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5 In THIS ISSUE 88 BOOK REVIEWS

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70 Food, Comfort, and a Bit of Home: Maude Porter and the Ogden Canteen, 1942–1946

The Religious Politics of Smallpox Vaccination, 1899–1901 By Ben Cater

26 Fifty Years of Liberal and Conservative Newspaper Views in Ogden, Utah, 1870–1920 By Michael S. Eldredge

48 Utah’s War Machine: The Utah Council of Defense, 1917–1919 By Allan Kent Powell

By Lorrie Rands

86 Historic Salt Lake City Apartments of the Early Twentieth Century By Lisa-Michele Church

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Book Reviews

88 The Prophet and the Reformer: The Letters of Brigham Young and Thomas L. Kane Matthew J. Grow and Ronald W. Walker, eds. • Reviewed by Daniel P. Dwyer

89 The Mormon Tabernacle Choir: A Biography Michael Hicks

Reviewed by Benjamin Lindquist

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90 The Council of Fifty:

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A Documentary History Jedediah S. Rogers, ed. • Reviewed by David J. Whittaker

91 Cities, Sagebrush, and Solitude:

Urbanization and Cultural Conflict in the Great Basin Dennis R. Judd and Stephanie L. Witt, eds. • Reviewed by Steve Pyne

92 Life in a Corner: Cultural Episodes in Southeastern Utah, 1880–1950 Robert S. McPherson • Reviewed by Ronald G. Watt

93 The Women’s National Indian Association: A History Valerie Sherer Mathes, ed. • Reviewed by Curtis Foxley


For six issues the quarterly has offered supplemental materials beyond the printed page: podcasts, photo and map galleries, bibliographic essays, and primary sources. These “extras” offer the back story to the printed article, a chance to examine original sources, and an opportunity to dig deeper into historical events. Start with the print journal and, if you like, explore an expanded narrative online. In the last year we have launched each new issue with a public program, allowing us to engage our readers and to connect with local history, archaeology, and preservation groups. These events feature scholars speaking about their work or themes published in the latest issue.

Now, here is a look at what is in store for you in this issue. Our opening essay tackles a subject common in Utah history—the relationship between those inside and outside the LDS church—through the prism of public health. Ben Cater explores the dynamics that pitted working and lower middle-class Mormons accustomed to folk medicine against professionally trained doctors and public health officials over smallpox vaccination. Utah’s news print also reflected religious and political divisions, as surveyed in our second piece. Michael Eldredge provides a useful overview of how newspapers and their prominent editors in Ogden served as political and social instruments in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Our third piece keeps us in the early twentieth century by examining a governmental body during the First World War charged with coordinating home-front activities. Whereas our first two articles highlight religious divisions, Allan Kent Powell details how Mormons and non-Mormons came together in the war effort. And, finally, Lorrie Rands introduces us to the women of Ogden’s canteen and their dedication to serving soldiers during the Second World War. Brad Westwood Publisher/Editor

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It is our hope to hold fast to the most beloved features of the UHQ, while offering new methods of delivering thoughtful, peer-reviewed Utah history—history that the UHQ and the Utah Division of State History want to make available to all interested households in Utah and beyond. This is a goal of the UHQ: to make this resource available to as many citizens and friends as possible. Over the years, a long line of remarkable, devoted historians and editors have been at the helm of the quarterly. In the last three years, UHQ hired two historians, Dr. Holly George and Dr. Jedediah Rogers, to join this tradition and manage the journal’s complex day-to-day operations.

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As the publisher and editor of UHQ, I want to reflect on some small but, I hope, valuable changes made at the quarterly and share some about the UHQ’s future, its publications, and public offerings. This is my request for a sound check: how are we doing; how do we sound out there? We want to hear from you, so please visit history.utah.gov/uhqextras.

Also in 2015, we reestablished lapsed publishing partnerships with the University of Utah Press and other entities to foster and make accessible praiseworthy work that expands the frontiers of Utah’s history. State History and the UHQ have also launched annual statewide themes and encouraged Utah’s historical societies, museums, and groups to address these themes at the local level. Our 2016 theme is “Rural Utah and Western Issues,” with a thoughtful focus beyond the Wasatch Front urban corridor. This theme will be followed throughout 2016, including during all of May for Preservation and Archeology Month, concluding on September 30, 2016, at the statewide public history conference, held at the Utah Cultural Celebration Center.

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It is the Utah Historical Quarterly’s custom to entice you, the reader, to read on, with engaging article descriptions in the opening pages of the issue. This custom will be continued—in a few minutes.

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The young man in this undated photograph seems to have variola major, the more virulent of the two strains of smallpox. The variola virus causes rashes and scabs similar to chickenpox. —

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In January 1900, John E. Cox filed a lawsuit in Third District Court, Salt Lake County, against the Salt Lake City Board of Education and the principal of Hamilton school, Samuel B. Doxey. Cox asserted that Doxey had violated the law on January 23 when he forbade his ten-year-old daughter, Florence Cox, to enter school on account of her failure to provide satisfactory proof of smallpox vaccination from a licensed medical doctor, a condition of school attendance. This condition existed due to the highly contagious nature of smallpox and the close social interaction that schools promoted. According to health authorities, a smallpox epidemic appeared to be imminent, with several cases of the disease in the Salt Lake Valley and two hundred more in the state. Yet Florence possessed “sound health” and no obvious signs of illness and, therefore, had been “wrongly excluded.” Cox’s attorney asserted: “Neither boards of health nor boards of education have a right to exclude unvaccinated children from schools, unless express authority is given by the Legislature or ordinance to that effect.” In the case at bar, “the health board is passing rules which in effect are legislative enactments.”1 1 State of Utah Ex rel. J. E. Cox, Plaintiff, vs. the Board of Education of Salt Lake City, Utah, and Samuel Doxey, Defendants, January 25, 1900, No. 2971, reel 79, Series 1622, Third District Court, Civil Case Files, Utah State Archives and Records Service, Salt Lake City, Utah (hereafter USARS).

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The Religious Politics of Smallpox Vaccination, 1899–1901

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As the latest battle over public health reforms in Progressive Era Utah, the Cox case and the vaccination controversy divided and combined residents in new and complicated ways. During the early twentieth century, middle-class Mormons and non-Mormon “gentiles” worked with reformers nationally to establish sewers, water mains, hospitals, dental clinics, and laws to advance their communities, physical welfare, and claims to white racial and patriotic superiority over dark-skinned immigrants from southeastern Europe, Asia, and Latin America, as well as African Americans.2 While often successful, the Mormon-gentile alliance remained small and somewhat precarious due to longstanding tension between Mormon and non-Mormon communities. Cooperation among Mormons was perhaps more unstable, attributable in large part to competing class-based perceptions about gentiles, civil governance, and medical care. A Mormon in good standing, Cox came to represent working and lower middle-class churchgoers who remained dubious about official state interference in the realm of public health and who continued to rely on health regimens and folk cures popular in Mormon medicinal culture. Many Mormon church leaders came to disagree with Cox, siding instead with Doxey—also a Mormon—as well as medical doctors, health professionals, and other middle-class Mormons and gentiles who embraced vaccination and modern medical science.3 Besides inflaming and complicating religious divisions between and amongst Mormons and gentiles, the vaccination controversy reflected competing legal arguments about the role of the state in community health and safety issues. In the Cox case, city defendants deployed liberal legal arguments to challenge the plaintiff’s 2 Ben Cater, “Segregating Sanitation in Salt Lake City, 1870–1915,” Utah Historical Quarterly 82 (Spring 2014): 92–113. Good books on this topic include Suellen Hoy, Chasing Dirt: The Pursuit of Cleanliness (New York: Oxford University Press, 1995); Alan Kraut, Silent Travelers: Germs, Genes, and the “Immigrant Menace” (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1994); and Natalia Molina, Fit to be Citizens? Public Health and Race in Los Angeles, 1879–1939 (Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2006). “Gentile” is a historical category used by and against non-Mormons in the nineteenth century, although it is no longer an acceptable term to delineate religious identity. 3 Frank Esshom, Pioneers and Prominent Men of Utah (Salt Lake City: Utah Pioneers Book Publishing Company, 1913), 847.

view of personal liberty and power of the state. Community health and safety were top priorities, they argued, making “the police power of the state . . . large and expansive enough to meet and satisfy all demands upon the government in this respect. The power is only restricted by the limitations of government.”4 Judge Alfred N. Cherry, a strict constitutionalist, believed in the efficacy of vaccination but ruled on January 29 in the plaintiff’s favor, disputing city health and education boards’ authority to create and enforce health laws. Cox and his supporters, including the church-owned Deseret News, did not celebrate long, however, since three months later the city, with help from state secretary of health Dr. Theodore Beatty, successfully appealed to Utah’s supreme court.5 That the higher court’s decision frustrated many Mormons was not unexpected. Mormons, like other populist sects of the nineteenth century, remained suspicious of elitism in the developing field of scientific medicine. As late as the early twentieth century, some church leaders accused doctors of pecuniary interests and of intentionally providing harmful or ineffective medical cures. Others encouraged ordinary people to rely on their own sense and experience to adjudicate bodily matters. In the weeks leading up to the Cox trial, church circulars criticized vaccination while advising Mormons about botanical and faith healing, and dietary health. Churchgoers were counseled to receive the anointing of oil, and priestly blessings by church elders. The Deseret News published information about folk therapeutics, including dried onions, rumored to be a prophylactic, as well as tea made of sheep droppings.6 4 State of Utah ex rel. John E. Cox, Respondent, v. the Board of Education of Salt Lake City and Samuel Doxey, Appellants, 21 Utah 403 (1900). 5 “Reports of Cases Determined in the Supreme Court of the State of Utah, including Portions of the October Term, 1899, and February Term, 1900,” vol. 21 (Chicago: Callaghan and Company, 1901), 421–28. 6 Deseret News, December 13, 1900; November 13, 1900; January 15, 1900. “Take two ounces cream of tartar, one ounce of Epsom salts and one lemon, sliced. Pour one quart boiling water over these ingredients and sweeten to taste. To be taken cold, a small wine (glassful) three times a day, or in a little larger quantity night and morning. That is for adults; smaller quantities for children according to age, and not enough to act as too much of a purgative.” N. Lee Smith, “Herbal Remedies: God’s Medicine?” Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 12 (June 1979): 52.


Charles Penrose, Deseret News editor and professor of theology at Brigham Young Academy, remained silent about the News’ “covert” opposition but criticized Goodwin for his “blasphemous utterance” against “one of the sacred principles of the gospel introduced by Christ in his ministry and enjoined upon the Saints by him.”8 In some respects, the debates over vaccination in Utah mirrored that across the nation. At the turn of the twentieth century, populated urban centers saw high rates of infectious and communicable disease. Laws requiring children to be vaccinated in order to attend school 7 As the historians Leonard Arrington and Davis Bitton have noted, in the mid-nineteenth century “there was still a basic assumption of Mormon political unity, an assumption that would not be finally abandoned until the early 1890s, when church members, in the interests of gaining Utah statehood, were allowed and even encouraged to divide their votes between the national parties.” Leonard J. Arrington and Davis Bitton, The Mormon Experience: A History of the Latter-day Saints (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1992), 53. 8 “Journal History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints,” January 17, 1900, reel 96, image 22, Special Collections, J. Willard Marriott Library, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah.

In other respects, however, Utah’s vaccination controversy departed from national patterns by revealing the power of religious thought and practice to influence public health. While other religious groups rejected vaccination for theological and political reasons, none were as large, coordinated, well-funded, and outspoken as the Mormon church. Few others also received as much national attention. The historian Michael Willrich has argued that in Utah anti-vaccination sentiment expressed far western “libertarian radicalism” rather than religious thought, but as I argue here medical self-determination and folk therapeutics countenanced by Mormon leaders existed in relation to historical attempts by state authorities to legislate and enforce policies considered by many Mormons to be inimical to their religion.11 Local 9 John Duffy, “School Vaccination: The Precursor to School Medical Inspection,” Journal of the History of Medicine and the Allied Sciences 33 (July 1978): 344–55. 10 For information on the political economy of vaccination in the Progressive Era, I have relied heavily on James Colgrove, State of Immunity: The Politics of Vaccination in Twentieth Century America (Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2006), 1–16, 45–80; and Arthur Allen, Vaccine: The Controversial Story of Medicine’s Greatest Lifesaver (New York: Norton, 2007), 70–111. 11 Michael Willrich, in Pox: An American History (New York: Penguin Press, 2011), 277, wrote, “There is little

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The [Deseret] News has been fighting the matter (vaccination) covertly from the first. It has taken the ground that there is no authority to compel the doing of what all the scientific authorities agree should be done. . . . But last evening [the Deseret News] threw off its thin disguise and said: ‘There are many elders in this city, the writer of the article among the number, who have laid hands upon persons afflicted with the malignant as well as the mild form of smallpox, and the patients have recovered, while the elders administering have escaped the contagion.’

provoked serious concerns about the role of the state in policing and promoting medical welfare.9 Most health professionals, including doctors and nurses, as well as academics, government officials, and businessmen regarded antiviral drugs as the surest and most hygienic means of preventing disease. Variola, the virus that causes smallpox, could be repelled by receiving small injections of cowpox microbes, a technique promoted by the British physician Edward Jenner. But citizens of libertarian and anti-government views criticized compulsory vaccination as invasive, tyrannical, and un-American; patients and practitioners of alternative medicine questioned the safety and efficacy of vaccines, the profit motive of the pharmaceutical industry, and the soundness of medical science. Some individuals refused vaccination on the basis of their religious beliefs, protected by the First Amendment. Through various channels—courts, newspapers, and clubs—critics worked to outlaw state-sponsored vaccination programs for smallpox and, later, for diphtheria and polio.10

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Such advice seemed dubious to some Mormons, but to many gentiles it appeared as further evidence of Mormons resisting assimilation and acting in unison to exploit and magnify their political power in the public sphere.7 The most vocal critic of Utah’s majority religious establishment, the Salt Lake Tribune (which was owned by a Roman Catholic) and its editor Charles C. Goodwin, upbraided the Deseret News and the Mormon community:

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10 Immigrants from a smallpox ship, held in custody for observation, behind wire fence, Hoffman Island, New York, ca. 1901. —

Library of Congress

and national newspapers portrayed Utah’s vaccination politics to be mainly religious in nature; according to the Deseret News, Mormons resisted vaccination in order to signify their church membership, besides their embrace of conservative populism and concern for public health. Meanwhile, the Tribune reported that gentiles perceived vaccination as medically superior to Mormon therapeutics—a perception politically valuable for further publicly eroding the legitimacy of the church.12 Newsevidence to suggest that most Mormons viewed antivaccination as a Mormon cause.” Eric Bluth, “Pus, Pox, Propaganda, and Progress: The Compulsory Smallpox Vaccination Controversy in Utah, 1899–1901” (master’s thesis, Brigham Young University, 1993). According to Bluth, “the religious factor played a minor role in this controversy” (129). 12 Newspapers provided the most complete coverage of the vaccination controversy, and thus serve as the main source of information for this article. Court proceedings

papers emphasized the religious dynamics but failed to observe the socioeconomic cleavages among Mormons and gentiles in debates over vaccination; such negligence threatened freedom, health, safety, and religious reconciliation in the state. By 1901, however, a tenuous rapprochement had appeared to leave a shaken but intact cross-religious, middle-class demographic committed to vaccination and other Progressive Era health initiatives. While the vaccination controversy would center in Utah’s capital, it originated eighty miles were slightly less valuable, Salt Lake City Council Minutes were curiously silent on the controversy (perhaps suggesting it was handled almost entirely by the Salt Lake City Public Health and Education departments), while pertinent school board meeting minutes, records of the Salt Lake County Medical Society, and the Utah Anti-Compulsory Vaccination League do not exist.


14 Donald R. Hopkins, The Greatest Killer: Smallpox in History (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2002), 284, 239, 269, xi. 15 George Thomas, Civil Government in Utah (New York: D. C. Heath, 1912), 96.

17 Pacific Reporter, 1014. 18 Salt Lake Herald, November 20, 21, 22, December 15, 20, 1899; Deseret News, December 16, 19, 1899. 19 Deseret News, December 16, 1899.

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13 Gary B. Peterson, “Sanpete County,” in Utah History Encyclopedia, edited by Allan Kent Powell (Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1994), 489.

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At the meeting, public health officials recommended vaccination for the general public but proposed requiring the same or proof of immunity (e.g., professional documentation indicating previous infections of variola) for school children. City health commissioner Patrick Keogh asserted that “in no way could the imminent danger of a smallpox epidemic be reduced to a minimum in Salt Lake better than by compelling the vaccination of every person in the public schools.”19 The city educational system included twelve thousand students and teachers—an enormous number for a small health department—but Beatty assured the committee that all persons could be vaccinated during the Christmas and New Year holidays. Moreover, the city health department could keep the cost

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Although vaccines became more available in the late nineteenth century, in the United States health officials still struggled to keep a ready supply on hand. Increased demand, especially in densely populated cities, meant that supplies often ran out, while in rural areas like Sanpete vaccines were usually scarce or nonexistent. A sense of unease thus seemed natural when in November 1899 county health officials received complaints from residents in the town of Sterling suffering from similar symptoms— headaches, backaches, muscle pain, malaise, nausea, and fever. Several days later, small reddish spots appeared in their mouths, throats, and tongues, followed by rashes on their heads, faces, chests, and appendages. While causing discomfort, the symptoms were mild, prompt-

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ing the county physician to delay action. When the symptoms worsened to include white pusfilled lesions, the physician investigated and confirmed the infection to be variola. Allegedly a man traveling by train to escape quarantine in Butte, Montana, had brought the virus to Sanpete.16 Several days later, more than twenty more cases appeared in Sterling, in addition to others in the adjacent towns of Manti and Ephraim. In an effort to control the spread, county health officials contacted state health secretary Beatty who placed Sterling under police quarantine and instructed doctors to vaccinate as many residents as possible. County residents initially complied, lowering the infection rate. But by the first week of December, more than two hundred cases had appeared in twenty-four towns across southern Utah, with new victims emerging north in more populated areas. On December 15, an itinerant painter from Gunnison brought the variola virus to Salt Lake City, unwittingly infecting more than a dozen residents.17 Given the rapidity by which the virus spread, as a precaution Beatty declared a general epidemic and planned an emergency meeting at the state capitol with state and local health officials and the Salt Lake City Board of Education.18

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south in Sanpete County. Directed by Brigham Young in 1849, settlement of the county originally consisted of about two hundred Mormons spread across several small ranching and farming villages. By the new century, Sanpete had grown to more than sixteen thousand people in a half-dozen towns connected by roads, trails, and the Salt Lake and Salina Railroad and had transformed into a productive agricultural zone—“Utah’s granary.”13 Population growth and improved transportation also increased Sanpete’s susceptibility to contract, host, and spread diseases. Since the completion of the transcontinental railroad at Promontory, Utah, in 1869, white Americans traveled in unprecedented numbers to resettle, work, and recreate. Travelers exchanged illnesses that sometimes grew to full-blown epidemics. As a powerful “chain of infection,” the railroad facilitated the “westerly movement of disease along with its human hosts.”14 In response, public health departments across the nation standardized measures to prevent and cure diseases, including removing “nuisances” and “filth,” quarantining victims, and fumigating their belongings. In Sanpete County, a physician attended to victims and oversaw medical officers who patrolled public health districts.15

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to a minimum by providing vaccines for twenty-five cents apiece or for free to indigent students.20

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To most at the meeting the proposal seemed reasonable. For nearly a century after Edward Jenner demonstrated that exposure to cowpox triggered antibodies to variola antigens, doctors in the western world had regarded vaccination as an effective medical practice. Doctors and statisticians credited vaccines with reducing smallpox’s morbidity rate in the United States, while the mainstream press heralded vaccination and the germ theory in general as evidence of human progress and Anglo-Saxon superiority. Although vaccination often had unpleasant side effects like sore arms and nausea, they were mild in comparison to an outbreak of smallpox. Moreover, when practiced on a large enough scale, it could yield “herd immunity,” or the protection of an entire community.21 At the end of the nineteenth century, doctors thought that smallpox spread through tiny respiratory droplets from the nose and mouth that came into contact with everyday objects, such as food and clothing. In Utah, medical professionals believed that “utter immunity” was unlikely unless antiviral shots became common throughout the community and required for school attendance.22 As the public health authorities who supported vaccination, Beatty, Keogh, and St. Mark’s hospital surgeon James Critchlow were orthodox medical doctors educated at the country’s first generation of modern medical schools. After the Civil War, medical students matriculated according to a standardized curriculum that included human physiology, the germ theory of disease, and the prevention and cure of sickness through sanitation, invasive surgery, and therapeutics. Acquiring knowledge gained through testable and reproducible research, students came to embrace an empirical philosophy that regarded clinical intervention as sometimes necessary for the promotion of health.23 20 Ibid.; Salt Lake Herald, December 16, 1899. 21 Colgrove, State of Immunity, 3–4. 22 Deseret News, December 16, 1899; Salt Lake Herald, December 16, 1899; Salt Lake Tribune, December 16, 1899. 23 The best book on medical authority in Victorian America is John Harley Warner, The Therapeutic Perspective: Medical Practice, Knowledge, and Identity

Interventions could be private or public, and because compulsory vaccination, sanitation, and hygiene laws fell under the latter category, professional doctors frequently supported state regulation. In Salt Lake City, this prospect boded poorly—more so than elsewhere in the antigovernment American West—given the widespread distrust of outsiders by Mormons: not only did they typically view most gentile state officials as harming or interfering with Mormonism, most orthodox doctors were also non-Mormons raised outside of the state and occupationally distinct from Mormon “medicos,” or “quack,” doctors.24 Following the transcontinental railroad’s completion, many regular doctors arrived to take jobs with the Salt Lake City and state health departments. Many supplemented their incomes by working at hospitals that were built and run by the Roman Catholic or Episcopal churches. Many also worshipped and became members of these congregations.25 Adherents of ancient creeds that largely regarded miraculous healing in the Bible as confined to the apostolic era, Catholic and Episcopal churches reinforced regular doctors’ theological and cultural separation from Mormonism. Before the Civil War, American medical practice was highly tribal, lacking a standard organizing principle, course of study, and clinical protocol. Many doctors performed “heroic” techniques, such as bloodletting and administering doses of mercury, while assenting to the miasmatic thesis (which held that poisonous vapors transmitted diseases). Many did not embrace either of these, however, creating a vacuum of authority in which Americans inserted their own judgments. Personal health regimens, popular theories, and medical sects proliferated. In this context, restorationist sects like the Mormons claimed the supernatural power of faith healing, the laying on of hands, and the ministration of oil.26 Many churchgoers embraced the botanical movement, which emphasized herbal remedies, especially those promoted by in America, 1820–1885 (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1986), esp. 83–232. 24 Salt Lake Herald, January 5, 1900. 25 Secretary Beatty, Augustus C. Behle, and the emeritus director of St. Mark’s Hospital Daniel S. Tuttle all attended St. Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral in Salt Lake City. 26 4 Nephi 5; New York Times, December 19, 1872.


27 Lester Bush, Health and Medicine among the Latter-day Saints (New York: Crossroads, 1993), 69–100; Robert Divett, Medicine and the Mormons: An Introduction to the History of Latter-day Saints Health Care (Bountiful, UT: Horizon Publishers, 1981), 120–28; Claire Noall, “Superstitions, Customs, and Prescriptions of Mormon Midwives,” California Folklore Quarterly 3 (April 1944): 110; Thomas J. Wolfe, “Steaming Saints: Mormons and the Thomsonian Movement in Nineteenth-Century America,” Disease and Medical Care in the Mountain West: Essays on Region, History, and Practice, edited by Martha Hildreth and Bruce Moran (Reno: University of Nevada Press, 1998), 18–28. The Princeton University historian Paul Starr writes, “More than a qualified analogy links religious with medical sects; they often overlap. The Mormons favored Thomsonian medicine and the Millerites hydropathy. The Swedenborgians were inclined toward homeopathic medicine. And the Christian Scientists originated in concerns that were medical as well as religious.” Paul Starr, The Social Transformation of Medicine: The Rise of a Sovereign Profession and the Making of A Vast Industry (New York: Basic Books, 1982), 95. 28 Shortly before converting to Mormonism, the Willard brothers apparently studied herbal preparation—a forerunner to pharmacology—at the Thomsonian Infirmary in Boston. 29 Bush, Health and Medicine among the Latter-day Saints, 90; Linda P. Wilcox, “The Imperfect Science: Brigham Young on Medical Doctors,” Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought (June 1979): 26–36. 30 In 1983, Norman Lee Smith, a stake missionary and medical doctor practicing in Salt Lake City, analyzed Mormons’ aversion to orthodox medicine by asking, “Why Are Mormons So Susceptible to Medical and Nutritional Quackery?” Journal of the Collegium Aesculapium 1 (1983): 30–34.

Health officials pushed back. Their department charter granted them explicit authority to police community health. Smallpox, one of the most effective killers in human history, threatened “‘imminent harm’” in Salt Lake City and beyond, and anti-vaccinationists, by neglecting a proven medical practice, put others at risk. Relying on the “‘harm principle,’” a liberal legal idea formulated by John Stuart Mills which held that individuals who threatened 31 Orson Whitney, History of Utah: Biography, vol. 4 (Salt Lake City: George Q. Cannon and Sons, Publishers, 1904), 564; Deseret News, December 16, 18, 1899. 32 Hopkins, The Greatest Killer, 31. 33 Betty Brimhall, A History of Physical Education in Salt Lake City Schools (master’s thesis, University of Utah, 1953), 18.

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Given these longstanding medical-cultural differences between gentiles and Mormons, the response to smallpox contagion at the turn of the century promised to be contentious. In fact, at the December 1899 meeting, attendees remained ambivalent about requiring vaccination. On the one hand, one school board member rejected the proposal since it extended state power at the expense of personal liberty and privacy. James Moyle, a Mormon and former city attorney, suggested that the city persuade rather than force citizens to be vaccinated.31 On the other, doctor Critchlow asserted that parents were free to keep their children at home, even if they needed to be vaccinated to attend school. Given the emergency, this policy was prudent and correlative with those in Boston, New York, and Atlanta where variola also emerged. Yet this argument proved futile, as Critchlow failed to appreciate regional politics. “By and large,” writes historian Donald Wilcox, “persons living in Atlantic coast states in the United States accepted vaccination more readily than did residents of central and western United States.”32 Unpersuaded by Critchlow, Moyle and other education board members rejected vaccination as a condition of school attendance on constitutional grounds and asserted that only voluntary—not compulsory— vaccination was legally plausible; paradoxically, however, school principals were instructed to report all cases of “‘suspicious eruption or illness in schools’” to the state.33 Since state and city ordinances said nothing about school vaccination, school officials offered surveillance as the best response to the outbreak.

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New England farmer-turned-charismatic-healer Samuel Thomson (d. 1843). Believing that diseases emerged due to an absence of body heat, Thomson prescribed cayenne pepper, lobelia, and similar flora. In the 1830s, Thomsonianism’s appeal spread to Joseph Smith Jr. whose “Word of Wisdom” published dietary advice—consuming herbs, fruits, vegetables, and meat in moderation, while refraining from coffee, tea, and alcohol—similar to Thomson’s.27 Although Smith never explicitly endorsed Thomsonianism, many church leaders, including Frederick Williams and Willard and Levi Richards (the latter Joseph Smith’s personal physician), did.28 In Salt Lake City, the Council of Health promoted “‘the superiority of botanic practice,’” in contrast to the medicine of orthodox physicians who, according to Brigham Young, would “‘kill or cure to get your money.’”29 Such skepticism and cynicism would die hard, as Mormons commonly preferred alternative medicine—much of it dubious—well into the late twentieth century.30

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others must be restrained, Beatty portrayed compulsory vaccination as legally and ethically justified. It was also practical, as unvaccinated individuals would overcrowd the city’s small quarantine hospital, or “pest house,” in Emigration Canyon. At the meeting’s end, Beatty assured the Board of Education that he would “issue the [vaccination] order and depend on the board . . . to enforce it. Teachers [would] be required to send home all children not vaccinated, and if the parents object[ed], they [would] have to seek redress through the law.”34 Teachers, however, would be able to exercise their own judgment and decide whether to receive vaccinations.

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Although teachers, as adults, might have been more responsible than students and therefore deserving of choice, many of them belonged to the Mormon church whose circulars and leadership, as well as editorials in the Deseret News, condemned vaccination of any kind, especially compulsory vaccination. On December 16, Deseret News editor Charles Penrose criticized the “smallpox scare” as nothing more than a menacing conspiracy designed to “force upon the people of Salt Lake, and ultimately all of Utah, the repulsive and oppressive system of compulsory vaccination. . . . We warn its promoters it will be vigorously resisted.”35 Two days later, Penrose bemoaned the growing reach of the state by appealing to family privacy and sovereignty, central components of the Mormon doctrine of eternal marriage and kinship: “Allow parents who are opposed to the system to exercise their judgment and protect their little ones from that which they abhor, and let school boards and health doctors keep within the lines which define their official authority.”36 Then on December 20, after learning of the board’s decision, Penrose applauded school officials for voting the public sentiment and avoiding the criticism that would have befallen them for supporting vaccination: The action taken by the Salt Lake City Board of Education, as to compulsory vaccination, is quite satisfactory and will be commended by nine-tenths of the people. As the Deseret News has already 34 Deseret News, December 20, 1899. 35 Ibid., December 16, 1899. 36 Ibid., December 18, 1899.

Charles Penrose, 1912. As the influential editor of the Deseret News, Penrose railed against compulsory vaccination and questioned “the orthodox school of medicine.” —

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pointed out, the Board of Education is not endowed with authority to force upon the school children and teachers something that is not required by law. . . . The virtues of vaccination are by no means a settled question. We are aware that a very large number of reputable medical men and women have satisfied themselves that vaccination is a preventive, to some extent at least, of smallpox. Most of them have drifted with the tide of accepted theory. It is orthodox. That, however, does not prove it to be correct. . . . We are aware that in the orthodox school of medicine [the benefit of vaccination] is considered a settled thing. Properly graduated doctors have been trained to view the matter in this light. They are like graduates in orthodox theology in this respect.37 37 Ibid., December 20, 1899.


Questioning the efficacy of vaccination and linking it to orthodox medicine besides orthodox religion, Penrose reinforced the religious dimension of public health while indirectly pointing to the alleged superiority of Mormon theology. Born in London in 1832, Penrose converted to Mormonism in 1850 and migrated with four thousand other British converts to Salt Lake City in 1861. In the 1890s he assumed the editorial chair of the Deseret News and during the smallpox controversy he taught part-time at the Brigham Young Academy. In 1904 he joined the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (another high governing body of Mormonism) and the First Presidency to help shape church opinion about issues, including vaccination. At the time of his conversion, England had made smallpox vaccination compulsory, as had other European nations. Mortality rates in England climbed to 35 percent, influencing Parliament to pass the Vaccination Acts of 1853, 1867, and 1871, which required infants to be vaccinated within three months of their birth. Because vaccination carried limited risks of bodily harm, anti-vac-

38 Edward Tullidge, History of Salt Lake City (Salt Lake City: Star Printing Company, 1886), 144; Nadja Durbach, Bodily Matters: The Anti-Vaccination Movement in England, 1853–1907 (Durham: Duke University Press, 2005), 5–6. 39 Report of the State Board of Health of Utah for the Years 1899–1900 (Salt Lake City, 1901), 16–17. In this report, Beatty wrote: “The Deseret news [sic], a paper of extensive circulation in the State, bitterly attacked vaccination, the only means by which it could be hoped to confine the disease within its original limits or prevent its invasion of the entire State. The effect of the flood of unfounded assertions against this measure, which were persistently published was to create an unreasonable prejudice in the minds of the people, which soon rendered it impossible to control the spread of the disease by general vaccination.” 40 Utah Senate Journal, 1899 (Salt Lake City: Tribune Printing Company, 1899), 188, 239.

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At the end of December, following the Board of Education’s decision, state and city health officials met again to reconsider their strategy. Foremost, they thought about the continued spread of smallpox and the persistent “general opposition” to vaccination, particularly after the Deseret News’s “bitter attack.”39 On December 19, feeling pressure to substantiate their enumerated medical responsibilities, Beatty, state health society president Francis Bascom, and Mormon medical doctor Martha Hughes Cannon agreed to query state attorney general A. C. Bishop. Cannon, a faithful churchgoer who practiced regular medicine after matriculating at the University of Michigan, supported Beatty who persisted in his claim that the health board has “power to compel vaccination . . . as it might designate wherever it [is] necessary for the public health. These duties and powers were granted the board by the Legislature.”40 Without elaborating, Bishop concurred with Cannon, and by January 1900 the Salt Lake City and state health departments had agreed to order school officials to require vaccination as a prerequisite of school attendance in communities where smallpox was known to exist. Critics would have the option of homes-

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Questioning the efficacy of vaccination and linking it to orthodox medicine besides orthodox religion, Charles Penrose reinforced the religious dimension of public health while indirectly pointing to the alleged superiority of Mormon theology.

cination groups emerged to negotiate “the safety of the body and the role of the modern state,” writes Nadja Durbach. In Salt Lake City, Penrose broadcasted historic English anxieties about state-led vaccination to gain for himself, his church, and church-owned newspaper a local, national, and even international reputation for opposing public health and scientific medicine.38

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chooling their children or seeking recourse in the courts.

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They could also enlist local newspapers for support, as health officials surely anticipated. During the Christmas and New Year holidays, much of the Mormon community inundated the Deseret News with pseudo-medical, political, religious, racial, and socioeconomic arguments against vaccination. In late December, John T. Miller, a phrenology enthusiast and a teacher at Brigham Young Academy, asserted that vaccination was nothing short of a tyrannical intrusion, or an “assault against healthy bodies” that inspired the “right of resistance.” Vaccination “forb[ade] perfect health,” he continued, by transmitting life-threatening ailments such as “crysipeias [sic], jaundice, scrofula, [and] leprosy.” Better “to have more confidence in nature and less in drugs” than to rely on vaccination—a “mere experiment”—which could be fatal.41 In another instance, a reader repeated hearsay that a botched vaccination (somewhere in the United States) had led to the amputation of the patient’s arm. Offering one thousand dollars for proof of this claim (which was never claimed), Secretary Beatty scoffed at the credulity of the people who believed it.42 Not content to remain on the sidelines for long, Penrose enjoined readers with an appeal to martial self-defense and child innocence: “There are hosts of people who . . . would stand with a shot-gun, as ready to use it upon a person attempting to put vile matter from a diseased bovine into the bodies of their healthy children, as if he were trying to make them swallow a dose of poison.”43 G. W. Harvey, a self-proclaimed medical doctor, appropriated the Republican Party platform of 1856 by calling vaccination—instead of plural marriage and African slavery—a “relic of barbarism.”44 Most peculiar, however, was the newspaper’s claim that vaccination existed as a “Jewish theory” that required a “blind faith which the average citizen repose[d] in the doctors.” Vaccinations were not clinically effective, but like scheming Jews doctors promoted them anyway to profit and to “pose before the people 41 Deseret News, December 30, 1899; Salt Lake Herald, January 14, 1900; Davis Bitton and Gary Bunker, “Phrenology Among the Mormons,” Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 9 (March 1974): 56.

and a consuming vanity to have their names in print.”45 To Miller, Penrose, and other Deseret News readers, then, vaccination—not simply compulsory vaccination—seemed to presage their worst fears of illness, political intrusion, religious outsiders, conspiracy, and elitism. Although some professionally trained Mormon doctors like Martha Hughes Cannon supported vaccination, most Mormons opposed it and believed that gentiles used it as a tool to rupture, rather than to heal, the historical wounds of religious strife in Utah. Generally speaking, doctors acquired little wealth in administering vaccinations. Purchasing vaccines in bulk, they normally charged a nominal fee for preparing and administering the serum. Yet during the trust-busting Progressive Era, anti-vaccinationists came to view doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and pharmaceutical companies as constituting a powerful monopoly seeking to exploit the American citizenry. As historian Michael Willrich put it, “Beneath the aura of public service surrounding vaccination policy . . . lay an unholy conspiracy of self-dealing health officials, profit-seeking vaccine makers, and regular physicians bent on monopoly: the ‘cowpox syndicate.’”46 St. Mark’s hospital surgeon and Episcopalian layman Augustus C. Behle dismissed the notion that a conspiracy existed in Utah when on January 11, 1900, he told the assembled crowd at the Salt Lake County Medical Society, The assertion so frequently made by ignorant or unscrupulous laymen that the profession has been influenced in its exertions to maintain the practice by motives of pecuniary benefit is so obviously ungenerous as to only call for a passing notice. The number of doctors who derive any substantial benefit from the practice of vaccination is very small, and those who consider that the bulk of medical men are so inordinately mercenary as to lend themselves to the support of a false system for the sake of a few dollars a year should remember that it is the prevalence of disease and not its prevention which best pays the practitioner.47

42 Salt Lake Tribune, January 13, 1901.

45 Ibid., February 19, 1900; December 18, 1899.

43 Deseret News, December 20, 1899.

46 Willrich, Pox, 95, 264.

44 Ibid., December 21, 1899.

47 Deseret News, January 11, 1900.


At the conclusion of the Medical Society’s meeting, Beatty offered—half-jokingly—to pay the Deseret News to publish its minutes, since the newspaper “‘reached a class of readers that no other paper did.’”50 He also encouraged journalists to reproduce its peer-reviewed studies, with the hope of persuading Mormon critics of vaccination to reconsider their medical stances. Yet society members, nearly all of whom were gentiles and professionally trained doctors, thought that these efforts would likely be futile. Penrose, through the platform of the newspaper and his leadership position in the church, had already molded public opinion to inflict “‘more harm to the vaccination idea than all the doctors could atone for in a thousand years.’”51 Mormons were widely spreading the virus wherever they travelled. The British Medical Journal reported five cases of the disease at missionary headquarters in Nottingham, England, apparently contracted after missionaries received contaminated letters from Salt 48 Ibid. 49 Morrell, Utah’s Health and You, 95. 50 Deseret News, January 11, 1900. 51 Ibid.; California and Western Medicine, Vol. XXIII (November 1925): 1471; Ward B. Studt, M.D., Medicine in the Intermountain West: A History of Health Care in the Rural Areas of the West (Salt Lake City: Olympus Publishing Co., 1976), 49.

52 P. Boobbyer, “Small-pox in Nottingham,” British Medical Journal 1 (1901): 1054. 53 Jean Bickmore Smith, ed., Church, State, and Politics: The Diaries of John Henry Smith (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1990), 472. 54 Lu Ann Faylor Snyder and Phillip A. Snyder, eds., PostManifesto Polygamy: The 1899–1904 Correspondence of Helen, Owen, and Avery Woodruff (Logan: Utah State University Press, 2009), 36–37. 55 Ibid., 72. 56 Kate B. Carter, Our Pioneer Heritage, vol. 12 (1969): 265. 57 Sherilyn Cox Bennion, “The Salt Lake Sanitarian: Medical Adviser to the Saints,” Utah Historical Quarterly

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Even still, as Medical Society members would realize, by January 1900 opposition to vaccination was directed neither exclusively nor officially by Penrose or any other church leader. If some Mormons like the Woodruffs interpreted vaccination as evidence of weak faith, and anti-vaccination as a testament to Mormon fidelity, some room still existed for churchgoers to negotiate different responses. In addition to Martha Hughes Cannon, Mormon physicians like Ellis Reynolds Shipp, Romania Pratt, Seymour Young (Brigham Young’s nephew), and Joseph S. Richards all advocated vaccination and regular medicine. Although their support appeared infrequently in the Deseret News and more commonly in the Mormon-owned Salt Lake Sanitarian (1888–91), its influence was discernable in the smallpox vaccination controversy. Some church members experimented by combining vaccines with herbs popular with Mormons to produce an eclectic religious and cultural health regimen.57 Others, like En-

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Lake City.52 In Scandinavia, Mormon apostle John Henry Smith stated that “some Elders . . . having the small pox [sic]” were spreading the illness.53 An outbreak occurred in New Zealand where health authorities traced the virus to missionaries recently arrived from Utah, while on the other side of the globe, in Juarez, Mexico, Helen and Owen Woodruff succumbed to a “virulent form of smallpox” after refusing to be vaccinated, since, they believed, they were “on the Lord’s errand and God would protect them.”54 Closer to home, in Logan, Utah, Avery Woodruff observed that “few of the students have been vaccinated and they do not seem to inforce [sic] it.”55 Meanwhile, Englishman Duckworth Grimshaw and his family avoided vaccination only to ride out the disease in home isolation.56

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Rather than focus on the alleged chicanery and material motivation of doctors, Behle argued, critics should examine the scientific evidence that verified vaccination’s utility and safety. Citing a handful of peer-reviewed studies, he demonstrated that vaccination diminished the scarring effects of variola, as well as its morbidity and mortality rates. Among children “up to ten years of age,” it also produced “almost absolute immunity from smallpox” without requiring a booster.48 Moreover, vaccine delivery was much safer than in years past, as pharmaceutical companies concentrated on developing purer strains and the American Medical Association encouraged public health departments to carefully screen pharmaceuticals. This would only improve in the coming years; in 1906 the Pure Food and Drug Act helped to ensure the quality and veracity of drugs and their advertising on the federal level, and in 1911 Utah and other western states began to employ bacteriologists to enforce the 1906 legislation.49

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Deseret Hospital Board of Directors. Front row, left to right: Jane S. Richards, Emmeline B. Wells. Middle row: Phoebe Woodruff, Isabelle M. Horne, Eliza R. Snow, Zina D. Young, Marinda N. Hyde. Back row: Dr. Ellis R. Shipp, Bathsheba W. Smith, Elizabeth Howard, Dr. Romania B. Pratt Penrose. A few of these professionally trained doctors would later support public vaccination of smallpox. —

Utah State Historical Society

glish convert and self-trained doctor Frederick Gardner, used empirical science to produce, and eventually sell, alcohol-based “tinctures” to (unsuccessfully) ward off smallpox.58 John Henry Smith used tinctures and relaxing mineral baths at the Salt Lake Sanitarium, while requesting Richards to vaccinate his son and his four siblings after the former “had broken out with a rash.”59 Finally, in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, Mormon stake president Anthony Ivins recommended vaccinations for all missionaries. Compelled by one of their own rather than by gentile physicians, missionaries generally complied, reporting that they were being “protected by vaccination from smallpox, although 57 (Spring 1989): 127. 58 Hugh Gardner, ed., A Mormon Rebel: The Life and Travels of Frederick Gardner (Salt Lake City: Tanner Trust Fund, University of Utah, 1993), xvii, 73. 59 Smith, ed., Church, State, and Politics, 478, 479.

[they were] surrounded by Mexicans and Indians who were dying from the disease.”60 In this particular instance, then, vaccination appeared to be consonant with Mormon identity. As public health officials in Utah sought to overcome resistance to vaccination, they faced the simultaneous task of convincing skeptics that a lethal smallpox epidemic did in fact exist. At some point after the Civil War, a new strain of variola appeared and proved to be more mild than the “red death” of the past, which normally killed 20 to 40 percent of its victims. By contrast, this strain—dubbed “variola minor” by medical authorities, in contrast to the more lethal “variola major”—yielded fatality rates of less than 1 to 2 percent. Possessing a higher incidence rate than variola major (which health 60 Deseret News, December 18, 1900; Snyder and Snyder, Post-Manifesto Polygamy, 152, 157.


61 Willrich, Pox, 41–74; Colgrove, State of Immunity, 18–19.

Oddly, cleavages within the Medical Society contrasted with near unanimous agreement in the Mormon medical and professional community. Doctors L. W. Snow and C. G. Plummer, future surgeons at the Latter-day Saints Hospital (est. 1905), averred variola’s presence in Salt Lake City, as well as the efficacy of vaccina-

62 Salt Lake Herald, November 6, 24, 1901. 63 Deseret News, January 28, 1903. 64 On June 21, 1903, the Salt Lake Herald admonished citizens: “Stop quarantine breaking.” 65 Deseret News, December 16, 20, 1899.

66 L. Emmet Holt, The Diseases of Infancy and Childhood (New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1905), 977. 67 Deseret News, May 15, 1900. 68 Ibid.

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Variola minor first entered Utah in the mid1890s but went undetected until state health officials diagnosed victims in Sanpete County. The new virus produced symptoms that were so mild that victims commonly went about their daily routines unaffected. Other victims downplayed their illnesses, hid from public health authorities, or broke their quarantines. Lay critics disputed the new smallpox strain, since smallpox generally had high mortality rates coupled with the severe symptoms—fever, vomiting, subcutaneous bleeding, and lesions that became infected before scabbing and falling off.62 As several historians have observed, hiding remained a common practice nationwide, especially among African Americans and non-white foreigners who feared nativist medical and immigration officials. Hiding likely occurred in Salt Lake City where the non-white population reached into the thousands, though only one “colored” victim was identified.63 Conversely, poor and middle-class whites exhibited their illness with impunity and broke their quarantines in their homes, the city pest house, and an emergency pest house in Mill Creek, eliciting praise from the Deseret News.64 Believing the epidemic to be fraudulent, editor Penrose erroneously claimed that “no State in the Union . . . [remained] freer from smallpox” than Utah, and that if a “single case” of the illness did exist, it was likely nothing more than “a simple rash.” Precautionary measures ought to be taken, he warned, but officials’ attempts to “frighten the public” into vaccination were repugnant and unjustified.65

Some confusion existed among the medical establishment about the precise nature of variola minor, serving to hinder the vaccination cause and deepen the divides between and among Mormons and gentiles. The study of viruses, or virology, remained a new discipline in the early 1900s, a fact that may help explain in part why eminent physicians such as L. Emmett Holt, professor of pediatrics at Columbia University, confused the new variation for chickenpox.66 In Salt Lake City, Henry N. Mayo, director of the isolation hospital, believed that none of the sixty-one cases of “so-called smallpox” “presented the characteristics of genuine smallpox,” while Philo Jones of the Salt Lake County Medical Society felt that victims had contracted a benign rash “closely resembling smallpox.”67 This incredulity aside, most doctors believed (correctly) that variola was the source of contagion. They also asserted that Salt Lake City would become more susceptible to a virulent form of variola unless vaccination became widespread. Because Beatty, as one of these doctors, perceived vaccination’s critics as eager to exploit professional disagreements, he and Salt Lake City health commissioner J. C. E. King encouraged solidarity among physicians. At a public meeting of the Medical Society, they enjoined members to confirm the presence of variola and the necessity of vaccination. Beatty also admonished Mayo and Jones for making “unjustified” comments, which he believed added a sense of legitimacy to the critiques of Penrose and other Mormons: “The dictum of one ignorant, bigoted man [Penrose], who sits behind the editorial chair of the Deseret News, has been accepted by 15,000 people—No, by 15,000 families in this State as final. . . . The health officers have been telling these parents to have their children vaccinated, and it has not been done.”68

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authorities would eventually eradicate in the United States by the 1940s), variola minor was commonly viewed as a nuisance more than a crisis and given offensive racialized nicknames, including “Cuban itch,” “Filipino itch,” and “Mexican bump.” Surgeon General Walter Wyman warned Americans of the new strain’s potency, but most citizens chose to risk infection by “the mild type.” Anti-vaccinationists, meanwhile, portrayed vaccines, rather than variola minor, as the chief danger to bodily health.61

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tion.69 Doctor Ellis Reynolds Shipp urged her patients to “avail themselves of [vaccination] as a guard against smallpox,” while Governor Heber Wells, the son of the prominent Mormon leader Daniel H. Wells, requested nurses from the Roman Catholic Holy Cross Hospital to help staff the city quarantine hospital.70 Seymour Young, a nephew of Brigham Young and a graduate of New York University Medical School, penned an editorial in the Deseret News asserting that it remained “proper to vaccinate school children.” Believing that Mormons and other anti-vaccinationists should trust the city’s twenty-five regular doctors, he assured readers that physicians “would not use anything connected with this operation but the best material, accompanied by the proper methods and precaution.” Young added that the News should refrain from portraying anti-vaccination as a staple of Mormon religiosity, a sentiment echoed by the Mormon-owned Salt Lake Herald: There are a great many people in this city and state who have an impression that vaccination is contrary to the teachings of Mormonism, and that its practice is condemned by the head of the dominant church. This impression has been created unconsciously and unintentionally, no doubt, by the attitude of the Deseret News, which, being the official organ of the church, is supposed by many to speak authoritatively upon every topic that it treats. . . . It seems that the News, in fairness, ought to correct this prevalent impression that the church or church authorities are making this fight against vaccination, and that it is a religious duty to oppose the board of health.71 On January 9, 1900, the Salt Lake City municipal council met to draft an ordinance requiring education officials to prohibit students who lacked natural immunity or proof of vaccination from entering public schools. Secretary 69 Ex Luminus, The Groves L.D.S. Hospital School of Nursing (Salt Lake City, 1929), 70. 70 Morrell, Utah’s Health and You, 100; “Holy Cross Hospital, Salt Lake City,” 6, fd. 710.8, Holy Cross Records, Archives of the Catholic Church in Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah (hereafter ACU). 71 Salt Lake Tribune, December 21, 1899; Deseret News, January 17, 1900; Salt Lake Herald, January 25, 1900.

Seymour B. Young, a nephew of Brigham Young, a prominent LDS church leader and a Salt Lake City physician, editorialized in favor of vaccinating school children, reflecting divisions among Mormons on this issue. —

Utah State Historical Society

Beatty, the representative of the city’s fifth ward, stated that vaccinations should be made available at public expense, particularly since the epidemic seemed to be gaining strength. Councilman George Canning, a Mormon and a sheepherder by trade, however, scoffed at the notion and declared that a “genuine case of smallpox” had been mistaken for “black measles” or “a sort of itch.” He had “lived in Salt Lake [for] thirty-nine years and considered the climate and health of the people to be A No. 1 [sic].”72 Failing to persuade the council, Canning worked with Frans Fernstrom, a councilman and a member of the Salt Lake stake’s High Council, to reduce the powers of the city health department and reverse the council’s decision to compel vaccination.73 Failing 72 Deseret News, January 10, 23, 1900; Salt Lake Herald, January 10, 1900. 73 Stan Larson, ed., A Ministry of Meetings: The Apostolic Diaries of Rudger Clawson (Salt Lake City: Signature Books in association with Smith Research Associates,


1993), March 24, 1904. 74 Salt Lake Herald, January 29, February 3, 1900; Deseret News, January 22, 1900; Juanita Brooks, The History of the Jews in Utah and Idaho (Salt Lake City: Western Epics, 1973), 107. 75 Deseret News, January 11, 13, 22, February 3, March 5, 1900; Millennial Star, vol. 46 (Liverpool: John Henry Smith, 1884): 189.

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By late January, Parry’s words seemed to be prophetic as league members pressured vaccination’s critics to withhold their children from schools in wake of the league’s failure to compel education officials to reverse their course. The Deseret News reported that since most parents opposed vaccination, 62 percent of the city’s twelve thousand schoolchildren remained home on the first day of school, January 20. Such unified action drew national attention, much of it pejorative. The pro-vaccination New York Times asserted that the league lacked “sense and education” but still remained successful at “deluding public opinion,” while the Philadelphia Medical Journal criticized Utahns who complacently “pass[ed] and repass[ed]” in city streets to spread contagion.77

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Faced with coercion and risk at the hands of doctors and government officials, anti-vaccinationists rallied on January 13 to establish a grassroots community of resistance. Led by Thomas Hull, an English Mormon who supported Reed Smoot’s bid to take control of the state’s Republican Party from senator Thomas Kearns, the Utah Anti-Compulsory Vaccination League (UACVL) consisted of over one hundred working and lower middle-class Mormons and gentiles whose children attended public schools. Most members emigrated from western European countries that had school vaccination laws, and the league existed to prevent the same from developing in Utah. Gathering at Mormon wards, league meetings took on a religious atmosphere. Church elder and league secretary Nephi Y. Scofield introduced speeches that denounced the “evil” of vaccination. Vaccinating children belied the “Christian duty” of parents to protect and provide, since the procedure was a “sin against nature.” Moral language such as this served to rally the “troops” of righteousness against “the army of pro-vaccination.”75 Welsh Mormon Joseph Parry assured the Deseret News and its readers that “thousands in [this] city [would] never

submit to the thrusting of a blood-poisoning, disease-breeding virus into their children’s system.”76

On January 26, the league prodded member John E. Cox to file a suit against the Salt Lake City Board of Education and Hamilton school principal Samuel Doxey for denying his unvaccinated daughter Florence Cox entrance to school. Orlando Powers, a gentile and former state justice who “opposed any attempt to prosecute the [Mormons] on religious grounds,” crossed religious lines to serve as the league’s counsel.78 Agreeing with Powers that school officials lacked authority to make and enforce a medical rule, and that health boards existed merely as “administrative bod[ies],” the judge, Alfred N. Cherry, issued a peremptory writ against the city.79 In compliance, the State Board of Health rescinded the vaccination edict. Although Mormon church officials remained silent about the verdict, the churchowned newspaper proclaimed a great victory and then enlisted donations to help recoup the League’s $500 legal debt and help fund future 76 Deseret News, January 23, 1901; Joseph Hyrum Parry, Missionary Experience and Incidents in the Life of Joseph Hyrum Parry, Written by Himself (1855). 77 New York Times, February 14, 1901; January 22, 1900; The Philadelphia Medical Journal VII (May 4, 1901), 830. 78 New York Times, January 3, 1914. 79 Deseret News, January 26, 1900. Originally from Kansas, Cherry was a Unitarian whose theology aligned neither with the Fundamentalists and evangelicals nor with the Mormons. Judge Cherry and his wife Mary Ellen Banks attended the First Unitarian Society of Salt Lake City.

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at these efforts, too, Canning and Fernstrom partially succeeded in opposing the decision of Salt Lake City mayor Ezra Thompson to temporarily close all Sunday schools to help quell contagion’s spread. Mormon stakes generally disobeyed and remained open, but Roman Catholic parishes, Protestant churches, and Jewish synagogues acquiesced and closed. Rabbi C. H. Lowenstein of temple B’Nai Israel criticized government officials for “lacking backbone” in enforcing Thompson’s orders. He also argued that, in contrast to anti-vaccination Mormons, the “ritualistic and modern Jew has been taught sanitary measures from childhood. Moses has been called the great health officer. . . . During the recent smallpox scare, every one of the fifty children attending the jewish [sic] Sunday school has been vaccinated.”74

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Nurses serving on the state Board of Health on the lawn of the City and County Building, August 19, 1915. At the turn of the century, the Board of Health walked a fine line between placating proponents and opponents of public vaccinations. —

Utah State Historical Society

efforts against the city’s appeal.80 The Deseret News’ exultation proved to be short lived, however, as on April 26 the state supreme court reversed Cherry’s decision, citing extant health laws. In its majority opinion, the court argued that while city health officials could not lawfully force individuals to be vaccinated without their consent, they could “exclude from the schools any person suffering with a contagious or infectious diseases [sic].”81 In his dissent, Mormon critic Robert N. Baskin followed Powers in defending the League, contending that no evidence existed to prove Florence Cox’s contamination and that current health laws had never envisioned coercion as a public health strategy.82 80 Ibid., February 17, 1900. 81 Ibid., April 26, 1900. 82 Robert Baskin, Reminiscences of Early Utah: With Reply to Certain Statements by O. F. Whitney (Salt Lake City:

Immediately following the court’s ruling, Utah’s newspapers engaged in a heated debate over the meaning and significance of the court’s decision. The Deseret News, predictably, saw the ruling as a blow to civil liberties and supportive of “Gentile doctors [who were] trying to force Babylon into the people.”83 The Tribune, meanwhile, delighted in believing that civil authorities were striking a blow to Mormonism itself: “The Supreme court, in declaring the law of the State in regard to the protection of the public from the contagious and infectious diseases allows the Board of Health to require (among other things) vaccination when an epidemic of smallpox is on or is threatened; . . . therefore the Supreme court has attacked the faith of the ‘Mormon’ Church.”84 Signature Books, 2006). 83 Deseret News, February 7, 1901. 84 Salt Lake Tribune, April 29, 1900.


By December 1900, the popular majority had resisted public health sanctions. Hundreds of new smallpox cases had appeared during the summer and fall, with seventy-four in Salt Lake City and almost four thousand in the state by the year’s end. Twenty-six deaths resulted, prompting city and state health officials to create new measures. City education officials were required to hire a physician to look for new cases of variola and required all colleges to enforce compulsory vaccination. In compliance, Joseph T. Kings85 John Duffy, The Sanitarians: A History of American Public Health (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1992), 126. 86 Deseret News, November 17, 20, 1900. 87 Ibid., October 4, 1901.

Dear Brother, I as well as hundreds of others in this City who are members of the Church are opposed entirely and intelligently on principle to the practice of vaccination on us or our children believing it to be a vile practice and one decidedly opposed to religion and commonsense. . . . We left our native countries, and in so doing, we endeavored to leave behind their corrupt practices, and it does seem oppressive in the highest degree to be in any manner compelled to have again such practices forced upon us at the bidding of Gentile doctors and their followers.91 88 Ogden Standard, December 21, 1900. 89 Deseret News, January 26, 29, February 18, 1901; Salt Lake Tribune, January 31, 1901. 90 Deseret News, January 8, 1901. 91 “Letter to Mormon Church president Lorenzo Snow, December 26, 1900,” William John Silver Scrapbook, vol. 1, 126, L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B. Lee

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Paul and Newman’s arrests re-energized the league. Over the Christmas holiday, league members pressured parents to keep their children home from school, resulting in over 60 percent of students failing to attend first-day classes on January 8, 1901.90 Moreover, at a “citizen’s mass meeting” held in the fourteenth ward assembly hall on January 23, the league reasserted its commitment to opposing state officials who supported school vaccination. Emboldened, league member William J. Silver also urged President Snow to retract the Mormon church’s official support of the ordinance:

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bury, president and professor of chemistry at the University of Utah, held an emergency meeting on December 20 to reiterate the need for campus-wide immunity. In front of faculty and students, he “scored the Deseret News for its attitude toward vaccination,” which incited “a few hisses” from the crowd.88 By contrast, Latter-day Saints College president Joshua H. Paul resisted the ordinance, as he claimed it went “beyond [his] jurisdiction to exclude [non-vaccinated] pupils.” In response, city health commissioner J. C. E. King, with Mayor Thompson’s hearty approval, directed the county attorney to arrest and prosecute Paul who was found guilty of disobeying the Board of Health and fined fifteen dollars. King also arrested city education board president W. J. Newman for failing to enforce the vaccination edict.89

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As they sought to narrate and analyze events, however, both newspapers failed to observe the growing complexity of vaccination politics and progressive reform. While most working and lower-middle class Mormons strongly criticized the state’s seeming overreach into private bodily matters, some middle-class gentiles such as Cherry, Baskins, and Powers did the same, in opposition to Mormon and gentile physicians who generally supported compulsory vaccination. While men like Baskins usually welcomed progressive medical reforms to Salt Lake City, they at times disagreed with their fellow reformers, including Beatty, over their scope and content. Local and national newspapers also failed to recognize areas of agreement among citizens. Although progressives nationally viewed “scientific knowledge” more than religion as “a more logical explanation” for bodily wellness during the early twentieth century, as historian John Duffy writes, in Salt Lake City they generally saw the former as informing or at least consonant with the latter.85 On November 17, 1900, after the ruling by the state supreme court, Mormon church president Lorenzo Snow urged Mormons to receive vaccinations, which church member John Henry Smith believed manifested the “power of God in healing the sick.”86 Similarly, at a fall meeting of the Utah State Medical Society, senior pastor Alexander Paden of First Presbyterian Church praised the medical community for serving the common good: “The calling of a doctor . . . commends him to the community, because he is here to assist nature and to redeem from the sickness of the body, as the Christ redeems from the sickness of the soul.”87

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On January 25, the league submitted at the state capitol a lengthy petition in support of the Republican-sponsored McMillan Bill, drafted by British Mormon William McMillan, preventing vaccination from becoming a prerequisite to attend public schools.92 Nephi Scofield appeared before the House Committee on Public Health to push for a speedy passage, with the aim of suspending present and future proceedings against Paul and Newman. Editor Penrose, following events closely, tried to steer legislation by inciting apocalyptic fear, writing, “If vaccination could be made a precedent to attending school, it could be to voting, and to carry the compulsion further, the scriptural revelation . . . might be fulfilled, and no one would be allowed to buy or sell without having ‘the mark of the beast.’”93 Less dramatically, Beatty petitioned the House Committee to reject the bill, claiming that to do otherwise would worsen the smallpox epidemic in Utah.

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On January 29 the bill passed after receiving two thousand-plus “petitions from different parts of the State praying for the passage of such a measure.” All but one Mormon Democrat and several Mormon and gentile Republicans supported the bill. In the Senate, the senator and assistant church historian Orson F. Whitney reprimanded commissioner King for jailing Paul and Newman before turning to join other Mormon legislators (minus one) in voting for the bill.94 However, after receiving telegrams from over twenty state governors who claimed special statutes excluded unvaccinated children from schools, Governor Wells vetoed the bill.95 President Snow counseled Library, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah. 92 The McMillan family allegedly contracted variola minor, prompting The Philadelphia Medical Journal to interpret it as a providential judgment against William. The Philadelphia Medical Journal, vol. VII, May 4, 1901, 830. 93 Deseret News, January 25, 1901. 94 House Journal of the Fourth Session of the Legislature of the State of Utah (Salt Lake City: Star Printing Company, 1901), 86; Deseret News, January 25, 1901. 95 See correspondence to Gov. Wells, February 1, 2, 1901, reel 11, Series 235, Governor Heber M. Wells Correspondence, USARS. Letters in support of Wells came from the governors of Nevada, New Hampshire, Washington, West Virginia, Wyoming, Alabama, Arkansas, California, Delaware, Idaho, Florida, Louisiana, Maryland, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and South Carolina.

Penrose against criticizing the governor, while Robert G. McNiece, dean of the Presbyterian Church-sponsored Sheldon Jackson College (now Westminster College), congratulated Wells for taking a “manly and heroic” stance.96 Although Wells believed that compulsory vaccination was an “infringement upon the personal rights of the individuals,” he justified the measure in the name of medical emergency.97 Because of the veto, many Mormons perceived a growing threat to themselves, their culture, and their spiritual headquarters in the Salt Lake Valley. In the Tabernacle on February 9, Brigham Young Jr., president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, openly challenged President Snow, church policy, and reform-minded Mormons, while encouraging audience members to endure temporal persecution and seek peace in divine sovereignty. It is nonsense to think that we, as a people living in this free country, should submit to all the various diseases brought here by the different people who have chosen to come and live among us, and that many prevail in the world. . . . Latter-day Saints, do not worry over laws that may be made, but be concerned over your relationship with God. If we are living right before Him He will manage everything to His own glory and our salvation.98 The specter of domination by religious outsiders—and insiders—proved to be short lived. During the following week, lawmakers overrode the governor’s veto to force the bill into law. Beatty, King, and other health officials, perceiving their medical legal battle a lost cause, shifted their focus to other matters, including assessing the city’s ailing sewer and water systems. As with other anti-vaccination leagues across the country, the League in Utah temporarily disbanded. Yet it would not immediately be revived, as the McMillan Act remained in effect through 1933, despite the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in 1905 that compulso96 LDS Church History, “Lorenzo Snow, Feb 9, 1901,” accessed September 1, 2015, http://lds-church-history. blogspot.com/2014/06/lorenzo-snow-feb-9-1901.html. 97 Gov. Wells to the House of Representatives, February 8, 1901, reel 11, Governor Wells Correspondence. 98 Deseret News, February 10, 1900.


— Ben Cater is Assistant Professor of History at Eastern Nazarene College. He wishes to thank Tony Castro of the Utah State Archives for help in researching the McMillan Bill, and the anonymous reviewers of the Utah Historical Quarterly for their insightful questions and suggestions.

— 99 Revised Statutes of Utah 1933 (Salt Lake City, June 17, 1933), 35-3-10; Jacobson v. Massachusetts (1905).

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At history.utah.gov/uhqextras, Ben Cater answers our questions about the process of researching smallpox at the turn of the twentieth century, as well as the disease’s place in the larger narrative of public health history in Salt Lake City.

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More auspicious, however, was the continued existence of Salt Lake City’s cross-religious alliance behind health reforms. In the fight over compulsory vaccination, some middle-class Mormons—doctors, attorneys, elected officials, journalists, church leaders, and laity—had prioritized statism over individual freedom in the name of the common good. So had many gentiles who partnered with Mormon professionals in disabusing anti-vaccinationists of all religious backgrounds of their fear and misinformation, while still interpreting medicine and physical healing as divine. Although shaken by adversarial editorials in local newspapers, this alliance would still exist to back measures aimed at improving the overall health, safety, and beauty of Salt Lake City. Critical to the politics of vaccination, religion became less divisive, more unifying, and ultimately less relevant to the health reforms of Progressive Era Utah.

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ry vaccination is a constitutional police power of the state.99

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Staff of the Daily Reporter in Corrine, Utah, spring 1869. This was taken by Timothy O’Sullivan when he attended the driving of the Golden Spike. He was in Ogden as a member of Clarence King’s Fortieth-Parallel Survey. —

National Archives And Records Administration


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The number of non-Mormons in northern Utah Territory spiked with the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869. The Mormon community had braced itself as the gentile “Hell on Wheels”—the Union Pacific and its traveling shanty town—drew nearer across the high plains of Wyoming. For months prior to the arrival of the railroad, Brigham Young tried to keep his closed society intact with a number of defensive moves, such as the founding of Zion’s Cooperative Mercantile Institution (ZCMI) seven months prior to the completion. Although many Mormons drew paychecks from the Union Pacific, Young encour-

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Fifty Years of Liberal and Conservative Newspaper Views in Ogden, Utah, 1870–1920

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aged his people to spend their wages on Mormon-owned businesses, and not those of gentile merchants. Mormon leaders also enticed the Southern Pacific and Union Pacific to relocate the Junction City to the Mormon town of Ogden rather than the gentile capital of Corinne, west of Brigham City.1 To facilitate this, the LDS church granted free property and infrastructure in Ogden to the railroads. Later, the Mormon-owned Utah Northern Railroad bypassed Corinne, eventually providing rail service to Montana. This starved the freight wagon business based in Corinne, rendering it a virtual ghost town within fifteen years. A third strategy involved how the Mormon position would be portrayed in the press. To 1 “Gentile� in Utah history is a Mormon name synonymous with non-Mormon.

that end, church leaders moved to establish a Mormon-dominated newspaper in Ogden. Since the press represented the single largest media source in mid-nineteenth century America, its importance in the clash of civilizations between the closed society of Mormon Utah and the gentiles of the western frontier cannot be underestimated. A major difference between the gentile and Mormon-owned newspapers was the underlying motivation to establish a press. Gentile newspapers were motivated primarily by economics; if the profit margins were not there, then it was best the press move on or sell out. By contrast, those newspapers owned by the church or prominent church leaders largely enjoyed a loyal readership. Their motivation was the promulgation of the Mormon image and the truth as they saw it. Prior to 1890, the divide between conservative and liberal news-


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Panoramic view of Ogden, spring 1869, taken by Timothy O’Sullivan while a member of the U.S. Geological Exploration of the Fortieth Parallel. —

National Archives and Records Administration

papers in Ogden reflected religious fissures in Utah Territory. Thereafter, with the migration of Mormons from the People’s Party into the Republican Party, two factions arose within the Republican Party—the Mormons with their traditional conservative views and the non-Mormons with their mostly progressive liberal views. This rift climaxed in the 1912 election when the progressives deserted the conservative Republicans for Roosevelt’s Progressive Party. This was illustrated by Roosevelt carrying Ogden, where William Glasmann and the Bull Moose Party were in the majority, and Taft carrying the Republican conservatives in Weber County led by Reed Smoot. After the 1912 election, some of the progressives returned to the Republican Party, others joined the Democratic

Party. As the Progressive movement faded, the Republican Party became unified with both conservative and liberal factions represented. By 1920 Utah senator Smoot had become one of the leaders of the new conservative Republicans who hand-picked Warren Harding as Republican candidate for president. The newspapers that led to today’s Ogden Standard-Examiner began in December 1869 with the organization of the Ogden Junction Publishing Company. On January 1, 1870, the company began publication of the Ogden Junction under the editorship of Apostle Franklin D. Richards and associate editor Charles W. Penrose.2 Both 2 Edward William Tullidge, Tullidge’s Histories Containing the History of All the Northern, Eastern and


newspaper, owing to “stagnation of business.”5

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The Ogden Herald Publishing Company had been negotiating with Ballantyne and the Ogden Junction since early February 1881 to take over some of the assets of the Ogden Junction Publishing Company. In the fall of 1880, the Ogden Junction had lost its popular editor-in-chief Charles Penrose to the Deseret News. This largely killed the paper. After nearly three months of reorganizing with a new slate of prominent members of the LDS church on board, the first issue of the Ogden Daily Herald hit the streets on May 2, 1881. Many old faces from the Ogden Junction were there, plus new personalities who promised a lively newspaper, much the same as its predecessor.

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Ogden Daily Standard building, est. 1870. Although established by Frank J. Cannon in 1888, the Ogden Standard had been reincorporated from the Junction and Herald, which began in 1870. Reincorporating was a common method of leaving debt behind and starting over again. —

Another prominent Ogden Mormon, David H. Peery, took on the role of publisher; John Nicholson became editor-inchief. Like Ballantyne, Peery was a prominent figure in Weber County having served in the territorial legislature

Utah State Historical Society

men were prominent members of the LDS church and planned to confront any negative journalism that accompanied the railroad. At first, Ogden Junction was a semi-weekly newspaper, expanding into a daily in September 1872. In 1877, the company was transferred to Richard Ballantyne as publisher.3 In March 1880, the quixotic Swiss immigrant Leo Haefeli was appointed editor-in-chief of the Ogden Junction.4 Ballantyne hoped the popular writer would liven things up, but on February 16, 1881, the Ogden Junction published its last Western Counties of Utah; Also the Southern Counties of Idaho, vol. 2 (Salt Lake City: The Juvenile Instructor, 1889), 198. 3 Ibid., 199. 4 For an excellent biographical article on Leo Haefeli, see Val Holley, “Leo Haefeli, Utah’s Chameleon Journalist,” Utah Historical Quarterly 75 (Spring 2007): 149– 63.

5 “Valedictory,” Ogden Junction, February 16, 1881, 2. Richard Ballantyne was a prominent Mormon businessman living in Weber County at the time. Upon arrival in the Salt Lake Valley in 1848, he organized the LDS church’s Sunday School to address the needs of children of the church. Unlike Franklin D. Richards who had experience publishing the Millennial Star in Great Britain, Ballantyne was not a prominent newspaperman. He took the Ogden Junction off Richards’ hands so that the apostle could attend to organizational matters throughout the territory. Eventually Ballantyne negotiated the sale of the newspaper assets to the Ogden Herald Publishing Company.


The strategy of the Ogden Junction, to a large extent, worked effectively to keep Corinne newspapers from migrating to Ogden. The Utah (Corinne) Reporter, the most successful of the Corinne papers, stayed put because Corinne’s population was large enough to support the paper. The Ogden Freeman, after an aborted attempt to set up shop in Corinne in 1868, returned to Utah seven years later and tried to compete in Ogden as a gentile press.10 6 Tullidge, Tullidge’s Histories, vol. II, 207–16. 7 Edward L. Sloan, Gazeteer of Utah and Salt Lake City Directory (Salt Lake City: Salt Lake Herald Publishing Company, 1874). 8 Brigham D. Madsen, Corinne: The Gentile Capital of Utah (Salt Lake City: Utah State Historical Society, 1980), 102. Mormons and gentiles organized politically along religious lines in the People’s Party and the Liberal Party, respectively. 9 Richard C. Roberts and Richard W. Sadler, A History of Weber County (Salt Lake City: Utah State Historical Society and Weber County Commission, 1997), 107. For an excellent discussion on Ogden residents’ responses to the railroad, see Brian Q. Cannon, “Change Engulfs a Frontier Settlement: Ogden and its Residents Respond to the Railroad,” Journal of Mormon History 12 (1985), 15–28. 10 S. M. Pettengill, Pettengill’s Newspaper Directory and Advertisers’ Hand-Book for 1878 (New York: Pettengill & Co., Publishers, 1878), 185–86. Legh Freeman had his press destroyed and was nearly lynched in Corinne in 1868 after making disparaging remarks about Credit Mobilier in front of a Union Pacific crowd, a harbinger

of the coming scandal that rocked the Union Pacific Railroad. 11 Ibid. 12 Haefeli and Cannon, Directory, 62. 13 Richard E. Lingenfelter and Karen Rix Gash, The Newspapers of Nevada: A History and Bibliography, 1854–1979 (Reno: University of Nevada Press, 1984), 175.

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About two years later, on April 30, 1881, Edmund A. Littlefield closed the Elko Post in Nevada and moved east to Ogden where he started a new paper, the Ogden Pilot. A seasoned journalist, Littlefield had first entered the newspaper business on November 23, 1870, when he and H. H. Fellows founded the Nevada State Journal in Reno, Nevada.13 He remained there only nine months when he sold his interest and moved on, eventually founding the Elko Post on September 11, 1875. While in Ogden, like many before him, Littlefield could not resist baiting the Mormons, who were in the midst of transferring their loyalty from the Ogden Junction to the Ogden Herald. But Littlefield’s anti-Mormon slant received little support in Ogden. The Ogden Pilot struggled on for three years. Fortunately for Littlefield, he was able to capitalize on a scandal involving the Ogden postmaster Nathan Kimball, a Civil War hero who took up residence in Utah and enjoyed patronage appointments from Ulysses S. Grant. On March 17, 1882, an employee on the postmaster’s staff embezzled approximately $1,400 from official funds while Kimball was home ill. Kimball was blamed for it and faced federal criminal charges.

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In 1874, the population of Utah Territory was approximately 136,000.7 A rough estimate of non-Mormons living in the territory in 1871 totaled 3,500, only 2.6 percent of the population. One thousand lived in Corinne, 600 in Ogden and along the Union Pacific line, 500 in Salt Lake City, and 1,400 in the mining districts.8 While the population of Corinne stagnated at roughly 1,000, Ogden jumped from 3,127 in 1870 to 6,069 in 1880, with the major growth spurt between 1870 and 1874.9

Ada Freeman, Legh Freeman’s wife, established the Ogden Freeman in 1875 and began publishing the first issues. Their business model was to deliver newspapers to nine railroad companies departing Ogden each day to be purchased by passengers. Ada had established the plant that would service the different railways and also seek circulation in Ogden. Most Ogdenites appreciated the conservative, congenial tone of the gentile newspaper. That lasted until her husband Legh showed up. In Legh’s words, “the Freeman [is] anti-Mormon, anti-Chinese, anti-Indian, and favoring the revivification of the silver industries by urging Congress to remonetize silver.”11 Immediately subscriptions were cancelled and the Freemans were shunned. Eventually, after almost four years, Legh fled to Montana. En route, a firearm accidentally discharged, fatally wounding Ada.12

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and, later, as mayor of Ogden.6 Leo Haefeli was back as city editor; Joseph Hall, the former city editor of the Ogden Junction who Haefeli befriended in Slaterville, was hired as a correspondent. Ballantyne, Haefeli, and Hall were all associated with the LDS Sunday School, and Hall and Franklin D. Richards had served a mission together in Great Britain. Although organized in separate corporations, it did not take a trained eye to see the church’s role as the real party in interest behind both papers.

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Littlefield set about convincing officials that he was the Republican man for the job due to his anti-Mormon record in the press. Littlefield was nominated by President Chester A. Arthur on January 2, 1883, and he was sworn in as Ogden’s postmaster the following month. Kimball fought the ruling for years and was finally exonerated and reinstated as postmaster on June 17, 1889.14

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Meanwhile, Littlefield sold the Ogden Pilot but stayed on as business manager. The newspaper eventually folded in 1884. In 1885, Littlefield announced the formation of the Ogden Daily News, featuring as editor the once-popular Leo Haefeli, who had quit the Ogden Herald and had since been writing anti-Mormon articles and letters. The Ogden Herald hired Charles W. Hemenway, a feisty non-Mormon journalist from Utah County, to do battle with Haefeli. Commencing in spring 1885 and continuing for nine months, Haefeli was pummeled by Hemenway. After a brief resignation, Haefeli returned to the Ogden Daily News in early 1886 and continued on until the paper’s demise in mid-1887. It appeared that non-Mormon journalists in Ogden paid little heed to British explorer Richard Burton’s observation when he visited Utah in 1860: in Utah three perspectives dominated, “that of the Mormons, which is invariably one sided; that of the Gentiles, which is sometimes fair and just; and that of the anti-Mormons, which is always prejudiced and violent.”15 The anti-Mormon press seemed to stubbornly persist with anti-Mormon rhetoric without ever accomplishing any meaningful dialogue. In midsummer 1887, Frank J. Cannon replaced Hemenway as editor of the Ogden Herald and announced that it would switch to a morning paper. After six months, however, the strategy did not work and Cannon opted to form a new paper commencing on January 1, 1888, called the Standard, named after his father’s publication, the Western Standard, started in 1856 at San Francisco. In its final epitaph, the Ogden Herald editorial page remarked that “from the

beginning the aim of the owners and directors of the paper has been to have it just and fearless. Wherein it has failed at this, they have been as much betrayed as has been the public.”16 The Standard picked up where the Morning Herald (previously the Ogden Herald) had left off. It took up offices at the identical location and it was still a Mormon-biased newspaper. The new directors and officers of the Standard Corporation were prominent Mormons in Weber County and several of the same owners and directors who had bemoaned the Ogden Herald’s betrayal on the editorial page. In reality, however, the Standard was a Cannon family journalistic effort. The patriarch, LDS apostle George Q. Cannon, had previously served as managing editor of the Deseret News. In addition to Frank J. Cannon, who was editor-inchief, John Q. Cannon, another son of George Q. Cannon, was an associate editor. John Q. Cannon later served as editor of the Deseret News from 1892 to 1898. A third son, Abraham H. Cannon, who became an apostle in 1889, was editor of the LDS church publication Juvenile Instructor. All of them would play a part in the corporate governance of the Standard during its first five years of existence. When the Standard organized on January 1, 1888, it faced bigger content problems than the Haefeli-Hemenway feud in the press. The year before, Congress had passed the EdmundsTucker Act.17 In addition to disincorporating the LDS church and the Perpetual Immigration Fund, the legislation required an anti-polygamy oath from all prospective voters that barred polygamists from voting. For the first time since the Utah Territory was organized, the Mormon plurality faced the distinct possibility of losing the Ogden municipal elections in 1889, even though they far outnumbered gentiles. The unthinkable for Mormons in Ogden became a reality on February 12, 1889, when Fred J. Kiesel and his entire Liberal Party ticket swept into office.18 Abraham H. Cannon was called as an apostle

14 House Committee on Claims, Report on Nathan Kimball, 51st Cong., 2d sess., 1890, H. Rept. 3649.

16 “Farewell,” Ogden Morning Herald, December 31, 1887, 2.

15 Richard F. Burton, The City of the Saints and Across the Rocky Mountains to California (New York: Harper and Brothers, Publishers, 1862), 197.

17 24 Stat. 635 (1887). 18 “Mayor Kiesel,” Ogden Semi-Weekly Standard, February 13, 1889, 1.


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Nineteenth and early-twentieth century Utah newspaper editors. Among the editors in this undated image are William Glasmann of the Standard, Charles W. Penrose of the Deseret News, and John Nicholson of the Ogden Daily Herald. —

Utah State Historical Society


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eight months later in October 1889, and from his journal it was evident that he was cognizant of the political situation in Ogden and business affairs of the Standard from the outset of his calling. He made occasional visits to Ogden to speak with his brothers, being careful not to disclose the subject of their discussions in his diary. Although he lamented the Liberal Party’s control of Ogden, he did not reportedly offer suggestions to solve the problem.19

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On September 25, 1890, however, some of the troubles facing the LDS church began to dissipate after President Wilford Woodruff’s Manifesto announcing the intention to abandon the practice of plural marriage. No longer would the Mormons cling to their millennialist doctrines and policies that had prevented statehood for so long. Whatever strategies the church had for the Standard became moot. Several meetings were held after the Manifesto concerning the Standard’s finances and personnel. On April 2 and 3, 1891, the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve considered the appointment of Apostle John Henry Smith as president of the Standard, with George Q. Cannon, Frank J. Cannon, and Abraham H. Cannon participating in these conversations. President Woodruff opposed the idea, and in further discussions the apostles talked of holding themselves aloof from politics and considered selling the Standard on the basis that “the paper can do a vast amount of good if controlled by our people even if ostensibly managed by Gentiles.”20 By 1892, Frank Cannon was riding a wave of popularity for his editorial skills and the Standard’s circulation was up. Since its inception, however, the newspaper had been losing approximately $1,000 a month.21 In late 1892, John Q. Cannon left to assume the editor-inchief position at the Deseret News. The paper’s board of directors invited William Glasmann to assume the position. Glasmann was from Tooele County where he was selling his failing Garfield City real estate project. Caught in the real estate bubble of the late 1880s that ruined 19 Edward Leo Lyman, ed., Candid Insights of a Mormon Apostle: The Diaries of Abraham H. Cannon, 1889–1895 (Salt Lake City: Signature Books and Smith-Petit Foundation, 2010), 15–16, 24–26. 20 Ibid., 196, 197. 21 “The Standard,” Ogden Standard, March 4, 1893, 8.

many real estate investors, Glasmann was hanging on. He had a reputation as a good but austere businessman, having come to Utah from Montana in late 1885.22 A non-Mormon, he had learned to get along with Mormons and gentiles alike. Most importantly, he could afford to buy the Standard and, like Frank Cannon, was a Republican. The two met at the state party convention in 1892. In January 1893, Glasmann purchased controlling interest in the Standard Corporation. As the elected general manager of the Standard, he immediately started balancing the budget, proposing a 20 percent cut in pay across the board, which everyone except the Ogden Typographical Union accepted. Glasmann accused the union of having bankers’ wages and made his fight public.23 In the end, Glasmann used non-union workers to break the ensuing strike and implement his cuts. But despite Glasmann’s handling of the newspaper crisis, most observers did not give the Standard a chance to survive the full-scale depression of 1893. In response, Glasmann infused much-needed liquid capital by entering into a factoring arrangement with H. T. Brown and Company.24 Through it all, Glasmann and Cannon maintained their alliance, fighting to stay afloat during the depression. In the midst of the crisis on November 26, 1893, however, Frank Cannon resigned his 22 Originally from the German community in Davenport, Iowa, Glassman apprenticed as a saddle maker in Avoca, Iowa at the age of 13. He later worked in various saddle shops in the territories of Colorado, Wyoming, and Montana before ending up in Helena where he partnered in a successful saddle shop. After marrying Elizabeth Gamer, Glassman relocated his family in Ft. Benton, east of Great Falls, where he purchased a saddle shop. Glasmann later decided to make his fortune in Utah, but Elizabeth would have nothing to do with it and returned to Helena. William and his baby daughter Ethel journeyed on, arriving in Utah in the fall of 1885. For more on Glasmann, see Michael S. Eldredge, “William Glasmann: Ogden’s Progressive Newspaperman and Politician, Utah Historical Quarterly 81 (Fall 2013): 304– 24. 23 “Why The Standard Closed,” Ogden Standard, February 19, 1893, 2. 24 “The Standard Sells Its Circulation,” Ogden Standard, January 25, 1894, 2. Factoring is a means of financing using illiquid accounts receivables that are sold at a discount for cash. When the accounts come due, the factor collects the face amount of the receivables, making his money on the spread between the discounted purchase and the face amount of the receivable when it comes due.


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Newspaper editors standing in front of the Utah State Journal’s offices. —

Jason Rusch Collection

position as editor-in-chief to run for congressional representative for the territory of Utah, an office he ultimately won. As a replacement, Glasmann shuffled the staff and, along with other non-Mormons, invited the anti-Mormon Edmund A. Littlefield to take the position of managing editor. One thing that united Cannon, Glasmann, and Littlefield was their belief in the need to remonetize silver as a means of pulling the West out of the depression. Cannon and Littlefield were emotional supporters of bimetallism without considering the inflationary effects of re-monetizing silver; Glasmann took a more intellectual approach focusing on the economic consequences of the international abandonment of silver. For Glasmann, the 1896 election was the make or break time for silver; the 1900 election would be too late. As 1896 approached, Glasmann, Littlefield, and Cannon were silver Republicans, members of the Republican Party

who supported Democrat William Jennings Bryan because of his stance on bimetallism. For the different reasons mentioned, all three abandoned McKinley, the Republican candidate for president in 1896. Glasmann’s position enabled him to claim he never left the Republican Party; he merely supported Bryan. Cannon and Littlefield, however, had embraced the Democratic view that stood for bimetallism now and forever, making a break with the Republican Party inevitable. In August 1896, a new Ogden paper was announced—the Utah State Journal—with Edmund A. Littlefield as editor-in-chief. The fact that it would be published in both Salt Lake City and Ogden was of no consequence to Glasmann who prepared to head east to Nebraska and Iowa to campaign for Bryan. While most people were unaware of the fine distinction between the Utah State Journal and the Standard, both of which supported William Jen-

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36 Inside the offices of the Morning Examiner in May 1905. —

Ogden Union Station Collection

nings Bryan. The Utah State Journal, although professing to be a silver Republican, was solidly Democratic, and the Standard was silver Republican. After McKinley won the 1896 election, Glasmann insisted that he remained a republican, having only supported Bryan due to the silver issue. That was as far as he went. On the other hand, Senator Frank J. Cannon, an avowed silver Republican, never returned to the Republican Party. In 1900 Cannon officially became a member of the Democratic Party. From its inception, however, the Utah State Journal had two close allies in Cannon and Littlefield. Even though Cannon was not on the masthead at first, people knew that the paper was the unofficial mouthpiece of Frank J. Cannon. As time went on, the rift between Glasmann and Cannon grew wider. In the legislative election of 1898, Glasmann felt the sting of competition when Cannon mounted a suc-

cessful fusion ticket of silver Republicans and Democrats that intentionally did not include Glasmann who was the Republican nominee for his district’s seat in the Utah House of Representatives.25 The Utah State Journal was, in part, responsible for defeating Glasmann on his own turf, a bitter lesson Glasmann did not soon forget. The fusion ticket blindsided many other candidates who resented the fact that the fusionists claimed only to be interested in the silver issue, but in reality it gave a boost to many Democrats who otherwise would have lost the election.26 On April 9, 1898, in a colorful article in the Broad Ax, the African-American editor Julius F. Taylor ripped into the Republican camp for its racist attitude. He alleged that Republican cronyism, including Cannon’s 25 “Well Satisfied with the Results,” Ogden Standard, November 9, 1898, 4. 26 “City and Neighborhood,” Salt Lake Tribune, April 11, 1898, 8.


The Utah State Journal became an acknowledged organ of the fusion between silver Republicans and Democrats in the state. With Glasmann’s influence and the Standard solidly in the Republican camp, going head to head with the Utah State Journal was just the fight that Glasmann relished. McKinley carried Utah, and Glasmann was elected to the Utah State Legislature. Later in 1901, Glasmann was elected mayor of Ogden but careful not to underestimate the power of the Utah State Journal, even though it continued as a weekly paper. After its drumming in the 1901 Ogden municipal elections, the Democrats knew they would need a larger influence than a weekly paper, so they began floating rumors that the Utah State Journal would become a daily Democratic paper, hopefully in time to resist Glasmann’s reelection as mayor.

Finally, on August 18, 1902, Glasmann acquired absolute control of the Standard Publishing Company and all its subsidiaries and affiliates. The shareholders received $50,000 in gold bonds issued by the publishing company in return for the surrender of all but a token amount of stock. Glasmann announced in the Standard that “[T]he differences between the stockholders are satisfactorily adjusted.”30 With Glasmann committing his heart and soul to the Standard, he lost the AP franchise, and the Morning Sun died before publishing its first issue.31

27 “United States Senator Frank J. Cannon’s Personal Organ,” Broad Ax, April 9, 1898, 1.

While Glasmann was taking control of the Standard, another rumor started circulating that

28 “Silver Republicans,” Salt Lake Herald, March 11, 1900, 12.

30 “Glasmann Gets Complete Control of the Standard,” Ogden Standard, August 18, 1902, 5.

29 Alter, Early Utah Journalism, 179.

31 “The Morning Sun,” Ogden Standard, August 18, 1902, 4.

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Glasmann’s move accomplished two basic stratagems: he deprived the Democrats of the franchise, and he created a publishing option in case he was unsuccessful in gaining complete control of the Standard. Glasmann had purchased a controlling interest in the Standard in 1894; now he made a bid to control all of it. When shareholders refused to sell their shares of the highly successful newspaper, Glasmann announced the acquisition of the AP franchise for the proposed Morning Sun. Shareholders were left with two options, either sell their shares at Glasmann’s price or run the risk of owning a declining newspaper that no one could afford to buy. In short, the shareholders were checkmated. While the shareholders desperately explored their limited options, Glasmann went ahead with his plans for the Morning Sun while still offering the new paper and AP dispatches for sale to all comers. He knew that no one could match the capital outlay that would be required to establish a new paper in Ogden, least of all the struggling Utah State Journal.

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In the 1900 election, the Republican Party sought Glasmann’s influence in northern Utah to elect McKinley and defeat Bryan and the silver Republican ticket. Glasmann readily agreed to the arrangement. Again, as far as he was concerned, he had never left the Republican Party. Glasmann saw it as ratification by the Utah party that he was, indeed, an important member of the Republicans, although he still had enemies who had not forgotten the defection to Bryan in 1896. Cannon, on the other hand, who had made his break with the Republican Party in 1900, claimed that Glasmann had “made a new league with death and a covenant with hell.” He characterized Glasmann indirectly as a “subsidized editor and spoils-seeking politician that [has] gone back to Hannaism [referring to McKinley campaign manager Senator Mark Hanna] during the past few months.”28 Soon thereafter Cannon appeared on the masthead of the Utah State Journal.29

In July of 1902, Glasmann obtained the Associated Press franchise for Ogden under a purported new morning paper, the Morning Sun. Founded in 1846, the AP was, and is, a nationally syndicated news service providing local franchise newspapers stories to copy and republish. AP franchises were only given out to local papers sparingly to preserve the integrity of the news service and insure franchise loyalty.

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“personal organ,” the Utah State Journal, combined to form a racist barrier in Utah, lumping Cannon, Littlefield, and the paper into one cabal. What was not acknowledged by the Utah State Journal—that it was Frank Cannon’s personal mouthpiece—was, nevertheless, generally known.27

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a Democratic morning paper was coming to Ogden, promoted by businessmen from Illinois and Utah. Glasmann assured his readers that it had nothing to do with the Morning Sun and the AP dispatches, but he said nothing more. In late July 1903, Frank Francis, managing editor of the Ogden Standard, had approached Frank Cannon about supporting a Democratic newspaper in Ogden. Cannon was noncommittal, and less than a month later, he announced that “arrangements have already progressed so far that they could no longer be kept secret.” On August 20, the “new paper” was announced as the old Utah State Journal, this time as a daily paper.32 Apparently, the visit by Francis was taken by Cannon to mean that the AP dispatches were again in play, although Glasmann discouraged everyone, saying that the AP was not amenable to another false start by an Ogden paper. The Utah State Journal had an outside chance because it had been in publication for eight years. For Frank Cannon to have a chance at winning the AP franchise, he would have had to expand his paper to a daily. Francis, on the other hand, had the full support of Glasmann and the Standard Publishing Company. On September 23, Francis laid out his well-organized plans for a morning paper, and stated that it would all depend on who obtained the AP franchise.33 Cannon had a dilemma. To impress the AP he had to show the economic wherewithal to publish a daily paper in Ogden. His backers, however, conditioned their support on his obtaining the AP dispatches. Accordingly he talked fast, restating articles of corporation for a new Utah State Journal Company of Ogden as a bona fide daily paper, even though he was running on a shoestring. In the end, all of Cannon’s efforts did not matter. On November 5, two days after Glasmann was elected to his second term as Ogden mayor, Melville E. Stone of the Associated Press met with Francis in Salt Lake City. Stone told Francis that the board of directors of the Associated Press had decided in September to award Francis a franchise for a morning paper in Ogden. When queried what it would be called, Francis announced, the Ogden Morning 32 “New Daily Paper Rumored for Ogden,” Ogden Standard, August 20, 1903, 5. 33 “Democratic Morning Paper Assured for Ogden,” Ogden Standard, September 23, 1903, 6.

Examiner.34 As if to add insult to injury, in an election which saw Democratic wins in virtually every city or town in the state, Ogden was a landslide for the Republicans. Cannon’s municipal ticket had lost, along with his bid for the AP dispatches. The Morning Examiner got off to a less than successful start. By the end of April 1904, the Standard Publishing Company stepped in and bought the Morning Examiner for the debt that was owed. In spite of the Morning Examiner raising 2,300 new subscribers in four months, more than any new startup paper in Ogden, including the Utah State Journal, efforts by the Salt Lake press to discourage subscriptions prevailed. Cannon and the Utah State Journal hoped to possibly inherit the Examiner’s AP franchise. It became clear in April that Glasmann would purchase the Morning Examiner and continue publication. Standard subscribers received the Sunday morning Examiner free of charge, and both Standard and Examiner subscribers could receive both papers for an extra $0.25 a month. In the fall of 1904, Cannon became editor of the Salt Lake Tribune, leaving Ogden behind. Thomas Kearns and his partner David Keith had purchased the Tribune in 1901 and ran it as a Republican paper. However, after harsh criticism of the LDS church by the Tribune, the church’s withdrawal of support for Kearns’ second term as U.S. Senator enraged the multimillionaire, prompting him to form the American Party as an avowed enemy of the church and the Salt Lake Republicans. The American Party was in existence from 1904 to 1911 and tried to bring back the old Liberal Party. Although it won important municipal elections, the American Party never succeeded in revitalizing the old Liberal Party. By January 1906, the Utah State Journal was near bankruptcy with debts totaling $23,000. The paper was forced to lay off two-thirds of its workforce, with no prospect of ever recovering. On March 19, the Utah State Journal was sold and the stock put into a trust pending reincorporation. On April 6, the semi-defunct Utah State Journal reincorporated under new own34 “A Morning Paper for Ogden,” Ogden Standard, November 5, 1903, 6.


Members of the American Party state organization were apparently behind the effort, not the Republican Party as the purchasers had represented to Glasmann. Tingle was used to mask the true intentions behind the acquisition. Glasmann viewed all the subterfuge as nonsense and wanted the transaction to go forward regardless of who the buyers were. He would not take anything for granted, knowing full well that the employees of the Utah State Journal were as confused as anyone and denied the terms of the acquisition.37 In the end, the proposed Tingle acquisition of the Morning Standard fell apart, and on January 14, 1907, the Salt Lake Herald reported that the deal had “blown up,” and though the reasons were not disclosed,

In November 1907, talk of the proposed purchase suddenly disappeared from the pages of the Ogden Standard and did not resurface for eight months. In July 1908, The Ogden Standard ran a cryptic editorial: The paper known as a “Rich Man’s Folly” says “wise ones” announce a big political sensation is to be sprung in the immediate future that the Morning Examiner is to become a Democratic paper. The best manner in which to nail a deliberate lie of that kind is to demand the authority, and we now demand to know who is one of the wise ones? The writer of such a falsehood knew he was penning an untruth when, under instructions, he wrote it.

35 “Journal Reincorporates,” Inter-Mountain Republican, April 7, 1904, 5.

The “Rich Man’s Folly” can be kept busy

36 “Glasmann Was Not Turned Down,” Inter-Mountain Republican, September 4, 1906, 1.

38 “Deal Seems to Have Blown Up,” Salt Lake Herald, January 14, 1907, 2.

37 “Newspaper Deals,” Ogden Standard, November 13, 1906, 4.

39 “New Daily Paper in Ogden,” Ogden Standard, October 15, 1907, 8.

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a man by the name of T. R. Tingle, from Kansas City, called upon me Saturday and said he had come West to buy a paper and that he wanted to buy the State Journal and The Examiner in order to consolidate them; but learning that the State Journal was not for sale until after the election, he wanted an option on the Morning Examiner until he could make a deal to buy the State Journal. Whether the Examiner gave him an option or entertained his proposition is nobody’s business, excepting the shareholders of the Standard Publishing Company.36

In October 1907, Glasmann was again approached by potential buyers, this time two relatively young newspapermen, J. F. Thomas and Ernest T. Spencer, who claimed to have been studying the Ogden market for almost a year. The shareholders immediately offered to sell the buyers their stock in the Utah State Journal for even less than bargain prices. The Morning Examiner, they claimed, was nothing more than a “white elephant” that Glasmann was desperate to unload.39 The absurdity of the comparison between the two papers was not lost on Thomas and Spencer. The AP franchise alone was worth more than the entire Utah State Journal, and the Examiner’s circulation was growing monthly. Stories began running in the Salt Lake Tribune that the Morning Examiner was to be a Republican paper, to confuse prospective Democratic investors. Glasmann was interested in selling the Morning Examiner, but at a price that was fair. He was also interested in a paper that would be a worthy and professional adversary. But Glasmann would not lower the sales price. A sharp businessman, he did not become one of the richest men in Ogden by being careless in his decisions.

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In an interview with the Inter-Mountain Republican in early September, Glasmann spoke about the possibilities of being appointed U.S. Postmaster in Ogden and the misrepresentations published by the Salt Lake Tribune. As an aside to the conversation, Glasmann said that

the price was believed to be at the root of the problem.38

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ership headed by Brigham A. Bowman and Willard Snyder of Ogden. The reincorporation was calculated to erase the huge debt amassed by the newspaper while still preserving the name. Bowman declared the paper’s political preference was Republican.35 Within a few months, however, it became clear what the motives were behind the purchase of the Utah State Journal.

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. . . writing up its patron saint’s crusade against vice without indulging in fabrications directed at the Examiner.40

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The editorial was obviously aimed at the arch enemy Salt Lake Tribune, but the reference to “Rich Man’s Folly” satirized the fact that Glasmann’s price was too much of a risk for a startup venture, especially in Ogden where the Ogden Standard had been entrenched firmly for over twenty years. All potential purchasers wanted the Morning Examiner for the Associated Press franchise. But Glasmann had his price, and he was not about to shoulder the risk and expense of a new venture. Ten months later, on May 9, 1909, an article appeared in the Sunday edition of the Morning Examiner and Ogden Standard announcing that A. R. Bowman, brother of the well-known president of Wasatch Printing Company, Bert R. Bowman, had purchased the Utah State Journal lock, stock, and barrel. The Monday edition was to be the first under Bowman’s stewardship. Moreover, less than three weeks later, Bowman also purchased the Morning Examiner, accomplishing what many newspapermen had been trying for years. He combined the Utah State Journal, with its Scripps-McRae Service and Publishers’ Press Service and subscription base, with the Morning Examiner and its AP franchise and subscription base. Ogden had a new viable morning paper retaining the Morning Examiner name to compete with the Ogden Standard. Though the new Morning Examiner was a Democratic paper, relations between the two papers were competitive yet cordial, the kind of professional atmosphere that Glasmann had sought for over a decade.

masthead as publisher and manager. Again, in mid-December, Charles Meghan, fresh from a stint as city editor of the Daily Herald in Fremont, Nebraska, and newspaperman Ernest T. Spencer from the 1907 attempted purchase of the Morning Examiner were installed as the new editors. Spencer appeared to have money to make a credible offer for the Morning Examiner, but at the last minute the purchase fell through. On July 11, 1910, Bert Bowman and Paul Lee voluntarily turned over the affairs of the Morning Examiner to a receiver, W. D. Brown, and Pingree National Bank of Ogden—the largest creditor of the morning paper. On paper, with $4,400 in assets against $2,409 in liabilities, the Morning Examiner did not appear to be in financial trouble.43 Bowman admitted that he had plenty of offers for financial assistance to carry on, but he disclosed that his health could not take the stress of newspaper work anymore. He went on to complain that the general assumption, albeit incorrect, was that Glasmann was in control of the policies of the Morning Examiner, even though at the time he was serving his third term as Ogden City mayor. The effects of the Salt Lake Tribune smear campaign were responsible for some of the misconception. Glasmann’s almost legendary stature in the community as a powerful newspaperman and politician accounted for the flawed reasoning as well. His aggressive style led to an image that was sometimes distorted but nevertheless helpful for the progressive cause.

