Placed by: Daughters of Utah Pioneers, No. 56, January 1940
GPS Coordinates: 40° 31′21′′ N, 111° 51′56′′ W
Historical Marker Text:
ERECTED JANUARY 1940
“OLD MEETING HOUSE” DRAPER FORT
THE NORTH WALL OF THE “OLD MEETING HOUSE’ STOOD NEAR THIS MONUMENT. HERE (1861-1869) DR. JOHN R. PARK BEGAN HIS CAREER AS AN EDUCATOR IN UTAH. THIS SCHOOL PRODUCED MANY OF THE STATES LEADERS AND LEFT AN INDENIBLE LOVE FOR THE EDUCATION IN DRAPER.
THE GRANITE BLOCK IN THIS MONUMENT WAS THE SOUTH STEP OF THE OLD CHURCH. THIS SPOT WAS WITHIN THE ENCLOSURE OF THE OLD ADOBE FORT 184 YDS. X 113 YDS. THE WALL WAS 14 FT. HIGH AND 3 FT. THICK.
EBENEZER BROWN CAMP
The marker for the Old Meeting House Draper Fort commemorates two important pieces of history in Utah and the city of Draper: the Draper Fort and the Old Meetinghouse that sat inside the fort. The marker is located on the north side of Draper Historic Park.
Settlers moved to the south east end of the Salt Lake Valley into an area called South Willow Creek in 1850. The area grew rapidly and by the end of 1852, 20 families called South Willow Creek home. In 1854, the establishment of the first post office brought a name change to the town. The area came to be known as Draperville, in honor of William Draper JR, who was a prominent member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS). In 1877, the town shortened the name to Draper.
On 10 April 1854, Brigham Young addressed the followers of his church: “from hence forth, let one and all go forth with one accord and build their forts, wall in their cities and villages, herd and guard their cattle and other property and keep their guns and ammunition in good order and convenience, ready for instant use.” Skirmishes erupted from Sanpete to Salt Lake Counties between Native Americans under Ute Chief Walkara and settlers. Walkara had become upset by Mormon efforts to stifle Indian slave trading and by the increased intrusion of settlers into traditional Native American hunting grounds. This broader violence shaped the first Mormon settlement in the area that became Draper.
Ebenezer Brown and his family were the first settlers to arrive in “South Willow Creek” in 1849. Ebenezer’s homestead was 160 acres. Because of the Native threat, and at Brigham Young’s directive, Ebenezer donated 5 acres of his property to build a fort where members of the community could gather and feel safe. In late 1854, the fort construction began for protection to those pioneers homesteading in the area. It took two years to build walls of adobe brick and clay around the fort that measured 23 rods east to west and 35 rods north to south. A Rod is an old English measure of distance equal to 16.5 feet (5.029 meters). The walls were eight feet high and one foot wide with look-out slots every fourteen feet. All homes faced the center of the fort.
The Draper Historical Society has researched the fort extensively and created a map of houses and shop locations inside the fort.
The entrance to the fort was a dirt road through a wide opening in the northwest corner of the fort and in front of Lauritz Smith’s blacksmith shop. A garden area was at the southwest end of the fort. It included a small orchard of apple and peach trees, planted by William Terry with seeds he carried across the plains from Rhode Island. John Fitzgerald’s home was built on the northeast corner of the fort. John’s mother, Ann, had a candy store attached to the home. The first house built was Ebenezer’s, and then running west along the south wall were three other small homes. Perry Fitzgerald’s two-story home was built on the east wall and to the west was the LDS Church tithing office and granary and the Relief Society Hall. Ebenezer’s son, Norman Brown, built an adobe brick house. This house also served as Draper’s first schoolhouse. From its beginning, Draper showed a special interest in education. Schooling began right away with Betsy Draper, wife of William Draper, as Draper's first teacher. Town leaders were always on the lookout for qualified teachers and paid them out of their own pockets. By the year 1855 the population of the community had grown to 222 people. Up until then church, school and public meetings were held in homes. More space was needed, so in 1860 the vestry was built across from the Norman Brown home. In 1863 the main hall was added to the vestry, and from that time the building was known as "The Old White Meetinghouse".
The fort was an essential part of the community and provided the settlers with a sense of security and comfort during the early history of Draper. Due to the increased tensions with the Native Americans and the settlers, many people tended to things outside the fort during the day such as their own homes, cows, sheep and other livestock. At night they returned to the fort to be safe from home raids. The temporary homes inside the fort were for sleeping only. They were very small with some being just one room. Some were no larger than a wagon box. Difficulties with Native American tribes lessened by the late 1850’s. The fort was never attacked, and families began returning to their homes. Ebenezer Brown deeded the “center area” of the fort to the community. The fort was disbanded around 1864 and the fort walls were gradually dismantled. The Old White Meetinghouse and some of the original homes remained and in 1892 the Draper First Ward Church was built on the property.
