FREE Catholic Classes
Utah, the thirty-second state admitted to the Union, takes its name from an Indian tribe known as the Utes or Yutas -- a Shoshonian offshoot -- whose hunting grounds embraced three-fourths of the territory enclosed by the boundaries of the State of Utah. It is 350 miles long and 275 miles wide. Its area is 84990 square miles (54,390,000 acres) and of these square miles 2780 are of water surface. The population according to the thirteenth census is 373,351. The state extends westerly to the Nevada line, and on the east to Colorado and Wyoming, on the south it is bounded by Arizona, and on the north by Idaho and Wyoming.
The Wasatch and Uintah Ranges of the Rocky Mountain system traverse the state from north to south with collateral elevations stretching across the face of the land forming a picturesque variety to the basins and valleys. These mountains are furrowed with gorges and canyons through which the waters, formed by melting snow and rain, rush to the lowlands where they are diverted into irrigating canals. These canyons range in depth from 400 to 5000 feet. There are crests of the Wasatch Range from 12,000 to 14,000 feet above sea level. The Great Salt Lake -- the largest body of inland water in the United States west of the Missouri -- rests in the north central part of Utah. The lake has a surface measurement of 2,125 square miles, is 75 miles long by 50 wide, and is 4210 feet above sea level. With Sevier and Utah Lakes, Great Salt Lake is all that remains of Bonneville Sea, a great inland body of water that at some period in the past covered nearly all Utah. Sevier Lake is a saline body of water of varying dimensions which in dry seasons practically evaporates, leaving a crystalline residuum of impure sodium chloride and sulphates, five inches in depth. Jordan River, draining the fresh water lake, Utah, the Weber and Bear Rivers and many small streams flow into Salt Lake and compensate for the evaporation which has been in uninterrupted progress for ages and has made of the waters of Silt Lake a nearly saturated brine.
The mean annual temperature of Utah is 49 degrees. The highest temperature ever recorded was 115 degrees above, and the lowest 36 degrees below zero. Humid air currents travelling eastward from the Pacific Ocean air currents travelling eastward from the Pacific Ocean suffer a condensation of their vapours, and when they pass over the state become drying winds.
About two-thirds of Utah's population engage in agriculture. There are 2,135,000 acres of land under irrigation, with 10,000,000 more ready for irrigation. There are large farms which grow nothing but grain, but these are known as dry or arid farms. Those which are under irrigation are necessarily small, and the product is extra-ordinarily large. Three crops of alfalfa are harvested in the same year. The production and value of the leading crops in 1910 was as follows: corn, 394,000 bushels, valued at $331,000; wheat, 5,108,006 bushels $4,795,000; oats, 2,494,000 bushels, $1,197,000; barley, 468,000 bushels, $281,000; potatoes 2,130,000. The first irrigating canals were opened in Utah fifty years ago. One that carries water forty miles from Utah lake to Salt Lake City was built more than forty years ago and still furnishes water for irrigating large stretches of land. About one-third of the area of state is capable of cultivation, or is serviceable as ranges for sheep and cattle. Probably two-fifths of the area is covered by mountain ranges filled with precious metals. The remainder is desert land. Utah, which was the pioneer of irrigation in the inter-mountain states, has been converted from deserts and sage-brush wastes into fertile fields. This followed from the conservation of water, impounding it in great reservoirs, and distributing the water scientifically over the land.
