The American Cyclopædia (1879)/Utah (territory)

Edition of 1879. See also Utah on Wikipedia, and the disclaimer.

UTAH, a territory of the United States, situated between lat. 37° and 42° N., and lon. 109° and 114° W.; general length N. and S., about 350 m.; general breadth, about 260 m.; area, 84,476 sq. m. It is bounded N. by Idaho and Wyoming, E. by Wyoming and Colorado, S. by Arizona, and W. by Nevada. It is divided into 20 counties, viz.: Beaver, Box Elder, Cache, Davis, Iron, Juab, Kane, Millard, Morgan, Piute, Rich, Salt Lake, San Pete, Sevier, Summit, Tooele, Utah, Wahsatch, Washington, Weber. Salt Lake City (pop. in 1870, 12,854) is the capital and largest city. The principal other places are Ogden (pop. 3,127), Provo (2,384), Morgan City (1,972), Logan (1,757), Spanish Fork (1,450), Mount Pleasant (1,346), Brigham City (1,315), Nephi City (1,286), Manti (1,239), Beaver City (1,207), Ephraim City (1,167), and Tooele City, Fillmore, Corinne City, Heber City, and Willard City, with more than 500 inhabitants each. The population of the territory, according to the United States censuses, has been as follows: in 1850, 11,380, including 24 free colored persons and 26 slaves; in 1860, 40,273, including 30 free colored persons, 29 slaves, and 89 Indians; in 1870, 86,786, including 118 colored persons, 445 Chinese; and 179 Indians. The tribal Indians (not enumerated in the census) numbered 1,040 in 1875, including 650 Uintah Utes on a reservation of 2,039,040 acres in the N. E. corner of the territory, together with 134 Pah Vants and 256 Goship Utes not under an agent. Of the total population in 1870, 56,084 were natives of the United States and 30,702 foreign born, 44,121 males and 42,665 females. Of the natives, 41,426 were born in the territory, 2,247 in New York, 2,105 in Illinois, 1,492 in Iowa, 1,315 in Pennsylvania, 1,133 in Ohio, and 908 in Missouri; and there were persons living in the territory born in every other state and nearly every territory. Of the foreigners, 20,772 were natives of the British isles, including 16,073 English, 502 Irish, 2,391 Scotch, and 1,783 Welsh; 4,957 of Denmark, 1,790 of Sweden, 687 of British America, 613 of Norway, and 509 of Switzerland. There were 15,344 males and 15,072 females between 5 and 18 years of age, 14,603 males between 18 and 45, and 18,042 males 21 and upward, of whom 10,147 were citizens of the United States and 7,895 unnaturalized foreigners. The number of families was 17,210, with an average of 5.04 persons to each; of dwellings, 18,290, with an average of 4.75 to each. Of persons 10 years old and upward, 2,515 could not read and 7,363 could not write, of whom 3,334 were natives and 4,029 foreigners. There were 29 blind persons, 18 deaf and dumb, 25 insane, and 23 idiotic. Of the 21,517 persons 10 years old and upward returned as engaged in all occupations, 10,428 were employed in agriculture, 5,317 in professional and personal services, 1,665 in trade and transportation, and 4,107 in manufactures and mining.—Utah is divided into two parts by the Wahsatch mountains, which cross it from N. E. to S. W. The W. part belongs to the Great Basin, its waters having no outlet to the ocean, while the E. part is drained by the Colorado river of the West. The surface is elevated; the valleys lie from 4,000 to 6,000 ft. above the sea, and the mountains attain an altitude of from 6,000 to upward of 13,000 ft., the highest peaks rising above the line of perpetual snow. The region E. of the Wahsatch range has a greater number of streams (which, however, nearly all flow through deep and precipitous cañons and are not generally available for irrigation) and is more rugged and mountainous than that W. of it. The Uintah mountains extend E. from the Wahsatch range along the S. border of Wyoming. The Roan or Book mountains lie partly in Utah and partly in Colorado, between the Grand and White rivers. The Little mountains are W. of Green river, and extend N. W. and S. E. between White and Uintah rivers, joining the Wahsatch range. The Sierra Lasal is S. E. of Grand river near the E. boundary, and S. of it are the Sierra Abajo and Orejas del Oso. Tho San Juan range and Sierra Panoche are near the S. boundary, the former W. and the latter E. of the Colorado river. The S. E. portion of the territory is less mountainous than the N. E., consisting of extensive undulating plateaus. W. of the Wahsatch range the country consists of a series of disconnected valleys, generally having a N. and S. direction, formed by ridges and mountain ranges, among which are the Thomas, Iron, Guyot, Goshoot, Pijarajabi, Oquirrh, and Raft River mountains.