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    Mormonism.ca - Story Of

In Utah

A State Of Civil War
After Smith's Death - Rigdon's Last Days
After The War
Attitude Of The Mormons During The Southern Rebellion
Beginning Of Active Hostilities
Blood Atonement
Brigham Young
Brigham Young's Death - His Character
Brigham Young's Despotism
Colonel Kane's Mission
Early Political History
Eastern Visitors To Salt Lake City - Unpunished Murderers
Even More On The History Of Mormonism
Even More On The Religious Puzzle
Facility Of Human Belief
First Announcement Of The Golden Bible
From The Mississippi To The Missouri
From The Rockies To Salt Lake Valley
Fruitless Negotiations With The Jackson County People
Gentile Irruption And Mormon Schism
Gifts Of Tongues And Miracles
Growth Of The Church
History Of Mormonism
How Joseph Smith Became A Money-digger
In Clay Caldwell And Daviess Counties
Introductory Remarks
Last Days At Kirtland
More On Mormonism Social Puzzle
More On The History Of Mormonism
More On The Religious Puzzle
Mormon Treatment Of Federal Officers
Mormonism The Political Puzzle
Nauvoo After The Exodus
Notes On The History Of Mormonism
Organization Of The Church
Preparations For The Long March
Progress Of The Settlement
Public Announcement Of The Doctrine Of Polygamy
Radical Dissensions In The Church - Origin Of The Danites - Tithing
Renewed Trouble For The Mormons - The Burnings
Rivalries Over The Succession
Sidney Rigdon
Smith A Candidate For President Of The United States
Smith's Falling Out With Bennett And Higbee
Smith's First Visits To Missouri Founding The City And The Temple
Smith's Ohio Business Enterprises
Smith's Picture Of Himself As Autocrat
Social Aspects Of Polygamy
Social Conditions In Nauvoo
Some Church-inspired Murders
The Building Up Of The City - Foreign Proselyting
The Camps On The Missouri
The Different Accounts Of The Revelation Of The Bible
The Directions To The Saints About Their Zion
The Evacuation Of Nauvoo - The Last Mormon War
The Everlasting Gospel
The Expulsion From Jackson County The Army Of Zion
The Expulsion Of The Mormons
The Fight Against Polygamy - Statehood
The Final Expulsion From The State
The First Converts At Kirtland
The Following Companies - Last Days On The Missouri
The Foreign Immigration To Utah
The Founding Of Salt Lake City
The Hand-cart Tragedy
The Institution Of Polygamy
The Last Years Of Brigham Young
The Mormon Battalion
The Mormon Bible
The Mormon Purpose
The Mormon War
The Mormonism Of To-day
The Mormons In Politics - Missouri Requisitions For Smith
The Mormons' Beliefs And Doctrines Church Government
The Mountain Meadows Massacre
The Murder Of The Prophet - His Character
The Nauvoo City Government - Temple And Other Buildings
The Peace Commission
The Pioneer Trip Across The Plains
The Political Puzzle
The Political Puzzle Continued
The Reception Of The Mormons
The Reformation
The Religious Puzzle
The Religious Puzzle Notes
The Settlement Of Nauvoo
The Smith Family
The Social And Society Puzzle
The Social Puzzle
The Social Puzzle Notes
The Spaulding Manuscript
The Suppression Of The Expositor
The Territorial Government - Judge Brocchus's Experience
The Witnesses To The Plates
Translation And Publication Of The Bible
Uprising Of The Non-mormons Smith's Arrest
Wild Vagaries Of The Converts


