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Mormons Settle Great Lake - History

Mormons Settle Great Lake - History

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After many years of tribulations, the Mormons arrived at Salt Lake City. The Mormons settled there under the leadership of Brigham Young.

The Mormon religion was founded by Joseph Smith. The Mormons founded a communion in New York. They were chased out of New York and Ohio, and they then went to Missouri. There they were greeted with disdain by the Missourians, and were attacked in a number riots that killed several Mormons in 1838. This forced them to migrate to Illinois. There they prospered for a number of years, creating a prosperous town of Nauvoo with 15,000 people. When word leaked out that the Mormons sanctioned polygamy ( a man marrying more then one woman), disputes between Smith and the state resulted in Smith's arrest. A mob then stormed the jail and killed Smith.

Smith's successor was Brigham Young. He organized Mormons for a large migration to the Great Salt Lake. The migration was highly successful. The Mormons sustained themselves through the first very difficult winters, and were able to make the desert bloom.

Nevertheless, Young's efforts were not without difficulty. For a while, Young was both the leader of the church and governor of the territory. When the church openly declared polygamy as divinely ordained, the government placed a new governor in charge of the territory. When the Mormons refused to accept the new governor, President Buchanan declared the Mormons in rebellion. He sent federal troops. In the fall of 1857, Mormon fanatics massacred a California bound emigrant train, killing 120. The government then ordered more troops to put down the Mormon rebellion. Brigham Young soon accepted the inevitable, and gave up his civil authority, while at the same time restraining his most fanatic followers. When Abraham Lincoln was elected President, he was asked what he intended to do about the Mormons. Lincoln answered: " I propose to let them alone."

Mormons Settle Great Lake - History


Capitol Reef's history is largely the history of Mormon settlement, not only because Mormons were the first Euro-Americans in the region, but also because their descendants make up most of today's local residents. Traditional Mormon attitudes toward the land have had a significant effect on Capitol Reef's administrative and resource management decisions, and Mormon lifestyles have altered the natural landscape into a cultural one. Since many descendants of those first Mormon pioneers are working in or with Capitol Reef National Park today, their traditions influence day-to-day interactions in the workplace and in surrounding communities. An understanding of the history and traditions of Mormon settlement is crucial to breaking the social barriers between the park and communities and to creating a interactive crossroads where all voices can be heard.

This short history of the settlement of Wayne County, in which the park partially resides, and some of the traditions that created Capitol Reef's cultural landscape at Fruita, is only an introduction to a complex and sometimes sensitive subject. Please refer to the bibliography or citations in this chapter for more in-depth accounts of Mormon history and culture.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, with its origins steeped in the religious, social, and popular values of early 19th century rural New York, is perhaps the most American of religions. Following the 1844 mob slaying of their founder Joseph Smith in Carthage, Illinois, the Mormons were urged westward by a new leader, Brigham Young: away from the hatred, violence and dissension that had plagued the Saints for the previous 20 years. After consulting his advisors and the journals of explorers, Young concluded that the only place with enough open land to support his rapidly growing, mostly agricultural brethren was the little-known plateau and basin region between the Rockies and the Sierra Nevada. On July 21, 1847 the advance party, carrying an ill Young, looked down on the new home where "the Saints would find protection and safety." [1]

The massive migration of Mormons to follow soon filled up all the arable land around Salt Lake City. Young, foreseeing this overcrowding, had exploring parties investigating any land for potential colonization. Convinced by mountain man Jim Bridger and others that north of the 42nd parallel (Utah's northern border today) was too cold for most crops, the Mormon leader determined that the thrust of new colonization should be south of Salt Lake. These efforts to concentrate the constantly arriving Saints in more southern settlements could also explain why Fillmore became the first territorial capitol. [2]

Fledgling towns were founded up and down the so-called Mormon Corridor (the old Spanish Trail) from Salt Lake City as far south as Las Vegas, Nevada and San Bernadino, California within the next 10 years. The less hospitable high plateaus and deserts to the southeast would be avoided until all the more promising lands were settled.

Along the Mormon Corridor, conditions were still less than ideal. The region's topography, aridity, and occasionally resistant Americans Indians restricted settlement to those few places were rivers could be diverted to irrigate fields. Even with the innovative system by which Mormons built and maintained cooperative irrigation projects, the amount of arable land was not enough to keep up with the needs of new arrivals and adult offspring, who were searching for their own lands. This second generation of Mormon pioneers, encouraged as much by personal ambition as by church directive, soon began piercing the barrier of the high plateaus in search of land previously considered inhospitable.

Hole-In-The-Rock And Halls Crossing

In 1880, one of the last colonies acting under church direction was sent to the extreme southeast corner of Utah, which lacked a solid presence by the Latter-day Saints. A colony there would not only help convert the troublesome Navajos, but would also serve as an outpost against an increasing Gentile (non-Mormon) migration of ranchers and gold-seekers into the area. The chosen leader, Silas Smith, determined after reconnaissance that the new colony should be along the San Juan River. After the 250 men, women, and children were called by church leaders to colonize this new area, a route to their new home had to be chosen. The most practical (albeit lengthy) course was over the old Spanish Trail, which swung north around the Colorado Plateau. When told of a possible shortcut directly across the heart of canyon country, the leaders jumped at the chance--not considering there might be a reason why no one had gone that way before.

The colonists, with as many household goods, tools, and animals as they could manage, gathered with the scouts just south of Escalante in November 1879. The path chosen went in a southeasterly direction along the bare rock desert to the west of the Escalante River canyons. From there, they descended a trail blasted down an almost sheer cliff, later to be called the Hole-in-the-Rock. Once across the Colorado River, the settlers with their 83 wagons and over 1,000 head of livestock headed up through even rougher terrain, reaching the San Juan River and settling Bluff the following spring. It is remarkable that no one was killed on this epic journey. In fact, three babies were born along the way. [3]

To supply this new, isolated community, Charles Hall was chosen to find a different, more practical route. The trail he pioneered in 1881 diverted from the original Hole-in-the-Rock passage at Harris Wash. From there, wagons were to cross the Escalante River, go up Silver Falls Canyon, cross the mostly open Circle Cliffs region, and then proceed down a steep, rocky slope into Muley Twist Canyon (in what is now the southern third of Capitol Reef National Park). Once through the Waterpocket Fold, the trail went down Halls Creek to the Colorado River. Hall set up a ferry there and built his house and garden a few miles up the creek. As one would suspect, this rough, isolated supply route did not see a lot of travelers. Within three years, wagon roads connected with the new rail lines serving Durango and Green River, eliminating the need for a ferry. Never significant in numbers served or length of service, the Halls Crossing Trail did establish the only wagon and truck road through the southern Waterpocket Fold until the 1950s. [4]

A peace treaty signed at Council Grove, Utah among the Mormons, Utes, and Paiutes in 1873 finally opened the plateaus and valleys east of Richfield to settlement. Sent by the church to bring isolated bands of Utes and Paiutes to that peace council, a party of 22 men, including later settlers Albert Thurber and George Bean, was impressed by the high valley's abundant grass, timber, and game.

Two years later, Thurber returned with part of the Richfield cooperative cattle herd. Others, such as Hugh McClellan and Beas Lewis, arrived soon afterward. It was the practice at that time for Mormons to pool their cattle together into a church-sponsored herd that would be trailed by one or two local ranchers. Some of the cattle would be privately owned and some would belong to the church. Thus, the cattle that first grazed in Rabbit Valley were either owned or managed by the Mormon Church but the actual settlement of Rabbit Valley and the lower desert to the east was apparently accomplished through individual rather than Church initiative. [5]

Despite the 7,000-foot elevation of Rabbit Valley (and its consequently short growing season), ranchers and supporting farming communities began to follow the Fremont River downstream. At first, they built isolated homesteads, but soon laid out townsites. After Albert Thurber founded his namesake (later re-named Bicknell) in 1875, the small settlements of Fremont (1876), Loa (1878), East Loa (later, Lyman) (ca. 1879), Teasdale (1878), Grover (1880), and Torrey (1884) soon followed. This settlement pattern of cooperative herds followed by individual ranchers and then towns was also occurring to the south in Escalante and Boulder at about the same time. [6]

Settlements In Lower Wayne County

Below and to the east of Rabbit Valley, the farming and ranching prospects were meager, at best. The desire for free, even slightly promising land, however, finally pushed homesteaders into and past that omnipresent barrier, the Waterpocket Fold. The first permanent settler was Ephraim Hanks, who along with his wife Thisbe and their children, began homesteading on Pleasant Creek in 1881. Hanks chose the only open, relatively flat land between the deep, narrow limestone and sandstone canyons of Pleasant Creek to grow fruit and run a small ranch. According to his son and biographer Sidney Hanks, the thousands of fruit blossoms in spring gave the homestead its name, Floral Ranch. This ranch changed hands several times during the early 20th century, until Lurton Knee bought the property in the early 1940s and established the Sleeping Rainbow Guest Ranch. [7] (Since Knee's death in 1995, the ranch has reverted to National Park Service ownership under the terms of a life estate he had established years earlier.)

Fruita, now Capitol Reef's most populated area, was at first bypassed by homesteaders in favor of the more open desert lands further east. Except for Caineville (1882) and Hanksville (1883), all the other communities along the banks of the lower Fremont River were abandoned after repeated flooding. Observed Crampton:

Depletion of the range up-country and the ploughing of banks practically to the water's edge increased the volume of floods and the result was a severe lowering of the stream bed. By the turn of the century, Mormons along the Fremont below the reef found that much of their farm land had caved away to be washed downstream and that the river itself was dropping below the level of the headgates. The result was a contraction of the original frontier of settlement as people began to move away. [8]

This process of settling any available land and then slowly retracting to the most productive was a pattern found throughout the West. It was Mormon tenacity and cooperation that enabled them to homestead or ranch successfully on any land within the Colorado Plateau. The homesteading of Fruita is a classic example of that blend of individual, family, and group perseverance.

The history of Fruita is now, finally, well documented. [9] Here is a brief overview of this desert oasis that Wallace Stegner so charmingly described as

a sudden, intensely green little valley among the cliffs of the Waterpocket Fold, opulent with cherries, peaches, and apples in season, inhabited by a few families who were about equally good Mormons and good frontiersmen and good farmers. [10]

Fruita was a small, isolated community of largely self-sufficient fruit farms at the junction of the Fremont River and Sulphur Creek. The site, first utilized by generations of American Indians, was for years a campsite for travelers between ranges and towns on either side of the Waterpocket Fold, until its first permanent settlers finally arrived.

After several squatters, the first official homesteader at Junction (later, Fruita) was Nels (or Neils) Johnson. This Scandinavian bachelor built the first known house in 1886, just above the stream confluence within today's Chesnut Picnic Area. Three other homesteaders, Leo Holt, Elijah Cutler Behunin, and Elijah's son Hyrum, filed claims to all the other farm land available in the small valley. In their final homestead affidavits, these Mormon pioneers stated that the land was useful for "ordinary farming, most valuable for fruit raising." [11] Within a few short years, others moved into Junction, purchased a small tract of land from one of the original homesteaders, and labored on their own houses and orchards. [12] The need to establish a post office resulted in the name change from Junction to Fruita sometime between 1900 and 1903, as another Junction, Utah already had a post office.

Irrigation was essential to raising any fruit or field crops. With the same cooperative spirit that brought irrigation innovations to the other Mormon settlements, the Fruita families built and shared a system of ditches and headgates. But the isolation, marginal farmlands, and silty water (worsened by late summer floods) made Fruita a tough, if beautiful, place to live. [13]

Elijah Cutler Behunin is a good example of the typical early settler of Capitol Reef. Son of the first homesteader within Zion Canyon, Elijah and his rapidly growing family moved further east, and moved often. Behunin is credited with being the first to settle at Caineville in 1882. At that time, supplies had to be brought in from the west, forcing settlers regularly to confront the barrier of the Waterpocket Fold. To make the passage easier, Behunin led a work party in 1883 to build a wagon road through the northern half of the Waterpocket Fold.