The Draper Fort housed one of the town’s most essential buildings, the schoolhouse. Settlers of Draper built the first schoolhouse in 1852 on the north wall of the Draper Fort. The schoolhouse became home to early educator, John Rocky Park. The schoolhouse also served as a public and spiritual gathering place for nearly twenty years after construction. Park was an integral figure in education in not just Utah but in the expansion of the western territories of the United States. Park was at one time, president of the University of Deseret, that was later renamed the University of Utah. In 1895, Park was elected as Utah Superintendent of Education.
Draper became known as the “Cradle of Education” in the West. The Draper curriculum of John Rocky Park became known for its excellence at all grade levels. Park gained notoriety for his school and what was being taught inside its walls. With Trustee funding, Dr. Park, provided blackboards, maps and charts. Brigham Young even wanted to build the University in Draper but disputes over land caused the site to move locations. A student of those days reminisced: “The [school’s] walls were soon covered with maps and charts illustrative of all departments of knowledge. Models and globes rested on the broad window seats. A tellurion, a miniature illustration of the planetary system, was provided . . .” Author Ralph Chamberlain found evidence of the renowned success of John R. Park’s school in Draper: “From a little country village, with a population of about 300, secluded in a corner of the Salt Lake Valley, in a brief period of five years that still stands out as its golden age, went forth a surprising number of men who later achieved high success; and in that village developed a spirit and movement that in time spread beyond it and inaugurated in Utah an educational regeneration. Never was the potential power of the good teacher more strikingly demonstrated.”
In January 1940, the Ebenezer Brown Camp of the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers erected a monument on the original site of the old meetinghouse. The granite block in the monument was the south step of the old church.
Placed by: Daughters of the Utah Pioneers, No. 467
Long/Lat: N 40.71121° , W 112.09832°
MGRS: 12T VL 07224 07278
Elevation 4293 ft
Historical Marker Text:
Settlers came to this part of the valley around 1850 to farm and stock range. It was known as Pleasant Green and was part of the Brighton Ward of the Salt Lake Stake.
Traveling so far to meetings presented a problem, so members met in private homes. The Pleasant Green Branch was organized July 29, 1877, with John Hirst as presiding elder. A small adobe chapel, 40 feet by 24 feet, was built on this site, and the first meeting was held December 30, 1877. The building also served as a public school. Hirst died September 7, 1878, and Levi Nephi Hardman became presiding elder.
The Pleasant Green Ward was organized October 1, 1882, with Hardman as the first bishop. The ward also included the Hunter Precinct within its boundaries. A much larger chapel, 60 feet by 30 feet, was built in 1897, with Hiram T. Spencer as bishop. Later the small adobe chapel was dismantled. In 1898 the ward had 70 families with 340 members.
In 1904 the ward became part of Pioneer Stake. An amusement hall with spring wooden floor was begun in 1912. Oquirrh Stake was organized from Pioneer Stake in 1923, and this building also served as its stake house for thirty-two years. In 1961 a new building was completed, and this building was no longer used by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Pleasant Green is the mother ward of all the wards in this area.
The information that exists today on the Pleasant Green Ward has been preserved because of the forethought of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
“Elder Andrew Jensen visited Pleasant Green Nov. 23, 1894, in the interest of Church history, and met in a special meeting with the following residents of the ward, who imparted historical information: Bishop Hiram T. Spencer, John Hirst Jr., Peter LeCheminant, William Jenkins, George W. Perkins, Samuel B Taylor, James Bertoch, Lehi N. Hardman, George A. Heid and Edward Lambert.”
The information preserved by Elder Jensen’s notes and the Pleasant Green Ward’s minutes are the main sources of knowledge on the historic Pleasant Green Ward.
The eventual construction of a chapel for members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Pleasant Green area was an outgrowth of settlement in the western part of the Salt Lake Valley beginning in the 1850s. The area around the Pleasant Green Ward building was first settled in 1853 by William G. Young who located a ranch about 2.5 miles northwest of the current building’s location.
Initially settlers traveled considerable distances on Sundays to attend worship services. Attending meetings with the Brighton congregation proved difficult for people from Pleasant Green due to its distance, roughly twelve miles away. In 1872, after John Hirst settled in the Pleasant Green area, the Bishop of the Brighton Ward, Alonzo H. Raleigh, granted Hirst permission to hold meetings in Pleasant Green. These Latter-day Saint meetings were initially held in people’s homes. As time went on the meetings became more frequent and were held about once a month in a small log home built by Josiah Lees. Regular sabbath meetings were held in Lees’ log home until 1877 when the Pleasant Green meeting house was built.
On July 29th, 1877 local LDS leaders reorganized the Brighton Ward and created the Pleasant Green Branch to better serve the needs of Pleasant Green settlers. John Hirst was ordained a High Priest at the same time. Later that year residents built a roughly 1,000 square foot meeting house, at a cost of $1,000. On October 1, 1882, Brigham Young Jr, an apostle of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, attended meetings at Pleasant Green and organized the branch as a ward. Lehi H. Hardman was selected as the first bishop of the ward.