Ogden

Representatives from the Salt Lake Tribune journeyed to Ogden to “kick the tires” and feign interest in the morning paper, but in the end it had no interest in the Morning Examiner. A month went by without any bids to purchase the paper out of receivership. With the majority of the liabilities that Pingree National Bank held in favor of real property leases belonging to the Standard Publishing Company, Glasmann ended up with control by default. On August 15, the Examiner Publishing Company dissolved, and with it the Utah State Journal succumbed to an inglorious death. The Ogden Morning Examiner transferred to the Standard Publishing Company and would continue publication

42 “New Blood Will Tell,” Ogden Standard, December 27, 1909, 4.

43 “Official Papers of Assignment,” Ogden Standard, July 14, 1910, 6.

Four months later, Bert Bowman bought out his brother, who was replaced by Alex C. Young as editor and manager. No one, it seemed, knew who Young was.41 Young had the financial support of Samuel Newhouse—Utah’s millionaire who had invested in the new paper—to acquire the Morning Examiner.42 Meanwhile, Bert R. Bowman and Paul M. Lee appeared on the 40 “Rich Man’s Folly,” Ogden Standard, July 8, 1908, 4. 41 “The Examiner’s New Editor-Manager,” Standard, September 22, 1909, 4.


as a weekly Sunday paper only. The publication of the morning paper would be known as the Morning Standard. On August 21, the masthead for the Sunday paper shifted from Ogden Morning Examiner and Successors to the Daily State Journal to the Morning Standard and Successors to the Daily Morning Examiner. Finally, On December 11, the Sunday morning paper reverted to the Morning Standard and Ogden Morning Examiner. Glasmann had intended for the Examiner only to be kept on life support to preserve the AP franchise, while the Standard assumed the bulk of publishing duties.44 Since the conservatives of the Republican Party had grown under the leadership of Reed Smoot over the last decade and a half, the conservative wing of the party had been mulling over the possibilities of a split in the party for some time, ever since the Taft-Roosevelt break back in October 1911. One glaring sore spot was in Ogden. Drawing on their experience in the 44 “Ogden’s Newspapers Are Consolidated,” HeraldRepublican, August 17, 1910, 3.

Glasmann sold the Ogden Examiner to a “group of Utah businessmen” on December 11, 1911.46 On Monday, April 1, 1912, with the new plant finally installed in the new office 2439 Hudson, the new general manager took the reins.47 An editorial on the fourth page announced: “Without a doubt, this will be a clean and progressive newspaper, carefully seeking to serve the best interests of the best people of the community. . . . In politics, the Examiner will be independent. That means just what it says.”48 It wasn’t long 45 Though the “federal bunch” was behind the acquisition of the Morning Examiner, Senator Smoot had his misgivings about acquiring the newspaper as far back as April 20, 1909, when the federal bunch discussed moving a printing plant to Ogden to take advantage of the Associated Press dispatches owned by the Morning Examiner. See Harvard S. Heath, ed., In the World: The Diaries of Reed Smoot (Salt Lake City: Signature Book and Smith Research Associates, 1997), 15. 46 Roberts and Sadler, A History of Weber County, 377; “Morning Examiner Sold to Eldridge,” Ogden Standard, December 11, 1911, 3. 47 In 1923 Hudson Avenue was renamed Kiesel Avenue in honor of former mayor Fred J. Kiesel, who died April 23, 1919 48 Editorial, Ogden Examiner, April 1, 1912, 4.

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Joseph (“Jody”) Underwood Eldredge, Jr., general manager of the Morning Examiner (1911–1920) and the Ogden Standard-Examiner (1920–1933).

1908 election, the Republican leadership realized that they did not have a strong enough voice in Ogden for the 1912 campaign. True, the Herald-Republican had an office in Ogden, but the party required a local voice. Although the progressive Republicans, like Glasmann, continued to support the party, the conservative Republican hierarchy had made its move. In early December 1911, Jody Eldredge showed up on Glasmann’s doorstep and announced his intention to buy the Morning Examiner with its AP franchise. What separated Eldredge from the other suitors for the Ogden Morning Examiner was simple: Glasmann knew Eldredge was backed by Republican money. Glasmann also knew Eldredge, the U.S. Assayer for Utah, was one of Senator Reed Smoot’s political associates. The press had dubbed all of Senator Smoot’s political friends and allies that he appointed to federal patronage positions as the “federal bunch,” and Glasmann knew they were behind the purchase.45 Later, Glasmann would lament the bargain price at which he sold the morning paper, enough to pay the debts of the Morning Examiner. But Eldredge had the potential to be the worthy adversary Glasmann had always longed for.

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after that that the editorial page began carrying the masthead, “THE REPUBLICAN TICKET - For President William Howard Taft - For Vice-President James Schoolcraft Sherman.”

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As the new general manager, Eldredge’s marching orders were simple: be an alternative Republican voice to the progressives, in or out of the party, and neutralize the Roosevelt vote in Ogden. At first, this was a temporary political assignment for Eldredge, and he commuted to Ogden from his home in Salt Lake City.49 But the more he worked at the newspaper, the more enamored he became with Ogden. On August 29, Senator Smoot and Congressman Joseph Howell stopped in Ogden en route from Washington to confer with Eldredge and a number of Republicans at Union Station. They discussed the strategy for the upcoming Republican state convention to be held the following week at the Salt Lake Theater in Salt Lake City. Afterward, Congressman Howell stayed on in Ogden, while Eldredge and Senator Smoot, accompanied by Ogden Examiner editor-inchief LeRoy Armstrong, continued to Salt Lake City. They discussed more of the political situation, and Senator Smoot “gave Armstrong an interview for the Ogden Examiner.”50 The next day, the Ogden Examiner carried the interview on page one. Senator Smoot said that he was not alarmed at the Bull Moose Party and that the eastern part of the country was not paying much attention to the Progressives. He reported that “President Taft feels that the business men of the country, and informed people generally, will thoughtfully study the situation, and in the end will give their support at the polls to the Republican ticket.”51 Though Senator Smoot kept a confident public outlook for the Republicans, privately he knew Taft would 49 In 1896, Eldredge entered politics as a McKinley republican under the tutelage of Dennis Eichnor. Upon Eichnor’s untimely death in 1904, Eldredge became the Salt Lake Republican Chairman at the age of 29. After serving a term as Salt Lake County Clerk, Eldredge was appointed U.S. Assayer by Sen. Reed Smoot and became an ex officio member of the federal bunch. He remained chairman of the Salt Lake City and County Republican Party until the beginning of the 1912 campaign when he moved to Ogden to take over the Morning Examiner.

probably lose. A hint of that was nonchalantly reported later in the article: “The plans of the senator are not entirely perfected. He has a good many business interests at Provo claiming his attention, but he probably will be heard in the campaign.”52 In short, the Republicans were in trouble. It was obvious that Ogden was going to be difficult to hold for Taft in view of Bill Glassman’s popularity coupled with the expected appearance of Theodore Roosevelt at the Ogden Bull Moose convention. But Republicans needed only to cut into the margin of victory expected for the Bull Moose Party in northern Utah and leave the rest of Utah to carry the Republicans to victory. Theodore Roosevelt made his appearance at the Bull Moose Convention in Ogden at the corner of Twenty-Fifth Street and Grant Avenue on Friday, September 13. He spoke to a crowd of over 5,000 enthusiastic supporters. He immediately attacked the two party system, claiming that “both of the old parties are rotten at heart . . . (cheers and applause). Each of them is boss controlled and privilege ridden, and each is so organized that it is incapable of facing in a serious spirit the serious problems of today.”53 The indirect insult may have stung Senator Smoot, but he had to be more chagrined because the Bull Moose ticket for state office “was made up mostly of distinguished Republicans.”54 The list of candidates included his close friend and former member of the federal bunch, C. E. Loose, as candidate for Congress. After the convention, Roosevelt motored to the Hermitage in Ogden Canyon and posed for photographs, which included, “Weber County Sunday drivers, a narrow road, a rocky canyon, and a presidential candidate.”55 The Bull Moose Party predicted that it would carry Utah in the election.56 Although some speculated that Glasmann would be nominated by the Bull Moose Party as a candidate for Congress or other high political office, by the close of the convention he had not appeared on the Bull Moose ticket. The Ogden Standard and 52 Ibid. 53 “Roosevelt Delivers His Only Speech Here,” Ogden Examiner, September 14, 1912, 1–2.

50 Heath,ed., In the World, 157.

54 Heath, ed., In the World, 161.

51 “New Party Is No Cause for Alarm,” Ogden Examiner, August 30, 1912, 1.

55 Roberts and Sadler, A History of Weber County, 204 56 Heath, ed., In the World, 161.


But in reality, the adjournment of the Bull Moose convention was an anticlimax to the November 5th election. In the end, Ogden City went for Roosevelt, attesting to the influence of Glassman. Weber County stayed Republican.59 Nationwide, Taft carried only two states, Utah and Vermont, with a total of eight electoral votes. Roosevelt fared much better, tallying six states with 88 electoral votes. New Jersey governor Woodrow Wilson was swept into the White House in a landslide, carrying forty states with 435 electoral votes. Republicans and their progressive counterparts had to live with the realization that Wilson only commandeered 41 percent of the vote, while the progressive and Republican and Bull Moose parties combined to garner almost 51 percent of the ballots cast. The Ogden Examiner offered its postmortem on the election the following day. Alluding to the 57 “A Vote for the Bull Moose Ticket Is a Vote for Glasmann,” Ogden Examiner, November 2, 1912, 4. 58 “Calls ‘Liar’ and Throws Mud,” Ogden Standard, November 2, 1912, 4. 59 Roberts and Sadler, A History of Weber County, 204.

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That evening, the Ogden Standard replied with less than a lukewarm response. Glasmann, as was his typical practice, was unruffled by the Examiner’s attacks on him personally. He deflected the vitriolic challenge, pointing out the inconsistency in the Examiner’s argument that all along “Colonel Roosevelt is all there is to the Progressive Party, and now it says Glasmann is the whole party.” The article ended with “Poor old Examiner. It must have a very bad case of Glasmannitis,” a favorite valediction that Glasmann used in personal attacks.58

1

Ogden Examiner traded jabs throughout the rest of the campaign, reaching a climax on the weekend before the November 5 election. The Ogden Examiner lambasted Glasmann with a barrage of personal attacks and innuendo, claiming that a Bull Moose Party vote would only benefit Glasmann locally. The Morning Examiner article chided the alleged claim that Glasmann was the originator of the third party movement in Weber County and called him a politically corrupt blackmailer who controlled Ogden because men feared him. The article closed with a rhetorical challenge for anyone to disprove it.57

President Woodrow Wilson visits Ogden on September 23, 1919, just one week before his debilitating stroke. Jody Eldredge, who was in the midst of merger talks with Abe Glasmann, can be seen in the background as part of the welcoming dignitaries of Ogden. —

Ogden Union Station Collection

argument that Roosevelt had appeared on the streets of Ogden not quite two months earlier, Armstrong argued that the American electorate had clearly chosen progressive ideology by voting for the two most liberal candidates: “We believe the forward march was disturbed somewhat by the defection of Colonel Roosevelt and his friends, because it seems clear that reform, wherever needed, was certain to be accomplished by and within the Republican party.”60 By sticking to the Republican Party line that it was important to follow procedures, however, the editorial still played into the hands of the chief complaint of the Bull Moose Party; too many party bosses and hacks prevented the people’s obvious choice from being nomi60 “The Progressive Movement,” Ogden Examiner, November 6, 1912, 4.

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nated in June. One thing was certain, however: Republicans were deeply divided and it would take time for wounds to heal. With the election over, the mission of the Morning Examiner was complete. Now it only remained for Eldredge to decide what to do with his future. On January 30, 1913, the outgoing Taft administration appointed Eldredge to his second term as U.S. Assayer for Utah, retroactive to January 20. The Democrats had been calling for the closure of the Idaho and Utah U.S. Assayer’s office for some time.61 Now with the Democrats solidly in power, it appeared Eldredge’s days as U.S. Assayer were likely numbered, even with the appointment. For eight years previous to the 1912 election, Eldredge had served as Salt Lake County Republican Chairman and a term as Salt Lake County Clerk. He had been at the forefront of many political squabbles to the point that he had just about as many enemies as friends in the Republican Party. The Republican elite had tailored the Morning Examiner job for Eldredge at the outset, offering him a change of scenery. The 1912 election outcome cemented his decision. In the late spring of 1913, Eldredge announced that he would resign as U.S. Assayer for Utah. He moved his family to Ogden and continued as general manager of the Ogden Examiner. By early 1916, Glasmann was back in the Republican fold, planning to run for Congress. His long, elusive dream appeared to have a high probability of becoming reality. Ironically, the very reason that had kept him from conservative Utah Republican Party favor so many years now proved to be his strongest appeal. Glasmann, who had never wavered from his progressive ideals, was believed by many to be the best chance to defeat the likely Democratic candidate, Milton H. Welling, in the 1916 elections. Eldredge was back in politics as Weber County Republican Chairman and had become good friends with Glasmann. The Morning Examiner solidly backed Glasmann’s candidacy. The former three-term mayor had been trying for the previous five years to see the South Fork Dam built, to no avail. Glasmann needed the distraction that the U.S. House of Representatives offered to boost him into his old form again. But 61 In “New Party is No Cause for Alarm in U.S.,” Ogden Examiner, August 30, 1912, 8, Congressman Joseph Howell reportedly claimed that “[t]he Democrats favored free wool and free lead and abolished the assay office.”

it was not to be. On Monday afternoon, May 12, 1916, Glasmann died of a sudden heart attack while resting at his home. He was 57. Glasmann’s widow, Evelyn, and his second oldest son, Abe, took over the Ogden Standard with support and assistance from the managing editor Frank Francis and the Morning Examiner’s general manager Jody Eldredge. In the summer of 1919, talk of merging the two newspapers became serious. The two papers would merge into one under Evelyn Glasmann as publisher, Abe Glasmann as editor in chief, and Jody Eldredge as general manager. On Monday, April 5, 1920, the first edition of the Ogden Standard-Examiner hit the streets. Frank Francis took a hiatus from managing editor to serve two terms as the mayor of Ogden from January 1920 to January 1924. Later in 1924 he ran unsuccessfully for Congress. He served a third term as mayor of Ogden from 1928 to 1930 and went on to be a highly successful nationally syndicated columnist with his News and Views. He died after a short illness in 1945. Eldredge remained active in Republican politics, and was invited often to the White House. After another strike of typesetters in late 1932, he became ill shortly after Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected and died on January 20, 1933. Abe Glasmann remained with the Ogden Standard-Examiner until his death in 1970. In 1993, the Glasmann family sold all of its interest in the newspaper to Sandusky Newspapers of Ohio that owns other newspapers as well. Today, the Ogden Standard-Examiner continues to publish daily as it has for the last 125 years as Utah’s third largest newspaper.

Michael S. Eldredge practices law in Salt Lake City. A native of Ogden, he is a frequent contributor to the Utah Historical Quarterly specializing in political and legal history, as well as the history of Ogden.


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At history.utah.gov/uhqextras, we publish Timothy H. O’Sullivan and William Henry Jackson photographs of Ogden and Utah. O’Sullivan was photographer on the U.S. Geological Exploration of the Fortieth Parallel under Clarence King, on Lt. George M. Wheeler’s western survey, and for the U.S. Geological Survey and the Treasury Department. During his long career, Jackson joined the Hayden Survey and other geologic surveys of the West and the Southwest.


Appendix 1. Selected Ogden Newspapers, 1870–1920

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1868–75 1869 1870 1870–71 1875–79 1877–79 1879 1879 1879–80 1880 1881–84 1881–87 1885–90 1885–87 1888–1920 1888–89 1888–89 1889–91 1890 1891–96 1892–98 1892–93 1892–93 1893 1893–97 1893–94 1895 1895 1896 1896 1896–1908 1897–98 1897–98 1898–99 1899 1899 1901–04 1903 1904–20 1912–13 1914–15

NEWSPAPER Frontier Index Ogden Telegraph Trans-Continental Ogden Junction Ogden Freeman The Amateur Weber County Chronicle Ogden Town & Stage Evening Dispatch Ogden Rustler Ogden Pilot Ogden Herald Utah Danske Amerikaner Ogden Daily News The Standard Ogden Daily Union Ogden Argus Ogden Commercial Ogden Monday Morning Utah Democrat American X-Ray Ogden Leader Ogden Post Ogden Trade-Review Ogden Press Ogden Sun Ogden Advertiser Ogden Review Ogden Times Ogden Times Utah State Journal Ogden Commonwealth Ogden Switch Utah Home Ogden Bi-Metallist Weber County Times Industrial Utah Ogden Morning Sun Morning Examiner Ogden Advance Japanese News

EDITOR & PUBLISHER Legh and Ada Freeman T. B. H. Stenhouse (one issue May 11, 1869) F. D. Richards, C. W. Penrose, R. Ballantyne Legh and Ada Freeman Joseph West, Richard Ballantyne Scipio Africanis Kenner F. B. Millard, Charles King Charles King E. A. Littlefield John Nicholson, Leo Haefeli, Frank Cannon Carl C. Ericksen E. A. Littlefield, Leo Haefeli Frank Cannon, Wm. Glasmann, Frank Francis Charles King P. J. Barrett, Leo Haefeli A. B. Johnson, A. C. Bishop Intermountain Printing & Publishing Company S. S. Smith S. S. Smith Rowe, Barber L. R. Rhodes, James H. Wallis E. A. Littlefield, B. F. Thomas W. W. Browning Matt E. Edsall H. L. Grant Kate Hillard Matt E. Edsall E. A. Littlefield, Frank Cannon, W. W. Browning J. S. Boreman E. A. Littlefield, A. C. Ivins F. J. Headershot, S. H. Hobson W. H. Carleton Mansfield L. Snow B. F. Thomas Wm. Glasmann (never published) Frank Francis, Wm. Glasmann, J. U. Eldredge, Jr. F. V. Fisher T. Kameyama

Sources: Leo Haefeli and Frank J. Cannon, Directory of Ogden City and Weber County, 1883, (Ogden, UT: Ogden Herald Publishing Company, 1883), 59–66; Hubert Howe Bancroft, History of the Pacific States of North America, Vol. XXI, Utah, 1540–1846 (San Francisco: History Company, 1886), 717; Edward W. Tullidge, Tullidge’s Histories: Vol. II, Containing the History of All the Northern, Eastern and Western Counties of Utah; Also the Southern Counties of Idaho (Salt Lake City: Press of the Juvenile Instructor, 1889),198–200; J. Cecil Alter, Early Utah Journalism: A Half Century of Forensic Warfare Waged by the West’s Most Militant Press, reprint (Greenwood, CT; Greenwood Press, 1970), 142–80, 386–87.


Appendix 2. Continuity in LDS Church Personnel NAME

LDS CHURCH POSITION/STATUS

CIVIC POSITION

Charles W. Penrose (Ed.) Joseph Hall (City Ed.)

Missionary, later apostle LDS Sunday School, missionary

Editor (1870–80) Former staff, Telegraph

Frank Cannon (Reporter) Scipio A. Kenner (Ed.)

Son of G. Q. Cannon

Journalist Lawyer, journalist

Popular Mormon writer

Journalist Editor (1880–81)

David H. Peery (Pres.) L. J. Herrick (V.P.)

Former president, Weber Stake Bishop

Mayor of Ogden Mayor of Ogden

Joseph Hall (Sec.) Chas. F. Middleton (Treas.)

LDS Sunday School, missionary 1st councilor, Weber Stake Pres.

Journalist Ogden City alderman

John Nicholson (Editor) Leo Haefeli (Editor)

Missionary, seventy, polygamist Popular Mormon writer

Journalist, Deseret News Journalist

Frank J. Cannon (Editor)

Son of Apostle G. Q. Cannon

Editor (1887)

Lewis W. Shurtliff (Pres.) Charles C. Richards (V.P.)

President, Weber Stake High Priest, son of F. D. Richards

Utah Territorial Council Weber County Attorney

Frank J. Cannon (Sec.) Frank A. Wilcox (Treas.)

Son of G. Q. Cannon

Editor-in-chief Business manager, Herald

Charles F. Middleton (Dir.) David H. Peery (Dir.)

1st Councilor, Weber Stake pres. Former president, Weber Stake

Police judge of Ogden Prominent Businessman

Robert McQuarrie (Dir.) Ben E. Rich (Dir.)

Bishop, Ogden 2nd Ward Mission president

Ogden City alderman Businessman

Thomas J. Stevens (Dir.)

Bishop, Ogden 5th Ward

Ogden City recorder

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George G. Taylor (Ed.) Leo Haefeli (Ed.)

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Editor (1870–77) Editor (1877–81)

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Apostle LDS Sunday School

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Franklin D. Richards (Pub.) Richard Ballantyne (Pub.)

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Ogden Junction—January 1, 1870

Ogden Standard—January 1, 1888

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Ogden Herald—May 2, 1881

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During World War I, hundreds of prints, drawings, and posters were produced to encourage patriotism, the purchase of war bonds, and enlistment in the armed forces. This poster, used in the Third Liberty Loan Drive, suggests that all Americans had their duty to perform; for civilians the purchase of Liberty Bonds would help insure that soldiers had the resources to carry out the fight to defeat the enemy. —

Library of Congress


The Utah Council of Defense, 1917–1919

B Y

A L L A N

K E N T

P O W E L L

America’s entry into the Great War in April 1917 called for not only the mobilization of men into military service but also the organization of the civilian home front effort on a scale that was unprecedented in the nation’s history and foreshadowed government expansion during the rest of the twentieth century. During the war, the primary vehicles for this expansion of government included the Council of National Defense, state councils of defense, and local councils of defense in the counties and communities throughout the country. This paper will focus on the Utah Council of Defense during World War I: its organization, major activities, and relationship to the Council of National Defense; the opportunities and limitations that it brought for women; and its effectiveness as a means to involve Utahns in the war effort. Important in understanding the war effort in Utah is an examination of the role of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and how effectively Mormons and non-Mormons worked together in Utah in support of the war effort at both the state and local levels. All Utahns were concerned with how their patriotism would be judged by the rest of the country and especially the nation’s wartime leaders. The system of councils of defense represented an expanded experiment in federal, state, and local government mobilization, coordination, and cooperation that also involved most aspects of the diverse private sector.1 1 William J. Breen, Uncle Sam at Home: Civilian Mobilization, Wartime Federalism, and the Council of National Defense, 1917–1919 (Westport, CT: Greenwood, 1984), xiii–xvii.

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Utah’s War Machine

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The undertaking occurred in an environment where many individuals were wary of an expansion of the power of the federal government on one hand, yet, on the other, committed to cooperation and support of the federal government, especially during the war. The programs and activities of the state and county councils impacted thousands of Utah residents who gave their support and demonstrated that volunteerism and decentralization could be, and in fact were, strengths in a national effort. They tied Utah even more closely to the rest of the nation and allowed the state to demonstrate competence and commitment in working for greater efficiency and involvement of its citizens in a united cause. The Council of National Defense was created by Congress on August 29, 1916, with the mandate to coordinate resources and industries for the nation’s security and welfare. Six presidential cabinet members constituted the council—the secretaries of war, navy, interior, labor, agriculture, and commerce. The council was assisted by a volunteer advisory commission of experts and a small paid staff. Following the United State’s declaration of war on Germany, Newton D. Baker, chairman of the Council of National Defense, wrote to Utah Governor Simon Bamberger and the other state governors requesting the organization of state councils of defense. Governor Bamberger moved quickly to call a meeting in his office on April 26, 1917, to establish the Utah State Council of Defense for the purpose “of bringing about the speedy and practical mobilization of every resource of the state.”2 At the April 26th meeting L. H. Farnsworth, president of Walker Brothers Bank in Salt Lake City, was selected as chairman of the Utah State Council of Defense and its executive committee.3 2 “Council of Defense Planned for Utah,” Salt Lake Tribune, April 9, 1917. 3 Louis Henry Farnsworth served as chairman of the Utah Council of Defense from its establishment in 1917 until it was disbanded in 1919. A prominent banker and Utah businessman, Farnsworth was at the head of many organizations and a member of important social groups. One of his children, Louis D. Farnsworth, served six months as an officer with the American Expeditionary Force in France. Noble Warrum, Utah Since Statehood, Historical and Biographical (Salt Lake City: S. J. Clarke, 1910), 2:200–3; J. Cecil Alter, Utah, the Storied Domain: A

Farnsworth oversaw the work of the council’s twelve committees and pushed for the establishment of county councils, which included the same local organization as at the state level.4 Service on the county councils and their committees was considered a patriotic obligation and opportunity. Typical of the resolve to carry out the service, those attending a meeting at the Piute County Courthouse to organize a council in one of Utah’s smallest counties were told, “This is a call from the government. Every man must answer the call. Every man asked to serve as a committeeman should consider it a draft by the Government. There must be no refusals.”5 By and large, Utahns accepted the call. In Beaver Documentary History of Utah’s Eventful Career (Chicago and New York: American Historical Society, 1932), 2:579. Historical records show that Farnsworth carried out his assignment as chairman of the Utah Council of Defense with efficiency and effectiveness, a point that Andrew Love Neff made in correspondence referring to him as “unquestionably a splendid executive . . . as the documents prove.” However, Neff expressed dismay at the lack of documents available for writing a history of Utah and the Great War, which Farnsworth saw as a criticism of his administration of the Utah Council of Defense. To this, Neff responded, “you have a poor comprehension of historical values and historical material. The truth is that you and your associates were so busy making history that you had little time to record it. Naturally and properly you were so absorbed in winning the war, and solving the paramount problems of the hour, that the minutes speak all too briefly and modestly of the accomplishment.” See correspondence in box 12, fd. 12, Andrew Love Neff Papers, 1851–1940, MS 135, Special Collections, J. Willard Marriott Library, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah (hereafter Neff Papers, JWML). 4 All counties, except remote Daggett County with its scattered population of less than four hundred individuals, established county councils of defense. Later, under a request from the National Council, the organization was expanded to include local councils in communities and areas within Utah. For a list of the individuals serving on the county and local councils of defense, see Noble Warrum, Utah in the World War: The Men Behind the Guns and the Men and Women Behind the Men Behind the Guns (Salt Lake City: Utah State Council of Defense, 1924), 97–102. Two weeks before the Armistice, M. Larsen, a member of the Daggett County Liberty Loan Committee, did request information about how to establish a Daggett County Council of Defense. M. Larsen to Heber J. Grant, October 28, 1918, box 2, fd. 11, Utah Council of Defense Records, 1917–1919, MS 107, JWML (hereafter Council Records, JWML). 5 Piute Chieftain (Marysville, UT)¸ September 20, 1917, copy in Utah State Council of Defense Miscellaneous Correspondence, Utah State Council of Defense, Administrative Records, Series 10335, Utah State Archives and Records Service, Salt Lake City, Utah (hereafter Council Administrative Records, USARS).


While the national and state councils of defense were all male in leadership and would most certainly remain so, pressure mounted quickly, especially from voluntary women’s organizations throughout the nation, to establish a women’s counterpart to the councils of defense. The initiative for a separate women’s organization during the war came at the height of female activism on several fronts: suffrage, temperance, child and women labor legislation, and other reforms associated with the Progressive Movement. Many women cast involvement in the war effort as an expression of patriotism that men had to endorse without question and 6 J. F. Tolton to W. W. Armstrong and W. C. Ebaugh, July 27, 1918, box 3, fd. 1, Council Records, JWML. 7 I. N. Parker to Parley Magelby, January 18, 1918, box 3, fd. 23, Council Records, JWML. Parker resigned from the Sevier County Council of Defense on May 16, 1918.

In effect, each state had two councils of defense—one male, one female, but with the inclusion of women members on the male-led state council. The duplication of some committees under the Utah Council of Defense and the Utah Committee on Women’s Work in the World War reflected this duality. Both groups had committees on finance and liberty loans, publicity, food supply, and conservation.9 Utah followed the suggested model for committees from both the Council of National Defense and the Women’s Committee. The national and state organization reflected both a perceived reality of separate spheres of responsibility and a desire by women to have greater control over 8 For a list of members of the Utah Council of Defense and their committee assignments see Warrum, Utah in the World War, 94–96. 9 Other committees under the Utah Council of Defense included legal, sanitation and medicine, coordination of societies, industrial survey, man power survey, military affairs, state protection, and transportation. The other committees for women included home and foreign relief, health and recreation, general economies, welfare of women in industry, social service agencies, child welfare, education, and registration of services.

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As the Utah Council of Defense was being organized in late April 1917, the Woman’s Committee of the Council of National Defense came into existence with Anna Howard Shaw, the honorary president of the National American Woman Suffrage Association, accepting the invitation to serve as chair of the national committee. She and her committee members moved quickly to develop a structure based on ten departments or subcommittees and to establish a woman’s committee as part of each state council of defense. On August 3, 1917, Governor Simon Bamberger appointed eleven women to the Utah Committee on Women’s Work in the World War. Clarissa W. Smith Williams, the first councilor in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Women’s Relief Society presidency, chaired the committee. The eleven women also joined forty-six men as members of the Utah Council of Defense. Membership leaned heavily toward business and industrial leaders but also included political, education, and religious leaders and women involved in philanthropic and social welfare activities.8

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The social impact of the war sometimes became evident in the local workings of the councils of defense. In Sevier County, for instance, county council member I. N. Parker requested that J. Arthur Christensen be removed from the council for failing to do his duty, denouncing his conduct and questioning his loyalty. Christensen was a member of the school board and LDS bishop in Redmond but, according to Parker, had not become a member of the Red Cross, had not supported the Welfare Fund assessed for the town, and had only reluctantly subscribed $100 for a Liberty Bond. Parker concluded his letter, “The time . . . has now come when the pro-German sympathizers must be separated from the red blooded Americans, that their evil influences may not work to the injury of the people.”7

one that consequently might help win male toleration and recognition, if not outright support, for other causes championed by women.

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County a heated confrontation occurred when residents from Milford and Minersville in the western part of the county traveled to the county seat in Beaver to protest their lack of representation on the county council of defense. As a consequence, two at-large members, one from Milford and one from Minersville, were added and two substitutions were made to give balance. J. F. Tolton wrote to state officials that the council’s action “seems to have been the only solution of the affair to restore harmony between the two towns; and while Milford did not get all that she demanded, they seemed well satisfied and went home quite contented.”6

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This 1918 photograph of the Utah State Council of Defense, taken on the east steps of the Utah State Capitol Building, includes most of the fifty-seven members of the council. Governor Simon Bamberger and Council Chairman L.H. Farnsworth stand in the center of the front row. Clarissa S. Williams, chair of the Utah Committee on Women’s Work in the World War, stands next to Farnsworth. —

Utah State Historical Society

and independence for their own activities.10 Yet there were limits as overall leadership in the state and county councils of defense remained a male prerogative. This allowed Heber J. Grant, as chair of the State Central Liberty Loan Committee, to inform Mrs. W. Mont Ferry, the state chair of the Women’s Liberty Loan Committee, that the use of women speakers in the theaters to promote the sale of bonds was being discontinued and all speaking assignments would be filled by males “because it is believed that the men can be heard very much better in the theatres and there are many other activities that the women can carry on which they can do better than the men.”11 10 For a discussion of women’s involvement in the war see, Christopher Capozzola, Uncle Sam Wants You: World War I and the Making of the Modern American Citizen (New York: Oxford University Press, 2008), 83–116. 11 Undated copy of a letter from Heber J. Grant to Mrs. W. Mont Ferry, box 2, fd. 10, Council Records, JWML.

In Utah, the involvement of women was facilitated by the Relief Society, the organization for Mormon women. The LDS church organizations for girls, the Young Ladies Mutual Improvement Association, and children, the Primary Association, also became involved. In addition, nearly fifty statewide women’s organizations and a host of local women’s groups were recruited to work with the Utah Women’s Committee.12 12 These statewide women’s organizations included the United Daughters of the Confederacy; National American Woman Suffrage Association; National Woman’s Party; Woman’s Republican Club; Woman’s Democratic Club; National Federation of Musical Clubs; Young Woman’s Christian Association; Order of the Eastern Star; Daughters of the American Revolution; Utah State Nurses’ Association; Woman’s Christian Temperance Union; Pythian Sisters; Association of Collegiate Alumnae; Woman’s Relief Corps; Red Cross; Federation of Labor; Federation of Women’s Clubs; National Council of Woman Voters; Jewish Relief Society; Girls’


While it is not possible to give a detailed account of all the undertakings for the war effort in Friendly Societies; War Relief Work; Relief Work for Allies; National Society Daughters of Revolution; Ladies of the Grand Army of the Republic; Florence Crittendon Mission; National Kindergarten Association; Utah State and Parent Teachers Association; Neighborhood House; Orphans Home; Women Trustees of State Universities; Congress of Mothers; Soldier’s Club Room Committee; Ladies of the Maccabees; Catholic Women’s League; Women of Woodcraft; Rebecca Lodge; Utah Daughters of Pioneers; and aid societies of the Presbyterian, Methodist, Baptist, Congregational, Christian, Christian Scientist, Unitarian, and Episcopalian churches. This list is included as part of a Report of Organizations to the Woman’s Committee of the Council of National Defense. Andrew Love Neff Papers, 1919–1923, MSS B 41, box 1, fd. 11, Utah State Historical Society, Salt Lake City, Utah (hereafter Neff Papers, USHS).

13 “Hendrickson Not Killed,” Gunnison (UT) Gazette, June 7, 1918; “Council of Defense,” Davis County Clipper,

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The Utah Council of Defense had a varied and extensive involvement in military affairs. It assisted in the implementation of the Selective Service registration and conscription, including the determination of exemptions from the draft for essential industrial and agricultural workers; brought the Utah National Guard up to full strength through an active and ongoing recruitment program; and encouraged volunteers to join the army, navy, marine, and nurse corps. Further, the council provided for home defense and worked to maintain a good relationship with Fort Douglas and the military in Utah. For instance, the council issued calls for young women to register for training in local hospitals so that they could take the place of nurses called into military service. It conducted a survey of military and naval resources throughout the state; this included identifying highways and railways that would help facilitate the mobilization of troops; supporting Utahns in the military service through soliciting donations to the Soldier’s Welfare Fund and encouraging citizens to write letters, send packages, and otherwise remind those in the military service that they were not forgotten and their sacrifice was appreciated. The council also assisted the wives and children of soldiers on active duty, looked for ways to help soldiers after the war, collected accounts of those in the military service, and insured that the names of all those who served were recorded in an official history of Utah and the Great War. W. C. Ebaugh, secretary of the Utah Council of Defense, served as an intermediary between civilians and the military. In some cases he requested information from the army in behalf of family members about sons in the military. In another instance, responding to a request of the War Department, Ebaugh asked members of local councils to help locate photographs, maps, drawings, descriptions, and guide books from Belgium, Luxembourg, northern France, and western Germany that might be in the possession of Utah residents.13

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The overall mission of the Utah Council of Defense was to facilitate the nation’s war effort in whatever ways it could but primarily through education, encouragement, and effective programs rather than enforcement and punishment. While information, suggestions, and direction were provided by the Council of National Defense and by the National Women’s Committee, no orders or funding came from Washington. State governors were responsible for establishing the state councils and, ultimately, for the council’s success or failure. Council members were unpaid volunteers, although a small number of employees were hired to handle the day-to-day operations. The state legislature provided limited funding and, in some cases, private businesses and organizations contributed to the operation of the council and specific programs under its direction.

Utah, the remainder of this article will examine four areas of primary activity—military affairs; food production and conservation; loans and fund raising; and the Americanization effort— before concluding with an assessment of the Utah Council of Defense.

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The United States Army and several federal agencies (including the Federal Food Commission, the Federal Fuel Administration, the U.S. Treasury Department, and the Committee on Public Information) only complicated the coordination efforts by setting up parallel administrative structures in the states for food, fuel, and liberty bonds. This threatened to duplicate, if not hinder, the work of the state council of defense committees. However, Utah was fortunate that W. W. Armstrong, the Federal Fuel and Food Administrator for Utah, also belonged to the state council and its executive committee. So too did Heber J. Grant, whom the Treasury Department had appointed to spearhead the Liberty Bond drive in Utah.

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After completion of a military census of each county, Governor Simon Bamberger, at the urging of the Utah Council of Defense, sent a letter to each man included in the census asking him to serve his county and state by enlisting in the Utah National Guard. If the National Guard did not reach full strength within thirty days, the governor would resort to a state conscription separate from that of the National Selective Service program. He closed his letter with the admonition, “It is the duty of such young men as you to prove to the country that you are not the degenerate sons of worthy sires.”14 By July 1917, Utah military units were at full strength and the threat of a state induction was no longer necessary. With the completion of the military census, the War Department asked state councils of defense to complete military reconnaissance reports for their state. The Utah council identified a total of 155 quadrangles, averaging fifteen by fifteen miles in size. The reports provided detailed information for roads, trails, and bridges in each quadrangle. In addition, the reports included information on all industries, cities and towns, transportation facilities, water and fuel supplies, natural forage, the number of buildings and their dimensions, supplies on hand, and any other information that might be of value to the military. By war’s end, sixty-three quadrangle reports for the most populated counties—Salt Lake, Davis, Utah, Weber, Cache, Box Elder, Tooele, Juab and Millard—had been submitted.15 August 2, 1918; “Uncle Sam’s Men Need Pictures of Places in Germany,” Mt. Pleasant (UT) Pyramid, May 31, 1918. 14 Undated letter from Governor Simon Bamberger, in Miscellaneous Correspondence, Council Administrative Records, USARS. In a companion document, “Why Join the National Guard,” prospective volunteers were encouraged to join as, “The National Guard is the only organization which will carry the name of the State of Utah throughout the great world war.” Furthermore, it would be to the volunteer’s great advantage: “In the National Guard you will be a Utah man among Utah men—friends and acquaintances on every hand—surrounded by comrades in whom you will be interested and who will be interested in you. Your officers will be men who know your homefolks. They will feel it their duty to see that you get a square deal at every stage of the game. All the officers and men will be pulling together for the fame of the Utah team. Your officers will know that in your home town you amount to something, and so will your comrades. Your parents will know that you are among friends that you are being well treated and their worry over your welfare will be reduced to a minimum.” 15 Warrum, Utah in the World War, 112–13.

The Utah Council of Defense sought to help Utah’s soldiers and their families in several ways. It solicited donations for the Soldier’s Welfare Work Fund, and Utah exceeded its $100,000 allocation by $10,000. When it was learned that the library at Fort Douglas was woefully inadequate, with only seven hundred mostly outdated books in its collection, the council found resources to build a library of twenty thousand books. Initiatives were also taken to meet the needs of the families of soldiers in the military. The finance committee recommended the establishment of a special committee to investigate the circumstances for each serviceman, identify his dependents, assess their needs, and take appropriate steps to alleviate the dependents’ suffering. The council worked to end delays for wives and dependents to receive allowances and allotments to which they were entitled, and in emergencies, to work with the American Red Cross to provide immediate relief. Attention was also given to securing meaningful employment for dependents of those serving in the military. In Salt Lake County, lawyers were organized to work in conjunction with the county clerk’s office to provide needed legal advice to soldiers. To be sure, help for the soldiers and their families was often unavailable at the level envisioned by the Utah Council of Defense, and dependents found what assistance they could through extended families, community, church, and other institutions. In hindsight, had the Council of Defense not been disbanded immediately after the war, its work might have been extended to assist with the postwar transition that proved difficult to many soldiers. While some ex-soldiers returned to their old jobs or secured new places of employment, others who sought work immediately after their return “failed to find it, and began to question the sincerity of all those demonstrations which had marked their going and coming.”16 But it was not the intent of the Utah Council of Defense to forget the soldiers or let their names and deeds go unrecorded. Funding was provided to produce three thousand feet of motion picture film of Utah servicemen and their training at Camps Kearny and Lewis. The films were premiered at a special showing on October 3, 1918, at the Paramount-Empress Theatre in Salt 16 Ibid., 153.


The council’s activities to encourage and support food production and those directed at conserving valuable resources impacted all Utahns most directly. The wartime task was clear—produce more and consume less. A parallel objective was to secure the maximum use of what was produced. Farmers and ranchers, as well as citizens who had access to a plot of ground on which to grow a garden, shared the responsibility for food production. The first under17 Executive Committee Minutes, October 2, 1918, box 1, fd. 2, Executive Committee Meetings, Council Records, JWML. 18 Report of the Utah State Historical Society, Public Documents of the State of Utah, 1919–1920, Part 2, 5; see also, L. H. Farnsworth and Arch M. Thurman, Report of the Council of Defense of the State of Utah, (Salt Lake City: F. W. Gardiner, 1919), 50–51. Andrew Neff did leave behind drafts of the history, which are included in box 1 of the Neff Papers, USHS, and box 11 of the Neff Papers, JWML. For a summary of the war history project, see Gary Topping, “One Hundred Years at the Utah State Historical Society,” Utah Historical Quarterly 65, no. 3 (1997): 219–23.

The council did not succeed in all of its endeavors related to conservation and food production. It could not reach a consensus on the proposed implementation of Daylight Savings Time in the state. The council polled its members, but the results were “so indefinite that it was not deemed wise by the officers of the Council to place ourselves upon record in this matter.”20 When the council sought to increase the number of farm workers by impressing the unemployed into an agricultural workforce, the police departments in Salt Lake City and Ogden reported an 85 percent decrease in vagrancy in the cities since the war began, noting “that the remaining men are not the type wanted by farmers.”21 19 Warrum, Utah in the World War, 103, 125, 126, 128, 129, 130. 20 Minutes, Utah State Council of Defense, July 20, 1917, box 1, fd. 1, Council Records, JWML. 21 Executive Committee Minutes, January 19, 1918, box 1,

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taking by the Utah Council of Defense was to conduct surveys with farmers and ranchers to determine their production capability and their specific needs for maximizing production. The surveys found that many farmers did not have the financial means to purchase seeds; accordingly, the council made $60,000 available under a loan program, payable when crops were harvested, for farmers to purchase more than a million-and-a-quarter pounds of seeds. When grasshoppers threatened crops during the summer of 1917, the council provided more than nine tons of arsenic to farmers for use against the destructive insects. In the fall of 1917 when the shortage of apple boxes—essential for shipping Utah apples—threatened the loss of much of the crop, the council supplied two hundred thousand boxes. Efforts were undertaken to secure more storage facilities for the increase in potatoes harvested during the war. At the request of cattle and sheep ranchers, the council worked with the United States Forest Service to allow maximum capacity for sheep and cattle on public lands and to prevent the sale or slaughter of female livestock in order to increase the number of animals. When a controversy developed between an electrical power company and local farmers who depended on an increase in the power supply to pump necessary irrigation water to their crops, the council worked out an agreement with the two sides for the power to be paid for after the sale of crops.19

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Lake City.17 County councils of defense were directed to establish war history committees and appoint local historians to record the major activities within their communities, to compile a complete list of all who served in the armed forces, and to collect biographical information on those who served. The county histories were to be submitted to the State Council of Defense for inclusion in the records of Utah’s war effort and use in writing a history authorized by Governor Simon Bamberger and the Utah State Legislature. In 1918, the state legislature appropriated five thousand dollars to the Utah State Historical Society for the writing of the history.18 University of Utah history professor Andrew Neff was initially engaged to compile the history; when he was unable to complete the monumental task, Noble Warrum took on the project, which resulted in the 1924 publication of Utah in the World War: The Men Behind the Guns and the Men and Women Behind the Men Behind the Guns. Of the book’s 456 pages, more than half include names of Utahns who served, those who died during military service, and those who were recognized for their courage and distinguished service. Although the Utah Council of Defense was disbanded shortly after the war ended, the council was responsible for this history, which stands as a most important record of Utah’s involvement in the Great War.

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56 Children were enlisted to help harvest crops as part of the wartime effort to increase agricultural production. This September 17, 1917, photograph from the Utah State Historical Society’s Shipler Collection shows a small army of school children at work in a Utah field. —

Utah State Historical Society

On the other hand, the council successfully urged individual families to grow “victory gardens” to produce fruits and vegetables for their own use. Council officials directed surveys, often through local Mormon wards, to identify lots available for gardens and requested that unused federal lands be made available for agricultural purposes.22 While it was the usual practice for residents on farms and in towns to plant gardens, the practice was less common in cities. As a result of the 1918 victory garden campaign in Salt Lake City, 1,350 acres were utilized for 8,515 war gardens.23 Classes and fd. 2, Council Records, JWML. 22 “Agricultural Committee,” microfilm, Miscellaneous Correspondence, Council Administrative Records, USARS. 23 “War Gardens,” Deseret News, August 13, 1918. In Logan,

demonstrations were sponsored to teach the art of canning, and a railroad carload of pressure cookers was sold to the public at a nominal price, recognizing that “no Utah household is deemed ready for winter unless it has a cellar full of jellies, preserves and canned fruits.”24 Preserving homegrown produce was encouraged but hoarding was not. Saving and careful use of food stuffs in anticipation of times of Old Main Hill at the Agricultural College was plowed and used for victory gardens. At the University of Utah, vacant land was offered to faculty and employees at no charge for growing gardens. Nearby Fort Douglas provided more than enough free manure for the gardens. John A. Widtsoe to Joseph F. Merrill, November 23, 1917, box 2, fd. 14, Council Records, JWML. 24 Warrum, Utah in the World War, 138; see also, Minutes of the Conservation and Emergency Committee, July 11, 1917, Council Administrative Records, USARS.


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57 Women, including the six in this picture knitting on the steps of the University of Utah Park Building, were urged to contribute handmade items during drives by the American Red Cross. Women were the frontline soldiers in battles to curtail the consumption of meat and other restricted wartime items. They also became deeply involved in soliciting contributions to the Liberty Loan drives and other efforts to help win the war. —

Utah State Historical Society

need, “which could be regarded as a virtue, or at least as an evidence of thrift in normal times, was a menace in times of war. Its logical result would be exorbitant prices, financial injury to consumers and eventual want or starvation for the poor.”25 In the realm of conservation, the State Food Commission followed the lead of Herbert C. Hoover, head of the Federal Food Commission, in distributing to housewives and cooks a card with the title, “Win the War by Giving Your Own Daily Service.” Directions followed for conserving such basic commodities as wheat and meat: “One wheatless meal a day. Use oatmeal, rye, or barley bread and non-wheat breakfast foods. Order bread twenty-four hours in advance so 25 Warrum, Utah in the World War, 137.

your baker will not bake beyond his needs. Cut the loaf on the table and only as required. Use stale bread for cooking, toast, etc. Eat less cake and pastry. . . . Beef, mutton, or pork not more than once daily. Use freely vegetables and fish. At the meat meal serve smaller portions and stew instead of steaks.” If Americans followed these guidelines, the Food Administration promised, “there will be meat enough for every one at a reasonable price.”26 To help secure women’s participation in the conservation program, the State Food Administration organized a Utah Housewives Vigilance League. Women could join by signing a brief application with their name and address and mailing it to the Federal Food Administration 26 Ibid., 133.


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offices in the Newhouse Building in Salt Lake City. The purpose of the organization was to provide women a voice in the local food administration by offering commendations or criticisms of the Food Administration. However, no formal meetings were to be held. Members received an official emblem to wear and their names were added to the Federal Food Administration’s mailing list to receive special food bulletins, recipes, and garden pamphlets.27

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In an attempt to curb the consumption of sugar and unnecessary use of gasoline, the council instructed drug stores and soft drink parlors to close by ten o’clock at night. Hours for the purchase of gasoline were also restricted, with gasoline sales occurring no later than seven p.m. on weekdays, nine p.m. on Saturday, and only between the hours of seven and ten a.m. on Sundays and holidays.28 However, restaurant owners opposed attempts to limit the hours of Salt Lake City restaurants, and the Utah State Council wisely left it to county and local councils to set business hours in their areas.29 Other limitations on business activities followed. The Utah Commercial Economy Board, operating under the Utah Council of Defense, was charged with developing a plan for implementing the federal government’s requests for economy measures with attention to specific needs and conditions within the state. W. F. Jensen was appointed commissioner for the board and, with his assistants W. E. Zuppann and E. S. Schmidt, moved quickly and decidedly to issues rules and regulations aimed at curtailing the use of gasoline and construction materials. The work in Utah attracted the attention 27 “Loyal Women of Utah Organize Housewives Vigilance League,” Parowan (UT) Times, May 1, 1918. 28 Warrum, Utah in the World War, 132. 29 The decision came down at a July 26, 1918, meeting of the Utah State Council of Defense Executive Committee. Utah officials sent a questionnaire to the other fortyseven states and found that some had restrictions, some did not, some were considering implementing restrictions, and others had implemented then rescinded the restrictions. After reviewing the results of the survey, the State Council of Defense passed a resolution “request[ing] each County and City Council of Defense to take up the question of early and uniform closing in their respective communities and place in operation such regulations as in their opinion will best fit their own communities.” Executive Committee Minutes, July 26, 1918, box 1, fd. 2, Council Records, JWML.

of the Council of National Defense, and Jensen was invited to Washington, D.C. to instruct other states about Utah’s program. According to Schmidt, “many of the rules which were issued met with a very considerable amount of opposition.” With Jensen and his staff unwilling to change the regulations, the Utah Council of Defense stepped in to mollify the business community with the appointment of an advisory board that included B. F. Redan and Thomas Taylor, both members of the state council.30 They worked to secure the support of Utah’s business community, as the board had no enforcement authority but relied on voluntary compliance. While an estimated 95 percent of Utah’s businessmen gave “instantaneous endorsement,” the other 5 percent “were converted by patient effort and in a few instances by the exertion of some pressure.”31 Commercial deliveries became a primary focus of the board, which asked merchants to restrict deliveries based on a city or town’s population. Church leaders, newspaper editors, and special slides shown in movie theaters promoted the system. Merchants reported a total savings of nearly two million dollars a year; further, the number of delivery men was reduced by 550, freeing men and boys for other work. The affected deliveries included not only groceries but also milk and cream, laundry, and ice. For milk deliveries, customers were required to provide one empty milk bottle for each full bottle of milk delivered. The measure was especially necessary as it was impossible to obtain new bottles from the manufacturers. Not all Utahns accepted the changes, and the restricted delivery of ice in Salt Lake City during the hot summer brought complaints. Ice deliveries were restricted to every other day, although ice companies did make concessions for emergencies. Authorities found that the ice shortages occurred not so much because of the delivery restrictions but because there was no one at home to receive the ice and because housewives were too extravagant in using the precious commodity for lemonade and ice water.32 30 E. S. Schmidt to A. L. Neff, October 5, 1920, box 12, fd. 14, Neff Papers, JWML. 31 Farnsworth and Thurman, Report of the Council of Defense, 24. 32 Ibid., 25.


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59 Groundbreaking for the Pantages Theater at 148 South Main took place on December 3, 1918, less than a month after the November 11 armistice ending the war in Europe. Construction of the theater was delayed because of questions regarding the appropriateness of using scarce material and manpower during the war. —

Utah State Historical Society

In an effort to conserve essential construction materials, labor, capital, and transportation, the Utah Council of Defense represented the National War Industry Board in a nationwide conservation program whereby suppliers agreed not to furnish material for buildings unless the War Industry Board or the State Council of Defense had issued a permit certifying that the new building was essential to the war effort. In Utah, the state council asked the appropriate county council for its recommendation before reaching a final decision. Each case received a careful review. For example, construction of the new Pantages Theatre in Salt Lake City was approved because the workmen employed were not subject to military call

and the building supplies had been secured in 1916, before the declaration of war. Nevertheless, the council vote was divided with seventeen for and seven against including Chairman L. H. Farnsworth, who defended his no vote, proclaiming he had “opposed the erection of the Pantages building from the beginning and still considered it as unnecessary.�33 In another case, George M. Hess of Farmington petitioned E. P. Ellison, chairman of the Davis County Council of Defense, for authorization to build a new home in Davis County 33 Ibid., 26; Warrum, Utah in the World War, 111, 132. Nevertheless, groundbreaking for the Pantages Theatre did not take place until December 3, 1918.


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because Hess had to return to the county to run the family farm and the only available accommodation was a dark and damp basement.34 Whether or not the construction of the Pantages, the George Hess house, or any number of new buildings in the state threatened the nation’s war effort might be debated. But it is clear that the State Council of Defense and the appropriate county councils took seriously the request by the National War Industry Board for a careful review of proposed new construction during the war.35 Utah was fortunate to have Heber J. Grant as the state chairman for the Liberty Bond campaign under the Department of the Treasury and, after January 1918, as chair of the Utah Council of Defense Finance Committee. In his leadership positions, Grant oversaw essentially all war-related fund-raising efforts in the state. With experience in insurance, banking, business ventures, and his leadership in stabilizing LDS church finances before the war, Grant was connected to nearly all fields of finance in Utah. Furthermore, his ecclesiastical position as president of the LDS church’s Quorum of the Twelve Apostles gave him access to the state’s 34 Geo. M. Hess to E. P. Ellison, October 11, 1918, Council Administrative Records, USARS. 35 After the National War Industry Board program was implemented, the Executive Committee of the Utah Council of Defense reviewed more than fifty applications in October and November 1918. Most were private residences, and most were approved. Other projects included schoolhouses in Kanarra, New Harmony, and Sego; a library in Salt Lake City; a bank in Woods Cross; a garage and machine shop in Monroe; and a rooming house and store in Bingham. The construction of shops in North Salt Lake for the State Road Commission was initially disapproved, but after officials met with the Executive Committee, approval was finally secured on November 6, 1918. The review at the local and state levels took considerable time as directions from the National War Industry Board were vague and unclear. Finally, in a lengthy letter dated November 12, 1918, from R. D. McLennan, chief of Non War Construction Section, War Industries Board, twelve kinds of construction were identified that did not need approval. The exemptions included farm and ranch buildings; railroad-related facilities; federal, state, or municipal roads and bridges; parks and playgrounds; public utility buildings and facilities; irrigation projects; mines, oil, natural gas, and food production facilities; schoolhouses, churches, and hospitals; and federal state or municipal buildings, not costing over $25,000. Executive Committee, Utah State Council of Defense, Minutes for October 9, 16, 23, 30, November 6, and 13, 1918, box 1, fd. 2, Council Records, JWML.

predominant religious and cultural institution. At least twelve separate fund-raising campaigns were undertaken. Utahns were encouraged to invest as much as a quarter of their income for government securities.36 Each state and county council of defense was given a specific quota for each campaign, which included five Liberty Loan campaigns and the War Savings Stamp campaigns, three Red Cross fund and membership drives, the Soldiers’ Welfare Fund, the Y.M.C.A. War Fund, and a United War Work Campaign. Utah women were very active in organizing and canvassing their communities and neighborhoods during the fund-raising drives. The county councils of defense were given responsibility for the Liberty Loan Campaigns within their counties. The councils were instructed to set up an organization with seventeen separate committees and subcommittees under two major areas of activity—promotion and canvassing. Instructions were provided as to potential committee members, assignments, and suggestions for how the work might be done. The Committee on Capitalists, for instance, should consist of “very strong men of financial, church or state influence.” The Committee on Clubs and Fraternal Organizations was “to go to each club and fraternal organization and endeavor to obtain their support. Have them organize soliciting committees within their own clubs.” The Committee on Churches was to include “presidents of stakes, bishops, and ministers in the various churches . . . [who were] to discuss fully with their congregations and church members the necessity and importance of the Liberty Loan.” The Committee on Women’s Auxiliary should include representatives of “the relief societies, ladies’ clubs, etc.” who could provide speakers for club meetings, organize teas, and establish booths in department stores, hotels, and at county fairs to promote the purchase of Liberty Bonds. The Committee on Educational Institutions was to encourage school children to contribute twenty-five cents for a war bond that would be held by their school for use in the future.37 36 Executive Committee Minutes, June 29, 1918, box 1, fd. 2, Council Records, JWML. 37 “To County Councils of Defense and Liberty Loan Committeemen, Second United States Liberty Loan,


World War I Fund Drives in Utah $9,400,000

Second Liberty Loan

October 1, 1917

$10,000,000

$16,200,000

Third Liberty Loan

April 5, 1918

$12,315,000

$12,531,300

Fourth Liberty Loan

September 28, 1918

$18,570,000

$19,878,000

Fifth Liberty Loan

April 21, 1919

$13,890,000

$15,500,000

First Red Cross Drive

June 18–June 25, 1917

$350,000

$520,000

Second Red Cross Drive

May 20–May 27, 1918

$500,000

$612,000

Red Cross Membership

August 1, 1917– February 28, 1919

$49,000

$67,000

Soldiers’ Welfare

$100,000

$110,000

Y.M.C.A.

$10,000

$10,000

United War Work

$400,000

$412,000

War Savings Stamps Totals

$5,614,540 $62,684,000

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$6,500,000

I

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$80,854,840

61 However local circumstances usually reflected a modification of the plan developed by Utah’s Executive Committee. The councils of defense also assumed responsibility for warning those who purchased war bonds and stamps against schemers and swindlers who encouraged patriotic citizens to trade their government securities for worthless stock in unwarranted promotion schemes. The council urged citizens to keep the bonds they had purchased and invest in future Liberty Loan drives as “Your government needs all the available money. It is, therefore, your patriotic duty to see that money which should go into government securities is not put into these questionable enterprises.”38 1917,” included as Appendix 6 in James Scherer, “Confidential Report on Utah,” P 1-2, entry 364 (old entry 14-D1), box 784, fd. Confidential Report on Utah, Records of the Council of National Defense, RG 62, National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Maryland (hereafter Records of the Council of National Defense). 38 Secretary of the Utah Council of Defense to Dear Sir, August 16, 1918, box 2, fd. 3, General Correspondence, June 10, 1918–September 30, 1918, Council Records, JWML.

Newspaper articles and advertisements accompanied announcements for each of the Liberty Bond and War Stamp drives. The headlines of one article asked “What Have You Given Up?” and then went on to query readers: “Have you given up your job and let your business future take care of itself? Have you said good bye to your family and friends and all you hold dear? Have you begun an entirely new career that may end, if you live, with health impaired, an arm off, a leg gone, an eye out? Have you given up your business future and said good-bye and taken a chance on coming back alive and well, and done it all with a cheerful heart and with a grim determination to do all you possibly can for your country?” With all the sacrifices being made by those in the military, the request for financial support seemed quite small, as the article concluded: “National War Savings Day is June 28, tomorrow. That day gives you the opportunity of showing in a practical way that you do appreciate what it means to the boys who . . . fight and die for you.”39 War Savings Stamps 39 “What Have You Given Up?” Paysonian, June 27, 1917,


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were offered for sale locally in various offices and businesses. Shoppers were encouraged to “ask for your change in Thrift Stamps. . . . Take a stamp instead of a quarter for change.”40

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Patriotic programs and rallies—with music, parades, speeches, visits by combat veterans, and even the exhibition of a mock trench on Salt Lake City’s Main Street—fueled the drives.41 Newspapers printed the names and amounts pledged—even when it was only twenty-five or fifty cents. Towns, counties, and states competed with each other to demonstrate their patriotism by the purchase of war bonds. When the initial attempt in Payson to raise money for the Fourth Liberty Loan fell far short of meeting the town’s quota, headlines in the local newspaper lamented, “Payson Has Only 45% of Quota,” and “Will Payson Fail?” Payson did not fail but met and exceeded its allotment of $125,700 by $8,500.42 But not all participated, at least to the extent expected. Some Utahns felt the quotas given to communities were unfair and that certain classes and individuals were not doing their share, while others grew weary of the constant demands for contributions. The Iron County Council of Defense explained the difficulty of the per capita assessment when nearly a thousand destitute victims of a homesteading scam were included in county’s assessment. “These people were perhaps as loyal and patriotic as were the rest of the inhabitants of the county, but were in such destitute financial circumstances that the purchase of bonds by them was well nigh impossible.”43 Like Payson and other Council Administrative Records, USARS. 40 “City Council of Defense Notes,” Logan (UT) Republican, March 23, 1918. 41 Farnsworth and Thurman, Report of the Council of Defense, 33. Patriotic Singing committees were established by the state and county councils of defense. Edward P. Kimball was appointed chairman of the State Committee and under his direction a pamphlet of patriotic songs was printed and distributed throughout the state. Letter signed by Arch M. Thurman, August 30, 1918, with a copy of the pamphlet, box 2, fd. 3, Council Records, JWML. 42 “Payson Goes Over with Big Margin District Oversubscribes by $8,500 for Fourth Liberty Bond,” Paysonian, October 24, 1918, Council Administrative Records, USARS. 43 Iron County Council of Defense, handwritten report, 12, Council Administrative Records, USARS.

communities, Iron County found the fourth loan drive particularly difficult: The people of the county were beginning to feel the burden of financing the war. Money was not so plentiful, especially the bank accounts of the farmers who were not live stock owners, had been somewhat deflated. This is due to the failure of crops that year in this county. A novel method was introduced in the raising of the loans. The Council decided not only to apportion the communities as formerly, but also to apportion individuals. This met with great resentment by those so apportioned. Many refused to make the full apportioned contribution. Some became so disgruntled as to refuse to make any contribution whatsoever.44 The State Committee on Finances was asked to investigate charges “concerning difficulty in securing subscriptions to Liberty Loans from certain wealthy persons.”45 At the same time, intense social pressure demanded conformity: those who did not participate were threatened with having a yellow card submitted identifying them as a slacker and one of those who was “against the government and as such should go to Germany and live with those whom you endorse and in whom you believe.”46 Despite 44 Ibid., 21. Nevertheless, all of the Iron County communities met their quotas, except for Kanarraville where citizens subscribed $6,000 of their $7,900 allotment. 45 Undated letter from W. D. Sutton, Council Administrative Records, USARS. In a letter dated November 25, 1918, from J. W. Hanson, chairman of the San Juan County War Work Campaign, to Heber J. Grant, Hanson reported “that the rich do not respond like the poor” and went on to cite the example of a poor, crippled person who willingly donated twentyfive dollars for the United War Work Fund, the same amount given reluctantly by the richest man in the county. Utah State Council of Defense Correspondence, box 12, fd. 18, Neff Papers, JWML. There were wealthy men who did use their wealth to purchase Liberty War Bonds. The Salt Lake Mining Review noted that Colonel Enos A. Wall had subscribed $500,000; Matthew Cullen, $125,000; and J. E. Bamberger, $100,000. Copies of articles that appeared in the May 30 and June 15, 1917, issues of the Salt Lake Mining Review in “Utah and World War I—Councils of Defense,” box 11, fd. 26, Neff Papers, JWML. 46 “No Yellow Cards for Utah,” Piute Chieftain, June 27, 1918. Millard County residents were told that “The cards go to the Council of Defense and what will be done regarding them no one knows.” “War Savings


The Women’s Education Committee had two priorities directed to both men and women. First, the committee disseminated information through Utah’s universities, colleges, schools, churches, and large businesses, directed primarily toward those “whose minds had not grasped the significance of the war . . . who through ignorance and indifference do not concern themselves with the great issues of the war.”48 The second priority was among Utah’s alien population, who were encouraged to attend citizenship classes, night school, and to learn English. The assimilation of the nation’s foreign born was deemed essential for several reasons: more effective military service by those who enlisted or were drafted; greater participaCertificate Drive Now Under Way,” Millard County Chronicle, June 6, 1918. 47 Warrum, Utah and the World War, 34. 48 Ibid., 121–22; Farnsworth and Thurman, Report of the Council of Defense, 29.

Upon his return to Utah, Farnsworth submitted a detailed report to the State Council of Defense. In the report Farnsworth reviewed the strength of the pro-German faction in the United States, which stood in opposition to Liberty Loan and Red Cross drives, and all campaigns to aid the army and navy. He sounded the anti-German alarm, reporting that New York City was the third largest German-speaking city in the world and the home of some thirty German-language newspapers. Farnsworth warned of the threat of German-language newspapers in the United States, whose circulation reached nearly 3.5 million readers. He noted that in some areas of the United States “considerable sums are expended yearly in teaching German—in some instances six times as much is being appropriated to teach German to Americans as is spent to teach Americanism to German immigrants.” The State of Nebraska, he reported, was a hotbed of pro-German activity, with between two hundred and three hundred parochial German schools. Repeating rumors gleaned from the national Americanization meeting, Farnsworth 49 Farnsworth and Thurman, Report of the Council of Defense, 44. 50 Warrum, Utah in the World War, 105.

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The Utah Defense Council chairman, L. H. Farnsworth, championed the Americanization effort and the anti-German campaign in the state. In April 1918 he traveled to Washington, D.C., at the request of Secretary of the Interior Franklin D. Lane, to attend a special meeting to discuss implementation of a national plan for Americanization to be undertaken jointly by the Council of National Defense and the Department of the Interior. At the Washington meeting, Farnsworth supported the adoption of several resolutions: asking Congress for an adequate appropriation for the Americanization effort, including federal aid to the states for their Americanization work; requesting industries employing large numbers of non-English men to cooperate in the national plan; and enlisting school boards throughout the country to adopt rules requiring that elementary subjects be taught in the English language only.50

I

Americanization, the fourth major area of involvement for the Utah Council of Defense, included publicity, education, preparation of the foreign born for citizenship, and measures to curb any pro-German sentiment among Utah citizens. Three committees took the lead in these areas: the Publicity Committee, chaired by A. N. McKay of the Salt Lake Tribune; the Americanization Committee chaired by Harold M. Stephens, state superintendent of public instruction; and the Women’s Education Committee, chaired by Leah Dunford Widtsoe, a granddaughter of Brigham Young and the wife of University of Utah president John A. Widtsoe. In a time before radio, television, and computers, newspapers supplied the primary means for the distribution of information. McKay, with his connection to Utah’s largest newspaper and the network of other daily and weekly newspapers in the state, was an effective leader, especially for the circulation of the bulletins and circulars issued by the Council of National Defense.

tion in the various measures to support the war; and a safeguard to insure that the foreign born did not support the enemy as spies or become partakers of anti-American propaganda.49

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the challenges, the state, its counties, and its communities consistently met or exceeded the quotas set for the various fund drives. An estimated 90 percent of Utah’s population contributed financially to the war effort, with a total contribution of $190 for every man, woman, and child in the state.47

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described alleged conditions in Nebraska, where “elementary subjects are taught in German. German patriotism is taught and the German national hymn is sung as part of the school routine. American national songs are never sung in one hundred of these schools and the American flag is never flown. It is said that in some of these schools the children are whipped for speaking English.”51

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Farnsworth ended his report with a stirring call to action: “A grave and critical condition now confronts our country and its Allies. We are called upon to make every sacrifice, our lives and our property, if need be, to forever crush the imperial government and military power of Germany, whose only standard is world dominion and the exercise of a brutal power. Ours is a righteous and just fight for humanity and victory, with the help of God, will be our reward.”52 After discussion of the Farnsworth report, the council appointed a special committee on Americanization and adopted a resolution urging “the superintendents of public instruction, the State University, the Agricultural College, and all other institutions of learning within the State of Utah, that they forthwith discontinue, where they have not already done so, the teaching of the German language and the German ideals.”53 Subsequently, the University of Utah and the Utah Agricultural College in Logan reported to the council on their adherence to the directive, though “in . . . one instance . . . that problem was solving itself, because students were refusing to take the language, anyway.”54 Farnsworth extended the anti-German and pro-Americanization initiative with a visit to the office of Anthon H. Lund, a native of Denmark and member of the LDS church’s Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, who oversaw the publication of Utah foreign-language newspapers including the German-language paper, Der Salt Lake City Beobachter. Farnsworth conceded that the non-English language newspapers could continue to be published but that the church should do as the Council of Defense had advised and cease publication of Der Beobach-

ter. Lund took the matter to church president Joseph F. Smith who decided to continue publication of all of the foreign-language newspapers, including Der Beobachter.55 The Americanization Committee, under Harold M. Stephens, sought to coordinate Americanization activities throughout Utah. It surveyed the state to assess the number of immigrants who could not speak English or were illiterate, immigrant school attendance, and the educational facilities available for English and citizenship classes. The committee also worked to implement the federal Americanization program, as provided by the Division of Immigrant Education of the Bureau of Education and of the Bureau of Naturalization. At the local level, the county councils of defense directed the Americanization program and appointed a committee for each school district, which would include the superintendent of schools as chairman, civic authorities, employers of foreign labor, labor unions, naturalized foreigners, and representatives of societies and organizations interested in Americanization work.56 The goals of the Americanization effort were clear—to help immigrants learn English, understand American government, jettison the ideas and traditions from the Old World that were not in harmony with American ideals, support the war effort in every way, and become United States citizens. The work carried out by the Speakers’ Bureau, which included the Division of Four-Minute Men, represented the most visible undertaking for publicity and education. The Speakers’ Bureau cooperated with other organizations to schedule national and international speakers touring the country in behalf of the war effort. The bureau also handled the scheduling of the volunteer Four-Minute Men, who spoke in

53 Ibid.

55 John P. Hatch, ed., Danish Apostle: The Diaries of Anthon H. Lund, 1890–1921 (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 2006), 708, entries for October 21 and 22, 1918. For an account of other pressures to stop publication of the Salt Lake City Beobachter during World War I, see Thomas L. Broadbent, “The Salt Lake City Beobachter: Mirror of Immigration,” Utah Historical Quarterly 26 (October 1958): 340–46; and Allan Kent Powell, “Our Cradles Were in Germany: Utah’s German American Community and World War I,” Utah Historical Quarterly 58 (Fall 1990): 370–87.

54 “Schools Adhere to Ruling on German,” Salt Lake Tribune, June 4, 1918.

56 Farnsworth and Thurman, Report of the Council of Defense, 45–46.

51 Ibid., 106. 52 Ibid., 107.


theaters, churches, and other venues to carry, “night after night . . . the official message of the Government and of the State Council of Defense to the audiences who assemble at these places of amusement and of worship.”57

57 Ibid., 48–49. The National Committee on Public Information sent out nearly fifty bulletins for dissemination to the thousands of Four Minute Men in the nation. These bulletins covered such topics as food production, liberty loans, the Red Cross, dangers to the nation, the meaning of America, and whether or not the income tax was a tool in a capitalist’s war. Each bulletin insisted that speakers adhere strictly to the four-minute time limit and assisted speakers with several different outlines for handling the topic, along with a couple of sample speeches. Other sections designed to help the speakers included “Drive Home One Thought,” “Points for Every Speech,” “Suggestions for Opening Words and Other Phrases,” and “Important Points for All Speakers.” Copies of some of the bulletins are in box 5, fd. 9, Council Records, JWML.

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When James Scherer visited Salt Lake City in September 1917 at the request of the Council of National Defense to assess the status of the war effort in Utah, he was impressed and reported that “without a doubt Salt Lake City is the most patriotic place I have visited, not even excepting New York or Washington.” Scherer attributed the positive conditions in Utah primarily to the involvement of the Mormon church in the war effort. Puzzled by why Mormons were “so zealously at war,” Scherer determined that it was because of the rough treatment of Mormon missionaries in Germany; now they “have an opportunity,” he decided, “to get even.”

65

A Red Cross recruitment and fund-raising parade along Salt Lake City’s Main Street on May 20, 1918. Parades were an important way to encourage contributions to Liberty Bond and Red Cross drives and an effective way to demonstrate community patriotism and support for the war. —

Utah State Historical Society

Scherer concluded his assessment of Utahns by stating, “That they are genuinely American I do not doubt; this added incitement to patriotism, however, seems to me to account quite logically for the extraordinary manifestations of loyal support of the Government that I found on every hand in Utah; while the superb organization of the church enables its authorities to give practical expression to their zeal.”58 58 Scherer, “Confidential Report on Utah,” Records of the Council of National


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Mistreatment of Mormon missionaries in Germany might have been a minor reason for Utah’s support of the war; however, Mormon missionaries had been mistreated in England as well. Utah and Mormon support for the war was a part of the “Americanization of Utah” that came after statehood in 1896. Support for the United States war effort was one of many ways by which Mormons could demonstrate their patriotism, Americanism, and the fact that Mormons were moving into the mainstream of the nation’s political and economic life. B. H. Roberts, an LDS church general authority and historian who served as a chaplain for the Utah National Guard during World War I, explained in his history of the LDS church that “had Utah failed as a state in filling up the full measure of her duty, the people with the solidarity of church membership possessed by the Latter-day Saints considered, and being so largely in the majority, would have been held—and justly—responsible for any delinquency in duty of the state. If, on the other hand, the state reacts to duty faithfully and well, it reflects the patriotism of her people carrying such responsibility; but this without disparagement to the patriotism and full measure of credit due to the non-membership of that dominant church.”59 The month after Scherer’s visit to Utah, Franklin P. Lane, the secretary of interior and a member of the National Council of Defense, arrived in Utah as an honored guest and spoke to an overflow crowd of more than ten thousand at the Salt Lake Tabernacle on October 5, 1917. Lane reported that some along the eastern seaboard had stated that the level of patriotism in the far West was much less than in other parts of the country. But Lane had found that not to be true. Praising Utah specifically, Lane disclosed, “We have less complaints from the people of Utah back in Washington, than from any of the western states. You do not ask for gifts, but you are always willing to make gifts.” Commenting on the patriotic military parade that preceded his address, Lane observed, “I have seen inspiring sights before, but never before has one so touched my heart as did your magDefense. 59 B. H. Roberts, A Comprehensive History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Century One, vol. 6 (Provo: Brigham Young University Press, 1965). 455. The six-volume comprehensive history was first published in 1930.

nificent military parade which I witnessed in the streets of Salt Lake tonight. Oh, how I wish President Wilson himself could have seen it.” Lane went on to talk about Utah’s citizens, recalling, “We saw the streets of Salt Lake lined with the men and women who are giving their sons in response to the call of war and I saw no tears, only smiles, on the faces of those who are making the greatest sacrifice that can be made and seeking it gladly for the sake of liberty.”60 Utahns responded to Secretary Lane’s visit and his praise by pledging ten million dollars to the Second Liberty Bond Drive. In May 1918, another representative of the National Council visited Utah. George B. Chandler, chair of the highly successful Publicity Committee of the Connecticut State Council of Defense, toured the western states to review the status of the state councils and to offer ideas for more effective ways to carry out publicity measures in the West. Like others, Chandler gave a glowing report of Utah. “There exists here an organization which, in my opinion, has no superior, and possibly few equals in this country. It is to all intents and purposes the organization of the Mormon Church converted into a war machine. It reaches each individual searchingly and unerringly. ”61 60 “Lane Pays Tribute to Patriotism of Utahns,” Salt Lake Tribune, October 6, 1917. 61 G. B. Chandler, “Report of George B. Chandler: Impressions of Western Tour” (June 1918), 11–12, box 25, file E. 39, Council of Defense, 1917–1919, RG 30, Connecticut State Archives, Hartford, Connecticut. Breen, Uncle Sam at Home, 71, identifies the Utah Council, along with those in Washington, Colorado, and New Mexico, as the four best state councils in the western United States. One state that did not make Chandler’s list and whose war time history contrasted sharply with Utah was Montana, where Governor Sam Stewart assumed chairmanship of the nine-member Montana Council of Defense. In late February the state legislature passed the Montana Council of Defense Act, giving the council broad ranging power “to create orders and rules that would have the same legal force as acts of the duly elected legislature. All state government offices and officials were placed at the council’s disposal. . . . Any person violating an order or rule of the council was subject to fine and imprisonment.” Michael Punke, Fire and Brimstone: The North Butte Mining Disaster of 1917 (New York: Hyperion, 2006), 236. In his chapter, “Some Little Body of Men,” 235–52, Punke summarizes the Montana experience by explaining that the council voted to conduct its business in private and throughout the remainder of 1918 issued seventeen “orders” that had the force of law. These orders required council permission for all


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Twenty-eight of Utah’s twenty-nine counties established county councils of defense. Pictured here are members of the Carbon County Council of Defense. Standing: A. D. Sutton, R. W. Crockett (secretary), Carlos Gunderson, Frank T. Bennett, Judge F. E. Woods, Robert McKune, and Carl R. Marcusen. Sitting: Albert Bryner, A. W. Horsley (president), A. Z. Marshall, and Margaret Horsley. Of the twelve members of the county council, all but Neal M. Madsen were present for this photograph. —

Utah State Historical Society

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, its leaders, and members deserved the recognition offered by representatives of the Council of National Defense. Church members were encouraged to volunteer for military service, purchase war bonds, grow victory gardens, serve on county and local councils of defense, canvass their wards and neighborhoods in behalf of the war effort, write to the servicemen, and pray for a quick and decisive victory. Church leaders such as Heber J. Grant and Clarissa Smith Williams volunteered their services on the Utah State Council of Defense parades and other public demonstrations, restricted newspapers, banned certain books, prohibited the use of the German language in schools and churches, and assumed inquisitional authority to subpoena witnesses and documents for its investigations. The state council power extended to county and local councils of defense though their decisions were subject to being overruled by the state council.

and mobilized the church network of stakes, wards, and women’s relief societies. Mormon leaders made church buildings such as the Salt Lake Tabernacle available for patriotic rallies and purchased Liberty Bonds in the name of the church. The LDS Women’s Relief Society made available to the federal food program its precious grain, stored over the years in anticipation of a return of food shortages and famine.62 As the Council of National Defense representatives found, there was no shortage of loyalty, patriotism, or commitment to the war effort on the part of Utah’s Mormons. But the “Mormon war machine,” as identified by George B. Chan62 The Relief Society made available 6,165 tons of wheat or 205,518 bushels, for which the federal government paid $1.20 a bushel. The income was used to assist the poor. The LDS church and its auxiliaries also purchased nearly 1.5 million dollars worth of bonds and thrift stamps. Roberts, Comprehensive History, 6:467–70.

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As the war ended, some hoped that the system of state, county, and community councils would continue. In a bulletin dated January 17, 1919, the Council of National Defense urged state and local leaders to work with their state legislatures and take other steps for their organizations to become permanent, to include all individuals and groups in the community, to be “truly democratic in character, and . . . bring . . . its forces to bear now upon local and permanent community problems as well as upon the problems arising out of the war.”63 Nevertheless, most saw the war emergency as over, were weary of the public and private intensity of the past two years, and were anxious to return to their pre-war normality. The Utah State Council of Defense ceased operations on July 1, 1919.

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To be sure, not all efforts by the State Council were completely successful and some were of questionable value. Disagreements, personality conflicts, and rivalries among state and local leaders arose from time to time. But these were of little consequence compared to the unity of purpose that propelled Utahns and their fellow Americans forward in their quest to defeat German militarism, prevent future wars, and preserve and spread democracy. The strength of Utah’s war effort, in addition to the role of the LDS church, can be found in a number of factors. Foremost was the leadership of Governor Simon Bamberger. A German-born Jew and successful Utah businessman, Bamberger gave the Utah Council of Defense high priority. He insured that the council was politically bipartisan. He, a Democrat, appointed a Republican, L. H. Farnsworth, as chair. Bamberger made sure that the council membership was religiously diverse, with the appointment of Catholics, Jews, Protestants, and Mormons. He included the leading representatives of business, industry, and communities as members and was quick to appoint women to the council and to encourage their participation in all aspects of the war effort. Once the council began to function, the governor moved to a behind-the-scenes, supportive role. 63 National Council of Defense, Bulletin No. 20, Circular No. 49, January 17, 1919, copy in box 2, fd. 5, General Correspondence, 1919, Council Records, JWML.

Continuing their prominent role in the national suffrage movement, Utah women accepted the opportunity to demonstrate their importance to the economic and social life of the state, justifying, if such was necessary, their qualifications for a greater involvement in the political activities of the state. With such motivation and given a deep sense of patriotism coupled with the desire to do whatever they could to make a difference, Utah women of all faiths stepped into the spotlight of public activity. Ruth May Fox expressed their expectations in a declaration to the LDS Young Ladies’ Mutual Improvement Association: “A woman’s world will rise from this war.” Other speakers echoed this assertion, claiming “that women are playing as important a part in the war as men and that after the war women’s part will increase.”64 The statewide network of county and local councils was particularly effective in Utah. As a part of that network, small and remote counties were included as equal partners. Local people had a role to play on county committees, just like their fellow citizens throughout the state. Furthermore, the degree of their patriotism could be quantified in their subscriptions to the Liberty Loan drives, in the number of articles they made for the Red Cross, and the number of their young men sent off for military service. Towns and counties competed with each other, especially in the Liberty Loan drives. Closely related to the intrastate competition was the interstate competition, as Utahns were determined to defend their place in the galaxy of states after a nearly half-century struggle for statehood that had only ended two decades prior to the United States’ entry into the war. Linked to this outlook 64 “Patriotism Feature of Mutuals Meeting,” Salt Lake Tribune, June 9, 1918. One important area of activity for Utah women was the prohibition of alcohol. In a resolution to the Executive Committee of the Utah Council of Defense, the Women’s Committee requested the Utah Council to ask Governor Bamberger to urge President Wilson to utilize the power given him by Congress to immediately enact a nationwide “War Prohibition” on the manufacture and sale of beer and wines. The resolution summarized how prohibition would contribute to the war effort by saving grain, sugar, and working days; increasing efficiency; reducing crime; and freeing up money. In addition it would “release the labor of about 600,000 men now employed in the production and sale of beer, and will release hundreds of thousands of railroad cars now needed for the transportation of coal and necessities.” Minutes, Utah State Council of Defense, June 15, 1918, box 1, fd. 1, Council Records, JWML.


The councils of defense were intended to be politically nonpartisan so that a large group of patriotic citizens seeking to play an active, voluntary role in the war effort could make a meaningful contribution. As such they brought an intimacy, intensity, and fervor to the mission that government officials and bureaucrats could not match. As Andrew Love Neff, a history professor at the University of Utah, observed, the councils were “something new, something fresh, corresponding to the spirit of the hour for strange and extraordinary developments. The well-established agencies could not begin to command the attention and secure the publicity or the response that was accorded the brand new devices.” From the beginning of the war in April 1917 until their disbandment in July 1919, “the Councils of Defense brought about a merger of the forces that were seeking to advance the war program into an organized

— Allan Kent Powell received a Ph.D. in history from the University of Utah. He worked as a historian for the Utah State Historical Society from 1969 until his retirement in 2013. Powell is the editor of Utah and the Great War: The Beehive State and the World War I Experience, to be published by the University of Utah Press later this year.

WEB EXTRA

Visit history.utah.gov/uhqextras for an interview with Kent Powell about Utah’s experience during the First World War, as well as his years of research on this subject. 65 “Utah and World War I—Councils of Defense in Utah,” typescript, box 11, fd. 6, Neff Papers, JWML.

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Finally, the relationship between the federal, state, and local governments served to foster goodwill, respect, and cooperation. All aspects of the war effort—from the Selective Service and such things as the Americanization effort to food, fuel, and Liberty Bond work—were carried out at the grass roots level by local Selective Service boards, defense councils, and committees. While the federal government, through the Council of National Defense and other agencies, provided guidelines and suggestions, there was little enforcement by federal agencies that, for the most part, cooperated and coordinated with each other. In Utah, the federal government was no longer the enemy nor the object of distrust or fear but the keystone in a partnership with carefully defined objectives that all should embrace. No other undertaking demonstrates this partnership more clearly than the war time effort in which the federal, state, and local councils of defense worked to secure victory.

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What better opportunity to demonstrate once and for all that Mormons and Utahns were now one hundred percent American and loyal to the federal government than by complete dedication to the war effort? The statements by Scherer, Lane, and Chandler during their visits validated the idea that Mormons were, in fact and in deed, loyal Americans. The opportunity for Mormons and non-Mormons to work together in the noble crusade was a refreshing change from the bickering that preceded and, to a lesser extent, followed the war.

and useful agency which became a chief and effective agent of the government.”65

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was the perception that Mormons were disloyal and anti-American. Indeed, Mormon misgivings about the federal government ran deep. The government had been unresponsive to the persecution of Mormons and the martyrdom of their prophet Joseph Smith. Even worse, the oppressive federal government had sent a substantial occupation army, along with a host of antagonistic territorial appointees to administer the government in 1850s Utah. It had delayed granting statehood for nearly a half century and only after forcing the LDS church to abandon the practice of polygamy. After statehood, government representatives had challenged the seating of duly elected Mormons to Congress. With the exception of southern secession and the long aftermath of Reconstruction, no other geographical region in the United States seemed as disloyal and ripe for rebellion as the Mormon West, particularly Utah.

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Women of the Red Cross Canteen Corps serving the community away from the Ogden Canteen. During the Second World War, Ogden, Utah, had a busy canteen driven by female, volunteer work. —

Special Collections, Stewart Library, Weber State University


Maude Porter and the Ogden Canteen, 1942–1946

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Gainer Bachman, a soldier from Eden, Utah, remembered fondly how, during World War I, he was met at the docks in New York City by Red Cross Canteen workers who were greeting soldiers as they returned from Europe. He remembered he was “given a large dish of ice cream and raisin [pie], the first we had since leaving American soil. But best of all was the broad smiles and welcome we received. We soldiers, on that memorable day, christened the Red Cross Canteen workers, ‘The Angels of Service Men.’”1 Many of the returning veterans hoped there would not be a need for canteens in the future, but this hope was futile as another world war was looming. During World War II, not far from Bachman’s hometown of Eden, was the lively, vital Ogden Canteen. This organization served the needs of both resting soldiers and of the women who ran it—women who learned and honed skills through their volunteer service. The American Red Cross has been offering aid to soldiers in times of war since it was first founded by Clara Barton during the Civil War. During World War I, the Red Cross established the Canteen Corps to create waypoints at railway stations and sea ports to provide meals, comfort, and smiles to the service men and women who were being transported to their final destinations.2 When the United States entered World War 1 Gainer Bachman, “News and Views,” Ogden Standard-Examiner, September 25, 1943. 2 Much of my research about the establishment of the Red Cross Canteen Corps was based in the Records of the American National Red Cross, 1935–1946, RG 200, National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Maryland (NARA).

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II after the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Red Cross again provided resting places across the country, but it was not alone. Prior to the United States’ entry into the war, Franklin D. Roosevelt enlisted six groups—the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA), the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA), National Catholic Community Service, National Jewish Welfare Board, Traveler’s Aid Association, and the Salvation Army—in the effort to provide recreation for members of the Armed Forces on leave.3 In February 1941, these six organizations joined together and formed the United Services Organization (USO). Between the American Red Cross and the USO, over two hundred canteens were organized throughout the United States during the war, with the understanding that the Red Cross would cater to the men traveling under orders and the USO would cater to the casual soldiers. When there was not a USO present, the Red Cross would serve both.4 At the start of World War II there were only a few operational canteens across the country and, “the service developed tremendously as it appealed to many women who saw it as an opportunity to serve troops.” Furthermore, “an agreement was made with the Red Cross authorizing canteens as the official feeding agency in enemy action as well as in national disaster.”5 Because of this, the Red Cross encouraged all its chapters to organize a canteen, designed to provide food and services to the troops, but whose main responsibility was to the community where it was located and to work closely with the Disaster Preparedness and Relief Committee. This in turn, led to the creation of the canteen courses that provided training for the women who participated. When the Red Cross originally created canteens during World War I, there was no training required to be a member of the corps. However, during World War II, to be a member an individual had to take twenty-hour courses in both nutrition and “canteening.” The first was the Standard Food and Nutrition Course, which gave practical training on how to select and 3 Scott D. Trostel, Angels at the Station (Fletcher, OH: Cam-Tech, 2008), 13. 4 Mrs. Graham Doughtery to Mr. Basil O’Connor, July 26, 1944, box 203, file 140.11, Red Cross Records. 5 Ibid.

prepare food that would meet the nutritional needs of families and individuals. The second was the Emergency Feeding Course, which provided training in how to set up a canteen, from improvising equipment and running the canteen, to preparing and serving large quantities of food with minimal amounts of time, money, and effort. When these courses were completed, certificates were awarded to prove when the class was taken, as a refresher course was required every three years.6 Canteens were typically organized in small towns that had “major railroad terminals where train crews were changed, locomotives serviced and freight trains were yarded.”7 The major industry was the railroad and at the center of these towns were the small but very busy passenger stations. As troop trains began to pass through, people gathered at the station to see the troops.8 Some of them began to wonder what they could do to help the soldiers who were going off to war. Usually, through the efforts of one individual, an idea was sparked, and a canteen was born. The underlying goal of the canteen was to provide the troops who came through their doors with the basic necessity of food. More important than food was the idea that the volunteers at the canteens could help the troops feel the support of their nation. In order to ensure that a canteen ran smoothly and efficiently, the local Red Cross chapter selected a chairman for the canteen. The appointment typically lasted for one year, with the possible “privilege” of reappointment. It is possible that a new chair was assigned each year, but that seems unlikely. In each of the examples that follow, one woman led the way and took charge of the canteen in her area. These women wanted to be a part of the war effort and found places in their communities where they could do just that. The busiest canteen during World War II was located in North Platte, Nebraska. It was conceived by one woman, Rae Wilson, who wanted to make a difference and provide care for the troops passing through her small town. Over 6 Volunteer Special Services Canteen Corps, 1942, box 203, file 140.11, Red Cross Records. 7 Trostel, Angels at the Station, 13. 8 Ibid., 14.


Annie Maude Dee Porter, circa 1940. Porter was already a busy woman when she took on the leadership of the Ogden Canteen, but she believed that engaging in public service was a way of “paying her rent in the world.” —

Special Collections, Stewart Library, Weber State University

a four-year time period, the North Platte Canteen provided services to over six million service members and received volunteers from as far away as Colorado. This canteen succeeded, in part, because of the dedication of the women of the North Platte community who organized and kept it running.9 Ohio was one of the busiest states in the nation, with at least a dozen canteens, because of the great number of troops heading for eastern ports.10 The canteens in Ohio were influenced by one individual, Margaret Clingerman, who, like Rae Wilson in North Platte, wanted to give support, comfort, and food to the traveling soldiers. The stories of these World War II canteens, as well as 125 others, are told in Scott 9 See Bob Green, Once Upon a Town: The Miracle of the North Platte Canteen (New York: Perennial, 2002). 10 Trostel, Angels at the Station, iv.

As was the case in Nebraska and Ohio, it took just one person thinking of what she could do to help in the war effort to open a local canteen. Maude Porter was that person in Ogden, though she also was encouraged by a request from military authorities that a canteen be established in Ogden.11 Porter was already a busy woman. According to the Ogden Standard-Examiner, she was a founder, board member, and treasurer of the Thomas D. Dee Memorial Hospital, and a board member of the Thomas D. Dee Investment Company and the Dee-Eccles Company. She also belonged to many civic clubs, yet still had time to participate in her church activities. Porter believed that “anyone who engages in public work has the satisfaction that this is one way of paying her rent in the world.”12 With this attitude, it is no wonder that she found time to organize and prepare the canteen at the Ogden Depot, which opened its doors on March 25, 1942. The Ogden Canteen was one of the earliest such facilities to open and one of the busiest: only a handful of canteens had opened before 11 Weber County Red Cross Scrapbooks, 1942–1943, box 1, Union Station Research Library, Union Station, Ogden, Utah (hereafter Weber County Red Cross Scrapbooks). 12 “Red Cross Canteen Group Will Honor Chairman,” Ogden Standard-Examiner, March 24, 1945.

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There was another important canteen during World War II whose story has not been told. This canteen was located in Ogden, Utah, where the major industry for many years was the railroad. In 1941, after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, many people in Ogden wanted to do something to show their support for the country and the soldiers who were going overseas to fight for their freedom. One woman, Annie Maude Dee Porter, a daughter of the prominent Dee family, was already involved with the Red Cross working with the Nurses Auxiliary Corps. She also belonged to the Red Cross Committee for her area, and at the end of December 1941, Porter mentioned in her diary that she spoke with Leah Greenwell, the secretary for the Weber County Red Cross Committee, about organizing a canteen.

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Trostel’s Angels at the Station, which uses interviews with the women who volunteered at and the service members who utilized the canteens.

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March 1942, and whereas most canteens served between 500,000 to one million soldiers, the Ogden station served 1.6 million soldiers. Despite all this, the story of this canteen has never been told. What follows is an account of how a community rallied during a time of war and rationing under the leadership of one individual. The Ogden Canteen brought the community together as only a war effort can, as the people of Ogden provided the food and supplies needed to keep the canteen open at the train station seven days a week. The canteen also had a great impact on the soldiers themselves. Many soldiers sent thank you letters to the canteen to show their appreciation for the homecooked meals and smiles they received from the women who were always there. But ultimately, the final impact was on the women of the canteen. These women joined the Red Cross Canteen Corps to do their part for their country in a time of war and give a little piece of home to the soldiers passing through Ogden. On the way, the canteen became an important part of their lives and personal growth. The first thing Ogden’s canteen needed was a chairman of the Canteen Committee. This was made simple by selecting Maude Porter who, as noted, was already a member of the Red Cross. It is unclear whether Porter volunteered to be the chair or if she was chosen, but on January 2, 1942, she was “appointed chairman of the Canteen Committee.”13 Porter was reappointed to this position until the canteen’s closing in 1946 due in part to her business sense and her desire to do her part in the time of war. According to the canteen’s log book, Porter worked closely with Leah Greenwell to develop plans for the canteen and to secure its location at the Ogden Depot. On January 15, Porter had her committee organized with Gertrude Irwin as first vice chair and Lorraine White as second vice chair. Porter worked closely with these two women over the course of the canteen’s four-year run to ensure that it operated smoothly. Once her committee was organized, Porter put Irwin in charge of the nutrition and canteen courses, which were required for all volunteers 13 Weber County Red Cross Papers, book 1, pg. 1, MS 411, Special Collections, Stewart Library, Weber State University, Ogden, Utah (SLWSU) (hereafter Weber County Red Cross Papers).

who worked in the canteen. These courses, which were advertised in the local newspaper, also became a recruiting tool for the Canteen Committee since not all the women who took the courses signed up to work in the canteen. The instructor for the canteen course was Wanda Matthews, the head dietitian at Thomas D. Dee Memorial Hospital. She created the course using the Red Cross handbook for canteens. The first class was held on February 17, 1942, with fifty-one women in attendance; Matthews taught six more sessions of the class throughout February and March 1942. Catherine Ebert, a dietitian for the Utah School for the Deaf and Blind, and Lydia Tanner, a domestic science instructor at Weber College, taught the nutrition course.14 The three sessions of this course, also taught during February and March 1942, had a combined attendance of over 115 people. Both classes helped Porter find initial volunteers, but she never turned people away who wanted to volunteer their time whether they had taken the courses or not. At times, this put Porter at odds with the Red Cross and even led to a reprimand for not having all her volunteers trained; however, not even that stopped Porter from allowing untrained volunteers.15 The classes allowed Porter to meet another requirement. She created smaller units within the canteen that could be assigned to work with the Subcommittee on Food and the Disaster Preparedness and Relief Committee in case of a disaster. Porter assigned a chairperson for each unit to provide leadership. In the Ogden Canteen these chairmen were known as captains, and Porter followed the direction of the Red Cross by choosing women who had “ability as leaders. They should have resourcefulness, good judgment, self-control, and ease in working with people.”16 Porter designated seven captains, one for each day of the week, who would be in charge of the canteen for that day. On March 20, the final meeting was held before the 14 It is unclear if Lydia Tanner is the Mrs. Tanner referred to in the canteen log book; however, using the Polk Directories of Ogden as a reference guide, she is the most logical Mrs. Tanner. 15 Violet Knight to Mrs. R. B. Porter, October 24, 1945, 1944–1946, box 1, Weber County Red Cross Scrapbooks. 16 Volunteer Special Services Canteen Corps, 1942, pg. 5, Red Cross Records.


It is possible that Porter saw this booklet as she was organizing the Ogden Canteen, but more likely, because it was written in 1942, she looked to the women around her to find the ones she knew were best suited to work in and run the canteen. From Porter’s vantage point as a business woman, she knew many of the more prominent women in Ogden and could encourage them to volunteer their time. She also relied upon the nutrition and canteen classes to find volunteers when the volume at the canteen started to increase. But finding the volunteers and leaders for the canteen was only part of the job; she also needed to find a suitable location 17 Book 1, p. 7, Weber County Red Cross Papers. 18 Volunteer Special Services Canteen Corps, 1942, p. 2, Red Cross Records.

On February 25, she made arrangements for the canteen to have a phone, and over the course of the next few days she ensured the canteen also had a refrigerator, cupboards, and stools. Porter also managed to get the budget the Red Cross gave to the canteen increased to eight hundred dollars. She used this money to purchase the rest of the items needed for the canteen. As a businesswoman who did the budget for the Dee Hospital, Porter knew how to make her funds stretch and how to obtain the best commodities for the best price. When she realized the canteen needed a stove, she went looking for a used one. Porter soon realized that most of the used stoves she found were a little too used, so she found a way to purchase a new stove from a local business at a discounted price. It is not known how much the original budget was for the canteen, but by 1944, it was $2,000 a month.20 19 Annie Maude Dee Porter Diaries, 1942, The Thomas D. Dee and Annie Taylor Dee Family History Collection, MS 52, SLWSU (hereafter Porter Diary). 20 Verne Simmons to Vice Chairman in Charge of Domestic Operations, National Headquarters, September 1, 1944, pg. 3, box 203, file 140.11, Red Cross Records.

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enlisted as members of a corps should be citizens of the United States and should be persons of good standing in the community, with good health and high morale. They should have a sincere interest in the food and nutrition problems of the community. Women experienced in the planning, preparing, and serving of community meals, such as church, Parent-Teacher Associations, Home Demonstration Clubs, Legion Auxiliaries, church societies, clubs or other organizations in which women have learned to work cooperatively for community welfare are excellent sources of membership for the Corps.18

On January 2, 1942, Porter wrote in her diary that she went to a meeting at the municipal building in Ogden to begin the process of starting the canteen. She and the Red Cross wanted the location to be the Union Station, but they needed to have the approval of the railroad. Initially, the railroad officials refused because they wanted more information. Finally, on February 6, the railroad relented and gave permission for the canteen to operate out of the Union Station. They also offered to build a small room for the canteen’s operation. This small room, which became known as the “little brown hut,” was located on the south side of the platform and was seen by the service members who came up the stairs on that side of the platform. Over the course of the following months, Porter often stopped at the Union Station to see how the “room” was coming along. She recorded how slowly work on the canteen was progressing, and there is a sense of frustration conveyed in her choice of words. However, she used the extra time to make the necessary arrangements to have all the needed equipment so the canteen would run smoothly once it opened.19

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The Red Cross was looking for a specific kind of woman to work in the Canteen Corps. A 1942 booklet designed to help local chapters organize canteens stated that women

for the canteen and the necessary equipment and supplies.

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canteen opened, and Porter announced the captains. They were as follows: On Monday, Grace Leonard; Tuesday, Lorraine White; Wednesday, Bessie Barton; Thursday, Alta Lowe; Friday, Janet Dee; Saturday, Joyce Kerr; and Sunday, Emma Christenson. Each member attending the meeting was able to choose the day on which she would serve, and meetings were held with the captains to organize the first week of the canteen.17 The formality and businesslike way in which Porter and her associates set up the canteen suggest the seriousness with which they approached the endeavor.