The road Behunin built went directly south from Fruita, along the Reef's imposing cliff line. Passing by Grand Wash, the route continued over steep hills and rough, usually dry wash crossings into Capitol Gorge. Once through the gorge and past the little farming and ranching settlement of Notom, the road continued east over the multi-colored bands of bentonite and the bluish-gray Mancos shale hills that gave this new road its name: the Blue Dugway.

The road-builders chose to lay the route through Capitol Gorge in order to avoid several rough fords of the Fremont River. Although Capitol Gorge was indirect and subject to flash floods, those floods were infrequent and (importantly, in those days of horse travel), easy to see coming. It took Behunin, a couple of teams of mules, and whatever help he could get, eight days to clear three and one-half miles of rock and debris from the narrows of Capitol Gorge. This wagon road served as the only passenger-vehicle road through the Waterpocket Fold until 1962, and even at that late date it was virtually impassable for days after any rain or snow storm. [14]

The need to move on led the Behunins to a small plat of land along the Fremont River, surrounded by red and white sandstone formations within the heart of Capitol Reef. Behunin and his family built a small, one-room cabin out of red sandstone. The land was too close to the river, however, and the crops were washed out within a year. By this time, there were 11 children to support and shelter. The wandering spirit took hold of the Behunins a few more times. After 10 years or so of homesteading in Fruita, the Behunin family moved on to Notom and then up to Torrey, where Elijah lies buried today. [15]

While at Fruita, Behunin became the first presiding elder when the homesteaders organized as a branch of the Torrey Ward in 1900. Because of its relative small numbers and geographic isolation, Fruita never established a ward of its own. Another reason for this may have been a lack of exhibited faith among many of the residents. While there is no question that Fruita was almost exclusively Mormon, regular church and meeting attendance was much lower there than that of some of the other Wayne County communities. Those who chose to go to church went to Torrey, Bicknell, Grover, or Caineville, usually depending on where relatives lived. On some occasions, sacrament meetings and Sunday school were held in a private home or at the one-room schoolhouse in Fruita. On those Sundays, the desks were moved and a curtain was drawn across the room to separate classes. [16]

The school itself was erected on land donated in 1896 by either Behunin or Amasa Pierce. At first it was only hewed, chinked logs, with a flat roof sealed with bentonite clay to keep out the rain and snow. The peaked roof was added in 1914, and the interior was plastered until the mid-1930s. For many years, the school year began at the end of fall harvest and ended with the spring planting season, the number of pupils (grades 1-8) varying annually. The quality of teachers also varied: most were first-year instructors, since those with experience would opt for a less isolated, more learning-conducive environment. [17]

Contrary to what many may have believed, the average Latter-day Saint was sociable and fun-loving. [18] Social gatherings, when possible, usually took the form of church meetings, quilting bees, or card games at someone's home. The older children looked forward to box socials. Without a wardhouse, the schoolhouse was the only community building in Fruita suitable for such gatherings. Since the large families of Fruita (in 1910 there were 19 adults and 42 children) craved social interaction as a break from hard work, they often used the schoolhouse for meetings and social affairs (Fig. 5). The number one social affair in any Mormon community was the dance. When a dance was held in the small schoolhouse, the band and refreshments would be inside and most of the dancing outside.

With the late summer reflections off the soaring red cliffs, a public dance was a great way to escape the rigors of life in lonely Fruita. [19]

Figure 5. Fruita, ca. 1930. (NPS file photo)

Fruita's isolation encouraged a story-telling tradition that was common throughout the West. The lack of any communication save letters and books made word of mouth a very important means of relating experiences. These stories, oral histories if you will, would be repeated for the infrequent visitor it's easy to see how these accounts could be slightly embellished to create a little more excitement, wonder, and sense of importance in an otherwise humdrum existence. This enlivening of history may explain why some persistent oral traditions concerning early Fruita have been hard to verify this is particularly true of stories about Butch Cassidy and the Wild Bunch. Another reason why these oral traditions never made it to paper is their sensitive nature, particularly regarding polygamy and bootlegging.

There was, undeniably, a connection between the rapid settlement along the lower Fremont River and the persecution of polygamists during the 1880s. The questions yet to be answered are, just how many polygamists were there in eastern Wayne County, and how often did federal marshals come in pursuit of them?

The example of taking more than one wife was first provided by Prophet Joseph Smith and a few select high officials of the Church back in Nauvoo, Illinois. Brigham Young made polygamy public and available to all Mormons, once they were secure in Utah territory in the early 1850s. Mormons believed plural marriage to be divinely inspired, and as polygamists grew in numbers, the practice became an uncompromising tenet. [20] At that time, no law forbade plural marriage in the United States, but the institution sparked a great deal of outrage back East. After the Civil War, moral indignation toward slavery was transferred to Mormon polygamy. Because of the physical distance between Utah and Eastern society, false reports abounded and led to increasing hostility toward Mormons during the 1870s and 1880s.

Many assume that every Mormon was a polygamist. Actually, however, it appears that only about one in five Latter-day Saints was ever involved in a plural marriage, and it was usually one man marrying two women. (One assumption that does seem accurate is that, as the man got older, he married younger wives. [21]) Economics are clearly a factor that limited plural marriages among Mormons. The high costs of housing, clothing, and feeding a typically large family on the southern Utah frontier made the prospect of multiple families rather daunting. Usually, only the more well-to-do bishops, patriarchs and merchants could afford a multitude of families on the frontier. For the Mormons struggling to make ends meet, polygamy was not economically viable. [22]

In 1882, Congress passed the Edmunds Act, making plural marriages illegal and empowering federal marshals to seek out "illegal cohabitation" and prosecute violators to the fullest extent of the law. The effect on Mormons everywhere was pervasive:

Scores of federal officials were brought into the territory to conduct 'cohab hunts,' and bounties were offered for information leading to the arrest of polygamists. Mormons not wishing to give up their plural wives and children faced dismal options--legal prosecution, a life in hiding on the 'Mormon underground,' or complete exile. [T]hose who did not submit to arrest had to be constantly on the move. Women and children were left to provide for themselves as best they could. [23]

Many of the settlements established by the Mormon Church in adjoining states during the late 1870s were set up, in part, to provide safe havens for polygamists. In the 1880s, federal marshals arrested more than a thousand Mormon men. To escape the marshals, many families fled to Arizona, Mexico, Canada, and to the cover of south-central Utah. [24]

Hanksville purportedly was established by polygamists, and Ephraim Hank's Floral Ranch on Pleasant Creek supposedly offered a safe retreat along the Mormon underground railroad. The accuracy of this information is hard to verify, as few diaries were left behind by early settlers in the area. The valuable genealogical histories compiled by family members definitely show a good percentage of Wayne County families were part of plural marriages but the family biographies of people such as Ephraim and Thisbe Hanks, Elijah Cutler Behunin, and others are usually a perpetuation of the local oral traditions handed down through the generations. Another problem in examining the extent of local polygamy is that today's descendants are reluctant to talk about it. Consequently, the exact number of polygamists traveling through Capitol Reef may never be known.

The increase in polygamy prosecutions has been connected with the unlikely settlements due east of the park during the 1880s. Crampton wrote:

The numbers of polygamous Mormons who moved to the wild country east of the High Plateaus have never been counted, but there were probably enough to put more pressure on the available lands than they would support. The result was that Mormon settlement during the 1880s was often attempted in places (and in such numbers) which taxed the meager resource base beyond its capacity to offer adequate support. To some extent this was true of the lands along the Fremont River below Capitol Reef. [25]

Fruita had one known polygamist, Calvin Pendleton, who is documented in the 1900 federal census as having two wives. Another resident, Jorgen Jorgensen, apparently came to Fruita from a polygamist settlement in Mexico, since some of his children were born there. [26] As for the extent of federal arrests for polygamy in and around Capitol Reef, no accurate accounts have ever become available. The number of reports about marshals coming after polygamists, however, indicates that either they came quite often or the memory of a visit became the topic of repeated and perhaps embellished stories.

Perhaps the best-known lore regarding polygamists in Capitol Reef pertains to Cohab Canyon, a beautiful hanging canyon of Wingate fins and sheltered alcoves, directly above the campground. The canyon supposedly got its name because polygamists in Fruita would flee up into it whenever the marshals came around. There was even a newspaper article about this alleged use of Cohab Canyon. [27 ]

Cohab Canyon, however, was an unlikely hideout for a number of reasons. The western entrance, closest to Fruita, is approached by an exposed, switchback trail, which would force polygamists to "flee" up a very steep slope in obvious view of approaching lawmen. The eastern entrance to the canyon, south of the Hickman Natural Bridge trailhead, would have been a more likely route. But even if this entrance was used, there really isn't a good, sheltered location anywhere in the canyon to remain hidden for any length of time. The fins carved from the hanging canyon do provide some short slot canyons, but there is no real protection from the weather. (The author's attempt to flee a summer cloudburst in Cohab Canyon proved a lack of accessible cover very apparent.) Considering that marshals would be traveling days just to get to Fruita, it is unlikely they would go on or turn around after a short visit rather, they would stay awhile, forcing the fugitives to hide for quite some time. However, there are no blackened, campfire smoke stains along the canyon walls, indicating that no one spent much time hiding out at "Cohab."

Then there is the name itself. As George Davidson points out in Red Rock Eden , the name "cohab" was a derogatory term used by non-Mormons to describe cohabitationists. Mormons of the area are unlikely to have used such a term, even if we find it a bit lyrical today. [28]

While some long-time Wayne County residents have only known the name "Cohab" Canyon, others remember it as Easter Canyon, because of the tradition of climbing into it over the spring holiday weekend. A possible source of the name "Cohab" could be Charles Kelly. Kelly, the monument's first custodian, was responsible for naming many features in the area, and his distaste for religion may have prompted him to name this canyon "Cohab" just to needle the local residents a little. Unfortunately, the facts regarding the use of Cohab Canyon as a polygamist hideout may never be known. Due to the secrecy surrounding polygamy even well after the Woodruff Manifesto revoked church sanction of the practice, and due to the lack of diaries from the early Fruita period, this and other tales of polygamy hideouts will remain local oral traditions.

If one hikes down Grand Wash and turns up the first side canyon past the Cassidy Arch trail, he will may notice a pile of weather-worn logs heaped against a split sandstone rock. This pile was once a small cabin. The puzzle over who would have built in such a place once again stimulated the imaginations of local residents. For some, it was a polygamist hideout for others, it was an outlaw hideout used by Butch Cassidy and his Wild Bunch.

The hideout story has gained most prominence. Charles Kelly, a historian, learned of this possible use for the Grand Wash cabin from Fruita resident Cass Mulford while preparing his book, The Outlaw Trail , the first legitimate history of the Wild Bunch. According to Kelly, Mulford was a "professional story teller that liked to fill the dudes with stories." Kelly must have been satisfied with the veracity of Mulford's story, because he stated in his book that the outlaws built the cabin for overnight stops before traveling east to the San Rafael River east of Hanksville and the famed Robber's Roost. [29]

There is no doubt that Butch Cassidy did occasionally use Robber's Roost. His first rustling job took him from his home near Circleville (Cassidy was born Robert LeRoy Parker to a Mormon farming family) to Robber's Roost with a herd of stolen cattle bound for Colorado. He probably later used the canyon hideout after the 1897 Castle Gate payroll robbery. But Robber's Roost was not nearly as hospitable as Brown's Hole, in the northeastern corner of Utah Butch and his gang only used the former when absolutely necessary. Of course, the Wild Bunch members weren't the only rustlers and robbers in the area--just the most famous.

