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Utah Historical Quarterly Current Issue

Volume 82, Number 4 (Fall Issue):

Utah’s history is more diverse than you think! Check out the Fall 2014 issue of the Utah Historical Quarterly to learn more about where Utah has been, and how we’ve come to where we are today. Join the Historical Society for your own copy.




A “Distinction between Mormons and Americans”: Mormon Indian Missionaries, Federal Indian Policy, and the Utah War
By Brent M. Rogers

A Long Course of the Most Inhuman Cruelty: The Abuse and Murder of Isaac Whitehouse
By Noel A. Carmack

Water Law on the Eve of Statehood: Israel Bennion and a Conflict in Vernon, 1893–1896
By John Bennion

Setting the Ute Photographic Record Straight through Google’s Picasa Face Recognition Tool
By Beth Simmons

Highway 89 Digital Collections
By Jim Kichas





From traffic violations to weightier questions of domestic life and land use, laws and regulations fill the lives of everyday, contemporary Utahns. So too did laws circumscribe and inform the world of nineteenth-century Utah. In that historical setting, things ecclesiastical often became entangled with things civil. For many years after the settlement of the Salt Lake Valley in 1847 by members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, distinctive Mormon practices, institutions, and laws played a critical part in the governance of Utah. People outside the LDS church soon chafed at this arrangement. Much of the fall 2014 issue of Utah Historical Quarterly explores the place of law in society and illuminates Utah’s church and state conundrum.

Volumes of legal material exist regarding the relationship between governmental entities and Native Americans. In the words of Francis Paul Prucha, from the origins of the United States to the present, “Indians as tribes or as individuals have been persistently in the consciousness of officials of all three branches of the federal government.” [1] In 1850s Utah, another player—the LDS church—complicated the already difficult relationship between the government and the tribes. The LDS church and the federal government had separate, at times competing, policies regarding Great Basin Indians. Those policies could have very real effects on the ground. In our first article, Brent Rogers explores how federal officials perceived Mormons to be dangerously at odds with “Americans” in their dealings with indigenous peoples. Critically, the president had the legal backing to enforce federal law in relation to Native Americans; as Rogers writes, “Indian policy emerged as a crucial factor in the federal government’s effort to assert national power and authority in Utah Territory in the 1850s.”

The second article in this issue moves from the world of presidents and governors to provide an entirely different look at Utah in the 1850s and how behavior at home affects the most vulnerable of people: children. It presents the story of Isaac Whitehouse, a boy with disabilities who suffered terrible abuse—and, on one fall evening in 1855, a violent death—at the hands of his caretakers. Noel Carmack documents the injustices of the case: following his conviction for the boy’s murder, Samuel G. Baker served only two months in the territorial penitentiary after being pardoned by Brigham Young—a move Judge William Drummond found to be an affront to the rule of law in Utah. But Carmack reveals complex forces at work in the case and raises interesting, and surprising, questions about the intersection of religion, community, and domestic responsibility in early Utah.

As the third article attests, toward the end of the nineteenth century the loosening of LDS ecclesiastical control in Utah—in this case, over the distribution and management of water—contributed to bitter conflict in some Mormon villages. The angst over water is understandable: even in a state endowed with heavy snowpack and healthy runoff, then—and now—water scarcity was an issue of central concern. Slow to adopt the system of prior appropriation (“first in time, first in right”), Mormons had operated under a communitarian system of water management since their arrival in the Salt Lake Valley. Some second-generation Mormons, faced with state regulation and private ownership of water, desperately attempted to retain control of the resource. John Bennion documents one conflict in Utah’s Rush Valley that pitted men, otherwise bound together by ecclesiastical responsibilities and familial ties, against one another.

By 1881, conflict and anti-Indian furor had led to the relocation of certain Ute bands from Colorado to Utah. Many photographs document the Utes of the era, especially the principal players in these episodes. Unfortunately, the people in such photographs are often misidentified. Our fourth article shows how technology can assist in the study of history. In it, Beth Simmons uses a newly (and freely) available tool—face recognition software—to pin down the identities of Utes whose images were captured in an 1870s stereograph. Simmons’s article provides a fitting coda for the state historical society’s sixty-second annual meeting, which was held this September and focused on the place of technology in Utah’s past.

[1] Francis Paul Prucha, The Great Father: The United States Government and the American Indians, abridged ed. (1984; Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1986), ix.


