September 11th and the events surrounding it were a tragic time in the country's history and will not ever be forgotten. However, those events aren't the only tragedy that happened on the 11th of September. In 1857, the Mountain Meadows massacre took place, and it affected the ancestors of Dan Dotson from Storage Wars. He wants Americans to remember that event on September 11th, as well, because it holds great significance for him and for others in the country who have ancestors who were affected by it in some way.
Dotson and his wife Laura have more than 75 years of combined experience auctioneering and selling, and have become the faces of the business to a lot of people. They have handled storage auctions for a number of years before the Storage Wars television show was ever conceived or became popular. They also handle appraisals for the private sector and banks, based on their vast knowledge and the items that have been found in storage facilities throughout the years. Listing items appropriately and doing their diligence when it comes to what those items have to offer to a buyer have been two of the ways through which Dan and Laura Dotson have seen continued success.
For those who haven't heard of the Mountain Meadows massacre, it involved people who were in the middle of relocating to California from Arkansas. While they were passing through the Southern part of Utah, they were killed by the Mormon militia. Dan's ancestors drove cattle through Southern Utah, as they took them from Arkansas to California. They began in 1847, made another cattle drive in 1852, and then were on the fateful drive in 1857. During that last drive they had their children and families with them, and were moving 900 head of cattle and horses.
The wagon train that came along with the cattle drive had forty wagons in it, with people belonging to 28 families. All was well on the trip until the morning of September 7th, when seven of Dan's ancestors were killed by Mormon militia dressed up as members of the Paiute Indian tribe. For four days, the cattle drivers and their families fought with the militia, until finally they were convinced by John D. Lee to trust the Mormons to help them have safe passage through to California. Lee was an adopted son of Morton founder Brigham Young, and he and the militia were dishonest in giving the travelers safe passage.
Instead, they disarmed everyone and separated out all the children who were younger than seven years of age. They made everyone else line up, and there were 120 people in all. Then they robbed and murdered them, 29 of whom were Dan Dotson's relatives. There is now a Mountain Meadows Monument Foundation (MMMF), to which Dan and Laura Dotson belong, and they have worked to recognize and memorialize all the people who lost their lives that day. They have also worked to track down surviving relatives of the people who were murdered.
Plaques have been placed that tell the story of what happened to the cattle drivers and their families, in an effort to raise awareness of the event. Most people don't know about what took place that day, unless they are a descendant of one of the families and have had that information passed down to them through other relatives or genealogical research. There are depositories throughout the country that include information about the story, as well as a 40 square mile area south of St. George, Utah that has been purchased by MMMF and the Dotsons to be preserved as a federal historical site.
While that will not raise the type of awareness that will cause everyone to learn about the Massacre, it does provide a preserved record of what took place. It also offers acknowledgement to the lives that were lost that day, including those of Dan Dotson's ancestors. While Dotson says he doesn't have any hate toward the Mormon Church or Mormons specifically, he has spoken out in a video asking them to be accountable for their actions. The accountability for and acknowledgement of what happened so long ago is important to Dotson, but he does not hold those historical concerns against modern day Mormon people.
While September 11th remains tied to the tragedy at the Twin Towers - and with good reason - Dotson wants people to be aware that there were other tragedies that have taken place on that day throughout history. Those, too, should be remembered.