OF THE NOTORIOUS
BI LL H ICKMA N
THE DANITE CHIEF OF UTAH
written by Himself _
SALT LAKE, UTAH 1904:
SHEPARD PUBLISHING COMPANY.
272State St., Opposite Hotel Knutsford
T H E ROCKY MOUNTAIN SAINTS
A FULL AND COMPLETE ~
History‑ of The Mormons, from the First
Vision of Joseph Smith to the Last
Courtship of Brigham Young;
THE STORY OF THE HAND‑CART EMIGRATION—THE MORMON
WAR—THE MOUNTAIN ‑ MEADOW MASSACRE
THEREIGN OF TERROR IN UTAH
THE DOCTRINE OF
THE POLITICAL, DOMESTIC, SOCIAL, AND THEOLOGICAL INFLUENCES OF THE SAINTS
THE FACTS OF POLYGAMY
THE COLONIZATION OF THE ROCKY
DEVELOPMENT OF THE GREAT MINERAL WEALTH
OF THE TERRITORY
T. B. H. STENHOUSE,
Twenty‑five Years a Mormon Elder and Missionary, and Editor and Pro.
prietor of the Salt Lake "Daily Telegraph."
Illustrated with Twenty‑four Full‑page Engravings, a Steel Plate Frontispiece, an Autographic letter of Brigham Young,
and Numerous Wood Cuts.
SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH:
SHEPARD BOOK COMPANY, PUBLISHERS.
The above is fac‑simile of the title age of the greatest and best history of Mormonism ever issued. For further particulars, see Third page of cover. POSTPAID, $3.00 IN CLOTH.
It was in the Winter of 1868‑3, that the editor first saw the subject of this work upon the street in Salt Lake. He blats then spoken of generally in Utah as one of the notabilities of an epoch long past. I never heard him mentioned as having any connection with church or civil matters of recent occurrence. For years I had heard of "Bill Hickman, Chief of the Destroying Angels, Head Danite," &c., ad nauseam; but like most persons unacquainted with Mormon history I regarded such matters as the creations of a fertile fancy When convinced by a longer residence in Utah that there was and had long been some kind of a secret organization dangerous to Gentile and recusant Mormons. I began to examine the history of the Church more carefully; and while all the Mormon people spoke of Bill Hickman as a desperately bad man, and guilty of untold murders, I was struck by two curious and then unexplainable facts:—
I. The first was, that while everybody, from Brigham Young down, united in calling Hickman a murderer, and while evidence could easily be collected of several of his crimes, not a single attempt had been made by priest or people to briny him to justice. For twenty years the Mormons had the courts and juries exclusively in their own hands. During that time many persons had been executed for crime, they could do as they pleased in judicial matters, and abundant evidence was before them against Hickman, but no grand Jury ever moved, there was no indictment, and not even a complaint before an examining magistrate. This indicated something—but what? Until I obtained Hickman's manuscript, I never fully knew. When Hickman was arrested all the Mormon speakers and papers united in denouncing him as "a notorious criminal, who had long been able to evade justice." If this was known, as they admit it was, why was not Hickman arrested and punished during that long period in which the Mormons arrested and punished whomsoever they pleased? Ah, why, indeed ‑ except upon the explanation given in this book.
2. The second point that long after Hickman was known as a murderer he was successively promoted to a number of offices; he was Sheriff and Representative of one county, Assessor and Collector of Taxes, and Marshal; and during all this time he was on terms of personal intimacy with Brigham Young. He was "in fellowship" In the church until 1864, and Porter Rockwell, his compeer in crime, is a member of the Mormon Church in "full fellowship" to‑day, and now the companion of Brigham Young m his travels! Can
these things be explained on any theory, except that the statements in this book are true?
During all the changes of 1869 and '70 I rarely heard of Hickman. At length, in the autumn of 18.0, while at Stock‑ Utah, I heard the account of his polygamous wife, which is detailed in his confession. A few days after I left there I was horrified to heal of the murder of her Gentile husband —a Spaniard ‑ and the evidence left no doubt in my mind that it was perpetrated by Hickman, assisted probably by one Bates, Son of a Mormon bishop. It was reported that he had fled to the Southern part of Utah, and generally believed that he had taken refuge at Kanab, the new Mormon stronghold in the mountains bounding the Great Basin On the south, supposed also to be the hiding place of Burton i murderer of the Morrisites), Porter Rockwell, and other Danites, who, like Brigham Young, hay‑e "gone South for
their health." But negotiations were in progress for his surrender, as detailed in his statement, and in August, 1871, he was brought to Camp Douglas. He is not confined, as, for obvious reasons, he would not dare return to any of the Mormon settlements, but has the freedom of the camp with quarters and rations at the guard‑room. From this place he sent me an invitation to visit him, and there I first met him face to face. I saw a man of heavy build, round head, and somewhat awkward, shuffling gait; five feet nine inches in height, with bright, but cold blue eyes, of extreme mobility, hair and beard dark auburn ‑ the latter now tinged with gray—cold a square, solid chin. His vitality is evidently great, and his muscles well developed. Our conversation need not be recorded, except to say that the man impressed me with his earnestness. and left me with a much better opinion of him than I had before. I then agreed to take charge of his manuscript, and, to use his own lan guage, "Fix it up in shape, so people would understand it."
