A Young Folks' History of the Church
Growth Of Utah And The Church
As you were told in the last chapter, among the first things done by the pioneers was to
send exploring parties out to find other locations for settlement. They knew that
thousands of Saints would follow them to their new home, and room must be had for
In the first company that followed the pioneers was Peregrine Sessions. He, with some
others, moved north from the pioneer camp and settled in what is now Davis county.
Further north, at the junction of the Weber and Ogden rivers, there lived, before the
pioneers came, a trapper and trader by the name of Goodyear. He claimed a large area of
land, nearly all of what is now Weber county, saying that the Mexican government had
granted it to him. This claim he sold in 1847 to Captain James Brown of the Mormon
Battalion for the sum of $3,000. In the spring of 1848, Captain Brown with his sons
moved to the new location and began putting in crops. They were told that frost would
kill the corn before it could ripen, but they worked on, and in the fall reaped a large
harvest. Soon other families moved in, to whom Captain Brown gave land. Thus Ogden
city and Weber county had their beginning.
Early in the spring of 1849, the first settlers moved south from Salt Lake City. They
consisted of thirty families led by John S. Higbee, one of the pioneers. They settled on
Provo river, built a fort for protection, and then began plowing and planting. There were
quite a number of Indians in that part. Their head chief was Sowiette, and under him was
Chief Walker. The first was a kind Indian who wished to live in peace with the whites;
but not so with Walker who delighted in stealing and fighting.
For some months everything went well with the Provo settlers, but in the fall the Indians
began stealing, and once in awhile an arrow came uncomfortably near some settler when
away from the fort. At length a party of men who were out searching for stolen cattle, had
a fight with a band of Indians in which five of the savages were killed.
The settlers in the fort were now continually annoyed, until in February, 1850, a company
of militia was sent from Salt Lake City to their aid. A fierce battle ensued, in which a
number were killed on both sides, and the Indians were scattered to the mountains.
It was President Young's policy not to harm the Indians if possible, saying that it was
cheaper to feed them than to fight them. But even this kind policy did not altogether
prevent trouble with these wild people. In 1853, the Indians, led by Chief Walker, made
war on the southern settlements, with the result that about twenty whites and a great
many Indians were killed.
At the close of the war with Mexico all this western country became a part of the United
States. At a convention held in Salt Lake City, March 4, 1849, the people asked Congress
for a territorial organization. Later, a petition was sent asking to be admitted into the
Union under the name of "The State of Deseret." Until Congress could act, a temporary
government was formed which existed for nearly two years. President Young was elected
governor, and there were the other officers usually found in a state. September 9, 1850,
Congress passed an act organizing Utah Territory. President Millard Fillmore appointed
Brigham Young as governor. Out of the six other officers, three were "Mormons," and
three non-"Mormons" from the East.