thumbnail of Utah: The Struggle for Statehood; No. 2; Brother Brigham
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<v Narrator>Next on Utah, the struggle for statehood, the 1860s dawn with Utah occupied by federal troops, Salt Lake City booms with construction and new immigrants. The nation is torn by the effects of civil war, but reserves enough energy to keep a watchful eye on the rapidly developing territory. The transcontinental railroad transforms life in the west, and Utah considers a changed future when its leading voice falls silent. <v Announcer>Utah, the struggle for statehood was made possible by a major grant from Thiokol, a pioneer in the development of solid rocket motors for aerospace and precision fastening systems for aerospace and industrial markets worldwide. Thiokol symbolizing the American spirit of exploration.
<v Narrator>At the dawn of the 60s, more than 40000 people were living in the Utah territory, immigrants continue to pour in. Many had traveled halfway around the world from homes in England, Wales, Sweden and Denmark, a unique part of the European influx to the United States. <v Charles Dickens actor>The immigrants will now or one day they were densely crowded up and swarmed upon the deck like these, there were many warm faces bearing traces of patient poverty and hard work. And there was a great steadiness of purpose and much undemonstrative self-respect this past. Charles Dickens aboard the ship Amazon. <v Margaret Morrison actor>Our journey across the Atlantic was long and tedious, it being 11 weeks from the date of starting at Liverpool until we arrived, the city authorities deemed it improper for us to land. So we were towed back to a small island there. We had to remain quarantined at their pleasure. We were only there one day when people began to take sick and in one week's time. 80 persons died of cholera. Margaret Morrison.
<v Narrator>The handcart era ended in 1860, enough wagons were now available to ferry the immigrants to the Utah territory where they would get their first view of Salt Lake City. <v Christian Nielson actor>The area was divided into quarters of ground, with streets running straight east and west, north and south. The building stood separated from each other with a garden spot to each house. There are already many nice buildings in Salt Lake City, such as a tabernacle and a courthouse and also several nice private buildings and some fine and accurately cut rocks, stones to be used in the building of the temple that can be seen at the temple place. Christian Nielson. <v Martha Bradley, Historian>And in 1860, the edges of the city would have been very different and they might not have stretched much further than third south or Third East know what you see is you see Main Street and State Street, which are lined with business buildings, and then one or two streets back, you see farmhouses, you know, two blocks out from the center of the business community. You see farm homes where people have barns and chickens and pigs and cows.
<v Narrator>The ordered layout of the city and the territory was unlike any other location in the American West. And the immigrants soon found the order included them, usually from the day of their arrival. The city was filled with public works projects that employed immigrants who could not be put to work on farms highest priority was placed on building the Salt Lake Theater, the largest of its kind between Chicago and San Francisco. A new tabernacle for meetings was taking shape on the square that formed the heart of worship for the Mormon Church in the center of the city and in the mountains, crews were quarrying Granite for the building of a Mormon temple on the square. It could take almost two days for a wagon bearing one stone to make the trip into the city. The curious started coming to Salt Lake City to examine the nation's most unique community and to try and catch a glimpse of polygamy. <v Mark Twain actor>We had a fine supper and walked about the streets. There was a fascination in surreptitiously staring at every creature we took to be a Mormon. This was fairyland to us, a land of enchantment and goblins and awful mystery. We felt a curiosity to ask every child how many mothers it had, and we experienced a thrill every time a dwelling house door opened and shot as we passed for, we longed to have a good, satisfying look at a Mormon family in all its comprehensive and fullness. Mark Twain.
<v Narrator>Utah was still under military occupation from the federal showdown a few years before. Thousands of soldiers, at times 20 percent of the entire United States Army were housed at Camp Cloyed and nearly as many camp followers that turned the nearby town of Fairfield into a red light district. A saving economic boost for the territory came in 1861 when the federal government closed Camp Glory to send the troops east to deal with the disintegration of the nation over slavery. <v Harold Schindler, Writer>Rather than haul all this material away, they sold it at auction. And and the Mormons bought it for pennies on the dollar. You could buy a thousand dollars worth of goods for ten dollars, and that's exactly the way it happened. They bought everything. They suddenly became fat cats. <v Edward Tolich actor>President Young sent his business manager, Hyram B. ?Closset? To purchase all kinds of supplies for his family, dependents and workmen. He bought almost 40000 dollars' worth, valued at more than 400000, including the government safe Edward Tolich.
<v Narrator>In 1859, one of the most influential journalists in America traveled to Utah. Horace Greeley's writings had inspired a rush to the West, and his interview with Brigham Young for the New York Tribune galvanized national interest. <v Horace Greeley actor>What is the position of the church with respect to slavery? <v Brigham Young actor>We consider it a divine institution and not to be abolished until the curse on hand shall be removed from his descendants. <v Horace Greeley actor>Am I to infer that Utah, if admitted as a member of the federal union, will be a slave state? <v Brigham Young actor>No, she will be a free state. I myself hire many laborers and pay them fair wages. Utah has not adapted to slave labor. <v Narrator>The future of slavery in Utah was a key issue as the nation tumbled toward impressed with Brigham Young and little else, really left the territory with a terse word to those who were clamoring for a crackdown on Mormon polygamy. <v Horace Greeley actor>Let the Mormons have the territory to themselves. It is worth very little to others, Horace Greeley.
<v Narrator>The federal army may have left, but the sense of isolation would never return to the Utah territory in the 1862 the Overland Stagecoach program with greater frequency. The Salt Lake City emerged as a key link between East and West Coast. The mail and freight deliveries took on some regularity and more merchants started to pop up in the heart of the city. Many of the merchants were not Mormons, what the locals would call Gentiles. But the big change came in April of 1862. <v The Deseret News read aloud>The first Pony Express left the West from Sacramento on the night of the third and arrived in this city on the seventh. This brings us within six days communication from the frontier and seven from Washington. A result which we utopians accustomed to receive news three months after its date can well appreciate. The Deseret News. <v Narrator>To the isolated Utah territory. It was the communications revolution of its day, even if it cost six hard earned dollars to send a letter to San Francisco. Pony Express stations were strung across the land. And like most revolutions in communicating, it was over in the blink of an eye. Soon, riders were dashing past the erection of transcontinental telegraph lines that would make the Pony Express obsolete after only one year. On October 18th, 1861, with the nation now fully involved in the Civil War, Brigham Young sent the first telegram with a Salt Lake City dateline.
<v Brigham Young actor>Utah has not seceded, but is firm for the Constitution and the laws of our one country and is warmly interested in such useful enterprises as the one so far completed. Brigham Young. <v Narrator>The next useful enterprise was already on the horizon. For a decade, survey crews had been passing through the Utah territory, searching for the best route for a transcontinental railroad. At first, local public opinion was split over the rail line running through Utah. But Mormon church leadership assured of construction work for members and faster, cheaper immigration swung their support behind the project. <v John Taylor actor>We have no time to listen to croakers. The railroad must be done. America wants it and we want it. And with a long pull, a strong pull and a pull all together, we will accomplish the object designed and not stopped to the restless iron horse shall pass in triumph from the Atlantic to the Pacific Shores. John Taylor.