Because of Cassidy's roots and fabled Robin Hood deeds, the people of southern Utah were especially fond of any story about the Wild Bunch. Charlie Gibbons, who once owned the store in Hanksville, was said to be personal friends with Butch and his gang. Pearl Baker, who grew up on the closest ranch to Robber's Roost, has written several books about the outlaws of the area. And, of course, beautiful Cassidy Arch at the entrance of Grand Wash was named after the famous felon. [30]

Certain local events involving members of the Wild Bunch were recorded. For example, outlaws Blue John and Silver Tip were taken as prisoners through Capitol Reef on their way to trial in Loa. It is very likely that any outlaw passing through the region, Wild Bunch or not, passed through Capitol Reef's canyons just because this was the only practical way through the Waterpocket Fold. It is also possible that these outlaws could have camped in Grand Wash, although a dry camp was probably not a preferable option. But the idea that the Wild Bunch built a cabin as a hideout, or even made an overnight stop in Grand Wash, has never been verified, aside from Cass Mulford's questionable testimony. It seems unlikely that the place was used by the Wild Bunch or by polygamists, especially since a 1971 study dated the cabin to post-1900. Sadly, the cabin was burned to the ground by vandals sometime in the 1940s. [31]

Like polygamy and the Wild Bunch, bootlegging looms large in local memories. Yet, because of its legal and religious implications, most of Fruita's moonshiners and their still locations have remained a secret until recently. Only recently has anyone has told of these activities in oral histories collected by park service staff. [32]

The physical isolation and the reliance on growing fruit to survive made moonshining inevitable. The long, arduous route to market, the easy spoilage of fruit, the need to supplement family income, and the tedium of social isolation all contributed.

Nels Johnson, Fruita's first homesteader, was said to be the first to sell wine to passing cowboys. After all, grapes would be ready to harvest in only a couple of years fruit trees take much longer to mature. By the turn of the century, the Word of Wisdom , which every devout Mormon was supposed to follow, forbade the social drinking of alcohol. Yet, in far away Fruita, distilling brandy and whiskey was beyond Church control.

Operating a still was a labor-intensive, exhausting enterprise. It usually took two or three men to run a still. The hardest work was carrying large amounts of water up to the hidden still sites. This need for water seems to have dictated where stills would be located. One of the most often-used sites was near a spring above Hickman Bridge. Whiskey Spring was later a favorite hike before it was completely buried in a landslide in 1979. Another favorite site was in the large alcove directly across the Fremont River from the lower Krueger orchard. Inside this alcove there are still the remains of an old stove. Other still sites were rumored to be in the canyon below Cassidy Arch and further east along the Fremont River.

Fruit was not the only thing distilled into brandy, whiskey, or wine. Corn mash, grapes, and even "the green skimmings of molasses" were used--whatever was available at the time. [33] According to long-time Fruita resident Cora Oyler Smith, Fruita's fruit was often traded up-county for grain, which was then used in the fermenting process. [34] Once distilled, the moonshine would be sold to sheepherders and shearers, cowboys, and other locals who paid little attention to the Word of Wisdom .

There was little need to hide the moonshine in such a remote location, but care was taken when selling the liquor. One story recounts that Cora's father, Valentine "Tine" Oyler, the most well-known of the bootleggers, would hide a flask in his overalls. When approached by a would-be buyer, a price would be quoted and paid and then Oyler would simply walk away. As he walked, the flask would slip down his pants leg to the ground. The "accidental" delivery made, Oyler would not look back. [35] After one sale (by whom is unknown) to a couple of men from western Wayne County, the liquor was consumed so rapidly that the men couldn't get back up the hill, thus leading to the name Whiskey Flat at the base of the Mummy Cliffs west of the visitor center.

With such stories, it would be easy to conclude that Fruita was occupied by a bunch of unfaithful bootleggers, but this would be far from the truth. Moonshining was practiced on rare occasions by just a few Fruita residents, but it did add some local flavor to the area.

Polygamy, outlaw tales, and moonshining are a few of Fruita's more colorful local traditions, enhanced by years of re-telling. These three examples are mentioned not because they typify the area's residents, but because they are so atypical that they have received much attention from storytellers. The author hopes these examples will supplement the excellent, specific history of Fruita by Cathy Gilbert and Kathy McKoy and the ethnographic study by David White.

Capitol Reef is truly a unique national park. There are few natural history units in the national park system that have been, and continue to be, so influenced by local history and traditions. These traditions, established during the course of Mormon settlement of the Capitol Reef region, have had a profound effect on the history of the park and its policy decisions.

Too often, National Park Service management has focused on natural resource and visitor protection, to the unintentional neglect of the surrounding cultural resources and their history. Just as ecosystem management has surpassed political park boundaries, cultural barriers need to be overcome, as well. For any manager or member of the National Park Service to achieve well-rounded success at Capitol Reef National Park, an in-depth understanding of Mormon culture is crucial.

From here, the reader can either go to Chapter 8 and the history of how Capitol Reef National Monument was created, or turn to the next chapters, which introduce the growth and development of the National Park Service at Capitol Reef.

1 Brigham Young, as quoted in Leonard J. Arrington and Davis Bitton, The Mormon Experience , 2nd ed. (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1992) 101.

2 Richard H. Jackson, "Utah's Harsh Lands: Hearth of Greatness," Utah Historical Quarterly , 49 (Spring 1981): 11.

3 David E. Miller's Hole-in-the-Rock: An Epic in the Colonization of the Great American West (Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1959), is the best account of this difficult trek.

4 Bradford Frye, "The Boulder-Bullfrog Road: A History," March 1992, 4-6, on file, Capitol Reef National Park Archives C. Gregory Crampton, Standing Up Country (Salt Lake: Peregrine Books, 1983) 111-112.

5 Anne Snow, ed., Rainbow Views: A History of Wayne County , 4th ed. (Springville, Utah: Art City Publishing, 1985) 6-9, 19.

6 Crampton, "Mormon Colonization in Southern Utah and Adjacent Parts of Arizona and Nevada, 1851-1900," 1965 unpublished manuscript, 217-219, on file, Capitol Reef National Park Archives. Also see Cathy Gilbert and Kathleen McKoy, "Cultural Landscape Report: Fruita Rural Historic District, Capitol Reef National Park," 1993, 4-3 through 44-6, draft on file, Intermountain Regional Office, Denver for an excellent discussion of how the settlement surrounding Capitol Reef was a mixture of Mormon communal tradition and individual American homesteading practices. Also see David R. M. White, "By Their Fruits Ye Shall Know Them: An Ethnographic Evaluation of Orchard Resources at the Fruita Rural Historic District, Capitol Reef National Park, Utah," February 1994, prepared under contract for the National Park Service, on file, Capitol Reef National Park Division of Resource Management, for a thorough analysis of Mormon traditions in Wayne County and local attitudes toward park management.

For information on early Escalante, see Lowry Nelson, The Mormon Village (Salt Lake: University of Utah Press, 1952) 86-87 for early Boulder, see Lenora Hall LeFevre, The Boulder Country and Its People (Springville, Utah: Art City Publishing, 1973) and Nethella Griffin, "Life in Boulder," unpublished manuscript, Utah State Historical Society Archives, Salt Lake City, 8-10.

7 Sidney A. Hanks and Ephraim K. Hanks, Scouting for the Mormons on the Great Frontier (Salt Lake City: The Deseret News Press, 1948) 228-229 Patrick O'Bannon, "Capitol Reef National Park: A Historic Resource Study," June 1992, 39-43, prepared under contract for National Park Service, on file, Intermountain Regional Office, Denver.

8 Crampton, "Mormon Colonization," 221.

9 See Gilbert and McKoy, "Cultural Landscape Report" for the most detailed history and analysis of Fruita, and White, "By Their Fruits. " for an excellent ethnographic history of Fruita and present local sentiment toward the cultural landscape. Other sources are George Davidson, Red Rock Eden (Torrey, Utah: Capitol Reef Natural History Association, 1986), and O'Bannon, "Capitol Reef National Park," 16-32.

10 Wallace and Page Stegner, American Places , photographs by Eliot Porter, Ed. John Macrea, III, (New York: E. P. Dutton, 1981) 122.

11 Leo Holt Homestead Find Certificate, FC6137, Land Entry Files, Salt Lake City, Utah, Box 136, Records of the Bureau of Land Management, RG 49, National Archives - Suitland, Maryland.

12 See O'Bannon, 22-32, for a more detailed account of the residents of Fruita and when they arrived.

13 Gilbert and McKoy, 3-2, 3-3.

14 Lenard Brown, Capitol Reef: Historical Survey and Base Map (Washington: U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service, Division of History, 1969) 7 Davidson, 18.

15 Ruby Noyes Tippets, A Song in Her Heart (published by author, 1962) 111-115.

16 Davidson, Red Rock Eden , 40-41. David White included a detailed hierarchy of Mormon faith in his ethnographic evaluation of Fruita. He determined (55-56) that most of the residents of Fruita belonged either to a central category "consisting of inactive, non-hostile people, including ‘cultural' and /or ‘ethnic' Mormons," or were active believers who did not agree with every teaching.

20 See Richard S. Van Wagoner, Mormon Polygamy: A History , 2nd ed. (Salt Lake City, Signature Books, 1989), for a modern, detailed, and objective history of Mormon polygamy.

21 Ibid., 91, 103 Arrington and Bitton, The Mormon Experience , 199.

22 Arrington and Bitton, 197-200.

25 Crampton, "Mormon Colonization in Southern Utah," 219-20.

26 Lane R. Pendleton, "The Life of Calvin David Pendleton," April 1992, Box 7, Folder 6, Capitol Reef National Park Archives Dewey Gifford, interview by George Davidson, tape recording and transcript, Part 1, 28 March 1980, Capitol Reef National Park Archives, 2 White, 59.

27 A. Gordon Hughes, "Cohab Canyon: Where Mormons Took Refuge," Desert Magazine , (June 1963):28-29, photocopy in Capitol Reef National Park Archives.

29 Brown, Capitol Reef: Historical Survey , note, 46.

30 Charles Kelly, The Outlaw Trail: A History of Butch Cassidy and the Wild Bunch , 2nd ed. (New York: Bonanza Books, 1959) Pearl Baker, Robber's Roost Recollections (Logan: Utah State University Press, 1976).

31 Charles Kelly, interview by Lenard Brown, tape recording and transcript, 26 May 1969, Capitol Reef National Park Archives, 20-24 Superintendent Franklin William Wallace to Karl Gilbert, 7 May 1971, File H2215, 79-73-136, Box 4, Container #740698, National Archives - Rocky Mountain Region, Denver (hereafter referred to as NA-Denver).

32 Kelly, interview, 24 Neldon Adams, interview by George Davidson, tape recording and transcript, 12 October 1983, Capitol Reef National Park Archives, 11-13 Charles Kelly, "Reminiscences of Howard Blackburn," 1 March 1946, Charles Kelly Unpublished Writings, Capitol Reef National Park Archives, 4.

33 Davidson, Red Rock Eden , 50.

34 Cora Oyler Smith, interview by Kathy McKoy, 8 May 1993, tape and transcription available, Capitol Reef National Park Archives, 5.

Mormon Settlement

Utah’s thousands of years of prehistory and its centuries of known recorded history are so distinctive and complex that a summary can only hint at the state’s rich heritage. The synopsis offered here follows major themes in Utah history and includes some of the significant dates, events, and individuals.

When Joseph Smith, Jr., founder of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and his brother Hyrum were assassinated at Carthage, Illinois, in June 1844, Brigham Young and other Mormon leaders decided to abandon Nauvoo, Illinois, and move west. Their exodus began February 4, 1846.

With the outbreak of the Mexican War, President James Knox Polk asked the Mormons for a battalion of men. Volunteers were recruited and the Mormon Battalion formed. During their famous march of 1846� from Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, to San Diego, California, they forged a wagon route across the extreme Southwest. Their pay and their later explorations helped the pioneer settlers.