My first intention was to re‑write it entirely, speaking of Hickman in the third person; but one perusal satisfied me that it would be far better as he had written it. : thought it best, also, to preserve his own phraseology ly exactly, only inserting a word occasionally when absolutely necessary to prevent mistake. With very few exceptions the narrative is precisely as written by Hickman, and, some faults of grammar and slang terms aside think every critic must admit that our sentimental religious murderer has a‑singularly pleasing style. Neither have I thought it best to interrupt his narrative with explanations but in the more important cases have added corroborative evidence in an appendix. Late developments in Utah have poured a flood of light on many dark and suppose bloody mysteries, and it is a great mistake to suppose that the recent criminal proceedings against Brigham Young and other leaders were founded upon the testimony of Hickman alone. He only supplied the clew which led to other evidence.
Notwithstanding the publications on the subject, many are still unacquainted with Mormon history. Hence, I have given a brief outline thereof in the first chapter which is submitted to the criticism of the reader.
Salt Lake City. Dec. 10, 1870.
J. H. BEADLE
BY THE EDITOR.
COMPARISON OF MORMONISM WITH OTHER SECTS ITS INHERENT VICES ‑ ITS ORIGIN AND SUBSEQUENT PHASES‑ THE "GOLDEN BIBLE" SPECULATION ‑ THE "COMMUNITY~ AT KIRTLAND ‑ THE FANATICAL POWER
IN MISSOURI, AND CONSEQUENT EXPULSION NAUVOO —CRIME, POLITICS, AND WAR ‑ FLIGHT WESTWARD SETTLEMENT IN UTAH ‑ HICKMAN COMES UPON THE SCENE.
MORMONISM, unfortunately for man's intellectual pride, is no new thing. From the earliest times history is full of the records of sects and races who imagined they alone had a right to the favor of God. For eighteen hundred years every generation has witnessed new revolts against the pure principle of "Peace on earth and good‑will to men"—new sects of fanatics who would wrest the mild precepts of the Gospel, and deduce therefrom license for themselves, and a sanction for vengeance on their enemies. Most often‑ let the philosopher mark the strange and important fact— these perversions have touched the divinely established relations of the sexes: sometimes to grant one woman many husbands, sometimes to give one man many
CONFESSION OF BILL HICKMAN.
wives;; at other times enforcing celibacy, and at still others setting up a complete sexual communism like the beasts of the field.
inevitably such relations drew after them a mixed of social and political results: bloody and despotic governments, absolute power in the male head of the family or tribe, a religion of force untempered by mercy or love, jealousy, hatred, and unspeakable mutilation of young males. The Eunuch is the natural result of a. polygamous society, and already several such cases have occured in Utah.
he very name now blasphemously assumed by the Mormons—"Church of Jesus Christ of Latter‑day Saints" ‑ wasZwickau taken three centuries since by the bloody fanatics of Zwickau and Munster. And their doctrines so similar to those held to‑day in Utah as to excite astonishment of the inquirer. Mormons in Germany in the time of Luther!
All these perversions of Scriptural marriage exist in some shape, in a few communities in America to‑day‑— Shakers Free‑lovers, Communists, and Mormons. The last has developed the greatest strength, and been guilty of most cruelty and violation of law; and to a complete understanding of the personal narrative which follows, a brief account of the nature and history of the sect is neccesary.
Mormonism is sanctified selfishness: a system which teaches practically that very little restraint need be put the baser passions; they can be religiously directed and piously cultivated; that the reward of obedience
BRIGHAM'S DESTROYING ANGEL. ‑ 1 l
is not within the soul, a pure and hallowed delight, but temporal good and great power in the world to come, where a select few are to inherit all the good and all the others be their servants. To its adherents this gospel, not of humility and self‑denial, but of pride and self aggrandizement, promises substantially this: In a little while they will triumph over all their enemies, and every earthly power shall be put under them; the Saints shall possess the earth, and the unbelievers be trodden beneath their feet; all the farms and property in the country will ere long be theirs, the women and children be their wives and servants, and to all eternity they wit! glory over the Gentiles. Heaven itself would not be heaven to a good Mormon, unless he could have a few Gentiles to lord it over.
