Isaac C. Haight
Isaac C. Haight, his personal and family background, and his involvement in the Mountain Meadows Massacre
Isaac Chancey Haight
- 1 Biographical Sketch
- 1.1 Early life in New York and Illinois
- 1.2 Immigration to Utah
- 1.3 Mission to Great Britain
- 1.4 To Cedar City and the Ironworks
- 1.5 In the Iron Military District: Major Isaac Haight of the 2nd Battalion
- 1.6 Preparations for Feared Invasion
- 1.7 Major Haight and Unfolding Events at Mountain Meadows
- 1.8 The 1858 Search for New Places of Refuge
- 1.9 The 1858 Church Council Considering Dame and Haight
- 1.10 Later Life
- 1.11 In Jacob Hamblin's Expeditions to the Hopi Mesas
- 1.12 Freighting for the Powell Survey Team
- 1.13 Indicted for Murder
- 1.14 Fugative From Justice
- 1.15 Final Years
- 2 References
- 3 External Links
A native of the Catskill Mountain region in upstate New York, Isaac Chancey (alt. Chauncy) Haight moved to western Illinois, then frontier Utah where he was an early pioneer in southern Utah.
Early life in New York and Illinois
Haight was born in 1813 in Windham, Greene County, New York. During his adulthood, Haight kept extensive diaries which provide a detailed sketch of his life. From these we glean that Haight was married around 1836 at the age of twenty-three.
In 1838, he was converted to the Mormon Church and was baptized the following year. In 1841, he preached "Mormonism" and the next year he moved to the main Mormon settlement in Nauvoo on the banks of the Mississippi River in western Illinois. The next year, he proselytized for Mormonism in New York. Upon his return to Nauvoo he served on the city police.
Following the death of the Mormon leaders Joseph and Hyrum Smith in 1844, tensions remained high among Mormons and the original settlers of Hancock County. In 1846, the Mormons agreed to withdraw from Nauvoo and move west.
Immigration to Utah
Haight joined in the Mormon exodus into Iowa territory. Haight enlisted in the Mormon Battalion and was elected a captain of Ten. After much hardship the Mormon Battalion arrived in California where the Mexican-American War was still on. The Battalion boys played some role in ensuring the transition of California from Mexican to American control.
After his discharge from military service Haight returned to Utah, arriving in September 1847. Haight described the difficult years of 1847–49 with its scarcity of timber, hard winters, crickets and moral backsliding.
During the fall and winter of 1849-50, Haight joined the Pratt exploration of southern Utah.
Mission to Great Britain
In 1850 he began a mission to Great Britain. Returning in 1853 Haight acted as the Church purchasing agent in the East, acquiring wagons, teams, livestock and supplies for emigrant trains. He traveled west with a Scottish convert, Isabella Macfarlane, and her two sons. They arrived in Utah in the fall of 1853 and Haight married Isabella and her sons, John M. Macfarlane and Daniel Macfarlane, became his stepsons.
To Cedar City and the Ironworks
Returning to Iron County in the south, Haight became the general manager of the ironworks and was elected mayor of the city. Over the next years, Haight and his Scottish, Irish, Welsh and English iron workers struggled to develop a reliable blast furnace for smelting iron. These efforts eventually failed. In 1855, he was selected as president of the Cedar City stake.
In 1856, he attended the legislative assembly at Fillmore and the constitutional convention in Salt Lake. From fall 1856 to spring the following year, Haight preached the Reformation in southern Utah. Haight also superintended the work at the ironworks.
The Deseret Iron Company
When Brigham Young sent Isaac C. Haight to Cedar City, Haight was settling in an area dominated by the Deseret Iron Company, known more familiarly as the Ironworks. See Summary of Deseret Iron Company for a brief summary of its early development.
