Category Archives: late 19th century

First Icelandic Settlement

Published / by Charles Wolfgramm / Leave a Comment

 

First Icelandic Settlement Monument, Spanish Fork, Utah

Write up by Charles O. Wolfgramm

Placed By: Daughters of Utah Pioneers

GPS Coordinates: N 40° 06.280 W 111° 38.458

Image result for picture of plaque on the first icelandic monument in spanish fork ut

Historical Marker Text: On September 7, 1855 the first immigrants from Iceland arrived in the Utah Territories, and between 1855 and 1914 there was a total of 410 Icelandic immigrants that made this journey. All of the Icelandic immigrants that came to the Utah Territories were converts to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and they were sent by the leaders of the church to Spanish Fork. This was a perfect area for these new convert Icelandic immigrants because this area was already  home to immigrants from Scandinavian countries, so they were able to share some common cultural values. This Marker was placed in this area on August 1, 1938 by the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers and the Icelandic Association of Utah. The monument is a lighthouse with a viking ship a top of the  roof of the lighthouse. There are listed 16 names of the first immigrants to arrive in Utah, and this is on the lighthouse wall. Lighthouse’s are located all over Iceland because of its location in the middle of the northern Atlantic ocean, so this is an appropriate monument to remember the Icelandic members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

Image result for picture of plaque on the first icelandic monument in spanish fork ut

Extended Research:

Iceland is a country that is isolated from the other Scandinavian countries, but it still has alot of similarities and religion is one of them. Lutheran Church is what is practiced in most of the Scandinavian countries and this is the same in Iceland, 80 percent of the population are members of the State Lutheran Church. Any other religion that may not fit into the same mold as the Lutheran church can have a difficult time sustaining itself by getting new converts because of the popularity of the Lutheran church in Iceland. Icelandic citizens would have to leave the country to be exposed to other religious beliefs different from the Lutheran theology. This is how  Guðmundur Guðmundsson the first Icelandic to Join The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Saints, he was born in Iceland, but his conversion happened in Denmark. Guðmundur was born in the year 1825 in a farm town in Artun in the Rangarvalla district of the Oddi Parish in Iceland. He was baptized a member of the Lutheran church a few months after he was born, he left Iceland as a teenager to be educated and pursue a career as a goldsmith in Denmark. While in Denmark he was converted to the Mormon religion. Around this same time he was converted to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saint, Pórarinn Hafliðason a childhood friend was also converted in Denmark. The two friends reunited and was called to survive as missionary for their new found faith in Iceland.  The new Icelandic converts were not very successful in the mainland of Iceland so they went to an Island southwest of the capital Reykjavik,  called Vestmannaeyjbaer or  Westman Island.

Image result for vestmannaeyjarImage result for first icelandic plaque in spanish fork ut

The two new convert missionaries were able to find many new converts in this part of Iceland but they did face a lot of opposition form the established church in the area. Samuel and Margret Bjarnason, along with Helga Jónsdóttir who were converted by the two native missionaries in the Island were the first Icelandic members to make the move to Utah. Samuel and Margert arrived in the Utah on September 7, 1855 and were told by Brigham Young the President of the Mormon Church to go and settle in Spanish Fork. Scandinavian saints were already in the area and so Brigham Young felt this would be a great place for the Icelandic saints to build a community. Hundreds of Icelandic Saints would eventually make their way to Utah in the following years until about 1914 when WWI began. During this same time the Icelandic Mission to The Church of Jesus Christ would be closed, and general immigration from Iceland was closed.

Einar Eiríksson was the last missionary to serve in

Iceland before the outbreak of World War I in 1914.

Courtesy of the Icelandic Association of Utah

For the next fifty years the Mormon church did not exist in Iceland. In 1977 Iceland was again dedicated for Mormon missionary work to continue. Twenty years later in 1997 the president of Iceland and his wife were invited to celebrate Iceland Days marking the centennial of the first Icelandic members of the Mormon church to settle in Spanish Fork.

Finally on June 30, 2000 a monument was erected to with the names of 410 Icelandic Mormons who made the journey from the Westman Islands to the Utah Valley from 1857 to 1914.

Image result for icelandic monument spanish fork utah who put it there

This monument is a true testimony of the faith and dedication of the Icelandic members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Saints who sacrifice so much for their beliefs.

Image result for first icelandic plaque in spanish fork ut( This rock was transported from the Westman Island, it is significant because the first baptism for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Saints in Iceland was Performed in the Westman Island. The rock is a volcanic rock from the Westman Island, 44 years ago in 1973 the Eldfell Volcano on the island erupted and this almost lead to a permanent evacuation of the Westman Island.)

Primary Sources: 

William Mulder states, “Altogether, of the 46,497 converts which Scandinavia yielded between 1850–1905, 50 percent were Danish, slightly less than 36 percent were Swedish, and not quite 14 percent were Norwegian. Of the 22,653 of these ‘members of record’ who emigrated, 56 percent were Danish, a little over 32 percent were Swedish, 11 percent were Norwegian, and a fraction Icelandic” {Homeward to Zion [Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1957], 107).

[25] Carter, “The First Icelandic Settlement in America,” Our Pioneer Heritage, 7:485.

[26] Letter from Charles R. Savage to John Taylor, Millennial Star 18, no. 13 (1856): 206.

[27] Autobiography of Peter Gottfredson, Church Archives, 8–9.

[28] Autobiographical Sketch of Theodur Didrickson, Church Archives, 7. See also “The Life of Einer Erickson,” 21—23, L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah wherein Erickson notes on his arrival in Spanish Fork on 18 July 1878, “I was gladly received by my Family at Elder Theodur Dedricsen’s home.”

[29] Manuscript History of the Icelandic Mission, 1851–1914, LDS Church Archives, 1857, 14. This does not include Guðmundur Guðmundsson, who voyaged on the Westmoreland with the Garff family, whom he was instrumental in converting.

[30] Manuscript History of the Icelandic Mission, 1857, 14.

[31] The Historical Record of the Icelandic Mission of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 1873–1914, Church Archives, 2, contains a “Register of Elders” that lists the twenty-three missionaries by name. There are also individual columns for the date they arrived on their mission in Iceland with remarks concerning release and leadership appointment dates, and where they were residing at the time of their call. Fifteen of these missionaries resided in Spanish Fork, six in Cleveland, Utah, one (John Johannesson) in Raymond, Alberta Canada and one in Brigham City (Lorenzo Andersen). Allred, The Icelanders of Utah, 11, lists Andersen as the lone Dane from the Danish Mission as all others were native Icelanders.

[32] Allred, The Icelanders of Utah, 16.

[33] Manuscript History of the Icelandic Mission, 1873, 15.

[34] Manuscript History of the Icelandic Mission, 1874, 27 and 29 May 1874, 17–18. Only one of the eleven left as a member of the Church. However, the other ten were baptized after arriving in Utah. The group sailed from Iceland to Great Britain on the ship Hermine and on the Nevada from Liverpool to New York.

[35] Manuscript History of the Icelandic Mission, 29 May 1874.

[36] One of the emigrants had previously been baptized, while the other three or four other emigrants had not yet been baptized (see Manuscript History of the Icelandic Mission, 1875, 8 August 1875).

[37] A copy of this work is housed in the Historical Department of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City. Byron Geslison, who was called to reopen the Icelandic Mission in 1975, indicated that the missionaries still used Pórður’s tract a century after it was written (see oral interviews with Byron Geslison and his family in the winter of 2000).

[38] Manuscript History of the Icelandic Mission, 1879. “The Gospel to the Icelanders,” Millennial Star 41, no. 37 (1879): 587, notes that these missionaries had a copy of the manuscript and were planning on printing no less than two thousand copies of the tract. In an article written a quarter century later by President Loftur Bjarnason titled “The Work of the Lord in Iceland,” Millennial Star 66, no. 10 (1904): 145–47, he states, “The precious truths this book contains (referring to Thordur Didricksson’s missionary tract) have been the cause of many accepting the Gospel and emigrating to Utah, where they are to-day staunch and faithful Latter-day Saints.”

[39] Marius A. Christensen, “History of the Danish Mission of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 1850—1964” (masters thesis, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah, 1966), 128

[40] Letter of John Eyvindson to President William Budge, Millennial Star 42, no. 22 (31 May 1880): 350; see also Manuscript History of the Icelandic Mission, 22March 1880.

[41] Manuscript History of the Icelandic Mission, 7 July 1881, lists 17 of the 22 emigrants by name.

[42] Vilhjálmur Gíslason, Eiríkur A Brúnum (Reykjavik: Isafoldarprentsmiðja H.F., 1946), 116, translated for author by Darron S. Allred.

[43] Vilhjálmur Gíslason, Eiríkur A Brúnum, 116; see also John Bartholomew, Gazetteer of the British Isles: Including Summary of 1951 Census (Edinburgh: John Bartholomew & Son, n.d.), 301, for details regarding the location of Granton Harbor.

[44] Letter from John Eyvindson to Pres. A. Carrington, Millennial Star 43, no. 35 (1881): 554–55.

[45] Manuscript History of the Icelandic Mission, 1881, 7 July 1881.

[46] Research compiled by Bliss Anderson (a member of the Icelandic Association of Utah), reveals that 264 of the 410 Icelanders who emigrated to Utah during the period of 1854–1914 did so during the decade of the 1880s.