The Pleasant Green Ward building would serve as the meeting house in Pleasant Green until 1897. With continued growth in the area the LDS Church built another chapel directly east of the meeting house. The new building was bigger, roughly 1,800 square feet, was made of brick, and could hold up to 350 people. It cost about $2,400 to build and provided additional room for the burgeoning congregation.
The area surrounding Pleasant Green Ward continued to grow with new settlers; by December 31, 1900 the ward had 383 members. With rapid settlement the ward had to divide several times to better accommodate larger groups. On February 27, 1916 the ward was divided into the Pleasant Green Ward and the Magna Ward. With continued growth, the Pleasant Green Ward split into Pleasant Green 1st Ward and Pleasant Green 2nd Ward, on March 16, 1952. The Church would eventually divide the ward once again and relocate to a larger chapel. The old Peasant Green building still stands as a place of worship, but it is now under the ownership of Christ Presbyterian Church.
Pleasant Green Ward, Oquirrh Stake. Pleasant Green Ward General Minutes, 1867-1951, microfilm, LR 6996 11 reel 1,Church History Library, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah.
Pleasant Green Ward, Oquirrh Stake. Pleasant Green Ward Manuscript History and Historical Reports, 1855-1951, microfilm,LR 6996 2 reel 1, Church History Library, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah.
Pleasant Green Ward, Oquirrh Stake. Pleasant Green Ward Manuscript History and Historical Reports, 1855-1951, microfilm,LR 6996 2 reel 2, Church History Library, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah.
 Barbara G. Fellows, Pleasant Green Meeting House p.1. Feb. 1941. Utah State Historical Society Classified Photo Collection, Utah State Historical Society, Magna, Utah.
 Oquirrh Stake Pleasant Green Ward, Pleasant Green Ward Manuscript History and Historical Reports, 1894, microfilm, LR 6996 2, reel 1,Church History Library, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah.
 Oquirrh Stake, Pleasant Green Ward Manuscript History and Historical Reports, LR 6996 2 reel 1
 Oquirrh Stake, Pleasant Green Ward Manuscript History and Historical Reports, LR 6996 2 reel 1
 Oquirrh Stake, Pleasant Green Ward Manuscript History and Historical Reports, LR 6996 2 reel 1
 Oquirrh Stake, Pleasant Green Ward Manuscript History and Historical Reports, LR 6996 2 reel 1
 Oquirrh Stake, Pleasant Green Ward, Pleasant Green Ward General Minutes, microfilm, LR 6996 11 reel 1, Church History Library, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah.
 Oquirrh Stake Pleasant Green Ward, Pleasant Green Ward Manuscript History and Historical Reports, microfilm, LR 6996 2 reel 2, Church History Library, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah.
This monument is dedicated to Carbon County’s proud immigrant heritage. In the early part of this century, Thirty Two nationalities lived in Carbon County. Most of them came here to mine the coal. Carbon County is Utah’s melting pot. Because of its polyglot population, refined and tempered in the melting process, the religious, social, and cultural life of Carbon County has a broader, more tolerant, cosmopolitan type of lifestyle that sets it apart from the rest of Utah. These immigrants, together with the Native Americans, have left their imprint as part of this rough, often cruel, yet proud heritage.
“The Biggest Little City on
In the fall of 1914,
contractors working for Italian immigrants Charles Bonomo and Frank Viglia broke
ground on a large, two-story building on Main Street in Price, Utah. Large enough for their own
grocery store and several tenants, the Viglia-Bonomo building symbolized a
tangible and permanent presence for the former miners. For Charles, who spent his
first thirteen years in America in the shallow, back-breaking coal fields of
Kankakee, Illinois, it must have been satisfying to see another man swinging a
shovel instead of him.
Near an Italian bakery, a Greek saloon, a Russian mercantile, and a French farm store, the Viglia-Bonomo building was home to a multitude of religious, ethnic, and national identities that earned Price the title of “the biggest little city on earth.” Called “Utah’s Ellis Island” by historian Philip F. Notarianni, Carbon County was the gathering point for not just the Bonomo and Viglia families, but the gateway through which thirty-two different nationalities entered. A jewel of diversity amidst the largely homogeneous landscape of Utah’s pioneer settlements, Carbon County’s distinct immigrant identity reveals a history that is both exemplary and cautionary. The experiences of the Viglia and Bonomo families are illustrative of both the trials and triumphs experienced by immigrants of Carbon County in the early 20th century; their photos and records—generously provided by the descendants of Charles Bonomo—will be shared in this essay.
