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Bear River Massacre Site

Franklin County, Idaho

,This page is another exception to the rules page. You need no special vehicle to visit this sacred site, just an attitude of peace and tranquility. I know that the majority of pages are dedicated to ghost towns, old mines and such, but this is an historical entry where you might learn something. So kick back, open a icy cold Dr Pepper and let me tell you a sad story. 

In the early 1860's, the Northern Shoshone tribe had a group living in the Cache Valley of Northern Utah. The Shoshone had shared the valley with the fur trappers in the early part of the century, but as the Mormon population began to spread out over what was then the Utah territory, some issues did occur. As the settlers moved in, game that the Shoshone used to hunt for their survival began to disappear. In 1859, Jacob Forney petitioned the government for help with the tribe. He asked them to create a reservation for the group, but was flat out denied. This led to attacks by the Indians  on farmers in the valley for food to survive. In 1861, the Civil War began. Lincoln had no idea how the Mormons would react and sent the 3rd California Volunteer Infantry Regiment to the Salt Lake Valley. The group was led by Colonel Patrick Conner. They established Fort Douglas on the bench overlooking the valley where the present day University of Utah is. With the continued raids for survival by the Shoshone, tension was building in the Cache Valley. Incident after incident occurred and the tension grew. By January of 1863, the army stationed in Salt Lake were ready to solve the problem once and for all. They reached Franklin Idaho on January 28th and set out at 1 am to set up up for their attack on the wintering Indians. Though not a surprise attack, The Shoshone were no match for the army. Over the years since, no one has been able to say with exact proof of how many Indians were killed that day. Some say 160 while others say almost 500. I have left out a lot of details of that day 155 years ago. A lot of it is disturbing and downright disgusting. There are plenty of books out there if you really want to know the gory details. My goal here is to let the readers know that there is a monument in southern Idaho that one should visit if they are history buffs. Every January 29th, the Shoshone get together and hold a memorial service at the site. This year it was announced that the tribe had bought back the land that was "ironically once ours".  

Fotos of the Memorial Site