In April 1847 the pioneer company of Mormons was on its way from Winter Quarters, Nebraska, to Utah. The reports of Fremont and conversations with Father De Smet, a Jesuit missionary to the Indians, helped to influence their choice to head for the Great Basin. An advance party, including three African-Americans, entered Salt Lake Valley July 22, 1847, and the rest of the company on July 24. Planting and irrigating as well as exploration of the surrounding area began immediately.

Although the struggle for survival was difficult in the first years of settlement, the Mormons were better equipped by experience than many other groups to tame the harsh land. They had pioneered other settlements in the Midwest, and their communal religious faith underscored the necessity of cooperative effort. Basic industries developed rapidly, the city was laid out, and building began. Natural resources, including timber and water, were regarded as community property and the church organization served as the first government.

Settlement of outlying areas began as soon as possible. Bountiful, Farmington, Ogden, Tooele, Provo, and Manti were settled by 1850. Immigration had swelled the population to 11,380, half of whom were farm families. The typical family of 1850 consisted of two parents in their 20s or early 30s and three children. A leader was generally chosen by church authorities to head each settlement, and others were selected to provide basic skills for the new community. Small settlements were frequently forts with log cabins arranged in a protective square.

Wagon train assembled (or camped) in the area of Coalville, 1863.

Between 1847 and 1900 the Mormons founded about 500 settlements in Utah and neighboring states. At the same time, missionaries traveled worldwide, and thousands of religious converts from many cultural backgrounds made the long journey from their homelands to Utah via boat, rail, wagon train, and handcart.

The Mormon village in Utah was to a degree patterned after Joseph Smith’s City of Zion, a planned community of farmers and tradesmen, with a central residential area and farms and farm buildings on the land beyond. Life in these villages centered on the day’s work and church activities. Educational facilities developed slowly. Music, dance, and drama were favorite group activities.

Formation of the proposal Edit

When members of the LDS Church (the Mormon pioneers) settled in the Salt Lake Valley near the Great Salt Lake in 1847 (then part of Mexico), they wished to set up a government that would be recognized by the United States.

Initially, church president Brigham Young intended to apply for status as a territory, and sent John Milton Bernhisel to Washington, D.C., with the petition for territorial status. Realizing that California and New Mexico were applying for admission as states, Young changed his mind and decided to petition for statehood. [ citation needed ]

In March 1849, realizing that they did not have time to follow the usual steps towards statehood, Young and a group of church elders quickly drafted a state constitution based on that of Iowa, where the Mormons had temporarily settled, and sent the legislative records and constitution back to that state for printing, since no printing press existed in the Great Basin at the time. They then sent a second messenger with a copy of the state's formal records and constitution to meet up with Bernhisel in Washington, D.C., and to petition for statehood rather than territorial status. [ citation needed ]

Territory of Deseret Edit

The provisional state encompassed most of the territory that had been acquired from Mexico the previous year as the Mexican Cession.

The Territory of Deseret would have comprised roughly all the lands between the Sierra Nevada and the Rockies, and between the border with Mexico northward to include parts of the Oregon Territory, as well as the coast of California south of the Santa Monica Mountains (including the existing settlements of Los Angeles and San Diego). This included the entire watershed of the Colorado River (excluding the lands south of the border with Mexico), as well as the entire area of the Great Basin.

The proposal encompassed nearly all of present-day Utah and Nevada, large portions of California and Arizona, and parts of Colorado, New Mexico, Wyoming, Idaho, and Oregon.

The proposal was crafted specifically to avoid disputes that might arise from existing settlements of Euro-Americans. [3] At the time of its proposal, the existing population of the Deseret area, including Southern California, was sparse, since most of the California settlement had been in the northern gold rush areas not included in the provisional state. Likewise, the border with New Mexico did not reach the Rio Grande, in order to avoid becoming entangled in the existing disputes of the western border of Texas. Deseret also avoided encroaching on the fertile Willamette Valley of Oregon, which had been heavily traveled and settled since the 1840s.

Moreover, the proposal encompassed lands largely known to be inhospitable for cultivation, thus avoiding conflict over the issue of the expansion of slavery.

The proposal for the state was considered by some to be too ambitious to succeed in Congress, even disregarding the controversy over the Mormon practice of polygamy. Nevertheless, in 1849 U.S. President Zachary Taylor, eager to avoid disputes as much as possible, sent his agent John Wilson westward with a proposal to combine California and Deseret as a single state, [ citation needed ] which would have had the desirable effect of decreasing the number of free states entered into the Union, and thus preserving the balance of power in the Senate.

The California Constitutional Convention debates of 1849 mentioned the Mormons or Salt Lake a number of times [4] [5] along with the North–South conflict over extension of slavery. Advocates of smaller boundaries (such as 116° west or the crest of the Sierra Nevada) argued that the Mormons were unrepresented at the convention, culturally different, and applying for their own territorial government. They also argued that Salt Lake was too far away for a single government to be practical and that Congress would not agree to such a huge state. Those advocating retention of all of former Mexican Alta California, such as pro-slavery future Senator William M. Gwin, argued these were not real obstacles or could be solved later.

Establishment of Utah Territory Edit

In September 1850, as part of the Compromise of 1850, the Utah Territory was created by Act of Congress, encompassing a portion of the northern section of Deseret.

On February 3, 1851, Brigham Young was inaugurated as the first governor of the Utah Territory. On April 4, 1851, the General Assembly of Deseret passed a resolution to dissolve the state. On October 4, 1851, the Utah territorial legislature voted to re-enact the laws and ordinances of the state of Deseret.

After the establishment of the Utah Territory, the Latter-day Saints did not relinquish the idea of a "State of Deseret". From 1862 to 1870, a group of Mormon elders under Young's leadership met as a shadow government after each session of the territorial legislature to ratify the new laws under the name of the "state of Deseret". [ citation needed ] Attempts were made in 1856, 1862, and 1872 to write a new state constitution under that name, based on the new boundaries of the Utah Territory.

The idea of creating a state based on Mormonism began to fade away after the coming of the railroad, which opened the territory to many non-Mormon settlers, particularly in the western areas of the territory. Young and the LDS Church supported the railroad, even taking members that were working on the Salt Lake Temple and reassigning them to work on the railroad. The driving of the golden spike just 66 miles from Salt Lake completed the first transcontinental railroad at Promontory Summit in 1869.

Prior to the establishment of Utah Territory, in the absence of other authority, the provisional government of Deseret became the de facto government of the Great Basin. Three sessions of the General Assembly, a bicameral state legislature, were held. In 1850, the legislature appointed judges and established a criminal code. Taxes were established on property, and liquor and gambling was outlawed. The LDS Church was incorporated and a militia, based on the Nauvoo Legion, was formed.

The legislature initially formed six counties, which covered only inhabited valleys. These "valley counties" initially encompassed only a small portion of the area of Deseret and were expanded as settlement grew. [6]

According to most descriptions, the Deseret flag was similar to the present-day Utah state flag but, as it was not standardized, multiple other secular and religious alternatives were also used. [7] Variants similar to the US Flag were also reported. [8] [9]

A reconstruction of an alleged flag, described by Don Maguire in 1877, used by Mormon pioneers

A reconstruction of an alleged flag, described in contemporary newspapers

The Great Salt Lake Mineral Industry

Rumors of a salty lake somewhere in western America circulated for more than a hundred years before it was actually sighted by white men. The Dominguez-Escalante expedition of 1776, while not attempting to visit the Great Salt Lake, nonetheless recorded the lake on the expedition map drawn by Bernardo Miera y Pacheco, their cartographer, using information obtained from the Indians they encountered. Most likely the first white man to actually see the lake was Jim Bridger, who was employed by William Henry Ashley as a trapper in 1824-25. Capt. Howard Stansbury’s expedition in 1849 and 1850 made the first complete survey of the lake. After 1880 numerous explorations and surveys of the lake were made, mainly to analyze the water content and study the bird life. The earliest comprehensive study of the water resources was conducted by T. C. Adams in 1934-35.

Located in the lowest spot in a drainage basin of 22,060 square miles, the Great Salt Lake receives very little water from local sources. The rivers that flow into it come from the Rocky Mountains and the Colorado Plateau. The Great Salt Lake is a terminal lake that experiences marked fluctuations in size and surface depending upon the amount of rainfall and evaporation within its watershed. The lake consists of four distinct water bodies, each having its own ecological characteristics, brine content, and color, and ranging from nearly fresh water to between 6 and 12 percent solids, the bay waters nearest the main body of the lake having the higher concentrations of brine. Sodium chloride accounts for about 80 percent of the lake’s solids. Other salts are sodium sulfate (Glauber’s salt) and salts of
potassium, chlorine, sulfur, and calcium, and numerous trace elements such a lithium, bromine, and boron.

First Use of Lake Minerals

The use of the lake for its minerals was limited before the Mormons entered the Salt Lake Valley in 1847. Most likely the local Indians obtained salt from the lake, but the first white men known to use salt from the lake were mountain men in Ashley’s Rocky Mountain Fur Company in the fall of 1825. Later John C. Fremont reported in his 1843-44 journal:

Today we remained at this camp, in order to obtain some further observations and to boil down the water which had been brought from workers with wheelbarrows on the salt beds, Great Salt Lake. the lake for a supply of salt. Roughly evaporated over the fire, the five gallons of water yielded fourteen pints of very fine-grained and
very white salt, of which the whole lake may be regarded as a saturated solution

Even though Fremont’s reports were published prior to the settlement of the Salt Lake Valley by the Mormons, the availability of salt did not influence their decision to settle the area. Soon after their arrival in the valley a group of men were sent to the lake to extract salt from the lake shore. They reported that they “prepared 125 bushels of coarse white
salt, and boiled down four barrels of salt water to one barrel of fine white table salt.” The salt deposits from the shore proved to be bitter tasting, and they found that a better quality salt could be obtained from boiling down the lake water itself, thus avoiding mud and other impurities.

To improve the quality and develop a profitable commercial enterprise, one group set up a salt-boiling apparatus near the south end of the lake. The exact location of this plant remains unknown. The product from this operation was unrefined, however, and those who wanted a superior grade of salt had to import it from Liverpool, England.

A permanent salt-boiling operation was established in the spring of 1850 by Charley White. John W. Gunnison reported that White could produce 600 pounds of salt per day in his six 60-gallon kettles. This plant operated until 1861. According to the 1870 census there was one salt producer in Utah, located in E. T. City, Tooele County, and owned by Joseph Griffith and William F. Moss. The Great Salt Lake rose to a high point in 1873, diluting the brine to about one-third. As a result, the salt
boilers had to burn about one-third more wood to obtain the same amount of salt as before.

Salt for the Silver Mills

The salt industry received a commercial boost with the discovery of silver in Montana in the mid-1860s. The chlorination process for the reduction of silver ore was developed about the same time, placing a heavy demand on producers to supply the mills with enough salt (sodium chloride) to use in converting the silver in the ore to silver chloride, which could then be dissolved by various solutions. As this and other new markets for salt opened, production and refining methods improved.

By 1873 the level of the lake had risen so much that many of the natural salt beds were covered with water. To compensate for the high water level, dikes were constructed across the entrance of coves and along the shore of the lake so that the periodic rise and fall of the lake could fill the ponds. By the 1880s permanent dikes had replaced earlier structures destroyed by high winds and tides. Companies engaged in salt production installed steam-powered pumps to help control the water levels because natural fluctuations of the lake could no longer be depended upon to fill the ponds.

In the latter part of the 19th century three companies assumed prominence in salt production: the Jeremy Salt Company, the Intermountain Salt Company, and the Inland Crystal Salt Company, the latter founded in 1889. The Jeremy firm finally failed, but the other two merged and operated under the successive names of Inland Crystal Salt Company and Royal Crystal Salt Company.

By the early 1890s salt companies in Utah could be placed in two categories, small companies that produced large quantities of salt to supply the silver-refining industry and larger companies that produced both refined table salt and salt for industrial use. The Inland Salt .
Company and its successor, Inland Crystal Salt Company, were such organizations.

