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Pioneers & Cowboys - Timeline
American Indians Trappers, Traders & Explorers Pioneers & Cowboys Mining & Railroad Statehood War to War Utah Today



Capt. John Bartleson leads first wagon train of settlers across Utah to California.



The Bryant-Russell Party became the first to take the newly opened Hastings Cutoff from Fort Bridger to the head of the Humboldt River.

The Harlan-Young Party, led by Lansford W. Hastings himself, were the first to take wagons over Hastings Cutoff and the last that season to cross the Sierra Nevada ahead of the ill-fated Donner-Reed party.

On August 12th at Twenty Wells, now Grantsville, members of the Harlan-Young Party buried John Hargrave; the first emigrant laid to rest in Utah soil.

The Donner-Reed party pursued a route from Henefer through Emigration Canyon where they met with extreme hardship both there and in the Salt Lake Desert. This substantial loss in time caused them to become snowbound in the Sierra Nevada Mountains and resulted in only forty-seven of the original eight-seven's arrival at Sutter's Fort.



On January 27 the Mormon Battalion, completed its march across the Southwest, arriving in San Luis Rey, California.

Three African-American slaves, Green Flake, Hark Lay, and Oscar Crosby, come west with the first pioneer company.

Migrating with the Ira Eldredge Company, Isaac and Jane Manning James and their sons Sylvester and Silas were the first free blacks to settle in Utah.

On July 24 the first party of Mormon pioneers arrive in the Salt Lake Valley to establish a new home free of religious persecution.

On July 24 William Carter broke the first ground and laid the first furrow in the Valley.



The primary establishment of settlements in Utah marked the founding of the north-south line of settlements from Cache Valley on the Idaho border, along the Wasatch Front and Wasatch Plateau, down to Utah's Dixie on the Arizona border.



U.S. wins Mexican War and the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo is signed which cedes Utah to the United States.

On September 20 Alexander Neibaur arrived in Salt Lake City, Utah's first dentist.

On January 24 nine members of the discharged Mormon Battalion were at Sutter's Mill in California when gold was discovered.

In May millions of crickets descended on Salt Lake Valley eating the pioneer's crops. Seagulls from the Great Salt Lake ate most of the crickets, saving the crops.

Isaac and Jane James became the parents of Mary Ann, the first black child born in Utah.

In order to provide a satisfactory circulating medium for the early settlers of Utah, Brigham Young and his associates in the LDS Church established a church mint and circulated paper money backed by the treasury and officials of the LDS Church.



Constitutional convention proposes the State of Deseret which encompasses the entire Great Basin.

On July 24, the first celebration to commemorate the entrance of the pioneers into the Great Salt   Lake Valley was held.

On October 6 the Deseret Dramatic Association was organized in Salt Lake City.

First post office established in Salt Lake City.

On August 28 Captain Howard Stansbury and Lt. John W. Gunnison arrived in the Salt Lake Valley to survey the area.

The Mormon Church initiated the Perpetual Emigrating Fund Company (PEF) primarily to help Mormon refugees from Nauvoo, Illinois, migrate to Utah. It also became a major instrument for gathering Latter-day Saint converts to Utah from abroad, assisting some 26,000 immigrants between 1852 and 1887.



On September 9 the U.S. Senate passes a bill providing for the organization of Utah Territory (rejecting the name Deseret and shrinking its borders). University of Deseret (later University of Utah) is chartered).

University of Deseret (later University of Utah) is chartered.

First census of the new Utah territory is taken by the federal government.

11,380 settlers called the newly created Utah Territory their home.

Iron ore was discovered near Cedar City, Utah.

On June 15 the first edition of the Deseret News was published in Salt Lake City.

Compromise of 1850 admits California as a free state, eliminates the slave trade in the District of Colombia, establishes Utah and New Mexico without restrictions on slavery, and requires the return of fugitive slaves.



On February 3, Brigham Young took the oath of office, becoming the first Governor of the Utah Territory.

On August 1, the first kiln of earthenware was burned at the Deseret Pottery located near Emigration Canyon.

The Salt Lake City police department was organized on March 10.  There were forth patrolmen who were paid 25 cents per hour.

Shade trees are planted on the borders of Salt Lake City's sidewalks.

President Brigham Young proclaims January 1, 1852 as a Day of Praise and Thanksgiving. The first Thanksgiving in Utah.

Iron ore was discovered, mined, and refined near Cedar City, Utah.

In planning the eventual settlement of Utah, the Legislative Assembly designated the remote Pauvan Valley as the site of the territorial seat of government, the surrounding area Millard County, and intended to create a capital city called Fillmore.