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76 An interior view of the canteen before it opened its doors to the soldiers. The volunteers here served R. E. Edens, superintendent of the Ogden Union Railway and Depot Company; E. G. Bennett, chairman of the Weber County Chapter of the American Red Cross; Ralph Talbot Jr., commanding general of the Utah Quartermaster Depot; and V. L. Lewis, the depot’s public relations officer. —

Special Collections, Stewart Library, Weber State University

With most of the equipment purchased, a location for the canteen secured, volunteers available to run it, and the courses prepared and taught, all that was left was to purchase uniforms, arrange for daily records to be kept, and to open the canteen for business. The Red Cross had a uniform for every organization it ran, and the Canteen Corps was no different. The only disadvantage was that volunteers were expected to purchase their own uniforms, which most workers did. No jewelry was allowed with the uniform except a wedding ring, a watch, and the canteen pin. This pin had the letter “C,” decorated with heads of wheat and a border of medium blue. It signified that the wearer was

engaged in active service, and all active members were encouraged to wear them. Most of the pictures taken at the canteen show women wearing their uniforms. The uniforms helped the soldiers and the community know which volunteers belonged to the Canteen Corps and which women were volunteering a few hours of time on a given day. Porter knew that not everyone could afford to buy a uniform, so like the courses, she never turned a volunteer away; however, she did recognize that uniforms were important for certain occasions, so only the women who had a uniform could do certain things within the Canteen Corps, like marching


With the groundwork in place, Porter had only to wait for the space at the Ogden Depot to be finished. As mentioned earlier, she went to the station almost every day to see how close the canteen was to completion, and on March 21, 1942, the men working on it promised to have it finished by Monday, March 23. That day Porter wrote in her diary: At the Canteen from 9:45 to 5:15. . . . Mr. Edens (Superintendent of the OURD) stayed around much of the day directing the RR men in the electric wiring and carpenter work, bringing over of dishes and silver given by the RR, moving things around and getting the room cleaned up by depot janitors. Mrs. Irwin came a while in the a.m. and again in the p.m. Mrs. White stayed while I went home for lunch. The Captains and some oth21 Weber County Red Cross Papers. Unfortunately only three log books are currently extant. Book one runs from January 2 to October 9, 1942; books two, three, and four are unavailable; book five runs from December 1, 1944, to August 28, 1945; book six runs from August 29, 1945, to January 3, 1946, the day the canteen closed. The Weber County Chapter of the Red Cross has not been able to locate the three books in question. An interview by the author with Frank Lucas, whose mother worked at the canteen, suggested that even more log books are missing.

We started our day’s work none too well organized and not knowing whether to make coffee for ten boys or one hundred but we were soon so busy that there was no time for questioning. Our first soldiers came at 8:05 and between then and 11:30 am we had served between 125 and 150 boys. We served eight dozen donuts [and cookies] donated. . . . The boys seemed grateful and told us our coffee was really good. . . . A delicious chocolate cake donated by Mrs. John Scowcroft was the ‘event’ of the afternoon. . . . A total of 215 [served] not a bad record for our first day’s work.24 At the end of the day all the workers hoped that as time went on, they would establish a reputation for hospitality and efficiency. It was also noted in the log book that they were so worried about not having enough coffee that many of the workers brought thermoses full of coffee as they came on shift. They were also excited when they figured out how many spoonfuls of bleach were needed per gallon of water to sterilize dishes. 22 Porter Diary, March 23, 1942. 23 Book one, 8–9, Weber County Red Cross Papers. 24 Ibid., 11.

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The next day, March 24, was spent washing dishes, receiving cookie donations, and arranging the supplies in an orderly manner to start service. Finally on March 25, everything was ready to have a “grand opening trying out our coffee making equipment in the p.m. Mr. Edens, Mr. Havenor, and ‘Dave’ the carpenter our guests. Decided to start serving for the 7 p.m. train. The Canteen turned over to Mrs. Barton and her committee for the evening.”23 Sergeant Butler M. P. was the first serviceman to have coffee at the Ogden Canteen. The following day, March 26, the first full day of service at the canteen, was one of uncertainty, donations, rushes, and ultimately success. The log book records:

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The last requirement for operating a Red Cross canteen was to compile a record of its activities. Each month, Maude Porter made a record that was sent to the Weber County Red Cross office detailing the number of men served, as well as the number of volunteers and the hours they worked. She also kept track of all donations and how much was spent from the budget to cover costs. This was then sent to the national office to help the Red Cross keep more accurate records on the canteens it had in operation. In order to make this process easier, Porter asked the captains to have the woman in charge of each shift write down its happenings, an accurate accounting of the number of men served, who worked, and the number of hours served. This was done from the moment the idea for the canteen was conceived until the day it closed.21

ers came to get instructions. We had the things ordered from various stores delivered. The Army truck took down things from our house. The place still in a mess when we left at 5:15. We cannot serve tomorrow as planned.22

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in parades and taking pictures. The uniforms gave the canteen—and most likely the women who wore them—a sense of respectability and purpose within the war effort.

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One of the only pictures of the outside of the canteen with service men. Note the use of glass cups and plates. By the time the canteen closed its doors, its volunteers had served more than a million members of the U.S. Armed Forces. —

Special Collections, Stewart Library, Weber State University

Over the next few days, as each new shift worked for the first time, the volunteers began to see what was required to work at the canteen and how much help they could be to the soldiers. The workers also took notice of the different servicemen visiting the canteen. The first day the most remarkable “boys” were Merchant Marines from Ireland. One boy seemed awfully young and when asked his age, he told the volunteers that he was seventeen and had enlisted at fifteen. On the second day, the workers who came on at 4:30 p.m. said, “This being the first hour of the first day, we approach our new work with anxiety, some worry and more trepidation. However, luckily, there were few boys in the station at the time so we were able to adjust ourselves to our surroundings and put on our best demeanor.”25 This helped prepare them to meet their guests with warm smiles. By Sunday, March 29, servicemen began arriving who had been at Pearl Harbor. The first guest

of the morning had been injured at Hickam Field and was hospitalized for sixty-two days. He asked if they had any tape for his injured hip, “so instead of serving him food, we went in search of tape. We felt we had helped comfort him somewhat.”26 The women began to see that they could provide more than just food for the men and women coming through their canteen.

25 Ibid., 12–13.

26 Ibid., 15.

By the end of the first week the canteen had served an average of 137 servicemen a day, and the volunteers were starting to familiarize themselves with how the canteen ran and what their duties were. Porter was a constant presence, either in person or on the telephone, to ensure that the workers had the supplies and help needed to provide service to the men. She met with her captains at least once a month to listen to their concerns and ideas for the canteen. Even though it was Porter’s responsibility as chair of the Canteen Committee to organize


For the most part, in the beginning of the canteen experience the women were able to help the soldiers with smiles and friendly service. One soldier, Private Connie Olmstead of the Twenty-third Air Depot Group McClellan Field, sent a grateful postcard to the canteen: “This from the last soldier that was in there Saturday night. . . . I want to say thank you all, and will never forget you all and the coffee and cookies. Very best regards and wishes to all on Red Cross.”28 This was the beginning of many thank you letters the canteen received over the next three years. The Ogden Standard-Examiner wrote many articles about these letters. On October 17, 1943, Walter Mann called the Ogden Canteen a bright spot for traveling servicemen 27 Ibid., 141. 28 Ibid., 78.

29 Walter E. Mann, “Travelers Send Thanks Notes to Depot Canteen,” Ogden Standard-Examiner, October 17, 1943. 30 Dorothy Porter, “Reporter Finds Depot Canteen is Widely Known,” Ogden Standard-Examiner, December 19, 1943.

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The canteen log book also contains little notes of thanks from service members. There were times when the soldiers wanted to help the women out in the canteen, so they were invited into the room to help wash dishes when there was a big rush. The workers greatly appreciated the help, and the service members usually left their names in the log book. The canteen was also visited by many Red Cross workers and private individuals who were interested in how the canteen operated. On April 16, a canteen worker from Iowa wanted to know how the Ogden Canteen operated because the facility she volunteered for in Iowa was portable. She also thought Ogden’s canteen was well equipped and efficient. On May 15, a woman from North Platte, Nebraska, visited the Ogden Canteen because she had heard so much about it. She mentioned that the North Platte canteen was not a Red Cross Canteen but was run by a local organization. On July 30, Mrs. Mather, another one of the women who helped start the Community Canteen in North Platte, stopped by because she too was very interested in how the Utah canteen was run. The log book mentioned individuals from all over the country who stopped at the Ogden Canteen to see how it was run, and who mentioned how well known

I

One of Porter’s first big obstacles was dealing with the shortage of cookie donations due to the rationing of sugar. On May 14, 1942, she noted in her diary that women baked cookies for the canteen using their own sugar rations and then they did not have enough sugar for their own families for the rest of the month. This slowly led to the shortage of cookie donations at the canteen. Porter spoke with her assistants about how to overcome the problem. In the log book for June 1942, a special note was made regarding the sugar rationing issue: “We have the sugar rationing issue well in hand. Receipts are issued to those furnishing cookies, stating the estimated amount of sugar used. These receipts are honored by the local rationing board in issuing permits to donors to purchase additional sugar to reimburse for the amount used.”27 With the sugar rationing problem resolved, it was easier to deal with the additional rationing that happened over the course of the war. When the country went to the point system for rationing, Porter obtained a book just for the canteen to ensure there would always be meat, butter, sugar, and other rationed items available.

because of the expressions of gratitude it had received. One soldier wrote asking that the workers not lose the recipe for the rolls he was served.29 Another article shared a letter written from an Ogden soldier who was stationed at Camp Roberts, California. He said that Ogden was becoming well known among many of the soldiers he came in contact with because of the service they received at the canteen. Dorothy Porter, the author of the article, agreed with the soldier, noting Ogden was known around the United States and other countries because of the service and home-cooked meals provided at the canteen. She also mentioned a British sailor who took the time to teach the canteen workers how to make a proper cup of English tea.30 This came in handy as there were many British, Scottish, and Irish sailors who preferred tea over coffee.

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and run the facility, she took great pains in listening to her committee. She was also known to obtain ideas from the servicemen. There were many times servicemen remarked that more boys would come to the canteen if they knew it was there, so Porter sought out a way to put up signs near the tracks to let them know the canteen was nearby.

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80 In this image, volunteers serve refreshments to R. E. Edens, E. G. Bennett, Ralph Talbot Jr., and V. L. Lewis. Though the canteen workers appreciated visits and praise from dignitaries, they especially enjoyed meeting and serving soldiers. —

Special Collections, Stewart Library, Weber State University

it had become. An officer on his way home wanted to open a Red Cross canteen in St. Louis and asked the workers about how things were set up in Ogden. According to these entries, the Ogden Canteen became a template for other canteens to follow. The workers appreciated the praise of the Red Cross and other individuals who stopped in at the canteen, but more than anything, they looked forward to meeting service members. The first log book is full of stories of those who stopped at the canteen. One soldier was meeting his wife at the Ogden Depot with a box of flowers: “he had been carrying them for quite a while as the train was late, we put his box in the refrigerator for him. He later brought in

his wife to meet us, she was very sweet and he was so happy.”31 The workers were also able to witness two brothers meeting each other in Ogden. “They spent sixteen hours together then one went east the other west.”32 In the first few months of operations, the workers had time to sit and visit with the service members as there were only a few hundred coming through every day. This was overwhelming at first, but as time went on and the canteen served more soldiers every day, the first few months became the proving ground for what was to come and helped the workers prepare for what was truly a “rush” on the canteen. 31 Book one, 196–97, Weber County Red Cross Papers. 32 Ibid., 224.


The Ogden Canteen was one of the busiest canteens in the Pacific Area of the Red Cross: by January 1943 the canteen had served 103,634 service members, and it had 92 workers who had logged 1,637 hours of service. The log books for 1943 and 1944 are not available for viewing, so it is unknown exactly when the canteen began serving over a thousand troops a day on a regular basis, but by December 1, 1944, this

Donations were always accepted at the canteen. It was a way that members of the community could help the war effort. High school students donated money at their respective schools, growers donated fruit, and church organizations donated cookies. In this way, the entire community was involved helping the canteen

33 Porter Diary, September 7, 1942.

35 Ibid. On the days when the canteen volunteers prepared cinnamon rolls and dinner rolls, it is unclear if they made 800 of each, or a combined total of 800.

34 Book five, August 27, 1945, Weber County Red Cross Papers.

36 Nellie James, interview by Lorrie Rands, June 25, 2013, in possession of the author.

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Each day brought donations and volunteers from various places. Nellie James, a teenager who volunteered for one day, remembered going with her mother, a member of the Red Cross Motor Corps, to pick up donuts from Topper Bakery and take them to the canteen. James stayed to help serve and recalled the rush on the canteen as service members ran up the stairs from the tracks and straight for the canteen. She served them coffee and cookies, but she was very frightened. She did not remember why she never volunteered again, but thought it was because of how uncomfortable she felt as the men in uniform flirted with her.36 James was one of many volunteers who served for a day or a few days when there was a need. Other women found different ways to help. Mothers whose sons were off fighting somewhere in the world made cakes for them on their birthdays and took them to the canteen for the boys in uniform. The boys always enjoyed the cakes and the workers appreciated them too.

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During this learning stage, and after talking with both her committee and service members, Porter also decided to offer more than just cookies, donuts, and coffee. The Ogden canteen gradually added sandwiches, hot biscuits, and cinnamon rolls to the menu at the end of 1942 and throughout 1943. At that point, most of the items were prepared at the canteen; the extra food required time for the women to get used to the extra work. On January 21, 1943, Porter noted in her diary that the workers had to spend their time slicing bread for sandwiches, because “war regulations have eliminated slicing at the bakery.” This did not deter the volunteers; in fact, they noted in the log book how many loaves were used in each shift. Usually it was a practical number, like twenty, but on August 27, 1945, 108 loaves of bread were used. This day also turned out to be the busiest the canteen ever had, with 3,336 service members served.34

volume was typical. By this time, it was also common for the canteen workers to make large quantities of cinnamon rolls, biscuits, and rolls on a daily basis. Some days it was 675 cinnamon rolls, others it was eighty dozen rolls, or even eight hundred rolls and cinnamon.35 The workers always wanted to make sure there was enough food on hand to feed the soldiers. Even with access to the train schedules, they did not always know how many that would be on a given day, because the trains were not always on time. This is one of the reasons the canteen workers made so many “rolls” to begin each day. That the women of the canteen met the needs of so many service members—at a fast pace and using volunteer labor—spoke to their great organizational abilities.

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On June 15, 1942, the canteen served 1,114 service members in one day. This was the first time the canteen served over a thousand “boys,” and it did not happen again until September 7 of the same year, when the canteen served 1,360 service members. Porter wrote in her diary that she went to the canteen at three in the afternoon to arrange for supplies and everything was gone by five o’clock. She hurried back to the canteen and found four more workers to come in and help make more food to serve the boys. Porter remarked she was “almost prostrated after the second trip . . . biggest day yet.”33 The days when a thousand or more were served did not happen very often in the beginning, and it gave the workers and Porter the opportunity to learn how to cope with them when they happened more regularly as the war progressed.

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A typical day at the Ogden Canteen. By late 1944, the canteen volunteers made enormous amounts of food—such as 675 cinnamon rolls in one day—and regularly served more than one thousand soldiers per day. In return, many service members sent notes of thanks back to the canteen. —

Special Collections, Stewart Library, Weber State University

provide the soldiers with a memorable meal in Ogden. The donations continued until the canteen closed its doors, in part because Porter placed notices in the newspaper for fruit and cookie donations. At its height, the canteen always had enough food for the service members, because Porter was always there to manage the donations and ensure the supplies at the canteen were always available.

but they continued to serve. Those who worked on the day of Roosevelt’s memorial listened to the service as they worked, but the canteen remained opened. On the day of Richard Porter’s funeral, however, the canteen closed its doors for a few hours so all the volunteers could attend the funeral and show their love and support for their leader, Maude Porter, on the death of her husband.

Porter’s dedication made it possible for the canteen to stay open through the worst of times; in fact, the canteen only closed once in its fouryear run for personal reasons. That is not to say that the canteen never closed during the day. When there was work done on the room, such as additions or painting, it was necessary to close the facility; on those days, the volunteers still offered cookies outside the canteen. When Franklin Roosevelt died, the women wrote in the log book that “all were plunged into grief,”

Throughout the canteen’s four years, two days stand out for what they meant to the volunteers. On May 8, 1945, Victory in Europe Day was announced. The volunteers had been waiting with anticipation for this day: “Well, V-E day is here at last and we of the canteen are glad, and although stores are closed our boys are here in large numbers to be served.” In the afternoon, Jacob Lambert, the night watchman, brought in lilacs for the women, and the evening shift workers wrote, “Tonight we have earned a


Once the soldiers started coming home, the canteen began to see even busier days. This was partly because of the many service members throughout the country already knew of the canteen from either personal experience or word of mouth. The volunteers took it in stride, rolled up their sleeves, and kept working, looking forward to meeting the returning troops. At this point, most of the soldiers had their discharge papers in their pockets and wore smiles on their faces. The volunteers also looked forward to meeting the “famous” troops who were designated to go through Ogden. On October 17, 1945, the Third Fleet, commanded by Admiral William Halsey, arrived. The Third Fleet, whose flagship was the USS Enterprise, had

The women, through their words in the log book, showed how proud they were to serve these boys who had given so much to them. As November 1945 approached, the Weber County Chapter of the Red Cross began talking about closing down the canteen at the first of the following year. Leah Greenwell discussed this with Porter, and they established a tentative closing date of January 2, 1946.40 Porter and Greenwell continued to meet and talk about the issue, and on November 20, Porter told Greenwell that she was stepping down at the first of the year. This might have influenced when the canteen finally closed its doors, for who could truly fill the shoes of Maude Porter?41 As Porter’s husband became more seriously ill in the last part of October 1945, she allowed her vice chair to assume more responsibility for the running of the canteen, but she never stopped leading the canteen. Even when her husband was at his worst, she found time to prepare the books or make telephone calls regarding the canteen’s operation. This had happened only once before in 1943 when Porter’s husband spent almost two months in the hospital. She spent most of her days at the hospital with her husband, but still managed the day to day 39 Book six, 62–63, Weber County Red Cross Papers.

37 Book five, May 8, 1945, Weber County Red Cross Papers.

40 Porter Diary November 9, 1945.

38 Ibid., August 14, 1945.

41 Ibid., November 20, 1945.

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Backaches, bumps and burns, but it was fun serving those brave lads who have done so much for us. They sang and shouted, it was noisier than a three ring circus. . . . Many of them wanted to help wash dishes and kept coming in canteen and getting in the dish pan. Finally one of the workers took one by the arm and led him outside and told him we all loved them and were so very proud of them but he couldn’t wash dishes and he laughed and said “that’s ok, I’ll push bottles in the window” and he did. When they left they said, “well, you are through with us, but you won’t be forgotten.”39

I

The second especially meaningful day was Victory in Japan Day, which truly marked the end of the war. Prior to this event, the news revolved around the Japanese surrender, but nothing was officially announced until August 14, 1945. In the morning the volunteers wrote, “Both boys and ladies were very anxious to hear the glad news that was expected any minute saying the war with Japan was over.” The afternoon shift paused to write the exact time of the announcement: “5:05 PM, Flash! Flash! The whistles are blowing!!! V.J. Day must be here. Jean Fernelius is jumping up and down saying ‘isn’t this wonderful! Now my husband can come home!’ We all feel that way—an unforgettable experience.”38 The news was both exciting and devastating for the volunteers at the canteen. The war was over and the boys were going to come home in droves, but it also meant that the canteen would not be open for much longer. It was sad for many of the volunteers who had given so much of their time.

helped carry out the Doolittle raid on Japan and helped win the battle of Guadalcanal. The fleet was also present for the formal surrender of Japan.

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medal for combat service on the home front.”37 On this day, the canteen served 2,047 people, and the volunteers were just as excited as the boys they were serving for the news. When soldiers started returning to the states, the women noticed how sad they were. At first they could not understand why, but as they talked to the young men, the volunteers realized that many of them were going to the Pacific to fight the Japanese; for them, the war was still in progress and a major reality.

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84 A crowd in Salt Lake City celebrating Victory in Japan Day, August 14, 1945.The volunteers at the Ogden Canteen described V.J. Day as “an unforgettable experience.” Still, after victory, the canteen remained open and busy until January 1946, serving troops coming home. —

Utah State Historical Society

cares of the canteen. Porter saw the canteen as something bigger than herself, and despite her personal tragedies, she still ran the canteen as though it was only her responsibility. When Porter’s husband died on December 11, 1945, the log book notes, “The canteen workers are saddened to hear of the death of Mr. R. B. Porter, the husband of our General Chairman of the Canteen. We extend our sympathy to Mrs. Porter.”42 As noted earlier, the funeral for Richard Porter became the only time the canteen closed for personal reasons. “We are closing at noon to enable workers to attend Mr. Porter’s funeral.”43 It reopened at 5:30 p.m. and still served 1,204 people on that day.

As the closing day drew near, and the women were serving their final shifts, they wrote in the log book about how sad they were about the closing of the canteen, and how proud they were to have served so many fine soldiers. On December 28, the workers wrote, “Thanks to the canteen for the opportunity we’ve had of serving our armed forces, what little we have done . . . we would surely miss serving them in the future. We have all enjoyed our work.”44 The next day the women wrote, “We of the Saturday forces, as we evaluate the experience of the war time years, feel grateful for the opportunity we have had to serve the boys and girls in uniform. We feel that our lives have been

42 Book six, 126, Weber Country Red Cross Papers. 43 Ibid., 129.

44 Ibid., 146.


The Ogden Red Cross Canteen opened on March 25, 1942. Almost four years have passed since that date; Momentous history has been made; a war has been won. As canteen workers, it has been our privilege to serve one million and a half of the service men and women who made that history . . . it is with reluctance that we close our door and contemplate that a pleasant service is ended. A salute to the uniformed friends we have known.

Lorrie Rands received a bachelor’s degree in history from Weber State University and currently is the manuscript processor in Special Collections at the Stewart Library. Her emphasis is the World War Two era, especially the Pacific Theater of Operations and the home front. She resides in Layton, Utah, with her husband and two children.

WEB EXTRA

In closing, Our Final will and testament: To the O.U.R and D. Co, one little brown hut—dark and deserted now. Time was that its walls radiated cheer and hospitality and helpfulness and attracted hundreds of jostling, hungry young Americans with its beckoning Red Cross sign, the stimulating aroma of hot coffee and the spicy fragrance of baking cinnamon rolls. To Mrs. R. B. Porter: the love and good will of two hundred canteen workers.46 The final numbers for the Weber County Red Cross Canteen, located at the Ogden Depot are as follows: U.S. Armed Forces served, 1,644,798;

Visit history.utah.gov/uhqextras to view log books from the Ogden Canteen, as well as other documents.

45 Ibid., 147–48. 46 Ibid., 158–63

47 1942–1943, box 1, Weber County Red Cross Scrapbooks.

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On the morning of January 3, 1946, “a group of six workers assembled at 10 am to clear away food and supplies.” Elsie Edens, Thelma Cross, Marie Lucas, Cleona Hedenstrom, Lorraine White, and Maude Porter were those six workers, most of whom had been there at the beginning. They spent most of the day cleaning the canteen and taking the equipment and supplies from the room. It is not known what was done with the equipment. The final entry in the log book takes three full pages, but they can all be summed up in these words:

number of workers at closing, 184; total hours served entire period, 107,132.47 By themselves, these numbers are insignificant, but when the volunteers’ and service members’ memories are added, they become much more. The volunteers who gave their time to work at the canteen did so for various reasons, but it is clear from the closing remarks of the Ogden Canteen that the women took away more than they felt they had given. With the dedication of their leader, Maude Porter, the canteen became a well-oiled machine that provided service to the soldiers no matter how many came to the window. It is because of the volunteers, and its leader, that the Ogden Canteen was so successful, and it is awe inspiring to realize that a group of dedicated women came together in a time of war to provide food, comfort, and a bit of home for the men and women of the Armed Forces who passed through their city.

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enriched as we have worked together baking biscuits and cookies.” This was followed by, “Our last evening at the canteen . . . we will miss this Saturday night recreation very much. It has been work that is fun. We feel that this has been a real opportunity, meeting and serving people.”45 These sentiments continued during their final day of service until all the shifts wrote how they felt about their years of service.

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86 An exterior view of the Cornell (or Vissing) Apartments, located at 101 South 600 East in Salt Lake City, in November 1908. —

Utah State Historical Society

Historic Salt Lake City Apartments of the Early Twentieth Century B Y

L I S A - M I C H E L E

C H U R C H

Salt Lake City contains many beautiful examples of early twentieth-century apartment buildings constructed between 1902 and 1940 to house a growing urban population. With whimsical names such as the Piccadilly, the Peter Pan, and the Waldorf, these buildings beckoned to Utahns who were interested in a new approach to residential life. Apartments became places of beginnings and endings. To young couples starting out their marriage, single women leaving home for the first time,

immigrant families finally finding work in America, and others, an apartment provided the right mix of permanency and impermanency. It felt like a home but not necessarily your home. As one early resident put in, “You move in with a suitcase; you move out with a truck.”1 The city’s apartments were constructed in two 1 Ralph Holding, interview with Lisa-Michele Church, November 15, 2014, in possession of the author.


At the beginning of the twentieth century, interest in downtown living was growing. A 1902 Salt Lake Tribune article noted that “most of the available sites for houses within convenient distance of the business center are already occupied, and the constant demand of renters for apartments close in has resulted in stimulating the erection of terraces or flats.”5 The population of Salt Lake City had increased dramatically from 20,000 residents in the late nineteenth century to more than 92,000 by 1910.6 By 2 Roger Roper, “Homemakers in Transition: Women in Salt Lake City Apartments, 1910–1940,” Utah Historical Quarterly 67, no. 4 (1999): 349–66. 3 “Design Guidelines for Historic Apartment and Multifamily Buildings in Salt Lake City,” Draft, 4:4, accessed November 23, 2015, http://www.slcdocs.com/ Planning/blog/MFDGsMar14.pdf; Thomas Carter and Peter Goss, Utah’s Historic Architecture, 1847–1940 (Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press and Utah State Historical Society, 1988). 4 Goodwin’s Weekly (Salt Lake City), September 5, 1908, 1. 5 Salt Lake Tribune, July 27, 1902. 6 “Historic Resources of Salt Lake City” MPDF / “Urban Expansion into the Early Twentieth Century, 1890s–1930s” (urban apartment study), available at

Today, most of these grand old buildings provide low-income housing or are used as condominiums and lofts. Some remain beautifully preserved, their owners taking care to maintain the distinctive architectural features. There are at least seventy-three of these downtown apartment buildings listed in the National Register of Historic Places.8 In 2014, Salt Lake City adopted Design Guidelines for Historic Apartment buildings, emphasizing the charm of these structures, as well as their “distinctive urban scale and presence.”9 The buildings still in use today are a vivid demonstration of the boldness and style with which Salt Lake City entered the twentieth century.

WEB EXTRA Visit history.utah.gov/slcapts for an extended essay with contemporary color photographs of these buildings and vignettes about their past occupants, as well as a walking-tour brochure, all by Lisa-Michele Church.

Utah State Historic Preservation Office, Salt Lake City, Utah. 7 Ibid.; “Design Guidelines.” 8 Urban apartment study. 9 Ibid.; “Design Guidelines.”

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After the first apartment-building phase of the early century, another boom occurred in the 1920s. Then during the Great Depression, funding for new construction evaporated. After the Second World War, Utahns demanded cozy bungalows in the suburbs, which had become more affordable because of federally subsidized loans. Downtown apartment construction declined further, and the patterns of occupancy changed dramatically as well. The buildings became expensive to maintain. The clientele became more transient and less middle class.

1

1940, it had jumped again to 140,000. This was a time of civic improvements in the inner city, including installing streetcar lines, paving sidewalks, and creating grass medians in the middle of the wide streets.7 Urban apartments offered the advantages of convenience, comfort, and proximity to jobs.

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general phases, with one boom lasting from 1904 through World War I and another flurry occurring from the early 1920s until World War II. Members of Salt Lake City’s middle class were generally the occupants of the apartments in those decades, and the buildings offered them modern luxuries they may not have been able to afford previously.2 Such amenities included Murphy “disappearing beds,” Frigidaire refrigerators, electric ranges, and laundry facilities. The building interiors were also upscale, with their French doors, balconies, chandeliers, and mosaic tile foyers.3 As an advertisement from the newly built Woodruff Apartments boasted in 1908, “the building will be steam heated, you will have hot water ready at all times of day or night, as well as free janitor and night watchman service, telephone and gas range. . . . The amount you will save on coal bills, water, telephone, street car fares and other incidentals, will reduce your cost of living, and you will have all the comforts besides.”4 Salt Lake City apartment buildings of this era were designed either as a walk-up, with one or two entrances on each landing, or as a double-loaded corridor, with multiple entrances along a central hall. Each style featured decorative brick or stone exteriors and ornate front doorways.

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BOOK REVIEWS

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New York: Oxford University Press, 2015. xvi + 511 pp. Cloth, $39.95

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8 4

The Letters of Brigham Young and Thomas L. Kane

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The Prophet and the Reformer:

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W A L K E R

This book left me wondering if the desiccated heart of Thomas L. Kane was enshrined somewhere in the Salt Lake City temple, for, at one time Kane wrote to Brigham Young “I request you to receive my heart to be deposited in the Temple of your Salt Lake City, that after death it may repose, where in metaphor at least it often was when living” (76). It is but one of the fascinating tidbits that awaits the reader of these ninety-nine letters that passed between Brigham Young and Thomas L. Kane between 1846 and Young’s death in 1877. In a very helpful introduction and a brief epilogue, the editors provide the context in which the governor of the Utah Territory and president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Young, and the “diminutive, sickly, and elite Philadelphian,” Kane, formed a lasting and consequential friendship (1). In addition, each letter is preceded by a short description that provides the context and provenance of that particular missive. The letters were culled from the archives of the American Philosophical Society, the Brigham Young Office Files at the LDS Church History Library, and the Kane Collection at Brigham Young University. Helpful footnotes further elucidate the contents. No other non-Mormon played such an important role in the history of nineteenthcentury Utah and Mormonism as Kane, and the

fact that these two men were usually separated by the vast North American continent made possible the gift of these fascinating epistles. Meeting for the first time when the Mormons were refugees in Iowa, Kane became a sometimes passionate defender of a people whose beliefs he never came to share. As the editors point out, he and Brigham Young were “a study in contrast”: Young was the hard-working son of relatively impoverished New Englanders who became something of a spiritual seeker, while Kane was the son of a federal judge who was well-connected socially and somewhat skeptical as to religion (2). For the historian, the most important letters in this collection may be those that concern the “Utah War” of 1857 and 1858. Kane’s self-imposed peace-making voyage to Utah has been credited with defusing the tense situation then existing between the Mormons and U.S. Army troops sent by President James Buchanan. The letters exchanged during that time are helpful not only in giving the reader insight into the minds of Kane and Young but also in providing a glimpse into the actions and possible motivations of other actors, such as the federally appointed governor, Alfred Cummings. Kane, for example, in a letter to Young written on about March 16, 1858, stated that “since my arrival here I have been in constant communication with Governor Cummings. He has made no secret from me of his instructions, and I give my word without reservation that I can reiterate my assurance to you that he is the faithful and determined exponent of the view of yr. friend the President of the United States” (252). On a more critical note, Kane later wrote in regard to Governor Cummings: “I wish poor Cumming’s habits were better . . . I had just received from C. a foolish composition—very drunken indeed” (353). Another point of interest for historians involves Young’s protestations to Kane that he had no


This volume never did reveal the current location of Thomas L. Kane’s heart, but it shows how a friendship can survive illness, distance, and even a sort of betrayal over the question of polygamy. Both men are seen in all their human imperfections, yet the relationship revealed in these letters undoubtedly changed the course of history for Utahns, Mormons, and the United States. —

D A N I E L

Siena College

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Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2015. xiii + 248 pp. Cloth, $29.99

Michael Hicks’s The Mormon Tabernacle Choir: A Biography traces the famous ensemble’s rise from humble beginnings to its place as a hallmark of Mormon—and, indeed, American—culture. True to its title, the book is a biography: Hicks proceeds chronologically through the choir’s history, focusing on its directors, shifts in sound and use of technology, tour schedules, and programs. (Each chapter is devoted, more or less, to the tenure of one prominent director.) Like any good biographer, Hicks begins his story by establishing context and foreshadowing themes and tension that will last throughout his subject’s life. Chief among these tensions is that between music and religion. As the book’s first chapter recounts, religious music was surprisingly controversial in early nineteenth-century America. Hicks notes that during Mormonism’s first years, most churches held that “earthly choirs were a transgression” and some even argued that “sacred music deludes the mind” (3). But unlike these strains of Protestantism, most Latter-day Saints welcomed sacred music, and, in 1836, “after some altercation,” Joseph Smith established a singing school (6). Of course, Mormons had nontheological reasons for accepting music. Even after fleeing to the West, Mormons remained the subject of prejudice and derision. They fought back with music. “The best antidote to the mocking of newspapermen and journalists,” writes Hicks, “was culture” (9). Using culture as a weapon, however, raises its own questions. The choir allowed the Mor-

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In reading these letters it is clear that Kane and Young both had their own political, social, and religious agendas; yet it is equally clear that theirs was a remarkably affectionate and tenacious friendship. One senses that Kane is sincere when he closes his letters “Ever yours affectionately,” and Young means it when he writes that “Your many friends here join me in love to you” (379, 457).

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This work is a very useful companion to two recent biographies, Matthew J. Grow’s “Liberty to the Downtrodden”: Thomas L. Kane, Romantic Reformer (2009) and John G. Turner’s Brigham Young: Pioneer Prophet (2012).

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advance knowledge of the Mountain Meadows Massacre and that “the horrifying event transpired without my knowledge, except from the after report, and the recurring thought of it ever causes a shudder in my feelings” (348).

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mons to broadcast an image of themselves to the rest of America, but what was the message of that broadcast? Or, as Hicks puts it, “was the Choir a missionary enterprise or an artistic one?”(46). Hicks explores this question by examining the power struggles between the choir’s directors and the church hierarchy. Church leader Ezra Taft Benson, for example, objected to the choir’s 1965 album This Land is Your Land, which included songs written by Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger. The music of these “two hard-core Communists,” Benson said, would “give aid and comfort for the Communists” and cause the church needless difficulty (129). Though this may now seem almost quaint, Benson was, in a way, bold to criticize the choir: other Mormon leaders did so with less success. In 1898, the choir opened the church’s general conference with a hymn. Shortly afterward, Apostle John W. Taylor angrily accused choir members of various sexual transgressions. But the choir’s popularity was high, only a few years removed from its triumphant performance at the 1893 Chicago world’s fair. In the face of pressure, Taylor soon recanted his unsubstantiated allegations and apologized. The incident, writes Hicks, “showed not only how dramatically unpopular it could be to impugn the Choir, but also the lengths to which an Apostle would double back in his apologies, even putting the Choir’s worthiness above his own” (51). Hicks treats these conflicts carefully and even-handedly. In rare moments, however, the book shies away from some of the more difficult pieces of the choir’s history. In 1995, the historian Michael Quinn “outed” one of the choir’s earliest and most important directors, Evan Stephens, as gay. Quinn argued that Stephens was sexually attracted to younger men, often members of the choir. Judging from the innuendo that peppers his chapter devoted to Stephens, Hicks apparently accepts Quinn’s argument. He is careful to mention, for instance, that Stephens enjoyed vacationing with “male friends” in San Francisco (46). But Hicks avoids addressing the issue head on: the book only explicitly mentions Stephens’s sexuality in a historiographical section near the end of the book, which describes the controversy caused by Quinn’s scholarship (156). This book will no doubt have a large readership among Latter-day Saints, and Hicks’s sideways glance at

Stephens’s sexuality might be a concession to the more conservative elements of that readership. This is a small criticism of an otherwise carefully composed, artfully constructed, and fastidiously researched book. Considering the great cultural importance of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir for Utah—and the nation—it is a wonder that this group has not attracted more scholarly attention. Hicks provides a welcome correction. —

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L I N D Q U I S T

Princeton University

The Council of Fifty: A Documentary History E D I T E D

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Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 2014. xlv + 424 pp. Cloth, $49.95

On March 11, 1844, in Nauvoo, Illinois, Joseph Smith established a secret organization called the Council of Fifty, or General Council, that was to address the political affairs of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Building on earlier teachings, the council grew out of a revelation received by Joseph Smith on April 7, 1842, directing him to establish “the Kingdom of God and his Laws, with the Keys and power thereof, and judgment in the hands of his servants, Ahman Christ” (2). Smith intended this council to assist in organizing the Kingdom of God on earth and to be “a living Constitution” for the eventual establishment of that kingdom (6). Trusted church leaders made up the council, which was meant to provide leadership and direction as the political situation in Illinois deteriorated and the church sought places of colonization. Thus the records in The Council of Fifty provide important information on the earliest efforts of the Mormon leaders to establish a theocracy as part of their millennial efforts to prepare for the Second Coming of Christ. But they also inform us about the earliest


The original minutes of the meetings of the Council of Fifty, held by the LDS church, have never been made available to scholars. Until now, historians were left to find puzzle pieces in the journals of individuals who belonged to the council. A few excerpts were copied into various other records, but a complete picture was just not available. Then in 2013 the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day

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Reno: University of Nevada Press, 2015. viii + 271 pp. Paper, $34.95

The title of this book reads like an academic label mated with search engine algorithms. The 1 R. Scott Lloyd, “Future Diversity in Mormonism is a Theme of History Conference,” Deseret News, June 10, 2014.

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All of this brings us to Jedediah Rogers’s valuable volume. He has gathered all the known references to the meetings of the Council of Fifty and organized them into chronological order. Rogers provides a useful introduction to the council’s history, biographical sketches of those who were members, as well as useful notes that help place the documents into historical context. Without access to the original minute books, The Council of Fifty is the best guide to the ideas, activities, and members of the council. Even after the original minutes are published, this volume will be a valuable reference work for the council via supplemental historical sources and documents.

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In 1958, James R. Clark published the first scholarly essay on the subject of the Council of Fifty in Utah Historical Quarterly. That same year, Hyrum L. Andrus published his Joseph Smith and World Government, and a number of scholarly monographs followed. All have argued that this secretive council supplied an important key to understanding early Mormon history. Klaus Hansen, who wrote the foreword to the volume under review here, argued in 1967 that the council could best be understood as a manifestation of a Mormon quest for empire— that it was an aggressive millennial organization bent on establishing Mormon world rule. Marvin Hill suggested that what really lay behind this organization was a Mormon quest for refuge, an attempt to provide a defensive response to the rough treatment the Mormons had received in Missouri and beyond. More recently, Michael Quinn has challenged Hansen’s thesis, positing instead that the Council of Fifty was a symbol of Mormon thought about the Kingdom of God, and that the council never constituted a separate administrative unit of the LDS church but was rather an extension of the church’s First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Quinn further showed that it did not meet regularly after 1840s except to provide support and occasional counsel on political and practical affairs of the church in early territorial Utah. The council gradually ceased to function, was revitalized by John Taylor, and had become a memory by 1900.

Saints granted the Joseph Smith Papers access to the minutes kept by William Clayton and permission to include them in the papers series. The parts of volume one (which cover the Joseph Smith era) of the three manuscript volumes of minutes are scheduled to appear in 2016 in the first volume of the Administrative History Series of the Joseph Smith Papers.1 Until this is published, we must depend on the available journals and other collateral records.

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efforts of a people anxious to find an area for settlement (such as Texas) and establish a place of refuge and safety from a country that continually denied their civil rights and eventually murdered their prophet. The records in this volume further demonstrate that the Council of Fifty supplied the Mormons with important leadership during their earliest years in the Great Basin.

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book deserves better. It’s lively, nimble, often unexpected, and informative. Its core theme is the growth of four urban centers around the perimeter of the Great Basin. Two—Salt Lake City and Reno—have significant historic roots. Two—Las Vegas and Boise—are largely postwar inventions. Each has a different story. Each is improbable. All are edge cities in that they are growing on the margins of the largest desert and emptiest landscape in the United States. None fits into traditional narratives. Yet collectively, the editors argue, these cities are possible harbingers of what the future of the American West may become: urban, parched, brazen, unsustainable, implausible. Cities, Sagebrush, and Solitude is an anthology of thirteen essays from fourteen authors, in various combinations. It has the virtues and vices of all such collections, which dovetail into the question of authorial license and editorial constraint. There is a refreshing variety of topics and voices and the short contributions keep a brisk pace. Yet there is not enough material or interconnection for the book to be comprehensive or even thorough; and not a little of what is included is over-shared. Basic information is repeated. Essays among authors repeat material, essays from the same authors repeat passages, and too often even the same author in the same essay repeats.

past forty years. The edge cities are, literally, on the edge equally of imagination and survival. Or to summarize, the cumulative sense is that the Great Basin is witnessing an unpredictable experiment, careening into a future that might prove as extraordinary and sideways as its past, yet of wide significance. In the concluding words of Dennis Judd, “It turns out the Great Basin is not such a peculiar region after all. Suddenly it finds itself not a place apart; instead it is being inexorably drawn into a sweeping twenty-first-century global narrative” (255). Maybe. But then the entire collection documents a historical cavalcade of fantastical claims of just this sort. Academics might as well join the parade. I found the most enjoyable reads to be the city portraits, particularly the contrasts between Reno and Las Vegas and between Boise and Salt Lake, and the most surprising revelation the analysis of the politics of county government (especially in Nevada), caught between a federal leviathan and grasping new cities. All in all, consider Cities, Sagebrush, and Solitude to be a good introduction to the region, something between a briefing paper and an academic Lonely Planet guide to an exotic patch of western America. —

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Arizona State University

The collection makes a lumpy porridge of genres. Some read like extended commentaries and some like briefing papers, while a handful (a few of the best) are cameo histories. The writing is readable throughout, frequently graceful, and occasionally pungent and witty. The basic unit is the epigrammatic sentence that tries to distill large themes. The book is short, less than 210 pages of actual text. Among its recurring themes are the vastness, ecological tenuousness, and fragility of the Great Basin; the implacable aridity that makes urban life a more plausible successor to mining than does an agricultural economy; the remoteness and alienness of this place, which makes it tricky to fit into inherited narratives, cultural preferences, and institutions; the awkward relationship to social structures, particularly to government, any government, all government; and the sheer momentum of change over the

Life in a Corner: Cultural Episodes in Southeastern Utah, 1880–1950 B Y

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Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2015. x + 291 pp. Paper, $24.95

Life in a Corner: Cultural Episodes in Southeastern Utah, 1880–1950 is a history of Grand and San Juan counties. However, it is not a political history. Robert S. McPherson already wrote that book, A History of San Juan County: In the


Life in a Corner resonates with me because of events that happened to my own grandfather, LeRoy Livingston. He, my grandmother, and two daughters left the safe climes of Emery County and moved to LaSal as homesteaders. A few years later, with his tail between his legs, Livingston returned to Emery County to work in the Mohrland coal mine. He had lost everything. Much of that life he tried to forget, never relating it at least to a grandson. From what I was able to get from my mother, life was hard, and the family always felt that their richer neighbor had forced them out. McPherson uses every type of documentation possible for this eventful book: oral histories, newspapers, journals, county records, genealogies, and secondary sources. I enjoyed every chapter. I was especially engrossed by the chapter on cowboys, which describes that life thoroughly. The detail might not be interesting to all, but I was fascinated by it: the cattle drives, the range, stampedes, food and cooking, cowboy clothing, horses, saddles, ropes, storytelling, and chasing wild cows. The entire experience was so much different than our modern rodeos. The chapter about the construction of the Blanding Tabernacle is the oral history of George A. Hurst Jr. McPherson must have decided that

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Are there any problems with this book? Some chapters are longer than others, but that is because of the sources and the author’s interests. The chapter on cowboying is the longest, but where else would one find such detailed descriptions of this life? Also, the chapter on “Settling the Great Sage Plain of Southeastern Utah, 1910–1950” is especially heartrending. As moderns we are not used to the backbreaking work that these people went through. I think that everyone in southeastern Utah should have access to this book in order to help them realize how far mankind has come in a couple of generations.

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there was no other description for the building of the tabernacle that could exceed Hurst’s story, not even his own. So Hurst describes the events with rich details about mortar, bricks, and problems that confronted these pioneers in erecting a large building, problems that they had never faced before. I think this was a wise choice by the author. He could not have done it any better.

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Palm of Time, as part of the Utah State Historical Society’s county history series. This time, McPherson sets out to tell us what life was like by describing the common man’s experience as much as possible. He does it by breaking the history down in episodes or, we could say, by subjects. He relates stories of law enforcement, the San Juan River Gold Rush, midwifery, the area’s response to World War I, bootleggers, cowboying, predator control, lumbering, the construction of the Blanding Tabernacle, and the settling of the great sage plain of southeastern Utah. In each of these situations, the author is attempting to relate to us the lives of these early pioneers—with all of their difficulties and their successes—and in each instance he comes across as a great storyteller. McPherson has spent his life documenting the experiences of this area. He has spent much time with Native American history and has written many books and articles on them, many of them appearing in this quarterly. He has also received numerous awards for his writings.

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M A T H E S

Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2015. x + 340 pp. Cloth, $45.00

In this collection of essays, Valerie Sherer Mathes, Lori Jacobson, Cathleen Cahill, and others unearth the history of a little-researched but widely influential Gilded Age women’s organization, the Women’s National Indian Asso-


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ciation (WNIA). The members of this largely Protestant women’s group used their moral authority to help shape contemporary U.S. Indian policy. Drawing from their abolitionist progenitors, the women of WNIA fought for their “Indian friends” by advocating for assimilation policies and denouncing annihilation tactics. They saw allotment, Christianity, single-family yeoman households, and participation in the capitalist market as four interconnected routes toward “civilizing” Native Americans.

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This volume is divided into four parts, each containing two to four essays and contextualizing remarks by Mathes. Part one’s essays detail the beginning of the WNIA, including how the organization evolved over time and the genesis of the WNIA’s periodical, the Indian’s Friend. These essays do a good job of quickly familiarizing the reader with the organization and serve as a launch pad for the following sections. Part two reconciles the actions of WNIA women with the influential late-nineteenth century notion of the cult of domesticity. Further, this section shows how WNIA members aimed to “civilize” Native Americans in part by “encouraging Indian women’s domesticity” (64). In order to square Native Americans with civilization, WNIA members provided home-building and loan programs, preached the importance of single-family homes, and encouraged Native Americans to participate in the market by selling traditional crafts. Part three investigates WNIA auxiliary organizations in Massachusetts, the South, and in southern California. These auxiliaries were “the lifeblood of the organization” and have been ignored by historians (151). The volume’s concluding part contextualizes the WNIA within women’s history. These sections are particularly powerful, as they “assert that the WNIA, though overlooked until recently by most women’s studies historians, offers one of the strongest examples of women’s associational and maternalist political power in the nineteenth century” (211–12). Further, these essays demonstrate that Anglo women gained “much power and prestige from their work” at “the expense of the Native peo-

ple the association purported to help” (212). This last section brings readers back to what seems to have been a guiding tenet of some in the late nineteenth century: the advancement of self at the expense of others. Though the WNIA has been understudied, each of these essays draws off of larger thematic historiographies. Perhaps the most pertinent texts to this volume are Cathleen Cahill’s Federal Fathers and Mothers (2013) and Margaret Jacobs’s White Mother to a Dark Race (2011). Cahill, a contributor to this volume, continues to build off her excellent analysis of intimate colonialism, this time by looking at an organization outside of the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Though Jacobs did not contribute an essay to this volume, her presence is felt on numerous pages because maternalism blended with insidious colonial policy within the WNIA. Historians interested in women’s history, Native American history, imperialism, and late-nineteenth-century America will find this collection invaluable. The historian Jan Shipps has observed that many historians avoid Utah history. Unfortunately, Utah once again is a “donut hole” of history in this volume. Still, readers of the Utah Historical Quarterly will benefit from reading this collection, for it illuminates how Victorian womanhood coexisted with and provided crucial scaffolding for imperialism.

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University of Oklahoma


2016 Lecture Series

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We are pleased to announce the 2016 lecture series highlighting the work of the Utah Historical Quarterly. These free events will feature scholars around the state discussing Utah history.

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A Miss Armstrong delivers a lecture at Walker Brothers Dry Goods, Salt Lake City, April 1918. —

Utah State Historical Society

February 18

July

Hyrum City Museum Utah and World War II

Cedar City: History and Public Lands

May 13

November

Salt Lake City Public Library Utah Designed Symposium

Salt Lake City: Thinking about the Arts

Please check history.utah.gov for more details. If you’d like to know more or want to help us get the word out, send us a line at uhq@utah.gov.


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Topaz Student, c. 1943 The American government built the Topaz Relocation Center near Delta, Utah, to house Japanese Americans it considered a threat during World War II. The camp opened on September 11, 1942, and the population of internees soon reached 8,000. Two elementary

schools and one secondary school were among the earliest and most prominent buildings in the camp. Topaz finally closed in October 1945. —

Utah State Historical Society, from the KUED collection


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UTAH HISTORICAL QUARTERLY

EDITORIAL STAFF

Brad Westwood — Editor Holly George — Co-Managing Editor Jedediah S. Rogers — Co-Managing Editor

ADVISORY BOARD OF EDITORS

Brian Q. Cannon, Provo, 2016 Craig Fuller, Salt Lake City, 2015 Lee Ann Kreutzer, Salt Lake City, 2015 Kathryn L. MacKay, Ogden, 2017 Jeffrey D. Nichols, Mountain Green, 2018 Robert E. Parson, Benson, 2017 Clint Pumphrey, Logan, 2018 W. Paul Reeve, Salt Lake City, 2018 Susan Sessions Rugh, Provo, 2016 John Sillito, Ogden, 2017 Ronald G. Watt, South Jordan, 2017

In 1897, public-spirited Utahns organized the Utah State Historical Society in order to expand public understanding of Utah’s past. Today, the Utah Division of State History administers the Society and, as part of its statutory obligations, publishes the Utah Historical Quarterly (ISSN 0 042-143X), which has collected and preserved Utah’s unique history since 1928. The Division also collects materials related to the history of Utah; assists communities, agencies, building owners, and consultants with state and federal processes regarding archaeological and historical resources; administers the ancient human remains program; makes historical resources available in a specialized research library; offers extensive online resources and grants; and assists in public policy and the promotion of Utah’s rich history. Visit history.utah.gov for more information.

UHQ appears in winter, spring, summer, and fall. Members of the Society receive UHQ upon payment of annual dues: individual, $30; institution, $40; student and senior (age 65 or older), $25; business, $40; sustaining, $40; patron, $60; sponsor, $100.

Direct manuscript submissions to the address listed below. Visit

The Rio Grande Depot, home of the Utah State Historical Society. —

history.utah.gov for submission guidelines. Articles and book reviews represent the views of the authors and are not necessarily those of the Utah State Historical Society.

stanford kekauoha POSTMASTER: Send address change to Utah Historical Quarterly, 300 S. Rio Grande, Salt Lake City, Utah 84101. Periodicals postage is paid at Salt Lake City, Utah.


UTAH HISTORICAL QUARTERLY EDITORIAL STAFF Brad Westwood — Editor Holly George — Co-Managing Editor

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Jedediah S. Rogers — Co-Managing Editor

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ADVISORY BOARD OF EDITORS Brian Q. Cannon, Provo, 2016

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Craig Fuller, Salt Lake City, 2015

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Lee Ann Kreutzer, Salt Lake City, 2015 Kathryn L. MacKay, Ogden, 2017

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Jeffrey D. Nichols, Mountain Green, 2018 Robert E. Parson, Benson, 2017 Clint Pumphrey, Logan, 2018

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W. Paul Reeve, Salt Lake City, 2018

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Susan Sessions Rugh, Provo, 2016 John Sillito, Ogden, 2017 Ronald G. Watt, South Jordan, 2017

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In 1897, public-spirited Utahns organized the Utah State Historical Society in order to expand public understanding of Utah’s past. Today, the Utah Division of State History administers the Society and, as part of its statutory obligations, publishes the Utah Historical Quarterly (ISSN 0 042-143X), which has collected and preserved Utah’s unique history since 1928. The Division also collects materials related to the history of Utah; assists communities, agencies, building owners, and consultants with state and federal processes regarding archaeological and historical resources; administers the ancient human remains program; makes historical resources available in a specialized research library; offers extensive online resources and grants; and assists in public policy and the promotion of Utah’s rich history. Visit history.utah.gov for more information. UHQ appears in winter, spring, summer, and fall. Members of the Society receive UHQ upon payment of annual dues: individual, $30; institution, $40; student and senior (age 65 or older), $25; business, $40; sustaining, $40; patron, $60; sponsor, $100. Direct manuscript submissions to the address listed below. Visit history.utah.gov for submission guidelines. Articles and book reviews represent the views of the authors and are not necessarily those of the Utah State Historical Society. POSTMASTER: Send address change to Utah Historical Quarterly,

The Rio Grande Depot, home of the Utah State Historical Society. —

stanford kekauoha

300 S. Rio Grande, Salt Lake City, Utah 84101. Periodicals postage is paid at Salt Lake City, Utah. history.utah.gov (801) 245-7231


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152 CONTENTS ARTICLES

172 101 In THIS ISSUE 180 BOOK REVIEWS

187 Book Notices 188 utah in focus

102 “Wooden Beds for Wooden Heads”: Railroad Tie Cutting in the Uinta Mountains, 1867–1938

152 Turning “the Picture a Whole Lot”: The CCC Invasion of Southeastern Utah, 1933–1942

By Christopher W. Merritt

118 A Most Horrible Crime: The 1908 Murder of Mary Stevens in Orderville, Utah By Roger Blomquist

136 James E. Talmage and the 1895 Deseret Museum Expedition to Southern Utah By Craig S. Smith

By Robert S. McPherson and Jesse Grover

172 Barn Raising By Emily Brooksby Wheeler

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Book Reviews

180 Immigrants in the Far West: Historical Identities and Experiences Jessie L. Embry and Brian Q. Cannon, eds. Draper

Reviewed by Timothy Dean

181 South Pass: Gateway to a Continent Will Bagley • Reviewed by Patricia Ann Owens

182 An 1860 English–Hopi Vocabulary Written in the Deseret Alphabet

183 AFaded Legacy:

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Kenneth R. Beesley and Dirk Elzinga

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185 The Mapmakers of New Zion:

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A Cartographic History of Mormonism Richard Francaviglia • Reviewed by Paul F. Starrs

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187 Ways to the West: How Getting Out of Our Cars Is Reclaiming America’s Frontier Tim Sullivan

187 Mormonism and American Politics Randall Balmer and Jana Riess, eds.


The essays in this issue represent fine examples of current practitioners working with varied sources. Archaeological artifacts as historical sources, for instance, are rarely represented in the pages of UHQ. However, our lead article shows how artifacts have given us a more complete understanding of past logging operations in the Uinta Mountains. Decaying cabins, flumes, and crib structures remain as tangible reminders of this unique chapter in Utah and western history. These and many other artifacts reveal much about how tie cutters for the railroad industry worked, and they also give sometimes surprising insight into the social history of the men, women, and children who lived in logging camps. This article is also a reminder that sometimes local actions— in this case, the harvesting of trees in a forgotten corner of the state—served national purposes. Through court proceedings, press coverage, and personal interviews, our second piece reconstructs a story that is both sensational and familiar—how, in 1908, a teenage boy from a respected family murdered a pregnant young woman with whom he was keeping company on the sly. This piece of intrigue occurred in what might seem the most unlikely place: Orderville, Utah, whose

Newspaper accounts and especially oral histories reconstruct a different kind of encounter. The next article examines the cultural outcomes of a “peaceful invasion” of southeastern Utah by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). Of course, that New Deal program brought economic and environmental changes to Utah, but its members—the “Cs”—also participated in a host of cultural exchanges with the people of San Juan and Grand counties. Young men from gritty eastern cities taught boxing, baseball, and the Lindy Hop to the people of Blanding and Monticello, even as they learned about American Indian culture, small-town entertainment, and the ways of local girls. The spring issue concludes with an homage to an unlikely landmark, a horse-barn-turned-art-studio on the Utah State University campus. In this short piece, Emily Wheeler recounts a few of the memories associated with this structure, from its raising in 1919 to its razing in 2015, showing how multifaceted and deep the memory of a place can be.

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Our third essay brings us to a little-known episode in the life of a familiar Utah and Mormon figure, James E. Talmage. Readers see a different side to the university president and theologian—a man obsessed with scouting geologic formations in the peaks and canyons of southern Utah and northern Arizona. If he did not have the precision or expertise of his contemporaries Clarence Dutton and Grove Karl Gilbert, who both authored geological monographs, Talmage had the determination to fulfill the expedition’s objectives. This essay, based primarily on Talmage’s record of his travels, is a fine example of narrative-driven history tuned to the finer details.

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residents had lived communally in the 1870s and 1880s. Yet this case involved more than the relationship between two teenagers. A scaffolding of social expectations, history, and law surrounded the young people and played some part—however minimal—in Alvin Heaton Jr.’s decision to murder Mary Stevens.

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“The historian sets himself a dangerous, even an impossible, task,” writes the historian Daniel J. Boorstin. Far removed from the event being examined, the historian must piece together stories using imperfect sources. Rather than uncover history, she creates it from little more than relics—fragments—of the past. The sources she uses may or may not represent a sample of the experiences people really had. If “survival [of sources] is chancy, whimsical and unpredictable,” as Boorstin argues, assessing the provenance, representation, and significance of sources is that much more essential. The historian cannot perfectly succeed in telling history “as it really happened,” as the nineteenth-century German historian Leopold Von Ranke suggested could be done. Yet by evaluating, scrutinizing, and questioning remaining evidence, she can hope to capture the essence of lives and experiences once lived.

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Hand-hewn railroad crossties made of lodgepole pine covering the ground in the Mill Creek area of the Uinta Mountains, ca. 1912–1913. —

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“Wooden Beds for Wooden Heads” M E R R I T T

103 A pencil inscription on the lintel of a dilapidated log cabin on Smith’s Fork in the center of the Uinta Mountains reads “Wooden Beds for Wooden Heads,” an identity expression of a mostly forgotten part of Utah, Wyoming, and even national history. Most Utahns are unaware of the rich logging history of their state, or how broad-shouldered, tie-cutting men, alongside women and even children, helped to shape the settlement of the American West beginning with construction of the nation’s first transcontinental railroad. Between 1867 and 1938, loggers cut a low estimate of ten million railroad crossties from the densely forested slopes and terraces of the Uinta Mountains’ North Slope (fig.1). In nearly 500,000 acres stretching from the Bear River on the west to Henry’s Fork on the east, professional (full time) and subsistence or seasonal loggers harvested millions of lodgepole pines to feed the growth of the United States’ railroad infrastructure. Although the Weber and Provo headwaters and several other smaller drainages in Utah also provided ties, the North Slope of the Uintas was uniquely situated to yield a more than adequate supply. From the 1860s to the 1930s, tie cutting was completed by hand with a broad axe during the winter; the ties were floated to market using major rivers and creeks during the spring thaw, and delivered to the railroads in summer. As construction of the Transcontinental Railroad crossed southern Wyoming, the Union Pacific’s need for wood was immense, with at least 5,200 crossties—2,600 trees—per mile of track. Measuring between seven and eight feet in length and seven inches on the faces, a railroad crosstie was


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104 Figure 1. Tie cutting area of the North Slope of the Uinta Mountains, extending from the Bear River on the west to Smith’s Fork on the east. Note that the Bear, Black’s Fork, and Smith’s Fork rivers all flow to the railroad line.

central to the completion of the lines. But as anyone familiar with this landscape knows, available timber is in short supply along the railroad and modern highways. As it had done when it pushed across the Midwest, the Union Pacific and other railroad companies looked far afield for an ample supply of crossties. Beginning in the 1860s, loggers cut ties from the Medicine Bow, Routt, Laramie, Wind River, and Uinta Mountain ranges and used rivers and creeks to move them towards the railroad lines.1 Tie 1 For more information on the industry in Wyoming, see Robert G. Rosenberg, “Woodrock Tie Hack District, Bighorn National Forest Cultural Resource Management Plan,” Prepared for Bighorn National Forest, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1999, 9–10; Joan Trego Pinkerton, Knights of the Broadax: The Story of the Wyoming Tie Hacks (Caldwell, ID: Caxton Publishers, 1981); William Wroten, “The Railroad Tie Industry in the Central Rocky Mountain Region, 1867–1900” (Ph.D. diss., University of Colorado Boulder, 1956).

cutting and river transport continued into the 1930s, when changes in technology and supply chains altered the flow of this wooden commodity. Forestry historian Sherry Olsen notes that “tie manufacture was on a grand scale in the Rockies, and tie cutting was one of the most rugged and most lucrative jobs of the mountain frontier.”2 Despite its significance, tie cutting has received scant attention from historians. The retired forester L. J. Colton’s reminiscent account of logging activity in the Bear River area of the Wasatch National Forest, published in the Utah Historical Quarterly, is the earliest published reminiscence on the topic but is limited in its scope to one era and drainage, and Thomas Alexander’s history of the United States Forest Service in the Inter2 Sherry Olsen, Depletion Myth: A History of Railroad Use of Timber (Harvard: Harvard University Press, 1971), 23.


It is into this relative void of historical research that archaeology, focused on the material remains of this industry, can offer a data source and perspective not seen in other scholarship or documentary resources. Forgotten cabins, rotting back into the ground from which their logs once sprung, are the tangible reminders of this lost facet of western history (fig. 2). Historical archaeology allows a place-based and tangible reconstruction and interpretation of the social history of diverse peoples based on material culture and available documentary resources. The historical archaeologist James E. 3 L. J. Colton, “Early Day Timber Cutting Along the Upper Bear River,” Utah Historical Quarterly 35 (Summer 1967): 202–7; Thomas G. Alexander, The Rise of Multiple-Use Management in the Intermountain West: A History of Region 4 of the Forest Service, FS-399 (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Forest Service, May 1987). 4 For information on the West’s transient laborers, see Carlos Schwantes, “The Concept of the Wageworkers’ Frontier: A Framework for Future Research,” Western Historical Quarterly 18 (1987): 39–55. 5 There are no known company records for the Standard Timber Company, the largest timber firm on the North Slope between 1912 and the 1940s. In 1940, an accidental fire in a Standard Timber barn in Millis, Wyoming, destroyed much of the company records. Ogden Standard-Examiner, June 21, 1940, 9.

None of these efforts ever supplied railroad crossties until 1867, when the Union Pacific Railroad’s advance parties of graders started moving across southern Wyoming Territory. An 1864 reconnaissance report of the proposed transcontinental line by Union Pacific engineer Samuel B. Reed to company vice president T. C. Durant underscored the importance of timber 6 James E. Ayres, “Logging Camps in the Uinta Mountains, Utah,” in Forgotten Places and Things: Archaeological Perspectives on American History, edited by Albert E. Ward (Albuquerque: Center for Anthropological Studies, 1983); James E. Ayres, “Standard Timber Company Logging Camps on the Mill Creek Drainage, Uinta Mountains, Utah,” Proceedings of the Society for California Archaeology 9 (1996): 179–82. 7 Archaeological data are contained with the UintaWasatch-Cache National Forest Heritage Program site records (Supervisor’s Office, South Jordan, Utah), and the Utah Division of State History Antiquities Program Site Records (Rio Grande Depot, Salt Lake City, Utah), and are not accessible by non-archaeologists per federal and state laws for sensitive information. 8 William A. Carter, Jr., “Fort Bridger in the 70s,” Annals of Wyoming 11 (1939): 111–13; William N. Davis, Jr., “The Sutler at Fort Bridger,” Western Historical Quarterly 2 (1971): 37–53. A sutler is a civilian trader who received a contract from the military to provide goods and supplies to military posts or troops on deployment. See David M. Delo, Peddlers and Post Traders: The Army Sutler on the Frontier (Helena, MT: Kingfisher Books, 1998).

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Euro-American logging in the Uintas likely began in 1843 with Jim Bridger and Louis Vasquez’s construction of Fort Bridger on the Black’s Fork River in Wyoming. The Mormons acquired Fort Bridger in 1855 to supply emigrants to Utah Territory and erected a sawmill in the Uintas to supply wood to the travelers and construction efforts. As a sutler for the U.S. Army, which later took control of Fort Bridger, Judge W. A. Carter erected several sawmills in the Uintas through the 1870s.8

I

One problem for the historian is that the industry’s transient labor working for wages at seasonal jobs is minimally represented in period documents or difficult to identify.4 Consequently, few documentary sources detail the tie cutting industry of the North Slope, with only one census record, newspaper cuttings, draft cards, and a handful of other primary sources as the complete listing of historical records existing for this major industry.5 A 1913 United States Forest Service report on the industry and an oral history of Forest Service ranger Archie Murchie are also insightful. The latter is the only historic personal account of the industry, albeit from an outsider’s slant. The North Slope’s geopolitical ties to Utah yet geographic and economic connections to Wyoming further limited the tie industry’s presence in the historic record; apparently, much of the industry never filed paperwork in Summit County, Utah, and census takers from neither state ventured into the mountains until 1930.

Ayres published two well-researched articles on the industry, and he created a framework to understand the interconnectedness of the region’s hundreds of tie cutting archaeological sites.6 Forest Service and avocational archaeologists have documented over two hundred logging camps between Bear River and Smith’s Fork, each providing clues to this unique industry and pattern of industry that exist outside the purview of historic records alone.7 Unfortunately, looting, metal detection, vandalism, and catastrophic wildfires continue to damage and remove these material artifacts.

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mountain Region only touches on the tie industry along the North Slope.3

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106 Figure 2. Collapsed log cabin barn that once held the four to six horses common to a tie camp during the 1910s–1920s, near Black’s Fork River. —

Christopher Merritt

resources as he “looked upon the scarcity of timber as the most serious obstacle to be overcome in the building of the road through the mountains.” Reed reported to Durant that to solve this issue he surveyed the Uinta Mountains where “on the head waters of the Bear River . . . there are large tracts of white Norway pine, suitable for railroad purposes, that can be rafted down Bear River to the line.”9 Partners Levi Carter and General Isaac Coe received most of the initial contracts to supply railroad ties to the Union Pacific and operated in the Uintas through the 1880s. Coe and Car9 Reed likely is referencing the dense stands of lodgepole pine when he writes about white Norway pine, as they are visually similar to an untrained land surveyor. Samuel B. Reed, Union Pacific Railroad: Report of Samuel B. Reed of Surveys and Explorations from Green River to Great Salt Lake City (New York: Union Pacific Railroad Company, 1865), 11.

ter supplied ties to the Union Pacific for prices ranging from $1.00 to $1.30 per tie, while paying only 35–60 cents to cutters. High profit margins and a monopoly to supply ties to the Union Pacific helped to cement Coe and Carter as the premier tie cutting corporation in Utah, Wyoming, and Colorado. Union Pacific’s expansion into developing coal resources in Wyoming further provided opportunity for Coe and Carter to provide narrow gauge railroad ties and mine supports. Coe and Carter constructed at least three sawmills in the Uintas on Muddy Creek, Black’s Fork, and at the confluence of Steel Creek and Smith’s Fork, although these produced milled construction lumber and not railroad ties. Coe and Carter subcontracted the majority of tie cutting along the Bear River and its tributaries to independent loggers or smaller operations such as Evanston Lumbering Company and Burris and Bennett. Fewer ties


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107 Figure 3. Standard Timber Company crews constructing aspen and willow cribbing to protect irrigation canals from being filled with railroad crossties in the Mill Creek area, ca. 1912–1913. —

U.S. Forest Service

came out of the Black’s Fork and Smith’s Fork drainages to the east.10 While not strictly constructed for use in the tie cutting industry, the thirty-mile Hilliard Flume and six-mile Howe Feeder Flume along the Bear 10 Scott Thybony, Rober G. Rosenberg, and Elizabeth Mullett Rosenberg, The Medicine Bows: Wyoming’s Mountain Country (Caldwell, ID: Caxton Press, 1985), 60; James E. Ayres, “Transcription of Bill of Exceptions, Case of Amos Mosher vs. The Hilliard Flume and Lumber Company,” 1975, Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest Supervisor’s Office, South Jordan, Utah; James E. Ayres, Transcription of “Bill of Exceptions, Case of B. F. Woods vs. The Hilliard Flume and Lumber Company,” 1975, Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest Supervisor’s Office, South Jordan, Utah. In 1882 approximately 80,000 railroad ties for the Oregon Short Line railroad, 25,000 for the Utah and Northern railway, and 35,000 mining props for Rock Springs coal mines floated down the Black’s Fork River by Coe & Carter. See “Local Intelligence,” Uinta Chieftain, June 3, 1882, 3.

River played a pivotal role in the development of timber on the North Slope. Built in 1872, the Hilliard Flume floated ties, poles, sawed timber, and firewood from the headwaters of the Bear River in Utah to Hilliard, Wyoming, near the railroad grade. The elevated flume, sometimes as high as twenty feet off the ground, was an engineering feat and tourist attraction for travelers on the Union Pacific. The flume was largely dismantled during the 1880s and 1890s after the timber supply in the area had been exhausted, and the salvaged materials were used as building supplies for ranches in Wyoming.11 While the flume had enabled timber to be 11 Katie Toponce, Reminiscences of Alexander Toponce, Pioneer (Salt Lake City: Century Printing Company, 1923), 190; Frederik E. Shearer, ed., The Pacific Tourist: An Illustrated Guide to the Pacific Railroad, California, and Pleasure Reports across the Continent (New York: Adams and Bishop Publishers, 1879), 107.


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transported nearly year-round, the loggers in the Uintas generally operated on a seasonal round with cutting occurring in the fall and winter. Heavy spring melt swelled the rivers and allowed cutters to float their ties to market. From 1867 to 1938, the Bear River, Black’s Fork, and Smith’s Fork witnessed many years of spring tie floats, some reaching upwards of 500,000 crossties per year or roughly one million trees12 (table 1). Tie drivers, called river rats in other logging areas of the United States, followed the flow from the mountains all the way to docks at Granger, Hilliard, Almy, and other locations along the Union Pacific railroad. Tie drivers used long hooked poles called pickaroons to dislodge jams of ties and keep the flow moving downstream. Seasonal floats were the cheapest method to get the nearly half-million ties to the railroad grade but wreaked havoc to downstream irrigation canals by choking them with ties once a year. After 1912, the Standard Timber Company constructed, without much long-term success, protective cribbing at diversion points for canals to prevent this damage (fig. 3). This yearly cycle of ties damaging irrigation canals led to several lawsuits in the twentieth century and helped lead to cessation of floating ties off the North Slope in 1939.13 Splash dams were a common means of damming a small stream or river to create an impoundment upstream. Each dam’s interior was lined with lumber and had at least one large gate or sluice opening (fig. 4). During the spring thaw, tie cutters pushed the parked ties into the reservoir. Once the reservoir was full 12 An article in 1915 indicated that Standard Timber cut approximately 700,000 ties on the North Slope, although no other documentation establishes this. “Salt Lake and Utah,” Lumberman 16, no. 7 (1915): 50. The first recorded mention of automobiles hauling railroad ties off the north slope of the Uinta Mountains occurred in 1934, as there were 100,000 ties stranded due to water shortages. Ogden Standard-Examiner, July 5, 1934, 15. While specific data for the number of ties floated each year is not currently available, newspaper articles suggest that between 1930 and 1935 the Standard Timber Company annually cut between 200,000 and 300,000 ties from the Uintas. Ogden Standard-Examiner, September 29, 1935, 12. 13 George Loff, “Tie Driving in Wyoming,” Cross-tie Bulletin 3 (1922): 12; F. S. Baker and A. G. Hauge, “Report on Tie Operation, Standard Timber Company, Uinta National Forest, 1912–1913,” 33, unpublished report on file at Uinta-Wasatch-Cache Supervisor’s Office, Salt Lake City.

of ties, they would open the sluice gate and let the ties burst forth into the channel. A dam still chokes the Stillwater Fork of the Bear River that once diverted water into the Howe Feeder Flume of the Hilliard Flume, although water has found its way through the tangled mess of logs and cribbing.14 Only one intact splash dam on the North Slope dates to the 1860s and 1870s. Others at Mill Creek and Steel Creek are in fair condition given their constant exposure to damp and wet conditions.15 The last decades of the nineteenth century signaled a decline of the tie industry. Construction of the Denver & Rio Grande Railway led to a shift of tie cutting in the Weber and Provo river drainages, with ties floated to Echo and Wanship on the Weber and down Provo Canyon on the Provo. Construction of Union Pacific’s Oregon Short Line spur lines from Echo Canyon to Park City led to tie cutting and floating along the Weber River, while on the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railway, construction on the west flank of the Wasatch Mountains led to cutting along the Provo River and floating into Provo. On those rivers, declining demand, poor remaining wood quality, and low river flows led to the last documented drive in the early 1890s. A national economic recession in the 1890s led to the Union Pacific cancelling all contracts with Coe and Carter and to the company shutdown in 1895. It is likely that during the next few years tie cutting continued as a minor industry, as existing railroads still needed annually between 200 and 300 replacement ties per mile of track. Likely due primarily to patterns of low demand, little to no historical evidence points to tie cutting and driving on the North Slope between 1895 and 1912. According to a 1915 article in the Timberman, “from 20 to 30 years ago many of the streams of the Uintah range were driven for ties and mining timber.”16 Tie cutting witnessed a resurgence nationally after 1900 and on the North Slope after 1912 due to 14 James Ayres, “Howe Flume National Register of Historic Places Nomination,” 1978, on file at Antiquities Section, Utah Division of State History. 15 Archaeological Site Forms (42SM21 and 42SM70), on file at Antiquities Section, Utah Division of State History. 16 Lyndia Carter, “‘Tieing’ Utah Together: Railroad Tie Drives,” Utah History Blazer (July 1996): 10–11; Thybony, et al., The Medicine Bows, 63; “Salt Lake and Utah,” 50.


1921 1929 1935

450,000 180,000 5 175,000

Uinta Chieftain, June 3, 1882, 3 Salt Lake Telegram, May 17, 1915, 2 Ogden Standard-Examiner, May 20, 1916, 5 Salt Lake Telegram, December 24, 1919, 1 Salt Lake Telegram, February 18, 1920, 2 and July 28, 1920, 2 Salt Lake Telegram, May 17, 1921, 5 Ogden Standard-Examiner, July 23, 1929, 2 Ogden Standard-Examiner, June 3, 1935

1929 1935

180,0005 250,000

Salt Lake Tribune, May 15, 1929, 7 Salt Lake Telegram, May 27, 1935, 10

Tally were those hung up from a poor flow year in 1914 but freed in 1915. Newspaper account notes that most of the 500,000 estimate are ties, though not all. 3 Ties cut in spring 1918 but hung up due to poor flow. 4 Almost all were hung up during the year due to low water, and did not make it to market that year. 5 Ogden Standard-Examiner article states that 180,000 ties were floated on the Black’s and Smith’s forks, but it does not provide specific numbers per river. 1

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105,000 400,000 1 500,000 2 250,000 3 450,000 4

I

Smith’s Fork

1882 1915 1916 1919 1920

8 4

Black’s Fork

2

TABLE 1. NUMBERS OF RAILROAD TIES FLOATED DOWN BLACK’S FORK AND SMITH’S FORK OF THE GREEN RIVER

a growing economy and a rapid expansion of existing railroads and a growth of new spur lines. By the early 1900s, nearly one-fifth of America’s annual timber harvest was going to the railroad industry, and demand was only increasing— between 1890 and 1919, the need for crossties expanded from 64 to 145 million per year. Of course, this demand was not uniform across the Intermountain West; the Uinta Mountain headwaters of the Provo and Weber rivers were not heavily cut for ties after the 1890s. This changing landscape of railroad construction and maintenance led to intensification of logging on the North Slope through the arrival of the Standard Timber Company. Organized in 1912 in Lincoln, Nebraska, by D. M. Wilt, Standard Timber Company established its headquarters in Evanston, Wyoming, and began preparations for cutting over the North Slope. To kick off this venture, Standard Timber signed a contract in 1912 with the Union Pacific to supply seven million ties within nine years.17 17 Olsen, Depletion Myth, 4; Nelson C. Brown, Forest Products, Their Manufacture and Use (New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1919), 263; Baker and Hauge, “Report on Tie Operation, Standard Timber Company, Uinta National Forest, 1912–1913,” 1.

Wilt was a longtime logging company operator in Colorado but had been chased out of that state for timber poaching—cutting on Federal Reserve lands without permission or royalties. After decades of heavy private and corporate abuse of grazing, timber, and mineral lands held in the public trust, the federal government had enacted the Forest Reserve Act of 1897 to provide for the protection and conservation of watersheds and natural resources. With the creation of the United States Forest Service (USFS) in 1905, the government took greater command of forest and timber resources. Due to the lack of homesteading lands in the North Slope, much of the mountain range became variably part of the Ashley, Wasatch, and Uinta national forests. The only remaining inholdings of private land resulted from the 1862 and 1864 Railway Land Grant Acts that transferred ownership of public domain lands to railroad companies to spur railroad construction. These lands were granted in a checkerboard pattern of alternating, onemile-square sections for a distance of ten miles on each side of the railroad line.18 18 Ayres, “Standard Timber Company Logging Camps on the Mill Creek Drainage, Uinta Mountains, Utah,” 179– 80; Alexander, The Rise of Multiple-Use Management

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Note that these numbers are based on available historical data and are not comprehensive.

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Figure 4. Overview of a splash dam at Mill Creek. Archaeology suggests it was constructed before 1890 given the lack of modern nails, but was reused by Standard Timber Company after 1913. —

U.S. Forest Service

In the winter of 1912–1913, Standard Timber Company established its North Slope logging headquarters on Mill Creek, a tributary of the Bear River approximately 35 miles south of Evanston. At this location, Standard Timber constructed a two-story log cabin commissary and a number of supporting buildings, including a blacksmith shop, accounting office, doctor/dentist office, storerooms, and cabins for temporary housing (fig. 5). The Mill Creek Commissary held all the provisions a tie cutter would need: tools (axes, saws, pickaroons, and tie sleds), canned foodstuffs, clothing, and personal items like harmonicas. A 1913 report by two USFS employees illustrated that the costs of these goods at the Mill Creek Commissary were at least twice that of a comparable store in Ogden, Utah. This demonstrated to the USFS employees that Standard Timber Company was

gouging its workforce to maintain high profits. The lack of a different consumer option meant a fifty percent markup for Standard Timber.19

in the Intermountain West, 21; Robert Athearn, Union Pacific Country (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1976), 32.

21 “Haulers” would pick up finished ties from stacks placed along the edges of strip roads and take them to areas near creeks or splash dam reservoirs, while

Unlike the previous decades of cutting ties on the North Slope, with individuals working for themselves and controlling their own production, Standard Timber offered work to tie cutters but did not make them formal employees.20 These loggers, sometimes known as gyppos, were assigned timber stands for cutting and worked alongside tie cutters, haulers, and drivers as part of a complex system of tie production and delivery.21 19 Baker and Hauge, “Report on Tie Operation, Standard Timber Company, Uinta National Forest, 1912–1913,” 41–44. 20 R. T. King, The Free Life of a Ranger: Archie Murchie in the U.S. Forest Service (Reno: University of NevadaReno Press, 1991), 74.


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Figure 5. Mill Creek Commissary in background, with tie cutters piling, or banking, finished railroad crossties to be floated downstream in the spring, ca. 1912–1913. The splash dam would be a few hundred yards to the right (north). —

U.S. Forest Service

By spring of 1913, Standard Timber had at least 150 loggers working the Mill Creek drainage. To avoid paying royalties to the Forest Service, the company focused its initial logging efforts on those lands owned by the Union Pacific. By 1915, however, those lands had been worked over, forcing the company to cut on USFS lands through contract and permits, working east towards the Black’s Fork River.22 Without use of any flumes, the loggers shifted back to a winter cutting and spring floating cycle. Cutting in winter was beneficial for two main reasons. First, this allowed tie cutters to shift employment during the summer months to other pursuits such as farming or to follow “drivers” would follow the ties during the spring float and break up log jams and keep the product moving to market. 22 Baker and Hauge, “Report on Tie Operation, Standard Timber Company, Uinta National Forest, 1912–1913”; “Salt Lake and Utah,” 50.

the ties to market on drives. Second, and most importantly, heavy snowfall in the Uintas allowed the transport of ties from the cutting fields to banking areas along streams through use of horse-drawn sleds. These two-horse team-drawn sleds carried several dozen ties at a time, sliding across the thickly drifted snow and ice. A lasting reminder of this winter logging cycle are hundreds of high-cut stumps, or those lodgepole and spruce trees that had been cut sometimes as high as six feet above the ground (fig. 6). The Standard Timber Company loggers and others venturing into the mountains focused their blades on lodgepole pine and spruce of a certain size and age. To maximize efficiency in cutting, loggers focused on trees that measured between eight and ten inches in diameter at chest height. Felling was done with a single-man saw and with a broad axe used to trim the log into a squared railroad tie. A sin-

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Figure 6. The author stands beside a high-cut stump, approximately 5’8” tall, located near Archie Creek Camp, 2015. —

Utah Division of State History

gle tree yielded two eight-foot lengths with seven-inch faces (sides). According to the 1913 Forest Service report, a tie cutter could fell and buck upwards of twenty railroad ties per eight to ten-hour day (fig. 7). With Standard Timber Company paying 17 cents per first-rate cross tie, the average tie cutter made about $3.40 per work day. By the early 1920s, though, surplus workers and abundant supplies of crossties had decreased wages by 25–30 percent, according to a 1922 report.23 When tie cutters moved into a new area for harvesting, they constructed their own cabins and supporting structures, which cut into their profits. Constructing and furnishing each cabin with doors, bunks, tables, windows, and a stove cost about $23.34 and required about twenty-two days of labor. Tie cutters used the Standard Company commissary to acquire 23 “Conditions in Railroad Tie Industry Discussed at Producers’ Annual,” Southern Lumberman, February 4, 1922, 40.

tools, food, and clothing. With a normal tie camp in the 1910s comprised of at least three cabins, and supporting about three to six men, the costs quickly escalated.24 Archaeological evidence suggests that these cabins ranged in size from ten by ten feet for small individual or dual-occupancy cabins to twenty-five by forty feet for barns and cookhouses (fig. 8).25 Interiors of cabins covered with logs individually numbered in lumber crayon provide evidence that tie cutters often deconstructed, moved, and rebuilt cabins as they moved from one area to another.26 24 Baker and Hauge, “Report on Tie Operation, Standard Timber Company, Uinta National Forest, 1912–1913,” 23. 25 Archaeological site data is contained with the UintaWasatch-Cache National Forest Heritage Program site records, located in South Jordan, Utah, and the Utah Division of State History Antiquities Program Site Records in Salt Lake City, and is not accessible by nonarchaeologists per federal and state laws for sensitive information. 26 Personal communication with James Ayres, August 3, 2014.


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Figure 7. Tie cutter sporting an ascot, bucking a tie, or cutting it into two eight-foot lengths in the Mill Creek area of the Uinta Mountains. —

U.S. Forest Service

From 1912 to 1916 most of Standard Timber logging efforts reportedly focused on the Mill Creek area, with a second commissary constructed on the Main Fork of the Black’s Fork River, approximately ten miles east, finished in 1916. From the twenty-two-cabin Black’s Fork Commissary, which is still the most visible and visited historic site on the North Slope today (though on private land), tie cutters moved into the headwaters of the East, Middle, and West forks of Black’s Fork. Cutting continued on these streams throughout the 1920s. A final commissary was established on Steel Creek, a tributary of Smith’s Fork, in 1920 or 1921. Steel Creek was eight miles east of the Black’s Fork Commissary and was the major hub of cutting activity from the Wyoming/Utah line all the way up to tree line at 10,000 feet. As seen from the location and dates of commissaries, tie cutting in the post-1900 period generally moved west to east. No tie cutting was likely done on Henry’s Fork, further east, due to the river’s course, which would have floated railroad ties

over 70 miles downstream of the railroad, too far to be hauled to the railroad sidings at Green River, Wyoming. Standard Timber Company operated additional cutting areas in the Wind River Mountains of Wyoming and floated ties over 130 miles to tie pullouts at Green River City throughout the 1920s and early 1930s.27 A remarkable shift in the labor force occurred between 1867 and the 1910s. From what little historical evidence exists, most nineteenth-century loggers on the North Slope were only parttime cutters. Many ventured back to farms and ranches in Wyoming or Utah during the summer months. Most appear to have been of Anglo-Irish or European descent, although we know little about the nationalities and backgrounds of the men and women who worked 27 After 1903, ties pulled out at Granger, Green River, and other locations were likely sent for preservation treatment at the Union Pacific facility in Laramie. Quincy Craft, “Timber Conservation in Wyoming,” American Forestry 26 (1920): 740–41.

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and occupied in nineteenth-century tie cutting camps. With the arrival of Standard Timber in 1912, foreign-born professional tie cutters and loggers from Sweden and Finland began to dominate the labor force. It appears that some might have been experienced loggers from the Midwest, but others directly emigrated from Europe to Wyoming. Due to the lack of any federal or state population census until 1930, limited demographic information is available.

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World War I draft cards dated 1917–1918 provide information on the nationality of loggers at the Black’s Fork Commissary, which included a majority of Swedes and Norwegians, with additional cutters and tie drivers from Bulgaria, Austria, Turkey, Finland, Russia, Germany, and Canada. The military exempted from the draft nearly all Standard Timber loggers due to the national strategic need for railroad ties.28 The sole 1930 Federal Census, erroneously labeled “Henry’s Fork Tie Camp”—almost certainly the Steel Creek Commissary—provides evidence of the shift in demographics.29 Unlike the 1910s, the majority of those enumerated at the camp were American born, with those from Sweden, Finland, Norway, Canada, and Germany rounding out the national backgrounds. Interestingly, though, nearly all of the American-born workers had parents whose birthplaces were in Sweden or Finland. In many cases tie cutting, and logging in general, was a family affair, and these second-generation immigrants were continuing the tradition. Ranger Archie Murchie’s accounts include stereotypic views of Swedish and Finnish immigrants and even a number of 1930s-era derogatory comments about transient “Okie” loggers from Oklahoma and Missouri. Dominance of the tie cutting industry by northern Europeans led to unique cultural facets of life on the North Slope. As Forest Service ranger Archie Murchie described, loggers “played all Scandinavian music, and, of course, did Scandinavian dances. They had one dance they danced a lot—they called it Hambo, as close as I can pronounce it. They danced a lot, and most 28 U.S. World War I Selective Service System Draft Registration Cards, 1917–1918, data online at ancestry.com from National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C. 29 Bureau of the Census, Fifteenth Census of the United States, 1930, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C.

times they had a few whiskey bottles passing around too, which added to their good time.” While no examples have been found archaeologically, Murchie mentions that camps organized by Finnish tie cutters possessed log cabin saunas that provided a cultural continuity for the loggers and also a warm respite to the sometimes-frigid conditions of the Uintas’ long winters.30 Oral histories and census records provide a small glimpse into the inner workings of those camps and alter the perception of all-male logging camps. “There were no women in the camp,” Murchie recalled, “so they would take turns on who would be the women and who would be men for dancing. Sometimes they’d tie a ribbon or handkerchief around the fellow’s arm, and he was a woman.” While a colorful anecdote of a seemingly womanless landscape, Ranger Murchie’s oral history does not reflect other historical evidence to the contrary. Murchie contradicts his own statement to describe how the wives and children of the loggers assisted in the peeling of bark from felled trees and helped to stack, or park, ties along roads for pick up in 1934–1935. In 1913, of the 181 individuals discussed in the report, there were only 20 women, many of whom appeared to be wives of the loggers in the satellite camps surrounding the Mill Creek Commissary.31 In 1916, Mrs. A. Pearson gave birth to the first documented baby (a boy) on the North Slope at the Mill Creek Commissary.32 By the 1920s and 1930s, logging on the North Slope had definitely become a family affair, with women and children appearing in census records and oral histories. At the Steel Creek Commissary, where a small school operated for at least one year in the 1920s, the 1930 census shows 13 women and 20 children in addition to the 65 men. A thin sheet-iron corset hook found by archae30 King, The Free Life of a Ranger, 79. Archaeologists have documented sauna remains in Northern Michigan associated directly with Finnish hardwood logging camps. John G. Franzen, “Northern Michigan Logging Camps: Material Culture and Worker Adaptation on the Industrial Frontier,” Historical Archaeology 20 (1992): 90. 31 King, The Free Life of a Ranger, 79; Baker and Hauge, “Report on Tie Operation, Standard Timber Company, Uinta National Forest, 1912–1913,” 33. 32 Wyoming Times, March 30, 1916, 8.


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Figure 8. Tie cutter’s camp on MacKenzie Creek, near Mill Creek, ca. 1912–1913. Note the cross country skis leaning against the cabins. These were used to access the cutting fields in the winter. —

U.S. Forest Service

ologists at a tie camp near Mill Creek Commissary provides tangible proof of the presence of women at these camps, although we must always be wary of assigning gender to certain artifacts (fig. 9).33 From an archaeological perspective, there is yet more to be learned about camp life and demo33 Christopher W. Merritt, Rachelle Green, and Tom Flanigan, “Preliminary Report on Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest Archaeological Collections,” UintaWasatch-Cache National Forest, Supervisor’s Office, Salt Lake City, Utah, 2011.

graphics within these remote logging camps that could challenge and support the historical record. As noted by Murchie’s description of drinking during Scandinavian dancing at Steel Creek, workers consumed large quantities of alcohol. Standard Timber Company, however, prided itself on running a dry camp and did not provide any alcohol at the commissaries, at least according to the 1913 Forest Service report.34 Artifacts at dozens of sites on the North Slope tell a different story: Standard Timber employees consumed significant amounts of 34 King, The Free Life of a Ranger, 79.


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Figure 9. Corset hook recovered from a tie cutter camp on MacKenzie Creek near Mill Creek, possible evidence of women or a uniquely dressed man. —

Christopher Merritt

Midwestern beer produced by Schlitz, Blatz, and Miller and bottled by William Franzen and Sons in Milwaukee. Stoneware whiskey crocks emblazoned with the cobalt-blue logo of a distributor in Evanston are found at nearly every camp. Archaeologists also found numerous pint-sized whiskey flasks at the bases of stumps in the cutting fields, far from camp, forming an image of a person taking a break during a long winter’s day to imbibe with something stronger than water.35 Of course, bottles of these types might have been used to hold water for keeping saws cool and for use in sharpening, but they likely first contained something far more stimulating. Archaeological sites and artifacts are all that remain of this once-prosperous industry that dominated the Uintas for nearly a century. 35 Unpublished archaeological artifact catalog for Steel Creek and Mill Creek Commissaries, and MacKenzie Creek Camp, on file at Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest Supervisor’s Office, South Jordan, Utah.

After years of dealing with legal proceedings from irate ranchers tired of having their canals and ditches fouled by the seasonal floats, Standard Timber manager Malcolm McQuaig announced the end of winter cutting and tie floating in October 1939.36 The following year, 1940, the Union Pacific Railroad discontinued the use of hand-hewn and river-driven ties; the last known sawmill-manufactured ties floated down the Wind River of Wyoming in 1946.37 Introduction of gasoline-powered chainsaws, diesel sawmills, and heavy trucks into the logging world radically changed the way trees were cut. All these factors led to the abandonment of the traditional industry of hand-cut railroad ties, at least on an industrial level. Standard Timber Company continued operations in the 1940s, and slowly faded to memory. In the post–World War II period, logging transitioned toward a broader suite of products and milled products, with workers traveling from nearby towns or living in makeshift and portable frame cabins. In his autobiography, retired USFS forester Isaac E. Smith noted that the new timber sales on Smith’s Fork in the late 1930s and early 1940s “was well opened up with roads built by the Forest Service and strip roads left by the tie hacks,” which facilitated the use of trucks, and “our 1 ½ ton trucks were driven along the strip roads and loaded by hand,” replacing the horse-drawn sleds of the previous eras. The heyday of the tie cutter had passed.38 Today, the legacy of tie cutting covers nearly every ridge, valley, and bench on the North Slope of the Uinta Mountains. Decades of archaeological research have identified over 200 sites containing the remnants of over 500 cabins that range in date from the 1860s to the 1950s. In other areas the loggers never left, as evidenced by the Suicide Park graves on the Wyoming/Utah state line on Smith’s Fork. The graves of three tie hacks, who were reputed to have committed suicide due to being infirm or elderly, rest peacefully under aspen trees and 36 Ogden Standard-Examiner, October 1, 1939, 3. 37 Rosenberg, “Woodrock Tie Hack District, Bighorn National Forest Cultural Resource Management Plan,” 9–10. 38 Isaac E. Smith, “Autobiography of Isaac E. Smith,” 1979, 47–48, on file at U.S. Forest Service Region 4 Headquarters, Ogden, Utah.


An uninformed traveler of the Mirror Lake Highway might pass a solitary cabin, roof fallen and barely visible above the shrubbery, and never even realize the contribution of its former occupant to the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad and the arrival of a truly continental flow of goods, people, and ideas. As is not uncommon in archaeology and history, the story of the North Slope cutting industry will never be completely documented 39 Death records for Rose and Mattsen suggest they were actually buried in Robertson, Wyoming. No record of Jack Rose’s death exists. See Death Certificates at the Utah State Archives and Records Service, Salt Lake City, Utah. 40 Personal communication with James E. Ayres, July 21, 2012. 41 Charmaine Thompson, notes for site 42SM70, August 2000, on file at Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest, Supervisor’s Office, South Jordan, Utah.

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Christopher W. Merritt is a historical archaeologist and Deputy State Historic Preservation Officer at the Utah Division of State History. He thanks James E. Ayers for his 50 years of work and passion to tell this story.

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Looters and vandals in search of bottles and cans have decimated many of these sites’ archaeological deposits, with those looters taking significant pieces of American history and turning them into objects of status or wealth. For example, the original Coe & Carter camp on the Black’s Fork River was systematically looted in the 1980s with entire trenches cut through standing cabins.40 In other sites, walls of cabins have been torn down to fuel campfires or for simple pyromaniacal joy. During a volunteer project in 2000, archaeologists spent weeks mapping the Mill Creek Commissary site, only to find that overnight someone had excavated several yards of soil, displacing thousands of artifacts and destroying the mapping system.41

and explicated, but that is part of the fun and mystique of getting hands on with the past. Thanks to the work of dedicated historians and archaeologists and the continued preservation efforts of Forest Service personnel, the tie cutting industry will continue to be interpreted and preserved until the last log decays into the earth to feed the next generation of lodgepole and spruce.

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a ramshackle pole fence. While it is unclear if the remains of Ole Olson, Charlie Mattsen, and Jack Rose actually rest within this solitary graveyard, the site portrays the harsh life and unforgiving circumstances of tie cutters past their prime.39 Collections made by archaeologists have helped our understanding of the types of food and drink they consumed, and the discovery of harmonica reeds, Swedish language newspaper clippings, and canned fish can tell a more human story than can historical documents alone. Work by the Forest Service and others continues to document and catalog the remains of these contributors to the building of the West.

117 Visit history.utah.gov/uhqextras to take a guided tour with Christopher Merritt at several tie-hacking and logging sites on the North Slope and to view a gallery of historic photographs of tie-hacking operations and color contemporary photographs of the archaeological remains. We also offer an interview with Dr. Merritt to discuss the tools, methodologies, and insights of historical archaeology.


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A brief piece from the January 22, 1909, issue of the Salt Lake Herald that suggests the amount of newspaper coverage the sensational murder of Mary Stevens received in Utah. Stevens’s paramour, Alvin Heaton Jr., was convicted of her murder and sentenced to life in prison. (Note that the media often spelled her last name incorrectly.)


The 1908 Murder of Mary Stevens in Orderville, Utah

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Two shots rang out, followed by the victim’s scream, in Gardner Hollow just outside Orderville, Utah. After a brief pause, another shot rang out; a moment later, a final shot. No one except the gunman witnessed the grisly crime, not even the victim. Only a lone ten-year-old sheepherder, about a mile away, heard the shots outside the hollow. Hunting in the area was common, so there was no apparent cause for him to be alarmed.1 The events of April 20, 1908, when Mary Manerva Stevens was brutally shot in the back and her body hastily secreted in a ravine, are almost lost to history. The killer was Alvin Franklin Heaton Jr., a young man of good character and actions, according to reports both before and after the killing, yet who took the life of another human being in a premeditated act. Although historians can trace the events leading to Stevens’s death, it is more difficult to understand Heaton’s action. The two unwed young people had been engaged in a sexual relationship, behavior that during this time left them both—but especially her—open to public shame if it became known. The closed, highly religious atmosphere of turn-of-thecentury Orderville could have only added to this stigma. What was more, Stevens reportedly claimed that state law gave her leverage and protection. Finally, the testimony of Heaton’s peers established that he was comfortable using coarse—even misogynistic—language to describe her, 1 “State Opens Its Case against Young Heaton” and “Evidence Completed in Heaton Murder Case,” Richfield (UT) Reaper, January 21, 1909.

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A Most Horrible Crime

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This drawing shows Orderville as it may have looked circa 1880. The apartment house units—known as “shanties”—bordering the town square suggest the communal orientation of the town. —

Utah State Historical Society

suggesting that this young man placed women in different categories based on their sexual activity, while giving himself impunity. All of these aspects of their social world could have contributed to Heaton’s decision to murder Stevens. Historical sources compound the difficulty of understanding this episode. Precious little is actually known of Stevens and the others, since this is a story that has been hidden away in the community and only whispered about since its occurrence, until it is impossible to know the full matter’s truth. Even many modern residents of Orderville have not grown up with the story. Newspaper and legal reports exist, but they are sparse and it is difficult to determine their level of accuracy and the biases they contain. Newspaper accounts must be used with caution, especially when no legal documents can corroborate them. With the possible exception of the accounts of the killer’s confession

and trial, the journalists of the time seemed to rely as much on each other as they did on actual witnesses to obtain information for their articles. The difficulty in other sources exists because this crime divided community members, who buried it away and rarely spoke of it afterward.2 Not even the biography of Thomas 2 Rosemary Heaton Cundiff, interview by Roger Blomquist, March 26, 2015, Salt Lake City, Utah, in possession of the author. Cundiff stated that her brother, Alvin Dean Heaton, who was named after Alvin F. Heaton Jr.’s father, grew up without ever hearing the story of Mary Stevens’s death. Cundiff did, however, hear of it as a child from her grandfather, Christopher Beilby Heaton, who was Alvin Heaton Jr.’s first cousin and twenty years old at the time of the murder. Because of the lack of information, I have carefully scrutinized and cross-checked the extant sources to reconstruct the events as completely as possible. The main body of sources consists of newspaper accounts, which by their very nature are suspect but still provide the most information available to us today. Whenever possible, I compared multiple newspaper articles against the legal documents and other sources and then with each


other to establish the commonality of truth. Although the news media often sensationalizes the sensational, in this situation, the newspaper articles seem to be mostly in alignment with the official documents and oral history that remain. 3 Jonathan M. Chamberlain and Beverly Christensen Chamberlain, Happy is the Man: A Social Biography of Thomas Chamberlain (1854–1918) (Provo, UT: Brigham Young University Printing Services, 2009). 4 Dawn Chapman, personal communication with Roger Blomquist, April 3, 2015. Chapman is an employee of Snow, Christensen, and Martineau, which was the law firm of Thurman, Wedgewood, and Irvine at the time of the murder. 5 Martha Sonntag Bradley, A History of Kane County (Salt Lake City: Utah State Historical Society / Kane County Commission, 1999), 187–91; “Orderville, UT,” accessed May 20, 2014, www.townoforderville.com; Adonis Findlay Robinson, ed., History of Kane County (Salt Lake City: Utah Printing, 1970), 411. 6 Robinson, ed., Kane County, 407–19; Bradley, Kane County, 127. 7 Leonard J. Arrington, Feramorz Y. Fox, and Dean L. May, Building the City of God: Community and Cooperation among the Mormons (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1976), 279, 467–70.

