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MELVIN T . SMITH,Editor STANFORD J. LAYTON. Managing Editor MIRIAM B. MURPHY.Associate Editor


PETER L. Goss, Salt Lake City, 1985 GLEN M. LEONARD,Farmington, 1985

LA MAR PETERSEN, Salt Lake City, 1983 RICHARD W. SADLER,Ogden, 1985 HAROLD SCHINDLER, Salt Lake City, 1984 GENE A. SESSIONS, Bountiful.


I 'tah Historical Quarterly was established in 1928 to publish articles, d o c u m e n t s , a n d reviews cont r i b u t i n g t o k n o w l e d g e of U t a h ' s history. T h e Quarterly is p u b l i s h e d Dy t h e U t a h State Historical Society, 3 0 0 Rio G r a n d e , Salt L a k e City, U t a h 8 4 1 0 1 . P h o n e (801) 5 3 3 - 6 0 2 4 for m e m b e r s h i p a n d publications information. M e m b e r s of t h e Society receive t h e Quarterly, Beehive History, a n d t h e b i m o n t h l y Newsletter u p o n p a y m e n t of t h e a n n u a l d u e s ; for details see inside back cover. Materials l o r p u b l i c a t i o n s h o u l d b e s u b m i t t e d in d u p l i c a t e a c c o m p a n i e d by r e t u r n p o s t a g e a n d s h o u l d b e t y p e d d o u b l e - s p a c e with f o o t n o t e s at the e n d . Additional information on requirem e n t s is available f r o m t h e m a n a g i n g e d i t o r . T h e Society a s s u m e s n o responsibility for statem e n t s o f fact o r o p i n i o n by c o n t r i b u t o r s . T h e Quarterly is i n d e x e d in Book Review Index to Social Science Periodicals, A meriea: History and Life, Combined Retrospective Index to the Book Reviews in Scholarly Journals, 1886-1974, a n d Abstracts of Popular Culture. This publication has been funded with the assistance of a grant from the Department of the Interior, National Park Service, under provisions of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966. Second class postage is paid at Sail Lake City, Utah.



Contents SPRING 1983/VOLUME 51/NUMBER 2























THE CGVER Two girls on a fence at Rockville, outside the entrance to Zion National Park, became timeless images of youth when Union Pacific photographer Eyre Powell captured them on film. USHS collections, a gift of Florence Ivins Hyde.

© Copyright 1983 Utah State Historical Society


The Uprooting of a Japanese American Family GREGORY



the Oregon Trail




Maps of . . . . STANLEY B. KIMBALL




Louis Tikas and

the Ludlow Massacre



Books reviewed


Women of the West LOWELL K. DYSON. Red








The Communist Party and American Farmers . . . . LEONARDJ. ARRINGTON a n d








Saints without Halos: The Human Side of Mormon History LINDA BITTON.


Historic Land





In this issue "To every thing there is a season," but the long season of human youth has more often than not been neglected by historians. Children like Mozart who can command adult attention are rare. Moreover, the study of such a wunderkind reveals little of ordinary childhood. The time is ripe for broader studies to be made. A penetrating look at ordinary childhood in a typical polygamous household in small-town Utah is exactly what the lead article in this issue provides. Discovering how the eight Christenson children were housed, clothed, fed, and educated, their chores, church activities, and play, helps us to understand what it was like to grow up in a Mormon village in the late nineteenth century. The second piece, focusing on the unsettled lives children of polygamists sometimes led, balances the more bucolic Gunnison story. How a society chooses to educate its youth reveals where its basic values lie, as the final two articles illustrate. The time and energy poured into Utah 4-H by dedicated leaders created a dynamic program (above) that gave thousands of youngsters skills that served them throughout their adult years. The refusal of educators, church leaders, and the media to let the national controversy over the Scopes trial muddy school issues locally assured Utah children that their classrooms would continue to be open to unfettered scientific inquiry. Separating the two sets of articles is a brief, bittersweet look through the eyes of an observant thirteen-year-old at adults on the eve of Prohibition in Utah. With many of society's loftiest goals centered on the rearing of children to fulfilling adulthood, it seems auspicious that historical studies are beginning to illuminate what childhood has been like for different generations and groups of Utahns.

This unusual photograph of a feminine ritual shows Anna Christenson combing her sister Hannah's hair. Courtesy of Alice Avis.

Childhood in Gunnison, Utah BY W I L L I A M G. H A R T L E Y

I N 1863 IN MORMON U T A H , J O H N CHRISTENSON married a second wife. He was thirty-five, his first wife, Christena, twenty-seven, and his second wife, J o h a n n a , twenty-three. T h e three were LDS convert-immigrants from Sweden. In 1865 they moved to Gunnison, Utah, a Mormon village fifteen miles southwest of Manti, where they lived the rest of their lives and raised eight children — three were Christena's and five Johanna's. By grouping together the growing-up experiences of the eight children, the resulting group Mr. Hartley is research historian, Joseph Fielding Smith Institute for Church History, Brigham Young University. A version of this paper was read at the May 1982 meeting of the Mormon History Association and represents an adaptation of four chapters of the author's Kindred Saints: The Mormon Immigrant Heritage of Alvin and Kathryne Christenson, published in 1982.


Childhood in Gunnison

biography of their youthhoods provides useful insights into a variety of historically important subjects.1 This group biography gives a case study of the rearing of a first American generation by immigrant parents, of a family's persistent involvement in three decades of a Mormon village's history, and of life-course events as they affected youths inThe first post-pioneer generation. It offers a case study, too, of a normal polygamous family — one husband and two wives — that was not of the elite or of the pitiable types that seem to attract: historians' attention. Davis Bitton observed that, despite growing historical literature about Mormon polygamy, "much remains to be done in bringing out the personal dimension of polygamous living." T h e story of the Christensons' childhoods provides such personal dimensions. 2 What follows, then, is an in-depth look at an everyday, garden variety, plural LDS family during its child-rearing years in a typical Mormon village for three decades, 1865 to 1896.

John Christenson.

Christena Akesson.

Johanna Herling.


J o h n Christenson was eight years older than first wife Christena and twelve years older than second wife Johanna. He was in his mid-thirties when he first became a father. T h e family's childbearing years extended from 1863 to 1881, and the last child left home in 1896. First-born Caroline died young, so the widest age span 1 Materials the author used for the Christenson family history are called the Christenson Family Archives, cited hereinafter as CFA. In the author's possession at the time of writing, these materials will be placed in the LDS Church Library Archives, Salt Lake City. 2 Davis Bitton, "Mormon Polygamy: A Review Article," Journal of Mormon History 4 (1977):! 13.


Utah Historical Quarterly

separating children was sixteen years between the oldest surviving child, Joseph, and last-born Frankie who also died young. All but two of the children were born within a ten-year period. The children therefore grew up close to each other in age, and seven of the eight left home within five years of each other. The children and their birthdates are: Children by Christena Caroline Minnie

John Tilda

Birthdate 1863 1865 1865 1867 1868 1870 1871 1873 1877 1881

Children by Johanna Joseph Anna Emma Hannah Hyrum Franklin

John came from a Swedish peasant background and his wives from Swedish working class, more urban backgrounds. The two wives, after Johanna established during her first months in the marriage that she was not Christena's servant, got along well with each other. Both family tradition and historical evidence establish that the three parents, during the child-bearing years, functioned together harmoniously. Not conforming to the myth that Mormon men typically were absent from their families, John Christenson never left home for lengthy church missions or errands. He had nearly daily contact with all his children as they grew up. T H E VILLAGE

Gunnison, with its twenty large residential blocks, resembled the typical Mormon village. The Christenson children grew up aware of all the neighbors' residences, which slowly changed from pioneer log structures to respectable adobe and rock houses, and of a handful of community buildings. By the early 1870s the town's public square was ringed by a rock schoolhouse, rock tithing granary, two-story rock Relief Society hall where church meetings took place, post office, and cooperative store. In 1881 the Presbyterians joined the landscape by erecting a chapel that also hosted a school.3 3 Centennial Committee, eds., Memory Book to Commemorate Gunnison Valley's Centennial (n.p., 1959); Gunnison Ward Manuscript History, 1859-1900, LDS Church Library Archives.

Childhood in Gunnison


Gunnison was a farming community, although villagers tried minor industries such as salt refining, sorghum distilling, and milling. Large town lots allowed families to grow vegetable gardens and to keep their cattle by their houses. Farm fields were located outside the town, mostly south and across the bridge that spanned the Sanpitch River. The farmers mainly grew wheat on 7,000 to 10,000 irrigated acres. At an elevation above 5,000 feet, Gunnison had a medium-length growing season. Winters usually put very little snow on the ground. The climate was dry, and people, plants, and animals depended on the network of irrigation canals to bring them water. Winters milder than normal meant droughtlike summers for Gunnisonites, such as in 1876 when the Sanpitch River dried up. By the late 1880s most villagers had dug wells on their town lots, and well water met their culinary needs. 4 Gunnison, a precinct until it became a city in 1893, held a population of between 500 and 1,200 during the Christensons' growing-up years, a cluster half Scandinavian and half English or American. In 1881 only twenty-six non-Mormons lived there. The village had no newspaper, but telegraph lines bisecting the town informed people about outside events. The Christenson children grew up in Gunnison's prerailroad, preelectric, pretelephone era.5 HOUSING

The children's youthhood home was the native gray sandstone duplex John built on one of his two town lots in Gunnison by 1873. The duplex was a practical housing solution for a double family. It had two front doors. The interior was divided in half, with no interconnecting door. Each side had one large back room used as a kitchen-livingroom-bedroom, an attic room, and kitchen cellar for foods that needed cooling. By community standards theirs was a large house, but at its peak occupancy, when nine children lived there, it was crowded. A family story illustrates the sleeping congestion. Once when Apostle Lorenzo Snow and his wife Minnie lodged with the Christensons, they stayed in Christena's side of the duplex. She gave them the front room that was her bedroom; and she and her three daughters slept in one bed in the kitchen and son John

^Memory Book, p. 51; Gunnison Ward Manuscript History. ''Ibid. Nationality analysis was made by the author based on 1880 federal census data for Gunnison Precinct, microfilm, LDS Church Genealogical Society, Salt Lake City.


Utah Historical Quarterly

slept on a trundle bed that slid under the kitchen bed during the daytime. 6 Father John divided his time evenly between his two families. He had his own bedroom, barely big enough for his narrow bed and a bookshelf, in the middle of the house. According to Tilda, "He ate his meals, one week with mother, next with Auntie [Johanna]." The wives took turns cleaning his room and doing his laundry. 7 Federal land records show that John homesteaded 160 acres two miles south of Gunnison in Centerfield. His land application states that from 1876 to 1881 his wife and five children—Johanna's family — resided continuously on that land in a log house. It was a token home built to make the claim legal but hardly occupied — a typical frontier way to homestead extra land. 8 In 1887 Johanna moved to Centerfield to help John avoid arrest for polygamy. (He was arrested twice by 1891 but apparently was never convicted.) T h e youngest of the eight living children, Hyrum, was then eleven and he lived a few years there. Except for Hyrum's teenage years, the children grew up in the Gunnison duplex. 9 FOOD, CLOTHING, AND SUPPLIES

T h e Christensons fit the pattern of farm households where "husbands and wives were partners not only in making a home but also in making a living." Theirs was the "household mode of production," and feeding and clothing two families was a sizable challenge.10 Crisis never seemed far away, with water shortages and insect invasions two familiar devils plaguing Gunnison's farms. Tax records show that the Christensons fared above average for their town, being in the top third in terms of property worth. But their standard of living rested near the subsistence level.11 6 "Life Sketch of Joseph Christenson," Utah Genealogical and Historical Magazine 28 (October 1937): 146; Sofe W. Johnson, "A Short Sketch of the Life of Brighamine (Minnie) Christenson Taylor," typescript, p. 1, CFA; "Life of Tilda Christena Christenson Wasden as Told by Herself in 1958-1959," typescript, p. 2, CFA. 7 "Life of Tilda," p. 2. "Homestead Entry #5634, Federal Land Office file, photocopy, CFA, and homestead final certificate, photocopy from Bureau of Land Management, CFA; Lowry Nelson, The Mormon Village (Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1952); Richard H.Jackson, "The Mormon Village: Genesis and Antecedents of the City of Zion Plan," BYU Studies 17 (1977): 223-40. ""Life Sketch of Joseph," p. 146. Joseph Christenson Journal, January 24, 1891, holograph, LDS Church Library Archives. 10 Joann Vanek, "Work, Leisure, and Family Roles: Family Households in the United States, 1920-1955," Journal of Family History 5 (1980): 422. 1 'Sanpete County, Tax Assessment Rolls, 1875-1890, microfilm, LDS Church Genealogical Society.

Childhood in Gunnison


T h e double family earned its living by farming. By the 1880s their sixty tended acres produced mostly wheat and some oats, sorghum, barley, and food for the animals. T h e Christenson boys helped their father plow, plant, irrigate, weed, and harvest. T h e girls helped too. Minnie became so expert at bundling grain that she could tie as many bundles as any of her brothers. "Farming was accomplished with the simplest of tools," a granddaughter recalled; "a cradle was used to cut the ripened grain at harvest time. T h e children followed after, tying up the stalks into bundles." T h e grain then was taken, Tilda said, "to a threshing floor to be flailed out and winnowed." By 1890 the two oldest sons had left home, and the youngest son, Hyrum, became the primary farm laborer. By then John was in his sixties and slowing down, and the "very hard work on the farm" convinced Hyrum to move at age eighteen to Salt Lake City.12 On the Christensons' two city lots the women and children produced other food for the family. Following good Swedish custom, the wives and children took care of the milk cows and provided the family with milk, cream, and butter. T h e double family owned a dozen cows in 1877 and a half-dozen by the mid-1880s. T h e two wives raised chickens jointly, taking turns weekly to feed and care for them. At week's end the eggs were divided up, half for each family. T h e duplex's gardens also produced table vegetables and fruits. Both wives paid tithing to the LDS church on their butter and eggs.13 Tilda and Emma, a year apart and from different mothers, teamed up for chores. They gathered eggs, located missing chicken nests, hunted for hens, and herded cows together. In the fall, after harvest, they drove the cows to the family farm two miles south of town to pasture. "We took our lunch and stayed the day," Tilda said. T h e farm was not fenced, so the girls' main task was keeping the cows on the Christenson land, "which kept us pretty busy."14 That teasing was part of their childhood is shown by a trick the two herd girls played on younger sister Hannah. They convinced her they had a way to reach the distant family farm without walking. Their tall tale told of a mysterious vehicle, a platform with wheels, which was self-propelled. This "car," as they called it, carried them 12 "Life of Brighamine (Minnie)," pp. 1-2; "Tilda Christena Christenson Wasden," typescript, p. 2, CFA; Hyrum Christenson, "Short Account of My Life," (cited hereinafter as "Life of Hyrum") photocopy of holograph, p. 1, CFA. 13 Sanpete County, Tax Assessment Rolls, 1877, 1883; "Life of Tilda," pp. 1-2. 14 "Life of Tilda," p. 2.


Utah Historical Quarterly

and the cows out and back daily. "Hannah would watch for us at night but we always managed to get the cows into the corral before she saw us," Tilda said. One day little Hannah talked her mother into making her sisters let her go along. But when no car came Emma and Tilda told Hannah the car would not come if anyone was with them and that "she was the cause of our having to walk." Poor little sister believed them. 15 One hard winter, probably 1879-80, many cattle suffered. One day toward spring, according to Tilda, . . . my sister Emma and I were to water the cows. T h e corral was built right close to the road and made of slabs stood on end. As we opened the gate to let them out, a wagon was coming up the road, two men were in it, neither very active in the church. We stepped back until they should pass and heard one say, "Why, those cows look good." T h e other said, "Oh, John Christenson pays his tithing." Emma said, "Did you hear that?" "Yes, I did." And we both expressed thankfulness that we had a father who paid his tithing. We knew it before but coming from the source it did made us appreciate it more. 16

T h e family created most of its clothing. Anna recalled that some evenings, after daily chores were done, Johanna's family sewed by the light of tallow candles or a fireplace fire, and that sometimes the family told stories while working together. Christena's family sewed, too. "I never crocheted much, nor knit a lot," Tilda remembered, "except for one summer and winter when I knit more than all the rest of my life." She and Emma knitted to pass the time while tending cows. "Our hose were all of the long variety that came well above the knee and if we had stockings, we made them." They also made socks for their brothers. 17 T h e families created their own yarn. They raised, bought, and traded for wool, washed and cleaned it, then took it to Manti to have it wound into rolls about two feet long. Then, according to Tilda, . . . Mother [Christena] spun the rolls into the yarn we used or finer thread to be woven into cloth, the commonest called linsey. Mother had a large spinning wheel which one had to stand and walk back and forth to operate and which she used a great deal, or the smaller one for small amounts of yarn.

Christena once loaned her small spinning wheel to a widow to help the woman earn a living. T h e LDS women's Relief Society helped 15

Ibid. Ibid, p. 1. 17 Hannah Christenson Lundberg Hillam, "In Retrospect," (cited hereinafter as "Life of Hannah") typescript, p. 2, CFA; "Life of Tilda," p. 10. 16

Childhood in Gunnison


Rocking chair, churn, flat iron, and trivet are a few of the common items from the Christenson household in Gunnison that are extant. Courtesy of Helen Ballstaedt.

too. But when the widow died the Relief Society took her property, including Christena's spinning wheel, to reimburse the society for its aid.18 For finer cloth the Christensons carried yarn to a neighbor, Mrs. Harris, who had a loom that did much of the Christenson's weaving. Tilda said her "most beautiful dress" came from cloth from Mrs. Harris's loom. It was woven of one red thread and one black, giving a small striped appearance that went around the dress. "Mother brought the cloth home and I thought it was beautiful." Christena made the dress by hand because "she had no sewing machine." Tilda said she "loved the dress and was so proud of it. It was my very best dress." 19 18 ,9

"LifeofTilda,"p. 10. Ibid.


Utah Historical Quarterly TRANSPORTATION

Although John and Christena traveled to Salt Lake City spring and fall to LDS general conferences, the children rarely left Gunnison. No train depot was near, until tracks reached Gunnison in 1890, and Sanpete County's roads were dusty in summer and muddy or snowy in the winter. T h e family owned one wagon, pulled by oxen or horses, that was needed constantly for farm work. Occasionally the family was loaded into a sleigh at Christmastime to visit friends in nearby Mayfield. For those rides, Tilda recalled, John hitched a team to the sleigh, placed heated rocks or adobe bricks and straw on the bottom to keep feet warm, and put heavy quilts over the passengers to make the seven-mile ride comfortable. 20 Hannah told a story that shows that even fifty miles was too great a distance to travel without good cause. When she was about thirteen a man was taking a load of freight to Salt Lake City and wondered if Hannah would like to accompany him and his young daughter. Hannah said: I had two sisters in Salt Lake studying nursing, cousins, Aunts, Uncles and friends, so Mother decided to let me go. I had never been away from home, so it was very exciting for me. . . . I had a wonderful time but after I had seen all the wdnders, I was homesick and wanted to go home. However, I had to wait 6 months, until someone was going home because the train didn't run nearer than 50 miles to my hometown. 21 HEALTH

Gunnison lacked doctors during most of the double family's growing-up years. Therefore, raising eight of ten children to adulthood, despite diphtheria, typhoid and scarlet fever, other diseases, and accidents was fortunate. First-born Caroline and last-born Benjamin Franklin died in middle youth, Caroline at thirteen from typhoid fever and Frankie at twelve from scarlet fever complications or tuberculosis — family traditions differ. He suffered for a long time and seemed to have a premonition he was going to die several days before death came. According to his brother Joseph, the LDS brethren who came to give Frankie a priesthood blessing took father John aside "and talked to him so that he was finally willing to give him up. They dedicated him to the Lord and he soon passed away." Upright stone monuments, impressively decorated, mark the chil20 21

Ibid.; Sanpete County, Tax Assessment Rolls, 1873-1890. "Life of Hannah," p. 4.

Childhood in Gunnison


dren's graves in the Gunnison cemetery. Caboose Frankie was so loved, and his death so painful, that Anna and Hyrum both named a son after their deceased brother. 22 Ten-year-old Anna caught typhoid fever about the same time Caroline did. She did not die but it caused her long beautiful hair, of which she was very proud, to all fall out. When it finally grew back, she wore it long, almost to her knees. When Hannah was eighteen, in 1891 in Salt Lake City, she also caught typhoid fever.23 Christenson babies were born at home, with the other wife acting as midwife. Johanna was "a natural nurse," her daughter Hannah said, and probably Johanna's nursing influenced two of her daughters to later become trained nurses. 24 SCHOOL

Father John Christenson believed it was necessary "to inform our minds with useful knowledge and raise ourselves to a higher platform of intelligence than that which we occupy." He, Christena, and Johanna believed in education and "saw to it that each child had the opportunity to go to school." A granddaughter noted that "somehow the required tuition was paid by the parents and a book or slate acquired, which was shared." 25 T h e Gunnison rock schoolhouse, built about 1870, provided a nongraded school. T h e students were grouped by readers, the fifth reader being the highest. An 1877 report said that the school served seventy-five students and two teachers. In 1881 a room was added and the school became graded. School terms, two or three per year, lasted about ten weeks. Tuition cost a few dollars per child per term. Although no Gunnison school records survive, other sources show that the eight Christenson children received some schooling there. 2 " Utah's normal school age range then was six to sixteen, but in Gunnison some children, including Tilda, started at four and most youths quit school by age fifteen. T h e 1880 census says Gunnison had about 220 school-age children and that only 56 percent attended school. Nonattenders were mainly fifteen, sixteen, and six 22 "Life of Tilda," p. 1; Joseph Christenson Journal, December 8-10, 1893; Alice Avis (daughter of Hannah), Oral History Interview, untranscribed, CFA. 23 Avis Oral History; "Life of Hannah," p. 4. 24 Avis Oral History. 25 Gunnison Ward, Sabbath Meeting Minutes, November 15, 1891, LDS Church Library Archives, cited hereinafter as Sabbath Minutes; "Life of Minnie," p. 2. 26 "Life of Tilda," p. 2.


Utah Historical Quarterly

year olds. T h e 1880 census lists young John, Tilda, Anna, Emma, Hannah, and Hyrum as students, fifteen-year-old Minnie helping keep house, and fifteen-year-old Joseph doing farm work. When Hyrum was between thirteen and fifteen he received but three months of schooling each year and none after age fifteen.27 T h e Christensons sometimes alternated days going to school. One story tells how two of the children took turns every other day because they had but one pair of shoes between them. Evidently the older children attended during the winter school terms after harvest work was done and the younger children went spring term while the older ones helped with spring planting. Missing a term each year did not seem to put the children behind at all, Tilda said.28 Some family stories show that the education received in the district school, with its poorly trained teachers and its limited books, was minimal. Tilda told how a peddler once passed through the village and sold mother Christena a first reader which Tilda took to school. "Everyone used it," Tilda said, "it was the only book in the school." T h e children had to bring their own slates as well as books. Tilda said that "sometimes we would get some brown wrapping paper and make it into books to draw maps and write some of the things we had to keep." Anna recalled the day when the teacher, Nephi Gledhill, was disciplining by spanking hands with a ruler and her older brother Joseph took the ruler away and refused to return it.29 When Sanpete Academy, now Snow College, opened in 1888 it drew some of the Christenson children. Basically it was a high school. Joseph wanted to go that first year and his father "partly promised to help [him] get money to go to school" — but other plans interfered. John, then twenty-two, Tilda, nineteen, and Minnie, twenty-five and married, enrolled for at least one term. Hyrum, who moved to Salt Lake City in 1896, hoped he "could make enough money to take me through school," meaning high school. But, he said, "in this I was disappointed." 30

"The Compiled Laws of the Territory of Utah (Salt Lake City, 1876), p. 243; "Life of Tilda," pp. 2, 10; author's analysis of the 1880 federal census for Gunnison of identifiable children ages 6 to 16; "Life of Hyrum," p. 1. 28 Ruby Smith (daughter of Joseph Christenson), Oral History Interview, untranscribed, CFA; "Life of Tilda," p. 2. 29 "Life of Tilda," p. 2; Avis Oral History. 30 Joseph Christenson Journal, November 4, 1888; "Life of Brighamine (Minnie)," p. 3; "Life of Hyrum," p. 1.

