The Curious Case of James Madison Monroe

By Edward Hogan



Or, right-click here to download the audio file: The Curious Case of James Madison Monroe



IN LATE SEPTEMBER of 1851, Howard Egan left Salt Lake City and headed east determined to find James Madison Monroe, whom he had just found out had been his wife’s lover. On 30 September he found a wagon train that carried goods for John and Enoch Reese. Monroe, their nephew, was in the party.1 Egan met the wagon train ten miles west of Bear River—very near the Utah border—arriving in the morning just as the party was breaking camp. Egan and Monroe calmly saluted each other and walked together a little ways from the other men.

When they stopped, Egan told Monroe that he had taken away his “peace of mind forever” and that Monroe had only thirty minutes to live, “during which time he exhorted him to contrition and preparation for his change.”2 When the thirty minutes had passed, Egan drew a pistol and shot the unarmed Monroe in the face on the right side of the nose just below the eye. Monroe died immediately. Egan mounted his horse, rode up to the rest of the company, gave them his name, and said, “Gentlemen, I have killed the seducer of my wife.” He then put his hand to his breast and added, “Vengeance is sweet to me.” He told them that, “what he had done he had done in the name of the Lord, that Monroe had ruined his family, and destroyed his peace on earth forever.” He then blessed them, wished them a safe journey to the city, and rode off.3

Egan was never convicted for killing Monroe. In fact, his deed met with the general approval of the Latter-day Saint community. This reaction (or lack thereof) reveals a deep tension between the Saints’ practice of polygamy and their desire to be accepted by American culture, as well as the tension between their adherence to both the violence of “mountain common law” and the laws of Zion and brotherly love.

Several years earlier, in 1842, Egan himself was almost killed in Nauvoo under similar circumstances. Ironically, the incident involved one of Monroe’s aunts, Catherine, Zephaniah Clawson’s widow. A superior had instructed Nauvoo officer John D. Lee to take a few policemen with him and stake out Sister Clawson’s house. Egan had been seen visiting Mrs. Clawson almost every night at about ten o’clock, not leaving until about daylight the next morning. Lee was told to knock Egan down and castrate him. Furthermore, Lee need not be too gentle with the man because everyone would be quite happy if Egan died.

Lee, however, had been instructed to report any unusual orders he received to Joseph Smith. Unable to find the Prophet, Lee talked to Hyrum who told Lee that he had been inspired to bring this matter to him. Hyrum told him that Egan was, in fact, married to Catherine Clawson. Moreover, their marriage was a holy one that had been performed in accordance with a revelation given to Joseph, which Hyrum explained to him. Lee found the doctrine of plural marriage to be in accordance with his interpretation of the scriptures and immediately accepted it. Lee relayed Hyrum’s message to the chief of police and Egan remained undisturbed by the police.4

Egan, an Irish immigrant who had been orphaned at thirteen, converted to Mormonism in 1842 when he was twenty-seven years old. That same year, he and his wife, Tamson, settled in Nauvoo where Egan continued to practice his trade of rope making. He soon joined the Nauvoo police force and became one of Joseph Smith’s bodyguards. Smith praised Egan’s abilities, saying, “We never feared when Howard Egan was on guard.” Egan embraced polygamy and was sealed to Catherine Clawson by Hyrum Smith in 1844.5 He soon married two additional women.6

Meanwhile, the man he would kill seven years later was also living and thriving in Nauvoo.

James Madison Monroe joined the Church in Utica, New York on 3 October 1841, going on several short missions in central New York soon after. In one diary entry, he proclaimed, “Oh! how my heart swells with gratitude to my Heavenly Father for having been permitted to commence rolling forth his everlasting Gospel and add members to his Church.”7 He happily baptized people in the icy Mohawk River during the winter, and trudged through mud up to his knees to get to appointments.8

Shortly after Monroe began his public preaching, he was at a meeting where another brother was scheduled to speak, but “after having risen he began to doubt whether the Lord would give him anything to say and on account of his little faith, he was obliged to sit down immediately.” So Monroe rose to the occasion and “addressed the people in his place for about one hour, on the second coming of Christ and the destruction of the wicked.”9

Feeling grateful to have found Mormonism, Monroe wrote:


During the past years I have passed through many vicissitudes of life and for the most time I had been a good servant of the Devil, but now how changed, through the divine goodness of Providence I am spared until now, and have been and am numbered among His Saints, for which blessing my heart expands with gratitude to my Heavenly Father, and through His grace and mercy I am determined during the coming year to serve him as faithfully as I am able and become worthy of the name I bear.10


After attending the Cazenovia Seminary (which, despite its name, offered a secular education),11 Monroe taught high school in Utica. But when he was ordained an elder in June 1842,12 he, along with many in his family, moved to Nauvoo, Illinois where he continued to teach school when he was not out proselytizing.13

Among Monroe’s pupils were Joseph Smith’s children, as well as those of Brigham Young and John Taylor.14 Monroe became one of Nauvoo’s leading citizens, being appointed a regent of the University of Nauvoo and becoming a member of the board of trustees of the Seventies Library and Institute Association.15

When he began teaching Joseph and Emma’s children, he felt it to be an overwhelming task, wanting to “educate them in the most extended sense of the word.” He deeply felt his “inability and incapacity of instructing children as they should be instructed.” But, he wrote, “with the blessing of God I am determined to do the best I can. And I sincerely pray that he will enable me to do justice to the children of our lamented Prophet and also to the others that are entrusted to my care. I am almost at a loss what to do!”16

Monroe followed a strict regimen of self-improvement, often arising at five o’clock to study a wide variety of subjects, including phonography—a system of shorthand—for a short time, on the recommendation of Brother Young who wanted him to become a reporter. But Monroe decided it didn’t suit his interests or ambitions. He also studied algebra, advancing half way through Davies’ Bourdon17 in less than two days—an impressive pace—as well as botany, physiology, elocution, singing, mental philosophy, and phrenology, to which he was especially drawn,18 hoping it would give him insights into his students’ needs. Despite this ambitious program, he constantly berated himself for falling short of his goals, chastising himself severely in his diary for sloth when he failed to maintain his regimen.19


My time is now very much occupied all of the time, as I am in school eight hours of the time, two hours for exercise, two for my meals, and then there is not much time left for study. But my business is such as to improve my mind and memory in great degree, by making proper use of it, which I intend to do. Half my labor only I have for myself[;] the other half I give to the Temple. But I am afraid my motives are hardly such as they ought to be. I think approbativeness and selfishness have something to do with it.20


In view of future events, it may be significant that Monroe frequently wrote about keeping his passions in check, although he gives no hint as to what passions he was dealing with. For example, he wrote,


I am determined no longer to be a slave to my own passions. I have been in subjection long enough. Now in the presence of Almighty God and his holy Angels and my own conscience I swear!!! I will never again yield to temptation in the least, never will commit any such indiscretions, never will yield to my passions. They can be conquered and may God assist me to do it, in him do I put my trust. I am determined to practice a rigid course of self-denial, and not to put myself in the way of temptation, and devote my whole time, attention, and energy to the improvement of my mind.21


Eventually, the Saints were expelled from Nauvoo, and it was here that Egan’s and Monroe’s paths diverged. Egan proved to be an able frontiersman as well as policeman. He was a captain of a hundred during the evacuation of Nauvoo, and he accompanied Brigham Young on the first wagon train into the Salt Lake Valley, serving as a captain of ten. In 1849, Egan led a party of Saints from Iowa to Utah.


IN SEPTEMBER OF 1851, after returning from guiding a company of forty-niners across the Nevada desert to the California goldfields, Egan arrived home to learn that his first wife, Tamson, had had an affair with James Monroe and had given birth to his child.22 He soon set off to find and kill Monroe.

Egan returned to Salt Lake City on Sunday 21 September with news of the murder preceding him.23 Nevertheless, Egan was not arrested. On 3 October, a meeting of the Seventies was convened to try Howard Egan for the shooting of James Monroe. After Egan explained the circumstances, he was exonerated. At this time, Mormons felt that ecclesiastical tribunals had precedence over civil ones. Latter-day Saints who resorted to civil courts instead of Church courts to settle disputes with other Church members were usually disfellowshipped.24