On August 29 the revelation on celestial marriage (polygamy) was first made public. It was read in the conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.



On February 14 President Brigham Young broke ground for the Salt Lake Temple. The LDS Church begins the construction of the Salt Lake Temple.

The Social Hall was dedicated on January 1.

The Walker War with the Ute Indians begins over slavery.



Grasshoppers plague endanger crops.

The Board of Regents of the University of Deseret along with Brigham Young adopt a new alphabet consisting of 38 characters called the "Deseret Alphabet."



Deseret Philharmonic Society is organized in Salt Lake City.



LDS church leaders wanting to promote home industries develops the silk industry in Utah.  Silk was one of a series of home industries--launched to establish a diversified economy--that included breweries, tobacco growing, cotton growing, lace making, and the making of straw hats. These enterprises were an essential part of the cooperative economy the Mormons sought to establish in their promised land. Home industry was meant to keep money in Utah rather than have it spent for costly imports from thousands of miles away.



On October 2 the Deseret Agriculture and Manufacturing Society commenced its first exhibition in Salt Lake City called the Deseret State Fair.

On October 17, an ordinance was passed by the Great Salt Lake City council, to organize a fire department.

On June 9 the first handcart company left Iowa City, Iowa, followed by two handcart companies later that year the James G. Willie and Edward Martin Handcart Companies. Due to an early winter more than 200 people died along the trail.

Salt Lake City is officially designated as the capital of territorial Utah.



On September 7 the Mountain Meadow massacre took place. Arkansas immigrant on their way to California were killed in Iron County, Utah.



Brigham Young is removed as governor by President James Buchanan who sends a 2,500-man military force to accompany the new governor Alfred Cumming to the territory, starting the Utah War. In May the citizens living north of Utah County abandoned their homes and moved south, leaving only a few men in each town. On June 26 Johnston's army arrives in the valley and eventually started Camp Floyd around forty south of the city.



On June 19 the first Episcopal Church service was held in Salt Lake City under the direction of Rev. Vaux, chaplain at Fort Laramie at the Tabernacle.

On March 6 the first Masonic lodge in Utah is organized at Camp Floyd, under the name, Rocky Mountain Lodge No. 205.



First paper mill brought to Utah. It was manufactured by Gavitt of Philadelphia.

Sir Richard Burton visits Utah Territory in the summer of 1860.

On April 7 the first Pony Express rider arrived in Salt Lake City having left Sacramento, California on the evening of April 3.  On April 9 the first Pony Express rider from the east arrived in Salt Lake City, having left St. Joseph, Missouri on the evening of April 3.



On October 18 the Overland Telegraph line was completed and joined in Telegraph joins in Tooele County.

First telegraph poles planted on Salt Lake's main street.

Mark Twain learned about the Great Salt Lake Desert by riding across it in an overland stagecoach in 1861.  In a desolate area west of Eureka in Juab County stands a little log cabin called the "Mark Twain Cabin." Here he paused to recuperate on his journey to Nevada and California.



Third movement for Statehood begins in December 1861.



On July 4 the Deseret Union Cricket Club and the Eleventh Ward Cricket Club played the first cricket game in Utah at Union Square.

The first concert of the Deseret Musical Association was given on December 9 in the Tabernacle.

The first performance in the Salt Lake Theatre was held on March 8.

On July 8 the Morrill Act (an anti-bigamy law) was approved by President Lincoln.

Gravedigger Jean Baptiste was arrested and sent to jail for robbing some 300 graves. Mobs gathered at the jail, threatening to lynch him so the justice department exiled him to Fremont Island.



Silver and lead are discovered in Bingham Canyon.

On January 29 Colonel Patrick E. Connor, with about 200 troops, defeated a band of Shoshone Indians on the Bear River (now known as the Bear River Massacre).

The Deseret Academy of Arts, an institution composed principally of artists was formed in Great Salt Lake.  The purpose of the Society was to promote the various branches of fine arts, the establishment of a public school and museum of art and design.



Isabella and Julius Brooks and their children were the first Jewish family to settle in pioneer Utah.



The Salt Lake Mormon Tabernacle was built.



Ute Black Hawk War takes place--the last major Indian conflict in Utah.



The first message was sent on December 1 by the Deseret State Telegraph was completed running from Logan in the north to St. George in the southern part of Utah.



The name Great Salt Lake City was changed to Salt Lake City.



A group of Mormon pioneers began the now-famous Hole-in-the Rock Expedition through the San Juan region of southeastern Utah, which was one of the most isolated regions of the United States.

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