Childhood in Gunnison


Children recalled that both mothers had their Swedish and LDS books that the women read faithfully. T h e family subscribed to the Juvenile Instructor — Hannah said she always read it from cover to cover — and to the Contributor, two LDS youth magazines. Joseph received a magazine called Happy Hours, which had "good stories." T h e adults subscribed to the Scandinavian LDS newspaper, Bikuben. Sometimes Johanna, while doing housework, let her children read to her. During many winter evenings Hannah sat on a low stool by the fireplace and read to her mother by firelight, and, Hannah said, "this is one of the sweetest memories of my life." Fiction was frowned upon by parents and church leaders. One time, however, Joseph bought Hannah a book, the first she ever owned. "Books of that kind were not very plentiful in the country places and I prized this very much," she said. One reason she prized it was "because it had a ghost story in the back." Hannah said she read the Book of Mormon and Bible from cover to cover during her youth. 31 PLAY

Childhood meant play for the Christensons. However, little is recorded about their playing. Presumably they swam in the Sanpitch River or irrigation canals, sledded in the winter, took pony and wagon rides, and perhaps fished and hunted. Frankie once possessed a picture puzzle of a sailing vessel. Playing cards were not allowed in the family and parlor games were rare. Anna said that she played the usual childhood outdoor games, such as hide-and-seek, run-sheep-run, and piroot (snoop). "We played baseball in Gunnison," Joseph recalled, "and had championship games with other towns. It was soon discovered that I could not throw very well so they made me umpire." 32 Friends were important to the children. Tilda told a story of ruining her dress one day when playing with the nearby Harris children. For Hannah, school friendships mattered very much: I had a chum whom I loved very much. We used to dress just alike, and have "tradelasts" — what one had the other must share. And best of all we each had a sweetheart and they were both named John. We used to pass each other notes in school and it was exciting because we had to be 31

"Life of Hannah," p. 2; Avis Oral History. Avis Oral History; Sabbath Minutes, January 8, 1895; "Life Sketch of Joseph," typescript variation, p. 7, CFA. 32


Utah Historical Quarterly so careful that the teacher didn't see. We just couldn't wait until school was out. We four were together during all our school days and vowed undying love.

Pets were part of the children's play activities, too. They grew up with cows, horses, pigs, sheep, and at least one dog. No doubt the family animals had names and personalities and earned the children's affections. One chicken hurt its leg, so Johanna's family took him into the house until the leg mended. T h e rooster became a favorite pet. One day, Hannah said, the rooster "left his calling card" on her father's workbench: T h e rooster jumped down, and Father threw his hat at him. He gave a funny little flop and turned around and gave a lusty crow. It looked so funny I laughed, then I was scared, I thought Father would be angry. But he laughed, too, so everything was all right. 34

Music, too, fit into the childhood realm of play. T h e double family had no piano but they liked music. Joseph played a horn in the town's brass band. Hannah owned a guitar and played chords on it while her family sang around evening firesides. Joseph, Hannah, and John enjoyed singing, and the local LDS ward provided some musical training. "Whenever there were songs to be sung in Primary," Hannah said, "we had a very special young lady who used to teach us. One time when she was looking for a song for me, she came across a children's cantata that she thought would be fine to produce, which she did, and I had one of the leads." T h e bishop, Christian Madsen, thought Hannah had singing talent so he invited her to his home where Hannah and the bishop's wife sang together. Hannah said that Helena Madsen "taught me many of the Church songs." In adult life Hannah and Joseph sang in the Tabernacle Choir.35 Family information about holidays is skimpy. Nothing reveals how the three Swedish parents celebrated Christmas with their American offspring. However, Hannah wrote about Fourth of July celebrations she witnessed between ages eight and ten (1879-81). "For weeks ahead Mother would be getting ready," she said, for the girls must have new dresses, shoes, and hats. Johanna's friend was an expert at braiding and shaping hats, called "sun-downs," and, Hannah said, "when they were trimmed with pretty flowers and ribbons I thought I was just about right." Her father started the holiday by 33

"Life of Tilda," p. 10; "Life of Hannah," pp. 3-4. "Life of Hannah," p. 1. 35 Avis Oral History; "Life of Hannah," pp. 2-4; Ruby Smith Oral History. 34

Childhood in Gunnison


shooting off a "big gun" at daybreak. Brother Joseph arose before dawn and helped the town band serenade "all the bigwigs in town." At ten the brass band led everyone in a parade to the bowery, "shaped like a tabernacle with a dome," supported by woven willows. "We always had the Declaration of Independence read," Hannah said, and then came songs, speeches, comic recitations, and children singing. At noon there were ball games for older people and races and prizes for children. Then the children went home to a "grand feast," and Hannah said, "there was not much candy in those days, but Father always had a big bag of candy for us which was a great treat." A children's dance occupied the afternoon and a grown-ups' dance the evening. 30 RELIGION

T h e children had pious parents. Not only were the three parents LDS converts who gave up homeland and family to come to Utah, but they stayed strong in their adopted faith the rest of their lives. T h e Gunnison Ward Relief Society minutes contain testimonies by Christena and Johanna that show firm faith. Their expressions praised tithing, priesthood blessings, and support for leaders, and vented joy about being Mormons. Both participated in the Relief Society's work. Both tithed on their home produce. John, never a high LDS authority, was a seventy in the priesthood who labored faithfully as a home visitor — block teacher and block priest — and sometimes as a substitute counselor to Bishop Madsen. John and Chistena gave reports to the ward about LDS general conferences, which they regularly attended. John and Christena converted to not using alcohol, tobacco, coffee, or tea, but Johanna never gave up her traditional Swedish cup of coffee. John taught that the young should "get a testimony for themselves and not rely upon the word of man." He believed that "parents should teach their children while young and set good examples before them," something he and his wives did.37 Religious parents do not always produce religious offspring, but these three did. T h e children participated in whatever programs the LDS church offered. They were blessed in infancy and baptized when about eight in the Sanpitch River. During an 1875 Mormon rebaptism campaign Caroline, Minnie, and Joseph were rebaptized, 36

"Life of Hannah," p. 2. "Sabbath Minutes, July 1, 1888; Avis Oral History; Sabbath Minutes, December 20, 1885.


Utah Historical Quarterly

along with their parents. Three sons received priesthood ordination, but Frankie, who requested ordination upon his deathbed at age twelve, died unordained. 38 Gunnison is one of those unusual Mormon wards in which excellent minute books were kept, records that detail what meetings were like. T h e Primary minutes, for example, give a good picture of the Christenson children's involvements. Joseph, Hannah, and Tilda each served as Primary secretaries. Tilda once recalled how impressive Eliza R. Snow was while organizing Gunnison's first Primary. Sister Snow showed the children Joseph Smith's watch which he was wearing when shot in Carthage Jail. "This was a highlight of my life," Tilda said. She and Emma received twenty-five cents from their father and each bought a song book for Primary that day. All her life Tilda remembered a moral verse Sister Snow then taught them: It is a sin to steal a pin, Much more to steal a larger thing.

T h e minutes note that Tilda, Joseph, Emma, and Annie gave recitations now and then and that six-year-old Hyrum exhibited beets and carrots in a Primary fair in 1883. T h e Christenson youngsters were among the forty or so who attended Primary in 1881, one-fourth of the community's sixty-one boys and eighty-nine girls.39 Tilda said each child brought one or two eggs to Primary each week to finance it. "Then we took the eggs to the co-op store and the manager gave us cash," from five cents to fifteen cents per dozen. One time Tilda, when asked to sew a quilt block for the Primary, said she did not have time, whereupon Sister Madsen, the Primary president, told her: "If you do not take time to do work for the Church, the Lord will not take time for you when you need help" — a lesson Tilda said she remembered through life.40 T h e children also enrolled in LDS Sunday School. When Joseph was eighteen he became the assistant superintendent. Minnie, as an older girl, taught Sunday School classes. Tilda taught classes, too, before she was fifteen.41 38 "Life of Tilda," p. 1; Gunnison Ward, Record of Members, microfilm, LDS Church Library Archives; "Life Sketch of Joseph," p. 147. 39 Gunnison Ward, Primary Minutes, LDS Church Library Archives, 1879-1883; "Life of Tilda," p. 1; Gunnison Ward, Primary Minutes, April 24, 1880, and 1881. 40 "Life of Tilda," p. 2. 41 Ibid., p. 3; "Life of Brighamine (Minnie)," p. 2; Gunnison Ward Manuscript History for the year 1879.

Childhood in Gunnison


T h e boys attended Young Men's Mutual Improvement Association, or MIA, and the girls the Young Ladies' MIA. Joseph noted that "when the MIA was organized, I was permitted to join though only ten years old." Minnie attended YLMIA from age ten also. Tilda, however, had to be fourteen before she could attend. T h e MIA minutes speak of the Christensons. At an 1887 conjoint meeting of both sexes, for example, Tilda gave a poetry reading and J o h n offered the benediction. From 1888 to 1890 Tilda was the YLMIA president. 42 T h e children helped the LDS women's Relief Society too. T h e ward's women developed a wheat storage project, and part of it involved gleaning wheat after the men finished harvesting. When gleaning, Christena and Johanna took along the children. In 1868, for example, gleaners included Tilda, seven; John, ten; and Joseph, thirteen; and father J o h n drove the wagon into which the gleaners loaded wheat sacks. In other years Minnie and Anna gleaned too. 43 When Bishop Madsen organized Gunnison's first LDS deacons' quorum in 1877, twelve-year-old Joseph Christenson became the quorum's president. Overly eager, Joseph and his counselors recruited every boy they could find to join the quorum until the bishop restrained them. "We met in my father's house," Joseph recalled, and he said their main duties were to "hand around the bread and water," or communion, on Sundays and to help the poor by collecting "fast flour" on fast days. At fourteen Joseph became a priest and soon was the priests' leader. Four years later, at eighteen, he became a seventy. Young John was a priest by about 1885, and Hyrum was ordained a teacher by his father in 1895.44 Illustrative of the young men's priesthood work is an 1887 meeting that young John attended along with two elders, two other priests, one teacher, and fifteen deacons. T h e session turned into a question and answer exchange. One asked "How many there were that took the name of God in vain?" None confessed. Another asked how many kept the Mormon health code, the Word of Wisdom? "All answered they did." One asked how many had spoken evil of another during the past week? "There were none." T h e n came reports 42 "Life Sketch of Joseph," p. 147; Gunnison Ward, YWMIA Minutes, J u n e 28, 1875, LDS Church Library Archives; "Life of Tilda," p. 2; Gunnison Ward, YWMIA Minutes, January 24, 1887, and October 1, 1888, through March 18, 1890. 43 Gunnison Ward, Relief Society Minutes, 1875-1890, LDS Church Library Archives. 44 "Life Sketch of Joseph," p. 147; Gunnison Ward, Primary Minutes, J u n e 30, 1885; Gunnison Ward, Lesser Priesthood Records, December 10, 1887, LDS Church Library Archives; Sabbath Minutes, December 9, 1888.


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showing that two priesthood members had chopped wood for the poor and nine had helped haul it. Young John was the priests' quorum secretary in 1887 and 1888, and in 1888 and 1889 he sat many Sundays at the sacrament table and prayed over the broken bread and large goblets of water during sacrament services.45 BOY-GIRL RELATIONSHIPS

During their teenage years the Christenson eight participated in boy-girl socials, mostly LDS dances. John and Joseph sometimes escorted their younger sisters to the dances. "A girl never thought of going to a dance without a partner," Tilda recalled. "Sometimes a boy would take two or three girls to the dance and then each girl would dance with anyone who asked her." In the 1870s round dances, such as waltzes, were forbidden, but by 1890, Tilda said, "they were allowed a certain number of round dances, the rest was quadrilles." She said she never lacked escorts but she never went steadily with any certain boy either. About 1890 the ward sponsored dances every other Friday, alternating them with plays put on by the Gunnison Home Dramatic Club.40 T h e young people also enjoyed buggy and wagon rides and spending a summer day at Funk's Lake a few miles away boating, kicking footballs, eating ice cream, drinking lemonade, and picnicking. 47 Although the Christensons did not marry young, romantic interests seemed undelayed. When Tilda was sixteen she wrote a love poem to James Wasden, whom she married eleven years later. One verse of it reads: Others' eyes may please thee Other lips press thine No other can love thee With such a love as mine.

Hannah was about eighteen or nineteen when she met a young Tribune reporter in Salt Lake City: We loved each other very much but he was not an LDS and I had been taught the only right way to marry was in the Temple. I told him so and I felt "why must all the things you want most be the things you cannot have in our church?" But we remained good friends. 49 "Life of Tilda, p. 4. 4<i

Joseph Christenson Journal, May 1, 1889; "Life of Tilda," p. 4. Joseph Christenson Journal, J u n e 1889. 48 "Life of Tilda," pp. 11-12. 4H "Life of Hannah," p. 5. 47

Childhood in Gunnison


T h e three Christenson sons filled missions, but only Hyrum, age twenty-two, had a girlfriend when he left. LEAVING H O M E

"To leave home is the most straightforward of all migration moves," social historian Richard Wall has said, but "very little is known about it." Histories of childhood and families, he said, "have included little information on the ages at which children in the past did leave home." 50 T h e departure of the Christenson eight from the nest, however, is well documented. Gunnison could not keep them. Of the eight, only Minnie continued to live there, but even she left for a short time. Hyrum and Anna both returned for a few years but not permanently. None of John's three boys walked in his farmer footsteps. As a result, none of his lands and houses in Gunnison now belong to his descendants, and great-grandchildren today feel little if any attachment to the quiet central Utah town. T h e children left home because of pulls and pushes. Aunt Maggie Peterson, John's sister, lived in Salt Lake City, and her home became a magnet for John's children who wanted better jobs and broader experience than Gunnison offered. One of Joseph's children explained that the Christenson children left because, like their immigrant parents years earlier, they wanted new horizons to cross and hoped to better their situation from that which they had known as children. Gunnison gave the children few opportunities to move ahead, so they looked elsewhere. 51 Within a five-year period, 1885 to 1890, each of the children left home except for Hyrum, still a boy. At first the young Christensons worked around Gunnison. Sixteen-year-old Minnie, for example, did live-in housekeeping work. For one or two dollars per week she did laundry â&#x20AC;&#x201D; scrubbing on a washboard, boiling, and scrubbing again â&#x20AC;&#x201D; ironing, housecleaning, and cooking in nearby Fayette. Then, she and Anna decided to earn better money, so they went to Salt Lake City about 1885. They established a Salt Lake City precedent, and soon Emma, then Tilda, then Hannah followed them. None lived in the city permanently, at first, and the girls individually or together returned to Gunnison for short periods. When Dr. Ellis 50 5

Richard Wall, "The Age at Leaving Home," Journal of Family History 3 (1978): 181. â&#x20AC;˘Ruby Smith Oral History.


From the top: Gray sandstone duplex in Gunnison housed the double Christenson family; oldest son, Joseph Christenson; Tilda, Hannah, Anna, Hyrum, Minnie, and Emma Christenson.

Utah Historical Quarterly

Childhood in Gunnison


Shipp opened her nursing school in Salt Lake City she enrolled Minnie and Anna. They graduated with good marks in June 1887 and then became nurses in the city, usually living with and helping families with new babies.52 Tilda's story illustrates the girls' activities. In 1887, when she was sixteen, she decided tojoin her nurse sisters and Emma, who was earning $2.50 a week, for housekeeping. "Wages in Gunnison were $1.00 a week and that meant not only house work but outside work also, besides washing and ironing," Tilda said. John and Christena consented, and John's parting words to his daughter were, "Tilda, always remember the Lord in prayer, then He will remember you." She did domestic work in the city for a few months, then returned home with her parents after they came north to conference. When she returned, Gunnison's Bishop Madsen said: "Tilda, you are the first girl from Gunnison who has gone to the city and come home without cutting your hair and I commend you for that . . .just too much self-will to be led by every fashion."53 Evidently Tilda went back and forth between Gunnison and Salt Lake City until 1890 when she enrolled, after working a summer in Salt Lake, at the Sanpete Stake Academy at Manti, along with Minnie and John. Tilda was then nineteen. In 1891 she attended summer school in Provo and then taught school in Mayfield, near Gunnison, for a term. When young John left for his mission in late 1891 she wanted to earn money to help him so she moved to Salt Lake City and worked at the ZCMI clothing factory, and then she did domestic work. After a three-year absence she returned to Gunnison. For the first half of 1896 she did housekeeping in Salt Lake City, filling in for her sister Hannah. In September 1896 she became an ordinance worker in the LDS Manti Temple and, after two years there, she married in 1898 at age twenty-seven.54 Joseph left home at age twenty-one to fill an LDS mission to Sweden, returned home for a year, taught school, and then accepted a church call to move to Salt Lake City to become a voter to help Mormons try to carry the city's 1890 election. He remained there the rest of his life. John moved to Salt Lake City, too, about 1890, left for a mission in 1892 at age twenty-three, and settled in Salt Lake City


"Life of Brighamine (Minnie)," pp. 2-3. "Life of Tilda," p. 3. 'Ibid.



Utah Historical Quarterly

afterwards. Hyrum, tired of farm work, moved to Salt Lake City in 1896 at age eighteen, left from there for his mission four years later, and after his mission stayed in Salt Lake City.55 In 1894 second wife Johanna Christenson, grieving over the death of her last-born Frankie, moved to Salt Lake City to be with her children. She set up a boarding home there where her working children stayed. In 1897, according to a Salt Lake City directory, Emma, Hannah, Annie, and Hyrum — J o h a n n a ' s unmarried children — were living with her. When she returned to Gunnison near the turn of the century, her children remained in Salt Lake City. By then only Minnie, of the eight children, still lived in Gunnison. 50 Life-course historians are interested not only in the age at which children leave the nest but also in the marriage age. When John Christenson, the father, died in 1903, half of his adult children had not married. Seven of the eight finally married. T h e sons married at ages twenty-seven, twenty-five, and twenty-seven; and the daughters at ages twenty-four, twenty-seven, thirty-three, and thirty-nine. All married in an LDS temple. 57 ASSESSMENT

According to family experts, "it is nearly impossible to find a period of history during which the younger and older generations have not been at odds with each other over values, standards, morals, and the exercise of j u d g m e n t and restraint." 58 Although Christenson parents and children undoubtedly had conflicts, no records survive showing major rebellion or rupture of affections. Apparently the children enjoyed their childhoods — Hannah said hers was particularly happy — and love and affection among the family members in childhood and adulthood can be documented. T h e consensus seems to be that John, the father, was the stern and silent type who was nevertheless respected and esteemed. When Joseph returned from his mission he genuinely rejoiced to see his father again. When the father died, the children joined in a sad reunion at his funeral. After leaving home, the children corres55

"Life Sketch of Joseph," p. 148. ™Salt Lake City Directory, 1897. " H y r u m , Emma, Hannah, and Anna had not yet married. Emma never married. For a description of life-course approaches to history see Howard P. Chudacoff, "The Life Course of Women, Age and Age Consciousness, 1865-1915, "Journal of Family History 5 (1980): 274-76. 58 Geraldine Lambert et al., Adolescence: Transition from Childhood to Maturity, 2d ed. (Monterey, Calif: Brooks/Cole Publishing Co., 1980), p. 21.

Childhood in Gunnison


ponded with their parents and each other, and parents visited the children in Salt Lake City fairly often.59 T h e half-brothers and half-sisters related to each other as if they were full brothers and sisters. In childhood some were true friends, like herd-girls Tilda and Emma. Minnie and Anna, halfsisters, studied nursing together. In Salt Lake Joseph became a second father to the five other children who settled there, including half-brother John. Joseph, when on church business in Wyoming, visited his half-sister Tilda. 00 T h e eight children seemed to retain positive feelings about their parents' polygamous relationship. Minnie grew up believing in plural marriage and became the third wife of Thomas E. Taylor. Joseph, his diary reveals, felt frustrated when the LDS Manifesto in 1890 banned new plural marriages and therefore closed the door on his hopes to become a polygamist. Only Hyrum, who was a boy when his mother, Johanna, had to vacate the duplex and move away from her husband, felt that his mother was treated a poor second best of the two wives. When the father, the common denominator, died, the two families received an equitable division of properties, after solving some minor disagreements. When J o h n died a bit of the family's glue dissolved, but no serious wedge came between the two families.61 No assessment of childhood is possible without examining the resulting adult lives of the children. How "well" did the eight Christensons turn out as adults? By any criterion, none were failures. Six of the children received schooling beyond that available in Gunnison. T h r e e attended the Sanpete Academy, two graduated from nursing school, one received cooking lessons, and one took music lessons. Most developed marked musical abilities. Most enjoyed reading and were considered well versed by their associates. T h e diaries penned by the three sons and the letters and personal writings of Minnie, Tilda, and Hannah show the authors to be intelligent people. Two became nurses, two salesmen, one a cook, one a temple executive, and two worked as housewives. None of the eight became wealthy, but none turned out dirt-poor either. Only John and Emma did not become home owners. 59

Joseph Christenson Journal, October 28, 1888. Ibid., 1900-30. 61 Joseph wrote: "Hope it will not be long before the Lord opens the way for myself and others to obey His law." See Joseph Christenson Journal, April 6, 1904; also, Florence Niederhauser (daughter of Hyrum), Oral History Interview, untranscribed, CFA; Joseph Christenson Diary entries for 1903. 60


Utah Historical Quarterly

T h e eight lived long lives. Their average age at death was seventy-eight. T h e sons turned out to be taller than their five-foot, seven-inch father. T h e daughters were medium to short in stature and were usually taller than their mothers. Johanna's children and descendants have had some hereditary problem with diabetes. Minnie bore but one child. John, Joseph, Tilda, and Hyrum reared large families, and Anna's late marriage and Hannah's divorce explain their small numbers of offspring. None of the children left the faith of their childhood. All three sons filled LDS missions. T h e seven who married married in a Mormon temple. Only one divorced, and she later remarried, again in a temple. T h e eight participated in their local Mormon wards. One became a bishop, one a Relief Society president, two were Primary presidents, three were home missionaries, and several were Mutual presidents. Joseph became a counselor in the Salt Lake Temple presidency and associated with LDS general authorities. All eight died in the faith and received Mormon funerals. T h e parents felt little desire to pass any Swedish heritage to their offspring. Sweden, with its poverty, lack of freedom, and "apostate" religion, was considered inferior by the parents who had turned their backs on her to enjoy America's prosperity and liberties and Mormonism's "true Gospel." Parents and children came to understand that some people equated being foreign with being backward, and "Dumb Swede" was a popular slur they did not want hurled at them. Father John became an American citizen in 1873, and his children did not grow up to be bicultural persons. T h e parents learned English and spoke it in daily life, although some Swedish was spoken at home or when visiting Swedes. Swedish lullabies were sung to babies, and Swedish books and newspapers were read in the home. But the eight children did not learn Swedish very well. When Hyrum reached Sweden on his LDS mission, for example, he could not communicate with Swedes for many weeks.02 Six of the seven children who married did not marry Scandinavians, which accounts in no small measure for the Christensons' loss of Swedishness. Swedish language and customs continued only in son John's house due to his Swedish wife and her mother. T h e three Christenson immigrant parents in time had grandchildren who had



Hyrum Christenson to Tilda Christenson Wasden, August 7, 1953, photocopy of holograph,

Childhood in Gunnison


no taste for Swedish foods and no token Swedish vocabulary. Only a handful of Swedish objects survive today as family heirlooms. 63 That the eight's childhood experiences were decent is evidenced by the fact that in their lifetimes none became rebels, dropouts, criminals, or social or psychological deviants. The eight became healthy, responsible, religious, kind, hardworking, middle-class Americans. In terms of life-course data, this group biography of childhood shows that the eight Christenson children attended school from about age four to fourteen. T h e males left for missions at the average age of twenty-two. T h e seven who married did so at the median age of twenty-seven. T h e daughters began leaving home by age sixteen and the sons nearer to age twenty. This childhood history supports Joseph Rett's conclusion that nineteenth-century adolescents passed through stages not determined by set ages. No age seemed to determine when the Christenson children started to work, attended school or the academy, left home, or married. 64 Historians are discovering that great mobility characterized the late nineteenth century and that Utah's overpopulation spilled into surrounding states.65 Seven of the Christenson eight might be labeled mobile because they left Gunnison permanently, but after their one move from Gunnison, they stayed put like their parents. Six moved to Salt Lake City and stayed there (although Hyrum and Anna spent a few adult years back in Gunnison). Minnie lived out her days in Gunnison. Only Tilda left Utah, and she and her husband homesteaded in upper Wyoming and spent their lifetimes there. "If we define a community as the people inhabiting a townsite at a given point in time," historian Dean May has said, "we find that they disperse quickly, slipping like mercury from our grasp." T h e "extreme fluidity" of a community's population, he said, makes the task of writing community histories difficult.66 This Christenson study and others like it, therefore, will be helpful by providing data 83

Surviving heirlooms are a necklace, photograph, and hymnbook. "Joseph F. Rett, Rites of Passage (New York: Basic Books, 1977), pp. 11-37. 65 Howard P. Chudacoff, Mobile Americans: Residential and Social Mobility in Omaha, 1880-1920 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1972). Chudacoff concludes that all groups and classes and statuses he studied "moved and moved often" (p. 107). See also Richard Sherlock, "Mormon Migration and Settlement after 1875," Journal of Mormon History 2 (1975): 53-68; "Life of Tilda," pp. 5-13. 66 Dean L. May, "People on the Mormon Frontier: Kanab's Families of 187'4,"Journal of Family History 1 (1976): 171.