The Ironworks in 1857
In April 1857, the delivery of a new steam engine from Great Salt Lake City seemed to breathe new life for the Ironworks. Working from April to June they installed the steam engine and completed the new engine house. In the first week of July, they were ready to begin smelting. They “put on the blast” and had a modicum of success. But they continued to be plagued with problems ranging from poor quality raw materials to smelting equipment that lacked technical sophistication. When in late July the steam engine seized with sand from the dirty creek water, they speedily dug a reservoir to store a supply of clean water for the boiler. They continued making smelting runs through August. All the while crews at the ironworks manned all the necessary functions there, while other crews, mainly miners and teamsters, gathered the raw materials – iron ore, coal, limestone, and wood – necessary to sustain smelting.
The smelting continued until September 13. In other words, around September 3, when a dispute arose between some settlers and several men in the passing Arkansas company, the blast furnace was running nonstop. And when Cedar City militiamen, many of them ironworkers, mustered to Mountain Meadows where they were involved in the massacre on September 11, other ironworkers in Cedar City continued the smelting runs night and day. For additional details, see Smelting at the Ironworks in 1857.
From late April through July, those working up the canyon in mining or hauling wood, coal, limestone, rock, sand or “adobies” to the ironworks were Isaac C. Haight, James Williamson, George Hunter, Joseph H. Smith, Ira Allen, Ellott Wilden, Swen Jacobs, Alex Loveridge, Joel White, Ezra Curtis, Samuel McMurdie, Samuel Pollock, John Jacobs, John M. Higbee, John M. Macfarlane, Samuel Jewkes, Nephi Johnson, Thomas Cartwright, William Bateman, Elias Morris, Benjamin Arthur, Joseph H. Smith, Robert Wiley, and Philip Klingensmith. Those working at the ironworks on the furnace, engine, coke ovens or blacksmith shop included Elias Morris, John Humphries, Ira Allen, John Urie, Benjamin Arthur, James Williamson, Joseph H. Smith, Samuel Jewkes, Joseph Clews, Richard Harrison, William C. Stewart, William Bateman, John M Macfarlane, John M. Higbee, John Jacobs, George Hunter, Samuel Pollock, William S. Riggs, Alex Loveridge, Ellott Wilden, Ezra Curtis, Eliezar Edwards, Swen Jacobs, Joel White, and Thomas Cartwright. (The two lists overlap because some worked both in the canyon and at the Ironworks.) Other prominent figures at the ironworks who were not later involved at Mountain Meadows were Samuel Leigh, George Horton, James H. Haslem, Laban Morrell, John Chatterley, Thomas Gower, Thomas Crowther and others.
By the time reports reached them in early August of a threatened “invasion” of U.S. troops into Utah, they had decided on further changes to the ironworks. They determined that a reservoir was necessary so as to provide a steady supply of filtered water to the steam engine. Immediately, they set to work, digging, lining and filling the reservoir. From late August to early September, shortly before the crisis involving the passing Arkansas emigrant company, they began a new furnace run. But it, too, ended in failure, probably around the time that a dispute arose between some community members and several of those in the passing Arkansas wagon train.
Haight's Active Role at the Ironworks
During this period in 1857, Haight worked on a variety of tasks, many of them as a teamster. In April, he led the teamsters who hauled the new steam engine from Great Salt Lake City to Cedar City. Then over the next few months, he hauled a variety of materials to the Ironworks, including sand, "adobies," iron, a saw, shingles, castings, lumber, wood joists, coal, fire clay, rock, limestone, pine pitch and whiskey. In particular, during the blast furnace run in late August and early September, just prior to the massacre at Mountain Meadows, Haight and his team hauled coal, rock, sand and other materials to sustain the run. He was credited for all of his work as a teamster. In addition, he received substantial credits for his role as superintendent of the ironworks. He drew on these credits at the company store for foodstuffs (pork, molasses, corn, cheese, and mutton), nails, wagon parts and other items.
The majority of the southern Utah militiamen at Mountain Meadows were from Cedar City. Of these, nearly all of them had worked at the Ironworks or supplied raw materials to it. Indeed, in the weeks before the Mountain Meadows Massacre, they had worked intensely together, hauling materials, building a new water reservoir, and making the latest run of the blast furnace. One perennial mystery of the massacre has been why the militiamen mustered to Mountain Meadows in “broken” militia units; that is, from different platoons and companies, none of which had a full compliment of its members. Perhaps the reason lies with the Ironworks. Isaac Haight knew the men at the Ironworks because he had worked alongside them as recently as the week before the massacre. Perhaps the answer is that Haight knew that the men of the Ironworks were on hand and available. In addition, he had worked closely with them and considered them reliable. Thus, he assigned them to muster to Mountain Meadows.