[47] Christensen, “History of the Danish Mission,” 128.

[48] This is the first known translation of a portion of the Book of Mormon. The original is in the possession of Marian P. Robbins, who is the great-granddaughter of Jón Jónsson.

[49] Letter of John A. Sutton, Millennial Star 45, no. 30 (1883): 479. Sutton may have been motivated to learn Icelandic due to his loneliness on the voyage. In a letter written two weeks later, he commented that he would have rather taken a thousand Englishmen across the ocean because he found it difficult to converse with the Icelanders and did not have a Saint to converse with in his language (see Millennial Star 45, no. 33 [1883]: 527).

[50] Manuscript History of the Icelandic Mission, 31 December 1886. Allred, The Icelanders of Utah, 18, notes that there were 63 Icelanders who immigrated to Spanish Fork in 1886. Bliss Anderson’s research suggests as many as 78 gathered to Utah for this year.

[51] This was James H. Hart, who served admirably as the emigration agent at New York from 1882 to 1887. He was a very successful politician and attorney and even continued to serve in the Bear Lake Stake Presidency, in spite of his seasonal emigration assignments in the east. See Edward L. Hart, Mormon in Motion: The Life and Journals of James H. Hart, 1825—1906, in England, France and America (Salt Lake City: Windsor Books, printed by Deseret Press, 1978), for details of his life and experience as an emigration agent.

[52] “The Icelanders,” Millennial Star 48, no. 32 (1886): 507.

[53] In oral interviews conducted in the winter of 2000 with Byron Geslison, who served as a patriarch in Iceland in the late 20th century, he indicated that every blessing he gave in Iceland reflected that the recipient was from the tribe of Ephraim. The only exception was a foreigner who was temporarily stationed at the NATO base in Keflavík.

[54] John Torgeirson, “The People of Iceland,” Deseret Evening News, 24 January 1887,2.

[55] Between 5,000 to 6,000 Saints came through Norfolk on this new route from 1887 to 1890. For more information concerning the cause of the rerouting and the experience of these Saints through the port of Norfolk, see Fred E. Woods, “Norfolk and Mormon Folk: Latter-day Saint Immigration through Old Dominion, 1887–1890,” Mormon Historical Studies 1, no. 1 (spring 2000): 73–91.

[56] Loftur Bjarnason, “The Work of the Lord in Iceland,” Millennial Star 66, no. 10 (1904): 146, further notes, “There are many parts of this country that have not been yet covered, as the Elders, who come here have labored principally in those localities in which they were born and reared. It is only along the southern coast of the mainland and in the Westman Islands that the Gospel has to any extent been preached, while the greater portions of the northern and eastern countries have never been visited.” See also Millennial Star 66, no. 12 (1904): 188 and 66 (1904): 301—2, for evidence of seasonal proselyting in the Westman Islands.

[57] Millennial Star 56, no. 51 (1894): 806. Elder Bjarnason, writing a decade later, also spoke of the difficulties missionaries encountered proselyting in the country. Here he noted, “Houses are scattered, being from a half mile to a mile and a half apart, and the only method of traveling is either by foot or on ponies. Often it is impossible to go from one farmhouse to another without being accompanied by a guide, on account of the dangerous streams that are to be encountered, which only experienced men can find the way to cross. To purchase a horse and pay a guide wages, together with other expenses, has made traveling in this country both expensive and difficult,” Millennial Star 66, no. 10 (1904): 146.

[58] British Mission Manuscript History, Church Archives, 2 Nov. 1899, 1. Andrew Jenson, Biographical Encyclopedia, 4:342, notes that Halldór Johnson labored as a missionary in Iceland from 1898—1900. Five years later, Icelandic Mission President Loftur Bjarnason elaborated on the difficult climatic conditions in Iceland. In an article titled “The Work of the Lord in Iceland,” Millennial Star 66, no. 10 (1904): 145—47, he stated, “During the winter season it is practically impossible to travel around in the country and, during the summer months the people are so busy that they could not, even if they felt so disposed, spare time enough to listen to an Elder explain the principies of the Gospel. Early in spring and late in autumn are the only seasons that the farmers can be approached, for then they have a little leisure time to spare. This being the case, the Elders have spent the winters in the towns and cines along the coast. These are the principal business places as well as seaports and rendevouz for sailors and fishermen.”

[59] “Record of Members of the Icelandic Mission, 1874–1914,” Church Archives, 88.

[60] “Preaching in Iceland,” Millennial Star 64, no. 27 (1902): 427–28.

[61] “Record of Members of the Icelandic Mission, 1874–1914,” Church Archives, 78 ff. Page 88 indicates that the Saints who emigrated with Elder John

[62] Johanneson “took passage on the S. S. Laura for Raymond Alberta Canada via [the] Albion Line.” According to the Millennial Star 65, no. 27 (1903): 426, Elder johanneson and four Saints were to emigrate via Glasgow. The “Historical Record of the Icelandic Mission of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 1873—1914,” Church Archives, 14—15, 17 notes that three of the group were GuðTinna Sasmundsdóttir, Jón Grímsson, and Guðnurður Jónsson. Elder Halldór Johnson reported that due to the unfavorable temporal prospects in Iceland during this period, “many are emigrating to Canada, and many more would do so if their finances would allow.” See Millennial Star 62, no. 27 (1900): 426.

[62] Loftur Bjarnason, “From Iceland,” Millennial Star 68, no. 8 (1906): 121. Furthermore, seven months later, the Millennial Star 68, no. 38 (1906): 607, reported Loftor Bjarnason was in charge of fifty-three emigrating Saints from Iceland. The Historical Record of the Icelandic Mission, 1873—1914, 62—63, reports twenty-seven Church members and thirteen children under the age of eight. On these pages there is also a statistical membership list for the years 1900 to 1911. By 1911, there were only twenty-six members and three children under the age of eight that were recorded.

[63] Elder Bjarnason, “Notes from Iceland,” Millennial Star 67’, no. 41 (1905): 653. Writing from Reykjavik, Halldór Johnson, noted five years earlier, “If we had a meeting house here we could get many listeners, and, I believe, many would join the Church.” See “Abstract of Correspondence,” Millennial Star 62, no. 15 (1900): 234.

[64] “Historical Record of Icelandic Mission, 1873–1914,” 41: “July 8, 1914, Elder Einar Eriksen, who commenced his labors on the Island July 11, 1913, was released today, on account of a discontinuence of missionary work in Iceland, and in compliance with instructions received from the First Presidency.”

[65] Although there was no organized LDS branch between 1914 and 1964, in 1930 two full-time missionaries were sent to Iceland from the Scandinavian Mission to serve for a few months. Their names were James C. Ostegar and F. Lynn Michelsen (see Marius A. Christensen, “History of the Danish Mission of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1850–1964” [unpublished master’s thesis, 1966], 129). Christensen also points out that in 1955 Elder Spencer W. Kimball raised the question of opening up missionary work in Iceland and indicated that in 1961 President McKay sent Alvin R. Dyer, Assistant to the Council of the Twelve, to Iceland to look into the possibility of again sending missionaries to Iceland (131). For the interesting story of events leading up to missionary work again opening up in Iceland, see 1973 typescript of interview of Grant Ruel Ipsen, president of the Danish Mission, Church Archives, 1—6. Latter-day Saint David B. Timmins also made friends for America and the Church while serving as the U.S. diplomat to Iceland from 1958 to 1960. According to Timmins, during this time he met with the Lutheran bishop of Iceland, who informed Timmins that he “would be pleased to welcome Mormon missionaries back to Iceland . . . because he felt we had a message which would improve the moral climate of his countrymen which he considered deteriorating. Timmins also noted that he and his family met Iceland’s elite when they accepted an invitation to visit the country home of Halldor Laxness who had won a Nobel prize for literature. He discussed his future novel Paradise Regained (published in 1962) which focused on a Latter-day Saint Icelandic emigrant who returned to his homeland (see David B. Timmins, “The Second Beginning of the Church in Iceland,” unpublished threepage document in the possession of Clark T. Thorstenson).

[66] Byron T. Geslison, “Mission Report of Iceland,” December 1977, 4–5, in possession of Byron T. Geslison.

[67] Geslison, “Mission Report,” 19.

[68] Autobiographical Sketch of Thor Leifson, in Icelandic Memories, vol. 1, compiled by Phyllis H. Ashby and in her possession, (n.p., n.d.).

[69] Autobiographical Sketch of Clark T. Thorstenson, in Icelandic Memories, vol. 1.

[70] According to LaNora Allred, “The Icelanders of Utah,” (n.p., 1988), 39, “In 1897 under the leadership of Einar H. Jonson the Icelanders formed a committee to plan a special holiday in commemoration of the settlement of Iceland in the year 1894. Although the actual date of settlement was June 17, the committee decided upon August 2 as the day.”

[71] Interviews with Clark T Thorstenson on 10 July 2001 and David A. Ashby on 11 July 2001.

[72] Interview with David A. Ashby on 6 July 2000. Ashby served as the president of the Icelandic Association of Utah Inc. from 1994 to 1995 and from 1999 to 2000. John K. Johnson is now serving as president for the duration of 2001 to 2002, but Ashby is still very involved with this organization and is currently serving as the chairman of public affairs.