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for community histories. In Gunnison, for example, there were a handful of other families who stayed put like the Christensons. If the group childhoods of those families were also studied and added to this one, a reliable analysis of what childhood was like in Gunnison for the late nineteenth century could be penned. Then, if similar studies of selected families in other communities for the same period were obtained, historians could say with assurance: "Here is what childhood was like in Utah in the 1870-90 period." Other periods could be similarly studied. Youthhood would be understood better, community histories would be improved, and historians could better evaluate biographically and historically the people, movements, events, and decisions important to Utah and LDS history. 67 " T w o other Gunnison families that could be similarly studied are those of Austin Kearns and Hamilton Garrick.

'Arrest of the bashful but muchly married Brother Handy" illustrated former marshal Fred E. Bennett's 1887 expose of Mormon polygamy.

"Hide and Seek": Children on the Underground BY MARTHA SONNTAG BRADLEY

T h e n came the days when the Edmunds Law was in evidence . . . and the polygamous families were hounded till their lives were a weary drag to many of them. X H E EDMUNDS AND EDMUNDS-TUCKER ACTS OPENED a

long season of trouble for polygamous men and their wives that fell with equal force upon the heads of their children. The Congress of the United States had by 1890 passed a series of bills designed to destroy the Mrs. Bradley is a doctoral candidate at the University of Utah. 'Flora Estella Rogers, Autobiography, 1870-1897, LDS Church Library Archives, Salt Lake City.


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institution of plural marriage among the Mormons. T h e cumulative result of these bills was the disincorporation of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the escheatment of church properties, the disfranchisement of its polygamist members and their disqualification from holding public office, and numerous other violations of basic rights provided by the Bill of Rights to the Constitution of the United States. Although it is possible to observe violations of basic constitutional rights during the 1870s and '80s, it is more difficult to evaluate the effects of the conflict on the children involved, the "innocent bystanders" who were raised in the atmosphere of persecution, secrecy, and hatred of the crusade to end polygamy. Mormon historiography has often ignored young Saints as objects of interest and study. This article, however, proposes to center its attention on this forgotten minority and direct certain questions to their story, such as: What were the effects of antipolygamy legislation, in particular the Edmunds and Edmunds-Tucker acts, upon the children of polygamous unions? Did their legal and social position change during the interim? And finally, what enduring changes did this experience cause in their lives? Orson Pratt publicly announced the Mormon doctrine and practice of plural marriage on the morning of August 29, 1852, before a conference of the church in Salt Lake City. Acknowledging that members of the church, particularly church leaders, both believed in and practiced plural marriage as early as the 1840s, Elder Pratt elaborately defended polygamy as grounded in both Biblical and moral practice. He told the Saints that in celestial marriage, male members â&#x20AC;&#x201D; when approved by the prophet â&#x20AC;&#x201D; were called upon by God to prove their faith through the selection of additional wives. Brigham Young reminded the Saints: "The revelation which God gave to Joseph, was for the express purpose of providing a channel for the organization of tabernacles for those spirits to occupy who have been reserved to come forth in the Kingdom of God." 2 Despite its seeming incongruity in American monogamous culture, plural marriage was officially preached and practiced by the Mormons for a decade before any legislation attempted to limit its practice. During the three decades after its announcement U.S. citizen groups mobilized against the church; in 1856 polygamy was ^Journal of Discourses, 26 vols. (Liverpool, 1854-86), 3:265.

Children on the Underground


coupled with slavery as the "twin relics of barbarism" and was singled out for attack by the Republican party. Gentile opposition to plural marriage focused on issues of a religious, moral, and social nature. T h e Mormon polygamist lived in what seemed to be a deliberate affront to traditional monogamous standards. Although the question of the morality of the marriage union itself became the focal point of debate and discussion, beneath the surface lay other potentially inflammatory issues among which the fear of limitless reproduction of potential polygamists was paramount. T h e first antibigamy act Congress passed, the Morrill Act of July 1862, was generally ineffective in its attempt to put an end to polygamy among the Mormons, although it did prescribe punishment for any offenders. T h e law was motivated by sentiment in Congress to "punish and prevent the practice of polygamy in the Territories of the United States and to disapprove and annul certain acts of the territorial legislature of Utah." 3 T h e latter clause immediately referred to those laws in Utah that incorporated the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and gave it power to perform marriages. Ultimately, however, the act anticipated eliminating the control of public offices by church leaders and members which prevented the enforcement in Utah of legislation unfavorable to the church. Finally, with the passage of the Morrill Act in 1862, Congress acknowledged that the question of Mormon polygamy was federal in nature and therefore within its constitutional jurisdiction. Church leaders felt that the practice of polygamy was protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution, which provides that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." T h e limits of this argument were tried in 1875 by the test case Reynolds v. United States, which forced the Supreme Court to interpret the First Amendment. T h e court's decision that "Laws are made for the government of actions and while they cannot interfere with mere religious belief and opinions, they may with practices" 4 reflected the opinion that when religious belief resulted in actions that threatened society, those beliefs could be subjected to governmental regulation. Although the 3

U.S., Congress, House, House Document 78, 37th Cong., 2d sess. (1862). ^Reynolds v. United States, 98 U.S. (8 Otto) 145 (1879).


Utah Historical Quarterly

court's decision of 1879 created little difference in the legal climate within Utah, it did provide a precedent for the prosecution of polygamists and gave new fuel to the battle between Saints and the Gentile world. T h e court based its decision on the assumption that polygamous Mormonism threatened the basic moral and social order of American society. T h e potential for the growth of the practice of polygamy beyond the borders of Utah threatened the country at large. Therefore, children were an important consideration. In his closing remarks the original trial judge of Reynolds v. United States had instructed the jury: I think it not improper in the discharge of your duties in this case, that you should consider what are to be the consequences to the innocent victims of this delusion. As the contest goes on they multiply, and there are innocent children â&#x20AC;&#x201D; innocent in a sense even beyond the degree of innocence of childhood itself. These are to be the sufferers, and as jurors fail to do their duty, and as these cases come up in the Territory, just so do these victims multiply and spread themselves over the land.

By the 1880s national indignation at polygamist practices had increased to such a degree that it prompted legislation strengthening the Morrill Act. T h e Edmunds Act of 1882 improved both the spirit and the fact of earlier laws by establishing both polygamy and cohabitation as crimes and determining that such unions were not legally binding. Section 7 addressed the products of polygamist unions, legitimizing children born prior to January 1, 1883, which allowed for children already conceived. Thereafter, all children of plural marriages were declared illegitimate. Even as public sentiment grew in support of further measures to strengthen the Edmunds law, the federal courts in Utah were readied for action. With polygamists or believers in the doctrine of plural marriage kept from jury duty, federal judges and district attorneys prepared for what eventually would be called the "judicial crusade," which determined the ultimate effectiveness of the legislation. When, on August 23, 1884, Charles S. Zane arrived in Utah Territory to begin his tenure as chief justice, the war against polygamy in the courts began in earnest. By the end of 1885 eightysix polygamists had been indicted, twenty-six had been sent to prison, and others awaited their trials. There were few acquittals. 5


Children on the Underground


Many church leaders responded to this added pressure by making token accommodations to the law, such as providing separate homes for their different families or living openly with only one family; but hundreds of men went into hiding to avoid prosecution, establishing a policy of "passive resistance." 6 Church leaders directed polygamists to avoid arrest and conviction rather than seek active confrontation. In a circular of March 5, 1885, official policy was delineated: We do not think it advisable for brethren to go into court and plead guilty. . . . Every case should be defended with all the zeal and energy possible. T h e families of these brethren who are imprisoned, and those who have been compelled to flee, should be looked after. fi Gustive O. Larson, The 'Americanization of Utah for Statehood (San Marino, Calif.: Huntington Library, 1971). 7 James G. Bleak, "Manuscript History of St. George," Book C, Minutes of the Lesser Priesthood Quorum of St. George, pp. 533-37, LDS Church Library Archives.

U.S. Marshal Elwin A. Ireland and his deputies were often forced to play "hide-and-seek" with their polygamous quarry. USHS collections.


Utah Historical Quarterly

Many responded by going on the "underground," as it was known among the Saints, or disappearing in cleverly conceived hideouts in barns, behind secret doors, or u n d e r floors, or retreating to cornfields or canyon caves. One child of a polygamous family later described it as "the greatest game of hide-and-seek ever played, certainly the most serious." 8 Many fugitives fled to neighboring homes and communities, some traveling as far away as Mexico and Canada. Mormon colonies were eventually established in these two neighboring countries to provide for polygamous families. This cautious hiding out totally disrupted family life, causing men to leave their wives and children for years at a time and compelling them to provide for themselves. Many mothers and children also went into hiding to avoid being called into court to testify against their husbands and fathers. In 1887 Congress passed the Edmunds-Tucker Act which contained further provisions intended to dilute the power of the church. Many elements of the bill facilitated the prosecution of men for cohabitation, such as women being forced to testify against their husbands. Most stringent, however, were those sections that severely limited the power of the church in Utah, such as the dissolution of the Corporation of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Section 11 of the law hit directly at the question of the legitimacy of polygamous children and discontinued their protection under estate law. It specified that the laws enacted by the Territory of Utah, which provide for or recognize the capacity of illegitimate children to inherit or to be entitled to any distributive share in the estate of the father of such illegitimate child are hereby disapproved and annulled; and no illegitimate child shall here after be entitled to inherit from his or her father or to receive any distributive share in the estate of his or her father: Provided that this section shall not apply to any illegitimate child born previous to the passage of this act.

As early as 1851 it was recognized that neither common nor statute law acknowledged plural marriages as legal entities. It was clear, however, that despite their legal situation plural wives and their children needed to be protected in the matter of property inheritance. T h e Mormon-controlled territorial legislature of 1852 passed the first law providing guidelines for the inheritance of 8

Herbert Elliot Woolley, "My Reflections," Woolley-Snow Collection, Special Collections, Lee Library, Brigham Young University, Provo.

Children on the Underground


property by polygamous families. This statute stated that if a father died without a will (children of plural unions could always inherit shares in their father's estates if provided for through a will) that Illegitimate children and their mothers inherit in like manner from the father, whether acknowledged by him or not, provided it shall be made to appear to the satisfaction of the court that he was the father of such illegitimate child or children. 9

This act recognized that polygamous children and their mothers were on an equal legal footing with other family units, reflecting the conservative Mormon viewpoint toward these marriages. On the other hand, however, the 1852 law also reflected the Gentile opinion that the offspring of plural marriages were illegitimate. T h e Morrill Act cancelled this measure with an all-embracing clause that eliminated any law that facilitated the practice of polygamy. T h e proviso attempted to annul all acts and laws which establish, maintain, protect, or countenance the practice of polygamy, evasively called spiritual marriage, however disguised by legal or ecclesiastical solemnities, sacraments, ceremonies, consecrations or other contrivances.

This was interpreted as applying to the inheritance by illegitimate children of part of their father's estate. In territorial Utah code law rather than common law was in use. Under the Utah Code, children had distinct rights and were protected in areas other than rights of inheritance. Domestic relations were clearly a primary concern of the territorial legislature and were carefully delineated through law. Minor children were the responsibility of their parents until marriage or until they reached their majority, which was for male children twenty-one years of age and for females eighteen years of age. In the event of the death of his parents or the determination of their unsuitability, guardians appointed for the child assumed duties of parents. Many of the provisions that defined the relationship between parents and children were quality-of-life considerations that prescribed a child's right to a good life. Every child had the right to be properly supported and to receive health care, food, and education. One law instructed that parents, guardians, or masters should send the said minor child to school between the ages of six and sixteen, three months in each year if there be a school in the district or vicinity; s Acts, Resolutions and Memorials, Passed at the Several Annual Sessions of the Legislative Assembly of the Territory of Utah (Salt Lake City, 1855), chap. 12, sec. 25. 10 House Document 78.


Utah Historical Quarterly and at all times, and in all cases the master shall clothe the minor child in a comfortable and becoming manner. 11

Children were to be provided for through their father's estate by right of law and ideally would experience a reasonably stable place of residence. Parents were obligated to raise responsible citizens and disciplined moral individuals. The duty of parents or masters with their apprentices was "to correct and teach each minor child to observe the principles of good order and industry, and train him or her to some useful avocation."12 T h e E d m u n d s and E d m u n d s - T u c k e r acts caused minor changes in the Utah Code in the area of estate transference. In other areas, obstructions to the rights of children were the direct result of the prosecution of their polygamist fathers. Basic rights under the Utah Code were violated, resulting in the subsequent violation of children's rights. When fathers or mothers, sometimes both, went on the underground, the child's principal means of support was taken away. Not only was the quality of his health, education, and physical surroundings threatened but also his potential for survival itself. Left on isolated farmsteads, often with several brothers and sisters, each child and his family had to scramble for food and shelter. With the influence of the father taken away, many children developed close relationships with their mothers but had no similar chance to do so with their fathers. Mothers were often so overburdened by every aspect of running both the farm and the family that they did not have time to give personalized attention to each child. T h e quality of instruction from the child's parents was severely limited as fathers no longer exercised an influence and mothers rarely had time for more than the most basic teaching. Although code law made a strict determination of unsuitable parenting in terms of violent cruelty, physical abuse, or abandonment, forced separation of a child from his parents â&#x20AC;&#x201D; whether because of the underground or a prison term â&#x20AC;&#x201D; created a new legion of negligent parents, most of whom, ironically, wanted to remain with rather than forsake or deny their families. In one strange twist of federal law, which considered imprisonment as abandonment of the child, 11

Acts, Resolutions and Memorials, chap. 14, sec. 11. Ibid., chap. 14, sec. 6.


Children on the Underground


parents could have lost control of their children forever. Fortunately, no polygamist cases focused on this particular issue. Matters of custody and child support were complicated ones before the court. Because plural marriages were not legally binding and because illegitimate children could not inherit from their fathers, the question of their support during prison terms was confusing and often ignored. Certain features of court proceedings foreshadowed an uncomfortable future for polygamists: all-Gentile trial juries, imprisonment of wives who refused to testify against their husbands, extreme sentences, and the denial of bail. Children were also affected by this hedging of justice. Abraham H. Cannon, whose father (Apostle George Q. Cannon) was in hiding, described in his journal on February 7, 1886, the objective of a raid on one Cannon home of putting his Aunt Emily (his plural stepmother) and her daughters Mary, Ella, and Georgia u n d e r bonds of $2,000 and $500, respectively. However, it was not only the children of important church authorities who were s u m m o n e d to testify in court. T h e four daughters of Charles L. Walker, a St. George polygamist, were called, along with their mother, to Beaver to testify against their father. T h e practice of sending women to prison for refusing to testify against their husbands had tremendous implications for their children who would then most likely be left without either parent. In some extreme cases, pregnant women or women with small infants were sent to prison. In 1885 one plural wife, Mrs. Harris, received a contempt citation for refusing to answer questions before a grand jury about the nature of her relationship with her polygamous husband. As a result, she spent three months in the overcrowded Utah penitentiary with her baby.13 In 1889 another plural wife, Lucy Devereau, spent six weeks imprisoned with a small child. Rather than face prosecution and an inevitable prison sentence, most polygamists left their families and went into hiding; communities were turned upside down as families scattered for safety and neighbors generously assisted those on the run. Mormon communities, which had always been marked by a high degree of cooperation, became tightly knit enclaves in which strangers were suspiciously avoided. 13

United States v. Harris, 4 Utah 5, 5 Pac. 29 (1885).


Utah Historical Quarterly

Often, federal marshals chose church meeting time to ride into town in pursuit of indicted polygamists. Anticipating that these men would be worshiping with their families, deputies interrupted virtually any public assemblage, whether church meetings or town gatherings, with the single objective of capturing fugitives. When Saints were gathered in worship or for recreation and federal marshals came, church authorities scattered, polygamists were warned off or smuggled to safety, and the community united to protect its own. T h e father of Ellis Day Coombs, a child during the raid period, was often on the run, usually hiding in the surrounding hills until signaled to return. Ellis recounted the support town members gave to one another. Many times when I was sent to town, I saw strangers and, being sure they were "Deputy Marshals," I would rush home to tell my father to go and hide. The entire community stood together against those who came to arrest our men who were wanted for polygamy. I remember one Sunday afternoon, we gathered at the church in Sacrament meeting. Two marshals, who were known to be after some of our brethren, walked into the church. T h e whole congregation arose and the marshals were surrounded while two of the wanted men escaped through a window and got away safely. It was very difficult for strangers, who were always suspected of being marshals to get any information from the townspeople. This situation led to some humorous episodes. 14

The Mormons felt justified in their use of extralegal measures in their defense of the "principle." The conviction that plural marriage was of God and that it ensured blessings in the hereafter seemed to justify obstruction of the law. Indeed, Mormons responded to the strengthened antipolygamy legislation with a resurgence in the number of polygamous marriages during 1884-85. This enthusiasm, wrought by persecution, was a curious expression of the Mormon reaction to pressure. Church leaders felt justified in their policy of subterfuge because of methods used by federal officials that they felt blatantly ignored both common practice and constitutional law. LDS President John Taylor, on February 1, 1885, protested the methods of federal officials when he said: When little children are set in array against their fathers and mothers, and women and children are badgered before courts and made to submit, unprotected, to the jibes of libertines and corrupt men; when 14

Ellis Day Coombs, Autobiography, LDS Church Library Archives.

Children on the Underground


Frank H. Dyer, appointed U.S. marshal in 1886, saw "1,000 Mormons convicted of polygamy during his term." Photograph from Utah, Her Cities, Towns, and Resources. wives and husbands are pitted against each other and threatened with pains, penalties and imprisonment, if they do not disclose that which among all decent people is considered sacred, and which no man of delicacy, whose sensibilities have not been blunted by low associates, would ever ask; when such a condition of affairs exist, it is no longer a land of liberty, and no longer a land of equal rights, and we must take care of ourselves as best we may, and avoid being caught in any of their* 15


Believers in the "principle" also felt that federal officials were attempting to interfere with the Lord's work. Public meetings were not the only scene of attack; deputies burst into private homes at any time of the day or night. The home of Thomas Billington Nelson, who was hunted for over four years, was searched more than a hundred times. At one time Nelson stayed in a single room for forty days, never daring even to part the shade to see the sunlight. 15

Quoted in Nels Anderson, Desert Saints (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1942), p. 318.


Utah Historical Quarterly

Night raids by groups of deputies were a terrifying experience for the children of polygamous households. Meeting strange men who wanted to take their fathers away, even in the daytime, was difficult and demanded that even the smallest children keep silent in response to questions about family relations. One daughter remembered the tense atmosphere of the underground period when her family was always in danger. I had a very happy childhood except for the years of the underground. That was terrible. T h e officers sometimes came at three in the morning to search the house. At night, if we opened the door, people would go scurrying â&#x20AC;&#x201D; people who had been looking in the windows to see if father was there. I wouldn't go out at night alone. We never knew where father was, so if the officers asked us we couldn't tell them. 16

Families remained in a constantly unsettled condition as they responded to the danger presented by the federal marshals. It was impossible for life to proceed with any degree of normality when even the simplest activities of childhood had to be cautiously adapted to raid conditions. T h e joys of Christmas and birthdays were overshadowed by the constant threat of losing one's parents to the strange invaders of their homes. Ellis Day Coombs described one Valentine's Day that was utterly ruined by the presence of the deputy marshals: When I was five years of age we had an experience in the family which I have never forgotten. It was Valentine night, 1889. Estella and I had been out with most of our valentines and were warming up by the fireplace ready to go one more place, when there was a knock on the door. We rushed to open the door, expecting more valentines, but instead there stood two strange men. They did not wait to be asked in, but came boldly into the room. They were the U.S. Deputy Marshals and informed mother that she and Estella, only nine years old, were subpoenaed to appear in court, at some future date, in Provo, to give testimony against father. Mother was very angry and told the men what she thought of them in no uncertain terms. Father was serving a sentence in the State Prison at the time â&#x20AC;&#x201D; We were all so frightened we could not control ourselves. Estella was crying as hard as she could and jumping up and down saying over and over "I don't want to go." This frightened me more than ever and I was crying too.

As a child, Ellis was possessed by a gripping fear at the sight of the marshals that was extended to all strangers. Every outsider seemed 16

Margaret Smith Watson, uncataloged typescript in Orson Smith file, Kimball Young Collection, box 2, Huntington Library, San Marino, Calif. 17 Coombs Autobiography.

Children on the Underground


to threaten the security of her family: "The first thing I remember being afraid of was strange men. Every stranger I saw was a 'deputy marshal' to me and I was constantly in fear of their finding my father and taking him away to prison." 18 Although they represented the federal government, many of the deputies were unsavory characters. Some enforcement officers were orderly in the execution of their duties, but among them were other men who attempted to create more trouble and to capitalize on the misfortunes of the Mormons. Often whole communities were terrorized by these ruffians whose tactics of violence, threats, and boastful disregard of legal methods of search and seizure kept every family member in constant fear for his safety. Joseph Smith Black described a typical experience in which family members were abruptly brought out of their night's sleep while strangers pushed through their homes: When all was quiet during the small hours in the morning a loud rap would be heard at the door. T h e family would spring from their beds and in sudden tones would whisper the word, and some one of the family would ask, "Who is there?" and they would say, "Marshals, Open the door or we will bunt it down," and if the Father happened to be in the house he would meet them at the door and admit them, and with cocked revolvers they would demand his surrender. . . . In case the husband was not at home, the wife with almost frantic fear, would admit the deputies to the house and sometimes by threats and abusive language she would be compelled to show them through the house, while the children would nestle close together in their beds, being almost overcome with fright and anxiety for the safety of their Father and protector.

Secrecy and deception were necessary tactics to protect fathers from arrest by the marshals. Children who had previously been taught to be truthful, honest people were instructed to be evasive when questioned, to misinform, and to lie if necessary. They were taught, through experience, the paradoxical nature of good and that unorthodox methods were often needed to resolve unusual situations. It was sometimes necessary to rely upon children as a shield against intruders. Children were easy to believe and difficult to intimidate. But to rely on a child's handling of a difficult situation was risky at best. Many children botched their commissions and suffered the tremendous guilt of feeling responsible for the parent's troubles. 18 19

lbid. [oseph Smith Black, Autobiography, LDS Church Library Archives.


Utah Historical Quarterly

T h e obvious presence of a baby in a household forced many young mothers onto the u n d e r g r o u n d . Pregnancies or infants were often living proof of involvement in polygamous unions. Annie Clark T a n n e r told of the end of her days at home when it became obvious that she was no longer a single maid. I spent the last free day at home in Farmington. I felt a little sad to have to leave, not that I regretted my situation, for I was happy at the prospect of being a mother, but because of the natural affection I felt for the loved ones home and the uncertainty of the future. However, the morning of the eleventh of April, 1888, about five months before the birth of my first child, I bade farewell to my family and took a last look at the dear old homes. I could no longer pass as Miss Clark.