The First Immigrants
In 1882, rail workers searching
for a route from Denver to Salt Lake City discovered coal in what is now Carbon
County, transforming the sparsely-settled Price river from a scenic canyon into
a worldwide labor destination. Immigrants, eager to fill the demand for cheap
mine labor, poured in from Europe, Scandinavia, and Asia. By 1900 Castle Gate
became a floodgate, with immigrants from fourteen countries laboring in coal
camps in Winter Quarters, Castle Gate, Sunnyside, and Clear Creek.
Bound together by cultural, social, and economic ties, immigrants initially lived and worked in communities that reflected their countries of origin. Slovenians initially arrived as railroad workers, then switched to coal mining to fill in the labor gap. South Slavs moved to Helper to grow their business ventures, and Finnish immigrants settled Pleasant Valley in the 1890s to work the mines in Winter Quarters and Clear Creek. At the same time, Northern Italians worked the Castle Gate mine, after which the Greeks immigrated in 1904 to replace the striking Italians. French from the Hautes-Alpes and Pyrenees prospered as sheep and goat herders. Japanese laborers, who initially arrived to work the railroads, also found success as coal miners and farmers.
The earliest of Carbon County’s mining immigrants were most vulnerable to poverty, discrimination, and poor working conditions. Language and cultural barriers inhibited immigrants from effectively advocating for improved conditions and fair labor practice. Desperate for shelter, some miners converted rail cars into homes and built hastily constructed enclosures made of tar and paper. Italians lived in “Rag Town,” a tent community in Sunnyside, and until 1915, most mining camps lacked water and electricity.
Most early immigrants to Carbon County arrived as recruits of labor agents seeking workers within their home countries. Many families of these first immigrants eventually followed, creating a ragged chain of relocation that spanned many years. Other paths to Carbon County, like those of Charles Bonomo and Greek immigrant Yoryis Zisimopoulos, took a more circuitous route. Their paths convey the often fluid, transient nature of immigrant life that many experienced before finally calling Carbon County their home.
“Pleased with Price”
When the coal seam in Kankakee, Illinois ran out in 1900, Charles migrated west to the mines in Las Animas County, Colorado, where he married Trinidad resident Margaret Corigliano. Over the ensuing years, Charles abandoned mining and entered the saloon business in Rock Springs, Wyoming where his mother and siblings immigrated. In 1908, Margaret separated from Charles and moved to Price, Utah. Charles, now the owner of a successful saloon on Front Street, sought further investments and like many in the intermountain region, he had his eye on Price, Utah.
In early 1914, two Italian
businessmen drove from Rock Springs to Price, Utah on an entrepreneurial
mission. Price residents and
first-generation Italian merchants Frank Grosso and Frank Viglia hosted the
visitors, and procured the help of Lars Anderson, a local contractor, to
chauffeur the visitors around Price. The businessmen returned to Rock Springs
with favorable reports, and a short time later, Charles Bonomo moved to Price
and established a partnership with Frank Viglia, a relative through marriage
and a former resident of Rock Springs. With his move to Price, Charles was also
reunified with his wife and daughter Mary. It was a triumphant, if not tenuous,
The story of Greek
immigrant Yoryis Zisimopoulos is likewise a series of dead ends and new
beginnings. After unknowingly taking a
job as a strikebreaker in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, he quit and moved to
Oklahoma City, then to Pueblo to work for Colorado Fuel and Iron Company. After
several miners were killed, and with more Italians, Greeks, and Slavs ready to
take their place, Yoryis, now calling himself George Zeese, crisscrossed the
nation over the next several years working in mines, farms, railroads and coffeehouses.
Suffering from corrupt labor agents, lack of work, and bad luck, he had yet to
find lasting success. Ten years and fifteen jobs later, he finally found a home
for his wife and growing family in Helper, Utah, where he and his business
partner purchased the first of eleven Success Markets. Carbon County, at last,
was the right place.
The paths of immigrants like Charles Bonomo and Yoryis Zisimopoulos suggest the interconnected nature of the broader intermountain region that relied heavily on family and social networks. Many immigrants entered Carbon County not as fresh-faced coal miners, but as seasoned entrepreneurs who opened restaurants, purchased property, or managed stores. As Elliott Barkan suggests, “the fact that many persons were migrating not only from outside the region but also crisscrossing and resettling within the West suggest that such persons could well have established bonds that threaded the different parts of the region together, along with the many economic connections that were materializing.”
For enterprising immigrants
in Carbon County, family and social ties were vital in generating opportunities
for collaboration and business partnerships. Postcards from Hiawatha, cards
from New Mexico, and photos from Trinidad and Rock Springs that survive from
the Bonomo family give evidence of strong immigrant family networks of which
Carbon County was a part.
