In the Hive

The sordid tale of early Utah grave robber Jean Baptiste


Detail from The Salt Lake Herald – April 2, 1893

Two years ago, the late, great western historian Will Bagley helped KCPW relate what is perhaps the quintessential Utah Halloween story — the sordid tale of grave robber Jean Baptiste.

In 1862, pioneer Salt Lake City was up in arms over the revelation that the grave digger at the city cemetery had been unearthing corpses to rob them of their clothes and jewelry. But how much of the story of Jean Baptiste is true and how much of it is legend?

Bagley, who died last month at the age of 71, explained that aside from being a great yarn for the spooky season, the tale of Jean Baptiste is actually a fascinating window into a tumultuous period of Utah History.

Will Bagley, prolific western historian and editor of the 16-part series Kingdom in the West: the Mormons and the American Frontier
Andy White, voice actor (as Brigham Young)

In the Hive
From local politics, to arts and culture, to history, the environment and beyond, “In the Hive” explores the issues and ideas that tie Utah together. Produced by KCPW Studios
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