Babies were carefully hidden when strangers came through town. One young mother, Martha Cragun Cox, said that if need be she would "snatch up my baby and run to the fields, the hills, sleep on the ground, u n d e r the bushes, anywhere." 21 These little babies lay with their mothers in the night air, u n d e r the stars, covered with heavy quilts, even in their infancy protecting their fathers. Mothers could not indulge little babies with bright toys and games but had to struggle to keep them ever quiet, hidden and secret, instead of proudly exhibiting them before the world. One second wife found the first year of infancy to be the most difficult. She remembered: When my babies were young I couldn't live like a normal h u m a n being. I had to hide in the granary out there all day long and when my baby cried, I had to feed it and try to cover its head. At night I had to lie in that little bedroom and stifle my baby's cries when the Lord's teachers called. And that was a Mormon community. . . .22

Often older sisters and brothers were responsible for hiding the babies of the family. Nettie Parkinson Smoot remembered the many times she had to secrete her baby sister away, filling her mouth with "sugar tits" to satisfy her wiggling demands, each time the officers approached the house. Many of the older sisters in Nettie's father's families would claim new babies as their own to disprove their father's occasional but fruitful visits home. As the identity and parentage of these babies could be used as evidence against their parents in court, many children were raised with false names, never 20 Annie Clark T a n n e r , A Mormon Mother: An Autobiography by Annie Clark Tanner (Salt Lake City: University.of Utah Library, 1969), pp. 101-2. 2 â&#x20AC;˘Martha Cragun Cox, Autobiography, LDS Church Library Archives. " J o s e p h i n e Spillsbury Vance, uncataloged typescript in Vance file, Kimball Young Collection, box 2.

Children on the Underground


really knowing their proper last names until they were nearly grown. Family members and neighbors were courteously discreet in avoiding the issue of parentage; what they did not know could not be used as evidence in court. No one was above this rule, as is evident from an excerpt from Annie Clark Tanner's story that illustrates her caution even with the highest authority of the church: President Woodruff, who was then President of the Church, noticed my attention to my little girl who was then playing on the floor. He asked if the little one belonged to me. When I answered in the affirmative, he said, "And who is the happy father?" I hesitated a little and Brother Cannon, who had married us, came to my rescue by saying, "That is hardly a fair question, is it, Brother Woodruff?"

This secrecy extended to virtually all discussion of family relationships. If strangers probed into private family living arrangements or situations, they were suspected of being involved in the crusade. Children were carefully taught to avoid being questioned, but when cornered they were told to create confusion, to misinform, and then to hide themselves. Much of the crafty artifice necessary in the conflict was great fun for its young participants. In one case, an elaborate plot evolved to prevent the arrest of Rudger Clawson. One of the Clawson boys tricked out in a gown, bonnet and shawl hastily left the house by a side entrance and in great apparent trepidation got into a carriage and was driven rapidly away. Half a dozen deputies, till then in concealment made a wild dash for the receding vehicle, and kept up the vain pursuit until the carriage with its funconvulsed occupant, vanished into the darkness. 24

Children, particularly young boys, were active participants in the elaborate warning system that was part of the machinery of the underground. Code names and signals were memorized by young and old alike to permit noteworthy community members to travel unharmed through the area. Used to relay messages, to transmit warnings, and to assume active parts in the underground efforts, children played a vital role in the movement of polygamists to safety. Often children were used to confuse the deputies and to gain time for the fleeing men. The terror of confrontation was a recurring theme in nightmares. Often dreams dealt with the confusion of complicated instructions. Lucy Fenn's twelve-year-old daughter related a dream 23 24

Tanner, A Mormon Mother, pp. 110-11. Uncataloged typescript, Kimball Young Collection, box 1.


Utah Historical Quarterly

about her little brother's part in a scheme to protect her father that resulted in his capture. 25 T h e constant pressure of performing successfully, of avoiding trouble themselves, and of worrying about their fathers' and neighbors' safety weighed heavily on the young and was a constant and dreary presence in their lives. Other techniques were used to reduce the chance of arrest. Many men sent their several families to different localities and maintained not only separate households but separate farms. Splitting u p the family was often a complicated and painful endeavor in which mothers and at times brothers and sisters were separated from other family members. T h o m a s Jeffery's plural wife was much younger than his childless first wife. When it became necessary to divide his family, practical considerations outweighed sentiment. . . . he was obliged to move the mother far away, of course the children had to go with her as the first wife was now too far advanced in life and too feeble to take care of them. This good wife said, "Pa, go with Elizabeth. T h e Lord will sustain me in my loneliness. I am willing to pay the price for the blessing of children in your house."

This was a painful price to pay for the "principle." Hannibal Lowman took two wives to Idaho to farm, leaving the children of wife number five with n u m b e r four. T h e Isaac Strong family's second mother hid for years while two of her children were raised by the first wife. In a particularly tragic example, upon the death of their mother Ezra Francis Martin put his children out into homes for service or education because of the refusal of his second wife to assist in their care. In the plural family of Martha Cragun Cox work was systematized and well ordered, marked by cooperation in daily household activities. Children were raised together. When the family split u p , Martha suffered a painful separation from her daughter Rose. Martha had grasped at the opportunity to teach in the Muddy Valley to help the family finances. In her husband's absence she turned to his son Isaiah Cox, Jr., for advice. He made such a picture of my life as it might be there that I acceded to his word and consented to leave her [Rose]. She had stood by and heard our conversation with a troubled heart. I took her brothers, Ed and Frank with me to Pioche, but left her home. . . . When she heard the decision of our counsel she turned without a word and went up into the " Q u o t e d in "Colonia Morelos: A Short History of a Mormon Colony in Sonora, Mexico," Smoke Signal, Spring 1973, p. 157. 26 Cox Autobiography.


on the Underground


orchard and grieved her disappointment out alone and came back in an hour or two with a smiling face and assisted me in getting my things ready for my journey. 27

T h e trials and disappointment of holidays ill-spent were nothing compared to the pain caused by the wrenching apart of loved ones, particularly when small children were taken from their parents. Little Rose and others like her sacrificed enormously, searching their minds for self-control and strength. Annie Clark Tanner left home five months before the birth of her first daughter, Jennie. T h e two spent the next six years in traveling exile, moving every couple of months to avoid detection. Living in extra rooms, on back roads, or with strangers, this little family was deprived of the stability of a permanent home until after the official end of polygamy. T h e daily struggle for secrecy took a great toll on her and her small child: We were among strangers and baby and I were very tired of traveling. I felt so tired that I thought that another year would not find me moving from one place to another with no home. It was very cold weather and neither of us were well, but then I thought of the satisfaction I had in such a sweet little companion. When I felt to complain, almost at the same moment I felt to reproach myself at seeing her innocent trusting ways. She has indeed been a comfort to me. . . .

Here again a child was a source of strength and support to her frustrated and lonely mother. This constant moving from place to place gave many children a permanent sense of uprootedness, a lack of connection with a larger community. Although it can be argued that the children of polygamous families were part of a small community composed of relatives by marriage, this often extended only to the doors of their own homes. T h e isolation and secrecy required of these children prevented them from association with the outside world in which strangers and many nonpolygamous families lived. The peculiar problems that these families confronted each day commanded a certain remoteness as a matter of self-protection. In the development of the concept of self, the child moves from an identification with his nuclear family â&#x20AC;&#x201D; parents, brothers, and sisters â&#x20AC;&#x201D; to a sense of his immediate community, therein seeing himself reflected against different life-styles and relationships. 27 28

Ibid. Tanner, A Mormon Mother, pp. 117-18.


Utah Historical Quarterly

Families that continually moved denied children the opportunity to form this vital identification. One young girl remembered her life on the underground as one of constant uprooting, insecurity, and a confused sense of identity. We moved from place to place; as soon as people learned who we were, mother moved on! We went to school and church, but we weren't allowed to associate with other children for fear we would give ourselves away. Mother took in washings and did everything she could to help. Father used to come to see us whenever he could. We thought his name was Winslow and that he was away all the time because his work called him. He did his best to support us, but he couldn't do everything. Sometimes my half-brothers and sisters came to see us, and we loved to have them come. We thought they were our cousins.

Many men were called on missions to foreign countries or the southern states during the raid period which increased the strain on their families. While their fathers were gone preaching the gospel, children worked as adults. There was little time for play when all energies were spent making a living. One polygamist's daughter remembered the family's isolated efforts at survival during her father's mission to the southern states: This left Mother with four small children to take care of beside all the chores in the house as well as ours to do. Their oldest daughter was then only ten years old. In the cold winter it would snow until things would be buried underneath. No one in town ever offered to help her, not even to chop an armful of wood.

Older children were treated as responsible adults, depended upon for support. George Dunford, while serving a term in prison for cohabitation, grieved about an accident to his oldest son Lorenzo who, at eight years old, was the key support of his mother. Dunford wrote in his prison diary: He is my oldest-son in my Plural Family we needed him so much to helpe his poor Mother as I am deprived by the cruel Edmonds Tucker Law so it is nearly three years that I have put my foot on the Lot ware they live so we do hope so much from this our son.

Children were rarely allowed the luxury of childhood but were forced to accept a set of worries and duties of the adult world. Every time fathers left, children feared for their safety. When life was disrupted and confusingly without rules or predictable 29 Elsie Chamberlain Carroll, uncataloged typescript, Thomas Chamberlain file, Kimball Young Collection, box 1. 30 Daughter of George Dunford, Dunford Papers, LDS Church Library Archives. 31 George Dunford, Dunford Papers.

Children on the Underground


structure, each separation seemed like the last. Farewells were particularly poignant when fathers left for prison, fear of which seemed to be the ultimate cause of all the trouble. One father, George Dunford, wrote in his journal: As I left the door of the house all four of our children held me around the neck and they and me we all weept together and as I left in the dark I could hear them saying angels watch over you Papa and â&#x20AC;&#x201D; didn't know if they would see each other again.

Ellis Day Coombs remembered how her severed relationship with her father clouded her memory of him, making of him a veritable saint. Children were inevitably confused and surprised as their faintly remembered fathers returned home as strangers. Mrs. Coombs described the experience: Late in the fall I was playing in the yard one day when a strange man wearing a full beard drove into the yard with a load of wood. I ran into the house to tell mother. She went out to see who it was and when I came out there was my mother held in the stranger's arms and being heartily kissed. I was very surprised but soon overjoyed to see our dear father once more.

Nettie Smoot remembered her father's return visits home as periods of intense discipline as her father reimposed his sense of order on the home and pulled the family back into shape. His visits were brief and infrequent. Nettie retained few sweet memories of her father as his occasional presence in the home had represented only a scrambling for control. After the summer of 1888 the court began to assume a more conciliatory posture towards the polygamists. Many leaders who had been in hiding for years came out, pleading guilty to charges and serving moderate prison sentences. By the 1890s, when virtually all prosecutions had ceased, over 1,000 Mormons in Utah had been fined and/or imprisoned. Part of the new climate of accommodation and relative calm was created by the church. In 1889 authority for plural marriages was taken from the Endowment House, and in 1890 President Wilford Woodruff issued the Manifesto which put an official end to polygamy by forbidding any further plural marriages. President Benjamin Harrison responded in 1893 by granting amnesty to any with outstanding charges of cohabitation. Then, following state32 33

lbid. Coombs Autobiography.


Utah Historical Quarterly

hood, the first state legislature removed the sting of illegitimacy from children of polygamous unions by passing a law stating T h a t the issue of bigamous and polygamous marriages, heretofore contracted between members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints, born on or prior to the fourth day of January, A.D. eighteen h u n d r e d and ninety-six are hereby legitimated; and such issue are entitled to inherit from both parents, and to have and enjoy all rights and privileges to the same extent and in the same m a n n e r as though born in lawful wedlock.

T h e greatest irony s u r r o u n d i n g the u n d e r g r o u n d period was that the most significant change in quality of life for children was brought about by polygamy itself, rather than the legislation designed to quash it. T h e results of the E d m u n d s and EdmundsTucker acts were specific and limited in scope. T h e clauses concerning illegitimacy and inheritance dealt polygamy only a small blow. T h e disruption of h o m e life was the result of fathers serving or seeking to avoid prison terms or of mothers trying to avoid being called into court to testify. It is necessary, however, to also subject the principle of plural marriage, a doctrine that appeared to threaten the basic structure of society, to equally strict scrutiny and to attempt to evaluate the causal relationship between the institution itself and the problems of the raid period. Although antipolygamy legislation and the court's methods of enforcement created a system of laws and practices that seriously challenged the LDS church, it was above all else the Mormon reaction to this body of legislation that delineated and created the atmosphere of the u n d e r g r o u n d ; indeed, the u n d e r g r o u n d itself represented an adaptation to laws the Saints felt hindered the work of the Lord. Mormons throughout the period had the option either to obey the law, to refuse to react, or to react in ways that the government considered appropriate. They chose overwhelmingly to act in faith. It was, then, a complicated matter of choice and priorities. When Mormons married in the Endowment House, outside of legal jurisdiction, they risked having children that were by law bastards. When these same parents refused to discontinue their marriage relationships because they believed God wanted them to refuse, they chose to deal with the consequences, namely: arraignment and in-


Laws of the State of Utah . . . 1896 (Salt Lake City, 1896), chap. 82, sec. 1.

Children on the Underground


dictment or prosecution for polygamy, which the Gentiles and the government considered a crime against society. Many of the children of the u n d e r g r o u n d resembled self-rising flour, depending only on themselves. Considering the obvious importance of early dependency relationships, the key role of socializing with others, consistency and stability as prime factors in the normal development of a child, one is faced with the Mormon polygamous society's apparently deep inability to cope with the needs of young children, the "principle" often taking precedence over them. Clearly, a n u m b e r of questions remain to be asked; not enough is known about these children. Were they really so different? Did they handle stress and responsibility more readily than children of today? Does the situation appear worse in hindsight? Everyone is shaped by early feelings or memories; they follow us through life, remaining in the index file of our minds. T h e measure of the power of the u n d e r g r o u n d experience over a child's mind was presumably expressed in his abilities as an adult and deserves serious attention.

The Night before Doomsday BY J O H N FARNSWORTH LUND TWEBfCRN j UNION 1

Salt Lake City's Main Street, 1916, when new street lights were turned on, must have looked much the same a year later on the night before Prohibition, exceptfor the thousands of imbibers missing in this photograph. USHS collections.

Martin apartment on First Avenue near Brigham Young's grave in Salt Lake. Mrs. Martin held a shredded handkerchief to puffed, red eyes. I didn't know until much later that her shiny hands with red palms, tissue-soft and cold, and the rosy cheeks, which looked as if they were rouged for a party, were the badges of an alcoholic. They were called "brandy blossoms." Nor did I understand the row upon row of bottled whisky, beer, and wine stacked in the kitchen cupboard. Mr. Martin spent most of his life in bed in a dark room off the kitchen. I T WAS A SAD EVENING AT THE

Mr. Lund is a retired businessman living in Salt Lake City.

Night Before Doomsday


T h e Martin's son, Claybourne, and I were fast friends and classmates at the Lafayette School on North Temple and State streets. This was the old school, which burned down, on the upper level of the grounds. Claybourne was a shy, thin, sensitive boy. Nearly everyone felt a little sorry for him, and even I felt the need to protect him. A few times I'd kept him out beyond the nine P.M. curfew whistle. "Tomorrow's Doomsday," said Mrs. Martin. 1 "The government's takin' away our liberties. What's to become of us? We laid in what supply we could, but a workin' man can't get far enough ahead to last him very long." This explained the store of liquor I'd seen in the cupboard. "Yes Ma'am," I whispered, feeling that I must make some answer. "Claybourne's got to stay in tonight," she said to me. "He can't go no place with you." "Yes Ma'am." Since I thought the Martins a mysterious family with dark secrets and since I imagined I'd been taken into their confidence, I could not reveal these matters to anyone. Claybourne explained that tonight was the last time that liquor could be bought legally and that his parents were worried about being cut off from what amounted to their staff of life. It was very nearly the end of the world for them. Their behavior was strange. They were known to be poor, but Mrs. Martin, who was very pretty, always had new clothes. It sounded like a picnic when she laughed. She wore high, clothtopped, buttoned shoes that reached the tops of her calves. These came in black, grey, and tan and boasted high heels. She wore a variety of blouses and jackets that she sometimes changed two or three times a day. They pinched in at her tiny waist and were always of a bright color. Her hats came in all colors and shapes, because a lady never appeared on Main Street without a hat. They made her hair look blacker and shinier than ever. She turned many a head including mine, but she spoke softly, her manner gentle and affectionate, and I loved her soft touch. While the Martins awaited Doomsday, I counted the days until I'd be liberated to long pants. A guy's fourteenth birthday was supposed to be the magic time, but I must report that there was some 'Doomsday for drinkers in Utah was August 1, 1917, when statewide Prohibition went into effect. T h e Utah law preceded the Eighteenth Amendment by a year and a half. See Larry E. Nelson, "Utah Goes Dry," Utah Historical Quarterly 41 (Fall 1973).


Utah Historical Quarterly

fudging. However, the code was fairly well kept. A big reason for desiring the long ones was that a pretty girl of thirteen or fourteen avoided being linked with a kid in knee pants. With the casting off of knickers one also gave u p tops, marbles, kick-the-can, and other juvenile activities. With approaching manhood came more serious matters. A fellow had to have a watch, for any man worth his keep sported at least a dollar Ingersoll and a fancy fob. And he must have better shoes. Some went so far as to stop wearing the high-top kid shoes, switching to the new, low oxfords. I began to see that this manhood business was serious and could r u n into money. I'd hoped that Claybourne would go downtown with me because it was r u m o r e d there would be big doings. My older brothers, Cornelius (Curt) and Philo (Phike), were going to witness the celebration, but they did not include me in their plans. My younger brother, Alton, was too small. Any other time I would have tried to persuade my cousins Zack, Dick, or Herschel to join me, but tonight I had "loner" tendencies. O u r home stood at West T e m p l e and North T e m p l e on a dirt road that exploded with dust. T h e stream from City Creek Canyon ran uncovered down North T e m p l e from Main Street to the Union Pacific Railroad yards. I walked south to South T e m p l e where pavement began and saloons, betting houses, and cheap eating places dotted the streets. West South T e m p l e was a haven for Europeans who were brought in as cheap labor for the mines of Park City and Bingham Canyon. These people could not speak English and were preyed upon, abused, and even m u r d e r e d , according to police reports. Armenians, Greeks, T u r k s , Serbs, and Italians made u p this motley population. They were at the mercy of a few labor contractors who controlled nearly every job, exacting enormous cuts from wages of no more than ten or twelve cents an hour. Signs in mysterious foreign languages covered windows and doors. Rapid-fire talk and explosive laughter burst from the bars. Strong odors of liquor, spices, and sweat covered the neighborhood. It was the t r i u m p h a n t day of the player piano, and these monstrous machines g r o u n d out mechanical versions of "When Irish Eyes Are Smiling," "End of a Perfect Day," "Everybody's Doing It," and the new sensation, "Alexander's Ragtime Band." Foreign saloons and gathering places for minorities threaded the streets west of Main to south of Pioneer Park. Second South and Fifth West was


OF PROHIBITION Noisy Farewell to Reign of King Alcohol — Police Quell Disorders — Emergency Hospital Busy. STREETS CROWDED UNTIL LATE HOUR



> BIG LIQUORS* " ' = N O W ON!

Gun Play at Louvre—Bottles Are Thrown—Cafes Unable to Take Care of Heavy Patronage.

Stock is still comp!' All leading brands bonded and bulk whiskies at cost.


ALE of liquor In V id».i last n!»ht at 11 o'clock. the prohibition law (Ota* Into effect with the entrance of August 1. Not*?, and In K m casta rlotoua. scenes marked the closlnr hours of King Alcoho"e retail True In his r»c-m!5e c h i e f of retlea i. Parley White had stationed police at strategical points and their presence served In many Instances to repress ;nc:pi»r.t violence, though In spite of thiMr efforts considerable violence did occur While it was remarked in some quarters today that there had heen less disorder than was expected, not a few cl'liens freely expressed their disrust st the manner In which the





77 WEST FIRST S O U T H STREET Call Wasatch 1629.


Story in August 1, 1917, Deseret News detailed the riotous demise of "King Alcohol." Advertisement from the July 31 Salt Lake Tribune gave a typical last-minute sales pitch.

the heart of Greektown. I delivered newspapers to many places in this district and was always treated kindly. T h e small hotels and rooming houses of Greektown were often surrounded by grass, flowers, and white picket fences, and eating and drinking was outdoors, weather permitting. Japanese lanterns and Christmas tree candles provided sufficient illumination. Small girls helped with the serving and bussing, since this was the custom in the old countries. These places served families from the old to the very young. There boomed music and loud laughter but I never saw drunkenness or lewd behavior. When my paper route took me inside the saloons and coffeehouses, I made some observations. I almost never saw a woman, because there were unwritten customs regarding them. T h e r e was often some form of gambling such as faro, cards, or dice. Some places featured a free lunch which was strictly policed. I learned that people everywhere seek their own social levels. They always go where they are welcome and comfortable.

Utah Historical Quarterly


Valley House, as described by the author, purveyed soft drinks in a quaint atmosphere on the corner of South and West Temple streets. USHS collections.

One question remained unanswered. Why can't man settle down to serious, purposeful drinking with both feet on the floor? Spittoons stood at the foot of the bar, six feet apart. A rail extended the length of the bar about eight inches off the floor. T h e rail must have been magnetic, for it drew up one foot from every man in the place. I'm quite sure it's impossible to drink without one foot on the floor and the other on the rail. This night 2 heavily rouged women stalked customers along the crowded sidewalks, and weak, mean men offered stolen goods and the services of their women at bargain rates. I strolled past the Valley House, a Pony Express stop on the original trail, which stood at the southeast corner of the intersection of South Temple and West Temple. It was a three-story building of adobe, recently stuccoed and painted red. Sandwiches, soft drinks, and gifts could be bought there, and the quaintness of the place attracted tourists. I continued along West Temple past the large Joseph William Taylor Mortuary, a few warehouses, and walk-up hotels to Second South where I turned east. 2

July 31, 1917.

Night Before Doomsday


A liquor auction offered bargains next to the O r p h e u m Theatre, which later became the Capitol. An overhead electric sign extended across the street proclaiming the O r p h e u m vaudeville house as the home of the world's best entertainment. W. C. Fields, Barbara Stanwyck, Frank Fay, William S. Hart, Fatty Arbuckle, and others equally famous displayed their acts at the O r p h e u m . When vaudeville died the theatre remained empty for a time but reopened u n d e r the Capitol name. An electrician told me the name Capitol, with the same number of letters as O r p h e u m , was chosen because the sign would not have to be rewired Stocks of liquor were displayed all over town on tables set on the sidewalks. Peddlers tried to sell leftover supplies. A musician with a small piano mounted on wheels trudged the sidewalks, stopping when he found a friendly group. He stopped playing and moved on when the crowd stopped tossing coins. T h e Salvation Army held forth in front of the Kenyon Hotel on the southeast corner of Second South and Main. Their little band of Although taken after 1917, this photograph shows the Louvre Cafe in the Hotel Semloh, State Street and Second South, scene of some of the wildest events of the night before Prohibition. USHS collections.


