Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

A Hand-book of reference to the history, chronology, religion and country of the Latterday saints, including the revelation on celestial marriage. For the use of saints and strangers online

. (page 12 of 15)
Online LibraryChurch of Jesus Christ of Latter-day SaintsA Hand-book of reference to the history, chronology, religion and country of the Latterday saints, including the revelation on celestial marriage. For the use of saints and strangers → online text (page 12 of 15)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

had only one and it may have had several. Some explorers say
that the Colorado river must have been the medium for the
transmission of its waters to the sea. This theory is plausible.
The grand canyon of the Colorado measures in places more than
a mile from the surrounding land to the surface of the water
beneath. The banks are of such a character as to preclude the
idea that the river with its present volume, could have cut such
mighty chasms. Almost the rush of an out-going ocean must
have been necessary.

Digitized by VjOOQIC


By way of the Snake river, thence to the Columbia and
through that stream to the Pacific is the latest and probably
the most approved theory. The late Joseph L. Barfoot, for many
years previous to his death curator of the Descret Museum,
inclined to the latter opinion. He placed the outlet at *^Eed
Eock Gap" in Southern Idaho — at the northern end of Cache
Valley. His thought on the subject is entitled to the fullest
confidence; for no man living had given the subject greater
consideration, and very few men were better qualified to judge
from the evidences of nature still left to us. This was,
undoubtedly, the final outlet to the sea ; at some earlier period
other channels may have been used by the resistless element to
find its adequate receptacle. The lake in those pre-historic
times must have been one of the most extensive inland bodies
of water ever known upon the earth. Its old shore lines are
easily traced. Upon the mighty mountain sides may yet be
seen the record carved by those ancient waves as they dashed
soundlessly against their granite confines. Here are yet the old
sea-beaches, the bars and shoals. The currents which built
them have died away, and they, themselves, are faded by the
winds and rains of the many ages which have elapsed since the
waters receded. How and why the primal lake became reduced,
no intelligent person answers under natural laws. This is one
of the many mysteries for which people struggle vainly to get
a solution. All we definitely know is that the waters retired,
leaving a succession of marks, in which we may trace the
several epochs of the lake's existence. There are yet, clearly
defined, the terraces made by the falling waters; the deltas
created by the flow of rivers through the canyons which separ-
ated the small basins from this extensive central one. When
the lake fell, the turbulent waters from the upper vales brought
down immense quantites of detritus, to become solidified and
rounded by time. It is upon these elevated deltas that most of
the cities of Utah are located.

This inland ocean was once fresh. Demonstration is found
in the fact that fresh water fish by thousands and millions are
found petrified between layers of young sandstone along the
summit of the highest wave-level of the country. The waters
by some convulsion of nature, were forced to suddenly recede.

Digitized by VjOOQIC


The fish were left upon the beach. And in the nsual course of
nature, stones were formed from the sand, which enclosed the
remains found to-day.

This had been a rainless region. When the lake was at its
greatest hight, the air waves from the Pacific had swept its
evaporation eastward. The level of the lake was at least one
thousand feet higher than now. The Pacific clouds which had
cast their moisture on the western slope of the Sierras, came
here rainless. They carried from this lake the water to sur-
charge them ; and swept on to the east, to cool moist regions
which forced precipitation. This left the mountain slopes
treeless, comparatively, and almost bare of vegetation. When
the waters were swept backward to this intermountain region,
they left all that they uncovered — a mountain and hillside,
tableau and valley, bare.

Sufficient time had not dapsed, when the Pioneers came in,
to reverse the former character of the country. They found
an arid region. The trees which grew only upon the mountain
sides and tops, were "scrubs." The shrubs were sage-brush,
grease-wood and the babyoak. The soil was of an alkali
character. The great fresh-water sea had, by reduction,
become a mineral lake. The water of the reduced lake, was
surcharged with salt to such an extent as to preclude all forms
of life except the tiny animalculse. The soil was so deeply
impregnated with alkali, as to make Summer's heat bring
forth an efiect like Winter's snow — a white mantle upon the

The Pioneers grappled with the situation. They were suc-
cessftd, as the present condition of the country demonstrates.
Immediately afler their arrival the waters of the lake were at
such an ebb that a man could wade with ease from the eastern
shore to the Church Island. The surface of the water has
been materially elevated since that time; but the relative
humidity of the atmosphere and aridity of th& soil have not
been fnlly demonstrated by scientists, although practical men
claim a continuous improvement.