In the Iron Military District: Major Isaac Haight of the 2nd Battalion
In the June 1857 militia muster rolls, Haight, 44, was listed as a private in one of the Cedar City militia platoons. However, in the militia reorganization that summer he was elected to the position of major in command of the 2nd Battalion. Thus, by 1857, Haight held every major position in Cedar City: mayor, president of the iron works, stake president and major in the militia.
In 1857, the Iron Military District consisted of four battalions led by regimental commander Col. William H. Dame. The platoons and companies in the first battalion drew on men in and around Parowan. (It had no involvement at Mountain Meadows.) Major Isaac Haight commanded the 2nd Battalion whose personnel in its many platoons and two companies came from Cedar City and outer-lying communities to the north such as Fort Johnson. Major John Higbee headed the 3rd Battalion whose many platoons and two companies were drawn from Cedar City and outer-lying communities to the southwest such as Fort Hamilton. Major John D. Lee of Fort Harmony headed the 4th Battalion whose platoons and companies drew on its militia personnel from Fort Harmony, the Southerners at the newly-founded settlement in Washington, the Indian interpreters at Fort Clara, and the new settlers at Pinto.
Preparations for Feared Invasion
In summer 1857, the 10th Regiment was reorganized to improve its military readiness. In early August, reports from Great Salt Lake City brought news that United States Army troops were approaching Utah Territory. Rumors also circulated that an army detachment was maneuvering to "invade" southern Utah. Colonel William H. Dame, 38, was the commanding officer of the Iron Military District. He oversaw military preparations in southern Utah, including harvesting and stockpiling foodstuffs, guarding inlets, surveying arms, obtaining munitions and drilling local militias. Dame also ordered scouting parties into the eastern mountains to encounter the army detachment thought to be approaching. Besides being the major over the 2nd Battalion, Isaac Haight was also a lieutenant colonel in the Iron Military District. This made him second in command to Col. William Dame of Parowan in the 10th Regiment and the senior militia officer in Cedar City.
Militia units from the 10th Regiment, or Iron Military District, were responsible for the Mountain Meadows Massacre. In the midst of this crisis the Arkansas wagon train reached Cedar City and some explosive episode occurred between a few emigrants and some Mormon settlers in Cedar city. The local settlers thought them impudent and "saucy."
Major Haight and Unfolding Events at Mountain MeadowsA Basic Account for a full description of the massacre.
Isaac C. Haight held virtually every leadership position in Cedar City -- mayor, stake president, major in the militia, superintendent of the ironworks, and representative in the territorial legislature. However, Colonel William H. Dame was the commander of the regional militia, the Iron Military District. Thus, Haight had to consult with Dame about how to address the flareup in Cedar City. Haight recommended retaliation but Dame urged against hasty action. Haight was dissatisfied with this cautious approach. With the connivance of majors John D. Lee and John M. Higbee, Cedar City bishop Philip Klingensmith, and most (but not all) of the local high council, Haight pursued a plan involving an Indian incursion against the wagon train under the shadow leadership of local Indian Farmer, John D. Lee.
Thus, on Thursday evening, September 4 (or possibly the following evening) Haight summoned John D. Lee from Fort Harmony and together they laid plans to use local Paiute Indians to attack the emigrant train. Lee left Cedar City to implement the plan of attack.
Sunday, September 6
On Sunday, September 6, community leaders met in their weekly council meeting. In attendance were Isaac Haight, John Higbee, Charles Hopkins, Philip Klingensmith, Samuel McMurdie, Laban Morrill, Elias Morris, John Morris, Joseph Pugmire, and several others. Haight acquainted them with their plan for the emigrant company. Laban Morrill (and possibly others) objected and extracted a promise from Haight that he seek Brigham Young’s counsel before executing the plan. Haight reluctantly agreed.