Identity and Integration
Beyond family ties,
immigrants in Carbon County found strength and unity in forming fraternal
organizations, labor unions, bands, and sports teams that identified with their
home countries. These groups functioned to foster national pride, ensure
security, and ensure cultural maintenance. Gathering places like
coffeehouses, restaurants, pool houses, saloons, and saunas, strengthened
social ties both within and beyond their national identities. The relocation of
religion to houses of worship was especially vital to the Italian and Greek
communities in reestablishing ritual as a public, communal event.
While language barriers
confined many immigrants to their own neighborhoods, school, social events, and
even funerals encouraged intermingling beyond their immediate communities. Some
immigrant children attended Mormon Primary classes despite their religion or
nationality, while other immigrant adults preferred the familiarity of their
own religions. Most mining camps welcomed regular visits from Catholic and
Greek priests who performed ad hoc mass services in amusement halls. Castle
Gate built their own Catholic church and Sunnyside welcomed a Catholic mission.
Despite these advances,
mining work—and the society that came with it—often undercut immigrants’
ability to be recognized as first-class citizens. Long-time residents were
concerned about the outflow of money
to foreign countries, and the foreign influences that were flowing in. While
many were welcomed, many residents resented the instability that the labor
agents and mine owners generated.
Mine owners themselves
contributed to this tension by showing a preference for unorganized, uneducated
labor and willingness to exploit nationalities and regions against one another.
With the help of private employment agencies or independent labor contractors,
a steady stream of cheap, unorganized migrant labor could always be ensured. As
Frank Van Nuys explains, “agents [were not] averse to exploiting inter- and
intraethnic antagonisms on behalf of management, for instance when a labor
contractor imported mainland Greeks to break a Carbon County, Utah copper
strike led by islanders from Crete in 1912. The influx of different groups, in
Utah for example, frequently began with strike-breaking: Finns, Italians, and
Slavs for English, Welsh, Irish, and Americans in the 1890s, Greeks for the
Italians and Yugoslavians in 1903, and Mexicans for the Greeks in 1922.” For many immigrants like
Charles Bonomo and George Zeese, the answer was to leave mining behind and
integrate themselves into the business community.
The Grocer Next Door
The respect and acceptance
Carbon County immigrants could not obtain through coal became achievable with
brick and mortar. The arrival of women to establish households, the growth of
second-generation immigrants, and the abandonment of mine labor all contributed
to greater integration of immigrants within their communities. The town of
Helper was especially welcoming to immigrant merchants. In 1903, the Helper
Gazetteer listed five foreign merchants, but by 1919, that number had grown to
thirty-five—over half of all businesses listed. Compelled to engage with
all residents of Carbon County through business transactions, immigrants
transformed from the temporary foreign worker to the grocer next door.
Not every business was
welcome, however. The same year Charles Bonomo moved to Price, E.A. Horsley,
President of the Carbon County Stake of the Church of Jesus Christ of
Latter-day Saints decried the influence of saloons in Helper and Price, saying,
“I saw men [in Helper] on the Sabbath Day lying around in a drunken
condition…Conditions in Price may not be of the best, but in the language of
the street Helper ‘had us skinned seven blocks’ …So much unfavorable
notoriety has been published from this town that when I go into Salt Lake and
people ask me where I am from and I say Price, they exclaim, ‘Oh, for Lord’s
sake!’” In the end, Horsley was
not successful in convincing Carbon County to become “dry”.
Stuck between maintaining
cultural ties and adapting to their American environment, immigrants in Carbon
County struggled to identify and achieve what was becoming the moving target of
Americanism. As Philip Notorianni explains,
“The desire for cultural maintenance
was natural, but the realities of the new environment often produced irony in
the attempt. In trying to maintain and foster cultural ties, immigrants altered
or adapted to new conditions, customs, traditions, and beliefs; thus their
practices were assuming new meaning and form. Gradual change occurred as
immigrants came into contact with American institutions and ideas, but those
who favored 100 percent “Americanization” of the new immigrants sought to
expedite the process by the abrupt stripping away of cultural differences.”
The Greeks and Italians were especially nationalistic and saw themselves as emissaries of their native culture. Mark I. Choate explains the nature of Italian emigration as an expansion of Italy itself: “For the Italian state, emigration represented not just physical movement beyond the Italian peninsula, but a cultural and economic enlargement of Italy worldwide….At the high point of Italian migration from 1880 to World War I, the Italian state viewed migration as a form of colonialism…”. This competing nationalism suggests that the Italians not only wanted to become American, they sought to make America more Italian. With each passing generation, however, immigrant families inevitably adapted while their native identities diminished over time.
Through the lens of clothing and aesthetics, the following photos from the Viglia Bonomo Papers suggest a hybrid of both Italian and American identities.
The Price Boys
Despite significant strides by many immigrants in Carbon County, many still received criticism for not being “American” enough. The advent of World War I further amplified this rhetoric as concerns over loyalty emerged. By 1917, the move toward Americanization merged with the war effort, amplifying expectations that immigrants should display their loyalty to America through war service. As nativist sentiment grew across America, the pressure of war emphasized the responsibility of the foreign-born to do all of the melting in the melting pot.
