Part III: Other Names Associated with the Baker and Fancher Companies

Part III: Other Names Associated with the Baker and Fancher Companies

The names in this section are of persons often tied to the emigrant companies for whom there is no conclusive evidence they traveled with them or were killed at Mountain Meadows.

The lists are arranged alphabetically by family name and then by age within each immediate family group. Children’s names are indented after the names of their parents. Listed after each name is the person’s age at the time of the massacre. Ages are approximated from federal census records and other available family history resources. Letters at the end of each entry indicate which individuals were memorialized as victims of the massacre on monuments in Harrison, Arkansas, and at Mountain Meadows, as well as in a program published for the 1999 memorial service at Mountain Meadows. H designates the Harrison, Arkansas, monument, dedicated in November 1955; M the Mountain Meadows monument, dedicated September 15, 1990; and MS the program for the memorial service held when some of the victims’ remains were re-interred at Mountain Meadows on September 10, 1999.

African American slaves. Family tradition suggests that some of the slave-holding families took slaves with them; however, there is no direct documentation to support these claims.1

Basham. The Poteets were related to the Bashams, and it was reported that a Basham was traveling with them, though it is unknown whether he made it to California with the Poteets or was killed at Mountain Meadows.2 M,MS

Bradford, E. W. Bradford’s brother wrote to Utah Governor Alfred Cumming after hearing news of the recovery of the surviving emigrant children. He asked for information concerning his brother and his brother’s young family, who had left for California in 1857, had not been heard from since, and were feared to be among the “ill fated victims.”3
Bradford, (Wife).


Fawcett, Zebulon P., 21. He claimed to have left the doomed emigrants at Mountain Meadows and, when the rest of the train did not catch up, supposedly returned to the Meadows to discover their bodies. It is unlikely that he did so, however, since he traveled the main emigrant trail to northern California.4

Grover, Ortensa S., 18. Family legend claims that Ortensa Grover, a young girl with long blonde hair and blue eyes, was traveling to California with the Arkansas companies to become a nanny.5

Haydon. Frank King identified a Haydon traveling with the Arkansas companies. Some of the names Frank King gave have not been verified from other sources as traveling with the train. If there was a Haydon traveling with the train, it is unknown whether he continued to California along the northern road or was among the group that went south and perished at Mountain Meadows.6 H,M,MS

Jones, William B., age unknown. Shortly after the massacre, a Paiute leader named Jackson reportedly had in his possession a journal of a William B. Jones of Caldwell County, Missouri, but refused to part with it.7

Laffoon Family. Some people surnamed Laffoon may have hired on as drovers but do not appear to have been killed at Mountain Meadows.8 H,M,MS

Larramore, James, 29. Brother-in-law of William and Solomon Wood, who died in the massacre, and related to Charles Stallcup by marriage. He may have hired on from Marion County as a drover.9

Methodist minister. Some sources claim a minister traveled with the company. Although the preacher’s identity is unknown, it is possible he could be one of the victims already named. Some have assumed the minister of the train was Pleasant Tackitt. Pleasant Tackitt did have an uncle of the same name who was a famous Methodist circuit preacher, but he stayed in Arkansas and later moved to Texas.10

Morton Family. Frank King named a Morton family as being with the Arkansas companies.11 H,M,MS

Reed Family. According to Paxton Jacoby, the Reeds, including “Reed senior and his family and his son and family,” were among the leading families of the company and, with the Bakers, “the principal owners of the stock.” Jacoby claimed the Reed family was from Missouri. No family matching Jacoby’s description has been identified.12 M,MS

Reeder Family. Charles Reeder, his wife, and three of his nephews, one of whom was named Samuel Reeder, reportedly left their home in Iowa in company with Zebulon Fawcett. Though there are claims that they joined the Arkansas company on the trail and were killed at Mountain Meadows, they actually may have avoided the massacre if they traveled with Fawcett and took the northern road to California as he did.13

Smith Family. Frank King named a Smith family as traveling with the Arkansas emigrants.14 H,MS

Sorel Family. The idea that a Sorel family was with the Arkansas companies apparently arose because the surviving Miller children were originally identified with the surname “Sorel” when they were recovered by Indian Agent Jacob Forney in 1859. The Fanchers did have ties to Sorrels, and there was a Sorrels family living in Crawford County, Arkansas; however, there is no evidence linking them to the Arkansas companies.15 H