However, John D. Lee had left for Mountain Meadows on Sunday and was now incommunicado. There is strong evidence that the attack was not intended to take place until the emigrant train had moved down trail to Santa Clara Canyon. For reasons that are still unclear, Lee advanced the time of the attack.
Monday, September 7
The first attack occurred early Monday morning, September 7, followed by intermittent fighting with no clear winner emerging. Lee sent an Indian runner to Cedar City and he arrived in the afternoon with word of the attack. Major Haight ordered that a detachment be mobilized under the command of Major John M. Higbee, who was also Haight's counselor in the stake presidency.
Haight also sent out the couriers he had promised to send. But instead of sending them on Sunday, he delayed until Monday afternoon. One courier, James Haslam, rode north toward Salt Lake City; the other, Joseph Clews, headed west to Mountain Meadows with a message for Lee to delay action. But as we have already seen, Lee initiated the attack on the emigrants that morning. By Monday afternoon, Lee was disturbed that the promised support from the southern settlements had not arrived. He headed south in search of them. Thus, when the Cedar City courier arrived at the Meadows, he could not find Lee to deliver the express.
Meanwhile, back in Cedar City, John Higbee departed at the head of his detachment on Monday evening. Herdsman Henry Higgins was tending the livestock in the community field and saw them depart. While Major Higbee moved toward the Meadows, Major Lee moved away from it. Lee encountered the Washington and Fort Clara detachments south of the Meadows around 10 p.m. that evening, moving north but still some miles away. They spent the night there. Meanwhile, Higbee and his detachment traveled all night toward the Meadows.
Tuesday, September 8
Major Higbee's detachment arrived at the Meadows sometime that morning and the southern detachment arrived around noon. By early afternoon, Higbee had assessed the situation and sent an expressman to Cedar City to advise Major Haight of conditions at Mountain Meadows. There were some sporadic Indian attacks on the train. They also pursued the emigrants' cattle, which were now straying all over the Meadows.
Wednesday, September 9Lee realized that their ploy to have an all-Indian force do the dirty work was doomed to fail. Also, because of the killing of William Aden by Mormon sentries, it seemed probable to them that the emigrants knew of Mormon connivance in the attacks. Meanwhile, in Parowan -- 20 miles north of Cedar City -- Colonel William Dame sent his own scouts to Mountain Meadows to observe conditions. They came back expressing "disgust" with what they saw. The Haight-Lee gambit was becoming a fiasco.
The stalemate only deepened the sense of crisis. On Wednesday evening, the 9th, Haight and his Welsh adjutant Elias Morris met in council with William Dame in Parowan. In the council were Jesse N. Smith, Calvin Pendleton, and Newman and Tarlton Lewis. This meeting was characterized by considerable vacillation on Dame’s part in responding to the emergency at Mountain Meadows. Initially, the council adopted Pendleton’s proposal to send a company from Parowan to assist emigrants. But in the later so-called "Tan Bark council" (because they squatted on the tan bark near the east gate of the fort) Haight evidently persuaded Dame to change the orders. Because the emigrants had learned of Mormon connivance in the attacks, Haight argued that the company had to be silenced. At Haight's insistance, Dame approved an order authorizing further attacks on the train if such was deemed necessary to maintain peaceful relations with local Indians.
William Barton was nearby; however, he did not overhear Haight, rather Haight later told him what happened and of his own deep regrets.
Thursday, September 10
Haight and Morris returned to Cedar on Thursday morning and sent new orders to Major Higbee. These arrived Thursday afternoon and lead to the fateful Thursday night council meeting at Mountain Meadows attended by Lee, Higbee, Klingensmith and members of the Cedar City community leadership (who also held positions in the militia) who were on the grounds. It was a highly contentious meeting. Opinions varied from letting the emigrants leave unmolested to massacring them. The argument that ultimately prevailed was a coldly rational one -- at least it seemed rational based on what they believed at the time. The emigrants must be silenced because they had learned that Mormons were behind the Indian attacks. They would carry this news to California which would lead to a new invasion of U.S. troops into Utah from the west. In the surreal war environment that existed, the militia council reasoned that they had to silence all old enough "to tell the tale," so that they could then face the Army invaders from the east without fear of a separate army contingent from California. In the end, the senior officials -- Lee, Higbee, Klingensmith, and their subordinates -- all agreed to the plan and steeled themselves to execute it.