Immigrant enlistment in World War I was one avenue that instantly silenced calls for immigrant Americanization. Brothers Sam and Alex Viglia were among many Carbon County residents to enlist, earning them credibility and admiration among Price’s citizens. Carbon County newspapers gave updates on their war service, including family members in Price who shared postcards and letters with the local papers.
Following World War I,
nativist sentiment increased dramatically, resulting in a more restrictive
immigration policy, mandated “Americanization” classes, and greater hostility
toward minority groups—especially southern European immigrants. For many
immigrants of Carbon County, it was a time of contingency. By the 1920’s
Charles Bonomo was a successful merchant and real estate investor. His family
chose to remain in Price. Following some legal challenges related to the
Viglia-Bonomo building, Frank Viglia and his family moved to San Francisco in
1924. Two of Frank’s brothers returned to Italy, married, and raised families.
Another branch of the Viglia family moved to Mexico to escape the
discrimination they faced in the New Mexico mines.
Charles Bonomo’s path to
Carbon County was not a simple one: the
currents that guided him to settle in Price were a mix of family dynamics,
economic opportunity geography, and connectedness to their Italian relations
and friends. His story—like stories of most Carbon County immigrants—has
elements both unique and typical to the immigrant experience. In the end, Carbon
County largely embraced immigrants like Charles and gave space to the complex
and diverse identities that exist today. Historian Sarka B. Hrbkova
acknowledges this complexity, writing, “It is indeed a problem to make
Americans of these surging, ebbing, responsive, sullen, singing, cursing,
sorrowing, carousing, harmonious, disputatious elements, some coming from lands
of liberal thought, others from age-old autocracies—all of them with dreams of
a more or less realizable Utopia, which the magic word ‘America’ spells to
them.” The tolerant and
progressive nature found in Carbon County was that sort of Utopia for many, setting
it apart from the rest of Utah in its broad embrace of what it means to be a
 The Carbon County News, “City and County,” November 11, 1914.
 Carbon County News,
“Why You Should Invest Your Money in and Live in Price, Utah” November 11 1913,
8. https://www.newspapers.com/clip/31020374. The phrase “biggest little city on the earth”
began to appear in Carbon County newspapers in 1913, and was added to the
masthead of the Eastern Utah Advocate on 3 July 1913 when the newspaper came
under new ownership.
 Philip F. Notarianni, “Utah’s Ellis Island: The
Difficult Americanization of Carbon County,” Utah Historical Quarterly
Vol 47, no. 2 (Spring 1979), 178-192.
 Carbon County News, “Our Reasons Why You Should Invest Your Money in and Live in Price,
Utah”. The article touts its progressive citizens, schools and religious
institutions, business savvy, and rich natural resources as reasons to invest
in Carbon County.
 Mark I. Choate, “The Frontier Thesis in Transnational
Migration: The U.S. West in the Making of Italy Abroad” in Immigrants of the
Far West: Historical Identities and Experiences, Ed. by Jessie L. Embry and
Brian Q. Cannon. (Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 2015), 365.
private collection of Kay Cafarelli, loaned by Christina Micklesen, Salt Lake
City, Utah. Digital images hosted courtesy of Kindex at viglia.kindex.org.
Alexander, Thomas G. “From Dearth to Deluge, Utah’s Coal Industry,” Utah Historical Quarterly 31 (1963).
Bapis, Elaine M. “In the Hands of Women: Home Altar Tradition
in Utah’s Greek Orthodox Homes.” Utah Historical
Quarterly 65 (1997): 312-34.
Barkan, Elliot. From All Points:
America’s Immigrant West, 1870s–1952. Bloomington: University of Indiana
Carbon County Commission Company. “Our Reasons Why You Should Invest Your
Money in and Live in Price, Utah.” Carbon
County News. November 11 1913. https://www.newspapers.com/clip/31020374.
Choate, Mark I. “The Frontier Thesis in Transnational Migration: The U.S.
West in the Making of Italy Abroad” in Immigrants
of the Far West: Historical Identities and Experiences, edited by Jessie L.
Embry and Brian Q. Cannon. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 2015.
“City and County.” The Carbon
County News. October 1 1914.
Eastern Utah Advocate. “President Horsley Wants Closed Town.”
Newspapers.com. March 12 1914. Accessed April 26, 2019. https://www.newspapers.com/clip/30976950/eastern_utah_advocate.
Guglielmo, Thomas A. White on
Arrival: Italians, Race, Color, and Power in Chicago, 1890-1945. New York: Oxford
University Press, 2004.
Notarianni. Philip F. “Italianita in Utah: The Immigrant Experience,” in
Helen Papanikolas, The Peoples of Utah,
Salt Lake City, UT: Utah State Historical Society, 1976.
