Episode 49: Emma Lee French

Written by Lindsay Hansen Park on . Posted in year of polygamy

Join Lindsay as she talks about Emma Batchelor Lee French, a favorite wife of John D. Lee of Mountain Meadows Massacre fame.   Links mentioned in this podcast:  
Excerpt from Emma Lee:
When the soldiers arrived about noon the next day, the commanding officer didn’t seem surprised to find John absent. The captain just shook his head and asked the three of us who were outside if we knew why the army wanted to arrest our husband. When we didn’t answer, he said, “John D. Lee is a murderer.” He went on to tell us that John’s Mormon Militia and Indian allies had slaughtered over 120 unarmed men, women and children. He said they had killed almost everyone in a wagon train that was passing through southern Utah on the way to California. He asked us if we were proud of the way John had participated in the bloodbath at Mountain Meadows, and of the way the head of our household and his cohorts had slaughtered everyone except the tiniest of their children. . . . That was it. I couldn’t listen to any more of the government man’s hateful lies. I turned and made my way down to the creek as fast as my pregnant belly would allow. When I got there, I bent over and splashed water on my face over and over again. I wanted the water to wash away the memory of what I had just heard. But it didn’t. My distress turned into dizziness, which made me fall on a jagged rock and bruise my unborn baby. John came back and comforted me after I gave birth to a stillborn son a month later.

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Comments (30)

  • Noel

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    Hello, very interesting podcast. It seems life on the handcarts was not what LDS have traditionally thought about. I am curious where I could find out about John D Lee’s sexual habit u mentioned.. I bought Mountain Meadows (Brooks) and John D Lee (brooks) What was fascinating was the picture of him sitting on the edge of his coffin.

    Reply

  • Allyson

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    I just found out I am a decedent of Emma Lee French. The family version of how she met John was a bit different. According to my Grandma she “Threw herself at John and begged her to marry her.” When I mentioned to my Grandma that John D Lee wasn’t a very good man she defended him in every way. Then she said to me….I have an article for you I clipped from the Deseret News about the downtown get together and “that girl” who wants the priesthood. I told her no need to give it to me, I was there. LOL!

    Reply

    • Lon Lee

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      Allyson, What is your link to Emma Batchelor Lee French? I am the grandson of her son William.

      Reply

  • Carlie

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    Hi love listening to these. You said this was going to be a multi part series discussing John D Lees wives. I’ve been trying to find the other episode. Can you let me know which it is? Fascinating stuff! Thank you for doing this series!

    Reply

  • Linda

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    I am a descendant of Rachel; however, I lived near near what was their property in the Winslow/ Holbrook area. I’d like to verify that. 10 years ago the house that Emma and Frank French lived in. was still mostly standing. I don’t know now since I’ve moved.

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