<v Narrator>But it would be years before rail lines would link the territory to the states, for the nation was busy with other matters. At the outbreak of the Civil War, the once grand landmass of the state of Deseret had been dramatically whittled down by Congress. California had rebuffed the claim to San Diego and the creation of a New Mexico territory in 1850 carved off the South. The creation of the Nevada territory had rolled back the western frontier and the Colorado territory stripped away the Rocky Mountains. While disappointed, the Mormon leadership viewed boundaries as incidental to the civil war, a conflict they viewed as dismantling the United States and opening the door for national Mormon leadership. <v Heber C. Kimball actor>The South will secede from the north and the north secede from us, and God will make the people free as fast as we're able to bear it. Heber C. Kimball.
<v Brigham Young actor>It seems that many are looking with some hope, apparently not yet realized that the corruption of the nation has sealed its doom. Brigham Young. <v Michael Quinn, Historian>And Brigham Young put it best. He said, I hope both sides win. He he expected both the Confederacy and the the Union to destroy themselves over this and for the the kingdom of God to fill the vacuum, come in and be the standard bearer of peace to the the inhabitants of the former United States. And that's how they were referring to it as the former United States. <v Narrator>At the same time, the most uncertain days of the Civil War, Brigham Young authorized a new constitution and elections as part of the territory's third bid to gain admission to the union. The request for admission never had a chance. <v Edward Leo Lyman, Historian>This would be the first session of Congress when the South has left the union, when the Republicans will dominate and the laws they've been after for ten years. A transcontinental railroad, a homestead act and a law against polygamy will sail right through that year. The timing could not have been worse.
<v House Committee Report read aloud>Whatever differences of opinion may exist as to whether marriage is a civil or canonical contract, the whole civilized world regards the marriage of one man to one woman as being alone. Authorized by the Law of God. House committee report 1860. <v Narrator>Republicans had tied polygamy to slavery is the worst of the nation's evils. With firm control of Congress, they passed a law presented by Representative Justin Morel of Vermont. The new law banned polygamy, disincorporated the Mormon Church and seized church property. <v Tom Alexander, Historian>It's perceived to be unconstitutional because the Mormons in Utah perceive this as a religious question, a matter of constitutional guarantee of free exercise of religion. And the law is really a dead letter on the books until after the mid 1970s anyway, because there aren't any juries that are going to issue indictments against Latter-Day Saints who are practicing plural marriage.
<v Narrator>Federal authorities in the territory were virtually powerless, a message driven home when President Lincoln appointed John Dawson to serve as governor in 1861. In his first month, Dawson managed to anger church leadership and then besmirched the honor of a widow with a lewd suggestion. He literally fled for his life but was overtaken in Immigration Canyon and severely beaten, never to return. Soon, judges in the territory were writing personal letters to the president about the breakdown of federal authority in Utah. <v Judge Charles Waite actor>To His Excellency Abraham Lincoln. We shall not attempt to hold any court in the territory until we are properly supported by 5000 men well armed. Judge Charles Waite. <v Narrator>Brigham Young got wind of the letter and fired his own to Colonel Jim Rossi, who had direct access to the president. <v Brigham Young actor>You say it is alleged that I, as well as the people of Utah, disloyal to the government of the United States. The allegation is utterly and absolutely false. If devotion to and love for my country constitutes disloyalty, then I as well as this people are disloyal. Brigham Young.
<v Narrator>But Lincoln had just signed the Emancipation Proclamation. The watershed battle of Gettysburg was still months away and the future of the Union remained in doubt in 1863. <v Abraham Lincoln actor>When I was a boy on the farm in Illinois, there was a great deal of timber on the farms, which we had to clear. Occasionally we'd come to a log which had fallen down. It was too hard to split, too wet to burn and too heavy to move. So we plowed around. That's what I intend to do with the Mormons. Abraham Lincoln. <v Tom Alexander, Historian>Lincoln was committed to the eradication of a plural marriage just as he was to the eradication of of slavery. But he had to set his priorities. He couldn't do both things at once. And while Congress had passed the Moral Anti Bigamy Act, this was simply something that he couldn't deal with while he was trying to save the union.
<v Narrator>Lincoln's distraction did not mean statehood or political independence for Utah that was ensured by a storm front blowing in from California by the name of Patrick Edward Connor. He was tough, a headstrong veteran of the Mexican War who had carved out a successful business career during the California gold rush to downplay his Irish immigrant heritage. He had simplified his name from O'Connor at the outbreak of the Civil War. Patrick Edward Connor was named colonel of California volunteers and ordered to the Utah territory. <v Charles Hibbard, Military Historian>Specific instructions were to protect the overland mail and telegraph route. How many people think he also had the job of keeping an eye on the Mormons? And I don't think anyone can argue with that because he believed that. I think he believed that rather strongly. He was quite anti-Mormon in his views.
<v Narrator>Even before he arrived in the territory, Connor sent an assessment of the people to his commanding officer. <v Patrick Edward Connor actor>A community of traitors, murderers, fanatics and whores, Colonel Patrick Edward Connor. <v Narrator>Brigham Young was livid over the new military occupation and was shocked when Connor refused to honor the previous agreement to keep the army out of Salt Lake City. Instead, they dug into the heights surrounding the city, calling the location Camp Douglas. <v Charles Hibbard, Military Historian>Well, he didn't like it one bit. Government expedition coming in and he and his followers watched very closely as they built the camp. And there's, oh, there was a Cold War atmosphere going on during the entire time that Connor was here with his troops. <v Narrator>For all the animosity, colonel Connor and the Utah territory had a shared interest, the Northwestern Shoshone. By the 1860s, there was less room for the Shoshone to live their Hunter-Gatherer existence in the northern reaches of the Territory. Mormon Farms had penetrated deep into the cash valley and immigrants were pushing north to the Montana gold fields game and grasslands were disappearing and the Shoshone villages were starving. Soon, Mormon cattle started to disappear. Shoshone parties would extort grain from settlers. Offshoot raiding parties started to attack immigrant wagon trains.
<v Fred Gowans, Historian>You've got Mormons complaining about what's going on in Cache Valley. You've got immigrants who are complaining, going across the Oregon Trail that they're being raided and being abused by some Shoshone raiders and so Connor now takes it upon himself to write up. Find a camp of which he filled is the hostile camp there, which we know is on Bear River today near Preston, Idaho. And raid it. <v Charles Hibbard, Military Historian>He was instructed to protect the Overland trail. And if that meant fighting Indians he was to fight them and really show no mercy, General Wright, who is commander of the Pacific Division, had put it on an order that any Indian engaged in action against the Army was to be killed. They were not to be taken prisoner or anything like that. So Connor had orders to that effect. <v Narrator>Just before dawn on January 29th, 1863, Connor marched 200 Californians toward a camp of 400 Shoshone near the banks of the Bear River. <v Charles H. Hempstead actor>Those who were there at the time, how can they ever forget the shrill north wind swept over the lake and down the mountainsides, freezing every rivulet and stream the moistened breath freezing as it left. The lips hung in miniature icicles from the beards of the men. Many were frozen and necessarily left behind. Captain Charles H. Hempstead. California volunteers.