Notarianni, Philip F. “Utah’s Ellis Island: The Difficult Americanization
of Carbon County.” Utah Historical
Quarterly, Winter 1979.
Orsi, Robert Anthony. The Madonna
of 115th Street: Faith and Community in Italian Harlem, 1880-1950. New
Haven: Yale University Press, 1985.
“Pleased with Price.” The Carbon
County News. April 9 1914.
Van Nuys, Frank. Americanizing the
West: Race, Immigrants, and Citizenship, 1890-1930. Lawrence: University
Press of Kansas, 2002.
Vecali, Rudolph J. “European Americans: From Immigrants to
Ethnics,” in William H. Cartwright and Richard L. Watson, Jr., eds., The Reinterpretation of American History and
Culture. Washington, D.C: National Council for the Social Studies, 1973.
Watt, Ronald G. A History of Carbon County. Salt Lake City: Utah State Historical Society, 1997.
Primary Source: Patrick Connor’s Official Report on the Bear River Massacre, February 6, 1863
Headquarters District of Utah
Camp Douglas, Utah Terr., February 6, 1863
Colonel: I have the honor to report that from information received from various sources of the encampment of a large body of Indians on Bear River, in Utah Territory, 140 miles north of this point, who have murdered several miners during the winder, passing to and from the settlements in this valley to the Beaver Head mines, east of the Rocky Mountains, and being satisfied that they were a part of the same band who had been murdering emigrants on the Overland Mail Route for the last fifteen years, and the principal actors and leaders in the horrid massacres of the past summer, I determined, although the season was unfavorable to and expedition in consequence of the cold weather and deep snow, to chastise them if possible. Feeling assured that secrecy was the surest way to success, I determined to deceive the Indians by sending a small force in advance, judging, and rightly, they would not fear a small number. On the 22nd ultimo I ordered Company K, Third California Volunteers, Captain Hoyt, two howitzers, under the command of Lieutenant Honeyman, and twelve men of the Second Cavalry California Volunteers, with a train of fifteen wagons, carrying twenty days’ supplies, to proceed in that direction.
On the 24th ultimo I proceeded with detachments from Companies A, H, K, and M, Second Cavalry California Volunteers, numbering 220 men, accompanies by Major McGarry, Second California Volunteers; Surgeon Reid, Third Infantry California Volunteers; Captains McLean and Price and Lieutenants Chase, Clark, Quinn, and Conrad, Second Cavalry California Volunteers; Major Gallagher, Third Infantry California Volunteers, and Captain Berry, Second Cavalry California Volunteers, who were present at this post attending general court-martial, as volunteers.
I marched the first night to Brigham City, sixty-eight miles distant. The second night’s march from Camp Douglas I overtook the infantry and artillery at the town of Mendon and ordered them to march again that night. I resumed my march with the cavalry and overtook the infantry at Franklin, Utah Ter., about twelve miles from the Indian encampment. I ordered Captain Hoyt, with the infantry, howitzers, and train, to move at 1 o’clock the next morning, intending to start with the cavalry about two hours thereafter, in order to reach the Indian encampment at the same time and surrout it before daylight, but in consequence of the difficulty in procuring a guide to the ford of the river, Captain Hoyt did not move until after 3 a.m.
I moved the cavalry in about one hour afterward, passing the infantry, artillery, and wagons about four miles from the Indian encampment. As daylight was approaching, I was apprehensive that the Indians would discover the strength of my force and make their escape. I therefore made a rapid march with the cavalry and reached the bank of the river shortly after daylight in full view of the Indian encampment, and about one mile distant.
I immediately ordered Major McGarry to advance with the cavalry and surround before attacking them, while I remained a few minutes in the rear to give orders to the infantry and artillery. On my arrival on the field I found that Major McGarry had dismounted the cavalry and was engaged with the Indians who had sallied out of their hiding places on foot and horseback, and with fiendish malignity waved the scalps of white women and challenged the troops to battle, at the same time attacking them. Finding it impossible to surround them, in consequence of the nature of the ground, he accepted their challenge.
The position of the Indians was one of the strong natural defenses, and almost inaccessible to the troops, being in a deep, dry ravine from six to twelve feet deep and from thirty to forty feet across level table-land, along which they had constructed steps from which they could deliver their fire without being themselves exposed. Under the embankments they had constructed artificial covers of willows thickly woven together, from behind which they could fire without being observed.
After being engaged about twenty minutes I found it was impossible to dislodge them without great sacrifice of life. I accordingly ordered Major McGarry with twenty men to turn their left flank, which was in the ravine where it entered the mountains. Shortly afterward Captain Hoyt reached the ford three-quarters of a mile distant, but found it impossible to cross footmen. Some of them tried it, however, rushing into the river, but finding it deep and rapid, retired. I immediately ordered a detachment of cavalry with led horses to cross the infantry, which was done accordingly, and upon their arrival upon the field I ordered them to the support of Major McGarry’s flanking party, who shortly afterward succeeded in turning the enemy’s flank. Up to this time, in consequence of being exposed on a level and open plain while the Indians were under cover, they had every advantage of us, fighting with the ferocity of demons. My men fell fast and thick around me, but after flanking them we had the advantage and made good use of it.