In 1909 the state produced gold valued at $4,243,907; and the production of silver amounted to 11,242,301 ounces; the lead production in 1910, according to local estimates, was 112,209,256 pounds valued at $4,985,831; in the same year the copper production was 125,000,000 pounds valued at $15,937,500; the zinc product was 15,337,367 pounds valued at $851,243. The total value of metal, for 1910 was $33,028,909. The coal production of the state has steadily increased, amounting in 1909 to 2,266,899 tons valued at $3,757,060. Oil is developed San Juan County, and in southeastern Utah; about 265,000 barrels of sat are produced annually:
Long before Utah had a name or the region was even geographically placed, the Franciscan Fathers began their missionary labours in this region. In those days the missionary regions of the Southwest lay outside the jurisdiction of any Mexican or Spanish bishop. The Franciscan fathers labouring in these unexplored lands enjoyed, by special pontifical indult, exceptional privileges. There can be no doubt that if this immense territory, including Utah, Idaho, Colorado, and Wyoming, had remained under the control of Spain, the roving and sedentary tribes would have been converted to the Faith, civilized, and made useful citizens. From the time of the consecration of Fray Juan de Zumaraga as Bishop of Mexico, 2 Sept, 1530, until November, 1823, when Mexico won its independence and declared for a republic, the present State of Utah was Spanish territory. On 29 July, 1776, two Franciscan priests, Spaniards, Silvestre Velez de Escalante and Atanazio Dominguez, left Santa Fe, N. Mex., explored portions of Colorado, entered Utah, and were the first white men to look out upon the pleasant waters of Utah Lake. They remained with the Laguna tribe for some days, preaching to them and instructing them in Christian doctrine. Leaving here, 25 Sept. 1776, they continued on through southern Utah; crossed from the east, for the first time by white men, the Grand Canyon of the Colorado, and returned to Santa Fe, 2 January, 1977. They charted the explored lands, described the tribes they had visited the botany of the country, named the rivers and mountains, and bequeathed to us a valuable history of their expedition. From 1823 until 2 Feb., 1848, Utah belonged to the Republic of Mexico , and when the Mormons, American citizens, settled, July, 1847, in the valley of the Great Salt Lake they became, unconsciously, intruders on Mexican soil. By the Treaty of Peace, signed 2 Feb., 1848, by the American and Mexican representatives at Guadalupe-Hidalgo, the home-town of the famous shrine and pilgrimage of Our Lady of Guadalupe -- Utah came under the territorial jurisdiction of the United States. So that in less than one hundred years the region now known as the State of Utah was possessed by three separate nations.
It matters not to the present age or to Utah's future greatness whether Brigham Young and his hardy followers were directed to Salt Lake Valley by the great missionary, Father De Smet, by chance, or, as the Mormons claim, by Divine revelation. They came, they toiled; their settlement attracted many of their faith, and many who did not accept that faith. A territory was organized, a fine city was laid out, the mountain streams diverted over the arid land, and the land that was arable brought under cultivation. On 15 September, 1847, the American troops under General Winfield Scott took possession of Mexico City, and on 2 Feb., 1848, the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo was signed, ceding for a consideration of $15,000,000 all territory north and east of the of the two republics, including the states California, Arizona, New Mexico , and Utah. The Latter Day Saints now, 1848, became subjects of the United States and, after organizing a provisional government, applied for admission into the Union under the title of the State of Deseret. Pending the will of Congress, the Mormons established their own mint and issued gold pieces of the value of 2.50, 5, 10, and 20 dollars. They also put in circulation paper currency and organized as a quasi-independent state. In the spring of '49 Utah's political history opened with the adoption of a constitution for the State of Deseret. Ignoring the application of the Mormons for statehood, Congress passed an act granting to Utah territorial rights. The bill was signed by President Millard Fillmore, 9 September, 1850. The boundaries of the new territory were defined in the Congressional Act to be: Oregon on the north, California on the west, the summit of the Rocky Mountains on the east, and the 37th parallel of latitude on the south. By the decree of the President of the United States, Brigham Young, the Mormon hierarch and head of the Church of the Latter Day Saints, was appointed first Governor of the Territory of Utah, 28 Sept., 1851, thus establishing a theocratic form of government, or an imperium in imperio , within the limits of the republic.
