thumbnail of Utah: The Struggle for Statehood; No. 1; Beginnings
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<v Narrator>Tonight on Utah, the struggle for statehood, the story begins. Faced with violent and determined efforts to break up their gatherings, a new American religious movement turns to the frontier. Their trek to the Great Salt Lake heralds a new chapter in the American West, produces one of the most powerful figures of the eighteen hundreds and sets in motion the most pitched battle for statehood in the nation's history. <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 Brigham Young Actor>To stay is death by the sword to go into banishment unprepared is death by starvation. But yet under these heartrending circumstances, several hundred others have started on our dreary journey. Some of us are already without food. Hundreds of others may shortly follow us in the same unhappy condition. <v Narrator>At the start of 1846. They were a people on the edge of the American wilderness without a home. The nation knew them as Mormons, a new and controversial religious movement, the eyes of 19th century America. They clung to life and each other on the banks of the Missouri River as it separated Iowa from what would become the Nebraska territory. Conflict had dogged their every step over the previous 10 years, culminating in the murder of their founder, Joseph Smith in 1844 and their forced expulsion from an Illinois homeland in 1846. <v Michael Quinn, Historian>They had gone through a really hideous period of time during the previous few months. Uh, women dying in childbirth, men, women and children dying from the exposure.
<v Jan Shipps, Historian>They were pushed off. Into what was essentially a void. They were pushed. Out of place. And out of time <v Narrator>In their winter quarters, on the edge of the frontier, the Mormon people knew there was no turning back. <v Joseph Smith Actor>I prophesied that the Saints would continue to suffer much affliction and would be driven to the Rocky Mountains. Many would have posta ties. Others would be put to death by our persecutors or lose their lives in consequence of exposure or disease. And some would live to see the Saints become a mighty people in the Rocky Mountains. Joseph Smith, August 6th, 1842. <v Narrator>Safety somewhere beyond the Rocky Mountains became a vision of a promised land for the struggling Mormons. Getting them there would fall to a 45 year old carpenter from Vermont named Brigham Young, who had stepped up in leadership upon the death of Joseph Smith. And his next step was far from certain.
<v Michael Quinn, Historian>When Brigham Young signed the document with the anti Mormon mobs at the end of September 1845. And agreed to leave Nauvoo. There was no clear idea at that point of the destination. They spoke of Oregon. They spoke of California, <v Edward Leo Lyman, Historian>All of which would be outside the United States, they definitely want isolation. They've learned they can't get along with any neighbors. They want to be away. <v Narrator>War had broken out between the United States and Mexico. Rather than a roadblock, Young viewed it as a way to deliver his people into the West. He dispatched Jesse Little to Washington to persuade President James Polk to use the Mormons westward move as a means of extending the reach of the nation into the Mexican held territory. Polk responded by offering to draft 500 Mormon men into the army. <v Edward Leo Lyman, Historian>In fact, the church wanted that they wanted the they advance pay to buy the covered wagons and other equipment to take their families to Utah while the government was paying for the transportation, actually marching of of those five hundred men.
<v Brigham Young Actor>If we want the privilege of going where we can worship God according to the dictates of our consciences, we must raise the battalion, Brigham Young. <v Narrator>The battalion marched off to the southwest in the summer of 1846 and would not be seen for the next year. Still uncertain about a destination for his people, Brigham Young sends Samuel Brennan and a settling party to the east. Brennan was told to sail from New York to California and assess the San Francisco area as a new homeland. But for the thousands huddled in the temporary settlements near the Missouri River, talk turned increasingly to vast, uncharted lands just beyond the Rocky Mountains. John C. Fremont, who just published an account of his exploration of a great salty Dead Sea and the surrounding area that he called a Great Basin. Lansford Hastings enticed westward travelers with his description of a route to California passing the same large Salt Lake, a party led by the Donner family was following that route in the summer of 1846. Fremont marveled at what was surely North America's most isolated location.
<v Michael Quinn, Historian>And so Brigham Young increasingly looked for a location where there could be isolation, where the Mormons would be not only the the the most powerful community around, it would be the only community where they would not have to fight for their privileges with older settlers. And for that reason, the Great Basin was very appealing. <v Brigham Young Actor>As soon as we settle in the Great Basin, we designed to petition for a territorial government bounded on the north by the British and on the south by the Mexican domain. And east and west by the summits of the Rocky and Cascade Ranges, Brigham Young. <v Narrator>Few Mormons understood what such a claim would mean in practice, but they did understand that in a few months, the spring of 1847, they would step off the edge of the United States into the unknown of the American West. On the maps of the 17th hundreds, the land between the Rocky and Sierra Nevada mountain ranges was uncharted terra incognita, the unknown land. In 15 40, Francisco de Coronado was the first European to penetrate the region, venturing north from Mexico to the banks of what became known as the Colorado River. But Coronado knew his was not the first presence. 10000 years before the first Aboriginal natives had come to the land and hundreds of years before the birth of Christ, the Anasazi and Fremont cultures had peopled the canyons leaving their mark and their history. By the time Spanish explorers started to push north from Mexico, great native cultures were thriving. To the extreme north were the Shoshone people. To the south, were the Navajos and centered in the region were natives who called themselves núuchi-u, the people. They were called Utah's by the Spanish for the location on upper legs of exploration trails. The Utah culture reached from mountain to desert with an important center of life built around a large freshwater lake in an area they called Timpanogos, which would become known as Utah Lake. In 1776 as the Declaration of Independence was being signed in Philadelphia, Spanish priest Francisco Dominguez and Sylvester Velez de Escalante made the first significant inroads to the Utah culture. Walking overland through the Colorado Plateau in search of a route to California they came as far north as Utah Lake, heard tales of a greater salt lake to the north and left with a promise to return. They never did. By the eighteen hundreds, Mexico's new world claim to the Great Basin was in tatters.
<v Fred Gowans, Historian>The thing being that we've got to remember is that by the eighteen forties, Mexico is having massive problems, just trying to keep care of the problems they had in Mexico. They had never been able to control their northern frontier. <v Narrator>The front door to the northern frontier was found in 1824 when Jedediah Smith passed through a natural break in the Rocky Mountains in what would become Wyoming. <v Fred Gowans, Historian>And the great thing about Jed Smith's rediscovery of South Pass wasn't so much that he rediscovered the Pass, but he made it knowledgeable then that it was feasible for wagon travel. So as early as the fall of 1824 people in the east knew there was a highway that would take them west. And not only that, there was a path that would take them across the continental divide by which they could get through the Rocky Mountains. <v Narrator>Within 10 years, hundreds of trappers and traders were swarming over the region. Some, like Dennie Julien venturing as far south as the Colorado River to carve their mark and trade with the native people. In 1841, the first California bound wagon company passed near the Dead Sea that was now widely known as the Great Salt Lake. The Bartelson-Bidwell Co. barely lived to tell of their trek over the desert that seemed to stretch like endless salt to the west. Fremont was next mapping routes into the Great Basin, writing of the landscape and influencing the leader of a group on the banks of the Missouri River, a group ready to cast its fate with the West that Fremont described.
<v Brigham Young Actor>Let every man use all his influence and property to remove this people to the place where the Lord shall locate a stake of Zion, and if you do this with a pure heart, we shall be blessed in your flocks, in your fields, in your homes and in your families. Brigham Young. <v Narrator>On April seven, 1847, an advance company of 148 left the moment encampment on the Missouri River. Any doubts about the destination had vanished, <v Harold Schindler, Writer>And Mormons had a very good notion of where they were going. They had copies of Fremont's maps that have been provided. They were given up to date information right up to the time they were leaving, and they were headed to Great Salt Lake Valley. <v Jan Shipps, Historian>They were looking for the Promised Land and and they knew they would know it when they saw it. <v Priddy Meeks actor>Now our hearts swelled with the glorious expectation of leaving our persecutors behind. We started not knowing where we was going, what was ahead of us trusting in the living God. Priddy Meeks.
