The Territory of Utah was an organized incorporated territory of the United States that existed from September 9, 1850, until January 4, 1896, when the final extent of the territory was admitted to the Union as the State of Utah, the 45th state.
The territory was organized by an Organic Act of Congress in 1850, on the same day that the State of California was admitted to the Union and the New Mexico Territory was added for the southern portion of the former Mexican land. The creation of the territory was part of the Compromise of 1850 that sought to preserve the balance of power between slave and free states. With the exception of a small area around the headwaters of the Colorado River in present-day Colorado, the United States had acquired all the land of the territory from Mexico with the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo of 1848.
The creation of the Utah Territory was partially the result of the petition sent by the Mormon pioneers who had settled in the valley of the Great Salt Lake starting in 1847. The Mormons, under the leadership of Brigham Young, had petitioned Congress for entry into the Union as the State of Deseret, with its capital as Salt Lake City and with proposed borders that encompassed the entire Great Basin and the watershed of the Colorado River, including all or part of nine current U.S. states. The Mormon settlers had drafted a state constitution in 1849 and Deseret had become the de facto government in the Great Basin by the time of the creation of the Utah Territory.
Following the organization of the territory, Young was inaugurated as its first governor on February 3, 1851. In the first session of the territorial legislature in September, the legislature adopted all the laws and ordinances previously enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Deseret.
Mormon governance in the territory was regarded as controversial by much of the rest of the nation, partly fed by continuing lurid newspaper depictions of the polygamy practiced by the settlers, which itself had been part of the cause of their flight from the United States to the Great Salt Lake basin after being forcibly removed from their settlements farther east.
Although the Mormons were the majority in the Great Salt Lake basin, the western area of the territory began to attract many non-Mormon settlers, especially after the discovery of silver at the Comstock Lode in 1858. In 1861, partly as a result of this, the Nevada Territory was created out of the western part of the territory. Non-Mormons also entered the easternmost part of the territory during the Pikes Peak Gold Rush, resulting in the discovery of gold at Breckenridge in Utah Territory in 1859. In 1861 a large portion of the eastern area of the territory was reorganized as part of the newly created Colorado Territory.
The controversies stirred by the Mormon religion's dominance of the territory are regarded as the primary reason behind the long delay of 46 years between the organization of the territory and its admission to the Union in 1896 as the State of Utah, long after the admission of territories created after it. In contrast, the Nevada Territory, although more sparsely populated, was admitted to the Union in 1864, only three years after its formation, largely as a consequence of the Union's desire to consolidate its hold on the silver mines in the territory. Colorado was admitted in 1876.
|Territory of Utah|
|Organized incorporated territory of the United States|
Territorial coat of arms (1876)
The Utah Territory upon its creation. Modern state boundaries are shown for reference.
|Government||Organized incorporated territory|
|•||1875-1880||George W. Emery|
|•||1880-1886||Eli Houston Murray|
|•||1886-1889, 1893–1896||Caleb Walton West|
|Legislature||Utah Territorial Assembly|
|•||State of Deseret||1849|
|•||Utah Organic Act||September 9, 1850|
|•||Colorado Territory formed||February 28, 1861|
|•||Nevada Territory formed||March 2, 1861|
|•||Wyoming Territory formed||July 25, 1868|
|•||Statehood||January 4, 1896|
The 1894 Utah Utes football team was an American football team that represented the University of Utah during the 1894 college football season as an independent. Head coach Robert Harkness led the team to a 1–2 record.Bear River City, Wyoming
Bear River City, Wyoming is a ghost town that was briefly a rapidly thrown together railroad town, located about ten miles southeast of Evanston, Wyoming, on the Overland Trail and the Emigrant Trail in the Utah Territory.
It is best known for the "Bear River City Riot" that occurred on November 19, 1868.Beaver County, Utah
Beaver County is a county in west central Utah, United States. As of the 2010 United States Census, the population was 6,629. Its county seat and largest city is Beaver. The county was named for the abundance of beavers in the area.Compromise of 1850
The Compromise of 1850 was a package of five separate bills passed by the United States Congress in September 1850, which defused a four-year political confrontation between slave and free states on the status of territories acquired during the Mexican–American War (1846–1848). The compromise, drafted by Whig Senator Henry Clay of Kentucky and brokered by Clay and Democratic Senator Stephen Douglas of Illinois, reduced sectional conflict, although controversy eventually arose over the Fugitive Slave provision. Although the compromise was greeted with relief, each side disapproved of some of its specific provisions:
Texas surrendered its claim to New Mexico as well as its claims north of 36°30'. It retained the Texas Panhandle, and the federal government took over the state's public debt.