Utah Historical Quarterly

cornet, bass drum, and trombone accompanied the singing of the four or five Army soldiers and lassies. T h e crowd this night paid little attention to them, and I noticed that very few coins were tossed on the big drum. Children and teenagers mixed in the crowds, and distraught women with children searched for husbands. A dozen families sat on curbs crying in their abandonment. Very few policemen were visible, apparently deciding that arrests for drunkenness and fighting were useless. T h e r e was little they could do but let the celebration run its course. I wanted to see the inside of a bar. A couple of kids about my age entered a bar on East Second South and I followed them in, but I was so roughly shoved out that I failed to work up enough nerve to try again. Huge beer wagons lumbered over the streets, drawn by four large horses. They stopped at the larger saloons and hotels. T h e beds of these wagons hung below the axles, only a foot off the street to expedite the handling of the big barrels. Some places lacked enough space for the barrels at their bars. These had trap doors on the front sidewalk with steel covers. T h e barrels were let into the basement by chutes or block and tackle. A few had freight elevators. Beer was drawn from the barrels through copper tubing up to the bar. T h e tubing was encased in ice. Ministers and members of the Anti-Saloon League patrolled the streets and watched what they mistakenly termed the death struggle of Demon Rum. They held small soapbox meetings, and one speaker pointed out how mankind was cursed with the love of his worst enemy. Great rejoicing and congratulatory back-slapping kept spirits high in these groups. In front of a house near Second East, where a small crowd had gathered, I caught sight of the Martins as they wound their way to the porch. I looked in horror, but in my fascination I could not turn away. Several men hugged and kissed pretty Mrs. Martin and passed her around before letting her go inside. I was glad Claybourne was not with me. Mr. Martin walked with severe dignity, stiff as a board. I tired suddenly of the whole scene and wanted to be home. I went to First South and walked west past the outdoor markets that lined the street solidly from Main to West Temple. Several of these had locked their doors early to avoid looting and vandalism. Broken glass from thousands of shattered bottles covered the

Night Before Doomsday


The author's nighttime peregrination took him past the outdoor markets on West First South. USHS collections.

sidewalks and gutters. I was afraid I'd scuff my new Scout shoes. As I approached our house I heard a loud, forceful discussion at the front door between my father and Curt. It touched on such points as where Curt had been, how much he had drunk, and who the hell did he think he was? As I could add nothing to further the discussion, I slipped around to the back of the house where we boys kept a window unlocked and sprinted up to my bed. Apparently nobody had missed me. Through the night I heard Curt in the bathroom, his head hung over the toilet, bringing up grunts and low animal cries of distress from deep within him. It was the raucous, defiant end of an era. Three days later I went to the Martin's apartment, but it was empty. I never saw them after that. Perhaps they had gone to a state where they could still buy liquor for a time.

Utah 4-H, a Dynamic Youth Program BY D A N I E U A. J O H N

S I N C E THE FIRST TRIBE OF ROAMING HUNTER-GATHERERS tired of running down big game and began looking for a more consistent food supply, agricultural education has meant the difference between feast and famine. A clay tablet found in Iraq detailed instructions for sowing grain and harvesting it. This 3,700-year-old extension-type bulletin is the oldest known work by a long-forgotten "county agent." 1 T h r o u g h o u t the turbulent history of civilization and underlining each successful culture is the ability to grow food. T h e rise and fall of an empire may hinge on the success of its farms. Mr. J o h n teaches history at J u d g e Memorial High School in Salt Lake City. This article is adapted from his master's thesis, "The History of Utah 4-H" (Utah State University, 1982). 1 Harold C. Sanders, ed., The Cooperative Extension Service (Englewood Cliffs, N J.: Prentice-Hall, 1966), p. 206.

Raising healthy livestock was a major goal of farm youth enrolled in Utah 4-H. Photograph courtesy of Fern S. Kelley.

Utah 4-H


Agriculture was the key industry in the upstart United States. T h e founding fathers were tied to their agrarian roots. George Washington wrote detailed letters home to Mount Vernon concerning the operation of his plantation. 2 In Philadelphia in 1785 came the first development of a formal agricultural organization. 3 T h o u g h limited in funds, this group chartered state societies and aided the farming community by providing educational programs. Local and statewide meetings disseminated information, and on occasion a speaker from a college lectured. These groups also published journals and sponsored fairs, but their greatest contribution was in developing farmers' institutes, a concept that continues to this day. These informative meetings generated an enthusiasm that helped the agricultural societies promote agriculture in general and the idea of public-supported agricultural colleges. T h e need for agricultural education and federal support of agriculture were critical in the nineteenth century. But ministry, law, and medicine were emphasized in American schools, and little was done in the field of agricultural education. Not until Abraham Lincoln became president were some gains made. In early 1862 Lincoln recommended the establishment of a permanent Department of Agriculture. T h e n , in J u n e 1862, he signed the Morrill Act, which provided for the establishment of land-grant colleges to promote agricultural education and productivity. Although the Morrill Act marked a significant beginning, important things were missing from these early agricultural institutions, including curriculum, textbooks, and professors! T h e land-grant colleges fought an uphill battle. Their work progressed slowly but steadily until by 1905 the institutions had established a standing committee to deal exclusively with extension education â&#x20AC;&#x201D; the dissemination of agricultural and home science education to wide sectors of the population not attending college. 4 Extension work in northern Utah became the province of the Utah State Agricultural College (USAC, now Utah State University), a land-grant institution founded in 1888 in Logan. Following statehood in 1896, the introduction of the first farmers' institute established extension work in Utah. 2 See, for example, George Washington to Theodorick Blank, August 15, 1786, in The Writings of Washington from the Original Manuscript Sources, 1745-1799, ed. John C. Fitzpatrick (Washington, D.C: GPO, 1931-44), 28:1517. 3 Sanders, Cooperative Extension, p. 13. 4 lbid., p. 29.


Utah Historical Quarterly

T h e need for a boys' and girls' program was clearly evident. In the spring and summer of 1912 James C. Hogensen visited fiftyeight schools and encouraged 6,786 boys to organize boys' potatogrowing clubs in cooperation with county superintendents and high school principals. 5 In Cache County ten potato clubs were organized with an enrollment of nearly 600 boys. Box Elder County had nine clubs with 300 boys, while Utah County added four more clubs with 100 boys. Sanpete County's one club and 20 boys brought the total enrollment in potato clubs to approximately 1,000. These early potato-growing clubs paved the way for later 4-H work. Each boy pledged to grow a half-acre of potatoes under the direction of USAC. Accurate records had to be kept to ascertain the total cost of the project. Each member was allowed to compete for local prizes. T h e winners advanced to the county fair and then on to the state fair. T h e judging was thorough. T h e boy with the highest yield garnered 60 percent, the others lost 5 percent for every decrease of fifty bushels. T h e best fifty pounds and the best dozen tubers received 20 and 10 percent respectively, with points taken off the others for blemishes, poor shape, and poor size. T h e written paper, worth 10 percent, was graded sternly with points deducted for misspelled words, poorly constructed sentences, and untidiness. Under these rules Merle Gilbert Hyer, a sixteen-year-old farm boy from Lewiston, Cache County, won the state fair prize in 1912, a $100 check from the National Copper Bank.6 In September 1913 Utah joined the federally funded cooperative club work under the auspices of the Office of Farm Management, and Hogensen became the first full-time club worker west of Nebraska. Utah soon saw the advantages of working through the federal program. 7 For winning first prize at the 1913 state fair, Merle Hyer and Hattie Holbrook of Bountiful, winner of the home economics award, received free trips to Washington, D . C , where a meeting of the boys' and girls' agricultural clubs of thirty states was held. Hyer received considerable respect for his potato-growing prowess. He had raised 797 bushels when the Utah average was only 5 The Biennial Report of the Board of Trustees of the Agricultural College of Utah for the Years 1911-12 (Salt Lake City, 1913), pp. 46-48, Special Collections, Merrill Library, Utah State University, Logan. (Hereafter this and subsequent reports will be cited as Biennial Report with the appropriate years.) "Interview with Merle Hyer, January 22, 1981, Lewiston, Utah. Tranklin M. Reck, The 4-H Story (Ames: Iowa State College Press, 1951), p. 109.


Utah Historical Quarterly

190 bushels. He accomplished this without commercial fertilizers, although he did admit to spreading some of the barnyard variety on his project. H y e r kept an i m p o r t a n t p h o t o g r a p h from his trip to Washington. Many of the studies of early 4-H work suggest that it was not until 1927 that the term "4-H" and the words "head, heart, hand, and health" came into common use.8 However, Hyer's picture proves conclusively that during the meeting in December 1913 the 4-H symbol, the cloverleaf with an "H" on each petal, was emblazoned on the state banners. On May 8, 1914, President Woodrow Wilson signed the Smith-Lever Act providing an initial grant of $ 10,000 to each state to use in extension work. Each year the states were guaranteed that amount along with a share of eventually $4,100,000, divided according to the states' rural populations. T h e authors of the bill were Hoke Smith, former governor of Georgia and a devotee of extension work, and Asbury Francis Lever, a South Carolina congressman proud of the sensational gains that clubs were making in his native state. "My efforts to secure the passage of the Smith-Lever Act had the most encouragement from the achievements of the members of the corn and tomato clubs and I hope sincerely that a large share of this money will be devoted to an expansion of the work with young folks," Lever declared. 9 In Utah the federal money allowed the establishment of an Extension Division at USAC and a 4-H state office. At the helm of the state office was James C. Hogensen, a Danish-born professor of agronomy at USAC. Under his direction club work began to make visible gains. By 1914 he could report that nine different types of clubs had been formed: corn, market garden, potato, apple, poultry, sugar beets and mangels, bread making, flower garden, and sewing clubs. But more important, Hogensen noted: "Two years ago, very little was thought of club work. Now most farmers, business and professional men support the work both morally and financially." Additionally, he said, "farmers are beginning to use the same methods on their farms as the club members are using." Club work, he said, created closer cooperation between 8 "The History of Club Work (Utah)," a typed manuscript in the possession of Gerald R. Olson, Extension Division, USU, implies that the term 4-H was developed in 1927. The name 4-H was officially adopted at the 1927 national camp, which may explain the misunderstanding. 9 Reck, The 4-H Story, p. 123.

Utah 4-H


school and home; better records were kept of farm and home work; children took more interest in school work; they looked at agriculture and home economics more favorably; better seed selection was made and more plant diseases were combatted; and use was made of many otherwise wasted products. 10 By 1915 Hogensen was able to report the hiring of Claire Parrish as a full-time worker in response to his suggestion that a woman would be of great help in advancing club work. A. C. Carrington worked part-time for Hogensen, and two full-time workers were in the counties, P. J. Sanders in Davis and Walter J. Glenn in Box Elder. In the fall of 1913 Glenn had organized agricultural clubs in Brigham City. His group became very enthusiastic, sending 56 of the 415 exhibits to the state fair, a very high number considering the county's population. 11 Flogensen continued to underscore the impact of club work, calling it "one of the most important educational factors in the state." T h e county school boards, he said, were "contemplating the employing of their county high school teachers in Agriculture and Economics during the summer months to act as leaders in club work." He also outlined several financial factors. T h e state expended $4,200 for club work. In return it received a definite $68,140.80 and perhaps as much as $152,552.40 in the form of new wealth created by club projects. Aside from monetary return, the state received these less tangible benefits: better methods of farming; some of the drudgery taken out of farming; greater care in selecting seed, resulting in better seed; better balanced farms; better variety of crops; better records kept of crops; and greater labor incomes received from farms. Yet, problems lay ahead for the program. 12 World War I brought an increased demand for agricultural activity, but it also created severe budgetary problems. The Salt Lake County agricultural agent's report for 1917 told part of the story. Before the war the county enjoyed increased production, and the surplus had been distributed to the "worthy poor." Once the war broke out, greater production was urged. A circular was sent to all Mormon bishops in the county requesting that they encourage indi,0

"The History of Club Work (Utah)," pp. 1, 2. Ibid., p. 2; John A. Widtsoe to Walter J. Glenn, December 23,1913, Widtsoe Collection, Merrill Library; Biennial Report. . . 1913-14, p. 93. i:: "The History of Club Work (Utah)," p. 2; Biennial Report. . . 1914-15, pp. 90, 93, 94, 92. u


Utah Historical Quarterly

viduals to convert vacant plots into gardens. T h e response was "amazing," the agent said. T h e church auxiliary organizations began to compete in the production of wheat and potatoes, and the church offered prize money as an additional stimulus. T h e report underscores one of the unique features of Utah 4-H, the influence of the Mormon church. By utilizing the well-established church communications lines and organization, extension work was easily expanded d u r i n g the war. 13 On the debit side, in December 1918, USAC President E. G. Peterson apologized to Hogensen for budget cuts that would cripple 4-H in the upcoming year: "I regret exceedingly the present conditions of the finances of the J u n i o r Extension Department." Despite his regret, Peterson felt helpless to do anything. By J u n e 1919 a series of events led to the transfer of Hogensen to the position of agronomy specialist and his replacement as state club specialist by Milton H y r u m Harris of the City College of New York, for whom Peterson painted a rosy picture and held out the possibility of a faculty post in the Economics Department. 1 4 T h e organization Hogensen had worked so h a r d to develop was being destroyed by budget cuts. "I suddenly felt as if eight of the best years of my life had been given for naught," he wrote to Peterson. "I do hope that it is not the intention to abandon the work entirely. In my opinion that would be a great step backward." 15 Although Hogensen's tenure as state club leader ended on July 1, 1919, he remained close to 4-H d u r i n g the next twenty-three years, accompanying state champions on 4-H trips across the country and j u d g ing many 4-H projects. Peterson was less than candid about finances with the new club leader, for before arriving in Utah, Milton Harris was optimistic about his new work: "I feel keenly the importance of this club work and know that money so spent is more efficient than that spent in knocking erroneous ideas out of the grown-ups." But the realities of the budget crunch soon became apparent. Two employees, Bessie Eaton and Henry Oberhansly, had already been transferred to other work, leaving only the state leader and an assistant, Goldie Faux, to oversee the clubs. After eight months as state club leader, Harris 13

"Special Supplementary Report, 1917: Work of the Salt Lake County Agricultural Agent and Farm Bureau . . . ," Salt Lake County Records, Extension Division Collection, Merrill Library. 14 Peterson to Hogensen, December 10, 1918, box 155, folder 3, Elmer G. Peterson Collection, Merrill Library; Peterson to Harris, February 14, 1919, box 3 1 , folder 7, ibid. I5 Hoge n s e n to Peterson, April 15, 1919, box 155, folder 7, Peterson Collection.

Utah 4-H


began to make a stronger appeal for club work: "If club work is school work, it is not the concern of the extension division, but if it is really what we maintain it to be, it is worth pushing by the institution." Yet, club work was on a downhill course. In 1920 four counties, Cache, Davis, Uintah, and Washington, had maintained fulltime county club leaders; but by 1921 there were no county club leaders, and the state office had all but disappeared. 16 In April 1921 Harris assumed a new position as professor of economics at the college. He no longer attended to field work, and to fill the void Gladys Christensen was hired as assistant state leader in May. She ran the state office alone. Because she was a woman she was given the title of assistant state leader, although there was no state leader to assist. In June 1922 she resigned. 17 In its 1922 report the Extension Division explained the reorganization of club work. It had been "entirely shifted from county club agents to agricultural and home agents." This change was "an outgrowth of forced economy." 18 How did the county and home agents fare? R. L. Wrigley, Cache County agent, responding to a question about what people thought of club work in his county, said, "Few of them know what it is." Carbon County reported that 400 boys and girls had started gardens, but when school let out there were too many projects for the agent to follow-up on. Many counties tried to reestablish club work. Davis County continued to scramble for funds, and the agent there acknowledged that the drop in funds still hurt. The 1921 Weber County report captured the general feeling about club work at this time: "As a whole, in Weber County, there seems to be no place for club work."19 Club work was needed in Utah, however. The Farm Bureau tried to fill the void and made a notable effort with youth during the absence of club work in Utah, but the programs were limited compared to the broad spectrum of 4-H. For nearly three years Hogensen's great work all but vanished. 16 Harris to Peterson, June 6, 1919, box 31, folder 7, Peterson Collection; Biennial Report. . . 1918-1919; Harris to Peterson, February 14, 1920, box 31, folder 7, Peterson Collection; "1922 Annual Report of Extension Work," p. 30, Special Collections, Merrill Library. 17 R.J. Evans to Peterson, April H a n d 18, 1921,box 155, folder 2, Peterson Collection; Biennial Report. . . 1921-1922. 18 "1922 Annual Report of Extension Work," p. 30. 19 " 1922 Annual Report of Cache County Agricultural Agent," "1920 Annual Report of Carbon County Agricultural Agent," "1922 Annual Report of Davis County Agricultural Agent," all in Extension Division Collection.

Utah Historical Quarterly


4-H cI^BlHONSMff

(= |H






^ ^H

From upper left: Dairy herd production costs were analyzed by boys at Utah State Fair booth, late 1930s; 4-H Club leader Roene Wood of Murray, Utah, demonstrated upholstery techniques for Dorothy Parker, Joy Player, Helen Smith, andDelna Parker in 1947; 4-H girl gave a cooking demonstration. Photographs courtesy of Fern S. Kelley and USDA Extension Service.

Utah 4-H


Then, in 1924, renewed interest in club work led to the search for a new state leader. In eastern Idaho, David P. Murray, a native of Utah, had been making a name for himself in the field. Extension offered him the position of Utah state club leader. On January 6, 1925, he officially began his job in Utah. Club work had received a second chance. T h e new leader would overcome the budget crunch. Murray was ideally suited for the job of Utah's state 4-H leader. He had grown up as a farm boy in Cache Valley and graduated in science in 1910 from Brigham Young College in Logan. T h e next four years found him teaching the elementary grades. Then he decided to finish his education at USAC where he received a bachelor's degree in agriculture in 1916.20 In July 1917 Murray began work as the first agricultural agent of Madison County, Idaho. He faced the difficult task of convincing farmers to try his new ideas of farming and animal raising. They were, for the most part, reluctant to change, but their children were receptive. Murray found that if the children's work was successful, the parents became very interested in extension work. "Boarders" (livestock that produced poorly) were a major problem in the Rexburg area where Murray did most of his work. Modern animal husbandry methods needed to be introduced to improve the quality of livestock. He embarked on a program with the local bankers that allowed the youth to purchase livestock. He attached several stipulations to these loans that later became the basis of much of his 4-H work in Utah. First, the boy (or girl) was given the loan, with the father cosigning, which put the child in a position of great responsibility. The second condition required the agent to approve the livestock to be bought. T h e youths were required to keep complete records of all expenditures during the year. T h e results were more far-reaching than just training the youths in how to raise livestock. T h e program improved the quality of local livestock, trained the youths in appropriate banking and money management techniques, and stimulated the father-child relationship. Upon returning to Cache Valley, Murray quickly identified the major problems plaguing Utah club work: the lack of interest shown by county extension agents and the Smith-Hughes program, which overlapped club work in the schools. It took time to sell the county agents on the club program; most preferred dealing with adults. Murray developed leadership schools, often held in statewide 20

lnterview with Mabel Murray, October 2, 1980; Murray Family Book of Remembrance.


Utah Historical Quarterly

meetings at USAC, to instruct volunteers on how to organize club work. T h e Utah Bankers Association helped by financing awards for winners in the county fairs. Despite this auspicious start, the club p r o g r a m was on a collision course with the administration of the Smith-Hughes p r o g r a m . T h e Smith-Hughes law had been enacted in 1917 to provide year-round activity in agriculture. T h e Smith-Hughes people, now k n o w n as t h e F u t u r e F a r m e r s of A m e r i c a , w o r k e d primarily t h r o u g h the schools, usually tying in closely with the curriculum. By contrast, club work in 1917 usually concentrated on activities d u r i n g the s u m m e r a n d spent less time in the schools. When J a m e s Hogensen, the first state leader, took club work to the schools d u r i n g the first years of extension, conflict surfaced almost immediately. A temporary a g r e e m e n t with the Smith-Hughes people that allowed boys and girls to join both organizations only widened the rift between the two groups, as both competed for the limited time of the youths. 21 T h e r e were many m o r e boys and girls in the Smith-Lever (4-H) clubs than in the Smith-Hughes (FFA) organization. In Salt Lake County 337 boys and girls did club work c o m p a r e d to 108 involved with the Smith-Hughes association. T h e n u m b e r s were m o r e striking for Cache County â&#x20AC;&#x201D; 761 club members versus 57 Smith-Hughes participants. 22 Although club leaders saw the need for a change, county agents often presented a problem because the Smith-Hughes p r o g r a m m a d e the agents' work with youth easier. It was this confused situation that Murray inherited u p o n accepting the post of state leader. In retrospect, the resolution of the rivalry appears relatively simple. T h e Smith-Hughes p r o g r a m could have remained in the schools working with the curriculum, and club work could have concentrated on s u m m e r activities with p e r h a p s a regular meeting d u r i n g the year. But m o r e tension was felt when Murray and LeG r a n d e Rich H u m p h r e y , head of the Smith-Hughes g r o u p , confronted each other to d e t e r m i n e whether club work would remain in the schools. H u m p h r e y ' s b a c k g r o u n d was similar in many ways to Murray's. Both m e n were born in 1884. H u m p h r e y g r a d u a t e d from Bear Lake 2 ' M a r k Nichols, "History of Agricultural Education in the State of Utah, 1895-1940," p.4, L e G r a n d e Rich H u m p h r e y Collection, Merrill Library; " T h e History of Club Work (Utah)," p p . 1, 4. 22 "1922 A n n u a l Report of Extension Work," p. 57.

Utah 4-H


Academy in Idaho and went on to teach mathematics, physics, and chemistry at Fielding Academy in Paris, Idaho. After a few years there he resumed his education at USAC, the same decision Murray would make. Upon his graduation in 1912 H u m p h r e y joined the USAC staff and began teaching agricultural education. From this position he pioneered the Future Farmers of America in Utah. He is remembered by club members as a hard-driving individual of extreme loyalty.23 Murray chose to take club work out of the school system. His wife reacted like many others involved in club work and told him to "toot his horn a little more." 24 Instead, he redoubled his efforts to improve the quality of club work. He understood the path Utah 4-H should take, but the problems he faced directed much of his attention away from convincing county agents to work with youth. This difficulty has yet to be completely resolved. Despite the problems Murray faced in his first few years, he enjoyed some important positive moments. T h e work being done by the boys and girls continued to improve, as did the rate of completions. T h e n , in 1927 t h e first n a t i o n a l club c a m p , held in Washington, D . C , molded the shape and texture of 4-H into the organization it remains today. As far back as 1925 Murray and other state leaders had been calling on the USDA to establish a national camp. Finally, in 1927, the USDA agreed and held the camp on the lawn in front of their building in Washington. T h e camp filled three main purposes: to reward and develop outstanding junior leaders, to acquaint club members with their government and Washington with club work, and to provide a convenient meeting for state leaders. 25 T h e camp ran for seven days, J u n e 15-22. Sightseeing tours, recreation, dinners, addresses by notables, and general meetings filled the agenda. Reveille sounded at six in the morning, followed by a flag-raising ceremony and swimming; then the campers were allowed to eat breakfast. Clarence Beaman Smith, who opened the camp with the statement "Education is not preparation for life, but life itself," outlined the need to encourage more volunteer leaders and to attract older club members. Murray and the other delegates " O b i t u a r y from the Register of the Papers of LeGrande Rich Humphrey, H u m p h r e y Collection; Murray interview. 24 Murray interview. " R e c k , The 4-H Story, p. 214.

/ 74

Utah Historical Quarterly

left with more than a vague outline of the grand scheme of 4-H; they left with a pledge, a motto, and an institution. 26 T h e camp established 4-H traditions that continue to the present. T h e pledge, which today opens every meeting, was written by Otis Hall, state leader of Kansas. R. A. Pearson, president of Iowa State College, and A. C T r u e of the U.S. Extension Service submitted the pledge to the executive committee of the Land-Grant College Association virtually unchanged from Hall's original. It was short but direct: I pledge my head to clearer thinking, My heart to greater loyalty, My hands to larger service, and My health to better living, For my club, my community, and my country.