<v Narrator>The small caravan rolled westward across the northern plains and followed the Platte River, the acknowledged path to the West Coast, and one of the few certain sources of water. One hundred and forty three men, three women, two children, including three African-American slaves, walked virtually the entire way. The lesser evil when confronted with a jarring ride in ?inaudible? wagons. On May 1st, they killed 12 Buffalo to feed the country. By June 1st, they were passing the trading post at Fort Laramie on the eastern slope of the Rocky Mountain. By July 1st, they were through South Pass and across the continental divide. But when they reached the Green River, the sense of progress stumbled. Major Harris, a roving trader, told Brigham Young the Salt Lake Valley would not support his people. Jim Bridger came from his trading post to say the valley wasn't bad, but Utah Lake would be better. And Sam Brannan had traveled from California past the carnage of the Donner Party in the Sierras to urge Brigham to press on to San Francisco. Brigham listened, ordered the company forward to the Great Salt Lake and then suddenly took ill.
<v Harold Schindler, Writer>And now it's considered highly likely that he had some form of a high altitude malaria picked up from the cattle on the trail and then transmitted by mosquitoes that they knew nothing about at that time. And mosquitoes were dreadful, drive animals crazy and were a constant pest. <v Narrator>Erastus Snow and Orson Pratt were selected to serve as scouts as the party slowed down due to illness. On July 21st, Snow and Pratt reached a clearing in the mountains the Utah Indians called Wasatch <v Orson Pratt actor>After issuing from the mountains where we had been shut up for many days and beholding at a moment, such an extensive scenery opened before us, we could not refrain from a shout of joy. We immediately descended very gradually into the lower parts of the valley. For three or four miles north, we found the soil of a most excellent quality. Streams from the mountains and springs were abundant, the water excellent, a great variety of green grass and very luxuriant covered the bottoms for miles where the soil was sufficiently damp, Orson Pratt.
<v Narrator>In two days, another group reached the valley, passing over roads and ruts left by the Donner Party the year before. A journal history started to chronicle the new land. <v Historical journal read aloud>July twenty third, 1847, the camp was called together and Orson Pratt dedicated the land and themselves unto the Lord. In two hours after arrival, some of the men began to plow the first furrow being turned over by William Carter. <v Narrator>On July 24th, the remainder of the Mormon company rolled into the valley. Brigham Young, at times incoherent with fever in the past few days, was on a bed in a wagon driven by Wilford Woodruff. <v Historical journal read aloud>When we came out of the canyon in full view of the valley, I turned the side of my carriage around open to the West, and President Young arose from his bed and took a survey of the country. <v Narrator>Young said little, but what he said was remembered. <v Brigham Young Actor>It is enough. This is the right place. Drive on.
<v Historical journal read aloud>July 28, 1847, about five pm Brigham Young. Heber C. Kimball and others walk to a point between two forks of ?inaudible? creek. It was resolved that the temple should be built there. But the city block should be 10 acres each. The streets, eight roads wide, the sidewalks 20 feet wide. <v Narrator>The plowing and planting continue. Men went to the canyons and cut trees to build a fort against Indian attack. But the settlement had fallen between the Shoshone to the north and the Utah Indians to the south, a natural neutral zone. To the settlers, the valley appeared to be the promised land. The river bisecting the valley was named the Jordan. It led to the great Dead Sea that dominated the landscape and fascinated the new arrivals. <v Wilford Woodruff actor>We rode out six miles to a large rock on the shore of the Salt Lake, which we named Black Rock, where we all assaulted and bathed in the saltwater. No person could sink it, but would roll and float on the surface like a dry log. We concluded that the Salt Lake was one of the wonders of the world. Wilford Woodruff.
<v Narrator>Life and death came to the camp in its first month. In August, a baby girl was born. Days later, the young son of the Crow family strayed too close to the settlement creek fell in and drowned. Brigham Young soon left the valley to organize the remaining exodus from the Missouri River. Additional caravans were already on the trail to the new settlement as Falls settled on the Wasatch Mountains and the Great Salt Lake assents filled the camp that the persecutions of the past by an unbelieving world were over. <v Heber C. Kimball actor>The reason we are here in these silent valleys is because we could not have the privilege of worshiping God according to his requirements in our native country. I have been robbed and broken up six times before I came here and was forced to leave my habitation and my substance. I am not the only person who has suffered so and all because of my religion. HHeber C. Kimbal.
<v Parley Pratt actor>I have now resided almost one year in this alone retreat where civilized man has not made his home for the last thousand years, no elections, no police reports, no murders, no wars in our little world. How quiet, how still, how peaceful, how happy, how lonesome, how free from excitement we live. Parley Pratt. <v Historical journal read aloud>March six, eighteen forty eight. The weather had been remarkably mild and pleasant during the winter, but many cattle have been lost by ?meyerholes? wolves and Indians. The population of the city is one thousand six hundred seventy one. Journal history. <v Narrator>By the spring of 1848, the Great Salt Lake settlement was thriving. Crops were growing in the communal agricultural plot known as the big field. And thousands of members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints were on the trail across the plains to join their fellow Mormons. Then, one day in May, a small black cloud drifted over the hills into the valley and settled on the crops.
<v Historical journal read aloud>May 1848. Black crickets were very destructive to the crops in some places during the spring. Many of the vine peas and bean were destroyed by frost and crickets when the crickets came and ate up the nursery trees and grain. Many were discouraged. <v Priddy Meeks actor>The crickets came so thick and made the earth blackened places. My faith did not fail one particle that felt very solemn hour provisions beginning to give out. Priddy Meeks. <v Narrator>The crickets turned the fields into undulating black carpets. Frantically, the settlers flailed at the insects with rakes flooded and even set fires to drive them off. Everything failed. 25 percent of the crop was gone, then 50 percent. Then a few dots appeared on the horizon over the Great Salt Lake. <v Priddy Meeks actor>I looked up and saw a flock of seven gulls. In a few minutes there was a larger flock passed over. They came faster and more of them until the heavens were darkened with them. They would eat crickets and throw them up again and feel themselves again. A little before sundown, they left for Salt Lake. A little after sunrise in the morning, they came back again. Priddy Meeks.
<v Narrator>Only a fraction of the crops were saved by the seagulls. Facing starvation, John Young insisted that a writer be sent to urge his brother Brigham to turn back the Mormon caravan's for this surely was not the place Brigham urged the companies to press on. The Valley's population swelled with new arrivals, including members of the Mormon battalion who marched in from California. Almost lost in the face of starvation was news that battalion members had made some of the first gold discoveries near Sacramento. And then a fierce early winter hit. <v Brigham Madsen, historian>The winter of forty eight. Forty nine was a terrible winter. The snow was two feet deep on the valley floor. Cold, very cold temperatures. They ran out of the Mormons, ran out of food stuffs, finally got down to the point where Brigham Young had to declare that ration system of only three quarters of a of a pound of wheat do each person each day. <v Priddy Meeks actor>The valley, from a human standpoint, presented nothing better than extreme suffering, if not starvation. The Saints were scattered hither and thither. Some went back to the states and some went on to California while the mass of people were eating whatever they could. Some eating hides off cattle, some eating wolf hawk and crow, some eating flesh of cattle that have been dead for some time. And while all that was going on, it looked like there was a splendid chance for going naked. Priddy Meeks.
