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Near Preston in Franklin County, Idaho — The American West (Mountains)
 

A Battle Becomes a Massacre

Massacre at Bear River

 

—The Largest Indian Massacre in the West —

 
A Battle Becomes a Massacre Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, June 21, 2017
1. A Battle Becomes a Massacre Marker
Caption: (panorama at top) 1. Ravine where Connor's troops entered the valley; 2. Ford where troops crossed the Bear River; 3. Horse Line; 4. Connor & Price Companies; 5. Shoshone Horse Herd; 6. Shoshone Camp; 7. Hoyt & McGarry's Cavalry; Killing Ground.; (bottom left) Between 250 and 350 Northwestern Shoshone men, women and children were massacred in the fides above.
Inscription. The four-hour fight left the Shoshone band decimated and terrified. Lodges, food caches and belongings were burned and women and children murdered. Chief Bear Hunter was cruelly tortured to death. When the killing ceased, the massacre field was strewn with bodies which were left unburied and at the mercy of scavenging animals and people. "The way they were destroyed is beyond reasoning," says a contemporary tribal member living at Ft. Hall.

Stories told by the survivors of the massacre have been handed down through the years and still have the power to chill the blood with their vivid description of the horrors of that day. Heart wrenching accounts describe mothers, whose crying babies threatened to give away the location of other hiding tribal members, jumping into the freezing river with children in arms and having the swift current carrying them away. It is told that one of these mothers in later years comforted herself with the thought the "my baby is asleep in the river now and she's safe." As the soldiers went through the camp looking for survivors after the massacre, one young boy and his grandmother played dead to avoid being killed. The number of dead varies from the Army's official count of 240 to as many as 500. The best estimate by historians and tribal members is between 250 and 350, making the Bear River Massacre
A Battle Becomes a Massacre Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, June 21, 2017
2. A Battle Becomes a Massacre Marker
on of the largest mass killings of Indians in U.S. history. (Marker Number 6.)
 
Location. 42° 9.161′ N, 111° 54.451′ W. Marker is near Preston, Idaho, in Franklin County. Marker can be reached from U.S. 91 near Hot Springs Road, on the right when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 2942 U.S. Highway 91, Preston ID 83263, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Earth Will Remember (here, next to this marker); Attack at Bia Ogoi (a few steps from this marker); California Volunteers March to the Bear River (a few steps from this marker); Change and Conflict (within shouting distance of this marker); Shoshone Bear River Winter Home (within shouting distance of this marker); The Shoshone (within shouting distance of this marker); Utah & Northern Railway (approx. 0.8 miles away); Bear River Massacre (approx. 0.8 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Preston.
 
More about this marker. The Bear River Massacre Interpretive Site is located on a hilltop overlooking the site of the massacre.
 
Categories. Native AmericansWars, US Indian
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on July 18, 2017. This page originally submitted on July 18, 2017, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California. This page has been viewed 77 times since then. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on July 18, 2017, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California.
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