T h e first national camp also marked the acceptance of the 4-H motto: "To Make the Best Better." 2 " F o r m u l a t i n g a p l e d g e a n d a m o t t o were visible accomplishments, but the real achievement lay in the fact that state leaders had finally come together to dedicate themselves to improving the quality of club work. T h e camp lifted the morale of everyone involved and crystallized ideals in the minds of millions of young people. For Utah 4-H the camp symbolized a turning point in club work; the emphasis now shifted to positive growth and developing better projects. Utah 4-H provided many opportunities for youngsters. It enabled some children to travel, to develop important skills, and to achieve a measure of personal satisfaction and pride in their work. Occasionally, the skills learned in 4-H provided more than satisfaction. In the case of Wilma Peterson McQuarrie, the sewing skills learned in 4-H marked one of the major achievements of her life and helped her and her family to survive hard times. During the depression Wilma made all of her family's clothes and worked at the Logan Knitting Mills. After her marriage she earned money making drapes and wedding dresses in her home. She also helped out with 4-H for many years, teaching young girls her love for sewing. Without the 4-H sewing club she joined when she was fourteen, Wilma would 2(i

Ibid., pp. 216, 212-14. Ibid., pp. 216-17. In the 1970s "and my world" was added to the last line. 28 Ibid., p. 217. T h e motto was proposed by Carrie Harrison, a botanist in the Bureau of Plant Industry. 27

Utah 4-H


have had a much different life. Because she had to take care of her younger brothers and sisters after her mother's death she was never able to finish high school, but 4-H filled the void.29 In 1931 Murray outlined the goals, ideals, and direction of Utah 4-H. He took the concepts pioneered at the 1927 national camp and translated them into workable, understandable principles. T h o u g h written during the early years of the depression, this report looked beyond those times of despair and stressed the need for a positive outlook. It emphasized the two major goals of 4-H activities: first, to teach through doing, and second, "to dignify and give proper recognition" to the important tasks of farm science and home economics. T o implement these goals Murray underlined the importance of quality rather than quantity; 4-H should be allowed to grow only as fast as effective supervision would warrant. 30 Without David Murray the story of Utah 4-H would have been much different. After almost six years of neglect the program was reborn u n d e r his leadership and dedication and transformed in many positive ways. H e insisted u p o n learning and personal achievement rather than winning blue ribbons and gold cups. This emphasis enabled members like Wilma Peterson to learn more than just simple sewing skills; she was given an opportunity to develop her skills into professional quality work for a lifetime. From 1925 to 1931 Utah 4-H sought to provide direction for and rekindle interest in club work and to provide club members with the opportunity to learn. T h e program grew quickly during those years, but much more remained to be done. By 1932 Utah 4-H had established itself as a growing, cohesive unit. With Murray controlling club work from the state office in Logan, Utah 4-H became one of the most dynamic club groups in America. He had established a strong organization. T h e years 1932 through 1952 found others leading 4-H to diversify its programs to meet the needs of more youth. This effort was coordinated by Myrtle Davidson and Fern Shipley Kelley. Davidson was appointed assistant club leader in September 1930. She had worked in Idaho for a number of years in boys' and girls' club work before joining Utah extension as a home demonstration agent for Cache and Box Elder counties, the position she left

"Interview with Wilma Peterson McQuarrie, November 28, 1980. 3<>

Biennial Report. . . 1930-32.


Utah Historical Quarterly

to take the 4-H state job. Soon Davidson's and Murray's efforts to improve the already powerful club organization were drawing national attention. G e r t r u d e L. Warren, a 4-H specialist from Washington, D . C , asserted that "No other state in the Union is making more progress in 4-H club work than Utah." 31 One of the ways to enlarge the program was through the farm and home science clubs developed by Myrtle Davidson. During the 1930s 4-H turned its attention to senior 4-H groups for those age twelve to fifteen and those sixteen and older who were not married. The farm science clubs were organized on an agricultural basis, and to challenge these older children project size was increased each year. T h e home science clubs offered three "majors" â&#x20AC;&#x201D; food, clothing, and home management â&#x20AC;&#x201D; to be rotated each year. An advisory committee recommended that the farm and home science clubs meet jointly at least three times a year for social activities.32 One of the advantages of senior 4-H work was the additional time a club worker could continue on a project. Margaret Hansen had been a calf club member for four years when she entered her fourteenth contest with her calf, Bess. At age sixteen Margaret placed second at the state fair in fitting and showmanship, all breeds. The next year, 1932, she entered Bess who became the Grand Champion of the Utah State Fair. For her achievement the girl was awarded the prestigious Union Pacific Scholarship. The development of senior 4-H allowed Hansen and others to use the program beyond high school.33 During this era one of the most remarkable, if least publicized, groups in Utah 4-H formed: the Ever-Ready 4-H Club of Pleasant View. Since 1940 this group of outstanding women has kept in touch by a letter that takes over a full year to make its rounds. Each member adds a note and perhaps a picture or newspaper clipping and then sends the growing missive on its way. The letter has been a source of comfort, humor, and interest ever since.34 It all started in May 1928 when Bertha Leibhardt formed a canning club, organized under Utah County agents Anson Call and Lyman Rich, with nine original members. The girls shared a wide 3

'Unidentified clipping in Fern Shipley Kelley Scrapbook, Extension Division Collection. Information on file at the Utah Extension Service, Logan. 33 "1932 Cache County Report," Extension Division Collection. 34 Yvonne J. Perry, "The Remarkable Ever-Ready 4-H Club of Pleasant View," copy in possession of Gerald Olsen, 4-H state leader, Logan. 32

Utah 4-H


variety of projects from canning and clothing to the care of shrubs and charm and personality development. The group was extremely successful, with members winning several out-of-state trips. What the girls learned was much more important than the trips they won. The skills they acquired from their 4-H leaders left them in a better position to help their families weather the depression. The girls of the Ever-Ready 4-H Club shared the same experiences as Wilma Peterson: skills learned in 4-H meetings became a means of supplementing family income. Like Wilma., too, most of these women served as 4-H leaders in their adult years. William Peterson served as the director of extension in 1918 and then from 1924 through 1943. Reviewing the history of Utah

David P. Murray.

Fern Shipley Kelley.

David Sharp, Jr.

4-H, one sees that the years under the authoritarian Peterson were the most productive in terms of organization and development of club work. He perceived the important role 4-H would achieve in the future and distinguished himself by understanding the key role of women in shaping policy and programs. During Peterson's tenure 4-H in Utah was rejuvenated under David Murray. The 4-H state staff became a cohesive professional unit that saw the program as a career, not just a stepping-stone. From Claire Parrish and Gladys Christiansen to Myrtle Davidson and Fern Shipley Kelley, Utah club work was greatly enhanced by the work of women on the state level. Although they were not always recognized or honored for their individual efforts, collectively their work became a distinguishing feature in Utah extension.


Utah Historical Quarterly

Peterson recognized that "women are vitally interested in the soil, in soil and water relationships, in the use and care of the range, in livestock breeding and feeding, in conservation of natural resources, as well as in rearing children and making comfortable, convenient and happy homes." 35 In March 1938 with Myrtle Davidson on sabbatical, Peterson requested "the appointment of Miss Fern Shipley to the position of assistant club leader." Fern Shipley Kelley (she married in 1959) enjoyed a long association with Utah 4-H. Born in Franklin, Idaho, she was the niece of David Murray's wife, Mabel. Fern was first employed by Utah 4-H as a part-time secretary in 1928, a position she held until 1933 when she received her home economics degree from U S A C She was reemployed by extension in 1936 and worked at a variety of tasks until appointed assistant state club leader. Under Murray's tutelage Kelley soon learned how to develop a strong youth program. He stressed the leadership training schools, something she quickly picked u p on. Soon Utah was providing the highest percentage of volunteer leaders to county agents. 36 Fern Kelley took particular pride in the programs she administered. T h e most conspicuous of these was the development of the enthusiastic and well received county camp program she and state leader David Sharp brought to Utah. Second was the "glamorization" of the two girls' programs. Stock shows had been rather unpopular with the parents of 4-H girls who thought them unladylike. Kelley's solution was to make them more culturally oriented and better chaperoned and to have the girls stay at nice hotels. This seemed to please everyone. Along with increasing the appeal of stock shows Kelley developed a career day for girls. Several companies, including Sears and J. C. Penney, along with organizations like the Utah Dairy Council, helped. Career day gave the girls a taste of professions like fashion designer, interior decorator, and office manager. A furniture dealer in Richmond brought the girls to his store and by using his own merchandise showed them the difference between quality and inferior furniture. This is only one example of the many excellent seminars given.37


"1941 Annual Report of Director," box 158, folder 2, Peterson Collection. William Peterson to E. G. Peterson, March 23, 1938, box 157, folder 2, Peterson Collection; interview with Fern Shipley Kelley, February 17, 1981. 37 Kelley interview. 36

Utah 4-H


One program available to a few fortunate club workers inspired many others. T h e International Farm Youth Exchange (IFYE) allowed club members to travel to foreign countries and take part in their vocational agricultural programs. The first member to go was Josephine Daines Clark, later an agent in Morgan County. Following the trip she toured Utah, giving lectures and slide shows. IFYE was a community project with contributions solicited to help with expenses. T h e Lions Clubs of Utah put up much of the money for the 4-H members to travel.38 In May 1938 David Murray suffered a heart attack, leaving Kelley to handle the state office alone for a year. When Murray's condition remained unchanged, Peterson appointed David Sharp, Jr., as assistant state leader with the understanding that he would become the new state leader. (Murray was not officially replaced until J u n e 1942.) Kelley, clearly, was the candidate best qualified for the job considering her education, training, and experience, but "there was no thought they would appoint a woman club state leader." When Kelley moved up to the National 4-H Office she was again overlooked for the office of national leader. 39 At the time of his appointment Sharp was the popular agent for Summit County. He was born in 1888 in Vernon, Tooele County, where his father ran eight hundred head of horses. After graduating from USAC in agriculture in 1913, he became involved with a new federal service called Cooperative Extension. For sixteen years he served as the Summit County agent with his expertise in constant demand. Kelley always felt that Sharp would have preferred the livestock specialist position for which he had excellent qualifications. Sharp recalled the beating that Utah 4-H took each year at the Ogden Livestock Show at the hands of the Idaho Falls group. One year Murray told Sharp how much he wanted to win this show. Sharp said he could count on a win the next year. He hand-picked a group of his best livestock club boys in Summit County. "I took the boys and I trained 'em. That's all they needed: training. T h e next year, we went to the show and beat 'em good." That spirit epitomized Sharp, but he also had "a touch of charisma" and a dry humor. When asked how the agents accepted 4-H, Sharp replied: "4-H was new to the agents, some of them sided away from it. They were like I was

'Ibid. 'Murray interview; "Field Report of Ella Gardner,' p. 2, in Kelley Scrapbook; Kelley interview.

From the top: Spatter painting was one of many crafts offered at 4-H camps; loading up to go home after a three-day county camp; 4-H camp race ca. 1912. Photographs courtesy of Fern S. Kelley and author.

Utah 4-H


down in Summit County. When Dave [Murray] asked me to do something, I did it. Otherwise, I tried to pass it off."40 World War II brought a boom in 4-H activity nationwide as the country turned toward increasing food production to meet wartime needs. This stirred interest in the kinds of activities that 4-H had long been concerned with. Peterson called for "a victory garden in every 4-H home," and Utah adopted the national seven-point pledge for victory. Sharp felt that Utah 4-H changed little during the war years and that increased interest in home gardening was probably the only difference. Fern Kelley noted that the war bolstered membership and that unlike other states, Utah did not experience a crippling drop in enrollment after the war; rather, the Utah organization continued to grow.41 Because of Utah's many parks and camping sites, each county could hold its own summer camp. Under the leadership of Sharp and Kelley the camp system was brought to its peak. Sharp claimed that 90 percent of the 4-H members attended camp one year, and Kelley said that 75 percent of club members attended camp year in and year out. These are phenomenal numbers, unmatched by any other state. These camps generated tremendous enthusiasm among members. Though Sharp and Kelley are credited with developing the outstanding success of the camp program, the groundwork was done by Paul Dunn and, later, by J. Whitney Floyd, extension forester, who set up attractive, entertaining camps that first attracted forestry club members. Soon, other 4-H members began attending these camps, even girls from clothing and cooking clubs. T h e state office realized that a successful 4-H camp could develop enthusiasm for the entire program and climax the 4-H year. T h e camps were almost too successful; Sharp had his hands full one year when Kane, Iron, and Washington counties decided to hold a combined camp. The expected enrollment was 300 club members, but 900 attended. Although handicrafts were in rather short supply, the camp ran smoothly; but Sharp decided never to hold a combined county camp again.42 An important aspect of the camps was the clean camp committee. One of Sharp's fondest memories was the year he had to beg to hold the Cache County camp in Logan Canyon. Youth groups were 40

Interview with David Sharp, Jr., February 12, 1981; Kelley interview. Biennial Report. . . 1940-42, pp. 318-19; Sharp interview; Kelley interview. 42 Sharp interview; Kelley interview. 41


Utah Historical Quarterly

not allowed there overnight. As the campers were packing to leave, a ranger and five workers entered the camp. T h e ranger demanded, "What kind of a camp are you r u n n i n g here, anyway?" Sharp answered, "Well, I thought a fairly good one." T h e ranger said, "I brought these five guys here to clean this camp from one end to the other, and I tell you we couldn't find one gum wrapper!'" T h e ranger reached into his wallet and pulled out a ten dollar bill. "Here, this is ten bucks for your clean camp committee. Your 4-H kids can come back any time." 43 Utah 4-H experienced many changes during the Sharp years. T h e membership grew, the program changed, and the team of Sharp and Kelley leckthe state office; 4-H had established a rural base for itself in Utah, but it was time for the program to expand and diversify. A new state office would lead Utah 4-H into these areas. This task would fall to Glenn Baird and Amy Kearsley in the mid1950s. They decentralized many of the programs, giving the counties larger responsibilities and introducing a wide range of new activities. Programs began to respond to community needs in the areas of health, safety, recreational leadership, and other communityrelated activities and events. This new emphasis on community leadership marked the beginnings of 4-H work in the larger towns and cities and the evolution of urban 4-H. T h e n u m b e r and variety of programs were expanded, ranging from personality development and physical fitness to water safety and citizenship. T h e methods for carrying out these programs included films, tours, workshops, outside speakers, and panel discussions; but the key element was to provide challenges for older 4-H members. In the past, project titles like pig club or sewing club had tended to keep boys and girls within their traditional roles. T h e new approach stressed interaction between the sexes at every program level not only in Utah but in programs that began to extend Utah 4-H's hand around the world. Future historians may well find these urban and international programs of Utah 4-H worthy of detailed study.


Charles S. Peterson interview with David Sharp, Jr., May 18, 1972, Western Studies, Oral History Project, Department of History, USU.

Defense attorney Clarence Darrow addressed courtroom at Scopes trial. From The World's Most Famous Court Trial published in 1925 by the National Book Company.

Religion and Education: The Scopes Controversy in Utah BY ANN WEAVER HART



signaled in 1910 by the publication of a series of pamphlets entitled The Fundamentals, reheated a controversy among American Christians over the issues of Bible literalism and evolution. T h e ensuing fight was carried to the state legislatures of the country where thirty-seven bills designed to bar the teaching of evolution in publicly supported schools were introduced. In addition to legislative efforts, resolutions and policies against evolution were adopted by boards of education across the nation. Aided in their efforts by their charismatic new leader, William Jennings Bryan, the fundamentalists were able to secure the passage of the Butler Act in Tennessee Ms. Hart is a doctoral candidate in educational administration at the University of Utah.


Utah Historical Quarterly

forbidding the teaching of evolution in any state-supported school or college. When a young teacher in Dayton, Tennessee, agreed to test the law, one of the more famous and publicized confrontations over evolution began. T h e story of J o h n Scopes has been told and retold in American letters and literature. T h e ordeal of the Tennessee high school teacher (who according to his memoirs never even taught evolution) has been relegated to American folklore by portrayals of the dramatic confrontation between Clarence Darrow and William Jennings Bryan in a Dayton, Tennessee, courtroom during those sultry July days in 1925. Darrow embodied the image of the new scientific agnostic, Bryan the old and uncomplicated religious faith that had sustained hard-working Americans in the past. 1 T h e r e have been some misconceptions formed about Utah that might lead some to believe that it was probably a center of evolution controversy in the 1920s. Utah was named as the first state in the United States to pass anti-evolution legislation in that tense era in Separation of Church and State published in 1948. T h e particular legislation referred to, however, was a bill entitled Sectarian Doctrines in Public Schools. It was aimed at preventing any religious denomination from dominating instruction in Utah's schools. Alvin W. J o h n s o n was apparently convinced that the prohibition of "atheistic" and "infidel" doctrines in the Utah act demonstrated that the bill was aimed at evolution. 2 Considering the fact that all fortyeight states in the nation at the time had similar legislation, 3 much of which had been passed almost a h u n d r e d years earlier, Johnson's conclusion seems unfounded. Utah's legislation was, instead, part of a well defined American trend toward the establishment of sectarian public schools. T h e Scopes trial may have been the major religious event in America in the 1920s. Given the preconceptions that many hold about the religious climate in Utah, one might expect that strong feelings would have surfaced here as they did elsewhere in the nation, yet the response in Utah was comparatively unemotional. School boards along the Wasatch Front apparently ignored the issue in their formal proceedings, introducing no regulations or reso' N o r m a n F. Furniss, The Fundamentalist Controversy, 1918-1939 (Hamden, Conn.: Archon Books, 1963), pp. 20-24. 2 Alvin W. Johnson, Separation of Church and State in the United States (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1948), p. 162; Utah State Legislature, House Bill 82, 1921. 3 Burton Confrey, Secularism in American Education: Its History (Washington, D . C : Catholic University of America, 1931), pp. 51-75.

The Scope s Controversy


lutions. Professional educators spoke out in favor of scientific education, the libraries escaped censorship, and the state legislature passed no legislation restricting the teaching of evolution. Utah's press coverage of the Scopes trial was moderately pro-Scopes on the major issues raised by the trial: academic freedom, the right of patrons to control the schools, the law's constitutionality, the philosophical conflicts between science and religion, national politics, and the science of evolution; but both sides in the controversy received Utah publicity. A very real fear in Utah was ably expressed by the Ogden Standard-Examiner on May 17, 1925, that limiting the freedom to teach and to learn, not the truth of evolution, was the real issue in the case: "[A person] may be sure of his ideas, but if he is intelligent he knows there is room for doubt and debate and he welcomes both." Academic freedom and the right of experts to teach information that is accurate in their best judgment was a recurring theme. T h e Standard-Examiner headline for June 11, 1925, stated: "Scopes Says He Is 'Goat': Evolution Teacher to Fight for Freedom of Thought." The primacy of the school freedom issue was brought home by the July 13 DeseretNews article that began: "With the educational liberties of the American people at stake . . . the trial of John Scopes continues." Bryan had a different concept of school freedom â&#x20AC;&#x201D; the right of school patrons to decide what could be taught in their schools, and that was also represented in the Utah papers. Convinced that Scopes was forcing boards of education to question teachers on their personal views of controversial issues before hiring them in order to protect themselves, Bryan felt deeply that those who paid the bills for the public schools had the absolute right to determine what subjects would be taught there. He argued forcefully that "evolution is not the issue . . . the real issue is whether the scientists or the people who support the schools shall control the schools."4 The constitutionality of a law delineating the subjects that may be taught in the public schools was also questioned in the Utah press. Constitutional issues, including due process guarantees, were thoroughly examined. A Deseret News editorial compared the evolution question to a 1925 U.S. Supreme Court ruling against an Oregon statute requiring all children to attend public schools. 4

0gden Standard-Examiner, May 24, 1925.


Utah Historical Quarterly It is evident that the question to be decided by the court is the right or power of the state legislature to prescribe what shall or shall not be taught to the school children of Tennessee. T h e question involves the constitutionality of legislative action in this particular field. It is closely akin to the Oregon school law in which the Supreme Court of the United States held that a state statute requiring all children to attend the public schools was in violation to the Federal Constitution and an unreasonable encroachment on individual liberty.'

However, the Ogden paper pointed out that many prominent constitutional lawyers felt that the Butler Act might be legal.6 Though the defense and the prosecution argued vociferously that other issues were really at stake and that their battle was over academic freedom and the control of the public schools, Utah coverage gave more publicity to the religious and political issues that both spawned and were nurtured by the movement and seemed to blur the focus of the educational issues. A Salt Lake Tribune article on July 9, "Scopes Trial Now Accepted as Last Call," argued that this event was either fundamentalism's nemesis or the birth of a new political force in the nation. Bryan sharpened the religious conflict when he stated: "If Darwinism is true, Christianity is false.7 The Deseret News, however, took a different view when it editorialized on the religous implications of the Scopes trial: "Evolution is not on trial, neither is the literal truth of the Bible story. Many who subscribe in part to the theory of evolution find it not incompatible with belief in divine creation and guidance." 8 Judge Raulston had ruled that it was not improper to begin the trial with daily prayer, but when the prayers turned into a forum for speeches pleading for the defendant's eternal soul, as they sometimes did, the Salt Lake Tribune suggested that "argumentative prayers which might have influence on the jury" had no place in the trial.9 There was also some feeling that the Tennessee trial atmosphere somehow violated the principles of fair play. T h e Salt Lake Tribune's headline article on July 14 voiced the opinion that Scopes's "jury of his peers," consisting of "east Tennessee Mountain Farmers," could not possibly decide his case "impartially, according to the evidence." T h e Provo Herald also suggested that the issue of Scopes's ^Ogden Standard-Examiner, J u n e 9, 1925, and Deseret News, July 7, 1925. ^Ogden Standard-Examiner, J u n e 12, 1925. 1 Ogden Standard-Examiner, May 28, 1925. ^Deseret News, July 18, 1925. "Salt Lake Tribune, ]uly 16, 1925.

The Scope's Controversy


guilt or innocence was moot; people in Dayton would probably find Scopes guilty "because the dominant anti-evolution view o f the jury was well established. William Jennings Bryan was a political personality of the first order, a man about whom controversy swirled like a dust devil. His role in the passage of the Butler Act and Scopes's subsequent indictment and prosecution for violating it made great political press. Although his admirers argued that Bryan involved himself in the evolution controversy as part of a personal commitment to give the remainder of his life to God after a long political career, there were many, including some Utahns, who doubted the altruism of his motives. "Politics Creep into Evolution Struck Town," a Salt Lake Tribune copyrighted article, argued that Bryan might try for the presidency once again on a fundamentalist platform. One of Will Rogers's articles in the Tribune, "We Might as Well Be Monkeys as Long as We're Going to Act Like Them," claimed Bryan's behavior was very politically motivated. Critical political cartoons and articles continued to appear in the major Utah papers throughout the trial. The belief seems to have persisted that Bryan might run for the presidency once more on a fundamentalist platform and was using the trial to further his political career.10 Bryan's world view also received some criticism in Utah. Darrow and Malone were often quoted on the issues involved in the litigation, but the personality of William Jennings Bryan, long well known to westerners, seemed to engender as much interest as his opinions. His vitality and accomplishments were a source of admiration for those following the progress of his last great battle, and there was considerable support and admiration from official LDS periodicals for his devotion to religion and his anti-alcohol politics. But his "capacity to ignore logic, to keep himself free from those weak embarrassments that attend a man able to see all the facts in their proper proportions" 11 was hardly an attribute one would want to emulate. The one admirable quality universally attributed to Bryan, regardless of feelings toward him personally, was his sincerity. After his death in Dayton just a few days after the trial, the Utah papers praised him as a sincere man who stood up for what he believed in, the "mighty democrat" and leader of the fundamentalists. 10

Paolo E. Coletta, William Jennings Bryan: Political Puritan, 1915-1925 (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1969); Salt lake Tribune, July 12, and July 19, 1925. "Salt Lake Tribune, July 19, 1925.


