April 13

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History Behind Love on the Border

By Ciara Knight

April 13, 2021

historical romance, Love on the Border, mail-order brides, Mountain Meadow Massacre

I love researching facts for historical romance books. Not only researching but twisting and molding facts into an exciting and passionate tale with a happily ever after ending.

In Love on the Border, I combined two major historical facts into the backstory of our hero, Eli Hayes.

The first significant event pulled into this story was the Mountain Meadows Massacre that occurred in September of 1857.

The facts:

  • A wagon train set off from Arkansas heading to the California territory.
  • The wagon train set up camp in Southern Utah Territory in a location referred to as Mountain Meadows (“Mountain Meadows Massacre.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 9 Apr. 2021, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mountain_Meadows_Massacre).
  • Local militia believed to be Mormons enlisted the help of Indian allies (Southern PaiuteNative Americans) to make the attack appear to have been executed by native Americans (“Mountain Meadows Massacre.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 9 Apr. 2021, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mountain_Meadows_Massacre.).
  • On September 5th, 1857 the wagon train was attacked (Mountain Meadows Massacre, 2017, mountainmeadowsmassacre.com/).
  • After a five-day siege, militiamen under a white flag entered the wagon train encampment. They assured the emigrants that they were now protected so they handed over their weapons. After the militia exited the camp and reached a safe distance the Mormon militia along with the (120 men, women, and children were murdered (Linder, Douglas O. The Mountain Meadows Massacre of 1857 and the Trials of John D. Lee, 2006, law2.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/mountainmeadows/leeaccount.html).
  • Only 18 small children were spared (“Mountain Meadows Massacre.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 9 Apr. 2021, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mountain_Meadows_Massacre.)

Theory of why the attack occurred:

This is a subject that has been discussed over the years. According to History.com’s article published in November of 2009 (A&E Television Networks), “stoked by religious zeal and a deep resentment of decades of public abuse and federal interference.” It is believed that the attack came to fruition due to the Latter-Day saints refusing to sell goods to the wagon train. In turn, the emigrants plundered fields and committed small offenses, abuse the Native Americans, and taunt the Mormons with the reminder of the Missourians chasing them away in the 1830s.

 

Fictionalization for Love on the Border:

Eli Hayes survived the attack while hiding underneath the dead bodies of his family.  He was transferred to the East to testify and lived with a minister that tried to beat the evil out of him. He escaped and moved out west and now resides with the Undesirables.

 

The second historical fact that appears in Love on the Border:

  • A woman is robbed at gunpoint while traveling via stagecoach only to discover her intended is the man who robbed her (Linder, Douglas O. The Mountain Meadows Massacre of 1857 and the Trials of John D. Lee, 2006, law2.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/mountainmeadows/leeaccount.html.).

Fictionalization:

The betrothed and robber names are changed,  the exact date is altered, and the outcome is different.

I hope you enjoy this historical romance, Love on the Border, based on the above-mentioned events. Of course, much more research went into the story in relation to setting, culture, food, live styles, clothing, and more.

Ciara Knight

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