In September 1857 a group of Mormons (and some Native Americans) attacked, disarmed, and then killed approximately 120 men, women, and children from an Arkansas-to-California wagon train. In the early 1900s this “Mountain Meadows Massacre” was in living memory and Arkansas was part of the Southwestern States Mission.  How did Mormon missionaries in East Texas encounter and deal with it?
The diaries refer to the “Mountain Meadow Massacre” (no “s” on “Meadow”) six times and once to “killing Some Emigrants that was going through Utah and John Dee Lee was killed for it.”  The argument, as refracted through the diaries, was straightforward: “the mormons done it.” Accusations about the Massacre usually came in company with other complaints. 
The Elders denied/downplayed Mormon involvement or reacted aggressively:
“‘Well,’ I says, ‘you don’t think the Mormons did that, do you?’ ‘Yes, sir, they did.’ We tried to reason with him but he was so full of the spirit of the evil one that we could do nothing with him.”
“I tried to Show him there was only two or 3 that had anything to do with it. and it was not the mormons’ fault I told him I could bring 500 witnesses to Prove the Same. he said he would not believe them if they was mormons.”
“he…said have you got any Books giving account of the mountain meadow massacre I said you can get them at the devils headquarters”
“He…asked why it was that Johnson’s Army had to be sent to Utah. Elder Craner then spoke and said, ‘because of false stories being told by just such men as you are.’ He then got very angry and said, ‘If you say that again, I will mash your mouth for you.’ This stopped the man.” 
The “Southwestern States Mission” series uses the diaries of six missionaries who served in eastern Texas around 1900 to illustrate aspects of Mormon material culture, lived religion, and social History. The missionaries are Mission President Duffin and Elders Brooks, Clark, Folkman, Forsha, and Jones. The series is inspired by Ardis Parshall’s serial posting of the missionary diary of Willard Larson Jones at Keepapitchinin. Previous installment here.
 In 1902, when most of these Elders went home, the Massacre was forty-five years past. Thus, a twenty-year-old who read about the murders in 1857 would be sixty-five; the surviving children would be mostly in their late forties. (For comparison: the Tet Offensive [1968 Jan 30] and the My Lai massacre [1968 Mar 16] ‘turn’ forty-five next year ). President Duffin was born in 1860 and Elder Clark in 1859. I have not looked into any of the Elders’ possible family connections.
None of the six diarists worked in Arkansas and President Duffin only visited in a supervisory role. After one conference he reported: “The people of Carrollton tell me that this is the place to which the children saved from the Mountain Meadow massacre were returned. There is a very bitter feeling in this part of the country” (Duffin, 1900 Sep 6 Thu).
The diarists did not record contact with survivors, but met participants from related events. Elder Clark spent the night with “a man who was in the Johnson’s Army in the early days of Utah” (Clark, 1900 Mar 08 Thu); President Duffin spent 1300 words describing his interview with “the last living witness of the death of Apostle Parley P Pratt” (Duffin, 1902 Sep 03 Wed).
 Duffin’s reports (1900, 1904) don’t seem to have involved confrontations; Elder Clark had three in the summer of 1901 and Elder Jones had two in January 1902. Brooks, Folkman, and Forsha record no mentions that I have noticed. All five confrontations happened within a five-month period and involved the two Elders working the farthest north. Such (relatively loose) spatiotemporal clustering might be random, but it suggests at least the possibility of a motivating factor—something like a series of newspaper editorials or an itinerant preacher lecturing on Mormonism.
 Variants of the argument include: “our people were the leaders” and “…[he] begun to abuse us and call us murder[er]s.” One contact said he did not “want to hear anything” from the missionaries, presumably because “he never could think of the Mormons but what he thought of the Mountain Meadow Massacre.” (Jones, 1902 Jan 03 Fri). The rest cited at least one more objection to Mormonism. One critique touched on polygamy, heresy, domestic missions, missionaries living off charity, and “stealing” women in addition to the Massacre (Clark, 1901 Jul 25 Thu).
Three of the entries mentioning the Massacre also report the possibility of physical violence: an Elder threatened to “mash” a man’s mouth (Jones, 1902 Jan 05 Sun); a man ordered an Elder off the porch and then brandished a shotgun (Clark, 1901 Sep 21 Sat); and a man warned the Elders to “leave town as there may be trouble” shortly after another man accosted the Elders about the Massacre (Clark, 1901 Aug 28 Wed). I have not yet done a quantitative analysis, but, since threats of violence are pretty rare in the diaries, I’ll be surprised if there doesn’t turn out to be a correlation.
 Jones, 1902 Jan 03 Fri; Clark, 1901 Sep 21 Sat; Clark, 1901 Jul 25 Thu; Jones, 1902 Jan 05 Sun. In the last entry it is not entirely clear who threatened whom; I read the Elder as threatening because “This stopped the man.” In 1904 President Duffin reported an encounter with a Campbellite minister who “manifested a broad liberal spirit, among other things saying that the ‘Mormon’ people should not be held responsible for the ‘Mountain Meadow massacre,’ because a few bad men were connected with it” (Duffin, 1904 May 8 Sun).