Through the years there have been many changes in the way salt is produced. The process of obtaining salt from the brine has evolved from boiling the brine in large kettles to pumping lake water into a series of crystallization ponds where most of the insoluble materials settle out.

Other Lake Minerals

Sodium chloride, or common salt – used in the home, in many industrial processes, and for highway deicing, water softening, etc. -was the principal commodity extracted from the lake until the 1960s. Then the Great Salt Lake Minerals and Chemical Corporation started extracting other minerals as well: cake salt (Glauber’s salt, sodium sulfate], used in making paper and glass potassium sulfate, used as a fertilizer and ,magnesium chloride, converted to the metal magnesium (used in fireworks, alloys, etc.) and chlorine gas. In the mid-1960s NL Industries constructed solar evaporating ponds in Burmeister, Utah, and a pilot plant for producing cell feed was built at Lakepoint, Utah. In 1969 they built a magnesium plant at Rowley, Utah, to utilize brine from the Great Salt Lake. In 1978 Amoco began oil and gas drilling operations about seven miles from the shore of Great Salt Lake, leasing 600,000 acres from the state of Utah.

The wet years of the mid-1980s nearly brought an end to the lake’s mineral industry when the lake rose to almost 4,220 feet, expanding the shoreline and causing millions of dollars in damage. Today there are four companies extracting minerals from the lake: Great Salt Lake Minerals and Chemicals, Morton Salt Akzo Salt, and American Salt. The lake contains approximately 90 billion dollars worth of minerals and will therefore continue to play an important role in Utah’s economy.

Religious founder Joseph Smith killed by mob

Joseph Smith, the founder and leader of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (more commonly known as Mormonism), is murdered along with his brother Hyrum when a mob breaks into a jail where they are being held in Carthage, Illinois.

Born in Vermont in 1805, Smith claimed in 1823 that he had been visited by a Christian angel named Moroni who spoke to him of an ancient text that had been lost for 1,500 years. The holy text, supposedly engraved on gold plates by a Native American historian in the fourth century, related the story of Israelite peoples who had lived in America in ancient times. During the next several years, Smith dictated an English translation of this text to his wife and other scribes, and in 1830 The Book of Mormon was published. In the same year, Smith founded the Church of Christ—later known as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints—in Fayette Township.

The religion rapidly gained converts, and Smith set up਌ommunities in Ohio, Missouri, and Illinois. However, the Christian sect was also heavily criticized for its unorthodox practices, such as polygamy. In 1844, Smith announced his candidacy for the presidency of the United States. Although he did not have great enough appeal to win, the idea of Smith as president increased anti-Mormon sentiment. A group of dissenting Latter-day Saintsꂾgan publishing a newspaper that was highly critical of the practice of polygamy and of Smith’s leadership Smith had the press destroyed. The ensuing threat of violence prompted Smith to call out a militia in the town of Nauvoo, Illinois. He was charged with treason and conspiracy by Illinois authorities and imprisoned with his brother Hyrum in the Carthage city jail. On June 27, 1844, a mob stormed in and murdered the brothers.

Settle Down in Settle

Settle has a vibe unlike anywhere else. It’s stunningly beautiful, outdoorsy and artistic, contemporary yet traditional, safe, lovable and bursting with opportunity.

It was also recently named in The Sunday Times top 10 of places to live in the countryside in the UK – no surprise there for its 2,500 residents.

Once you’ve fallen for its visual Yorkshire Dales charms (which usually takes the first timer an average of 30 seconds), the community spirit and down to earth nature of the place soon shine through. It has both produced and influenced interesting and high achieving people over the years, from singer/songwriter John Newman and composer Edward Elgar to cricketer Don Wilson, winter Olympian Em Lonsdale and the founder of the NSPCC, the Rev Benjamin Waugh.

Alan Bennett, who has a home nearby, is a regular visitor to the town and many is the tourist who has almost walked into fellow shoppers in Booths supermarket on catching sight of the playwright browsing the shelves!

If you’re into the outdoors, Settle is arguably the best location in the UK for easy access to the widest variety of activities. Climbers love the surrounding Yorkshire limestone, including Castleberg, the imposing crag which overlooks the town, while underground the cave systems are considered by many to be the finest in the country. Walking is bracing and varied, fellrunning challenging and cyclists can take their pick of on and off-road routes.

Settle has a history of bringing fresh, new events to the public fore. It is home to Settle Stories, an annual storytelling festival which now stages entertainments all year round. Settle Folk Gathering is a free musical event which grew from a regular folk club hosted by local resident, musician and broadcaster Mike Harding to one of the town’s busiest weekends of the year. Settle Flowerpot Festival is gaining in popularity year on year. The Victoria Hall – said to be England’s oldest surviving music hall – is an arts venue regularly attracting theatre, music, cinema and other entertainments.

The town has a varied cultural offering headed up by a thriving museum housed in The Folly, which is North Craven’s only grade I listed building. There is also the smallest art gallery in the world found in historic Upper Settle, the Gallery on the Green, housed in a former telephone box and a wide variety of arts activities can be enjoyed at nearby Giggleswick School’s Richard Whiteley Theatre,

Social opportunities are many, with sporting activities represented by active clubs and classes including rugby, cricket, football, cycling, running, various martial arts, yoga, fitness, rounders and of course swimming, at the town’s community-owned 20m indoor pool. There are choirs, bands, scouts and in an area steeped in agricultural heritage, young farmers clubs are popular.

Settle is a town with an entrepreneurial spirit, which has always had strength in its number of small businesses and self-employed sectors including farming, trades and business. The town centre is dominated by independent and specialist shops, with opportunities for more. Our creative champions Katy and Jake at The Boxer and Hound café and bottle shop are good examples of those who have opened their own business in the town in recent months. The main larger employers are Giggleswick School, Arla Foods and various tourism, service and care sector businesses.

Potential is great as Settle is generally well connected, both digitally and physically. Although undeniably rural in character, it is surprisingly easy to reach a number of larger towns and cities relatively quickly thanks to the Leeds-Settle-Carlisle and Leeds-Lancaster/Morecambe railway lines.

In the words of Daniel Defoe: “Settle is the capital of an isolated little kingdom of its own surrounded by barren hills.” Therein lies the key to its character. Although no longer isolated, the people here have long been used to being creative in many different ways order to live the lifestyles they aspire to.

Colonization of Utah

The establishment of settlements in Utah took place in four stages. The first stage, from 1847 to 1857, marked the founding of the north-south line of settlements along the Wasatch Front and Wasatch Plateau to the south, from Cache Valley on the Idaho border to Utah’s Dixie on the Arizona border. In addition to the settlement of the Salt Lake and Weber valleys in 1847 and 1848, colonies were founded in Utah, Tooele, and Sanpete valleys in 1849 in Box Elder, Pahvant, Juab, and Parowan valleys in 1851 and in Cache Valley in 1856. Settlements in all of these “valleys,” as early settlers called them, multiplied with additional immigration throughout the 1850s.

Osmyn Deuel residence, first house in Salt Lake

The first in this southward extending chain of settlements was Utah Valley, immediately south of Salt Lake Valley, which was settled by thirty families in the spring of 1849. Within a year the population had grown to 2,026 people, and the foundation had been laid for a settlement on each of the eight streams in the valley.

Later in 1849, fifty families were called to settle Sanpete Valley, south of Utah Valley, where a nucleus for many other settlements was also established.

Still later in 1849, an exploring party of fifty persons was outfitted to determine locations for settlement between the Salt Lake Valley and what is now the northern border of Arizona, some 300 miles south. Over a three-month period the expedition covered approximately 800 miles, keeping a detailed written record of the topography, areas for grazing, water, vegetation, supplies of timber, and, in general, favorable locations for settlements and forts.

The expedition’s report was quickly put to use. Additional settlements were made in Utah and Sanpete valleys during the fall of 1850, and in November of the same year a large group was sent to colonize the Little Salt Lake Valley in southern Utah. During the next year settlements were made in Juab Valley in central Utah, and still other settlements in Utah, Sanpete, and Little Salt Lake valleys. Within three years after the exploring party’s return, Brigham Young had sent colonists to virtually every site recommended by the expedition.

An important colony in southern Utah was at Parowan. This settlement served the dual purpose of providing a half-way station between southern California and the Salt Lake Valley and of producing agricultural products to support an iron enterprise. Near present-day Cedar City, the exploring party had found a mountain with iron ore, and close to it thousands of acres of cedar which could be used as fuel. Following a “call” in July 1850, a company of 167 persons was constituted in December and sent, complete with equipment and supplies, to Parowan to plant crops and prepare to work with the pioneer iron mission established at Cedar City later in the year. Ultimately, the colony was the nucleus of a dozen settlements made in the region in the early 1850s.

All told, ninety settlements were founded in what is now Utah during the first ten years after the entry into the Salt Lake Valley in July 1847, from Wellsville and Mendon in the north to Washington and Santa Clara in the south. The founding dates of communities settled in these years which eventually became important population centers are Salt Lake City (1847), Bountiful (1847), Ogden (1848), West Jordan (1848), Kaysville (1849), Provo (1849), Manti (1849), Tooele (1849), Parowan (1851), Brigham City (1851), Nephi (1851), Fillmore (1851), Cedar City (1851), Beaver (1856), Wellsville (1856), and Washington (1856).

Although there were many variations, the colonizing effort took one of two main forms: direct or nondirected. Colonies that were directed were planned, organized, and dispatched by leaders of the LDS church. There was preliminary exploration of the area by companies appointed, equipped, and supported by the LDS church a colonizing company was organized and persons appointed to constitute it, and a leader appointed and instructions were given by church leaders on the “mission” of the colony—to raise crops, herd livestock, assist Indians, mine coal, and/or serve as a way station for groups on their way to and from California. In cooperative ventures the colonists located a site for settlement, apportioned the land, obtained wood from the canyons, dug diversion canals from existing creeks, erected fences around the cultivable land, built a community meetinghouse-schoolhouse, and developed available mineral resources, if any. Their homes were built near each other in what was called a Mormon fort—Mormon village pattern of settlement. This enabled them to enjoy a healthy social life, with dances each Friday evening, and occasional locally produced vocal and instrumental recitals, plays, and festivals. Ward schools were held each winter and at Sunday School. The women’s Relief Society, young people’s groups, and worship services met each week.

Nondirected settlements were those founded by individuals, families, and neighborhood groups without direction from ecclesiastical authority. Most of the communities along the Wasatch Front were of this type. As the land in established communities was settled, and the available water preempted, young men, upon their marriage, would look for another place to locate. In addition, an average of about three thousand immigrants came into the Salt Lake Valley each summer and fall—and they immediately needed a place to live. Also, there were always adventurous souls who wanted to try a new situation, or who wanted to leave a village. Although LDS officials did not launch nondirected settlements, they encouraged them, sometimes furnished help, and quickly established wards when there were enough people to justify them.

During the second decade after the initial settlement, 1885󈞯, the threat to the people caused by the approach of the Utah Expedition of General Albert Sidney Johnston in 1857 led Mormon leaders to “call in” all colonists in outlying areas, including San Bernardino, California, and Carson Valley, Nevada, as well as missionaries from all over the world. Land had to be found for them to settle, as well as for the 3,000 or more immigrants who continued to arrive each summer and fall from Great Britain, Scandinavia, and elsewhere. During the ten years after the Utah War, 112 new communities were founded in Utah. New areas opened up for settlement included Bear Lake Valley and Cache Valley in the north Pahvant Valley and part of Sanpete Valley in the center and the Sevier River Valley, Virgin River Valley, and Muddy River Valley in the south. Expansion within these and older settlements continued until the 1890s. Important cities that were first settled during this period include Logan (1859), Gunnison (1859), Morgan (1860), St. George (1861), and Richfield (1864).