<v Historical journal read aloud>February 3rd. Eighteen forty nine. The immigrants were instructed to bring eighteen months provisions, but they brought much less. By this time, families were destitute of provisions. It was therefore resolved that no corn should be made into whiskey. <v Priddy Meeks actor>I would take a grubbing hoe and start at sunrise and go six miles before coming to where the thistle roots grew. I would dig until I grew weak and faint and sit down and eat a root, then begin again. I would have a bushel and sometimes more of thistle roots and we would eat them raw. I continued this until the roots began to fail. Priddy Meeks. <v Narrator>A winter of digging roots and nine Rawhide took its toll. For many, survival of the settlement was in doubt and a number of families left for California with the spring thaw. But then came the summer of 1849. The California gold discovery had triggered a national frenzy, and thousands of wagons flooded the overland trails to the west, trails that now pass through the Salt Lake Valley.
<v Brigham Madsen, historian>When the gold rushers came in in June 1849, the stop the head of Immigration County looked down on this valley that just gave shouts of joy after three months of crossing the plains of sterile plains. You know, all at once here is this oasis out in the middle of nowhere. <v New York Tribune read aloud>At the first sight of these signs of cultivation in the wilderness, we were transported into wonder and pleasure. Some wept, some gave three cheers, some laughed and some fairly danced for joy. The New York Tribune. <v Priddy Meeks actor>And what they wanted was fresh produce from the Mormons, from the vegetable gardens. The Mormons, they wanted to get rid of their wagons and just get a pack for for a horse, you know, so they could set off and get to California for all of their competitors. So that just overnight, the Mormon people were able to get all of the things they needed. The gold diggers come in, nearly perished for vegetables and they, having plenty, did not care for the price. So I laid in goods, bacon, tea, coffee and sugar. Besides many of the articles that I needed. I got a site for three bits. Priddy Meeks.
<v Narrator>The 49er gold rush had given new life to the settlement that now called itself Great Salt Lake City. <v Unidentified historical figure actor>Come, then come, then you honorable men of the Earth from all nations and Kindred's and kingdoms and tongues and people and dialects on the face of the whole earth and help us build up the kingdom of God and no power on Earth or in hell can prevail against. <v Narrator>A steady stream of Mormon wagon companies flowed to the Great Salt Lake settlement. In the next 20 years, more than 80000 immigrants would complete the journey, 6000 of the travelers would die from disease and the elements. <v William Morley Black actor>I have often thought how wise it is that we cannot see the end from the beginning, for often the difficulties would be greater than our faith and we would fail to make the progress that we do. William Morley Black.
<v Narrator>In the summer of 1850, Martha Spence started a diary to record her travel to the new Promised Land, <v Martha Spence actor>July 10th, 1850. I have just had the melancholy intelligence that among the many who have died of cholera. Sister Margaret MacDonald and Sister Dana are reckoned among its victims in those falling victim. I see the pestilence nearer to me than before, and the question comes up in my mind who am I that I may not be called upon? <v Narrator>By 1850, more than 11000 Mormons who survived the journey to reach the shores of the Great Salt Lake. As promised, Brigham Young had claimed a huge portion of the American West as a new homeland, a homeland the settlers called Deseret and their scriptural reference to the industrious honeybee at once, Young issued calls for companies to venture out and settle the vast landscape and make the Mormons self-sufficient. Iron and cotton missions were established in the south. Farmland missions in the Sandpede and Cache valleys on the shores of Utah Lake settlements stretched to California and the Sierra Nevada mountains.
<v Martha Bradley, Historian>I think the most interesting thing about the way Brigham Young approached colonization was his driving sense of order. He didn't just send groups of people out to isolated areas without a sense of plan, and each of the groups he send out included blacksmith and different artisans. So so that when they went out, they were they were a community. They were a well-rounded group of individuals who could work together and essentially be self-sufficient. <v Narrator>Now, married Martha Spence Heywood was called to aid in creating a town on the trail linking Great Salt Lake City to the southern settlements, <v Martha Spence actor>December 22nd, 1850. Rumors have been afloat during the last week. The Indians have robbed and destroyed the lives of the last company of California immigrants on their way to the mines. If this is so, it will probably be the commencing of hostilities in this place. I have a foreboding that there is something besides prosperity for us as a people in this place, and often the remark has been made. The Lord has us in a place where he can do with us as he likes Martha Spence Heywood.
<v Narrator>The following November, Martha Spence Haywood would give birth to a son in a covered wagon during a frigid night in the town of Nephi. Such was life on the western frontier. Infant mortality was high throughout the West, and Deseret was no exception. With one in every three or four children failing to live through their first year, disease was a key factor. With medicine still in its infancy, epidemics could sweep immigrant companies and settlements, typhus, cholera and what the people called the black canker diphtheria. <v Martha Spence actor>February 22nd, 1856. I called on Brother Brian and he gave his opinion. Cainkar was in her stomach and the rash had turned in. He would not allow that it was measles. She died the next morning, about eight o'clock. I washed her little body myself on my lap and dressed her in her own clothes. The last sewing I did for her was a pair of shoes of white cloth. Martha Spence Heywood
<v Narrator>Shared faith sustained the settlements through the tough times. But church leaders soon determined that faith was not enough for their new society. <v John Never actor>Having no jails. We instituted the whipping post on one occasion. I had to prosecute a case before the high council and execute a judgment. The case was for stealing. The judgment was ten dollars or ten lashes. I volunteered to help him pay the fine, but he would not. So he was whipped. John ?Never? <v Narrator>Law and Order were part of a new organization for Deseret. The war with Mexico was over and the future of Deseret clearly rested with the United States. Brigham Young church leader was unanimously elected governor. <v John Never actor>We the people are grateful to the Supreme being for the blessings hither to enjoy- <v Narrator>A constitution was drafted and sent to Washington in 1849 with a request to admit Deseret as a state skipping past territorial status. <v Edward Leo Lyman, Historian>Interestingly, Zachary Taylor, the president, the United States sends agents to Brigham Young with a proposal that the Utah part of upper California be linked to the rest of California as one state with the possibility later of Southern California and the Utah part being a separate state from the gold fields,
<v Narrator>President Taylor wanted to push as much land as possible directly into the union to seal control. Members of Congress backed the plan to avoid the expansion of slavery. Although slaves already legally existed in small numbers in Utah. Brigham Young saw it as the opening to secure the harbor at San Diego for the vision of an Inland Empire. <v Brigham Young Actor>Thus, while the government is using us to save the nation, we are using them to save ourselves. Brigham Young. <v Narrator>California, its admission certain, would have nothing to do with the plan <v Peter Bernet actor>To form a constitution fitted to such an unnatural state of things would be a most complex and difficult task. I cannot conscientious recommend you to accept the proposition made. California Governor Peter Bernet. <v Narrator>By the spring of 1850, the dream of a California superstate had died, Deseret would stand alone in carving a place in the American experience.
<v Captain John Gunnarson actor>It is true that they are a little fanatical about their religious views, but let no man be deceived in his estimation of the people who have settled here, any people who had the courage to travel 100 miles such probably as cannot not be traveled over in any part of the world, must be possessed of an indomitable energy that is but rarely met. Captain John Gunnarson, <v Narrator>they dedicated that energy to what they call building the kingdom of God, literally a theocracy where church and state not only merged, but were inseparable. <v Leonard Arrington, Historian>There's no question about it. They wanted it that way. They expected it to be that way. They worked toward that goal. <v Jan Shipps, Historian>The sacred and the secular were integrated. So that you began to. Find it difficult to know who is a religious leader and who is a secular leader. <v Narrator>It was a way of life that was certain to be impacted by Washington decision makers who were weighing Deseret's bid for statehood in 1850. And political insiders warned the territorial status would be a shock.