Friday, September 11
On Friday, September 11, they executed the plan involving a ploy of offering safe passage to the emigrants. After decoying the emigrants from their wagon circle, at the agreed signal the militiamen and their Indian allies fell upon them and massacred approximately one hundred twenty men, women and children. Only seventeen small children survived.
Meanwhile in Cedar City, Col. William Dame and his party arrived from Parowan and together with Major Haight and his adjutants, they set out for Mountain Meadows. Traveling all night they arrived the following morning.
Saturday, September 12
Upon arriving at Mountain Meadows, Col. Dame, Major Haight and their subordinates found John D. Lee who showed them the scene of the massacre. Reviewing the ghastly scene, Dame in particular was struck by the unforeseen number of women and children among the victims. He was heard to exclaim, "I didn't know there were so many of them!" Lee observed Col. Dame and Major Haight quarreling among themselves over the disastrous result of their orders and who should bear responsibility for massacring some many women and children.
Sunday, September 13
The enormity of the disaster only increased the following day. Upon Col. Dame’s return to Parowan, he encountered his adjutant, James H. Martineau, who days earlier Dame had sent on a 300-mile scouting expedition through the eastern mountains. Martineau informed him that the scouts had not encountered any sign of troop movements and that the rumor of an army "invasion" was false. The report that the U.S. Army was invading southern Utah over the Fremont Trail was only a wild rumor fed by war hysteria, just as was the report that the California-bound immigrants were in league with this phantom army detachment.
Meanwhile, in Cedar City express rider James Haslam returned from Salt Lake City with orders from Brigham Young not to molest the emigrants while also maintaining peaceful relations with the Indians. Haight could only ruefully respond, "Too late!"
Mountain Meadows as a Moral Panic in the Fog of War
In modern sociological terms, the southern Utah settlers had experienced a severe "moral panic": In the war environment, they came to think that they were being invaded by the U.S. army. Next, they came to believe that the passing emigrants were in league with the supposedly invading army detachment. Wild rumors proliferated, leading to equally wild perceptions and an extreme overaction out of all proportion to their actual condition. In its distorted perception and extreme overreaction, the massacre at Mountain Meadows has similarities with other moral panics such as the European witch craze of the 14th through 17th centuries or, more recently, the Satanic ritual abuse craze of the 1980s. But war, or the threat thereof, presents the most common example of these distorted perceptions and responses. Von Clausewitz provided the classic analogy -- "the fog of war." Unrealistic perceptions and crazed responses are a ubiquitous part of warfare. And so it proved to be in southern Utah in September 1857.
The 1858 Search for New Places of Refuge
In early 1858, while the U.S. Army was still in its winter quarters near Fort Bridger in modern Wyoming, Colonel Dame with the assistance of other officers such as Major Haight organized an exploration of the western desert to reconnoiter new safe havens for Mormons in the event of an army invasion of northern Utah.
But the end result of these efforts was the recognition that there was no new sanctuary to which Mormons could retreat. That realization led Brigham Young to a negotiated settlement with federal officials. By July 1858, the crisis was defused and the Utah War was over.
