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Bill Hickman's Plea-Bargain
From the Journal History of the Church

26 Sept. 1871.
"Before going to Tooele the First Presidency learned that an alliance had been formed between the U.S. ring here and Wm. A. Hickman and his band of thieves.  Hickman was arrested some time since on a charge of murder in the first degree.  He has been told that if he would criminate the leading authorities of the Church on some capital crime, he would be exonerated from guilt and probably receive some consideration; altho charged with murder committed about a year ago with incontestable evidence, he has been at large on parole on his own verbal recognizance.  It was also understood that prosecutions would be commenced before the packed grand jury against leading men for plurality of wives.  In view of this Pres. Young employed Hon. Thos. Fitch, S.A. Mann, Major Hempstead and partner,                Kirkpatrick, Lorenzo Snow, E.D. Hoge, Hosea Stout, Aurelius Miner and Le Grande Young.  Pres. Young sent for Gen. De Trobriand [the commanding officer of Fort Douglas] (26th) and informed him he would probably be his (prisoner) guest.  The General told him he would be protected.

"Elder Taylor came into the President's Office in the evening and protested against Pres. Young putting himself into the hands of the marshal as he apprehended a repetition of the tragedy he had once witnessed.*  The President had considerable conversation with him and expressed the idea that things were entirely different to what they were then.  During the day several brethren who had learned what was designed had expressed their opposition to the President's delivering himself up; but after conversation all agreed that the President should follow his own inspiration upon the subject.  Grand jurors are all sworn to keep secret their proceedings, but it was understood in the President's Office yesterday morning at 10 a.m. that the President had been indicted and would probably be arrested during the day.  Grand jury presented three indictments to the court against Brigham Young, Jos. A. Young and Hosea Stout as accessories, Wm. A. Hickman principal, the only witness being Hickman.

"Pres. Young had an interview with Messrs. Fitch and Hempstead, his attorneys on the subject.  Hempstead thought he could ascertain when the arrest would be made so as to give a little notice, provided the President designed to be arrested.  Elder Taylor immediately protested against his going into their hands in any way whatever.  Pres. Young did not consider that he would be exposed to assassination here as Joseph was in Carthage jail.  Said he intended to meet and fight the opposition in the court room before the unprincipled judge and official [p.2] which composed the court, for he believed there was not a lawyer in the territory who believed the court to be pursuing a legal course; he felt at the defiance of the world to prove aught against him in truth.   (Office Journal)

"There was some excitement in town, it being rumored that Pres. Young would give himself up to U.S. authorities."

Journal History of the Church, 26 Sep 1871, p.1
LDS Church History Library, Salt Lake City, UT

* John Taylor was present in 1844 when the Mormon prophet Joseph Smith was killed by a mob after he had surrendered himself to the promised protection of the governor of Illinois, a situation eerily similar to this.

To learn more about Bill Hickman, click here.
To learn more about John Taylor, click here.
To return to the Hickman Family Index page, click here.