon their necks, and no weapon that is formed against you shall prosper... If you are faithful you shall assist in avenging the blood of the prophets of God, and assist in accomplishing the great work of the last days...' "

On April 25, 1865, Bill Hickman wrote a letter to Brigham Young in which he confided: "If you want me to do anything, just let me know it.... If you want this or that, or whatever you may think, I will try. Or if you want my life you can have it without a murmer or a groan, just let me know late or early. I will be there, and there will be no tale left behind... I am on hand." (Ibid., p. 113)

Bill Hickman was known to have killed many people in early Utah, yet he seemed to have been shielded from prosecution by the Mormon Church. Orrin Porter Rockwell was another murderer who received protection from the church. Rockwell was one of the first to become a member of the church and soon became one of Joseph Smith's intimate friends. In Missouri, he joined the dreaded Danite band, served as a bodyguard for Joseph Smith, and was initiated into the secret Council of Fifty.

Both Hickman and Rockwell participated in the Aiken massacre. Although this slaughter did not involve as many people as the Mountain Meadows Massacre, it was certainly one of the cruelest deeds the early Mormons ever perpetrated. J. H. Beadle gave the following information concerning this cold-blooded transaction:

"The party consisted of six men... on reaching Kaysville, twenty-five miles north of Salt Lake City, they were all arrested on the charge of being spies for the Government!... The Aikin party had stock, property, and money estimated at $25,000. Nothing being proved against them they were told they should be 'sent out of the Territory by the Southern route.' Four of them started, leaving Buck and one of the unknown men in the city. The party had for an escort, O. P. Rockwell, John Lot, ____ Miles, and one other. When they reached Nephi, one hundred miles south, Rockwell informed the Bishop, Bryant, that his orders were to 'have the men used up there.' Bishop Bryant called a council at once, and the following men were selected to assist: J. Bigler (now a Bishop,) P. Pitchforth, his 'first councillor,' John Kink, and ____ Pickton.... The selected murderers, at 11 p.m., started from the Tithing House and got ahead of the Aikins', who did not start till daylight. The latter reached the Sevier River, when Rockwell informed them they could find no other camp that day; they halted, when the other party approached and asked to camp with them, for which permission was granted. The weary men removed their arms and heavy clothing, and were soon lost in sleep... the escort and the party from Nephi attacked the sleeping men with clubs and the kingbolts of the wagons. Two died without a struggle. But John Aiken bounded to his feet, but slightly wounded, and sprang into the brush. A shot from the pistol of John Kink laid him senseless. 'Colonel' also reached the brush, receiving a shot in the shoulder from Port Rockwell, and believing the whole party had been attacked by banditti, he made his way back to Nephi. With almost superhuman strength he held out during the twenty-five miles... ghastly pale and drenched with his own blood, staggering feebly along the streets of Nephi.... his story elicited a well-feigned horror.

"Meanwhile the murderers 'had gathered up the other three and thrown them into the river, supposing all to be dead. But John Aiken revived and crawled out on the same side, and hiding in the brush, heard these terrible words:

" 'Are the damned Gentiles all dead, Port?'

" 'All but one — the son of a b___ ran.'

"Supposing himself to be meant, Aikin lay still till the Danites left, then... set out for Nephi.... To return to Nephi offered but slight hope, but it was his only hope... He sank helpless at the door of the first house he reached, but the words he heard infused new life into him. The woman, afterwards a witness, said to him, 'Why, another of you ones got away from the robbers, and is at Brother Foote's.'

" 'Thank God, it is my brother,' he said, and started on. The citizens tell with wonder that he ran the whole distance, his hair clotted with blood, reeling like a drunken man all the way. It was not his brother, but 'Colonel.'...

"Bishop Bryant came, extracted the balls, dressed the wounds, and advised the men to return, as soon as they were able, to Salt Lake City....

"According to the main witness, a woman of Nephi, all regarded them as doomed. They had got four miles on the road, when their driver, a Mormon named Wolf, stopped the wagon near an old cabin: informed them he must water the horses; unhitched them, and moved away. Two men then stepped from the cabin, and fired with double-barreled guns; Aikin and 'Colonel' were both shot through the head, and fell dead from the wagon. Their bodies were then loaded with stone and put in one of those 'bottomless springs' — so called — common in that part of Utah....