[73] On 1 December the First Presidency issued the following statement: “We wish to reiterate the long-standing counsel to members of the Church to remain in their homelands rather than immigrate to the United States. As members throughout the world remain in their homelands, working to rebuild the Church in their native countries, great blessings will come to them personally and to the Church collectively” (see Church News, 11 December 1999, 7).

[74] This center is owned by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In 1995 Clark T Thorstenson was instrumental in arranging to have the Icelandic genealogical materials transferred from the LDS Family History Center in Salt Lake to the Regional Family History Center in Spanish Fork, which is an important source for this topic of study.

 

 

                                                                                 

                                                                                           

Jacob Hamblin (#21), Fort Kanab (#151)

Published / by Lisa Barr / 2 Comments on Jacob Hamblin (#21), Fort Kanab (#151)

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

Jacob Hamblin (#21)

Placed by: Utah Pioneer Trails and Landmark Association and citizens of Kanab Stake

GPS Coordinates:  37° 02.967’ N, -112° 32.114’ W

Located at the Levi Stewart Memorial in Kanab

Photograph by Lisa Barr, February 18, 2017

Historical Text: 

No. 21 Erected Sept. 2, 1933

Jacob Hamblin

Born April 2, 1819    Died August 21, 1886

The great Mormon frontiersman and Indian missionary settled in Tooele Valley, Utah in 1850 and began preaching negotiations with the red men. He was so successful that the officials of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints sent him to establish residence among the Indians at Santa Clara, Utah in 1854.

Frank Asahel Beckwith, Kanab Markers (2). February 1, 1941, Courtesy Willard Marriott Library

A fort was erected on this site in 1865 into which he moved in 1869. He assisted Maj. J.W. Powell and party 1869-72. He was transferred in 1878 to Arizona and later to New Mexico. He is buried in Alpine, Arizona. His friendship with the Indians saved many lives.

Extended Research:

Jacob Hamblin was born in 1819 in Salem, Ohio and baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1842. He helped to settled Tooele, Utah in 1850 before Brigham Young sent him on a mission to the Native Americans in southern Utah in 1854. Hamblin first came to the Kanab area in 1867 to form alliances with members of the Hopi, Southern Paiute, and Navajo tribes. Hamblin hoped to teach them to farm, and convert them to Mormonism.

Eventually, Hamblin and his family moved from Santa Clara to Kanab in 1869 so that he could try to improve Mormon-Navajo relations in northern Arizona. In 1870, Brigham Young assigned Levi Stewart to lead Kanab’s resettlement which freed Hamblin to accompany John Wesley Powell on his second Colorado River expedition in 1871 and 1872. Hamblin and his family moved to Milligan’s Fort in Northern Arizona in 1878, and then to Pleasanton, New Mexico in 1883. He died of malaria in 1886 and is buried in Alpine, Arizona.

Fort Kanab (#151)

Placed by: The descendants of Levi Stewart and Pioneer Trails and Landmarks Association

GPS Coordinates:  37° 02.967’ N,  -112° 32.114’ W

Historical Marker Text:

Photograph by Lisa Barr, February 18, 2017

No. 115 Erected April 11, 1950

Fort Kanab

On June, 14, 1870 Levi Stewart, who had been called from Salt Lake County by President Brigham Young to head a group of pioneers in settling this area, brought a party with seven wagons from Pipe Spring, where they had camped temporarily to Fort Kanab which had been built a year before by Jacob Hamblin and Indian missionaries.

Located at the Levi Stewart Memorial, Kanab, Utah Photograph by Lisa Barr, February 18, 2017

Kanab Ward was organized September 11, 1870 with Elder Stewart as bishop. Other settlers arrived, homes were built and plans were made for a permanent community. A fire in the fort on December 14, took the lives of Mrs. Margery Wilkerson Stewart and five sons.

Extended Research:

Kanab’s first settlers built Fort Kanab in stages between 1865 and 1869. The fort was vacated in 1866 due to increased Navajo and Southern Paiute raids that resulted from the Black Hawk War. In 1867, Jacob Hamblin traveled to the area to establish peace with Hopis and Southern Paiute Indians, however, Navajos continued to carryout raids throughout the region. Hamblin moved to Kanab from Santa Clara in 1869 and began to rebuild the fort which lasted until Brigham Young sent Levi Stewart to resettle the town of Kanab in 1870. The new settlers, including Stewart’s family, lived in the fort while they built homes in town. Southern Paiutes were also a part of Fort Kanab’s community and some lived in the fort and helped to farm the land in exchange for food.

Frank Asahel Beckwith, Kanab Markers (2). February 1, 1941, Courtesy Willard Marriott Library

Fort Kanab caught fire the night of December 14, 1870. Kerosene and turpentine that were stored in the fort exploded and collapsed the roof, killing Stewart’s wife Margery and five of their sons. Jacob Hamblin recalled the fire in his journal, stating that the fort was “in a moment enveloped in an intense flame which burst out from the only entrance, and that the scene could never be forgotten by those who witnessed it.”[1]

[1] Jacob Hamblin, Jacob Hamblin: His Life in His Own Words (New York: Paramount Books, 1995), 95.

For Further Reference:

Primary Sources:

Adams, John Q. Pioneer Personal History of John Q. Adams, Kanab, Utah. July, 16, 1938.  https://collections.lib.utah.edu/details?id=700963&q=fort+kanab&page

Beckwith, Frank Asahel.  Kanab Markers (2). February 1, 1941, Willard Marriott Library, Salt Lake City, Utah.  https://collections.lib.utah.edu/details?id=12525     https://collections.lib.utah.edu/details?id=442803&q=jacob+hamblin&page

https://collections.lib.utah.edu/details?id=442804&q=jacob+hamblin&page

Hamblin, Jacob. Jacob Hamblin: Life in His Own Words. New York: Paramount Books, 1995.

Secondary Sources:

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

Brooks, Juanita. Jacob Hamblin: Mormon Apostle to the Indians. Salt Lake City: Westwater       Press, 1980.

Compton, Todd. A Frontier Life: Jacob Hamblin, Explorer and Indian Missionary. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 2013.

 

 

 

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.

 

Brigham Young’s Beehive House

Published / by Joshua Tedeschi / Leave a Comment

Write up by Joshua Tedeschi

Placed by Brigham Young and Truman O. Angell (Later additions by Jon Young)

GPS Coordinates : 40.7696° N, 111.8888° W

Historical Marker Text Part 1: In 1847 after the Mormons arrived to Utah led by Brigham Young, they attempted to settle the Salt Lake Valley. In order to accomplish this goal of developing a society in this region Young had to establish residence in the area and in 1854 with the help of temple architect Truman O. Angell, he was able to construct what would be known as the Beehive House. This house was given its name from the idea that the Mormons had the work ethic of a colony of bees and their togetherness and dedication to being a successful society provided them with the symbol of the beehive and that is why it is seen so frequently throughout the home itself.

Historical Marker Text Part 2: Brigham Young was required to construct such a large home to accommodate his wives seeing that he lived a polygamist lifestyle. However, he did not stay in the same room as any of his family members. Seeing that he had so many people visiting him on a daily basis he preferred to complete these tasks in a room or his office while his first wife, Lucy Decker, was able to take care of household activities from her own quarters. The construction of the Beehive house provided the continuing symbol of the beehive for many years to come and is something that is still seen today in Utah’s society.

 

Extended Research: Brigham Young, born in June 1801, became the second President of the LDS Church and was credited with the establishment of Salt Lake City when the Mormon pioneers moved west in 1847. Once establishing himself as a devout Mormon and eventual polygamist he ended up marrying 55 women and had over 50 children. The only way to accommodate this kind of family was with a rather large residence and that is how his house in Salt Lake City came into play. Young was an extremely family oriented man but chose to keep business separate from family seeing that he had his room separate from his wives. The decision to separate his bedroom from that of his wife. was strictly business oriented and he finally had something worth working for but even in this time of people coming in and out of his home frequently he set aside a few hours each night at 6:30 to spend time in the family room with his family. Growing up with a job as a carpenter, once Young discovered the Book of Mormon it gave his life a sense of purpose and his arrival in the Salt Lake Valley provided him with a new opportunity to dedicate himself to his religion and to his family. His roll in becoming the president of the Mormon church drastically changed his life in a sense that he was essentially leading a group of people toward freedom and the responsibility that came with having control over the Mormon religion began to take over his everyday routine. Throughout his life however, Young always lived a middle class lifestyle and never had any fancy belongings or luxuries that would let you know that he was the leader of the Mormon community. It was not until Young’s passing and his son Jon took over the residence and ended up adding a large portion onto the home and could substantially tell the difference because Jon was a wealthy businessman. The Beehive house in itself represents much more than just the life of Brigham Young, it provides insight into how the Mormons settled and developed that Salt Lake Valley and why it is shaped into the city it is today. Young’s ability to balance both family and running the church is clearly revealed when examining his home because he was able to keep them strictly separated yet still made substantial time for both. His home holds a substantial piece in Utah history because it reveals how those migrating to Utah were able to come together as a society to create the lifestyle that they had wished to live out from their creation.  The beehive is a perfect representation of what it took for the Mormons to create a society in which they could peacefully live outside of government grasp and continue moving forward as a people that would eventually be accepted into the United States Culture. Unfortunately for them, their attempt at a peaceful move outside of US control turned out to be not so peaceful and actually led to much larger conflict in which the Mormons were seen as a group of people who were a plague to the rest of America.