—The Colorado river is formed in Piute co. by the junction of the Grand and Green, and flows S. W. into Arizona. Its chief tributary from the east is the San Juan, and from the west the Dirty Devil. Green river enters the territory at the N. E. corner from Wyoming, and has a general S. course to its junction with the Grand. Its chief tributaries are the White river from the east, and Brush creek, Ashley's fork, Uintah, White, and San Rafael rivers from the west. Grand river enters from Colorado near the centre of the E. boundary, and flows S. W. to the Green. The S. W. corner of the territory is watered by the Rio Virgin, which flows S. W. and joins the Colorado in Nevada. W. of the Wahsatch mountains are several lakes, of which those with no outlet are impregnated with alkaline substances. The largest of these is Great Salt lake in the N. W. part of the territory. (See Great Salt Lake.) S. of this lake, into which it flows through the river Jordan, 45 m. long, is Utah lake, a sheet of pure fresh water abounding in fish. It is triangular, has an area of about 130 sq. m., and is closely bordered with mountains. Its chief tributaries are Salt creek from the south, Spanish fork from the southeast, and the Provo or Timpanagos river from the northeast. The principal tributaries of Great Salt lake, besides the Jordan, are the Ogden and Weber rivers on the east, and Bear river, which empties into Bear River bay in the northeast. Bear river rises at the junction of the Wahsatch and Uintah mountains near the S. W. corner of Wyoming, flows N. into Idaho, then bends N. W. and S., and reëntering Utah maintains a S. course to its mouth. Bear lake, partly in Idaho and partly in Utah, is connected with it. Sevier river has its sources in the S. part of the territory, flows N. for about 150 m., receiving several tributaries from the east, the most important of which is tho San Pete, then bends S. W. and flows about 50 m. further into Sevier lake. The latter is 25 by 10 m. in greatest extent, about 100 m. S. S. W. of Great Salt lake. Beaver lake, S. E. of Sevier lake, receives the waters of Beaver river. Among other small lakes in this region are Little Salt lake and Fish lake; the latter contains fresh water, and is connected with Sevior river.—The principal geological formations are the cretaceous, triassic and Jurassic, tertiary, eozoic, alluvial, and Cambrian and Silurian. Tho cretaceous and triassic prevail in the southeast; the Wahsatch and Uintah mountains are cretaceous, triassic, and Cambrian; the extensive desert W. and S. W. of Great Salt lake is alluvial; while the rest of the territory is mostly tertiary. In the San Pete valley, 90 m. S. of Salt Lake City, are extensive deposits of coal. This is a lignite of superior quality and probably of cretaceous age. The coke from it, though inferior to that of the Pittsburgh coals, can be used in lead-smelting furnaces. Valuable deposits of the precious metals occur in the two mountain ranges between which the Jordan flows, the Wahsatch on the east and the Oquirrh on the west. These ranges are traversed by cañons, usually narrow and precipitous, opening into the Jordan valley, and affording access to the mining districts. The Utah Southern railroad, with several narrow-gauge branches, furnishes transportation to the smelting works in the valley and to Salt Lake City and Ogden. Lead ores, carrying silver, were discovered by Mormons in Beaver county in 1858, and large quantities of lead were produced, but the presence of silver was not then known. In 1863 silver-lead ores were discovered in Bingham cañon (Oquirrh range) by a party of the California volunteers. The early attempts to work these deposits were unprofitable, in the absence of skilled metallurgists and of railroad transportation. Gulch mining for gold in Bingham cañon began in 1868, and was continued with favorable results, in a limited field, for several years. The development in 1869 of the famous Emma deposit, in Little Cottonwood cañon (Wahsatch range), was the beginning of much excited activity in mining, in which even the Mormons, whose leaders had discouraged this industry, gradually took part. The large influx of miners from other territories, the construction of railroads, and the erection of more than 30 smelting and refining works, have widely developed the mining industry and brought about great political and social changes in the territory. The Emma mine, sold to an English company for £1,000,000, is said to have disappointed both the owners and the purchasers, and to be an irregular deposit in limestone, the available portions of which have been exhausted. The principal mining districts are as follows: Parley's Park, Big Cottonwood, Little Cottonwood, and American Fork, in the Wahsatch range; West Mountain or Bingham, Dry Cañon, Ophir, and Camp Floyd, in the Oquirrh range; Tintic and West Tintic, in the Tintic mountains; and South Star, North Star, San Francisco, and Lincoln, in the S. W. part of the territory. The ores are chiefly argentiferous carbonate of lead and galena, with some copper ore in the southern districts, and in a few localities ores sufficiently free from lead and other base metals to be successfully reduced by the Washoe process of stamping and pan amalgamation. The value of gold, silver, and lead produced in Utah since 1868, according to R. W. Raymond, United States commissioner of mining statistics, has been as follows:

YEARS. Gold. Silver. Lead. Aggregate.

1868-'9  $600,000  ..........  ........  $600,000
1870 300,000  $1,000,000  ........  1,300,000
1871 221,000  2,079,000  $500,000  2,800,000
1872 100,008  2,345,279  675,477  3,120,764
1873 52,426  3,725,775  958,365  4,736,566
1874 92,093  3,819,508  1,430,044  5,341,645
1875 181,765  2,955,923  1,080,459  4,218,147

Total  $1,547,292   $15,925,485   $4,644,345   $22,117,122

In 1875 there were also produced $102,148 worth of copper, $26,878 worth of iron, and $400,000 worth (50,000 tons) of coal. In the N. part of the territory, in the vicinity of Ogden and Brigham City, are numerous hot springs.—In the valleys the climate is generally mild and healthful, with little snow; the days are often hot in summer, but the nights are always cool; spring opens in April, and cold weather rarely sets in till December. On the mountains the winters are severe and the snowfall is more abundant, furnishing an unfailing supply of water for the streams in summer. There is considerable rain in the valleys from October to April, the weather during the rest of the year being dry, and rendering irrigation necessary to agriculture. The weather in spring and autumn is changeable. The annual precipitation of rain and melted snow varies from about 8 inches in the southwest to about 20 inches in the northeast. At Corinne on the Central Pacific railroad, N. E. of Great Salt lake, the mean temperature of the 12 months ending Sept. 30, 1872, was 49.2°; of the hottest month (July), 75°; of the coldest month (January), 26.6°; total rainfall, 17.13 inches. The mean temperature of the following 12 months was 48.18; of the hottest month (July), 76.2°; of the coldest month (February), 24.3°; rainfall, 15.62 inches. The mean temperature of the year 1870 at Camp Douglas, near Salt Lake City, was 51.51°; of the hottest month (July), 76.45°; of the coldest month (December), 27.03°; maximum observed, 96°; minimum observed, 3°; rainfall, 15.1 inches. The valley of the Rio Virgin in the southwest is much warmer. The climate is generally healthful. The number of deaths reported by the census of 1870 is 891, of which 99 were from cholera infantum, 84 from pneumonia, 78 from fevers, 63 from consumption, 56 from measles, 52 from enteritis, and 46 from diarrhœa.—Much of the soil of Utah possesses the elements of fertility, and when irrigated produces good crops. In narrow belts around the lakes and springs and along the streams the moisture is sometimes sufficient without irrigation; but the plains in their natural state are for the most part hard, dry, and barren, frequently covered with a saline incrustation, and producing only sage brush and occasional tufts of sand grass and buffalo or gama grass. The mountain slopes in many parts are well covered with buffalo grass. The higher portions of the Wahsatch and Uintah mountains have a good growth of pine and fir, with some quaking ash, cedar, spruce, &c.; and there are considerable quantities of pine on the Oquirrh mountains, W. of Salt Lake City, on the range E. of Utah lake, and on the promontory in the N. E. part of Great Salt lake. Elsewhere there are no important forests, though occasional copses of willow, box elder, cottonwood, and dwarf ash occur along the streams. The principal settlements are along the W. base of the Wahsatch mountains and in the valley of the Rio Virgin, where by the construction of canals an extensive system of irrigation has been put in operation. The chief agricultural localities are the Malade valley; Cache valley, watered by Bear river; the Weber valley; Salt Lake valley, as the tract along the S. E. shore of Great Salt lake is called; the Jordan valley; Tooele valley, W. of the Jordan; the basin of Utah lake, especially on the east; Rush valley, W. of Utah lake; the San Pete valley; the Sevier valley; and the Rio Virgin valley. The region E. of the Wahsatch mountains is little known, but in the valleys of the Uintah and some other tributaries of the Colorado there is considerable irrigable land. The principal agricultural productions are wheat, oats, barley, potatoes, and other root crops. The nights are generally too cool for Indian corn, except in Salt Lake valley and the valley of the Rio Virgin. Apples, pears, peaches, plums, and