That Egan was tried in federal court at all was at least partly due to complaints made by two federal judges, Chief Justice Lemuel G. Brandebury and Associate Justice Perry E. Brocchus, who left Utah just four days after Egan’s ecclesiastical hearing. Both had remained in Utah for little more than a month, and neither had enjoyed their stay. They were particularly outraged that a citizen of the United States—James Monroe, from Utica, New York—had been murdered, and that the perpetrator of the crime was walking the streets of Salt Lake a free man.25

Egan’s murder trial, the first in Utah, began on 17 October in the First District Court and concluded the next day. Egan was represented by two prominent Mormons: apostle George A. Smith and William W. Phelps.26 The outcome of the trial influenced extralegal action in Utah for many years.27

English common law, which had been partially adopted in the United States,28 allowed for a civil suit to be filed in the case of seduction, but Smith felt that such a trifling redress was an outrage. And even when it came to the laws of the United States, Smith argued that they were not necessarily applicable in Utah Territory. Smith pointed out that when Greek law was applied to the Romans, the results were disastrous. He argued that applying English law to the United States, especially to the mountains, was equally ridiculous. “I argue . . . that these laws, which may have force in Old England, are totally inapplicable to plain mountain men.” He also cited two similar cases in the eastern states where the defendant was found not guilty.29 Being so far away from established society, Smith urged that the case should be considered under “mountain common law.”

He appealed to the independent spirit of his pioneer jury, saying,

Not acquainted with the dead languages, I shall simply talk the common mountain English, without reference to anything that may be technical. All I want is simple truth and justice. . . . It is a principle of mountain common law, that no man can seduce the wife of another without endangering his own life.30


Not only was murder justifiable in this case, Smith argued, “if Howard Egan had not killed that man, he would have been damned by the community for ever, and could not have lived peaceably without the frown of every man.”

Smith concluded most pointedly: “The principle, the only one, that beats and throbs through the heart of the entire inhabitants of this Territory is simply this: The man who seduces his neighbor’s wife must die, and her nearest relative must kill him.”31

Justice Zerubbabel Snow32 took exception to Smith’s words, instructing the jury:


If a homicide be committed to prevent the forcible commission of an atrocious crime, such as murder, robbery, rape, &c., it is justifiable; but it is not so if done to punish the offender after the crime has been committed. . . . The law does not permit a person to take the redress of grievances into his own hands. . . . If, as it is contended by the defendant’s attorney, he killed Monroe in the name of the Lord, it does not change the law of the case. . . . If the deceased did seduce the defendant’s wife, and begat a child with her; and if for this the defendant killed him, in law, the killing was unlawful.33


However, Snow also pointed out that if Egan killed Monroe within the boundaries of Utah territory, the federal court did not have jurisdiction; and if the jury determined that the crime took place within the territory, they must return a verdict of not guilty, regardless of Egan’s guilt or innocence.34

The jury needed only fifteen minutes to render a verdict of not guilty. There is no indication whether the verdict was based on the jurisdiction question or because the jury found the defense attorney’s appeal to “mountain common law” compelling.35 The reaction to the verdict printed in the Deseret News, however, probably reflected the feelings of most of the Saints, including the jury. The News wrote that the jury’s decision should “prove a sufficient warning to all unchaste reprobates, that they are not wanted in our community.”36 Indeed, Monroe was demonized by the Saints after his death,37 though even the most cursory reading of his diary shows him to be anything but a monster.

Not all Mormons were comfortable with the court’s decision, however. Lawyer Hosea Stout feared that it would encourage people to take the law into their own hands.38

On 6 March 1852, Utah’s first territorial legislature passed the Justifiable Homicide Act—apparently a direct result of the Egan murder trial, though Egan would have been guilty of murder under this law. The act stated that homicide was justifiable if the person killed had defiled a “wife, daughter, mother, sister or any other female relative or dependent,” but only if the murder was committed in the heat of the moment of discovery. The law stipulated that “It must appear that the circumstances were sufficient to excite the fears of a reasonable person and, that the party killing, really acted under the influence of those fears, and not in the spirit of revenge.”39 Despite this law and Stout’s misgivings, there are no known cases similar to the Monroe murder between 1851 and 1868.40

In 1868, however, William Hughes shot his daughter’s seducer in the courtroom where the seducer’s trial was taking place. The shot didn’t prove to be fatal, much to the disappointment of the Deseret News which stated, “The prevailing feeling is that it is a pity the shot did not do its work as effectually as it could be done.” The article continued much in the spirit of George A. Smith: “Public opinion in these mountains declares that a man who seduces a woman ought to pay the penalty with his life, and her nearest of kindred should bring him to account.” The courts, agreeing with the Deseret News, found Hughes not guilty of assault with intent to kill.41