(Blueprint of Temple to be constructed in Valley in Brigham Young’s office)

(Recurring theme of bees carved into wood beams)

(Brigham Young’s bedroom)

(Family Room)

(Painting of Salt Lake Valley during Mormon settlement)

 

 

Secondary Sources

Hendricks, Rickey Lynn. “Landmark Architecture for a Polygamous Family: The Brigham Young Domicile, Salt Lake City, Utah.” The Public Historian, vol. 11, no. 1, 1989, pp. 25–47., www.jstor.org/stable/3378476

“Little-Told History” of Beehive House and Lion House”, R. Scott Lloyd https://www.lds.org/church/news/little-told-history-of-beehive-house-and-lion-house-comes-to-life-at-symposium?lang=eng

“Women at home in the Beehive House” Natalie R juvenileinstructor.org

Primary Sources

“Brigham Young at Home” Clarissa Young Spencer

Beehive House Personal tour

Connor Statue at Historic Park

Published / by Zach Vayo / Leave a Comment

Connor Statue at Historic Park

Write-up by Zach Vayo

GPS Coordinates: 40.764399°N, 111.832891°W

Historical Marker Text:

“PATRICK EDWARD CONNER BRIGADIER GENERAL AND BREVET MAJOR GENERAL UNITED STATES VOLUNTEERS 1820-1891

Born in County Kerry, Ireland. Emigrated as a child to the United States. Enlisted in the army at age 19. Attained rank of Captain in the Mexican War. As Colonel, commanding the Volunteers, established Camp Douglas on Oct. 26, 1862. A soldier-statesman of great energy and vision, he was the “father of Utah mining”, published the first daily newspaper in Utah Territory, and founded Stockton, Utah. * * * * This park presented to the United States Army by the Fort Douglas Museum Association on the 124th Anniversary of the founding of Fort Douglas. Oct 26, 1986.”

Extended Research:

Aside from Brigham Young, perhaps no individual played a larger role in shaping nineteenth century Utah than Patrick Connor. Indeed, prominent Utah historian Dean May has hailed these men as the two founding fathers of modern Utah.[1] Today, Connor’s statue in Fort Douglas quietly rivals Young’s much grander memorialization across Salt Lake in Temple Square – a silent reenactment of what was in its day a bitter public rivalry between these two men and their competing visions. Young sought to establish Utah as the Kingdom of God on Earth according to the unique sensibilities of the LDS Church. Connor, meanwhile, aimed to bring Utah into the American mainstream by conquering the land’s indigenous peoples and opening the door for white settlers like himself, looking to make their fortunes out West. Intensely distrustful of Utah’s Mormon population, Connor was himself an immigrant who, having undergone a process of Americanization, now sought to “Americanize” Utah along the same lines as the rest of the West. Portrayed as everything from hero to murderous plunderer, Connor has been sweepingly characterized as “the archetypal nineteenth century man”, who was “representative of all that was good and bad in that age.”[2]

The man who would come to identify himself as P. Edward Connor was born Patrick Edward (“Paddy”) O’Connor in County Kerry, Ireland. Very little information exists on Connor’s early life; he claimed to have been born on St. Patrick’s Day, 1820.[3] Economic stagnation in Ireland drove his family to emigrate to New York when he was perhaps sixteen. Connor spent several years working odd jobs as a laborer before beginning his military career by volunteering for the First Dragoons in 1839. It is possible the young Irishman viewed military service as a useful means to “Americanize” himself in an era animated by nativism and anti-Catholicism.[4]

Connor’s five year tour with the Dragoons took him to the lands in and around the newly-created Iowa Territory to maintain relations with the region’s native peoples. This fledgling military presence in the trans-Mississippi West, with the US fresh off the Jacksonian ethnic cleansing of native peoples in the East, would foreshadow atrocious military violence against the indigenous peoples of the West during and after the Civil War, in which Connor himself was to play a leading role.

While relatively uneventful, Connor’s tour with the Dragoons gave him valuable experience as a soldier. More importantly, he appeared to become enamored with the West, where he would spend almost all of the remainder of his life. Following the end of his tour of duty, he returned to New York for several years, engaging in “mercantile business” and becoming a naturalized citizen (a process no doubt made easier by his military record).[5] Also around this time, he removed some of the conspicuous Irish-ness from his name by dropping the O’ in his surname and shortening Patrick to an initial, becoming P. Edward Connor. With the outbreak of war with Mexico in 1846, Connor headed west again, joining a company of Texas Volunteers. He participated in the US victory at the Battle of Buena Vista, receiving praise for his bravery.[6]

Connor ca. 1860s

The war resulted in the US seizure of a vast swath of land claimed by Mexico. Connor was among many who viewed these lands as a place to make it big, travelling to California in 1850 on the heels of the Gold Rush. After an ill-fated attempt to establish a community on the Trinity River, he settled in Stockton. Over the next decade, his numerous entrepreneurial ventures, particularly a gravel quarry on his property, resulted in Connor accumulating a degree of wealth. He emerged as a leading citizen of Stockton and came to head its militia, the Stockton Blues. In 1854, he married Johanna Connor, another emigrant from Kerry County.[7] The couple would raise five children to adulthood, enduring the loss of two sons who died in childhood.

This relatively peaceful period of Connor’s life came to an end in 1861 with the outbreak of the Civil War. Eager to serve his adopted country once more, he took the lead in recruiting several companies of California Volunteers to serve under his command. In spite of his (and his troops’) desire to fight the Confederacy in the East, he found himself assigned to protect overland mail routes in Utah, as the Lincoln administration sought to preserve California’s tenuous connection to the Union.[8] In Utah, Connor’s troops were to serve as an occupying force to both native peoples such as the Shoshone and to the territory’s Mormon population, practitioners of an enigmatic and fanatical religion in the eyes of many, whose loyalty to the country seemed particularly dubious, particularly in light of the 1857 Mountain Meadows Massacre.

During the journey across Nevada, Connor began to hone his reputation as an Indian fighter, launching attacks that killed several dozen Shoshones. Reaching Salt Lake City in 1862, Connor remarked with disgust on the apparent un-Americanness of the Mormons, calling them “a community of traitors, murderers, fanatics, and whores,” claiming “the people publicly rejoice at reverses to our arms,” and “Brigham Young rules with despotic sway.”[9] For their part, the Mormons had good reason to fear federal troops due to the “Utah War” of 1856-58. As such, they were none too happy when Connor, despairing of the state of the old Camp Crittenden (Camp Floyd) in Utah Valley, planted his troops directly above their capital, establishing Camp Douglas on an eastern bench of the Salt Lake Valley on October 26, 1862. Connor cited this new location as all the better to “say to the Saints of Utah, enough of your treason.”[10] Connor’s troops thus became the most visible symbol of “Gentile” (non-Mormon) presence in the territory, sparking a war of words between the two groups lasting for decades.

Camp Douglas (later Fort Douglas) ca. 1865. Connor named the fort for Lincoln’s great political rival, Stephen Douglas.

The year 1863 was a critical one for Connor. Denied the chance to fight in the East, he seized on a chance to “chastise” the Northwestern Shoshone instead. Increased Anglo-American incursions into what is today southern Idaho had strained relationships with the Shoshone, producing intermittent fighting and claims of kidnapping. In the bitter cold of January, Connor marched his troops from Camp Douglas to a Shoshone encampment on the Bear River. One California newspaper offered a telling insight into the attitudes of the day by publishing a gleeful letter from a Salt Lake correspondent, stating that “before [Connor’s troops] quit the entertainment Mr. Redskin is to be well thrashed, and, if possible, ‘wiped out.’”[11]

Arriving at the encampment, Connor’s troops launched an attack on the 29th of January. What began as a battle became a bloodbath as Connor’s troops flanked the Shoshones, trapping them in a ravine. The troops proceeded to massacre anyone within reach, including women and children. The death toll may well have exceeded four hundred, making it the largest massacre in the history of the American West. Connor’s troops destroyed homes and food supplies, murdering dozens more women who refused to submit to rape by the soldiers.[12] His actions would make him one of the most despised figures in Shoshone memory, with one survivor, Sagwitch, later recalling the bitter irony of “that merciless battle, when women and suckling babes met their death at the hands of civilization.”[13] Those same actions, however, made Connor a hero to white colonizers in the West, and earned him a promotion to brigadier-general.

Bear River Massacre site.

Back in Salt Lake, Connor became fixated on the notion of publicizing Utah’s mineral wealth so as to draw non-Mormons into the territory, contending that “inducements … to the teeming population of the East and West, seeking new fields of exploration and prosperity” would spell political and social doom for the Mormonism that he saw as “not only subversive of morals, in conflict with the civilization of the present age, and oppressive on the people, but also deeply and boldly in contravention of the laws and best interests of the nation.”[14] To that end, he founded the Daily Union Vedette, a staunchly non-Mormon newspaper that wrote extensively on the wealth to be had in Utah. Connor helped to establish and personally invested in numerous mining districts, including what would become Bingham Canyon, earning the honorific “father of Utah mining.” In 1863, Connor also established the town of Stockton, near Tooele, named for his former home in California. Connor intended Stockton as a hub for non-Mormon settlement, though his grand visions could never elevate it beyond a minor settlement on the fringes of Brigham Young’s Mormon kingdom. Of course, Young and his disciples were none too happy to see these capitalistic incursions into their Zion. After Young petitioned unsuccessfully to have Connor and his troops removed from Utah,[15] he was spared of the general for a time when Connor was sent to present Wyoming for the Powder River expedition in 1865.

