Monday, October 15, 2012

Harriet Conder Tells about the Massacre

On January 15, 1949, Harriet Lendora Brakefield Conder shared with her granddaughter what she knew of the Cane Creek Massacre. Harriet was 93 years old when she made this recording. She was not an eyewitness to the shooting, but her husband was the brother of Jim Conder who owned the home where the shooting took place. Presumably she got her information from the Jim and Malinda Conder. Since Blogger does not allow the uploading of audio files, I added the audio to a photo of Harriet and uploaded it as a video to YouTube.


Grandaughter: Alright … grandma, I want you to tell me the story of the martyrdom of the Elders at Uncle Jim’s Conder's place.

Harriet: Well, it was three Elders went to Jim Conder's and one was, was on his way. And, and there’s a man met him, they, the mob met him and left a man to guard him. And uh, and uh he talked so to the man and the man beat him up. And just shot up. And the man got away.

Grandaughter: The Elder got away.

Harriet: The Elder got away. And the Elder got away. And then they, they come on then …

Grandaughter: The mob went on?

Harriet: The mob went on, to Jim Conder’s house. And when they got to the house, they, they killed two of the Elders, and one of them got away.

Grandaughter: Well, uh, what did they do? Uh, were they all masked? And uh, now, uh, Uncle Jim was holding a cottage meeting or was there someone to be baptized?

Harriet: Yes, it was Sol Hinson’s boy, they claimed they wanted to kill them because they were gonna baptize Sol Hinson’s boy.

Grandaughter: Uh-huh.

Harriet: And uh

Grandaughter: And uh, now these Elders, were they in the house when the mob came up?

Harriet: Yes. The two of them, well there’s three of them. One of them jumped up and left the house when they come in shootin’

Grandaughter: Well, where did he go?

Harriet: He got out of sight, that one did.

Grandaughter: Down in the orchard?

Harriet: In the orchard.

Grandaughter: Well, and, didn’t you tell me that one of the Elders was upstairs reading the Bible?

Harriet: Yes, he was reading the Bible when they come in on him. There Jim ...

Grandaughter: Was the mob masked? Or did Uncle Jim know who they were?

Harriet: No, he didn’t know them. They were just drunk … drunk men.

Grandaughter: Yes.

Harriet: I don’t think there’s masked at all, cause he didn’t know the man John Riley killed.

Grandaughter: Well, now, who was John Riley?

Harriet: John Riley was Jim Conder’s step son.

Grandaughter: And uh, when this mob came up, Jim Riley, uh, what did he do?

Harriet: Well, John Riley and Martin Conder was out in the orchard and when they come in shootin’ the Elders, they run to the house. And uh, they, Martin just run in and went knocking them down and they shot him.

Grandaughter: And Killed him?

Harriet: Killed him, Yes, they killed Martin.

Grandaughter: Martin Conder.

Harriet: Killed Martin Conder and then they shot his mother, Martin’s mother, And they said … John Riley said, “Are, are you hurt mother?” And she says “Yes, John, I’m hurt and hurt bad” And he just went upstairs and got the gun and come down and shot Dave Hinson … dead.

Grandaughter: Well, was he one of the mob leaders?

Harriet: He was the mob leader. He was the captain of the mob.

Grandaughter: Did they, uh, hurt this boy who shot him? What did they do to him?

Harriet: Killed him.

Grandaughter: Killed him?

Harriet: Killed him.

Grandaughter: And then they buried the two boys out in the orchard, you say?

Harriet: They buried the two boys. And they come and took the Elders back to Utah.

Grandaughter: The bodies?

Harriet: Yes, the bodies.

Grandaughter: Well they had to slip in and get the bodies, though. The mob wouldn’t let them take them out.

Harriet: Mm-mm.

Grandaughter: Well, now did this boy who was going to be baptized, did his father object to him being baptized?

Harriet: Oh yes, yes.

Grandaughter: Oh he, he was the one who was killed, is that it?

Harriet: Yes, he…

Grandaughter: He was the leader.

Harriet: Yes, Dave Hinson was the leader, and he was, was killed

Grandaughter: He didn’t want his son to be baptized.

Harriet: No, that was his nephew was going to be baptized.

Grandaughter: Oh, his nephew.

Harriet: Sol Hinson’s boy, was going to be killed, was going to be baptized.

Grandaughter: Well, and Sol Hinson’s boy, was old enough to know his own mind.

Harriet: Oh yes, he’s married.

Grandaughter: Well, they, uh, they just objected to the Mormon Elders preaching their religion, then.

Harriet: Oh yes. That’s they all objected to. And this one that was guardin’ him ya know, and he, he talked to the one who’s guardin’ him. And he told him to get away and shot two straight up.

Grandaughter: After the Elder had talked to this mob?

Harriet: Had talked to one of the mob. So he got up and left. The Elder did, and the man come on back to the house.

Grandaughter: Well, about when did this all happen, about what date?

Harriet: Well it was, I think it was eighteen and eighty. Eighty….

Grandaughter: Four?

Harriet: Four! Eighty four, yes.

Grandaughter: In August you thought?

Harriet: In August. I’m pretty sure it was August.

Grandaughter: Well, this is all of our record. So we’ll have to sign off now. Was that all of the story?

Harriet: That’s all that I can remember. All. Mm-mmm.


There are a few noteworthy things here. First, I love to  hear the voices. The accent, the inflection, the tone, even the errors, all come across differently when it is heard instead of just read. Second, Sol Hinson [actually Solomon Hinson, Dave Hinson's uncle] has been connected to the Massacre by others, but never in this way. I'll look at that in a future post. Third, there was no hint of a planned baptism at the meeting from other sources. But spur of the moment baptisms were not uncommon. Or perhaps the baptism was planned for another day and Harriet misremembered that detail. She wouldn't be the first.


Montserrat said...

This is priceless! Thank you so much for posting it. I'm sending the link to this post to my parents, siblings, and grandmother. So fun to hear the accents, both Utah and Southern :)

BruceAllen said...

You would think Harriet's accent would be pretty typical southern. And her grand daughter - who was from Idaho, I think - would have a more western accent. I can hear a bit of southern drawl in her speech. But Harriet spent more than half her life in New Mexico. And her speaking patterns are very similar to my grandfather's, who lived most of his life in Salt Lake City. It makes me wonder if some of the accent was specific to the time.