The 1858 Church Council Considering Dame and Haight
Later in 1858, after the peace accord between the Buchanan administration and Mormon officials, George A. Smith and several other church leaders held a council in southern Utah to investigate charges against Dame in his ecclesiastical role. There was a laundry list of complaints about Dame's leadership, none of which specifically mentioned Mountain Meadows. But Isaac C. Haight and several other witnesses to events at Mountain Meadows were in attendance and the council surely considered aspects of the chain of command regarding the massacre. The details of the council are not fully known but the outcome of the council was favorable to Dame. Following several days of testimony and deliberations, Dame retained his position in Parowan but a while later Isaac C. Haight was removed from his church positions in nearby Cedar City. According to the council minutes, those who found that the complaints against Dame were "without foundation" were the Mormon "general authorities," George A. Smith and Amasa Lyman, and the local community, church and militia leaders and members, James H. Martineau, Calvin C. Pendleton, H. M. Alexander, John Steel, Nephi Johnson, F. T. Whitney, Silas S. Smith, S. West, E. Elmer, William Barton, O. B. Adams, J. Lewis, C. Hall, J. T. Hall, Isaac C. Haight, Samuel O. White, M. Ensign, John M. Higbee, Tarlton Lewis, Piddy Meeks and Joseph H. Smith.
In 1859, Haight heard that federal officials supported by government troops from northern Utah were coming to arrest him and others for their complicity in the massacre. In July, he was released as stake president and went into hiding, remaining in the local mountains until the troops had withdrawn. Later that year Federal Indian Superintendent Jacob Forney prepared a list of the "most guilty" in the massacre. He named Isaac Haight, Ira Hatch, John Higbee, Philip Klingensmith, John D. Lee, David Tullis, and William Davies (the later was probably not involved at all).
Beginning in the 1870s, as interest heightened in the Mountain Meadows Massacre, Haight strove to maintain a low profile. With only few exceptions, he spent the remainder of his life in frontier outposts. For instance, in June 1871, legendary Mormon scout Jacob Hamblin enlisted Haight to accompany him to the mouth of the Dirty Devil River on the Colorado River. They traveled as far as Marysvale in Piute County where Hamblin turned back to attend to other matters. Haight continued on with a guide but was unable to find the mouth of the river. He returned from this adventure in early July.
On November 17 of that year, Mormon leader Brigham Young, having acquired further particulars about the planning and execution of the Mountain Meadows Massacre, excommunicated Isaac Haight and John D. Lee in absentia from the church.
In Jacob Hamblin's Expeditions to the Hopi Mesas
At that time, Haight was accompanying Jacob Hamblin on another of his historic journeys across the Colorado River into northeastern Arizona. Also on this expedition were George Adair, John Mangum, and others. Traveling south from Kanab, they arrived at the Colorado River and moved upstream to the Crossing of the Fathers where they left a man with provisions for the 1871 Powell expedition. After crossing they continued southeast to Hopi land. After visiting the Hopi Mesas they continued to Ft. Defiance. Hamblin's peace negotiations the previous years had yielded an uneasy truce in the Mormon-Navajo War of 1868-70. The specific purpose of this journey was to gain indemnity from the federal Indian agent for the hard bargains the Navajos had insisted on in their recent trades with Mormons at Kanab. They did not receive any indemnities but they did further cement the uneasy peace. On the return trip several Navajos accompanied them. On the Colorado at the mouth of the Paria River they encountered the second Colorado River expedition of John Wesley Powell. After ferrying men and animals across, they spent the evening with the Powell party, dancing a “war dance” with the Navajos and singing Navajo “war songs” and Mormon hymns.
Freighting for the Powell Survey Team
Through this contact, Haight, George Adair and John Mangum became acquainted with the Powell party and impressed them with their hardiness in that forbidding wilderness. Over time, they provided guide and freighting services and other logistical support to Powell's exploratory party. For instance, in November 1872, Jacob Hamblin instructed John Mangum and non-Mormon George Riley to resupply Frederick Dellenbaugh and the Powell survey team. They started from Kanab with supplies for the party but became lost on the Paria Plateau, delaying their arrival at the Colorado River. Hamblin then sent Isaac Haight and William Riggs to restock the Powell team in Paria Canyon. The Riley-Mangum party arrived at the mouth of the Paria River to deliver their provisions and the following day the Haight-Riggs party arrived with additional supplies.
Nearly 60 years later, long after Haight had died, Dellenbaugh praised Powell's Mormon crews as "faithful, agreeable and competent." (Dellenbaugh letter to Rose Hicks Hamblin, August 25, 1934, cited in History of Kane County, 51, 52.)