This desert plain, with surrounding barren hillsides, was
not destined to remain long in a state of absolute sterOity.

Digitized by VjOOQIC


The vast, uninliabited region in which the Pioneers located, had
within it — "deeply buried from human eyes," the germ of a
produce to enrich a commonwealth. And from the arid dust
and crust of the Great Salt Lake valley and other vales, there
has been wrung a wealth to give unto nearly two hundred
thousand people a comfortable independence. But the
stupendous results visible to-day were not won from nature
without an arduous struggle. To the man who views for the
first time the present Utah and the still arid plains of Nevada
and compares their condition, it is a source of wonderment
that so much should have been accomplished in this territory.
The answer is simple. Utah had a united effort by all her
people directed by a superior intelligence. All struggled,
fared, hoped in common. The hardships and rigors of that
great crisis were more easily bom, because they were carried
equally. The necessary labor of subduing the elements was
more speedily and effectually accomplished, because there was
a grand concentration of community effort. And the wonder-
ful result visible to-day was more easily accomplished, because
a few united intellects — powerful enough to foresee and direct
— ^guided all. From the day upon which that band of 143
devoted beings entered the Great Salt Lake valley, the policy
pursued by the people — following the inspired example of
President Young and his coadjators, was of a character to
secure the highest permanent benefit. Although the inception
of the great mining excitement upon the coast was almost
simultaneous with the settlement of Utah, the craze was not
allowed to excite the people here and enervate their more
necessary and legitimate efforts. They pursued exclusively
an agricultural a nd manufacturing policy. At first the soil
yielded almost nothing in response to the efforts of the anxious
settlers. But by their perseverance, and by the blessing of
Providence, it was made to give up an abundance.

Originally, the Summer was a season of unbearably scorch-
ing heat, while the Winter was a time of almost arctic frigi-
dity. The land in Winter was, for months, completely and
deeply hidden by its snowy mantle. In Summer it was like
ashes. These extremes met twice a year, without any inter-
mediate steps. There were few rain-storms. Water for irri-

Digitized by VjOOQIC


gadon was difficult of access, and when obtained even to the
fiillest possible extent, was scarce. But speedy changes were
noticeable in these respects. Every stream which was brought
down from the hill-sides increased the humidity of the atmos-
phere. Every vegetable growth produced by artificial means
served to give additional shelter to the soil, and thereby pre-
vented, to a certain extent, evaporation. The smoke which
arose from homestead and Ikctory aided the precipitation of
moisture. And though the fuel which created this smoke was
timber culled from the mountains, the loss of the shrubs and
trees did not offset the benefit derived from the smoke-clouds.
But for many years past this particular loss of trees has not
existed. Coal in vast quantities has been found; and this
supplies all the demand for fiiel. By the increase of streams
which have been brought to flow from the mountains to the
lake, by the increased humidity, and by other natural causes
the Great Salt Lake has materially increased in volume and
area. This additional exposure of a larger surface of the
water to the action of the sun, has produced a greater eva-
poration from that particular source, followed by a conse.
quently increasing precipitation of moisture.

The Winter season has grown less rigorous, the Summer
less scorching. Spring and Autumn have found a definite
place in the year. With the increase of rain the snow-fall has
materially decreased. With the increase of Summer humidity
the heat has been lessened.

Human efforts have combined with natural forces to pro-
duce stupendous results. The traveler sees them before him.
This grand region has lately been denominated by an eminent
traveler who visited Utah in June; **God's own country.''
The title was well bestowed.

A little more than a third of a century since Utah might well
have been called the earthly type of Hades. It was a vast
waste. The mountains repelled even the savage ; the valleys
seemed to breathe death to all the animal creation. A growth,
quick, marvellous, enduring has ensued. It is a subject
worthy of more particular study.