grapes grow well. Large quantities of fruits, vegetables, and berries are dried or canned for shipment to Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, and Nevada. Cotton, figs, pomegranates, and other tropical fruits are grown in the Rio Virgin valley. The crops have frequently suffered from the devastations of locusts (“grasshoppers”). Utah presents fewer obstacles to grazing than to agriculture, large tracts impracticable to the farmer being well suited to the stock raiser. The buffalo and sand grass, and the wild sage when touched by frost, furnish nutritious food for cattle. Cache valley is one of the finest grazing districts, and in the valley of Green river there is an extensive region possessing superior advantages for sheep raising. The herdsmen drive their stock high up on the mountain slopes in summer, reserving the valleys for winter. Numerous herds are pastured on the mountain ranges E. of the Wahsatch in summer, and on the approach of winter are driven across that range into Salt Lake valley, where little shelter or prepared food is required.—According to the census of 1870, the number of acres of land in farms was 148,361, of which 118,755 were improved; number of farms, 4,908, of which 803 contained less than 10 acres each, 1,660 from 10 to 20, 2,019 from 20 to 50, 316 from 50 to 100, 107 from 100 to 500, and 3 more than 500; cash value of farms, $2,297,922; of farming implements and machinery, $291,390; wages paid during the year, including value of board, $133,695; estimated value of all farm productions, including betterments and additions to stock, $1,973,142; value of orchard produce, $43,938; of produce of market gardens, $8,700; of forest products, $800; of home manufactures, $56,891; of animals slaughtered or sold for slaughter, $172,382; of all live stock, $2,149,814. The productions were 543,487 bushels of spring wheat, 14,986 of winter wheat, 1,312 of rye, 95,557 of Indian corn, 65,650 of oats, 49,117 of barley, 178 of buckwheat, 9,291 of peas and beans, 323,645 of Irish potatoes, 163 of sweet potatoes, 5 of grass seed, 22 bales of cotton, 109,018 lbs. of wool, 310,335 of butter, 69,603 of cheese, 322 of hops, 10 of flax, 13 of wax, 575 of honey, 3,131 gallons of wine, 67,446 of sorghum molasses, and 27,305 tons of hay. The live stock on farms consisted of 11,068 horses, 2,879 mules and asses, 17,563 milch cows, 3,479 working oxen, 18,138 other cattle, 59,672 sheep, and 3,150 swine; besides which there were 3,213 horses and 151,754 cattle not on farms. The number of manufacturing establishments was 533, having 21 steam engines of 331 horse power, and 192 water wheels of 2,169 horse power; number of hands employed, 1,534; amount of capital invested, $1,391,898; wages paid during the year, $395,365; value of ma- terials used, $1,238,252; annual value of prod- ucts, $2,343,019. The principal establishments were 74 flouring and grist mills, value of products $782,846; 95 saw mills, $661,431; and 6 woollen factories, $133,620. The number of acres of land under cultivation in 1875 was reported at 347,750; bushels of wheat raised, 2,775,000; barley, 397,500; oats, 589,000; Indian corn, 300,000; potatoes, 1,807,000; tons of hay, 175,000; pounds of wool, 1,000,000; value of all agricultural products, $8,236,022; of manufactures, $2,803,985, nearly half flour. The value of imports into the territory, chiefly merchandise and manufactured articles, was $9,150,851; of exports therefrom, mineral and agricultural products, $6,435,858.—Utah communicates on the one hand with California and on the other with the east by the Central and Union Pacific railroads, which meet at Ogden in the north. From this point the Utah Central railroad extends to Salt Lake City, whence the Utah Southern runs S. to York and the Utah Western W. to Lake Point. The Utah Northern railroad extends from Ogden to Franklin, Idaho; the American Fork railroad, from American Fork on the Utah Southern E. to Deer Creek; the Bingham Cañon railroad, from Sandy on the Utah Southern to Bingham Cañon; the Wahsatch and Jordan Valley railroad, from Sandy to Fairfield; and the Summit County railroad, from Echo on the Union Pacific to Coalville. The following table gives the mileage of railroad in the territory in 1876:

LINES. Miles in

American Fork 16 
Bingham Cañon 20 
Central and Union Pacific 226 
Summit County
Utah Central 37 
Utah Northern 80 
Utah Southern 78 
Utah Western 25 
Wahsatch and Jordan Valley  10 

Total 500 

There are two national banks, with a joint capital of $300,000.—The chief executive officers are a governor and secretary, appointed by the president with the consent of the senate for four years, and an auditor, treasurer, and superintendent of common schools, elected by the territorial legislature for two years. The legislature consists of a council of 13 and a house of representatives of 26 members, elected by the people by districts for two years, and has biennial sessions. The judicial power is vested in a supreme court, consisting of a chief justice and two associates; a district court in each of the three districts into which the territory is divided, held by a justice of the supreme court; and a probate court in each organized county. The justices of the supreme court are appointed by the president for four years; the probate judges are elected for two years. The supreme court has only appellate powers; the district courts are the tribunals of general original jurisdiction. While the government is thus similar to that of the other territories, the influence of the Mormon church is really paramount. By a territorial act of 1870 the right of suffrage was extended to women. The valuation of property, according to the United States census, has been:

 of real and 


1850 ........  .........  .........  $986,083
1860 $286,504   $3,871,516   $4,158,020  5,596,118
1870  7,047,881  5,517,961   12,565,842   16,159,995

The taxation in 1870 was $167,355, of which $39,402 was territorial, $80,419 county, and $47,534 town, city, &c. The assessed value of property in 1875 was $23,289,180, and the territorial tax $58,222 95. The amount in the territorial treasury on Jan. 1, 1874, was $35,655 47; receipts during the following two years, $104,539 23; total, $140,194 70; disbursements during the same period, $139,662 46; balance, Jan. 1, 1876, $532 24.—The common schools are under the management of the territorial superintendent, county superintendents, and district trustees. A superintendent is elected in each county by the qualified voters for two years, and in each school district three trustees are elected for the same period by the resident taxpayers. Some money is raised by taxation, but the expenses of the schools are mainly defrayed by tuition fees. The following statistics are for 1875: number of districts, 236; number reporting, 163; schools, 296; children of school age (4 to 16), 35,696; pupils enrolled iu public schools, 19,278; in private schools, 3,542; average attendance, public 13,462, private 2,437; amount paid public teachers, $95,533; paid for building purposes, $49,569; appropriated by territory, $15,000; raised by local taxation, $20,267; tuition fees, $95,533; value of public school property, $438,665. The university of Deseret, at Salt Lake City, was organized in 1869; it has medical, collegiate, normal, and inferior departments. It receives an annual appropriation from the territorial treasury of from $5,000 to $10,000. There are several good schools at Salt Lake City and one or two other points, maintained by various religious denominations. According to the census of 1870, there were 10 newspapers, issuing 1,578,400 copies annually, and having a circulation of 14,250. Of these 3 were daily, 3 semi-weekly, 3 weekly, and 1 monthly. The number of libraries was 133, with an aggregate of 39,177 volumes, of which 59, with 7,684 volumes, were private. There were 165 church organizations, with 164 edifices, 86,110 sittings, and property to the value of $674,600. Of the organizations only 5 were non-Mormon (2 Episcopal, 2 Methodist, and 1 Presbyterian).—Utah forms part of the territory acquired from Mexico in 1848. It was settled in 1847 by Mormons under the lead of Brigham Young. In March, 1849, a provisional government for the “state of Deseret” was organized, which was superseded by the territory of Utah, organized under the act of congress of Sept. 9, 1850, comprising 220,196 sq. m., and embracing portions of what is now Colorado, Wyoming, and Nevada. In 1856, under an act of the territorial legislature, a constitution was framed for the “state of Deseret,” and application has since been repeatedly made to congress for its admission into the Union, without success. (See Mormons.)