While her parents lived in nearby Mt. Carmel, eighteen-year-old Mary Stevens lived with her brother Joseph, his pregnant wife Francis (Heaton’s first cousin), and their two small children in Orderville to attend school. They lived in a two-story house with a cellar at the corner of Sand and Wash Streets.10 She made good grades and was in the process of taking her final examinations for graduation; it was on the morning of April 20th that she took the first 8 Kathryn M. Daynes, More Wives than One: Transformation of the Mormon Marriage System, 1840– 1910 (Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2001), 200. Information provided by Marlayne Nye. On April 9, 1912, the Utah Supreme Court upheld the decision to incarcerate Donald Chapman for seventy-five days, in the case of Utah State vs. Chapman. Police officers caught and arrested Chapman and Beatea Mathews in the act of fornication. Harmel L. Pratt, Report of Cases Decided in the Supreme Court of the State of Utah, vol. 40 (Chicago: Callaghan, 1914), 550. 9 “Evidence Completed in Heaton Murder Case.” 10 Testimony, June 16 and 17, 1908, State of Utah vs. Alvin F. Heaton Jr., Sixth District Court (Kane County), Civil and Criminal Case Files, Case 73, Series 10570, Utah State Archives and Records Service, Salt Lake City, Utah (USARS); Warren C. Foote ed. Christopher Beilby Heaton and His Wives Margaret Ann Esplin, Christina Maria Allen, Sarah Elizabeth Esplin, Phoebe Ellen Norwood and Their Descendants: A Book of Remembrance (privately published, 2009), 135.

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Still other factors played into this pressured situation. Perhaps the most critical aspect was a Utah law that made “intercourse with a[n unmarried] woman between the ages of thirteen and eighteen a felony.”8 Comments Heaton made while in jail provide evidence that this law worried him and that it might have motivated him to choose murder over marriage.9 And although gender dynamics were beginning to change in America generally at this time, the evidence from Heaton’s own set of associates suggests that a sexual double standard was in place among them. While none of these aspects of life in the Orderville of 1908 can be blamed for Heaton’s decision, they do set the stage for his actions.

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Stevens’s death and the events leading up to it occurred in a place with a distinctive history that, by 1908, was in a time of transition. Orderville is located in southern Utah’s Long Valley, along historic Highway 89 between Panguitch and Kanab. The telephone had arrived there in 1905, but the local advent of the automobile was still a few years away.5 Orderville’s past added to the change occurring there. While Orderville was not the only Utah community to live the United Order, the LDS church’s cooperative program, Orderville was organized with the United Order as its first priority, and it was the most successful and longest-lasting example of the movement, holding out until 1885.6 This practice set Orderville apart from its neighbors and provided its residents with a sense of pride in what they perceived to be an elite community; the Heaton family was well established in Orderville, having been there since its founding.7 Further, to force polygamy to an end, the federal government passed several laws during the nineteenth century condemning the prac-

tice. Many LDS church officials in Orderville still lived polygamy in 1908, causing some of the townspeople to feel that they had to protect and defend their way of life. Perhaps the insularity of this town and its sense of communal consciousness led to the shock and polarization over the tragic events of April 20, 1908.

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Chamberlain, the man who convinced the killer to confess, mentions the case or his involvement with it.3 Samuel R. Thurman’s law firm, which represented the killer, routinely destroys its records after seven years and has no account of the Heaton case.4

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portion of her exams. Mary decided to spend that afternoon in study and preparation for the rest of the examinations. She walked back to her brother’s house for lunch and then left with her books to walk up the hill towards the nearby canyon.11 As he worked in his garden, Joseph stopped to watch her walk out of sight and then went back to tending his soil. Since she made it a practice to spend the night with girlfriends, Joseph was not concerned when she did not return that night. He expected to see her in the morning when she came back to get ready for school. Mary was a dedicated student, so Joseph thought she was either relaxing with friends after she had studied or was in a late-night study session. Since he was comfortable in the knowledge that she was preparing for finals, he went to bed expecting to see her the next day.12 The following morning, Mary did not come home to get ready for school. Joseph, still not concerned but wanting to make sure all was well, walked down to the schoolhouse to see her. He found she was not at the schoolhouse and asked the teacher, David Smith, and his students if they had seen Mary that morning. No one had. Joseph now became concerned because it was not like her to miss school.13 He telephoned their parents, who lived two and a half miles south in Mt. Carmel, and asked if his sister had spent the night there. They answered in the negative; they had not seen her either.14 Joseph, now fully concerned, walked up the hill to where he had last seen Mary and found her tracks. He followed them along the trail towards Gardner Hollow (commonly known as Gordon or Garden Hollow). It was fortunate for him that it had not rained during the night, making her tracks easy to follow.15 As he entered 11 Testimony, June 16 and 17, 1908, State of Utah vs. Alvin F. Heaton Jr.; “School Girl Is Foully Murdered,” Salt Lake Tribune, April 25, 1908. 12 “Body of Girl Found in Canyon,” Inter-Mountain Republican, April 25, 1908; “Murder at Orderville,” Richfield Reaper, April 30, 1908. 13 “School Girl Is Foully Murdered.” 14 Testimony, June 16 and 17, 1908, State of Utah vs. Alvin F. Heaton Jr.; “Shocking Murder,” Washington County News, April 23, 1908; “School Girl Cruelly Slain,” Deseret News, April 25, 1908; “Did Alvin Heaton Slay Young Woman?,” Salt Lake Tribune, January 11, 1909. 15 “Boy Accused of Brutal Murder,” Deseret News, May 6, 1908.

the hollow he discovered another set of footprints, those of a male who had come up beside her. The two sets of tracks continued side by side until they came to a clear spot in the hollow where they became confusing. As he looked more closely, Joseph found pools of blood in the dirt.16 Concern grew into alarm, and he ran back into town and located Constable Wilford W. Heaton, Justice of the Peace Edward Carroll, Wallace Adair, Nevin Luke, and David Esplin to help find her.17 The party soon arrived at the blood-soaked sand in the hollow. While they examined the area, one searcher found a piece of blue ribbon in a ravine close by. As they pulled on the ribbon they found it was still attached to the buried hat Mary wore when she had walked up the hill the previous day. As they dug deeper and cleared away the sand, rocks, and brush, they found Mary’s body buried face down. They dug her body out and conducted a quick onsite coroner’s inquest to discover her cause of death. There were four bullet wounds in her back and a wound along the left side of her scalp, just above the ear.18 Mary Stevens had been murdered. The members of the search party had no doubt that the killer had previously chosen this spot because it was “situated in a concealed side-canyon under a shelving rock and a narrow gulley about eight feet deep that had been washed out wide enough for the body to be concealed.”19 They carefully carried her body down the mountain to Joseph’s house and laid her on the table. Sarah Foote, a resident of the community, found a .38 caliber bullet within Mary’s clothes as she carefully removed them from her body.20 Meanwhile, Joseph telephoned his 16 Ibid.; “Alvin Heaton Admits He Killed the Girl,” Ogden Standard-Examiner, May 14, 1908; “Body of Girl Found in Canyon.” 17 Testimony, June 16 and 17, 1908, State of Utah vs. Alvin F. Heaton Jr.; “State Opens Its Case against Young Heaton.” 18 Testimony, June 16 and 17, 1908, State of Utah vs. Alvin F. Heaton Jr.; “State Opens Its Case against Young Heaton”; “A Shocking Murder,” Washington County News, April 23, 1908; “School Girl Cruelly Slain.” 19 “Boy Accused of Brutal Murder”; “Girl Is Mysteriously Killed in Southern Utah,” Ogden Standard-Examiner, April 25, 1908; “Alvin Heaton Admits He Killed the Girl”; “Heaton Confesses to Brutal Murder,” InterMountain Republican, May 14, 1908. 20 “State Opens Its Case against Young Heaton.”


Moir, a graduate of Michigan College of Medicine and Surgery, conducted the examination of Stevens’s body to determine a motive for the crime. As expected, he found her corpse to be advancing in decomposition. He also found abrasions on her right arm and one on her right earlobe. There was a ragged scalp wound above and in front of her left ear about two inches 21 Testimony, June 16 and 17, 1908, State of Utah vs. Alvin F. Heaton Jr.; “State Opens Its Case against Young Heaton”; “School Girl Is Foully Murdered”; “Arrested for Kanab Murder,” Deseret News, May 1, 1908. 22 “A Shocking Murder”; “School Girl Cruelly Slain.” 23 “School Girl Cruelly Slain”; “Body of Girl Found in Canyon.” 24 Testimony, June 16 and 17, 1908, State of Utah vs. Alvin F. Heaton Jr.

25 Ibid.; “State Opens Its Case against Young Heaton.” 26 “Orderville Crime Remains a Mystery,” Inter-Mountain Republican, April 28, 1908. 27 Testimony, June 16 and 17, 1908; Transcript of docket and proceedings, filed June 17, 1908; and information filed June 20, 1908, all in State of Utah vs. Alvin F. Heaton Jr.; “Orderville Crime Remains a Mystery”; “Arrested for Kanab Murder,” Deseret News, May 1, 1908; “State Opens Its Case against Young Heaton”; “Alvin Heaton Arrested,” Richfield Reaper, May 7, 1908. 28 “Alvin Heaton Arrested.”

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Townspeople, on the other hand, were reported as being convinced his alibi was solid and would stand up in court, and they expected the sheriff would soon release him. They were hopeful when they heard the rumor that another man, who left town the day after the murder, had been arrested about eighty miles to the north in the town of Circleville. Yet the sheriff never veered from his conviction that young Heaton was the perpetrator. More and more evidence came to light that convinced law enforcement officials of Heaton’s guilt, and they arrested him for the crime.27 He had a .38 caliber gun, the same foot size as the killer, and a chink in his alibi. The officials decided that enough evidence existed to proceed to a trial, and Heaton was taken to Kanab for arraignment.28

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Since Orderville was such a small, tightly knit religious community, its people were convinced only an outsider would commit such a crime. The sheriff was from Kanab, however, so he was not so quick to dismiss the idea of a townsperson committing the crime. He began to investigate a seventeen-year-old youth from a prominent Orderville family named Alvin F. Heaton Jr. The reports on Heaton were mixed. Perhaps in a sensational effort to sell papers, journalists noted that the youth had been “playing the tough” and had allegedly “shot up the town” a time or two.26

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It was customary for students to take their books up to Gardner Hollow and study, and it was supposed that Mary Stevens had done so when she met her untimely death. It was thought that perhaps the perpetrator saw her go up the canyon and took advantage of the opportunity to attack her. This idea was strengthened by the fact that she was shot in the back while she attempted to flee her assailant.22 Her violent death shocked the people of Kane County, who committed to do everything they could to bring the killer to justice, and immediately telephoned Kanab for Kane County Sheriff James A. Brown to investigate. He hurried to Orderville, accompanied by Dr. Andrew John Moir and County Attorney Herman Scott Cutler.23 They arrived in Orderville at about ten o’clock on the night of April 21.24

long, and slight abrasions on both her arms that could be explained by the rocks and debris dumped onto her body. He also recorded that four gunshots had entered her back, but only two exited, coming out her left breast. He found no evidence of vaginal violence; however, he did find indications that she had intercourse previous to her murder. Moir determined that any one of the gunshot wounds in her back would have proven fatal.25 As far as motive for murder, however, the evidence was inconclusive.

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father, Ezra Stevens, and informed him of the murder. Ezra immediately came to Orderville and followed his son to the murder scene. With some difficulty, Ezra identified the tracks of the killer from the hollow back toward town as he followed the intermittent tracks along the rocky trail. Exercising great concentration, he relocated the tracks each time they were lost until he had followed them to the town’s edge. The tracks then became obscured with the foot traffic that passed through the area after the killer passed. Ezra determined that a size six man’s shoe had made the tracks, and others later confirmed his findings.21 This information helped narrow the search since six was an unusually small shoe size for a man.

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group of Mormons to move north and establish Orderville. A sense of separation might have lingered between the residents of the different towns those many years later. All in all, Heaton’s condescending behavior must have been painful to Stevens—to have him refuse to acknowledge their relationship in the daylight but then to curry her physical favor in the dark.

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Before her death Stevens had written a piece that, according to newspaper accounts, she planned to read the following week at her graduation commencement exercises. She knew at the time she was pregnant and seemed to be in a reflective mood when she wrote the essay, entitled “I Wonder.” Stevens used “I Wonder” to question the qualifications of the state board of education, the patience of her teacher, and the inattention of local adults to the condition of the school. She also spent much time considering the behavior of her classmates. In “I Wonder” she mentioned both Alvin Heaton and his girlfriend Mamie Robinson: “I wonder if Alvin could think of more to growl at? If he can’t, I wonder why?” and “I wonder if Mame thinks she’s large enough to be worth mentioning.” This appears to be a comment against Robertson, since Stevens had a relationship with Robertson’s boyfriend without her knowledge.30

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This grainy photograph of Mary Stevens is an artifact of the young woman’s life, which ended only two days after the image was taken. Stevens was a good student who lived with her brother’s family so that she could attend school in Orderville. —

Deseret News, May 6, 1908

As the case developed, the newspapers began reporting on the social aspect of Stevens’s and Heaton’s relationship. One contemporary article noted that she was of “humble parentage” and not part of Heaton’s popular crowd. Heaton snubbed Stevens in public, it continued, and showed indifference, but he kept company with her “on the quiet.”29 The differences between the two were not merely ones of family status; Stevens was also from the nearby town of Mt. Carmel which, in the 1870s, chose to not adhere strictly to the United Order. This impelled a 29 “A Paper of Interest,” Richfield Reaper, February 4, 1909.

Stevens also mentioned one Heber Meeks, asking, “I wonder why Heber stands so straight and thinks himself so great? I wonder if it’s because he’s class president or I wonder if it’s because he’s so popular among the girls? Well I wonder.” Unbeknownst to most of the community, Meeks also allegedly had a relationship with Stevens around this time.31 This knowledge certainly adds new insight to her question of why the class president “stands so straight and thinks himself so great.” Once again, Stevens had broken into her class’s upper echelon and spent

30 Not much is known about Mary Emily (Mamie) Robertson. She was born in Orderville on May 21, 1890, to Isaac Sapp, a blacksmith, and Emily (Emma) Jane Sapp. She married sheepshearer David Evans Pryor in Panguitch on December 13, 1912, less than four years after her boyfriend Alvin Heaton was convicted of murder. They had two daughters and David preceded her in death in 1969; she did not join him until December 6, 1983. 31 Alvin Croft, Diary, Kanab Heritage Museum, Kanab, Utah. Access granted by Deanna Glover.


Heaton originally appeared in Kanab at the end of April for his preliminary arraignment but was unprepared both physically and mentally for the proceedings. One report stated that he showed signs of embarrassment or fright at first, as indicated by a slight quivering of his lower lip, but he soon overcame it. Once calm, the Deseret News reported, “he maintained an appearance of indifference.”35 Heaton did not, or could not, focus on what Justice of the Peace Edwin Mantripp Ford said as he read the complaint against 32 Only one contemporary source named Heber Meeks as a participant in the events surrounding Stevens’s death. It is possible that Alvin Croft remembered incorrectly when he named Meeks. For information about Meeks’s life, see “Register of the Heber Meeks Collection, 1985– 1986,” accessed February 22, 2016, http://files.lib.byu. edu/ead/XML/MSS1677.xml. 33 “A Paper of Interest.” 34 Testimony, June 16 and 17, 1908, State of Utah vs. Alvin F. Heaton Jr.; “Alvin Heaton Arrested,” Richfield Reaper, May 7, 1908; “Did Alvin Heaton Slay Young Woman?” 35 “Arrested for Kanab Murder,” Ogden StandardExaminer, May 2, 1908; “Arrested for Kanab Murder,” Deseret News, May 1, 1908.

36 “Arrested for Kanab Murder,” Deseret News, May 1, 1908; “Boy Is Suspected of Brutal Murder,” Salt Lake Tribune May 2, 1908. 37 “Boy Is Charged with Murder of Girl,” Salt Lake Telegram, May 2, 1908; “Arrested for Kanab Murder,” Deseret News, May 1, 1908. 38 Transcript of docket, June 17, 1908, State of Utah vs. Alvin F. Heaton Jr.; “Heaton before Court,” Ogden StandardExaminer, May 9, 1908; “Kanab Trial of Alvin Heaton Continued to November Term of Court,” Deseret News, August 24, 1908. 39 Others testified that they made the circuit in less time. “State Opens Its Case against Young Heaton”; “Arrested for Kanab Murder,” Deseret News, May 1, 1908; “Arrested for Kanab Murder,” Ogden Standard-Examiner, May 2, 1908; “Boy Is Charged with Murder of Girl”; “Boy Is

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Heaton again appeared with Defense Attorney John Franklin Brown before the justice court for arraignment on May 9, 1908. The small Kane County courtroom was filled to capacity because even with outlaws often riding through the area, nothing like this had ever happened in the sleepy community before. Spectators eager to get a glimpse of the alleged killer surrounded the building. Reporters said Heaton was in good spirits and frequently smiled and visited with “singular unconcern” with those around him.37 He pleaded innocent with an alibi that adequately covered his whereabouts on the murder day with witnesses—except for the hour between five and six o’clock.38 Heaton claimed that he had been alone cleaning stables during that hour, but no one could verify this story. Brown and Moir had walked the route together from town up to the murder site and back, and even after they spent ten minutes at the crime scene, they were able to make the circuit in about fifty minutes. This allowed plenty of time for Heaton to commit the crime during that hour.39 Upon deeper investigation, it was found

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In time, something about Heaton’s reported behavior caused concern on the part of District Attorney Joseph Erickson, so on his way home to Richfield he stopped in Panguitch and sent Dr. R. Garn Clark, a graduate of the College of Physicians and Surgeons in Baltimore, Maryland, down to investigate. Unfortunately, the reports do not explain what it was about Heaton’s behavior that caused this concern. Under Erickson’s orders, Clark had the body exhumed. Clark and Moir conducted a more thorough examination, making an abdominal incision to remove the uterus. Upon dissection they found a fetus, which finally provided motive for the murder.34

him; instead, the young man looked about the room or stared out the window, perhaps in a state of disbelief. Judge Ford did not see an attorney in the room, so he asked if Heaton had obtained counsel. Heaton answered in the affirmative, but when the judge asked him where he was, Heaton simply stated that he did not understand what Ford meant. Ford dismissed the arraignment to allow Heaton sufficient time to secure a lawyer and reappear before him at a later date.36 While it could be concluded that Heaton was a cold-blooded killer by his actions here, taken with all the sources and evidence, a portrait of an addled youth also emerges.

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intimate time with one of its leaders.32 She concluded with, “I wonder if this audience thinks our program is worth listening to? If they don’t I wonder why? I wonder if they don’t think I’m quite smart?” At this point, Stevens was likely the only one who knew she was pregnant. If the town found out, she could face shame and ostracism. “I Wonder” suggests that this young woman understood the difficulties she faced and seriously contemplated the world she lived in. “I wonder and still I wonder,” she asked, “but I cannot wonder what we all will become.”33

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that Heaton’s shoe size matched perfectly with the tracks found at the scene.40 Several county residents were now convinced of his guilt in this matter, but many others believed that “the boy [was] simply the victim of a chain of circumstances.”41

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Before the hearing in the county jail, Heaton underwent interrogation by Sheriff Brown and community members Thomas Chamberlain, Hans Sorensen, and H. S. Cutler. At this point, Heaton broke down and confessed to Chamberlain. He admitted that he had killed Mary Stevens and dictated a step-by-step accounting of how had he done it, while Brown wrote down the confession and presented it to Heaton for his signature. In the court trial, Chamberlain admitted that the written words on the signed confession were not exactly the words of the defendant but made no elaboration beyond that.42 It became obvious to them that the crime was premeditated and that Heaton had endeavored to create an alibi to turn away suspicion.43 His confession began: With my own free will, without promise of hope of reward, or without fear or threats on the part of any person or persons, I confess with my own free will and choice that on April 20, A.D. 1908, at about 5:30 p.m., I shot to death Mary Steavens [sic]. I put her in a wash in the rocks and covered her body with loose rocks.44 Heaton continued with an admission that he had once had illicit relations with her, and since Stevens was pregnant she wanted him to marry her. He refused because he did not love her. This led to a quarrel between them because, Heaton said, she was adamant that their child Suspected of Brutal Murder.” 40 “Boy Is Charged with Murder of Girl”; “Boy Is Suspected of Brutal Murder.”

be born under the protection of his name. Again he refused and she used the last piece of leverage she had against him: by law she could force him to marry her. At that point, Heaton’s planning came into play as he made the final fateful decision that it was better for him to end Stevens’s life, if she persisted, than for him to face legal punishment or social exclusion; he would not be held responsible for this child. Therefore, in an exchange the week before the murder, he traded a deck of playing cards with John W. Healy, a local man, to borrow his Smith and Wesson .38 caliber, double action revolver. He made the trade under the guise of shooting rabbits at a local roundup.45 Heaton admitted that on the morning of the 20th, he and Stevens had made an appointment for around five o’clock that evening to meet in Gardner Hollow and continue their discussion. It was at this time that the young man began to construct his alibi to avoid arrest. He went to the cooperative store where his uncle worked and spent some time there. Heaton wanted as many townspeople as possible to see him so they could testify of his whereabouts. He then went home and ate his midday meal and retrieved the gun he had borrowed from Healy. He worked around the family’s lot while he drove some wandering cows away and then went into the barn to be invisible to anyone who might have been watching. Before long, Heaton slipped away and walked up the hill to Gardner Hollow and waited for Stevens to arrive. Once they were together, they walked farther up the hollow and stopped in an open spot. They then continued their earlier conversation. According to Heaton, Stevens again insisted that he marry her and again he refused, “Won’t you let me off and not make me marry you?” he pleaded. “No,” she said. “I can make you marry me by law.”46

41 “Heaton before Court.” 42 Testimony, June 16 and 17, 1908, State of Utah vs. Alvin F. Heaton Jr.; “Evidence Completed in Heaton Murder Case.” 43 Testimony, June 16 and 17, 1908; and Transcript of docket, filed June 17, 1908, State of Utah vs. Alvin F. Heaton Jr.; “Boy Accused of Brutal Murder.” 44 Testimony, June 16 and 17, 1908, State of Utah vs. Alvin F. Heaton Jr.; “Boy Murderer’s Written Confession,” Deseret News, May 16, 1908.

45 The trade was for a month’s time. Testimony, June 16 and 17, 1908, State of Utah vs. Alvin F. Heaton Jr.; “Arrested for Kanab Murder,” Deseret News, May 1, 1908. 46 When Heaton said he “had had unlawful relations with her,” and reported that Stevens told him, “I can make you marry me by law,” he was probably referring to the Utah State law making premarital sexual relations with minors illegal.


On June 19, 1908, the preliminary hearing began against Heaton to determine if enough evidence existed to take him to trial. District Attorney Erickson and County Attorney Cutler represented the state of Utah. The defendant still did not appear to be nervous when he entered the courtroom and smiled at people he knew. The victim’s brother, Joseph Stevens; the clerk in the local co-op store, Edward Carroll; constable Wilford Heaton; Sarah Foote, who dressed Mary’s body; Johnny Healy, who owned the 47 Testimony, June 16 and 17, 1908, State of Utah vs. Alvin F. Heaton Jr.; “Boy Murderer’s Written Confession”; “Alvin Heaton Admits He Killed the Girl”; “Boy Confesses to A Hideous Murder,” Salt Lake Telegram, May 14, 1908; “Alvin Heaton Confesses,” Richfield Reaper, May 14, 1908; “Young Alvin Heaton is the Guilty Party,” Washington County News, May 14, 1908; “State Opens Its Case against Young Heaton.”

During the hearing, Joseph testified that Mary had lived with him and his wife in Orderville to attend school there. He also testified that she did not come home the night of April 20th, so after he checked in at the school and found she was not in attendance on the 21st, he went up the hill to track her movements and found the crime scene. Edward Carroll testified that he sold the defendant six cartridges of .38 caliber shortly before the murder. As justice of the peace in Orderville, it was he who organized the coroner’s inquest in Gardner Hollow and examined the wounds after the search party had recovered the body. Wilford Heaton, the Orderville constable, related similar details.50 The testimony of Dr. John Moir provided critical information about the association between Heaton and Stevens. Moir described his exam48 Testimony, June 16 and 17, 1908, State of Utah vs. Alvin F. Heaton Jr. 49 Ibid. Transcript of docket, June 17, 1908, State of Utah vs. Alvin F. Heaton Jr.; “Held to District Court for Murder”; “State Prison for the Boy Murderer,” Deseret News, June 22, 1908; “Will Bring Heaton to the State Penitentiary.” 50 Testimony, June 16 and 17, 1908, State of Utah vs. Alvin F. Heaton Jr.

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Attorney Brown, able to see how the hearing would shape up, waived the right to a preliminary hearing after Joseph Stevens testified. However, the prosecuting attorneys decided to continue on and complete the hearing; unfortunately, the records do not indicate why they made this decision. Perhaps the prosecuting team wanted to solidify their case before they moved on to trial. Since Brown had already conceded to the state, he remained silent throughout the remainder of the hearing and refused to cross-examine the witnesses. It is believed that the members of the defense team knew that an acquittal was out of the question at this point and solely worked to keep Heaton from being executed, as they tried to change the charge from first-degree to second-degree murder. It is understandable why the defense would be willing to waive the defendant’s right to a preliminary hearing since there was overwhelming evidence and testimony against him, including his own confession.49

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Heaton stopped in at his cousin’s house for a moment to see if he was home so that someone would see him back in town to help solidify his alibi. Since his cousin was not there, Heaton hurried back home. While on his way, he saw Joseph Stevens walking to his mother-in-law’s house. He also saw his uncle Fred Heaton and others visiting at the house. Heaton slipped past everyone and went into the barn to hide the spent cartridge shells. Once he had dealt with the shells, Heaton went into the house and hid the empty gun in his trunk. Then he changed his blood-splattered clothes (he would later explain this away as chicken blood) and proceeded back out to clean the stall in the barn as though nothing had happened. The youth closed his confession by explaining that when he had completed cleaning the stall, he returned to the house and visited with his mother until he went back down to the co-op, to be seen in public once again.47

murder weapon; and Sheriff Brown all testified at the hearing.48

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Now, as the specter of social and familial pressure came to bear on Heaton, it seemed to him that there was no amicable way out of this situation. He drew the borrowed gun as she looked away and shot her twice from behind. Stevens fell to her knees, and he shot her a third time, which caused her to fall flat on her face. Heaton then stepped over her body and shot her a fourth time. He hurriedly concealed Stevens’s body in a small ravine and covered it with rocks and brush; then he noticed her hat. He buried it and headed back down toward town at a jog.

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ination process and the four bullet wounds in Stevens’s back, along with the two exit wounds in front. He explained that when he examined her external reproductive organs he found no indication of violence. When the prosecuting attorneys asked if he had made any other examination of her body, Moir answered that he had discovered that Stevens had sexual relations with someone before her death. When asked how soon before the crime these relations had taken place, he answered that authorities disagreed on the time frame. He could not say whether the intercourse had taken place just moments before the murder or before then. Moir also testified that he and Dr. Clark had later exhumed the young woman and found that Stevens had been six or seven weeks pregnant.51 Sarah Foote was then called to testify. She confirmed that as she spread the wet, bloody clothing out to dry, she found a bullet in a fold of the knit undershirt. Foote also testified about the number and location of wounds from bullets that had entered Stevens’s back and exited her front, information that correlated with Moir’s medical description. The next witness, Johnny Healy, testified that the revolver shown to him—the murder weapon—did indeed belong to him and that he had lent the gun to Alvin Heaton shortly before the murder. When Heaton asked to trade his deck of cards for the use of Healy’s gun at an upcoming roundup, Healy found nothing odd in the request and agreed to the exchange.52 Sheriff Brown gave a timeline of events from the point when he was called in Kanab until Heaton confessed and Brown had completed his investigation. Brown told of the interrogation conversation with Heaton, where he (Heaton) discussed the chain of events, as he lured Stevens up to the hollow and discussed her pregnancy. Heaton also explained how she was prepared to force him to marry her, which influenced his decision to kill Stevens and hide her body. He then returned to town with his alibi ready.53 After the hearing, Heaton was moved from Kanab to the state penitentiary in Sugar House 51 Ibid. 52 Ibid. 53 Ibid.

for safekeeping.54 Officials felt it would cost less to house the young man in Salt Lake City, since the Kane County jail was not equipped for the long-term care of inmates.55 Heaton’s trial was set for November 23, 1908, with attorney John Brown scheduled to represent him.56 At some point, and for reasons not disclosed in the legal records, the Salt Lake City attorney Samuel Richard Thurman replaced Brown, presumably because of the high-profile nature of the case and the desire to have a more skilled attorney at the helm.57 Thurman was on his way to Kanab to meet with Heaton before the trial began when he received word in Marysvale that the trial had been postponed. He then turned around and returned to Salt Lake City. John Foy Chidester was the sitting judge for the Sixth District Court in Sevier County, but since he had “unfinished business in the Fourth Judicial District Court,” Provo’s Judge John Edge Booth replaced him. Chidester sent a written invitation to Booth asking him to step in and oversee all the legal proceedings, including this trial. Booth was not available until December 3, so the trial was moved back. 58 The newspapers reported about the stir of excitement in Kanab, noting that the locals had 54 No stenographer was available at the beginning of the hearing, so the proceedings were taken down in longhand, which caused them to move along slowly. Later, when the court acquired a stenographer, the proceedings moved along at a normal pace. This fact was commented on by the Deseret News. Testimony, June 16 and 17, 1908, State of Utah vs. Alvin F. Heaton Jr.; “State Prison for the Boy Murderer.” 55 “State Prison for the Boy Murderer”; “Will Bring Heaton to the State Penitentiary”; “Utah State News,” Davis County Clipper, July 3, 1908. 56 “Court in the South: Alvin Heaton Arraigned for Murder,” Richfield Reaper, August 20, 1908; “Murder of Mary Steavens [sic] at Kanab,” Salt Lake Tribune, August 23, 1908; “Utah State News,” Davis County Clipper, July 3, 1908. 57 Thurman formed the Thurman and Wedgewood law firm in 1893 and moved it to Salt Lake City in 1906. He served as mayor of Lehi in 1877, was an assistant U.S. attorney for Utah Territory, and a member of Utah’s Constitutional Convention who successfully petitioned for women’s suffrage. He served in the Utah territorial legislature and was appointed as a justice of the Utah Supreme Court, where he served as chief justice for two years. “Alvin Heaton Confesses.” 58 John F. Chidester to John E. Booth, Sixth District Court (Sevier County), Court Cases 618–61, 1908–1909, Case 631, USARS (hereafter Case 631).


59 Samuel R. Thurman, Affidavit, November 28, 1908, State of Utah vs. Alvin F. Heaton Jr.; “Change of Venue Granted,” Salt Lake Herald, December 6, 1908; “Court in the South: Heaton Case Transferred to Richfield,” Richfield Reaper, December 17, 1908; “Life Imprisonment for Alvin Heaton Jr.,” Salt Lake Tribune, January 23, 1909. 60 James F. Brown, James A. Brown, Edward Carroll, and Alvin F. Heaton, change of venue requests; and John E. Booth, change of venue approval, all in State of Utah vs. Alvin F. Heaton Jr.; “Arrested for Kanab Murder”; “Change of Venue Granted”; “Court in the South,” Richfield Reaper, December 17, 1908; “Did Alvin Heaton Slay Young Woman?” 61 James A. Brown, John F. Brown, Alvin Heaton, and Edward Carroll, Affidavits; and Booth, change of venue approval, December 3, 1908, all in State of Utah vs. Alvin F. Heaton Jr. I could not find a record explaining why a Fourth District Court judge granted a change of venue request or why he took over a case in the Sixth District Court. 62 “To Test Sanity of Young Man Accused of Murdering Girl,” Salt Lake Telegram, January 11, 1909; “Did Alvin

Heaton Slay Young Woman?”; “Heaton Case Next Week,” Richfield Reaper, January 7, 1909. 63 Samuel Thurman’s Salt Lake City law partner, Edgar Andrew Wedgewood, helped present Heaton’s defense. “Heaton Murder Case Interests Richfield,” InterMountain Republican, January 17, 1909; “Heaton Murder Trial,” Salt Lake Herald, January 17, 1909. The jurors were selected as follows: F. P. Anderson (Redmond), John Anderson (Monroe), Peter Christiansen (Monroe), David Collings (Monroe), Joseph R. Hooton (Central), B. W. Hopkins (Joseph), W. E. Hyatt (Joseph), Ole Larsen (Monroe), J. B. Sorenson (Redmond), Soren Sorenson (Elsinore), and Hans Tuft (Monroe). “The Heaton Murder Case Now on Trial,” Richfield Reaper, January 14, 1909. “Heaton’s Trial Has Richfield All Agog,” Salt Lake Tribune, January 16, 1909. 64 “The Heaton Murder Case Now on Trial.” 65 “State Opens Its Case against Young Heaton”; “The Heaton Murder Case Now on Trial.” Only about a dozen women attended this first session, but more joined the audience as the trial progressed.

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As the prosecution team began its work, it painted a picture filled with damning information. Several witnesses spoke about the physical aspects of the case. Dr. Moir testified that after he had examined Mary Stevens’s body, he determined that any of the four gunshots into her body would have been fatal. Moreover, he testified again of evidence that Stevens had sexual relations before her death and, indeed, was pregnant. Ten-year-old Merlin Brinkerhoff related that while herding sheep he heard four shots coming from Gardner Hollow at about half past five on April 20, 1908. The time was significant because the five o’clock hour was the only point in Heaton’s alibi for which he could not provide solid eyewitnesses. Mary’s father, Ezra, detailed how he had followed the tracks

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While Heaton awaited trial, his new attorney decided to have him examined by an alienist— or psychiatrist—to determine his sanity. Sheriff Myron Alma Abbott of Sevier County escorted Heaton to Salt Lake City from Richfield for the examination. Thurman informed the press that he would announce the doctor’s verdict in the trial if it had any bearing. Since the insanity plea never came out in court, more than likely the doctor found him sane, although not yet mature. After Heaton’s examination, Thurman returned him to Sevier County.62

The trial began in Richfield on January 12, 1909, with jury selection before Judge Booth.63 As Thurman gave his opening statement, a hush reportedly fell in the courtroom as the audience strained to hear every word. Heaton, who sat next to Sheriff Abbott, was described by the Richfield Reaper as “a mere stripling, in appearance, a schoolboy, regular features, eyes dark and bright with no sign of any abnormal proclivities.”64 According to the newspaper accounts, Heaton looked much like any other farm boy in the territory, not a murderer. And while his parents wrung their hands, Heaton appeared to be the calmest and most unconcerned person in the courtroom. It was crowded with spectators since this was reported as the first murder trial ever conducted in Sevier County.65

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already decided on Heaton’s guilt or innocence. Because of their acquaintance with Heaton and his family, the people of the county were so polarized on the matter that the defense counsel petitioned for, and was granted, a change of venue. The dissension must have been manifested in the mounting impossibility of finding an impartial jury. The only way to assure justice would be served was to relocate the trial somewhere far enough away to find fair jurors but close enough for Heaton to still be judged by his peers.59 It was decided to move the trial from Kane County to Richfield in Sevier County, which was located two counties away but still within the Sixth Judicial District.60 Booth granted the change of venue after he received the affidavits of Sheriff Brown, his half brother Attorney Brown, Alvin Heaton, and Justice of the Peace Edward Carroll, and the consent of District Attorney Erickson.61

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The story of the card game, true or not, opens a window onto the double standard enjoyed by Alvin, Junius, and Heber (and many other men of their era), which gave them the latitude to seek their own conquests even as they showed tremendous disregard for sexually active women. of a man who wore size six, Heaton’s shoe size. Likewise, Cutler, the prosecuting attorney of Kane County, noted how he had fitted Heaton’s shoes into the tracks left on the ground and found them to be a perfect match. 66

declared. Harms was then called to the stand, where he verified the sheriff’s testimony.68 Other witnesses provided hints about the relationship between Heaton and Stevens. Stella Stout, for instance, stated that she had seen Heaton calling on Mary at eleven o’clock one night about three weeks before the murder.69 Three of Heaton’s peers, Joseph Adair, Junius Heaton, and Valentine Tate, offered testimony not about the facts of the murder, but rather about the dynamics of their social world—testimony that, if true, painted Alvin Heaton as a misogynist and suggested the amount of shame a sexually active single woman might face in that time and place. Joseph Adair, a friend of the defendant, testified of a conversation he had with Alvin Heaton before the murder occurred. He maintained that Heaton remarked, as they walked past Gardner Hollow, that this would be a good place to commit a murder. Adair claimed that he would hate to be the one who did it since the killer would most surely be caught. This prompted Heaton to say that in order to escape detection, one simply needed to act natural.70 Adair’s alleged deeper involvement in the event did not come to light until many years later, long after the trial had ended, through conversations with Kane County locals who remember the whispers that circulated for years after the event and from Alvin Croft’s Journal.

As in the preliminary hearings, John Healy testified that he owned the gun that killed Stevens and that Heaton had rented it from him, and Edward Carroll stated that he had sold six cartridges of .38 caliber to Heaton, his nephew, just before the murder.67 James A. Brown, the Kane County sheriff, testified that Heaton had admitted that the gun was in a trunk at his house. Upon learning this, Brown went to the house and retrieved it. He also testified that Heaton’s coat and shoes, which had blood on them, were submitted to Herman Harms, the state chemist, for blood analysis. The sheriff explained that Harms had determined the blood was indeed human and not from a chicken, as Heaton had

Two longtime residents of the area recall stories from their childhoods that never surfaced during the trial, or in the newspapers or magazine articles but is corroborated in Alvin Croft’s journal. Three boys—Joseph Adair, Alvin Heaton, and Heber Meeks, according to Croft— were all rumored to have been intimate with Stevens around the time she became pregnant. Croft explained that in order to decide how to resolve this situation, the three boys played cards to decide which one of them would either marry her or kill her.71 The task fell on Heaton.

66 Testimony, June 16 and 17, 1908, State of Utah vs. Alvin F. Heaton Jr.; “State Opens Its Case against Young Heaton.”

70 Ibid.; Croft, Diary.

67 Testimony, June 16 and 17, 1908, State of Utah vs. Alvin F. Heaton Jr.

68 “State Opens Its Case against Young Heaton.” 69 Testimony, June 16 and 17, 1908, State of Utah vs. Alvin F. Heaton Jr.; “State Opens Its Case against Young Heaton.” 71 The other two sources tell that the boys drew lots, which could have been done using the card deck. Dicki Robinson, interview by Roger Blomquist, March 25,


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A front-page article from the Deseret News, May 16, 1908, containing Alvin Heaton Jr.’s confession of murder. Heaton’s confession was not admitted as evidence in court because he gave it to Thomas Chamberlain, a prominent religious leader in Kane County.

If this story is true, the card game and the decision to end Stevens’s life might have spawned the conversation between Adair and Heaton about Gardner Hollow.72 According to the sources, this conspiracy was decided under the greatest secrecy, and none of the boys breathed a word of it during the trial or investigation. Only through the luck of the draw was Heaton, instead of the other two young men, chosen to either marry or murder Stevens.73 The story of the card game, true or not, opens a window onto the double standard enjoyed by Alvin, Junius, and Heber (and many other men of their era), which gave them the 2014, Kanab, Utah, in possession of the author; Cundiff, interview. 72 Joseph Adair would later marry Marie Henrie, who was only five years old at the time of the murder. They married on September 27, 1919, when he was thirty-five years old and she was sixteen. Utah, County Marriages, 1887–1937, s.v. “Mr. Joseph Adair and Miss Marie Henrie,” p. 290, accessed October 6, 2015, familysearch. org. 73 Croft, Diary; Robinson, interview; Cundiff, interview.

latitude to seek their own conquests even as they showed tremendous disregard for sexually active women. During the trial, Junius Heaton said that he and the defendant had been riding the range across the state line in Arizona when he asked Alvin “what sort of girl” Stevens was. Alvin replied that “she was no good and that he could kill her as easily as he could a dog.” Junius replied “You don’t mean that,” to which Alvin responded, “Well that just goes to show what the boys think of her. I don’t know as I would kill her, but that just goes to show what the boys think.”74 Again, this group of young men apparently accepted Stevens as a sexual partner but looked down on her publicly and took advantage of her vulnerability. In at least Alvin’s case, this lack of respect for Stevens found an outlet in very crude language—something Valentine Tate, from Mount Carmel, spoke about in court.

74 “State Opens Its Case against Young Heaton.”

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Tate testified that he was conversing with Heaton at a dance in Orderville in February 1908, several weeks prior to the murder and around the time, or shortly thereafter, of Heaton’s and Stevens’s relationship. At the dance, as Stevens passed by on the floor, Heaton made the comment that “someone ought to take her virtue and then take her out and kill her.” When asked if those were Heaton’s exact words, Tate stated that the defendant’s words were “couched in rougher form.” Cross-examination found there were no other witnesses from the dance who could corroborate this story.75 It is not known whether the card game happened before this incident or not. Perhaps Heaton made his decision on the sole basis of the law, or perhaps he chose to end Stevens’s life rather than carry the shame of being a young unwed father in a pressured community. Either way, Heaton’s actions and the testimonies of his associates establish that he had little respect for the reputation, body, and life of Stevens.76 Heaton apparently had a very different relationship with Mamie Robinson, the young woman whom he publicly dated. As a witness for the defense, the eighteen-year-old Robinson stated that she had known Heaton all of her life and, like several other witnesses, testified that he had a reputation for being peaceful, quiet, virtuous, and moral. She also admitted that she was Heaton’s sweetheart and would do anything to clear his name. Robinson denied that she had quarreled with Heaton over his intentions with Mary Stevens or even knew about them.77 The difference in Heaton’s behavior toward Robinson and Stevens, and Robinson’s professed lack of knowledge about Heaton’s other activities, suggests that, as in other places during this time period, sexual access marked women as belonging to separate social categories. While a fellow such as Heaton might enjoy and cultivate a physical relationship with a woman, those very relations meant that she might receive much worse treatment in other settings. Finally, the witnesses included individuals to 75 Ibid. 76 Testimony, June 16 and 17, 1908, State of Utah vs. Alvin F. Heaton Jr. 77 “Evidence Completed in Heaton Murder Case.”

whom Heaton had confessed. Thomas Chamberlain’s testimony was especially important but problematic. The trouble came with Chamberlain’s high rank in the local LDS hierarchy. Since Chamberlain had been a bishop in Orderville and was, in 1908, a member of an LDS stake presidency in Kane County, Thurman demanded that Heaton’s confession was not valid in a secular court of law. Under examination, Chamberlain explained that he interrogated Heaton at the request of the county attorney and not as a religious leader. Although Chamberlain assured the court that he did not quote scripture to the defendant or make any other religious inducements to get the boy to confess, Thurman successfully argued that Mormon teachings were so ingrained in the cultural psyche that during the interrogation Heaton did not distinguish between Thomas Chamberlain the religious leader and the civilian servant. He claimed that Heaton’s statement was given as a religious confession to a religious leader and was therefore inadmissible in court. Due to the defense’s argument, the prosecution refused to enter the statement as evidence.78 Heaton did make an admission of guilt, however, that stood in court. Carl Ramsay and Louis Bean testified that, while they were visiting the Kane County jail, Heaton admitted to them that he had killed Mary Stevens. At the time, Ramsay told Heaton, “Well, I’d hate to be you if you done it,” to which Heaton replied, “Well, I done it all right.” Ramsay then asked him if anyone had seen him commit the crime, and Heaton 78 Thomas Chamberlain, the man Cutler asked to convince Heaton to confess to his crime, was a leading citizen in the county and the local Mormon church. In addition to his position in a stake presidency, Chamberlain was one of the founding members of Orderville and the second president of its United Order. He was also a bishop in the area, when he lived there with his five wives. Therefore the defense successfully argued that regardless of the hat Chamberlain wore when he implored Heaton to confess, the essence of the man was that of religious leader. Heaton, who came from a very prominent LDS family in Kane County, would have connected first to the essence of Chamberlain long before he recognized the role the older man was in at the moment. Hence it could be said that the prosecution took unfair advantage of that deep religious connection to convince Heaton to confess to the crime. Bradley, A History of Kane County, 111–13. “Evidence Completed in Heaton Murder Case”; “State Rests Case in Heaton Trial,” Inter-Mountain Republican, January 21, 1909.


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133 A March 1917 telegram from Ezra Stevens, the father of Mary Stevens, asking Governor Simon Bamberger to suspend a decision to pardon Alvin Heaton Jr. This communication is part of the case file for Heaton’s pardon. —

Utah State Archives and Records Service

answered, “No, no one ever saw me within three miles of the d—d place.”79 Once the prosecution rested, Thurman produced several witnesses, including Mamie Robinson, who testified that they saw Heaton at different times during the day to show that his day was fully accounted for. He did all he could to mount a convincing defense, but he could not overpower the evidence presented by the state. Heaton did not take the stand at any time in his defense.80

79 “Evidence Completed in Heaton Murder Case.” 80 Ibid.

After five and a half hours of deliberation the jury returned with a verdict. The spectators who followed the case rushed back into the courtroom to hear the outcome. As the jurors returned to their seats the defendant was reported as being “the coolest and apparently the most disinterested person in the room.”81 When asked the verdict, jury foreman B. W. Hopkins presented “guilty of murder in the first degree with a recommendation to mercy.” Thurman objected to this finding, so the jury returned to the deliberation room. Within a few minutes they returned with the verdict of “murder in the first degree with a recommen81 “Closing Scenes of Murder Case,” Richfield Reaper, January 21, 1909.


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dation of life imprisonment at hard labor.”82 Heaton had successfully avoided the death penalty.

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Heaton calmly sat in his seat and gave no indication that he heard the verdict. He made no movement that he recognized he had been found guilty of a major crime or that he was about to spend the rest of his life in the state prison. The Richfield Reaper remarked that “It is almost beyond conception that a young man could listen to the verdict placing the guilt of the most horrible crime ever heard of in this part of the state and remain so indifferent. Yet young Heaton was unmoved.”83 Perhaps he was not indifferent at all and was only in a state of shock, or, knowing his guilt, he had fully resigned himself to his fate. Alvin Heaton began his sentence of life imprisonment with hard labor. It is reported that after the trial when Sheriff Abbott escorted Heaton back to his jail cell, the defendant made the comment that he got what he deserved. He also commented that he recognized the fact that he could have received the death penalty for his crime.84 After his first year in prison, Heaton obtained the position of dining room waiter in the warden’s household. As a result of this relationship, Warden Arthur Pratt and Heaton became friends. After Heaton had served eight years in the penitentiary, Pratt decided to retire. On April 1, 1917, the newspapers reported that at the last minute, Pratt moved to secure a pardon for Heaton so they could walk out the prison doors together on Pratt’s last day.85 However, 82 Ibid.; Verdict of jury, Case 631; “Heaton Found Guilty of Murder,” Salt Lake Herald, January 22, 1909; “Heaton Sentenced to Life Imprisonment,” Inter-Mountain Republican, January 23, 1909; “Life Imprisonment for Alvin Heaton Jr.,” Salt Lake Tribune, January 23, 1909; “Utah State News,” Davis County Clipper, January 29, 1909. 83 “Closing Scenes of Murder Case,” Richfield Reaper, January 21, 1909. 84 “What Heaton Said,” Richfield Reaper, January 28, 1909. 85 Arthur Pratt advocated for the humane treatment of prisoners and the position that prison terms could be “reformative as well as punitive.” This view could help explain his leniency toward Alvin Heaton. “State Prison a Model Institution,” Deseret Evening News, December 20, 1913, p. 67; see also Richard S. van Wagoner and Mary van Wagoner, “Arthur Pratt, Utah Lawman,” Utah Historical Quarterly 55, no. 1 (1987): 32.

the legal documents show that Heaton applied for a commutation of sentence as early as November 25, 1916. District Attorney Erickson and Judge Booth both wrote letters to the Board of Pardons that supported Heaton’s request for release. Erickson, Booth, and Pratt cited Heaton’s youth at the time of the murder, his family’s standing in the community, and his subsequent good behavior as reasons to release him.86 According to the reports, Heaton’s sentence had already been commuted down to November 1917 because of his good behavior. Since that was only seven months away, Pratt wanted the board to release him a little earlier. Pratt had secured lodging and employment for Heaton as a waiter in Orderville. After an emergency meeting on March 30, the Board of Pardons determined that Heaton had indeed been a model prisoner and should be released early.87 While the records do not indicate what made Heaton an exemplary prisoner, the fact that he spent seven years as the Pratts’ family waiter is significant. On the other hand, Heaton’s early release also meant that Stevens was never given a full measure of justice. Heaton did not return to Orderville upon his release. Instead he moved to Provo, becoming the headwaiter at Sutton’s Café by 1922. He married Bernice Hindmarsh, and by 1924 they had a

86 “Model Prisoner to be Pardoned,” Ogden StandardExaminer, March 22, 1917; “Pardon for Slayer Sought by Warden,” Salt Lake Telegram; March 22, 1917; “Pardon Board to Meet on Friday,” Salt Lake Telegram; March 23, 1917; “Board to Consider Plea for Heaton,” Salt Lake Tribune, March 24, 1917. It can be surmised that the petitions for Heaton’s early release (other than those by Pratt) were for the November release date, and the emergency meeting was scheduled in the attempt to move the already approved release date from November to April 1, 1917. 87 The letters and commutation requests, as well as a telegram from Ezra Stevens to Simon Bamberger, may be viewed online at “Board of Pardons Prisoner Pardon Application Case Files,” Utah State Digital Archives, s.v. “Alvin F. Heaton,” accessed March 26, 2015, images. archives.utah.gov/cdm/landingpage/collection/328; “Model Prisoner to be Pardoned”; “Pardon for Slayer Sought by Warden”; “Pardon Board to Meet on Friday”; “Board to Consider Plea for Heaton”; “Slayer of Girl Granted Pardon,” Salt Lake Telegram, March 30, 1917; “Prison Gates Are Open to Heaton,” Salt Lake Tribune, April 2, 1917; “Utah State News,” Davis County Clipper, April 4, 1917.


88 Provo City and Utah County Directories (Provo, UT: R. L. Polk), 1922, 1924. 89 Accounts vary whether this was Heaton’s first visit home or if he had been down a couple of weeks earlier to tend to his mother’s sheep; it seems likely this was his second visit since his release. “Alvin Heaton Killed,” Garfield County News, July 4, 1924; “Auto Mishap Brings Death,” Salt Lake Telegram, July 4, 1924; “Death Halts Slayer at Scene of Deed,” Salt Lake Telegram, July 9, 1924; “Alvin Heaton Victim of Auto Accident,” Richfield Reaper, July 10, 1924. Howard and Joseph were sons of Thomas Chamberlain and his first wife.

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Roger Blomquist received his Ph.D. at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and taught history at both Brigham Young University and Utah Valley University. He just released the first volume, Handcart Journey, of the much-anticipated South Pass historical fiction series. He is also working on releasing “A Most Horrible Crime” as a novel under a different title.

WEB EXTRA

90 “Alvin Heaton Killed”; “Auto Mishap Brings Death”; “Death Halts Slayer at Scene of Deed”; “Alvin Heaton Victim of Auto Accident.” 91 Margaret A. Beaty “Crimson Romance of the Mormon Beauty,” Dynamic Detectives: True Police Cases, February 1940 vol. 6, no. 36. Harold Q. Masur, “Pigeon-Toed Killer,” Milwaukee Sentinel, August 16, 1953, magazine section, 14.

We spoke with Roger Blomquist about the process of investigating Stevens’ murder. Check out our conversation at history.utah.gov/uhqextras.

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Today, the sound of Alvin Heaton’s shots still echo quietly through Long Valley, heard only by those who choose to stop and listen, but beyond that, much of the world has forgotten him, Mary Stevens, and her undeserved death.

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The murder and trial made headlines when they happened, but shortly afterward the state moved on, and Stevens’s murder was generally forgotten except in the memories of Kane County residents. It was not until 1940, when an article appeared in Dynamic Detective magazine that this story resurfaced to an extent. It is possible that its author went to Orderville and interviewed the residents living there because she included details in her article, such as Heaton’s pigeon-toed walk, that never came out in court or the newspapers. The same information showed up in a Milwaukee newspaper in 1953, but neither of these pieces had any citations.91 Perhaps their authors merely took artistic license to help sell copies.

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On July 2, 1924—Mary Stevens’s birthday—the four men drove down Highway 89 to tend to family business. It is believed that Alvin drove the automobile that night in the dark when they reached Kane County. For some reason, as they reached the vicinity of where he killed Stevens, the automobile veered off the road, went over a retaining wall, overturned, and killed Alvin instantly. The other three walked away with minor injuries.90

As sensational and widely reported as this murder was in 1908, time has left it in obscurity. There were no transcripts taken from the trial because no one paid to have them done, so the only records we have of the proceedings are from the lengthy Richfield Reaper articles. A handful of legal documents remain from the Kane and Sevier county proceedings, but they are greatly limited in scope and time frame. Unfortunately, we will never be able to fully understand why this man murdered a woman in cold blood. The pressure he might have felt because of her pregnancy, as well as the double standard in place among his peers, could have contributed to his decision. Perhaps, later in life, law-abiding citizenship was just an act to avoid more prison time or, more than likely, the reality of going to prison made such a tremendous impression on Heaton that he determined to never do anything that would return him there.

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four-year-old son.88 He then received word that his mother’s sheep needed to be tended to and that her house was going into foreclosure. After a sixteen-year absence, Heaton finally returned to his hometown. With his brother Gerald, and Howard and Joseph Chamberlain, Heaton drove from Provo to Kane County.89


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The Deseret Museum Expedition led by James E. Talmage explored parts of the rugged and highly dissected high plateau desert region of southern Utah and northern Arizona. The route often included narrow sandstone canyons in this arid region. Talmage stressed that their “object is to study the formations and not simply to traverse the country.” —

L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University


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As 1894 dawned, the University of Utah faced dire financial difficulties. The financial Panic of 1893 and the resulting inadequate appropriation from the Utah Territorial legislature put the university in an unsustainable position. Proposals to solve the problem included combining it with the Agricultural College of Utah and placing the consolidated institutions in Logan. Under consideration was even the suspension of the university until funds became available at some future time.1 Several university professors approached the First Presidency of the LDS church for its help to save the university. After a number of discussions, the First Presidency agreed to discontinue the one-year-old Church University and to direct the funds and equipment earmarked for that insti1 Ralph V. Chamberlin, The University of Utah: A History of Its First Hundred Years, 1850– 1950 (Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1960), 197–207; Michael Quinn, “The Brief Career of Young University at Salt Lake City,” Utah Historical Quarterly 41 (Winter 1973), 83.

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James E. Talmage and the 1895 Deseret Museum Expedition to Southern Utah

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Photograph by the Johnson Company. L. Tom Perry Special Collections

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James E. Talmage, ca. 1895. At the time of the Deseret Museum Expedition, Talmage was president of the University of Utah, Deseret Professor of Geology, and director of the Deseret Museum. —

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tution to the University of Utah as an endowment. They concurred that there were not enough students to support both institutions, that rivalry between the two would weaken both, and that the finances of Utah could only support one university.2 The cooperative agreement included appointing Dr. James E. Talmage as president of the university and forming a $60,000 endowed professorship—the Deseret Professorship of Geology—under the control and support of the Salt Lake Literary and Scientific Association, a subsidiary institution of the LDS church.3 The appointment of Talmage as university president would favor the Mormon influence in ongoing conflicts over political and social control of the territory, although all accepted that the university should remain a secular institution.4

In addition to becoming University of Utah president, Talmage was also selected as the Deseret Professor of Geology. Talmage, who at the time taught chemistry at the Church University, wrote in his journal at the news of becoming a geology professor: “Indeed it is asked by both the Church authorities and the University officials that I take up a new branch—geology: in other words, I am asked to divorce the scientific mate with whom I have lived so happily for a number of years, and proceed at once to court another damsel: of whom I know little beyond the fact that she is comely and enjoyable.”5 The agreement also provided the university use of the facilities and building of the Deseret Museum, another institution owned by the Salt Lake Literary and Scientific Association, of which Talmage was director.

2 First Presidency of the LDS church, “Official Announcement,” August 18, 1894.

The following year, while university president and Deseret Professor of Geology, Talmage directed and embarked on a seven-week sci-

3 James E. Talmage, Journal, April 10, 1894, Holograph, James E. Talmage Collection, L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah; Chamberlin, University of Utah, 203–6; Quinn, “The Brief Career of Young University at Salt Lake City,” 84. 4 John R. Talmage, The Talmage Story, Life of James E. Talmage—Educator, Scientist, Apostle (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1972), 125.

5 Talmage, Journal, March 30, 1894. Talmage actually took classes in geology at Lehigh University, wrote an elementary textbook on science—First Book of Nature (1888)—that included chapters on geology, and was elected a Fellow of the Geological Society of London in December 1894.


6 Richard A. Bartlett, Great Surveys of the American West (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1962); Herbert E. Gregory, “Scientific Explorations in Southern Utah,” American Journal of Science 243 (October 1945), 527–49. 7 Clarence E. Dutton, Geology of the High Plateaus of Utah (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Geographical and Geological Survey of the Rock Mountain Region, 1880); Dutton, Tertiary History of the Grand Canon District (Washington, D.C.: U. S. Geological Survey, 1882). 8 G. K. Gilbert, Report on the Geology of the Henry Mountains (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Geographical and

Geological Survey of the Rock Mountain Region, 1877). 9 Talmage, Journal, August 10, 1895.

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Talmage’s journal reveals an individual passionately committed to his scientific pursuits under trying conditions. The expedition at times was lost, on the verge of running out of water, and even forced into “borrowing” horses off the range to replace ones that gave out along the trail. The journal presents a compelling story of the difficulties of conducting scientific fieldwork in a remote and arid region during the late nineteenth century—difficulties that were amelio-

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Though not clearly stated in Talmage’s journal—the principal historical record of the expedition—the goals for the expedition were much more modest than those of these large multiyear and well-funded U.S. government surveys. The expedition was more a reconnaissance of a large area to obtain a firsthand view and clearer understanding of the geology, collect rock specimens for the Deseret Museum, and take photographs of the formations. Talmage did not spend more than a day or two studying any one location. His plans included visiting the selenite area from which the Deseret Museum had been collecting samples for several years, investigating the laccolith formations of the Henry Mountains as described in Gilbert’s monograph, and learning more concerning the structure of the Waterpocket Fold. One of his major objectives of the journey was to inspect the locality in the Wahweap area containing sandstone with peculiar markings that many locals believed to be of human origin. He also wished to make additional observations at the Grand Canyon, an area he first examined in May 1887. Talmage stressed in his journal that their “object is to study the formations and not simply to traverse the country.”9

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Talmage’s expedition followed in the footsteps of, but did not equal, the great geographical and geological studies of the Powell and Wheeler surveys of the 1870s that described and mapped much of the West’s high plateau region.6 Two geologists, Clarence Dutton and Grove Karl Gilbert, working under the United States Geographical and Geological Survey of the Rocky Mountain Region directed by John Wesley Powell, authored geological monographs. These reports gave Talmage the background and direction for his investigations. Dutton’s landmark report, published in 1880 and based on three field seasons from 1875 to 1877, described the high plateau region of southern Utah, focusing mostly on its igneous history; later, in 1882, he published a Tertiary history of the Grand Canyon.7 Gilbert’s monograph described the geological history of the Henry Mountains, concentrating on the laccolith formations, a mass of igneous rock formed from magma that did not extend to the surface but spread laterally into the strata.8

Talmage’s journal reveals an individual passionately committed to his scientific pursuits under trying conditions.

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entific expedition to the remote backcountry of southern Utah from July 22 to September 7, 1895, funded by a special geology department appropriation with help from the LDS church through the Deseret Museum. This article documents this little-known expedition into the rugged and highly dissected high plateau desert region of southern Utah and northern Arizona—a region characterized by faults, canyons, high cliffs, and little water. At the time, communication with Salt Lake City and the outside world was delayed by weeks. With official support from the LDS church’s First Presidency, Talmage and his party completed a circuitous route of southern Utah and northern Arizona, collecting specimens, surveying the terrain, examining and recording geologic formations, and preaching to local residents, who rendered support to him and his men.

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Map of the 1895 Deseret Museum Expedition’s route through southern Utah and northern Arizona.


The party left by train from Salt Lake City on July 22 and arrived in Salina that night, where they camped. The following morning they continued their journey toward Fish Lake but only made it as far as about Burrville, due to their wagons being too small for the ten-person party’s gear. They finally arrived at Fish Lake and camped near the outlet at the north end of the lake at about noon on July 24. The rest of the day was spent fishing and visiting with friends from Richfield and Monroe at the “charming resort” on the lake where many families spent the summer. The next day one of their party, Hill, returned to Salina. Talmage and a companion studied the glacial cirques along Sevenmile Creek north of 10 University of Utah Catalogue for 1894–95 (Salt Lake City: University of Utah, 1894). George Raynolds Mathews (1861–1899) received degrees from Adelbert College of Western Reserve University, the Divinity School of Yale University, and the Divinity School at Harvard. He started at the University of Utah in 1892 and was full professor of French and German from 1893 until his retirement due to ill health in 1899. Chamberlin, University of Utah, 588. William Dalton Neal (1869– 1918) graduated from the University of Deseret Normal School in 1888 and then graduated from the Scientific Course in 1892. He completed his doctorate and then suffered a stroke, which left him paralyzed. Margaret Neal Anderson, www.findagrave.com. 11 “A Scientific Expedition,” Salt Lake Herald, July 22, 1895. Individuals with those last names are listed as laborers and students in R. L. Polk & Co.’s Salt Lake City Directory 1893 (Salt Lake City: R. L. Polk & Co., 1893).

On July 28, a Sunday, Talmage and Mathews spoke to the local LDS church meeting as part of their religious duties, an activity they per12 Young (1839–1911) had settled in what was then known as Rabbit Valley—the area around Fremont—and gave Thurber and Loa their names. Andrew Jenson, Latterday Saint Biographical Encyclopedia, vol. 2 (Salt Lake City: Andrew Jenson History Company, 1914), 95–98. 13 Talmage, Journal, July 27, 1895.

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The next day, Talmage and a few others followed a pattern that they would continue throughout the expedition of getting up early to explore the surrounding area taking notes, specimens, and photographs while others stayed back in camp. During the day he and Neal climbed the hills on each side of the Fremont River Gate shooting photographs and drawing sketches of the river through Johnson Flat. This occurred before the area was inundated by the waters of the Johnson Valley Reservoir. The following day, July 27, Talmage and Neal were again up early examining the geology of the area while the rest of the party prepared to leave for Fremont. Upon reaching Fremont, they camped on the land of Franklin Wheeler Young, a leading settler of the area.12 Young and his family showed great hospitality and insisted that they have dinner with them, as was the norm of the local people throughout their journey. As part of the LDS church support of the expedition, the office of the Presiding Bishop had ordered the church officials in Fremont to furnish ten horses to Talmage’s party, which caused quite a commotion. The horses were provided, but Talmage commented: “As to quality of horseflesh we can say little for an encouraging nature from what we have thus far seen. If the church horses, those turned in for tithing are fair samples of the horses of this region, an improvement in stock is needed.”13 His journal also revealed that many people in the area had expressed concerns over the scarcity of water in the area they planned to investigate and had ominous dreams about the expedition’s fate. Talmage’s wife and friends reportedly had similar dreams of death befalling them, though Talmage brushed them aside, believing his expedition would be protected by a divine power.

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Ten men accompanied Talmage, including two colleagues at the University of Utah: George Raynolds Mathews, the vice-director of the expedition, was professor of French and German, and William Dalton Neal, the expedition secretary, was an instructor in geology and mineralogy under Talmage.10 The others were Major H. C. Hill, W. Forsberg, and men whom the Salt Lake Herald listed as “Messrs. Chamberlin, Poulson, Woodbury, Doxey, Riter and Ridges”— probably laborers or students hired to help with the expedition.11

Fish Lake, while the rest of the party fished and hunted. He also hunted for a short time, shooting enough food for a good meal.

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rated to a degree by Talmage’s position and connections with the local people. Also significant is that the expedition was directed by one who would later become one of the better-known Utahns, a member of the LDS church’s Quorum of the Twelve and a theological writer. This episode furnishes insights into the secular scientific side of Talmage’s life that are not as well known as his theological endeavors.

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Jurassic sandstone on the flank of Thousand Lake Mountain. Talmage and his party traveled from Fremont, Utah, over Thousand Lake Mountain into Cathedral Valley passing these formations just above the valley. —

L. Tom Perry Special Collections

formed on most Sundays during the trip. That night two individuals of the party, Woodbury and Chamberlin, came down with severe fevers and started for home the following day. The sickness of these individuals delayed the group’s departure from Fremont until July 30. During the delay, Talmage examined formations in the area while others prepared for departure over the Thousand Lake Mountains. Talmage obtained the services of Joseph Eckersley, the Wayne LDS stake clerk, as a guide, and Irvin Tanner to look after the horses.14 The 14 Eckersley (1866–1960) later became a prominent church leader and public figure, serving as county attorney, county superintendent of schools, and state senator. See Miriam B. Murphy, A History of Wayne County (Salt Lake City: Utah State Historical Society, 1999): 100; Andrew Jenson, Encyclopedic History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Salt Lake City: Deseret News Publishing Company, 1941): 929-931; Andrew

party journeyed east over the forested Thousand Lake Mountains during a heavy storm and camped in the desert in Cathedral Valley, in what is now Capitol Reef National Park. After supper, Talmage and a few other men climbed to the top of the surrounding mesas and recorded the imposing view: “Gorgeous palaces majestic temples, stately cathedrals, towering castles with battlements and towers abound. A rain storm, with rolling thunder and sharp lightening added to the grandeur of the scenes. I was so impressed with the beauty of the surroundings that I could scarcely take my notes.”15 This description compares in exuberance to the earliest—and perhaps finest—description of Capitol Reef country; in 1866 Franklin Wooley, Jenson, Latter-day Saint Biographical Encyclopedia, vol. 3 (Salt Lake City: Andrew Jenson History Company, 1920), 366–67. 15 Talmage, Journal, July 30, 1895.


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Igneous boulder on a pillar along Hartnet Wash in what is now Capitol Reef National Park. The expedition traveled down Hartnet Wash through the South Desert to the Fremont River, where they camped for the night. —

L. Tom Perry Special Collections

the adjutant of a military expedition led by Captain James Andrus, observing from the more elevated Aquarius Plateau “a naked barren plain of red and white Sandstone” and “high buttes,” wrote that the “Sun shining down on this vast red plain almost dazzled our eyes by the reflection as it was thrown back from the firey surface.”16 On their return to camp in the dark Talmage and his companions became lost and wandered for hours, barely avoiding “precipices and chasms.” Early in the morning on July 31, Talmage and others including Eckersley ascended the mesa to take photographs at sunrise. They hoped to return to camp by breakfast but decided to return by way of the desert, which “proved to be an instructive though arduous journey.” Ecker16 C. Gregory Crampton, ed., “Military Reconnaissance in Southern Utah, 1866,” Utah Historical Quarterly 32 (Spring 1964), 156–57.

sley wrote upon arriving in camp that they were “sick as we had ate nothing for 22 hours, had slept little and walked about 35 miles, mostly under a burning sun with little to drink save that we could sip from pocket holes in the rock.”17 A violent rainstorm kept them in a dilapidated cabin for the rest of the afternoon, but by evening Talmage was out studying igneous dikes, a major focus of Clarence Dutton’s monograph.18 The men spent the next day “viewing, sketching, and photographing the erosion monuments.” Talmage named them “Temples of the Desert,” “Desert Synagogues,” and “Watch Tower of the Wilderness.” After spending the following morning again visiting some of the erosional 17 Joseph Eckersley, Journal, July 31, 1895, Holograph, Vol. 6, box 2, fd. 1, Eckersley Papers, MS 1579, LDS Church History Library. 18 Dutton, Geology of the High Plateaus of Utah.

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Selenite crystals visited by the Talmage party in what is now Capitol Reef National Park. For years the Deseret Museum had been collecting these fine crystals and trading them to other museums, including those in Europe. —

L. Tom Perry Special Collections

144 monuments, the party continued to the Fremont River. On the way they stopped at the selenite location where the Deseret Museum had been collecting fine gypsum crystals for several years, which Talmage traded to other museums, including those in Europe.19 These investigations in the area of Cathedral Valley generally retraced those of Clarence Dutton, although, unlike Dutton, Talmage apparently made no new discoveries in the field. His was a quick reconnaissance of a couple days, taking photographs and notes that could be used in his classes and lectures. On August 3 the party arrived in Caineville, a village on the north bank of the Fremont River, and contacted the LDS bishop, Walter E. Hanks, as was their typical procedure when arriving at a settlement. The local people provided badly needed food and supplies, as well as three fresh horses. While 19 Talmage wrote an article for the journal Science describing the mound of selenite or gypsum, which at the time measured thirty-five feet in length, ten feet in width, and twenty feet in height. James E. Talmage, “The Remarkable Occurrence of Selenite,” Science 21 (February 1893), 85–86. This article was based on the Deseret Museum’s collecting activities prior to the expedition.

members of the party rested, Talmage and two companions rode twelve to fifteen miles northwest into the desert in a futile attempt to find another selenite formation. The next day, a Sunday, Talmage, Eckersley, and Mathews spoke to an LDS congregation under a bowery roof. Talmage also gave a lecture on “Stimulants and Narcotics” in the evening. Eckersley mentioned that the mosquitoes were thick. The following morning, accompanied by Bishop Hanks, the expedition continued “over a region devoid of even the vestiges of vegetation” to the base of Mount Ellen, the highest peak of the Henry Mountains, and camped without feed for the animals. The party attempted to visit and examine the laccolith formations of the Henry Mountains as recorded by Grove Karl Gilbert in his important monograph.20 Talmage agreed with Gilbert’s observation that only geologists would take interest in the Henry Mountains. Owing to the terrain and the heat, he confided

20 Gilbert, Report on the Geology of the Henry Mountains.


The first day of the four proved the most trying up to this point. As they traveled south paralleling the face of the several-hundred-feet high Waterpocket Fold, the face of another monocline wall rose to their east, forming a canyon that narrowed as they proceeded south. Talmage explained: Mile after mile we followed the walls; the heat was oppressive water an unknown occurrence except for the little we brought from last night’s camp in our canteens, and that of very bad quality. One of the party had still a pint or so of water 21 Talmage, Journal, August 6, 1895. 22 Eckersley, Journal, August 6, 1895.

The entire next day was devoted to riding up a dead-end canyon looking for a passage through the Waterpocket Fold. They rode twenty miles but ended up at the same campsite as the previous night. Two days later, after resting in camp on Sunday, the party turned around and retraced its steps to the north along the Waterpocket Fold to Pleasant Creek, where the men spent the night. The next day they rode up the swollen Pleasant Creek to Ephraim K. Hanks’s ranch in an amphitheater of the creek west of the Waterpocket Fold. Hanks, who had settled on Pleasant Creek in 1882, treated the party to badly needed fruit, milk, and buttermilk, and supplied them with potatoes and corn, refusing any payment.24 The group continued up Pleasant and Tantalus creeks and ascended the slope of Boulder Mountain under a torrent of rain “far away from 23 Talmage, Journal, August 9, 1895. 24 For more on Ephraim Hanks, a Mormon Battalion veteran and early Utah pioneer, see Jenson, Latterday Saint Biographical Encyclopedia, vol. 2, 764–66; Andrew Jenson, Encyclopedic History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 660. Andrew Jenson described the ranch during a visit in 1891 as “a cozy little nook in an opening in the mountain where there is a few acres of land on which Bro. Hanks had set out about 200 fruit trees.” Jenson, Encyclopedic History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 660.

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By evening they finally found a series of large waterpockets filled with water. The animals immediately rushed into the water with their saddles and packs still affixed, and the men relaxed and bathed in the rock-hewn tubs. Talmage enjoyed sitting on a rock bench within one of the tubs while he wrote in his journal with a candle in one hand.

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On the second day in the Henry Mountains, after heavy rains and wind ceased, a few of the men climbed to the summit of Mount Ellen,while Talmage circumscribed in rough terrain one of the mountains, observing “Ellen put[ting] on a robe and a wreath of clouds: the thunder and lightening added grandeur to the scene.” After returning to camp, he spent a chilly night under a large juniper, twenty-five feet high and seven feet in circumference at its base. As with the investigations in Cathedral Valley, Talmage’s study of the Henry Mountains was cursory compared with Gilbert’s two months of fieldwork, although his brief stint studying the range afforded an invaluable firsthand view of the laccolithic formations. Because of terrible feed for the animals and their resulting suffering, the party left the Henry Mountains on the morning of August 8, traveling twenty-five miles westward toward the Waterpocket Fold, a steep monoclinal uplift running the length of what is now Capitol Reef National Park. The next four days were spent traveling south along the eastern side of the massive Waterpocket Fold, struggling to find a way through it. Although they failed to find a new route and had to turn around and use the known passage along Pleasant Creek, Talmage considered their efforts a great success because he was able to study geologic formations, take photographs, and collect specimens.

from the Henry Mt. spring by which we camped the last day of our stay there: and this was precious liquor. At one o’clock we found a little water in holes or pockets in a deep gulch, from a pint to a few gallons in the various depressions: but the water was dirty, and strongly impugnated with alkali. The horses could not get down to it, and the poor creatures suffered, but for a little we could offer in a bucket. One of the animals is ill, and for a time we feared we would have to leave him; such a necessity would have been a dangerous calamity to us.23

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that the work was “somewhat unpleasant.”21 Eckersley complained, “I never suffered so much from thirst as on this trip.”22

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Willard Croxmull, Talmage, Joseph Nelson, and S. H. Allen on their way to the Grand Canyon, May 24, 1887. Although this photograph was taken during Talmage’s earlier journey to the Grand Canyon, it shows how they would have been outfitted for the Deseret Museum Expedition. —

L. Tom Perry Special Collections

any shelter.” Although most of his men awoke feeling ill the following morning, having slept in wet bedding, Talmage thought the night “a glorious one; sometimes [sic] after midnight the rain ceased, the moon appeared and shed a glory over mountains and forest. The mammoth pines amongst which we are encamped played during the entire night peal after peal like a mighty organ with deep toned pipes alone speaking.”25 Their day’s travel generally followed the present-day scenic Highway 12 along the flanks of Boulder Mountain to Boulder Creek, affording amazing views of the Henry Mountains, Navajo Mountain, and the dissected plateau country with its multicolored formations. As Talmage wrote, “one realizes here the force of Dutton’s declaration that the Plateau region is itself a great geological map, molded in relief, and colored by Nature, so that its sig25 Talmage, Journal, August 14, 1895.

nificance can be read from a great distance,” indicating his familiarity with Dutton’s work.26 They camped on Boulder Creek where “the fishing here is excellent.” In the hope of reaching Escalante, the party proceeded early the next morning on the less-traveled Boynton Trail instead of the longer standard road, being assured by their scout that he could follow the trail. After two hours of hard travel over sometimes steep slopes of sandstone, they became lost and returned to their starting point at midday—though Talmage found the journey “interesting and instructive.” While stopped at their camp, they met Amasa Lyman Jr. returning from Escalante to his nearby ranch.27 He recommended that they 26 Ibid.; Dutton, Geology of the High Plateaus of Utah. 27 Lyman (1846–1937), son of Amasa Mason Lyman, was the first settler in the Boulder area in 1889. Newell and Talbot, A History of Garfield County, 182–84.


Talmage and Mathews spent the next morning at Lower Paria in search of fruit and vegetables and information on the next segment of their journey. The town consisted of only seven families; Talmage claimed that “even with my lack of skill I am reasonably sure I could throw a stone over the town.”31 He visited with the town’s 28 Talmage, Journal, August 16, 1895. 29 Ibid. 30 Ibid., August 19, 1895. 31 In 1892, eight families by 1929 only one man completely abandoned History of the Church Saints, 628.

The next day was devoted to studying the sandstone formation and collecting specimens. The lack of water was a major problem, forcing them to return to fill their containers at the last watering place with strongly alkaline water that made some of the party sick. They also visited Glen Canyon, today the location of Lake Powell, described as “walls perpendicular 32 John Wesley Mangum (1852–1940) served as the presiding elder beginning in 1890. Jenson, Encyclopedic History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 628. 33 Talmage, Journal, August 22, 1895.

lived in the town of Pahreah; remained. The town site was in 1930. Jenson, Encyclopedic of Jesus Christ of Latter-day

34 James E. Talmage, “A Peculiarly Marked Sedimentary Rock,” Utah University Quarterly 1 (December 1895): 193–97; James E. Talmage, “On Certain Peculiar Markings on Sandstones from the Vicinity of Elen Canon, Arizona,” Science 11 (February 9, 1900), 220.

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He judged the markings as natural and was able to find undisturbed outcrops of the stone near the camp, proving their natural origin. Examining these stones in their natural context was one of the important contributions of the expedition, which ended any speculation of their human origin. He published at least two papers on the subject.34

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to visit the place of occurrence of sandstone bearing peculiar markings,—lines at right angles, forming map like pages, suggesting plans of cities with streets, alleys, blocks, houses etc. Some small specimens of this stone have been brought me: and several scientific men to whom they have been shown have pronounced them an artificial production. Some of our people whose zeal for the Book of Mormon has actually clouded their judgment, pronounced this, as every other occurrence having any resemblance to archaic work, as Nephite origin.33

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They finally arrived at the Escalante River and the next day at the small hamlet of Escalante in the Potato Valley, eleven days behind schedule.29 Talmage and Mathews spoke at an LDS church meeting on Sunday. Talmage returned to the meetinghouse in the evening and again gave his “Stimulants and Narcotics” lecture. He noted that the “audiences both afternoon and evening were large and appreciative.” The next morning they started their push to Wahweap Creek, arriving in Henrieville that night after a “discovery of some interesting fossils” and after passing through “sandstones, conglomerates, and shales weathered and worn most fantastically, and the beautiful Pink Cliffs in the distance.”30 They spent the night in the Tithing House yard after visiting with the LDS bishop of the town. En route to the small town of Pahreah (Lower Paria) on the Paria River, the men and their animals waded through sand, deep mud, and a creek swollen from recent rainstorms, wearing the animals completely out.

bishop who kindly exchanged two fresh horses for the party’s most weary pair and provided his stepson as a hired scout.32 They traveled ten or twelve miles and camped in the desert with no water and little feed for the animals. On August 22 they reached the mesa top between Wahweap and Warm creeks in the present-day Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. Even though the mesa afforded no water and poor feed, Talmage rejoiced at finally arriving at the location of the major object of their difficult journey

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use the Boynton Trail and offered to guide them to Escalante the next day—over what Talmage later described as “deep gulches and canons through which small streams flowed, with rushes and cane brakes, and other marsh plants abounding.” They ascended from these canyons to the mesa tops by way of trails carved in the sandstone, and in places the horses relied on footholds chiseled into the rock. At one point, two of the horses “endeavored to find a short cut across the face of a stone inclined fully 60o; and in consequence each of them slipped and slid down the rock face, leaving much of their hair and cuticles on the stone.”28

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but simple, lacking the buttresses and recesses of the Grand Canon; river muddy and sluggish; height of walls, about 800 ft.”35

attainment of the purposes of our expedition,” although actual geologic investigations were probably limited due to travel difficulties.

On August 24, the party faced a frustrating morning trying to round up their animals after they wandered away during the night when the scout failed to hobble the horses correctly. En route to Lee’s Ferry, their first stop on their way to the Grand Canyon, one of the party’s horses was so worn out that it was abandoned on the trail, and others had to be pulled more than half the way. In many places the “precipitous and dangerous” trail ran only a foot or two from the edge of a perpendicular cliff. The horses often knocked loose rocks off the path that fell “with loud reverberations into the rocky depths below.” Late in the evening, after having depleted their food supplies for both the party and animals, the party struggled into Warren M. Johnson’s farm at Lee’s Ferry. Johnson had settled with his wives at this spot in 1876. His family greeted the weary men with an evening meal of bread, milk, and fresh fruit and “the pleasant odor of alfalfa, sweet clover, ‘arrow weed,’ etc.”36

A band of “desert horses” appeared at the watering troughs in the morning, and because a couple of their horses were in a weakened condition, Talmage decided to catch one of the ranch horses and use it as a pack animal. He justified this seizure as “not exactly a case of horse stealing,—nothing more than borrowing.” He was acquainted with some of the officers in the Kaibab Land and Cattle Company, or VT Ranch, and would set matters right with them.38 The party spent another toilsome day driving and leading the animals through the sand. By nightfall they reached House Rock Spring in House Rock Valley, the headquarters of the VT Ranch. None of the ranchmen was present, but they had good accommodations with “water, piped and running into deep troughs, stone hut, good feed in fenced pasture.” Nearby was a fenced grave with a headstone hewn from local stone of a twenty-year-old woman, May Whiting, who died there in 1882.39

Sunday was a refreshing interval of rest in their “toilsome travel.” They enjoyed “an abundance of fruit,—melons, peaches, plums, pears, apples, and grapes.” and took badly needed baths in the muddy Colorado River, “exchanging one coating of dirt for another.” One in their party went back and retrieved the horse that had been abandoned the previous day. However, the next day, back on the trail—the Kanab Road—toward the Grand Canyon, they again abandoned one of their horses. By the time they reached Jacob’s Pools, an important resting place between Kanab and Lee’s Ferry first developed by Jacob Hamblin, the entire party and animals had been completely worn down.37 Talmage did add that “the day has been a successful one in the 35 Talmage, Journal, August 23, 1895. 36 Johnson left Lee’s Ferry shortly after Talmage’s visit and evidently moved to the Big Horn Basin of Wyoming. For more on Johnson, see P. T. Reilly, “Warren Marshall Johnson, Forgotten Saint,” Utah Historical Quarterly 39 (Winter 1971), 3–22; P. T. Reilly, Lee’s Ferry: From Mormon Crossing to National Park (Logan: Utah State University Press, 1999). 37 Todd M. Compton, A Frontier Life: Jacob Hamblin, Explorer and Indian Missionary (Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 2013), 159.

In the morning of August 28, they again succeeded in commandeering another ranch animal, “a fine flea bitten gray mare with colt,” and put her into service as a pack animal. They headed south, skirting the edge of the Kaibab Plateau to the ranch house at Kane Spring, where they met VT Ranch range rider Walter E. Hamlin and reported their taking of the range animals. The following day the party made a “steep and arduous” ascent to the summit of the Kaibab Plateau at De Monte Park, the summer range for the VT Ranch.40 Mathews’s personal horse, one of the strongest of the bunch, completely collapsed during the ascent. Talmage still recorded the day as a pleasant journey through interesting “glades, copses and forests.” On August 31, after being delayed most of the previous day by the feeble attempt of rounding up range animals, the party finally set out 38 John W. Young, son of Brigham Young, obtained the ranch in 1887 or 1888. Jerry D. Spangler, Vermilion Dreamers, Sagebrush Schemers (Flagstaff: Grand Canyon Trust, 2007), 57. 39 Ibid., 56. 40 Ibid., 58.


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Closeup of one of the peculiarly marked sandstone slabs collected near Glen Canyon. One of the goals of the Deseret Museum Expedition was to determine whether the markings on these slabs were of human origin as some locals were claiming. Talmage verified that the markings were natural. The photographed slab measures 16 cm long and 11 mm thick. —

L. Tom Perry Special Collections

for the Grand Canyon. Before long, two of their party, Mathews and Riter, ventured off course and became separated from the rest of the party until the evening of the following day. The rest of the party camped near a lagoon at the head of Bright Angel Canyon. The water from the lagoon was first boiled “and after such treatment the liquid is seen to contain a multitude of cooked animalcules, particularly crustaceous, redden by the heat.” They had time to enjoy Bright Angel Canyon and the Nankoweap Valley under a gorgeous sunset. Sunday was the first Sabbath that they did not observe as a day of rest. They justified the breaking of the Sabbath because they were way behind schedule and did not want to miss the opportunity to explore the “famous region of wonder” after exerting such an extreme effort to reach it. They inspected many amazing points of inter-

est but could not take photographs as the photographic plates were with the missing men. They spent only a single day making observations without the ability to take photographs, limiting the scientific usefulness of their visit. They then made a quick night ride back to Del Monte Park and upon arriving met the foreman of the VT Ranch, Ed Lamb. They camped at the “Troughs” within Nail Canyon on the western flank of the Kaibab Plateau—probably Big Springs, the location of the Levi Stewart and John Naegle ranches.41 The next day the party traveled to Kanab, then with the assistance of James L. Bunting continued on to Salina. Before they left Kanab, LDS bishop Joel Hill Johnson had taken custody of the horses acquired in 41 Ibid., 37.

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Although the expedition did not result in any significant scientific publication, it did furnish Talmage an on-the-ground and practical view of the geology of southern Utah that probably facilitated his teaching as Deseret Professor of Geology, a position he held until 1907. He also used data from this fieldwork for talks given at professional meetings, thereby cementing his standing as a geologist among his peers. Fremont and used during the expedition. By September 7 Talmage and his men had reached Salina, in time to catch the morning train to Salt Lake City. Talmage arrived home that evening, and “to my great joy and gratitude of heart I found wife and children in good health.” They made the journey from the Grand Canyon to Salt Lake City in fewer than six days. After returning home, Talmage settled into his busy routine teaching as Deseret Professor of Geology, conducting his administrative duties

as president of the University of Utah, and running the Deseret Museum as director of that institution, as well as lecturing in the evenings and speaking at LDS church meetings on Sundays. One of the first products of the expedition was the article published by Talmage in the December 1895 issue of the Utah University Quarterly concerning the peculiarly marked sandstone collected near Glen Canyon. Examining these sandstone slabs was a major goal of the expedition. Three short articles concerning various observations from the fieldwork, including another on the peculiarly marked sandstone, appeared in Science in 1900.42 These articles were based on talks given at the western section of the Geological Society of America meetings in December 1899 attended by the major western geologists of the time. No major monograph detailing the results of the reconnaissance was published, and such a study was probably not one of its goals. At the same time Talmage was completing these papers on southern Utah, he was also occupied producing one of his major and well-known theological works, The Articles of Faith, published in 1899, and writing his scientific treatise on the Great Salt Lake for general audiences in 1900.43 Although the expedition did not result in any significant scientific publication, it did furnish Talmage an on-the-ground and practical view of the geology of southern Utah that probably facilitated his teaching as Deseret Professor of Geology, a position he held until 1907. He also used data from this fieldwork for talks given at professional meetings, thereby cementing his standing as a geologist among his peers. The photographs and the samples obtained during the expedition provided the Salt Lake City public an opportunity to learn more concerning the geology of their state at the Deseret Museum and through lectures presented by Talmage. This expedition and other 42 Talmage, “On Certain Peculiar Markings on Sandstones from the Vicinity of Elen Canon, Arizona,” 220; Talmage, “Notes Concerning Erosion Forms and Exposures in the Deserts of South Central Utah,” Science 11 (February 9, 1900), 220; Talmage, “Conglomerate ‘Puddings’ from the Paria River, Utah,” Science 11 (February 9, 1900), 220. 43 James E. Talmage, The Articles of Faith (Salt Lake City: Deseret News, 1899); James E. Talmage, The Great Salt Lake Present and Past (Salt Lake City: Deseret News, 1900).


efforts by Talmage were among the first to popularize the fascinating geology of the state to the people of Utah. His labors as an early promoter of science in Utah as a teacher, lecturer, and director of the museum are mostly overlooked and overshadowed by his more famous theological writings.

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Craig Smith is a retired archaeologist living in Salt Lake City. He thanks the L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University for access to the James E. Talmage journals and for use of the photographs.

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At history.utah.gov/uhqextras we provide a link to a digital copy of Talmage’s diary, housed at the L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University.


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These four men—(left to right) Bo Montella, Mike Gaines, Toddy Wozniak, and Willie Certonio—were among the Cs who came to southeastern Utah, met young women, married, and remained to make permanent homes. This picture, taken on the Utah-Arizona border in the 1940s, illustrates not only the lasting friendship created during the CCC experience but also an acceptance of a land far different from the East. —

San Juan County Historical Society


The CCC Invasion of Southeastern Utah, 1933–1942

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In the summer of 1942, as the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) program ended in Utah, an editorial in the Salt Lake Tribune summarized the state’s past years of involvement with the federal government by writing, “More than all else, it aided youth to get a new grip on destiny and to obtain a saner outlook on the needs of the nation.”1 At this point the country had entered the dark days of World War II with Utah beginning its wartime transformation. Hindsight must have made those preceding years seem placid, even hopeful, when young men of service age joined “Roosevelt’s Tree Army” to improve the land and assist the economy. They also brought their own type of change in a cultural sense, as these men from all parts of the nation descended on Utah for their work assignments. Indeed, it has become almost stereotypical to talk about the “boys” from the East coming to the West, where they encountered a strange but appealing lifestyle. As with many stereotypes, there is a level of truth but also some wide departures from reality. One of those slippery notions attached to this experience of two very different worldviews colliding is that of change. Just how different were the Cs (as the young men in the CCC program were known) to people in the communities they joined? Was the Idaho or Montana or Wyoming experience similar or different to that of Utah? What were the cultural values of participants on both sides of the equation? And when a writer uses 1 Editorial, Salt Lake Tribune, July 3, 1942, 4.

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Turning “the Picture a Whole Lot”

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phrases like “new grip on destiny” and “saner outlook,” what exactly does that mean? Likewise, how can the amount and type of cultural change be measured, when few paid attention to it at the time? In this article the reader can glimpse a small slice of the CCC experience as it occurred in southeastern Utah. Change resulting from the interaction of two different groups underlies much of what is presented, but that knowledge remains more anecdotal than quantifiable. What does emerge is a better understanding, in some instances even a reaffirmation, of the aforementioned stereotype of how a number of isolated, predominantly Mormon, communities accepted and worked together with some newly introduced neighbors—the Cs. We examine the CCC experience in southeastern Utah here for three primary reasons. The first is the uniqueness of the area. While the program did its work across the entire United States, providing a “homogenized” experience for participants, there were differences. Every young man who picked up a shovel was no doubt dressed pretty much the same, lived in a pseudo-military environment, and sent part of his pay home to mom and dad. Yet the environment and cultures within the program often provided contrast. In Utah, twenty-six camps were established during the first year, with a total of 116 camps having existed in the state by the end of the program (1942).2 The majority of the young men came to Utah camps from eastern states (in a ratio of six easterners to one westerner) with large urban populations and little public land.3 This was especially true in southeastern Utah, where a huge portion of public lands were extremely isolated, filled with Ancestral Pueblo ruins, populated by American Indians, and fit the bill for a greenhorn easterner’s idea of the Wild West. Many of the newcomers saw southeastern Utah as a different place from a different era, torn from the pages of a Zane Grey novel.

Mormon population, small-town infrastructure, and close ties to the land—had a lifestyle of its own. This was more in keeping with other rural towns on the Colorado Plateau, whereas cities on the Wasatch Front and elsewhere in the West were more in tune with other parts of the United States, as a quick perusal of the newspapers coming from this region demonstrates. We have chosen to examine the CCC in terms of culture more than of the different projects completed or their economic impact. The emphasis is on what the young men experienced and how they adopted and adapted to the communities in which they lived. This brings us to the third point, that of sources. As important as this federal program was for the people of Utah, relatively little has been written about it by historians.4 On the other hand, plenty of primary sources document the state’s CCC experience. Kenneth Baldridge correctly wrote: “Across the state of Utah, camp and community newspapers served as a virtual diary of the period relating those incidents which seldom made their way into official reports. It is to these newspapers and to the personal accounts of the participants themselves that later generations must look to investigate one of the most interesting facets of this most interesting program—just how life was lived in the CCC.”5 The San Juan Record in San Juan County and the Times Independent in Moab ran full columns on their respective CCC neighbors as well as feature articles about proj-

2 Only a third of the camps operated during any given year. Beth R. Olsen, “Utah’s CCC: The Conservators’ Medium for Young Men, Nature, Economy, and Freedom,” Utah Historical Quarterly 62, no. 3 (Summer 1994): 262–63.

4 An unpublished doctoral dissertation and a 1971 article by Kenneth Baldridge provide an overview of the CCC experience in Utah. A 1994 article by Beth Olsen centers on the Wasatch Front, discussing the economic impact of the CCC and how it prepared young men for World War II. These two Utah Historical Quarterly articles are the only full-length treatments of the CCC in this state, and neither one includes much on southeastern Utah. While a search of this topic on the UHQ website lands 241 hits, most of them look at specific projects developed on the Wasatch Front. Not until the 2008 publication of With Picks, Shovels, and Hope did southeastern Utah get much billing, in a book that looks at the entire Colorado Plateau. Kenneth W. Baldridge, “Nine Years of Achievement: The Civilian Conservation Corps in Utah” (Ph.D. diss., Brigham Young University, 1971); Baldridge, “Reclamation Work of the Civilian Conservation Corps, 1933–1942,” Utah Historical Quarterly 39, no. 3 (Summer 1971): 265–85; Olsen, “Utah’s CCC,” 261–74; Wayne K. Hinton and Elizabeth A. Green, With Picks, Shovels, and Hope: The CCC and Its Legacy on the Colorado Plateau (Missoula, MT: Mountain Press, 2008).

3 Ibid.

5 Baldridge, “Nine Years of Achievement,” 286.

Second, the closely knit, rural communities in this area provide an interesting contrast to the urban experience. Southeastern Utah—with its


6 U.S. Census, cited in Kenneth R. Weber, “Cultural Resource Narrative for Class 1 Cultural Resources Inventory for BLM Lands in South San Juan County, Utah” Part 2, (Montrose, CO: Centuries Research, 1980), 116. 7 Curtis Robertson, interview by Kim Stewart, July 8, 1971, 8, Southeastern Utah Project, Fullerton Oral History Program, OH 1033, Utah State Historical Society, Salt Lake City, Utah (hereafter Southeastern Utah Project; USHS).

For those on the receiving end, there were also benefits. Six months after the inception of a CCC program, communities began realizing what a boon it was, while those without the program were eager for the assistance. On average expenses varied from camp to camp,—it took 8 Baldridge, “Nine Years of Achievement,” 295. 9 Ibid. 10 Toddy Wozniak, interview by Kim Stewart, July 10, 1971, 8, Southeastern Utah Project, OH 1108.

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Unlike many large influxes of people into established communities, the men and women of southeastern Utah requested this one. For over three years, the Great Depression had trapped rural Utah in a grinding poverty that seemed irreversible without the same kind of help that more populated areas were receiving. There was plenty of work that needed to be done but no money to do it. Roosevelt’s “Emergency Conservation Work,” a program enacted in March 1933 and dubbed the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1937, provided an ideal answer for rural Utah, with its abundance of land and limited population. The program offered the services of young men between the ages of eighteen to twenty-three (later, seventeen to twenty-eight) who came from underprivileged, uneducated, underemployed, and debt-ridden families in the East and to a lesser extent in the West. The CCC was organized as a pseudo-military program that introduced enrollees to a regimented life of hard work and service under actual army officers as well as local experienced men (LEM); the young men improved the land through conservation practices wherever they were assigned. Their “enlistment” could be as short as six months or could extend to two years of service, with the goal of not only improving the landscape but also the individual. Change for both was intended.

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The three main towns in southeastern Utah in 1930 were Moab, with a population of 863 people, Monticello, with 496, and Blanding, with 555.6 Ten years later, Moab had increased by 25 percent, Monticello by 35 percent, and Blanding by 100 percent, largely because of the presence of CCC camps in or near each of the towns. Each camp would have approximately two hundred men, and depending upon the projects to be tackled, there were times when more than one camp would be present to labor at a different set of tasks, which again increased the population dramatically. The men in the camps were often on a six-month rotation, with some camps shifting in and out of the area and others more permanently stationed. This meant that during the nine years that the program existed, nineteen different shifts of personnel occurred within the various camps. As for the towns, these population fluctuations proved significant given the previously stable nature of the communities. Add to this the fact that the region had a large population of Mormons—an estimated 90 percent in Blanding and Monticello—who had different teachings and practices than those of many in the CCC.7 While no record exists of the religious faiths of the CCC men working in this area, a study conducted in four camps on the Wasatch Front indicates that there were twen-

ty-six different church affiliations represented among those men.8 Moab, on the other hand, because of its founders, proximity to the railroad, and general history, was more cosmopolitan, with a lower Mormon population of around 40 percent.9 Before they arrived, the majority of CCC boys had never heard of Mormons, but in spite of what could have been a sticking point, both groups appear to have had a relatively high rate of acceptance of one another.10

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ects and life in the camps, providing a week-byweek description. Also, in the 1970s and 1980s, history professor Gary L. Shumway from the University of California–Fullerton, with a band of students, recorded the experiences of many of the townspeople who lived near the camps as well as some of the men who served in the CCC in this area, creating a rich trove of information that is unrivaled in other parts of the state for its specificity. As Baldridge pointed out, this is the primary way to get at the cultural side of this experience, especially since the vast majority of those who lived it are now gone. What follows is the record these people left behind.

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about $20,000 to build a camp in Utah with another $5,000 spent each month to maintain it. Add to this what the “boys” spent in town on “liberty,” and one can see why they were so popular in a depressed economy.11 Moab was an early recipient, having its first camp from April to October 1933. Its primary objective was road improvement in the La Sal Mountains, later extended to erosion and flood control. San Juan County eyed Grand and began campaigning for its own piece of the pie, arguing: “Our county and each district therein, needs new energy and life so that we may enjoy some of the results of cheap money and relieve the distress caused by a period of privation and hardship during which values have dropped, taxes much unpaid, and doubtful attitude has gradually become domi11 Baldridge, “Nine Years of Achievement,” 327.

nating. . . . The [San Juan] Record declares that an emergency exists in this county.”12 The first glimmer of help came that November when the Civil Works Administration gave employment to eighty-five San Juan County men working on roads between La Sal and Monticello, extending down to Blanding.13 Not until March 1934 was there hope of receiving a camp. Governor Henry H. Blood appointed Robert H. Hinckley as director of Utah Emergency Relief, and Hinckley requested that more camps be established in Utah. San Juan boldly proclaimed that it was “entitled to one and the people expect it. To now leave us out after so many have enjoyed the ben12 “San Juan Must Get Its Share of Reconstruction Funds Now,” San Juan Record (hereafter SJR), September 14, 1934, 1. 13 “Civic Works Administration Gives Employment to 85,” SJR, November 30, 1933, 1.


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157 This group shot of Camp DG-34, Company 3241, in Blanding shows an interesting mix of regular army officers, “local experienced men” in civilian attire, and Cs in their government-issue dress uniforms. This camp was at times one of the largest in Utah in terms of employing numbers of workers. —

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efits from this public work isn’t fair.”14 San Juan and Grand got their camps and then some. There were four reasons that southeastern Utah was so successful in leveraging the CCC program into the region. Primarily, well over 80 percent of the area’s lands are federal and, in the 1930s, were in bad shape from overgrazing and erosion.15 Cattle and sheep had removed the grass and browse; strong rains and snowmelt had done the rest. Another reason was that Governor Blood, a Democrat, had personally lobbied in Washington D.C., capturing double the amount of federal funds that had been originally allocated for Utah. In comparison with 14 “Requests Made by State for More CC Camps,” SJR, March 22, 1934, 1. 15 Bruce Louthan, “A Tale of Four Camps,” Canyon Legacy 19 (Fall/Winter 1993): 3.

CCC activity from coast to coast throughout the United States, Utah came out very well. Utah ranked among the ten highest states that received CCC money, having received 20 percent of these funds between 1933 and 1939; in 1942 when the program ended, the federal government had spent $52,756,183 in the state.16 Climate was another factor. While work crews labored in the mountains during the summer, they also could go to lower elevations in the winter, where it was warmer with less snow, keeping the men busy the entire year. Finally, the rural communities wanted the young men to come and spend their money to relieve the beleaguered economy.17 In 1939 the San Juan 16 Baldridge, “Nine Years of Achievement,” 354–55. 17 Ibid., 3–4.