California was admitted as a free state, with its current boundaries.
The South prevented the adoption of the Wilmot Proviso, which would have outlawed slavery in the new territories. The new Utah Territory and New Mexico Territory were allowed, under popular sovereignty, to decide whether to allow slavery within their borders. In practice, these lands were generally unsuited to plantation agriculture, and their settlers were uninterested in slavery.
The slave trade, but not the institution of slavery, was banned in the District of Columbia.
A more stringent Fugitive Slave Law was enacted, requiring law enforcement in free states to support the capture and return of fugitive slaves, and increasing penalties against people who tried to evade the law.The Compromise became possible after the sudden death of President Zachary Taylor. Although a slave owner, he had wanted to exclude slavery from the Southwest. Whig leader Henry Clay designed a compromise, which failed to pass in early 1850 because of opposition by both pro-slavery southern Democrats, led by John C. Calhoun, and anti-slavery northern Whigs. Upon Clay's instruction, Stephen Douglas divided Clay's bill into several smaller pieces and narrowly won their passage, over the opposition of radicals on both sides.Daughters of Utah Pioneers
The International Society Daughters of Utah Pioneers (ISDUP, DUP) is a women's organization dedicated to preserving the history of the original settlers of the geographic area covered by the State of Deseret and Utah Territory, including Mormon pioneers. The organization is open to any woman who is: (1) A direct-line descendant or legally adopted direct-line descendant with a pioneer ancestor; (2) the pioneer ancestor is a person who traveled to or through the geographic area covered by the State of Deseret/Utah Territory between July 1847 and 10 May 1869 (completion of the railroad, May 10, 1869); (3) over the age of eighteen, and of good character. Travel through the geographic area covered by the State of Deseret/Utah Territory can be either east to west, west to east, north to south, or south to north.Golden spike
The golden spike (also known as The Last Spike) is the ceremonial 17.6-karat gold final spike driven by Leland Stanford to join the rails of the First Transcontinental Railroad across the United States connecting the Central Pacific and Union Pacific railroads on May 10, 1869, at Promontory Summit, Utah Territory. The term last spike has been used to refer to one driven at the usually ceremonial completion of any new railroad construction projects, particularly those in which construction is undertaken from two disparate origins towards a meeting point. The spike is now displayed in the Cantor Arts Center at Stanford University.Iron County, Utah
Iron County is a county in southwestern Utah, United States. As of the 2010 United States Census, the population was 46,163. Its county seat is Parowan, and the largest city is Cedar City.
The Cedar City, UT Micropolitan Statistical Area includes all of Iron County.List of Governors of Utah
The Governor of Utah is the head of the executive branch of Utah's state government and the commander-in-chief of its military forces. The governor has a duty to enforce state laws as well as the power to either approve or veto bills passed by the Utah Legislature. The governor may also convene the legislature on "extraordinary occasions".The self-proclaimed State of Deseret, precursor to the organization of the Utah Territory, had only one governor, Brigham Young. Utah Territory had 15 territorial governors from its organization in 1850 until the formation of the state of Utah in 1896, appointed by the President of the United States. John W. Dawson had the shortest term of only three weeks and Brigham Young, the first territorial governor, had the longest term at seven years.
There have been 17 governors of the State of Utah, with the longest serving being Calvin L. Rampton, who served three terms from 1965 to 1977. Olene Walker served the shortest term, the remaining 14 months of Mike Leavitt's term upon Leavitt's resignation to become head of the Environmental Protection Agency. At the age of 36, Heber Manning Wells was the youngest person to become governor. At the age of 70, Simon Bamberger became the oldest person to be elected, while Olene Walker, at age 72, was the oldest person to succeed to the office. Currently, a term of service is set at four years, and there are no overall limits (consecutive or lifetime) to the number of terms one may be elected to serve. Elections for the office of Governor of Utah are normally held in November of the same year as the United States presidential election.
