Category Archives: Zion’s Cooperative Mercantile Institution

United Order Industries

Published / by Lisa Barr / Leave a Comment

Written by Lisa Barr, US History/Public History MA Student, University of Utah

Placed By: Daughter of Utah Pioneers

GPS Coordinates: 37° 16.555’ N, -112° 38.346’ W

Historical Marker Text:

Located on S Highway 89 in front of the Orderville LDS Church building. Photograph by Lisa Barr, February 18, 2017

No. 290 Erected 193

United Order Industries

Photograph by Lisa Barr, February 18, 2017

On March 20, 1874, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints organized a modern Order of Enoch, called The United Order, Israel Hoyt, First President. A community dining hall with bakery was first constructed, also a garden house for seeds and tools.
They built a carpenter, blacksmith and shoe shop, tannery, gristmill, sawmill, molasses mill, bucket factory, a woolen and cotton factory: engaged in the silk industry, dairying, broom and hat making. The people planted farms, orchards and gardens, raised sheep and cattle. Cooperative ended in 1886.

Orderville Camp Kane County, Utah (This area is partially damaged. Two words are illegible.)

Extended Research:

In 1875, some residents of Mt. Carmel, Utah led an effort to organized a new town in a new location and to call their new settlement Orderville. Their vision for the new community centered on Mormon ideals of unity, order, and economic equality and were the result of their leader, Brigham Young’s recent encouragement to establish self-sustaining cooperatives throughout the Utah Territory. The movement was known as the United Order or the United Order of Enoch. Brigham Young hoped that such efforts would prod Mormons toward greater equality through shared labor, resources, and property as well as limit the negative repercussions from the cyclical economic downturns associated with capitalism.

Orderville, Utah p.1. Classified Photograph Collection, Courtesy Utah State History, Willard Marriott Library

Many Orderville  residents were originally from settlements along the Muddy River in Nevada, where they had previously attempted and failed to develop a cotton industry based on cooperative principles. Fortunately, Orderville’s fertile soil proved more conducive to farming and timber resources were also readily available. Order members built a tannery, dairy farm, sawmill, wool and cotton factory, molasses mill, bakery, school, ZCMI cooperative, and community dining hall. Emma Carroll Seegmiller, who was a child of the United Order, recalls how “everyone would eat at three large tables, pour molasses over bread and eat it like bread and milk, and that three-hundred pounds of flour was made into bread every day.”[1 Families lived in one and two room apartments called “shanties” that were joined together at the center of town. The Order also had a board of directors who assigned labor roles and determined how resources were used. Seegmiller and other children were in charge of distributing the divided goods to families and said that “it was a delightful priveledge to help the United Order.”[2]

United Orderville Woolen Mill p.1. Unknown date. Classified Photograph Collection, Courtesy Utah State History, Willard Marriott Library

Orderville began to decline in 1880 as southern Utah’s economy expanded and became more competitive. The United Order also started to use the wage labor and to divide cooperative property into private half acre lots. These factors hindered cooperation and Orderville’s United Order dissolved in 1885. Even still, the Order retained and leased out its wool factory and sheep company for another fifteen years. Although Orderville’s experiment in cooperation did not survive economic competition, it was the LDS Church’s most successful United Order effort and its most complete attempt at economic withdrawal.

[1] Emma Carroll Seegmiller, “Personal Memories of the United Order of Orderville, Utah,” Utah Historical Quarterly, v. 7 (1939): 177, 184.

[2] Seegmiller, 174.

For Further Reference:

Primary Sources:

Seegmiller, Emma Carroll. “Personal Memories of the United Order of Orderville, Utah.” Utah Historical Quarterly, v. 7 (1939): 160-200.

Orderville, Utah p.1. Classified Photograph Collection, Utah State History, Willard Marriott     Library, Salt Lake City, Utah.

United Orderville Woolen Mill p.1. Unknown date. Classified Photograph Collection, Utah State History, Willard Marriott Library, Salt Lake City, Utah.   https://collections.lib.utah.edu/details?id=444049&q=orderville&page

Secondary Sources:

Arrington, J. Leonard, Feramorz Y. Fox and Dean L. May. Building the City of God: Community and Cooperation Among Mormons. Champaign: University of Illinois Press, 1992.

Bradley, Martha Sonntag. A History of Kane County. Salt Lake City: Utah State Historical         Society, Kane County Commission, 1999.