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Record estimated that with every two hundred enrollees coming in to a community, the town payroll increased by about two thousand dollars a month.18 This was based on each boy receiving a monthly allotment of thirty dollars, with twenty-five dollars sent home; the rest they could spend in town. Not just the town benefited; this was a symbiotic relationship, where each would grow by helping the other.

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The CCC program made good economic sense but some of the townspeople had concerns about social issues. Albert R. Lyman, a founding father of Blanding, wrote, “We had heard of CCC camps and their degrading influence on the communities in which, or near to which, they were set up.”19 This was not just a worry for local people, since many of the military men who worked with the camps at the time expressed similar thoughts. Baldridge interviewed a lot of these individuals, who agreed that a good portion of the men brought into Utah from New Jersey and New York were “hoodlums.” One retired colonel told him that many of the easterners were riffraff whom “they wanted to get rid of back in their own home towns . . . we were used as a reform school,” even though the CCC leadership tried to screen troublemakers out.20 In early spring 1935, the government proposed to plant a camp in Blanding. Deliberations started. The location was a primary concern. If it were in the town, the community might have greater control or influence than if it were established at a distance. Others felt the farther away the better—“if it could be kept out of our social zone that would be the place for it.”21 Lucy Harris, who was a young girl at the time, remembers some of the townspeople’s reactions: A lot of people didn’t want them to come, and a lot of people didn’t care if they came. Well, I think that there were some people who were afraid that it would be a bad influence. I think in some cases it was, and in some cases it turned out real

well. . . . It might be that we weren’t outgoing enough, too, and friendly enough. I think sometimes it’s because people don’t know exactly how to act. You’re afraid that if you’re too friendly and they don’t want to be, then it’s not going to be so good.22 Community members looked at the experience of Moab, overcame their fear, and opened their arms to what would become one of the largest camps in Utah, having as many as 240 recruits at one time.23 A brief description of the government program, its objectives, and organization provides context for what played out during these years. The Cs established permanent base camps from which more temporary smaller camps were manned for special projects. Each camp had a particular mission and fell under a specific government entity and responsibility, which was indicated by its letter designation. For instance, those with a DG prefix had leadership provided by the Division of Grazing, NP from the National Park Service, F from the Forest Service, SCS from the Soil Conservation Service, and PE from Private Erosion, where one of the above agencies worked to improve private landholdings for the well-being of all.24 Each of these base camps served as home for around two hundred young men (see table 1). Both Grand and San Juan counties cover a huge geographical area, the former standing at 3,684 square miles and the latter at 7,933 square miles. In order to meet the needs of such a large and diverse environment, government agencies needed flexibility to move men and equipment to specific locations where they could remain for some time to finish a project. Temporary establishments called spike camps held usually from twenty-five to fifty men, who worked on a project in places such as the Bears Ears, Mexican Hat, Montezuma Creek, Indian Creek, Bluff, Cisco, or the La Sals for a limited amount of time. If a smaller crew could perform the task, then a

18 “Population Figures of Monticello Get Big Increase,” SJR, May 4, 1939, 1.

22 Lucy Harris, interview by Kim Stewart, July 12, 1971, 8–9, Southeastern Utah Project, OH 1040.

19 Albert R. Lyman, History of Blanding: 1905–1955 (Monticello, UT: self published, 1955), 82. 20 Baldridge, “Nine Years of Achievement,” 136.

23 Gary L. Shumway, This Part of the Vineyard: A Centennial Overview of the History of Blanding, Utah (Yorba Linda, CA: Shumway Family History Publishing, 2005), 79.

21 Ibid.

24 Louthan, “A Tale of Four Camps,” 4.


Table 1. CCC Base camps in Southeastern Utah Monticello Camp (F-41/SCS-8) 1933–1940

East Moab Camp (PE 214/SCS-6) 1933–1934 and 1940–1941

Blanding Camp (DG-34) 1935–1942

Dalton Wells Camp (DG-32) 1935–1942

Dry Valley Camp (DG-157) 1940–1942

With shovels and axes, bulldozers, and predator poison, the Cs did everything. Although each camp was specialized for a particular series of tasks, once it was established, the men served as jacks-of-all-trades. They built roads, strung fences, created flood control projects, planted trees, emplaced culverts, established reservoirs, dug wells, eradicated noxious weeds, thinned timber, destroyed animal pests, restored rangelands, stopped erosion, repaired watercourses, fought forest fires, created parks—and the list goes on. These men had a huge impact on the environment and the economy of southeastern Utah. Not just the environment changed. The CCC program’s purpose was clear: “The [recruits] 25 Baldridge, “Nine Years of Achievement,” 170.

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When we came [to Blanding] they only had one light in the street and that was right in the center of Main Street. There was a UTCO gas station and they had one little bulb and that was just a hun26 “Blanding CCC News,” SJR, February 24, 1938, 9. 27 Frank “Bo” Montella, interview by Kim Stewart, July 9, 1971, 1, 8, Southeastern Utah Project, OH 1034. 28 Wozniak, interview, 4; “CCC Camps Get Number of New Recruits,” SJR, August 11, 1938, 4.

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are here to develop, first of all, themselves. The change is to be used to give them a better and broader aspect of life.”26 The process started as soon as they stepped off the train at Thompson, Utah. Imagine leaving New York or New Jersey or Ohio and finding yourself in the small communities of southeastern Utah. Frank “Bo” Montella of Brooklyn, New York, told how it started for him. “We boarded a troop train at Fort Dix [New Jersey]. This train carried enough troops to not only fill Blanding’s camp, but camps in Dry Valley, Green River, Murray, Hanksville, and Moab. When we got to Thompson, I think about 70 of us got assigned to Blanding, as well as Moab and Dalton Wells. It was an isolated place. We thought it was out of this world.”27 Toddy Wozniak from Connecticut did not take things quite as far, suggesting the area was only at the end of the earth, while others “actually expected to find skyscrapers in Monticello.”28 Even after the initial shock, there were still surprises. Montella, coming from the bright city lights of Brooklyn, continued:

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fly camp of a dozen or two dozen men might go to the area. In some instances, these average numbers might double, given the need and the time necessary to accomplish the task. Consider one small but representative example of the cost-effectiveness of what these men accomplished. One crew out of Blanding opened up a source of water for livestock at Distillery Springs. They blasted a sandstone ledge to create a seven-footwide path to the spring. “The trail was 800 feet in length and had six switchbacks; however, for just seventy-two man-days and a cost of $142.47 for materials and supervision, another supply of water became available.”25

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Warner Lake Camp (F-20) April–October 1933

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Officers pose in front of the flag at CCC Camp G-157, located in Dry Valley between Monticello and Moab. The military orientation of these camps—from reveille to taps and the daily activities in between unwittingly prepared young men for their involvement in World War II, when hard work, team effort, and sacrifice were crucial. —

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dred-watt bulb. That was all there was to it. After we got off Main Street we started walking out these other streets that never had any pavement, just dirt and gravel. We kinda got lost going back to our camp. We thought that getting lost around here was quite a thing.29 James Catsos, also from New York, had a different impression. He described having a sour grapes attitude toward life and all that it had handed him. The Thompson, Utah, experience started a positive change, as the perceived mystique of the West began to work its magic. The drive to Moab amidst the boulders and sagebrush gave rise to the belief that “cowboys, Indians, stagecoaches, and trading posts [would be] every few feet in Utah.”30 The hard reality of transplanting trees, fixing trails, and 29 Montella, interview, 9. 30 James Catsos, “A New York Boy Writes Impressions of Monticello,” SJR, July 7, 1938, 13.

building fences did not erase the charm, so that when Catsos and others transferred to Monticello a month later, there was apprehension that the romance might just be over. “All of us were astonished by the greetings as we arrived. Cheery ‘Good Mornings’ and ‘Howdys.’ This was altogether the unexpected. As days passed we realized we were lucky to be here and none of us were homesick.”31 Settling into the base camp was the next experience in change. Throughout the United States, the pattern was the same. The recruit completed inoculations and processing papers at his home station and point of departure, boarded the train, and entered a military-like world. Issued clothing for work consisted of denim pants and shirt, while for more formal occasions, khakis were de rigueur. Haircuts and clean-shaven faces were mandatory. Wozniak 31 Ibid.


Managing a camp with two hundred or more young men drawn from various cities and different walks of life presented unusual challenges. The military personnel handled discipline within the camp; the government agency on the project was responsible for the men while they were working. Although everyone in the camp saluted the same flag in the morning, ethnic divisions in the camp mirrored those found in the city. For instance, in the Dry Valley Camp, fifty Italian recruits spoke their native language in their area of the camp while twenty-two Puerto Ricans used Spanish in theirs.35 In September 1941, the government allowed local recruits to join the CCC and remain in the area of their home.36 This was a change from the previous practice of sending them to some other 32 Wozniak, interview, 15. 33 Deniane Gutke (Kartchner), “Enrollee a Day Kept Depression Away,” Blue Mountain Shadows 1, no. 2 (Spring 1988): 79.

The most dramatic example of program failure in leadership, discipline, and accomplishment in southeastern Utah rests with the Arches CCC Camp (1940–1942). In trouble from the beginning due to ineffective control and pusillanimous decision-making, the ranking lieutenant at one point faced an unruly crew that refused to work, had low levels of achievement, showed a lack of respect toward both internal and external leaders, and lost the opportunity to strengthen community relations. The lieutenant eventually committed suicide. Camp personnel decreased in number but continued to work on projects such as road improvement, construction of park facilities, and water control until they received the dubious honor of belonging to one of the first camps closed in this CCC region due to negative inspection reports. Although this experience was the exception, it provides a graphic illustration of the impor-

34 Terby Barnes, “The Dry Valley CCC Camp,” Canyon Legacy 19 (Fall/Winter 1993): 17. 35 Ibid. 36 “Dry Valley C.C.C. Camp News,” SJR, October 23, 1941, 8.

37 Bruce D. Louthan, “Dalton Wells CCC Camp,” Canyon Legacy 19 (Fall/Winter 1993): 12. 38 Gutke, “Enrollee a Day,” 81.

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At times discipline was necessary. One of the most effective was the “skin list.” If an individual failed to perform a duty—say he fell asleep on his two-hour fire watch in the winter when stoves had to burn all night to heat the barracks—he might receive assignments that had to be performed on the weekend while his friends were on liberty.37 Brig and kitchen duty also served as deterrents to misbehaving. Young men often settled disagreements by boxing. Each combatant received a pair of gloves and was then turned loose, but there was no guarantee that right necessarily triumphed over might.38 Leaders generally encouraged boxing to work off energy, create esprit de corps, and provide entertainment through inter-camp and local boxing matches.

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Poorly insulated open barracks heated in the winter by a coal-burning stove and scorched by the sun in the summer, spring cots “pretty near worse than sleepin’ on the floor,” one footlocker, a place to hang clothes behind the bunk, and mess hall cuisine provided the basics of life.33 Reveille sounded at six o’clock in the morning so that by eight the men were on task, working until four o’clock in the afternoon, with supper at five and taps at ten. Weekends were usually free, assuming the leadership issued a pass for “liberty,” then on to the large open-air trucks to town. Moab, because of its more liberal atmosphere, smaller Mormon population, and larger size, was the preferred destination. One CCC veteran remembered that “when the libertees of all five [CCC camps] converged on Moab nearly every Saturday night, it was ‘spooky.’”34

place in Utah. Anxious for employment, twelve local men enrolled in the same Dry Valley Camp a month after the announcement. When added to the LEMs who provided supervision at every camp—men like Philip Hurst and Floyd Nielson from Blanding, who advised large contingents of recruits—the influence of the local population became increasingly pronounced, adding another flavor to the mix.

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mentioned that new recruits in the Blanding Camp received a peer initiation. “When a guy came, they’d want to break him in! They’d strip him down, throw him in a cold shower, then they had these G.I. brushes, and they’d rub him down with one of them till he was red as a beet.”32

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tance of discipline and effective leadership.39

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Each camp had its own doctor to take care of bumps and bruises. These physicians worked closely with local hospitals and health professionals and, where there were none, also provided assistance in the communities, delivering babies, setting fractures, and providing medicine. Many local people appreciated this help, but there was one doctor from the Dalton Wells Camp who earned a special reputation for performing unnecessary appendectomies. A nurse in the Moab hospital recalled how he roared down the dirt road to town at “ninety and one hundred miles an hour . . . and he would come down and he would take out these kids’ appendix. Then he’d come around and say, ‘See all the sand in there.’ It would give him an excuse for taking them out. . . . But everyone who got a stomach ache seemed to have appendicitis. So finally, this happened so much that he finally lost his license to practice.”40 For the most part, however, communities welcomed having medical assistance that otherwise might be a hundred miles or more away. When the camps closed, what had been a dispensary or barracks became homes, sheds, and in one case, a local school for Native Americans. Other benefits arose from the program. In Blanding, for instance, dirt roads turned to mud bogs when it rained or snow melted. One of the initial CCC projects was to improve transportation. Alene May tied her first recollection of their presence with mud “right up to the axel of the trucks and the cars cause we didn’t have a gravel road in Blanding. I was really grateful to the CCC camp because when they moved in here we got this main drag through town and up to the CCC camp graveled, and that was one road we could drive in the winter time without getting stuck.”41 Winter brought other challenges. In 1939, cattle and sheep owners in the Moab area requested that a large tractor with a bulldozer blade open roadways so that hay and grain could reach the trapped animals. For three

weeks, CCC men and equipment worked tirelessly, plowing passageways through the snow. As itemized by the newspaper, their accomplishments included: “100 miles of road to the Hatch Point district were opened, benefiting 30,000 sheep and 1000 cattle; 26 miles of road were cleared in the Coyote Wash and Rattlesnake areas succoring 10,000 sheep and 100 cattle; 18 miles of badly drifted roads were opened to Old La Sal, bringing relief to 300 sheep and 100 cattle.” Little wonder that the stockmen “expressed their deep appreciation for the aid rendered, stating that they undoubtedly would have suffered heavy losses of livestock without this help. They likewise expressed their thanks for the efficient work carried on, day and night, Saturdays and Sundays in relay shifts until the job was done.”42 At other times, the land dried out to the point that forest fires became prevalent. It seemed as if every year there was a fire, whether it was a wild land or house fire that was poised to ruin lives and place stress on the small communities.43 As if rooting for a home team, the newspapers cheered on as the “Blanding Boys Suppress Fire Threatening Forest.”44 In this instance, a forest ranger on his way home one afternoon noticed a blaze spreading through the piñon and juniper trees at the base of Blue Mountain. Upon notification, the CCC camp supervisor dispatched his men and equipment to extinguish this fire in Recapture Canyon before it reached the tall timber forest. On another occasion a fire swept over part of the National Forest lands on Elk Ridge near the Bears Ears. “Due to the excellent training received in the camp, the blaze was under control after a six-hour battle. However, it was necessary to patrol the fire line so the fire would not spread.” Cs from the Dalton Wells, Green River, and Blanding camps were enrolled in the effort, the Blanding men working especially hard as they fought the fire for twenty-seven hours.45 These were big tasks, but the Cs’ work also went right down to the outhouse. In 1939, the

39 Hinton and Green, With Picks, Shovels, and Hope, 196– 202.

42 “CCC Camp Relieves Suffering Livestock in San Juan Areas,” SJR, March 16, 1939, 5.

40 Bruce D. Louthan, “Medicinal Moments with the CCCs,” Canyon Legacy 19 (Fall/Winter): 15.

43 Lyman, History of Blanding, 78.

41 Alene J. May and Marva Laws, interview by Kim Stewart, July 29, 1971, Southeastern Utah Project, OH 685, 6–7.

44 “Blanding CCC Boys Suppress Fire Threatening Forest,” SJR, July 20, 1939, 9. 45 “Blanding CCC News,” SJR, July 4, 1940, 9.


If reports in the San Juan Record are any indication, the education program was a huge success. Year after year, columns dedicated to what was 46 Fay Lunceford Muhlestein, Monticello Journal II, 1938– 1970 (Monticello, UT: self published, 2009), 17–18. 47 “New CCC Arrivals Cause Pool Hall Disturbance,” SJR, January 30, 1936, 1. 48 “Blanding CCC News,” SJR, February 17, 1938, 13. 49 “Education in the CCC,” SJR, January 30, 1936, 1.

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happening at each of the camps touted enrollment. “Every man in the camp registered for at least one class Monday night.” “Average enrollment of 4.2 classes per man was obtained.” After listing all of the trade classes offered in the Blanding camp then mentioning that everyone was enrolled in something, the San Juan Record states: “In academic study, 106 men are enrolled in four groups of mathematics, 75 men in four groups of English. Eighteen men were attracted to a Spanish class with an equal number in radio.”50 Perhaps the title bestowed on the education program during a discussion of responsibility linked to citizenship was not too far afield when the author wrote that “the perpetuation of this organization as the ‘West Point of Citizenship’ is desirable and happily, most wholesomely approved.”51 Wholesome recreation was also part of education and with this many men, there needed to be some valiant efforts in that direction. Each 50 “CCC Camp News,” October 19, 1939, 13, “Blanding CCC News,” August 29, 1940, 9, “Blanding CCC News,” SJR, July 25, 1940, 9. 51 “The CCC and Its Part in the Citizenship Training of Youth,” SJR, June 27, 1940, 9.

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The smiles of the Cs in this mock fight hide the seriousness of the boxing contests waged between different camps as well as with local pugilists. Favorites like “Tommy McCormick–The Fighting Irishman,” “Tarzan Terhalls,” and “K. O. Pittman” had short-lived local careers, as each six-month rotation brought in a new crew of scrappers ready for the ring. —

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Not only was change wrought upon the land, but also in the lives of individuals. Just as powerful as bulldozers and pickaxes was education. As mentioned previously, a major goal of the program was to help recruits gain the skills and preparation for life after they left the CCC. To that end, each camp had an education director and a facility with tables, chairs, and a library so that everyone had an opportunity to spend his spare time profitably.47 The education and job training programs not only demonstrated how to do projects but also explained the theoretical reason behind them.48 No matter where a person might be in his educational goals, the program started there and moved him forward. Some enrollees had no previous schooling and so they learned to read and write; others took correspondence courses or classes to finish high school; still others worked on college credits. There was also a wide range of classes for trades such as journalism, diesel engineering, welding, auto mechanics, and forestry, and there were offerings for entertainment such as photography, leather work, and jewelry-making.49 Each camp had its own mimeographed newspaper circulated among its members and throughout the community, while many of the instructors for the educational program came from the town in which the camp was located.

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same year of the blizzard, Blanding’s reservoirs burst, flooding the land and wiping out twothirds of the town’s capacity to store water. Yet repairs cost local people nothing. In Monticello and other parts of San Juan County, crews built five bridges, emplaced 160 culverts, remodeled the courthouse, repaired fifty-three miles of roads, helped build schools in Blanding and Monticello, fixed river and canal banks, and constructed “177 sanitary privies” for individuals.46 Whether it was fire, flood, or blizzard, the people of southeastern Utah appreciated the service.

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camp had a recreation facility with pool and ping-pong tables, a reading area, and comfortable furniture for visiting. Individuals from the communities gave talks and slide shows every Tuesday night about local history, geological wonders, and other topics of interest. For instance, “Mr. Musselman lectured on the beauties of San Juan County, showing about 150 of the most entertaining slide pictures that could be procured in this region. Mr. Musselman told of his many experiences with the Indians.”52 Local historian Albert R. Lyman visited a spike camp at Johnson Creek and talked of “hair-raising experiences” with Indians and outlaws during the settlement of the region, while others entertained the Cs with guitar and harmonica.53 Another time, “Two Guns Jones” and three local girls filled the camp library with their singing and dancing. “The outstanding performance of the evening was ‘Sugar Foot Wilson’ dressed up in a short green outfit, who danced like a real ballet performer. She did the type of dancing that made a hit with the fellers.”54 A number of the Cs became fascinated with Indian culture, one man saying he “was happy that he had come out to the West and have enjoyed my stay in Blanding. I have developed a hobby out here and that is the study of Indian life.”55 On a few occasions, the barracks that won the Saturday morning inspection received the reward of a trip to the Ute Bear Dance held in Allen Canyon during the spring—“something that an Easterner hears about but seldom sees.”56 There were also excursions to the Goosenecks (an entrenched meander of the San Juan River), Monument Valley, Natural Bridges, and other picturesque sites.57 Large open-air flatbed trucks provided the transportation. Upon return, the men developed their photographs in the base camp dark room then wrote articles about their experiences for the camp newsletter. Athletics played a large role in the entertain52 “CCC Activities,” SJR, February 20, 1936, 1. 53 “CCC Activities,” SJR, February 6, 1936, 1. 54 “Blanding CCC News,” SJR, September 8, 1938, 4. 55 “Local CCC Youth Prefer Eastern Girls to Western Girls,” SJR, September 29, 1938, 4. 56 “Blanding CCC News,” SJR, June 23, 1938, 9. 57 “Blanding CCC News,” SJR, May 23, 1940, 13.

ment arena. There were two sports in which the city boys continually triumphed—boxing and baseball or softball. Many of the best boxers came from highly industrialized cities and a few had fathers who fought professionally, while others had learned the sport for sheer survival. Fighters represented their barracks (their home base during inter-camp rivalry) and as opponents against residents of the towns they were living near. From the beginning of the CCC invasion, this sport drew crowds from surrounding areas. Visitors’ Day at the Warner CCC Station September 15, 1933, established the pattern. The local report in the San Juan Record left no doubt about what it was like traveling to the La Sal camp at seven in the morning. “The editor of the paper was on the road, cars ahead and cars behind, and after the road leading to the station was passed, a string of cars and trucks coming from Moab lined the road. A real good time was enjoyed by two or three hundred visitors who went up to help entertain the camp boys in a day of program and sports, and they surely had it according to reports.”58 Each camp had its favorite boxers, many of whom had their own titles. There were Buster Eagleburger, Tommy McCormick–the Fighting Irishman, Hook Mauska, Battling Dusty, Tarzan Terhalls, and K.O. (Knock Out) Pittman.59 The fighting was intense, and in some cases, disagreements spilled out of the ring and into the audience, but it was nothing that some Cs serving as “special deputies” could not handle. Meanwhile, many of the CCC boys—raised in the shadow of New York’s Yankee Stadium and in cities throughout the East—had grown up with baseball mitts in hand. Locals competing against these men thought they might as well have been playing the New York Yankees. Montella, a Brooklyn boy, recalled the first time his camp played a baseball game in Blanding. “We used to have a cracker-jack baseball team in camp. As a matter of fact, we beat everyone. The first good team we organized in camp played the locals, which is what we called the townspeople. We went down there and they’d play us a game of baseball. . . . The first game I think we beat the townspeople 27 to 2. Of course, we had 58 “CCC Activities,” SJR, September 21, 1933, 1. 59 “CCC Activities,” February 6, 1936, 1, “CCC Activity,” September 8, 1938, 4, SJR.


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been brought up on baseball and we loved it.”60 These CCC boys loved baseball so much they built their own diamond, but after defeating the locals so many times, they found few people outside of the camps who wanted to play.61 Another aspect of education and character development expected of the recruits was practicing religion. In rural Utah, this took on a strong Mormon tinge. Clergy from different denominations visited each camp on a regular basis. Brush Keele remembered the Catholic chaplains going through the barracks asking if the enrollees were Catholic and, if they were, strongly inviting them to services.62 Other chaplains might conduct religious meetings for all the men of the company early Monday morning, while another would be available on Monday evening and Tuesday morning.63 As 60 Montella, interview, 10. 61 “Blanding CCC News,” August 15, 1940, 9, “CCC Activities,” March 12, 1936, 1, SJR. 62 Gutke, “Enrollee a Day,” 81. 63 “Blanding CCC News,” SJR, August 15, 1940, 9.

one minister from New York noted, “The chaplain does not depend upon dim religious light, stately ecclesiastical architecture, or soft organ tones, as he steps into the recreation hall of a CCC camp.”64 On the other hand, many of the young men probably looked to their involvement with the CCCs as an opportunity to shed their family beliefs. One Jewish man, Lieutenant Jake Ranisky, had been meeting with some of the local LDS members in Blanding. When asked if he would like to join their faith, he responded, “Well I like your religion; I think it’s good. But if I ever get the guts enough to get rid of this one religion I got, I won’t never take up with another one.”65 In general, there was no clear understanding of who Mormons were or what they believed in when new arrivals appeared in camp. There also was no doubt that the local folks were more than willing to share their beliefs. The Cs 64 Baldridge, “Nine Years of Achievement,” 292. 65 Deniane Gutke, “Open Arms? The CCC Invasion of San Juan County,” Blue Mountain Shadows 1, no. 1 (Fall 1987): 63.

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A CCC team plays baseball against the men of Blanding. The Cs are credited with bringing the game to many of the small towns in southeastern Utah. If they were not the first, they certainly introduced a level of sophistication in the sport unknown to local teams. —

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were welcomed to participate in community events of all types—including church. Some of the young men attended the Mutual Improvement Association (MIA) sponsored by the LDS church for youth. At one point twenty Blanding Cs were registered as members of the MIA and “enjoyed participating in these services of the Mormon Church” while the same number were attending “cottage meetings” or discussions about the Mormon faith.66 The fact that Blanding was a “dry” Mormon town reduced the availability of alcohol. An individual once attempted to establish a liquor store, but it did not take long for the town council to stop the process.67 Perhaps the most successful way local Mormons proselyted was through friendship. Alene Jones May felt “that people accepted them real well. At least we did around our house. I can’t speak for anybody else, but my mother and dad were both raised here in the early days . . . and it made no difference whether people were members of the [LDS] church or not, they all stayed at the Bishop’s home. So my mother was raised that this is the way you do; if people need a bed they need a bed, and it doesn’t make any difference who they are, and if they need something to eat, why you feed them. . . . This is just the way we were raised.”68 Bishop J. B. Harris invited the Cs into his home for entertainment and to spend time with his daughters. He built an amusement room in the basement that allowed the girls to invite crowds over for parties and other events.69 Personnel at the different camps responded warmly to these kinds of activities. As Bruce Louthan, a researcher of Moab history put it, “Whether due to mutual dependency for survival or frontier diplomacy or Western hospitality, the towns quickly came to an accommodation with the CCCs that approached a parental embrace.”70 Excitement in the Monticello camp was tangible as the Pioneer Day celebration approached that July 24, 1938. Two truckloads 66 “Blanding CCC News,” SJR, January 27, 1938, 12; Muhlestein, Monticello Journal II, 7. 67 Harris, interview, 15. 68 May and Laws, interview, 19. 69 Ibid., 17. 70 Louthan, “Dalton Wells CCC Camp,” 13.

of Cs from the Moab camp were joining them in an event that the San Juan Record predicted would be “remembered by all of the boys when they get back East.”71 The same article mentioned Mathew and John Szul, Cs who were also known as Masters of the Dance. Every Saturday night these men gave dance lessons that included “the Shag, Peabody, Merry Widow Waltz, and the Lindy Hop.” John had won a silver cup in Jersey City and was now sharing his talents with locals. Just how much of a “saner outlook” on life the Lindy Hop provided might be questioned, but the men enjoyed the opportunity to mix with the Mormon girls. The camps held at least biannual open houses with dinners and entertainment for community members. At other times, members from a camp could each invite a special guest for an activity and refreshments. Sometimes, the leaders at the camp rented the LDS ward meetinghouse for a musical program presented by a CCC orchestra followed by a dance until midnight. The next day the camp would open for “inspection” by the town followed by “enough ice cream for a thousand guests.”72 That was enough for every person in Blanding plus the membership of the camp to have their fill and then some. So that one does not get the impression that there were no problems, there appeared to be three areas that held potential for contention— women, politics, and general law enforcement— all centering on a change in atmosphere. Even before the camps arrived, there had been concerns in Blanding and Monticello as to what a large influx of men from the East would do to the moral fiber of a staid Mormon community in the West. The question about the role of women weighed heavily during deliberations. Over two hundred young men plunked down in the “wilderness” had the potential of being a recipe for disaster. Baldridge, in assessing the general Utah experience, cited impressions from two individuals. One Southern Baptist C who worked in Bountiful recalled, “Most of the residents tried to keep their daughters from 71 “Life in a Local CCC Camp Is Described,” SJR, July 21, 1938, 9. 72 “CCC Camp News,” October 12, 1939, 9, “Blanding CCC Camp to Hold Open House,” April 25, 1940, 9, “CCC Camp DG-34 Celebrates Its Sixth Anniversary,” April 13, 1939, 1, SJR.


Now listen. Blanding is just a little Mormon town and they don’t believe in a lot of this stuff. I’ll take guys down there to the show but I expect you to be like men, act like men. If you start stepping around with any of those Mormon girls down there, by George, I want you to remember that those girls are priceless in the sight of their mothers, and I don’t want one dirty thing pulled off around them at all. If you can’t uphold those standards with that thought, I want you to stay absolutely away from them. I just will not tolerate it otherwise.74 It did not take long to put rules to a test. One night during an MIA dance a group of Cs arrived after having imbibed alcohol. The superintendent of the organization greeted them at the door and told them that if they got rid of the alcohol, they could enter. “But I guarantee if you leave at all after you come in, you’re not coming back.”75 The men agreed and enjoyed the dance.

The J. B. Harris home was often occupied in the evenings by CCC boys, and everyone was welcomed. Since the family was prominent in the Mormon community, there was no smoking or drinking in their house, and the CCC boys acted with the utmost respect.80 Lucy Harris remembered, “We had a few dates with them. I remember one night, my mother and father were in Salt Lake and we invited some of the boys down and they brought a case of candles to our home. We sat around our kitchen table and melted the candles down into wax and then we made all kinds of little objects out of them.”81 Another time, some of the boys wanted to learn to dance so they asked the Harris girls to teach them. Lucy loved to dance and was quite good, so she went to the camp once a week to teach the boys who wanted lessons. A number of departing Cs, leaving Blanding after a six-month stint, summarized the wide range of attitudes toward women in a San Juan Record article. J. F. Smith from Brooklyn, who was headed back East, enjoyed Utah, and

At least some southeastern Utahns thought that 76 Gutke, “Open Arms?,” 61. 73 Baldridge, “Nine Years of Achievement,” 322, 325.

77 Ibid.

74 Philip Hurst, interview by Kim Stewart, June 30, 1971, 20, Southeastern Utah Project, OH 1036a.

78 Ibid., 62.

75 Fern Watkins, interview by Deniane Gutke, June 28, 1987, 5, San Juan County Historical Commission, Blanding, Utah.

80 Ibid.

79 May and Laws, interview, 18. 81 Harris, interview, 2.

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Surprisingly, the general tenor of events was positive but not without effort on everyone’s part. Perhaps Philip Hurst’s talk to some of the young men he supervised as a foreman in the CCC gives the best feeling for the tone of the LDS community. In one of his weekly safety meetings, he taught what was expected of young men and women:

the flirtations between the Cs and the girls in town had plenty to do with the social dynamics between local young men and women. One person remarked that those women who were less popular reportedly “fell like a piece of straw to the fire.”76 When Hurst was asked if he thought that the local boys were upset with the CCC boys coming in and attracting the attention of the girls, he said bluntly, “Well, the Blanding boys wouldn’t care anything about these gals that were getting picked. Oh I guess they’d care, probably some of them might have been their sisters.”77 Whether or not this was the case, local girls did have fun with the visiting Cs. Some girls gave names to the boys. One “Red” had his own song: “Red sailed in the sunset, all day I’ll be blue; Red sailed in the sunset, and we’re missing you.”78 Names given to others included Gray Goon (because of the suit he wore and his good looks), Blackie, Cookie, Brodie, and “Just a Peanut.”79

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associating with the boys from camp . . . but the boys who were known and acted like gentlemen were eventually accepted.” A second man, who was not LDS but had served as a camp superintendent in Utah, felt “the Mormon people must teach their girls physical hygiene and the facts of life at an early age because the boys seemed to have a better time with less problems of V.D. (venereal disease) and pregnancies than did those camps that I was either camp engineer or superintendent of in New Mexico and Texas.”73

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hoped to settle down with his sweetheart (who was presumably not a western girl) in the West. Switching to religion, he felt “the Mormon religion is very interesting and I have taken great interest in it. I think if I were to look up my ancestors, I would find their religion was Mormonism.” Another man, James Sonney from Trenton, New Jersey, boldly stated, “My main reason for coming out West was for the change of women. I think the most interesting study is that of women.” Yet, Sonney concluded, “I prefer eastern girls to western girls.” R. Fillipponi shared a similar sentiment. “Wanted to see the West and was disappointed in the country and the women, and a certain girl in Blanding.”82 There were those in the same article who disagreed, and there were those who married Mormon girls and stayed in southeastern Utah for the rest of their lives. At least fifteen such unions took place in Blanding, eight of which lasted for a few years while the other couples shared their entire lives together.83 Some people objected to the marriage of Mormon girls to men outside of the faith.84 The same pattern of love and marriage existed with men in Moab. How these future husbands and wives met was purely left to chance. Curtis Robertson, a native of Moab who started in the Moab CCC before transferring to the Uinta Basin Camp, said, I was in the CCC camp when I met my wife. She lived in Roosevelt. I was standing inside the dance hall and she came in with the fellow that she was engaged to. They had been for a ride and her hair was all messed up. She asked him if he had a comb, but he didn’t. I was standing there and I said, ‘Well, I have one. Do you want to use mine?’ So she borrowed my comb. Then I asked her for a dance. And that was the beginning of our little affair. We have been married thirty-five years. So that is not too bad; we still get along all right.85 Bo Montella met his wife when he took his

laundry into town to get it cleaned. His future wife’s home was near the laundry, he met her, and they started dating.86 Toddy Wozniak, on the other hand, met his wife at a movie. “I threw some popcorn at her, I think, at a show or something and we started going together. We’ve been married 31 years. See what popcorn can do for you.”87 Combs, laundry, popcorn, dances—there was no predicting what would happen once the Cs arrived. Religion again entered in, this time as families came together. Many of the men were Catholic and did not embrace the predominant religion at first. Eventually some would change their faith while others remained staunchly true to their initial beliefs. Regardless of the individual acceptance or rejection of the LDS faith, the large majority of those who married and stayed in Utah had a strong respect for the beliefs of the women they married. After women came the issue of politics. Southeastern Utah may be generally characterized as Republican country, but from 1932 to 1944, the Democrats held sway, as was true with Utah in general.88 The Democratic Party led by Franklin Delano Roosevelt controlled much of the budget and the bestowal of assistance during the Depression. One of the big concerns for the townspeople about the CCC camps was that local politics could be unfairly influenced by the large vote cast by this bloc. To the dismay of Blanding residents, one CCC boy actually ran for a political office, which could have decided the vote.89 He did not advance very far in the election process, but the issue did not go unnoticed. The government often appointed the superintendents of the CCC, which was a matter of concern amongst some of the local Democrats. Philip Hurst lost his job as foreman due to this type of conflict. He explained how he was a Republican and everybody knew it. “I kept my mouth shut. My older brother is an avid Republican, a radical Republican. Because of that he caused me a lot of trouble. The only reason

82 “Local CCC Youths Prefer Eastern Girls to Western Girls,” SRJ, September 29, 1938, 1, 4.

86 Montella, interview, 10.

83 Lyman, History of Blanding, 82.

87 Wozniak, interview, 8.

84 May and Laws, interview, 15.

88 Gutke, “Open Arms?,” 62.

85 Robertson, interview, 12.

89 Ibid., 63.


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I got in [to the CCC] was that I kept still and I was already working for the Forest Service. They liked me and the Democratic committee . . . were dear friends of mine.”90 At the time the government was establishing the Monticello Camp, Hurst was in Salt Lake City, serving on a grand jury. He received a telephone call from the forest supervisor, who told him that he needed to return to San Juan immediately because trouble was afoot. Hurst went to the judge, explained the situation, received his release from jury duty, and drove south. “When I got to Moab I went to see the supervisor and he said, ‘You’re in trouble. You’d better get up to Monticello and see what you can do.’ Well that was late in the fall during an election year when Alf Landon ran against Roosevelt.” During a rally in Blanding, the Democratic committee thought that Hurst had been riding around in a truck yelling “Vote Landon.” Though Hurst could prove that it was his brother—not him— who had shouted his support for the Republican candidate all over town, the committee said “‘We’re not going to let anybody have a job that has a brother who is that radical.’”

Hurst said he was persistent enough to get considered again, largely in part to the few friends he had on the committee. They told him if he declared the Democratic Party for his political clearance, they would begrudgingly let him in. Hurst said, “I’ll see you in hell . . . before I’ll do that. I still had a little honor and integrity. Well that was it; that ended my CCC career.” He had worked for the CCC from 1933 until 1938 and came highly recommended by the Forest Service, Park Service, and Soil Conservation Service based on what he had accomplished; however, it was not enough for him to keep his job. In Hurst’s mind, “If you weren’t a Democrat, you didn’t get a job. It wasn’t a matter of a man’s qualifications. In those days it was working out your political grudges. It was too bad, it was sad.”91

90 Hurst, interview, 17–19.

91 Ibid.

The final area of contention was maintaining the law, which could mean dealing with anything from pranks to serious crime. Even in the camps there were opportunities for a little deviltry. Food fights in the mess hall when the mess sergeant was absent, stealing the foreman’s shoes, throwing new recruits in a cold shower,

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During the Depression, with banks closing and money in short supply, different businesses, schools, banks, and local government entities created their own medium of exchange, known generally as Depression scrip. Over 3,200 different types of scrip have been identified from the 1930s. The CCC camp exchange in Blanding had its own individual receipt, redeemable in merchandise. In addition to meeting the need for a system of payment, it was endorsed to an individual and signed by an official, giving it a personal touch that helped eliminate the theft of money in an environment with a lot of young men from all walks of life. —

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A crew of Cs at a sawmill on Blue Mountain. Frost Black, a sawyer, commented about working with men like this: “They were all greenhorns; they didn’t know how to do a thing. They’d hardly ever seen a horse or wagon and had never done any sawing or anything, but a lot of them were good men. They got on it right quick and did a good job.” —

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swimming in the reservoir that served as Blanding’s drinking water, and sending enrollees with letters on top of a barracks roof for the mail plane were all part of the fun.92 For those who missed their weekend liberty, short-sheeting beds and mixing footlockers up sometimes led to fist fights.93 Gary Shumway recalled some of the local boys in Blanding seizing an opportunity to take advantage of the Cs new to the area. They brought over a tethered porcupine on a leash and sold “porcupine eggs” that, if incubated, would surely hatch. After weeks of waiting, those duped learned that they were warming cockleburs. Another time, some of the locals took new recruits on a hike through canyon country to the west of Blanding. As they walked they told stories of predatory animals, vengeful Indians, and axe murderers. Late at night, after the recruits were scared and totally lost, the Blanding boys sent them away from the camp-

fire to hide while they slipped home. Eventually the Cs realized they had been tricked and had to stumble their way through unfamiliar country to get back to base camp.94 It was a hard-learned lesson. Camp and local officials worked well together to handle disturbances in town. A phone call or message was all that was necessary to bring an officer on the scene. One night a group of drunken Cs entered a pool hall. By the time a police officer arrived, the scene had quieted so that by simply notifying camp officers, the culprits were identified and punished.95 Other times local individuals handled the issue, for better or worse. During Sunday church services, several CCC boys entered the building and began making noise and bothering the congregation. Karl Lyman told them, “Now you’re welcome to come in and sit down but this is a church house and we just can’t have you making this much noise.” They responded with, “Look, this is a free country. We can do whatever the

92 Gutke, “Enrollee a Day,” 79. 93 Lloyd M. Pierson, “Life in a CCC Camp,” Canyon Legacy 19 (Fall/Winter 1993): 27.

94 Shumway, This Part of the Vineyard, 81–82. 95 “Education in the CCCs,” SJR, January 30, 1936, 9.


Floyd Nielson, born in Bluff and raised in Blanding, worked with the CCC for six years as a foreman leading crews and later as a superintendent in San Juan County. He provided perhaps the most balanced assessment of what these young men were like when they came and when they left.

96 Gutke, “Open Arms?,” 62. 97 Wozniak, interview, 7. 98 Wozniak, interview, 7. 99 Hurst, interview, 22. 100 Wozniak, interview, 7.

Robert S. McPherson, who is a professor of history at Utah State University, recently became a Fellow of the Utah State Historical Society and currently teaches in Blanding. Jesse Grover graduated from Utah State University Eastern, Blanding, with his associate degree in 2014 and is currently enrolled as a history major at USU with the goal of becoming a teacher. He appreciates having received the Charles S. Peterson Scholarship in 2013, which made possible the work on this article.

— 101 Floyd Nielson, “Blanding CCC Camp,” Canyon Legacy 19 (Fall/Winter 1993): 18–19. 102 Jean Akens, ed., “Frank Montella,” Canyon Legacy 19 (Fall/Winter 1993): 22.

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Life is about change and for those individuals in the CCC program, that change was accelerated. From first boots in the sand at Thompson, to holding an ax, to the life in a western—even Mormon—town, to learning a skill or trade, the C recruit was in for a life-changing experience. This was also true for those who worked with or lived by them. The peaceful CCC invasion tried to accomplish good wherever it occurred. But beyond the physical accomplishments that transformed the land dramatically came the transformation in the lives of the young men who experienced the West. Frank “Bo” Montella, one of those New York “gangsters” who arrived in Blanding as a recruit, eventually became the company’s First Sergeant in charge of new recruits, and married a local (yes, Mormon) girl, said it best: “I don’t know what I would have been [if I hadn’t come here]. Coming to the C’s really turned the picture a whole lot.”102

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If something went amiss or was stolen or damaged, people first blamed the boys at the CCC camps. As outsiders—and as people from large cities—they drew immediate suspicion.98 Once, a safe stolen from Parley Redd’s Store was blown open and left on the public square with a lot of checks and papers lying about. The thinking of the townspeople was that “an ordinary fellow wouldn’t have known how to bust up those safes. But those guys [Cs] knew all the answers. Some of those guys weren’t kids. . . . They have been schooled in all the trades of crime in New York. Well, the peace officers out here in these little communities were just about as helpless as they could be. It would take professionals to compete with them.”99 Toddy Wozniak, who was in the CCC at the time, countered that “The townspeople always blamed them because it was the logical thing to do. . . . The people eventually found out that it wasn’t the CCC boys who did it. The townspeople wouldn’t want to tell you anything about their own, and the CCC boys wouldn’t want to tell you anything about their faults.”100

I had another company from New York. They were Italians, and oh boy, were they tough. They were kids who had been pulled out of detention homes where they had been locked up, and those kids knew everything. There was nothing they didn’t know about how to be a gangster. I had those kids for better than a year and then I acted as superintendent for quite a while over all the camps, and I never had any trouble with those kids. The CCC did a lot of good. The kids left here with a lot of respect for the place, and they had a good time. They write to me from all over the world.101

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*&%*%& we please.” Lyman picked up a heavy iron chair and started swinging it at them saying, “Now listen you fellows, you’re either going to get out or get hurt!” They left.96 Another time a group of Cs was standing on the porch of a building that had a dance going on inside. After a police officer told them to make way or move along but saw little response, he decided to cool them off on this cold winter night. With the help of some local young men, he hooked up a fire hose out of view, moved it to the front of the building, and proceeded to douse the Cs until they retreated to camp.97

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172 The barn, circa 1940, when it housed horses on the Utah State Agricultural College campus. —

Courtesy Utah State University Special Collections

A building may have a deep influence on the lives of people who grow up around it, live in it, work in it, learn in it, play in it, or pass by it as a landmark on the landscape. Once a building is demolished, not only is the historic “artifact” lost forever, but the memories of the building and the stories of the people who interacted with it gradually fade. Emily Brooksby Wheeler tells how one group of people rescued stories of a building that ultimately could not be saved.


Barn Raising

The first time I explored the barn, I didn’t find much to love. The interior was dark, almost gritty, even with the lights on, and smelled of dust, damp concrete, and car exhaust from the neighboring parking lot. The uneven-looking stairs deterred my curiosity about the condemned upper stories. Abandoned junk cluttered the narrow rooms on the first floor. I ventured to the back of the building, looking over my shoulder, jumping at every creak and groan. The last room stopped me in my tracks. Row upon row of cages lined the walls, filled with gray pigeons—residents of the animal psychology lab. If those birds weren’t crazy before they came here, they probably were now. I hurried back into the sunshine and stared up at the engraving over the old barn doors, “Man’s Best Friend.” The message caught my imagination, beckoning me to look a little deeper, to discover the stories hidden beneath the barn’s clutter and dust. Long since emptied of horses and hay, the old barn housed offices, labs, and vacant classrooms. When some of the resident professors sought permission to remodel the barn, they inadvertently brought about the end of an era. The fire marshal condemned the top floor, and the university evacuated the human tenants to safer locations, leaving behind only the rats, pigeons, and graduate students of the animal psychology lab. The barn was never intended for human occupation, some at the university reasoned, and it might have finally come to the end of its usefulness. Anthropology professor and museum director Dr. Bonnie Pitblado, however, recognized the barn’s importance to the university’s history and agricultural heritage and set about generating grassroots interest to save the building and create a new home for the cramped Museum of Anthropology in the process. My graduate work in historic preservation landed me on her little team of students determined to hold an unusual kind of barn raising. To bring the barn back from the brink of ruin, we first hoped to resurrect its memory, its place in the campus consciousness. That meant digging up stories. The barn—any historic space—is like a palimpsest:

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Until recently, a run-down horse barn stood in the heart of Utah State University. Nearly one hundred years rested heavily on its gambrel roof. Its dingy white paint blended with the dirty snows of Logan’s long winters. Even when the snow melted, it was little more than an obstacle to most students trying to get from the parking lot to their classes. To people who knew the barn, however, it ranked with Old Main as one of the quintessential campus buildings: a cherished part of the university’s history and their own campus experiences.

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had a pet snake in his office, but every so often he would let the snake out to just kind of climb around . . . you’d be walking down the hall and suddenly there would be this four or five foot long king snake.”1

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Other Barnies shared his sentiments; the barn was a special place, despite its awkward location, frequent maintenance problems, and nonhuman residents. Like the quirky old relative of the campus buildings, it added character to the USU family. Debora Seiter, the wife of one of the Barnies, also missed the easygoing friendliness of the barn. She recalled bringing her uncle, a World War II veteran who attended USU through the G.I. Bill, to visit campus. He was thrilled to see the barn; it caught his attention as one of the few familiar sights after his sixty-year absence.2 This account reminded us that, while the Barnie days were a colorful part of the barn’s history, they were only the most recent episode. The building was often called the Art Barn, a vestige from an older layer of stories.

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Don Young’s 1966 depiction of a burglar on the lam, running through the Art Barn (detail). Young completed the painting as an illustration student in a class taught by Professor Jon Anderson. The artist died an untimely death, but Anderson later donated Young’s painting to USU’s Museum of Anthropology. —

Utah State University Museum of Anthropology

a valuable piece of parchment that medieval monks scraped clean and reused. Even though they added new stories, traces of the old layers remained, waiting to be rediscovered by historians. The top layer of the barn’s story was the easiest to read. The professors exiled from the barn were still on campus and excited to talk to us. Dr. Charles Huenemann, from the Philosophy Department, told us, “It was really great to be in the Barn because we had a sense of camaraderie, and we were off on the edge of campus in a certain sense in a marginalized building. . . . The fact that we were all in this old building together gave us this sense of being a club in a way . . . we called each other Barnies. A guy next to me

In 1957, Utah State Agricultural College graduated to Utah State University. As part of the rapid changes taking place at USU, all the animals and barns were removed from the main campus except the horse barn, with its permanent, concrete foundation. The building was deserted until a fire in the ceramics lab left the Art Department scrambling for a new place to move its kilns. Someone remembered the neglected barn. Other art classes followed, until pottery took up the entire bottom floor, and drawing and painting classes occupied the top two levels of the barn—the former hay loft. The artists who had occupied the Art Barn, students and professionals, are no longer on campus, but when they heard about what we were trying to do, they hurried to us with their stories. Most of the students who knew the Art Barn thought of it as a refuge during the turbulent 1960s and 1970s.

1 Charles Huenemann, interview by Bonnie Pitblado, February 25, 2010, USU Museum of Anthropology Art Barn Project transcripts, copy in the author’s possession (hereafter Art Barn Project). 2 Deborah Seiter, interview by Bonnie Pitblado, October 21, 2010, Art Barn Project.


The nature of the art program led to the development of a community between the students and professors. Rose Milovich remembered, “There was a cluster of students who were there eighteen to twenty four hours a day, and I was one of those students. We would eat together, and fire pots, and make pots. One of our friends, Mashihiro, decided that we should cook dinner over the raku kilns, and so he made fried rice. . . . It was a lot of fun; it was like a family. We were all different people and all from different places. We helped each other.”5 Darnel Haney, an African American student recruited to USU’s basketball team during the 1960s, recalled the difficult time he had adjusting to Cache Valley. His team had a hard year, and he started dating his future wife, a local white woman. The Art Barn became a refuge for 3 Ruth Swaner, interview by Bonnie Pitblado, November 30, 2010, Art Barn Project. 4 Jon Anderson, interview by Bernadene Ryan, October 18, 2010, Art Barn Project. 5 Rose Milovich, interview by Jason Neil, February 16, 2011, Art Barn Project.

Even far-off events like the Iranian Revolution of 1979 impacted Cache Valley and the Art Barn. Everyone on campus was put on high alert for signs of potential terrorist activity. One night, someone snuck into the Art Barn and turned on the gas valves. A single spark would have destroyed the whole building. The shaken members of the Art Barn community redoubled their vigilance to protect their barn, never knowing if the incident was attempted terrorism or some other kind of vandalism.8 The Art Department eventually moved to a new, modern building, and that layer of the barn’s story came to an end. The love these former students and professors felt for the Art Barn has not faded, though; if anything, it has grown. Learning the barn’s past drew us all under the shelter of its gambrel roof, making us hungry to know and preserve the building. We researchers wouldn’t stop digging until we reached the foundation: the first layer of the barn’s history. There are fewer people around who remember the building before its Art Department years, so we turned to the USU archives and the memories of a few long-time valley residents to reconstruct the barn’s oldest layer. The archivists, growing interested in our ongoing project, helped us unearth the original 1919 6 Darnel Haney, interview by Jason Neil, June 23, 2011, Art Barn Project. 7 Adrian van Suchtelen, interview by Jason Neil, May 28, 2011, Art Barn Project. 8 Ibid.

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One of the janitors in the Art Barn was an elderly, toothless man who had no access to dental care. He loved the Art Barn and the people who used it. When one of the other janitors tried to steal some expensive equipment, this fellow stopped him. In gratitude, the professors and students pooled their money for dentures as a Christmas gift, which touched the caretaker deeply.7

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On one occasion, a burglar fleeing the police tried to hide in the barn, not knowing he was running into a life drawing class featuring a nude model. One of the students captured the scene in a vivid painting: the screaming female model, the art students scrambling to save their drawings, the professor shouting for order, and the officers tackling the burglar in the middle of the classroom.4 Don Young, the student who painted the scene, died not long afterward at the age of thirty, but his professor, Jon Anderson, still had the painting. After telling us the story, he donated it to the USU Museum of Anthropology in hopes that it might someday hang in the restored barn.

him. Haney said, “I walked in there and there were a lot of people doing different things. It was a relaxed atmosphere. There was a freedom in there that was not every place where you go on a campus. Smiles were there and helpful hands were always there.”6

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Ruth Swaner, a Cache Valley artist and author, studied in the Art Barn in the 1960s, when nude models were first introduced into the drawing classes. She recalled, “When the first person disrobed, you could hear a pin drop . . . I just about dropped my pencil.”3 Some of the students protested to the university administrators and local LDS church leaders. The church leaders calmed the controversy, saying the human body was a beautiful creation worth learning to draw.

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176 This image shows the barn in about 1962, during its first years as the “Art Barn.” As the building’s purpose changed from a place that housed animals to a home for art classes, sliding doors were removed and windows were added on the second floor. —

Utah State University Museum of Anthropology

blueprints for our barn, as well as newspapers heralding the unveiling of this “modern” horse barn.9 In 1919, flush with money and soldiers from World War I, the campus underwent a spate of modernization. Automobiles had rendered another, older barn used for parking horses and carriages obsolete, and it was sacrificed to make way for more classrooms. As Utah’s land grant college, however, Utah State still needed barns to serve as agricultural labs and teaching facilities. Professors designed a new barn as a model for the rest of the valley. Above the north door, they placed the sign that 9 “Horse Barn Is Modern,” Student Life 18, no. 4, October 10, 1919.

read “Man’s Best Friend,” supposedly a cavalry motto referring to horses rather than dogs.10 We found accounts of young students—now octogenarians—who took school field trips to learn about the animals in the campus barns. Some Cache Valley residents worked their way through school at Utah State Agricultural Col10 Utah State Agricultural College, Buzzer 1943 Yearbook (Logan, UT: Graduating Class of 1943, 1943), 21, Utah State University Digital Collections, Utah State University Buzzer Yearbooks Collection, accessed February 19, 2016, digital.lib.usu.edu/cdm/landingpage/ collection/buzzer. Cavalries were still in use in 1919, and the armed forces had a presence on campus, but we could not track the exact origin of this phrase.


I happened to be driving through campus in June 2015 and saw construction work going on around the barn. I parked to watch. An excavator brought its bucket down on the barn’s gambrel roof with shocking finality. I flagged down a worker to ask if anything of the barn was being preserved. He told me they made a casting of the “Man’s Best Friend” sign, which was too fragile to save, but he was not sure what the university was going to do with it. All that is left of the barn now are the stories we saved. Those experiences connected us to other communities formed around the building over the years: stable hands, students, artists, custodians, and professors. Their past became a part of ours, and we added our own layer, a new, final chapter. Stories are ephemeral, yet when they are remembered and preserved, they can last longer than monuments or concrete foundations.

— Emily Brooksby Wheeler has an M.A. in history and an MLA in historic and cultural landscapes from Utah State University.

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Those of us who worked on collecting the barn’s history hoped it would find a use that reflected its colorful past and its role in campus history. Unfortunately, the funding to preserve the barn never materialized, and our barn raising stuttered to a halt. The building was once again in limbo. We had no choice but to move on to other projects.

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No matter how much dust we scraped away, there would always be more layers, more stories. The barn was a faithful secret keeper, holding onto forgotten memories that added to its atmosphere as a well-used, well-loved old building.

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lege by driving the hay wagons or feeding the animals at night. They still recall the names of long-dead horses, including U-Dandy, the stud, and Lucy, the gentle draft horse who pulled the wagons. To these people, the barn was still a bright, hay-scented building filled with animals.

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BOOK REVIEWS

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Historical Identities and Experiences E D I T E D A N D

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Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 2015. viii + 485 pp. Paper, $29.00

This volume of essays originating in the Charles Redd Center summer seminar of 2011 offers an introduction to ongoing themes and approaches in immigration and ethnic historiography in the West. An ambitious effort to survey ongoing research in the field, Immigrants in the Far West does acknowledge the limits to its approach, stating that the contributions “address significant questions and illuminate key facts of the immigrant experience but do not offer a complete overview of western immigration” (17). Nevertheless, the editors do seek to include scholarship that represents diverse disciplinary, ethno-racial, regional, and experiential histories. In essence, the volume provides a competent overview of recent research trends in ethnic, immigrant, and western history that may acquaint upper undergraduate, graduate, and lay audiences to contemporary historiographical trends. Perhaps the most valuable contribution of this work is its summary of historiography, especially in the introduction and prefatory comments to Parts One, “Who We Were and Who They Thought We Should Be,” and two, “What We Came For and What We Made of It.” Not only do the editors identify the contributions of scholars such as David Roediger, Alejandro Portes, Min Zhou, and Hasia Diner to the fields of ethnic and immigration history, but they also highlight seminal works examining ethnicity and immigration in the West, ranging from the work of Frederick Luebke to David Emmons,

including Elliot Barkan’s From All Points: America’s Immigrant West, 1870s–1952 (2007). The first seven essays are bundled in a section that examines identity, focusing on “the importance of local context, immigrant agency, legislation, and activism in shaping and contesting identity” (44). Diverse European, Latino, and Asian peoples within geographical areas including the Pacific, desert, and mountain Wests are discussed. The construction of identity as part of the Mexican immigrant experience is examined in three very different essays. Brett Garcia Myhren considers how immigrants and colonists interpreted the nature and meaning of Mexican California prior to 1841; D. Seth Horton employs textual criticism of Francisco Madero’s La sucesión presidencial en 1910 and two post-revolutionary novels to study immigration; and Anne M. Martinez writes about institutional efforts to shore up the Catholicism of Mexicans in the West. Eileen V. Wallis’s inclusive article looks at public education and Americanization campaigns, while Katherine Benton-Cohen and Matthew Basso comment on issues of race and immigration with the Dillingham Commission and in Montana’s copper communities, respectively. An intriguing narrative and one of possibly particular interest to those studying Utah and LDS history is Ryan Dearinger’s study of labor and the building of the transcontinental railroad. Viewing race, religion, class, and nationality as central to identity construction, Dearinger argues that for Mormons work on the railroad afforded “the chance of national acceptance . . . [as well as] a renewed sense of cultural superiority”(112). Put simply, Part Two examines the traditional bookends of immigration study: push and pull factors. As previously mentioned, the editors provide a useful introductory survey of historiography, but they also include short biographies of individuals that personalize the immigrant experience. Possibly for idiosyncratic reasons, I was most engaged by


As with most essay collections, Immigrants in the Far West functions best as a survey of current and ongoing research. This volume does a particularly good job in introducing the reader to historiographical traditions in racial, ethnic, immigration, and western studies and does so while accommodating contributions from other disciplines in the humanities and the social sciences. At first glance the table of contents may appear to be inordinately weighted in favor of histories of the Mormon and mining West, but a closer look at the text allows the reader to comprehend the greater inclusivity of groups and universality of themes that the underlying organizational structure of the text provides. While I would have preferred greater discussion of Asian immigration, ethnoclass relations, and late-twentieth and twentyfirst century histories, I found the work quite satisfactory and worth the efforts of readers seeking an informative introduction to the historical fields covered. —

T I M O T H Y

D E A N

D R A P E R

Waubonsee Community College, Illinois

South Pass: W I L L

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Focusing on the initial Euro-Americans who traversed South Pass, the first three chapters depict fur traders who first traveled through the pass after 1812. These chapters detail the role of the Astorians; the exploits of the Rocky Mountain Fur Company; the experiences of men such as Robert Stuart, Andrew Henry, James Clyman, and Jedediah Smith; and the rendezvous. The lasting legacy of the fur trade was the new knowledge it produced of the geography of the American West. Many of the fur traders became guides for the emigrant caravans that began to cross the plains in the 1840s, following in the footsteps of Benjamin Bonneville, the first to drive wagons over the pass. The next five chapters address the topic of overland migration. Missionaries, including 1 René Jules Dubos, “The Genius of the Place, Tenth Horace M. Albright Conservation Lectureship, University of California at Berkeley, School of Forestry and Conservation, February 26, 1970.

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Will Bagley’s latest book, South Pass: Gateway to a Continent, nicely elucidates René Dubos’s idea of the “genius of the place.” A scientist and environmentalist, Dubos wrote about the set of attributes—physical, biological, social, and historical—that makes a place different from all others.1 Located south of the Wind River Mountains in Wyoming, South Pass is such a place. It is a high, treeless valley that countless numbers of people have utilized to cross the Rocky Mountains. Bagley, the author of two books on the Oregon and California trails, describes South Pass as “the gateway to a continent” (15). In ten chapters, he outlines why this is true.

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Michelle A. Charest’s fusion of textual analysis and historical archaeology to explore the various uses and community meanings for the saloon in Irish communities in the mining West. Two studies in particular—Karen S. Wilson’s examination of community building by Los Angeles Jews and Andrew Offenburger’s study of the colonization of Boers along the U.S.– Mexico border—feature histories of immigrant peoples in new geographical settings. Other essays by Mindi Sitterud-McCluskey, Mark I. Choate, J. Matthew Shumway, and Jessie L. Embry and Meisha Slight focus on Mormon colliers, Italians, and Latinos.

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the first white woman to cross the pass, traveled west in the late 1830s. Between 1840 and 1870 more than a half-million Americans traveled through South Pass to destinations in the West. Bagley includes accounts of the 1849 gold rush to California, the Mormon handcart parties, and the development of shortcuts such as the Lander Cutoff to make for a quicker journey. One colorful chapter depicts tales of the Pony Express crossing the pass and its eventual replacement by the telegraph. Additional information explains how the Civil War impacted the region through the removal of troops from western forts, which then allowed frequent Indian attacks on the telegraph wires. The final chapter recounts the 1867 gold rush to South Pass and the experiences of the final wagon trains that traversed the region. Bagley writes in the preface that South Pass belongs to the American people and ought to be protected as a significant historical site for future generations. In 1960, President Dwight Eisenhower designated South Pass a National Historic Landmark; it is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Nonetheless, the region is not immune from threat of destruction that might result from the building of a natural gas pipeline. South Pass is a rugged landscape that yet inspires visitors, just as it did early pioneers. Standing there today is not much different than it was in the 1840s. Bagley quotes Wyoming native Tom Bell, “‘I can stand on South Pass and close my eyes, and hear the hoof beats of the Pony Express riders, the cracking of ox-team drivers’ whips, the creak of wagon wheels, the voices of women and children. South Pass is one of the few places where you can stand in 2006 and 1846 at the same time’” (294). This well-written and extensively researched volume surely will apprise readers of the characteristics and history of South Pass and shine a light on the genius of this place. —

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Lawrenceville, Illinois

O W E N S

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Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 2015. x + 161 pp. Paper, $19.95

Probably everyone who reads this review— regardless of denominational affiliation—has experienced the following: whether on a crowded street in the middle of a city, on the backroads of some hinterland, or in a foreign country, you spy from a distance two young men in white shirts with black name tags and assume they are Mormon missionaries. Those visual elements are two of three distinctive hallmarks of the missionary program of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The third quality is less visible: teaching in the language of the people they are called to serve. Brigham Young, in his day, taught the missionaries he sent to Native Americans that this was the only way to achieve success. After counseling select individuals that they were not to worry about building personal wealth or helping white men, he said, “save the red ones [men], learn their language, and you can do this more effectively by living among them as well as by writing down a list of words, go with them where they go, live with them and when they rest let them live with you, feed them, clothe them and teach them as you can, and being thus with you all the time, you will soon be able to teach them in their own language” (46). That is exactly what a group of seven men, led by Jacob Hamblin, attempted in the winter of 1859–1860 during the second of fifteen missions to the Hopis between 1858 and 1873. Following a short stay, Hamblin departed with four of the missionaries, leaving Marion Jackson Shelton and Thales Hastings Haskell—two men gifted with linguistic ability—behind to record the Hopi language in a phonetic system called the Deseret Alphabet. The ultimate goal was


Beesley and Elzinga, two linguists, have written a work that operates on two levels. The first third is nonlinguistic contextual background, discussing the missionaries and missions, different types of phonetic alphabets, and correspondence written between church leaders and Shelton. The remaining two-thirds of this book rests in the domain of linguistics with a discussion of the Hopi language, issues specific to it, and a complete reproduction of the English-Hopi dictionary with transcriptions in both the Deseret Alphabet and IPA. I have consulted a Uto-Aztecan linguist who was reading the book at the same time and found that he was delighted at the insight these two authors provide. On the other hand, for a historian to read “it is reasonable to assume that he [Shelton] heard the prevocalic /r/ in 1860 Orayvi as rhotic and probably nonsibilant, while he heard the /r/ in syllable-final position as something definitely sibilant, probably [ș]. The prevocalic /r/s of his informants may have been nonsibilant voiced fricatives” gives pause. The point: there is something here for both camps— those interested in a historic literary mission to the Hopi as well as the linguistic side of what these men preserved by using the Deseret

Alphabet. The book is an interesting piece of scholarship. —

R O B E R T

S .

M C P H E R S O N

USU Eastern, Blanding

Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 2015. 266 pp. Cloth, $34.95

Amy Brown Lyman was a captivating and ambitious woman whose activism and achievements should rank her as one of the most accomplished historical figures in twentieth-century Utah. In A Faded Legacy: Amy Brown Lyman and Mormon Women’s Activism, 1872–1959, Dave Hall examines why today, “Lyman is all but forgotten among her own people and rates not even a footnote outside the Latter-day Saint community” (xi). The fortitude, fiscal responsibility, and faith demonstrated by Lyman in the service to her church and community through two world wars, the Great Depression, and multiple personal tragedies earns her a place of study in a manner that transcends traditional gender or religious study frameworks. Hall illustrates the political and religious climate that facilitated acute and comprehensive activism by the women of Lyman’s generation. Her rural upbringing, with its strong focus on religion and education combined with extensive experience in the reality of childbirth-related death and illness (including her mother’s resulting disability and the deaths of two sisters) to provide Lyman with a strong foundation for her efforts later in life. Hall affirms that Lyman’s concerns about marriage and childbirth stemmed from these memories, as she acknowledged in a letter to a friend, “I want to see and hear a few more things before I sink into oblivion” (38). Subsequent travels east, including time spent at Jane Addams’s Hull

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to eventually translate and write the Book of Mormon in the Indians’ tongue. The people of Orayvi (Oraibi) on Third Mesa in northern Arizona welcomed Shelton and Haskell, but these two men were also very much on their own for food and maintenance, which at times proved to be a struggle. No white shirts and name tags here. For four months, they lived among the people recording their language and developing a 486-word dictionary using the forty symbols of the Deseret Alphabet, just as linguists today use the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA). This earlier system appeared around 1853, underwent a number of revisions, then fell into disuse by 1875. Shelton and Haskell’s work provided one of the best and most complete examples of its application to Native American languages. At the end of this four-month experience, Shelton felt he had failed to teach the Hopis the alphabet because they were constantly involved with dances and ceremonial activity—the winter is the height of important ritual performance. Haskell, undaunted, returned during the winter of 1862–1863 for a second visit, but there was no further work on the dictionary.

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House, exposed Lyman to practices of scientific social work she would successfully implement in Utah.

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A Faded Legacy examines the role Lyman played in modernizing the Relief Society (the LDS organization for women), including updating record keeping and business practices, which led to the efficient distribution of charity and increased the number of young women involved. Hall illustrates Lyman’s management style as tough and demanding, “Her employees often expressed not just admiration, but real affection for her, explained in large measure because of the unbridled concern she showed for them and for their personal development.” He explains, “She used her unusual powers of perception to sense their needs and potential” (81). The post–World War I years found Lyman adding the state legislature to her list of accomplishments, successfully advocating for the passage of the Sheppard-Towner Act, providing the maternal and infant care that would significantly decrease mortality rates in the years following its passage. Hall writes, “As Utah continued its move from national pariah (religion), it now became something of a national model” for maternal and infant health (97). Hall also illustrates Amy’s “dynamic involvement” in the establishment of the Utah State Training School, postulating that “Lyman no doubt took great satisfaction in the success of the Training School legislation. Although she did not know it at the time, it represented one of the last organized forays by Relief Society women into the political process” (111). Lyman worked to increase relief efforts during the Great Depression, but economic conditions worsened and there was a change in LDS church leadership. Hall explains the “national trends whereby those with long years of experience in relief matters—most often women— were shunted aside from new loci of power in dramatically expanded public agencies, while new figures—generally men informed less by practical experience than by political and ideological concerns—took their place” (124). A Faded Legacy follows Amy Lyman and her husband Richard R. Lyman on their LDS mis-

sion to Europe, where Amy’s tenacity and devotion to the church and welfare work strengthened her resolve to improve the social and economic situation at home. Her time as Relief Society president should have cemented her legacy of activism and church loyalty. Instead, Hall posits what would have happened if Richard had not been excommunicated, effectively ending Amy’s tenure as president. While members of the LDS faithful will find much to enjoy in this biographical account, those outside of the LDS church will be equally intrigued by the questions arising from what happens when a woman’s accomplishments are overshadowed by a husband’s indiscretions. Hall seeks to reestablish the memory of Lyman and other women of her generation. He writes, “Pursuing a path that at times intersected, sometimes diverged, and, at other times, paralleled that followed by other American women, these children of polygamy left behind an impressive record of accomplishments that resulted in remarkable benefits for themselves and subsequent generations” (9). While explanations of church hierarchy are muted, they are nonetheless critical to understanding the myriad of power struggles and personalities faced by Lyman. Her life spans from polygamous, pre-statehood days to homesteading and legislating, from a time when Progressive women helped to shape the American political landscape to the post–World War II era when LDS women were encouraged to be good wives and homemakers. A Faded Legacy is a fascinating case study of a woman who navigated several spheres with intermittent peace and frequent turbulence, and it is a solid text for any gender studies curriculum. —

J E N N I F E R

R U S T

Utah State University


The Mapmakers of New Zion: A Cartographic History of Mormonism

Francaviglia’s publications about aspects of built or vernacular culture on the Mormon landscape date back to 1969; for seventeen years, until his retirement in 2008, he was director of the Center for Greater Southwestern Studies and the History of Cartography at the University of Texas at Arlington. Clearly this is a scholar who brings a lifelong seriousness to studies of Mormons and Utah and who is capable of assessing how that American-born religious movement served to inspire and sometimes alarm its beholders. Mapping is not only a serious business for travelers and cartographers, it is an indication—as Francaviglia points out often and accurately—of the attitudes and

From the days of Joseph Smith onward, Mormon leaders have been careful students of maps, which loom large in church history. This book sees no need to confine itself to published maps from that history: there are rarely seen and well-reproduced manuscript maps, paintings, and photographs of map-quilts, brochures, panoramas from the Salt Lake City airport, and a map showing “Church Missions Worldwide.” Handsome photographs of the LDS Church Office Building—which is familiar to anyone who has walked near Temple Square in Salt Lake City—display the building’s sensible adornment with a vast pair of world maps, carefully carved into its lower stone façade, reflecting a commitment to expanding the worldwide reach of the LDS faith. This study contains long and interesting chapters highlighting singular maps and their makers. The maps of the City of Zion, once attributed as a divine revelation given to Joseph Smith, appear as plans that changed in significant ways, especially with contributions from the cartographer-artist Frederick Williams, and the evolving maps, going from “plan” to “practice,” are discussed at length in chapter one. That plan would offer a basic blueprint for

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Few authors bring such authority and experience to a formal study of map history as Richard Francaviglia, especially when the matter at hand is delivering a close reading of Mormon cartographic accomplishment. This sizable and quite hefty volume, handsomely prepared and illustrated with over one hundred fullcolor images, manages to do exactly what Francaviglia promises to do, revealing how “maps can serve religion in metaphorical as well as practical ways” (20). In a book dense with small type, the author estimates that there are better than 120,000 words describing the evolving geographical presence on the land of adherents of Mormonism (and non-LDS outsiders) and the ways that maps define human aspirations, journeys, settlements, and expansion over the course of two hundred years, going back to upstate New York. There, of course, Joseph Smith took the early steps in founding a religion whose followers are now officially known as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, though still widely referred to today as Mormons.

It is, therefore, particularly noteworthy that a main theme in this book are the cartographic “historical originals” that Mormons themselves generated, as their influence expanded from New York to Ohio and Illinois, and, after the migration across the Great Plains, to the Valley of the Great Salt Lake (239). This is, therefore, as much a study of evolving Mormon ideology and practical experience as it is an examination of maps. Many of the most interesting maps, Francaviglia notes, were long held within the LDS church archives and, because they sometimes brought forth inconvenient truths, were not always featured in atlases of Zion, Deseret, and the Utah Territory. He aims for a less partial view and largely pulls it off.

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beliefs of those who create maps and plans. While few of the materials included in Mapmakers of New Zion are the interpretive thematic maps that geographers or accomplished graphic artists create to expose and explicate a body of data, the volume does reproduce maps aplenty from many a source.

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the layout and design of many a “four-square” Mormon town. An early plat map, proposed as a design for Salt Lake City and drafted by Thomas Bullock, was compiled a mere three weeks after the initial Mormon arrival in Utah in 1847 (81).

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A separate chapter discusses at length the work of James H. Martineau, expanding Francaviglia’s previous thought on this subject. Maps from non-Mormons find their place too, including the deservedly famous 1878 “Map of the Utah Territory: Representing the Extent of the Irrigable, Timber, and Pasture Lands,” produced as a part of John Wesley Powell’s Report on the Lands of the Arid Region (120). Many of the reproductions come from the stunningly detailed scanned maps in David Rumsey’s extraordinary collection, much of which Rumsey has placed online, offering the most accessible archive available of western cartographic materials (and free of charge); Francaviglia rightly thanks Rumsey at length for his contributions to all students of cartography. The variety is bracing: reproduced in this book are manuscript maps, Government Printing Office maps, LDS church archives maps, and artifactual maps, including a fine reproduction of one of the Iosepa petroglyphs—which may or may not be a map but certainly provides food for thought. In a well-crafted afterword, Francaviglia discusses that potential plague of the researcher-author—competing volumes that appear in print while you are winding up your own work. In his case, that was a 2012 second edition of Mapping Mormonism: An Atlas of Latter-day Saint History. Francaviglia worked around an interesting and potentially awkward turn of events and even wrote his own generous review of the Atlas after it emerged in print. While a huge number of maps appear in the other volume, Francaviglia points out that few come from the church archives, noting that continuing and sometimes conflicting revelations are always relevant. He suggests that the books be used side by side rather than in competition, and that advice seems sage enough. Ultimately, Mapmakers of New Zion is as much about cartographic history (fundamentally, a branch of scholarly geography) as it is about Mormonism. This is a thoroughgoing look at

how maps reveal ideas and ideals and at the people who craft them, and it offers an absorbing discussion of Mormon practice. In 2009, I published a long essay in the Geographical Review that I titled “Meetinghouses in the Mormon Mind: Ideology, Architecture, and Turbulent Streams of an Expanding Church.” I most certainly would have loved to have had this study by Richard Francaviglia beside me as I worked through my notes. He provides us with quite the legacy. —

P A U L

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S T A R R S

University of Nevada, Reno


BOOK NOTICES

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Logan: Utah State University Press, 2015. xxv + 324 pp. Paper, $24.95

New York: Columbia University Press, 2015. xiii +244. Paper, $30.00

Beginning with an introduction to a black LeMond Poprad cyclocross bike, Tim Sullivan invites his readers to join him on an interactive journey across the West to observe how efforts to move toward more sustainable transportation have affected landscape, social interaction, and a personal understanding of environment for American westerners. As he moves through cities such as Las Vegas, Phoenix, Denver, Boise, and Salt Lake City, Sullivan abandons the convenience of traveling by automobile and focuses on his experiences relying on busses, bikes, railways, and his own two feet. He addresses the history and development of city planning, as well as the contemporary challenges that arise when traditional automobile transportation practices are tested with new ideas, giving way to pedestrian traffic, bike routes, and community transit. Sullivan talks to a wide array of people including locals, business owners, city planners, politicians, and transit CEOs, to name a few. Ways to the West provides an interesting look at the evolution of transportation and city planning across the American West, as well as an exciting experience in meeting the people who are directly involved and affected by its changes.

Mormonism and American Politics includes a compilation of essays from thirteen scholars in Mormon history. The essays cover a vast history of Mormon involvement in politics, starting with Joseph Smith’s political position as the founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in nineteenth-century Illinois and ending with Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential bid. The writings in this book address the various political positions that leaders in Mormonism have taken on some of the twentieth century’s hottest topics, including social reform, race, and women, as well as the Mormon struggle to be taken seriously as patriots and contributors to the American political system. Altogether, the essays are tied together by their observation of an effort by Mormons to assert their positions in politics and achieve acceptance in America’s political system.

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Volunteers of America, 1908 A lunch counter operated by the Salt Lake City branch of the Volunteers of America, March 27, 1908, 115 East First South. A few weeks earlier, newspapers had reported about the many unemployed men in the city, whose needs this institution met. The local Volunteers offered

several services—mostly free—including a “soup house,” dispensary, hotel, employment agency, and rummage room. —

Utah State Historical Society


Outside the Denver and Rio Grande Depot, 1910. UTAH STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY

UTAH DIVISION OF STATE HISTORY UTAH STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY DEPARTMENT OF HERITAGE AND ARTS

Everett L. Cooley (1917–2006)

Robert S. McPherson

C. Gregory Crampton (1911–1995)

Philip F. Notarianni

S. George Ellsworth (1916–1997)

Floyd A. O’Neil

Austin E. Fife (1909–1986)

Charles S. Peterson

Dina Blaes, 2017, Salt Lake City, Chair

LeRoy R. Hafen (1893–1985)

Allan Kent Powell

Steve Barth, 2019, Murray

A. Karl Larson (1899–1983)

Richard W. Sadler

John B. D’Arcy, 2018, Salt Lake City

Gustive O. Larson (1897–1983)

Gary L. Shumway

Yvette Donosso, 2019, Sandy

Brigham D. Madsen (1914–2010)

Melvin T. Smith

Ken Gallacher, 2018, Riverton

Dean L. May (1938–2003)

William A. Wilson

David Rich Lewis, 2019, Logan

David E. Miller (1909–1978)

Deanne G. Matheny, 2017, Lindon

Dale L. Morgan (1914–1971)

Steven Lloyd Olsen, 2017, Heber City

William Mulder (1915–2008)

David Scott Richardson, 2019, Salt Lake City

Helen Z. Papanikolas (1917–2004)

David L. Bigler

Patty Timbimboo-Madsen, 2019, Plymouth

Wallace E. Stegner (1909–1993)

Craig Fuller

Wesley Robert White, 2017, Salt Lake City

Thomas G. Alexander

Florence S. Jacobsen

James B. Allen

Marlin K. Jensen

Will Bagley

Stanford J. Layton

Maureen Ursenbach Beecher

William P. MacKinnon

Brad Westwood, Director and State Historic

David L. Bigler

John S. McCormick

Preservation Officer

Martha Bradley-Evans

F. Ross Peterson

Max J. Evans

Richard C. Roberts

Peter L. Goss

William B. Smart

B. Carmon Hardy

Melvin T. Smith

Leonard J. Arrington (1917–1999)

Michael W. Homer

Linda Thatcher

Fawn M. Brodie (1915–1981)

Joel Janetski

Gary Topping

Juanita Brooks (1898–1989)

William P. MacKinnon

Richard E. Turley Jr.

Olive W. Burt (1894–1981)

Carol Cornwall Madsen

Eugene E. Campbell (1915–1986)

Wilson Martin

BOARD OF STATE HISTORY

ADMINISTRATION

UTAH STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY FELLOWS

HONORARY LIFE MEMBERS

The activity that is the subject of this journal has been financed in part with Federal funds from the National Park Service and U.S. Department of the Interior and administered by the State Historic Preservation Office of Utah. The contents and opinions do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Department of the Interior or the Utah State Historic Preservation Office, nor does the mention of trade names or commercial products constitute endorsement or recommendation by the Department of the Interior or the Utah State Historic Preservation Office.


THE OFFICIAL JOURNAL OF UTAH HISTORY B AC K

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— A 1939 certificate awarded to Ralph Peay, an enrollee with Civilian Conservation Corps in Provo, Utah. Utah State Historical Society

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Tie Cutting in the Uinta Mountains A 1908 Orderville Murder

The 1895 Deseret Museum Expedition The CCC in Southeastern Utah

— A group of Cataract Canyon boaters rest for the night, 1947. Al Watkins Morton Collection, Utah State Historical Society

IN THIS ISSUE


U TA H HISTORICAL Q U A R T E R LY EDITORIAL STAFF Brad Westwood — Editor Holly George — Co-Managing Editor

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Jedediah S. Rogers — Co-Managing Editor

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ADVISORY BOARD OF EDITORS Brian Q. Cannon, Provo, 2016

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Craig Fuller, Salt Lake City, 2018

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Lee Ann Kreutzer, Salt Lake City, 2018 Kathryn L. MacKay, Ogden, 2017

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Jeffrey D. Nichols, Mountain Green, 2018 Robert E. Parson, Benson, 2017 Clint Pumphrey, Logan, 2018

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W. Paul Reeve, Salt Lake City, 2018

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Susan Sessions Rugh, Provo, 2016 John Sillito, Ogden, 2017 Ronald G. Watt, South Jordan, 2017

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In 1897, public-spirited Utahns organized the Utah State Historical Society in order to expand public understanding of Utah’s past. Today, the Utah Division of State History administers the Society and, as part of its statutory obligations, publishes the Utah Historical Quarterly (ISSN 0 042-143X), which has collected and preserved Utah’s unique history since 1928. The Division also collects materials related to the history of Utah; assists communities, agencies, building owners, and consultants with state and federal processes regarding archaeological and historical resources; administers the ancient human remains program; makes historical resources available in a specialized research library; offers extensive online resources and grants; and assists in public policy and the promotion of Utah’s rich history. Visit history.utah.gov for more information. UHQ appears in winter, spring, summer, and fall. Members of the Society receive UHQ upon payment of annual dues: individual, $30; institution, $40; student and senior (age 65 or older), $25; business, $40; sustaining, $40; patron, $60; sponsor, $100. Direct manuscript submissions to the address listed below. Visit history.utah.gov for submission guidelines. Articles and book reviews represent the views of the authors and are not necessarily those of the Utah State Historical Society. POSTMASTER: Send address change to Utah Historical Quarterly,

The Rio Grande Depot, home of the Utah State Historical Society. —

stanford kekauoha

300 S. Rio Grande, Salt Lake City, Utah 84101. Periodicals postage is paid at Salt Lake City, Utah. history.utah.gov (801) 245-7231


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255 CONTENTS ARTICLES

263 191 In THIS ISSUE 269 BOOK REVIEWS

275 Book Notices 276 utah in focus

193 Mormons on Broadway, 1914 Style: Harvey O’Higgins’s “Polygamy”

255 Utah’s Spaceport: A Failed Dream By Eric G. Swedin

By Kenneth L. Cannon II

217 News from Salt Lake, 1847–1849 By Andrew H. Hedges

237 George Dewey Clyde and the Harvest of Snow By Robert E. Parson

263 Remembering the Circleville Massacre

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Book Reviews

269 The Awkward State of Utah: Coming of Age in the Nation, 1896–1945 Charles S. Peterson and Brian Q. Cannon • Reviewed by Nancy J. Taniguchi

270 Making the White Man’s West: Whiteness and the Creation of the American West Jason E. Pierce • Reviewed by Christopher Herbert

271 Where Roads Will Never Reach: Wilderness and Its Visionaries in the Northern Rockies

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273 Working on Earth:

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Reviewed by Jon England

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Class and Environmental Justice Christina Robertson and Jennifer Westerman, eds. • Reviewed by Cody Ferguson

274 The Great Medicine Road:

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Narratives of the Oregon, California, and Mormon Trail. Part 2: 1849 Michael L. Tate, ed., with Will Bagley and Richard L. Rieck • Reviewed by Lee Kreutzer

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Frederick H. Swanson

Book Notices

275 From the Outside Looking In: Essays on Mormon History, Theology, and Culture Reid L. Neilson and Matthew L. Grow, eds.

275 The Lost Frontier: Momentous Moments in the Old West You May Have Missed Rod Miller


Our first article focuses on a certain type of representation, a Broadway play. Polygamy, coauthored by the talented Harvey O’Higgins and produced in 1914, treated its topic in a way that used and mirrored decades of representations. The play focused on the dark side of Mormon polygamy, but at its core it dramatized a larger theme: the perceived economic, political, and personal power of church leaders. “Mormons on Broadway, 1914 Style” tells the story of the play, how it came to be, how it represented the Mormon church and its members, what the critics thought, and how it touched the nerves of contemporaries. Several decades earlier, attitudes toward Mormons had not yet solidified so firmly. The second article, “News from Salt Lake,” unfolds the multifaceted newspaper coverage of the Salt Lake Valley in the first years of Mormon settlement. News, rumor, and speculation all filtered back to the eastern states through various reports and retellings that Americans around the country absorbed about the Brigham Young–led Mormons who had left the United States for Upper California. Perhaps strikingly, the coverage reported more on the landscape of the Great Basin than on the peculiarity of a religious people that would come to define representations of the Mormons in the decades that followed.

That snow-survey technology served a very down-to-earth purpose, but Utahns have long had their eyes fixed on more sophisticated technology to diversify the economy. In 1970, NASA began looking for a new “spaceport” for the space shuttle program. Utah jumped into the competition to win the facility. Our fourth article details the efforts of boosters to sell northern Utah as the right place to land the shuttle. Finally, from yet another corner of the state and at an emotional intersection between present and past, we offer the remarks made at the dedication of a memorial to the innocent Paiute victims of the Circleville Massacre of 1866. On April 22, 2016, 150 years later, Paiutes and other Utah tribal Indians, Circleville citizens, LDS and state officials, and others came together to honor the lives of those who suffered death at the hands of their Mormon neighbors when hysteria and distrust overcame humanity and reason. In the decades since 1866, the incident has been represented in different ways. But for the most part, it has been forgotten. By writing about it, talking about it, and erecting a monument, historians and citizens today are trying to represent the past in a way that will continue to unearth the complexity and depth of this tragic event. That is what good history does.

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We tend to believe the representations that support what we already believe.

Journalists have their own way of representing reality; scientists try for more accurate representations through data. During the 1920s through the 1940s, George Clyde innovated and developed systems to predict water availability for farmers. Clyde would become governor of Utah in 1957, but he started his career as an irrigation engineer. Working for the Utah Agricultural Experiment Station, he established a protocol for snow surveys that could help predict runoff each year; farmers could then plan for the planting season with valuable information. Our third article tells how Clyde and others started to scientifically understand Utah’s snowpack and runoff.

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People make sense of the world by representation. Words, maps, pictures, and symbols, of course, do not always capture the complexity and depth of the things they represent. Because they are incomplete, and also because they may be somewhat or wildly inaccurate, representations can distort our understanding. Consider, for instance, The Birth of a Nation, featured in this issue’s “Utah in Focus.” The white majority hailed this groundbreaking film, which was also blatantly racist and historically inaccurate, as a superb history lesson.

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Chrystal Herne, one of the most fashionable stage actresses of her day, played Zina Whitman in Polygamy. This portrait appeared on the cover of Theatre in April 1915, during the run of the play.


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193 The runaway success of Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s The Book of Mormon on Broadway has brought new, widespread attention to the Mormon church and its culture.1 Although the play is extremely popular, it has created controversy because it conveys an essentially sweet view of Mormons and at the same time includes scenes and song lyrics that many playgoers find offensive. The Book of Mormon is not the first Broadway play to depict Mormons and their unusual culture in a sensationalized way, nor is it likely the last. In 1914 and 1915, another play, Polygamy, A Play in Four Acts had a successful six-month run on Broadway and helped arouse (or contribute to) anti-Mormon sentiment among activists, actors, feminists, evangelical leaders, and many others.2 One of the authors of the play, Harvey O’Higgins, was a prominent New York writer who had co-written books about the Mormons. Polygamy is set in Salt Lake City and reflects a certain slice of Mormon life in Utah while depicting the LDS church’s alleged secret continuation of 1 “‘The Book of Mormon’ Scoops Tony Awards,” Reuters.com, accessed April 2014; Devin Friedman, “Polygamy: The Musical!” GQ Magazine, March 2011, 162–63. 2 Harvey O’Higgins and Harriet Ford, “Polygamy, a Play in Four Acts,” unpublished manuscript, microfilm copy in Dramatic Copyright Deposits, copyright no. D39916, reel 580, Manuscripts Division, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.; “Polygamy,” Internet Broadway Database, accessed December 2014. At least two other plays about Mormons appeared on Broadway near the time Polygamy was staged, The Girl from Utah and His Little Widows, both musical comedies with popular show tunes. The Girl from Utah included the first hit song written by the soon-to-be legendary Broadway composer Jerome Kern.


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friend, who acted as a consultant on the play, knew this. Cannon was the son of the prominent Mormon leader George Q. Cannon. His father and several of his brothers were polygamists. By 1914, however, Frank Cannon had become the most influential anti-Mormon agitator in the world.

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Harvey O’Higgins, co-author of Polygamy and a prominent journalist, muckraker, detective story writer, playwright, screenwriter, historian, and chief propagandist for the United States government during World War I. O’Higgins wrote three works involving Mormons: Under the Prophet in Utah: The National Menace of a Political Priestcraft, which he coauthored with Frank J. Cannon; The Other House, which he coauthored with an unhappy plural wife; and Polygamy.

the practice of plural marriage. Its plot centers around a prominent young Mormon man being ordered by “the Prophet” to enter polygamy and the reactions and challenges he, his wife, and others face as a result.3 At the time Polygamy was staged, plural marriage, once sponsored and supported by the LDS church, was in sharp decline. Men who had married plural wives in prior years were generally expected to continue to live with and support their wives and families, but the church did not sanction new marriages, and many of those who had entered “the Principle” before the Manifesto of 1890 or the “Second Manifesto” of 1904 were aging. It is difficult to believe that O’Higgins, who had co-written two books about the Mormon church, did not understand that the practice had been officially abandoned and had dramatically declined. It is certain that Frank J. Cannon, O’Higgins’s co-author and 3 O’Higgins and Ford, Polygamy, acts 1, 2, 3, and 4.

What O’Higgins and Cannon did believe, however, was that LDS church leaders sought to exercise control over Latter-day Saints, businesses, and politics where they could, and that some senior officials were intent upon the church exercising secular power over the Intermountain West and other parts of the nation. Polygamy, long a controversial and well-known tenet and practice of the church, still outraged Progressive Americans, and O’Higgins used the practice as a dramatic device to make allegations of domination and control by church leaders. Polygamy also had a broader, American theme, and it sought to convey a powerful feminist message: that controlling, abusive men needed to be checked. Like The Book of Mormon almost one hundred years later, Polygamy was a genuine Broadway production, complete with elaborate sets, costuming, and well-known actors. It was reviewed, usually favorably, by all the New York City newspapers and theater magazines as well as by many other publications around the country. It reinforced commonly held negative perceptions of the Mormon church’s hierarchy and polygamy, but it also exhibited a favorable view of lay church members, particularly those who were troubled by their church’s dominance in the affairs of its adherents. The play brought to the stage a portrait of Mormons and their church that mirrored contemporary muckraking articles and lectures. Moreover, the play owed at least some of its appeal to its focus on Mormon women seeking to free themselves from male domination and control and, in that respect, it channeled the great popularity of contemporary “white slave” dramas.4 4 On the Progressive Era’s fascination with white slave drama, see Katie N. Johnson, Sisters in Sin, Brothel Drama in America, 1900–1920 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2006), 109–61. Mormon polygamy was often cast as a form of white slavery by nineteenthcentury critics. W. Paul Reeve, Religion of a Different Color: Race and the Mormon Struggle for Whiteness (New York: Oxford University Press, 2015), 140–70.


Like Polygamy, many of these white slave dramas had political themes, and most exhibited a nascent feminist attitude fostered by their authors.

O’Higgins told reporters that Cannon had an “absolutely tragic face,” apparently showing the ravages of first having saved, through “his eloquence and energy . . . the Mormon community at one of the most desperate crises in its history.” According to O’Higgins, Cannon had negotiated the end of polygamy, the admission of Utah as a state, and the recovery of “the church’s escheated property back from the government.” After all that, he was rejected by the Mormons because of his differences with 5 “Harvey J. O’Higgins, Author, Is Dead,” New York Times, March 1, 1929, 18. See also Kenneth L. Cannon II, “The Modern Mormon Kingdom: Frank J. Cannon’s National Campaign against Mormonism, 1910–1918,” Journal of Mormon History 37 (Fall 2012): 62n4. 6 Frank J. Cannon and Harvey J. O’Higgins, Under the Prophet in Utah, the National Menace of a Political Priestcraft (Boston: C. M. Clark Co., 1911). 7 “A Human Document, Harvey O’Higgins Tells How He Found Material for ‘Polygamy,’” New York Tribune, December 13, 1914, section 3, 4; Cannon, “The Modern Mormon Kingdom,” 62–64, 69, 105–107; Kenneth L. Cannon II, “Frank Cannon, the Salt Lake Tribune, and the Alta Club,” presentation to the Alta Club Library Forum, April 2016.

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As O’Higgins related to a number of drama organizations in New York while he was promoting Polygamy, he had met Cannon in the spring of 1910 in Denver. At the time, O’Higgins had gone west to work with Judge Ben Lindsey on his exposé of Colorado politics. There, O’Higgins convinced Cannon to tell his intriguing life story of growing up in a prominent Mormon household, his extensive political activities, and his fall from grace as his relationship with Joseph F. Smith, who became the LDS church president in 1901, deteriorated. The two had been longtime antagonists but became mortal enemies after Cannon’s father died in early 1901.7

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O’Higgins was an unusually broad-gauged, talented, and prolific writer.5 One of his books on Mormonism, co-authored with Frank J. Cannon, was Under the Prophet in Utah: The National Menace of a Political Priestcraft.6 Under the Prophet in Utah was very popular in its day and remains easily accessible today in a variety of formats.

Frank J. Cannon, second son of the high-ranking Mormon leader George Q. Cannon. Cannon became the first U.S. senator from Utah and, later, an effective anti-Mormon crusader

Smith, the “Prophet” in Utah from the title of Cannon’s book.8 The anti-polygamy movement in the United States had begun to die down after the U.S. Senate’s decision, after a four-year investigation, to permit Reed Smoot, elected as a senator from Utah in 1903, to retain his seat. Cannon, who had behind the scenes led the fight to unseat the senator, moved to Denver after failing in his fight against Smoot. Cannon had become the managing editor of the Rocky Mountain News in Denver by the time he met O’Higgins. After Cannon told O’Higgins the story of his fall from a “brilliant political career” to becoming a pariah in Mormon Utah, O’Higgins convinced Cannon to collaborate with him on 8 “A Human Document”; Harvey J. O’Higgins, “Address to the Drama Society of New York on ‘Polygamy’ (Inside Story of the Play),” [1915], L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah.

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As one prominent lecture organizer recalled, Cannon’s “speech, lashing out at polygamy, which he made sound like a threat to every American hearthside, was sensational. . . . [S] hocked crowds who flocked to the tents to hear him drank it in.”12

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Harriet Ford, the co-writer of Polygamy. Apparently, O’Higgins provided the storyline and Ford took the lead in writing the script.

an autobiography exposing the “inside history of the Mormon kingdom” and denouncing “the whole system of church dictation in politics.”9 The two worked for a year on the exposé, which first appeared serially in Everybody’s Magazine and then as a book.10 The work was successful both in its magazine serial run and in its book form and paved the way for Cannon to embark on a remunerative and influential eight-year run as a powerful and persuasive national lecturer on Mormons and polygamy.11 9 “A Human Document.” 10 “Under the Prophet in Utah” appeared in nine installments of Everybody’s, from December 1910 through August 1911. It was always intended to be published in book form and was released as a book in December 1911. 11 “Under the Prophet in Utah” helped increase the Everybody’s circulation from about 500,000 to more than 600,000 during the period of its run. Frank Luther Mott, Sketches of 21 Magazines, 1905–1930, vol. 5 of A History of American Magazines (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1968), 81–83; Kenneth L. Cannon II, “‘And Now It Is the Mormons’: The Magazine Crusade

After publication of the book, O’Higgins continued to be fascinated by Cannon and the Mormons and decided to write a play using the “human document” of Cannon’s life as a guide. He talked to his regular collaborator, Harriet Ford, a playwright widely known for “whipping into shape” other authors’ works for the stage, and they wrote the script together, initially calling it A Celestial Marriage.13 They took the script to a variety of producers, some of whom “declared it was the most gripping drama they had come across, but they would not dare to put it on,” because “they said the Mormon Church would ruin them financially if they put such an exposure on the stage.” As O’Higgins told the Drama Society of New York shortly after the play opened on Broadway, the managers (and he) believed that “the Mormon Church to-day is as powerful in New York City as any single financial interest in the United States, and can call upon the assistance of many equally powerful financial interests to aid it,” suggesting that influential Mormons and their allies would shut the play down—a gross overstatement.14 Critics recognized that the play had been inspired by the writings and lectures of “that valiant anti-Mormon former Senator Frank Cannon.”15 against the Mormon Church, 1910–1911,” Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 46 (Spring 2013): 1–63. 12 Harry P. Harrison and Karl Detzer, Culture under Canvas: The Story of Tent Chautauqua (New York: Hastings House, 1958), 132; Cannon, “The Modern Mormon Kingdom,” 62, 100. 13 In his (not so favorable) review, George Jean Nathan noted that “it is patent that Mr. O’Higgins is headwork of the collaborative couple and Miss Ford the handwork,” that is, that the story ideas came from O’Higgins and the adaptation of the story to the stage came from Ford. George Jean Nathan, “The Unimportance of Being Earnest,” Smart Set Magazine 45 (February 1915): 145. Ford collaborated with many co-authors. “Harriet Ford, 86, Dies, Widow of Dr. Forde Morgan Collaborated on Many Works Presented on Broadway,” New York Times, December 14, 1949, 31. 14 “The Girl Who Picks Winners for the Stage,” New York Sun, January 31, 1915, 11; O’Higgins, “Address to the Drama Society of New York on ‘Polygamy,’” 5–6. 15 Burns Mantle, “‘Polygamy’ and Other New Plays in the City of New York,” Chicago Tribune, December 13, 1914,


The producer and playwrights decided to stage a month-long pre-Broadway run at the Columbia Theatre in Washington, D.C. As they hoped, the play attracted significant attention in the capital city, which had only a few years earlier watched the real-life drama of the Smoot investigation. Members of Woodrow Wilson’s cabinet attended one of the first performances of Polygamy, and Julia Gregory, the wife of the U.S. Attorney General, gave a tea for the authors “at which all the Cabinet folk were present.” Janet Richards, a well-known lecturer and feminist, also encouraged all to learn about the horrors of Mormonism through the play.18 After its pre-production run in Washington, Polygamy formally opened on Broadway on December 1, 1914, shortly after four major nasection 8, 7. 16 Louis V. DeFoe, “Propaganda and Drama: An Analysis of the New O’Higgins–Ford Play of Mormonism, ‘Polygamy,’” Green Book 13 (March 1915): 482; John D. Irving, Mary Shaw, Actress, Suffragist, Activist (1854– 1929) (New York: Arno Press 1982), 156; Johnson, Sisters in Sin, 91–108; “Shaw Interposes for a Namesake,” New York Times, February 27, 1907, 9; Susan A. Glenn, Female Spectacle: The Theatrical Roots of Modern Feminism (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2000), 138. 17 O’Higgins, “Address before the Drama Society,” 5–6; “The Girl Who Picks Winners for the Stage,” New York Sun, January 31, 1915, 11. 18 “Many Volunteer Boosters Working for Polygamy,” New York Sun, April 11, 1915, sec. 3.