Of course such a sect can never be particularly dangerous, or any more than a local disturbance, to a free government; since it is the product of a previous mental slavery, and not of free institutions and free thought. But while it endures it is a grievous local tyranny, and on its members such doctrines must produce a terrible effect. In the very nature of the case, and under the mysterious moral law which governs the universe, such a belief cannot foster humility, long‑suffering, charity to opponents, patient kindness, or universal love; its fruits are necessarily arrogance, spiritual pride, wild enthusiasm, and religious intolerance.
I invite the special attention of the reader who cares to inquire, to Mormon literature for the past forty years. In * you will find no deep contrition for sin, no earnest
CONFESSION OF BILL HICKMAN
aspirations for humility, no heartfelt recognition of the brotherhood of man, no prayers "that all men everywhere might be free," no lively sympathy for philanthropic societies struggling against a sea of woes and troubles. On the contrary, all Mormon sermons and speeches can be compressed to just this: "We are the Lord's people, His chosen people, His peculiar people, to whom He has spoken by the mouth of His Prophet in these latter days; we know of a surety that our religion is right, and everybody else wrong,.and the world hates us because we are right and they are wrong, and we have a perfect right to hate them because they hate US; the world has degenerated; there is no true religion, no real virtue outside of us; men are worse than in the days of Christ, and were worse then than in Abraham's day: the world is ripe and rotten ripe for the harvest of blood and death, and all hell is let loose to rage against the Saints!"
Can men who believe this sort of thing ever live in complete amity with their neighbors? That they do believe it I offer in evidence all their so‑called theological works. (See P. P. Pratt's Key to Theology; Orson Pratt's Works—particularly The Kingdom of God; the Journal of Discourses; the Voice of Warning; and doctrinal sermons in old volumes of the Millennial Star.)
Nor is their social system other than organized selfishness. The Saint must marry many wives. Why? Because he will thus "build up his kingdom for eternity." But the numbers of the sexes being equal, even in Utah, he must build it at somebody else's expense: if he mar I
BRIGHAM S DESTROYING ANGEL. 13
ries ten wives, nine other men must do without one apiece. He robs his brethren of any kingdom in order to build up his own. Hence the logical necessity of the doctrine, so carefully taught in the works of Pratt and Spencer, that only the righteous are entitled to wives at all! "It follows conclusively," says Pratt, "that from the wicked shall be taken away even the wife that he has, and she shall be given to the righteous man." Who the "righteous" are is, of course, already settled in their minds; the Gentiles, when things get properly fixed, are to have no wives. Can men who entertain such an idea of God's providences have much consideration for God's creatures? Will those who hold such low and imperfect notions of‑ their neighbor's rights have regard for that neighbor's life, or liberty, or property, if he "stands in the way of the kingdom of God"? Can a man be much better than his ideal ? Can the devotee rise above the standard of his god ~ Fortunately, most of the common Mormons have not quite entered into the spirit of, or "lived up to," their faith. They were recruited from the industrious, simple classes of northern Europe, and Mormonism has not entirely spoiled them. Nevertheless, I maintain that the ultimate effect of such a faith must be a selfish meanness.
Slavery and polygamy—"twin relics'—may well be put beside each other in a brief parallel. As of slavery thus: if a man will steal another man, steal his whole lifetime, his labor, his free‑will to go and come—he shows thereby that he has taken one long step, if he is not some distance on the road, towards stealing any
14 CONFESSION OF BILL HICKMAN
other thing he can safely get away with. For what greater good can he steal than a man's liberty and the proceeds of his lifetime? Similarly of polygamy: if a man will crucify the wife of his youth, and put her to open shame, by introducing another woman into the family, and calling her his wife, if he will make misery for two helpless persons and pervert nature's current in the breast of woman, whether for earthly lust or heavenly glory, he shows by that act that he will use another's misery for his own happiness, that he is a long way on the road towards doing any other mean thing which will give him an advantage over his fellow‑man. Hence a nation of slave‑holders cannot long remain a nation of freemen; a race of polygamists is sure to become a race of self‑seeking sensualists. Love, forgiveness, kindly charity, must wither in such an air. But this argument, says one, touches the principle of freedom in belief. Granted: the hard fact still remains that some religions are of such a nature that their reduction to practice would render their devotees utterly unfit for amity or even neighborhood with civilized society. The world has known scores of such religions; soon or late they have one and all come into violent contact with government or society, and yielded or been crushed A religion which makes it the chief hope of its devotee to crush his opponents, not to convert or soften and unite with them, can produce but one class of fruits: hatred, malice, and all uncharitableness, strife and animosity against all who dissent. Hence the Mormon's bitter hatred of "apostates." Other churches pray for the
BRIGHAM S DESTROYING ANGEL.