Haight continued to work at lonely outposts where he was less likely to be observed and where escape routes were plentiful.
Indicted for Murder
In 1874, the federal district court in Beaver issued an indictment for murder against William H. Dame, Isaac C. Haight, John M. Higbee, Philip Klingensmith, John D. Lee, and William C. Stewart plus three other low-level militiamen, George Washington Adair, Samuel Jewkes, and Ellott Willden. Lee tried to escape but was arrested as was William Dame and several others.
Fugative From Justice
But Haight, John Higbee, and William Stewart fled and went into hiding. In the ensuing years, Philip Klingensmith turned state’s evidence and testified against John D. Lee and Lee was tried, convicted and executed. The charges against William Dame were dropped, evidently for lack of sufficient evidence to convict. As for Isaac Haight, for the next twelve years until his death in 1886, he remained in hiding, using different aliases, and frequently moving through Utah, Michigan, New Mexico, Arizona and Mexico.
Haight's granddaughter, Carolyn Parry Woolley, maintained that he spent some time in the mid- to late-1870s with relatives in Michigan. Then in 1879-1880, Haight and his son Caleb were members of the Hole-in-the-Rock Expedition bound for San Juan County in the southeastern corner Utah.
Located in the Four Corners area of Utah, Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico, San Juan County is in a remote wilderness, cut off from the rest of Utah by the Colorado River and a vast maze of mountains, canyons, gorges, bluffs and slick rock mesas. In an epic of pioneer trailblazing, the San Juan pioneer expedition cut a trail up and over the high cliffs above the Colorado River, down to the river and across to the other side into the unsettled and inaccessible red rock wilderness. It took them months to travel one hundred miles and at Hole-in-the-Rock, six weeks to advance three-quarters of a mile. In some stretches they had used seven spans of draught animals to pull their wagons over some of the most rugged terrain in North America and certainly its worst wagon road. After months of exertion in harsh winter conditions the company finally arrived at Bluff in San Juan County.
One of Haight's wives reportedly joined him and his son at Bluff where they remained until 1884. In the fall of that year, they departed the San Juan Valley and returned to Toquerville in southwestern Utah.
Haight's granddaughter maintained that from there Haight took refuge in the Mormon temple (!) in St. George. But he was quickly discovered and compelled to leave. After brief visits to family in Toquerville and Cedar City, Haight and his son set out for Mexico.
By the 1880s, the Mountain Meadows prosecutions had stalled. The national focus had shifted from the massacre to polygamy and the national anti-polygamy crusade was in full swing. Federal energies were poured into anti-polygamy legislation and federal dollars, into unlawful cohabitation prosecutions. But the indictment against Haight and others was still pending and he remained a fugitive from justice.
In 1885, Haight and his son Caleb passed through Arizona into one of the new Mormon colonies in Chihuahua, Mexico. During that year, they evidently moved around Mexico, Arizona, New Mexico and possibly Texas. However, when a Mormon leader -- Jesse N. Smith according to Carolyn Parry Woolley -- revealed Haight's identity to the Mormon colony in Chihuahua, Haight and his son were forced to leave and return to Arizona.
They sought refuge with Haight's nephew, Hyrum Brinkerhoff, in the remote Mormon settlement of Thatcher, Graham County, in the Gila Valley on the upper Gila River. During 1886, he lived in relative seclusion, corresponding with distant family members and working when his declining health permitted. He was suffering from Bright's Disease.
On September 8, 1886, Isaac C. Haight died of pneumonia at the age of 73. To avoid undue attention, his body was buried in his nephew's basement where it remained for the next 27 years. After Arizona obtained statehood in 1912, his family deemed it safe to disinter his remains and rebury them in the public cemetery in Graham County, Arizona, marked by an inconspicuous marker. Since then his descendants have placed an appropriate headstone to mark his final resting place.
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For full bibliographic information see Bibliography.
For further information on Isaac C. Haight see:
- Deseret Iron Company Account Book, 1854-1867: http://www.footnote.com/document/241905844/
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