<v Narrator>At 6:00 a.m., a detachment made a head on dash at the camp from the cover of reeds on the Creek the Shoshone ripped the volunteers to pieces. <v Patrick Edward Connor actor>While the Indians were undercover, they had the advantage of us fighting with the ferocity of demons. My men fell thick and fast around me. Colonel Patrick Edward Connor. California volunteers. <v Brigham Madsen, Historian>And this was where the volunteers suffered their major casualties. Probably as many as 15 men were killed in this first exchange. <v The Alta California read aloud>I ordered a flanking party to advance down the ravine and cause some of the Indians to give way and run towards the mouth of the ravine. At this point, I had a company stationed who shot them as they ran out. Most of those who did escape from the ravine were afterwards shot and attempting to swim the river. The Indians therefore fell in heaps. Some attempted to escape to the river, but the keen eye of the volunteers and avenging the helpless immigrants was upon the fleeing form of the savage. The deadly rifle did its work, and few escaped The Alta, California.
<v Narrator>A Shoshone oral history preserve the battle from their point of view. <v Shoshone oral history>The Indians were being slaughtered like wild rabbits, Indian men, women, children and babies who are being slaughtered left and right. No butcher could have murdered any better than Colonel Connor and his vicious California volunteers. <v Brigham Madsen, Historian>From 8:00 to 10:00. There was no longer a battle. The Indians were out of ammunition. The soldiers went into the willows, the heavy willows using their revolvers, and a lot of hand-to-hand fighting went on. But the Indians were left with pots and pans and stones and clubs, whatever they had, because they were really out of ammunition. It just became a slaughter them in which the soldiers using the revolvers just fired any Indian they saw. Indian women, Indian children also were killed in the melee that went on by 10 o'clock. It was pretty well over. It was a terrible butchery. At about eight o'clock when the real battle was over, Connor just moved across the the river to take care of his wounded and just let his troops go do anything they wanted.
<v Narrator>Among the California volunteers. Twenty four soldiers were killed, dozens were wounded, and as many as 70 were crippled by frostbite. <v Hyram Tuttle actor>The night of January 29th, 1863. I shall never forget, we camped on the Bank of the Bear River with our dead, dying, wounded and frozen two feet of snow on the ground. Nothing for fire but green willows that burned as well as the snow. The groans of the frozen seems to ring in my ears. Corporal Hyram Tuttle. <v Shoshone oral history>As darkness fell upon the camp, a large fire was seen at a distance. The Indians there were able to walk, went to the raging fire. They were tattered and torn in body and in mind. Each man, woman and child was in a dazed condition. Their eyes were sunken and glazed. Their faces looked hollow. <v Brigham Madsen, Historian>Well, the two hundred and fifty Shoshone men, women and children who were killed, their bodies just lay there. Which nobody concerned, none of the none of the settlers, no one was concerned about trying to bury them or anything, they were just left there, the crows and the wolves and the coyotes. And five years later, a reporter from the Deseret News went up and still saw the bones, the skeletons of these people lying, lying on this battle area.
<v Narrator>It was the single worst slaughter of Native Americans in the annals of the West. The free ranging days of the Northwestern Shoshone were over. For his heroism, Patrick Edward Connor was promoted to brigadier general. <v Military Report>Employment of the troops consists of erecting shelter from the weather, drilling, scouting, protection of the overland mail and telegraph, killing Indians and marrying apostate Mormon women. Chief Medical Officers Annual Report Military District of Utah. <v Narrator>For California Volunteers enlisted to fight in the Civil War garrison life in Salt Lake City held little charm. Even more so for Brigadier General Connor. Connor convinced the Mormon people were disloyal to the United States, decided to pick his fight with Brigham Young. <v Patrick Edward Connor actor>The secret of the power of these leaders lies in one word isolation. So long as they were able to keep their people from association with the outside world, they were safe. Only a few years will elapse before Utah will be redeemed from her infamy and degradation. Colonel Patrick Edward Connor.
<v Brigham Madsen, Historian>Connor hoped that with the approach of the transcontinental railroad that it would be possible to bring in so many non Mormons, Gentiles, that it would be possible to break the economic and political control Brigham Young and the leadership of the Mormon Church had on the territory of Utah that they could they would be overwhelmed by this new gentile incursions. <v Narrator>Having seen how the gold rush transformed California, Connor sent his troops on prospecting missions when the first signs of copper and silver were detected in the Ocher and Wasatch Mountains. He sent an invitation to the world. <v Patrick Edward Connor actor>The general commanding the district has the strongest evidence that the mountains and canyons in the territory of Utah abound in rich veins of gold, silver, copper and other minerals. And for the purpose of opening up the country to a new, hearty and industrious population, deems it important that prospecting for minerals be fostered by every proper means by command of Brigadier General Patrick Edward Connor. November 14th, 1863.
<v Narrator>In 1863, Connor launched a newspaper to promote his mining boom and deliberately run counter to the information monopoly of the church owned Deseret News. <v Charles Hibbard, Military Historian>It was a propaganda device used by Carter against the Mormons, in which he carried on kind of a spirited debate with the Mormon Church and Brigham Young. <v Narrator>A newspaper debate was the closest corner and Brigham Young would ever come to actual contact. <v Brigham Madsen, Historian>That they never met. As far as I know. And as I said, I think it was deliberate. <v Narrator>Connor had a natural ally in territorial governor Steven Harding, Harding made public speeches denouncing Mormons for continuing to practice plural marriage in the face of the moral act outlawing polygamy. Harding demanded the arrest of Brigham Young for violation of the act. <v Journal History>March nine, 1863. In the evening, Governor Young's offices and premises, the historian's office and the tithing office, we're all full of armed volunteers. This was in consequence of the report that Governor Harding had issued a warrant to arrest Brigham Young for polygamy. The citizens were resolved that it should not be done. Journal History.
<v Narrator>Young eventually presented himself for arrest, and a federal judge seeking a path away from confrontation dismissed the complaint. But the conflict escalated. Mass meetings were held throughout the territory, attacking Governor Harding. Lincoln finally shuffled Harding off to the New Mexico territory after one stormy year, but Connor would not back down. He established a permanent armed guard near the construction sites of the Mormon temple and New Tabernacle in the heart of the city, a move that outraged the Mormon people. Connor wired his headquarters in San Francisco that a rebellion was imminent. <v Patrick Edward Connor actor>The Mormons are assuming a very hostile attitude. They have about 1000 men under arms and threatened to drive my guard from the city if conflict takes place, which I will endeavor to avoid, can hold my position. Patrick Edward Connor, Brigadier General. <v Narrator>The last thing Army headquarters in San Francisco wanted in 1864 was a regional war from an officer who was supposed to be protecting the mail. Connor was told to back off. With the end of the Civil War, the California volunteers were discharged from service. Connor would stay in the army to fight Indians, but eventually he would return to Utah, believing the door was ready to swing open on a new era. At first, it appeared that a mining boom would transform Utah, thousands of prospectors came to the territory looking to cash in on Connor's promises of silver and gold. New towns appeared overnight and soon exploded in the cities. The town of Alta grew from a mountain sawmill to a city of 3000. One claim in Bingham Canyon produced more than two million dollars of gold in its first three years. Brigham Young's early resistance to mining had eased and Mormon church members were a major part of the mining boom that stretched into the next decade. But Connor's dream of a California gold fever reordering society in Utah never materialized.