Stevenson. Frank King listed a Stevenson among the Arkansas companies. A John Stevenson came through Salt Lake City with three hundred head of cattle en route to Santa Clara County, California, in 1857. As yet, no tie has been established between John Stevenson and the massacred emigrants.16H,M,MS


1. Slaves were taken to care for the children and assist in driving the cattle and oxen according to Roger V. Logan, “The Mountain Meadows Massacre,” in Mountain Heritage: Some Glimpses into Boone County’s Past after One Hundred Years, ed. Roger v. Logan Jr. (Harrison, AR: Times Publishing, 1969), 25–26; Isabelle Minnie Evins Kratz, “The Mountain Meadow Massacre,” The Klingensmith Scrapbook, comp. Anna Jean Duncan Backus (1996), 161. See also “Lee’s Victims,” San Francisco Chronicle, March 23, 1877. John T. Baker had seven slaves according to Arkansas, Carroll County, Jefferson Township, 1850 U.S. Census, slave schedule, 115. John T. Baker’s widow Mary Baker owned nine slaves according to Arkansas, Carroll County, Crooked Creek Township, 1860 U.S. Census, slave schedule, 4. It should be noted, however, that even though slaves were still considered property in Arkansas in 1860, no depositions from family members requesting compensation from the federal government for property lost made mention of any slaves. Likewise, no witnesses who saw the wagon train or traveled with them mentioned any African Americans or slaves traveling with the Baker or Fancher companies.

2. Fielding Wilburn, deposition, October 24, 1860, Papers Pertaining to the Territory of Utah, 1849-70, 36th Congress, Records of the Senate, RG 46, National Archives, Washington, D.C.; Douglas McEuen, The Legend of Francis Marion Poteet and the Mountain Meadows Massacre—History of the Poteet Family (Pleasanton, TX: Zabava Printing, 1996), 58. Douglas McEuen speculated that Basham may have avoided the massacre by continuing with the Poteets toward California rather than staying at the Mountain Meadows. The name on the 1990 Mountain Meadows monument is (George D.?) Basham with “Other Names Associated with the Caravan.”

3. George C. Bradford to Alfred Cumming, April 1, 1859, 1859 Correspondence, Alfred Cumming Papers, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, microfilm copy located at Church History Library, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah [hereafter cited as LDS Church History Library].

4. Frances [Fawcett] Haynes to Mrs. E. A. Brush, October 2, 1935, LDS Church History Library; Frances [Fawcett] Haynes to Bancroft Library, July 19, 1932, Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley; California, Siskiyou County, Yreka Township, 1860 U.S. Census, population schedule, 152.

5. Diana Dowden to Brian Reeves, January 25, 2003, p. 3, LDS Church History Library; Diana Dowden, telephone interview with Craig L. Foster, May 20, 2003; Family Group Sheet prepared January 15, 2003, by Bernadine E. Murphy Nielsen; New York, Otsego County, Middlefield, 1850 U.S. Census, population schedule, 108B.

6. Josiah F. Gibbs, The Mountain Meadows Massacre (Salt Lake City: Salt Lake Tribune, 1910), 13. The name on the 1990 Mountain Meadows monument is (James C.?) Haydon, listed under “Other Names Associated with the Caravan.”

7. “Our Los Angeles Correspondence,” Daily Alta California, October 27, 1857. It should be noted that there was a William Jones from Carroll County, Arkansas that arrived in Marysville, California (by way of the main California Trail into northern California) with “17 persons, 4 wagons, and 100 head of young cattle,” in early October of 1857. “Another Train,” Sacramento Daily Bee, October 7, 1857. Another possibility for the identity of William B. Jones is found in the 1860 federal census for San Joaquin County, California, which lists a William Jones from Arkansas living close to Samuel L. Martin, who left the Baker train at Salt Lake City. See California, San Joaquin County, Elkhorn Township, 1860 U.S. Census, population schedule, 963.

8. Roger V. Logan, “Wagon Train Kinships,” broadside of familial relationships of the Baker-Fancher emigrant party, September 9, 2001, copy located in Mountain Meadows Massacre Research Files, LDS Church History Library; Lawrence G. Coates, “Fancher Party Before the Mountain Meadows Massacre,” 28, paper presented at the Mormon History Conference in St. George, UT, May 1992, copy in authors’ possession; Arkansas, Carroll County, Jefferson Township, 1850 U S. Census, population schedule, 172. The 1990 Mountain Meadows monument lists the “Lafoon Family” under “Other Names Associated with the Caravan.”