"Meanwhile Rockwell and party had reached the city [Salt Lake City], taken Buck and the other man, and started southward, plying them with liquor.... they reached the Point of the Mountain. There it was decided to 'use them up,' and they were attacked with slung-shots and billies. The other man was instantly killed. Buck leaped from the wagon, outran his pursuers, their shots missing him, swam the Jordan, and came down it on the west side. He reached the city and related all that occurred, which created quite a stir. Hickman was then sent for to 'finish the job,' which he did as related in the text." (Brigham's Destroying Angel, pp. 206-210)

Bill Hickman claimed that he was summoned to Brigham Young's office. When he arrived, he asked President Young what he wanted. Young answered: " 'The boys have made a bad job of trying to put a man out of the way. They all got drunk, bruised up a fellow, and he got away from them at the Point of the Mountain, came back to this city, and is telling all that happened, which is making a big stink.' He said I must get him out of the way and use him up." (Ibid., p. 128) Hickman goes on to say that the last surviving member of the Aiken party trusted a man by the name of George Dalton. Dalton was able to lure the man out to a secluded spot beyond "the Hot Springs three miles north of the city" where Hickman was waiting in ambush and shot him "through the head." (Ibid., p. 129) The next day Bill Hickman "went to Brigham Young's, told him that Buck was taken care of, and there would be no more stink about his stories. He said he was glad of it. Buck was the last one of the Aiken's party..." (pp. 129-130)

There can be no doubt that the Mormons did take the Aiken party as prisoners and murdered them as related by J. H. Beadle and Bill Hickman. Under the date of Nov. 3, 1857, Hosea Stout recorded the following in his diary: "Cal mail came and six cal prisoners taken at Box Elder supposed spies" (On The Mormon Frontier, The Diary of Hosea Stout, vol. 2, p. 644). On Nov. 9, 1857, Hosea Stout recorded that he himself was "guarding the prisoners from Cal." Finally, on Nov. 20, 1857, Stout made this very revealing entry in his diary:

"O. P. Rockwell with 3 or four others started with 4 of the prisoners, which we had been guarding for some days, South to escort them through the settlements to Cal via South route The other two are going to be permitted to go at large and remain till spring and the guard dismissed." (Ibid., p. 645).

Mormon writer Harold Schindler has done an excellent job of compiling the evidence concerning the Aiken massacre. His research leads to the unmistakable conclusion that Rockwell was involved in the bloody deed (see Orrin Porter Rockwell: Man of God, Son of Thunder, 1966, pp. 268-279).

Less than two years after the Aiken massacre, U. S. Marshall P. K. Dotson held a warrant for Orrin Porter Rockwell's arrest. Dotson found it impossible to make the arrest, and Rockwell retained his freedom for twenty years. He was in full fellowship with the Mormon Church during this period, and on June 1, 1873, he was called on a mission to Grass Valley (Ibid., p. 356). Finally, on Sept. 29, 1877, Rockwell was arrested for his part in the Aiken massacre. He was 64 years old at the time. On June 9, 1878, Orrin Porter Rockwell died, and therefore he did not have to face a trial which could have been very embarrassing for the Mormon Church.


Another of the murders under this dispensation, which Judge Cradlebaugh mentioned as "peculiarly and shockingly prominent," was that of the Aikin party, in the spring of 1857. This party, consisting of six men, started east from San Francisco in May, 1857, and, falling in with a Mormon train, joined them for protection against the Indians. "When they got to a safer neighborhood, the Californians pushed on ahead. Arriving in Kayesville, twenty-five miles north of Salt Lake City, they were at once arrested as federal spies, and their animals (they had an outfit worth in all, about $25,000) were put into the public corral. When their Mormon fellow-travellers arrived, they scouted the idea that the men even knew of an impending "war," and the party were told that they would be sent out of the territory. But before they started, a council, held at the call of a Bishop in Salt Lake City, decided on their death.

Four of the party were attacked in camp by their escort while asleep; two were killed at once, and two who escaped temporarily were shot while, as they supposed, being escorted back to Salt Lake City. The two others were attacked by O. P. Rockwell and some associates near the city; one was killed outright, and the other escaped, wounded, and was shot the next day while under the escort of "Bill" Hickman, and, according to the latter, by Young's order. *

* Brigham's "Destroying Angel," p. 128

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Posted by: toporific ( )
Date: January 27, 2011 07:20PM

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Posted by: AmIDarkNow? ( )
Date: January 27, 2011 07:31PM

No horror film could better than what happened in real life to these men.

I'm not sure why but this massacre affected me more than Mountain Meadows.

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Posted by: Steven ( )
Date: January 29, 2011 03:31PM

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Posted by: imalive ( )
Date: January 27, 2011 07:34PM

Those poor people. This makes me hate Brigham Young even more.