The Story Of The Mormons

A State Of Civil War
After Smith's Death - Rigdon's Last Days
Beginning Of Active Hostilities
Brigham Young
Facility Of Human Belief
First Announcement Of The Golden Bible
From The Mississippi To The Missouri
From The Rockies To Salt Lake Valley
Fruitless Negotiations With The Jackson County People
Gifts Of Tongues And Miracles
Growth Of The Church
How Joseph Smith Became A Money-digger
In Clay Caldwell And Daviess Counties
Last Days At Kirtland
Nauvoo After The Exodus
Organization Of The Church
Preparations For The Long March
Public Announcement Of The Doctrine Of Polygamy
Radical Dissensions In The Church - Origin Of The Danites - Tithing
Renewed Trouble For The Mormons - The Burnings
Rivalries Over The Succession
Sidney Rigdon
Smith A Candidate For President Of The United States
Smith's Falling Out With Bennett And Higbee
Smith's First Visits To Missouri Founding The City And The Temple
Smith's Ohio Business Enterprises
Smith's Picture Of Himself As Autocrat
Social Conditions In Nauvoo
The Building Up Of The City - Foreign Proselyting
The Camps On The Missouri
The Different Accounts Of The Revelation Of The Bible
The Directions To The Saints About Their Zion
The Evacuation Of Nauvoo - The Last Mormon War
The Everlasting Gospel
The Expulsion From Jackson County The Army Of Zion
The Expulsion Of The Mormons
The Final Expulsion From The State
The First Converts At Kirtland
The Institution Of Polygamy
The Mormon Battalion
The Mormon Bible
The Mormons In Politics - Missouri Requisitions For Smith
The Mormons' Beliefs And Doctrines Church Government
The Murder Of The Prophet - His Character
The Nauvoo City Government - Temple And Other Buildings
The Pioneer Trip Across The Plains
The Reception Of The Mormons
The Settlement Of Nauvoo
The Smith Family
The Spaulding Manuscript
The Suppression Of The Expositor
The Witnesses To The Plates
Translation And Publication Of The Bible
Uprising Of The Non-mormons Smith's Arrest
Wild Vagaries Of The Converts



The Founding Of Salt Lake City








The first white men to enter what is now Utah were a part of the
force of Coronado, under Captain Garcia Lopez de Cardinas, if the
reader of the evidence decides that their journey from Zuni took
them, in 1540, across the present Utah border line.* A more
definite account has been preserved of a second exploration,
which left Santa Fe in 1776, led by two priests, Dominguez and
Escalate, in search of a route to the California coast. A two
months' march brought them to a lake, called Timpanogos by the
natives--now Utah Lake on the map--where they were told of
another lake, many leagues in extent, whose waters were so salt
that they made the body itch when wet with them; but they turned
to the southwest without visiting it. Lahontan's report of the
discovery of a body of bad-tasting water on the western side of
the continent in 1689 is not accepted as more than a part of an
imaginary narrative. S. A. Ruddock asserted that, in 1821, he
with a trading party made a journey from Council Bluffs to Oregon
by way of Santa Fe and Great Salt Lake.**

* See Bancroft's "History of Utah," Chap. I.

** House Report, No. 213, 1st Session, 19th Congress.


Bancroft mentions this claim "for what it is worth," but awards
the honor of the discovery of the lake, as the earliest
authenticated, to James Bridger, the noted frontiersman who, some
twelve years later, built his well-known trading fort on Green
River. Bridger, with a party of trappers who had journeyed west
from the Missouri with Henry and Ashley in 1824, got into a
discussion that winter with his fellows, while they were camped
on Bear River, about the course of that stream, and, to decide a
bet, Bridger followed it southward until he came to Great Salt
Lake. In the following spring four of the party explored the lake
in boats made of skins, hoping to find beavers, and they, it is
believed, were the first white men to float upon its waters.
Fremont saw the lake from the summit of a butte on September 6,
1843. "It was," he says, "one of the great objects of the
exploration, and, as we looked eagerly over the lake in the first
emotions of excited pleasure, I am doubtful if the followers of
Balboa felt more enthusiasm when, from the heights of the Andes,
they saw for the first time the great Western Ocean." This
practical claim of discovery was not well founded, nor was his
sail on the lake in an India-rubber boat "the first ever
attempted on this interior sea."

Dating from 1825, the lake region of Utah became more and more
familiar to American trappers and explorers. In 1833 Captain
Bonneville, of the United States army, obtained leave of absence,
and with a company of 110 trappers set out for the Far West by
the Platte route. Crossing the Rockies through the South Pass, he
made a fortified camp on Green River, whence he for three years
explored the country. One of his parties, under Joseph Walker,
was sent to trap beavers on Great Salt Lake and to explore it
thoroughly, making notes and maps. Bonneville, in his description
of the lake to Irving, declared that lofty mountains rose from
its bosom, and greatly magnified its extent to the south.*
Walker's party got within sight of the lake, but found themselves
in a desert, and accordingly changed their course and crossed the
Sierras into California. In Bonneville's map the lake is called
"Lake Bonneville or Great Salt Lake," and Irving calls it Lake
Bonneville in his "Astoria."

* Bonneville's "Adventures," p. 184.


