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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

National Register Nominations | September 2014

In October 2014, the Board of State History, for the Utah Division of State History, will review five (5) nominations to the National Register. These nominations are:

John & Margaret Price House in Salt Lake City

Murray City Diesel Power Plant in Murray

Rawsel & Jane Bradford House in Murray

James & Mary Jane Miller House in Murray

John & Sarah Jane Wayman House in Centerville

The Board of State History meets on October 17, 2014. These meetings are public. To view or print the meeting agenda, please visit the Board of State History on this web site. Please note: agenda for October 2014 may be delayed due to the production of the sixty-second annual Utah State History conference.

Utah’s Historic Preservation Strategic Plan Survey

Over the next year, the Utah State Historic Preservation Office within the Utah Division of State History will lead out on a concerted effort to assess the current state of historic preservation in Utah, and through collaboration with state and federal agencies, local governments, various non-profit stakeholders, and as many members of the Utah Public as possible we hope to find a set of common goals and objectives to guide Historic Preservation in Utah over the next seven years.
If you would like to learn more about the Statewide Historic Preservation Plan process, please go the National Park Service’s webpage (click here)
A first step in this effort is to assess the current knowledge of historic preservation issues in Utah through an online survey. We hope that you have the time to fill out the survey as candidly and straightforwardly as possible. There is no place in the form for any personal information, so the answers are completely confidential.

Please use the scroll bar on the right to move through the survey.