9. Vicki A. Roberts and Mysty T. McPherson, Genealogies of Marion County Families, 1811-1900 (Yellville, AR: Historica Genealogical Society of Marion County Arkansas, 1997), 469, 492; Earl Berry, History of Marion County (Little Rock, AR: Marion County Historical Association, 1977), 273; Census record for Dicey Larramore, the wife of James Larramore and sister of Solomon and William Wood, Arkansas, Marion County, Sugar Loaf Township, 1860 U.S. Census, population schedule, 668. James Larramore is notably absent from the 1860 Census record for his wife.

10. C. F. McGlashan, “The Mountain Meadow Massacre,” Sacramento Daily Record, January 1, 1875; Gibbs, Mountain Meadows Massacre, 13; Arkansas, Pope County, 1850 U.S. Census, population schedule, 241B; Texas, Parker County, Beat No. 9, 1860 U.S. Census, population schedule, 465B.

11. Gibbs, Mountain Meadows Massacre, 13. The name on the 1990 Mountain Meadows monument is (Charles H.?) Morton Family, listed under “Other Names Associated with the Caravan.”

12. “Lee’s Victims.” A possible candidate is William Findley Reid, who with his wife and fourteen children, traveled from Arkansas to California in 1857. Reid, however, took the main California Trail to northern California and settled in Yolo County. As yet, no tie has been established between this family and the Baker or Fancher trains. Tom Gregory, History of Yolo County, California (Los Angeles: Historic Record Company, 1913), 418–21; A Memorial and Biographical History of Northern California (Chicago: Lewis Publishing, 1891), 794. The name on the 1990 Mountain Meadows monument is (John Perkins?) Reed, listed under “Other Names Associated with the Caravan.”

13. Josephine Kenner, et. al., History of Chelsea, Iowa: Centennial, 1864–1964 (n.p., [1964]), 139; Varla Wright to David Putnam, February 2004, transcript in LDS Church History Library; Frances [Fawcett] Haynes to Mrs. E. A. Brush, October 2, 1935, LDS Church History Library; Debra Baisch, “Sandy’s Family,” Rootsweb’s WorldConnect, (accessed April 4, 2007).

14. Gibbs, Mountain Meadows Massacre, 13.

15. Alexander Wilson to Jacob Forney, June 27, 1859, in U.S. Congress, Senate, Message of the President of the United States, Communicating, in Compliance witha Resolution of the Senate, Information in Relation to the Massacre at Mountain Meadows, and Other Massacres in Utah Territory, 36th Cong., 1st sess., 1860, S. Doc. 42, p. 64; Editorial, Salt Lake City Valley Tan, June 29, 1859; Forney to Greenwood, August 1859, in Senate, Message of the President, Doc. 42, p. 79; J. Forney to A. B. Greenwood, November 2, 1859, Senate, Message of the President, Doc. 42, p. 91; Mitchell, “Episode on the Road to Zion,” 18; Logan, “Wagon Train Kinships.” Although there is not enough strong evidence that any Sorrel or Sorrels family traveled with the Baker-Fancher companies, it should be noted that Alexander Fancher’s brother John Fancher reportedly married Ann Sorrels, thus making a connection between the Fancher and Sorrels families. One possible family that could have traveled with the emigrant train, if there were any Sorrels with them at all, was that of William Sorrels, 34, of Van Buren, Crawford County, Arkansas. Other members of his household include his wife Amelia A., 33, and children William M., 11, Sarah E., 9, Mary D., 7, and another relative Joseph Sorrels, 31. Eleanor Brodnax, “Fancher Kin to Hold First Reunion,” Arizona Republic, November 25, 26, 1957; Arkansas, Crawford County, Van Buren, 1850 U.S. Census, population schedule, 356B.

16. Gibbs, Mountain Meadows Massacre, 13; James Miller Guinn, Historical and Biographical Record of Southern California containing a History of Southern California from its Earliest Settlement to the Opening Year of the Twentieth Century (Chicago: Chapman Publishing, 1902), 899. The name on the 1990 Mountain Meadows monument is (Mordecai?) Stevenson, listed under “Other Names Associated with the Caravan.”