The Crusade in Idaho

Peaceful Citizens Raided in the Night Time by Deputy Marshals,
and Men Arrested on Charges of Polygamy

A Rexburg correspondent of the Utah Journal writes as follows of recent proceedings in Snake River Valley:

The Inquisition has fairly begun in Bingham county.  A party of eight, thoroughly armed and mounted on fleet horses, surrounded the house of William J. Pratt, in Wilford, at midnight on Sunday, the 10th inst.  Finding the door neither bolted nor locked, and Mr. Pratt and family sleeping soundly in bed, no formalities were entered into.  The officers, as though on the trail of an escaped criminal, rushed into the house, surrounded the beds of Brother Pratt and family, and demanded a surrender, which was of course complied with.  The party made their way to Rexburg, under cover of darkness, and before daylight fairly set in.  A knock was heard at the door of John L. Roberts’ house.  Mr. Roberts, upon answering the call, was presented with a paper asking for his attendance at Blackfoot forthwith.  He then dressed and went.  While waiting for Mr. Roberts, four of the horsemen raided another part of town, and on being asked their business, told what it was; they were informed that their errand was fruitless as far as that house was concerned.  Not satisfied, they threatened to break into the house and search it without any legal authority.  It was well they did not carry their threats into execution.  The usual polygamy charges are the cause of these arrests.  The party left for Blackfoot before day had fairly dawned.  But one subpoena had been issued that we know of, viz., for Mary A. Roberts, who was requested to be at Blackfoot, a distance of 60 miles, for Wednesday’s court.  We feel we have just cause to complain of the treatment of the officers of the law.  The parties arrested, who were aroused out of their slumbers, have been attending to their daily labors regularly.  No effort has been made by them to evade proper authority, properly served.  But to be hunted under cover of darkness, and the aid of noted criminals called in to assist the majesty of the law, is more than this people is entitled to.  We say, shame on the representatives of the law, who resort to such cowardly acts as were indulged in on Sabbath evening against a non-resisting people.  A man’s home should be his castle.  The law provides for a course to be pursued in carrying out its provisions.  If these officious officials, with their associates, were to receive their dues under the law, one half of them would be in prisons provided for others.

[Deseret News, May 27, 1885]

[transcibed and proofread by David Grow, Sept. 2006]

Return to histories of William Jared Pratt