There were several other cases in Utah where a relative of a raped or seduced woman punished the perpetrator with impunity.42 But in 1874, the Poland act removed serious criminal cases from the jurisdiction of the Mormon-controlled probate courts, primarily to enforce the anti-polygamy laws.43

Although this action removed cases involving the extralegal punishment of seducers from Mormon control, the Saints found a way to circumvent this in at least one instance. In 1877, William Hobbs, the father of a fifteen-year-old girl, shot his daughter’s lover but was exonerated by a Salt Lake City police court. Commenting on the Hobbs case, the anti-Mormon Salt Lake Tribune printed,


We think we see a manifest determination on the part of the priests to acquit Hobbs on the ground of the alleged seduction. . . . Such a proceeding would be based on the ‘mountain common law,’ as laid down by George A. Smith, in his plea for Howard Egan who murdered James Monroe for the offense of seduction.44


Sexual crimes were not the only ones for which extralegal action was taken. There were cases of assault and murder, for example, where the retaliator was given no punishment. Again, the Egan trial served as a precedent for these actions.45

It was not until 1888 that a man was punished for extralegal actions in a case similar to Egan’s. Wilford Halliday killed his wife’s lover twenty-four hours after learning of the adulterous liaison. In this case, the court found that after that length of time, the killing could not have occurred in a sudden heat of passion and that Halliday had committed murder.46

Yet even into the twentieth century, Mormons held to the belief that the killing of a seducer by a family member of the seduced was justifiable homicide. Mormon leader and historian Brigham H. Roberts wrote that the unwritten law of the land would justify a father or brother if he personally avenged “the outraged chastity of a daughter or sister,” or a wronged husband who “slays the despoiler of his domestic peace and home.” Roberts pointed out that the appeal to this unwritten law was not unique to Utah, but if such appeals were more frequent there than in other places in America, it was a “tribute to the high sense of honor, the virility, the strength, and the courage,” of Utah’s manhood.47

One of the reasons for Robert’s attitude was that during the nineteenth century, seduction was an important element of jurisprudence. In the case of James Monroe and Tamson Egan, there was no indication that their affair was not completely consensual, but in the nineteenth century, there was a strong belief in the dominance of men over women,48 so in cases of sexual transgression, the male was inevitably held as the guilty half of the tryst. Thus in Egan’s mind, if Monroe were killed, Tamson would be cleansed by his death.

In a broader context, it is quite strange that Mormons were so zealous about using extralegal means to punish male adulterers. Mormons prided themselves on the idea that they had formed communities that were more civilized than comparable ones in the American West. They claimed that they formed their communities based not just on law, but on brotherly love. George Q. Cannon, a Mormon apostle and editor of the Deseret News, proudly reported in 1868 that Utahans had never yet resorted to vigilante justice.49

With Mormon communities working so hard to distance themselves from frontier justice, Smith’s appeal to mountain common law seems out of place. Yet his appeal received an eager reception. His words were widely publicized. Portions of the trial’s arguments were reprinted in the Deseret News and even the Journal of Discourses.

There are two probable reasons for the popularity of Smith’s argument. The first is that the Mormon community did not think highly of men who had illicit relations with women50 and were pleased to find a reason to punish them. But that attitude led to a complication: the difference between polygamy and adultery dwells mainly in the eye of the beholder. John D. Lee was willing to castrate and kill Egan before he discerned the difference. Many early leaders of the Church were appalled when they first heard of plural marriage. It sounded too much like adultery. Brigham Young said that it was the first time in his life he “desired the grave.”51 Orson Pratt came close to leaving the Church over the matter.52 William Law, a member of the First Presidency, and William Marks, president of the Nauvoo Stake, actually did leave. In order for the Saints to accept polygamy, the first thing they had to do was convince themselves that it was not adultery.