Connor thus departed Utah to crush resistance from the Cheyenne, Sioux, and Arapaho in response to a mining boom that had drawn a wave of white colonizers into Montana. While Connor’s campaigns failed to win any “victories” as decisive as that at Bear River, he nonetheless killed several hundred indigenous persons in a series of battles and skirmishes such as Tongue River (at times fighting alongside indigenous allies such as the Omaha). Such militancy undermined the capacity of indigenous communities to sustain themselves, leaving little recourse to federal economic dependency and reservations (with poverty ironically reinforcing white perceptions of indigenous nations as primitive and backwards). The Powder River endeavor was largely regarded as a failure, in part due to negative publicity surrounding another event to the south: namely, the army’s 1864 Sand Creek Massacre against the Cheyenne and Arapaho, which had soured the nation for a time on war with native nations.[16] Reflecting this shift in attitude, the Salt Lake Tribune expressed desire for “some sensible plan” regarding “the poor Indian race.”[17]Nonetheless, the expedition cemented Connor’s status as to hero to white colonizers in the West. This would be Connor’s last major military mission, as he resigned his commission in 1866.

After a brief return to Utah (and a trip to Washington DC to testify against the evils of the Mormons), Connor returned to California with his family. By 1869, however, the looming completion of the transcontinental railroad brought him back to Utah. This time, his family stayed in California, establishing a permanent residence in Redwood City. Over the next decades, Connor would become increasingly estranged from his family as he bounced between various mining and railroad endeavors in Utah and Nevada in largely unsuccessful attempts to amass his fortune, made all the more difficult by the market instabilities laid bare in the Panic of 1873. Johanna Connor would eventually die in 1889, making no mention of her oft-absent husband in her will.

In Utah, the railroad spelled doom for Brigham Young’s bucolic conception of an economically isolated Zion. Anticipating an economic and demographic influx to the territory, Connor took an interest in the town of Corinne, near the mouth of the Bear River, which emerged in the wake of the railroad’s completion as Utah’s leading non-Mormon community. His assessment of this emerging landscape proved somewhat overly optimistic, with his vision of a steamboat service across the Great Salt Lake connecting Corinne to Stockton never truly materializing. As the most esteemed non-Mormon in the territory, Connor became the symbolic leader of Utah’s anti-Mormon Liberal Party, which denounced polygamy and sought to block statehood for fear of losing federal leverage against the dominant religion. Speaking at an 1880 Liberal rally, Connor declared his intention of “taking up the fight with renewed vigor,” and “helping forward the good work of regulating and Americanizing Utah.”[18] This symbolic leadership notwithstanding, Connor proved unsuccessful in parlaying his notoriety into political office, losing a bid even for the modest office of Salt Lake County Recorder. He died in Salt Lake in 1891 with much prestige and little wealth, and was buried in the Fort Douglas Cemetery.[19]

Connor with President Hayes during the latter’s visit to Fort Douglas, 1880.

The decades after his death saw Patrick Connor’s vision of an Americanized Utah come to fruition to a remarkable degree. Booming mining industries throughout the new state in regions such as Carbon County and Bingham Canyon attracted waves of non-Mormon immigration from countries including Greece and Italy, and, to a lesser extent, Japan and China. Mining in particular signified Utah’s increasing integration into the national economy; while providing economic opportunity, this new colonial economy also spawned appalling working conditions and environmental degradation. Connor would no doubt also have been pleased to see the LDS church, the object of his perpetual contempt, take a firmer stance against polygamy and recede from the political sphere in the first decades of the twentieth century (though the latter change did not prove permanent). Furthermore, the twentieth century also saw emphasis on Brigham Young’s model of economic cooperation decline as many Mormons made their peace with Connor’s capitalist vision. Indeed, while not abandoning their distinct identities, Mormon communities have undergone a noteworthy degree of Americanization since Connor’s time.[20] Connor himself practiced what he preached with regards to Americanization: the Irish-born immigrant epitomized the self-made man of fame and fortune. While this rugged, romantic image has become iconic in conceptions of the West, Connor’s case also illustrates its shortcomings. Never truly successful in making his fortune later in life, his obsessive quest for wealth resulted in considerable alienation from his family. Underpinning all of this is Connor’s darkest legacy (and one that is conspicuously absent from his historical marker): the brutalization of indigenous nations, on whose dispossessed land the processes of “Americanization” played out. Particularly for the Northwestern Shoshones, the impacts and bitter memories of Colonel Connor’s atrocious actions on the Bear River echo into the twenty-first century.

 

For Further Reference:

Primary Sources:

P. Edward Connor, Official Report on the Bear River Massacre, February 6, 1863.

Secondary Sources:

Madsen, Brigham. Glory Hunter: A Biography of Patrick Edward Connor. Salt Lake: University of Utah Press, 1990.

May, Dean. Utah: A People’s History. Salt Lake: University of Utah Press, 1987.

Varley, James. Brigham and the Brigadier: General Patrick Connor and His California Volunteers in Utah and Along the Overland Trail. . Tucson: Westernlore Press, 1989.

 

 

[1] Dean L. May, Utah: A People’s History (Salt Lake: University of Utah Press, 1987), 194.

[2] James Varley, Brigham and the Brigadier: General Patrick Connor and His California Volunteers in Utah and Along the Overland Trail. (Tucson: Westernlore Press, 1989), x.

[3] Brigham Madsen, Glory Hunter: A Biography of Patrick Edward Connor (Salt Lake: University of Utah Press, 1990), 3-5.

[4] James Varley, Brigham and the Brigadier, 2.

[5] Brigham Madsen, Glory Hunter, 18-19.

[6] James Varley, Brigham and the Brigadier, 4.

[7] Brigham Madsen, Glory Hunter, 30.

[8] Ibid, 48.

[9] P. Edward Connor, letter to Major R. C. Drum, September 14, 1862.

[10] Ibid.

[11] “A Big Expedition – Connor and the Volunteers after the Indians,” Sacramento Daily Union (Sacramento, CA), Feb. 7, 1863

[12] Scott Christensen, Sagwitch: Shoshone Chieftain, Mormon Elder, 1822-1887 (Logan: Utah State University Press, 1999), 52.

[13] F.W. Warner (Sagwitch), “Sagwitch Writes The Citizen About New Monument,” Franklin County Citizen (Preston, ID), Jul. 11, 1918.

[14] P. Edward Connor, letter to Major E. McGarry, October 26, 1863.

[15] Brigham Madsen, Glory Hunter, 114.

[16] Ibid, 121.

[17] James Varley, Brigham and the Brigadier, 258.

[18] Brigham Madsen, Glory Hunter, 237.

[19] Brigham Madsen, Glory Hunter, 271.

[20] Dean L. May, Utah: A People’s History, 190, 194-198.

Utah’s First Capitol

Published / by Benjamin Bartholomew / Leave a Comment

Utah Historical Site Marker

Placed by: Daughters of the Utah Pioneers, No. 7

GPS Coordinates: 38.9676° N, 112.3251° W

Historical Marker Text (1):

Erected Aug. 3, 1935

Utah’s First Capitol

Creating Fillmore City and Millard County, the Territorial Legislature of Utah, selected Pauvan Valley as the capitol site Oct. 29, 1851. This spot was selected by Gov. Brigham Young. Construction work began in 1852. Truman O. Angell, Architect, and Anson Call, Supervisor. This South Wing was used by the 5th Territorial Legislature Oct. 10, 1856. In 1856 the seat of government was moved to Salt Lake City. Later used as Court House and County Headquarters. Restored in 1928 and dedicated as state museum July 24, 1930

Custodians: Daughters of the Utah Pioneers Millard County Company

National Register Marker

 Historical Marker Text (2):

The National Register of Historic Places

Utah Historic Site

Territorial Capitol

Built: 1852-1855

Architect: Truman O. Angell

Used by 5th (1855), 6th (1856),

and 8th (1858) State Legislatures

Division of State History N-9

Extended Research:

Establishing Fillmore:

Governor Young

The Compromise of 1850 admitted California into the Union as a free state and established New Mexico and Utah as territories. U.S. President Millard Fillmore appointed Brigham Young as the first Governor of Utah, and requested a capital city be established. To accomplish this, Young recruited a man by the name of Anson Call. Call joined the Mormon Church in 1843, and immigrated with his family in 1848 to Bountiful, Utah. At 41 years-old, Call received a “calling,” or religiously appointed duty, from Brigham Young to explore central Utah.

In May of 1851, Call waited in Parowan to receive word from Young as to where he should go next. Young sent a letter to Call saying “to go a distance of about one hundred miles north and explore Pah-Van Valley”  and directed him to find “a suitable place to make a settlement.”[1]

Anson Call

After exploring, Call concluded that the area near Chalk Creek would be the best spot to settle. Young then requested Call to gather fifty families and to establish a colony. From multiple records, it appears that the families Call recruited were generally poor and new immigrants from England.