In establishing these new settlements, much attention was paid to the contributions each could make toward territorial self-sufficiency. This is illustrated most strikingly in the Cotton Mission. A number of parties had been sent out from Parowan and Cedar City in the early 1850s to explore the Santa Clara and Virgin river basins and to determine their suitability for producing specialized agricultural products. The reports of these parties seemed to confirm the hope of Mormon leaders that the new region would be able to produce cotton, grapes, figs, flax, hemp, rice, sugar cane, and other much-needed semitropical products. Small colonies were sent to the area in 1857 and 1858, with the result that cotton was grown successfully on a small scale.

The self-sufficiency program which followed the Utah War and the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861 led Mormon leaders to greatly expand the southern colonies. In October 1861, 309 families were called to go south immediately to settle in what would now be called “Utah’s Dixie.” Representing a variety of occupations, they were instructed to go in an organized group and “cheerfully contribute their efforts to supply the Territory with cotton, sugar, grapes, tobacco, figs, almonds, olive oil, and such other useful articles as the Lord has given us, the places for garden spots in the south, to produce.” They were joined in 1861 by thirty families of Swiss immigrants, who settled the “Big Bend” land at what is now Santa Clara. Their mission was to raise grapes and fruit to supply the cotton producers.

In 1862 the 339 were strengthened by the calling of 200 additional families, who were chosen for their skills and capital equipment so as to balance out the economic structure of the community, the center of which was at St. George. All told, nearly 800 families, representing about 3,000 persons, were called to Dixie in the early 1860s. At least 300 additional families–upwards of 1,000 persons–were called in the late 1860s and 1870s. The Cotton Mission was not the only phase of the calculated drive toward diversification and territorial self-sufficiency. Three other colonies were established with a similar purpose. The town of Mantua, in Box Elder County, was founded as part of a campaign to stimulate the production of flax. Twelve Danish families were appointed to settle in what was originally called Flaxville, to produce thread for use in making summer clothing, household linen, and sacks for grain. Similarly, the town of Minersville, in Beaver County, was founded for the purpose of working a nearby lead, zinc, and silver deposit. With the encouragement and assistance of the LDS Church, many tons of lead bullion were produced for use in making bullets and paint for the public works. The town of Coalville, in Summit County, was also founded as part of a church mission to mine coal. Soon after the discovery of this coal in 1859, it was being transported to Salt Lake City for church and commercial use. Several dozen persons were called to the region in the spring of 1860 improved roads to connect with Salt Lake City were built new mines were discovered and scores of church and private teams plied back and forth between Coalville and Salt Lake City throughout the sixties. These mines were of particular importance because of the increasing scarcity of timber in the Salt Lake Valley.

During the third decade, 1868�, a total of ninety-three new settlements were established in Utah important communities included Manila, in the northeastern corner of the state (1869) Kanab in southern Utah (1870) Randolph in the mountains east of Bear Lake (1870) Sandy (1870) Escalante (1875) and Price (1877). Continued expansion occurred in the Cache and Bear Lake valleys, the central and upper Sevier River area, and on the east fork of the Virgin River. An Indian farming mission was established at what is now Ibapah in western Tooele County. The Muddy River settlements of the 1860s, which were thought to have been in Utah, were found to be in Nevada. When Nevada demanded back taxes, many of the settlers moved to Long Valley in southern Utah, where they established Orderville in 1875.

An important colonization effort was the movement in 1877 of some of the residents of Sanpete County across the eastern mountains into Castle Valley in Emery County, along the Price River in Carbon County, the Fremont River in Wayne County, and Escalante Creek in Garfield County. Other important new colonies were founded in such unlikely spots as the San Juan County in southeastern Utah, Rabbit Valley (Wayne County) in central Utah, and remote areas in the mountains of northern Utah. Some of these were founded in the same spirit, and with the same type of organization and institutions, as those founded in the 1850s and 1860s: the colonies moved as a group, with church approval the village form of settlement prevailed canals were built by cooperative labor and village lots were parceled out in community drawings. Some of the colonies were given tithing and other assistance from the LDS church.

The prime problem of the 1870s was overpopulation. A new generation had grown up and had to find the means of making a living. Some worked in mines, some worked on railroads still under construction, and some migrated to Idaho, Colorado, Nevada, Wyoming, and Arizona.

In the remaining years of the nineteenth and early years of the twentieth century new colonies were founded in a few places that could be irrigated: the Pahvant Valley in central Utah (Delta, 1904) the Ashley Valley of the Uinta Basin in northeastern Utah (Vernal, 1878) and the Grand Valley in southeastern Utah (Moab, 1880). But most of these “last pioneers” had to look for a home in surrounding states where land was still available—Nevada, Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, New Mexico, and Arizona—or even Alberta, Canada, and northern Chihuahua and Sonora in Mexico. There was no longer the mobilization by ecclesiastical authorities of human, capital, and natural resources for building new communities that had characterized earlier undertakings. The migrations were mostly sporadic—unplanned by any central authority. However, two colonizing corporations organized with ecclesiastical participation were the Iosepa Agricultural and Stock Company, which founded a Hawaiian colony in Skull Valley in 1889 and the Deseret and Salt Lake Agricultural and Manufacturing Canal Company, also established in 1889 to promote settlement in Millard County. The church assisted in these companies financially, held an important block of stock in each, and assured that they would be managed for community purposes.

Another factor in the decline of colonization, particularly after 1900, was the abandonment of the concept of “the gathering,” under which converts were urged to gather to “Zion” to build the Kingdom of God in the West. Converts were now urged to stay put and build up Zion where they were.

All told, some 325 permanent and 44 abandoned settlements were founded in Utah in the nineteenth century. Some of these settlements, however, did not survive the mechanization of agriculture, modern transportation, and the shift of rural population to urban communities that occurred after the Depression of the 1930s. Colonization since World War II has consisted almost entirely of building suburbs around the larger cities.

See: Milton R. Hunter, Brigham Young the Colonizer (1940) Leonard J. Arrington, Great Basin Kingdom: An Economic History of the Latter Day Saints, 1830� (1958) Eugene E. Campbell, Establishing Zion: The Mormon Church in the American West, 1847󈞱 (1988) Joel E. Ricks, Forms and Methods of Early Mormon Settlement in Utah and the Surrounding Region, 1847 to 1877 (1964) Wayne L. Wahlquist, ed., Atlas of Utah (1981) Richard Sherlock, “Mormon Migration and Settlement after 1875,” Journal of Mormon History 2 (1975) and Leonard J. Arrington, “Colonizing the Great Basin,” The Ensign 10 (February 1980).

Early Mormon History Explained

A weekly collection of previews, videos, articles, interviews, and more!

An overview of the foundation of Mormonism.

When ANTIQUES ROADSHOW stopped in Salt Lake City in June of 2006, a good number of objects that visitors brought in had some connection to the history of Mormonism, which was no surprise as Salt Lake City history is largely Mormon history. But it was intriguing that three separate visitors arrived with valuable collections from the 1850s, an important pioneer decade in Mormon history.

One of the items was a collection of personal documents that belonged to Philip Margetts, a Mormon convert and actor who arrived in Salt Lake City in 1850 and who knew Brigham Young (SLC Hour 1) another was a rare first edition of a sacred Mormon book, The Pearl of Great Price, originally a proselytizing document (SLC Hour 2) and another included two documents that refer to the so-called Utah War of 1857, which threatened to pit U.S. government troops against the Mormons (SLC Hour 3).

These three sets of items present the chance to take a closer look at the early history of the Mormon faith and the establishment of Salt Lake City as the promised land of the Mormon Church.

Sacred Texts

What is today known as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), or the Mormon Church, was established in the early 1830s by a man from western New York named Joseph Smith, Jr., a charismatic religious leader who many came to view as a prophet. Smith believed that God had chosen him to establish the true Church of Jesus Christ in America. His teaching held that other Christian churches had long ago been corrupted, and that no authentic Christian church any longer existed.

Smith said that for several years during the 1820s he had received visitations from an angel, who eventually led him to find, and then translate, a set of engraved golden plates created by an ancient prophet named Mormon. The resulting translation became the Book of Mormon, which Smith asserted was another Christian gospel and which became the foundation of the Mormon faith. Together with the Book of Mormon, Mormons have three other works that are standard to their faith: the King James version of the Bible, and two additional books of scripture, the Doctrine and Covenants and The Pearl of Great Price.

The first edition of The Pearl of Great Price, published in Liverpool in 1851, was valued by rare-books expert Ken Sanders at up to $10,000. The book is a collection of early Mormon pamphlets that includes the Church's Articles of Faith Smith's interpretation of the Book of Genesis and the Gospel of Matthew from the Bible Smith's translation of an ancient Egyptian papyrus that he said contained the story of the ancient Jewish prophet Abraham while he was in Egypt and Smith's autobiographical account of his early life that included an account of his "First Vision."

Sanders also mentioned on-air that Brigham Young actually did not want The Pearl of Great Price published at the time, in part because he didn't believe that the book was proper scripture. But according to Sanders there might also have been another reason. The publisher of the 1851 edition, Orson Pratt of Liverpool, a Mormon theologian and publisher, received the manuscript from a rival faction of Mormons who were associated with the descendants of Joseph Smith, known as the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or RLDS.

RLDS, which included members who were related to Joseph Smith, were a rival to Brigham Young and the Utah Mormons. "There was this huge power struggle between the LDS and the RLDS," says Sanders, noting that Young might have feared the book and its Smith lineage would have granted the RLDS a legitimacy that he didn't want them to have. A second edition of The Pearl of Great Price was only published again in 1878, a year after Young died.

Outsider Hostility and Westward Movement

Smith drew many followers, but the Mormons also attracted hostility from many Americans who were threatened by the Mormons' tendency to settle in tight-knit communities — what the Mormons referred to as "the gathering." Many outsiders were also critical because the Mormons were led by someone who claimed to be a living prophet and considered themselves to be God's true chosen people. A further threat was the economic and political power that resulted from the Mormons' industriousness and the cohesiveness of their communities. More than once, the Mormons were violently attacked. In 1839, they fled from Missouri, where they had settled temporarily, creating a new city in Illinois named Nauvoo, where some 15,000 converts eventually gathered. There, in 1844, Joseph Smith was killed by an angry mob.

Before he was murdered, however, Smith had prophesied that his followers would journey to a "New Zion" somewhere in the Rocky Mountains, and in 1846 the Mormons did travel west once again. Unlike other western settlers, the Mormons went west not for gold, work, or adventure, but for a place to worship without persecution. Smith's successor, Brigham Young, himself a strong and able leader, led a wagon party across the Missouri River, then the western border of the United States, into what at the time was Mexican territory.

When Young arrived in the Salt Lake Valley he said, "This is the right place." It was, in effect, a place that no one else wanted. The arid Salt Lake basin became the Mormons' promised land, their "Zion in the Tops of the Mountains," which they called the State of Deseret. Following the Mexican War, a large area of land including Salt Lake City was annexed by the United States, and it became the territory of Utah in 1850.

Society Flourishes in Salt Lake City

Over the next two decades, tens of thousands of people, converted to the faith by Mormon missionaries, migrated to Great Salt Lake City, as it was then called. Many immigrated from as far away as Great Britain and Scandinavia one such convert was an Englishman named Philip Margetts, who came in 1850.

"He mostly made his living as a blacksmith and also as an owner of a wine depot," said Michelle, Margetts' great-granddaughter, who brought in a collection of her ancestor's memorabilia that books and manuscripts expert Thomas Lecky appraised for between $100,000 and $150,000. She showed one photograph of old Salt Lake City that included a sign on a building for the California Wine Depot, owned by Margetts.

But Margetts' "real passion was acting," Michele said, "and he was Utah's best-known and best-loved actor in the Utah territory from about 1850 to his retirement in 1905." Michele's archive included 19th-century playbills, a ticket to a Salt Lake City show, Margetts' diary, and about a dozen photographs of Margetts playing comic roles in comedies, which were purportedly preferred by Brigham Young. The collection even included three letters written by Young to Margetts about benefit performances intended to raise money for the local theatre troupe to which Margetts belonged.

