Blood on the Porch: An Iron County Tale

A number of years ago we asked the community to share with us some of the legends and lore that have passed through their families. This tale is one of the many that came our way. With the exception of the photos, we are posting this story exactly how we received it.

Blood on the Porch

The Story of the Edward Meeks Dalton Murder

Told to Belinda Harrison by Shirley Mercer a granddaughter

Is it true that the blood of the innocent cries out from the grave?  Here’s a story that will make you wonder!

Edward Meeks Dalton came from an affluent Parowan family and was a very handsome and likable man who was held in high regard in this little close-knit community.  He played the guitar and had a wonderful personality.  People would come to his home to listen to him play his guitar, and often the guests would join in singing with him.

Edward Meeks Dalton

Edward and his first wife were married when he was 19 years old and about 6 years later he married his second wife.  He adored both women and they loved him. They led quiet lives and lived peacefully for a time.  But when, in 1862, anti-bigamy legislation was signed into law, this Mormon polygamist didn’t want to abandon either of his two wives.  So he didn’t.  Therefore, he became a lawbreaker and a hunted man.

In light of the new anti-bigamy laws, the local Marshal was obligated to arrest Edward and take him to jail.  So Ed always made sure that his horse was saddled and ready to ride in case he had leave in a hurry.

Ed said that many times he would be asleep in his home and have a premonition that he needed to leave.  He would get up and leave in the middle of the night, often riding to Arizona where he would work for several months at a time before returning home to Parowan.

There was a time that the Marshal finally caught up to Ed and arrested him.  Ed told the Marshal that he was going to run away from him, and with that he sat down, removed his boots, and started running.  He ran to his horse and escaped from the Marshall.  Ed eluded the Marshall many times because of his fast horse and determination.

In Beaver, another small town about 45 miles north of Parowan lived Marshal Thompson.  He vowed to get Edward ‘dead or alive’.  One night, Marshal Thompson and a deputy went into Parowan to the home of Mr. Page who lived on the street that Edward would be on driving cows to the fields the next morning.

Marshal Thompson, his deputy and Mr. Page laid in wait for Edward.  Early the next morning, Ed, completely unaware of the ambush that was about to take place, came down the road herding the cows.  Marshal Thompson stepped out of Mr. Page’s house and shot Ed in the back!

Dalton's Grave Marker

Ed was mortally wounded and Thompson and the others carried him to Page’s porch where they laid him.  He begged for them not to let him die there, so they tried to take him to his mother’s house a few blocks away but before they got there, Ed breathed his last.  A good man had died.

Later, after Thompson had shot and killed Edward Meeks Dalton, he felt as though he was always being watched by an unseen presence.  No matter where he went, he felt Dalton’s accusing eyes on him.  Thompson finally snapped and lost his mind.  He died being haunted by what he had done.

The blood that was on the porch where Dalton had lain at the Page home was scrubbed away, but it returned.  The porch was painted over and over several times, but the blood always came back.  There was nothing that could be done to remove the innocent man’s blood from the porch.  So the question remains, is it true that the blood of the innocent cries out from the grave?

An ode to Dalton