Elizabeth O. Anderson, ed.
Cowboy Apostle: The Diaries of Anthony W. Ivins, 1875–1932
Reviewed by Kristen Iversen

Val Holley
25th Street Confidential: Drama, Decadence, and Dissipation along Ogden’s Rowdiest Road
Reviewed by Heidi Orchard

Todd M. Compton
A Frontier Life: Jacob Hamblin, Explorer and Indian Missionary
Reviewed by Richard W. Sadler

Jedediah S. Rogers
Roads in the Wilderness: Conflict in Canyon Country
Reviewed by Clint Pumphrey

Edward Dorn; Matthew Hofer, ed.
The Shoshoneans: The People of the Basin-Plateau
Reviewed by Robert S. McPherson

Michael Hittman
Great Basin Indians: An Encyclopedia History
Reviewed by John D. Barton


Eileen Hallet Stone
Hidden History of Utah

William Shepard and H. Michael Marquardt
Lost Apostles: Forgotten Members of Mormonism’s Original Quorum of Twelve

Jeff Terry, Thornton H. Waite, and James J. Reisdorff
The Un-Driving of the Golden Spike

Aaron McArthur
St. Thomas, Nevada: A History Uncovered

Governor Herbert Signs Historic Executive Order at 9th Annual Native American Summit

Gov. Gary R. Herbert issued an executive order to strengthen communication between state agencies and Utah’s eight sovereign tribes at the 9th Annual Native American Summit, held at Utah Valley University on July 20, 2014.

This executive order is the first of it’s kind and will ensure that Utah’s Native American tribes are consulted before any important decisions are made that will have impact on said tribes.

For the Full EO: Native American Summit Executive Order
For the full Press Release: Gov. Herbert takes steps to strengthen state-tribe communication

Environmental Stewardship

Recently, Governor Gary Herbert signed a declaration making 2014 a year of service to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of UServeUtah and to challenge citizens to serve their communities. Throughout this year of service we will focus on several major areas of volunteerism and National Service with the goal of inspiring more citizens to volunteer. Up next, Environmental Stewardship. The state of our environment plays a major role in the health of our citizens and the American economy. Some of our natural resources are being endangered by air, land, and water pollution; encroachments on open spaces; and threats to biodiversity. The use of nonrenewable energy sources for residential and transportation purposes also factors into many environmental concerns, as our nation seeks to reduce its dependence on those resources in the future. Through National Service and community based volunteering, we can train our youth and unemployed and underemployed citizens for conservation and “green” jobs, reconnect Americans to the outdoors, build an ethic of environmental stewardship, and support successful science-based conservation strategies. As part of our 20th Anniversary focus on Environmental Stewardship, we talked with local community organizations and National Service Programs, and have highlighted the great work being done by Utah volunteers and outlined ways you can get involved.  Here’s just a sampling of organizations who are working to preserve Utah’s natural resources to get you thinking of ways you can volunteer: Volunteer. Be a Good Steward of Utah’s Environment

Arches and Canyonlands National Parks are recruiting volunteers to hike trails and interact with visitors, remove invasive plant species from river banks and drainages, and help remove graffiti from the parks.  For more information about volunteering please visit Friends of Arches and Canyonlands Parks. You can also find volunteer opportunities at Arches and Canyonlands, as well as other parks, at 

EnviorSteward (2)The Back Country Horseman of Utah, Uintah Division are a group of volunteers that enjoy horseback riding and cleaning, marking and maintaining trails across the Uintah Basin. If you are interested in volunteering with them please contact Gordon Hirschi.

The Utah Society for Environmental Education (USEE) works to promote excellence in environmental education by providing support, resources and networking to Utah’s community of educators. USEE does this work in part with the support of generous volunteers.  Volunteers at USEE conduct research to help them better meet the needs of educators, help plan and run conferences, facilitate workshops about environmental education, and provide administrative support to the organization.  If you’re interested in becoming a volunteer at The Utah Society for Environmental Education please visit them online for more information.

EnviorStewCleartheairlogo_CMYKTake the Clean Air Challenge and encourage your friends and family to join in!  The Clear the Air Challenge is a competition starting July 1st that gives you the chance to reduce your vehicle emissions by choosing alternative methods of transportation. Find out how you can make Utah’s air cleaner!

Utah Water Watch’s mission is to encourage, educate and engage volunteers in monitoring water quality. They provide extensive training and all the equipment necessary to monitor waterways. They also utilize volunteers to teach watershed stewardship educational programs to youth, assist with outreach, tree planting, trash pickup and the creation of storm water drain signage. Learn how you can support clean waterways in Utah.

The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources needs volunteers to provide hunter education, mend fences, reseed wildfire burn scars, as well as many other opportunities you can find online.

Utah Conservation Corps is recruiting community volunteers to assist Utah Conservation Corps AmeriCorps members in conservation and environmental education projects like habitat restoration and trail maintenance. To get involved, contact Lindsay Thalacker at 435-797-0964.  If you are interested in AmeriCorps you can learn more about opportunities at Utah Conservation Corps on their website.

Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is looking for volunteers to educate the public about natural resource issues, staying on designated trails and routes, and the Leave No Trace and Tread Lightly! programs. They also need volunteers to teach back country etiquette and lead interpretative hikes.  If you’re looking for a more intensive service commitment they are recruiting for a Camp Host in Moab and a Receptionist in Vernal. To learn more about volunteering for the BLM across the state please visit and search by Bureau of Land Management and Utah.