The "Utah War" of 1857

Other letters in Michelle's collection, dated from June 1857, are between Margetts as he traveled to England to serve as a missionary, and his wife Elizabeth, who remained behind in Utah. In them, the two discuss rumors that, as Elizabeth puts it, U.S. soldiers "are a-coming here this spring to kill us all off" — though both had their doubts. "That is an old story," Elizabeth writes Phillip calls the rumors "humbug."

But the U.S. Army would indeed "invade" Utah soon thereafter, in large part because of intense hostility that had grown back east after Mormons made a public acknowledgement in 1852 of the practice of plural marriage. This led the Republican Party in their 1856 campaign platform to denounce polygamy as one of the "twin relics of barbarism," slavery being the other.

Brigham Young responded by urging Mormons to "repel any and all such invasion" in his defiant "Invasion Proclamation," which was brought in by another Salt Lake City Roadshow guest. The visitor also presented appraiser Ken Sanders with a textile-printed advertisement for an emporium owned by his great-grandfather in Great Salt Lake City. In an interesting contemporary allusion to the tensions, the text of the ad encouraged residents to stock up for the assault.

"What I found fascinating about this piece," Sanders said, "is down here, underneath the graphic," referring to a caption on the ad that reads, "The Mormon War goes on and supplies have arrived at the Universal Emporium." The ad depicts a line of people outside the store waiting to stock up from the seller's inventory of bonnets, cutlery, shoes, boots, hats, and carpets. (The two items together were estimated to be worth between $10,000 and $15,000.)

In 1857 U.S. President James Buchanan sent an expedition force to Salt Lake City with orders to wrest control of Utah from Young and the Mormons, triggering the "Utah War." The term is an exaggeration, however, as the Mormons temporarily abandoned Great Salt Lake City before the federal troops arrived, and the two sides never exchanged gunfire.

Federal Reconciliation

Instead, the two sides reached a negotiated settlement and Young remained the de facto governor of Utah until his death in 1877. But pressure on the Mormons for change continued to mount as, beginning in 1862, the U.S. Congress passed a series of laws against the practice of polygamy. In 1887, Congress passed the Edmunds-Tucker Act, which took the vote away from all women and polygamous men declared all children of plural marriages illegitimate in the eyes of the law and froze the Mormon church's assets, bankrupting the church.

In 1890, in an effort to protect the Church in the face of these government policies, Mormon president Wilford Woodruff issued his "Manifesto." In it Woodruff renounced polygamy as a Mormon practice and separated the Church's political, religious and economic structures. Perhaps more than any other single event, these changes marked a turning point for the Mormon Church that has enabled it to thrive in relative peace, free of government interference. Utah was admitted to the United States as the 45th state on January 4, 1896.


A large village of Sauk and Meskwaki lived along the Mississippi River near what is Nauvoo, established in the late 18th century this village had as many as 1,000 lodges. In 1823 or 1824, Captain James White purchased the village from Quashquame, a Sauk leader. White gave Quashquame "a little sku-ti-apo [liquor], and two thousand bushels of corn" for the land. Quashquame's village moved to the west side of the river, merging with an existing Sauk village near what is now Montrose, Iowa. [1]

In 1841, Joseph Smith, living in Nauvoo, was visited by Sauk and Meskwaki from the Iowa village. "The ferryman brought over a great number on the ferry-boat and two flat boats for the purpose of visiting me. The military band and a detachment of Invincibles (part of the Legion) were on shore ready to receive and escort them to the grove, but they refused to come on shore until I went down. I accordingly went down, and met Keokuk, Kis-ku-kosh, Appenoose, and about one hundred chiefs and braves of those tribes, with their families." Smith then discussed the Mormon religion with them, followed by a feast and dancing by the Indians. [2] [3]

Hancock County was created in 1825 and organized in 1829, eleven years after Illinois became a state. In 1834, absentee investors A. White and J. B. Teas laid out and plotted the town of Commerce on a bend of the Mississippi River in Hancock County, some 53 miles (85 km) north of Quincy. [4] By 1839, the town had failed to attract settlers, and only a few frame houses had been built. The hopes of commercial success, based on the townsite being beside a necessary portage trail past seasonal rapids, were dashed by the fact that the site and surrounding lands were also most of the time a malarial swamp.

In early 1839, Latter Day Saints were forced to flee Missouri as a result of the 1838 Mormon War and a legal proclamation known as Missouri Executive Order 44 issued by Governor Lilburn W. Boggs. They regrouped in Quincy, whose non-Mormon citizens were shocked by the harsh treatment given them in Missouri and opened their homes to the refugees.

Joseph Smith, Jr., prophet and president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, remained imprisoned in Missouri, but his chief counselor in the First Presidency, Sidney Rigdon, had been released and rejoined the main body of the church in Quincy. Church member Israel Barlow fled Missouri and entered Illinois further north than the main group of Latter-day Saints. Learning from Isaac Galland, a land agent, that a large amount of land was for sale in the Commerce area, he contacted church leaders. Galland approached Rigdon in Quincy and offered church leaders title to land in Hancock County and additional land across the river in the Iowa Territory's Lee County. Church leaders purchased this land as well as the mostly vacant Commerce plat in 1839, and Latter Day Saints began to settle the area immediately. [5]

Physically weak from months of imprisonment, Smith and other leaders were permitted to escape from prison in Missouri. [6] [7] They rejoined the Latter Day Saints in Commerce by May 1839. He renamed the town "Nauvoo", meaning "to be beautiful". [8] Latter Day Saints often referred to Nauvoo as "the city beautiful", or "the city of Joseph". [9]

Despite the name, the site was, at first, an undeveloped swamp. Epidemics of cholera, malaria and typhoid took their toll on the struggling Mormons until the swamp was drained. [10] The smaller community of Commerce had few buildings, so construction began promptly to meet the immediate demand for housing. Elements of Joseph Smith's generalized city plan, known as the "plat of Zion" (first introduced in 1833) were used in the street layout and lot allotments in Nauvoo. The community was characterized by wood frame homes with outbuildings, gardens, orchards and grazing plots on large lots laid out on an orderly grid system. In general, the buildings were detached single-family dwellings reminiscent of New England construction styles, with commercial and industrial buildings in the same pattern.

Building up the city Edit

In the spring of 1840, John C. Bennett, the Quarter Master General of the Illinois State Militia, converted to Mormonism and became Joseph Smith's friend and confidante. Bennett's experience with Illinois' government allowed him to help Smith craft a city charter for Nauvoo. [11] After passing both houses of the Illinois Legislature, Governor Thomas Carlin signed the Nauvoo City Charter on December 16, 1840. Based closely on the Springfield, Illinois, charter, the document gave the city a number of important powers, including the establishment of the Municipal Court of Nauvoo, the University of Nauvoo, and an independent militia unit. At the time, the Illinois state government was closely balanced between members of the Democratic party and members of the Whig party. Both hoped to attract Mormon votes, and both were quick to place the charter into effect. After the charter was passed, Bennett was elected Nauvoo's first mayor, and Smith made Bennett a member of the church's First Presidency. A militia unit named the "Nauvoo Legion" was established, and Smith and Bennett were made its commanding generals.

The city grew quickly as Mormons gathered. At its height Nauvoo's population was as large as Quincy's or Springfield's, although it remained smaller than contemporary Chicago, still in its infancy. [12] Many new residents came from the British Isles, as a result of a successful LDS mission established there. [13] The Latter Day Saints published two newspapers in the city, the religious and church-owned Times and Seasons and the secular and independently owned Wasp (later replaced by the Nauvoo Neighbor). Although it mostly existed on paper, the University of Nauvoo was established, with Bennett as chancellor.

The Nauvoo Legion, a militia with 2,000 men, was headed by Joseph Smith, who was given the commission of lieutenant-general by Illinois' Governor Carlin. The Nauvoo militia consisted of a corps of riflemen.

On April 6, 1841, the Nauvoo Legion drilled in a great parade to honor the laying of the cornerstone for a new temple. and Sidney Rigdon gave the dedicatory speech. The foundation of the Nauvoo Temple was 83 by 128 feet (25 by 39 m) and, when finished, its steeple rose to a height of over 100 feet (30 m). Church elder Alpheus Cutler was put in charge of the construction of the ambitious stone structure. Another church committee began construction of a large hotel on the city's Water Street, to be called the Nauvoo House. John D. Lee was put in charge of constructing a meeting hall for the quorums of the Seventies.

In October 1841, a Masonic lodge was established in Nauvoo in the building currently referred to as the Cultural Hall. George Miller, one of the church's bishops, was made its "Worshipful Master" or leader. The lodge admitted far more members than was normal in Masonic practice and quickly elevated church leaders to high roles. This was the most significant time in which the Latter Day Saints were involved in Freemasonry.

Developments in the church Edit

At the time of Nauvoo's foundation, the church was led by a First Presidency, consisting of a Prophet and two Counselors. The presiding high council, known as the Nauvoo High Council and led by Nauvoo Stake President William Marks, was next in administrative authority, overseeing the church's legislative and judicial affairs. The church's "Traveling High Council" (or Quorum of the Twelve) led by President Brigham Young oversaw the church's missionary activities.

Joseph Smith, Jr. introduced and expanded a number of distinct practices while the Latter Day Saint church was headquartered in Nauvoo. These included baptism for the dead, rebaptism, the Nauvoo-era endowment, and the ordinance of the second anointing. In addition, he created a new inner council of the church — containing both men and women — called the Anointed Quorum.

Although not publicly acknowledged, Smith had been practicing plural marriage for some time, and in Nauvoo he began to teach other leaders the doctrine. Controversy arose because Smith's counselor in the First Presidency and Mayor, John C. Bennett, was caught in adultery (which Bennett considered and referred to as "spiritual wifery" or having multiple "spiritual" wives), claiming that Joseph Smith endorsed it and practiced it himself. Bennett was subsequently expelled from Nauvoo in the summer of 1842, and Smith himself became the city's second mayor. Bennett's fall led to Brigham Young becoming more prominent among Smith's confidants. Young proved more loyal than Bennett, helping Smith promote the teachings of the Church and the practice of plural marriage with greater discretion.

Another key development was Smith's 1844 establishment of the Council of Fifty based upon his political theory of theodemocracy. An extension of the Mormon belief of an imminent millennium, this council was meant to be a political organization which could immediately fill the roles of purely secular governments which would be destroyed at Christ's Second Coming. [14] The organization was meant to be fully functional only in the absence of secular government, and its governing principles were to be based on the United States Constitution. [15] Overblown reports of the organization, which met in secret, helped fuel rumors of an aggressive theocracy with Joseph Smith as its king. [16] The council had little actual power, but remained in existence far after the Nauvoo period. [17]

Nevertheless, Joseph Smith ran for President of the United States in 1844 advocating for a "theodemocracy". He wrote, "I go emphatically, virtuously, and humanely, for a Theodemocracy, where God and the people hold the power to conduct the affairs of men in righteousness." [18]

Growing hostility towards Mormons Edit

As the Mormon population grew, non-Mormons in Hancock County, especially in the towns of Warsaw and Carthage, felt threatened by the political power of the growing Mormon voting bloc. In Nauvoo, Joseph Smith was not only president of the Church, he was mayor, head of the municipal court, and general of the militia. This power base, plus the fact that Mormons benefited from collective group efforts as opposed to the more isolated and independent non-Mormon farmer, caused many non-LDS in the nearby areas to become suspicious and jealous. [19]

Throughout much of the Nauvoo period, officials from Missouri attempted to arrest Smith and extradite him on charges relating to the Mormon War. When he was apprehended, Smith would appeal to the Nauvoo Municipal Court, which would issue writs of habeas corpus and force his release. The court occasionally did the same when non-Mormons tried to arrest Latter Day Saints on other charges. Although the local court exceeded their authority in some of these cases, in at least one instance Governor Ford honored the Nauvoo court's decision to deny extradition. [20] Illinoisans, generally unaware of the Church's and Smith's legal history in Missouri, began to consider this a serious subversion of the judiciary which weakened the legal position of Nauvoo and the Latter Day Saint leadership.