19 McClure’s, Everybody’s, Cosmopolitan, and Pearson’s magazines had run serial articles about the Mormon church from the fall of 1910 through the end of summer 2011. Cannon, “‘And Now It Is the Mormons,’” 1–63; Cannon, “The Modern Mormon Kingdom,” 65–74. Frank Cannon began his lectures for the Redpath Chautauqua bureau in 1911 and for the National Reform Association in 1914. 20 “The Girl Who Picks Winners for the Stage,” New York Sun, January 31, 1915, sec. 3, 4. 21 “Takes Park Theatre Lease, Modern Play Co., Inc., Will Move There Its Play ‘Polygamy,’” New York Times, December 13, 1914, 14. 22 Louis Sherwin, “The New Play, ‘Polygamy’ at Playhouse Is an Anti-Mormon Melodrama,” (New York) Globe and Commercial Advertiser, December 2, 1914, 14. Sherwin, who had been the drama critic for the Rocky Mountain News in Denver while Cannon was managing editor there, recognized the character of Brig Kemble as Cannon, though much “idealized.” For biographical information on Sherwin, see Dixie Hines and Harry Prescott Hanaford, eds., “Louis Sherwin,” in Who’s

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Unlike other plays and movies of its time, Polygamy is nuanced and contains many details about the LDS church and culture that were entirely lost on eastern reviewers, even though it is sprinkled with dialogue meant to help theatergoers understand Mormon culture. The play centers on four Mormons in their thirties, all from leading Salt Lake City families—Brigham Kemble, Annis Tanner Grey, Zina Kemble Whitman, and Daniel Whitman—over a critical twenty-four hour period. The young protagonists are portrayed as cultivated, engaging people. Brigham “Brig” Kemble, “obviously an idealized [Frank] Cannon himself,” is the apostate son of Nephi Kemble, the “First Counselor” to the Mormon prophet.22 The elder Kemble is a

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tional Progressive magazines published negative, multi-part articles about the LDS church and as Cannon crisscrossed the nation giving fearsome lectures against the church.19 These articles and lectures alarmed many American audiences with allegations of the Mormons’ continuing active practice of polygamy, their importation of young women converts from Europe to become polygamous wives, and church leaders’ assertion of political and financial control in western states. Polygamy brought these allegations to the stage, and journalists everywhere correctly assumed that O’Higgins had relied on Cannon to aid “the authors in the psychology of the Mormon people.”20 The New York Times reported that the play “embodied” Cannon’s “tragic story.”21

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To make the play more attractive to producers, O’Higgins and Ford revised the play to make it a bit edgier by changing the name to Polygamy and by engaging the Broadway legend Mary Shaw to play the part of Bathsheba Tanner, an older polygamous wife, married to a counselor in the First Presidency, who controls younger sister wives much as a brothel’s madam might the women in her establishment. Shaw was famous for having been personally chosen in 1905 by George Bernard Shaw to play Mrs. Warren, the proprietor of an upscale brothel in Mrs. Warren’s Profession, the quintessential “brothel drama” from the Progressive Era, and she was well-known as an outspoken feminist.16 Eventually, O’Higgins and Ford found funding for the production of the play by the Modern Play Company. Ownership of the company was initially anonymous, reportedly so “owners’ assets could not be uncovered and destroyed” by the Mormon church.17

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thinly disguised George Q. Cannon. Brig’s love interest is Annis Tanner Grey, the daughter of Moroni Tanner, the harsh “Second Counselor” to “the Prophet,” as the senior, unnamed leader of the church is called throughout the play. Ten years earlier, the Prophet had directed eighteen-year-old Annis to become the sixth wife of Apostle Grey, a church leader old enough to be her grandfather, as punishment for Brig Kemble’s refusal to support polygamy or go on a mission. Grey has recently died, giving Annis and Brig hope that they might renew their interrupted romance. Brig’s lovely sister, Zina Kemble Whitman, is married to Daniel “Dan” Whitman, a prosperous young businessman for whom church leaders have ambitious plans. As the play unfolds, we learn that Moroni Tanner and one of his older wives, Bathsheba, have manipulated the Prophet to direct Dan to marry Annis as a polygamous wife. Dan reluctantly complies, and Zina is devastated. The rest of the play addresses the four protagonists’ reactions to the polygamous marriage and the church leaders who have ordered it. Polygamy ends with what critics agreed was an unfortunate, conventionally happy conclusion that did not fit the rest of the play. The play opens in the drawing room of Dan and Zina Whitman. As the New York-based Mormon journalist, Isaac Russell, described the scene, we see “a rarely beautiful wife teaching lessons to a rarely beautiful group of children. . . . The children are two in number ONLY. . . . [Presently] a husband enters who is the smartest type of the young up-to-date business man.” The Whitmans enjoy “perfect happiness.”23 Zina attended an elite college in the East, and her brother Brig also has had wide experience outside Utah but is a “backslider from the faith” and the bane of his father’s life. Brig is sufficiently good-hearted that Zina’s children Who in Music and Drama: An Encyclopedia of Biography of Notable Men and Women in Music and the Drama, 1914 (New York: H. P. Hanaford, 1914), 280. 23 Russell, unpublished essay on “Polygamy,” [February 1915], 5, Isaac Russell Papers, 1898–1927, M0444, Department of Special Collections, Stanford University Libraries, Stanford, California (hereafter Russell Papers) “As a criticism of Mormon life,” Russell found, “the play has a fresh coloring to it. The Mormon who goes to the play finds none of the stock views of polygamy, with which the Mormon ear has been assailed for going on to sixty years.” Ibid., 1.

and all the young polygamous wives love him.24 In this first act, Zina’s children tell their Uncle Brig that everyone calls him an “apostate” and they want to know what that means. He replies that “in this end of the country,” apostasy “feels a good deal like leprosy.”25 Brig was played to generally excellent reviews by William Mack, a distinguished actor on Broadway whose wife grew up in Salt Lake City.26 Annis Tanner Grey loves Brig more than anyone else. Annis’s marriage to Apostle Grey devastated Brig. He took to drinking, trying to drown his sorrows in alcohol. Here the play touched on the real-life experiences of Frank Cannon, whose binge drinking was widely known and apparently related to times of boredom or high stress in his life. Cannon’s drinking had been most pronounced as he became increasingly estranged from Joseph F. Smith and the Mormon church in the first few years of the twentieth century; perhaps O’Higgins found it convenient to blame Brig Kemble/Frank Cannon’s drinking on abusive church leaders.27 In the characters of Moroni Tanner and the Prophet, Cannon’s dislike of Smith is evident. Tanner is reminiscent of Smith when he was a counselor in the LDS church’s First Presidency, at least as Cannon perceived him. Tanner is harsh, devoted to the church above all else, shameless about his polygamous wives (most of whom are very pretty) and families, and unforgiving of those he views as having crossed the church or him. Polygamy’s Prophet is also reminiscent of Cannon’s version of Smith in that the Prophet actively oversees a vast empire of financial wealth and political power. A composite of Tanner and the Prophet resembles the 24 Act 1, at 2–4, 7, 12–13, 16–17, 24–25; act 2, at 5, 11 25 Act 1, at 3. 26 Channing Pollock, Harvest of My Years, an Autobiography (New York: Bobbs-Merrill, 1943), 39–40; “O’Malley’s Roast, Took the Dramatic Editor of the News to Task,” Salt Lake Tribune, September 5, 1894, 2; “In the Playhouses of Salt Lake,” Salt Lake Tribune, September 4, 1910, 12. 27 Act 1, at 25, act 2, at 11. Kenneth L. Cannon II, “Wives and Other Women: Love, Sex, and Marriage in the Lives of John Q. Cannon, Frank J. Cannon, and Abraham H. Cannon,” Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 43 (Winter 2010), 83–91. O’Higgins knew that Frank had largely stopped drinking during the 1910s while he was busy writing and lecturing about the evils of Mormonism.


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199 Quilting group from act one. Various polygamous wives surround the quilt. Four of these, including a beautiful new wife from Boston, are married to the harsh Moroni Tanner. Brig Kemble is standing at the left

portrait drawn of Smith in Under the Prophet in Utah. The character of Nephi Kemble, on the other hand, is much as Frank Cannon viewed his father, George Q. Cannon—more sophisticated and tolerant. The elder Kemble sent his children east to college and loves his wayward son but believes devoutly in the church and is absolutely loyal to the Prophet. He married all of his wives before the Manifesto, and, in a relatively obvious manipulation by the playwrights, only his first wife, Esther, the mother of Brig and Zina, is ever seen in the play. As presented in the play, Frank Cannon’s views of both Smith and George Q. Cannon seem to have been one-dimensional and flawed.28 28 Act 1, at 23. The distinction between the two counselors was lost on most of the reviewers, who viewed them jointly as “fanatics” who “grimly” sought to control

As act 1 progresses, we join a quilting circle made up of mostly plural wives. Zina enters. She was played by Chrystal Herne, one of the most elegant actresses in New York at the time, who came onstage dressed in “gowns by Ellsworth, New York.”29 Herne, the daughter of a prominent playwright, had a long career as a leading lady on Broadway and was known for her feminist views and activities.30 The their children’s lives. “Polygamy,” Theatre 21 (January 1915): 7. 29 Channing Pollock, “Polygamy,” in “Channing Pollock’s Review,” Green Book 13 (February 1915): 298; “Polygamy,” Theatre 21 (January 1915): 7. 30 “Chrystal Herne, Stage Star, Dies,” New York Times, September 20, 1950, 31; “Women’s Protest with Tax Checks, Suffragists Are Sending Objections to Paying Without Having Representation,” New York Times, June 16, 1915, 11; “Shaw Interposes for a Namesake,” New York Times, February 27, 1907, 9; Johnson, Sisters in Sin, 76–77; “At The Theater,” Salt Lake Tribune, September 6, 1914, 13.


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dominant woman in the quilting group is Bathsheba Tanner, the longest-married surviving wife of Moroni Tanner, who makes sure that others have to deal with the same burdens that she has endured as a Mormon and polygamous wife.31 The critics agreed that Mary Shaw stole the show with her portrayal of Bathsheba.32

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As the women quilt, Polygamy drifts into Mormon stereotypes. With Bathsheba are three of Moroni Tanner’s other wives: Charlotte, a worried, aging beauty; Clara, a lovely young convert from Boston; and Matilda, a fecund Scandinavian. Other characters also represent certain stereotypical polygamous wives. Most of the women are catty with each other, representing how difficult polygamous households with aging first wives and younger, pretty wives must have been. Further, Isaac Russell noted in his unpublished essay on the play that Frank Cannon had circulated a rumor “that ‘girls for Mormon white slavery were being imported from Europe by way of Boston.’” Isaac Russell related that “all knew in Utah” that this was “silly,” but it made for a scandalous story. The inclusion of Clara, Moroni’s young new polygamous wife from Boston, no doubt tied into this rumor.33 The final scenes of act 1 provide dialogue crucial to the play’s message. First, Nephi Kemble and Moroni Tanner stop by the Whitmans’ drawing room, and Brig Kemble begins arguing with his nemesis, Apostle Tanner. Tanner accuses Brig of breaking all his covenants, and Brig asserts that, under the leadership of people like Tanner, the LDS church has broken its covenant with the U.S. government to cease polygamy. Brig then notes that, unlike his father, Tanner has continued to marry women polygamously, who therefore “can’t claim their [husband who give birth to] children who can’t bear their father’s name before the world.” As Clara, Tanner’s new wife, becomes increasingly agitated by the discussion, the second counselor 31 Act 1, at 26. 32 “‘Polygamy,’” New York Times, December 2, 1914, 13; “‘Polygamy,’” Theatre 21 (January 1915): 6–7; DeFoe, “Propaganda and Drama,” 490; Frances Hackett, “Within Our Gates,” New Republic, December 12, 1915, 24; Hector Turnbull, “‘Polygamy’ at the Playhouse,” New York Tribune, December 2, 1914, 9. 33 Act 1, at 13–25; Russell, unpublished essay on “Polygamy,” 22.

tells her “this apostate attacks me because he wanted to marry into my family and I refused him.” Tanner would “rather see my daughter dead and in her coffin than married to [Brig],” to which Brig replies “I’ll bet there’s a mother in Boston [i.e., Clara’s mother] who would rather have her daughter dead and in her coffin than married into your household—you old Turk.” Anti-Mormon literature had long associated Mormons with “Mohammedans” and “Turks,” so with this comment the playwrights intentionally invoked images of the supposedly barbaric practice of polygamy in Islam.34 The two counselors leave for the temple and a critical second argument begins, this time between Brig Kemble and Bathsheba Tanner. Bathsheba realizes that Clara is genuinely “agitated” by the statements made by her new husband and Brig, and Bathsheba counsels her sister wife that “when your faith’s attacked, that’s the time to stand firm. Everyone here knows that polygamy is the only road to salvation.” Bathsheba tells Brig that the reason plural marriage works is that “all men are naturally polygamists.” Brig takes issue with this, asserting that “the Gentiles put a man in jail for the same thing you put him in Heaven for.” Bathsheba notes that she has “been out in the world as much as you have” and that men who “can afford it, and some who can’t, keep separate establishments” for their wives and mistresses. Brig pokes fun of this “pious lie” of Mormon priests. Bathsheba rejoins that “it’s no lie, Brig and it doesn’t come from our priests. It comes from the Lord himself. He saw that the race was being ruined by the practices of the world and He revealed polygamy to save women from degradation.” Brig tells Bathsheba that “for the life of me I can’t see how it saves a woman from degradation to say that God ordered the degradation.”35 As the New York Tribune’s reviewer rightly recognized, the playwrights were using 34 Act 1, at 22–26. Frank Cannon sometimes referred to the “Mohammedan monarchy” of the LDS church, and the Christian Statesman, the National Reform Association’s magazine, often referred to the “Mohammedan Mormon Kingdom.” Address given by Frank J. Cannon at the Baptist Church in Independence, Missouri, February 25, 1915, typescript, 18, Church History Department, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City; “The Mohammedan Mormon Kingdom,” Christian Statesman 48 (February 1914): 86; Reeve, Religion of a Different Color, 226–35. 35 Act 1, at 26.


Act 2 is set later the same day in the beautiful inner sanctum of the Salt Lake Temple.39 At one end of the room are three well-upholstered chairs on an elevated dais, with the Prophet’s chair in the middle. Portraits of Brigham Young, Wilford Woodruff, and Joseph F. Smith hang on the wall, and busts of other church leaders line the wall.40 The scenes that occur in 36 Turnbull, “‘Polygamy’ at the Playhouse,” New York Tribune, December 2, 1914, 9. 37 Act 1, at 26–27. See also DeFoe, “Propaganda and Drama,” 484. 38 Act 1, at 31–33.

A temple guard escorts Brig into the chambers, where the Prophet meekly tells him that God “has relented to you and is willing to forgive you for your sins. He feels you have been sufficiently punished.” Mimicking Frank Cannon’s sardonic wit, Brig responds, “Well, if you and the Lord have had enough, I have.” In spite of Kemble’s retort, the Prophet expresses hope to save this wayward son of his first counselor: “You interrupted the most promising career in this Church when you refused to obey counsel “‘Polygamy,’” Current Opinion 58 (February 1915): 94. 41 Pollock, “‘Polygamy,’” 297.

39 “‘Polygamy,’” Theatre 21 (January 1915): 6. In another review, the same “Council Chamber” of the temple is described as a “veritable ‘Tosca’-like chamber of horrors, if full credence be given to the play.” DeFoe, “Propaganda and Drama,” 487. Salt Lake native (but non-Mormon) Channing Pollock noted that the room in the temple was “as accurately represented as may be, in view of the fact that no Gentile ever has set foot in that Holy of Holies.” Pollock, “‘Polygamy,’” 298. Frank Cannon, who acted as a consultant on the play, had been endowed in 1873 and sealed to his first wife, Mattie, in 1878, in the Endowment House in Salt Lake City and likely attended meetings and other marriage sealings, even polygamous ones, there and in the temple. Franklin J. Cannon and Martha Anderson Brown, Family Group Sheet, accessed 2008, familysearch.org; Franklin J. Cannon, Ordinance Record, accessed 2009, familysearch.org.

43 DeFoe, “Propaganda and Drama,” 488. The LDS church was often accused, likely accurately, of being an important participant in the “sugar trust.” Frank Cannon told shocked audiences that Joseph F. Smith controlled a trust worth over $400 million. See Cannon, “The Modern Mormon Kingdom,” 97. However, in May 1914, Reed Smoot noted in his diary how Presiding Bishop Charles W. Nibley was attempting to borrow $250,000 on behalf of the church to pay for 25 percent of the stock of American Sugar. Harvard S. Heath, ed., In the World, The Diaries of Reed Smoot (Salt Lake City, Utah: Signature Books, 1997), 224, entry for May 13/14, 1914.

40 Photo of the Council Room from act 2 published in

44 Act 2, at 5.

42 “Present Day Stage Celebrities Got Their Start at Grand Theatre Here,” Salt Lake Telegram, February 1, 1913, 11; “Howard Kyle Dies, Veteran of Stage,” New York Times, December 12, 1950, 13.

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As act 1 finishes, Dan comes home and everyone remaining—Zina, Annis, and Brig—tries to convince him that Bathsheba Tanner is going to find a way to make him a polygamous husband. He does not believe it, because the Prophet just “as good as told me he’d selected me for Congress. They can’t send another polygamist to Washington.” Brig explains to his brother-inlaw that he has known the power of the Mormon church only “in its gentleness” while Brig has “been up against it in its cruelty” all his life. “If you stand up against the one devilish doctrine this fanatic [the Prophet] insists upon, in one hour he can turn every hand in this community against you.”38 This was an overt reference to Frank Cannon’s fall from grace in Mormon society.

this setting clearly portray the fictional Prophet (and therefore the real men whose images appear on stage) as an autocrat who orchestrates an array of financial, political, and personal matters. The Prophet is dressed in white, looking, in the words of one reviewer, “like Uncle Sam in the clothes of Mark Twain.”41 Howard Kyle, who got his theatrical start with the Grand Theatre troupe in Salt Lake City in 1894, played the Prophet.42 Surrounded by his “votaries,” the Prophet “receives the reports of his secret agents and issues orders and instructions with the authority of a powerful temporal potentate.” He has at his disposal “the vast resources of the Mormon Church” with which he “is able to bend the financial world” to his will and ruin the lives of those who oppose him.43 After dealing with high-level financial and political issues, the Prophet and his counselors turn to more personal matters. He tells those assembled that the Lord is grieved “to see dissension and apostacy creeping into the leading families of the Church,” and the “most dangerous offender in the Church” is Brig Kemble.44

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the young apostate “for their mouthpiece.”36 Zina defends her brother’s opposition to plural marriage and makes an off-handed remark that she believes that Mormon polygamy is a thing of the past. Bathsheba takes note and decides to make sure that Zina will “live her religion.”37

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ten years ago. You lost your right to the blessings of the Lord’s house. You lost your claim upon one of the daughters of Zion by your disobedience. The Lord is not unwilling to restore all the rights that you deserted ten years ago, if you are ready to do your part.”45 Most of the Prophet’s statement to Brig Kemble reflected contemporary Mormons’ views of Frank J. Cannon, except that few thought he might be given a second chance.46

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Brig asks the Prophet if he will be required to “stand in the Tabernacle . . . and say I repent of my rebellion against you” and to support the Prophet’s “secret polygamy” in order to marry Annis, to which the Prophet sharply rejoins, “It is not ours—it is God’s!” Then, in a speech straight out of Cannon’s lectures and writings, Brig refuses to “support you in your broken promises to this Government that you made to gain citizenship,” and informs the Prophet that Mormon leaders are “arousing the hostility of this whole nation.” The Prophet orders Brig from the temple and concludes that “it’s all in the hands of the Lord now. . . . He knows how to take care of our failures.”47 Next ordered into the temple chamber is Zina Kemble Whitman, through whom the central problem of the play—that her husband, Daniel, will be required to enter polygamy—is introduced. The Prophet informs Zina that the leaders have “important missions” for Daniel: “We expect him to represent us in the high places 45 Act 2, at 5. 46 Moroni Tanner states that he would not permit “this drunken apostate in his family,” but the Prophet quiets him by telling him he is acting like an apostate. Act 2, at 5–6; “‘Polygamy,’” Current Opinion 58 (February 1915): 92. This part of Brig Kemble’s life bears no similarity to Frank Cannon’s own marital experience. As a young man, Cannon married Mattie Brown, who was as beautiful and charming as the character of Annis Grey in the play, but who served on the LDS church’s Relief Society general board for many years, even after Frank was excommunicated from the church. Frank went through periods of infidelity, usually while drinking. Like Brig’s experience, however, Frank Cannon was excommunicated in March 1905, approximately ten years before Polygamy was produced on Broadway. “Smith’s Hatred!,” Salt Lake Tribune, March 15, 1905, 1. The New York Times announced Frank’s excommunication in a short article on its front page. “Cannon Excommunicated,” New York Times, March 15, 1905, 1. 47 Act 2, at 6–7. See also “‘Polygamy,’” Current Opinion 58 (February 1915): 92.

of the nation, among the statesmen and great financiers.” Yet the Prophet has heard reports that Zina might be “opposed to the principles of the gospel,” and “it would never do to send Daniel as an ambassador from this Kingdom if that is true.” Zina understands this as a reference to polygamy and argues that plural marriage has ceased in the church. Her father advises her that if she supports Dan, she will be exalted with him, but if she opposes his marriage to a second wife, he and their children will go “into the eternities without you.” The harsh Moroni Tanner reinforces this by telling the Prophet, “If she consents, she’s saved. If she refuses she’s damned.”48 This is one of only two scenes in which Nephi Kemble, based in substantial part on George Q. Cannon, shows his faith and his loyalty to the Prophet over the happiness of his family members. Zina blurts out wildly “I can’t—he wouldn’t” and, in one reviewer’s words, “emotes at length.” The Prophet notes that “every woman now in Heaven has been saved against her own will,” reinforcing Polygamy’s message that the LDS church held women down—a message that only continues in the next exchanges. 49 The Prophet next summons Annis Tanner Grey, who was played by Stanford-educated Katherine Emmet, an ardent feminist with a reputation of being as elegant as Chrystal Herne.50 The Prophet tells Annis that he has prayed about her and learned that it is “Jehovah’s will” for her to be “sealed to some faithful soul.” It seems that her late husband, Grey, has “urged . . . in the Council of the Gods” that she “bear children to him in this mortality in order to magnify his eternal kingdom.” Annis is taken aback and responds that “surely—surely, I have done enough.” The Prophet responds that it is Apostle Grey’s “right to command you still.”51 Annis replies that it is her father who has put the Prophet up to this because of his hatred of Brigham Kemble. She goes on, “it wasn’t for 48 Act 2, 7–9; Pollock, “‘Polygamy,’” 298. 49 Act 2, at 9. 50 Josephine Turck Baker, “The Realization of a Dream,” Correct English, Your Speech and How to Improve It 23 (November 1922): 302; “‘Polygamy’ and the Clubwomen’s Night,” in “The Stage,” Munsey’s Magazine 54 (April 1915): 547; Internet Broadway Database, accessed July 2015, ibdb.com. 51 Act 2, at 10–11.


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With this scene, the playwrights suggested that Mormon women had no control over their own bodies or destinies. In the following scene, Polygamy continues with its feminist tone. In it, Bathsheba Tanner consults with the Prophet, and the feisty side of Moroni’s senior wife emerges. She asks the Prophet what she should 52 Act 2, at 10–12; see also “Scenes in ‘Polygamy’ Now Being Presented at the Park Theatre,” Theatre 21 (January 1915): 15.

say to the Women’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) about the church’s position on prohibition. He tells Bathsheba that he will order the legislature to pass a bill banning alcohol, to which she responds that the WCTU will assume he will then just “get the Governor to vetoe [sic] it.” The Prophet muses on the proper place of women—the home—and the difficulty of female involvement in politics, telling Bathsheba to make whatever promises she pleases. She fires back that, if promises “have to be broken,” a man had better do it.53 As the critic Channing Pollock recognized, the authors were using Bathsheba in this scene to “utter sundry battle-cries of woman suffrage” and feminism.54 Ironically, it is Bathsheba, the “fanatical” polygamous wife, who challenges the Prophet on these difficult issues. The authors continued to show women held captive under the chains of polygamy—even those who were committed to supporting the Mormon church—and objecting to the men who were attempting to control them. Theater audiences knew that Mary Shaw, who played Bathsheba, was outspoken politically and would challenge 53 Act 2, at 13. 54 Pollock, “Polygamy,” 298.

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the glory of Apostle Grey that I was sacrificed, nor to save my own soul, it was to put me out of Brigham Kemble’s reach.” She pleads to Nephi Kemble, noting that her father and the Prophet have “ruined Brig’s life,” but the first counselor responds that “God’s Prophet has spoken.” The stage notes state that “she falls on the platform at the Prophet’s feet” and emotionally tells the Prophet, “You saved my soul once. For Christ’s sake let me save my body in my own way.” The Prophet asks Annis if she has any choice of husband “among the holy priesthood,” to which she responds, “no—no—no.” As Annis is taken out, the Prophet privately acknowledges that the “revelation” to have Annis marry again in polygamy came from Moroni Tanner to keep her away from Brig.52

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In a scene set in the Salt Lake Temple, Bathsheba Tanner argues with the Prophet, demonstrating her strong personality. Howard Kyle, who played the Prophet, got his theatrical start with a troupe in Salt Lake City in the 1890s. Mary Shaw, who played Bathsheba, was an outspoken and celebrated Broadway actress closely associated with feminist causes. Playwrights O’Higgins and Ford knew that Shaw was the one actress they wanted to play the indomitable Bathsheba.

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the directions of men. Moreover, O’Higgins was portraying the Prophet as a hypocrite who condemned Brig Kemble for his drinking and outwardly supported prohibition but also ensured that the church’s business interests and political officeholders were not harmed by actual passage of prohibition laws.55

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According to Polygamy, the LDS hierarchy could control matters at both the highest and most personal levels, something the final temple scene suggested. In it, the Prophet orders Dan Whitman to become a polygamist, and then dramatically announces that “the Council is ended for the day.” Zina and Dan seek the advice of Nephi Kemble, who counsels them to follow the Prophet because they will never be happy if they disobey. Dan’s bright future will be taken, and their friends will abandon them. Although Dan tells his father-in-law that he would “go through Hell” for Zina, she relents. Zina sinks to her knees on the altar, telling her husband, “We’re wrong, Dan. They must be right. It’s God’s will. I give up—I give up.”56 As act 3 opens, Dan and Annis have been told that they are to be sealed in “celestial marriage,” thereby solving the problem of Brig Kemble’s interest in Annis and at the same time requiring unquestioning obedience from the Whitmans. Zina knows and is devastated. She has refused to attend the temple marriage, which Harvey O’Higgins understood from Frank Cannon to be a serious violation of protocol in Mormon plural marriage practice. Cannon told shocked audiences in his numerous lectures that the first wife was required to give the hand of the plural wife to her husband and then to kiss the new wife over the altar in a temple marriage ceremony.57 The polygamous union of Daniel 55 This was reminiscent of the stances of Joseph F. Smith and Reed Smoot toward prohibition during the 1914 senate race. Kenneth L. Cannon II, “Separation of Prophet and State? The 1914 Reelection of Reed Smoot,” unpublished paper presented at Utah State Historical Society conference, October 2015. 56 Act 2, at 14–18. 57 Frank J. Cannon, Address in Independence, Missouri, 31. It is less than clear, however, that Frank accurately described such a ceremony. It is also evident that, in practice, many first wives did not attend their husbands’ subsequent marriage ceremonies or give permission for their husbands to “take” new wives, though that was the stated procedure. See Eugene E. Campbell and Bruce L. Campbell, “Divorce among Mormon Polygamists: Extent and Explanations,” Utah Historical Quarterly 46

and Annis takes place (though not seen in the play), causing one less-than-enchanted reviewer to conclude that Dan has taken “advantage of [Zina’s] consent with most suspicious promptitude.”58 Meanwhile, Zina is at home seeking solace with her children.59 Her brother, Brig, has heard a rumor that Dan has been ordered to marry a second wife. He realizes as soon as he sees his sister that it is true. After commiserating with each other and blaming their parents, Zina tells him that “the other victim” is Annis. Brigham has a sudden bout of extreme nausea, and Zina laments, “It was God—they said God commanded it.” Brig disagrees, insisting that “it was Tanner” who called for the marriage to make sure Annis could never marry him. Zina realizes that Brig will try to destroy the church over this.60 Dan and Annis arrive following the “sealing” of their plural marriage. Unknown to everyone else, they have vowed never to consummate the union. Zina “stonily” points Annis and Dan to the master bedroom, then storms out as she tells them, “I have my children.” Dan reminds Annis that Zina “gave her consent,” and Annis retorts, “oh, you cowards—men. We women— He’s a man’s God, not ours.”61 In the next scene, the sorrow and anger of Brig, Dan, Annis, and Zina erupt as the four young people attempt to deal with their conflicting emotions and loyalities. The scene ends with a moment that, for the era, was nothing short of risqué, as Zina goes to the door of her bedroom and, finding it locked, assumes that Annis and Daniel are consummating their marriage. Zina falls into a swoon, and the curtain falls on act 3.62 As Polygamy continued into its fourth act, O’Higgins reinforced his message that the (Winter 1978): 21–22. 58 Pollock, “‘Polygamy,’” 298. 59 Act 3, at 1. See also, “‘Polygamy,’” Current Opinion 58 (February 1915): 93, 94; “Scenes in ‘Polygamy’ Recently Presented at the Playhouse,” Theatre 21 (January 1915): 15. 60 Act 3, at 2–5. 61 Act 3, at 8–9. 62 Act 3, at 2–3, 9–13; “‘Polygamy,’” Current Opinion 48 (February 1915): 92–95; DeFoe, “Propaganda and Drama,” 481–90; Pollock, “Polygamy,” 297–99; “Polygamy,” Theatre 21 (January 1915): 6, 15.


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205 Zina Whitman directs her husband and his new polygamous wife into the master bedroom of the Whitman’s home after Dan and Annis return from being married in the temple.

Mormon hierarchy meddled in both the business world and private affairs. Dan attempts to get out of his polygamous marriage to Annis, while Moroni Tanner—her father—insists that his daughter will “live polygamy, not merely be sealed to it.” Tanner’s plan is to require Dan, Zina, and Annis to live together for a few months. He believes that when the young people all realize that only by following church leaders can Dan “keep [his] fortune,” they will follow counsel.63 The First Presidency’s close, almost prurient, oversight of the Whitman home continues as Tanner and Nephi Kemble visit to see how the first night of plural marriage has been for the doubting Whitmans. Kemble tells Dan that, as the fathers of his two wives, he and Moroni have come to dedicate their home to “the 63 Act 4, at 2–3.

celestial order of marriage, to pray with you, to bless your wives that they may be fruitful and bear you many children for your eternal glory.” Indeed, the counselors worry that Dan might be tempted not to take his new husbandly duties with Annis seriously. Dan tells the counselors that he will no longer agree to hold prominent political or business positions because he had “denied polygamy a thousand times in my talks with people in the East. I couldn’t look them in the face.” Tanner tells him that “every dollar you have in the world belongs to the Prophet of God.” Dan will receive his wealth as he does his “duty in the celestial order of marriage,” as shown by the first child born to Annis.64 Just then, Brig Kemble reenters the room and the four men end up in a physical struggle. Brig 64 Act 4, at 6.


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In act four, Bathsheba Tanner softens and offers money to the young people to help them escape from “Zion.” Critics pointed out that this happy resolution to the play was both artificial and unbelievable.

orders his father and Tanner out of the house, but he and Dan realize that they are both in a serious predicament. Dan will lose his fortune and never go to Washington. Brig will face the wrath of the Mormon church, even more than he already has. Dan expresses concern when Brig tells him he is going to take Annis away but also asks him why he did not elope with Annis the prior evening, before all this happened. “She wouldn’t come. This religion holds her. Revelations—revelations from God! If what has happened in this house hasn’t been a revelation to you all that polygamy is wrong, you’ll have to be struck by lightning.” Dan acknowledges that he has been so busy “preaching this religion that I haven’t had the time to ask myself whether it was true or not.” Here was still another moment when Polygamy borrowed from Frank Cannon’s own life: like Annis, Cannon’s first wife, Mattie Brown Cannon, remained devout until she died in 1908.65 65 Act 4, at 8. See also Cannon, “The Modern Mormon Kingdom,” 65. Mattie Brown Cannon is not to be confused with Martha Hughes Cannon, also known as Mattie, who was a physician and Utah state senator married to Angus M. Cannon (b. 1857, d. 1932).

Annis’s dilemma takes center stage as she and Bathsheba enter and the other characters learn that Annis stayed her wedding night with the rigid Bathsheba Tanner. Bathsheba will not let her stay, however, and she instructs Dan that Annis is now his wife and he needs to shelter her. Zina cannot contain herself and asks, “Oh, Bathsheba, why did you bring all this trouble on us?” The hardened Bathsheba responds with lines that play up her image as a kind of madam, impressing economic realities on young women: Trouble—trouble—you seem to think of nothing but your own happiness. . . . There was a time in my life when I thought I couldn’t go through with it, but I had to for the same reason that you have to. What are you going to do? Where are you going to live? Have you any money? . . . Well—I’m hard. If I’d been soft, how do you suppose I’d ever lived. This sort of life makes you hard.66 Here, the playwrights suggested, was the dis66 Act 4, at 10–11.


The play ends with Brig Kemble and Clara Tanner successfully escaping from Zion and Dan, Zina, and Annis staying behind temporarily. They will appear to conform for a time and wind up business affairs honorably, then they will join Brig. The four will prevail, foiling the evil designs of Moroni Tanner and the Prophet. When Polygamy opened in New York on December 1, 1914, the influential Drama Society of New York “lost no time in giving its enthusiastic support” to the production.69 A good part of New York society turned out to see the play during its early performances. A playbill distributed at later performances quoted a large number of representative prominent playgoers, including Social Gospeler (and long-time Mor67 Act 4, at 11–12. 68 Act 4, at 12–13. See also “‘Polygamy,’” Current Opinion 58 (February 1915): 94–95; “‘Polygamy’ – A Play which Goes Behind the Scenes of Mormonism,” Current Opinion 48 (February 1915): 94–95. 69 DeFoe, “Propaganda and Drama,” 482; O’Higgins, “Address before the Drama Society,” 1, 6.

70 Playbill of Polygamy, copy in Russell Papers. Isaac Russell’s copy of the playbill has a typewritten invitation to “clergy of New York” of a special presentation of the play sponsored by the Clerical Conference, New York Federation of Churches, on February 21, 1915. 71 “Second Thoughts on First Nights,” New York Times, December 13, 1914, 8; “‘Polygamy’ Given with a Fine Cast,” New York Times, December 2, 1914, 13; “Polygamy,” in “Plays and Players,” Theatre 21 (January 1915): 6; Frances Hackett, “Within Our Gates,” New Republic, December 12, 1915, 24; Playbill of “Polygamy,” at the Park Theatre, (quoting Louis DeFoe’s review in The World), copy in Russell Papers. 72 “‘Polygamy,’” New York Times, December 2, 1914, 13; “‘Polygamy,’” Theatre 21 (January 1915): 5; DeFoe, “Propaganda and Drama,” 490; Hackett, “Within Our Gates,” New Republic, 24. 73 “‘Polygamy,’” New York Times, December 2, 1914, 13.

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The play was reviewed by all the major newspapers and magazines. Most of the reviews were favorable. Critics characterized the play as “one of considerable dramatic force,” “profoundly moving,” and one that “is interesting all the way through.” Most reviewers noted the high quality of the acting.71 Specially singled out for fine performances were William B. Mack, “splendid as the bitter young iconoclast,” Brig; Chrystal Herne for “her exceedingly intelligent and emotionally effective performance of Zina”; Katherine Emmet, who brought “finesse, authority, and conspicuous emotional power to the part of the unhappy Annis”; Ramsey Wallace as Dan Whitman; and Howard Kyle as the Prophet.72 All agreed that veteran Broadway actress Mary Shaw stole the show by her “brilliant” portrayal of the vacillating Bathsheba Tanner. She brought “marvelous feeling and ironic despair.”73 The most

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After giving the four her money, Bathsheba leaves. Clara, Moroni Tanner’s young wife, arrives and tells them that Tanner has told police that Brig tried to kill him. Pushed to plan quickly, Brig, Dan, Annis, and Zina plot their escape from Mormonism. Brig will leave first, with some of Bathsheba’s money. Dan and his two wives will stay in Salt Lake for now and “pretend to knuckle down to them.” Brig is going to “start a newspaper exposure that will smash this fraud.”68 Clara begs Brig to take her with him.

mon critic) Josiah Strong, Martha M. Allen of the WCTU, a variety of women’s rights advocates, actors, journalists, evangelical Protestant leaders, and conservative rabbis, all of whom joined in extolling the virtues and strengths of the play. Social reformer Dr. Charles H. Parkhurst noted that “If one wants to understand the diabolical genius of polygamy let him witness the play ‘Polygamy.’” Haryot Holt Dey, president of the New York Women’s Press Club, enthused, “The cleverest and best balanced play of the season, not second to any, even Bernard Shaw’s, and a feminist play indeed.” The legendary actress Lillian Russell called it “one of the most powerful plays ever presented in New York and with a wonderful message for women. It is the strongest play I ever saw.”70

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tortion of womanhood by Mormonism: beautiful young women pushed into an immoral situation by a callous older woman acting at the behest of abusive men. The brothel comparison continues as Brig tells Bathsheba that the younger girls are not as strong as she is. She rejoins, “You talk like a fool. The stronger you are the worse you suffer—and the longer it takes.” Yet Bathsheba finally relents and takes out a large roll of money that she has been saving for twenty years “I thought—sometime— and then—when I could get away it was too late . . . . there’s money enough to get you out of it. . . . And if God wants to hold me responsible, I guess I can stand it. If I’m hard, I’m hard enough for that!!”67

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conditions portrayed in Polygamy, but were won over by the play. By his own account, literary critic Francis Hackett

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was reluctant to assent for one moment to Mr. O’Higgins’s interpretation of celestial marriage and his evident disgust with our Mormon brothers. But gradually, insensibly, I began to be convinced that I had to elect between Mr. O’Higgins and the vileness so plausibly portrayed. Here was no prudery about polygamy but a cumulative resentment against a sinister machine. Proceeding by inference alone, I accepted Mr. O’Higgins’ premises, and ended with an ardent response to his theme.78

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Playbill from the Park Theatre of “The Most Talked-About Play in New York.”

prominent magazine covering Broadway at the time, The Theatre, printed several stills of scenes from Polygamy in its January issue. An arty color portrait of Chrystal Herne graced the cover of the magazine’s April 1915 issue, and the same issue included a full-page illustration of Katherine Emmet, verifying the high profile of the play.74 Reviewers also found that the structure of the play was “powerfully effective in phasing the emotions of the various persons concerned in this hideous entanglement. . . . [and] the dialogue is skillfully written, straightforward, expeditious, and incisive.”75 “It is, in addition, an intense domestic drama which deals with universal traits of human nature from a viewpoint that is fresh and new in the theater.”76 Finally, the authors had “quickened [the play] with a deal of skill in the writing.”77 Several reviewers were initially skeptical of the 74 Theatre 21 (April 1915): cover; “Annis Grey,” Theatre 21 (April 1915): 189. 75 “‘Polygamy,’” Theatre 21 (January 1915): 6. 76 DeFoe, “Propaganda and Drama,” 483. 77 “‘Polygamy,’” New York Times, December 2, 1914, 13.

Hackett understood better than other reviewers that alleged continued Mormon polygamy was just the outward manifestation of what O’Higgins found most troubling about the LDS church: heavy-handed ecclesiastical, political, and temporal domination by the church’s leaders, for which O’Higgins relied on Frank J. Cannon’s accounts.79 Even the most positive reviews faulted the play in two respects: reviewers found some scenes to be unintentionally funny and, a more serious flaw, the ending to be unrealistically happy. Most critics found some of the scenes to be inadvertently comical.80 Reviewer Louis Sherwin provided the best explanation for the laughter—“polygamy is, after all, for theatrical purposes an essentially comic theme.”81 Such a subject addressed in a play, or a man receiving revelations from God, is often “provocative chiefly of mirth among the majority of people,” whether or not the playwright is discussing the subject “very much in earnest.” “Consequently, in ‘Polygamy’ every allusion to plural wives and unlawful cohabitation was greeted by shrieks of laughter by the audience.” The notion that 78 Hackett, “Within Our Gates,” New Republic, December, 24. 79 Ibid. Many of the observations of Mormon life and practices in the play come from Under the Prophet in Utah and Cannon’s lectures on the “Modern Mormon Kingdom.” 80 “Second Thoughts on First Nights,” New York Times, December 13, 1914, 8; “‘His Little Widows,’” New York Times, May 1, 1917, 11; Pollock, “‘Polygamy,’” 299. 81 Louis Sherwin, “Broadway Echoes,” New York Globe, December 5, 1914, 5.


82 Sherwin, “The New Play, ‘Polygamy’ at Playhouse Is an Anti-Mormon Melodrama,” New York Globe, December 2, 1914, 14. 83 Harvey O’Higgins, “Mr. O’Higgins Is After Many Kinds of Laughter,” New York Times, December 27, 1914, section 8, 3. 84 “‘Polygamy,’” Theatre 21 (January 1915): 6. 85 DeFoe, “Propaganda and Drama,” 486. DeFoe developed this theme later in his essay: “as drama it vitiates the strength of its grim story and violates the logic of human nature for the sake of a sugar-coated ending. The characters being victims of circumstances such as are represented, should have had in store for them a tragic life.” Ibid., 490. 86 Turnbull, “‘Polygamy’ at the Playhouse,” New York Tribune, December 2, 1914, 9.

Several reviews (correctly) questioned whether conditions in Utah were really as portrayed in the play.90 Sherwin, who had been the drama critic of the Rocky Mountain News in Denver, which he characterized as an “anti-Mormon 87 Sherwin, “The New Play, ‘Polygamy at Playhouse Is an Anti-Mormon Melodrama,” December 2, 1914, 14. 88 P. G. Wodehouse, “Boy! Page Mr. Comstock! Somebody Wants to See Him About Some Plays Now Running in New York,” Vanity Fair 4 (March 1915): 27. It appears that a scene such as the one in act 3 when Zina swoons outside her bedroom door after she directs Annis in to consummate her polygamous marriage to Dan would have been quite shocking to Progressive sensibilities. Wodehouse noted that such a scene would be far more “salacious” than scenes in plays that police were closing with “locust [night] sticks.” 89 Ibid. Of course, Polygamy was not intended to be very funny. Wodehouse noted that Polygamy compared unfavorably to The Girl From Utah, a musical which appeared on Broadway earlier in 1914. Jerome Kern wrote some of the music for The Girl From Utah and Wodehouse soon began writing lyrics for Kern’s Broadway compositions. 90 DeFoe, “Propaganda and Drama,” 483, 486; Pollock, “Polygamy,” 297–99; Nathan, “The Unimportance of Being Earnest,” 146.

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While reviewers found the inadvertently laughable scenes to be problematic, they were far more critical of the play’s conclusion. The Theatre’s review characterized the final act as “a somewhat lame and impotent conclusion; as logic and circumstance both point to a tragic catastrophe.”84 Louis DeFoe thought that the drama of the play “would have been much more persuasive if its authors had not yielded to the inevitable temptation to sentimentalize it and dismiss its audiences in the comfortable glow of a conventional and illogical happy ending.”85 Hector Turnbull, writing for the New York Tribune, though almost gushing in his praise of the play generally, summed up the unsatisfying conclusion of Polygamy as one that weakened “the effect of the entire play, and all the shrewd and clever observations made by the authors throughout the course of their arraignment of the Mormons.”86 Louis Sherwin believed that Polygamy would have been improved if the play’s central dilemma had been resolved at the end of the third act, making the entire fourth

A few critics were not kind to the play. In his review in Vanity Fair, soon-to-be-world-famous humorist, P. G. Wodehouse, may have identified one of the reasons American men liked brothel drama in the Progressive Era. Wodehouse stated that a play could seem “salacious” and make “the Tired Business Man get his thrill and smack his lips” at the thought of Dan sleeping (separately) with his two beautiful wives, but “the beauty of the Mormon play, from one point of view, is that you can be corkingly improper and nobody can say a word because you are exposing a GRAVE EVIL.” Thus, New York City decency director Anthony Comstock could not send “locust-sticked” policemen in to shut the play down.88 Wodehouse also found the play to be dreary but believed a way for it to remain in production for a long time would be by “the writing of a couple of good comic songs for the Prophet . . . and a dancing chorus added to Act II.”89

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O’Higgins responded to these allegations of the play accidentally arousing laughter. “In the inquisition scene in the Mormon Temple during the second act, we purposely gave the Mormon Prophet lines with which we expected to provoke a horrified laughter, because, as far as he was concerned, we wished the audience to take that attitude toward him, and believed that with no other attitude could we keep him true to life.”83 Most of the critics were not referring to such moments of laughter, however.

act unnecessary.87 It appears, however, that Harvey O’Higgins could not permit the play to end other than to have Brig, Annis, Zina, Dan, and Clara escape the clutches of the Mormons, whether or not “logic and circumstance” dictated a different finale.

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the Prophet “was in direct and personal communication with God was [also] greeted with uproarious mirth.”82

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paper,” when Frank Cannon had been managing editor, noted that he believed that “it would be hopeless to expect anybody but professional anti-Mormons to take [Polygamy] seriously.” To him, “the piece is a deliberate and lurid attack upon Mormonism.” Though he acknowledged that the authors “believe solemnly that the Mormon Church is a menace to the liberties of American citizens, and also to the cant and expediency popularly known as morality,” his experience led him to state, “I happen to know only too well that this entire agitation is simply a political squabble between the Mormons . . . and the Gentiles.”91 The prominent reviewer and playwright Channing Pollock, who was effectively a Salt Lake City native, found the play entirely unbelievable, poorly acted, and boorish.92 Pollock wrote that, while Americans might “have been credible enough” in the nineteenth century to accept such a portrayal of Mormons, the story was not “convincing in juxtaposition with modern furniture and a motor car.” The Prophet, “a gentleman looking like Uncle Sam in the clothes of Mark Twain, ordering the lives of his votaries, ceases to be impressive when the arrival of those votaries is announced by telephone.” To Pollock, modern times were not as welcoming to outlandish criticisms of Mormons. Herne as Zina, “with her broad o’s” and fashionable gowns “effectively gives the lie to Mr. O’Higgins and Miss Ford.” Pollock found Brig Kemble a drunken boor whose outbursts were generally in poor taste. Though Mary Shaw did “fine work” as Bathsheba Tanner, her character was alternatively a “fanatical Latter Day Saint,” “saucy to the Prophet,” and “a maudlin first aid to the injured.” Ultimately, “this absolutely false and foolish play is not helped by a quantity of very artificial acting by Miss Herne. William B. Mack, . . . and Ramsey Wallace play ‘Brig’ and ‘Dan’ with inexplicable sincerity, while Katherine Emmet almost succeeds in making Annis a sympathetic character.” In sum, Pollock opined that “‘Polygamy’ is unconscious farce. Evidently intended as another ‘Clansman,’ it proves to be quite the funniest thing that has happened 91 Sherwin, “The New Play, ‘Polygamy’ at Playhouse Is an Anti-Mormon Melodrama,” 14; Sherwin did like that the play, unlike most of the productions that season, was “about something.” Ibid. 92 Pollock, “Polygamy,” 297, 298.

on our stage” in some time.93 By his reference to Clansman, Pollock recognized the playwrights’ attempt to appeal to the current popularity of the theme of women under the domination of evil men. Clansman was a play produced on Broadway in 1906 based on a popular novel. In 1915 this story was brought to the screen by director D. W. Griffith as The Birth of a Nation, often touted as one of the most influential and visually stunning early motion pictures.94 The play was sympathetic to the Ku Klux Klan and openly racist, with heroic white men attempting to control brutal black men intent upon dominating and raping white women. Pollock captured, but did not quite fully recognize, the authors’ attempt to take commercial advantage of Progressive America’s fascination with white slave drama.95 The white slavery drama was, in turn, a form of brothel drama in which fallen women would somehow raise themselves from the lives they had fallen into. The more likely characters in such a drama may have been prostitutes but O’Higgins recognized that he could portray “sister wives” in ways analogous to “sisters in sin.” Bathsheba Tanner took the role of the madam, while beautiful young polygamous wives such as Augusta Strong and Clara Tanner (and ultimately, Zina Whitman and Annis Grey) were the “sisters in sin.” Almost all of these women sought to escape their fates as polygamous wives and to assert their independence. As such, they conveyed an important feminist message and overtly “appeal[ed] to feminine sympathy.”96 It was not coincidental that Herne, Emmet, and Shaw were all well-known feminists with extensive political activities. The play’s producer, Helen Taylor, actively encouraged women’s attendance at the play by encouraging prominent feminists to attend and also by having a “clubwomen’s” night every Tuesday when speak93 Ibid., 297–99. 94 “AFI’s 100 Greatest American Movies of All Time,” afi. com, accessed February 2015; “The Birth of a Nation,” Theatre 21 (April 1915): 222. 95 Mormon polygamy was often cast as a form of white slavery by nineteenth-century critics. Reeve, Religion of a Different Color, 140–70. 96 DeFoe, “Propaganda and Drama,” 482–83; Mantle, “‘Polygamy’ and Other New Plays in the City of New York,” sec. 8, 7.


Some critics and audiences admired the sincerity of the play, but the legendary Broadway critic George Jean Nathan, in an essay entitled “The Unimportance of Being Earnest,” found the play to be far too earnest. Nathan believed that the play might “conceivably have been a highly interesting piece of dramatic writing,” but O’Higgins, “instead of presenting the case for or against polygamy from a new plane, has permitted himself to present that case as nine hundred and ninety-nine men out of a thousand would present it. And the presentation, being consequently a mere parroting of what the man in the street sincerely thinks of polygamy, resolves itself into a tedious business.”99 97 “‘Polygamy’ and the Clubwomen’s Night,” Munsey’s Magazine 54 (April 1915): 547. 98 DeFoe, “Propaganda and Drama,” 482–83. DeFoe’s ten-page review is the longest and most incisive. He recognizes the difficulties of Polygamy, and he is mistrustful of it as propaganda, but he also finds that the play is powerful drama and that it “grows in interest and significance” as it deals “with the possible effect of plural marriage upon domestic happiness.” Ibid., 486. 99 Nathan, “The Unimportance of Being Earnest,” 145. See also George Jean Nathan, Another Book on the Theatre (New York: B. W. Huebsch, 1915), 64–67.

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Critic Louis DeFoe found the drama to be largely successful “propaganda”: “The peculiarity in the case of ‘Polygamy’ . . . is that the play has compelled the interest of a large percentage of the audiences that have witnessed its performances.” DeFoe stated that O’Higgins’s allegation that the Mormons’ “hateful matrimonial practices” were sufficiently “alive, or dangerous enough now to warrant propagandism . . . in the theater is, of course, open to doubt.”98

Nathan romanticized nineteenth-century Mormons for effect, but he did express what has often been a deep admiration for perceived positive character traits of Mormons. A reviewer for the New York Post found the play to be thoroughly unbelievable and as evidence pointed to the Prophet’s supposed exercise of “an illimitable despotism over the families of all the saints and the apostles themselves, but [who], like some imperial chancellor, receives the reports of his diplomatic agents from all parts of the United States and the civilized world, and issues mandates which statesmen and financiers, at home and abroad, must obey if they would avoid defeat or ruin.”101

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While pursuing their feminist message, the authors also sought to attract theatergoers as other white slave dramas of the day had, by casting beautiful, white young women in many of the lead roles. Besides having solid feminist backgrounds, the actresses who played these roles—Herne, Emmett, Mona Ryan, and Marie Pinchard (who played Augusta Strong and Clara Tanner)—were also white, intelligent, and beautiful. Wodehouse, at least, found the sexual tensions sometimes portrayed in the play salacious by contemporary norms.

Nathan continued by lauding Mormons for their happy, clean-living, healthy, law-abiding lives, concluding with an ironic question, “If marrying one woman is moral, why isn’t marrying two women twice as moral?”100

After the show opened, the usually reticent O’Higgins “suddenly found himself in demand” as a speaker “on the facts beneath his ‘purpose play.’”102 He usually spoke of the “national Frankenstein” that was Mormonism in connection with his discussion of his new play.103 O’Higgins and Ford wrote the play to keep the Mormon issue before the public. “We felt we had found in modern Mormon polygamy a theme for a play that might make some needed excitement for our audiences, the Mormons and ourselves. And we have not been disappointed. We are leaving it to the Mormons to speak for themselves—and they are keeping religiously silent.”104 O’Higgins was using his 100 Nathan, “The Unimportance of Being Earnest,” 146; “Biography of George Jean Nathan,” accessed February 2015, english.arts.cornell.edu. Louis Sherwin, who had had many interactions with Mormons in the West and had worked with Frank Cannon, echoed Nathan’s views when he wrote that “the majority of [Mormons] are decent, thrifty, and honest citizens,” while Gentiles in Utah “play a sneaking game and whenever they are beaten howl for help by dragging in this moribund polygamy question.” Sherwin, “The New Play, ‘Polygamy’ at Playhouse Is an Anti-Mormon Melodrama,” 14. 101 New York Post, December 2, 1914, as quoted in Lael J. Woodbury, “Mormonism and the Commercial Theatre,” BYU Studies 12 (Winter 1972): 237. 102 “O’Higgins a Newspaperman Playwright,” Fourth Estate, February 13, 1915, 19. 103 O’Higgins, “Address before the Drama Society,” 4. 104 Ibid., 6.

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ers would discuss “some phase of the feminist question” during the intermission between acts 2 and 3.97

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Isaac Russell, a Stanford-educated reporter for the New York Times, grew up Mormon in Utah and provided covert public relations services for the LDS church. Russell attacked the play and defended his church against the play’s negative portrayal of it. He took Mormon leader B. H. Roberts to the play; Roberts found it to be harmless “melodrama.”

insinuation that Mormons were keeping quiet about the play to reinforce his allegation that Mormon leaders would not respond because they could not truthfully do so. In fact, Polygamy did create “excitement.” For many evangelicals, feminists, rabbis, and others, the play simply brought to the stage the outrageous acts of the Mormons that they had been reading and hearing about in magazines, books, and Chautauqua and Lyceum lectures.105 The source of much of this information was the authors’ consultant on Polygamy, Frank Cannon. Not surprisingly, the play also created some reaction in the Mormon community, though it was produced far away from where most Mormons lived. It is unclear how well known the play was in Utah. While local newspapers made 105 Cannon, “‘And Now It Is the Mormons’”; Cannon, “The Modern Mormon Kingdom.”

passing references to the actors, apparently neither the Salt Lake Tribune nor the Salt Lake Herald published reviews of the play.106 Some Mormon leaders and commentators saw little to be concerned about in the play. B. H. Roberts attended the play with Isaac Russell, a Utah Mormon living in New York who worked as a New York Times reporter.107 Roberts “emerged smiling without having felt hurt or offended at any word in it. ‘Excellent melodrama’ he commented, ‘but so far away from any problem of ours that we won’t need to bother with that.’”108 In an essay he probably intended to publish for Harper’s Weekly (but apparently did not), Russell wrote that, “as a criticism of Mormon life . . . the play has a fresh coloring to it.” Unlike many of the New York critics, who found Zina’s expensive gowns to be inauthentic and distracting, Russell found it refreshing to have women “carrying out the polygamous life in the latest Broadway gowns instead of in sunbonnets and shawls with dugouts and hovels for their homes.” “It was surprising to one who had sat through years of the discussion of polygamy to find the whole thing charged up to something besides men’s lust . . . and it was a bit of a surprise to encounter a home scene with a polygamous setting instead of something like a Turkish harem with its overlord and its bleak, unhappy women for his servants.”109 To Russell, the problem with the play was its “driving at the Mormon prophet.” Frank Cannon had spent the previous ten years attacking Joseph F. Smith, the current prophet, “from about every angle he could direct a blow in his direction.” Russell correctly believed that polygamy had been “practiced by a generation 106 See “Actress-Bride Postpones Honeymoon to Play Role in ‘Polygamy,’” Salt Lake Telegram, January 13, 1915, 9; Ogden Standard, July 31, 1915, 8. 107 Kenneth L. Cannon II, “Isaac Russell, Mormon Muckraker and Secret Defender of the Church,” Journal of Mormon History 39 (Fall 2013): 44–98. 108 Isaac Russell to Editor of the New York Globe, February 8, 1915, Russell Papers. 109 Isaac Russell, unpublished essay on “Polygamy,” [February 1915], Russell Papers. It appears that Norman Hapgood, editor of Harper’s Weekly, had approached Russell “to write an article about ‘Polygamy’ as a play in which I should state, as a Mormon, whether I saw any facts . . . that were true in Mormon history,—to discuss it from a Mormon standpoint.” Isaac Russell to Reed Smoot, January 5, 1915, Russell Papers. It is likely that this unpublished manuscript was probably intended for this purpose.


To heighten the drama and, no doubt, to marshal support for his assertions of the control and power supposedly wielded by the Mormon church in the United States (and, not incidentally, to increase box office revenues), Harvey O’Higgins continued to tell audiences that the Mormons were trying to close the play. O’Higgins first made this allegation in his address to the Drama Society in December 1914, and he continued to make the same charge during the play’s fivemonth run.111 He reportedly told people in private that Senator Reed Smoot had come to New York and talked to the bankers of William Brady, the owner of the Playhouse Theatre where Polygamy had opened. According to O’Higgins’ story, Smoot had “got this banker to withdraw all of his support from the BRADY productions till Brady should agree to DROP Polygamy.”112 Those who promulgated this rumor pointed out that the play had had to move just weeks after opening because of unidentified “incredible difficulties and hostilities.” It then moved uptown to the Park Theatre, which was probably bigger but had a less fashionable address.113

Polygamy attracted attention and had a respectable run but ultimately did not enjoy long-term success. Louis DeFoe attempted to account for this, given the interest that the play generated April 11, 1915, 9. 114 Frank Crane, “Polygamy,” New York Globe, January 14, 1915, 16. Crane also wrote that Mormon agents are “men who move as surely and as secretly as the agents of the Spanish Inquisition.”

110 Isaac Russell, unpublished essay on “Polygamy,” 8-9.

115 Isaac Russell to Editor of the New York Globe, February 8, 1915, Russell Papers.

111 “O’Higgins a Newspaperman Playwright,” Fourth Estate, February 13, 1915, 19.

116 Isaac Russell to Reed Smoot, January 5, 1915, Russell Papers.

112 Isaac Russell to Reed Smoot, January 5, 1915, Russell Papers.

117 Joseph F. Smith to Isaac Russell, April 23, 1915, Russell Papers. Smith was responding to a letter to him from Russell and was quoting from Russell’s report.

113 “A Woman Who Picks Successful Plays,” Theatre 21 (April 1915): 186. See also “Polygamy Creates Furore [sic] in New York; Creed? No the Play,” Salt Lake Telegram,

118 Cannon, “Mormon Muckraker.” 119 Smith to Russell, April 23, 1915, Russell Papers.

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Influential Mormons believed that the play was failing financially. Russell wrote to President Joseph F. Smith in April 1915, near the end of the play’s run, that Polygamy was “proving to be a financial failure as well as a contemptible falsehood.”117 In fact, it is likely that Russell, who secretly and at church expense worked hard (and often successfully) to undermine anti-Mormon activities, had devised means of subtly attacking the play and its creators.118 Tellingly, Smith related how he wanted to assure Russell “that I greatly appreciate the good work you are doing in the East in combating the errors, falsehoods, and ‘lies that die hard,’ that are constantly appearing in the public press, the drama, moving picture shows, and from the pulpit of many socalled Christian churches.”119

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Dr. Frank Crane, a columnist for the New York Globe, heard this story and wrote that “in ways too that you would not believe efforts have been made to stop this play. You would know why if you would see the play.”114 Isaac Russell tried to challenge Crane to provide support for his allegation. When Crane did not respond, Russell wrote a letter to the editor of the Globe in which he spoke glowingly of Crane’s writing and of the Globe generally but questioned Crane’s allegations that Mormons were trying to close the play.115 Either Crane had evidence of his assertions or he should stop making them. A month earlier, Russell had confirmed with Senator Reed Smoot that no one from the LDS church had tried either directly or indirectly to close Polygamy or interfered with the theatre’s finances.116

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now largely dead” and that church leaders had made a distinct effort to “cease further polygamous marriages.” Some had “slipped” past beyond the official end of polygamy in 1890, and, as Russell understood, some of those who had been involved in polygamous marriages after 1890 were senior church leaders. By 1915, however, “Mormons and non-Mormons alike who live in Utah” knew that polygamy was largely a thing of the past and were frustrated by people who did not understand the truth. As Russell pointed out, not only were Mormon polygamists a dying breed, but many of those who had fought hardest in Utah against polygamy, such as Orlando W. Powers, who had prosecuted polygamists, and William Nelson, who had led anti-polygamy efforts at the Salt Lake Tribune, had also passed away.110 The polygamy issue was essentially dead and so were most of those who had engaged in the attacks on and defenses of the practice.

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with those who attended it. To DeFoe, despite superb acting, a dramatic story, brisk dialogue, sets and costumes worthy of a major Broadway production, showings sponsored by prominent institutions, favorable reviews, and substantial publicity, Polygamy just never succeeded in attracting sufficient audiences. DeFoe believed there were two reasons for this: the play was too biased against the Mormons and amounted to unfair propaganda, and it betrayed its gritty message through an unlikely happy ending. As DeFoe wrote, in Polygamy “there is [an] irritating tendency of the play to fall between two stools—the stools of propaganda and drama. Both stools are shaky.”120

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How accurate was Polygamy in portraying conditions in Mormon Utah? Did O’Higgins even care about that? For one thing, Utah Mormons, even prosperous ones, did not generally dress in the latest fashions or speak with eastern accents. More important, it is clear that by 1914, when the play opened, senior church leaders were not generally encouraging or directing members to enter plural marriage. Francis M. Lyman, president of the church’s Quorum of Twelve Apostles, had led a committee that worked hard to find and discipline leaders and members of the church who continued to encourage or officiate in new polygamous marriages after 1904. Frank Cannon made money through lectures and writings accusing the church of continued support for polygamy, but it is very likely that he did not believe his own allegations. Polygamy was just a well-known practice of the church that outraged Progressive America, and O’Higgins used this as the dramatic device to make allegations of secular domination and control by church leaders while at the same time hoping to have a successful Broadway run. The playwrights might have known that their portrayal of the Prophet’s forcing Daniel Whitman and Annis Grey into plural marriage was not accurate but believed that the domination over the lives of Mormons portrayed in these actions by church leaders was every bit as heavy-handed and complete as that would have been. At least one critic, New Republic editor Francis Hacket, understood the play’s dramatic use of polygamy as a threat to men and women alike as a symbol of the church’s power and control.

120 DeFoe, “Propaganda and Drama,” 490.

In April 1915, in order to keep the play running, producer Helen Taylor began offering a money-back guarantee to patrons who were not satisfied with it.121 Her offer did not work. By the end of April, it was announced that “‘Polygamy’ has gone into retirement for the Summer season.”122 It never came out of retirement. Over its run, the play had tried hard to capture the attention of eastern society, to channel feminist outrage over what its authors viewed as Mormondom’s version of white slavery, and to focus on allegedly improper behavior by Mormon leaders. The fact that Polygamy is largely forgotten belies its sophistication, nuance, and force. Unlike The Book of Mormon, it just was not much fun. Perhaps Polygamy might have had a longer run if Ford and O’Higgins had engaged P. G. Wodehouse and Jerome Kern to write some snappy show tunes for it.

121 “Guaranteeing a Play, Novel Plan Being Tried with ‘Polygamy’ at the Park,” New York Times, April 4, 1915, section 8, 4. 122 Ibid.

— Kenneth L. Cannon II is an attorney in private practice and an independent historian who resides in Salt Lake City. His current long-term project is a group biography of George Q. Cannon’s three oldest sons, John Q., Frank J., and Abraham H.

WEB EXTRA

We reproduce the complete script of the 1914 Broadway play Polygamy. Read it at history.utah. gov/uhqextras.


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This image reflects one way Americans imagined the Mormon settlers—in this case, after reading reports about the cricket plague. The original caption reads “Grasshoppers descent upon Salt Lake Valley.” Source unknown. —

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On July 8, 1849, while on his way to the California gold fields, John B. Hazlip wrote a letter from the valley of the Great Salt Lake to a friend in Missouri. After receiving the letter, Hazlip’s friend turned it over to the editor of the Missouri Whig, whose decision to publish it in the October 4, 1849, issue of the paper provided his readers with a contemporary first-hand description of the valley and its Mormon inhabitants. Hazlip found the Mormon’s city to be “laid off in very handsome style,” and the five thousand residents to be “very accommodating” and hospitable, though almost desperate for such basics as “sugar, coffee, tea and flour.” Hazlip also noted the region’s natural resources—springs, salt, and saleratus, for example—as well as the fort the Mormons had built and the fifty thousand acres of wheat they had under cultivation.1 Hazlip’s letter was one of many written from the valley that year, some of which were published and some of which were not. Similar letters from the Salt Lake area followed in subsequent years, many like Hazlip’s eventually finding their way into print. Beginning in 1850, readers in the United States and England could also learn about the Mormons in Salt Lake in longer published accounts by travelers, government employees, and military men, and by the end of the decade a significant body of information on the topic—as well as about the physical features, mineral resources, climate, Indians, and natural history of the region—had been generated by non-Mormons for public consumption.2 During the same period of time, 1 Dale L. Morgan, ed., “Letters by Forty-Niners Written from Great Salt Lake City in 1849,” Western Humanities Review 3 (April 1949): 99–101. 2 For examples, see James Abbey, California: A Trip across the Plains in the Spring of 1850 (Albany, IN: Kent and Norman and J. R. Nunemacher, 1850); William Kelly, An Excursion

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dozens of visitors to the area had included detailed descriptions of the region and its residents in their personal diaries and journals.

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These published and unpublished records of travelers through the Salt Lake valley have served as the basis for numerous studies on the early history of the area. Many of these studies have focused on non-Mormon descriptions and impressions of the Mormons in their western home, while others have been concerned with the region’s geography and physical features as much as they have been with the area’s human inhabitants.3 Whatever the focus, these studies have generally taken the year 1849 as their starting point, as that was the first year in which outsiders—in most cases, forty-niners on their way to California—generated large numbers of reports on life and conditions in the Great Basin. This tendency gives the impression that 1849 was the beginning of the public’s awareness of the Mormons’ situation in the Salt Lake valley. In fact, a fair amount of information on the topic was available in American newspapers in the two years previous to 1849 as well as in the early months of that year, before letters from forty-niners were published in eastern presses. This article is an effort to bring to light what, exactly, that early information was, and to deto California (London: Chapman and Hall, 1851); Nelson Slater, Fruits of Mormonism (Coloma, CA: Harmon and Springer, 1851); John W. Gunnison, The Mormons, or, Latter-day Saints, in the Valley of The Great Salt Lake (Philadelphia: Lippincott, Grambo and Co., 1852); Howard Stansbury, Exploration and Survey of the Valley of the Great Salt Lake of Utah (Philadelphia: Lippincott, Grambo and Co., 1852); Benjamin G. Ferris, Utah and the Mormons (New York: Harper and Brothers, 1854); Cornelia Ferris, The Mormons at Home (New York: Dix and Edwards, 1856); S. N. Carvalho, Incidents of Travel and Adventure in the Far West (New York: Derby and Jackson, 1857); and William Chandless, A Visit to Salt Lake (London: Smith, Elder and Co., 1857). 3 For examples, see Brigham D. Madsen, Gold Rush Sojourners in Great Salt Lake City, 1849 and 1850 (Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1983); Edwina J. Snow, “British Travelers View the Saints,” BYU Studies 31 (Spring 1991): 63–81; Martin Mitchell, “Gentile Impressions of Salt Lake City, Utah, 1849–1870,” Geographical Review 87 (July 1997): 334–52; Craig S. Smith, “The Curious Meet the Mormons: Images from Travel Narratives, 1850s and 1860s,” Journal of Mormon History 24 (Fall 1998): 155–81; Fred E. Woods, “‘Surely This City is Bound to Shine’: Descriptions of Salt Lake City by Western-Bound Emigrants, 1849–1868,” Utah Historical Quarterly 74 (Fall 2006): 334–48.

lineate as much as possible the route by which it was conveyed from the valleys of the Great Basin to eastern newspapers.4 It also attempts to provide a rough idea of how broadly this early information was disseminated across the country, which was generally done through the relatively new electromagnetic telegraph system or by editors simply reprinting articles of interest they had read in other papers.5 I will also examine the origin and perpetuation of some of the misconceptions about conditions in the valley, especially the persistent rumors that the Mormons had found significant deposits of gold in the region. The first news regarding the Mormons and the Salt Lake region in 1847 evidently reached eastern readers via an article published in a May 1847 issue of the St. Louis Republican, an established western paper whose location and circulation served to make it a prime channel for disseminating information from the West. Claiming to have received its intelligence “from sources having favorable opportunities of acquiring information,” the Republican (according to a reprint in the Cleveland Herald) reported that in April a “pioneer corps” of church leaders and some three hundred men had “started for the Pacific” from their encampment on the west bank of the Missouri River. “Their intention,” the paper’s editor wrote, “is to proceed as far as possible up to the period of necessary planting time, when they will stop and commence a crop.” If all went according to plan, this would be the “Bear River Valley,” a region “to[o] sterile for cultivation,” the editor opined, “with the exception of a small valley within about twenty miles of the mouth of Bear river, where it empties into the Salt Lake, 4 Regular postal service between the Salt Lake valley and the Missouri River did not begin until the early 1850s. 5 First operational in 1844, Samuel Morse’s electromagnetic telegraph was serving as a means of disseminating information about the Salt Lake Mormons between eastern newspaper editors by June 1848. See Richard A. Schwarzlose, The Nation’s Newsbrokers 2 vols. (Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press, 1989), 1:38; “Correspondence of the Baltimore Patriot— By Telegraph,” Fayetteville (NC) Observer, June 6, 1848; and “The Late Disastrous Western News,” North American and United States Gazette (Philadelphia, PA), June 7, 1848. Also facilitating the spread of newsprint was the Post Office Act of 1792, which allowed newspaper printers to “send one paper to every other printer of newspapers within the United States, free of postage.” Schwarzlose, Nation’s Newsbrokers, 1:4–6.


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known by trappers as Cache valley.”6 Pausing only briefly at this point, the leaders would then “proceed over into California,” where they would join forces with discharged members of the Mormon Battalion and “some hundreds who have reached there by sea.”7 Together, this

rapidly growing band would then “select a locality as a focus for immigration” somewhere on the shores of the Pacific, with the settlement in the Salt Lake region designed to serve as little more than a resting place for those coming after.8

6 “The Mormons,” Cleveland Herald, May 25, 1847. In this and other places where I have been unable to locate a copy of the original publication (in this case, the original St. Louis Republican), I have simply quoted from a reprint of the article appearing in another newspaper. Many such reprints identify the newspaper in which the article first appeared, the date on which it was published, and sometimes other pertinent information, allowing historians to reconstruct with at least a fair degree of confidence the early publication history of the article even when the original has not been available.

News that the Mormons had modified their plans somewhat reached St. Louis three months later, on August 4, 1847, when a “Mr. Shaw” and a “Mr. Bolder,” traveling “direct from Oregon,” landed in the city on the Missouri River steamer Tributary. Shaw and Bolder had met Brigham Young’s pioneer company at Fort Bridger, at which point “it was understood that the Mormons would not proceed, this season, further than the neighborhood of the Salt Lake.”9 Quick

7 Ibid. The Mormon Battalion, initially consisting of some five hundred Latter-day Saint soldiers accompanied by thirty-three women and fifty-one children, had marched from Council Bluffs, Iowa Territory, to San Diego and Los Angeles to fight in the Mexican War. While many members of the Battalion had returned east following their discharge in July 1847, many others remained in California. The “hundreds” of Mormons who had reached California by sea was a reference to some 230 Latter-day Saints who had arrived at San Francisco on

the ship Brooklyn in July 1846 under the leadership of Samuel Brannan. At this time, Brannan and his company were still in that area, waiting to hear where Brigham Young and the church intended to make a permanent settlement. 8 “The Mormons,” Cleveland Herald, May 25, 1847. 9 “Very Late from Oregon and California,” Milwaukee

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A romanticized image of emigrants passing through the Rocky Mountains. People in the eastern United States had to rely on reports of varying accuracy and artists’ images for information about the West. From an engraving by F. F. Palmer, 1866. —

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corroboration for their report came from Captain T. G. Drake and John G. Campbell, who had left the Oregon settlements the day after Shaw and Bolder had and reported that Young’s “advanced party were hastening on by forced marches, to select a place for a winter encampment somewhere in the vicinity of the Great Salt Lake.”10 That the church would continue on toward the Pacific the following year seems implicit in both reports, although Drake and Campbell reported learning that “the Californians, and most of the emigrants from the United States, were very decidedly opposed to the settling of the Mormons there,” and would even “resort to force to resist their settlement” in that region.11 The report by Shaw and Bolder, which first appeared in the August 5, 1847, issue of the St. Louis Republican, had been reprinted in Milwaukee, Cleveland, Boston, Philadelphia, and Washington D.C. by the middle of the month, and in Vermont, North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama, and Mississippi by August 20.12 Far fewer papers carried the Republican’s later story on the Drake and Campbell report, perhaps because of its similarity to the earlier news brought by Shaw and Bolder.13 Newspapers continued to report well into September 1847 that the Mormons were ultimately bound for the Pacific Coast region. In its September 15, 1847, issue, for example, Philadelphia’s North American and United States Gazette reprinted a report by one N. N. Osborne, who had met 750 Mormon wagons “on their way to California” as he returned from OreDaily Sentinel and Gazette, August 11, 1847. 10 “From Oregon and California,” Washington D.C. Daily National Intelligencer, August 31, 1847. 11 Ibid. 12 “Very Late from Oregon and California,” Milwaukee Daily Sentinel and Gazette, August 11, 1847; “Very Late from Oregon and California,” Cleveland Herald, August 12, 1847; “Late from Oregon,” Boston Daily Atlas, August 13, 1847; “Oregon and California,” North American and United States Gazette, August 12, 1847; “Late from California,” Daily National Intelligencer, August 13, 1847; “From California,” Montpelier Vermont Patriot, August 19, 1847; “Late from California,” Fayetteville Observer, August 17, 1847; “Later from Oregon,” Greenville (SC) Mountaineer, August 20, 1847; “Oregon and California,” Tri-Weekly Flag and Advertiser, August 17, 1847; “Very Late from Oregon and California,” Mississippi Free Trader and Natchez Gazette, August 17, 1847. 13 A search of newspaper databases resulted in only one reprint; see “From Oregon and California,” Daily National Intelligencer, August 31, 1847.

gon.14 At the same time, news began reaching readers that the Mormons had reached the valley of the Great Salt Lake. “A friend has shown us letters of a late date from the pioneer camp of Mormon emigrants,” reported the Philadelphia Pennsylvanian in an article reprinted in Arkansas on September 17. “They had at length reached the great salt lake, near which they had made a halt, and their wearied cattle were enjoying the sweet grass and fresh water with which that region is favored.”15 By September 22, Sam Brannan was reporting to readers in California that as of August 7, “480 souls . . . for the most part males . . . an advance of an extensive emigration soon to follow” had reached the Salt Lake valley and had “laid off and commenced a town, [and] planted large crops, which are described as being forward and flourishing.”16 Still, though, the idea that the Salt Lake valley was nothing more than a stopover persisted, with the same article also noting that the Mormons in the Salt Lake valley still planned to open “an entire new road through to this country” on which they would “move en masse to the valleys of California.”17 Even as some papers continued to promulgate the idea that the Mormons intended ultimately to travel to the Pacific, others began reporting that the Salt Lake valley would serve as the Mormons’ final destination. On August 22, the well-positioned St. Louis Republican reported that General Stephen W. Kearny and members of the Mormon Battalion, who were escorting Lt. Col. John C. Frémont to Washington D.C. for his court martial, had just arrived in St. Louis from California.18 Most of the article, predictably, dealt with the military situation in California when Kearny and Frémont had left, but one paragraph briefly mentioned the 14 “From Oregon,” North American and United States Gazette, September 15, 1847. 15 “The Mormons,” Little Rock Arkansas State Democrat, September 17, 1847. 16 “Interesting from the Emigration,” Californian (Monterey, CA), September 22, 1847. For background on Brannan, see note 7 above. 17 Ibid. 18 Kearny had arrested Frémont in California for mutiny and insubordination when Frémont had refused to submit to his orders following the American conquest of upper California in January 1847. See Allan Nevins, Frémont: Pathmaker of the West (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1955), 305–42.


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party’s encounter on August 4 with 685 wagons of the Mormons one day east of Fort Laramie. “They expected to winter on the great salt lake,” Kearny and the others reported, “and this, they assert, is to be the final resting place of their people.”19 Within two weeks, the article was reprinted in papers across the country, due more to the national interest in the Mexican War at the time, probably, than to concern about the Mormons’ intentions.20

19 “Arrival of Gen. Kearney,” The Boston Daily Atlas, September 4, 1847. 20 Kearny had established an American-based civil government in California in March 1847, two months after defeating Mexican forces in Los Angeles. Also in March, General Winfield Scott had landed some 12,000 American troops near Veracruz, Mexico, and began marching toward Mexico City. By the time this article began making its rounds in American papers, Scott’s troops were poised for the attack on the Mexican capital that would end the war. For reprints of the article, see “From California,” Bellow Falls Vermont Chronicle, September 8, 1847; “Very Late from California,” Daily Sentinel and Gazette, September 1, 1847; “Arrival of Gen. Kearney,” Boston Daily Atlas, September 4, 1847; “Late from California,” Tri-Weekly Flag and Advertiser, September 9, 1847.

Details about the Mormons’ permanent location followed over the course of the next two months, with editors generally judging the news to be interesting enough to print it under its own title. On October 27, for example, the Missouri Republican reported that it had just learned from “a person direct from Council Bluffs” that “the Mormons have located their grand gathering place about half way between the Utah and Salt Lake, in [Eastern Alta] California, on a stream which connects the two waters.” The Republican’s informant had obtained his news from a “runner . . . who was sent on in advance by the Mormon ‘Twelve,’ who were on the route back from the Salt Lake,” and reported that “the distance between the two lakes is about sixty miles—a fertile valley extending the whole distance of several miles in breadth. There they have laid out a city and commenced making improvements.” The article concluded by noting—erroneously, and perhaps too optimistically—that the Mormons were “in the midst of the Blackfeet, Utah, and Crow tribes of Indians, who are said to be peaceable, and favor this settlement.” The article was reprinted in numerous papers over the course of November

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An early view of Salt Lake City from the north, taken from Howard Stansbury’s Great Salt Lake of Utah (1852). The sketch shows plentiful grass in the wide valley and a small settlement. —

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and early December,21 with one of those papers, in a separate story, referencing the Latter-day Saints’ “new settlement at Salt Lake” as though it was old news.22

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To be sure, the public knew very little about the Salt Lake valley prior to the Mormons’ settlement of the region in 1847. The most reliable and broadly disseminated information on the area had been available for only two years in the form of an official report by John C. Frémont, who had explored the northeastern portion of the valley between the Bear River and Weber River deltas in early September 1843. Frémont had kept careful records of weather data, and had commented extensively on the geology, plant life, and animal life he and his party had encountered, but had been forced by the advancing season to leave the region after little more than a week, having never reached the area initially settled by Brigham Young and the Mormons. People who had read his report—including Brigham Young himself, who studied it carefully—had a general idea of the region’s climate, topography, plant life, and abundant waterfowl, but only as they had manifested themselves during a few days in September 1843 in a small area fifty to seventy miles north of where the Mormons would settle.23 Much remained to be learned, and it was the Mormons who would supply the country with that information.

ed that “the country selected for the habitation of the Mormons is about twenty miles east of the Great Salt Lake,” and included “a range [of mountains] some eighty miles in length, and perhaps ten to twenty miles in width.” A field of about one hundred acres of ground had been planted with corn, potatoes, turnips, and other edibles, but as the rain seldom fell there, they had to resort to the uncertain and laborious process of irrigation. They had engaged in the erection of a stockade, to protect the colony from the attacks of the Indians, covering some ten acres of ground, within which from a hundred and sixty to two hundred dwellings were to be erected. Some parts of the valley have a very fertile appearance, but others, again, are exceedingly poor, and cannot be made to produce anything. . . . In and around the Salt Lake Valley, very little game was to be found. Relatively few papers appear to have reprinted this report and the gloomy prediction of the editor—who obviously was not impressed with the valley’s resources and potentials—that “most distressing accounts” of the Mormons’ situation would probably be received “by the first arrivals next spring.”24

22 “From the Pacific,” Daily National Intelligencer, November 17, 1847.

By the end of 1847, then, most Americans were probably aware that the Salt Lake valley had become the Mormons’ new central gathering place, and not the simple way-station en route to the Pacific coast they had read about earlier in the year. They also had a rough idea of the region’s geography, Native peoples, and potential productivity, and the initial steps the Latter-day Saints had taken to produce a crop and provide for their safety. Most of the earlier information they had received came from men returning to the states from Oregon who had met various companies of church members on their way west. Later information came from army officers returning from California as well as church members already returning to the valley. Whatever the source, most of this news had first been printed in the St. Louis Republi-

23 John C. Frémont, Report of the Exploring Expedition to the Rocky Mountains In the Year 1842, and to Oregon and North California in the Years 1843–’44 (Washington: Gales and Seaton, 1845), 149–59; Alexander L. Baugh, “John C. Frémont’s 1843–44 Western Expedition and Its Influence on Mormon Settlement in Utah,” Utah Historical Quarterly 83 (Fall 2015): 254–69.

24 “The Mormon Colony,” North American and United States Gazette, December 15, 1847. See also “The Mormons,” Arkansas State Democrat, December 17, 1847, and “The Mormon Colony,” Boston Liberator, December 31, 1847.

On December 1, 1847, the St. Louis Republican published the most detailed report of the year regarding the Mormons’ new situation in the Salt Lake valley. Citing as its source Jesse Little, a Mormon traveling east from the Great Basin to resume his duties as president of the LDS Eastern States Mission, the Republican report21 For example, see “The New Mormon Location,” Arkansas State Democrat, December 3, 1847; “The New Mormon Location,” Chillicothe (OH) Scioto Gazette, November 10, 1847; “The Mormons,” North American and United States Gazette, November 4, 1847; “A New Mormon Location,” Greenville Mountaineer, November 19, 1847; “The New Mormon Location,” Daily National Intelligencer, November 4, 1847.


25 “The Mormons,” Cleveland Herald, January 31, 1848; “The Mormons,” Mississippi Free Trader and Natchez Gazette, February 3, 1848; “General Epistle from The Council of the Twelve Apostles, to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, abroad, dispersed throughout the Earth,” Latter-Day Saints’ Millennial Star 10 (March 15, 1848), 81–88. The epistle was issued from the Mormon settlement at Winter Quarters on the west bank of the Missouri River near Council Bluffs, Iowa.

26 “General Epistle,” 82–83. 27 The Cleveland Herald summarized the contents of the three paragraphs, while the Mississippi Free Trader and Natchez Gazette quoted them verbatim; see “The Mormons,” Cleveland Herald, January 31, 1848; “The Mormons,” Mississippi Free Trader and Natchez Gazette, February 3, 1848. 28 “Mormonism,” New York Emancipator, February 16, 1848. See also “The Mormons in the Wilderness,” Daily National Intelligencer, February 3, 1848; “Mormonism,” North American and United States Gazette, February 3, 1848; “The Mormons,” Vermont Chronicle, March 1, 1848. 29 “The Mormons,” Boston Investigator, March 22, 1848; “Mormonism,” Arkansas State Democrat, March 24, 1848.

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Betraying the nation’s curiosity about the far West, papers that noted the epistle’s existence invariably focused on the content of these three paragraphs and either briefly summarized or ignored completely the rest of the letter.27 Rather than quoting or summarizing the letter itself, many simply opted to reprint or paraphrase the Republican’s commentary on the letter, which also focused on these three paragraphs and the implications of the call for Mormons to gather to the valley. “If they succeed according to their expectations,” the editor wrote, evidently forgetting his pessimism of the previous month, “the[ir] central position between the Pacific and the Mississippi, their numbers and united prospects will give them an importance, that they have not been able to attain in the United States. . . . The present site of their church, in the midst of mountains on the margin of the great Salt Lake, . . . gives to their present position and enterprise a novelty which will attract hundreds to them.”28 The story ran in papers throughout February and well into March, with at least two papers—one in Boston and one in Arkansas—publishing it as late as March 22 and 24, respectively.29

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News from Great Salt Lake City continued to work its way both west and east over the course of 1848. The first installment came as early as January 19, when the St. Louis Republican, continuing its role as disseminator of information about the West, published the “General Epistle from The Council of the Twelve Apostles, to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, abroad, dispersed throughout the Earth.”25 Dated December 23, 1847, the epistle included a detailed account of Mormon activities between the time church members had fled Nauvoo, Illinois, in February 1846 and Brigham Young’s return from the Great Basin to the Mormon settlements on the Missouri late in 1847. It also included a general call for Latter-day Saints throughout the world to gather to the Salt Lake valley as soon as possible, and instructions for parents, missionaries, and priesthood leaders regarding their duties—information, in short, that few non-Mormons would consider newsworthy. Three of the epistle’s thirty-seven paragraphs, however, detailed the “Saints’” situation in their new home as of late August 1847, when Young left the area to return to Winter Quarters. The settlers had located in “a beautiful valley of some twenty by thirty miles in extent,” Young and his fellow apostles wrote, with a “continuation of the valley or opening on the north, extending along the eastern shore about sixty miles to the mouth of Bear River.” Reading at times like a pamphlet published by a booster club, the epistle enumerated the valley’s natural assets: Utah Lake to the south, good soil, the “warm, dry, and healthy” climate, the “many small streams” that could be used for irrigation, excellent mill sites, the availability of salt, the presence of “warm, hot, and cold springs,” the availability of timber in the mountains, and the “abundant” resources for making bricks and quarrying stone. As for the improvements

the Mormons had made, the epistle noted that a city had been surveyed “in blocks of ten acres, eight lots to a block; with streets eight rods wide, crossing at right angles.” One block had been set aside for a temple, while others had been reserved for public use. Efforts to grow food and provide protection had resulted in “near one hundred acres” having been planted “with a great variety of seeds” and the “the foundation of a row of houses” having been lain around one of the blocks.26

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reached St. Louis the previous August but evidently had not made it to the West Coast until now. Like the editor of the St. Louis Republican, the Californian’s correspondent also noted the implications of a Mormon colony in the Great Basin, although with a decidedly Californian slant. “It will greatly facilitate the land travel from this to the United States if they succeed in permanently establishing themselves at the Lake,” he wrote. “It is about half way.”30

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Jefferson Hunt, who provided information on the Mormons to a newspaper in California. He had marched with the Mormon Battalion and would later guide parties between Utah and California, help establish a colony at San Bernardino, serve in the California State Assembly and the Utah Territorial Legislature, and found Huntsville, Utah. —

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Rather than getting their midwinter update of the Mormon situation from the Quorum of the Twelve’s epistle, readers in California obtained it from Jefferson Hunt, a discharged officer of the Mormon Battalion who arrived in Los Angeles from Salt Lake in early January 1848 “to purchase provisions, horses, cattle, seeds, &c. &c” for the settlers back in the valley. Hunt, who had left the new Mormon settlement on November 17, 1847, reported that there were “about 4,000 souls at the Lake, on the East side,” and spoke highly enough of the region’s fertility that a correspondent for the Californian wrote that “the land by their description must be better sowing land than any in California, well watered, and rich.” The same writer learned from Hunt that the Mormons intended to settle permanently in the valley—information that had

Following the publication of the Twelve Apostles’ epistle in the East and Hunt’s report in the California coastal settlements, news from the Salt Lake valley ended for a time, probably as a result of the onset of winter and the limitations that snow imposed on travel in the Intermountain region and across the Great Basin. Not until May 10, 1848, did the St. Louis Republican have an update for its readers, which was based on letters that had just been received by unidentified residents of St. Louis “connected with the Mormon colony at the city of the Salt Lake.” Dating to “the latter part of December [1847],” the letters contained information that was far from current but that was certainly more recent than the Apostles’ epistle to the scattered saints or Hunt’s verbal report to the Californians. “They represent their situation as a comfortable one,” the Republican’s editor wrote. “[The Mormons] had not been molested by the Indians, many of whom were in the habit of visiting the city.” Notwithstanding the natives’ friendliness, by the end of December the Mormons had enclosed an entire square with inward-facing adobe buildings, “intended for defence,” and had completed two saw mills and a grist mill. The colony numbered some three thousand people (only two of whom had died by the time the letters were written); had sown three thousand acres of wheat in the fall; and was hoping to plant another six thousand in the spring. Other crops were contemplated as well, with seed potatoes going for ten dollars per bushel and peas for fifty cents per pound.31 Serving both as a tip of the cap to all that the Mormons had accomplished in 1847 and as an announcement of their hopes for the coming 30 “Correspondence of the Californian,” Californian, January 26, 1848. 31 “From the City of the Salt Lake,” Daily National Intelligencer, May 19, 1848; “The Mormons at Salt Lake,” Cleveland Herald, May 20, 1848.


An express has been sent by the Mormons to St. Louis asking for assistance and for armed forces to protect them from the fearful ravages threatened by their murderous and savage foes. No cause is assigned by the Indians for their conduct. They threaten vengeance, and declare their full determination to put it into execution.34 The news from Salt Lake, combined with similar news from Oregon, convinced at least one editor that “the Indians have determined upon a regular war upon the colonies, though widely separated from each other,” and called upon 32 For examples, see “From the City of the Salt Lake,” Daily National Intelligencer, May 19, 1848; “The Mormons at Salt Lake,” Cleveland Herald, May 20, 1848; “The Mormon Colony,” Mississippi Free Trader and Natchez Gazette, May 23, 1848; “From the City of the Salt Lake,” North American and United States Gazette, May 20, 1848. 33 “The Late Disastrous Western News,” North American and United States Gazette, June 7, 1848. See also “More Indian Murders at the City of the Salt Lake,” New York Herald, June 6, 1848, and “More Indian Enormities,” Arkansas State Democrat, June 16, 1848. 34 “From the New Mormon Settlement,” Daily National Intelligencer, May 31, 1848; “Correspondence of the Baltimore Patriot—By Telegraph,” Fayetteville Observer, June 6, 1848.

Additional contradictory reports about the Mormons’ situation in the West arrived later in the summer. In early August, ten men arrived in St. Louis from Oregon—which they had left on March 10—and reported that “the Mormon settlement at Salt Lake was in a flourishing condition.”39 Shortly afterward, however, another traveler arrived in St. Louis from the West—one who had fallen in with “a small party, consisting of four or five families of Mormons, in four wagons, direct from the settlement at the Great Salt Lake.” According to the 35 “Oregon Relief Bill,” North American and United States Gazette, June 1, 1848. 36 “Dates from the Salt Lake,” Cleveland Herald, July 26, 1848. See also “Dates from the Salt Lake,” Daily National Intelligencer, August 1, 1848; “Items,” Hudson Ohio Observer, August 2, 1848; “Gleanings from the Mails,” North American and United States Gazette, August 2, 1848. 37 “From the Mormons in California,” North American and United States Gazette, July 21, 1848. 38 See the articles listed in note 39 above. 39 “Latest from Oregon,” Floridian (Tallahassee, FL), August 19, 1848.

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The Indians have commenced open hostilities against the Mormons. They attacked them in their towns and encampments, and have most cruelly and barbarous[ly] murdered a large number of men, women, and children.

Almost two months passed from when the story first broke in Missouri before eastern readers learned that the Indians had not, in fact, attacked the Mormons in the Salt Lake valley. “Dates from Salt Lake, California, to the 4th April, contradict the reports previously received, of the attack upon the Mormon Settlement there by the Indians, and the massacre of a number of its inhabitants,” the corrective ran.36 At least one paper, the North American and United States Gazette, discounted a similar report of Indians massacring Mormons on the Great Plains, explaining it as “probably an exaggeration of a recent affair of some of the sect with the Omahas” in which the Indians killed a young boy herding some cattle.37 Most papers— including, eventually, the Gazette itself—combined the two stories into one but dropped in the process the report of an Indian massacre on the Plains. The result was the idea that the news of an Indian massacre in Salt Lake had its origin in the cattle-stealing episode on the trail.38 No other explanation for the wildly inaccurate report was given.

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News of the Mormons’ “comfortable” situation at the end of 1847 was quickly followed by news of supposed tragedy. In an article that appears to have first been published on May 23 in the St. Joseph’s [Missouri] Gazette, a Mr. Schrader (or Shrader) reported being at Fort Kearny, Nebraska Territory, when an “express” from the Mormons arrived “with the startling intelligence that the Indians . . . had murdered a number of men, women and children in the city of Salt Lake.”33 The news began reaching other papers in late May and early June, with several editors opting to print a colorful editorial summary of the Gazette’s article rather than the article itself:

the government to send “a military force of several thousand men . . . to protect our citizens in that quarter, . . . great as the cost may be.”35

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year, the Republican’s article had been reprinted in papers across the country by May 23.32

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St. Louis Organ, “they informed him that there was a great deal of suffering among the Mormons for want of provisions. They were obliged to kill their working cattle for food, and their stock of breadstuffs was nearly exhausted.” In what may have been the first report of the 1848 cricket plague to reach the East, the traveler also reported that the settlers’ wheat and barley “had been entirely destroyed by crickets, which appeared in astonishing numbers, and like the locusts, destroyed every kind of vegetation in their path.”40 Of the two reports, the second was better substantiated than the first, as it was clear that it had originated with people who had been in the Salt Lake valley recently. While at least six papers carried the first story about the settlers’ “flourishing condition,” however, only two have been located that carried the better-supported news of the Mormons’ near-desperate situation at the time.41 Little news from the valley appears to have made its way east over the course of the next two months. In its absence, at least two papers took the opportunity in October to review the history of Mormonism and recap what was already generally known about conditions in the Salt Lake valley. In the first, the editor highlighted, predictably, the Mormons’ flight from Nauvoo; the “lake of salt water” at their new home; the necessity of irrigation in the region; the hot springs in the area; and the potential productivity of the valley, where “the strange Mormon may enjoy the fruit of his toil in peace, if he be peaceful himself.”42 The second focused more on Joseph Smith and the early history of the church, but closed with a few sentences on the valley. “The region selected for the new city is said to be very healthy, the climate salubrious and the soil fertile and easy of cultivation,” the 40 “From the Great Salt Lake,” North American and United States Gazette, August 25, 1848. 41 Those two papers are “From the Great Salt Lake,” North American and United States Gazette, August 25, 1848; “Late from Salt Lake,” Cleveland Herald, August 21, 1848. More positive representations are in “Latest from Oregon,” Floridian, August 19, 1848; “From Oregon,” Boston Daily Atlas, August 4, 1848; “Important from Oregon,” Scioto Gazette, August 9, 1848; “From Oregon,” Ohio Observer, August 9, 1848; “By Telegraph to Pittsburgh,” Cleveland Herald, August 4, 1848; “Late from Oregon,” North American and United States Gazette, August 4, 1848. 42 “Salt Lake of the Rocky Mountains,” Arkansas State Democrat, October 13, 1848.

article read, probably drawing its information from the epistle of the Twelve Apostles published earlier in the year. Without disclosing its sources, the article also made the hyperbolic assertions that “nearly ten thousand” people were living in the valley at the time, and that an area had been “laid out” for a temple “six times as large as the unique affair at Nauvoo!”43 The overall impression given in the two articles was that things were going very well for the “strange Mormon” in his new home in the West, and that whatever hardships he may have suffered earlier in the year had been overcome. In their December 1847 epistle to the church, Brigham Young and his associates had indicated their intention, “as soon as circumstances will permit, to petition for a territorial government in the Great Basin.”44 By November 1848, some observers began to speculate that such a petition was imminent. The idea appears to have originated in a letter from someone at Fort Kearny, published in the October 31 issue of the St. Louis Republican. “It is understood that so soon as a sufficient number of faithful reach Salt Lake,” the letter’s author wrote, “they intend to apply for a Territorial Government. The movement, I think, will be made next year.”45 The letter was republished in at least one other 43 “The Mormons,” Boston Liberator, October 20, 1848. Brigham Young estimated that “about five thousand” people were living in the valley by fall 1848. See “Epistle. First General Epistle of the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, from the Great Salt Lake Valley, to the Saints scattered throughout the Earth,” Kanesville (IA) Frontier Guardian, May 30, 1849. 44 “General Epistle,” 84. In December 1847 the Salt Lake valley was still a Mexican possession, as the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, which ended the war and transferred the region to the United States, was not signed until February 2, 1848, and not ratified until May 30, 1848. General Winfield Scott, however, had taken control of Mexico City in September 1847, with the result that most Americans were anticipating the transfer of Upper California (which included the Salt Lake valley) to the United States several months before it was formalized. Brigham Young and other church leaders had anticipated joining the Union as either a state or a territory even before the removal west; see B. H. Roberts, A Comprehensive History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Century 1 (Provo, UT: Brigham Young University Press, 1965), 3:414–17. 45 “From the Far West,” Cleveland Herald, November 16, 1848. The Northwest Ordinance of 1787 provided for the election of a full legislature in a territorial possession of the United States when it could be demonstrated that 5,000 free males were living in the area.


46 “The Mormons,” Cleveland Herald, November 17, 1848. 47 Only one paper carrying the letter published in the St. Louis Republican has been located (see note 45 above), and only two carrying the second article (see note 46 above and “The Mormons,” Ohio Observer, November 29, 1848). Note that these were both Ohio papers. 48 “The Mormons,” Rochester (NY) North Star, December 1, 1848. 49 “The Mormons in California,” Daily National Intelligencer, December 16, 1848; “The Mormons,” Arkansas State Democrat, December 29, 1848. 50 “Rumors have been afloat,” Boston Daily Atlas, December 28, 1848; “The Mormons in California,” Daily National Intelligencer, December 16, 1848.

Newspapers continued the theme of Mormon prosperity into 1849, although the true situation of the Saints, as will be seen below, was almost the exact opposite. By the middle of January, people in points as far east as Bangor, Maine, were reading a version of a report originally published in Missouri’s St. Joseph Gazette detailing the situation of the settlers in the valley.52 “The Mormon colony are reported to be 51 “Rumors have been afloat,” Boston Daily Atlas, December 28, 1848. 52 See “Intelligence from California—Direct,” Boston Daily Atlas, January 10, 1849; “From the Salt Lake and California,” Cleveland Herald, January 4, 1849; “From the Salt Lake and California,” Daily National

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Overall, most readers in the East probably ended the year 1848 with the general impression that the Mormons in the Salt Lake valley were doing quite well. The letter from church leaders that had opened the year had been overwhelmingly positive regarding the area’s resources and potential productivity. News of Indian hostilities had proven false, and poorly circulated reports of low supplies and cricket infestations were overshadowed by other accounts of a growing and flourishing community. Much of the information could be traced back to various Latter-day Saints themselves, more so than had been the case in 1847. While most of the news had, again, come through the St. Louis Republican, other outlets in Missouri had broken stories on occasion. Word that gold had been discovered in the far West, and perhaps even in the Salt Lake valley itself, raised unsettling questions for some, but there seemed little reason to doubt that the Mormons were well on their way to becoming a significant part of the geographical and political landscape of the trans-Mississippi West.