The current governor is Gary Herbert, who took office on August 11, 2009, upon the resignation of Jon Huntsman, Jr., to become United States Ambassador to China. Governor Herbert was elected to fill the remainder of Huntsman's term in November 2010, and was later re-elected to serve another term beginning in January 2017.
There is an official seal of the Governor of Utah. Borrowing most of the same symbolism from the State Seal, the Governor's seal includes Roman numerals at the bottom, which represent the Governor himself, and this changes with every new Governor. Each Governor therefore has a seal unique to themselves and their administration. The Roman numerals are currently "XVII", representing Gary Herbert, who is the 17th governor of Utah since Statehood.List of counties in Utah
There are 29 counties in the U.S. state of Utah. There were originally seven counties established under the provisional State of Deseret in 1849: Davis, Iron, Sanpete, Salt Lake, Tooele, Utah, and Weber. The Territory of Utah was created in 1851 with the first territorial legislature meeting from 1851–1852. The first legislature re-created the original counties from the State of Deseret under territorial law as well as establishing three additional counties: Juab, Millard, and Washington. All other counties were established between 1854 and 1894 by the Utah Territorial Legislature under territorial law except for the last two counties formed, Daggett and Duchesne. They were created by popular vote and by gubernatorial proclamation after Utah became a state. Present-day Duchesne County encompassed an Indian reservation that was created in 1861. The reservation was opened to homesteaders in 1905 and the county was created in 1913. Due to dangerous roads, mountainous terrain, and bad weather preventing travel via a direct route, 19th century residents in present-day Daggett County had to travel 400 to 800 miles (640 to 1,290 km) on both stage and rail to conduct business in Vernal, the county seat for Uintah County a mere 50 miles (80 km) away. In 1917, all Uintah County residents voted to create Daggett County.Based on the 2010 United States Census data, the population of Utah was 2,763,885. Just over 75% of Utah's population is concentrated along four Wasatch Front counties of Salt Lake, Utah, Davis, and Weber. Salt Lake County was the largest county in the state with a population of 1,029,655, followed by Utah County with 516,564, Davis County with 306,479 and Weber County with 231,236. Daggett County was the least populated with 1,059 people. The largest county in land area is San Juan County with 7,821 square miles (20,260 km2) and Davis County is the smallest with 304 square miles (790 km2).The Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) code, which is used by the United States government to uniquely identify states and counties, is provided with each county. Utah's FIPS code is 49, which when combined with any county code would be written as 49XXX. In the FIPS code column in the table below, each FIPS code links to the most current census data for that county.Millard County, Utah
Millard County ( MIL-ərd) is a county in the U.S. state of Utah. As of the 2010 United States Census, the population was 12,503. Its county seat is Fillmore, and the largest city is Delta.Nevada Territory
The Territory of Nevada was an organized incorporated territory of the United States that existed from March 2, 1861, until October 31, 1864, when it was admitted to the Union as the State of Nevada.
Prior to the creation of the Nevada Territory, the area was part of western Utah Territory and was known as Washoe, after the native Washoe people. The separation of the territory from Utah was important to the federal government because of its political leanings, while the population itself was keen to be separated because of animosity (and sometimes violence) between non-Mormons in Nevada and Mormons from the rest of the Utah Territory.
A common misconception was that the Union needed Nevada's silver for the war effort, but as a U.S. Territory, the U.S. could take it if they so needed. Another misconception that Nevada was rushed into statehood was due to the 1864 Election, in which Abraham Lincoln needed a few more sure votes in the Electoral College to be re-elected. With Fremont dropping out of the race, Lincoln's margin of victory over McClellan was 212 to 21 so Nevada's three electoral votes weren't of consideration.Promontory, Utah
Promontory is an area of high ground in Box Elder County, Utah, 32 mi (51 km) west of Brigham City and 66 mi (106 km) northwest of Salt Lake City. Rising to an elevation of 4,902 feet (1,494 m) above sea level, it lies to the north of the Promontory Mountains and the Great Salt Lake. It is notable as the location of Promontory Summit, where the First Transcontinental Railroad in the United States was officially completed on May 10, 1869.