On the first Monday in April, 1851, the first municipal election was held in Salt Lake City. A charter for the city had been granted by the Assembly of Deseret, and on 9 Jan., 1851, the city was incorporated. By order of Congress the Legislature of Deseret was dissolved 5 April, 1851, when a territorial legislature for Utah was established and a delegate to Congress elected. At that time, according to a census taken in April, 1851, the population of Utah was 11,354. Polygamy, which had been proclaimed -- and publicly for the first time at a special conference held in Salt Lake City, 28 August, 1852 -- was abolished by the "manifesto" of the October conference held in 1890 signed on 8 May, 1895 by Wilford Woodruff, President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints . The Constitution was framed and adopted by popular vote, 5 Nov., 1895. By proclamation of the President of the United States, signed 4 January, 1896, Utah was admitted as a state of the Union. Salt Lake, the capital of Utah, is one of the most picturesque and attractive cities of America. Its streets are 132 feet wide and its population in 1910 was 92,777. Ogden, Provo, Logan, Murray, and Park City are prosperous towns of the state.
The Legislature for Utah consists of 63 members elected by the people: 45 in the House of Representatives and 18 in the Senate. Population forms the basis of representation both for the local Legislature and for Congress where Utah is represented by two senators chosen by the Legislature and one congressman elected, by popular vote. Under the criminal law murder is punished by death, the criminal having the choice of death by hanging or shooting. Blasphemy, arson, and perjury are statutory offenses, but blasphemy only when it constitutes a breach of the peace. Polygamy and bigamy are crimes against society and those proved guilty of either are punished by imprisonment not exceeding five years or by a fine of $500. Under the civil law all priests and ministers attached to churches, all judges, mayors of cities, and justices of the peace are empowered to marry applicants, who must have the consent of parents or guardians if they are under age, that is 21 years for male and 16 for female. Cruelty, desertion, impotency, adultery, permanent insanity, habitual drunkenness, and conviction of felony are legal causes for divorce in Utah. Sunday is a legal holiday. School attendance is compulsory for all children between the ages of eight and sixteen. Clergymen, lawyers and doctors are privileged witnesses under state law.
The school population of Utah (1910) was 108,924. A larger percentage of the population of Utah is within the school age than can be found in any other state of the Republic. There are two universities, the University of Utah, and the University of the Latter Day Saints, thirty-five high schools, a state Normal school, State School of Mines, State Agricultural College, State School for Deaf and Dumb, the Brigham Young Colleges at Provo and Logan, a Presbyterian college, the All Hallows (Catholic) College, St. Mary's Academy (Holy Cross Sisters), Salt Lake City, the Academy of the Holy Cross Sisters, Ogden, many private institutions of learning and 670 common schools. To have an accurate idea of the educational standing of Utah it is well to remember that, according to a late report of the State Superintendent of Education, there are only six states of the Union which expend more per capita of the total population for schools, than does the State of Utah. The expenditure for educational purposes was $2,832,273 in 1910, and the valuation of school property was $5,902,801.
Sectarian Protestantism is represented in Utah by many ecclesiastical bodies including Protestant Episcopal, Presbyterian, Lutheran, Scientist, Bible Christian, Methodist, Methodist Episcopal, Congregational, Baptist, Theosophist, Spiritist, Unitarian, Latter Day Saints, Reorganized Latter Day Saints, Adventists, and other minor bodies. It is estimated that fully 30 per cent of the population of Utah attend no place of worship, and as divorce is increasing and becoming a menace to the stability of society, particularly in the cities and towns, the church population is threatened with more serious emaciation. Ecclesiastical property in the state is vested in corporations organized for ecclesiastical or charitable purposes, in a bishop properly incorporated, or it is held in trust under law by matured persons.