Utah Historical Quarterly

Many lacked sufficient background to judge the Scopes trial on any scientific merit. T h e Utah media offered its readers testimony that supported both evolution and faith. Dr. W.J. Mayo, who argued that scientific men no longer questioned evolution ("Not that we are descended from monkeys, which is mere nonsense. . . ."), and Kirtley Mather were representative of the experts whose opinions were given Utah exposure. "Not one scientific fact conflicts with the teachings of Jesus Christ" was one assertion seen in print in Utah. T h e Ogden Standard-Examiner carried a series of articles by Percy W. Cobb, M.D., explaining aspects of evolutionary theory. Other attempts to present the scientific point of view, however limited the space and necessarily abbreviated, appeared in the Utah papers. 12 T h e apparently balanced portrayal of the issues of the Scopes trial can be explained in part by Utah's educational and religious climate at the time. A lack of consensus among Mormon leaders on evolution's merits in the 1920s, the BYU controversy over evolution that preceded Scopes by over a decade, the nature of Utah Protestantism, strong support for a secular and nondenominational approach to science in the public schools and libraries by Utah educators, and a tradition of interest in science in the state were all part of the context from which Utahns viewed the national conflict. Although absolutely no concessions were granted to agnostic or atheistic perspectives of evolution by Mormon authorities, many prominent Mormons were attracted to the theory's theistic interpretations and wrote extensively on the subject. Nels Nelson, a BYU professor, John A. Widtsoe, James Talmage, Frederick Pack from the University of Utah, and B. H. Roberts all wrote more or less positively about evolution. They discussed the ideas of Thomas Huxley, Herbert Spencer, and Charles Darwin, comparing the theistic application of evolutionary theories to LDS theology. Expressing beliefs on both sides of the controversy, numerous articles appeared in the Improvement Era, the Juvenile Instructor, the Contributor, the Millennial Star, and the LDS Conference Reports that were both sympathetic to and hostile to the scientific interpretations of biological, geological, and paleontological data. 13 T h e conflicts that roiled and churned the Protestant waters were not ignored by the Mormons either. Many items appeared in n

Ogden Standard-Examiner, May 20, July 1, 7, 9, 10, 11, 20, 1925. A more extensive account of this material appears in Ann Weaver Hart, "Utah and the Scopes Trial: A Conservative Irony" (M.A. thesis, University of Utah, 1981). pp. 89-95. 13

The Scope's Controversy


the Improvement Era column "Passing Events" documenting the increasingly heated and bitter confrontation developing in the American Protestant denominations. 14 However, while Protestant congregations were debating the issues, firing their pastors, and confronting one another at national conventions, the structure of LDS leadership precluded a duplication of the Protestant debate and controversy. In 1909 a statement from President Joseph F. Smith reaffirmed the LDS commitment to the concept of man's creation in the image of God, asserting that the issues in the evolutionary conflict were "not vital from a doctrinal standpoint" though "closely connected with the fundamental principles of salvation."13 There was also an ambiguous contemporary LDS reaction at the time of the Scopes trial. LDS periodicals continued to print articles that sympathized with evolution or excoriated evolutionary theory, including some very positive articles by William Jennings Bryan and about his life and work.16 T h e church publicized its official viewpoint on the subject of evolution in July, during the Scopes trial, by distributing it to newspapers throughout the country over the signatures of Heber J. Grant, Anthony W. Ivins, and Charles W. Nibley, the First Presidency of the church. 17 Emphatically expressing the church's commitment to the direct participation of God in the creation of man, in his anthropomorphic nature, and in the principles of eternal progression as taught by the church, this statement made no direct mention of the debate central to the issue at the time â&#x20AC;&#x201D; could God have employed some particular and identifiable method (evolution?) when he organized the elements out of which the earth was created? At this point it became necessary for Latterday Saint members to find their own explanations for creation, providing they remained believers in Good's divine fatherhood and creative power and in the mission of Jesus Christ. T h e second factor that influenced the Utah climate was a serious confrontation over the issues of evolution, higher criticism, and interpretations of academic freedom at Brigham Young University 14

lbid. See also pp. 63-67. foseph F. Smith, "The Origin of Man," Improvement Era 13 (November 1909):75. '"Joseph A. West, "The Bible and Life," Improvement Era 25 (September 1922): 989, George Albert Smith, "A Sure Knowledge of the Origin of Man," Juvenile Instructor 61 (April 1926): 182-83, "Editorial Thoughts,"yuwra7<? Instructor 60 (August 1925):414-15; see also Hart, "Utah and the Scopes Trial," pp. 72-88 and 63-71. Before the unusual circumstances of Bryan's death, the LDS response was one of cautious praise for his dedication to religion. After his death, the youth magazine was full of laudatory eulogies for his Fight for religion and prohibition. "Deseret News, July 18, 1925. ,5


Utah Historical Quarterly

in 1911 that developed between several relatively new professors with excellent academic qualifications from American universities and some of the established faculty at the BY High School and some Utah Valley residents. In what they felt was an attempt to u p g r a d e the p r o g r a m at the college, these nationally educated young professors taught biology, philosophy, and education using the evolutionary perspective from which they had been taught. T h e y organized a series of visiting speakers from a r o u n d the country who spoke on eugenics, communism, and the impact of Darwinism on history, education, and science; and they openly p r o m o t e d a doctrine of rational creation which they argued provided "an aid to faith" rather than a corruption of faith. 18 T h e church commissioner of education, Horace Cummings, expressing an intense concern over the possible effect of these professors' teachings on the testimonies and spiritual life of the students u n d e r their influence, called for a special church committee to investigate the n u m e r o u s charges against them. Ultimately, Joseph and H e n r y Peterson and Ralph Chamberlin were o r d e r e d by the trustees of the university to cease their objectionable teachings or resign. 19 T h e Deseret News criticized the "evolution school" of "so called 'scientists' " who imposed their objectionable views on others, while the Salt Lake Tribune and the Provo Herald accused the opponents of the beleaguered professors of "holding in contempt the advance of knowledge" 20 and fostering the suppression of academic freedom. Volleys of charges and countercharges were exchanged, and by the time the Petersons and Ralph Chamberlin were forced to resign, 18 Ralph V. Chamberlin, "Darwin Centennial Speech," February 12,1911, Ralph V. Chamberlin Papers, Utah State Historical Society, Salt Lake City. T h e r e was an incredible controversy over this event, and the newspaper articles, particularly those in the Provo Herald, became very accusatory and emotional. Henry Peterson and Ralph Chamberlin aired their opinions in n u m e r o u s articles, the university replied, and the views of the church committee that investigated the charges were carefully e n u m e r a t e d . Students at Brigham Young delivered a petition to President George Brimhall requesting that the professors be retained and then released it to the press when their views and legitimacy were questioned. In a biography of his brother William, Ralph Chamberlin gave an impassioned account of the incident a n d the subsequent treatment of his brother at BYU which elucidates the d e p t h of his feelings about evolution, education, and academic freedom. H e also wrote and published The Meaning of Organic Evolution (Provo: author, 1911) in an attempt to explain the theory's relationship to theology and alleviated some of the misconceptions and prejudice he felt existed in the general populace. An account of the media publicity and events that led u p to the professors' dismissal, the debate that ensued, and the explanations that followed the dismissal of the three professors can be found in Hart, "Utah a n d the Scopes Trial," p p . 100-125; Ralph V. Chamberlin, Life and Philosophy of William H. Chamberlin (Salt Lake City: Deseret News Press, 1925); and Ernest Wilkinson, ed., Brigham Young University: The First Hundred Years, vol. 1 (Provo: Brigham Young University Press, 1975-76). ls

Ibid. Deseret News, February 20, 1911, a n d Hart, "Utah and the Scopes Trial," p p . 100-125.


The Scope's Controversy


Utah had been exposed to more than a month of passionate debate over the issues of academic freedom, evolution, and higher criticism of the Bible. In April 1911 President Joseph F. Smith explained the church's action in both the Improvement Era and the Juvenile Instructor. Recognizing that the issues were not amenable to simple solutions, Smith maintained that "philosophic theories of life have their place and use, but it is not in the classes of the Church schools. . . ." Advocating a different philosophy of education, Milton Bennion criticized the action taken by the church in an editorial in the Utah Educational Review, questioning the desirability of its impact on both the LDS church and on education in the state. 21 T h e importance of the BYU incident for this investigation lies in the extensive and intense publicity it received t h r o u g h o u t Utah. T h e messages were not clear. Before the committee's decision was announced, the Deseret News had editorialized on evolution, expressing concern about its effects on faith but encouraging students to "find any light" they could through any branch of inquiry. 22 After the committee's official condemnation of the professors, the News condemned their work and perspective. T h e widespread and intense publicity the BYU incident provoked resulted in a cultural context quite different from the environment in states where the fundamentalist revolt took place a decade later. Another factor that made Utah different from fundamentalist power centers was the strength of its mainstream Protestant community. T h e comity agreements common between Protestant denominations in Utah and the rest of the nation in the early twentieth century resulted in fewer small local churches and larger memberships for individual congregations. T h e Baptist churches that, along with a conservative wing of the Presbyterians led by William Jennings Bryan, accounted for much of the leadership and interest in anti-evolutionism 23 did not fare well in Utah. Only small pockets of activity in the more populated areas survived the comity consolida-

2l Joseph F. Smith, "Theory and Divine Revelation," Improvement Era 14 (April 1911):550, Joseph F. Smith, "Philosophy and the Church Schools," Juvenile Instructor 46 (April 1911):209, and Milton Bennion, " T h e Evolution and Higher Criticism Controversy at the Brigham Young University," Utah Educational Review 4 (May 1911):9. 2Z Deseret News, February 18, 1911. 23 While some denominations struggled to balance modernism and conservatism in their creedal statements, the Southern Baptists quickly adopted the "Five Points" from The Fundamentals in 1924. However, some Southern Baptists still d e m a n d e d freedom of scientific investigation. T h e Presbyterians actuallysuffered a division of the church over fundamentalism. See Furniss, The Fundamentalist Controversy, p p . 117-147.


Utah Historical Quarterly

tions. In 1926 both major branches of the Baptist church together made u p only the sixth largest Protestant denomination in Utah within an already small Protestant population. 24 T h e strength of the more central and liberal Protestant voices can be illustrated by the publicity the Scopes confrontation received in Ogden, a city with a higher than average Protestant population, and the interest Odgen Protestants showed in the philosophical and scientific issues raised by the trial. T h e r e were also calls for moderation and caution in accepting the revisionist perspective. On J u n e 28, 1925, a lecture entitled " T h e Conflict between Science and Theology as Interpreted by Matthew Arnold" was delivered by Professor Garnett Sedgewick at the O r p h e u m T h e a t r e . According to Sedgewick, this battle of m o d e r n science was over, and the churches, in England at least, had accepted evolution. Americans, he said, stumbled along sixty years late in the controversy. T h e mistake which most people make is in a literal interpretation of the Bible. T h e average person does not seem to understand the literary significance of myths. And yet the Genesis story is a myth, and one of the finest myths ever written, a sort of poem, full of imaginative beauty and religious significance. And it is a dreadful mistake to take most of the Bible literally, because practically all of the world's best moral teachings are in the nature of parables.

Sedgewick maintained that Christ had pointed the way toward faith in a "power that makes for righteousness." He also emphasized the religious value of the creed of science, whose articles of faith are, first, "truth is discoverable," and, second, "truth is good for us." George Craig Stewart, an unabashed evolutionist and prominent Episcopalian from Evanston, argued in the Ogden StandardExaminer for the t r u t h of evolution. In "Evolution Is T e r m e d T r u t h , " Stewart explained that truth must be welcomed from whatever horizon â&#x20AC;&#x201D; it does not change. Having nothing to fear from science or from any other source of truth, Christianity's God and his truth remain discoverable and, he said, all truth has the same ultimate source. 26 In addition to the voices advocating Christian support for evolution, a moderating viewpoint, criticizing ideas the modernists 24 "Utah Baptists in the Mormon Empire," Crusader, October 1951, and Richard D. Poll et al., Utah's History (Provo: Brigham Young University Press, 1978), pp. 611-13. "Garnett G. Sedgewick, "Creation Book Held Mythical: Literal Interpretation of Bible Declared a Mistake," Ogden Standard-Examiner, June 29, 1925. 26 0gden Standard-Examiner, July 13, 1925.

The Scope's Controversy


promoted too enthusiastically, was delivered in a sermon at the Christian church, calling upon Christians in Ogden to avoid extremism in all forms. Don't be a "hard shell fundamentalist" or an "ultra-modernist," it pleaded: just be a Christian. Moderation was the primary theme of this message aimed at all denominations of Protestants. 27 Christian theology did not monopolize the attention of Ogden's Protestants; the Orpheum Theatre also sponsored a lecture by Professor Raymond Franzen, a psychologist at the University of California, who explained the evolution of human morals. This presentation extended the debate into social sciences, ethics, and philosophy where many had adopted the evolutionary paradigm. Not neglecting biology, Ogdenites could attend a lecture by Dr. W. C Allee, a biologist from the University of Chicago, at the Congregational church for fifty cents. Allee explained the naturalist theory of evolution as taught by Charles Darwin.28 The religious, philosophical, and scientific messages delivered to this Utah Protestant community during the trial period did not resemble either extreme in the national debate. Utah was not a center of radical Bible revisionism, but it provided a climate where the philosophies predominant in mainstream Protestantism in the rest of the country were more readily available than was fundamentalism. Finally, Utah educators, scientists, school boards, legislators, and libraries supported moderation. T h e stand taken by educators in Utah at the time is significant because historians have postulated that the success of the fundamentalists in Tennessee was partly the result of a lack of energetic opposition from professionals in science and education to criticism of science and evolution's application to modern intellectualism. 29 Scientific professionalism was not lacking in the Utah public school system in the 1920s. In 1924 the secretary of the Utah Academy of Sciences, C Arthur Smith, a teacher at East High School, wrote a series of articles on the teaching of science for the November 1924 issue of the Utah Educational Review. Other science articles also appeared in this publication during the period. 30 27

Ibid. "Ibid. "JohnT. Scopes and James Presley, Center ofthe Storm (New York: Holt, Rinehartand Winston, 1967), and Ray Ginger, Six Days or Forever? (Boston: Beacon Press, 1958). 3(, Frederick J. Pack, "Notes on Dinosaurs," Utah Educational Review 18 (October 1924):7l.


Utah Historical Quarterly

T h e Review was only published d u r i n g the nine months of the regular school year, so that it was not in publication in July 1925, but the J a n u a r y 1926 issue showed a definite and carefully calculated response to the developments in the nation d u r i n g the past months. T h e editorial page for that month, entitled " T h e Scientific Spirit in Modern Education," stated; All we know about our universe comes to us t h r o u g h our senses. . . . Science proceeds by experiment to give us new experience which may help us to make a critical test of our conclusions. Mysticism has no place in science except as a p h e n o m e n a to be studied.

This entire n u m b e r of the Review was devoted to science and the teaching of science. T h e educational tone set by the editors, echoing the views Milton Bennion had expressed fourteen years earlier, was amplified by a series of quotations on the value of m o d e r n science to society. Some of them were effusive in their praise of science. A m o n g them, one credited to President Calvin Coolidge concluded: "We ask no recantations from honesty and candor. We know that we need truth, and we turn to you men of science and of faith, eager to give you all encouragement in your quest of it."32 J. R. Tippetts, superintendent of schools in Morgan County, expressed what was being taught in the public schools in Utah this way: . . . high schools are teaching the subjects which deal with the origin and function of living things in both animal and plant kingdoms. . . . O u r rural schools have their departments of agriculture which have to d o with the breeding and production of domesticated plants and animals and in which the students seek the basic ideas of organic descent and selection. T h e high schools, undoubtedly, are laying the foundation for scientific conclusions and attitudes which will function greatly in the student's mature life.

Questioning why anyone would feel that being a scientist automatically disqualified one as a religious person, Tippetts explained the advantage he felt this scientific orientation would be to the future leaders of Utah and to the future of society. H e offered an enthusiastic defense of science education, which he felt was vital to the prosperity and progress of mankind. Tippetts was a successful 31

Orin T u g m a n , " T h e Scientific Spirit in Modern Education," Utah Educational Review 19 (January 1926): 176. 32 Calvin Coolidge, Utah Educational Review 19 (January 1926): 177. 33 J. R. Tippetts, "Obligations of Science Teachers," Utah Educational Review 19 (January 1926):176.

The Scope's Controversy


Science programs flourished in Utah despite Scopes trial. Photograph published in the January 1926 issue of Utah Educational Review showed Jordan Junior High School student performing experiment before his class.

superintendent in a small rural Utah school district. Particularly compelling, his arguments in favor of the study of science for the advancement of agriculture could have found wide support in a state whose economy d e p e n d e d so heavily on the success of cultivation and husbandry. Interviews with teachers active in education during the time of the Scopes trial did not reveal anyone who could recall any restrictions in a particular school. Because of the age of this g r o u p only nine could be reached, but their recollections were fairly clear. Almost all of them recalled the incredible publicity the trial received, particularly the role of William Jennings Bryan, but they recalled no influence on their own teaching experience or the experiences of their closest colleagues. O n e administrator, a principal in charge of a nearby Wyoming high school at the time, agreed. He felt that the controversy had no affect on his school. Dr. Ralph Backman, who began his career as a science teacher at Irving J u n i o r High in Salt Lake City in January 1927 just after the trial, expressed the opinion that the community did not acknowledge the controversy at all in educational programs and decision making. If he had wanted to


Utah Historical Quarterly

teach evolution as fact, not merely theory, he felt perfectly free to do so in his own classroom. An investigation of the minutes of board of education meetings in the Salt Lake Valley school districts yielded no mention of the evolution issue in 1924 or 1925. T h e r e was no discussion of curriculum in the J o r d a n or Salt Lake School District minutes. Granite School District held curriculum meetings, and funds were appropriated in their board meetings for curriculum study but only at the elementary school level. A $300.00 appropriation mentioned in the Granite minutes for the purchase of laboratory equipment for the science d e p a r t m e n t at Cyprus High School evidently had no strings attached, and the national conflict over the theories of science might have occurred in Mozambique for all the attention it appears to have received in official school meetings. Since Utah did not have a state textbook commission until the 1930s, school districts were free to choose the books they felt were most appropriate for their needs. T h e Granite minutes indicated the presence of an approved textbook list, but it could not be located in their archives. Whenever a principal or group of teachers requested that a particular book be added to the district's list the petition was recorded in the minutes, and every request encountered in the 1924-25 period was granted by the board. T h e performance of Utah's scientists also seems to support the impression that Utah somehow coped with the "uncomfortable interface" of evolution and theology. Utah has contributed a higher proportion of scientists per capita to the nation in its twentiethcentury history than any other state. In a study of the origins of scholars and scientists in America, Utah was found to be the most productive source and was first in n u r t u r i n g biological scientists.34 Library facilities can prove to be one of the most serious restraints on the freedom of a teacher. Because there are no records of the books available in the school libraries and because the state textbook commission has not retained any of the materials used in the schools at that time, it is not possible to ascertain what effect the viewpoints of some anti-evolutionists might have had on school libraries. However, no evidence exists in the media or in the memory of those interviewed of any a t t e m p t to limit the p u r c h a s e of evolutionary materials by public libraries in the 1920s. T h e reading 34 Kenneth R. Hardy, "Social Origins of American Scientists and Scholars," Science 185 (9 August 1974):497-506.

The Scope's Controversy


material available in the Salt Lake City Public Library covered the widest possible variety of books on Darwin but included a much greater n u m b e r of volumes by those who philosophized on the implications of his theories. Volumes ranged from the passionate agnosticism of Ernst Haeckel to many authors in the full spectrum of religiosity, including arguments against evolution. Recognizing the hand of divine or directed evolution, some authors were simply

Illustration from Utah scientist Ralph V. Chamberlin's T h e Meaning of Organic Evolution, 1911, showed different plants developed from a single wild species, Brassica oleracea: brussels sprouts, broccoli, savoy cabbage, kale, cauliflower, and Swedish turnip.

deistic. Others, like Kirtley Mather, an expert witness at the Scopes trial, continued as active members of mainstream Christian religious groups that held fast to the major premises of Christian dogma, rejecting only a literal interpretation of the Bible's geological time scale and maintaining that evolution served as one possible explanation of God's creative methodology. T h e library also included the writings of Ralph Chamberlin published in Provo at the time of his


Utah Historical Quarterly

dismissal from BYU. T h e original writings of Darwin were represented as well as those of Thomas H. Huxley, Darwin's loyal advocate and defender. A total of forty-one books on the subject of evolution published before or shortly after the Scopes trial are still in the storage stacks or catalogs of the Salt Lake City Library. 35 In conclusion, the evidence of Utah's calm response to the evolution issue in education in the 1920s can be partially explained by the primary influences in the area at the time: an equilibrium that had been established between conflicting points of view on evolution among Mormon authorities and ambiguous reactions of LDS officials to the evolution issue when it arose in 1925, the highly publicized confrontation over evolution and higher criticism of the Bible at Brigham Young University fourteen years before the Scopes trial in Tennessee that had provided a public forum for pro- and antievolution advocates, the predominance of mainstream theologies among Utah's Protestants, and traditional support for science and education in Utah born of a commitment to educational excellence in the state from all denominations of Christians. No evidence was found of a viable Protestant fundamentalist force in Utah. Unlike some neighboring states, Utah passed no legislation designed to prohibit the teaching of evolution in the public schools either through LDS or Protestant sponsorship. T h e record of interest in the scientific, philosophical, and theological implications of evolutionary theory that Utah Protestants demonstrated at the time of Scopes's trial indicates the presence of a mainstream theology among them. It has become traditional in Utah's system of higher education that "the common good depends upon the free search for truth and its free exposition." 36 This search for truth and its exposition has led to many sincere conflicts of philosophy both in and out of America's schools. In the 1920s Utahns chose to support the constitutional requirement that the public schools should foster a nonsectarian educational environment. Many forces combined to produce this result. It is apparent from the historical record, however, that this was a much less difficult and emotional era in Utah education than it was in much of the United States. 35 36

Hart, Utah and the Scopes Trial, pp. 54-62.

Utah State Board ofRegents, Academic Freedom, Professional Responsibility, andTenure in the Utah System of Higher Education: Statement of Policy (Salt Lake City: Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education, February 1974), p. 2.

Book Reviews Desert Exile: The Uprooting of a Japanese American Family. By YOSHIKO (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1982. 154 pp. $12.95.) Desert Exile is the p e r s o n a l chronicling of a Japanese-American family's history, with emphasis upon the World War II era. T h e author, Yoshiko Uchida, is a member of the family's second (Nisei) generation. During her youth, Uchida struggled with her ethnic identity and her American birthright, a problem common to the children of immigrant families from many nations. What set the Uchida a n d o t h e r J a p a n e s e American families apart, however, was their forced "evacuation" to "relocation" centers in California and Utah following J a p a n ' s attack on Pearl Harbor and declaration of war against the United States. Uchida's bewilderment, feelings of betrayal by both countries, as well as her shame and anger over her family's treatment by her own country, typify the experience of Japanese-Americans during this painful interval of U.S. history. Most people knowledgeable in the events of the time now realize that it was a blatant mistake to have so mindlessly imprisoned so many for so little cause. T h e imprisoned Americans of Japanese descent and the security and administrative support for the camps represented a significant waste of human potential so vitally needed during the early years of the war. The efforts made by the prisoners at both the Tanforan, California, and Topaz, Utah, concentration


camps to organize themselves into self-sufficient, semi-self-governing communities, despite an extremely uncertain future, exemplify their spirit and self-confidence. T h e motives for the Japanese-Americans' overall adoption of passive resistance, despite the frustrations of their forced lifeway, are somewhat puzzling to today s youth but understandable if viewed within the culture and personality framework p r e s e n t e d by Uchida's description of her mother, father, sister, and herself in the 1940s. Desert Exile is a scholarly contribution in d o c u m e n t i n g the circumstances accompanying the wartime incarceration of a particular American family. Their story is told with emotion and objectivity, a difficult task for any participant-observer. Despite the somber and potentially depressing subject of the book's central theme, humor and examples of cross-cultural humanity are expressed. With one exception, the text, unfortunately, contains no bibliographic citations. Otherwise, it alone serves as a valuable primary source providing insights often lost in conventional histories. Additionally, Uchida's previous articles that form the basis for the book are m e n t i o n e d on the copyright/ dedication page. I believe that Desert Exile succeeds as a tribute to Uchida's parents and the Issei (the first generation of Japanese-Americans), as well


Utah Historical


as in reminding us of events that happened to Americans in their own country only a little more than four decades ago. We will all, hopefully, heed the message of the book by

reflecting upon our past before rashly journeying into the future.

Maps of the Oregon Trail. By GREGORY M. 1982. X + 287 pp. $24.95.)


This is a book for all western trail aficionados â&#x20AC;&#x201D; be they professional, buffs, a r m - c h a i r a d v e n t u r e r s , or whatever â&#x20AC;&#x201D; and an essential companion for every other book ever written on the Oregon Trail. Obviously designed for O r e g o n Trail students, Mormons and many other will find it much more useful than they might think at first. Most observers of Mormon history know that the pioneers of 1847 followed the Oregon Trail proper for some 397 miles across Wyoming, from Fort Laramie to Fort Bridger, and, therefore, the 25 maps covering that part of the Oregon Trail are of equal value to Mormons. Less well known is that some Mormons followed the Oregon Trail from its beginning in Independence, Missouri, to Fort Kearny, Nebraska, where some crossed n o r t h to the Mormon Trail and some did not. This means that 30 more of these maps are germane to Mormon emigrant history. Furthermore, throughout almost the whole period of Mormon emigration by wagon, from 1849 to the coming of the railroad in 1869, thousands of Mormons followed the south bank of the Platte River, picking up the Oregon Trail near Fort Kearny, proceeding via the Lower and Upper Californian Crossings to Fort Laramie (along with those Mormons, from Independence, who did not cross the Platte at Fort Kearny). This means that yet another 15 maps are directly related to M o r m o n Trail history.

