1873 November 25 Address upon Completion of the Utah Southern Railroad

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1873 November 25 Address upon Completion of the Utah Southern Railroad

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1873/11/25

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Address of Prest. Young upon the
advent of the Utah So. R. R. at Provo
Nov. 25, 1873


Friends and Fellow-citizens:
Assembled to celebrate the completion of the Utah Southern Railroad to this city, I gladly join in your rejoicings, feeling a deep interest, in common with you, in the successful progress of a work fraught with so many benefits to the people of this Territory.
I deem this a fitting occasion for briefly tracing our progress in the grand and steadily "onward and upward" march of praiseworthy improvement.
Soon after the organization of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Fayette, Seneca County, State of New York, on the 6th of April 1830, with six menbers, the people removed to Kirtland, Ohio, and at once began erecting buildings, opening streets, preparing to build a temple, which they completed; resumed the publication of the "Evening and Morning Star," -- after the destruction of the printing press, by a mob, in Jackson County, Missouri, in 1833; then published it under the title of "Messenger and Advocate," sent Missionaries to various portions of the United States, Canada, and Europe; founded colonies near the western borders of Missouri; and labored zealously and indefatigably for the welfare of mankind, until they left their hard earned homes in Kirtland and the adjacent regions.

In 1831, when forming their settlements near the western borders of Upper Missouri, -- the Saints found a region sparsely settle, and but rudely improved, and, with their characteristic love for improvement, at once established schools, soon superseded the homing block and the grater, by mills driven by horse and water power, published the first number of the "Evening and Morning Star in June 1832, then, (if I rightly remember,) the only newspaper published in Missouri outside of St. Iouis, Jefferson City and Booneville; published a book entitled the "Book of Commandments" and through unity and industry in every possible and laudable improvement, were rapidly acquiring desirable and very commendable surroundings, when they were driven into still more sparsely settled adjacent counties, where they again began, with untiring patience and unflagging energy, the improvement of themselves, -- their children, -- their few neighbors, and everything around them. This course was pursued, and prosperous settlements were dotting the prairies as by magic, until their expulsion from that state in 1838. At the time of their expulsion Gen. Clark remarked to the Saints "you must not be seen here as many as five together, if you are, the citizens will be upon you and destroy you, but you must flee immediately out of the State." Still he wished the Saints to remain, if they would only forsake or discard their religion, for said he "you are an industrious people; you have done more in three years to build up the country and improve it than the old settlers have done in sixteen years."
After the expulsion from Missouri, their scattered numbers were gathered on the left bank of the Mississippi river, at a small town named Commerce, (now Nauvoo,) in Illinois, in the spring of 1839, and they there again began to exhibit that wonderful, unflagging zeal for improvement. In the next five years preceding the massacre of the Prophet and Patriarch Joseph and Hyrum Smith, an extensive city site was laid out; large numbers of commodious dwellings were erected; the low lands drained; many public edifices reared; the walls of a costly temple raised to the first story; numerous schools put in operation, a University and other charters obtained; and several thousands of happy and industrious people were rapidly building up a great and prosperous city in a locality previously so unhealthy as to be shunned by all but few.

Other flourishing settlements were made in various parts of Hancock County, and across the river in Lee County, Iowa; and fields, orchards, flocks, herds, happy homes, and a peaceful and intelligent people were rapidly adding to the wealth and strength of our nation.
During the less than two years next after the massacre of the Prophet and Patriarch, the Temple was completed; a site selected in the Mississippi river for building a dam for manufacturing purposes, and all possible improvements encouraged and prosecuted to the utmost, until the power of religious intolerance turned efforts for continued and increasing improvements into preparations for leaving the state of Illinois.
Such were some of the labors of the Saints, partaking of the sprit, zeal and energy of their leader, the Prophet Joseph Smith,-- the founder of the great latter day work, which the Lord of Hosts has commenced, and which he will watch over for good, unto its final consummation in accordance with His Divine will.
In February, 1846, the Saints began crossing the Mississippi river on their way to these distant valleys, and making resting places at Garden Grove and Pisgah for those who were to follow, where we immediately provided school-houses, temporarily useing tents for that purpose; and filling a requisition from our Government for 500 men to aid in the then war with Mexico, crossed the Missouri river, and erected several hundred log houses; made many dug-outs, built a Grist mill, and according to our invariable custom, school houses; divided the people into Wards, with Bishops and Police, and conducted all matters for the benefit, to the utmost, of a camp at its halt in Winter Quarters (how Florence) on the right bank of the Missouri, several miles above where now is Omaha.
That year we carried the standard of true civilization to California, establishing there the first library, and soon began publishing the "California Star" the first newspaper. (so far as I am aware,) printed on the western slope of the Rocky Mountains,