Meanwhile, in Salt Lake City, the territorial legislature met to decide on a location for the capital city. Legislators concluded that it should be placed at the geographic center of Utah Territory. Following their decision, Young assembled his own wagon company and then headed south to officially dedicate the site as the capital.  The Deseret News reported that on October 21, 1851, Young and other leaders left Great Salt Lake City for the purpose of locating the site for the seat of government.[2]

Samuel P. Hoyt

Bishop Bartholomew

One week later, on October 28th, Brigham Young arrived in what he then named Fillmore, and placed his cane to the earth declaring it the cornerstone of the new territorial statehouse. On October 29, 1851, Jesse W. Fox began surveying the city after Joseph Smith’s “city of God” method.  Young later described the events this way:

“We found an excellent situation near the ford of Chalk Creek and selected the site for the State House on the south side of that creek on the heights about 3/4 of a Mile up it.  Exceedingly beautiful are the numerous cedars in that vicinity which are included in the city plot. . . . The location of the seat of Government at that point will unquestionably prove highly satisfactory to the People of the Territory having a more central position than Great Salt Lake County and the most susceptible of maintaining a large and dense population of any other valley intervening. . . .”[3]

Building the Statehouse:

Replicas of what houses in the Fort looked like.

During the Winter of 1851 the population of Fillmore grew and settlers continued to build Fort Fillmore. They additionally began preparations to build the statehouse. In the Spring of 1852, LDS Bishop Noah Bartholomew sent multiple letters indicating that the population was growing as builders began to arrive. Brigham Young then appointed his brother in law, Truman O. Angell, to be the architect of the project. He assigned Samuel P. Hoyt as the foreman responsible for reporting updates to LDS leader, George A. Smith.

Settlers at Fillmore established a trade based economy as they struggled to build a community and provide the labor necessary to construct the new state house. In 1853 and 1854, tensions between Mormons and Ute Indians erupted into the Walker War which frequently interrupted or halted altogether construction on the building. At the end of the Walker War, Chief Kanosh was able to strike peace, and even settled his band near Fillmore in hopes of learning advanced agriculture. Despite these disruptions, workers completed the south wing of the state house in 1855.

Fillmore as a Capital:

The Statehouse

After completion of the south wing, the State Legislature convened in the House of Representatives’ Chamber. The United States District Court and Territorial Probate Courts were also able to utilize the second floor which also housed the Governor’s Office. The Deseret News used the basement of the new building as its headquarters.

The Statehouse after 1858:

By 1858, legislators complained that Fillmore was too small and too sparse in resources to continue as the capital city. Thus, they moved the capital to Salt Lake City for convenience and because Utah’s main population lived along the Wasatch Front. The statehouse at Fillmore was abandoned with only the south wing ever constructed. The south wing’s white trimmings and empty halls stand as the only remnant of the old capital at Fillmore. After the legislature vacated the city, the building was used as both a music hall and a schoolhouse. This lasted until 1930 when it was then made into a museum. The building was dedicated as a historic site in 1935.

References

[1] Brigham Young, 1851 in “Journal History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,” as cited in A History of Millard County, by Edward Leo Lyman and Linda King Newell (Salt Lake City: Utah State Historical Society), 39-40.

[2] “President’s Visit South,” Deseret News, 29 November 1851.

[3]Brigham Young to Jedediah M. Grant, 26 November 1851, Brigham Young Collection, DR1234/1, box 16, folder 22 (reel 25), Church History Library, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah.

Primary Sources

Brigham Young to Jedediah M. Grant, 26 November 1851, Brigham Young Collection, DR1234/1, box 16, folder 22 (reel 25), Church History Library, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah.

LDS Church Historians Office Journal, 8 January 1856, LDS Church History Library, Salt Lake City, Utah.

“President’s Visit South, Deseret News, 29 November 1851.

Secondary Sources

Day, Stella H. , ed.  Milestones of Millard: A Century of History of Millard County, 1851-1951.  Springville, UT: Art City Publishing Co., 1951.

Lyman, Edward Leo, and Linda King Newell, A History of Millard County. Salt Lake City: Utah State Historical Society, 1996.

 

 

 

 

 

Dudler’s Inn and Dudler’s Wine Cellar

Published / by Brandon Gilligan / 2 Comments on Dudler’s Inn and Dudler’s Wine Cellar

Write-up by Brandon Gilligan

Dudler’s Inn Historical Marker placed by: Canyon Rim Chapter, Sons of Utah Pioneers

Dudler’s Wine Cellar Historical Marker placed by: Jordan River Temple Chapter, Sons of Utah Pioneers

GPS Coordinates: 40º42’40 N 111º48’21 W

Dudler’s Inn Historical Marker text:

Perhaps one of the longest living and prominent residents of the area known as Parley’s Hallow, now officially Parley’s Historic Nature Preserve, was Joseph Dudler. About 1864, he settled in this location. Here he built his home. It was two stories, thirty-six by fifty-six feet in size, with rock foundation walls, the narrow front facing south, and the rest of the first floor dug into the side of the valley. The remains of the rock wall, east of the still existing foundation stones of the original building, is a continuation of the front wall of the lower floor of his Inn. The story above was frame with vertical siding, and it was here that the “Rooms To Let,” dining, and kitchen spaces were provided.

As business improved, in 1870, he built a brewery to the rear and west of the Inn. To provide further for this, he built an addition to the Inn itself, continuing the rock foundations further north sixteen feet with an adobe instead of frame upper story. In addition, he continued the lower floor north, only four feet further in the ground, with what has been called the “Wine Cellar.” Still there, it was a rock-walled room, underground, about fifteen-and-a-half feet wide and twenty feet long with ten-foot high, domed, rock ceiling. It is an ideal place for keeping things cool.

His irrigation water supply was brought to the site in a ditch from Parley’s Canyon Creek, but for drinking water he used a spring on the property northeast of the Inn location which is still flowing.

Dudler operated a saloon or two in town as well as the Inn, and in 1892, added a similar business in Park City where he also continued in the brewing and saloon business. He kept the farm and brewery area going in Parley’s Hallow until his death in October of 1897. His descendants continued using the Inn as a residence, referring to it as the “homestead” until it was destroyed by fire, the work of vandals, the night of the 17th of October, 1952.

Dudler’s Wine Cellar Historical Marker text:

Early in 1870, Joseph Dudler, owner and operator of the Inn which was on the ground level of his house, built a brewery in back of his house here in Parley’s Hallow. To Provide for this, in addition to the brewery proper, located on adjacent property west and north of the Inn, he extended his entire earlier building sixteen feet further into the north side of the valley. To this extension he added what came to be known as the wine cellar. He built this rock-walled, underground cellar for a store room as well as storage for the products of his brewery. The walls and roof of the cellar, which still retain their structural integrity, average two-and-one-half feet thick and the walls were ten-feet high. The labor expended to excavate the basement, the cellar, and to erect the two-and-one-half story building of the house and inn, would have been a tremendous task. There were no backhoes, front-end loaders, no dump trucks or cranes in those days to help in the construction; just back-breaking, muscle-straining, hard work. The structure of the cellar was so well designed that over a half-century later, when crews came to clean up what was left of the burned-out building, this stone work that comprises the cellar, supported the weight of the “Cat” when the ground was leveled.

Just to the west and a little bit north of the cellar was a tall brick chimney on the north end of a small frame building which was the brewery proper. This chimney remained for many years having outlasted the frame brewery building, but it too has long since fallen to the ravages of time as did the brewery building itself much earlier. Joe Dudler was a carpenter by trade and a brewer by profession and the following years would prove his proficiency at both.

When Joe first set up his first brewery at this location, he called it the Philadelphia Brewery. He sold his products not only at the inn, but also a little later at his Philadelphia Brewery Saloon in downtown Salt Lake City. His inn was also known for a time as Dudler’s Summer Resort and simply as Dudler’s Saloon.

In the early 1900’s his son Frank and daughter Retta ran the saloon at Parley’s Hollow while their father set up a saloon and ran his famous business in Park City. Joseph Dudler died in 1897.

Extended Research:

Joseph Dudler

Joseph Dudler and his family settled in Parley’s Canyon in Salt Lake City, Utah in 1864 after moving from Appleton, Wisconsin. Upon arrival he began to build a home in Parley’s Canyon. Joseph was a carpenter by training and was very capable in building and crafting. Parley’s Canyon was a highly trafficked area for travelers going to or through Salt Lake City. Dudler quickly took advantage of the potential business opportunity and between 1865 and 1870 he added to his home an additional story, as well as a large brewery and a cellar to house the products of the brewery. The brewery was capable of producing approximately 900 barrels of beer in a year. This would have made Dudler’s brewery on this site among the largest in Utah in the 1860’s. The addition to the home allowed for a saloon in the basement and rooms for let. Dudler’s Inn was often referred to as Dudler’s Saloon or Dudler’s Summer Resort. The supply of beer produced by the brewery quickly outgrew the small basement saloon and in 1870 Dudler opened the Philadelphia Brewery Saloon on 200 South Street in Salt Lake City. There were probably two other saloons at various times in Salt Lake City that Dudler operated. In 1884, Dudler opened another successful saloon in Park City called the California Brewery Saloon. The brewery in Parley’s Canyon continued operation until Joseph’s death in 1897. In the years before his death, Dudler attempted another brewery and saloon business in Vernal, Utah. This was an unsuccessful and short lived endeavor.