<v Thomas King actor>You are better off without any government from the hands of Congress than with a territorial government. The political intrigues of government officers will be against you. You do not want corrupt political men from Washington strutting around you, ?Thomas King? <v Narrator>William Smith, a brother of Mormon Church founder Joseph Smith, swayed Washington opinion when he sent a letter to President Zachary Taylor blistering Brigham Young and Deseret. <v William Smith actor>Their intention is to unite church and state. This American tyrant is endeavoring to establish a new order of political potpourri in the recesses of the mountains. William Smith <v Narrator>Zachary Taylor announced that there was no room for a Mormon kingdom in the United States. <v Alman Babbitt actor>He is not our friend. This I know for myself beyond a doubt. He did say before 20 members of Congress that he would veto any bill passed state or territorial for the Mormons, that they were a pack of outlaws and were not fit for self-government. Alman Babbitt.
<v Narrator>Two days later, Taylor was dead of cholera. His successor, the honest and ineffective Millard Fillmore, had warmed to Deseret's Washington delegates, but he would not back statehood. <v Tom Alexander, historian>They didn't have the population and the area that they were trying to claim was partly claimed by California. And there just wasn't any way they were going to get in under the the State of Deseret rubric. <v Narrator>It was known as the compromise of 1850 laws primarily dedicated to holding off sectional tension over slavery. But it also trimmed the boundaries of Deseret, established federal oversight over a new territorial government and slapped a new name on the land, Utah. Brigham Young was appointed governor by President Filmore, half of the territorial positions went to Mormons and half to political appointees out of Washington. By the fall of 1851, the political appointees were in Utah and within days, tension flared. Federal Judge Perry Brochus invited himself to a Mormon gathering in a newly constructed tabernacle in the heart of Great Salt Lake City. He would report that Brigham Young launched an attack against the dead president, Zachary Taylor.
<v Brigham Young Actor>Judge Brochus is either a profoundly ignorant or willfully wicked one of the two I love the government and the Constitution of the United States, but I do not love the damn rascals who administer the government. I am indignant at such corrupt fellows as Judge Brochus is coming here to lecture us on morality and virtue. <v Narrator>By December, Perry Brochus and the other non Mormon appointees were on the road back to Washington. They told tales of total church control of the territory and of rampant disloyalty among the Mormons to the United States. Utah's delegate to Congress, Dr. John Bernhisel had to work around the clock to counter the charges, <v Dr. John Bernhisel actor>Although the returned officers had been beaten at every point and their libelous report was not noticed by Congress. Utah did not stand as well in the eyes of the nation as before the explosion. <v Narrator>Franklin Pierce had been elected president and announced that one of his first moves would be to remove Brigham Young as governor.
<v Brigham Young Actor>I have no fears, whatever, of Franklin Pierce excuse me from office and saying that another man shall be governor of this territory. I am and will be governor and no power can hinder it. Until the Lord Almighty, says Brigham, you need not be governor any longer. <v Narrator>Pierce offered the post of governor to Army Colonel Edward J. Stepto in Utah for exploration and investigation after a winter of watching life in the territory, including a riot involving his troops and Mormons on Christmas Eve of 1854, Steptoe decided against a life in politics. <v Edward Stepto actor>Who is to be your governor? I cannot tell. All that I can say is you may consider yourselves fairly rid of me. The president has conversed very little with me about Utah, and to tell the truth, I have no wish to converse on the subject with any political person. Colonel Edward J. Stepto, United States Army, 1855. <v Narrator>The curtain had gone up on the relationship of the Utah territory to the federal government. The mutual distrust and suspicion would shape the next 40 years. He was sometimes called Walker. To his people, he was Walkara, a principal chief of the native culture now known as the Utes. He had welcomed the Mormons at first even being baptized into their religion in the first years of the settlement. It was consistent with an aspect of the Mormon faith that set them apart from other Western settlers. They called the native people laymanites and believe they were the descendants of ancient biblical pilgrims to the new world that had spiritual ties to Mormonism. The Mormon missions made earnest efforts to befriend Native Americans, much to the shock of observing federal agents.
<v Dr. Garland Hurt actor>What may we expect from these missionaries? There is perhaps not a tribe on the continent that will not be visited by one or more of them. I suspect their first object will be to teach these wretched savages that they are the rightful owners of the American soil and that has been wrongfully taken from them by the whites. Dr. Garland Hurt Indian agent. <v Narrator>But the constant influx of settlers soured relations between the U.S. and the Mormons. <v Fred Gowans, Historian>And so in a matter of just a few years, you have the Mormons pushing up into a cache valley. You have the Mormons pushing down into a Utah Valley, a Sandpede, a Juab. And this was in the very lands where the Ute Indians were living. Well, something had to give. And eventually, you know, by as early as 1849, you've already got friction between the Mormons and the Utes. <v Narrator>The friction flared when Brigham Young sought to end the Indian slave trade that had existed for hundreds of years. Ute raiding parties would capture young members of the Goshute and Paiute tribes and trade them for horses from Mexico.
<v Fred Gowans, Historian>When all of a sudden the U.S. found out that they could no longer get horses by selling littlePaiute, Goshute children into Indian slavery, they went to the Mormons and said, OK, you've created this problem. You buy them. And when the Mormons wouldn't buy them. Then they found themselves in a real problem. <v Daniel Jones actor>He took one of these children by the heels and dashed its brains out hard on the ground, after which he threw the body toward us, telling us we had no hearts or we would have bought it and saved its life. Daniel Jones. <v Narrator>Fighting soon broke out the bloodiest taking place in the fertile central valleys of the territory. <v Christian Nielsen actor>In general, the tribe considered all white men their enemies. And it was stated that the day before, some of the Indians in their hate of the white man had killed a white man, cut up his body, boiled the parts and feasted on the delicious meat. Christian Nielsen. <v Martha Bradley, Historian>Men in their fields would be would be shot down and killed on a daily basis and the settlers there lived in constant fear of some sort of reprisal on the part of the Native Americans.
<v Martha Spence actor>January 1st, 1854, brethren arrived here on their way to the city and brought with them the bodies of three murdered brethren by the Indians. The following morning being the Sabbath, nine Indians coming into our camp looking for protection and bread with us because we promised it to them and without knowing they did the first evil act in that affair or any other were shot down without one minutes notice. It cast considerable gloom over my mind. Martha Spence Heywood. <v Narrator>Eventually Brigham Young, wearing an additional hat as territorial Indian superintendent met face to face with Chief Foukara on the banks of Chicken Creek outside of Nephi. Only a temporary cease fire was negotiated for the settlers, and the Ute culture remained on a collision course. <v Fred Gowans, Historian>The thing is, is that we can say and talk all we want about Mormons viewing the Native Americans differently. When all is said and done, the same thing happened to the Native American in Utah that happened to him everywhere else in the West. He lost his land. He was rounded up and he was put on a reservation.
<v Narrator>The Walker War also set the stage for a showdown between Brigham Young and legendary trapper Jim Bridger. Bridgers private fort near the Green River fell under control of the Utah territory. The relationship was strained from the outset, with Bridger trying to profit from the Mormon overland immigrants and Brigham Young seeking to assert control, acting on nebulous reports that Bridger was inciting the Indians in the north, Young ordered a small army to the fort to arrest Bridger and take control. Bridger slipped away into the hills, eventually heading east and telling anyone that would listen that he had been robbed and driven off by the Mormons. In the early 1850 is great, Salt Lake City has put down deep roots, many of them emphasized the overriding spiritual qualities of the settlement. A tabernacle had been built in the heart of the city for religious and town gatherings. A social hall hosted dances. It was the site of numerous plays staged by the settlers and the occasional traveling troupe. Brigham Young's large walled compound was the nerve center for the territory, and in 1854, the settlers started work on what they viewed as the heart of their gathering.