Digitized by VjOOQIC



To-daj Utah occupies all the district of country comprised
within the following boundaries: All that territory lying
between the 37th and 42nd parallels of north latitude, and
between the 109th and 114th meridians west from Qreenwich.
Her neighbors are, Idaho on the north, Nevada on the west,
Arizona on the south, Colorado on the east, and Wyoming
on the north and east. The changes which have been made
since the organization of the territory have materially
decreased her extent ; but the area is still more than 84,000
square miles. There are 23 counties, apportioned and
bounded, not with any similarity as to area, but located ace(»:d-
ing to population and the exigencies of each particular region.
Within these 23 counties there are about 40 incorporated
cities and about 200 settlements or villages.

The mean altitude of the valleys is about 5,000 feet above
sea level. In no representative place does the minimum fall
below 4,000; while in some of the settled and cultivated
uplands the hight of more than 7,000 feet is reached. The
mountains rise in many cases to a hight of 13,000 feet above
sea level — ^towering sharply from one to two miles above the

Utah is greatly diversified. Mountain and plain, lake and
river, give all the features to make up not only a delightful
landscape, but a varied productive region.

The Rocky Mountain Chain sends throughout this terri-
tory north and south, east and west, its spurs. The Wasatch
Eange is the principal one of these minor divisions. It bounds
the meridian valley (that of the Great Salt Lake) on the east
and extends further north and south, with its numerous ridges
stretching into and dividing valleys ; and with its numerous
canyons, and scores of mountain streams. Upon the west of
the Salt Lake valley, the Oquirrhs form a broken rampart
These blue, towering peaks pierce the lake at either extremity,
and scatter rugged islands in its broad bosom. From every
point of territorial boundary the mountains stretch out their
rough arms to embrace soft vales.

But little space, comparatively, is occupied by the low-lands.
The Great Salt Lake valley is the principal stretch of plain.

Digitized by VjOOQIC


This is about 150 miles in length — ^including the low openings
through narrow gorges at the north and south ends; and
varies in width from three to thirty miles. Its narrowness in
places is caused by the near meeting of the foot-hills with the
lake; and by the usual closing mountain ranges with each
other at valley extremities. The other most important low-
lands are cooiprised in the Cache, San Pete and Sevier valleys
— named in order of their estimated present importance. Of
these, Cache is termed the "Granary of Utah : " its extent is
45 miles in length by two to nine miles in width. It is located
in the northern extremity of the territory. San Pete divides
the honor with Cache so far as title is concerned. It is at a
great altitude ; and yet is wonderfully productive. This valley
and the Sevier occupy the central portion of the territory, and
extend into the southern half.

Besides these large valleys there are scores of smaller vales,
and hundreds of narrow glens, all of which, if at all suscep-
tible of cultivation, are settled and worked.

The rivers or creeks are numerous, but those which are of
local importance and benefit are small. With the exception of
the Jordan and two or three others of the small streams — to
a very great extent they are not navigable even for skiffs.
Their volume in Winter and during the months of Spring and
early Summer is from one hundred to ten thousand per cent
more than in the later months of Summer and the early months
of Autumn. Hundreds of these small rivers and creeks flow
from the mountains. The great majority of those touching
the central or northern part of the territory, ultimately find
their way into the Great Salt Lake — ^by them the lakes are
formed and maintained.

Of the stationary bodies of water the Great Salt Lake is by
far the largest. It stretches a distance of ninety-five miles
north and south by forty miles east and west through the
valley which bears its name. It has a shore line of 350 miles
and an area of about 3,500 square miles. Utah lake comes
next in importance. And then follow a succession of small
bodies of water, some of which have outlets to the Great Salt
Lake, others lose their waters in desert sinks, while a few flow
into rivers which ultimately reach the sea.

Digitized by VjOOQIC


The population of Utah at the date of the last census was
143,907. By careful statisticians this is estimated to have
increased at least twenty per cent, on July 1st, 1883. The
assessed valuation of property is $29,160,770; probably one-
fourth of the real valuation.