Shortly after that date, the "Frontier Guard<smen>ian "was published in Council Bluffs, Iowa.
In April, 1847, the Pioneer Company, numbering 143 men, 3 women and 2 children, began their journey westward, in search of a location where we could unmolestedly serve the Lord our God in accordance with His commandments.
I well remember, that, when riding in advance of that company with my then First Counsellor, Heber C. Kimball and others, to search out the route for the wagons to follow, we were carefully watching for, and frequently conversing about a route for a railroad across the continent.
That company reached the present site of Salt Lake City, on the 24th of July 1847, and at once began its survey into streets and lots, and, aided by Capt James Brown's detachment from the "Mormon Battalion," the erection of a fort for the comfort and security of the families who arrived that season to the number of some 3000 persons.
In 1849, Prest. George A. Smith, presented, in the legislature of the provisional State of Deseret, a memorial to Congress for the construction of a national railroad to the Pacific coast, which said legislature adopted. In 1852, he presented a like memorial in the legislative assembly of the Territory of Utah, which was also adopted, under the following title: "Memorial to Congress for the construction of a great, national central, railroad to the Pacific Coast." pages 225-6 of Laws of Utah, published, 1852.
It is thus clearly shown, that, from the time of our leaving the Missouri river, our attention was drawn to and our influence exercised in favor of an inter-oceanic railroad, and so continued until the completion, early in 1869, of that great work, the Union and Central Pacific Railroad, to the construction of which the inhabitants of Utah rendered most efficient aid.

Few, if any, hailed the advent of telegraphic facilities with more joy than did the people of Utah, as evidenced by our furnishing and setting some 600 miles of poles for the first overland telegraph line, to hasten magnetic communication with the intelligence of the world. Since the completion of that line the "Deseret Telegraph Company" has stretched its wires to an aggregate length of 1000 miles, connecting all our principal cities, towns and mining camps, and penetrating South Eastern Nevada, Northern Arizona, and Southern Idaho.
Soon after the completion of the Union Pacific Railroad, the people of Utah, unaided by Government grants, began the construction of the Utah Central, and speedily completed it between Ogden and Salt Lake Cities. The Utah Southern, - designed to connect with the Texas Pacific, was then commenced at the earliest practicable date, and has been prosecuted as rapidly as means and other facilities would permit, and we are now assembled to celebrate the result of this labor.
We are on the point of connection with Franklin, in the extreme north of the Territory, by our own railroads, a distance of some 170 miles nearly due north and south -- with branches to Little Cottonwood and Bingham Canons in Salt Lake County, and American Fork in Utah County, and the road from Echo to the coal-beds in Summit County, to lend their powerful aid in facilitating travel and transportation, so necessary to the rapid advancement of our agricultural, manufacturing, mining, and all other material interests. And we hope to continue, until the inhabitants of this beautiful and thriving city are in railroad communication with that extensive net-work of roads, ramifying our great country from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and extending into Canada and Mexico.
Furnaces are busily occupied in smelting the rich, argentiferous, galena, and copper ores so abundant in our mountains.
Having thus briefly sketched a few of the prominent items of our history, I again refer to the conditions and circumstances under which our labors have been performed.

It is true that the angel, comissioned to restore in this our day, the fulness of the everlasting gospel, found Joseph but a youth and comparatively unlearned, he having had but limited opportunities for education in the then wilds of Western New York; but, from that date, until so foully massacred with his brother Hyrum in Carthage, Hancock County, Illinois, on the 27th June, 1844, in the 39th year of his age, he assiduously applied himself to studying the English, German, Hebrew and other languages, and gaining all information of worth from every available source, especially through revelation from Heaven, the fountain of all light and knowledge. As many of you know, his was a life of no ordinary character, driven from place to place, surrounded by implacable enemies thirsting for his blood, harassed by vexatious law suits, and, worse than all by the dark plottings of false brethern which culminated in his foul murder, yet, through all the vicissitudes, he never ceased his exertions to improve himself and his brethren.
Believing in his teachings, the teachings of the Saviour through His servants, the Latter-day Saints have from the beginning striven to emulate his pure <and> example, and notwithstanding that the same spirit of opposition <that> which sought to destroy the prophet Joseph and the work of the Lord has unceas ingly labored to throw every obstacle in the way of our social, political and intellectual advancement, we have great reason to feel thankful for the results already achieved.