I ordered the flanking party to advance down the ravine on either side, which gave us the advantage of an enfilading fire and caused some of the Indians to give way and run toward the north of the ravine. At this point I had a company stationed, who shot them as they ran out. But few tried to escape, however, but continued fighting with unyielding obstinancy, frequently engaging hand to hand with the troops until killed in their hiding places.
The most of those who did escape from the ravine were afterward shot in attempting to swim the river, or killed while desperately fighting under cover of the dense willow thicket which lined the river banks.
To give you an idea of the desperate character of the fight, you are respectfully referred to the list of killed and wounded transmitted herewith. The fight commenced about 6 o’clock in the morning and continued until about 10. At the commencement of the battle the hands of some of the men were so benumbed with cold that it was with difficulty they could load their pieces. Their suffering during the march was awful beyond description, but they steadily continued on without regard to hunger, cold, or thirst, not a murmur escaping them to indicate their sensibilities to pain or fatigue. Their uncomplaining endurance during their four nights’ march from Camp Douglas to the battle-field is worthy of the highest praise. The weather was intensely cold, and not less than seventy-five had their feet frozen, and some of them I fear will be crippled for life.
I should mention here that in my march from this post, no assistance was rendered by the Mormons, who seemed indisposed to divulge any information regarding the Indians and charged enormous prices for every article furnished my command. I also have to report to the general commanding that previous to my departure Chief Justice Kinney, of Great Salt Lake City, made a requisition for troops for the purpose of arresting the Indian chiefs Bear Hunter, San Pitch, and Sagwich. I informed the marshal that my arrangements for our expedition against the Indians were made, and that it was not my intention to take any prisoners, but that he could accompany me. Marshal Gibbs accordingly accompanied me and rendered efficient aid in caring for the wounded.
I take great pleasure in awarding to Major McGarry, Second Cavalry Cavalry California Volunteers; Major Gallagher and Surg. R.K. Reid, Third Infantry California Volunteers, the highest praise for their skill, gallantry, and bravery throughout the engagement, and to the company officers the highest praise is due without invidious distinction for their bravery, courage, and determination evidenced throughout the engagement. Their obedience to orders, attention, kindness, and care for the wounded is no less worthy of notice. Of the good conduct and bravery of both officers and men California has reason to be proud.
We found 224 bodies on the field, among which were those of the chiefs Bear Hunter, Sagwich, and Leight. How many more were killed than stated I am unable to say, as the condition of the wounded rendered their immediate removal a necessity. I was unable to examine the field.
I captured 175 horses, some arms, destroyed over seventy lodges, a large quantity of wheat and other provisions, which had been furnished them by the Mormons; left a small quantity of wheat for the sustenance of 160 captive squaws and children, whom I left on the field. The chiefs Pocatello and San Pitch, with their bands of murderers, are still at large. I hope to be able to kill or capture them before spring. If I succeed, the Overland Route west of the Rocky Mountains will be rid of the bedouins who have harassed and murdered emigrants on that route for a series of years. In consequence the number of men left on the route with frozen feet and those with the train and howitzers and guarding the cavalry horses, I did not have to exceed 200 men engaged. The enemy had about 300 warriors, mostly well armed with rifles and having plenty of ammunition, which rumor says they received from the inhabitants of this Territory in exchange for the property of massacred emigrants.
The position of the Indians was one of great natural strength, and had I not succeeded in flanking them the mortality in my command would have been terrible. In consequence of the deep snow, the howitzers did not reach the field in time to be used in the action.
I have the honor to remain, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
P. Edw. Connor,
Colonel Third Infantry California Volunteers, Comdg. District.
Lieut. Col. R.C. Drum, U.S. Army, Assisant Adjust-General, Department of the Pacific.
Brigham Young to Jedediah M. Grant, 26 November 1851
G.S.L. City Nov 26 1851
Believing that you are posted up, in relation to our affairs, as far as the departure of the October Mail from this place, I will offer nothing previous to that time, neither have we anything of much importance since, of a general nature. On the 21 day of October myself in company with Bros Kimball Orson Pratt, Carrington Judge Snow Major Rose and several others started for Pauvan Valley to find a site and locate the seat of Government for Utah 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 citizens passed a law that no living tree shall be cut down within two miles of the city. We returned by way of Sanpete after an absence of 18 days Most beautiful weather We shall make arrangements with the brethren of Sanpete to furnish the lumber for the State House one wing of which we shall erect the ensuing season.
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 that Great Salt Lake County and the most susceptable of maintaining a large and dense population of any other valley intervening. . . .
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.