<v Historical journal read aloud>June 16, 1854, on Friday the 16th. The work began at the southeast corner to lay the foundation of the temple in Great Salt Lake City. The foundation was 15 feet thick at the bottom. <v Narrator>All measurements in the city were taken from the temple site, even though the city ended only a few blocks south of the temple in the heart of the settlement affirm to both Mormon and traveling non Mormon the unique qualities of life in the Utah territory. So did another aspect of Mormon society. <v Captain John Gunnarson actor>But many have a large number of wives is perfectly manifest to anyone residing among them. And indeed, the subject begins to be more openly discussed than formerly Captain John Gunnarson, United States Army. <v Narrator>In 1852, the Mormon Church publicly announced its practice of what it called celestial marriage, the spiritual authority for a man to take multiple wives.
<v Zinah Diantha Young actor>Here we had now openly the first example of noble minded, virtuous women bravely commencing to live the newly revealed order of celestial marriage. This is my husband's wife, here we could give this introduction without fear of reproach or violation of man made laws. Zinah Diantha Young. <v Brigham Young Actor>I deliver a prophecy upon it. It will sail over and ride triumphantly above all the prejudice and priest craft of the day. It will be fostered and believed in by the more intelligent portions of the world as one of the best doctrines ever proclaimed to any people. Brigham Young. <v Jan Shipps, Historian>It gave a a sense of otherness to the Mormons, it put a face on what they sensed was true, that the Mormons were not just different, but they were so different that they were in the anthropological sense other.
<v Narrator>As to the shock caused in the outside world by the announcement, the Mormon Church bluntly told the world to mind its own business. <v Orson Pratt actor>I think, if I'm not mistaken, that the Constitution gives the privilege to all inhabitants of this country of the free exercise of their religious notions and the freedom of their faith and the practice of it. And should laws ever be enacted to restrict them such laws must be unconstitutional. Orson Pratt. <v W.W. Phelps actor>Of two evils, a Mormon chooses neither, but goes in for all good and more good, which if, as Solomon said, a good wife is a good thing, then the more you have, the more good you have. W.W. Phelps. <v Narrator>The strident nature of Judge Phelps proclamation's soon had Washington in an uproar. <v Dr. John Bernhisel actor>So far as considering as a religious people, very many here and elsewhere regarded as among the most immoral and licentious beings on the face of the globe. I therefore beg entreat and implore Judge Phelps as an elder brother to write no more letters in our dialogs. On this subject upon which the nation is so sensitive. John Bernhisel, delegate to Congress.
<v Narrator>Polygamy join slavery is the hottest issues of the 1856 presidential campaign. John C. Fremont was the candidate for the brand new Republican Party, which demanded an end to what it called the twin relics of barbarism, slavery and polygamy. The Democratic candidate, James Buchanan, took a hands off approach. <v James Buchanan actor>The states and the territories must remain perfectly free to form and regulate their domestic institutions in their own way, subject only to the Constitution of the United States. James Buchanan. <v Narrator>The Mormons viewed Buchanan's narrow victory as a triumph for self-determination, but it did not ease tension between the territory and the federal government. A primary reason for that was the arrival of a stagecoach bearing a new federal judge. W.W. Drummond. <v Harold Schindler, Writer>Drummond was extraordinarily ambitious. He was a hypocrite. He was a bigot. He was a gambler, and he was an adulterer because the woman that he brought on board that stagecoach that day, Aida Carol, was a prostitute that he had found in a bordello in Washington, D.C., as he was preparing to leave for Utah, invited her to go along.
<v Narrator>Drummond, often advised by his mistress while sitting on the bench, immediately set to work to use his court as a tool to exert his authority over the territory and the Mormon Church. <v Orson Hyde actor>It seems to me. But little used to employ counsel for a cause that is plain and true as to and to ask for. He would call it five if he takes a notion, especially if it's going to operate against Mormon interest. Orson Hyde. <v Narrator>For the second time in five years, federal appointees were ready to abandon the Utah territory scenario that prompted little sadness among the Mormon people. <v Heber C. Kimball actor>Suffice it to say, they are all a poor, rotten set of devils, for there are no others that will come wanting to roll over us, contrary to our will. Heber C. Kimball.
<v Narrator>For all the conflict, it was still the promised land to the Mormon people flocking to the territory called Utah through the 1850s 3000 immigrants a year made their way to the territory. The Missouri River exodus now complete, European converts, formed a second wave of immigration. A group of 80 Welsh immigrants with congregational choir training formed the core of a new singing company that celebrated their faith in song in the Tabernacle, the songs, the choir and the Tabernacle would endure. Unable to provide wagons to transport the largely destitute immigrants, church leaders proposed walking the faithful to Utah with their possessions pushed along in carts. It ranks as one of the most remarkable chapters of the nation's migration to the West. The first three handcart companies made the crossing from Iowa to Great Salt Lake City in 1856. It was a grueling and punishing trip to prove that the handcarts could work. The next two companies, led by Edward Martin and James Willie, shared a different fate. Martin and Willie slowed their departure to wait for hundreds of late arriving immigrants eager to reach Utah before winter. The company's bloated to over 1000 immigrants did not cross the Missouri River until mid-August. A two month trip was still ahead. Several members of the company, including Levi Savage, argued against pressing on, claiming it was a virtual guarantee that the companies would hit the early winter storms of the Rocky Mountains. The companies voted to continue.
<v Levi Savage actor>Brethren and sisters. What I have said I know to be true. But saying you are to go forward, I will go with you will help you all I can will work with you, will rest with you, will suffer with you. And if necessary, I will die with you. Thank God in His mercy, bless and preserveus. Levi Savage. <v Narrator>Through Nebraska handcarts hurriedly made with green wood started to fall apart on the jarring trail. At Fort Laramie expected supplies failed to appear. The company was now desperately low on food. <v Josiah Rodgerson actor>Hints were made to us while we were here as to the early fall of snow, which we might look for in the next one hundred and fifty miles, Josiah Rodgerson. <v Narrator>Weakened, the company stretched for nearly four miles as they neared South Pass, the crossing of the Continental Divide, and then the snow started.
<v Elizabeth Kingsburg actor>About nine o'clock, I retired, I was extremely cold, the weather was bitter. I listen to hear of my husband breathe. He lay so still I put my hand on his body, went to my horror. I discovered that my worst fears were confirmed. My husband was dead. I will not attempt to describe my feelings of finding myself left a widow with three children under such excruciating circumstances. I cannot do it. Elizabeth Kingsburg. <v Narrator>The few animals pulling wagons died. Shoes and clothes were in tatters after 1000 miles on the prairie. <v Elizabeth Serman actor>We went to bed about three o'clock. He put his arm around me and said, I am done and breathed his last. My husband was buried in the morning with two more in the grave. I stood like a statue, bewildered, not a tear. Elizabeth Serman
<v Narrator>The starving companies fought two foot snow drifts and below zero temperatures through South Pass. Their food was gone. Riders were sent ahead to plead for rescue, <v Heber McBride actor>And the next morning the snow was about 18 inches deep and awful cold. I went to look for father and at last I found him the real wagon with snow all over him, and he was stiff and dead. I sat down beside him on the snow and cried, oh, father father. <v Narrator>Heber McBride watched his father die in the snows of Wyoming just days after his 13th birthday. Immigrants died faster than they could be buried from Great Salt Lake City wagon teams pushed through the snow choked canyons to reach the stranded companies. Finally, in November, the first rescue teams found the survivors <v Daniel Jones actor>A condition of distress here met my eyes that I never saw before or since. There were old men pulling and tugging their carts, sometimes loaded with a sick wife or children, women pulling along sick husbands, little children, six to eight years old, struggling through the mud and snow. As night came on, the mud would freeze on their clothes and feet. There were two of us and hundreds needing help. What could we do? Daniel Jones.