Dissatisfaction with the perceived theocracy also arose from within. In 1844, First Presidency member William Law — an important merchant and counselor to Smith — broke with the church president over both the issue of plural marriage and the legal issues in Nauvoo. Law was excommunicated and founded a reformed church called the True Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. He also established a newspaper named the Nauvoo Expositor which threatened to expose the practice of plural marriage only one issue was published.

On June 10, 1844, Smith held a meeting of the city council which, after two full days of meeting, condemned the Expositor as "a public nuisance" and empowered him to order the press destroyed. A portion of the Nauvoo Legion, Smith's militia, marched into the office, wrecked the press and burned every copy of the Nauvoo Expositor that could be found.

The destruction of the press was seen as an opportunity by critics such as Thomas Sharp, whose paper in nearby Warsaw had been openly calling for destruction of the Church. Fanned by Sharp and others, public sentiment held that the action was illegal and unconstitutional. Some non-Mormons and disaffected church members in and around Hancock County began to call for Smith's arrest. Smith, his brother Hyrum, and several other church leaders submitted to arrest. While awaiting trial in Carthage, the county seat, under assurance of safety from Illinois governor Ford, Joseph and Hyrum Smith were assassinated when a vigilante mob attacked the jail. (See Death of Joseph Smith.)

The "Mormon War in Illinois" and the Mormon Exodus Edit

After Smith's assassination, the agitation against Mormons continued. The conflict escalated into what has sometimes been called the "Mormon War in Illinois". Opponents of the Mormons in Warsaw and Carthage began to agitate for the expulsion from Illinois of the Latter Day Saints. In October 1844, a great gathering was announced in Warsaw. Although it was purported to be a "wolf hunt", it was known that the "wolves" to be hunted were the Mormons. When Governor Thomas Ford became aware of it, he sent militia troops to disperse the gathering. However, as he later recalled:

The malcontents abandoned their design, and all the leaders of it fled to Missouri. The Carthage Greys fled almost in a body, carrying their arms along with them. During our stay in the county the anti-Mormons thronged into the camp and conversed freely with the men, who were fast infected with their prejudices, and it was impossible to get any of the officers to aid in expelling them. [21]

Vigilante bands continued to roam the county, forcing Latter Day Saints in outlying areas to abandon their homes and gather in Nauvoo for protection.

When the Illinois state legislature met in December 1844, there was great support for the repeal of the Nauvoo Charter. Governor Ford conceded that the charter's privileges had been "much abused" by the Mormons, but he urged that the legislature merely amend the document, saying, "I do not see how ten or twelve thousand people can do well in a city without some chartered privileges." [22] However, on January 29, 1845, the repeal was overwhelmingly passed by a vote of 25–14 in the Senate and 75–31 in the House.

After its legal disincorporation, Nauvoo government and civil institutions were legally dissolved and the church administrative structure operated as a default government. This more theocratic organization was known informally by its residents as the "City of Joseph" while disincorporated. After a succession crisis, Brigham Young gained support from the majority of church members and so controlled Nauvoo. Informal security procedures were established, including what were known as "whittling and whistling brigades". These were made up of Mormon men and boys who "whistled" while "whittling" with large knives held close to any suspicious strangers who entered Nauvoo. According to one witness:

The process of whittling out an officer was as follows: A great tall man by the name of Hosea Stout was the captain of the Whittling society, and he had about a dozen assistants. They all had great bowie knives and would get a long piece of pine board and get up close to the officer and pretend to be cutting the pine board, but would cut over it and cut near the officer. In the meantime, small boys would get tin pans, old bells and all sorts of things to make a noise with and surround the officer. No one would touch or say a word to him, but the noise drowned all that he would say. [23]

Nauvoo's population peaked at about this time in 1845 it may have had as many as 12,000 inhabitants (and several nearly as large suburbs) — rivaling Chicago, whose 1845 population was about 15,000.

By the end of 1845 it became clear that no peace was possible between LDS church members and antagonized locals. Mormon leaders negotiated a truce so that the Latter Day Saints could prepare to abandon the city. The winter of 1845-46 saw the enormous preparations for the Mormon Exodus via the Mormon Trail. In early 1846, the majority of the Latter Day Saints left the city. On September 10, 1846, a mob of about 1,000 anti-Mormons besieged Nauvoo. Three of the fewer than 150 Mormon defenders were killed, and skirmishing left wounded on both sides. About a week later, on September 16, Daniel H. Wells and the Mormon leadership of Nauvoo surrendered to the mob and arranged for their people's evacuation from the town and expulsion across the Mississippi River into the Iowa Territory. [24] After the departure of the Mormons, the temple stood until destroyed by arsonists on November 19, 1848. On April 3, 1999, plans were announced to rebuild the temple on the historic site where it once stood. LDS church leaders broke ground for the new temple on October 24, 1999. After construction was completed, the new temple was dedicated for use by members of the LDS church on June 27, 2002. [25]

159 years later, on April 1, 2004, the Illinois House of Representatives unanimously passed a resolution of regret for the forced expulsion of the Mormons from Nauvoo in 1846. [26]

Subsequent history Edit

Emma Hale Smith, Joseph's widow, continued to live in Nauvoo with her family after the departure of the majority of the Latter Day Saints. In 1860, their son, Joseph Smith III, claimed to receive a revelation to take his place as Prophet/President of a group known as the "Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints". He continued to live in Nauvoo, which functioned as headquarters of this church (now known as the Community of Christ) until 1865. In 1866, Smith moved from Nauvoo to Plano, Illinois, where the church's printing house had been established. He personally took over the editorship of the Saint's Herald, and Plano became the headquarters of the church. In his final years, members of the church began to move to Independence, Missouri, which Smith's father had designated as the "center place" of the "City of Zion". Latter Day Saints had wanted to return to this theologically important ground since their expulsion in 1833.

In 1849, Icarians moved to the Nauvoo area to implement a utopian socialist commune based on the ideals of French philosopher Étienne Cabet. At its peak, the colony numbered over 500 members, but dissension over legal matters and the death of Cabet in 1856 caused some members to leave this parent colony and move on to other Icarian locations in East St. Louis, Illinois, and Iowa and California. Descendants of this Icarian colony still live in Hancock and McDonough counties. The Icarian historical collection is located at the Western Illinois University library in Macomb.

In the early and mid 20th century Nauvoo was primarily a Catholic town, and the majority of the population today is Catholic.

On October 15, 1874, Sister Ottilia Hoeveler and four other sisters came from St. Scholastica Convent in Chicago to start a girls school. Originally named St. Scholastica Academy, it opened on November 2, 1874. Seven girls from Nauvoo and the vicinity were enrolled. In 1875, Hoeveler purchased the Baum Estate. [27] and built a convent.

In 1879 the community became an independent congregation. The name of the school was changed to St. Mary's Academy, and the convent became St. Mary's Convent. The convent was expanded in 1892 and a new school building built in 1897. In 1907 a boys school, Spalding Institute, was built. Spalding did not last long and closed in 1920. In 1925 it was reopened as a new boys school named St. Edmund's Hall. This school closed in 1940, and the building was used as the new convent, named Benet Hall.

In the 1950s and 1960s many new buildings were built: a monastery (1954), high school (1957), and dormitory (1967). Enrollment fluctuated after the 1960s. Due to declining enrollment St. Mary's Academy closed in June 1997. In 2001 the Sisters of St. Benedict, after having built a new monastery in Rock Island, departed Nauvoo. St. Mary's was sold and used as the Joseph Smith Academy until the winter semester of 2006 and began to be torn down in September 2007. [28]

Sts. Peter and Paul Elementary continues to provide education for grades PK-6.

  1. ^ Whittaker (2008). "Searching for Quashquame's Sauk and Meskwaki Village", Newsletter of the Iowa Archeological Society 58(4):1-4.
  2. ^ Roberts, Brigham H., editor, (1908) History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Vol 4. Salt Lake City: Deseret News, pp. 401–402
  3. ^Pratt, Orson, ed. (1856), "History of Joseph Smith", The Latter-day Saints' Millennial Star, 18, p. 629
  4. ^Linn 1902, p. 219
  5. ^Flanders 1965, p. 32
  6. ^
  7. Whitmer, John (1832–1846). The Book of John Whitmer. Provo, UT: Book of Abraham Project.
  8. ^Bushman 2007, pp. 382–386
  9. ^ The word is found in the Hebrew of Isaiah 52:7. Explanation regarding the Hebrew origin of the city's name, FAIR
  10. ^Bushman 2007, p. 403
  11. ^Brooks 1962, pp. 47–48
  12. ^Nauvoo CharterArchived 2007-12-08 at the Wayback Machine from History of the Church, Vol.4, Ch.13.
  13. ^Arrington & Bitton 1992, p. 69
  14. ^Arrington & Bitton 1992, p. 68
  15. ^Journal of Discourses 1:202–3, 2:189, and 17:156–7.
  16. ^Ehat 1980
  17. ^Quinn 1994
  18. ^Quinn 1997, pp. 238–39
  19. ^Nauvoo Neighbor', April 17, 1844
  20. ^ Heidi S. Swinton and Lee Groberg, Sacred Stone (2002), a PBS documentary and companion book, see. p. 86-87
  21. ^ Allen and Leonard, pp. 180–181
  22. ^Ford 1860, p. 365 harvnb error: no target: CITEREFFord1860 (help)
  23. ^Flanders 1965, p. 324
  24. ^Hallwas & Launius 1995, pp. 54–55
  25. ^
  26. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-10-22 . Retrieved 2016-08-12 . CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  27. ^
  28. "Nauvoo Illinois". ChurchofJesusChrist.org . Retrieved 2016-12-30 .
  29. ^
  30. Sanford, Melissa (8 April 2004). "Illinois Tells Mormons It Regrets Expulsion". The New York Times.
  31. ^"St. Mary's Convent, Nauvoo, Il.", The Catholic Church in the United States of America, Catholic Editing Company, 1914, p. 22This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  32. ^
  33. "Nauvoo St. Mary's High School". Illinoishsglorydays.com . Retrieved 2016-09-24 .
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  • Arrington, Leonard J Bitton, Davis (March 1, 1992), The Mormon Experience: A History of the Latter-day Saints (2 ed.), Urbana, Illinois: University of Illinois Press, ISBN0252062361
  • Brooks, Juanita (1962), John Doyle Lee, Zealot, Pioneer, Builder, Scapegoat, Glendale, California: Arthur H. Clark Co.
  • Bushman, Richard L (2007), Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling, New York City, NY: Vantage, ISBN978-1-4000-7753-3 .
  • Ehat, Andrew F. (1980), "It Seems Like Heaven Began on Earth: Joseph Smith and the Constitution of the Kingdom of God" (PDF) , BYU Studies, 20: 253–79, archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-04-09
  • Flanders, Robert Bruce (1965), Nauvoo: Kingdom on the Mississippi, Urbana, Illinois: University of Illinois Press
  • Ford, Thomas (1995) [1860], A History of Illinois: From Its Commencement as a State in 1818 to 1847, University of Illinois Press
  • Hallwas, John F Launius, Roger D (1995), Cultures in Conflict, A Documentary History of the Mormon War in Illinois, Logan, Utah: Utah State University Press
  • Linn, William A (1902), The Story of the Mormons: From The Date of their Origin to the Year 1901, New York: Macmillan
  • Quinn, D. Michael (December 1994), The Mormon Hierarchy: Origins of Power, Salt Lake City, Utah: Signature Books, ISBN1560850566
  • Quinn, D. Michael (1997), The Mormon Hierarchy: Extensions of Power, Salt Lake City: Signature Books, ISBN1-56085-060-4

Media related to Nauvoo, Illinois at Wikimedia Commons Works related to Nauvoo Charter at Wikisource

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