The day after the first arrival of Brigham Young in Salt Lake
Valley (Sunday, July 25), church services were held and the
sacrament was administered. Young addressed his followers,
indicating at the start his idea of his leadership and of the
ownership of the land, which was then Mexican territory. "He said
that no man should buy any land who came here," says Woodruff;
"that he had none to sell; but every man should have his land
measured out to him for city and farming purposes. He might till
it as he pleased, but he must be industrious and take care of
it." *

* "After the assignments were made, persona commenced the usual
speculations of selling according to eligibility of situation.
This called out anathemas from the spiritual powers, and no one
was permitted to traffic for fancy profit; if any sales were
made, the first cost and actual value of improvements were all
that was to be allowed. All speculative sales were made sub rosa.
Exchanges are made and the records kept by the
register."--Gunnison, "The Mormons" (1852), p. 145.


The next day a party, including all the Twelve who were in the
valley, set out to explore the neighborhood. They visited and
bathed in Great Salt Lake, climbed and named Ensign Peak, and met
a party of Utah Indians, who made signs that they wanted to
trade. On their return Young explained to the people his ideas of
an exploration of the country to the west and north.

Meanwhile, those left in the valley had been busy staking off
fields, irrigating them, and planting vegetables and grain. Some
buildings, among them a blacksmith shop, were begun. The members
of the Battalion, about four hundred of whom had now arrived,
constructed a "bowery." Camps of Utah Indians were visited, and
the white men witnessed their method of securing for food the
abundant black crickets, by driving them into an enclosure fenced
with brush which they set on fire.

On July 28, after a council of the Quorum had been held, the site
of the Temple was selected by Brigham Young, who waved his hand
and said: "Here is the 40 acres for the Temple. The city can be
laid out perfectly square, east and west."* The 40 acres were a
few days later reduced to 10, but the site then chosen is that on
which the big Temple now stands. It was also decided that the
city should be laid out in lots measuring to by 20 rods each, 8
lots to a block, with streets 8 rods wide, and sidewalks 20 feet
wide; each house to be erected in the centre of a lot, and 20
feet from the front line. Land was also reserved for four parks
of to acres each.

* Tullidge's "Life of Brigham Young," p. 178.


Men were at once sent into the mountains to secure logs for
cabins, and work on adobe huts was also begun. On August y those
of the Twelve present selected their "inheritances," each taking
a block near the Temple. A week later the Twelve in council
selected the blocks on which the companies under each should
settle. The city as then laid out covered a space nearly four
miles long and three broad.*

* Tullidge says: "The land portion of each family, as a rule, was
the acre-and-a-quarter lot designated in the plan of the city;
but the chief men of the pioneers, who had a plurality of wives
and numerous children, received larger portions of the city lots.
The giving of farms, as shown is the General Epistle, was upon
the same principle as the apportioning of city lots. The farm of
five, ten, or twenty acres was not for the mechanic, nor the
manufacturer, nor even for the farmer, as a mere personal
property, but for the good of the community at large, to give the
substance of the earth to feed the population . . . . While the
farmer was planting and cultivating his farm, the mechanic and
tradesman produced his supplies and wrought his daily work for
the community." He adds,"It can be easily understood how some
departures were made from this original plan." This understanding
can be gained in no better way than by inspecting the list of
real estate left by Brigham Young in his will as his individual
possession.


On August 22 a General Conference decided that the city should be
called City of the Great Salt Lake. When the city was
incorporated, in 1851, the name was changed to Salt Lake City. In
view of the approaching return of Young and his fellow officers
to the Missouri River, the company in the valley were placed in
charge of the prophet's uncle, John Smith, as Patriarch, with a
high council and other officers of a Stake.

When P. P. Pratt and the following companies reached the valley
in September, they found a fort partly built, and every one busy,
preparing for the winter. The crops of that year had been a
disappointment, having been planted too late. The potatoes raised
varied in size from that of a pea to half an inch in diameter,
but they were saved and used successfully for seed the next year.
A great deal of grain was sown during the autumn and winter,
considerable wheat having been brought from California by members
of the Battalion. Pratt says that the snow was several inches
deep when they did some of their ploughing, but that the ground
was clear early in March. A census taken in March, 1848, gave the
city a population of 1671, with 423 houses erected.

The Saints in the valley spent a good deal of that winter working
on their cabins, making furniture, and carting fuel. They
discovered that the warning about the lack of timber was well
founded, all the logs and firewood being hauled from a point
eight miles distant, over bad roads, and with teams that had not
recovered from the effect of the overland trip. Many settlers
therefore built huts of adobe bricks, some with cloth roofs. Lack
of experience in handling adobe clay for building purposes led to
some sad results, the rains and frosts causing the bricks to
crumble or burst, and more than one of these houses tumbled down
around their owners. Even the best of the houses had very flat
roofs, the newcomers believing that the climate was always dry;
and when the rains and melted snow came, those who had umbrellas
frequently raised them indoors to protect their beds or their
fires.