<v Narrator>More rescuers followed, and by November 30th, the survivors had been delivered to Great Salt Lake City. More than 200 immigrants have died, hundreds more had suffered permanent injury due to frostbite and exposure. It was the single worst disaster of Western overland travel. By 1857, there were more than 30000 people living in the Utah territory, a population that was virtually entirely Mormon, with the exception of a few California bound immigrants that had settled and a few merchants who had set up shop in the sparse downtown of Great Salt Lake City. The doubts of survival had long vanished in the sense of isolation was evaporating under the pressure of unfriendly federal officials and the national dialog over building a railroad line from coast to coast. It could still take four months for mainland newspapers to reach the territory, especially during winter. But Brigham Young despaired that the spiritual core of the Kingdom of God was in danger. In the mid 1850s, a revivalist movement was launched by Mormon church leadership to rededicate the members to building their freestanding promised land and to reaffirm a willingness to sacrifice for the common good. It soon became known as the Reformation.
<v Christian Nielsen actor>We had a conference that lasted for days and evenings. During the conference meetings, we were called to wake up spiritually and to repent from all unrighteous actions. If we had wronged anyone, we should right the wrongs as far as it was in our power. And we should most humbly pray to the Lord to forgive us for wrongs committed. Christian Nielsen. <v Michael Quinn, Historian>The severity of those sermons increased and it became a kind of apex that it reached in 1856, and that's the year that people identify with the Reformation as though it began that year, and they don't recognize that it really started earlier than that. And diaries are referring to hellfire and damnation, although they call it raining ptchforks sermons in eighteen fifty five. <v Edward Leo Lyman, Historian>But it does tend to draw the Mormon faithful together in a more cohesive and militant group.
<v Michael Quinn, Historian>And one of the major high points in new polygamous marriages being entered into was this year. Eighteen fifty six when there were so many applications for polygamy because of the emphasis being made on polygamy that Brigham Young was issuing or stating the ceremony when he performed the marriage, he was repeating it, according to his clerks in one minute ten seconds. <v Wilford Woodruff actor>All are trying to get wives until there is hardly a girl 14 years old in Utah. But what is married or just going to be. Wilford Woodruff. <v Narrator>Less than one year later, Brigham Young would deal with the down side of the polygamy boom. He was confronted with a flood of demands for divorce. <v Brigham Young Actor>It is not right for the brethren to divorce their wives the way they do. I'm determined that if men don't stop divorcing their wives, I shall stop ?inaudible? Brigham Young.
<v Narrator>But the Reformation had a profound effect on every corner of the territory. Loyalty and defense of a faith were stressed along with the shunning of outside influences. It was at times a frenzied atmosphere. Disaffected federal officers sent reports to Washington over the fire and brimstone sermons. The dramatic presence of plural marriage and the influx of European immigrants, an image started to emerge in the east of a territory dominated by aliens more loyal to their church than the United States. <v Tom Alexander, historian>They thought of them as a large body of foreigners, and there were a lot of foreigners here, but they perceived them as being disloyal to the United States. And there's no question that the word Mormon would be akin to calling someone a Muslim terrorist today, for instance. <v Narrator>The Utah territory and the federal government were one step away from open conflict. On March 30th, 1857, federal judge W.W. Drummond, fresh from a stormy year in the Utah territory, fired off a resignation letter to the White House, making sure copies were distributed to the press. Drummond charged the Mormons with disloyalty and a series of crimes, among them the murder of Captain John Gunnarsson and a survey party murders that a federal investigation had already attributed to Ute Indians.
<v Harold Schindler, Writer>The only thing he didn't say was whether or not the Mormons were kicking their dogs every morning. <v W.W. Drummond actor>The federal officers are daily compelled to hear the form of the American government traduced the chief executives of the nation's slandered and abuse from the masses in the most vulgar, loathsome and wicked man W.W. Drummond Justice Utah territory. <v Stephan A. Douglas actor>Should such a state of things actually exist, as we are led to infer from these reports, the knife must be applied to this pestiferous, disgusting cancer which is gnawing into the very vitals of the body politic. It must be cut out by the roots and smeared over by our red hot iron of stern, unflinching law. Senator Stephen A. Douglas. <v Narrator>In New York and Washington, newspapers were soon demanding action. <v The New York Times read aloud>The Mormons are at the present instant in virtual rebellion against the federal government. It may be requisite to bring fire and sword to bear against them. And the interests of the country, of the human race and of civilization may require much bloodshed. The New York Times.
<v Narrator>The controversy fell in the lap of President James Buchanan, already overmatched by an East Coast financial panic and the nation's disintegration over slavery. His advisers, including Secretary of War John Floyd, urged Buchanan to demonstrate leadership. <v Harold Schindler, Writer>So with all these forces working, Buchanan hits upon this plan with the help of these politicians who say that polygamy is the ideal whipping boy to get people's minds off the slavery question. <v James Buchanan actor>This is the first rebellion which has existed in our territories, and humanity requires that we should put it down in such a manner that it shall be the last. <v Narrator>Buchanan stripped Brigham Young of his office, appointed a courtly Georgian by the name of Alfred Cumming as governor and ordered 2500 troops under General William Harney to install coming and crush the rebellion. Buchanan did not bother to inform the Utah territory of his actions, the people would find out in a dramatic fashion. On July 24th, 1000 Mormons were gathered in Big Cottonwood Canyon, celebrating the 10th anniversary of their settlement from the east. Porter Rockwell rode in with word of the Army's march, citing the sufferings of the Mormon people before they moved to Utah, Brigham Young ordered that this time his people would not bend.
<v Harold Schindler, Writer>And beginning in August, he literally spends all of his days at at his office surrounded by secretaries, and he begins giving marching orders. He writes a blizzard of letters to every corner of the world, to every Mormon, and his instructions are explicit. <v Hosea Stout actor>President Young in his sermon declared that the threat was cut between us and the United States and that the Almighty recognized us as a free and independent people and that no officer appointed by government should come in and rule over us from this time forth. Hosea Stout. <v Narrator>The Army got a late start from Fort Leavenworth that did little to discourage General Harney, who had developed a hard charging and ruthless reputation in fighting Indians. <v Harold Schindler, Writer>He was telling his colleagues in private, the only way to handle the Mormons is to hang them. And when I get into Salt Lake, they'll all be strung up on Temple Square, and that will be that.
<v Narrator>The 2500 troops represented more than 20 percent of the entire United States Army, the largest single force in the nation's history. <v Harold Schindler, Writer>This was a full fledged army when they when they mounted up each morning and and put on put on their boots, it was a it was a seven mile caravan. <v Narrator>The spirit was ripe for a fight in the Tenth Infantry was Captain Jesse Gove of Massachusetts. <v Jesse Gove actor>We have made 19 miles today. Everybody in fine health. The sun is out quite warm. If the Mormons will only fight, the days are numbered. We shall sweep them from the face of the earth and Mormonism in Utah will cease. A campaign will then be at an end. Captain Jesse Gove. <v Narrator>The collision course of war was set in Utah. The militia prepared itself to stand ground and defend the faith. <v Heber C. Kimball actor>Send twenty five hundred troops here to make a desolation of this people. God Almighty, helping me. I will fight until there is not a drop of blood left in my veins. Good God, I have enough wives to whip the United States for they will whip themselves. Heber Kimball.
<v Brigham Young Actor>This people are free. They are not in bondage to any government on God's footstool. We have transgressed no law. Neither do we intend so to do. But as for any nation coming to destroy this people, God Almighty, being my helper, it shall not be. <v Michael Quinn, Historian>And you add that war hysteria on top of a year of of basically unending religious reformation and a kind of frenzy that's going on. And you have an explosive situation. <v Narrator>In late summer, martial law was declared in the Utah territory. <v Brigham Young Actor>Citizens of Utah, we are invaded by a hostile force who are evidently assailing us to accomplish our overthrow and destruction, our duty to our country, our holy religion, our God to freedom and liberty requires that we should not quietly stand still. Brigham Young Governor.