<v Brigham Madsen, Historian>It didn't bring the influx of thousands and thousands of people that Connor hoped for it just didn't. The mining changed. It was a different kind of mining. It was deep, deep mining. And so it took a lot of money to take care of this kind of mining. It wasn't going out with a pan, you know, to get gold from a creek. <v Narrator>But there was little doubt that the door to the Utah territory had been opened. In 1869, John Wesley Powell explored the rugged canyon country of Utah for the federal government by navigating the Green and Colorado Rivers. His expeditions accurately mapped uncharted regions, provided new insight to native cultures and created photographic evidence. The dramatic Colorado plateau. But the epic events of Utah's territorial years was the coming of the transcontinental railroad. No other single event would have as profound or as enduring an impact as the rail link to the nation.
<v Brigham Young actor>Speaking of the completion of this railroad, I am anxious to see it. And I say to the Congress of the United States, you are delegate to the company and to others, hurry up, hasten the work. We want to hear the iron heart puffing through this valley. Brigham Young. <v Narrator>By 1868, Irish crews from the East and Chinese crews from the West were racing track into place. Hundreds of Mormons worked on grading the trackpad through the steep canyons of the Wasatch Mountains. Brigham Young served as the primary contractor for the work, and more than one million railroad dollars poured into Utah before the first locomotive. So competitive were the crews from the Central Pacific and Union Pacific railroads that their survey and grading teams actually passed each other in Utah. Congress had to intervene and order the rail lines to link at Promontory Summit. <v The Deseret News read aloud>Gentlemen of the Pacific Railroad, the last rail needed to complete the greatest railroad enterprise is about to be laid never since history commenced. Her record of human events has man been called upon to meet the completion of a work so magnificent in contemplation and so marvelous in execution. But days of isolation are now forever passed. We thank God for. The Deseret News.
<v Narrator>Rail service transformed the Utah territory overnight, immigrants could now reach Salt Lake City in a matter of days rather than months. Fashions and furniture flowed in from the east and west coast. Freight cars carried away Utah ore, fueling the mining boom. And hundreds of new miners arrived, along with hundreds of new workers for the rail lines and support businesses. For the first time in 20 years, nonmilitary diversity started to appear the territory's population. <v Brigham Madsen, Historian>And in fact, when the transcontinental railroad was completed with the driving the golden spike at Promontory Summit. There was a hope that a gentile city could be built up there someplace along the river and that this gentile city would become the means by which this conversion could take place, that the destruction of the Mormon theocracy, marman control of territory. Eventually, within about a year, there were about a thousand people, permanent residents living in the little town. And the newspaper editor of the Corinne Reporter boasted that there wasn't a single Mormon living in the town. This was a gentile town. I call it the gentile capital of Utah. And it was
<v Narrator>they called the City Corinne. It seemed to symbolize the new non Mormon influx to the territory. And Patrick Edward Connor was leading the way. <v Brigham Madsen, Historian>And in fact, in the first year or two, there was a real lobby sent by various people, by the people of Corinne and including Connor Connor was one of them on one of the lobbyists to go back to Washington to try to get Washington support to first make Corinne the capital of Utah territory, take it away from Salt Lake City, make it the gentile capital that failed. <v Narrator>Finally, Corinne actually tried to secede from the Utah territory, finding a member of Congress to offer a bill that would have divided the territory just north of Salt Lake City with the northern portion and the railroad being joined to the new Idaho territory. The bill was never really taken seriously for Congress. Increasingly disturbed with the Mormon Church and the practice of polygamy felt the railroad would be corrective measure enough.
<v Thomas Fitch actor>Polygamy has run its course. I believe the railroad, which deprived Mormons of their isolation, has struck it a mortal blow. Utah is no longer isolated. Polygamy is doomed. Natural causes will work its speedy decay. The conscience, the impulses, the very passions of mankind conspire against it. Representative Thomas Fitch of Nevada <v Narrator>For the Utah territory. It was a time of new challenges from outside its borders and from within. <v F.H. Head actor>Black Hawk, a somewhat prominent chief of the Utah Indians, has made several forays against the weak and unprotected settlements in San Pete and severe counties, killing 32 whites and driving away 2000 cattle and horses. 40 of his warriors were killed by the settlers in repelling his different attacks. F.H. Head superintended of Indian affairs.
<v Narrator>In the 1860s, fighting broke out between Mormon settlers in the heart of the Utah territory and bands of Ute Indians angered over the loss of traditional lands and the shattered way of life. It became known as the Black Hawk War, the bloodiest direct fighting between Utes and settlers, and it struck when efforts were underway to relocate the people to a new reservation land. <v Fred Gowans, Historian>Probably one of the greatest things was simply that the Utes had been rounded up. They'd been put on the reservation out in the Uintah basin, and by that time, the treaty had never been ratified. And so all of these things that they had been promised by the treaty that would be given them, they weren't getting. <v William Morley Black actor>On October 17th, my brother, Benjamin J. Black and my brother in law, William T. Hite, who had recently came to the Valley, were killed by the Indians near Ephraim. And the settlers of Circle Valley for months were in a state of siege. All labor was paralyzed. Every able bodied man was enrolled and had to take his turn and looking after our stock or in guarding the town. This continued for two years until President Young advised abandoning the Expo's settlement. William Morley Black.
<v Narrator>Federal troops at Camp Douglas refused to help the settlers. The territorial militia struck back with a vengeance, breaking up tribal camps. <v Fred Gowans, Historian>There is no question Brigham Young preached honesty and treating the Indian kindly. But the tragic thing was, is what was being preached by the general authorities. And the hierarchy of the church isn't always what was being practiced out on the grassroots level. The Mormons were in sometimes were just as brutal to the Native American as any other people were. <v Narrator>By 1869, starving and reeling from the retaliations, the Utes went to the reservation, but internal conflicts took on many forms. In the early 60s, Joseph Smith, a son of church founder Joseph Smith, was leading a separatist movement in Mormonism. In 1863, missionaries for the reorganized church made their way to Utah. 300 territory residents converted to Smith's leadership in a tense and highly charged atmosphere, claiming they were being threatened and persecuted. The converts left the territory under armed Federal Guard. At virtually the same time another splinter movement was developing near Ogden. Joseph Morris was announcing revelations from God that proclaimed the second coming of Christ and that Brigham Young was a fallen prophet.
<v Michael Quinn, Historian>And Morris attracted a remarkable collection of followers. And that collection numbered in the hundreds very quickly, in the thousands, if you count all the children and all of the people who did not gather immediately with him. And that became a very significant internal threat systematically to the LDS church. And Brigham Young and others saw this as not simply a religious threat, but as somebody who was dangerous within the community. <v Narrator>Robert Burton led an army of 500 men to what was known as the Morris side compound in Weber Canyon. They had two cannons to reinforce their intent to arrest Morris surrounding the camp. Two warning shots were fired, one of which killed or wounded several more sites. A posse member was shot. In response, the standoff lasted for three days. Finally, a surrender was being negotiated. Morris and several followers were shot dead. Morris's body was brought to Salt Lake City for public display, and more than 70 followers were convicted of various crimes. But in one of his last acts before leaving the territory, Governor Steven Harding pardoned the Morricites to the shock of a Mormon population and the cheers of non Mormons. But of all the dissent that shaped the 60s, none had greater lasting consequence than the movement led by William Godbee.