backslider; the Mormon curses them with hideous blasphemy. Said Heber Kimball: "I do pray for my enemies; I pray God Almighty to damn them." Said Brigham Young, in his sermon against the "Gladdenites" (Journal of Discourses, Vol. I., p. 82): "Now keep your tongues still, or sudden destruction will come upon you. Rather than apostates shall flourish here, I will unsheathe my bowie‑knife, and conquer or die. * * * Such a man should be cut off just below the ears." And again, "I would take that bosom pin I used to wear at Nauvoo, and cut his d d throat from ear to ear and say, 'Go to hell across lots."' If such words were spoken in the pulpit and published by the Church, what may we not suspect to have been said and done in secret? Nevertheless, some apologists maintain that the Mormons, despite such a religion, would be first‑rate citizens, "if let alone, and granted a State government." Can a bitter fountain send forth sweet water? can a people's whole inner life be bad, and their outer life good ? If the Mormons are truly that peaceful, quiet, and industrious people we sometimes hear of, fitted for good citizens, why have they come into violent conflict with the people in all their seven places of settlement? For they have tried every different kind of people, from New York through Ohio, Illinois, and Missouri, to Salt Lake. Are all the people of all those places incurably vicious, mobbers and trespassers on religious right ? This is your only possible conclusion, if you start with the hypothesis that the Mormon religion makes its devotees good citizens. The position is false: the facts are
16 CONFESSION OF BILL HICKMAN.
patent, and sound reason points to but one conclusion: the organization of the Mormon Church is such that it cannot exist under a republican government or in a civilized country without constant collision. This is a strong statement, but as a little monarchy could not exist in one country of an American State, as the Pope's temporality could not continue in the middle of Victor Emanuel's kingdom, so an ecclesiastical organization like that of the Mormon Church cannot peaceably continue in America It is idle to talk of any compromise, such as Statehood by abandoning polygamy. The Church is a political entity claiming absolute temporal power within its jurisdiction; it must subjugate or be subjugated; it must rule the country it occupies or cease to exist. The conflict in some shape is inevitable. Mormonism is Mohammedanism Yankeeized. What Mahomet sought by his followers' swords, it seeks by subtle means, by perverting the machinery of free government.
The history of Mormonism is an exhibit of the foregoing principles reduced to practice; a series of attempts by the Church to erect local sovereignties, each defeated by government or people. It has presented no less than five distinct phases.
I. The first was that of the Golden Bible speculation. For the best evidence now shows that Smith and Rigdon scarcely hoped for anything more at first than to create a furore over the "Manuscript Found," and make money by the sale of the work, and that they were as much astonished as anyone else when they found the
18 CONFESSION OF BILL HICKMAN N.
matter making converts. But they were shrewd and knavish enough to use their advantage, and thus the speculation was the beginning of a new religion. The Pratts came into the organization a few months after; but Mormonism, as it stood for many years, as the basis now stands, was the joint work of Joe Smith, Sidney Rigdon, Orson Pratt, and Parley P. Pratt. It is not known that Brigham Young is the author of any distinct doctrine.
But, although converts multiplied, the authors were too near home to work successfully. The young Church emigrated to Ohio, almost in a body, and entered upon another stage.
II. The second phase of Mormonism was as a "Communistic Society," an experiment in religious co‑operation, in Kirtland Ohio. There the "Order of Enoch" was first revealed to Joe Smith, and at that period of Mormon history we first get a glimpse of the "Perfect Oneness" which afterwards played such a part in Illinois. The "revelation" for the first, stripped of all its verbiage, its "verily saith the Lord," and "my servant, Joseph Smith, Junior," simply means this: Each member is to deed his property to the Church or bishop, and hold it as steward, while all outside commerce is to be managed on a joint‑stock principle. This has proved most difficult to introduce of all the Mormon schemes, though it has been revived several times since.
The "Perfect Oneness" consisted of an organization of the brethren into quorums of five, over each of which one was a sort of Guardian; the property of the others