160 years ago today - Jan 27, 1862
Wilford Woodruff writes, "One of the most Damniable, Diabolica., Satanical, Hel[l]ish Sacraleges has been Committed upon the bodies of the Dead Saints in the Burial Ground East of this City and brought to light this day that was ever known or recorded in the History of man." When the body of Moroni Clawson (killed twelve days earlier while being arrested) is disinterred for transfer to a different cemetery it is found that "the corps [is] Naked which was Clothed when it was buried. An inquiry leads to grave digger John Baptiste who has been systematically robbing corpses of clothing by digging them up at night after the burial. Police find "many Bundles of grave Clothes about his house in various parts." Baptiste is accused of robbing Clawson's grave, "He denyed it but after being Choaked a while He confessed it and then Confessed that he had been robbing the dead for Two and a half years." Brigham Young, upon hearing of Baptiste's crimes states, "killing [is] too good for him, he ought to be branded stating his crime, turned out of Community and told that if he ever came back again, he would be killed[;] to be a fugitive on the earth would be worse than killing him." Young's suggestion is followed: without being formally charged with any crime and without a trial Baptiste is branded on his forehead, has his ears cut off and is banished to an island in the middle of the Great Salt Lake. He is never seen again.