While most Americans connect Sept. 11 to the 2001 terrorist attacks, there are some still who also recall it was the day in 1857 when over 100 immigrants from Arkansas were killed moving west in what is known as Utah’s Mountain Meadows massacre.


The murder of a Mormon apostle named Parley Parker Pratt that May near Van Buren is thought by many to be tied to the massacre as revenge. The man who killed Pratt, however, does not even appear to be from Arkansas. The murder just happened here.


Hector McLean killed Parley Pratt about 12 miles north of Van Buren after a three-year-long drama that began in San Francisco and weaves throughout the country.


The Mormon leader had taken Eleanor as a 12th plural wife after she and Hector had separated.


The late Greg Armstrong, a former professor at the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith, wrote in his 2016 Encyclopedia of Arkansas "Pratt, Parley P. (Murder of)" that although the Mountain Meadows slayings were formerly linked to the murder in Arkansas, other circumstances also ignited the violence at Mountain Meadows on Sept. 11, 1857.


James Finck of the University of Arkansas writes in his "Encyclopedia of Arkansas" entry on the Mountain Meadows massacre "The Mormons did not receive the travelers hospitably, refusing to trade with them. The poor reception was based partly on an advancement of the United States Army toward Utah and partly on the death of a Mormon leader a few months before in Arkansas."


Pratt was shot and stabbed to death on May 13, 1857.


"The murder shocked the Latter-day Saint community and became front-page news throughout the nation," Armstrong wrote. "Eleanor McLean portrayed Pratt as a martyr who had rescued her from her alcoholic, abusive husband; however, national accounts, unfavorable to the Mormons’ practice of polygamy (discontinued in 1890), reported that Pratt had seduced Eleanor away from her husband."


Parley and Eleanor appear to have met in California a few years prior to the murder. Parley presided over the Church’s Pacific mission in San Francisco at the time. Eleanor was baptized into the Morman church with Hector’s consent, according to James M. Pope Sr.’s history of this story at the Jared Pratt Family History website.


Armstrong’s version of the story says in 1855, following a domestic dispute, Hector sent their children from San Francisco to New Orleans to live with their maternal grandparents. Eleanor decided then to leave him, and traveled to New Orleans to get her children.


According to Pope, she went to Texas to be with her father after Hector told her to leave. And she took their two sons with her.


"Mrs. McLean went to Texas to make her home with her father," Pope writes. "It seems that for the next two years she was in correspondence with Elder Pratt. McLean got a commission from the United States Government as postal inspector by which authority he intercepted the correspondence between them — keeping up with their movements and activities."


There are many inconsistencies in the history of this incident. Some say they had two daughters, but they had two sons. And whether it was New Orleans or Texas that Eleanor went back to, and wither it was her father’s or mother’ homes, Eleanor and Parley decided to meet in Arkansas and move west to Utah together.


Pope writes "Mrs. McLean went to Van Buren, Arkansas to join other saints who were making preparation to form a caravan to cross the country to Salt Lake City. Parley met her there and outfitted her with a team of horses and wagon and other provisions necessary to make the trip."


Hector had caught wind of their rendezvous though — intercepting their mailed letters — and arrived in Arkansas before they did. A strange series of events took place next with Hector having Parley arrested for stealing Eleanor’s daughters’ clothes, although he was more likely picking them up from the cleaning lady.


So, after Parley was acquitted and released from jail, Hector caught up to him on the Zealey Wynn property in Fine Springs, Crawford County, about 12 miles northwest of Van Buren. There, he shot and stabbed Parley.


Parley Pratt’s final words are said to be a request to have his remains be sent to be with his family in Utah. Family and descendants have attempted to locate and remove his remains from the Wynn Cemetery in Fine Springs, just north of Alma to the space reserved for him in the family plot in Salt Lake City. In 2008, using ground-penetrating radar, evidence of a burial was found that may have been Pratt’s, but no human remains were found.


A memorial to Pratt can be found today by taking the Rudy exit off of Interstate 49, and then turning left at the first road. The Pratt grave site is in the small Wynn Cemetery. His granite monument is engraved with one of Pratt’s most well-known hymns, "The Morning Breaks."


This article was updated Sept. 21 to correct confusion on Hector McLean’s professional title. There is no record of him being a "postal inspector."