<v Tom Alexander, Historian>In a sense, what Godbee represents is the wave of the future, because what he wanted to to do and those who who followed him wanted to do was to carve out a large area of independence within the the Mormon kingdom. <v Narrator>Godbee was a friend and protege of Brigham Young, one of the territory's 10 wealthiest men. He also nurtured an intellectual circle of friends. Increasingly, this group of Mormons questioned the church's control of the social, intellectual and political life of the territory. And above all, they challenged the church's economic control. <v Tom Alexander, Historian>They see a better course in essentially a lassiez fair capitalism. Now, that sounds odd to us today because Mormons seem to be the quintessential capitalists today, but what they were in essence, objecting to was Mormon communitarianism.
<v Narrator>Counseled to tone down the rhetoric, the so-called Godbee-ites became more active critics of church control at the completion of the railroad, a convergence that pushed Brigham Young beyond tolerance. In October 1869, William Godbee and others were dismissed from church. Membership in the Godbee-ites would remain in the territory, dedicated advocates of the American mainstream cultural pluralism and economic freedom. <v Narrator>In 1869, Brigham Young was well aware that the territory and his vision of Utah as the kingdom of God on Earth was at a crossroads. <v Carol Madsen, Historian>The connection of the railroad in 1869 was very clear to him that it would bring a number of easterners, entrepreneurs, businessmen, commercial men into the territory. And he wanted, even after 20 years, to keep the church as a self-sustaining entity, not only religiously, but certainly financially as well.
<v Michael Quinn, Historian>And it basically went down to a question of power. And when I say that, I don't mean that power was an end in of itself. Brigham Young saw power as a way of protecting the Mormon, um, Commonwealth and their religious lives. <v Narrator>Brigham Young ordered a wide ranging economic plan, one that started with a renewal of his admonition to be self dependent.. <v Louisa Richards acter>This people are called upon to be self-sustaining, to produce all that is possible from the soil and from the elements, and to manufacture all articles practicable at home and invent improvements in all the departments of industry, which will be labor saving or time saving, and encourage all attempts made in that direction. That will help make us a people in reality. But we have been so long and treated to be independent of Babylon. Louisa Richards. <v Michael Quinn, Historian>It was clearly a defensive nature. Brigham Young defined the outline of this economic response in several ways. One was to boycott non Mormon merchants and to encourage Mormons to buy only from Mormon merchants. Particularly those who had agreed to act in a cooperative manner.
<v Narrator>The Union of Cooperating Businesses became known as the Zion Cooperative Mercantile Institution, or ZCMI. <v Martha Bradley, Historian>Brigham Young wanted vengeance. And and the best way to put down the growing power of the new gentile merchants was to create the most formidable opponent possible. And if he could get his people to join together in an organization like ZCMI, all the better. <v Brigham Young actor>Go to work and do it. I would show you you have plenty of money. You have buildings, you have abundance of goods. Brigham Young. <v Martha Bradley, Historian>There was ZCMI buildings all along Main Street and that made it even seem more formidable. The kind of economic threat they pose was very real. And of course, physically on the front of each of those buildings was posted the all seeing eye and holiness to the Lord. And and I've wondered about Mormon consumers who dared enter the merchandizing houses of the Gentile merchants. There must have been a physical sense that you were betraying the work of the Lord by entering a business that didn't have that logo.
<v Narrator>One Main Street merchant delighted in erecting his own sign, playing off the religious symbol of the cooperative stores. But for the merchants outside of the cooperative system, the new economic order was no laughing matter. <v TBH Stenhouse actor>With such feelings of uneasiness, nearly all the non Mormon merchants joined in a letter to Brigham Young offering if the church would purchase their goods to leave the territory. Brigham answered that he had not asked them to come into the territory and did not ask them to leave. It was clear that Brigham felt himself the master of the situation T.B.H. Stenhouse. <v Narrator>The era also produced a significant social, religious and economic experiment in the Territory, drawing on scripture and a vision of building the Kingdom of God. A number of communities took the cooperative spirit to its extreme. Christian socialism in the United Order. <v Tom Alexander, Historian>The most usual model was one that was adopted in St. george and then adopted in various other communities where people consecrate their property in their labor to the other community and then receive return in proportion to what they contributed.
<v Narrator>Brigham City flourished under the United Order plan, businesses were run by the community and workers were paid in certificates good only within the city limits. Towns and even neighborhoods experimented with communitarian orders, but none as deeply or as broadly as the community in southern Utah that became known as Orderville. <v William Morley Black actor>I cast my lot with the Orderville community consecrating my earthly all upon the altar, and I sacrificed in a cause that I believe was instituted for the good of the human family. William Morley Black <v Martha Bradley, Historian>additive, essentially took on the look of a military camp where there was a very large building where they would eat their communal meal meals. There were other communal pieces of architecture where they would conduct businesses, where they would join together for the production of goods or for the storage of foodstuffs for the entire community. So the physical appearance of that community was different. Perhaps 20 years into the experiment, the people of that community had taken on a more plain way of dress. There was a definite look to the people of Orderville, and it was because they had given up so much to stay committed to that totally cooperative way of life.
<v Narrator>While Orderville would endure into the 80s, much of the United Order movement would disappear after only a few years. <v Tom Alexander, Historian>The problem with it is that it doesn't work in practice. There are complaints on the part of people who contribute, mostly their labor, that those who contributed their their property are getting more of a return than they ought to have been. And complaints on the part of people who contributed their property, that those who have contributed labor really are getting something that they don't deserve. <v Narrator>The United Order would also stumble over the difficulty of attempting to build a wall of economic isolation and new threats that were already on the horizon. A struggle over economic control was not the only battlefield for the Utah territory as a new decade dawn in Washington, Representative Shelby Cullum was building support for a new law to put teeth into the earlier federal effort to crush polygamy and end church control of the territory.
<v Shelby Cullum actor>My object is to see that the law of 1862 shall be carried out in Utah by breaking the power of Brigham Young and the leading spirits of the Mormon Church. I propose to remand the territory to the control of the federal marshals and attorney and make the troops go to their support. <v Narrator>Cullum's Bill passed the House by a wide margin and almost immediately the Utah territory issued a protest, the voice supplied by women of the Mormon Church. <v Salt Lake City Mormon Response>It gives us no alternative but the crow, one of rejecting God's commandments and abjuring our religion or disobeying the authority of a government we desire to honor and respect. Memorial of the citizens of Salt Lake City.
<v Carol Madsen, Historian>In the case of Mormon women, they would each time one of these measures was proposed to outlaw plural marriage, what Mormon women tried to explain would happen is that all these polygamous wives would suddenly be illegitimatized ties, that they would no longer have valid, legitimate marriages. And in Victorian America, think what that meant to a woman. What would it do to their children? It would illegitimatize their children. Another abhorrent thought to women who had been married in religious ceremonies that had eternal significance to them. <v Eliza Roxy Snow actor>I believe in the principle of plural marriage just as sacredly as I believe in any other institution which God has revealed. I believe it to be necessary for the redemption of the human family from the low state of corruption and to which it has sunk in. Eliza Roxy Snow.