By the summer of 1868, the Central Pacific (CP) had completed the first rail route through the Sierra Nevada mountains, and was now moving down towards the Interior Plains and the Union Pacific (UP) line. More than 4,000 workers, of whom two thirds were Chinese, had laid more than 100 mi (160 km) of track at altitudes above 7,000 ft (2,100 m). In May 1869, the railheads of the Union Pacific and the Central Pacific railroads finally met at Promontory Summit, Utah Territory. A specially-chosen Chinese and Irish crew had taken only 12 hours to lay the final 10 mi (16 km) of track in time for the ceremony.Sanpete County, Utah
Sanpete County ( san-PEET) is a county in the U.S. state of Utah. As of the 2010 United States Census, the population was 27,822. Its county seat is Manti, and its largest city is Ephraim. The county was created in 1850.United States congressional delegations from Utah
Since Utah became a U.S. state in 1896, it has sent congressional delegations to the United States Senate and United States House of Representatives. Each state elects two senators to serve for six years. Before the Seventeenth Amendment in 1913, senators were elected by the Utah State Legislature. Members of the House of Representatives are elected to two-year terms, one from each of Utah's four congressional districts. Before becoming a state, the Territory of Utah elected a non-voting delegate at-large to Congress from 1850 to 1896.
57 people have served either the Territory or State of Utah: 14 in the Senate, 41 in the House, and 2 in both houses. The average term for senators has been 15.3 years and the average term for representatives has been 6.7 years. The longest-serving senator is Orrin Hatch, in office since 1977. The longest-serving representative is James V. Hansen, in office for 22 years from 1981 to 2003. Four women have been members of Utah's congressional delegation, Reva Beck Bosone, Karen Shepherd, Enid Greene and Mia Love, all as representatives.
In 2013, following the 2010 United States Census, a 4th district was added. A new congressional redistricting map was approved by the Republican legislature and signed into law by Republican Governor Gary Herbert.Utah County, Utah
Utah County is a county in the U.S. state of Utah. As of the 2010 United States Census, the population was 516,564, thus making it Utah's second-most populous county. The county seat and largest city is Provo, which is the state's third-largest city.
Utah County is part of the Provo-Orem, UT Metropolitan Statistical Area as well as the Salt Lake City-Provo-Orem, UT Combined Statistical Area.
In 2010, the center of population of Utah was in Utah County, in the city of Saratoga Springs.Utah County is one of seven counties in the United States to have the same name as its state.Utah Territory's at-large congressional district
Utah Territory's At-large congressional district is an obsolete congressional district that encompassed the area of the Utah Territory. After Utah's admission to the Union as the 45th state by act of Congress on January 4, 1896, this district was dissolved and replaced by Utah's At-large congressional district.Utah War
The Utah War (1857–1858), also known as the Utah Expedition, Utah Campaign, Buchanan's Blunder, the Mormon War, or the Mormon Rebellion was an armed confrontation between Mormon settlers in the Utah Territory and the armed forces of the United States government. The confrontation lasted from May 1857 to July 1858. There were some casualties, mostly non-Mormon civilians. The war had no notable military battles.Utah in the American Civil War
The Utah Territory (September 9, 1850 - January 4, 1896) during the American Civil War was far from the main operational theaters of war, but still played a role in the disposition of the United States Army, drawing manpower away from the volunteer forces and providing its share of administrative headaches for the Lincoln Administration. Although no battles were fought in the territory, the withdrawal of Union forces at the beginning of the war allowed the Indian tribes to start raiding the trails passing through Utah. As a result, units from California and Utah were assigned to protect against these raids. Mineral deposits found in Utah by California soldiers encouraged the immigration of non-Mormon settlers into Utah.Washington County, Utah
Washington County is a county in the southwestern corner of Utah, United States. As of the 2010 United States Census, the population was 138,115, making it the fifth-most populous county in Utah. Its county seat and largest city is St. George. The county was created in 1852 and organized in 1856. It was named for the first President of the United States, George Washington.
Washington County experienced the fifth-highest job-growth rate in the United States at one point. A portion of the Paiute Indian Reservation is in western Washington County.
Washington County comprises the St. George, UT Metropolitan Statistical Area.
Salt Lake City (capital)