1861 [July] History Written for Mr. Benjamin's Ethnological Tourists

Title

1861 [July] History Written for Mr. Benjamin's Ethnological Tourists

Description

A history of the physical, political and spiritual colonization of Utah.

Type

Correspondence

Sender

[Unknown]

Recipient

Mr. Benjamin's Ethnological Tourists

Date

1861 [July]

Location

Great Salt Lake City

Subject

Emigration
Settlements
Church Doctrine
Politics

Item sets

Written for Mr Benjamins Ethnological Tourist)

Early in April, 1847, Brigham Young with a Company of 142 Latter-day Saints (commonly called Mormons) left Winter Quarters (now called Florence), on the right bank of the Missouri river, in quest of an asylum where they and their brethren would be far from those who had so long and persistently persecuted them on account of their religious belief, and where they could fulfill the requirements of Israel's God concerning them.

On the 24th of July, of the same year, the company arrived and camped where Great Salt Lake City stands, and immediately began to plow, irrigate, plant, lay out and build a large fort, and do other labor preparatory to the arrival of the immigration following and the approach of winter in a location some 1000 miles from the nearest settlement.

Early in September, President Young and a large portion of the Pioneer company started on their return to Winter Quarters for their families, and met on Big Sandy, an affluent to Green river, the first company of the Saints who were following in the track made by the Pioneers. Some 3000 men, women, and children arrived that Fall, and began to complete the fort previously planned, in which they resided until the Fall of 1858, when, upon the return of President Young with a large additional number of Saints, permission was given to build upon City lots, as the settlement was then deemed to be strong enough to successfully oppose any Indian aggression.

Sep. 9, 1858, the Territory of Utah was organized by Congress, and in 1851 Fillmore, the Capitol of Utah, was located on the left bank of Chalk Creek, near the center of the Territory, since when the settlements have extended from north latitude 37 to 42, with a breadth, at their widest point, upwards of 80 miles.

No country, within our knowledge, has been so successfully settled under so many disadvantages. A people unlawfully driven from their homes take what little provision and few implements they can procure and transport, wend their way over a vast and mostly trackless plain, settle in a region of towering mountains and arid plains, far from the abodes of civilization, and in a few years build large cities, make extensive settlements, erect commodious public and private edifices, put mills and varied machinery in operation, plant orchards and vineyards, and otherwise so wisely, industriously, and successfully conduct their labors as in a comparatively brief period to be able to supply within themselves almost every want of civilized life. All this has been accomplished in a region where no civilized people we know of would long remain, even though possession were given to them free of cost.

The political organization of Utah is like that of other Territories of the United States, and is divided into Executive, Legislative, and Judicial departments. The Governor, once Chief and two Associate Justices, a Secretary, District Attorney and Marshall are appointed by the President of the United States, and the members of the Legislative Assembly are elected by the people, but the Governor is empowered to veto at his discretion the enactments of the Assembly.

The organization of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is precisely in accordance with the pattern instituted by the Savior when on earth, and again in our day revealed by Him through Joseph Smith the Prophet, with Apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, teachers, gifts, helps, governments, and such other appendages growing therefrom as are necessary to constitute a perfect organization for the salvation of all who obey, in the celestial kingdom of our God.

In the low valleys in the southern parts of the Territory, cotton, and tropical fruits can be raised, and in many localities in the higher latitudes, the customary kinds of grain, fruits, and vegetables. In all cases the tillable portions are comparitively very limited in extend, for, aside from mountains, barren hills, deserts, and alkali grounds, in many places where water is lacking as no crops are produced without irrigation, except under circumstances too unimportant to mention.

Horses, cattle, sheep, and other kinds of stock are successfully raised, but the amount of summer range and opportunities for providing forage for wintering them are also limited by many of the restrictions already mentioned in regard to tillable land.