However, the rest of the nation was unwilling to perceive the difference. To them, polygamy was adultery, plain and simple. Aware of this perception, the Mormons wanted to appear all the more strict in their sexual conduct. George Q. Cannon wrote in response to another case of seduction,


It is time the world should know what we have been endeavoring to impress upon it for years, that the people of this Territory are determined by every means in their power, to check vice and foster virtue. Because we believe in and practice polygamy, there are many people, who, for want of correct information, think we are licentious and corrupt, and think of nothing but the gratification of passion. All the pulpit eloquence which finds vent against us, has this view of our character as its basis.53


Thus, when an adulterer like Monroe was killed, the Mormons were trying to show the world that they were serious about sexual morality. However, this attempt at public relations failed miserably. Reading of these killings, the nation was soon convinced that not only were the Mormons lascivious, they were murderous.


DESPITE MURDERING MONROE, Egan raised Monroe’s son, William Monroe Egan, as his own, giving him not only his own name, but Monroe’s as well. Catherine Clawson, Monroe’s aunt and one of Egan’s plural wives, divorced Egan shortly after the shooting, although her reasons for doing so are unknown. Beyond this, however, the murder and the trial seem to have had little effect on Egan’s life.54

He continued to be an exceptional scout and frontiersman, driving cattle from Utah to California for several years, and then delivering the mail. He found a route, Egan’s Trail, from Salt Lake to Sacramento that was significantly shorter than the one previously used. He founded Deep Creek in western Utah while he was engaged in these endeavors and became a rider for the Pony Express, part of whose route followed the trail he discovered.55

When Johnston’s Army threatened the Saints in Utah, Egan was inducted into the Nauvoo Legion and tasked with harassing the federal troops and guarding the mountain passes. When the conflict was over, he escorted Thomas Kane back east.56

Egan learned the Goshute language and served with impressive success as a missionary to the Goshute tribe.57

With the coming of the telegraph and the railroad, Egan’s activities in Deep Creek were no longer viable, so he returned to Salt Lake where he once again served as a policeman. He was one of Brigham Young’s guards at the Lion House and Church offices until the day the prophet died, after which he was appointed to guard Young’s grave.

On 16 March 1878, Egan accidentally got his feet wet, became ill, and died from an inflammation of the bowels.58 He was 62 years old.




1.  John and Enoch Reese were prominent Utah merchants.

2.  Jedediah M. Grant, “Three Letters to the New York Herald,” 44, (accessed 27 April 2010).

3.  Juanita Brooks (ed.), On the Mormon Frontier, the Diary of Hosea Stout 1844–1861 (Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press and Utah State Historical Society, 1964), 407; J. Raman Drake, “Howard Egan, Frontiersman, Pioneer and Pony Express Rider” (M. S. thesis, Brigham Young University, 1956), 113,
(accessed 7 July 2010), 113; Clair T. Kilts, “A History of the Federal and Territorial Court Conflicts in Utah, 1851–1874” (M. A. thesis. Brigham Young University, July 1959), 48,
(accessed 7 July 2010); [William Woodward], “Reminiscences,” 8–10, box 2, fd. 4, in William Woodward, Collection 1851–1919, excerpt on
(accessed 27 April 2010).

4.  John D. Lee, Mormonism Unveiled, or the Life and Confessions of the Late Mormon Bishop, John D. Lee (St. Louis, MO: Bryan, Brand & Company, 1877), 288. In his journal, Monroe gives no hint that he was aware of his aunt’s remarrying, but he does mention Howard Egan. See James Monroe, “Journal,” Yale Collection of Western Americana, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University. This journal was transcribed by William M. Egan, and he mistakenly labeled it as the journal of Howard Egan. The journal is written on pages numbered 83 through 134.

5.  Kilts, “Court Conflicts,” 47.

6.  Kilts, “Court Conflicts,” 46–47, says that Egan was sealed to Clawson by Hyrum Smith. Several sources (including Howard Egan, Pioneering the West (Richmond, Utah: Howard R. Egan Estate, 1917), 289–90; and Kenneth L. Cannon II, “Mountain Common Law: the Extralegal Punishment of Seducers in Early Utah.” Utah Historical Quarterly 51, no. 4 (fall 1983): 308–327, on 311) say that Egan had three wives, omitting Catherine Clawson, who divorced Egan and subsequently married Brigham Young. See Jeffery Ogden Johnson, “Determining and Defining ‘Wife,’ The Brigham Young Households,” Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, 20 (fall 1987): 57–70, on 69.