<v Narrator>The word went out. Repel invaders. Let no one enter. It remains the West's most tragic episode of the wrong people in the wrong place at the wrong time, just days after the declaration of martial law. An immigrant company of one hundred and fifty men, women and children entered the Utah territory. They were led by the Baker and Fancher families. They insisted on crossing the territory north to south to take the warm weather route to California. <v Michael Quinn, Historian>They were a combination of Missourians and Arkansas people, and that was one more red flag for the Mormons because the Missourians had driven the Mormons out of their state at a great loss of property. And those live just before the Fancher train arrived in Salt Lake City. The Mormons in Salt Lake City received word that Mormon apostle Parley P. Pratt had been murdered by an Arkansas man in Arkansas. And so you had two states which in Mormon mind represented people who hated the Mormons and who had murdered the Mormons now represented in this wagon train.
<v Narrator>The Baker Fancher party, footsore, hungry, was denied food and supplies under the martial law decrees of Brigham Young. <v Harold Schindler, Writer>He then gives notice that no one is to trade with non Mormons up and down the line. Save your harvest, don't trade. We need it all. Tough times are ahead. <v Narrator>As the company moved through the territory towards the southern settlements, they lashed out at the Mormons. <v Michael Quinn, Historian>And even boasted that once they got to California, they had been treated so poorly by the Mormons as they were coming through the Utah area. They said, when we get to California, we're going to urge that they attack you from the California side too. <v Narrator>War councils were held in the Mormon settlements of Carawan and Cedar City. The Baker Fancher party was viewed as a threat. A decision was made and the writer was sent to inform Brigham Young. In the first week of September, the Baker Fancher party had pulled into a high pasture along the old Spanish trail. It was called simply the Mountain Meadows, and it had been a favorite resting spot of Parley Pratt when he traveled the area on September 7th, the camp was fired on by Indians and militiamen disguised as Indians. The siege lasted for four days. Then representatives of the Mormon communities came forward with a white flag of truce, saying the Indian attack could be called off if the company would surrender their weapons, leave their possessions and simply walk away. 17 small children were placed in a wagon. The wounded immigrants were placed in another, then walked the women and then the men in single file lines. Armed militiamen were on either side. A mile outside of the camp, a signal was given. Within minutes, the only survivors of the Baker Fancher party were the children. More than 100 people, including the wounded, laying in the wagons, were dead. The next day, a writer barreled into Cedar City with an urgent message from Brigham Young.
<v Brigham Young Actor>Go with all speed Hispano horse horseflesh, the immigrants must not be meddled with if it takes all Lyon County to prevent it, they must go free and unmolested. Brigham Young. <v Narrator>Isaac Hape, one of the leading figures of southern Utah, reportedly broke into tears. <v Isaac Hape actor>Too late. Too late. <v Narrator>Years later, John D. Lee, facing trial for what became known as the Mountain Meadows massacre, talked of the oath that bound those who had been on the killing field. <v John D. Lee actor>From that day, this has been the understanding with all concerned in that massacre that the man who divulged the secret should die. He was to be killed wherever he was found for treason to the man who killed the immigrants and for his treason to the church. The orders to lay it on the Indians were just as positive as they were to keep it all secret. John D. Lee. <v Narrator>The story of an Indian massacre never held within weeks, the California press was demanding vengeance.
<v The San Francisco Bulletin read aloud>What effect the news of the Mountain Meadows massacre will have at Washington. It is hard to foresee, but we much mistake the character of President Buchanan and his cabinet if it does not lead speedily to such action as will cause that arch traitor Brigham Young to repent of his temerity. The blood of American citizens cries for vengeance from the barren sands of the Great Basin. The San Francisco Bulletin. <v Narrator>It was a time of war hysteria when the wrong people came to the wrong place at the wrong time, and few would ever doubt that the wrong thing happened. <v Jesse Gove actor>Brigham Young sent an official letter warning all armed bodies of men from advancing into the valley, calling on the forces of the territory to rally to the defense of the state and their fields for did you ever see such impudence, such an old idiot? We will show him on which side of his bread the butter should be spread. Captain Jesse Goave.
<v Narrator>Through late September and early October of 1857, the Army crossed through South Pass on its mission to crush the Mormon rebellion dangerously late, as demonstrated the previous year by the handcart companies. Hanie was now out as commander, being held in Kansas to deal with violence tied to the slavery issue. His replacement would be a tough Texan decorated during the war with Mexico, Colonel Albert Sidney Johnston. But Johnston was weeks behind the army, as with most overland campaigns. The Army had its huge supply drains in front of the caravan, thousands of cattle, mules and horses and dozens of wagons. And the perfect target for Daniel Wells, commander of the Mormon militia. Wells had been ordered by Brigham Young to do whatever was necessary to slow the army. <v Daniel Wells actor>Use every exertion to stampede their animals and set fire to their trains. Burn the whole countryside before them. Keep them from sleeping. Blockade the roads. Leave no grass before them that can be burned. Keep your men concealed as much as possible. Daniel H. Wells.
<v Harold Schindler, Writer>Watt Smith. On the night of the 5th of October, which would put him pretty much about 10:00, 11:00 o'clock at night, has now forwarded the Green River at night, crossed over the green and finds the first element of a twenty six wagon freight train. <v Watt Smith actor>I inquired of the captain of the train. Mr. Dawson stepped out and said he was the man. I replied by requesting him to get all of his men and their private property as quickly as possible out of the wagons, for I meant to put a little fire into them, he exclaimed. For God's sake, don't burn the trains. I said it was for his sake that I was going to burn them lot. Watt Smith. <v Harold Schindler, Writer>While they're doing this, one of his outriders, one of Watt Smith's outriders, comes down and says to him. Brother Smith, there's another train up the road. Smith does precisely the same thing. He goes in and burns every wire.
<v Jesse Gove actor>The Fifth Infantry came in about 2:00 p.m. They report the two supply trains that were on the Green River were attacked and burned. This is open war. Everything is being burned by the Mormons to prevent our advancing. Captain Jesse Gove. <v Narrator>Grazing lands were scorched, cattle run off and supply captain H.F. Clark was forced to report that the mission was in danger because of lost supplies. <v H.F. Clark actor>12000 pounds of bacon, one hundred and sixty seven thousand pounds of flour. <v Charles Hibbard, Military Historian>These were huge waggons, pounds of mainly food supplies, but also clothing supplies. They captured 4500 cattle which were sold to feed the army. So that that was a very serious blow. <v H.F. Clark actor>And 7700 pounds of hard brand. <v Narrator>Catching up with the Army governor in limbo, Alfred Cumming, warned the territory that it was going too far. <v Alfred Cumming actor>To the people of Utah. Many treasonable acts of violence having recently been committed by lawless individuals. Such persons are in a state of rebellion. It is my duty to enforce unconditional obedience to the Constitution. Alfred Cumming. Governor, Utah territory.
<v Narrator>But the proclamation could not hide the fact that Army morale was plummeting in the face of the raids. Colonel Johnston's delayed arrival and a growing confusion over what the army should do now that it was on the eastern border of the Utah territory. <v E.B. Alexander actor>No information of the position or intentions of the commanding officer have reached me, and I am in utter ignorance of the objects of the government in sending the troops here or the instructions for their conduct after reaching here. Colonel E.B. Alexander, acting commanding officer. <v Narrator>And then suddenly it was winter. <v Jesse Gove actor>It verifies all that I have written before, that it was too late to start the expedition and the blockheads in Washington had an idea in their heads or listen to those who were able to give advice. All of this would have been avoided. Captain Jesse Gove. <v Narrator>The mission to crush your perceived Mormon rebellion had stumbled to a halt. <v Albert Brown actor>Sleet poured down upon the column from morning till night. The regiment camped wherever they could find shelter under Bluff's or among Willows. That night, more than 500 animals perished from hunger and cold. And the next morning the camp was encircled by carcasses coated with a film of ice. Albert Brown.