We have seen that as early as 1776 two Spanish Franciscan priests left Santa Fe, New Mexico , and, crossing south-western Colorado, discovered Utah Lake, instructed the Laguna family of Utes, crossed the State of Utah from north to south preaching to the tribes on their way, and, returning to Santa Fe, January, 1776, made known the existence -- of the great inland body of water, now known as Salt Lake. Not till 1841 do we again read of a Catholic priest visiting Utah. In that year the heroic Jesuit missionary and explorer, Father Pierre-Jean de Smet , passed through the valley of Salt Lake on his way to Green River, Wyoming. This remarkable priest was, in the autumn of 1846, the guest of the Mormon leader, Brigham Young, who was wintering with his followers near Council Bluffs, preparing to enter the Great American Desert in the spring of 1847. As the Mormon president had not yet determined where he and his people would finally settle, he was greatly impressed with Father de Smet's description of Salt Lake and Cache Valleys stretching away from the Wasatch Mountains. "They asked me a thousand questions about the regions I had explored", writes the priest to his nephew, "and the valley which I have just described to you pleased them greatly from the account I gave them of it. Was this what determined them to settle there? I would not dare to affirm it. They are there!" In the summer of 1863, sixteen years after the Mormons entered Utah, that exemplary priest, John Baptist Ravardy, came from Denver, Colorado , and passed some days in Salt Lake City. He was the guest of General Patrick Edward Connor, then in command of the troops at Fort Douglas, built on a bench a little to the east of the city. Father Ravardy found no Catholics in Salt Lake and, after administering the Sacraments of Penance and Holy Communion to some soldiers at the military post, he returned to Denver, where he died, 18 November, 1889. Early in June, 1866, Rev. Edward Kelly visited Salt Lake by request of Bishop O'Connell of Sacramento, who believed his jurisdiction extended over the entire State of Utah. Father Kelly offered up the Holy Sacrifice -- the first Mass said in Salt Lake City -- on the morning of 29 June, 1866, in the Assembly Hall of the Latter Day Saints, courteously placed at his disposal by the president, Brigham Young.
On 5 Feb., 1868, Colorado and Utah were erected by Papal Brief into a vicariate Apostolic and the Very Rev. Joseph P. Machebeuf of Denver was, on 16 August of the same year, raised to the episcopate and entrusted with the vicariate. On 30 Nov., 1868, Bishop Machebeuf, having already appointed Rev. James P. Foley missionary rector of Salt Lake, visited the Mormon stronghold and confirmed fourteen soldiers. The bishop, during his visit of ten days, was the guest of General Connor, who accompanied him in some of his visits to the few Catholics then in Salt Lake. Father Foley remained in the city two years and on a lot purchased by his predecessor, Rev. Patrick Walsh, built in 1869 an unpretentious church, the first Catholic church erected in the State of Utah. In 1870, the Holy See, on the urgent pleading of Bishop Machebeuf, placed Utah under the jurisdiction of Archbishop Alemany of San Francisco, who entrusted the mission to the care of the Rev. Patrick Walsh . Father Walsh began his sacerdotal duties in Salt Lake early in 1871. He remained on the mission for two years, organized a parish in the city, destroyed the little adobe chapel of Father Foley and built a brick church under the patronage of St. Mary Magdalene. On 14 Aug., 1873, Rev. Lawrence Scanlan, missionary rector of Petaluma, Archdiocese of San Francisco , succeeded Father Walsh, and with him the history of the Church in Utah practically begins. When Father Scanlan entered Salt Lake he became missionary rector over the largest parish in extent in the United States. In a state population of 87,000 there were, perhaps, 800 Catholics. In Salt Lake and Ogden there were, by actual count, 90 Catholics ; the remainder were dispersed along railroad divisions, in mining camps, and on the ranches. The little brick church to which he fell heir carried a debt of $6000. It was the only Catholic church in a region of 85,000 square miles. Father Scanlan soon began, on foot and on horseback, a visitation of his immense charge, the hardships of which taxed to the limit the vital forces of a splendid physique. On 29 June, 1887, he was, in recognition of his administrative ability and of fidelity to the duties of his priestly mission, appointed vicar Apostolic over all Utah and a large area of Nevada. He was later consecrated Bishop of Larandum in the Cathedral of San Francisco by Archbishop Riordan, assisted by Bishops O'Connell and Minogue. In 1891 the Vicarate Apostolic of Utah and Nevada was canonically constituted a diocese, and bishop Scanlan fixed his cathedral in Salt Lake City. The newly erected diocese embraced the, as it does now, 153 square miles, constituting it the largest diocese in the United States.