7.  Monroe, “Journal,” 84.

8.  Ibid., 87, 89, 90.

9.  Ibid., 84.

10.      Ibid., 87.

11.      First Fifty Years of Cazenovia Seminary, Cazenovia, N. Y. (New York: Nelson and Phillips, 1877),
(accessed 13 May 2010). This work lists a James Monroe from Utica who entered the school in 1835, making Monroe thirteen. Cazenovia is near Utica, making the time and place correct. It identifies Monroe as a minister, possibly referring to Monroe’s extensive missionary activity in central New York.

12.      Monroe, “Journal,” 92. See also, Times and Seasons 3, no. 57 (15 July 1842): 860–861, (accessed 17 May 2010).

13.      Journal History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (chronological scrapbook of typed entries and newspaper clippings, 1830–present), 10 April 1843, LDS Church Archives.

14.      Joseph Smith III, later the president of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, remembered Monroe favorably. He wrote, “For the purpose of assisting me, he [Monroe] and I entered into a personal correspondence, in which I wrote him a letter each week and received a reply. This continued during the latter part of the existence of this school and was not broken up until Mr. Monroe, with others, left the state of Illinois. I formed a strong attachment for him and he certainly did me great good. . . . I owe much indeed to the friendship shown me at this period of my boyhood days by James. M. Monroe.” Mary Audientia Smith Anderson, “Memoirs of President Joseph Smith (1832–1914),” Saints’ Herald, 4 December 1934, (accessed 12 April 2010).

15.      Brooks, On the Mormon Frontier, 12–13, note 26, and 404, note 72. On Monroe’s teaching, see Paul Thomas Smith, “A Historical Study of the Nauvoo, Illinois, Public School System, 1841–1845” (M.Ed. thesis, Brigham Young University, August, 1969), 32, 49–50, 91, (accessed 7 July 2010); and Brian D. Jackson, “Preparing Kingdom-Bearers: Educating the Children of Nauvoo,” Mormon Historical Studies 3, no. 1 (spring 2002): 59–71, on 62, 68–69.

16.      Monroe, “Journal,” 101.

17.      Charles Davies, a professor at the U. S. Military Academy, wrote a series of popular mathematical text books. Many of them were based on French works, such as Bourdon’s Algebra.

18.      Phrenology is the theory that a person’s character and mental traits can be derived from the shape of their skull. Now considered a pseudoscience, phrenology had many adherents in the nineteenth century. On Mormons and phrenology, see Davis Bitton and Gary L. Bunker, “Phrenology Among The Mormons,” Dialogue, A Journal of Mormon Thought 9, no. 1 (spring 1974): 42–61.

19.      Monroe, “Journal,” 103, 106, 115.

20.      Ibid., 113.

21.      Ibid., 120–21.

22.      Kilts, “Court Conflicts,” 45–48, says that Egan discovered his wife’s infidelity after returning home from the first trip sometime in the spring of 1850, but Tamson and James’ son was not born until June of 1851. Drake, “Howard Egan,” 112, says that Egan learned of his wife’s infidelity when he returned home from a trip to California in 1851. See also: Brooks, Hosea Stout, 404; and Craig L. Foster, “The Butler Murder of 1869: A Look at The Extralegal Punishment in Utah,” Mormon Historical Studies 2, no. 2 (fall 2001): 105–114, on 109.

23.      Hosea Stout heard of the murder that Sunday; see Brooks, Hosea Stout, 404.

24.      Edwin Brown Firmage and Richard Collin Mangrum, Zion In the Courts, A Legal History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1830–1900 (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1988), 263–265.

25.      Orson F. Whitney, History of Utah, vol. I (Salt Lake City: Cannon & Sons, 1892), 480–81.

26.      Brooks, Hosea Stout, 407; Cannon, “Mountain Law,” 311.

27.      Whitney, History of Utah, 480. There was a trial in February of the same year for a similar crime, but Hosea Stout wrote that this proceeding was “not a trial but a Court of inquiry.” See Brooks, Hosea Stout, 396. In this earlier case, Dr. John M. Vaughn had been having an affair with Madison Hambleton’s wife during Hambleton’s absence. The couple continued to meet after Hambleton returned, and one Sunday after church, Hambleton killed his wife’s lover. Hambleton surrendered himself to his bishop and was taken to Salt Lake City for trial. Brigham Young acted as Hambleton’s attorney and Hosea Stout was the prosecutor. Hambleton was acquitted, much to the pleasure of the spectators in the court. See also Cannon, “Mountain Law,” 310.