Loretta Schaer

After Joseph Dudler’s death, his son Ron and daughter Loretta ran the the saloon in Parley’s Canyon. After the turn of the century commercial operations on the site ceased. The land soon became the primary residence of Loretta Dudler Schaer and her husband Harold Schaer, who were married in 1907. Loretta, often called Retty or Mary, suffered from depression and anxiety. These conditions were exasperated after the death of her second son, Charles, who died at the age of 19 months. At this time there were few effective treatments for such disorders. Loretta’s older son moved away to make his own life, and her husband had abandoned her by 1918. Loretta struggled with poverty and depression on the land in Parley’s Canyon for the next 34 years. She did prove to have a keen legal mind and was able to keep control of the land in the face of water rights disputes, tax difficulties, and various other problems with the local government. The home became increasingly isolated. Loretta’s odd behavior and isolation earned her the titles of Crazy Mary, and Parley’s Witch. The home fell into disrepair in the 1940’s and was subjected to theft and vandalism. In 1952, the entire structure was burned by vandals. Loretta died five years later at the age of 80.

After the fire, a demolition crew came to clear the debris. The cellar was too well constructed to be easily removed and was left. The stone walls of the basement and the cellar remain. Descendants of Joseph Dudler owned some of the land until 1982 when the remaining nine acres were sold to the city of Salt Lake. The area now called Parley’s Hallow or Parley’s Historic Nature Preserve is currently used for recreation. A bicycle path runs right past the ruins of Dudler’s Inn. The bulk of the canyon is used as an off leash dog area with hiking trails along the creek. There are three other historical markers near the Dudler’s Inn site in Parley’s Canyon,

For Further Reference:

Primary Sources:

Minutes of the Great Salt Lake City Council Meetings, August 9, 1870.

“Local News.” Deseret News, September 2, 1885.

“Dudler Case on Trial.” Deseret Evening News. February 14, 1899.

“Mrs. Dudler Wins in Water Suit.” Deseret Evening News. April 1, 1899.

Secondary Sources:

Fluehe, Richard. Dudler’s of Parley’s Canyon: A History. Salt Lake City: Utah State Historical Society, 1990.

Vance, Del. Beer in the Beehive: A history of brewing in Utah. Great Salt Lake City: Dream Garden Press, 2006.

Youngberg, Florence C. Parley’s Hallow: Gateway to the Valley. Salt Lake City: Custom Printing Inc. and Graphic Design, 1991.

Irish Railroad Workers

Published / by Amy Brown / Leave a Comment

Write-up by Amy Brown

Placed by the Hibernian Society of Utah on March 17, 1996 dedicated May 10, 1996

The GPS Coordinates: 41°37’03.6″N 112°33’03.0″W

Historical Marker Text: To the Irish who toiled on the Transcontinental Railroad uniting our nation

Extended Research:

In 1862 Congress passed the Pacific Railroad Act[1] providing federal land and funding for the building of a transcontinental railroad from Omaha, Nebraska to Sacramento, California. The project was an engineering feat never seen before. Construction began in 1863 and it was completed on May 10, 1869 at Promontory Point, Utah. The excitement to build a transcontinental railroad created a competition between two railroad companies. The Central Pacific Railroad built East from Sacramento, and the Union Pacific Railroad built West from Omaha, eventually meeting in Utah Territory. Upon completion, travel time across the country dropped to only seven days, a significant reduction from the four to five months it took via wagons. The transcontinental railroad also sped trade, communication, and helped to unite the nation. The building of the first transcontinental railroad required 6 years to complete and thirty-thousand workers who were primarily immigrants.[2] Without the hard work and sacrifice of both Chinese and Irish immigrants the historic completion of the transcontinental railroad would not have been possible.

The Union Pacific Railroad company employed mainly Irish immigrants who were unmarried veterans of the Civil War, both Confederate and Union, who sought opportunity and work. The work was challenging and it consisted of digging, grading, and track laying across the Great Plains for long hours at a time through challenging conditions. The style of labor was very military[3] like with project managers cursing and barking out orders which workers were expected to obey like soldiers. Workers were paid three dollars a day with food and lodging provided. They worked from sun up to sundown with only three breaks a day for meals, which included large breakfast and lunch portions and smaller dinner portions. Harsh winter storms, Indian raids on worker camps and lack of supplies such as firewood made track laying difficult and slow. The Irish workers also suffered dysentery which was a constant problem because they frequently drank impure water from springs or lakes. They were expected to lay two to three miles of track a day.[4]

Irish immigrants faced discrimination and were sometimes viewed as dirty drunks who were not afraid to go on strike. Even still the railroad companies relied on their labor and they were valued as hard workers on the railroad and good track layers. As they approached the meeting of the rails in 1869 the Central Pacific workers were able to lay ten miles of track in a single day with the help of eight Irish immigrants. It was a feat and record never seen before. After the work on the transcontinental railroad was complete many of the Irish immigrants continued to work for the railroad or found mining jobs throughout the West.  This marker honors their contribution in uniting the nation as well as their work and sacrifice.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[1] Congress of the United States, The Pacific Railroad Act, (Washington D.C. 1862)  https://www.ourdocuments.gov/document_data/pdf/doc_032.pdf

[2] Stephen E. Ambrose, Nothing like It in the World: The Men Who Built the Transcontinental Railroad, 1863-1869 (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2000), 17.

[3] Ryan Dearinger, The Filth of Progress (Oakland: University of California Press, 2015).

[4] Beatty, http://www.irishcentral.com/roots/genealogy/the-impact-of-the-irish-on-the-american-railwaysystem

Primary Sources: 

Congress of the United States, The Pacific Railroad Act, (Washington 1862)  https://www.ourdocuments.gov/document_data/pdf/doc_032.pdf

Secondary Sources:

Ambrose, Stephen E. 2000. Nothing like It in the World: The Men Who Built the Transcontinental Railroad, 1863-1869. New York: Simon & Schuster.

Dearinger, Ryan. 2015. The Filth of Progress. Oakland: University of California Press. Accessed      March 29, 2017. ProQuest Ebook Central.

https://www.nps.gov/parkhistory/online_books/blm/ut/8/sec1.htm

http://www.irishcentral.com/roots/genealogy/the-impact-of-the-irish-on-the-american-railway-system

 

Simpson Springs Pony Express Station

Published / by Paul McKnight / Leave a Comment

Simpson Springs Pony Express Station

Write up by Paul McKnight

Placed by enrollees U.S. grazing division C.C.C camp 8-184, Company 2517, No. 87

GPS coordinates: 40°2′16″N 112°47′11″W.

 

Historical Marker Text (1):

NO. 87

                        Erected AUG 23, 1940

Simpson’s Spring- Pony Express Station

            One of the important desert stations on the Pony Express and overland stage route between ST. Joseph, Missouri and Sacramento, California. From this point, water was carried for west-bound travelers and animals. The Spring was discovered by Captain J.H. Simpson, U.S. Army. In 1858, the first east-bound Pony Express courier halted here about 5 P.M. April 7, and west-bound about 2 A.M. April 10, 1860. The Last riders passed about October 22,1861. The coming of the overland telegram made it inadvisable to continue the Pony Express.

            This monument constructed by enrollees U.S. grazing division C.C.C camp 8-184, Company 2517.

 

Historical Marker Text (2):

The Station

A number of structures have been built and destroyed in the vicinity of Simpson Springs over the years, and it isn’t known for sure which served as the station for the mail route and the Pony Express. The nearby restored cabin is located at the approximate site of the original station and closely resembles the original.

George Chorpenning did not benefit from the effort and money spent in building the mail stations. In 1859 financial troubles struck. Chorpenning’s government mail contracts were suddenly reduced; no money reached route employees during the fall. Chorpenning’s animals were “attached” and sold for back wages. William Russel acquired the new mail contract. Chorpenning notes that Russel “stepped in, took possession of my stations, provisions, improvements…” Thanks to Chorpenning, the Pony Express was in business.

Historical Marker Text (3):

Stone Cabin

Alvin Anderson used stone from the abandoned Pony Express station when he built this cabin in 1893. It was intended for his wife, who died in childbirth before she could live in it.

Extended Research:

The Pony Express was established in April of 1860. The idea behind the Pony Express was to establish an overland mail route between Joseph Missouri and Sacramento California. During this time, transporting mail and information from one side of the U.S. to the other proved too time consuming. The mail and other information was placed on a boat which sailed around to California. This could take weeks if not months. By the time the news arrived, it was too old to even matter. Therefore, the Pony Express was considered to be a better alternative to a long voyage.

William H. Russel, Alexander Majors and William B. Waddell started what at the time was known as the Leavenworth & Pike’s Peak Express Company. The postmaster general, Joseph Holt requested their services. The people who rode the Pony Express could achieve 1800 miles between Joseph, Missouri and Sacramento, California in just ten days. This definitely cut down the time it took for a ship to sail around the world. While the information transported was still not very current, it sure was more up to date than the news which came to California by ship.

Travel for many of the riders on the trail was often hazardous. As can be illustrated by this first-hand account by Buffalo Bill Cody, who was most famous for his Wild West Show. When Buffalo Bill joined the Pony Express, he was only 15 years old. This was not uncommon to see in the Pony Express at this time. Buffalo Bill shared his account of some of the events which happened to him while on the trail with these words:

 

“. . .The next day he [Mr Slade,the manger of Cody’s Pony Express station] assigned me to duty on the road from Red Buttes on the North Platte, to the Three Crossings of the Sweetwater – a distance of seventy-six miles – and I began riding at once.