<v Harold Schindler, Writer>It is so devastating that the 6th of November, it was known as the Camp of Death. <v Jesse Gove actor>When all these things are taken into consideration, you will come to the conclusion that we are having a pretty hard time. We are. Troops have never been called upon to do more arduous duties, and now. Captain Jesse Gove. <v Narrator>As winter gripped the camps, a broadsheet was circulated among the troops. It had been printed by the territorial newspaper, the Deseret News, and on it was a poem to the troops written by Eliza Roxy Snow, one of Brigham Young's plural wives. <v Eliza Roxy Snow actor>Why are you in these mountains exposed to frost and snow, far from your sheltering houses, from comfort and repose? You've joined a crusade against the peace of those driven to these distant valleys by cruel and murderous foes? Should sickness prey upon you and children cry for bread with bitter self reproaches, you'll rue the path you tread.
<v The New York Times read aloud>No dispassionate person, whatever his political partiality, can fail to see that the various enterprises undertaken by Mr. Buchanan do not seem to prosper in his hands. The latest news from Utah places the administration in a position marked by a singular mixture of farce and tragedy. And the whole story of the war is clouded by as much ignorance, stupidity and dishonesty as any government ever managed to get in the annals of a single year. The New York Times. <v Narrator>By the spring of 1858, the national press that had goaded Buchanan into action had turned on the president. Congress was demanding an explanation. Publicly, Buchanan called for more troops, but privately he met with a long time friend of the Mormons to try to find a way out of the quagmire. Without a commission so Buchanan could deny the mission if it failed. Thomas Cain made his way to the Utah territory. Cain, a non Mormon, was convinced there was no Mormon rebellion and he carried that message to the Army outpost
<v The New York Times read aloud>Cumming now, who has been sitting idly by freezing and have pretty generally ignored because there's nothing for him to do now makes the approach to Johnston. Can we get some supplies? I intend going into. Salt Lake, they've offered me a safe transport, and Johnson's infuriated <v Jesse Gove actor>If Governor Cumming has been fooled by this nincompoop of a Mr. Colonel Cain is a bigger fool than I thought him to be. Captain Jesse Goave, <v Narrator>Cain and Cumming were eventually joined in Great Salt Lake City by two peace envoys who presented a message from the president. <v James Buchanan actor>Being anxious to save the effusion of blood and to avoid the indiscriminate punishment of a whole people for crimes of which it is not probable they are equally guilty. I offer now a free and full pardon to all who will submit themselves to the authority of the federal government. James Buchanan.
<v Brigham Young Actor>I thank President Buchanan for forgiving me, but I really cannot tell what I've done. Before the troops reach here. This city will be in ashes. Every tree and shrub will be cut to the ground and every blade of grass that will burn shall be burned. Our wives and children will go into the canyons while their husbands and sons will fight you. And as God lives, we will hunt you by night and day and tell your armies are wasted away. That's the program, gentlemen. If you want war, you can have it. But if you wish, peace. Peace it is. <v Narrator>The negotiations were ready to fall apart. The police commissioner stood to leave, but Brigham Young asked them to stay for some entertainment. <v James Buchanan actor>Brother Dunbar, sing Zion. <v Narrator>It might have been fear of the resistance. It might have been respect for the spiritual nature of the people. It might have been fear for their lives. But the peace commissioners returned to the army with news of a breakthrough.
<v Alfred Cumming actor>I Alfred Cumming in the name of James Buchanan, president of the United States, do proclaim that all persons who submit themselves to the laws and authority of the federal government are by him freely and fully pardoned for all treason and sedition, heretofore committed. Peace is restored to our territory. <v Narrator>There would be no arrest of Brigham Young. The army could march into the Utah territory, but it could land nowhere near Great Salt Lake City. On June 26, 1858, the Army marched in and a correspondent for the New York Sun followed along. <v New York Sun read aloud>All day long. From dawn until sunset, the troops and trains poured through the city, utter silence in the streets, being broken only by the music of the military bands and the monotonous tramp of the regiment. The stillness was so profound that during the interval between the passage of the columns, the monotonous gurgle of city creep struck every year. <v Harold Schindler, Writer>Absolutely silent, except for a few sentinels inside the houses ready to torture at any moment. There was a strict order. No man was to stop. No cavalryman was to get off his horse. No enforcement infantrymen was to break ranks.
<v Narrator>Brigham Young had set his mind to make one more point with the federal government. Great Salt Lake City was abandoned. The entire city was moved south in one great exodus to Utah Lake. <v Jesse Gove actor>The people are at Provo and impudent and rebellious. Still, they say they will accept the pardon, but that the president is a fool, that they will not obey anyone but Brigham Young. Such is the result of the pardon, a miserable policy which the government ought to be damned for. Captain Jesse Gove. <v Narrator>The move south was designed to show the world that the Mormon people were oppressed but in control. <v The London Times read aloud>The strange people are again in motion for a new home, and all efforts of governor coming to induce the men to remain and limit themselves to the ordinary quota of wives have been fruitless. These Western pioneers seem to be a nation of heroes ready to sacrifice everything rather than surrender one of their wives, the London Times.
<v Narrator>Governor Cumming was forced to beg the Mormon people to return something they intended to do. In fact, the people in the army traded places with the army forced to accept exile at a camp near Utah Lake. They named it Camp Floyd after the secretary of war who had started their march 16 months before. Brutal war was over, the territory was under military occupation. <v Harold Schindler, Writer>The one thing that Brigham Young could not ever recover from was the influence of the real world on on the Mormons, the world, as he knew it and as the Mormons knew it was never the same again after that. <v Narrator>British explorer Sir Richard Burton soon happened on the scene and he was struck by how he viewed as the winner of the Utah war, <v Sir Richard Burton actor>Such as His Excellency Brigham Young, who governing as well as reigning long stood up to fight with the sword of the Lord, who has outwitted all diplomacy opposed to him and has made the treaty of peace with the president of the Great Republic as though he had wielded the combined power of France, Russia and England to defend.
Utah: The Struggle for Statehood
Episode Number
No. 1
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PBS Utah (Salt Lake City, Utah)
The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia (Athens, Georgia)
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Episode Description
This program tells the story of how Utah became a state. This is episode 1, Beginnings. This episode covers the migration of the Mormon people to the Utah area following persecution, the leadership of Brigham Young, and the establishment of the Utah territory. It is broken up into several segments, which detail the exploration of the land before the Mormons settled there, the difficult journey of the Mormons, the early days of the settlement, the growth in colonization as the state became known as Deseret, how Utah gained territory status, the Walker War between the Ute Indians and the Mormons, controversies surrounding the "Peculiar Institution" of polygamy among Mormons, the tragedy of the handcart companies crossing the territory, reformation of the Mormon Church, violent conflict between the Mormons and the U.S. Army, the Mount Meadows Massacre, the advance of the Army on the Utah Territory, the role of Thomas Kane in ending the conflict, and the Territory being placed under military occupation. Interviews with historians are interspersed with historical reenactments, drawings, documents, and photographs from the period, and quotes from important diaries and journals.
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 1 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. Closed Captioned
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Producer: Verdoia, Ken
Producing Organization: KUED
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Identifier: cpb-aacip-6e4fa994c7e (Filename)
Format: 1 inch videotape
Generation: Master
Duration: 01:27:00:00
The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia
Identifier: cpb-aacip-eba8fcf83c0 (Filename)
Format: Betacam: SP
Duration: 1:30:00
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Chicago: “Utah: The Struggle for Statehood; No. 1; Beginnings,” 1996-01-03, PBS Utah, The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, 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. 1; Beginnings.” 1996-01-03. PBS Utah, The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, 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. 1; Beginnings. Boston, MA: PBS Utah, The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from