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In December, at least some readers in the East learned that the Mormons would soon be issuing their own paper from Salt Lake—news that, again, appears to have enjoyed little circulation.48 The same cannot be said of what followed. As the nation buzzed with word of gold strikes east of Sutter’s Fort in northern California, false rumors began circulating in the papers that “equally rich mines have been discovered” near Salt Lake and were being worked by the Mormons there.49 At the same time, the Mormons were also reportedly planning to forcibly cash in on the strikes further west, either by “collecting near the Great Salt Lake, . . . proceeding in a body to California, driving off the gold diggers, and taking possession” of the region, or by laying claim “to a large portion of the gold territory, and demand[ing] thirty per cent. of the ore taken therefrom.”50 At least one editor, and presumably more, found the report of a planned Mormon takeover of the gold fields unconvincing. “We doubt very much the truth of these rumors,” wrote the editor of the Boston Daily Atlas. “We fear that they originate in a deep seated hate to this persecuted and ill-treated, though, it may be, offending sect.” The report that gold had been discovered near Salt Lake seemed more credible. “Gold, it

is said, has been found in that basin [the Great Basin], which is in the line and about the centre of the great mineral region stretching from Lake Superior south-westward to the Pacific Ocean. That basin, so singular in its formation, and so isolated, appears to have been made by the disintegration of vast mountains, and there, if any where, might we look for the richest mineral treasure.” The editor closed by raising the specter of a gold rush to the Salt Lake valley that could result in the Mormons being driven yet again “from the homes they had reason to think so secure.”51

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paper in November, as was a separate editorial of unknown origin that made the same claim: “In the valley of the Great Salt Lake . . . [the Mormons] are flourishing and multiplying,” the editorial read, “and the prospect is that the despised and persecuted Mormons will become the nucleus of a populous territory, so populous that by another year they will apply for a Territorial Government.”46 While the prediction proved to be correct, relatively few papers appear to have found it newsworthy.47

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in a prosperous condition, having a surplus of several thousand [thousand] bushels of grain and other necessaries of life,” the original story ran. “Money is plentiful, a large portion of which is obtained in, and brought from the gold regions of California, either in dust, or in Mexican gold coin, received in exchange for the dust in California.” The Gazette got its information from George Smith, a merchant in St. Joseph, Missouri, who had been at Council Bluffs when an express mail arrived in town “fifty-six days from the Salt Lake”—meaning the news was about two months old. Included in the mail, though, and lending tangible support to the favorable report, were “orders for merchandize amounting to upward of $5000, with the dust, among which was one package of ten pounds.” The Gazette’s editor quickly realized the significance of the orders, and what a market in Salt Lake might mean for the local economy in Missouri: “These are the first orders received from the quarter,” he wrote, “and the opening of a new avenue of trade to St. Joseph, which must be extensive and profitable.”53 On February 2, 1849, an informative report corroborating the January news was published—not in a Missouri paper this time, but in the Pittsburgh Gazette.54 The source was a Mr. E. Whipple, a Mormon who had arrived in Pittsburgh after leaving Salt Lake the previous October. Much of Whipple’s news was old fare by this time—the dimensions of the valley (which he expanded to “about fifty miles long, and forty broad”), the Jordan River connecting Utah Lake with the Great Salt Lake, the lack of timber, the numerous streams issuing from the mountains, and the “perfectly healthy” climate of the area. According to Whipple, though, the “7000 persons of all ages and both sexes” who were in the valley when he left had little to complain of. “Last season they raised a fine crop of wheat, corn, and other productions, sufficient for their own consumption, and of those . . . who are yearly coming in. After next harvest they will have provisions to dispose of.” Intelligencer, January 8, 1849; “The Mormons as Salt Lake,” Bangor Daily Whig (ME), January 13, 1849. 53 “From California and the Salt Lake,” Boston Courier, January 11, 1849. The informant George Smith is not to be confused with Mormon apostle George A. Smith, who was then living in the Salt Lake valley. 54 “The Mormons—Salt Lake—The Discovery of Gold, andc.,” New York Weekly Herald, February 10, 1849.

Two grist mills and four sawmills were in operation, and several villages, in addition to the city, had been laid out, where the saints were “building substantial houses, and surrounding themselves with many comforts.”55 Even more significant than the support he gave to earlier reports of Mormon prosperity, though, was Whipple’s refutation of the wild rumors regarding Mormons and gold. “No gold has yet been found in the neighborhood of the Salt Lake, or any where east of the Sierra Nevada, as far as Mr. Whipple is informed,” the article stated, offering an important corrective to reports of rich mines in the area that readers had seen in December. Similarly, Whipple explained the origins of the story “that the Mormons had claimed a pre-emption right to the diggings, and were demanding a per centage of the gold found.” The first discovery of gold was made by Mormons, (discharged soldiers,) in digging a mill race for Mr. Sutter. As the discovery was on his ground, he gave them the liberty of digging gold, on condition of paying him a certain per centage. This they agreed to do, but soon started off to explore for themselves, and having found some rich spots, they demanded a per centage from new comers for digging in their ground, to which they claimed a right of discovery. This practice is general in the mines, and the Mormons, Mr. Whipple says, no more claim the whole of the mines than they do the whole of California.56 The Gazette’s article was reprinted in several newspapers, all of which, as far as have been located, were published in the northeast and upper Midwest, not far from where the article had originated.57 Without providing any new information, the Cincinnati Atlas kept the theme of Mormon prosperity alive in March 1849 when it noted the “flourishing circumstances” of the settlers 55 “Mormon Settlement in California,” Cleveland Herald, February 12, 1849. 56 Ibid. 57 In addition to the New York Weekly Herald and the Cleveland Herald, cited above, see “The Mormons in California,” North American and United States Gazette, February 7, 1849, and “Later from the Great Salt Lake— The Mormons,” Boston Daily Atlas, February 7, 1849.


Vilate Kimball, the first wife of Heber C. Kimball, sent to her friends in the East a detailed, glowing report of the conditions in the Salt Lake Valley. —

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at Salt Lake in a rambling article on the unique geographical features of the church’s current location.58 Of far greater interest to papers that month throughout the country, however, was an article published in Nile’s Republican. The article, based on an August 2, 1848, letter written from South Pass by the Republican editor’s brother, who had not even been to Salt Lake, did more to perpetuate fantastic rumors than to provide solid information about the Mormons in the valley. The first such rumor dealt with the contemplated Salt Lake temple, a “splendid building” whose “highest point is to be 600 feet, and can be seen eighty miles either way.”59 Next came the Mormon fortifications: “They enclose a lot 17 miles long and 12 miles wide, with a mud wall 8 feet high and four feet thick,” the Republican reported,60 evidently merging 58 “The Mormons,” Daily National Intelligencer, March 22, 1849. See also “The Mormons,” Cleveland Herald, March 17, 1849, and “The Mormons,” Mississippi Free Trader and Natchez Gazette, March 31, 1849. 59 “The Mormon Temple,” Milwaukee Sentinel and Gazette, March 8, 1849. 60 Ibid.

61 Madsen, Gold Rush Sojourners, 39; Leonard J. Arrington, Great Basin Kingdom: An Economic History of the Latterday Saints, 1830–1900 (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1958), 47. 62 “The Mormon Temple,” Milwaukee Sentinel and Gazette, March 8, 1849. 63 Ibid.; “The Mormon Temple,” North American and United States Gazette, March 10, 1849; “The Mormons,” Daily National Intelligencer, March 22, 1849; “The New Mormon Temple,” Vermont Patriot, March 29, 1849; “The Mormon Temple,” Mississippian, April 13, 1849; “The Mormons,” Boston Investigator, April 18, 1849; “The Mormon Temple,” Arkansas State Democrat, April 27, 1849; “The South Pass—Alkaline Water—Rock Salt— New Gold Mine,” Cleveland Herald, May 21, 1849. 64 “The mines discovered by the Mormons,” Bangor Daily Whig and Courier, April 23, 1849.

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At least two other articles on the Mormons in the Salt Lake valley were published in April, neither of which appears to have received much attention. One was actually a correction to the report of a gold discovery near Salt Lake—a report which, as we just saw, had taken on a life of its own by this time. “The mines discovered by the Mormons, near Salt Lake, in the Rocky Mountains, prove to be copper and lead, instead of gold,” the notice ran.64 The other was a letter from Vilate Kimball—wife of Heber C. Kimball, first counselor to Brigham Young in the church’s First Presidency—to friends in New York. In her letter, dated October 10, 1848, Kimball noted that upon their arrival in the valley two weeks earlier, she and her family had been met “by hundreds of men, women, and children, whose dress and manners would have done honor to your eastern cities.” Most were “in good health and spirits,” Kimball reported, “and pleasantly located in comfortable houses,

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reports about the church’s Big Field (located south of the city, and fenced on two sides with a seventeen-mile, eight-foot pole fence) with the eleven-mile pole-and-ditch fence that surrounded the city.61 The article then noted the alleged discovery of “a mountain of pure rock salt . . . near the Mormon settlement,” and closed by resurrecting rumors of gold in the area with the report that “the Mormons have discovered a rich gold mine 150 miles southwest from the Salt Lake.”62 Confused at best, and patently false for the most part, the Republican’s article—or portions of it—nevertheless was being republished as late as May 21, and it ultimately appeared in papers from Wisconsin to Vermont to Arkansas and Mississippi.63

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and their tables loaded with the productions of their fields and gardens.” Like others before her, Kimball also noted the snow-capped mountains, the Salt Lake, the lack of timber in the valley, the mills that had been constructed, and the various springs in the area, including one “of sufficient heat to cook an egg” and another for bathing “that far exceeds the Ballston and Saratoga waters” of upstate New York. “We also find clay equal to that of Liverpool,” Kimball told her friends, and “mechanics of every kind in our . . . city.” Where others had spoken of the soil’s potential productivity, Kimball could give actual results: “Wheat seems peculiarly adapted to this valley, and garden vegetables are large and excellent,” she wrote, illustrating her point by noting “a winter squash that weighs seventy-four pounds, and a round turnip which weighs eight pounds and nine ounces” that had been given to her family as a present. With the exception of “groceries and clothing, which cannot be procured here,” Kimball wrote, the settlers had all “the necessaries and many of the comforts of life,” including molasses and “some excellent sugar” that had been extracted from corn stalks. Unwittingly feeding speculation that the area was rich in gold, Kimball also reported that the region had “every appearance of gold mines, which we fear to have opened, for adversity we have proven to be far better for the saints than prosperity.”65 It soon became clear that Kimball’s and the others’ highly favorable reports of conditions in the valley were not entirely accurate. The corrective was supplied in another “General Epistle . . . to the Saints scattered throughout the Earth,” issued by church leaders in early 1849. Completed in the Salt Lake valley shortly after April 7, 1849, the epistle was first published in the church’s new paper in Iowa, the Frontier Guardian, on May 30, after which it (or summaries of it) began making the rounds in papers across the nation. The information it contained was the first news about conditions in the valley in 1849 to reach eastern readers that year, as earlier reports to reach the east in 1849—such as Kimball’s—were all generated in late 1848.66 65 “The Mormons—Salt Lake Valley,” Daily National Intelligencer, April 3, 1849. 66 “Epistle. First General Epistle of the First Presidency

After briefly rehearsing church leaders’ activities and movements from the time they had issued their earlier epistle, the epistle suggested that significant growth in the valley’s population was not necessarily accompanied by prosperity. “On our arrival in this Valley” in the fall of 1848, the leaders wrote, “we found the brethren had erected four forts, composed mostly of houses, . . . and numbering about 5,000 souls.” Those who had been there in the spring had planted “an extensive variety of seeds” on the Big Farm, it was true, but only to see “most of their early crops . . . destroyed in the month of May by crickets, and frost, which continued occasionally until June; while the latter harvest was injured more or less by drouth, by frost . . . and by the outbreaking of cattle.” The result was a very poor harvest, which was followed by a severe, New England-like winter of deep snow, intense, sustained cold, and “violent and contrary winds.” Cattle weakened “through fasting and scanty fare” lacked the strength to draw wood from the snow-covered mountains and canyons, with the result that many of the settlers had “had to suffer, more or less, from the want thereof.” An inventory of available “bread-stuff” conducted in early February 1849 had revealed “little more than three-fourths of a pound per day, for each soul, until the 9th of July,” and that some of the settlers had resorted to less-than-saintly hoarding to protect their goods. While the situation was far from dire, it was clear that things would not be getting markedly better any time soon; grain and cattle were both in short supply, another batch of crickets was already making its appearance, and those hoping to emigrate to the valley that year were told to remain where they were “unless they have team and means sufficient to come through without any assistance from the valley,” and could bring enough food and supplies “sufficient to last them a few months after their arrival.” Assurances that those in the valley probably wouldn’t starve because of the “abundance of nutritious roots” in the area probably provided little comfort. Not all of the news was bad. A public works of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, from the Great Salt Lake Valley, to the Saints scattered throughout the Earth,” Kanesville (IA) Frontier Guardian, May 30, 1849. The first issue of the Frontier Guardian appeared on February 7, 1849, with Orson Hyde as editor.


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Early view of First South Street in a sketch taken from Howard Stansbury’s Great Salt Lake of Utah (1852). At this time travelers through the city saw only scattered houses, but they would also have noticed the broad streets— wide enough for herding cattle—that would serve a future large city. —

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231 program had built a two-story “council house,” several bridges, and a bath house at the now-famous warm springs; several thousand acres had been surveyed and plotted into five and ten acre lots for farming; a canal for irrigation had been dug along the base of the mountains; three grist mills and several saw mills were in operation; and plans to build a tannery and foundry were well-advanced. Church leaders also reported that the valley was “settled,” at least in some fashion, “for 20 miles south, and 40 miles north of the city,” and that the city itself had been divided into nineteen ecclesiastical wards, most of which consisted of nine city blocks. In spite of the difficult winter, the epistle reported, a “large number” of schools had also been functioning, and it claimed that a variety of languages—including Hebrew, Greek, Latin, French, German, and even Tahitian— were being taught.67 Three other topics rounded out the epistle’s coverage of the situation in the valley. First, it brought everyone up-to-date on who was cur67 Ibid.

rently serving in various leadership positions in the church. This included announcing the formal excommunication of apostle Lyman Wight, who had repudiated the leadership claims of Brigham Young and his associates and settled in Texas. Second, it reaffirmed the Mormons’ desire for territorial status and reported that they were already drafting a petition to Congress to that end. And third, it did its best to clarify the real situation behind the prevalent rumors that gold had been found in the valley. “On the return of a portion of the ‘Mormon Battalion,’ through the northern part of Western California, they discovered an extensive gold mine,” the epistle noted, clearly trying to emphasize that the strike was far to the west of the Salt Lake Valley. “By a few days’ delay,” the epistle explained, the returning soldiers had been able “to bring sufficient of the dust to make money plenty in this place for all ordinary purposes of public convenience,” and to enable church leaders to issue notes redeemable in gold. Other phrases and references to the “gold mines” in the epistle emphasized the point that those “whose God shines


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best in gold” had to leave the settlement area to find it.68

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The epistle was clear and comprehensive, but that didn’t necessarily mean that it was reproduced in papers that way. In the same May 30, 1849, issue of the Frontier Guardian in which the epistle first appeared, a separate report from Salt Lake was published—a verbal report, evidently, by the members of the “Express” that had carried the epistle east. The report touched on two items: first, that there was “no end to the gold in that country [California]—though none had been found in the Valley, still the regions two or three hundred miles [west] of it abound in the shining ore.” Second, it stated that the Mormons would soon be sending “Dr. Burnhyson [John M. Bernhisel]” to Congress with the petition for a territorial government.69 Early on, a short hybrid report that included information from both the epistle and the Express’s verbal account was generated and circulated. In the process, word that gold had not been found in the Salt Lake valley—as both the epistle and the verbal report made clear—was replaced with news that it had been found. The error seems to have originated in a careless reading of the verbal report: “New and extraordinary discoveries of gold had been made in the mountains near Salt Lake,” one popular version of the hybrid account read. “There seems to be no limit to the deposits of the precious metal in our far west territory.”70 Most, though not all, reproductions of this report also noted the Mormons’ desire for a territorial government, their intention to send “a Mr. Burnhyson” to Washington D.C. to bring that about, the prosperity of the saints in the valley, and the defection of Lyman Wight, erroneously identified in some papers as “the leader of the Mormons in the valley.”71 Within days, many of these same 68 Ibid. 69 “42 Days from Salt Lake City,” Frontier Guardian, May 30, 1849. See also “News from the Mormon City of the Salt Lake,” Cleveland Herald, June 18, 1849. Bernhisel left Salt Lake for Washington, D.C. in May 1849. 70 “News from the Far West—New Discoveries of Gold in the Mountains near Salt Lake—The Mormons—Progress of the California Immigrants, andc.,” New York Herald, June 8, 1849. At least one paper managed to confuse the issue even more by reporting “the discovery of an extraordinary mountain of gold on the banks of the great Salt Lake” itself; see “Third Dispatch,” Mississippi Free Trader and Natchez Gazette, June 20, 1849. 71 For examples, see “News from the Far West—News

papers reprinted, in whole or in part, the epistle of the leaders of the church, though none appear to have acknowledged either the obvious similarities or the glaring contradictions in the two reports.72 While some readers may have viewed the epistle as a correction to what they had read earlier about the presence of gold in valley and other issues, others who had read both reports within days of each other would have been understandably confused at the end of June 1849 as to the true situation prevailing in the Salt Lake valley. The express that brought the epistle east had left the Salt Lake valley on April 15, so the news it carried was about two months old in the latter half of June, when people in the East were reading it.73 On June 27, the Frontier Guardian published a brief update, courtesy of three men who had left the valley on May 3. “The health of the settlements was good—spring crops looked remarkably well,” the men reported, although the winter wheat “did not look quite so prosperous as could be desired.” A “fine rain” had fallen on May 1, and the crickets “were not one quarter so distructive as last year.” As for the Mormons and gold, the men simply reported that “many men would leave the Valley to go to dig gold in opposition to the counsel of the Church,” and that “quite a company” had alDiscoveries of Gold in the Mountains near Salt Lake— The Mormons—Progress of the California Immigrants, andc.,” and “From the Great Salt Lake,” New York Herald, June 8 and 20, 1849; “News from the Far West—News Discoveries of Gold in the Mountains near Salt Lake— The Mormons—Progress of the California Immigrants, andc.,” Milwaukee Sentinel and Gazette, June 18, 1849; “From the Salt Lake,” Boston Daily Atlas, June 11, 1849; “From the Far West—Discoveries of Gold in the Mountains near Salt Lake—The Mormons—Progress of the California Emigrants, andc.,” North American and United States Gazette, June 9, 1849; “From the far West—Gold—Numerous Emigrants,” Cleveland Herald, June 13, 1849; “The Mormon Settlement in the Great Salt Lake Valley,” Weekly Herald, June 23, 1849; “From the Western Plains,” Daily National Intelligencer, June 11, 1849. 72 For examples, see “The Mormons.—Their Settlement at the Great Salt Lake,” Boston Daily Atlas, June 23, 1849; “The Mormons, and their Settlement in the Valley of the Great Salt Lake,” New York Herald, June 22, 1849; “News from the Mormon City of the Great Salt Lake,” Arkansas State Democrat, June 29, 1849; “Later from the Mormons,” Milwaukee Sentinel and Gazette, June 28, 1849; “The Mormons and their New Settlement,” Daily National Intelligencer, June 28, 1849. 73 “News from the Mormon City of the Salt Lake,” Cleveland Herald, June 18, 1849.


The following month (August) at least two papers published a letter ostensibly “from a Mormon at the Salt Lake to his friends in Ohio,” but so blatantly at odds with the evidence on some points that one wonders if it was a hoax that was taking advantage of prevailing rumors.78 “There 74 “18 Days Later from Salt Lake,” Frontier Guardian, June 27, 1849. 75 “St. Louis, July 14,” Arkansas State Democrat, July 27, 1849; “Interesting from the Plains—The Cholera, andc.,” North American and United States Gazette, July 16, 1849; “July 14,” Cleveland Herald, July 16, 1849; “Intelligence from the Plains—Mormons going to the Mines— Troubles among the Emigrants, andc.,” Weekly Herald, July 21, 1849; Vermont Chronicle, July 25, 1849. 76 “Interesting from the Plains—Decrease of the Cholera, andc.,” Boston Daily Atlas, July 17, 1849; “Intelligence from the Plains—Mormons going to the Mines— Troubles among the Emigrants, andc.,” Weekly Herald, July 21, 1849; “Interesting from the Plains—The Cholera, andc.,” North American and United States Gazette, July 16, 1849; “St. Louis, July 14,” Vermont Chronicle, July 25, 1849. 77 “Eighteen Days Later from the Salt Lake,” Boston Daily Atlas, July 28, 1849; “Eighteen Days Later from Salt Lake—Accounts from the Emigrants, andc.,” Arkansas State Democrat, August 3, 1849. See also “From Salt Lake,” Daily National Intelligencer, July 25, 1849; “Eight Days Later from Salt Lake,” North American and United States Gazette, July 25, 1849. 78 “From the City of the Salt Lake,” North American and United States Gazette, August 10, 1849. See also “From the City of the Salt Lake,” Milwaukee Sentinel and

At the end of August 1849, then, the themes of Mormon prosperity and Salt Lake gold circulated in the eastern press as they had at the end of 1848. Repeated, authoritative reports to the contrary had been invariably followed by fresh news of plentiful harvests, fat cattle, and mines of incredible wealth in the area. Part of the problem was that while much of the most accurate news from the western Mormons was first being printed in the Frontier Guardian in Iowa, many papers further east and south were getting it only after it had been summarized by another paper. Such summaries generally distorted the original report to one degree or another, with the result that reports that could have corrected various misconceptions about the situation in the Salt Lake valley were actually seen to support them. Thus, erroneous, even outlandish, reports went largely unchecked and eventually spread to papers throughout the country. Ironically, in spite of the nationwide interest in the Mormons’ situation in Gazette, August 20, 1849. 79 “From the City of the Salt Lake,” North American and United States Gazette, August 10, 1849. See also “From the City of the Salt Lake,” Milwaukee Sentinel and Gazette, August 20, 1849.

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is an extensive gold mine here, from which a great many of my neighbors are engaged in digging gold,” the author wrote. “Those who work the mines make from thirty to seven hundred and fifty dollars per day, each. If a man wants gold all he has to do is to go and dig it.” Similarly, the author’s report that “buffaloes, antelopes, deer, bear,” and other wild game was “very plenty” in the area flies in the face of an earlier report (see note 24 above), while his claim that “cattle can live here the whole year without either hay or corn, and be fat enough for beef at any time” is very much at odds with the latest epistle’s report, noted above, of cattle weakened “through fasting and scanty fare.” More accurate descriptions of the hot and warm springs, the availability of salt, the lack of timber, and irrigation did little to bolster the letter’s legitimacy, as those features of the valley had been well publicized by that time.79 Whether readers in the East questioned the letter’s authenticity is impossible to say, and one suspects that for at least some, the letter served to verify all they had heard—including rumors of gold—about the happy situation of the Mormons in the Salt Lake valley.

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ready gone.74 On July 14, an unidentified St. Louis paper published a summary of the Guardian’s article, which summary—rather than the Guardian’s article itself—served as the template for most of the reprinting across the nation. The summary was relatively accurate, although no mention was made of the crickets, and the rain of May 1 was expanded to “fine rains,” “many fine rains,” and “a number of fine showers” as it made its way east.75 The summary also failed to make the important point that those who wanted gold had to actually leave the valley. “Many of the Mormons had gone in the search of gold, against the counsel of the elders of the church,” one popular version read.76 Even though a few papers—including at least two that had earlier published a version of the summary—eventually obtained and published the full article from the Guardian,77 the wording of the well-circulated summary was poorly suited to correct any misconceptions that may have existed regarding the existence of gold in the vicinity of the Great Salt Lake.

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their new home in the first half of 1849, and in spite of the significant number of newspaper articles that had addressed this topic up to that time, readers in the East probably knew less about the real conditions in the Salt Lake valley in the first half of 1849 than they had during most of the previous two years.

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In September 1849, the Mormon delegate to Congress Almon W. Babbitt arrived at Council Bluffs from Great Salt Lake City and reported that 15,000 emigrants on their way to the California gold fields had passed through the valley by the end of July.80 Babbitt’s estimate was probably double the actual number of travelers who took the Salt Lake route that summer, but the phenomenon he noted would significantly alter the news that would come from the valley over the course of the next several years. Babbitt carried with him numerous letters from gold-seekers to friends and family in the East, many of which contained information on conditions in Salt Lake.81 These and additional letters that would be written later by other adventurers represented a tremendous increase in the volume of information coming out of the valley when compared to the information that had been available during of the previous two years. Over the next several years, travelers’ detailed observations and commentaries on the valley’s weather, agriculture, topography, prices, improvements, and all things Mormon contributed to the construction of a much fuller, more detailed, and more accurate picture of the Saints in their new home than had been possible earlier. These observations quickly cleared the air of lingering misconceptions about things like the presence of gold in the area. Newspapers would continue to print unfounded rumors about the Mormons for many decades to come, but erroneous reports on such basic issues as the Salt Lake valley’s productivity, climate, economics, and natural resources had a much smaller chance of being perpetuat80 “Later from the Salt Lake—The Mormon Settlement— An Indian Battle,” Boston Daily Atlas, September 19, 1849. Babbitt was on his way to Washington D.C. to pursue statehood on behalf of the Mormons living in the Great Basin. 81 “From the Salt Lake,” Milwaukee Sentinel and Gazette, September 22, 1849; “From the Salt Lake,” North American and United States Gazette, October 1, 1849. Madsen estimates that “one-third or more of the 25,000 emigrants of 1849” took the Salt Lake route. Madsen, Gold Rush Sojourners, 12.

ed after the summer of 1849 than before. Still, people in the East had read a great deal about the Mormon settlement near the Great Salt Lake in the months and years preceding the gold rush. Most of what they read dealt with the Mormons’ physical environment, and the various “improvements” the Mormons had made in their efforts to create a permanent home. Somewhat surprisingly, perhaps, is the almost complete lack of comment on the Mormons themselves, including such things as their physical appearance and their religious and political beliefs—topics that would receive a significant amount of attention in later years. Even plural marriage, which the church wouldn’t publicly acknowledge until 1852, but which was openly practiced in the valley from 1847 onward, appears to have gone largely unnoticed during this early period. Nor do these articles, even the earliest ones, discuss the possible international implications of the Mormons settling in Mexican Territory during the Mexican War. This curious omission might be explained by the fact that by the time the Mormons’ intention to settle in the Salt Lake valley was clear, Stephen Kearny had already established (in March 1847) an American civil government in upper California, and Winfield Scott and 12,000 American troops were well on their way to Mexico City. With the war’s ultimate outcome written on the wall, the Mormons’ choice of location was evidently less of the international news item one might expect it to have been. Of far more interest to eastern editors and readers was the Mormons’ plan to apply for a territorial government, although it, too, appears to have been less of an issue that one might expect.82 Nevertheless, as this article has shown, the nation’s interest in the church and it members had not lessened with the death of Joseph Smith in 1844 or with the Mormons’ departure from Nauvoo in 1846.83 News from Salt Lake was a 82 For a good overview of the Mormons’ efforts at selfgovernment in the Salt Lake valley during the period covered in this article, including the creation of the State of Deseret during the spring and summer of 1849, see Dale Morgan, The State of Deseret (1940; Logan: Utah State University Press, 1987), 5–41. 83 Jeremy J. Chatelain has located more than 10,000 newspaper articles on Mormonism published from 1829 to 1844, illustrating the nation’s interest in the new faith’s claims, doctrines, practices, and personalities.


— Andrew H. Hedges is an associate professor of Church History and Doctrine, Brigham Young University.

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regular feature in papers across the nation well before gold seekers began writing home from the valley in the middle of 1849—notwithstanding the convoluted paths it sometimes traveled before getting into print. If much of the information was inaccurate, so was much of what readers read on any topic covered in the papers during this period, as early American newsmen made little effort to ensure the reliability of what they published. This tendency, combined with the well-established practice of mountain men, travelers, army men, reporters, and others exaggerating conditions in the West, made it almost inevitable that wildly inaccurate reports of the Mormons’ situation in the Salt Lake valley would be printed and circulated. Through it all, however, it is clear that American interest in the new church had not waned when its members left the boundaries of the United States in 1847, and that exile in the West had not removed them from the nation’s view.

See Jeremy J. Chatelain, “The Early Reception of the Book of Mormon in Nineteenth-Century America,” Dennis L. Largey, Andrew H. Hedges, John Hilton III, and Kerry Hull, ed., The Coming Forth of the Book of Mormon: A Marvelous Work and a Wonder (Salt Lake City and Provo, Utah: Deseret Book and the Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 2015), 174.

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We sat down with Dr. Hedges to discuss his research on the dissemination of information about the Mormons’ first years in the Great Basin. Check out our conversation at history.utah.gov/uhqextras.


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A farmer adjusts a head gate, c. 1945. Water for irrigation in Utah comes mainly from melted snow; the Utah snow survey program initiated by George Clyde helped farmers know how much water to expect each season and to plant accordingly. —

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George Dewey Clyde and the Harvest of Snow

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As a dry summer and mild fall continued after a near-snowless winter in 1934, George Dewey Clyde pondered the inevitable impact of drought. Since being hired as an irrigation engineer at the Utah Agricultural College in 1923, Clyde had been researching and collecting data on snow surveys.1 The prospect of being able to accurately forecast stream flows from the mountain snowpack would be tremendously beneficial in determining for farmers the amount of water available during the irrigation season. Utah was predominantly an agricultural state, and water, as Clyde insistently emphasized, was its most important natural resource. Because most precipitation fell in the high elevations of Utah’s mountains, the state’s 24,000 small, irrigated farms were dependent on a harvest of winter snow.2 Clyde had taken his baccalaureate from the Agricultural College in 1921 and spent two years earning a master’s degree from UC Berkeley before 1 Founded as the Agricultural College of Utah in 1888, the institution was generally referred to as the Utah Agricultural College until 1929, when its name was officially changed to Utah State Agricultural College (USAC). In 1957 it became Utah State University (USU). 2 Irrigated farms comprised more than a million acres in Utah. See Rondo A. Christensen and Stuart H. Richards, Utah Agricultural Statistic, Revised 1924–1965, Utah Resources, Series 36 (Logan: Utah Agricultural Experiment Station, 1967), 6.


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238 George Dewey Clyde seated at his desk in the Engineering Building, located near the southwest corner of the Utah State Agricultural College. The building has since been named for Ray B. West, the first dean of the Engineering School, whom Clyde succeeded in 1936. —

Special Collections and Archives, USU

returning to Logan as an irrigation engineer with the Utah Agricultural Experiment Station. He remains one of the institution’s most distinguished graduates. In 1936, the institution appointed Clyde dean of the School of Engineering. He served in this capacity until 1946, when he entered federal service as Chief of Irrigation Investigations for the U.S. Soil Conservation Service. In 1953, he assumed the directorship of the Utah Water and Power Board, the agency empowered by the legislature to fully develop the state’s water resources. Three years later, he challenged incumbent Governor J. Bracken Lee in the Republican Party primary, won the contest, and went on to win the general election. Clyde served two terms as Utah’s governor, from 1957 to 1965.

beginnings of the modern environmental movement, which ushered in a gradual but significant shift in public sentiment. As environmental consciousness grew, Clyde zealously spread the message that the state’s economic vitality was inextricably linked to a bountiful supply of water. He championed the comprehensive development of the Colorado River, expressing his certainty that storage reservoirs— like those planned at Echo Canyon, Flaming Gorge, and Glen Canyon—were needed to conserve the harvest of winter snow. Furthermore, he often favored logging, grazing, and mining interests over the preservation initiatives of environmentalists. His opposition to the creation of Canyonlands National Park during the early 1960s is particularly significant.3

Clyde’s years as governor coincided with the

3 Samuel J. Schmieding, From Controversy to Compromise


to Cooperation: The Administrative History of Canyonlands National Park (Washington, D.C.: National Park Service, 2008), 94–106. 4 See, e.g., Stephen C. Sturgeon, “Just Add Water: Reclamation Projects and Development Fantasies in the Upper Basin of the Colorado River,” in The Bureau of Reclamation: History Essays from the Centennial Symposium, 2 vols. (Denver: Bureau of Reclamation, 2008), 2:727–28; and Mark W. T. Harvey, A Symbol of Wilderness: Echo Park and the American Conservation Movement (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1994), 37. 5 Undoubtedly, the former historian of the Soil Conservation Service (now the NRCS or Natural Resources Conservation Service) J. Douglas Helms has been the most thorough in documenting the history of western snow surveys. Beginning in 1981 until his retirement in 2011, Helms wrote widely on the history of conservation and natural resources. In 2008, the NRCS published his history of snow surveys, The History of Snow Survey and Water Supply Forecasting (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Agriculture, 2008). In addition to chronicling the history of snow surveying, the bulletin also contained interviews with many of the pioneers who had participated in the beginnings of snow surveying. Although George Dewey Clyde figures prominently as a character in Helms’s narrative history, he died in 1972 and his recollections were never recorded.

Likewise, the recollections of James E. Church, perhaps the most famous of the science’s pioneers, were never recorded. His history is, however, expertly documented in Bernard Mergen’s “Seeking Snow: James E. Church and the Beginnings of Snow Science,” Nevada Historical Society Quarterly 35 (Summer 1992): 75–104.

The Weather Bureau continued to play an important role as a cooperating agency. In fact, in 1911 meteorologist J. Cecil Alter had been the first to conduct a snow survey in Utah using Charles Marvin’s apparatus on the Maple Creek watershed above Payson in Utah County.9 The 6 George D. Clyde, “Water Supply Forecasting Based on Snow Surveys—A Basic Factor in Water Conservation,” 5, box 13, fd. 3, George D. Clyde Research Materials, 1929–1971, USU_COLL MSS 279, Special Collections and Archives, Merrill-Cazier Library, Utah State University, Logan (USUSCA). 7 “The methods used by Mr. J. E. Church, Jr.,” Clyde wrote, “seem to be the most satisfactory . . . of any yet devised.” Clyde went on to explain that Church had “extended to us an invitation to meet him in Reno . . . and go over the work done by him in detail.” George D. Clyde to William Peterson, October 12, 1923, box 11, fd. 7, Progress Reports of the Utah Agricultural Experiment Station, record group 18.1:56, USUSCA. 8 Mergen, “Seeking Snow: James E. Church and the Beginnings of Snow Science,” 75–104. 9 J. Cecil Alter, “The Mountain Snow: Its Genesis, Exodus

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Not that he originated the idea of snow surveys—the measurement of snowfall and the amount of water it contained.5 He acknowledged his European progenitors from Russia and France, as well as the Vermonter Charles A. Mixer and the Michigan native R. E. Horton, who in 1905 “invented a sampling tube with scales for cutting and weighing cores to deter-

mine water content.”6 Particularly important in laying the foundation that Clyde would later build upon was James E. Church Jr.7 Church was first to use measurements to forecast runoff from the Sierra Nevada mountains, successfully predicting springtime levels at Lake Tahoe and forecasting the lake’s outflow through the Truckee River. In 1905, Church constructed a weather observatory below the 10,778-foot summit of Mount Rose, the first high-elevation observatory established in the Great Basin. In cooperation with the U.S. Weather Bureau, Church equipped the Mount Rose Observatory with instruments to record temperature, barometric pressure, and precipitation. He also began experimenting with his own snow sampler tube and scales to measure water content. A tense rivalry soon developed between Church and inventors of similar devices, particularly R. E. Horton. As neither device was patentable—they were too similar to previous inventions used to measure grain—Church began to promote and publicize his apparatus in professional journals and the popular press, naming it the Mount Rose Snow Sampler. While others, including Charles Marvin of the U.S. Weather Bureau, vied to have their devices used, it would be Church’s Mount Rose Sampler that found general acceptance among neophytes like George Dewey Clyde who were initiating new snow survey programs in the West.8

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Story lines adapt to changing times; historical actors, such as Clyde, often do not. In his long ride across the scientific and political western landscape, Clyde remained true to character. His intractable support for resource development has since colored the perception of some regarding Clyde’s role in the theater of natural resources management.4 Clyde defined conservation according to the once celebrated wise-use model of Gifford Pinchot. While this utilitarian approach has not always proven as wise or as efficient as Pinchot intended, Clyde’s system of snow surveys is an example of a past conservation measure worthy of praise. It ranks as one of Clyde’s most notable achievements.

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Weather Bureau had for years been measuring precipitation through gauging stations and had recently installed snow stakes at higher elevations. The latter had proven unsatisfactory, Clyde observed, as the “density of snow varies widely throughout the season and in different seasons.”10 The unreliability of snow stakes and the later snow bins installed by the Weather Bureau to capture and measure snowfall helped spur Church’s development of a more predictable method of forecasting streamflow in the Tahoe region of Nevada. Clyde followed suit in Utah, establishing snow courses on the Logan River drainage east of the Utah Agricultural College campus.

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Writing at the outset of his research to Marvin, Clyde explained that “runoff from any watershed” could only be ascertained by having accurate records. “As a general rule such records are lacking at the higher elevations,” he wrote. Clyde proposed cooperating with the Weather Bureau and Forest Service to obtain better data, explaining that it would “necessitate a system of snow surveying.”11 Marvin, who had recently been named chief of the Weather Bureau, responded by welcoming any suggestions that Clyde and the Utah Experiment Station might offer. He readily admitted that the Weather Bureau’s efforts had been “entirely inadequate.” Nevertheless, Marvin stressed, our effort “covers the present limit of our ability.” The Weather Bureau had diligently tried to “discover methods and obtain funds . . . but thus far . . . without success.” Even if funding could be secured, Marvin continued, “we would be confronted with a physical obstacle that has heretofore proved . . . insurmountable. How can observers be obtained at the higher elevations that are uninhabited? If observers . . . cannot be obtained,” he asked, “what other plan could be devised?”12 and Revelation,” Transactions, American Geophysical Union, Reports and Papers, Snow-Survey Conference (Seattle: 1940), 892–93; see also A. H. Thiessen, “Report of Snow Measurement in Maple Creek Watershed, Utah County, Utah, March 4 to March 14, 1912,” Monthly Weather Review (March 1912), 435. 10 Clyde, “Water Supply Forecasting Based on Snow Surveys—A Basic Factor in Water Conservation,” 5.

Much as Church had done in Nevada, Clyde proposed establishing snow courses at various high-elevation locations within drainages that could then be surveyed by measuring the snow for depth and water content.13 These measurements needed to occur at crucial intervals depending upon the temperature and snowmelt conditions, but always at the conclusion of the snowfall season, sometime between April 1 and April 15 on the Logan River drainage. Clyde recommended selecting sites “having uniform snow cover and . . . [protection] from drifting winds . . . free . . . from irregularities, steep slopes, boulders, fallen trees, meandering streams, logs, brush, and snow slides.” Furthermore, as surveying was “difficult and hazardous,” requiring travel “on snowshoes or skis, often under extremely trying circumstances,” Clyde suggested always considering “accessibility” when locating snow courses.14 Obviously, to select a site using his criteria required visiting an area during both winter and summer. As these high-elevation sites were all located at a minimum of 8,000 feet, travel to and from was physically challenging regardless of the season. Clyde established eight snow courses on the Logan River drainage during his first year, including Garden City Summit, Mount Logan, Franklin Basin, Tony Grove Lake, two at Spring Hollow, and one each at the Mud Flats and Tony Grove ranger stations. By 1927, he had expanded his research by laying out an additional eighteen courses on the drainages of the Ogden, Weber, Provo, and Sevier rivers in the Great Basin, as well as courses on the Price and Strawberry rivers in the Colorado River drainage. In August 1927, as he prepared to make a reconnaissance of other Colorado River tributaries in Utah’s Uinta Basin, Clyde described his preliminary travel plans. “I am writing you to find out if you could assist us in securing horses,” he inquired of Ashley Forest ranger E. C. Shepherd. “We plan to leave Logan on Wednes-

11 George D. Clyde to C. F. Marvin, October 3, 1923, box 11, fd. 4, Progress Reports of the Utah Agricultural Experiment Station.

13 A snow course is an area identified as providing the best cross section of a mountain snowpack. They are established permanently, usually about 1,000 feet long, and, as Clyde explained, carefully chosen with regards to certain criteria.

12 C. F. Marvin to George D. Clyde, October 11, 1923, box 11, fd. 4, Progress Reports of the Utah Agricultural Experiment Station.

14 George D. Clyde, Establishing Snow Courses and Making Snow Surveys, Circular 91, December 1930 (Logan: Utah Agricultural Experiment Station, 1930), 4.


Clyde with the tools of the snow surveying trade: snowshoes, skis, a snow sampling tube, and a scale used to measure the weight of the snow. —

Special Collections and Archives, USU

day the 17 and should reach the Road Camp the same evening. From there it is planned to take a pack outfit and go into the Grandaddy lake region at the head of the Duchesne [River] and spend two or three days riding over the watershed.” Afterward, Clyde’s party intended to leave the Road Camp, travel to the town of Duchesne, and then go on to Vernal, “making side trips into the Uintah [sic] Mountains along the route.”15 Snow courses had yet to be laid out anywhere in the Uinta Mountains. The Forest Service had been measuring snow stakes since 1918, but the “wide variations in stake readings from year to year” demanded that snow courses be established “before any accurate forecasting of 15 George D. Clyde to Forest Ranger, Morgan Park, August 10, 1927, box 122, fd. 10, Director’s Files, Utah Agricultural Experiment Station, 1914–1935, record group 18:17, USUSCA.

16 Box 11, fd. 5, Progress Reports of the Utah Agricultural Experiment Station. 17 George D. Clyde to A. G. Nord, August 27, 1927, box 122, fd. 10, Director’s Files, Utah Agricultural Experiment Station, 1914–1935. 18 Thirteenth Biennial Report of the State Engineer, 1921– 1922 (Salt Lake City: Arrow Press, 1922), 53. 19 J. E. Church Jr. to George D. Clyde, December 14, 1924, box 11, fd. 4, Progress Reports, Utah Agricultural

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Utah officials remained keenly interested in how Clyde’s research might apply to a more precise forecast on the Colorado River. In 1922, a year before Clyde began his research, Utah and the six other neighboring states had negotiated and signed the Colorado River Compact. The Compact divided the river’s flow between the Upper Basin states of Utah, Colorado, Wyoming, and New Mexico, and Arizona, California, and Nevada in the Lower Basin. The flow of the river fluctuated greatly, from 240,000 cubic feet per second at flood stage to as little as 2,600 “in the driest portion of the driest year,” according to state engineer R. E. Caldwell.18 Any means the state could use to better predict runoff could only help as Utah began laying plans to harness its share of this interstate stream. Other states were equally anxious to have more information. James Church congratulated Clyde on his future plans to survey the upper Colorado River drainage, noting how it “will ultimately be of prime importance in forecasting the run-off of the Colorado whose flow will be closely linked with Nevada’s prosperity.”19

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the stream flow [could] be made.”16 Two weeks after making his reconnaissance, Clyde reported his observations to Ashley Forest supervisor A. G. Nord. He criticized the snow stakes for “not furnish[ing] an index to the probable amount of water which will run off during the season” and for being located at lower elevations, where the snow “is melted and gone before the spring runoff starts.” Clyde suggested abandoning all but a few stations and relocating observations at the 9,000 to 10,000-foot elevation range. As the spring runoff from the Uintas usually occurred a month or more after that on the Wasatch, establishing snow courses at these locations would require measurements only once a year between May 15 and June 1. The observer could “make the trip into the area [on] horseback,” Clyde advised, “without undue inconvenience.”17

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Furthermore, in 1921 the Utah legislature had created the Utah Water Storage Commission with broad power to make investigations, employ technical assistance, and enter “into co-operation for investigations.” The legislature intended for the commission to investigate and propose plans for the complete and “ultimate development and utilization of the State’s water resources.”20 To this end, the commission, to which Caldwell was a member, entered into a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation to survey the Salt Lake Basin “north, east and south of the borders of Great Salt Lake” and determine the available water supply and number of irrigable acres that might be reclaimed.21 These early cooperative investigations between Utah and the federal government would pay dividends later as the state began exploring reservoir options on the Colorado and its tributaries. In 1938, as the Upper Basin states first met to discuss the division of their half of the Colorado River, Reclamation engineer E. B. Debler declared that because Reclamation had developed a cooperative relationship with the state, Utah “had more valuable information on the possibilities of development . . . in the Colorado River basin than . . . any other.”22 Owing largely to the Caldwell’s interest, the state funded Clyde’s first year of research in 1923. Funding had become a perennial problem for snow surveyors, as the work was both time-consuming and expensive. “Are you planning to appeal to your legislature for funds?” James Church inquired. He advised Clyde in 1924 how the recent water shortage made this a “most desirable time to do so.” Ever the opportunist where funding was involved, Church solicited Clyde’s support for a campaign to increase funding in Nevada. Church told Clyde that nearly all of Nevada’s water districts had agreed to send letters to the governor “urging the continuance of the work as part of the State budget. However,” he continued, “I am wonExperiment Station. 20 Thirteenth Biennial Report of the State Engineer, 1921– 1922, 87. 21 Ibid., 91. 22 Report and Proceedings of the Fact Finding Committee of the Upper Colorado River Basin, 2 vols. (Green River, WY: The Committee, 1938), 2:38.

dering whether a letter from you to Governor Scrugham outlining your plans . . . would not be of material assistance, for the Utah plans will afford a much desired extension of the snow survey to the east.”23 It is likely that Church’s well-honed political skills influenced Clyde to begin developing his own nascent ability. In 1925, Clyde’s snow survey project moved from the uncertainty of state funding to more reliable federal funding under the Purnell Act. In making his pitch, Clyde stressed the urgency of acquiring more “knowledge” on the factors influencing stream runoff, “particularly of snow cover.”24 This would act as “a proper guide to the construction and operation of storage reservoirs, to flood control, to the development of hydroelectric power, and to the forecasting of early and late season discharges, all of which will make possible a more complete utilization of our water resources.” In a nutshell, snow surveying, just like the conservation and utilization of water resources, was purely an economic matter. Even “banks are governing their loans for maturing crops on the water available from the mountains for the coming year,” the Utah Experiment Station emphasized.25 Funding depended on Clyde’s ability to demonstrate a tangible economic benefit. Doing so played well to federal pragmatists concerned with the declining farm economy during the 1920s, and it also played well in Utah. It became familiar territory for Clyde, who again and again throughout his career would plow this same ground, linking the economy with natural resource development. In 1926, just three years into his research on the Logan River drainage, Clyde announced that a shortage of winter snowpack would likely curtail the irrigation water supply. Those who heeded his prediction and “reduced their late season crops matured what they planted. 23 J. E. Church Jr. to George D. Clyde, December 14, 1924, box 11, fd. 4, Progress Reports of the Utah Agricultural Experiment Station. 24 See Progress Reports of the Utah Agricultural Experiment Station, box 11, fd. 5. Passed by Congress in 1925, the Purnell Act incrementally increased federal funds to the state experiment stations annually until the total appropriation reached $60,000. Clyde’s investigative work received $2,100, a sizable chunk of Utah’s initial Purnell Act appropriation. 25 See box 11, fd. 4, Progress Reports of the Utah Agricultural Experiment Station.


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Clyde (at right) and two assistants taking measurements in the Tony Grove area of Logan Canyon. Clearly, snow surveying could be rigorous work. —

Special Collections and Archives, USU

Those who planted regularly did not,” Clyde asserted. “Much of their labor and seed was wasted.”26 The economic impact of Clyde’s research became even more pronounced in 1931 when the Utah and Idaho Sugar Company and the Amalgamated Sugar Company refused to contract with farmers growing sugar beets until the springtime snow surveys had been completed and forecasts made on the availability of irrigation water.27 Drier years were yet to come. The winter of 1931 paled in comparison to 1934, and as Clyde pondered the prospects of what would become “the most severe [drought] in the history of the [W]est,” he realized there was much he did not know.28 Although precipitation had been pitifully absent during summer and fall, 26 “Water Supply Forecasting Based on Snow Surveys—A Basic Factor in Water Conservation,” 12. 27 Ibid., 13. 28 Ibid.

Clyde’s research had indicated “no correlation between Valley and mountain precipitation.”29 Furthermore, outside of the Logan River drainage, where Clyde had been most active, he had only a few years of data on other major watersheds in the state. “Every watershed seems to be a law unto itself,” he wrote, “and the snow cover-runoff relationship must be worked out for each.”30 Still, as Clyde looked at his twelve years of accumulated data from snow surveys, he felt confident announcing a particularly gloomy outlook for irrigators that year. Notwithstanding his dismal predictions, “many [primarily agricultural] water users . . . refused to recognize the seriousness of the situation,” which prompted Clyde to conduct a special 29 Progress Reports, box 11, fd. 5. See also George D. Clyde, “Relationship between Precipitation in Valleys and on Adjoining Mountains in Northern Utah,” box 16, fd. 5, Clyde Research Materials. 30 Clyde, “Water Supply Forecasting Based on Snow Surveys—A Basic Factor in Water Conservation,” 5.

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midwinter snow survey in February 1934.31 Clyde reported that the Provo River watershed showed a “marked deficiency of snow cover.” Furthermore, much of the snow cover had melted during the winter, revealing dry soil underneath. It was a dangerous combination, he declared. The situation did not improve: the regular April snow survey confirmed the February findings and “emphasized the pending water shortage”; the runoff, Clyde estimated, would “not exceed 35 percent [of ] normal.”32

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While the pending drought would have devastating results for Utah’s economy, it also presented Clyde with a golden opportunity to promote and publicize the value of snow surveys. Following the April forecast, Clyde appealed to state officials, eventually gaining the ear of Governor Henry H. Blood. Blood, a New Deal Democrat elected in 1932, used the occasion to petition for emergency funding through the Federal Emergency Relief Administration (FERA) and “called the first drought conference in history to be held before the drought occurred.”33 The governor by proclamation appointed Clyde as State Conservator and named him as his special representative to the conference.34 On the strength of Clyde’s forecast the conference adopted a two-pronged approach. Conservation became the first priority, which required a concerted educational program to convince water users of the seriousness of the situation, to urge them to modify the number of planted acres to acquaint them with more efficient “methods of irrigation,” and to teach them to administer the water “to secure . . . maximum use.” Clyde enlisted the college’s county extension agents to help canvass the state, where educational meetings were held in each county 31 George D. Clyde, “Forecasting Water Supply—The West’s Most Valuable Asset,” paper delivered at the Conference of Western Extension Workers, Fort Collins, Colorado, August 12, 1935, box 16, fd. 5, Clyde Research Materials. 32 George D. Clyde to T. H. Humphreys, Utah State Engineer, memorandum, n.d., box 16, fd. 5, Clyde Research Materials. 33 Ibid. 34 “Proclamation of Governor Henry H. Blood, April 27, 1934,” in George D. Clyde, Report of Water Conservation Program and Drought Situation in Utah (Logan: Utah Agricultural Experiment Station, 1934), box 16, fd. 6, Clyde Research Materials.

except Wayne and Daggett.35 The governor appealed to Utahns’ sense of cooperation by prevailing upon owners of “prior-right water to divide with those owning secondary rights.”36 Utah, however, had functioned under a system of “first in time, first in right” since practically the beginning of settlement, and those possessing first rights on an irrigation stream were under no obligation to share. The priority system had, in fact, been adopted to settle water disputes in times of shortage and to make water available to secondary appropriators only after primary rights had been satisfied. This system may not have seemed just under such dire circumstances, but it was reality. “Water-rights in Utah are based on priority of use,” Clyde allowed. Still, he reminded primary right holders that normal crop production was possible only because they could “use all the water on the river . . . in spite of the serious water shortage.” Moreover, Clyde admonished irrigators to be conscientious about how they distributed and applied water, to make certain that their fields were level and their ditches clean and to replace leaky head gates. He also encouraged farmers to plant only those acres that had sufficient irrigation water to mature a crop; to retire marginal land; and, above all, to save the orchards and trees. Importantly, Clyde added his voice to the governor’s hopefulness by imploring irrigators to cooperate. “Cooperate with your neighbor, transfer water to the most productive land, and develop a public opinion that will not tolerate waste.”37 Concurrent with the conservation educational campaign, the state embarked on a plan to de35 Clyde, “Water Supply Forecasting Based on Snow Surveys—A Basic Factor in Water Conservation,” 10–11. Clyde gives no specific reason as to why meetings were not held in Wayne and Daggett counties. 36 “Proclamation of Governor Henry H. Blood, April 27, 1934,” in Clyde, Report of Water Conservation Program and Drought Situation in Utah. 37 Clyde, Report of Water Conservation Program and Drought Situation in Utah, 11, 14–15. Although the earliest settlers tried to follow the ideal of communal, cooperative use of water, managed by ecclesiastical authorities, it quickly became clear that the distribution of water rights needed to be more systematic. For an example of one community’s transition from cooperative use to prior appropriation law, see John Bennion, “Water Law on the Eve of Statehood: Israel Bennion and a Conflict in Vernon, 1893–1896,” Utah Historical Quarterly 82 (Fall 2014): 289.


Drawing on Clyde’s report, Hinckley assembled a committee to evaluate potential projects and select those which they considered most beneficial.39 Emphasizing the importance of irrigated agriculture to the state’s economy at the time, $550,000 of the initial $600,000 made available by the federal government went for irrigation projects.40 By the end of 1935, FERA 38 Leonard J. Arrington, “Utah’s Great Drought of 1934,” Utah Historical Quarterly 54 (Summer 1986): 251. 39 Utah Emergency Relief Administration, Engineering Department, “Report of the Emergency Drouth Relief Administration,” September 2, 1935, 2, Call No. 333.9 UT1R, General Book Collection, USUSCA. The committee was composed of State Engineer T. H. Humphreys; Extension Director William Peterson; and chairman of the Utah Water Storage Commission William Wallace. 40 Arrington, “Utah’s Great Drought of 1934,” 251. The largest and most costly project involved erecting a pumping plant at Pelican Point along the western shore of Utah Lake, enabling irrigators’ access to the last remaining three feet of storage water. Through construction of an associated canal that connected to Jordan River below the lake’s outlet, the project serviced 106,000 acres in Salt Lake County. See Utah Emergency Relief Administration, “Report of the Emergency Drouth Relief Administration,” appendix. Reportedly, the project saved 60,000 acres. See Arrington, “Utah’s Great Drought of 1934,” 251. Significantly, the project

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Clyde was learning the art of political procurement. More than just working tirelessly to perfect his fledgling snow survey program, he had turned the drought to his advantage by making his snow surveys an indispensable barometer for Utah’s agricultural economy. Clyde credited snow surveys for having predicted the drought; Utah’s “foresighted governor” for setting in motion the “machinery necessary to meet the situation”; and the state’s hardy farmers, born of pioneering spirit, for meeting and weathering the storm (or lack thereof ).42 Clyde estimated that conservation and the development of supplementary water in Utah had saved more than $5 million in crops.43 He also frequently reminded the public that the $5 million in savings was enabled by an expenditure of only $2,500 for the snow surveys.44

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had expended nearly $1.5 million on water projects for Utah.41

Not only were snow surveys useful in gauging drought, but as Clyde would demonstrate, they could also forecast potential floods. In 1936, the state engineer T. H. Humphreys asked Clyde to prepare a report for the Scofield Dam on the Price River in Carbon County. The earth-filled structure had partially failed in 1928. Irrigators repaired the breach but failed to address the dam’s inadequately sized spillway.45 As a result, the state restricted storage in the dam to half its original 60,000-acre-foot capacity. Heavy also decreased the level of Utah Lake to its lowest historic level, an environmental upheaval from which the lake never fully recovered. 41 Utah Emergency Relief Administration, “Report of the Emergency Drouth Relief Administration,” introduction. 42 Clyde, “Water Supply Forecasting Based on Snow Surveys—A Basic Factor in Water Conservation,” 10. 43 Clyde to Humphreys, Clyde Research Materials. 44 Paul Willmore, “Engineers Enjoy Snow Trip,” box 16, fd. 5, Clyde Research Materials. See also Herald Journal, February 2, 1937. 45 Flawed construction continued to worry those residents below the original Scofield Dam. Owing to the threat it presented to railroad and mining interests pertinent to national defense, the FDR administration authorized reconstruction of Scofield Dam during World War II. The new dam was moved downstream approximately eight miles and constructed by the firm of W. W. Clyde between 1942 and 1947. See U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Reclamation, “Scofield Project,” by Eric A. Stene (Denver, CO: Bureau of Reclamation, 1995), 2–12.

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velop a supplementary water supply, part two of the strategy adopted by the drought conference. Utah enjoyed an enviable relationship with New Deal Democrats. The state’s previous governor, George Dern, had been selected to serve as FDR’s Secretary of War, opening the way for Governor Blood’s election in 1932. Furthermore, Utah’s congressional delegation consisted of a full slate of Democrats. The state wasted no time in securing the appointment of Robert H. Hinckley as FERA administrator in Utah. The Ogden, Utah, businessman had served in several capacities during the administration of Governor Dern, including as a member of the Volunteer Relief Committee in 1931. Hinckley had persuaded Governor Blood to seek election in 1932, and after his election, Blood appointed Hinckley to travel the state enrolling young men in the New Deal’s Civilian Conservation Corps. Hinckley was well connected within Utah’s Democratic Party and was a likely choice to head FERA operations in Utah. He was also an appropriate choice, being characterized later as one of the nation’s “finest and most socially-minded state administrators.”38

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snows visited eastern Utah in 1936, making residents in the “half dozen communities” below the dam “extremely nervous.” Not only would these communities be impacted, but so would more than forty miles of railroad lines and four coal mines. “The damage resulting from a failure,” Clyde reported, “would be tremendous in loss of property and possible loss of lives.”46

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Clyde’s snow survey showed a potential runoff of between 65,000 and 75,000 acre-feet on the Price River. Because the density (water content) of the snow in the drainage “was unusually high, averaging approximately 45 per cent,” Clyde warned the irrigators that a slight rise in temperatures could trigger a sudden melting, producing a “potential runoff [of ] at least 50,000 acre-feet.”47 This would be far in excess of what the spillway tunnel could accommodate. Clyde recommended emptying the reservoir and keeping the spillway gates open until 20,000 acre-feet of runoff had passed. Irrigators protested. They feared that the runoff would be insufficient to fill the reservoir and provide irrigation for the season. They even threatened “to forcibly close the gates.” Humphreys ordered the reservoir drained and kept the gates open until the recommended 20,000 acre-feet had passed. “The reservoir,” Clyde reported, was “filled a few days prior to the end of the runoff period and the irrigators . . . so violently opposed to release of the hold over storage . . . admitted the justification of the program which was carried out.” This endeavor succeeded, he pointed out, largely because of the state’s “knowledge of the conditions of the watershed . . . furnished by surveys of the water in snow storage.”48 Together with his success during the drought, Clyde’s ability to accurately forecast the Price River runoff and avert a potentially deadly flood demonstrated the significance of snow surveys. Clyde continually looked for ideas to promote his project and capture the public’s eye. During winter 1937, as newly installed dean of the School of Engineering, he prevailed on several Agricultural College faculty members to accompany him and fourteen engineering students to 46 Clyde to Humphreys, Clyde Research Materials. 47 Ibid. 48 Ibid.

take measurements on the Mount Logan snow course. Student Paul Willmore later chronicled the expedition for the Herald Journal: While Logan was slumbering, wide awake surveyors started on what was to be the most glorious of all Mt. Logan snow surveys. A camera man from a popular studio, professors who have scaled the ladder of the intellectuals, and even meek students donned their snow traveling foot wear to make this trip on the ever protruding Wasatch Mountains.49 Joining Clyde’s entourage was local photographer Max Brunson, who captured the excursion on motion picture film.50 Despite the rigors of walking through deep snow up a very steep hill, Willmore later acknowledged that “as time went on” the mood lightened and the “actors in this history making news-reel” soon fell into character. They especially enjoyed Dean Clyde’s role as movie producer as he barked the typical stock-in-trade Hollywood language: “action,” “camera,” “cut!” The Agricultural College screened the footage for the student body during spring 1937 and evidently supplied copies to local movie theaters to be shown before feature films.51 Clyde’s efforts during the 1930s began attracting the attention of a much wider audience. As the historian J. Douglas Helms asserts, his work represented the “most dramatic demonstration of the value of snow surveys.”52 One of Clyde’s ardent admirers was W. W. McLaughlin of the USDA’s Bureau of Agricultural Engineering (BAE). As far as snow surveys were 49 Willmore, Engineers Enjoy Snow Trip,” Clyde Research Materials. See also Herald Journal, February 2, 1937. 50 Max Brunson was probably the first local photographer to experiment with moving pictures. After his relocation from Fillmore, Utah, to Logan, Utah, in 1936 he functioned as the college’s official photographer. For biographical information, see www.rootsweb.ancestry. com. The author has searched in vain for Brunson’s early footage. His private collection has remained with his family since his death in 2004. 51 See copy of press release and Willmore, “Engineers Enjoy Snow Trip,” both in box 16, fd. 5, Clyde Research Materials. See also Herald Journal, February 2, 1937. 52 J. Douglas Helms, “Bringing Federal Coordination to Snow Surveys,” in The History of Snow Survey and Water Supply Forecasting, edited by Douglas Helms, Steven E. Phillips, and Paul F. Reich (Washington, D.C.: USDA, 2008), pt. 3, 39.


53 W. W. McLaughlin to Samuel H. McCrory, May 6, 1935, File 3-234, General Correspondence, 1931–1939, Records of Bureau of Agricultural Engineering, Record Group 8, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C. Quoted in Helms, “Bringing Federal Coordination to Snow Surveys,” 29. 54 The state legislature’s curtailment of the curriculum in 1905 prohibited the teaching of engineering and pedagogy, among other subjects. The prohibition had a devastating effect on Utah Agricultural College, which understandably lost its engineering faculty, including W. W. McLaughlin. It would not begin to recover until 1912, when the legislature relaxed the prohibition and allowed instruction in irrigation and drainage engineering, but only as it applied to agriculture. See Herschel Bullen Jr., “The Utah Agricultural College, University of Utah Consolidation Controversy, 1904 to 1907 and 1927,” box 1, record group 1.2/2-1, USUSCA. See also Don E. McIlvenna and Darrold D. Wax, “W. J. Kerr, Land-Grant President in Utah and Oregon, 1900– 1908,” Oregon Historical Quarterly 85 (Winter 1984). 55 “Hydrographic Studies on the Bear River in Cache Valley from June 15 through September 15, 1925,” box 1 fd. 5, George Dewey Clyde Papers, 1919–1954, COLL MSS 176, USUSCA. 56 Progress Reports, box 11, fd. 6, Utah Agricultural Experiment Station. 57 W. W. McLaughlin to Samuel H. McCrory, May 6, 1935, quoted in Helms, “Bringing Federal Coordination to Snow Surveys,” 29.

The cooperative federal program developed somewhat organically, with arrangements among the BAE, Weather Bureau, Forest Ser58 Ibid. 59 George D. Clyde, “Federal Cooperative Snow Surveys, Memorandum Covering the Location and Establishment of Snow Courses and Arrangements for Seasonal Snow Surveys on the Water-Sheds of the State of Colorado,” September 1, 1935, box 122, fd. 7, Director’s Files, Utah Agricultural Experiment Station, 1914–1935. The act is contained in Statutes at Large, 2 vols. (Washington, D.C: Government Printing Office, 1936), 1:274. 60 Ibid. 61 Other supervisors included James C. Marr in Boise, Idaho; R. A. (Arch) Work in Medford, Oregon; and Lou T. Jessup at Yakima, Washington. See J. Douglas Helms, “Snow Surveying Comes of Age in the West,” in The History of Snow Survey and Water Supply Forecasting (Washington, D.C.: USDA, 2008), pt. 3, 35. Parshall may be best known for designing a device used to measure irrigation water. The flume, which bears his name, was widely adopted across the West. 62 Clyde, “Federal Cooperative Snow Surveys, Memorandum Covering the Location and Establishment of Snow Courses and Arrangements for Seasonal Snow Surveys on the Water-Sheds of the State of Colorado.”

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In August 1935, in company with Ralph L. Parshall, Clyde visited Colorado establishing snow courses and explaining the federal program to “Forest Supervisors and Forest Rangers, Division Water Superintendents, and the office of the State Engineer.”60 Parshall, a BAE engineer stationed at Fort Collins, would become one of four federal snow survey supervisors in 1939 following the program’s absorption by the Soil Conservation Service.61 Of those involved in making this initial foray across the West, the only state employees selected by McLaughlin to collaborate were Clyde and James Church in Nevada. From August 12 through 28, Clyde and Parshall laid out new snow courses at the headwaters of the North and South Platte, Arkansas, Rio Grande, and Colorado rivers.62

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As early as 1930, Clyde had successfully formed a cooperative snow survey program in Utah among the Experiment Station, the Forest Service, the Weather Bureau, and the State Engineer’s Office.56 Furthermore, his gubernatorial appointment as Utah’s drought czar during 1934 provided him entrée to local, state, and federal officials. Clyde, McLaughlin reported to his superiors, had “very pleasant contacts with other agencies.”57

In 1935, McLaughlin traveled to Logan to confer with Clyde.58 He explained his plan as defined by Congress in May 1935 to federalize western snow surveys and “coordinate, standardize, and broaden the scope . . . for forecasting irrigation water supplies.”59 McLaughlin saw the program Clyde had established in Utah as a model that might be developed throughout the western states. Clyde eagerly agreed to collaborate with the BAE to bring McLaughlin’s federal plan to fruition.

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concerned, McLaughlin considered Clyde “the best informed man in the country.”53 McLaughlin had been one of the Utah Agricultural College’s earliest engineering graduates, taking his baccalaureate in 1896. From 1901 to 1905 he taught engineering courses at his alma mater, until a legislative mandate prohibited the institution from offering such coursework.54 Afterwards, McLaughlin gravitated to the USDA as an agricultural engineer. In 1925, after earning his long-awaited master’s degree, McLaughlin moved to head the Irrigation Division, first with the Bureau of Public Roads, and then with the BAE. Although Clyde and McLaughlin may have become acquainted at Berkeley, it was then that the two developed a professional relationship.55

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vice, and state agencies operating informally for many years. The cooperative program Clyde initiated in Utah in 1930 also functioned informally, albeit Clyde, unburdened by bureautractic jealousies, appeared to have better relations with the Weather Bureau than the BAE.63 Snow surveyors in the BAE and later under the Soil Conservation Service found the Weather Bureau to be the most reluctant partner. The Weather Bureau had functioned as the national resource for forecasting weather since 1870. Owing to its legacy, the Weather Bureau perhaps believed it had an inherent right to administer the snow surveys and resented its elimination as the lead agency by Congress in 1935. The BAE, however, had waged a particularly effective campaign to convince Congress that stream forecasting in the western states should be a matter for engineers, not meteorologists.64

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63 Clyde began circulating drafts of a Memorandum of Agreement as early as 1932. See George D. Clyde to J. C. Alter, March 10, 1932, box 122, fd. 11, Director’s Files, Utah Agricultural Experiment Station, 1914–1935. A copy of the draft agreement is located in the same file. As mentioned previously, J. Cecil Alter, chief meteorologist for the Weather Bureau in Utah, had been the first to conduct a snow survey in 1911. He remained keenly interested in Clyde’s research. Even so, in July 1944 when the agreement was finally formalized, the Weather Bureau was not a party to it. See box 37, fd. 25, Director’s Files, Utah Agricultural Experiment Station, 1914–1935. Evidently the Weather Bureau’s opposition also extended to the local level. Alter, however, stayed engaged, recounting the history of snow surveying in Utah before the American Geophysical Union in 1940. See Alter, “The Mountain Snow: Its Genesis, Exodus and Revelation,” Transactions, American Geophysical Union, Reports and Papers, Snow-Survey Conference, 892–93. Alter’s interest may have persisted because of Utah. He was keenly interested in many things pertaining to the state, even refusing several opportunities for advancement in the Weather Bureau because it would have required his leaving. “Not content merely to study and record the weather,” historian Gary Topping confirms, “he served his adopted state as chairman of the Utah State Parks Commission, as a member of the Utah Academy of Sciences, Arts, and Letters, and as author of travelogs and historical columns in two Salt Lake newspapers.” Beginning in 1927 and extending for the next two decades, Alter would direct the Utah State Historical Society. He was founding editor of the Utah Historical Quarterly. See Gary Topping, “One Hundred Years at the Utah State Historical Society,” Utah Historical Quarterly 65 (Summer 1997): 224. 64 J. Douglas Helms, “Recollections of R. A. (Arch) Work Concerning Snow Surveys in Western States,” in The History of Snow Survey and Water Supply Forecasting (Washington, D.C.: USDA, 2008), pt. 3, 29.

In February 1936, at its first meeting following establishment of the federal cooperative program, delegates to the eleven-member Western Interstate Snow Survey Association elected Clyde to chair its executive committee. Clyde rarely missed a chance to trumpet the success of his program, but never did he do so by tooting his own horn. “As a result of the interest and activity of the Utah Agricultural Experiment Station in the work,” Clyde unassumingly stated, “Utah is now looked upon as the leader in this field of research.”65 During the next few years, Clyde continued spreading the gospel of stream forecasting, bringing ever more of the state’s watersheds under the purview of snow surveys. By 1940, eighty-three snow courses, from the Logan River in the north to the Virgin River in the south, had been established. Most of these, according to the engineering graduate student Ross Eskelson, had been “located and laid out personally by Clyde.”66 This herculean effort had inestimable value, Clyde asserted. Clyde emphasized once again his utilitarian view on natural resources conservation and its economic benefit by noting water’s special significance to “farmers who depend upon water for irrigation . . ., to the livestock men who use the water sheds for grazing . . ., to the power companies who generate power . . ., the municipalities . . ., and to business in general.”67 Additionally in 1938, Clyde began assembling recreational reports for broadcast over KSL radio.68 This was in concert with snow surveyors working for the BAE, who were asked by the NBC Radio network to “cooperate in the winter production 65 Herald Journal, February 8, 1936. 66 Ross W. Eskelson, “A Comparison of Over-Snow Vehicles Produced at Utah State Agricultural College” (master’s thesis, Industrial Science, Utah State Agricultural College, 1955), 3. 67 By 1940, runoff relationships had been established for Ashley Creek, Bear River, Beaver River, Blacksmith Fork River, Big Cottonwood Creek, Cottonwood Creek, Duchesne Creek, Huntington Creek, Logan River, Price River, Provo River, Salt Creek, Sevier River, Ogden River, Uinta River, Virgin River, Weber River and White Rocks Creek. Box 11, fd. 6, Progress Reports of the Utah State Agricultural College. 68 Clyde also invited community members to get up at six a.m., don snowshoes, and join him for a vigorous hike up Logan Canyon to make the snow survey. See Willmore, “Engineers Enjoy Snow Trip,” box 16, fd. 5, Clyde Research Materials. See also Herald Journal, February 2, 1937.


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An early prototype of the Utah snow machine, likely the one developed by USGS engineer Willis Barrett, who is seated at the wheel. Clyde stands at left and technician Roy France stands in the back. —

Special Collections and Archives, USU

of a weekly announcement of snow, road, and weather conditions at the more popular western ski resorts,” R. A. (Arch) Work recounted. These so-called “Sno-casts” were gleaned from information “hot off the griddle first thing each Friday morning from forest rangers and other cooperators,” Work continued, “then shot . . . into Berkeley for collation and relay to NBC.” The popularity of the feature waned during WWII, as did winter recreation generally, Work concluded. “In 1941, we dropped this particular off-shoot activity.” 69 If interest in winter recreation slowed during the war, interest in snow surveys accelerated. Water supply for the production of food and fiber, industry, and hydroelectric power was vital to national defense, and a thorough knowledge of the amount of expected mountain runoff 69 Helms, “Recollections of R. A. (Arch) Work Concerning Snow Surveys in Western States,” 51–52.

was paramount to the war effort. Not only did Clyde refine and expand his system of snow surveys in Utah, but he also took charge of military and vocational instruction at the college as the campus rapidly transformed into a defense training facility. Under the Engineering Defense Training Program created by Congress, the college began training students in defense-related vocations in September 1941. By 1942, with the U.S. fully engaged in WWII, more than 400 students were enrolled in engineering and science courses that included soil mechanics, fluid mechanics, reinforced concrete design, aerial photography, radio fundamentals, cartography, and engineering drawing.70 Beginning in 1943, military trainees began arriving on campus. During the next two 70 The Engineering Defense Training Program became the Engineering, Science, and Management War Training Program after December 1941. See box 1, fd. 19, Papers of the Dean of Engineering, 1938–1945, War Production Training, USU_14.4/1:17a, USUSCA.

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years, more than 2,000 active military personnel would receive training through the Navy Radio School, the Aviation School, and the Army Specialized Training Program.71

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In part to compensate for the “man power shortage” during the war, but also because the expanded program made it impractical to visit each snow course on snowshoes or skis, Clyde hastened the development of “power driven transportation . . . for movement over snow.”72 An inveterate tinkerer, Clyde enjoyed nothing more than joining his blue-collar colleagues in the college shops to modify and improve the tools of his trade. He had initially adopted the Mount Rose snow sampler but continued experimenting and modifying Church’s invention to make it more affordable, portable, and practical. ”There is a demand,” Clyde insisted, “for a standardized method of collecting . . . data as a basis of stream flow forecasting.”73 One of Clyde’s first modifications was to decrease the diameter of the cutter, the bottom opening of the sampling tube, from 1.5 inches to 1.485 inches, reasoning that a “cylinder of water 1.485 inches in diameter and 1 inch long weighs 1 once.” Standardizing the size of the cutter avoided the need to use the specially calibrated scales that accompanied the Mount Rose sampler, reducing the expense for irrigation companies and other water users.74 Clyde had found most of the snow machines developed elsewhere in need of modification. In 1941, in an effort to develop a machine capable of operating under Utah’s unique conditions, Clyde turned to another inveterate tinkerer, self-styled engineer Walter Hansen of Ephraim, Utah. Hansen had built at least two snowmobiles at his Sanpete County shop to chauffeur skiers to the top of Horseshoe Mountain. Hansen had successfully circumvented the vexing problem of using regular Caterpillar-type tracking, which iced up and eventually failed in deep, heavy snow. Rather, Hansen de71 Herald Journal, November 27, 1943. 72 Box 11, fd. 6, Progress Reports of the Utah Agricultural Experiment Station. There were a number of companies, agencies, and individuals, both before and after USU’s involvement, that built and marketed snowmobiles. 73 Box 11, fd. 4, Progress Reports of the Utah Agricultural Experiment Station. 74 Clyde, Establishing Snow Courses and Making Snow Surveys, 8.

signed an open-center track system that floated on three sets of pneumatic truck tires. Simple yet elegant, Hansen’s design, for which he received a patent in 1943, would influence the construction of virtually all subsequent snow machines at the Agricultural College.75 Recognizing the genius of practicality when he saw it, Clyde eventually prevailed on Hansen to join Roy France and others of his team of technicians in Logan. The team produced several prototypes of Hansen’s machine, experiencing both success and failure. Following the war, Clyde contracted with several agencies, including the Soil Conservation Service and the U.S. Geologic Survey, and employed a number of professional engineers to further modify and perfect a “Utah” machine.76 Notwithstanding the expertise that was brought to bear on finding solutions to oversnow vehicle travel, the most remarkable breakthrough came not from professional engineers but once again from two seasoned automotive mechanics, Roy France and Emmett Devine. The two practitioners began constructing their own version of a snowmobile in 1947 using “only their personal resources . . ., with whatever parts were available for the least amount of money.” The Frandee SnoShu, as it would be known, solved the persistent problem of track slippage. France and Devine continued using Hansen’s open-centered track system with three rubber tires per side, but instead of having the track driven by only the rear axle, they procured axles off an old Willys automobile having both front and rear differentials. This essentially made the Frandee machine four-wheel drive and provided enough friction between the track and rubber tires to prevent the track from slipping. In recounting the story of snowmobile development at the college, Ross Eskelson asserted that this “proved to be the most important single feature in snowmobile design.” France and Devine would subsequently receive a patent for their engineering feat, the second major advancement in snowmobile design developed at Logan.77 75 Eskelson, “A Comparison of Over-Snow Vehicles Produced at Utah State Agricultural College,” 5. 76 Among those employed to perfect a machine for the USGS was Willis Barrett, a Soil Conservation Service engineer assigned specifically to USU. Ibid., 20. 77 Ibid., 36. The name Frandee Snoshu name was derived


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251 Excavation and foundation work for the Utah Water Research Laboratory, located below First Dam on the Logan River along the old Logan Canyon road. Engineers considered the site to be one of the most optimal sites in the western United States for this research. —

Special Collections and Archives, USU

One can certainly assume that Clyde enthusiastically approved of France’s and Devine’s initiative. Since the days he first started laying out snow courses in Logan Canyon, Clyde had always planned to develop a method of conducting snow surveys that was accurate, less expensive, and easily replicable by local irrigation companies and other interested groups having little or no engineering training. His focus corresponded well with the research mission of land grant institutions such as the Utah Agricultural College, which prided itself on finding practical solutions for the “industrial classes.”78

After twenty-three years of continuous funding to study snow surveys in Utah, Clyde concluded his research. It continued “under an operations program” in coordination with the federal/ state Cooperative Snow Survey that Clyde had helped establish.79 In 1946, Clyde stepped down as dean of Engineering to accept the position of Chief of Irrigation Investigations in the Soil Conservation Service, a position formerly occupied by his old friend W. W. McLaughlin and

from the last names of France and Devine. Eskelson was part of the team that worked on France’s and Devine’s machine, and later the inventor of his own craft known as the Eskelson Motor Sled. See ibid., 73.

of the industrial classes in the several pursuits and professions of life.” Although Clyde began his work at the Agricultural College of Utah more than thirty years after its founding in 1888, Clyde and others associated with the college and Experiment Station recognized this as their prime purpose. See Announcement of the Agricultural College of Utah (Logan: The College, 1890), 7.

78 Enacted in 1862, the Morrill Land-Grant College Act sought to “promote the liberal and practical education

79 Progress Reports, box 11, fd. 6, Utah Agricultural Experiment Station.


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252 Designed by Kenneth W. Jones and built by Olsen and Davis Construction Company, the Utah Water Research Laboratory was dedicated on December 6 and 7, 1965. In August 1982, USU posthumously named the facility in honor of George Dewey Clyde. —

Special Collections and Archives, USU

which administered the federal/state cooperative program.80 Ever the booster for his campus and native state, as one of his first official acts, Clyde moved the division’s headquarters from Berkeley, California, to Logan, Utah. Clearly, he intended to make Utah, and by extension the college, the epicenter for irrigation and water research in the western region. Clyde and others who both preceded and followed him were involved in the engineering, design, and research of hundreds of irrigation and drainage projects. In 1951 Clyde made this point to the USDA as he proposed establishing a “regional” irrigation research laboratory at Logan, to be 80 It is unknown, but probable, that McLaughlin, who had held the position since the 1920s while it was still part of the BAE, eagerly recommended Clyde for the job.

“staffed jointly by the [USDA] Agricultural Research Service and the Utah State Agricultural College.”81 Others certainly vied to establish the regional research center in their states. The Utah college, however, had a near-perfect site. Located only a mile east of campus, the proposed site sat next to the Logan River, directly below the state reservoir and power plant that college engineers had designed in 1916.82 The site, Clyde emphasized, provided an abundant 81 “Proposal for the Construction and Operation of a Regional Irrigation Research Laboratory at Logan, Utah,” [n.d.], box 40, fd. 5, Utah Water Research Laboratory General Files, 1946–1983, USU_RG 17.9/2, USUSCA. 82 See box 1, Papers concerning the College Power Plant, USU_6.2:45, USUSCA.


— Robert Parson is University Archivist at Utah State University and a member of UHQ’s board of editors.

Clyde’s training and research convinced him that natural resources ought not to be wasted, that they should be intelligently conserved and efficiently utilized. His experiences during the 83 “Proposal for the Construction and Operation of a Regional Irrigation Research Laboratory at Logan, Utah,” 17. 84 “Utah Water Research Laboratory Progress Report, 1964–1966” (Logan: College of Engineering, Utah State University, 1966), 5. 85 Clyde’s commitment to the Water Lab is demonstrated in the very pointed letter he sent to University President Daryl Chase in 1961 reproaching university officials and the Board of Trustees for trying to eliminate “the hydraulics laboratory from the building program. . . . I am quite disturbed,” Clyde declared, adding that it would strike “at the very foundation of agriculture and industry in this state to eliminate progress in the field of water utilization. I would appreciate very much your explaining this,” the governor insisted. See George D. Clyde to Daryl Chase, January 12, 1961, box 40, fd. 10, Utah Water Research Laboratory General Files.

86 Schmieding, From Controversy to Compromise to Cooperation, 101–2.

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During the last fifty years, Clyde’s model of conservation has been increasingly challenged by segments of the public. Nevertheless, the debate over natural resources and their use or preservation still very much permeates Utah’s political landscape. Environmentalists largely eschew the economic yardstick that Clyde favored for measuring the value of natural resources. On the other side of the political division are those who argue that federal public lands policy and environmental regulation inhibit the economic growth and independence of rural western communities. In some ways, Clyde anticipated and personified this cultural and political divide—“the contrary world views and economic realities of urban and rural America,” according to the historian Samuel J. Schmieding.86 As Clyde’s story confirms, however, the debate is seldom one-dimensional.

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While Clyde’s initial proposal did not bear fruit, the seed was planted, and he never ceased cultivating the idea of a regional water research facility in Logan. Soon after becoming governor, in March 1957, he signed a proclamation that changed the Utah State Agricultural College to Utah State University (USU). The overture was more than just window-dressing. Only as a state-recognized research university could Utah’s land-grant institution hope to successfully compete for research dollars. Those funds would be crucial as the university continued pursuing Clyde’s regional water research center. In collaboration with the newly minted dean of engineering, Dean F. Peterson, Governor Clyde engaged with his legislative colleagues to obtain $1.2 million in construction funds. Grants from the National Science Foundation and U.S. Department of Health solidified the beginnings of the Utah Water Research Laboratory in 1959. Dedicated in 1965, the Water Lab celebrated its fifty-year anniversary in 2015. Earlier in 1982, USU had posthumously named the facility in honor of George Dewey Clyde, who died from complications of a stroke on April 2, 1972.85

1930s drought and depression certainly reinforced this conviction and colored his definition of conservation. Furthermore, although he served two terms as a Republican governor, the New Deal had nurtured his political instincts, confirming Clyde’s belief that government had a role to play in leveraging the state’s economy.

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water source, easily controlled and measured, with “a wide range of heads and discharges.”83 Engineering faculty member Vaughan E. Hansen, who had been studying the site since 1948, furnished the photographs and drawings that accompanied Clyde’s proposal.84

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In 1972, Utah made a bid for NASA to build its spaceport for the space shuttle within the state. This image of the space shuttle was from a report on the project.


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255 In 1971, as the Apollo program was still putting astronauts on the moon, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) envisioned space travel and exploration in the future. Though many space enthusiasts hoped for a large space station or moon base, a reusable spacecraft called the space shuttle was projected as the next obvious step, because putting people and cargo into orbit with single-use booster rockets was very expensive. When budget cutters in the Nixon Administration cancelled the final three planned Apollo moon flights, NASA decided to build a winged booster vehicle and winged orbiter that could each be able to fly back to the ground for reuse, dramatically lowering launch costs. NASA wanted a “space truck” that could carry into orbit astronauts, satellites, sections of a space station, or sections of vehicles to be assembled in space in order to later take astronauts to Mars.1 NASA had regularly battled with the Air Force over space funding and programs, both in Congress and within the federal bureaucracy. For instance, the NASA space station Skylab eventually prevailed over the Air Force’s Manned Orbiting Laboratory (MOL) program. To build congressional support for the proposed space shuttle, NASA looked for allies and expanded the possible uses of the space shuttle by including Air Force requirements in the proposed system. 1 The term “space truck” was widely used as a description of the space shuttle, as evidenced by the name of a 1987–1997 exhibit on the space shuttle at the Smithsonian. See Smithsonian, “America’s Space Truck: The Space Shuttle,” accessed May 23, 2016, si.edu/Exhibitions/Details/America’s-Space-Truck-The-Space-Shuttle-3550.


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The Air Force wanted to be able to launch the proposed space shuttle into polar orbits and then to land it after only a single orbit. Manned missions were normally launched into near-equatorial orbits that went around the earth in an eastward direction, taking about ninety minutes to complete a single orbit. This equatorial orbit meant that on each circuit of the earth the shuttle could pass over its launch point. A polar orbit also lasted ninety minutes, but the earth was rotating underneath the spacecraft, which meant that a shuttle launched into polar orbit could not arrive back over its launch point after a single orbit. Twenty-four hours of orbiting were required for the earth to rotate the launch site back to the original location. This meant that a shuttle launched into a polar orbit for a single orbit would need to reenter the atmosphere and soar back about 1,500 miles to reach its launch point. Flying that far within the atmosphere required larger wings with more lift. Without the Air Force requirement to return from a single polar orbit, the shuttle could have been designed with short, stubby wings good only for gliding back to an airfield, not flying through the atmosphere.2 Numerous states saw an economic opportunity in the proposed space shuttle, which NASA officially called the Space Transportation System. NASA had launched all of its manned missions out of Cape Canaveral (then called Cape Kennedy) in Florida, but there was no conclusive reason that the new system had to continue to use that location.3 Cape Canaveral had been selected as the first American space port because Florida was closer than most of the rest of the United States to the equator, which meant that rockets launched towards the east were able to take advantage of the additional acceleration that came from the earth’s daily rotation; launches toward the east would also be over open water, increasing launch safety. A disadvantage was that Florida lies mainly at sea level, and every launch must push through the full weight of the atmosphere to reach space. 2 David Hitt and Heather R. Smith, Bold They Rise: The Space Shuttle Early Years, 1972–1986 (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2014), 24–26. 3 Cape Canaveral was renamed Cape Kennedy from 1963 to 1973, when it was changed back to Canaveral. In 1963, the Cape Canaveral Space Center had also been renamed the Kennedy Space Center, a name that has been retained.

The competition among the states for the shuttle launch site began in April 1970, when NASA formed the Space Shuttle Facilities Group to evaluate launch facility needs. Two outside firms were contracted to provide advice. California raised money and organized an effort to attract NASA to Edwards Air Force Base, which had already made aviation history when, in 1947, Chuck Yeager’s Bell X-1 jet broke the sound barrier and when, during the 1960s, test flights of the X-15 rocket-powered experimental aircraft set world records for speed and altitude in a manned aircraft. Edwards also had a large dry lake bed with a surface hard enough to act as a very large landing field. California also proposed Vandenberg Air Force Base, located on the Pacific Coast, where the Air Force had tested ballistic missiles by shooting them out over the ocean. New Mexico offered the use of Holloman Air Force Base and the White Sands Proving Ground, site of the first atomic bomb test and also site of numerous rocket tests. Oklahoma proposed the Clinton-Sherman Air Force Base, which had been closed a few years earlier. Florida mounted its own effort to keep the space shuttle in the state and proposed that a new airfield, sufficiently large to accommodate returning shuttles, be built at Cape Canaveral. A total of twenty states proposed some one hundred sites.4 Utah already had a strong presence in the space industry because of its vast expanses of undeveloped land. Both Hercules and Thiokol had placed research, test, and manufacturing facilities for their solid-fuel engines in the state. Solid-fuel rockets were well-suited for military purposes, such as propelling nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), because their fuel lasted for decades, ready to use at a moment’s notice. Liquid-fueled rockets, like the majestic Saturn V that propelled astronauts to the moon, had to have toxic fuels loaded into their tanks prior to launch. As possible launch sites for the shuttle, Utah could offer two federal facilities in the western desert of the state. The Dugway Proving Ground was founded in World War II as a re4 Richard D. Lyons, “States Press Bids in New Space Race,” New York Times, February 13, 1971, 1, 24; T. A. Heppenheimer, SP-4221: The Space Shuttle Decision (NASA, 1999), 425–26, accessed May 23, 2016, history. nasa.gov/SP-4221/ch9.htm.


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257 The space shuttle program would usher in a new era of space flight. Utah’s Spaceport Committee printed this explanation of how it was proposed to work. The shuttle would be carried into space by a booster piloted by a crew of two. The booster would then return to earth to land. The committee argued that because of Utah’s sparse population outside of cities, a booster malfunction would kill fewer people here than elsewhere. In the end, NASA rejected a piloted aircraft solution in favor of solid-rocket boosters.

mote location for the army to test chemical and biological weapons and eventually increased to almost 800,000 acres in size. Michael Army Airfield was located within the proving ground. Also of interest was the Utah Test and Training Range, a massive area initially set aside during World War II as a training ground for bomber crews. The range contained the hardened salt flats west of the Great Salt Lake. Though inactive by then, the Wendover Air Force Auxiliary Field, located on the Nevada–Utah border, was another important asset if a space port were to be built in Utah’s West Desert.5

5 Roger D. Launius, “Home on the Range: The U.S. Air Force Range in Utah, a Unique Military Resource,” Utah Historical Quarterly 59 (Fall 1991): 332–60.

Utah was slower than competing states to get its bid together. On February 11, 1971, supporters obtained the necessary legislation from the Utah Legislature, passing Senate Bill 121 to create a “Space Port Committee.” Shortly thereafter, Utah promoter George S. Odiorne, dean of the University of Utah College of Business, gave a quote to the New York Times that was perhaps imprudent but honest: “Let’s get that pork rolling!”6 The bill, which went into effect eight days after it passed, created a steering committee to be appointed by the governor. The legislature allocated no extra funds for the effort, however; each state department or institution provided its own funding. The Utah 6 Richard D. Lyons, “States Press Bids In New Space Race,” New York Times, February 13, 1971, 1, 24.


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Michael Army Air Field, one of the proposed sites for a Utah Spaceport. MAAF was built in 1943, nine miles west of the main facilities at Dugway. Today it has a 13,125 foot runway and is used for aviation training, test and evaluation missions, and ground support for the Utah Test and Training Range. Lieutenant Francis J. Zalesak, who was stationed at Dugway during World War II, took this photograph. —

Courtesy of Tom Zalesak

Spaceport Committee was assembled as a collection of local business leaders, political leaders, and state government officials.7 As chair, the committee selected Milton L. Weilenmann, director of the Utah Department of Development Services. Raymond L. Hixson, executive director of Economic and Community Development at the University of Utah, served as executive secretary of the committee and coordinated much of the work.8 7 The committee included Haven J. Barlow, Max I. Beers, C. Taylor Burton, John W. Gallivan, Curtis P. Harding, Gordon E. Harmston, Richard K. Hemingway, Raymond L. Hixson, Kenneth C. Olson, Milton L. Weilenmann, and Dilworth S. Woolley. For a list of the committee members, see the contents page in Utah Spaceport Committee, Utah! Spaceport Committee Report: Report 1, Economic and Operational Advantages, Dugway (Salt Lake City: Center for Economic and Community Development, Bureau of Economic and Business Research, University of Utah, 1971). 8 Raymond L. Hixson to Milton L. Weilenmann, “Report on Spaceport Committee Efforts February 1971 to December 1971,” December 13, 1971, doc. 21, box 9, fd. 5,

The committee commissioned feasibility studies and produced brochures and pamphlets printed in full color on glossy paper. For instance, the governor’s office produced a sixty-seven-page booklet, The Great Salt Lake Desert . . . Space Shuttle Solution.9 The feasibility studies, conducted by University of Utah professors in engineering, economics, and other disciplines, explained that launching the space shuttle from Utah’s high elevation would lead to substantial cost savings over the lifetime of the system. More pounds could be put into orbit for less cost. A Utah study projected that individual flights from Cape Canaveral could carry only 43,200 pounds, while a flight from Dugway could carry 50,400 pounds. Over the Vice President for University Relations Records, 1965– 1975, ACC 240, University of Utah Archives, J. Willard Marriott Library, University of Utah, Salt Lake City. 9 Calvin L. Rampton, Governor, The Great Salt Lake Desert . . . Space Shuttle Solution (Salt Lake City: Calvin L. Rampton, March 15, 1971).


projected ten-year lifetime of the shuttle, as then currently envisioned, a Utah base would allow NASA and the Air Force to put 4.5 million more pounds into orbit than the Cape Canaveral site could.10

The brochures and pamphlets produced by the Utah Spaceport Committee had maps that showed different locations for the spaceport, either in the mountains north of Wendover or in the mountains inside the Dugway Proving Ground. A more detailed map showed two different pairs of launch sites, one pair about five miles north of Michael Airfield at White Rock and another pair about five miles south of Michael Airfield near Camels Back Ridge. Never explained is how the problem of moving the launch boosters and orbiters across uneven desert and mountainous terrain would be solved.12 The Utah Spaceport Committee gath10 Utah Spaceport Committee, Utah! Spaceport Site Selection Studies: Introduction Spaceport Brief (Salt Lake City: Center for Economic and Community Development, Bureau of Economic and Business Research, University of Utah, 1971), 4. The study expected the launch facility in Utah to be at 5,300 feet in elevation, so this was a best-case scenario for Utah. 11 Utah Spaceport Committee, Utah! Spaceport Committee Report: Report 1, Economic and Operational Advantages, Dugway, 41. 12 Map in box 10, fd. 2, Vice President for University

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Milton Weilenmann, chair of the spaceport committee. Weilenmann previously had served as Utah economic development director, served as state Democratic Party chair, owned Salt Lake City restaurants, and ran for the U.S. Senate in 1968, losing to Wallace F. Bennett. —

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ered letters of support from Utah’s congressional delegation, other government officials, and even officials of surrounding states, who would see some economic advantages if their states were used as possible emergency landing sites for the winged booster and the space shuttle. The committee also hosted visits to Utah by members of Congress and NASA officials. Other states made similar efforts.13 The space shuttle program was divided into two phases, a research and development phase, and a subsequent operational phase. Whichever site won the research and development phase would have a substantial advantage in winning the operational phase. The Utah Spaceport Committee realized that Utah was Relations Records, 1965–1975, University of Utah Archives. 13 Claude E. Barfield, “Space Report / NASA Feels Pressures in Deciding On Location For Its Space Shuttle Base,” National Journal, April 24, 1971, 869–76.

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The population of the state is concentrated in a narrow band along the Wasatch Mountains some 80 miles east of Dugway. This population band is generally not more than 10 miles wide. This means that overflight of Utah’s most densely populated region would last only a few seconds. Should it become necessary to abort the launch, only minimal capability would be required to postpone or maneuver during abort to prevent any undue exposure of population to potential vehicle impact.11

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This elevation argument was Utah’s strongest draw, though the committee also argued that Utah offered substantial advantages because of the sparsely settled land in all directions, an advantage retained regardless of which direction the space shuttle was launched. The only exception to this low density was the concentration of population along the Wasatch Front. A committee report minimized the risk to Utahns, however:

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and land already owned by the federal government; only California’s Vandenberg site lacked large amounts of desolate land for landing sites or places for errant rockets to crash. Utah officials felt that their state was in the best position to win the operational site due to its distance from foreign countries and matching other NASA and Air Force requirements. New Mexico offered serious competition to Utah because its proposed site was about 4,000 feet in elevation and had a considerable amount of sparsely vegetated desert in every direction. The only disadvantage of New Mexico was that the proximity of Mexico presented a possible security risk because the shuttle would be flying over foreign territory during launches whenever a southern trajectory was selected.

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This figure from the spaceport committee’s 1971 report shows the anticipated return flight paths to the Dugway site for the piloted booster aircraft, depending on the direction of launch. The booster flight would generally pass over sparsely populated areas (though the paths pass over or near several towns, including Nephi, Provo, Castle Dale, Ogden, Moroni, Cedar City, and Springdale). Thus, the committee argued, the risk of fatalities from an accident or malfunction was quite low.

fourth in the running for the research and development phase, with Florida having strong advantages over New Mexico, California, and Utah. Florida already had “extensive facilities suitable for R&D” and existing “large staffs.” The decision for the research and development site was planned for January 1972. The operational site would be picked in 1975.14

From January to early March 1972, NASA engineers analyzed the type of boosters the shuttle system should use. Engineers preferred a liquid-fueled, pressure-fed engine, but this system would be more difficult to develop and more expensive than a solid-fuel booster. Solid-fuel boosters delivered more thrust than liquid-fueled boosters and had been developed as ballistic missiles for military use. The Air Force had extensive experience with solid-fuel boosters, and several civilian companies, such as Hercules and Thiokol, had experience delivering such boosters to both the Air Force and Navy. However, solid-fuel boosters (SRBs) had never been used on a manned mission before because once they were started, they could not be turned off. NASA officials weighed all this information with an eye to reducing the anticipated development costs of the program and also reducing the technological risk inherent in developing any new technology. In the end, NASA chose the solid-fuel approach.15

The Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral was selected as the location of research and development of the space shuttle, though its status as the operational site remained in competition. The other main competitors remained the two California sites and the sites in New Mexico and Utah. These three states offered both facilities

Because the entire space transportation system was supposed to be as reusable as possible, NASA wanted the external cases of the solid rocket boosters to be reused. This led to a plan to return the SRBs to the earth with parachutes, slowing the descent. Even with parachutes, a landing on the ground would damage the booster cases, thus requiring a water landing. Some pundits could have responded that the Great Salt Lake looks awfully big on a map,

14 “Review of Utah’s Competitive Position,” box 10, fd. 5, Vice President for University Relations Records, 1965– 1975, University of Utah Archives.

15 John M. Logsdon, After Apollo? Richard Nixon and the American Space Program (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015), 272.


but the reality is that the lake is very shallow, with the deepest part only thirty feet below the surface—not deep enough to sustain a water landing.

The decision to use solid-fuel boosters on the space shuttle ended any opportunity for Utah to become home to the operational site. Ultimately, Cape Canaveral became the launch site of the space shuttle. Vandenberg Air Force Base in California also became an operational site, but although shuttle launch facilities were built there to satisfy the Air Force’s requirement for polar orbits, ultimately all 135 flights of the space shuttle were launched from Cape Canaveral; none were ever launched from Vandenberg. The space shuttle never lived up to the original ambitious plans of at least one launch a month, never flying more missions in a single year than the nine missions launched in 1985. The loss of the shuttle Challenger in 1986 ended such aggressive efforts, and increased safety measures slowed the schedule for shuttle launches. Because of the slower shuttle launch rate, the Air Force returned to using expendable boosters to satisfy its requirements for launching satellites.

The decision to use solid-fuel boosters ended Utah’s chance to host the launch facilities, but it had a silver lining for Utah. In November 1973, Thiokol Chemical Company received the contract to build the solid rocket boosters (SRBs).16 This led to substantial economic benefits for Utah—the initial expansion of the Thiokol facilities at Promontory and decades of the company manufacturing shuttle solid-fuel boosters. A Thiokol facility in Clearfield at the Freeport Center refurbished the used booster cases. While these economic benefits declined at the end of space shuttle program in 2011, the former Utah Thiokol operations, now part of Orbital ATK, have remained involved in designing and building solid-fuel boosters for NASA.

16 See Eric G. Swedin, “Thiokol in Utah,” Utah Historical Quarterly 75 (Winter 2007): 64–78. See also SP-4012 NASA Historical Data Book: Volume III: Programs and Projects 1969–1978 (Washington, D.C.: NASA History Office, 1988), 43, accessed May 23, 2016, history.nasa. gov/SP-4012/vol3/ch1.htm.

Eric G. Swedin is a professor of history at Weber State University.

We reproduce a confidential report of the Utah Spaceport Committee dated March 22, 1971. The report contains data and illustrations designed to encourage NASA’s selection of Utah for the spaceport. Go to history.utah.gov/uhqextras.

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A scene from the April 22, 2016, dedication of the Circleville Massacre memorial dedication. —

Utah Department of Heritage and Arts


April 22, 2016

This year marks the sesquicentennial of a sad and tragic event: the massacre of nearly an entire band of Paiutes at the hands of Mormon settlers during the Black Hawk War. To mark the occasion, representatives of the Paiute Tribe of Utah, the town of Circleville, LDS Church Historical Department, and Utah Division of State History gathered with other attendees in Circleville, Utah, to remember the men, women, and children caught in the middle of a bloody struggle and victims of fear, deceit, and inhumanity. For the hundred and fifty people in attendance the occasion was somber yet welcome: an opportunity to commemorate and honor after years of forgetting and neglect. We reproduce below some of the remarks delivered at the memorial dedication.

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Circleville Massacre Memorial Dedication

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Paiute Indians in Koosharem, Utah, February 1905. Jimmy Timmican, kneeling far right, heard the story of the massacre from his father, John Timmican, standing with his wife Rosey on the far back row. Jimmy’s oral account is inscribed on the back side of the new memorial —

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S TAT E M E N T O N H I S TO R Y Jedediah Rogers, State Historian, Utah Division of State History

This month one hundred and fifty years ago, nearly an entire Paiute Koosharem band was massacred not far from where we now gather. The massacre occurred in an atmosphere of fear and violence known as the Black Hawk War, a conflict staged primarily between Mormon settlers and Northern Ute who fought to resist displacement and removal from their homelands. This was, according to the historian John Alton Peterson, “an intense struggle between two intelligent, resourceful, but threatened peoples in the context of the political and demographic world in which they found themselves. What emerges is perhaps Utah’s most tragic story.”1 1 John Alton Peterson, Utah’s Black Hawk War (Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1998), 8.