<v Bathsheba W. Smith actor>I enter my most fervent protest against this unlawful and Unhallowed crusade. Congress has no right to interfere with our most sacred religion. Bathsheba W. Smith. <v Narrator>The determination of the Mormon women to speak in their own defense stunned much of the nation condition to consider plural wives as enslaved victims of brainwashing. It was the second stunning moment involving women of the territory in just a month. In February 1870, the territorial legislature had given women the right to vote, an act of suffrage only matched by Wyoming. It was widely supported for dramatically different reasons. In a practical sense, it doubled the number of voting Mormons in the Utah territory when a dramatic influx of non Mormons threatened to reorder political control. But Congress and other anti polygamists supported suffrage as a new form of Emancipation Proclamation. <v Carol Madsen, Historian>And a kind of an underlying thought where some of those gentlemen was that perhaps if the women in Utah were given the right of suffrage, they would outlaw polygamy. They would be able to free themselves from this social and religious bondage.
<v Narrator>In the Salt Lake Tabernacle, thousands of women gathered to celebrate their new political role. <v Phoebe Woodruff actor>Mrs. Sarah Kimball said she had patiently waited a long time, and now that we were granted the right of suffrage, she would declare herself a women's rights woman and called upon those who would do so to back her up, whereupon many manifested their approval. God has opened the way for us. We have born in patients, but the yoke on woman is partly removed now that God has moved our brethren to grant us the right of female suffrage, great and blessed things are ahead. Phoebe Woodruff. <v Narrator>Two days after the bill was passed, Saraf Young, a niece of Brigham, was the first Utah woman to cast a legal ballot voting in the Salt Lake City municipal elections. But any observers waiting for Mormon women to stage a political insurrection in the Utah territory were quickly disappointed. <v Carol Madsen, Historian>After women had been given the vote in Utah in 1870. And it was discovered very quickly that Mormon women were not going to vote out polygamy, that this was not going to be a political tool to free themselves from this so-called bondage. Almost immediately, proposals were made in Congress to then disenfranchize Mormon women, because what they saw was that by giving Mormon women the vote, it simply doubled the Mormon electorate in Utah.
<v Narrator>To national suffrage leaders like Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton little mattered, but the breakthrough opportunity for political standing. They traveled to Utah and spent five hours in the tabernacle meeting with women and discussing political issues. Stanton provided the only uncomfortable moments when she broadened the agenda to include reproductive rights for women, creating a stillness in the audience. But the moment celebrated the new political liberty of Utah women at a time when politics would come to dominate the territory. <v Liberal Party Invitation>All citizens who are opposed to despotism and tyranny in favor of separation of church and state, who love freedom, liberty and progress are invited. A public invitation from the Liberal Party. <v Narrator>Political parties did not exist in the Utah territory prior to 1870, spiritual leader served as government leaders. There was often only one approved candidate for any office, and there were few dissenting votes. But a new coalition of merchants, mining and rail interests, including William Godbee and his new paper, the Mormon Tribune, followed former General Patrick Edward Connor into what they called the Liberal Party. Their first attempt at a mass meeting was a disaster.
<v The Mormon Tribune read aloud>We are informed that a Milton Musser went to the different wards of the city and instructed the bishops and teachers to have the people of their wards turn out in mass without a moment's delay. Bishop J.S. Little was nominated for chairman of the meeting. Bishop Little called for nominations of the whole Orthodox ticket was nominated. We sincerely regret the whole affair. The Mormon Tribune. <v Narrator>The Liberal Party eventually coalesced as a weak political voice of non Mormons, with the Mormon voters forming the dominant People's Party soon, virtually all political issues among the 90000 territorial residents were split along religious lines, leaving the well-funded but politically powerless non Mormons outraged. <v Jean Bickmore White, Political Scientist>Because if you're perpetually in the minority, as the non Mormons later who form the Liberal Party were, if you're in a perpetual minority, you don't feel part of the system. So then you start complaining to your friends back east what this is, what it's like out here. We don't really have a voice. <v Ulysses S. Grant actor>In Utah there still remains a remnant of barbarism repugnant to civilization, decency and to the laws of the United States. Neither polygamy nor any other violation of existing statutes will be permitted within the territory of the United States. Ulysses S. Grant.
<v Edward Leo Lyman, Historian>Grant probably is reflecting the the mainstream opinion of the stalwart faction of the Republican Party at a time when it's becoming a moral crusader against polygamy as they have already solved the problem of slavery. It becomes a major political issue for them. He can't possibly condone it. <v Narrator>Ulysses Grant became the first president since James Buchanan to elevate action against the Mormon Church to a priority in the national agenda. Brushing aside another petition for statehood, he sent an old military colleague, J.. Wilson Shaffer, to the territory with a mandate to crush polygamy and end Mormon political control. Shaffer was backed by a collection of determined anti Mormon judges in one of his first acts. He sought to disarm the church by breaking up the territorial militia who Schaefer deemed as loyal only to Brigham Young. <v J. Wilson Shaffer actor>I, J. Wilson Shaffer, governor of the territory of Utah and commander in chief of the militia, do hereby forbid and prohibit all musterers drills or gatherings of militia of the territory of Utah and all gatherings of any nature, kind or description of armed persons within the territory.
<v Narrator>The attempt to disarm the people struck a deep nerve and Mormons who had long vowed to defend themselves to prevent a recurrence, persecutions they suffered in Missouri and Illinois when Shaffer died the next month. Much of the territory celebrated. Pointedly, the militia members fell into formation in the city's streets to demonstrate their existence to federal authorities. They carried canes and broom handles, and Washington received reports of a wooden gun rebellion in Utah. When George Woods assumes the post of governor, the militia again asserts its local leadership. <v George Woods actor>My first conflict with a church occurred on July 4th, 1871, General Wells issued an order to the militia to assemble to participate in the celebration. I resented this usurpation and forbade them to assemble, but my prohibition was disregarded. Thereupon I ordered to the rendezvous three companies of infantry and disperse them at the point of the bayonet. George L. Woods, territorial governor.
<v Narrator>The Army complicated matters. By opening Camp Rollin's near Provo on a payday, drunk soldiers barged into town with their guns, temporarily grabbed a local official, trashed a cooperative store. <v Charles Hibbard, Military Historian>So Camp Rollins or Fort Rollins was really a big mistake. It just created ill will serve no military purpose and there was no need really to keep an eye on the Mormons in Provo anymore than there was anywhere else. By this time, they sent in a new commander, Captain Arthur MacArthur, General Douglas MacArthur's father. Just when the troops and to close the post, which he did. <v Narrator>Soon, the nation was awash in reports that an armed conflict was imminent. <v The Silver State Newspaper read aloud>Reports are coming in from all settlements throughout Utah that the Mormons are drilling nightly and arming themselves in accordance with instructions from Brigham Young to prepare for war that all non Mormons must be exterminated and that sermons are preached in Mormon Tabernacle, calling the people to arms and advising destruction of the railroads. The Silver State newspaper.