Two years later, when Captain Stansbury of the United States
Topographical Engineers, with his surveying party, spent the
winter in Salt Lake City, in "a small, unfurnished house of
unburnt brick or adobe, unplastered, and roofed with boards
loosely nailed on," which let in the rains in streams, he says
they were better lodged than many of their neighbors. "Very many
families," he explains, "were obliged still to lodge wholly or in
part in their wagons, which, being covered, served, when taken
off from the wheels and set upon the ground, to make bedrooms, of
limited dimensions, it is true, but exceedingly comfortable. In
the very next enclosure to that of our party, a whole family of
children had no other shelter than one of these wagons, where
they slept all winter."

The furniture of the early houses was of the rudest kind, since
only the most necessary articles could be brought in the wagons.
A chest or a barrel would do for a table, a bunk built against
the side logs would be called a bed, and such rude stools as
could be most easily put together served for chairs.

The letters sent for publication in England to attract emigrants
spoke of a mild and pleasant winter, not telling of the
privations of these pioneers. The greatest actual suffering was
caused by a lack of food as spring advanced. A party had been
sent to California, in November, for cattle, seeds, etc., but
they lost forty of a herd of two hundred on the way back. The
cattle that had been brought across the plains were in poor
condition on their arrival, and could find very little winter
pasturage. Many of the milk cows driven all the way from the
Missouri had died by midsummer. By spring parched grain was
substituted for coffee, a kind of molasses was made from beets,
and what little flour could be obtained was home-ground and
unbolted. Even so high an officer of the church as P. P. Pratt,
thus describes the privations of his family: "In this labor
[ploughing, cultivating, and sowing] every woman and child in my
family, so far as they were of sufficient age and strength, had
joined to help me, and had toiled incessantly in the field,
suffering every hardship which human nature could well endure.
Myself and most of them were compelled to go with bare feet for
several months, reserving our Indian moccasins for extra
occasions. We toiled hard, and lived on a few greens, and on
thistle and other roots."

This was the year of the great visitation of crickets, the
destruction of which has given the Mormons material for the story
of one of their miracles. The crickets appeared in May, and they
ate the country clear before them. In a wheat-field they would
average two or three to a head of grain. Even ditches filled with
water would not stop them. Kane described them as "wingless,
dumpy, black, swollen-headed, with bulging eyes in cases like
goggles, mounted upon legs of steel wire and clock spring, and
with a general personal appearance that justified the Mormons in
comparing them to a cross of a spider and the buffalo." When this
plague was at its worst, the Mormons saw flocks of gulls descend
and devour the crickets so greedily that they would often
disgorge the food undigested. Day after day did the gulls appear
until the plague was removed. Utah guide-books of to-day refer to
this as a divine interposition of Heaven in behalf of the Saints.
But writers of that date, like P. P. Pratt, ignore the miraculous
feature, and the white gulls dot the fields between Salt Lake
City and Ogden in 1901 just as they did in the summer of 1848,
and as Fremont found them there in September, 1843. Gulls are
abundant all over the plains, and are found with the snipe and
geese as far north as North Dakota. Heaven's interposition, if
exercised, was not thorough, for, after the crickets, came
grasshoppers in such numbers that one writer says, "On one
occasion a quarter of one cloudy dropped into the lake and were
blown on shore by the wind, in rows sometimes two feet deep, for
a distance of two miles."

But the crops, with all the drawbacks, did better than had been
deemed possible, and on August 10 the people held a kind of
harvest festival in the "bowery" in the centre of their fort,
when "large sheaves of wheat, rye, barley, oats, and other
productions were hoisted on poles for public exhibition."* Still,
the outlook was so alarming that word was sent to Winter Quarters
advising against increasing their population at that time, and
Brigham Young's son urged that a message be sent to his father
giving similar advice.** Nevertheless P. P. Pratt did not
hesitate in a letter addressed to the Saints in England, on
September 5, to say that they had had ears of corn to boil for a
month, that he had secured "a good harvest of wheat and rye
without irrigation," and that there would be from ten thousand to
twenty thousand bushels of grain in the valley more than was
needed for home consumption.

* Pratt's "Autobiography," p. 406.

** Bancroft's "History of Utah;' p. 281.





Next: Progress Of The Settlement

Previous: The Following Companies - Last Days On The Missouri



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