From the arrival of the Pioneers in 1847 until now, the people of this Territory have at all times labored assiduously and untiringly, amid many adverse circumstances, for the prosperous settlement of the "Great American Desert" and the regions bordering and for the best and most rapid development of the resources of these valleys and mountains. As some of the results, under the blessings of Israel's God, our cities, towns, and villages are now numbered by hundreds, and extend from the Soda Springs, in the Territory of Idaho, some 230 miles north of this City to the settlements in Arizona some 400 miles south. Orchards, gardens and farms have widely multiplied where barrenness has had sway for ages; commodious dwelling, school and meeting houses are fast supplanting the ruder buildings that circumstances at first compelled; numerous factories have relieved the slow and tedious processes of hard labor in the manufacture of textile fabrics; saw and grist mills have been multiplied to meet increasing wants; our publications have increased from the small sized "Deseret News," first published weekly by Dr Willard Richards, in 1850, to the "Deseret News," published weekly, semi-weekly, and daily; the Juvenile Instructor, semi monthly; the Woman's Exponent; the "Salt Lake Hearld" weekly, semi-weekly and daily the "Ogden Junction" semi-weekly and daily; the "Provo Times" daily; large editions of the Book of Mormon, "Hymn Book, Answers to Questions' Catchism, and other publications, not forgetting the famous "Keepapitchinin. Ah! I also must not omit to mention the little "Cactus in St George.
Education, in all that is useful, so obviously underlies true human progress, that a slight allusion in detail may be interesting to many, and serve to show the importance we have always attached to the education of our children, even under the most adverse circumstances.
Pres't George A. Smith, now my first counsellor, in settling Iron County in the winter of 1850-51, did not wait for the erection of a school, but began school teaching, with the few elementary text books then in possession, and by the light of the sage and greasewood camp fires. The first building erected in that county, was a goodly sized, substantial block-house, for the use of meetings and schools, thereby impressing upon the minds of both old and young the importance of what, from first to last, we as a people have always considered a paramount duty, to diligently seek useful information from every available source, at all times and under all circumstances.
With what success this duty has been prosecuted, under numerous disadvantages unknown to the world, let the 36,000 school children of our young Territory answer.

Turning from the brief glance at our material and educational interests and advancement, I deem it fitting to remark that from July 24, 1847, to this auspicious day we are celebrating, our legislators, our judges, our county and city officers, our justices of the peace, all holding authority in each and every department, and the whole people, with comparatively fewer exceptions than I am aware of elsewhere, have labored assiduously for the broadest enjoyment by all, of the rights and privileges designed by our Creator for our benefit, to prevent the least encroachment upon the rights of any, no matter of what name, faith, or nation, and to spread the area of freedom, uniting with eerrything conducing to the true progress of the human family in all that is in anywise beneficial, and to discourage prevent, and eradicate, to the utmost of our influence, means, and opportunities, all that in the least degree militates against the welfare of our fellow beings, doing all possible good to all.
In speaking of the acts of the children of men, it has been wisely said "by their fruits ye shall know them." A few of the fruits produced by this people, during the past forty years, have now been passed in a review, deemed best to be very brief, and in my reflections I often wish that the whole world would do themselves the justice to carefully and candidly scrutinize our course, all our acts and purposes, anywhere and every where. when we have been true to our faith, from our earliest history till now, and learn, by our fruits, whether we are not ever and always true and fast friends to all our fellow-beings, (so far as they will permit,) and ever zealously laboring to the utmost for the most rapid improvement in all things conducive to the temporal and eternal welfare and happiness of mankind.
Friends and Fellow-citizens, permit me to again congratulate you in now being in comunication with all steam lines by sea and land throughout the world, and to wish peace, union, and abundant prosperity to your beautiful city, and to all who are laboring to promote true progress, and advance commendable improvements.