<v Narrator>Investors in Utah mining were ready to leave the territory over the reports that prompted a handful of bankers to send a public letter to the East Coast. <v Warren Hussie actor>It is not true that bloodshed is imminent, life and property are today as secure in Utah as in any state or territory of the Union. It is a matter of deep regret among all classes of businessmen in this territory that the special dispatches sent from this city to the East are, for the most part, inaccurate and intensely sensational. Warren Hussie. <v Narrator>The tension ease slightly when Grant decided not to reappoint Woods in 1875. Instead, he sent a quiet former congressman, Samuel Axtell, to serve as governor in the eyes of the newly renamed Salt Lake Tribune. Axtell made his first mistake when he paid a courtesy call on Mormon leaders. <v The Salt Like Tribune read aloud>It is murder and foul treason. And Governor Axtell has committed this crime, ignoring his brother, federal officers and private citizens of Salt Lake who have risked their lives and sacrificed their property in resisting the tyranny of the libertine prophet. He sought the embrace of some of the most opprobrious leaders of the Mormon Church. Such venal perfidy is worse than murder. It is a crime against civilization. The Salt Lake Tribune.
<v Narrator>Soon, a full fledged press war was underway between the Tribune and the Deseret News and Salt Lake Herald as voices of the church and Axtell was in the middle. <v The Deseret News read aloud>The members of the unscrupulous ring in this territory have lied about him shamefully and persistently. The sole reason for all this vicious and brutal opposition was that he did not rush eagerly into their arms and swallow all their lies about the Mormons and adopt the violent, bitter and baseless prejudices of the ring. The Deseret News. <v Narrator>After four months of constant criticism from the non Mormon community, Axtell had had enough. <v Salt Lake Tribune read aloud>Hallelujah. The ship still had to step down and aside, the federal government has not abandoned us. The chief obstacle to Utah's progress obliterated Axtell came here trusted he has betrayed that trust and will take his departure despised and disgraced the Salt Lake Tribune. <v Narrator>In the 20 years since Brigham Young had been removed, 10 political appointees had raced through the governor's office. The position would remain a revolving door through the territorial years.
<v Warren Hussie actor>The Reverend Daniel Tuttle, dear sir, I am quite intimate with President Young and have frequently heard him express himself concerning other churches coming in here, and I am very sure they will meet a hearty welcome from him. In a conversation I had with President Young, he has assured me no minister nor anyone else who would come here and mind their own business need have the slightest fear of being disturbed by Mormons. I am sincerely yours, Warren Hussie. <v Narrator>With the influx of new faces. It was only a matter of time before new religious voices were raised in the Utah territory in the 1876 Episcopal, Lutheran, Presbyterian, Methodist and Catholic churches were in service routinely. The clergy coming to Utah, viewed theirs as a missionary calling. <v Michael Quinn, Historian>The Protestant missionary effort in Utah is is an example of the Protestant outreach in a number of areas throughout the 19th century, and essentially it's defined by the Protestant idea of of rescuing the heathen.
<v Tom Alexander, Historian>They wanted to make Christians out of these Mormons. They didn't perceive Mormons as Christians and they wanted to to Christianize Utah territory. <v Narrator>The hearts and minds of the children were viewed as the path to redeeming the territory from its ways. Parochial schools soon dotted the cities and towns, towns whose public schools had been limited, inconsistent and sometimes haphazard. The church sponsored schools were well-run and well taught and free for a purpose. <v Carol Madsen, Historian>The the mission call was not only to teach in Utah, but to help promote Christian values and hopefully to teach young Mormon children the evils of plural marriage. And they thought that they could influence the younger generation to throw off the yoke of this particular religious principle. And by doing so, they would be fulfilling a kind of a Christian mission. <v Narrator>While frowned upon. In some settings, the schools were generally popular and would exist through the territorial years. Religious medical missionaries opened hospitals to care for sick and injured miners and railroad workers, elevating the medical care available in the territory, which had been heavily reliant on verbal and spiritual healing and the influence of the missionary work often inspired Mormon leaders to develop better services themselves. But while contributing substantially to the quality of life, the missionaries actually had little success in converting people away from their Mormon beliefs, including polygamy. Many in the non Mormon community thought that conversion would require a different form of missionary zeal. James B. McKean came to the Utah territory from New York, adamant that his position as chief justice would give him the power to crush the Mormon rebellion he believed was underway.
<v Tom Alexander, Historian>He's intensely loyal to Protestant America, a very much committed Methodist, on the one hand, who would like to uphold the law, but who's willing to go beyond the bounds of legal propriety to do that. <v Narrator>In his courtroom above a stable in Salt Lake City in 1871, McKean ordered federal marshals to round up non Mormon juries and then set about lopping off the head of Mormon Church leadership. <v James McKean>The government of the United States, founded upon a written constitution, finds within its jurisdiction another government claiming to come from God, whose policies and practices are in grave particulars at variance with its own. The one government arrests the other in the person of its chief and arrange it at the bar. A system is on trial in the person of Brigham Young. Judge James B. McKean. <v Narrator>McKean arraigned 70 year old Brigham Young, a move that was cheered by the Eastern press.
<v The New York Herald read aloud>Brigham Young was arrested on an indictment charging him with lewd and lascivious conduct with 16 different women, whom we may presume were, according to his creed, his wives. We have nothing to do but wait his utter demolition in the courts and the immediate downfall of the last relic of barbarism in this free country. The New York Herald. <v Narrator>McKean went after Thomas Hawkins on the same charge, urging Hawkins first wife to testify about the existence of a second wife. The trial captured national attention, for it was viewed as a warm up to the trial of Brigham Young guilty. Hawkins was sent to prison for three years. Then McKean turned up the heat. He urged wild Bill Hickman, a gunfighter and sometimes loosely viewed as a lawman to escape a murder indictment by testifying against Mormon church leaders. Hickman implicated Brigham Young and others, including Daniel Wells, the mayor of Salt Lake City, for several unsolved murders that occurred during the Army intervention of 1857. An indictment was handed down before a huge crowd that spilled onto the streets. McKean denied bail and ordered Brigham Young held as a prisoner in his home, the Beehive House. Finally, the United States Supreme Court intervened, throwing out over 100 McKean cases because of his habit of press ganging stacked juries. With anti Mormon fervor, Congress quickly passed the Poland Act, which demanded balanced juries and dramatically reduced the authority of the Mormon run lower court system. And McKean was not finished because Analiza Webb Young had decided she wanted a divorce. Brigham had married Analisa in 1867 when he was 66 and she was 23. It was generally believed he had rescued her from an abusive previous marriage in 1875. She was before Judge McKean demanding a divorce settlement of a quarter million dollars. In response, Brigham's attorneys denied the legality of a marriage. When McKean found in Analiza's favor, Brigham refused to pay. The judge ordered the 74 year old church president to the territorial penitentiary for 24 hours. Then suddenly, Grant fired James B. McKean as a judge, citing ill advised and tyrannical acts. Eventually, his replacement would void the divorce, saying no legal marriage ever existed. But the most dramatic legal proceedings of the 1873 did not directly involved Brigham Young. Instead, they focused on one man from southern Utah.
