Thursday, June 04, 2009

Skull not victim of Mountain Meadows Massacre

Excerpts of Skull not victim of massacre, By David Holsted

The skull, which had been found in a box marked "Mountain Meadows" in an Idaho pawn shop in February, had what was thought to be a bullet hole in it. There was speculation that the skull was that of a victim of the Mountain Meadows massacre, a September 1857 event in which about 120 men, women and children, mostly emigrants from Arkansas, were killed in Utah.

According to Phil Bolinger and Jake Fancher, it has been determined that the skull is that of a Vietnamese female. Bolinger and Fancher are both members of the Mountain Meadows Monument Foundation, and they learned of the skull's true identity this past weekend while at Mountain Meadows for a memorial service.

A call to state archaeologist Dr. Kenneth Reid in Boise, Idaho, confirmed that the skull was that of a Vietnamese woman.

Bolinger, who is the president of the MMMF, reported that he and other members of the descendant organizations were able to participate in a 21-gun salute over the grave of the victims. Bolinger and other members of the descendant organizations, dressed in 1857-era military uniforms, filled in. It was a very moving experience, Bolinger said.

Bolinger also said the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints for the first time opened up its archives to the descendant organizations, revealing some previously unknown facts about the massacre. As an example, Bolinger said, he learned of a Mormon women's auxiliary group that prayed for their husbands while they were out on their killing mission.

Mormon officials also took the visitors for the first time to a newly acquired piece of land where some of the older children and women from the wagon train were buried. The church recently acquired an additional 600 acres to serve as a buffer between the site and the surrounding land. The paper work has been submitted to have the site named a National Historical Landmark. Bolinger thought it was just a matter of time now before the site gained national protection.

In September, the descendant organizations, along with Mormon officials, will gather at the old lodge in Carrollton to observe the 150th anniversary of the return of the Mountain Meadows survivors, all young children, to Arkansas.

Read the entire article here.

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