Therefore 70, over one-half of the 133 trail maps for this book, may be used profitably by students of Mormon history. Basically this book is a consumer version of the map volume of the three-volume 1979 National Park Service c o m p r e h e n s i v e r e p o r t to Congress regarding the Oregon National Historic Trail (as provided for in the National Trails System Act of 1968). T h e work is beautifully produced from its striking cover to handsome end papers, a preface, introductory essay, helpful information on mapping, code to the maps, advice to travelers, 133 trail maps, 9 detail maps, and 8 photographs. T h e six-page essay deserves some comment. T h e opening sentence reveals its literary quality, "Had there ever been anything like it in the Old World, it had long since been forgotten." It is sprightly writing, with some humor, by a skilled journalist whose trail expertise quietly breaks through in every paragraph. All of the maps, save the 9 detailed ones and about 30 USGS 7.5 minute quads, are 8.5-by-l 1-inch sections of official county maps of a scale one-half inch to the mile. All are in black and white with a red overlay showing the main trail, some variants, and historic and topographic features along the trail. On the pages facing the maps the author included brief and helpful comments on that particular portion of the trail. When this splendid book goes into a second edition this reviewer would


Desert Research Institute Reno (Gerald, Mo.: Patrice Press,

Book Reviews and Notices suggest some changes. An index, for example, is sorely needed. T h e maps should be sequentially numbered. In this e d i t i o n s o m e m a p s b e a r n o number at all, others do not seem to have been numbered and keyed to each other properly. Two small errors might be corrected — on two maps Porter's Rock is misplaced by one mile to the south, and it is an overstatement that the Avenue of Rocks was "almost totally destroyed" in the 1970s. Although Franzwa refers to the use of the Oregon Trail by traders, missionaries, Indians, Oregonians, 49ers, the military, and the Californians, he hardly mentions the Mormons at all anywhere. And as I have suggested, many Mormons used a large segment of this trail. A few references are found to the Mormon Trail, Rebecca Winters, the infamous Mormon cow of 1854, Porter's Rock, and one token

201 Mormon journal — that of William Clayton. T h e end papers show the O r e g o n , California, a n d Santa Fe trails but not the Mormon. I would suggest one other consideration. T h e author emphasizes, rightly so, t h e historic e v e n t s a n d t o p o graphic features of the Oregon Trail. T h e r e is almost no reference anywhere to contemporary markers and monuments along the trail. Although the careful reader can find most of them indicated on the base county maps, it might be a good idea to draw the reader's attention to them by, say, a red star. Despite these few oversights this book is a great contribution to Mormon and western history. STANLEY B. KIMBALL

Southern Illinois University Edwardsville

Buried Unsung: Louis Tikas and the Ludlow Massacre. By ZEESE PAPANIKOLAS. Foreword by WALLACE STEGNER. (Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1982, Xx + 331 pp. $20.00.) T h e subject of this biography is an ephemeral character who flits in and out of its pages like a character in A Mid-Summer Night's Dream. P a p a nikolas, a professional poet who has done a fine j o b researching his topic, traveled extensively (including trips to Crete) to uncover his information, much of which takes the form of reminiscences by p e o p l e w h o knew Louis Tikas. In good Homeric style he often digresses from his main subject which actually is not Tikas but the Greek immigrant workers who participated in the strike against the Colo r a d o Fuel and I r o n C o m p a n y in 1913-14. While Papanikolas prepares his r e a d e r s for an event, he also pauses to describe his own feelings about it along with the difficulties he had interpreting it. T h e story is not a pretty one — frought as it is with injustice, mis-

treatment, and prejudice. T h e author's descriptions of the parts played by members of the Colorado National Guard in the strike do not add kudos to its illustrious past. Nor do the actions by area lawmen against strikers and their families reinforce the heroic image of men who protected the constitutional rights of their state's citizens. Since Papanikolas has studied the conflict thoroughly, his tale, although somewhat biased, does present the Greek miners' side of the affair. Louis Tikas, himself a Greek immigrant, who became a United Mine Workers organizer, left very few records, which forced his biographer to strain many times in order to include him in the pages of the book. One never gets a true sense for this man who was killed during the tragic battle at Ludlow on April 20, 1914. T h u s , instead of fitting

202 the strike a r o u n d his character, the a u t h o r fitted his subject to the strike. Certainly, the contrasts between the miners and their employers (the Rockefellers) a n d their t o r m e n t o r s (the militiamen and law officers) are well drawn and amply described. T h e writer's graphic descriptions never let his readers forget the d o w n t r o d d e n condition of his subjects. In fact, his book comes close to being an Homeric epic. It is an interesting adaptation of traditional Greek poetry to m o d e r n

Utah Historical Quarterly American prose. Papanikolas's technique works, and he sets forth a solid p o r t r a y a l of the conditions u n d e r which o n e ethnic g r o u p lived a n d worked, detailing why its members left their jobs for the uncertainties of a tent city and an ultimate confrontation with armed force.


Colorado State Univerity Fort Collins

Women of the West. By CATHY LUCHETTI and CAROL telope Island Press, 1982. 240 p p . $25.00.) T h e stated purpose of the authors of this book is to pay tribute to those women who did not have a place in academic history but were a quiet part of the early A m e r i c a n West. T h e selected first-person stories from published material and western archives and libraries fulfill their purpose admirably. R e p r e s e n t e d a m o n g t h e diarists and letter writers are wagon-train and handcart emigrants, farmers and ranchers, domestic workers, and women struggling to enter such professions as m e d i c i n e , which w e r e a l m o s t a u tomatically closed to t h e m in t h e nineteenth century. T h e time range is from 1833 to 1909, and geographically the stories range from the Illinois plains to California. Dozens of photographs, chosen to represent many areas of the West and a wide variety of activities involving women, are an important part of the book. Limitations of photography in the last century made it impossible to obtain pictures specifically related to the people and locales of the narratives. T h e pictures were carefully chosen, however, to depict activities described by the women in the book, and whenever a picture did exist of one of the women featured it was included.


(St George, Ut.: An-

T h e pictures themselves merit close study. Details tell their own stories of wearied and discouraged men and women, cumbersome, well-worn clothing, and the stark simplicity of life in a tent, log house or "soddy." By contrast, there are also groups of smiling, relaxed people in social situations or others elaborately dressed for stiff, formal studio portraits. Luchetti and Olwell have provided excellent i n t r o d u c t o r y a n d supplemental chapters to r o u n d out a n d document the original journals. T h e i r u n d e r s t a n d i n g of the subject is sympathetic and comprehensive. T h e temptation is strong, although impossible in a review, to quote passages from some of the diarists â&#x20AC;&#x201D; some amusing, some h e a r t r e n d i n g , b u t all r e v e a l i n g t h e v a r i e d p e r sonalities of the writers. Having read t h e i r very p e r s o n a l s t o r i e s , it is difficult to forget Mary Richardson W a l k e r , w h o as a b r i d e in 1837 traveled by wagon to the Whitman Mission and tried so earnestly to love her husband as much as she thought she should; or K e t u r a h Penton Belknap, who worried seriously at the age of ten as to how she might support herself; or Sarah Winnemucca, Paiute Indian, whose people were more

Book Reviews and Notices terrified of the white men than earlier white travelers were of roving Indian tribes; or Priscilla Merriman Evans, a Mormon handcart pioneer, who rejoiced to ride in a wagon from Salt Lake City to Spanish Fork after walking 1,300 miles from Iowa City. Although some of the material in this book will be familiar to historians, its presentation in this format, designed to emphasize the quality of life for women on what was most often an unwelcoming frontier, interrelates

203 their stories to create a fresh concept. It will be engrossing reading to students of history. Perhaps its greatest appeal will be to today's western women who will not be able to escape the realization that the last 150 years have brought an almost unbelievable c h a n g e in the life a n d status of "Women of the West."



Red Harvest: The Communist Party and American Farmers. By LOWELL K. DYSON. (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1982. Xii + 259 pp. $18.95.) Red Harvest is an important new study of the efforts of the Communist party in the United States to organize farmers. Dealing principally with the period between World War I and the Eisenhower era, this work represents the first comprehensive analysis of the Communist party's misbegotten attempts to radicalize American agriculturalists and will undoubtedly serve as a standard resource on the subject for many years. T h e author, Lowell K. Dyson, is a recognized expert on twentieth-century radical farm movements, and his exceptional skill is demonstrated in Red Harvest by the depth of research, inclusiveness of u n d e r s t a n d i n g , and sweep of interpretation. Dyson succeeds in spinning an always intriguing, sometimes exciting, and often ironic tale of the party's efforts among farmers, efforts that ultimately failed. Although the case could be made that many farmers possessed certain socialistic tendencies â&#x20AC;&#x201D; witness the Populist protest of the 1890s a n d the farm c o o p e r a t i v e movements of the twentieth century â&#x20AC;&#x201D; Dyson points out that the Communist party could never convert many into avowed Communists. They found it difficult to persuade farmers

to abolish private property and establish collective farms. Consequently, the party members spent much time o r g a n i z i n g socialistic u n i o n s and cooperatives that sought to reform rather than overthrow the capitalist system, with the expectation that they would ultimately lure farmers into the Communist party. Dyson laboriously reconstructs these activities, devoting considerable attention to the United Farmers Educational League, the Cooperative Central Exchange, the Farmers National Committee for Action, the United Farmers League, the Southern T e n a n t Farmers Union, and the Dairy Farmers Union. Communist organizers assumed leadership positions in each of these associations and for a time may have actually captured control of some of them, but they could not maintain f a r m e r loyalty with C o m m u n i s t rhetoric. This frustrated the party activists, creating something of a conflict for members who believed in revolution but had to settle for reform. It was, Dyson asserts, a very serious paradox. Furthermore, Dyson concludes that after a half-century of struggle the C o m m u n i s t party in America had very little to show for its efforts among farmers. Party workers

204 had registered some victories with agriculturalists, all fleeting and nonextensive, but real gains had not been accomplished. Agrarians had, in the final analysis, actually used the party m e m b e r s h i p ' s l a b o r to c a r r y o u t needed reforms to the system but had d r a w n back quickly from the full Communist dialectic. An exceptionally fine book, Red Harvest has some minor deficiencies that deserve mention. It was written by a scholar for other scholars, and although this might be considered a strength by some, in this case excessive detail detracts from an otherwise interesting story. T h e cast of characters — and they were a colorful lot — is not fully developed, nuances of Communist ideology are left unexplained, and events are not always fully de-

Utah Historical Quarterly scribed. While not a problem for experts, not every layman will understand the story. Additionally, a n d perhaps more important for readers of this j o u r n a l , most of the Communist party organizing activities discussed in Red Harvest took place in areas outside the Rocky Mountain West. Indeed, many of the examples are taken from the Midwest, especially Iowa, presenting western historians with the challenge of filling in the details. In spite of t h e s e m i n o r shortcomings, Red Harvest is a fine piece of scholarship and an excellent addition to the growing literature a b o u t t h e C o m m u n i s t p a r t y in America. ROGER D. LAUNIUS

Scott Air Force Base Illinois

Saints without Halos: The Human Side of Mormon History. By LEONARDJ. ARRINGTON and DAVIS BITTON. (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1981. Viii + 158 pp. $ 10.95.) Having accepted the limits Leonard Arrington and Davis Bitton placed around their work in the introduction and epilogue of Saints without Halos, I settled into a comfortable chair with this small volume that tells of seventeen people whose lives span Mormon history from the beginning to the present. T h e title seems a misnomer to me. T h e Saints described in this work deserve halos, tarnished though one or two may be. But " S a i n t s with Halos," or "Saints with Unrecognized Halos," or any other awkward title I could dream of, does not have the ring of the present one. As the authors note, the sixteen biographical essays — one highlights a husband and wife, Ephraim and Edna Ericksen — are representative rather than comprehensive. T h e y include voices "from the uneducated to the professional teacher, from enthusiastic converts to discouraged colonists, from loyal critics to a h e a d s t r o n g rebel." T h o m a s L. Kane was not a

Mormon; Chauncy West was a teenager. Five — J e a n Baker, Lucy White Flake, Helen Sekaquaptewa, E d n a Ericksen, and Margrit Feh Lohner — were women (the authors "would like to have included more"). Two were general authorities which, given the ratio, may seem like too many, but we are spared the taint of institutional history because Lyman Wight and George F. Richards were u n u s u a l apostles and because the authors balance the narrative between their subjects' personal and public lives. Many readers will have their own list of Saints who are not included in the Arrington-Bitton book. Perhaps there will be a volume 2 that will inc l u d e p e o p l e like W a n d l e Mace, friend of the M o r m o n refugees in Quincy and later convert; William M a r k s , N a u v o o Stake p r e s i d e n t ; Daniel H. Wells, defender of Nauvoo; J a n e Manning James, black pioneer; Emily a n d Eliza P a r t r i d g e , plural wives; J u a n i t a B r o o k s , h i s t o r i a n ;


Book Reviews and Notices Lowell L. Bennion, humanitarian; and others. T h e book is aimed at a popular rather than scholarly audience, and it does not offend. It is divided into three sections, each with a brief introduction: "From the Beginnings to the Great Basin," "Settling the West," and "The Twentieth Century." The chapters are short with no footnotes. T h e sources, however, are easily found in the bibliographical note at the end of the book. The authors use a clear narrative style and, when quoting from original manuscript material, retain the writer's own spelling, thus c a p t u r i n g the flavor of the source. A few of the chapters are somewhat plodding, even boring at times. Some, like the ones on J o s e p h Knight, Jonathan Hale, and Lyman Wight are too sketchy and skirt controversy to the point of distraction. Each era of Mormon history is filled with excitement and controversy, but perhaps none held more than the Nauvoo period. Yet Arrington and Bitton's Saints do little m o r e t h a n pass through it. T h e authors hardly hint of the anguish that plural m a r r i a g e

Arizona: Historic Land. By Xii + 270 pp. $16.95.)



brought to many families. Those who endured "the principle" were truly saints, as were many who did not. Most of the essays made me wish for a whole volume rather than a chapter. Indeed, Jonathan H. Hale, Thomas L. Kane, Edwin D. Woolley, Charles Lowell Walker, and H e l e n Sekaquaptewa are all the subjects of full b i o g r a p h i e s . Yet this book does something others do not; it brings some genuinely interesting Latter-day Saints to the attention of many readers who may not turn to full-fledged biographies. I found Saints without Halos useful and have a further appreciation for the versatility of Leonard Arrington and Davis Bitton. Each has published numerous articles and books of heavy, scholarly history; and I enjoyed relaxing with a lighter, less profound work that could be read in two or three sittings. I liked the people I read about, and I liked the mosaic that emerged with each piece, bringing a different hue and shape to the diverse Mormon experience. LINDA KING NEWELL

Salt Lake City


It is easy for me to be enthusiastic about this book. It is short, readable, instructive, and stimulating. The author, the late Bert Fireman, was an unabashed partisan of Arizona who did not hesitate to write about his state in glowing terms or from time to time to take positions that are startling in the social stances they assume and in the information they convey. For me it was an escape from the restraining paraphernalia that often encumber more academic works as well as a short course in the history of the state of my

(New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1982.

birth and youth. It also gave me a most pleasant opportunity to think about Utah, my adopted state, in light of the Arizona experience. Arizona: Historic Land is aimed at lay r e a d e r s . It provides an overview sufficiently compact and straightforward that the reader comes from it feeling that he has a good grasp of events, places, people, and developments. T h e r e are no footnotes, which for me was occasionally disconcerting, but I was in large measure placated by the inclusion of a general

206 bibliographic note and shorter bibliographies for each chapter. Fireman's organization is strong. Indeed, at first glance it seemed to be almost overwhelming with eighteen chapter headings, subsection titles that bristle from practically every p a g e , a n d d o z e n s of p a r a g r a p h length political biographies headed by the names of their subjects in heavy italics. But Fireman controlled this organization by writing some chapters in conventional historical style, others as impressionistic p e r s o n a l statements, and still others from the vantage point of a well informed contemporary observer who has more than a little flair for boosterism in his enthusiasm for Arizona. In its general organization the book moves chronologically from geological times to 1981. Early chapters are developed a r o u n d prehistoric man and Native Americans, the Spanish e r a , t h e Mexican W a r , t h e early influence of California mining, separation from New Mexico, Mormon settlement, and Indian fighting and the role of the military. At this point Fireman shifts his approach slightly, presenting such topics as transportation, mining, and livestock as they developed late in the nineteenth century and, with decreasing emphasis, on into modern times. Chapters on politics, the economy, and Arizona's fight for water in the twentieth century conclude the book. Sharpening and improving the entire volume are eight pages of well-chosen p h o t o g r a p h s and five superb maps by Don Bufkin of the Arizona Historical Society. Fireman betrays a real attachment for the Herbert Eugene Bolton school of borderlands history in the early chapters but reaches his real forte in the last three or four chapters. T h e r e his close acquaintance with and great enthusiasm for the issues and personalities of twentieth-century political and economic developments show

Utah Historical Quarterly him as a confident interpreter and a persuasive worker. By contrast, his discussion of livestock, transportation, a n d o t h e r late n i n e t e e n t h century topics is less substantial. States have their flair. Texas is bigger than life in its veneration for the Alamo, Sam Houston, Stephen Austin, a n d a g o o d story. No less confident is the spirit of California â&#x20AC;&#x201D; the ultimate expression of "the golden west," the American dream, and successful, sprawling cosmopolitanism. As F i r e m a n accurately reflects Arizona's spirit, he works with elements common to many western states but produces an end product quite different from other states. T h e r e , as e l s e w h e r e , I n d i a n s a n d Mexican Americans are a conquered, exploited people but come through with a kind of respect often lacking in western values. T h e good life is less preoccupied with success and finance, although no one who reads Fireman can doubt that development and growth are as essential in the Arizona character as they are anywhere. More central to the image that emerges are the sun, healthy atmosphere (perhaps a thing of the past in reality but not in the myth), good scenery, pride in community, and something of a sense of the u n d e r d o g that comes perhaps from being the last of the continental states to be admitted. Also apparent in Fireman's work is a not-so-subtle inference that, the claims of other states notwithstanding, Arizona is after all the real West. For other readers, Arizona: Historic Land will be different things, but for me it was an opportunity to see my old h o m e again a n d in t h e process sharpen my perception of what Utah is by drawing comparisons between two remarkable states.


Utah State University


Book Notices

Benjamin Holt: The Story of the Caterpillar Tractor. Edited by WALTER A. PAYNE. (Stockton: University of the Pacific, 1982. X + 102 pp. $10.95.) In this beautifully designed and well illustrated little book, five historians examine the origin and early development of the Caterpillar tractor. Naturally, the greater part of their attention falls on Benjamin Holt, the entrepreneur who perfected and first produced the tracked-type tractor commercially; Stockton, California, whose neighboring Delta lands and convenient location created the necessity and provided the industrial base for this unique machine; and World War I, the great conflict that first illustrated the revolutionary adaptation of tracks to the modern battlefield. This study was subsidized by the Holt Foundation, and the final chapter, "Benjamin Holt — The Man," comes uncomfortably close to being a paean. But no matter. Holt was a significant industrial pioneer whose story deserves a telling, even if in terms that sparkle a little. The packaging is no less scintillating — a genuine tribute to the art of bookmaking. Canyon Country Prehistoric Rock Art. By F. A. BARNES. (Salt Lake City: Wasatch Publishers, 1982. 304 pp. Paper, $7.50.) The first half of this guide provides laymen with useful background in-

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formation on the very complex subject of rock graphics. Barnes does a good job of stating the difficulty of t w e n t i e t h - c e n t u r y A m e r i c a n s ' attempting to interpret petroglyphs and pictographs in a search for "meani n g . " T h e cultural gap between creator and latter-day viewer is vast, and there is always the temptation to bridge it with one's own preconceived notions. A small center section of the guide discusses preservation problems and recording methods. T h e final 138 pages cover some of the major sites in the Four Corners states and Nevada. Frequent travelers to canyon country may want to keep a copy of Barnes's guide in the car for quick reference. Greasewood Greens. By KEITH WRIGHT. (Clawson, Ut.: Bessandy Publications, 1982. Iv + 252 pp. Paper, $12.50.) If Clawson, a small town a few miles south of Castle Dale, produces nothing more than this offbeat collection of reminiscences and homespun wisdom it will justify its existence. Wright, a former schoolteacher, discusses a variety of topics from the colorful language of the area ("he bellered like a stud piss-ant") to the bad guys who tear up the pristine landscape in their 4WDs. Interspersed with his sage observations are remembrances of the Emery County of his childhood. They are for the most part direct and refreshingly free of sentimentality.

208 Pat McCarran: Political Boss of Nevada. By JEROME E. EDWARDS. (Reno: University of Nevada Press, 1982. X + 237 pp. Paper, $8.75.) From the 1930s to the 1950s Pat McCarran dominated Nevada politics and carved a powerful role for himself in the U.S. Senate. A maverick Democrat, he generated controversy by opposing some of FDR's popular programs and by his stands on foreign policy and internal security, but his shrewd use of patronage and his personal favors for constituents enabled him to retain power. Some Dreams Die: Utah's Ghost Towns and Lost Treasures. By GEORGE A. THOMPSON. (Salt Lake City: Dream Garden Press, 1982. Vi + 194 pp. Paper, $10.00.) T h o m p s o n surveys more than 400 sites in Utah, including stage stops, railroad and mining camps, forts, and full-fledged t o w n s . S o m e of t h e places, like Grafton and Silver Reef, a r e well k n o w n ; o t h e r s , such as

Utah Historical Quarterly Dobietown and Elephant City, will be unfamiliar to many. Each place, however obscure, evokes an image of h u m a n e n d e a v o r , of p l a n s a n d d r e a m s , h a r d w o r k , b a d luck o r changing circumstances. In addition to the minihistories of towns and less pretentious spots on old maps, the author provides tantalizing clues to lost mines and misplaced treasures that are sure to send today's dreamers out into the field armed with metal detectors. Videotaping Local History. By BRAD JOLLY. (Nashville: American Association for State and Local History, 1982. 160 pp. Paper, $11.95.) This book introduces historians and museum personnel to the use of videotapes to enhance local history programs, oral history interviews, museum interpretations, and training and educational presentations. T h e author provides video novices with detailed information on equipment and its use and tells how various institutions currently use videotapes.

UTAH STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY Department of Community and Economic Development Division of State History


Chairman WAYNE K. H I N T O N , Cedar City, 1985

Vice-chairman MELVIN T . SMITH, Salt Lake City Secretary THOMAS G. ALEXANDER, Provo, 1987

PHILLIP A. BULLEN, Salt Lake City, 1987 J. ELDON DORMAN, Price, 1985 ELIZABETH GRIFFITH, Ogden, 1985

DEAN L. MAY. Salt Lake City, 1987 DAVID S. MONSON, Lieutenant Governor/

Secretary of State, Ex officio WILLIAM D. OWENS, Salt Lake City, 1987 HELEN /.. PAPANIKOLAS, Salt Lake City, 1985 ANAND A. YANG, Salt Lake City, 1985


STANFORD J. LAYTON, Managing Editor JAY M. HAYMOND,Librarian DAVID B. MADSEN, State Archaeologist

A. KENT POWELL,Historic Preservation Research WILSON G. MARTIN,Historic Presen<ation Development J O H N M. BOURNE.Museum Services T h e Utah State Historical Society wasorganized in 1897 by public-spirited Utahns to collect, preserve, and publish Utah and related history. Today, under state sponsorship, the Society fulfills its obligations by publishing the Utah Historical Quarterly and other historical materials; collecting historic Utah artifacts; locating, documenting, and preserving historic and prehistoric buildings and sites; and maintaining a specialized research library. Donations and gifts to the Society's programs, museum, or its library are encouraged, for only through such means can it live u p to its responsibility of preserving the record of Utah s past.

MEMBERSHIP Membership in the Utah State Historical Society is open to all individuals and institutions interested in Utah history. Membership applications and change of address notices should be sent to the membership secretary. Annual dues are: individual, $10.00; institutions, $15.00; student and senior citizen (age sixty-five or over), $7.50; contributing, $15.00; sustaining, $25.00; patron, $50.00; business, $100.00; life member, $150.00. Your interest and support are most welcome.

Profile for Utah State History

Utah Historical Quarterly, Volume 51, Number 2, 1983  

Utah Historical Quarterly, Volume 51, Number 2, 1983  

Profile for utah10