Zion National Park has an extensive volunteer program with numerous opportunities to get involved. They need volunteers to join their California Condor Monitoring Program, help with vegetation restoration, and welcome and educate visitors to the park. Zion also hosts students through alternative spring break programs, groups looking to volunteer together, and businesses looking for ways for employees to give back. Please contact Michelle Haasor visit Zion National Park online. Don’t live near Zion? You can find places to volunteer at National Parks across the state at: .

Microsoft Word - Education Programs on the Salt Lake Ranger Dist

The Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest volunteer program engages communities, provides underrepresented youth an opportunity to connect with nature, and increases awareness of the Forest Service mission. Conservation education is a key component of the volunteer program.  Volunteers are needed for trail maintenance, wilderness education, back country patrols, inventory of roads and trails, invasive weed removal, wildlife habitat improvement, watershed restoration, and fire prevention. Visit their webpage for more information on how to get involved. If you don’t live near the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest visit the Forest Service’s webpage to find an area near you.    

Volunteers Impact Utah’s Environment

  • Canyonlands National Park volunteers served 18,000 hours in 2013.
  • Arches National Park Volunteers served 15,000 hours in 2013.
  • Volunteers at Arches National Park donated more than 400 hours in 2013 to remove graffiti.
  • The Back Country Horseman of Utah volunteered 883 hours clearing, maintaining, marking and improving 36 miles of trails in the Uintah Basin.
  • EnviorSteward15 volunteers with USU Water Watch provided over 60 hours of voluntary service to pull nearly 1 ton of garbage, algae, sticks, and other debris out of Bear Pond.
  • The USU Water Watch program provided experiential water quality and watershed stewardship educational programs to over 5,000 youth.
  • Over 100 volunteers with USU Utah Water Watch have been trained to collect water quality and other data on local rivers, lakes and reservoirs. Volunteers currently monitor sites throughout the state, resulting in over 1,500 different monitoring events in the past 18 months.EnviorStewardTesting pH
  • The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources Dedicated Hunter Program has approximately 5,500 participants annually and in 2013 they donated 60,000 hours of service by mending fences, reseeding wildfire burn scars, and participating in other projects to preserve Utah’s natural resources.
  • Throughout  2014 Utah Conservation Corps will have 39 four-person AmeriCorps crews serving throughout the state completing habitat restoration, fuels reduction, and trail maintenance projects with several local, state, and federal land management agencies.
  • Utah Conservation Corps has over 20 AmeriCorps members individually-placed at non-profits throughout Utah expanding capacity for environmental education programming and volunteer recruitment.
  • In 2013, Utah Conservation Corps AmeriCorps crews, 46 AmeriCorps members in total, spent twelve weeks restoring 283 acres of habitat in the Escalante River watershed.


  • Over 50 community volunteers joined Utah Conservation Corps AmeriCorps members and staff to complete a project designed to help prevent fire hazards  on 32 acres of Utah State University property. The event was highlighted in an article in the Utah Statesman.
  • Bureau of Land Management had 2,493 volunteers in 2013 who donated 45,363 hours to preserve Utah’s natural environment and educate the public on responsible use of state lands.  The value of BLM’s volunteers donated time is $1,627,489.
  • 1,104 youth volunteers served 14,860 hours with the Bureau of Land Management in 2013 contributing greatly to a cleaner environment.
  • The Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest hosted over 12,000 volunteers in 2013 who worked to keep Utah beautiful and educate the public on the value of natural spaces.  The Forest Volunteer Program is consistently recognized regionally and nationally for its accomplishments.
  • At Zion National Park 350 volunteers contributed 29,000 hours in 2013. Volunteers cleaned trails, restored vegetation, monitored wildlife and educated visitors on natural resource preservation.
  • In 2013 a group of dedicated volunteers at Zion National Park called the “VIPers” assisted the Zion Vegetation Restoration program in growing and out-planting over native 5,000 plants.EnviroStewardZION
  • The “VIPers” at Zion National Park collected, harvested, cleaned and stored over 500 pounds
    of native plant seed, and removed 10 acres of exotic weeds.
  • The VIPers also installed 700 linear feet of deer fencing, 700 feet of rabbit fencing, and 300 feet of snake fencing to preserve wildlife habitat in 2013.

Digital Photos

We have over 76,000 terrific images online. In addition to these online images, our Research Center has thousands of additional photographs and manuscripts that are available to researchers. Search our online catalog to see what we have. If you want more information or have questions, email or call 801-245-7227. Click here to order photos

Do a quick search of our online photos or search our collections individually


See our newest digital collections! 

The Denver & Rio Grande Western Railway Payroll Ledgers, 1889-1919

History_LedgersThe Denver & Rio Grande payroll ledgers contain the employment records for workers between 1889-1919. The ledgers document the pay of employees from different departments, such as the Agent’s Office, the baggage department, and the transfer gang.

The Al Morton Photograph and Film Collection

Morton The Al Morton collection documents scenic Utah.  Morton  photographed and filmed many of Utah’s natural beauties, including rivers, landscapes, and the National Parks in Utah, helping the tourist industry. He also documented recreational activities such as river trips. His films were shown in schools and as tourist promotions.