What happened on that night in January 1858 was documented at great length in various diplomatic documents, which show above all just how involved the powers were in the Palestine of those days. A few days after the tragedy, Mary Steinbeck, who lost her husband that night, testified:
"At around ten o'clock the dogs began barking. When my husband went out and opened the gate ... three men told him they were looking for a cow they had lost. ... They again told him to open the gate, and said they would break it down if he did not. ... He came in and said they were going to break down the gate; he began to load the revolver. Presently we heard a crash; ... Frederick and father both went out. Frederick took the gun, for the revolver was not loaded. We soon heard the report of a gun, and Frederick soon after opened the door, and fell. The thieves came to the door of the room where we were at this time; they pried the door open from below; the door opened and five men entered; the foremost had a large, long stick, and he struck father. Father fell backwards."The attackers began ransacking the little village, causing heavy damage. Several of the men raped Mary Steinbeck and her mother, Sarah Dickson.
By the way, the author John Steinbeck is a grandson of a Mount of Hope family. Literary experts say the family tragedies, and especially the rapes, are hinted at in "East of Eden." Steinbeck visited the hill in what was then central Tel Aviv in 1966.
This source claims
The short-lived Mount Hope farm waned after Clorinda Minor's death from dysentery in 1855, closing its doors in 1858 following a Bedouin attack.
This source has it as does this one that
Clorinda Minor died of cancer in 1855,
This article indicates the raping of two women did not involve Clorinda. This book, too, does not indicate a rape and murder.
Here is a short summary:
Clorinda Minor, disappointed by the failure of a millennial prophecy in 1844, decided that the messiah would not return until the Jews were restored to the Holy Land, and so, in May 1849, embarked for Palestine to teach Jews how to farm. She teamed up with John Meshullam, a Jew converted to Christianity, already operating a farm at Artas. Disputes led to her expulsion in 1854, which created diplomatic as well as personal turmoil. She found refuge in Jaffa, where she was the first foreigner to buy (as opposed to leasing) land; she established a thriving farm where Muslims, Jews, and Christians worked together. Mrs. Minor (as she was referred to at the time and is throughout this book) died in 1855; her farm came to a tragic end in 1858 with the rape and murder of some of her American cohort and the abandonment of Palestine by the rest.
In the mid-nineteenth century, Johann Adolf Grosssteinbeck (1832-1913), the grandfather of John Ernst Steinbeck (1902-1968), arrived in the Holy Land. He wished to establish an agricultural settlement in which he would train the Jews of Palestine to engage in farming and thereby hasten the advent of the Christian Messiah. A few years later the settlement was totally wiped out in a single night of terror during which the brother of John Steinbeck's grandfather was killed, his grandmother's sister and mother were raped, and all the belongings of the settlers were pillaged.
This vile act reverberated throughout the country and caused those of foreign nationality a sense of insecurity and fateful apprehension...