28.      Firmage, and Mangrum, Zion in the Courts, 216–217.

29.      These cases were “New Jersey vs. Mercer,” and “Louisiana vs. Horton.” See Kilts, “Court Conflicts,” 52.

30.      George A. Smith, October 1851, Journal of Discourses, 26 vols. (London and Liverpool: LDS Booksellers Depot, 1854–86) 1, 95–97, (accessed 7 July 2010). Transcripts of Smith’s plea for Egan’s innocence and Snow’s charge to the jury were also printed in the Deseret News, 15 November 1851, (accessed 7 July 2010).

31.      Smith, Journal of Discourses 1:96–97.

32.      With the departure of Brandebury and Brocchus, Snow, a prominent Latter-day Saint, was the only federal judge in the Utah Territory.

33.      Z. Snow, October 1851, Journal of Discourses 1:101–102.

34.      Snow, Journal of Discourses 1:102–103.

35.      Cannon, “Mountain Law,” 314.

36.      Deseret News, 15 November 1851.

37.      See for example, Grant, “Three Letters,” 43, and Drake, “Howard Egan,” 112.

38.      Brooks, Hosea Stout, 408.

39.      Acts, Resolutions and Memorials, Passed by the First Annual, and Special Sessions, of the Legislative Assembly, of the Territory of Utah (Salt Lake City: Brigham H. Young, Printer, 1852), 140,
(accessed 20 February 2010). See also Kilts, “Court Conflicts,” 54–55; and Cannon, “Mountain Law,” 314.

40.      Cannon, “Mountain Law,” 317.

41.      Deseret News, 12 February 1868, (accessed 7 July 2010).

42.      See Cannon, “Mountain Law,” 320–321, and Foster, “Extralegal Punishment,” 109–110.

43.      Cannon, “Mountain Law,” 322.

44.      Salt Lake Daily Tribune, 27 June 1877,
(accessed 8 July 2010). See also Cannon, “Mountain Law,” 322–324.

45.      Foster, “Extralegal Punishment,” 105–114.

46.      Cannon, “Mountain Law,” 325.

47.      B. H. Roberts, A Comprehensive History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 6 vols. (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1930), 4, 135.

48.      Cannon, “Mountain Law,” 310, note 4.

49.      Deseret News, 4 March 1868,
(accessed 7 July 2010).

50.      Klaus J. Hansen, “Changing Perspectives on Sexuality and Marriage,” 19–46, on 20–22; and Lawrence Foster, “Between Heaven and Earth, Mormon Theology of the Family in Comparative Perspective,” 1–18, on 3–4; both in Multiply and Replenish, Mormon Essays on Sex and the Family (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1994), http://www.signaturebookslibrary.
(accessed 7 July 2010).

51.      Brigham Young, 14 July 1867, Journal of Discourses, 3:266.

52.      Thomas Edgar Lyon, “Orson Pratt—Early Mormon Leader” (M.A. Thesis, University of Chicago, 1932) 33–44.

53.      Deseret News, 4 March 1868.

54.      William Monroe Egan edited his adopted father’s diary. His tone toward Egan is always warm.

55.      Drake, “Howard Egan,” 2, 71, 88, 107, 188; Egan, Pioneering, 189–191; Richard F. Burton, City of the Saints (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1963), 508.

56.      Egan, Pioneering, 156. Kane, a friend of the Mormons, negotiated  a peace between the Saints and the federal troops.

57.      Drake, “Howard Egan,” 127, 128; Egan, Pioneering, 283.

58.      Egan, Pioneering, 283; Deseret News 20 March 1878.


One comment

  1. Blaine Brady says:

    John and Enoch Reese were Uncles of James Madison Monroe as well as being Catherine Reese Clawson’s brothers. After divorcing Howard Egan for murdering her nephew, Catherine Reese Clawson was married to Brigham Young on June 10, 1855. While Howard Egan got away with murder as far as the law was concerned his wife Catherine Reese Clawson saw things differently and divorced him. No doubt her own brother gave her a first hand account of the murder.

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