The era of Gentile -- as distinguished from the Mormon -- emigration practically began with the building of the Union Pacific to Ogden in March, 1869, and with the elevation to the episcopal throne of the Very Reverend Lawrence Scanlan in 1887, Catholicism entered Utah as an organized religion. Since then, the Church, so far as adverse conditions have permitted, has kept step with the educational, industrial; and political expansion of the state. For one not familiar with conditions as they existed in Utah until the present, it would be next to impossible to understand the almost insuperable difficulties which opposed, and are yet opposing, the spiritual and material expansion of religion in Utah. The state is enclosed by the mineral belt of the South-west, and mining is one of the most important of its industries. When a report is heard on the streets of Salt Lake that gold or silver has been uncovered in one of the gulches, canyons, or streams of the Wasatch Range, there is at once a rush for the "diggings". If facts verify the rumour, a mining camp is established which, in time, becomes a town of three or four thousand energetic men; among them will be many Catholics clamouring for a church and a priest. The bishop goes in person, to inspect conditions, is satisfied with the encouragement he receives, and, returning to Salt Lake, commissions one of his priests to take up his residence and build a church at "Silver Reef" or "Goldville". A year after the church is built and partially paid for, the "workings" give out and the town is abandoned, leaving the church vacant and the priest a pastor without a flock. This is not an incident in the experience of Bishop Scanlan, it is a repetition in his episcopal life. Many towns and villages, of from two to seven thousand souls, are entirely Mormon and are outside the influence of the Catholic Church. The Catholic population of Utah is sparse; nevertheless, the bishop has achieved marvels. He brought the Sisters of the Holy Cross from Indiana to Salt Lake City , to Ogden, to Park City, and Eureka. In Park City and Eureka the Sisters teach select and parochial schools ; in Ogden they conduct the Sacred Heart Academy; in Salt Lake City the Sisters conduct St. Mary's Academy and also Holy Cross Hospital. The Kearns' St. Ann's Orphanage, built by Senator and Mrs. Kearns, has, since its completion in 1900 been under the care of eleven Sisters of the same order. In 1885 Bishop Scanlan founded and built the All Hallows College now one of the leading Catholic colleges of the South-west, and in 1889 he invited the Marist fathers to take charge of the institution. On 15 August, 1909, St. Mary Magdalene's Cathedral was dedicated by Cardinal Gibbons. In January, 1910, Bishop Scanlan introduced into his diocese the Sisters of Mercy and placed under their charge the "Judge Memorial Home", which was built, at a cost of $175,000 by the late Mrs. Mary Judge, and given to the bishop to be used as a hospital and home for aged and disabled miners.School or Church closed? - Here's FREE help!
Confronted with unfavorable localities and uncertainties of the permanency of mining towns, the Bishop of Salt Lake has succeeded in establishing in his diocese permanent parishes, outside of Salt Lake and Ogden, at Park City, Eureka, Helper, and Green River, Utah; and at Austin, Tonopah and Eureka, Nevada. Annexed to these parishes are some forty missions and mining stations visited by the diocesan priests at measured intervals.
Copyright 2020 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2020 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.
Catholic Online is a Project of Your Catholic Voice Foundation, a Not-for-Profit Corporation. Your Catholic Voice Foundation has been granted a recognition of tax exemption under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Federal Tax Identification Number: 81-0596847. Your gift is tax-deductible as allowed by law.