^The climate varies greatly; but with less evil effects than
are noticeable in the eastern, middle and western (sitates. The
thermometer has a range of 90° to 100°. In* Winter the
maximum temperature is 57° ; the minimum is about 4°. The
Summer maximum is 98° and the minimum is 42°. The
atmosphere is bracing at all seasons. There is no miasma.
However warm the days may be, the nights are always cool.
The same thermometrical degree of heat is not experienced
here with the same serious effects as are noted in eastern
cities where prostration and sunstroke are alarmingly common
in Summer days, and where sultry suffocating nights follow
scorching sunlight.

The air is so clear that a mountain, lake or any other natural
object, when viewed at a distance of miles seems only so many
furlongs away.


Utah has the usual mixed irovernment of the territories.
The officers appointed by the President of the United States
are the governor, secretary, chief justice and associate justices
of the supreme court, district attorney and marshal. This
gives absolute control of the judiciary and executive depart-
ments to federal appointees.

The governor has absolute veto power. His condemnation
of any legislative measure is final, and by the wave of his pen
he can annul all the results of the labor of the people's repre-

The judges of the federal courts are three in number — one
chief justice with two associates. All criminal cases involving
a penalty greater than a fine of $100, and all civil cases in an
amount greater than $300, come before them. Local courts
have thus a very restricted jurisdiction. In many of the coun-
ties there are United States commissioners— appointed by the
supreme court, who hold preliminary examinations in cases

Digitized by VjOOQIC

tiATfM-DAir SAINTS. ll^O

of briminal prosecutions; and thus divide even the ordinary
business of the inferior tribunals. The local petty judiciary
is similar to that of other territories and states.


By the provisions of the Edmunds bill a commission of
five men was appointed to put into execution certain enact-
ments relating to Utah. The gentlemen originally con-
firmed to these positions, and who are serving, at this
date are Honorables Alex. Ramsey, of Minnesota ; A. S.
Paddock, of Nebraska; A. B. Carlton, of Indiana; Gt, L.
Qt)dfrey, of Iowa ; and J. R, Pettigrew, of Arkansas. With-
out having had their authority fully determined and fixed by
the law, the circtmistanccs have been such as to require tlie
commissioners to exercise a veiy careful discretion in the exe-
cution of their trust. So far, their principal labors have been
confined to the registration of the names of those they consid-
ered eligible to vote under the provisions of the act, and to
supervise the municipal, county and territorial elections as
they occurred under the local statutes. In prosecuting these
delicate labors, they were aided very materially by leading men
of the People's Party, who, in view of their being strangers to
the people of Utah gave the commissioners much valuable
information, and who urged submission to the law as interpreted
and enforced by them notwithstanding the settled conviction
m the minds of the people that the course they were pursuing
was both arbitrary and unconstitutional. In their report to
Washington, the commissioners frankly confessed a willing
obedience on the part of the people most affected; admitting,
at the same time, that they had * ^stretched the legal tether
(of the law) to its utmost tension."

One of the objects of the Edmunds bill, was to disfranchise
a certain class of citizens in this and adjoining territories. For
this purpose section vii. was framed as follows:

**That no polygamist, bigamist, or any person cohabiting
with more than one woman, and no woman cohabiting with any
of the persons described as aforesaid in this section, in any
territory or other place over which the United States have
exclusive jurisdiction, shall be entitled to vote at any election

Digitized by VjOQQIC


held in any such territory or other place, or be eligible fot
election or appointment to or be entitled to bold any office or
place of public tiust, honor, or emolument in, under, or for
any such territory or place, or under the United States.'*

The application of this portion of the bill, without adultera-
tion, apparently would have been too severe and far-reachini?.
The following is the test oath provided by the commission, with
their interpolation, upon the original statutory requirement
italicized :


County of Salt Lake. J ^^•

I, , being first duly sworn (or affirmed) depose and

say that I am over twenty-one years of age, and have resided
in the territory of Utah for six months, and in the precinct of

one month immediately preceding the date hereof, and

(if a male) am a native bom or naturalized (as the case may
be) citizen of the United States, and a tax payer in this terri-
tory, (or if a female), I am native born, or naturalized, or the
wife, widow or daughter (as the case may be) of a native bom
or naturalized citizen of the United States, and I do further
solemnly swear (or affirm) that 1 am not a bigamist nor a poly-
gamist; that I am not a violator of the laws of the United
States prohibiting bigamy or polygamy; that I do not live or
cohabit with more than one woman m the marriage relation^
nor does any relation exist between me and any women which
has been entered into or continued in vio'ation of the said laws
of the United States, prohibiting bigamy or polygamy, (and if
a woman) that 1 am not the wife of a polygamist, nor have I
entered into any relation with any man in violation of the laws
of the United States conceming polygamy or bigamy.