<v Maxwell US Marshall actor>I have the honor to inform you that one, John D Lee, has been arrested and is now in charge of the deputy United States marshal and further, that trouble is expected. Maxwell, United States Marshal, November 10th, 1874. <v Narrator>For 20 years, the Mountain Meadows massacre had been equal measures of sorrow and embarrassment for the Utah territory and a steady drumbeat of outside voices that demanded vengeance. <v The Hartford Times read aloud>The guilt of mercilessly sacrificing unarmed men and women and children to religious fanaticism is justly chargeable against the Mormon Church. It now remains to see whether American justice will much longer allow the existence of such a bloodthirsty and barbarous organization in the country. The Hartford Times. <v Narrator>In a process that still remains a mystery. John Daly was offered and received as the man to stand trial for the murder of 120 men, women and children. <v Tom Alexander, Historian>And the only way that the federal government could successfully prosecute anyone was to to decide that they weren't going to prosecute the church, you remember that John D. Lee had two trials. And in the first trial, there's an attempt to to make the church itself, the defendant. And John Lee is kind of a symbol of the church in that trial. Now, what happened between then in the the second trial? I'm really not not certain. But in the second trial, the jury was made up of all Latter-Day Saints, and they convict John D. Lee on testimony that he murdered women and children.
<v Narrator>That he was involved in the massacre was never in doubt that he was in control of the mayhem, was doubted by the judge who sentenced Lee to death. <v Judge Warner actor>According to the evidence, the massacre seems to have been the result of a vast conspiracy extending from Salt Lake City to the bloody field, both trials taken together show that others and some in high authority inaugurated and decided upon the wholesale slaughter of the innocents. Judge Warner. <v Narrator>Citizens petitioned for clemency, and Lee would protest that he was merely a scapegoat, but nobody would intervene. On March 23, 1877, John D Lee was marched back to the site of the massacre. <v John D. Lee actor>I feel resigned to my fate. I've done nothing intentionally wrong. My conscience is clear before God and man, I have been sacrificed in a cowardly, dastardly manner. The evidence against me is as false as the hinges of hell. John D. Lee.
<v Narrator>Rather than resolve the issue, Lee's execution opened old wounds, but no other person was ever tried for the murders in Mountain Meadows. In 1877, on the heels of the Lee execution, Washington delegate George Q. Cannon Presented another petition for statehood to Congress. Again, it was virtually ignored. Deep suspicion of Mormon political control, coupled with outrage over polygamy, denied Utah many allies in Congress. It was not for lack of progress. After 30 years, more than 100000 people lived in the territory in hundreds of well-ordered cities and towns and Nevada, Nebraska and Colorado had recently gone into the union with smaller populations and less political order. At 77, Brigham Young was still regarded by friend and foe alike as the most important voice in the territory spiritual leader and prophet to his fellow Mormons. He was grudgingly acknowledged by the nation as the West's foremost colonizer. He had shepherded 80000 immigrants across the plains to the kingdom of God he envisioned in the mountains. He had been a player in linking the nation with the telegraph, then the railroad. He had grown wealthy by territorial standards. Every aspect of his life seemed lived on a grand scale, from his personal compound to the Tabernacles and temples he championed to the dozens of wives he married, all in the name of faith. If you could imagine the church, the territory or even the people without him. In April of 1877, he had made a triumphant trip to St George to dedicate the first Mormon temple in the Territory. On his return to Salt Lake City he encountered hard feelings from some Southern settlers who accused him of sacrificing John D Lee. It was the last time they would see Brigham Young. By midsummer, his health was failing rapidly. He still managed to contribute to some projects, including his long held dream of creating a new alphabet to aid immigrants in mastering English. But doctors could do little for him as his pain increased. At the time, the doctors talked of cholera morbus, later it was diagnosed as acute appendicitis. Still others proposed that Brigham Young was suffering from advanced prostate cancer. In the late summer, Brigham Young slipped into a coma at the Beehive House, his home and office. He rallied briefly and to a daughter seemed to speak of or to long deceased Mormon Church founder Joseph Smith.
<v Brigham Young actor>Joseph. Joseph. Joseph. <v Narrator>At five o'clock on August 29, 1877, Brigham Young died. Next time on Utah, the struggle for statehood, the territory faces a new era on the death of Brigham Young. John Taylor emerges as a defiant, unyielding voice for his church and his people, while Congress declares open political war on the Utah territory, launching an attack on civil liberties that has no parallel in the American experience. The cauldron. Next time on Utah, the struggle for statehood. <v Announcer>Utah, the struggle for statehood was made possible by a major grant from Thiokol, a pioneer in the development of solid rocket motors for aerospace and precision fastening systems for aerospace and industrial markets worldwide. Thiokol symbolizing the American spirit of exploration.
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Utah: The Struggle for Statehood
Episode Number
No. 2
Brother Brigham
Producing Organization
Contributing Organization
PBS Utah (Salt Lake City, Utah)
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Episode Description
This program tells the story of how Utah became a state. This is episode 2, Brother Brigham. This episode covers Utah's role during the Civil War, the construction of the Transcontinental Railroad, and the death of Brigham Young. The episode is divided into sections which detail immigration of non-Mormons to the territory, improvements in communication technology ending the feeling of isolation in Utah, the complicated relationship between the Mormon leadership in Utah and the Federal Government during the Civil War, the Battle of Bear River, power struggles between Patrick Edward Connor and Brigham Young, the advent of the railroad leading to more diversity in the territory, continuing conflict with Native Americans and other Mormon movements, the Socialist Christian United Order movement, efforts to end Church control of the territory, consequences of the creation of political parties in Utah, arrival of missionaries from other Christian churches, the trial of John D. Lee for the Massacre at Mount Meadows, and finally, Brigham Young's death. Interviews with historians are interspersed with historical reenactments, drawings, documents, and photographs from the period, and quotes from important diaries and journals. Following the episode, Director Ken Verdoia is interviewed.
Series Description
"January, 1996 marked the 100th anniversary of Utah's admission to the Union. Starting three years in advance of that date, public television station KUED of Salt Lake City committed unprecedented station resources to crafting a documentary series to [chronicle] the state's long, embattled path to the nation's 45th star. "The resulting documentary, UTAH: THE STRUGGLE FOR STATEHOOD, debuted in January, 1996 to critical acclaim and record-setting public television audiences. Drawing on twelve outstanding historians and more than eighty community leaders serving as guest narrators, the documentary emerged as a powerful story of epic issues balanced with intimate portraits of common people in uncommon times. "Adopted by the Utah State Office of Education to teach history in the public schools of Utah, UTAH: THE STRUGGLE FOR STATEHOOD is consistent with the highest standards of integrity, balance and service in American broadcasting. The program demonstrates the unique and durable contribution a television station can make to the education of the public when it merges foresight and commitment with its technical abilities to document the past as a means of understanding the present."--1996 Peabody Awards entry form.
Part 2 of 4. In honor of Utahs centemial, the 4 part series chronicles the states 50-year path to becoming the Unions 45th state on January 4, 1896.
Broadcast Date
Asset type
Media type
Moving Image
Producing Organization: KUED
AAPB Contributor Holdings
Identifier: cpb-aacip-ed06ed01cd7 (Filename)
Format: DVCPRO: 25
Generation: Master
Duration: 01:17:37:00
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Chicago: “Utah: The Struggle for Statehood; No. 2; Brother Brigham,” 1996-01-03, PBS Utah, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed June 28, 2022,
MLA: “Utah: The Struggle for Statehood; No. 2; Brother Brigham.” 1996-01-03. PBS Utah, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. June 28, 2022. <>.
APA: Utah: The Struggle for Statehood; No. 2; Brother Brigham. Boston, MA: PBS Utah, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from