Salt Creek Canyon massacre

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Salt Creek Canyon, photographed in 1872.

On June 4, 1858, four Danish immigrants were ambushed and killed by Indians in Salt Creek Canyon, a winding canyon east of Nephi, Utah. This event became known as the Salt Creek Canyon massacre.

In early June, 1858, Danish immigrants Jens Jorgensen[1] and his wife, Jens Terklesen, Christian I. Kjerluf, and John Ericksen were journeying, unarmed, to settle with other Scandinavian immigrants at the Mormon colony in the Sanpete Valley. On the afternoon of June 4, they came within a mile and a half of the canyon's opening into the Sanpete Valley when some Indians emerged from hiding places and attacked them.

The group was travelling with an ox team hitched to a wagon and another ox hitched to a handcart.

Two of the men were killed and burned with their wagon. Another was killed after running about 50 yards (46 m). The pregnant woman was killed, near the wagon, with a tomahawk,[2] which received special note from historians.[3] John Ericksen, who had been walking some distance ahead of the others, escaped unharmed, and made it to Ephraim around dark. The attack frightened the ox attached to the handcart, and it fled back to Nephi.[2] The victims' bodies were brought to Ephraim for burial.

There is a Daughters of Utah Pioneers monument (number 11)[4] marking the site of the massacre, between Nephi and Fountain Green, Utah.

Monument on the Salt Creek Canyon Massacre, in Salt Creek Canyon along SR-132

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Due to Danish Patronymics and possibly other factors converting Danish names to English, he is also known as Jens Jergensen.
  2. ^ a b "Salt Creek Canyon Massacre". Jensen Family Genealogy. Accessed 16 May 2007.
  3. ^ "Killed by the Indians at Salt Creek Canyon". Sorensen Family History Organization. Accessed 29 May 2011.
  4. ^ "Salt Creek Canyon Massacre". Markers and Monuments. Accessed 16 May 2007.

Coordinates: 39°42′12.48″N 111°42′23.60″W / 39.7034667°N 111.7065556°W / 39.7034667; -111.7065556