The Circleville Massacre : A Brutal Incident in Utah's Black Hawk War
Utah Historical Quarterly
'In April 1866 the white settlers of Circleville annihilated a band of captive Paiute Indians, including helpless women and children. This incident of the Black Hawk War of 1865-68 was the largest massacre of Indians in Utah's history. The mass murder seemed necessary to those who were anxious about possibly continuing Indian hostilities. The whites of Circleville had suffered dearly in a previous Indian raid and wanted to prevent a similar tradedy. Their concern was increased by defenses inadequate for the realities of war. In addition, brutal responses by other whites ot Indian disturbances had set a precedent for the settlers of Circleville.' (p. 4-5) This article goes into great detail on the background for the massacre, as well as the massacre itself. The author concludes that white brutality early in the war suggests they were unprepared to face the realities of an Indian uprising. At Circleville the local militia simply was not read, and town fortifications were built too late to give settlers adequate feeling of security. A disastrous raid had helped establish fear and hatred among the whites. 'Such emotions were exaggerated by the confusing nature of a war in which there was no easy way of telling peaceful Indians from renegades. Because legal authorities were too weak to control the brutal activities of the war and instances of savage behavior went unpunished, a dangerous precedent was set. By late April 1866 it was clear that whites needed to concern themselves little with legal action when Indians were mishandled. When it wa feared that a local group of Indians could no longer be trusted, war hysteria took hold of at least some whites of Circleville and innocent people were killed.