Settlers newly arrived in Circle Valley found themselves in the heart of the conflict. Late in 1865, some Utes raided the town of Circleville—which was ill-prepared to defend itself—killing four citizens, including two thirteen-year-old boys, Orson Barney and Ole Heilersen. Reports had swirled that Paiutes, or Piedes, as they were sometimes called, had aligned with the Ute. A Ute-Paiute alliance seems unlikely; the Ute had long abducted Paiute women and children as part of their slave trade. Nevertheless, in 1866 Parowan militia officers decided to “take in all straggling Indians in the vicinity”— Paiutes included—eventually requesting several to come to Fort Sanford, where they were questioned. The fort, located between Panguitch and Circleville, had been constructed


LDS church apostle Erastus Snow received a report from Circleville and returned instructions that the prisoners should be treated kindly and let go unless “hostile or affording aid to the enemy.” The dispatch arrived too late. What happened the night of the massacre is not entirely clear. One version is that some of the Paiute men had managed to unloose the ropes that bound them. After the changing of the guard they sprang upon their captors and in the struggle that followed each was shot. Another, probably more likely, version goes like this: two young Paiute men attempted an escape, breaking out of the building amid gunfire, in which one was wounded and recaptured. The militiamen then must have decided to take the remaining men— probably between twelve and fifteen—from the building, club them, and slit their throats.

The contested terrain of history goes well beyond what happened and why it happened to how it is remembered and what its meaning is. This is a painful story to the good residents of this community, it is certainly painful to members of the tribe and band, and it casts a long shadow of neglect and forgetfulness in our telling of Utah history. To have us gather here this morning signifies that we will not forget what happened here. It is a reminder that the stories we tell about the past animate the present. The oral traditions of the Paiute people, and the work of the historians Linda King Newell, Albert Winkler, Leo Lyman, John Peterson, and Sue Jensen Weeks, have enabled each of us to learn not only what happened a century and a half ago but also to feel what happened. And this granite stone honoring the dead is also a testament to their work in telling the story.

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The basic factual details, let alone the answer to the question “Why did this happen?” are surprisingly elusive. The precise date of the massacre is not clear, nor is the count of the dead. The accounts are confusing and hardly definitive. The answers to these and other questions may never be fully known—but they are hardly the most important.

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In Circleville the townsfolk met to decide what course to pursue. As a result, a patrol of militiamen, accompanied by interpreters, approached the Paiute village and convinced most of the band members to come into town to hear a letter read by the local LDS bishop. Those who complied were directed into the church meeting house. The militia quietly surrounded the remaining Paiutes who had refused to come in and directed them to the meeting house. When the Paiute were told to surrender their weapons and they expressed reluctance, the settlers forcefully disarmed them. The men were bound under guard, while the women and children— perhaps some fifteen in number—were likely held in the cellar.

Reportedly, the bodies were taken to the cellar of an unbuilt mill and buried in a mass grave. Three or four children of the Koosharem Band thought too young to bear witness were spared and adopted by local families.

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In a day or two prior to the massacre, an express sent from Fort Sanford to Circleville stated that two Paiutes in the area had shot and wounded a member of the Utah militia. What the dispatch did not report was that one of the Paiutes had been injured, while the other had been shot and killed by a soldier’s long-range rifle. In response to this skirmish, the fort’s military commander advised Circleville and Panguitch residents to disarm the Paiutes encamped near those settlements.

They then proceeded to bring the women and children up from the cellar, one at a time, and to slit their throats.

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earlier that year as additional protection on the road over the pass to Parowan. Unlike Marysville to the north, Circleville had no fort or stockade, and the houses were too scattered to provide effective protection.   

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REMARKS

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Richard E. Turley Jr., Assistant Church Historian, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

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I’m grateful and sobered to be here on this important occasion, for which many have worked long and hard.

dering where my ancestor got his information, since so far as I knew from family sources, he had nothing whatsoever to do with the crime.

Years ago when I was working on a book about the Mountain Meadows Massacre, I interviewed Paiute elders who said to me, in effect, “You are researching the Mountain Meadows Massacre. What about the Circleville Massacre?” Their words resonated within me. I knew the Circleville Massacre was a historical atrocity that needed addressing, and I resolved at that point to do something about it someday.

I am often reading several books at a time, picking them up and laying them down again according to how much time I have and what my interests are on a particular day. But I determined on that occasion to make finishing Sue’s book a priority, and I took it with me when I went on vacation.

Over the intervening years, I have spoken with other like-minded people about the possibility of erecting a monument. Fortunately, others have had similar ideas, and eventually, a groundswell of interest led to the formation of a Circleville Massacre monument committee organized under the direction of the Utah Division of State History. When our committee first met at the division’s offices in the old Rio Grande Depot in Salt Lake City, there was palpable interest and excitement among those gathered, including many of those present here today. Before the meeting, I had begun reading Sue Jensen Weeks’s book How Desolate Our Home Bereft of Thee, which describes the massacre, but I had not gotten much further than the early pages. During the meeting, however, Sue passed around a copy of the book, and when it came to me, I opened it and turned to pages I had not yet read. As I was looking at them, I noticed an entry or two about one of my ancestors and letters he wrote about Circleville before the massacre. After the meeting, I mentioned to Sue that the man was a relative, and she said, “Yes, his account of the massacre is one of the best.” Her words puzzled me. In the pages of her book that I read before and during the meeting, I had seen nothing from my ancestor about the massacre itself, and despite being an avid genealogist, I had never heard or read of anyone in our family mentioning it. Sue’s statement left me won-

As my wife and I were flying over the Pacific Ocean toward what I hoped would be a restful time in Hawaii, I worked my way through the book and eventually came to a passage in which my ancestor’s son, who was a small child in Circleville when the massacre took place, gave a detailed, if one-sided account, of the killing that began with the following paragraph: The final act in the great drama occurred a week later. About 30 supposedly friendly Indians were bound and imprisoned in the “blockhouse” which was located in the center of the rectangle forming the Fort, with an armed guard of three men on duty, among whom was my father.2 He then described how the guards fought with Paiutes who were trying to escape from bondage. “Their feet were still bound,” he wrote of the Paiutes, when they were “knocked unconscious by the clubbing with guns by guards.” Afterward, he explained, they were “executed . . . and their bodies buried in an old cellar near the entrance to the Fort.”3 He wrote nothing about the subsequent killing of the women and the children, but what he did write by itself was still enough to stun me. My 2 Sue Jensen Weeks, How Desolate Our Home Bereft of Thee: James Tillman Sanford Allred and the Circleville Massacre (Melbourne, Australia: Clouds of Magellan, 2014), 147. 3 Ibid.


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ancestor, I realized, knew about the massacre because he participated in it, and despite his son’s efforts to cloak the deed in euphemistic terms, I could combine his account with other evidence to come to the awful truth. Before that day, I had wanted a monument at Circleville to help right a wrong from the past. But now the matter became more personal, and my resolve to see the monument built took on even greater intensity. I do not know all the reasons why my ancestor and other men did what they did a hundred and fifty years ago, but I am deeply sorry for it. I assume the climate of war and the emotion of fear somehow mixed lethally in their minds. At this point, only God truly knows their hearts, and someday He will call them to account before His judgment bar for taking the lives of men, women, and children, once seen as friends, who at the time of the killing were bewildered and completely defenseless.

Today, the monument we dedicate helps us remember “the innocent who were lost in this place so long ago,” and with all of you, I quietly try to ponder how these victims must have felt, though none of us can hope to comprehend their emotions fully. Still, on this day of memorial, we “honor their existence as human beings.”4 They were people—people going about their normal lives, working, loving, laughing, and playing, until those lives were wrongly and violently taken from them. I know that for many, including me, these facts from the past are jarring. My hope is that by facing the past, difficult though it can sometimes be, and learning from it, we can build a better future and realize that amid our differences, whatever they may be, we share a common humanity, a humanity that allows us to strive together, if we will, in love and respect for the good of all. 4 Quoted from the Circleville Massacre memorial monument, Circleville, Utah.

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Black Hawk War veterans at an encampment in Richfield, Utah. Second from right is Peter Gottfredson, author of Indian Depredations in Utah, a collection of firsthand accounts compiled by Gottfredson, which provides a valuable account of the massacre. Gottfredson served for a time in a local militia but was also known for his close association with the Timpanogos Utes. —

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Dorena Martineau, Cultural Resource Manager, Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah

This memorial came about because of Susan Weeks, who came to the Paiute Tribal Council last year in November 2015. She asked the council for permission to have a monument erected in memory of the slaughtered Paiutes in Circleville, and they gave their permission to have this done. Susan has done years of intense research on the massacre, as her great­aunt had married one of the surviving children. This boy was later taken to Spring City, where he was traded to Peter Monson, a Swedish immigrant, for two and a half bushels of wheat. He was renamed David Monson. David witnessed and never forgot the slaying of his family and his little sister, of how she had been picked up by her heels by the whites and swung against a wagon wheel until dead. Whenever we talked about the Circleville Massacre, Susan would always would get emotional about it, and it always touched my heart. She always cried; she could never say a word without tears. And so I knew that she cared deeply.

Today, the Paiute Tribe of Utah has a total of 918 members. There are only five bands left, out of the many that there used to be, but we’re still hanging in there! We’re still hanging by a thread, but you know, we’re not even a thousand yet. And we’re losing a lot of our language. The few elders we have teach the younger. We have to hang on to what little we have left. Anyway, I want to thank everybody for coming, I really appreciate it, and I hope that the monument will bring peace. And it does mean a lot, this occasion, and you know, it’s time for this. It’s been a long time.

WEB EXTRA

The others involved that made this a reality were the Utah Division of State History, the town of Circleville and Mayor Mike Haaland, the LDS Church Historical Department, the Utah Westerners, and other independent historians who wanted to help give recognition to those massacred in April 1866. We heard from the historians that they wanted to help us. They helped make this possible. They asked us questions: “What do you think about this?” It’s sad; it’s a shame that this has been so hush­ hush. A lot of people don’t know about it, and when you tell them, they say, “Well, I never heard about it! Why do you think this was so quiet?” And I say, “Well, this is something that was really tragic; who would want to brag about it?”

Visit history.utah.gov/uhqextras for a bibliography with links to primary and secondary sources detailing the Circleville Massacre.


BOOK REVIEWS & NOTICES

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Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 2015. ix + 474 pp. Paper, $29.95

Many historians have attempted to explain Utah’s transition from a theocratic territory to a full member of the national commonwealth, none more successfully than Charles Peterson and Brian Cannon. Basing their analysis on Alan Tranchtenberg’s concept of “incorporation,” they trace the evolution of industry, labor movements, agriculture, politics, and demography from statehood until the end of World War II, bringing Utah through an awkward “adolescence” to a mature American state. This work is extremely well-researched, particularly in regard to Utah sources. Private papers, oral interviews, journal articles, government documents, newspapers and periodicals, and published primary and secondary works have all been consulted. The book is carefully footnoted and thoroughly indexed, and its bibliography offers a treasure trove of material for anyone wishing to conduct further research on the chosen Utah topics. Consequently, in regards to Utah, this book has tremendous depth, and it also references most of the basic secondary works illustrating concurrent national history. The writing style is entertaining, informative, and highly accessible. The authors substantiate major points not only with statistics and general information, but also with comments from Utah residents of varying backgrounds. Their even-handed approach highlights myriad

Organizationally, this structure works well in most cases. Including so much material on Native Americans is commendable, but some information could be better incorporated chronologically. The authors have left material on the Indian New Deal in the topical chapter rather than including it chronologically, but they do include the Navajo code talkers as part of Utah’s World War II history. One other weakness seems to derive from the choice of Alan Trachtenberg’s work for the overall context. His emphasis on democratic, corporate transitions shortchanges other aspects of Utah history. Culture and recreation, including sports, get their due only in the 1920s, with another brief mention as relief from the gloom of the Great Depression. Thus, unlike the discussion of other topics, where transitions emerge clearly, this treatment ignores the evolution of Utah culture, certainly very important since Mormon pioneer days, as well as among Native Americans and ethnic minorities. Science and technology, such as the lasting impact of Utah inventor Philo T. Farnsworth, are completely neglected. A few other improvements could strengthen this already fine work. Some references deserve more clarification, particularly the meaning of

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Organizing such a vast amount of material always presents a challenge. The authors have met it by generally proceeding chronologically, beginning with political, then agricultural and industrial transformations from statehood through the Progressive Era. Labor next earns two chapters, followed by one on Native Americans, then two on the environment (one specifically on water), and chapters on the 1920s, the Great Depression, the New Deal, and World War II. Each chapter begins with a brief overview and ends with a thorough conclusion.

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examples, including women of all backgrounds, immigrant minorities, Native Americans, and Latter-day Saints, both famous and obscure.

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The Awkward State of Utah:

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LDS conferences (sometimes referred to as “General Conferences”) including for the nonMormon reader a brief description of their duration and purpose. Other tiny problems crop up. For example, less important, but useful, would be the identification of the owner of the Pleasant Valley Coal Company as the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad rather than “the largest coal mine operator in the West” (109), which would explain why striking coal miners were “denied use of the railroad” (116) to spread their union organizing attempts. One also wonders whether the “Red Flag” and “Sabotage” bills were state or federal legislation (139). A legal citation here would clarify this matter. The notion that Gen. John L. DeWitt “encouraged” American Japanese to relocate “voluntarily” makes a travesty of his coercive commands and his threat of incarceration if they stayed, as well as of the intra-state relocation and property losses that had already occurred (345). But these are small matters indeed compared to the wealth of material included. Overall, this book is a triumph well worth the twenty years it has taken to bring to maturity. In the scope and depth of Utah histories, it stands alone. It offers a synthesis of hundreds of other works, illuminating a vital half-century in the state’s development. Anyone interested in Utah’s history will find it informative and enjoyable, including students, researchers, and the public at large. —

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California State University, Stanislaus, Emerita

Making the White Man’s West: Whiteness and the Creation of the American West BY

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Boulder: University of Colorado Press, 2016. xxv + 296 pp. Cloth, $45.00

Jason Pierce’s Making the White Man’s West is an ambitious work, seeking to trace the creation of the West as a region dominated by white Americans from the purchase of the Louisiana Territory to the outbreak of World War I. Pierce has divided his work into two parts. The first examines how white Americans’ perceptions of the West changed from seeing it as a hostile environment to a sort of racial paradise for whites. The second part looks at the physical spread of white settlers and their use of violence to ensure their political, legal, and social dominance over the multitude of non-white and off-white residents of the West. Pierce places his discussion of the changing perceptions of the West into a larger context of evolving racial discourse. In particular, Pierce argues that the environmental determinism of the early 1800s, which suggested that warm environments were inimical to the health of the white race, posed a significant barrier to white settler interest in the West. Instead, some white commentators suggested that the West should be used as a sort of racial “dumping ground,” a policy that was manifested in the removal of Native peoples westward and in the suggestion that free blacks could form colonies in the West. But with increasing demand for land, the discovery of precious minerals, and the advent of polygenesis thought (which suggested that races had innate characteristics largely unaffected by the environment), white perceptions of the West began to change. As the nineteenth century wore on, the West was increasingly perceived as particularly healthy for white folks, superior to the Eastern cities with their grime, crime, and immigrant populations. By the fin de siècle, the West now existed in most Americans’ minds as a white region whose tiny non-white populations added exoticism but did


Overall, Pierce does an excellent job of weaving together broad cultural and political transformations with regional developments and fascinating anecdotes. Pierce’s work does suggest several avenues for further research. The intersections of class and gender with the racial ideas and practices he describes bear exploration. Pierce also notes that a number of groups such as the Mormons, southern Europeans, and some Hispanics found themselves on the periphery of whiteness, classified as off-white. A deeper understanding of these and other liminal peoples’ impacts on the real and imaginary West will need to wait for another work. What is truly innovative about this book is that it succeeds in linking previously dispa-

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Wilderness and Its Visionaries in the Northern Rockies BY

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Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 2015. Maps + 367 pp. Paper, $24.95

Frederick Swanson’s Where Roads Will Never Reach provides a concentrated and vivid history of pro-wilderness activism in Idaho and Montana from the 1950s to the 1980s. Swanson’s story is about the efforts of activist groups consisting of outfitters, hunters, fishermen, and concerned citizens, and their struggle to protect forested areas in the Northern Rockies. These activists worked tirelessly to maintain a sense of remoteness within wilderness areas throughout the Northern Rockies region of Montana and Idaho. They galvanized other recreationists, politicians, and local communities into action to protect these forests from reclamation and timber projects. Their actions directly challenged the authority of the Forest Service and its clients by winning public support for wilderness preservation. They sought to protect large roadless landscapes that they believed represented the ideal of untrammeled nature. Their continuous efforts helped establish popular sentiment for wilderness protection, culminating in the passage of the Wilderness Act of 1964.

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In the second part of his book, Pierce links the changing nature of the mythical West to changes that were happening on the ground. Pierce begins with the conflict over slavery, which, as he points out, included a conflict about whether black people would be allowed into the western territories, and he ties that discussion to attempts to exclude free blacks from certain areas of the West, most notably Oregon. He then shifts to a discussion of railroad recruiters who relied on notions of racial and ethnic suitability when they almost exclusively targeted northern Europeans to settle along their lines. Readers of this journal will be particularly interested in chapter seven, where Pierce explains how missionary efforts by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints resulted in a similar pattern of settlement. Pierce shows that while Mormon missionaries gained thousands of followers in northern Europe and among Pacific Islanders, they had virtually no success outside of those regions during this period. This meant, when combined with the prohibitive cost of immigrating from the Pacific to West, that Mormon settlers tended to be of the same background as those promoted by the government and railways. The final chapter reveals how violence was crucial to creating and enforcing the dominance of whites over non-whites in the West, up to and including genocidal acts meant to purge what was by then considered a “white man’s country.”

rate studies of the construction of whiteness in the West into a unified narrative. In so doing, Pierce reveals the crucial role that racially coded ideas about the West played in its development. When combined with Pierce’s easy writing style, this book should be of interest to nonspecialists and useful in undergraduate and graduate courses on either the West or race in America.

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not pose the sort of threat to whites that African Americans and immigrants in the East did.

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During the prosperous years after World War II, the United States Forest Service achieved a high level of popular support. Its success in cutting trails and preventing forest fires earned it not only the admiration of a growing country but also an unprecedented amount of autonomy. Armed with this authority and popularity and having what seemed to be the nation’s best interests at heart, the Forest Service sought to carry out extensive new timber cutting projects in many forested areas of the Northern Rockies. Areas like the present-day Bob Marshall wilderness, the Selway-Bitterroot Range, the Lincoln backcountry and Scapegoat Mountain area, the Clearwater area, and many others were all up for logging and reclamation projects designed to supply the nation’s growing timber needs. These projects, however, were unsustainable, and the new policy did not satisfy many hunters, anglers, and outfitters. These men and women regarded the Forest Service projects as a threat to the previously remote natural landscapes where they hiked, hunted, and fished. Swanson identifies these actors as the vanguard of a larger and more extensive movement that would eventually help to establish a lasting wilderness preservation policy. These activists based their message on the idea that people benefit from interacting with wild animals in their native habitat. After decades of struggle, they were able to achieve wilderness designation for millions of acres of national forest throughout Idaho and Montana, and they did it without the benefit of political experience. Although they were eventually able to win the support of some politicians, like Frank Church (D-ID) and Lee Metcalf (D-MT), and various conservation organizations, these early wilderness activists operated largely on their own steam and leadership.

preservationist perspective but also goes to great lengths to give logging and reclamation agents a fair hearing. He sympathetically documents the Forest Service’s continual frustrations at trying and failing to carry out logging and reclamation projects that it planned with the best intentions. In a book about wilderness, however, it would be helpful to know more about how these actors understood the concept of wilderness. Swanson argues that the activists were not concerned with restoring wilderness to a state of natural perfection. Instead, they saw value in experiencing wilderness by interacting with wildlife. Expansive forests filled with grizzly bears and elk herds and natural rivers stocked with salmon were essential to their ideal wilderness. This emphasis differs slightly from that of other studies of wilderness preservation, which focus more on wilderness advocates’ concerns with road and dam construction than on the preservation of natural wildlife habitats. A little more analysis about the meaning of wilderness to activists, federal agencies, and even opponents of wilderness preservation would have added depth to this study. Additionally, since many of these activists were professional outfitters and guides who relied on wilderness tourism, a more in-depth examination of the economic contributions of wilderness recreation to local economies and the economic stakes of these local activists would have been interesting. In Where Roads Will Never Reach Swanson has produced an enjoyable narrative worthy of the epic landscape it describes. It is an inspirational study of the preservation of one of the nation’s most beautiful natural regions. —

Any person interested in Northern Rockies environmental history and wilderness activism in the American West would do well to read Where Roads Will Never Reach. Swanson’s narrative is rich and detailed, and his footnotes are extensive. His considerable research skills are on display as he builds from numerous sources, including correspondence, interviews, newsletters, speeches, and government documents. He describes the wilderness areas beautifully. The result is a comprehensive, detailed, and personal account. To Swanson’s credit, he concedes his bias toward the

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Arizona State University


Reno: University of Nevada Press, 2015. 296 pp. Paperback, $29.95

For decades, historians have debated which category of analysis is the most useful in illuminating relations of power and agency: race, class, or gender. In revealing and examining instances of environmental inequality and injustice, scholars have tended to favor race and, to a lesser degree, gender. Working on Earth: Class and Environmental Justice enriches this scholarship and points it in a productive new direction. This interdisciplinary collection of essays convincingly demonstrates the centrality of class in understanding environmental inequalities. Working on Earth explores how the places where people work and the kind of work they do shapes their ideological, cultural, and physical relationships to the “more-than-human environment” (3). Consciously activist, the essays engage the power of stories to call for a “working-class ecology” and reveal the dangers of environmental knowledge and narratives that pit jobs against the environment and divide nature, work, and home (3). Untangling the structures of power, ecological knowledge, culture, and the physical world that intersect to create ecological injustice is inherently complex. By themselves, none of the traditional academic disciplines seem adequate to the task. Working on Earth embraces this reality. Drawing from the fields of political science, history, English, literary criticism, journalism, anthropology, cultural studies, the environmental humanities, and sustainable development, the anthology weaves together a complex exploration of the relationship between work and the environment, and the sum is greater than its parts. Intentionally narrative, the essays move at scale, delving into the particulars of, for example, living in Vietnam in the age of climate change, developing energy resources in the shadow of ex-urban McMansions near Park City, Utah, and working the night shift

Working on Earth is essential reading for anyone interested in environmental justice, political ecology, sustainability studies, and labor studies, and its narrative essays would be perfect to use, collectively or individually, in undergraduate and graduate courses. Beyond their utility, the essays benefit from the close attention paid by each author and the editors to the book’s narrative form. The stories are at times heartbreaking. Elsewhere, they evoke a grin and even a laugh. Throughout, they are fully human and engage the reader’s empathy as well as reason. This quality enhances the collection’s combination of topics, voices, and research methods to make Working on Earth a valuable addition to environmental justice literature and likely a pivotal work in the field. —

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under artificial light—all to illuminate regional, national, and global relations and structures of power. While the essays explore work experiences as varied as logging, fishing, and janitorial labor, they maintain a potent coherence. The reader is left with no certain judgments about the relationship between capitalism and the exploitation of workers and the land. Instead the reader finds an ambiguity that accurately reflects the complicated mix of economic necessity, culture, and class identity tied to place and the physicality of work that informs the lived experience of so many. The result is a nuanced, convincing assertion of the critical importance of class in understanding environmental inequality and a challenge for scholars to reexamine labor as a vital component of the human experience and of our relationship to the environment that surrounds us.

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The Great Medicine Road: Narratives of the Oregon, California, and Mormon Trail. Part 2: 1849 E D ITED W I T H

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Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2015. 326 pp. Cloth, $39.95

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This edited volume is the second in a projected four-book series of trail narratives written by people who traveled the Oregon, California, and Mormon trails from 1841 to 1869. The first volume is composed of fifteen firsthand accounts by men and women who went west between 1840 and 1848, including well-known figures such as Catholic priest and missionary Pierre-Jean de Smet, Nancy Kelsey of the Bidwell-Bartleson Party, and former Missouri governor and anti-Mormon Lilburn Boggs. This second volume, in contrast, focuses on the year 1849, and all of its seven selections are by men whose names are obscure today. Three of the featured writers have Utah connections. The best of those three writers is Samuel Rutherford Dundass, who joined his friends on a jaunt from Ohio to California in 1849. Dundass was a sickly young man who had failed to find steady employment at home, but he was well-educated and kept an eloquent trail journal in flowery, nineteenth-century literary style. His accounts of the native people he met during the journey are patronizing and romanticized—“Simple hearted children of nature!— Sons of the forest!”— but not unkind (228). He describes the route from Fort Bridger to Salt Lake City, where his wagon party stopped for several days, and Dundass attended Mormon worship services. His party continued north along the Hensley Cutoff to rejoin the California Trail at City of Rocks. His near-death experience in crossing of Nevada’s Fortymile Desert is similar to others reported that summer, but unlike most other 1849 chroniclers, Dundass recorded his activities for several months after

reaching California. Overall, his account is an informative and enjoyable read. Another selection with a Utah connection, though weak, is that of Sidney Roberts, an eccentric Latter-day Saint who frequently acted out his own peculiar revelations from God (35). While residing among the Mormon community at Council Bluffs, Iowa, in 1849, Roberts published a twelve-page tract to raise interest in his business venture, a wagon train to the California gold fields. The tract lists nine reasons why gold seekers should go west via the Mormon Trail, enjoying the “society and protection” of the Mormons along the way instead of risking their lives among “savages and cannibals” and other hazards of sea passage (41). Roberts’s business venture evidently failed and he never led a wagon train west, but his tract offers an interesting peek at the commercial side of overland travel. The third writer with a Utah connection is Sherman Hawley, a twenty-nine-year-old Forty-niner who headed west with a party of “Kalamazoo Boys” from Michigan. They followed the north bank of the Platte and North Platte rivers (the “Mormon Trail”) to Fort Laramie, Wyoming, where Hawley posted a short, upbeat letter home in June. Notable encounters along the trail to that point included an Indian couple who spent a night as guests in the company camp, and a Calamity Jane–like “old maid from Massachusetts” who carried a revolver and rode astride her horse to hunt buffalo (185– 86). Hawley’s second surviving letter, mailed from Sacramento in October, mentions that he had written home earlier from Salt Lake City. Unfortunately, the Salt Lake letter is lost. The California missive is short and disappointed in tone, with Hawley lamenting, “I have not seen a man that crossed the plains, that is willing to go over the same again, for all there is in California” (187). Another notable selection in the volume (though with no Utah connection) is Henry O. Ferguson’s “Recollections,” written nearly seventy years after he migrated to California with his parents and six siblings. Ferguson tells of Pawnees, cholera, buffalo, and wagon stampedes along the trail. Most interesting, though, is his memory of the stormy November


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National Park Service

FROM THE OUTSIDE LOOKING IN: Essays on Mormon History, Theology, and Culture E D ITED

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New York: Oxford University Press, 2015. xxi + 414 pp. Paper, $35.00

This volume collects the Tanner Lectures given at the Mormon History Association’s annual conference between 2000 and 2014. In these lectures, scholars approach their topics as outsiders to Mormon studies and the Mormon church itself. Coming from their varied scholarly perspectives, they can ask interesting questions, such as what Nat Turner, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Joseph Smith have in common; why the LDS church isn’t particularly successful in Africa; what roles Mormonism has played in U.S. empire-building; and how Mormons

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Also included in this volume are the diary of James Harvey Bandle, the letters and journal extracts of Benjamin Robert Biddle, and the memoir of John Evans Brown, along with trail maps from the works of Unruh and Mattes and artwork by William Henry Jackson and J. Goldsborough Bruff. Editor Tate, author of two other trail-related histories, provides interesting biographical sketches of each writer and abundant footnotes to help the reader understand the historical and geographical contexts of the writings.

shaped their identity by appropriating and transforming House of Israel tropes. The result makes for some fresh scholarship that demonstrates and creates ways that Mormon history can connect to broader historical inquiry. The essays at times address Utah history topics directly—childhood memories, the cultural landscape, Mormons and the Civil War, and women, for instance—but since Mormonism is so much a part of Utah’s evolution, all of the essays inform and shed new light on the shape of Utah’s past, present, and future.

Guilford, Conn.: Twodot, 2015. vii + 245 pp. Paper, $18.95

The Lost Frontier is a collection of twenty-nine stories organized by historian and writer Rod Miller that lay outside of the core historical canon of the Old West. That is not to say that these stories are unimportant or uninteresting; as Miller makes clear, these stories not only deserve attention due to their historical importance but also may be appreciated simply due to their intriguing and interesting content. For the Utah reader, the stories told within The Lost Frontier will vary from the familiar to the unknown—from the Circleville Massacre of 1866 and the proposed state of Deseret, to the only American “emperor” and an 1859 conflict sparked by a pig. Topics include the political, the religious, and occasionally, the humorous. With its short, intriguing accounts and easygoing writing style, The Lost Frontier is sure to appeal to both the scholarly and casual history enthusiast.

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night when his party, nearing their destination, pitched their tents among “Bruff’s Camp” of Forty-niners in the Sierra Nevada. As they slept, a huge tree fell into camp, killing four men and injuring Ferguson’s sister. His father left eleven-year-old Henry and his thirteen-year-old brother to guard the family’s wagon while the others rushed the injured girl to the California settlements. Ferguson tells how he and his brother fended for themselves for two weeks in the Sierra winter until their father returned and led them to safety.

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MARKETING “THE BIRTH OF A NATION” Many Americans hailed The Birth of a Nation as a wonderful dramatization of history, though it was hardly history. It portrayed a postwar South dominated by blacks who were crude, murderous, and predatory. It portrayed the Ku Klux Klan as a purifying and noble “savior.” In Ogden, about fifty African Americans petitioned the city to ban it, as the movie would have “no other effect than to engender race hatred.” In Salt Lake, both “white” and “colored” petitioners also asked their city to censor the film. Despite the petition, the “Thrilling History Picture” came to Salt Lake City in 1916 and became as popular throughout Utah as elsewhere. This photo, taken on June 14, 1916, shows costumed actors advertising for it on its third run in the city, at the Salt Lake Theater.

A production like this did not entail simply turning on a projector. A whole company of people arrived with the film, including technicians and orchestra members. The company had been delayed for its June 9, 1916, performance by a train wreck on the line—and the house was sold out. When the company arrived, they creatively gave the audience something to do by letting them watch the crew put up the projector and screen, set up the paraphernalia for sound effects, and arrange the orchestra pit for the twenty-five musicians.

Shipler Photograph, June 14, 1916


U TA H HISTORICAL Q U A R T E R LY EDITORIAL STAFF Brad Westwood — Publisher/Editor Holly George — Co-Managing Editor

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Jedediah S. Rogers — Co-Managing Editor

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ADVISORY BOARD OF EDITORS Brian Q. Cannon, Provo, 2016

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Craig Fuller, Salt Lake City, 2018

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Lee Ann Kreutzer, Salt Lake City, 2018 Kathryn L. MacKay, Ogden, 2017

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Jeffrey D. Nichols, Mountain Green, 2018 Robert E. Parson, Benson, 2017 Clint Pumphrey, Logan, 2018

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Susan Sessions Rugh, Provo, 2016 John Sillito, Ogden, 2017 Ronald G. Watt, South Jordan, 2017

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In 1897, public-spirited Utahns organized the Utah State Historical Society in order to expand public understanding of Utah’s past. Today, the Utah Division of State History administers the Society and, as part of its statutory obligations, publishes the Utah Historical Quarterly (ISSN 0 042-143X), which has collected and preserved Utah’s unique history since 1928. The Division also collects materials related to the history of Utah; assists communities, agencies, building owners, and consultants with state and federal processes regarding archaeological and historical resources; administers the ancient human remains program; makes historical resources available in a specialized research library; offers extensive online resources and grants; and assists in public policy and the promotion of Utah’s rich history. Visit history.utah.gov for more information. UHQ appears in winter, spring, summer, and fall. Members of the Society receive UHQ upon payment of annual dues: individual, $30; institution, $40; student and senior (age 65 or older), $25; business, $40; sustaining, $40; patron, $60; sponsor, $100. Direct manuscript submissions to the address listed below. Visit history.utah.gov for submission guidelines. Articles and book reviews represent the views of the authors and are not necessarily those of the Utah State Historical Society. POSTMASTER: Send address change to Utah Historical Quarterly,

The Rio Grande Depot, home of the Utah State Historical Society.

300 S. Rio Grande, Salt Lake City, Utah 84101. Periodicals postage is paid at Salt Lake City, Utah. history.utah.gov (801) 245-7231


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329 CONTENTS ARTICLES

368 275 In THIS ISSUE 347 BOOK REVIEWS

351 Book Notices 353 2016 Index 368 Utah In Focus

277 Rethinking Jedediah S. Smith’s Southwestern Expeditions

313 “Damned Stupid Old Guinea Pigs”: The CoverUp of the “Dirty” Harry Nuclear Test

By Edward Leo Lyman

By Katherine Good

295 Touching History: A Grandson’s Memories of Felix Marion Jones and the Massacre at Mountain Meadows By Will Bagley

329 Closing the Road to Chesler Park: Why access to Canyonlands National Park Remains Limited By Clyde L. Denis

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Book Reviews

347 Bridging the Distance: Common Issues of the Rural West David B. Danbom, ed. • Reviewed by R. Douglas Hurt

348 Branding the American West: Paintings and Films, 1900–1950 Marian Wardle and Sarah E. Boehme, eds.

Reviewed by James R. Swensen

349 Dale Morgan on the Mormons: Collected Works Part 2, 1949–1970

350 Success Depends on the Animals:

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Richard L. Saunders, ed.

Reviewed by Curt Bench

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Emigrants, Livestock, and Wild Animals on the Overland Trails, 1840–1869 Diana L. Ahmad • Reviewed by Jeff Nichols

Book Notices

351 Mormons in the Piazza: History of the Latter-day Saints in Italy By James A. Toronto, Eric R. Dursteler, and Michael W. Homer

351 Glorious in Persecution: Joseph Smith, American Prophet, 1839–1844 By Martha Bradley-Evans

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IN this issue

In April 1857, Felix Marion Jones traveled with his family as a toddler, from Arkansas to Utah Territory, where his family became victims of the superlative tragedy at Mountain Meadows. Jones survived the massacre but endured loss beyond description: first his parents, then the woman who cared for him after their death, and even his identity. After the federal government returned Jones and his fellow survivors to Arkansas, the boy experienced a difficult childhood. As a teenager, Jones struck out on his own for Texas and eventually had a family of his own. One of his posterity, a favorite grandson named Milam “Mike” Jones, heard F. M.’s memories and, in 2008, passed them on to the histo-

When designated in 1964, Canyonlands National Park was to be “built” in the tradition of Yellowstone or the Grand Canyon—lodges, restaurants, and roads directing visitors to the park’s inner sanctum. Within fifteen years the Canyonlands General Management Plan called for a preserved landscape devoid of the easy-access roads planned into the Chesler Park, Grabens, and Needles areas. Our fourth essay details the forces at play—the wartime shortfall in funds, the rise of environmental sensibilities, the ideologies of park superintendents—and the sense of loss experienced by some. The history of Canyonlands is a reminder that all landscapes are products of contingent forces and of contending voices. Even the look and experience of a most dramatic and remote landscape is not inevitable or fixed.

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During the hottest years of the Cold War, the U.S. government—especially the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC)—conducted above-ground, atmospheric tests of nuclear weapons at the Nevada Test Site (NTS). Although representatives of the AEC and others soft-pedaled the dangers of these tests, they had devastating effects upon many people and animals living downwind from the NTS. Our third article explores how employees and institutions of the federal government dealt with the consequences of nuclear fallout.

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Our lead essay draws on Jedediah Smith’s record discovered in 1967 and published in 1977—more than two decades after Dale L. Morgan’s classic Jedediah Smith and the Opening of the West—to detail the famed 1826 and 1827 southwest expeditions. Smith’s travels helped to map terra incognita, as other historians have shown, and perhaps explain a puzzling mystery: what happened to the Paiute village first encountered by Smith in 1826 but abandoned upon his return the following year? Edward Leo Lyman’s close reading of the record suggests that Jed Smith’s narrative is intertwined with those of two of his contemporaries, James Ohio Pattie and Ewing Young. Though Smith is well known by scholars and general readers of the American West, this piece offers a welcome reevaluation of his travels and provides surprising revelations.

rian Will Bagley. This is a story of loss, family, and renewal that spans centuries.

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It’s often noted that the work of a historian— patching together fragments of information to arrive at an understanding of the past, however limited—is like the work of a detective. Just so, as historians assemble their puzzles of documents, objects, and memories, they ask questions about motivations, about cause and effect, and even about what simply happened. The articles in this issue of Utah Historical Quarterly—as they reconsider accepted explanations and ponder how big events can affect personal lives—are full of such inquiries.

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Earliest known image of Jedediah Smith, circa 1835. This sketch is said to have been done from memory by an acquaintance after Smith’s death. —

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The first American explorer of central and southern Utah was Jedediah Strong Smith, perhaps responsible more than anyone of his generation for opening the West to settlement. The historian and Smith biographer Dale Morgan wrote that while Smith was not professionally trained like his two admired predecessors, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, and exploration was not his primary purpose, “he saw more of the West than they did.” And although “he entered the West when it was still largely an unknown land; when he left the mountains, the whole country had been printed on the living maps of his and his fellow trappers’ minds. Scarcely a stream, a valley, a pass or a mountain range but had been named and become known for good or ill.” Smith’s travels influenced mapmakers, especially John C. Frémont, whose maps and reports informed Mormon settlement in the Great Basin.1 Yet due to his early death, Smith was little 1 Dale L. Morgan, Jedediah Smith and the Opening of the West (1953; Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1964), 8–9. Dale Morgan and Carl I. Wheat contend that “though no original map drawn by him has yet been located, it has long been known that certain contemporary maps were directly influenced by his efforts, and the recent discovery of what amounts to a direct copy of a map of the West drawn by him near the close of his brief but adventurous career has afforded much new light on his travels and achievements.” Wheat had discovered an early map of John C. Frémont’s, who had

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Rethinking Jedediah S. Smith’s Southwestern Expeditions

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appreciated until publication of Morgan’s biography in 1953 elevated Smith in the pantheon of western figures.2

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Despite recent interest in Jed Smith and other mountain men, historians and “buffs” have generally ignored the 1977 publication of a year-long journal covering Smith’s most important early travels, including exploration of the territory that would became Utah. Except in Edward A. Geary’s excellent book, The Proper Edge of the Sky, this journal has gone almost unmentioned in Utah histories until fairly recently.3 The most important study to utilize the journal was a biography of Smith by the Boise State University professor Barton H. Barbour, though this, too, has not received much attention in Utah.4 This essay seeks to rectify this, reminding and reacpenned notes on many portions of the map—apparently drawn from information indirectly contributed by Jedediah Smith, who had by then been deceased almost twenty years. Experts have since concluded that after Lewis and Clark, Smith was indeed still, in his way, among the first great map makers of the West. See Dale L. Morgan and Carl I. Wheat, Jedediah Smith and His Maps of the American West (San Francisco: California Historical Society, 1954), 2–3. 2 Biographies of Smith’s contemporaries published in the mid-twentieth century include LeRoy R. Hafen and W. J. Ghent, Broken Hand: The Life Story of Thomas Fitzpatrick, Chief of the Mountain Men (Denver: Old West Publishing, 1931); Stanley Vestal, Jim Bridger, Mountain Man: A Biography (1946; Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1970); Elinor Wilson, Jim Beckwourth: Black Mountain Man, War Chief of the Crows, Trader, Trapper, Explorer, Frontiersman, Guide, Scout, Interpreter, Adventurer, and Gaudy Liar (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1972); Sardis W. Templeton, The Lame Captain: The Life and Adventure of Pegleg Smith (Los Angeles: Westernlore Press, 1965); Harvey L. Carter, “Dear Old Kit”: The Historical Christopher Carson (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1968). 3 George R. Brooks, ed., The Southwest Expeditions of Jedediah S. Smith: His Personal Account of the Journey to California, 1826–1827 (Glendale, CA: Arthur H. Clark, 1977; reprint, Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1989), 38–78; Edward A. Geary, The Proper Edge of the Sky: High Plateau Country of Utah (Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1992), 28–32. At a conference of the Missouri Historical Society in 1967, Dale Morgan appealed for citizens to search the attics of St. Louis for the portion of Smith’s diary that until then had long been lost to researchers and others. It was found four months later. Not only is this document the key source for this entire piece, it also lends several insights into Smith’s motives as an explorer. 4 Barton H. Barbour, Jedediah Smith: No Ordinary Mountain Man (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2009).

quainting readers with the role of a truly important figure in the exploration and thus, indirectly, the settlement of Utah and the West. In particular, I detail Smith’s encounter with what was likely the largest band of Southern Paiutes residing in present-day Utah, the Tonequints, along the Santa Clara River. When Smith returned a year later, the village areas were abandoned and only the telling remains of burned wickiups remained. The following recounts the probable series of events involving a brigade of American fur trappers from Taos, New Mexico, that may explain the destroyed Paiute village. James O. Pattie, a member of the Taos trappers, acknowledged attacking that year a Native American band situated somewhere in the greater region. Although no historians have previously suggested this, several of Smith’s journal entries lend credence to the possibility that the victims of the attack were likely members of this Tonequint band. In February 1822 William H. Ashley, the former first Lieutenant Governor of Missouri and founding partner with Andrew Henry of the Missouri Fur Company, placed an advertisement in a St. Louis newspaper offering employment to enterprising young men seeking to make their fortunes trapping beaver in the Rocky Mountains. Smith answered the notice, as did several others who would likewise gain fame in the American fur trade.5 One of Smith’s early notable feats, with Thomas Fitzpatrick, was the more practical rediscovery of South Pass across the Continental Divide in southeastern Wyoming.6 Within two years of being hired by Ashley, the twenty-four-year-old New Yorker became a partner in the fur trade company after Henry retired. The next year the Ashley-Smith Company devised the rendezvous system to trade the beaver pelts for essential merchandise and liquor brought from St. Louis by Ashley-sponsored trade caravans. This allowed trappers to stay at their hunting grounds year round. The second of these gatherings was held at Cache Valley, near the future location of Hyrum, 5 In Smith’s second year of trapping he survived an Indian attack near the confluence of the Grand River with the Missouri, where fifteen of Ashley’s other men were killed by Arikara Indians. See Barbour, Jedediah Smith, 22–24. 6 Morgan, Jedediah Smith, 7, 90–92.


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“Trappers Rendezvous,” taken from a print of a William Henry Jackson painting. A celebrated photographer, Jackson painted this and nearly one hundred other works in his later years. —

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279 Utah. Just prior to that gathering, Ashley sold his majority share in the company to Smith, David E. Jackson (an experienced company trapper and namesake of Jackson Hole, Wyoming), and William L. Sublette (a foreman of a trapping brigade called a booshway). These new partners took over the firm named Smith, Jackson and Sublette.8 7

On August 7, 1826, one of the last days of the rendezvous, the new partners discussed dividing the forty-two trappers employed by the company into two groups. The larger group, led by Sublette and Jackson, would seek beaver in the Snake River country. The other, led by Jed Smith, would travel southwest into a little-known region in search of new trapping areas. Smith enthusiastically embarked on this 7 For more on the typical rendezvous system, see Bernard DeVoto, Across the Wide Missouri (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1947). 8 The sales agreement stipulated that the new partners would purchase Ashley’s remaining stock of merchandise for $6,000 after Smith’s share was deducted. This would be paid in beaver fur at $3.00 per pound.

expedition, acknowledging that he did not know “what that great and unexplored country might contain” but that he hoped to “find parts of the country as well stocked with Beaver as the waters of the Missouri which was as much as we could reasonably expect.” Besides this logical commercial desire, Smith also admitted a personal compulsion: “in taking charge of our southwestern expedition, I followed the bent of my strong inclination to visit this unexplored country and unfold those hidden resources of wealth and bring to light those wonders which I readily imagined a country so extensive might contain.” He then added a revealing confession that “I wa[nted] to be the first to view a country on which the eyes of white man had never gazed and to follow the course of rivers that run through a new land.”9 Smith and his men embarked southward from the rendezvous at Cache Valley in mid-August 1826, making their way past Utah Lake into Spanish Fork Canyon in search of one of the 9 Brooks, Southwest Expedition of Jedediah S. Smith, 36– 37.


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primary Ute chiefs, apparently Conmarrowap. When they met somewhere between Diamond Fork and Soldier Summit, Smith inquired about beaver trapping locations and was directed to a place farther east, probably on the White or Price River, which after two days of trapping did not impress the experienced fur hunters.10 Subsequently, after looking east from a high mountain ridge and not seeing anything promising in the direction of the Green River, they embarked southward through a mountainous portion of later Carbon and Emery Counties and emerged into the western segment of Salina Canyon. At the site of Salina, Sevier County, Smith’s fur brigade encountered a group of Native people who fled as Smith and his men came into view. An elderly woman who did not flee11 told the new arrivals that the Sevier River coursed south to north through the bottom of the adjacent valley and that the local people called themselves Sanpach (Sanpitch Utes).12 Smith appears to have conflated these Ute band members with the Southern Paiute, whose lands extended from near that point to several hundred miles farther south. The Southern Paiute owned fewer horses than many of the more mobile and aggressive Ute bands. The term horseless Ute later became synonymous with Paiute or for those of mixed Ute and Paiute blood Smith observed that Paiute timidity and presumed “wildness” was actually a reasonable fear of outsiders stemming from previous Ute and New Mexican slave trader raids in the vicinity.13 10 Ibid., 40–47. This is the invaluable diary—rediscovered in 1967 but not published until 1977—that covers the first Smith expedition to the San Joaquin Valley to trap beaver in 1827. 11 Ibid., 47–48. Smith asked the woman to approach their camp, and one of the men offered her a badger, which she cooked. When finished eating, the men offered her other small presents and sent her to inform her people that the visitors were friends who wished to converse with their men. 12 Brooks, Southwest Expedition of Jedediah S. Smith, 48–49. Smith observed that these Indians were larger than average in stature but “in the mental scale lower than any [he had] yet seen” in the intermountain region. He described their dress as leggings and shirts made of deer, antelope, and mountain sheep skins, also noting that in “appearance and actions they were strongly contrasted with the cleanliness of the [other] Uta’s.” 13 Ted J. Warner, The Domínguez-Escalante Journal: Their Expedition Through Colorado, Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico in 1776 (Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press,

These raiders were notorious for brutally killing and mutilating Paiute men who defended their people. Numerous women and children had been forcibly taken to New Mexico and sold as slaves or indentured servants. Smith noted that each group of families had a stack of combustible material nearby ready to burn in the event of an approach by strangers so that their fellow tribesmen would be warned. Smith reported that the alarm fires spread “over the hills in every direction with the greatest rapidity” and that the same individuals quickly took their possessions and hurried away into the hills for refuge from the perceived danger.14 This was corroborated in the next decade by Father Pierre Jean de Smet.15 According to Smith’s account, the Paiutes ate roots—probably a variety of the parsnip or sego lily—that they baked in pits under a bed of coals, then mashed for consumption or storage for winter. They also consumed venison and rabbit meat, as well as other foods. Smith 1995), 91–107. The diarists noted a dozen times that the Paiutes were timid or cowardly. Antonio Armijo, who followed a portion of their trail over half a century later, stated when he came to one Paiute village near later Pipe Springs, Arizona, that they were “a gentle and cowardly nation.” See LeRoy R. Hafen and Ann W. Hafen, Old Spanish Trail: Santa Fé to Los Angeles (Glendale, CA: Arthur H. Clark, 1954; reprint Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1993), 158–69. 14 Brooks, Southwest Expedition of Jedediah S. Smith, 50– 53. 15 Father Pierre Jean De Smet, a Jesuit missionary, stated that “since one seldom sees more than two, three or four of them [the Paiutes] at the same time, it is impossible to know how many of them there are. They are so timid that a stranger would have difficulty in approaching them. As soon as they see someone, be he white or Indian, they raise an alarm.” He continued that up to four hundred persons might be observed “running to hide in inaccessible rocks at this signal, it may be presumed that they are very numerous.” De Smet’s estimate, drawn from other eyewitnesses, was probably too high due to years of incursions by slave trade raiders. See Robert C. Euler, Southern Paiute Ethnohistory in University of Utah Anthropological Papers no. 78 (April 1966): 45–46, for a full copy of the comments first published in R. J. P. DeSmet, Voyages aux Montag Rocheuses (Lille, Paris, 1845), which proves to be most difficult to locate in this country, and Reuben G. Thwaites, Early Western Travels, 1748–1846 (Cleveland: Arthur H. Clark, 1906), vol. 27, “De Smet’s Letters and Sketches,” 2:165–68. See also Sondra Jones, Trial of Don Pedro Leo Lujan: The Attack against Indian Slavery and Mexican Traders in Utah (Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 2000), and idem, “‘Redeeming’ the Indian: The Enslavement of Indian Children in New Mexico and Utah,” Utah Historical Quarterly 67 (Summer 1999): 220–41.


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The Southwest Expedition of Jedediah S. Smith, published in George R. Brooks, ed., The Southwest Expeditions of Jedediah S. Smith: His Personal Account of the Journey to California, 1826–1827.

considered these Indians to be better fed than most commentators have assumed, and he was also more positive about their dress, although he did not consider them nearly as clean as the Utes he had previously encountered. Still, Smith exhibited a certain bias toward these Native peoples; like most of his contemporaries, he favored the Utes and considered the Paiutes to be of inferior intelligence.16 The fur trapping party sought beaver pelts in the Sevier where Smith had noted sign of their habitation, but after several days they concluded that their intended prey was scarce and unusually wild. Smith decided to move on. At this juncture the Smith party crossed the western extension of the Wasatch Mountains by way

of Clear Creek Canyon and the summit ridge to Cove Creek Canyon. From a high mountain point, after traveling out of the south end of Cove Creek Valley, Smith looked southward and reported “the [Indian] smoke telegraph was seen on the hills [toward later Beaver] during the day as usual.”17 Upon arriving in the vicinity of Beaver, they encountered two Native Americans who remained to observe the brigade members after the rest of their Paiute band had fled. Smith learned little from the frightened men but began the process of establishing friendship by giving the two Paiute men who remained gifts, probably a knife and some glass beads. Once again the brigade tested the river coursing from the relatively high mountains to the east but was not encouraged by the

16 Brooks, Southwest Expedition of Jedediah S. Smith, 48– 49.

17 Ibid., 53.


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prospects of trapping in the area, and after two more days the group continued southward.18

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Smith and his brigade went south along the western foot of the adjacent mountains, following what would become Interstate 15, and struggled down the lava rock-strewn Black Ridge beyond the rim of the Great Basin into far southwestern Utah. Narrowly missing the Parusits band village (later headed by Chief Toquer) on lower Ash Creek by keeping west, they cut southward to the Quail Lake area, after which they followed the Virgin River a short distance. In that vicinity they saw an abandoned corn field, which much surprised them, although had they stayed longer on Ash Creek they would have seen another even better-developed field. The brigade followed the river banks through potential farmland, where in 1854 Mormon explorers would find Paiute cornfields and Native American men and women busily clearing brush and cottonwood trees to plant even more crops. The Mormons would do the same after taming the flood-prone river and sowing the productive Washington and St. George fields.19 The group then traveled up the adjoining Santa Clara River tributary a short distance. There, on about September 22, 1826, they spotted several cautious Native Americans and finally encountered one willing to communicate with them. This member of the large Tonequint band of Paiutes offered a rabbit as a token of friendship and after Smith responded with like gestures of cordiality, several other tribesmen appeared and each presented corn ears as tokens of peace. The brigade traded some trinkets and bits of iron, popular for making arrow points and knives. Although they enjoyed antelope meat while crossing Beaver and Iron counties, the trappers had only their own horse meat to eat since passing the Black Ridge. Smith was particularly impressed with the dam and irrigation ditch adjacent to the Santa Clara River and with the nearby corn and squash fields, more carefully developed than anything he had seen since the Mandan Indian fields on the Missouri River in Dakota Territory approx18 Ibid., 54. 19 Juanita Brooks, ed., Journal of the Southern Indian Mission: Diary of Thomas D. Brown (Logan: Utah State University Press, 1972), 52. See also Brooks, Southwest Expedition of Jedediah S. Smith, 54–55.

imately a thousand miles away. This aspect of Tonequint and Moapa band Paiute culture was truly impressive in its sophistication compared to virtually any other tribal group in the American West. The visitors, with considerable elation, acquired a good supply of vegetables in trade from their hosts. Smith was so impressed with the clouded green marble (from the Grand Canyon) fashioned into smoking pipe bowls by many of the men that he later sent one to his friend William Clark. Many of the Paiute men wore caps fashioned from the skull hide and fur of antelope or mountain sheep, with the ears still attached, something almost never noted elsewhere in the ethnographic literature regarding these people. Because of previous losses of women and children to slaver attacks, Smith’s men saw only male Tonequints on this visit—the others would have been in hiding since the first smoke signal. While most of the trapping party rested, others went southwestward to determine their future travel route.20 The chosen route proved to be one of the most difficult in the region, taking the brigade through the Virgin River Gorge of the later Arizona Strip. In at least one place, the men were compelled to unload their horse packs and swim the animals and equipment across the river, which featured a good number of narrow canyons and impressively high rock walls. After exiting the Virgin River Gorge into the Littlefield, Arizona area, the party encountered signs of beaver. The habitable area appeared insufficient for long term productivity, and thus the brigade moved on down the Virgin River.21 While visiting other Paiutes in the farming areas of the Moapa band on the Muddy River, Smith and his men encountered two visiting Native Americans whom Smith and his later journal editor George R. Brooks agreed were members of the Mohave tribe, partly because they claimed to reside on the lower Colorado River. These men stated that there were many beaver on the Colorado and adjacent tributary streams and that their people had numerous horses to trade. Along with his wanderlust, this convinced Smith to shift the journey in that direction, even though he had intended to head elsewhere. 20 Brooks, Southwestern Expedition of Jedediah S. Smith, 56–64. 21 San Francisco Bulletin, October 26, 1866.


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This rock inscription, dated 1826 and located in Washington County, Utah, may well have been made by a member of the Smith party and is likely the oldest Euro American marking in the entire region.

After a difficult journey along the Colorado and a brief visit and some trade with the Mohaves in the Needles, California, area, Smith determined that the good beaver trapping areas were actually considerably farther downstream near the Arizona tributaries of the Colorado. He also realized that the availability of horses had been overstated. Accordingly, the Smith brigade and two Desert Serrano Native American guides made their way across the East Mojave Desert westward and headed into the populated portion of Mexican southern California.22

Reaching southwestern California, Jed Smith had achieved another great accomplishment: he was the first American to travel overland from the Missouri River to the Pacific Coast of California. Along with his crossing of the entire Great Basin from north to south and trailblazing of the long middle segment of the Old Spanish Trail—linking the two previously explored sections and completing a transcontinental pack mule trade route from the Pacific to the United States—Smith had achieved three of his greatest accomplishments.23

22 Brooks, Southwestern Expedition of Jedediah S. Smith, 64–65, 72–77.

23 Ibid., 68–72. Smith had blazed the huge middle segment of the subsequently named Old Spanish Trail, linking the two portions blazed exactly a half-century earlier by


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The Americans were not made welcome in the Mission San Gabriel–Los Angeles area and had difficulty obtaining permission from Mexican governmental authorities to leave. They finally secured an exit visa by promising to immediately vacate California, which they did not do. Instead, the brigade made its way northwest to the beaver-rich streams of the San Joaquin Valley. Smith left all but two of his men in that great valley to trap, while he traveled toward the Sierra Nevada. After initial difficulty and the loss of two horses, Smith and two of his men, Robert Evans and Silas Goble, successfully crossed the formidable range, the first Americans to have done so. They then crossed the dry expanses of Nevada from west to east and traveled northeast through west-central Utah, traversing the Great Basin for the first time in that direction as well. Upon reaching the southeastern corner of the Great Salt Lake, the three men encountered the mouth of the Jordan River at flood stage. Since Evans and Goble could not swim, they fashioned a raft and Smith guided them through yet another obstacle. Incredibly, they reached the third annual fur trade rendezvous at Bear Lake, Idaho, just a few days after Smith had promised his partners that he would return after a journey of no less than 1,400 miles. After holding business meetings with company officials and spending time trapping, Smith recruited another eighteen trappers to follow the same general route to reunite with his men in California. Historians have generally assumed that the party would then travel to the mouth of the Columbia River in Oregon, a longtime objective of Jedediah Smith, then back toward the Rockies in time for the 1828 rendezvous. In midsummer, after the trading was completed, Smith, the new recruits, and Goble hurried toward Utah Lake. They encountered more Ute headmen, who told Smith that another party of American trappers from New Mexico had recently traveled through southern Utah.24 fathers Atanasio Domínguez and Sylvestre de Escalante from Santa Fe to Utah Lake, and that of their Franciscan counterpart, Father Francisco Garcés, from Needles, California, to the Pacific Coast. Smith’s segment covered well over half the distance. 24 Maurice S. Sullivan, The Travels of Jedediah Smith: A Documentary Outline, Including His Journal (Santa Ana, CA: Fine Arts Press, 1934; reprint, Lincoln: University

Because this stopover of other American trappers ultimately proved fateful to Smith’s men and a large Utah Paiute band, it is important to discuss in detail this group of rival trappers.25 Some six months after Smith’s first visit to the Colorado River in the autumn of 1826, American-born Ewing Young led a brigade including James Ohio Pattie and other naturalized Mexican citizens towards the Mohave villages from the south. By this time the Mohave people were much more apprehensive about such visitors, illustrated by the crying of some children and women as recorded by Pattie.26 Pattie’s biographer, Richard Batson, has suggested that Mexican officials at Los Angeles, disturbed by Smith’s earlier semi-legal incursion into California from the east, had convinced the Mohaves to discourage other trappers from entering the province from that direction. Batson also asserted, with some documentary evidence, that Smith, whose second expedition over the same route would suffer terribly later that year, expressed similar suspicions.27 After Ewing Young’s brigade passed through the upper Mohave village, it continued upstream several miles and pitched camp. Immediately thereafter, about a hundred Mohaves followed what Pattie described as a “dark and sulky” Indian, presumed to be their chief, into their camp; by sign language, this Indian demanded a horse. When Young refused, the chief indicated through gestures, pointing at the Colorado River and then at the full packs on the horses and mules, that the horse was assumed of Nebraska Press, 1992), 27, containing the 1827–1828 segment of his journal. 25 Sullivan, Travels of Jedediah Smith, 29–30; Morgan, Jedediah Smith, 239–41. See also William H. Goetzmann, ed., The Personal Narrative of James O. Pattie (Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott, 1962, a replication of the 1831 unabridged ed.), 85. 26 David J. Weber, The Taos Trappers: The Fur Trade in the Far Southwest, 1540–1846 (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1968, 1970), 92–93, 96–97, 125–26. This might also have been because the Mohaves had heard of the party having previously killed Papago Indians on the Gila River and some of their own people had been killed as well. See also, Goetzmann, Narrative of James O. Pattie, 85. 27 Richard Batson, James Pattie’s West: The Dream and the Reality (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1981), 175. Batson argues that the fright of the women and children upon seeing Pattie indicates that someone had been spreading “horror stories among the Mohaves.” See Goetzmann, Narrative of James O. Pattie, 23.


Awaiting the inevitable attack, the entrenched trappers prepared their main advantage, which was that each of some twenty men had a second rifle or musket loaded and ready for use. When the Mohave finally attacked it was through a huge shower of arrows fired from a surprisingly far distance, inflicting no known casualties. The Mohaves then charged and the trappers fired their first volley from over a hundred yards away. With their secondary firearms, the trappers mounted a countercharge as the Mohaves fled. Pattie claimed that sixteen Native Americans were killed in the battle.30 There is a reasonably reliable account of the same conflict recorded from Mohave oral tradition that essentially agrees with the chain of events lead28 Batson, James Pattie’s West, 175–77; Goetzmann, The Personal Narrative of James O. Pattie, 85–86. 29 Pattie confessed apprehension during the night of a possible arrow attack. No further action came even early next day, giving the trappers time to erect some “hasty fortification.” Goetzmann, The Personal Narrative of James O. Pattie, 86. 30 Ibid., 86.

31 Cultural Systems Research, Inc., “Mojave,” Joshua Tree: The Native American Ethnography and Ethnohistory of Joshua Tree National Park—An Overview (2002), accessed September 9, 2016, nps.gov/parkhistory/ online_books/jotr/history7.htm. See also A. L. Kroeber and C. B. Kroeber, A Mohave War Reminiscence, 1854–1880, University of California Publications in Anthropology, vol. 10 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1973), 52, which offers little on the subsequent killing of the Smith men but treats general Mohave warfare in the era. 32 Barbour, Jedediah Smith, 162–167. 33 As more travelers began to come through their domain, Native Americans in the far West devised methods of exacting payment from those who refused to pay for livestock feed, water, use of trails, and other resources. Many adopted stealing and wounding passing travelers’ livestock, and this became the general method of exacting tolls along several travel routes from at least 1848 to the 1860s, including through southern Utah. See Edward Leo Lyman, “Relations Between Native Americans and Anglo-Americans on the Western Half of the Old Spanish Trail, 1825–1870: A Study in Contrasts,” Spanish Traces 15 (Winter 2009): 15–19. 34 Sullivan, Travels of Jedediah Smith, 173, n. 97. The editor’s argument against Smith’s allegation stated: “No contrary testimony of provocation has come to light [as it did in the even more horrible massacre in the following year in Oregon]. Mexican civil authorities may have sent presents to the Mohaves and asked them not to allow any more aliens [to] pass through their territory; but it is doubtful if they were ‘instructed to

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When Jed Smith’s second brigade visited the same village a few months later, they became the surprised victims of the altered Mohave attitude toward visitors.32 The conflict with Pattie and his fellow trappers established precedent for subsequent interaction between the Mohave and Euro Americans.33 Maurice Sullivan, who located and edited the longer known portion of Smith’s diary, quoted a segment he called a “brief sketch,” wherein Smith charged that “the governor” of California, Jose Maria de Echendia, “had instructed the Muchaba [Mohave] Indians not to let any more Americans pass through the country on any conditions whatever.” Sullivan correctly concluded that Smith overreacted by attributing the massacre of his men on the Colorado River to the governor’s unfair treatment. Sullivan later pointed to evidence suggesting other possible causes for the tragedy, but the material he included gives some credence to Smith’s allegations.34

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After the Americans again refused, the chief stood with what was described as “a stern and fierce air,” made “a peculiar yell,” and “immediately shot one of his arrows into a tree” some distance away. Ewing Young aimed his own rifle and dramatically shot the warning arrow in two, which Pattie said bewildered the angry Indians. After these expressions of hostile intent, the Mohaves withdrew from the campsite area. The chief later reappeared with the same demand and Young ordered him to leave with a harsh tone of voice and demeanor so that the chief could understand his message. As the chief departed, urging his horse to a quick gallop, he thrust a spear through one of the nearby horses, and four trappers promptly shot him.29

ing to the conflict, including the battle. This part of the account simply states that “some of the Mohaves were killed.” There is no way to ascertain which version is more accurate.31

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to be legitimate payment because the visible beaver pelts had been trapped in the Indians’ domain. This would have been considered a fair proposition between white bargainers, as the Mohaves doubtless understood.28 But the Americans firmly refused this proposal. Pattie correctly inferred that the chief meant that the river, its tributaries, and all resources taken therefrom belonged to the Mohave tribe, that they should be paid for the valuable beaver pelts, and that a horse was reasonable compensation.

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Barton H. Barbour has more reasonably suggested that “it seems far more probable that the Mohaves’ recent conflicts with other ‘American’ trappers persuaded them to punish the next ones that came their way.” He reinforced this by stating that “a [Mohave] tribal tradition suggests that the violence may have been sparked by disagreements over payment for the Mohaves’ assistance,” which likely referred to the Mohave claims that they had provided the Americans with good beaver trapping opportunities on the Colorado River.35 Indeed, when these additional facts are known, it becomes clear that the primary cause of the new animosity was due to the Young-Pattie group’s exploitation of fur resources without proper compensation for beaver pelts that the Mohaves reasonably believed belonged to them. Pattie’s account corroborates that of the Mohaves—that after the first exchange of fire, he and his men promptly packed their camp and headed up the Red (Colorado) River.36 For three nights the trappers remained vigilant, expecting another attack. On the fourth night, March 12, 1827, by Pattie’s reckoning, the men were so exhausted that they did not erect their protective fortifications. At eleven o’clock that night the Native Americans unleashed a huge shower of arrows that killed two and wounded two others and escaped with no casualties. Pattie stated that one of the dead had been sleeping at his side and that his own bed bristled with sixteen Mohave arrows. In the morning, the eighteen men pursued their attackers and kill all Americans.’” Sullivan continued, arguing that if Mohaves were indeed taking orders from the California authorities, there would have been no stolen horses and truant mission Indians among them. However, other fragments of information within the same documents are more favorable to Smith’s viewpoint. Francisco, a Serrano who initially led the Smith expedition into the San Gabriel area, was later sentenced to execution for having piloted Euro Americans into southwestern California. Thomas Virgin, who stayed in southern California to recuperate, was later imprisoned solely for being a part of the Smith party (Sullivan, 29, 47). Both men reported to Smith what they had learned while residing among the governor’s subject Californios. Thus some basis existed for his conclusion that the Mohaves had been instructed to “kill all Americans coming from that direction.” 35 Barbour, Jedediah Smith, 165. 36 The Mohaves’ version unaccountably stated that the attacking Americans then headed south, which would have taken them through several other concentrations of hostile Native Americans.

according to Pattie killed “the greater part of that band” and suspended some of the bodies of the dead from nearby trees.37 Thereafter, Pattie’s trappers traveled north to relative safety.38 They returned to their accustomed occupation, trapping beaver, with plenty of sentries on guard. Pattie’s account suggests that they did this in the vicinity of present Lake Mead, which even then was so arid that there would have been no vegetation to support beaver. The Grand Canyon to the east, where the trapper’s account stated they went, would not have been any better for their purposes if they could have traveled through it, which was impossible. A number of scholars, mainly anthropologists, have attempted to solve the mysteries raised by Pattie’s controversial account regarding the expedition. The source is seen as particularly unreliable during this segment of their journey.39 According to the admittedly unreliable Pattie narrative, a week after their skirmishes with the Mohave, the group, still on the Colorado, came to a village of what he called Shuena Indians—a group unrecognizable in known literature on Native Americans. Some have speculated, with no known supporting evidence, that this was a Shivwits Paiute village on the northwest rim of the Grand Canyon in extreme northwestern Arizona or westward toward Lake Mead. Pattie stated that as his men approached, the Native 37 Goetzmann, Narrative of James O. Pattie, 86–87. 38 As Jedediah Smith and his men struggled down the Colorado the first time, they came to rough hills where the river coursed through a steep ravine. Smith, apprehensive about taking the horses down, had little choice since man and beast desperately needed water. With difficulty all eventually made it to the river and beyond, finding a growth of grass to pasture the horses. Later, Smith noted in his diary that “it was at this place a party from Taos saw my track.” George Brooks concluded that according to presently known source materials, this could only refer “to the Ewing Young party which passed north along the Colorado after leaving the Mohave villages in the winter of 1827,” probably meaning February or March of that year. See Brooks, Southwest Expedition of Jedediah S. Smith, 69– 70. 39 Clifton B. Kroeber, ed., “The Route of James O. Pattie on the Colorado in 1826: A Reappraisal by A. L. Kroeber,” Arizona and the West 8 (Winter 1964): 135–36. Robert Euler’s important final conclusion included in Kroeber’s article stated “it may not at all be possible to analyze the Pattie account in an ethno-historical sense after he left the Mohave villages” (135).


Another irreconcilable portion of the account is that just after the battle with the Paiutes, the men observed the river coursing north, “flowing through a rich valley, skirted with high mountains, the summits white with snow.”42 Mount Dellenbaugh, just east of most Shivwits lands, might have had snow in April, but bea40 Goetzmann, Personal Narrative of James O. Pattie, 85– 88. 41 Kroeber, “Route of James O. Pattie,” 120, states that “many of his experiences appear extravagant and erroneous.” Robert G. Cleland, This Reckless Breed of Men: The Trappers and Fur Traders of the Far Southwest (New York: Knopf, 1950), 186, argues that Pattie’s narrative becomes “almost worthless” from where the Mohave conflicts end. Goetzmann’s introduction to the Lippincott Keystone edition of Pattie narrative terms his travel route “conjectured,” xiii. And Batson, previously cited, stated that during this segment of the account, “the confused geography in this part of the narrative makes it difficult to follow Pattie’s wanderings after he left the Mohave villages,” 178. 42 Goetzmann, Personal Narrative of James O. Pattie, 88.

The Smith brigade then crossed over the chain of mountains at Clear Creek as their predecessors had the year before. Smith led them into the Beaver, Utah, area to the stream he had named the Lost River. Here, Smith and his men encountered numerous Paiutes, who had almost all fled upon his arrival during his earlier journey. This time, Smith reported “they came to me by dozens. Every little party told me by signs and words so that I could understand them, of the party of white men that had passed there the year [season] before, having left a knife and other articles 43 Ibid., 88. 44 Sullivan, Travels of Jedediah Smith, 27. Smith reported no other information on this situation, but this is circumstantial evidence of another possible reason for the brutal attack on the Tonequint Paiute village a few weeks earlier. 45 Ibid., 27. These were likely the tracks of shod animals, which Native Americans almost never used.

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Smith’s diary provides information to support a far more logical—if not yet proven—alternative explanation for these baffling events. According to Smith, at Utah Lake the Utes informed him that such men had traveled through southern Utah: “The Utas had told me of some men that came from this direction [south] last spring and passed through their country on their way to Taos.” The members of this group, according to the Utes, had “nearly starved to death.”44 The Smith diary does not describe his second brigade’s route for the hundred miles beyond Utah Lake, but it is unlikely that they would have again detoured up Spanish Fork Canyon. They probably followed the west slope of the Wasatch Mountains as Smith, Sublette, and Jackson employee Daniel Potts had done the previous year. Somewhere near the Joseph, Sevier County, area he observed the hoof prints of horses and mules. In Smith’s words: “I saw tracks of horses and mules which appeared to have passed in the spring when the ground was soft. These tracks were no doubt made by the party the Indians spoke[n] of [while still among the Utes at Utah Lake].”45

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There is no beaver stream close to the Shivwits domain, including the Colorado River itself in the Grand Canyon gorge. Pattie also stated they encountered snow up to eighteen inches deep. His probable route in April was along the canyon rim, a region devoid of beaver. But just what his route was is not clear; other scholars have judged this segment of Pattie’s narrative to be unreliable.41 It is doubtful that there was ever even one central village on the north rim or elsewhere with any significant population in the entire Shivwits territory. The band was never particularly numerous and their homeland possessed virtually no water sources other than a few invaluable seeps and springs that could not sustain a large population.

ver trapping areas on a north-flowing river through a rich valley do not even come close to fitting the topography of that region.43 Anthropologists have speculated that Pattie’s narrative must have occurred along the Colorado River because there seemed to be no other possible explanation for the account.

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Americans “came out and began to fire arrows upon us. We gave them in return a round of rifle balls.” The ruthless Pattie, who had participated in the killing of sixteen Mohaves the previous week, recorded that his men laughed heartily as the Indians tried to dodge the rifle balls, having never before heard the report of a rifle. In the diary account, the victorious trappers then “marched through the village without seeing any inhabitants, except the bodies of those we had killed.” Immediately thereafter, Pattie claimed, they divided the party; half of them trapped while the others kept up vigilant guard duty. He stated that trapping in this region was productive.40

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“Mountain Men,” by William Henry Jackson. —

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288 at the [then-abandoned] encampment when the Indians had run away.” Smith offered the Paiutes some small presents before continuing on the route.46 After following the future course of Interstate 15, the group went up the Santa Clara River where the previous year Smith had visited and traded with the Tonequint Paiutes. This time they discovered that the village was abandoned. As the trappers examined the area they found burned-out wickiups; as Smith wrote, “Not an Indian was to be seen, neither was there any appearance of their having been there in the course of the summer. Their little lodges were burned down.”47 Reconsideration of the actions of the Young-Pattie brigade sheds light on this tragic mystery. We might surmise that Pattie’s group continued up the Muddy-Virgin River tributary to the Colorado and headed farther north instead of following the barren and beaver-scarce Colorado River toward the Grand Canyon. These men were primarily fur trappers, preoccupied with 46 Ibid., 27–28. 47 Ibid., 28.

finding better beaver-hunting habitat. The Colorado River above the Mohave villages was a very poor location, at least until its junction with the Virgin, since that area was—and is— almost completely desert. On the other hand, the lower Virgin River was fine beaver habitat, as another group of American trappers that included Pegleg Smith and George C. Yount discovered just two years later.48 The Pattie trappers might have looted, assaulted, and destroyed the village of the Tonequint Paiutes. Pattie even acknowledged in his account that his men had attacked some Native Americans. Hopefully further relevant source materials will eventually be located, but in the meantime, this should be considered the most likely chain 48 San Francisco Bulletin, October 26, 1866, a Pegleg Smith obituary. See also Hafen, Old Spanish Trail, 136. They proved so successful, acquiring beaver pelts by midseason, that Smith and a companion were dispatched with full mule packs of pelts to Los Angeles to sell their fur harvest. When the Mormons arrived at the Tonequint lands twenty years later, Thomas D. Brown noted beaver dams situated in the immediate proximity to the main Tonequint village on the Santa Clara. See Brooks, Journal of the Southern Indian Mission, 55.


Other pieces of evidence pointing to the Pattie group traveling through Utah into Colorado is that Smith saw horseshoe tracks likely belonging to Pattie on the bank of the Sevier River. Two months earlier Smith had heard from Utes that a group from Taos had passed through the region, and it seems plausible that the tracks belonged to Pattie as he passed through the Wasatch by way of Salina Canyon. This is bolstered by the fact that even in Pattie’s narrative the group is said to have traveled to near the confluence of the Green and Colorado rivers. As Joseph J. Hill of the Bancroft Library argued in 1923, the Green River closely fits Pattie’s description of “another part of the river [the Green], emptying into the main river [the Colorado] from the north.”50 The party then trapped on this river for two days and encountered a band of Indians—probably Southern Utes but possibly a smaller segment of the “large party of Shoshones” whom they met and quarreled with several days later. It is entirely unlikely that the Western Shoshones (from northern Utah, Idaho, or Wyoming) would have ventured south of 49 Kroeber, “Route of James O. Pattie,” 129 and n. 21. 50 Joseph J. Hill, “Ewing Young in the Fur Trade of the Far Southwest,” Oregon Historical Quarterly 24 (March 1923): 17–18. Hill wrote that “the Grand-Green confluence [w]as the only neighborhood corresponding to Pattie’s descriptions and permitting of the activities that occurred in the vicinity.”

Following the dry streambed southward, they soon encountered several friendly Paiutes with whom they traded cloth, knives, and beads for two horses, some water containers, and a little food. Continuing down the Mojave—which 51 Lewis R. Freeman, The Colorado River Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow (New York, 1923), cited in Kroeber, “Route of James O. Pattie,” 132n29. This source agrees with Hill that Pattie’s account best describes this to be the confluence of the Grand and Green rivers, making the Colorado River in the eastern extremity of southcentral Utah. See also Goetzmann, Personal Narrative, 81–91.

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The second Smith party arrived at the northern Mohave villages in the late summer, probably August 1827, and traded for several days. The Mohave concealed their violent intent and awaited the proper opportunity. That occasion came on the third day of the stopover as nine of the trappers pushed cane grass rafts loaded with goods into the Colorado. The Mohave attacked with their war clubs, quickly killing ten on the east bank, while also attacking Smith and his remaining men in the river. The severely wounded Thomas Virgin, along with the other eight, were able to reach the far bank. The remaining men expected to meet the same fate as their slain companions, given that they only had five rifles between them and some Mohaves were crossing the river. Smith ordered the survivors to gather against the river and gave his best marksmen the guns. When the Mohaves on the west side indicated that they were ready to approach the survivors, the marksmen killed two and wounded one at a long distance, discouraging further attacks. After nightfall, with no horses, the remaining men headed west across the desert with their goods on their backs. They arranged to locate water each day and, in less than a week, reached another “inconstant” stream—the Mojave River.

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Farther upstream the adjacent Virgin River curved to the north and coursed through the fertile valley later known as the St. George and Washington Fields, fitting Pattie’s narrative of a northern flowing river and a rich fertile valley. Just to the northwest, the often-snow-capped (even in April) Pine Valley Mountains stand prominently against the skyline. This area fits the Pattie narrative’s description of landforms far better than any other in the greater region. If the fighting encounter occurred near the Virgin, which is a far more probable location after a week of travel and trapping, it would much more likely have been a fight between the trappers and the Tonequint Paiutes instead of with the Shivwits band. Admittedly, the matter cannot be entirely proven either way, though Smith’s diary offers substantial corroborating evidence for the present scenario.49

the Colorado River anywhere remotely close to Navajo country (then exclusively in New Mexico and Arizona) where the Pattie narrative places some of these events. Since the Shoshones had recently attacked a company of French trappers on the headwaters of the Platte River, probably in the vicinity of Longs Peak, it is more likely that the Green River was the actual location of the route. This is particularly likely since the Pattie group reportedly then traveled in the same direction to Longs Peak.51

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of events— especially with strong corroborating evidence provided by Smith’s account.

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Smith knew would lead the group toward the southern California population center—they finally descended Cajon Pass into the San Bernardino Rancho area, a satellite property of the more distant San Gabriel Mission. Smith knew several of the mission priests, and he allowed several steers to be killed without permission, with most of the meat dried for travel.

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Leaving Thomas Virgin with an attendant to recuperate from his wounds, the brigade returned up the Cajon, ignoring the law that all incoming foreigners report to the Mexican government. Upon reaching the top of the pass, they turned west toward the Stanislaus River in the San Joaquin Valley. By September 18, the date Smith had promised to return by, the brigade had rejoined Smith’s other trappers. To help with the lack of supplies, a friendly chief and some other members of the Mokelumne Indians provided food; the group still had sufficient traps, gunpowder, and lead. After Smith had reorganized his fur trapping groups, he set out with several Indians for the San Jose Mission, hoping to persuade the priests to assist him with Governor José María de Echeandía.52 The governor soon issued a warrant for Smith’s arrest, believing the American to have insurrectionary intentions. Arrested and jailed, Smith appealed for prompt attention to his case but waited in discomfort for a month before his first hearing. Fortunately, Echeandía trusted Smith’s English translator—William Hartnell—as much as he distrusted Smith. Smith had also engaged four American sea captains willing to back him; they persuaded the governor to let them assume responsibility for Smith until he had left California. This won Smith his freedom, and as soon as the former governor Luis Antonio Argüello approved the route Smith proposed to take upon departure, he was released. Upon release, Smith sold most of his beaver pelts for a low price and generated $4,000 with which to resupply and acquire some sixty horses, plus mules and cattle. As the time for departure approached Smith selected eighteen men from the remaining employees to accompany him to the mouth of the Columbia River in Oregon Coun52 Smith’s men had experienced excellent success trapping over the past season, which was evidence their leader had located the kind of hunting grounds he had previously aspired to discover.

try. This journey took from early January to late June 1828, mainly because there was no trail through the wilderness throughout the north, and thus Smith had to blaze the route—another major achievement. Along the trek, he noted that “some of the cedar [redwood] were the noblest trees [he] had ever seen, extremely tall and with trunks measuring 15 feet diameter.” This was in the area of what would later become the Jedediah Smith State Park, north of Crescent City, California, near the Oregon border.53 Later, faced with crossing the Umpqua River near present-day Reedsport, Oregon, Smith sought a fording place for the cattle they had driven with them to avoid the difficult boggy lands adjacent to the riverbanks. He, two companions, and an Indian guide borrowed a canoe and explored along the river. As Smith departed, he warned the man he left in charge—Rogers—not to allow any Umpqua Indians to enter their camp. There had already been several conflicts with local Native Americans, including one rather serious involving the loss of the last remaining axe, which resulted in severe punishment for the suspected thief. There were also earlier disputes due to trading. However, Rogers did not keep the Indians out of the camp, and on the fateful morning of July 14, 1828, some two hundred Native Americans gathered as the remaining sixteen exhausted trappers slept, cleaned their rifles, or ate breakfast. The historian Barton Barbour writes that “the [surprise] attack came with lightning speed and staggering ferosity.” Fifteen of the trappers were killed quickly in terror and pain. One man, Arthur Black, escaped into the forest and would survive, despite injury.54 The three river-bound trappers were returning to their camp when a Native American on the riverbank shouted something to their Indian guide, who immediately reached for Smith’s rifle and capsized the canoe. The three trappers swam for the opposite shore “amidst a hail of musket balls and arrows.” After surveying the campsite from a safe distance and seeing no movement, they escaped toward the Pacific shoreline to the west, then north to Fort Vancouver, the British Hudson Bay Company headquarters at the mouth of the 53 Morgan, Jedediah Smith, 256–65; Barbour, Jedediah Smith, 190–224. 54 Barbour, Jedediah Smith, 219–26.


Smith’s caravan departed St. Louis on April 10, 1831, with twenty-two mule-pulled freight wagons. About a month later, in dry country, the wagon train came to the Cimarron Cutoff, which if sufficient water could be found would save valuable time getting the goods to market. Naturally, Jed Smith was one of those selected to 55 Barbour, Jedediah Smith, 241, 247–49; Morgan, Jedediah Smith, 320–21. In August 1830, the company dissolved by selling its assets to five fellow trappers, Thomas Fitzpatrick, Jim Bridger, Milton Sublette, Jean Baptiste Gervais, and Henry Fraeb, who organized Rocky Mountain Fur Company. That winter, William Ashley sold the former partners’ large stock of furs at Philadelphia for $84,500, before he took out his substantial commission. When the debts were liquidated and all accounts finalized, each of the three partners received at least $17,500. 56 Barbour, Jedediah Smith, 252; Morgan, Jedediah Smith, 325, 320–21.

Jedediah S. Smith’s two main biographers have emphasized his major accomplishments, yet no one has sufficiently addressed the breadth of knowledge he recorded on the lands and peoples of what would become Utah. When John C. Frémont’s main biographer, Allan Nevins, was ready to publish his work, he planned to entitle it “Frémont: The Great Pathfinder.” But like many other Americans at that time, he belatedly commenced to discover the extent of Jed Smith’s initial discoveries. After the man had been then almost completely forgotten for several generations, Nevins instead titled his work Frémont: Pathmarker of the West. This tacitly acknowledged that the expedition’s guides, primarily Kit Carson, would have first learned about much of the West from Smith, who had been dead and almost forgotten for most of a century prior to publication of Nevin’s biography. Although Smith had prepared his diaries and a map of his travels for publication, he died before completing that project. “It is now clear that had his map of the West been published shortly after it was drawn,” surmise Dale Morgan and Carl Wheat, “it would have advanced public understanding and appreciation of this vast and complex area by at least fifteen years, and in some portions by even more.” 58 57 Barbour, Jedediah Smith, 258–59, 267–70. 58 Morgan and Wheat, Jedediah Smith and His Maps, 17.

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At that time, at only thirty-one years old, Jed Smith attempted to retire and purchased a farm in Ohio. He clearly intended to rewrite his diaries for publication and hired a man to copy and edit his maps. He also planned to write a book about his experiences in the West and on the region itself. However, a year later, likely bored with the inaction of retirement, he became involved with a commercial venture hauling freight over the Santa Fe Trail from Missouri to New Mexico. This demonstrated that, in Barbour’s words, the retired mountain man’s economic security “had not eclipsed his love for exploration.” Dale Morgan speculated that, since Smith knew the majority of the West well, such a venture would fill in the last gap in Smith’s knowledge of the geography of the region he intended to write about. During this time Smith considered in the future taking a job as a guide to one or more of the government’s planned topographic expeditions.56

venture out ahead, along with seasoned mountain man Thomas Fitzpatrick to locate water sources. When they found a depression in the terrain, they decided to dig a well. Smith moved on to investigate farther west. He was last seen through Fitzpatrick’s spy glass from about three miles away. According to secondhand information from traders and associates of the Comanche warriors who encountered Smith alone at a waterhole, the warriors surrounded him and, when his horse nervously whirled around, shot him in the back. Still able to shoot, the fearless Smith is said to have killed the Indian chief before himself being killed. His body was never recovered, but eventually his firearms turned up in New Mexico and were obtained by family members. This was a tragic but not unexpected end for one who had spent much of the last eight years in danger. Still, it was a tragedy for the nation to lose one of its greatest explorers when he was so young and had yet to write about what he had discovered. He died at age thirty-two.57

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Columbia River. Black had gotten there before them. The company chief, Dr. John McLoughlin, and his men assisted Smith in retrieving much of their equipment, horses, and furs from more friendly Native Americans. Most of this was purchased by the British, who also allowed the survivors to remain at the headquarters until the following spring, when Smith and Black reunited with his partners in Idaho. The company had prospered since he had left, but within another year the partners were all prepared to sell their company shares.55

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A. H. Brue’s 1834 map of the northern reaches of Mexico. This map clearly shows information derived from Jedediah Smith, including Smith’s southern route in 1826. It is “noteworthy as the earliest attempt by a cartographer to display Jedediah Smith’s actual route on a map,” according to Dale L. Morgan and Carl I. Wheat, Jedediah Smith, 18.

Another aspect of Smith’s exploration that deserves more recognition is his role in opening the so-called Old Spanish Trail from Santa Fe to Los Angeles in 1829. Smith blazed the longest part of the trail—from Salina Canyon in east-central Utah through the southwest portion of Utah, Arizona, and Nevada, to Needles, California. LeRoy R. Hafen wrote that prior to Smith, who proved the route to be practicable, “no party would have set out with an organized pack horse train

of goods to barter in California” because the route was unknown. As word-of-mouth news of Smith’s journey reached the New Mexico province, caravans began to head for California.59 Except for a few comments a half century earlier by Padres Dominguez and Escalante, Jedediah Smith was the first Euro American to offer any details regarding the life ways and challenges of 59 Hafen and Hafen, Old Spanish Trail, 156, 169, 171, 177–92.


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Jedediah Smith monument, Frémont Indian State Park.

Utah Southern Paiutes, including insights into the impact of the New Mexican slave trade in their region. His record also helps to resolve the perplexing question of what happened to the Tonequint village on the Santa Clara River first visited by Smith and his men in 1826 but then abandoned the year following. In his travel account, James O. Pattie admitted that he and his men attacked and killed an undetermined number of Native American men somewhere in the Colorado River region, and it seems probable based on Smith’s corroborating evidence that Pattie was responsible for destroying the Tonequint village. It was only a temporary abandonment, though; in 1854, when the first Mormon missionaries came to settle on the Santa Clara, the village was again flourishing with up to eight hundred residents. Unfortunately, in the 1860s and 1870s, tragedy returned when the population was devastated by several smallpox epidemics to which few Native Americans had much immunity. Two decades later, the neighboring Shivwits Paiutes were offered and moved to the former Tonequint lands on the Santa Clara.

Edward Leo Lyman, a contributor to the Quarterly for over forty years, taught high school and college history classes in California. For the past dozen years he has been semiretired, residing with his wife, Brenda, and daughter, Genevieve, in Silver Reef, Utah. He continues to research and write western history, while teaching upper-division courses at Dixie State University each semester. He is currently writing a history of the Southern Paiute Tribe.

WEB EXTRA

At history.utah.gov/uhqextras, we produce an interactive map—with diary excerpts and images—of Jedediah Smith’s southwestern expedition.

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An itinerant photographer captured this portrait of Milam Alexander Jones Jr. with his grandfather, F. M. Jones, probably at Granger, Texas, in about 1927.


BY

WIL L

B AG LE Y

Living memory is complicated. Careless historians “confuse memory and history,” noted Richard White. “History is the enemy of memory. The two stalk each other across the fields of the past, claiming the same terrain.” Yet in the jungle of the past, “only memory knows the trails. Historians have to follow cautiously.” I recall a mid-1950s afternoon in a humble shanty that stood not fifty yards from our home above an East Mill Creek church. Its ancient resident told the neighborhood kids he had crossed the plains as a child. Historians must handle memory—especially personal memories—as ruthlessly as detectives compare, interrogate, and match their sources against each other, for, as White observed, “Memory can mislead as well as lead.” Was my recollection one of the treasures of living memory hidden all around us—or more evidence that our dense and tangled memories are more powerful than history?1 Events of the nineteenth century sometimes seem to be impossibly distant, but encounters with remembered history can bring that unfamiliar world into startling focus, raise questions, and provide insights. The last survivor of the 1857 Mountain Meadows Massacre, Sarah Frances Baker Gladden Mitchell, died on October 4, 1947, at the age of 93.2 1 Richard White, Remembering Ahanagran: Storytelling in a Family’s Past (New York: Hill and Wang, 1998), 4. The unlikely memory of my neighbor was not impossible: Utah’s “last living pioneer,” Hilda Anderson Erickson, came to Utah in 1866 at age seven and died in 1968. 2 Ronald W. Walker, Richard E. Turley, and Glen M. Leonard, Massacre at Mountain Meadows: An American Tragedy (New York: Oxford University Press, 2008), 382n7. Juanita Brooks, The Mountain Meadows Massacre (1950; repr., Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1991), is the classic source. Will Bagley, Blood of the Prophets:

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A Grandson’s Memories of Felix Marion Jones and the Massacre at Mountain Meadows

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Touching History:

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Her descendants joined some four hundred people in September 2007 in southern Utah to commemorate the sesquicentennial of the atrocity. Jerilyn Jones Clayton of Ely, Nevada, a great-granddaughter of Felix Marion Jones, one of the massacre’s youngest survivors, attended the commemoration. Her father, Milam Alexander (Mike) Jones Jr., vividly recalled the stories his grandfather, Felix Marion (or F. M.), told him when he had lived with his youngest son’s family from 1926 until shortly before his death in 1932. Big Daddy, as his seven children affectionately called Mike Jones, celebrated his eighty-fifth birthday in the Texas hill country in 2008. He had always wanted to share his story with a historian. Jerilyn decided to give him a birthday present—a historian. She helped underwrite my airline ticket to Austin.3 This journey led deeper into the story of the children brought back from Utah to Arkansas in 1859 after surviving the most controversial event in Utah’s contested history: the merciless massacre of about 120 men, women, and children on September 11, 1857, at Mountain Meadows. Five days after an alleged Indian attack, officers of the Nauvoo Legion, Utah’s territorial militia, promised to escort the party to safety, marched them a mile up the wagon road, and then slaughtered the disarmed emigrants. The men involved in the atrocity murdered everyone they thought capable of testifying against them. Their leaders stole all the property of seventeen orphans, some infants and none older than six in 1857. Two years later federal officers faced a daunting challenge: identify the orphans and match them with relatives and family friends in Arkansas. No survivor proved more problematic than Felix Marion Jones, the child eventually placed with the Jones family but apparently identified on early lists as Elijah, Eligah, Ephraim, and even (in a New York Times typo) as Eliza Huff.4 Many orphans were reunited Brigham Young and the Massacre at Mountain Meadows (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2002) builds on Brooks. 3 This article relies on the author’s interview notes with the Jones family in Wimberley, Texas, in 2008 and 2009. Milam Alexander Jones Family, box 1, Will Bagley Research Collection, MSS B 1980, Utah State Historical Society, Salt Lake City, Utah. 4 Walker, Turley, and Leonard, Massacre at Mountain

with relatives, but for some it was never clear if the officials placed them with the right family. When the Jones family left Johnson County, Arkansas, for California in April 1857, Felix Marion was about a year old. His family consisted of his father, John Milam Jones, about 32; his mother, Eloah Angeline Tackitt Jones, about 27; a sister perhaps named Saphronia, age unknown; his uncle Newton, and his widowed grandmother, Cynthia Tackitt, 49, along with five of her children—Marion, Sebron, Matilda, James Milam, and Jones M.—who ranged in age from twelve to twenty. Sebron Tackitt might have had a family of his own. Cynthia’s oldest son, Pleasant Tackitt, 25, his wife, Armilda Miller Tackitt, 22, and their sons Emberson Milam, 4, and a boy about Felix’s age, William Henry, came too. They camped on the border of Indian Territory to let the grass freshen on the prairies. Fielding Wilburn Jones and Felix W. Jones visited their brothers, as did Francis M. Rowan, who was “well acquainted with the boys, Milam Jones, and Newton Jones particularly.” Newton had about thirty dollars and a rifle, Felix W. Jones recalled, while Milam Jones had a shotgun. Their nephew, Fielding Wilburn, spent two or three days camped with them. The Jones brothers drove about sixty beef cattle, and four yoke of first-rate work oxen pulled their heavily laden “large good ox wagon.” Perhaps George D. Basham joined the company, which had “a general outfit to make the trip comfortable.” George W. Baker’s wagons camped nearby.5 The Jones clan “constituted one company in family groups,” F. M. Rowan swore in 1860. “The Jones boys owned the waggin, oxen and out fit, and the others seemed to be living with them and depending on the Jones boys for their support,” he said. The men were well armed and equipped for an overland journey. Rowan estimated the property was worth $1,075.6 Meadows, 219, 248. 5 Wilburn and Rowan 1860 Affidavits, in David L. Bigler and Will Bagley, eds., Innocent Blood: Essential Narratives of the Mountain Meadows Massacre (Norman: Arthur H. Clark, 2008), 52–53. 6 Rowan, Deposition, October 24, 1860, Ibid., 51–52. With odd precision, LDS historians calculated that John and Newton Jones owned “known property” worth $814 to $1,215. While not counting “all the emigrants’ property,” the train was worth $27,240 to $48,102.50. Walker, Turley, and Leonard, Massacre at Mountain Meadows,


Upon learning of the atrocity, on December 31, 1857, William C. Mitchell asked Arkansas Senator William Sebastian, chair of the committee on Indian Affairs, to help rescue the rumored 251–53. 7 P., “Letter from Angel’s Camp,” San Francisco Daily Alta California, November, 1, 1857, 1/3. 8 “Extract from a letter Carroll Co.,” Little Rock Arkansas State Gazette and Democrat, February 18, 1858, 2/2.

Forney and his agents carried out their orders in spring 1859 but ran into a wall of fear, faith, and fanaticism in southern Utah. On the road, they “made diligent inquiry concerning the massacre of this party of emigrants,” but no one had “any knowledge of the massacre, except that they had heard it was done by the Indians,” wrote deputy U.S. Marshal William H. Rogers. After collecting thirteen children from Hamblin at Santa Clara, “one at Painter [Pinto] 9 U.S. Senate, The Massacre at Mountain Meadows, and other massacres in Utah Territory, 36th Congress, 1 Sess., Serial 1033 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1860), 42–44 (hereafter Massacre, Serial 1033). 10 For the rescue, see Bagley, Blood of the Prophets, 208– 230, 236–42; and Todd Compton, A Frontier Life: Jacob Hamblin Explorer and Indian Missionary (Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 2013), 98–116, 150–61. 11 Forney to Mix, June 22, 1858, Massacre, Serial 1033, 73, 44. 12 Forney to Hamblin, August 4, 1858, box 26, fd. 09, Brigham Young Incoming Correspondence, 1839–1877, CR 1234 1, LDS Church History Library, Salt Lake City, Utah.

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It took federal officials two years to return the orphans to Arkansas.10 “On my arrival in this Territory the Indians were in a feverish excitement, and great energy, and almost incessant traveling among them, and presents, were necessary to calm them down,” Forney wrote. On June 22, 1858, Jacob Hamblin explained “where the children are”: he had one and said “all the children (fifteen) in question are in his immediate neighborhood, in the care of whites.” Forney heard the “unfortunate children were for some days among Indians; with considerable effort they were all recovered, bought and otherwise, from Indians.”11 He directed Hamblin to “collect all the children . . . and bring them into your family and have them well taken care of. Clothe them. You will be well compensated for all the trouble you and Mrs. Hamblin will have.”12

I

“The painful intelligence” that “an emigrant train with 130 persons from Arkansas” had been attacked in Utah Territory, “and that all of the emigrants, with the exception of 15 children, were then and there massacred and murdered” reached northwest Arkansas by Christmas 1857. Friends and relatives heard the dead included “Milam Jones and his brother, and his mother-in-law and family, Pleasant Tacket and family,” and others, “all of whom were our neighbors, friends and acquaintances.” They knew the few children “saved from the dreadful fate of their parents and the rest of their company were delivered over to the custody of the Mormons of Cedar city.” The news was correct: seventeen children, including F. M. Jones, were still alive, but all the other members of his family and every member of the company above the age of six years had died at a place called Mountain Meadows. To the grieving survivors, it appeared “that the Mormons are instigating the Indians to hostilities against our citizens” and were “systematically engaged in the infamous work of robbing and murdering peaceful wayfarers and emigrants and resisting the authority and laws of the United States—and in short of rebellion and treason against the general government.” Arkansas’s largest newspaper asked, “What will the Government do with these Mormons and Indians? Will it not send out enough men to hang all the scoundrels and thieves at once, and give them the same play they give our women and children?”8

survivors. “I must have satisfaction for the inhuman manner in which they have slain my children,” Mitchell wrote, “together with two brothers-in-law and seventeen of their children.” On March 4, 1858, acting Commissioner Charles Mix directed Dr. Jacob Forney, Utah Territory’s second Superintendent of Indian Affairs, and his agents to find the children reported to have survived “the massacre of a train on its way to California, and three hundred miles beyond Salt Lake City.”9

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The Jones clan joined “Captain Jack” Baker’s train at Fort Bridger in July. On October 29, 1857, an eyewitness described meeting “a man named Milan Jones, and a widow named Tacket, who was coming to live with her son in California.” He said “the whole company had at least a thousand head of cattle with them. They also had many splendid rifles and guns, and plenty of them.”7

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Creek, and two at Cedar City,” Forney headed north. Pahvant leader Kanosh, who had guided Forney from Corn Creek, reported Indians had told him “there were two more children saved from the massacre than Mr. Hamblin had collected.” Forney sent Rogers south to investigate. Near Harmony at “a small settlement containing five or six houses,” Rogers inquired about the two children, but none of the residents “professed to know anything about any children besides those that Mr. Hamblin had collected. I told them that if the children were in the country at all, every house would be searched if they were not given up.” A man from Pocketville (now Virgin), then admitted “his wife had one of the children,” who “was very young, and that his wife was very much attached to it.” He was anxious to keep him, but Rogers “told him that I had no power to give the child away, and that I would send and get it in a few days.” Jacob Hamblin recovered “a bright eyed and rosy cheeked boy, about two years old, [who] must have been an infant when the massacre occurred.”13 “In each of many nineteenth-century conflicts between the Mormons and their neighbors,” the historian David L. Bigler has observed, “one almost always discovers two squarely opposing, mutually exclusive, and highly credible versions.”14 Take, for example, the condition of the recovered children. “No one can depict the glee of these infants when they realized that they were in the custody of what they called ‘the Americans,’” John Cradlebaugh recalled. Judge Cradlebaugh was no friend of the Mormons, but his complaint that church leaders reveled “upon the spoils obtained by murder, while seventeen orphan children are turned penniless upon the world” was true.15 James Lynch claimed he found the orphans “in a most wretched condition, half starved, half naked, filthy, infested with vermin, and their eyes diseased from the cruel neglect to

which th