Subscribed and swom before me this day of ,


Registration Officer,


It is worthy of mention that the law as interpreted and
executed, disfranchised only Latter-day Saints.


In common with the other territories, Utah enjoyed for many
years the right of sending a man chosen by the people to serve
as delegate to Congress. The first representative who took his
seat in the National Council was Hon. John M. Berohisel, who
served in the 32nd, 33rd, 34th and 35th Congresses. He was
succeeded in the 36th Congress (1859-61) by Hon. William H.
Hooper. At the election for the 37th Congress (1861-63) he

u by Google


was again nominated for delegate and was elected without
opposition. Thid completed Mr. BemhiscFs service as dele-
gate to Congress from the territory, though he was afterwards
honored by receiving the appointment of United States senator
when efforts were made to have the territory admitted as a
state. Mr. Bernhisel's course in Congress was always accept-
able to the people whom he represented. He was a gentleman
of education and of such fine manners and winning address
that he gained friends wherever he was known. It was while
he was delegate to Congress that President Buchanan sent the
army to Utah. Dr. Bernhisel went to Washington to the meet-
ing of Congress when the country was flooded with misrepre-
sentations concerning Utah affairs, and when, as a consequence,
public prejudice ran very high. But during that exciting
period he conducted himself with dignity and courage.

Hon. John F. Kinney, who came to the territoiy as its chief-
justice, was elected to succeed Br. Bernhisel. He took his seat
in the 38th Congress.

Hon. William H. Hooper was elected delegate to the 39tb,
40th, 4J st and 42nd Congresses, making, with his service in the
39th Congress, five terms that he served the territory. It is
suf&cient to say concerning his service that, while he was the
delegate to Congress, Utah had the credit of being more faith-
ftilly represented on the floor of the House than any other ter-
ritory. Contests were made for his seat in the 41st and 42nd
Congresses, the grounds for which were not the votes the con-
testants had received, but that Mr. Hooper was a **Mormon"
and the contestants were anti-^ 'Mormons. *'

In the year 1872, Hon. Greorge Q. Cannon was elected. He
sat successively in the 43rd, 44th, 45th and 46th Congresses,
representing the territory with energy and fidelity, and occupy-
ing his place in the House with dignity and honor. On sevend
occasions bis seat was contested by bis political opponents; but as
he had received each time a majority about equal to three- fourths
of the entire vote, the claims of the ''Liberal" candidates were
rejected as being too ridiculous for consideration.

In these contests he was charged with being an alien and a
polygamist. He unequivocally denied and subverted the firest
charge ; aad claimed that the second was no bar to his admis-

Digitized by VjOOQIC


sion. His pleadings were pronounoed sound by the House of
Representatives, and he was admitted each time.

In 1880, at the election for delegate to the 47th Congress, Mr.
Cannon received 1 8, 568 votes. His opponent received 1,357 votes.
Full and complete returns under certificate firom each judge of
election were made to the office of the secretary of the terri-
tory. The law required that the person having the highest
number of votes should be declared elected. But the governor,
contrary to law and in direct violation of the constitution,
usurped the functions of the House of Eepr^ientatives, and
decided upon the qualifications of the candidates by refusing
to give the certificate to Mr. Cannon, who had received the
highest number of votes, and gave it to his opponent Mr.
Cannon obtained certified returns of the election, and made so
strong a showing of his right to the seat that his name was
placed on the roll of the House for the 47th Congress. By
this means the fraud designed to be perpetrated upon the
people, by securing for the man who had not been elected the
seat in Congress, was defeated. The House of Representatives

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 12 14 15

Online LibraryChurch of Jesus Christ of Latter-day SaintsA Hand-book of reference to the history, chronology, religion and country of the Latterday saints, including the revelation on celestial marriage. For the use of saints and strangers → online text (page 12 of 15)