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Posted by: Don Bagley ( )
Date: January 27, 2011 07:50PM

Bloody Murder!

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Posted by: SL Cabbie ( )
Date: January 27, 2011 08:06PM

Triple check any statements that involve Hope Hilton. She was a descendant of Hickman, but she was a TBM to the end, and well, she probably accepted the fact that her ancestor killed some people, but she never accepted that Brigham Young ordered him to do the deeds...

Here's a sample...,WILLIAM.html

>During this period Hickman was encouraged by anti-Mormons to write his autobiography, Brigham's Destroying Angel, published in New York City in January 1872. For decades, people believed this was Hickman's true story, when all it did was exaggerate the bad he did and eliminate the good he had done for the territory. The manuscript was extensively edited by J.H. Beadle.

You'll want to have a copy of Baskin's "Reminiscences of Early Utah" handy to compare claims. Baskin became mayor of Salt Lake City and later Chief Justice of the Utah Supreme Court, and his words are powerful and compelling. He notes that he met with Hickman, and the stories Hickman told him were identical with those Beadle published.

Beadle suffers repeated and horrid smears at the hands of Mormon historians, and these clearly amount to a lot of biased garbage. I detailed them in this thread here...,5317,5317,quote=1

>>A number of individuals, including one LDS attorney who also doubles as an apologist as well as a descendant of Hickman's who maintains a website, have insisted Beadle "fabricated" the murder charges that Hickman laid at Brigham Young's feet. However, one of the books [Will] Bagley and I discussed in the conversation that began this treatise was Robert N. Baskin's "Reminiscences of Early Utah." Baskin would later rise to become Chief Justice of the Utah Supreme Court after statehood was achieved.

Baskin's statement on the subject...

>"Hickman confessed to me that he personally knew of thirteen persons having been murdered, some by him, and others by various Danites; that at one time he murdered a man by the name of Buck at Brigham Young's behest. Hickman's statement of this affair is substantially the same as given to me, in fuller detail..."(p. 150)

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Posted by: top cat ( )
Date: January 28, 2011 10:08AM

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Posted by: top dog ( )
Date: January 28, 2011 11:41PM

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Posted by: toppity ( )
Date: January 11, 2012 01:03AM

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Posted by: Naomi ( )
Date: January 28, 2011 11:59PM

The horrible thing about this is that the three men who escaped were ruthlessly hunted down and killed. It doesn't get any more brutal than that.

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Posted by: Nina ( )
Date: January 29, 2011 03:21PM

Re: the reply by SLCabbie concerning the statement by Chauncie (sp?) Webb. Wasn't he the father of Eliza Webb (Young), the famous 19th Wife who divorced Young and wrote a book about her experiences? And didn't they take FannyAlger into her home after she caught her and hubby Smith Jr. in the barn?

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Posted by: SL Cabbie ( )
Date: January 29, 2011 04:05PM

I'm uncertain whether it was the Webbs who took Fanny Alger in; that part of Mormon history is a weak area of mine (and likely to remain so because there's so much interesting stuff that happened in Utah).

I trust you'll feel free to check that one out...

Chauncey Webb was also in charge of the handcart construction project for Brigham Young, and Young and Franklin Richard's impatience (using green wood) contributed to the Willie and Martin handcart tragedy (the largest human disaster in the entire overland migration) where more than 200 emigrants perished in winter snows in Wyoming.

Historian David Roberts' book "Devil's Gate" is excellent...

My copy of "Wife No. 19" isn't seems to have hidden itself somewhere, but Ann Eliza details the trials of faith her father endured...

See my note also on your "Hosea Stout" thread...

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Posted by: Nina ( )
Date: January 29, 2011 04:49PM

Thanks, Cabbie! I saved your posts for future study even before you replied.

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Posted by: Toppity ( )
Date: January 31, 2011 01:53PM

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Posted by: Ann Eliza Young ( )
Date: June 02, 2011 01:37PM

Wife #19 One of the most eye opening books I've ever read.

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Posted by: Heresy ( )
Date: June 02, 2011 02:04PM

who testified at the Gunnison massacre trial, and who mentions talking to the Fancher party in his diary.

I'll bet it's the same guy. There weren't that many Pitchforths back then. His mother was converted on the Isle of Mann by John Taylor. She kidnapped her kids, deserted her husband and married Taylor in Nauvoo. She died and Samuel Pitchforth came West in Taylor's wagon party.

Mentions in connection with 3 massacres is a bit much for coincidence.

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Posted by: Really BY ( )
Date: September 11, 2016 11:36PM

Pretty sure brigham young is in hell with porter Rockwell.

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