One day when I galloped into Three Crossings, my home station, I found that the rider who was expected to take the trip out on my arrival had got into a drunken row the night before and had been killed; and that there was no one to fill his place. I did not hesitate for a moment to undertake an extra ride of eighty-five miles to Rocky Ridge, and I arrived at the latter place on time. I then turned back and rode to Red Buttes, my starting place, accomplishing on the round trip a distance of 322 miles.

Slade heard of this feat of mine, and one day as he was passing on a coach he sang out to me, ‘My boy, you’re a brick, and no mistake. That was a good run you made when you rode your own and Miller’s routes, and I’ll see that you get extra pay for it.’

Slade, although rough at times and always a dangerous character – having killed many a man – was always kind to me. During the two years that I worked for him as pony-express-rider and stage-driver, he never spoke an angry word to me.

As I was leaving Horse Creek one day, a party of fifteen Indians ‘jumped me’ in a sand ravine about a mile west of the station. They fired at me repeatedly, but missed their mark. I was mounted on a roan California horse – the fleetest steed I had. Putting spurs and whip to him, and lying flat on his back, I kept straight on for Sweetwater Bridge – eleven miles distant – instead of trying to turn back to Horse Creek. The Indians came on in hot pursuit, but my horse soon got away from them, and ran into the station two miles ahead of them. The stock-tender had been killed there that morning, and all the stock had been driven off by the Indians, and as I was therefore unable to change horses, I continued on to Ploutz’s Station – twelve miles further – thus making twenty-four miles straight run with one horse. I told the people at Ploutz’s what had happened at Sweetwater Bridge, and with a fresh horse went on and finished the trip without any further adventure.”

On June 16, 1860 congress approved the construction of a telegraph line which would connect the west coast with other lines in Missouri. Thus, in October of 1861 the Pony Express was deemed obsolete and unnecessary. The travel was dangerous, the rides were long. The Pony Express station at Simpson Springs was just one of many stations along the route to California. Riders would arrive at this station and either another rider would continue the ride or the same rider would switch horses and continue riding to the next station. The arrival of the telegraph put an end to the hazardous transfer of information. This station at Simpson Springs served as one of many stations used by members of the Pony Express such as Buffalo Bill. Such stations provided security, food, and fresh horses for incoming riders.

Primary Source:

  • “Pony Express Rider, 1861” EyeWitness to History, www.eyewitnesstohistory.com (2008).

Secondary source:

https://www.nps.gov/poex/learn/historyculture/index.htm

 

Lone Cedar Tree

Published / by Sam Florence / Leave a Comment

By Sam Florence

Placed By: Daughters of Utah Pioneers, 1930.

Latitude/Longitude: 40.7625˚N, 111.873889˚ W

Plaque A: “LONE CEDAR TREE Although willows grew along the banks of the streams a Lone Cedar Tree near this spot became Utah’s first famous landmark. Someone in a moment of thoughtlessness cut it down, leaving only the stump which is a part of this monument. ‘In the glory of my prime I was the pioneer’s friend.’”

Plaque B: “THE CEDAR TREE SHRINE Erected July 24, 1933 by Daughters of Salt Lake County The street to the north was originally Emigration Road- the only approach from the east. Over this road the pioneers of 1847 and subsequent years entered the valley of the Great Salt Sea. They found growing near this site a lone cedar and paused beneath its shade. Songs were sung and prayers of gratitude offered by those early pilgrims. Later the cedar tree became a meeting place for the loggers going to the canyons. Children played beneath its branches. Lovers made it a trysting place. Because of its friendly influence on the lives of these early men and women we dedicate this site to their memory.”

Extended Research: According to Utah lore, Mormon pioneers arrived in the summer of 1847 to find the Salt Lake valley completely devoid of trees, save for one cedar tree toward the very north end of the valley. This legend is indeed interesting, but the controversy surrounding the tree (which was likely a juniper tree rather than a cedar tree) that arose during the twentieth and twenty-first centuries are perhaps more intriguing than the remains of the tree itself.

From the outset, it seems highly unlikely that this tree was the only one in the valley; in an extract from letters written by John R. Young, pioneer of 1847, to his grandson, the former writes: “From our cabin in the mouth of City Creek canyon, in 1847, one could see a lone cedar tree on the plain southeast of us, and on the south fork of the creek, about where Main and Third South Streets intersect, stood seven, wind swept, scraggy cottonwood trees. On the north side of City Creek stood a large oak tree. No other trees were visible in the valley.”[1] Here it seems that while there may not have been many trees in the valley, there were at least a handful in the central area of what would become downtown Salt Lake City. The tree stood alive in its original spot, serving as a meeting place and welcome shelter from the high desert sun, until it eventually died and was moved to the middle of 600 East by the Daughters of Utah Pioneers in 1933. On July 4 of that year, the Daughters built a monument to the tree with a protective structure over it; the monument originally included a large portion of the trunk of the tree. Plaque B is the original plaque that was laid in 1933 by the Daughters. On September 21, 1958, vandals chopped down and stole a considerable portion of the tree from the monument, leaving only the stump of the Lone Cedar Tree remaining. The vandals were never found, and there was no extensive effort to search for the stolen remains of the tree.[2] In 1960, the existing memorial was expanded upon and plaque A was added to explain the vandalism and why there was a monument to a tree that didn’t really exist anymore.

Though the narrative of a lone cedar tree sheltering the pioneers and offering a signal from God that they had finally arrived at the right spot is compelling, the majority of available evidence suggests that the legend was fabricated. As mentioned above, several pioneers noted in journal entries the existence of other trees not just in the valley, but in the general vicinity of Lone Cedar tree. In his article “One Hundred Years at the Utah State Historical Society,” historian and author Gary Topping takes a critical view of the Lone Cedar tree myth, raising several points contradictory to some of the assertions made on the plaques at the location. Topping notes “it is botanically unreasonable, in view of the stands of box elder and cottonwood trees along modern stream banks, that only one lone juniper would have existed there in 1847.” He also remarks that if the tree had actually been the only one in the valley, it would have been a rather conspicuous place for ‘trysting lovers’ to meet.[3]

Topping also explores the consequences that belittling the Lone Cedar Tree myth had on the former director of the Utah Historical Society, Russ Mortensen. Shortly after the trunk of the tree was cut down by vandals, a Deseret News reporter phoned Mortensen to ask for his thoughts on the vandalism, then changed the tone of the conversation by asking if Mortensen believed that the tree was the only one in the valley in pioneer times. Mortensen sealed his fate by confidently responding “Hell no, do you?” The reporter responded by publishing an excoriating article about Mortensen, claiming that the tree “symbolized the willingness of the pioneers ‘to suffer, even to die, for the accomplishment of holy purposes,’ the editor added that the tree ‘represented kindness, shelter, hospitality—all given freely and withheld from none, redmen or white.’”[4] This excerpt seems to generally sum up the justifications provided for the myth of the Cedar Tree: regardless of the veracity of the myth, the tree is a symbol of pioneer heritage and proof that the Salt Lake valley was God’s chosen habitat for the Mormons.

We need not view the story of the tree as inscribed on the plaque as literal truth, but an idyllic metaphor for the hardships endured by the pioneers as they foraged their way out west. The original plaque laid by the Daughters of Utah Pioneers showcases the tree as a welcome reprieve from the hardships of pioneer life, and a meeting point where happy memories were made – and that is how the tree should be remembered.

 

[1] Young, John R. “Reminiscences of John R. Young.”

[2] Dates and account of vandalism from archive.sltrib.com

[3] Topping, Gary. “The Lone Cedar Tree Controversy.”

[4] Topping, Gary. “The Lone Cedar Tree Controversy.”

 

Secondary Sources

Jeffries, Paula N. “Monument to Lone Tree Keeps Memory of Pioneers Alive.” The Salt Lake   Tribune. N.p., 27 Oct. 2005. Web. 20 Feb. 2017. <http://archive.sltrib.com/article.php?   id=3157525&itype=NGPSID>.

Thayne, Dawna D. “My View: ‘Lone Cedar Tree’ Is Not a Myth.” DeseretNews.com. Deseret       News, 24 July 2006. Web. 20 Feb. 2017. <http://www.deseretnews.com/article/640196952/Lone-Cedar-Tree-is-not-a-myth.html>.

Topping, Gary. “The Lone Cedar Tree Controversy.” Utah Historical Quarterly 65, no. 3 (Summer 1997): 199-315. Accessed March 20, 2017. http://digitallibrary.utah.gov/awweb/awarchive?type=file&item=34957.

Primary Sources

Bullock, Thomas. “Bullock, Thomas, Journals 1843-1849, Fd. 1-4.” Mormon Pioneer Overland Travel (1849): n. pag. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Web. 20 Feb. 2017. <https://history.lds.org/overlandtravel/sources/4546/bullock-thomas-journals-1843-1849-fd-1-4>.

Young, John R. “Reminiscences of John R. Young.” Utah Historical Quarterly 3, no. 3 (July 1930): 63-96. Accessed March 20, 2017. https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=5&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwiwtq7mjf3SAhVKz2MKHc2hBTUQFggvMAQ&url=http%3A%2F%2Futahhistory.sdlhost.com%2Fapi%2F000000009000017%2Fasset%2F000000011020147%2Foriginal%2Ffile&usg=AFQjCNFcw1eDZn2aKoM42NeKWE3ZO3YUwQ&sig2=VwUlpn_GWL-v4FbF4hiUcg.