Utah History to Go
Methodist Women Missionaries Worked Hard in Utah
Change and Creativity
Struggle for Statehood
Struggle for Statehood Chronology
In 1895 Utahns Wondered When Statehood Would Come
A State is Born
Party Politics and Utah Statehood
The Constitutional Convention is Called
Constitution Was Framed in City and County Building
African American Community and Politics, 1890-1910
The Broad Ax and the Plain Dealer Kept Utah's African Americans Informed
Clarence E. Allen Was Utah's First Congressman
How Utah Lost One of Its U.S. Senate Seats in 1899
Salt Lake Native Was Interred in the Kremlin Wall
The Shooting of Arthur Brown, Ex-Senator From Utah
Convict Labor Helped to Build Utah's Road
Strawberry Valley, 1st Federal Reclamation Project
Women's Suffrage in Utah
Woman Suffrage Dominated Politics in Utah
Kanab Residents Chose Women to Run Their Town, 1912
Ruth May Fox, Forgotten Suffragist
Soren Hanson's "House That Eggs Built"
Utah Arts Council
Utah State Historical Society
The Beginning of Public Support For Libraries
The Pasta King of the Mountain West
Celebrating the New Year in Salt Lake's Chinatown
Electrifying Utah-Engineer Lucien L. Nunn
A Brewer-Sportsman's Prairie Style Home in Ogden
Saltair Village Was a Unique Place to Live
Boxing Fans Take the Plunge at Saltair
Castilla Hot Springs Attracted Many Visitors
Minstrel Shows
Utah State Capitol
Utah in the Spanish American War
Captain Richard W. Young and Spanish-American War
A Soldier's Life at Fort Douglas in the Early 1900's
Methodist Women Missionaries Worked Hard in Utah
Flour Mills
Guano Sifters on Gunnison Island
The Lehi Beet Sugar Factory
The Salt Industry Was One of the First Enterprises
From Free Salt to a Major Industry
Hospitals and Health Crazes in the Late 1800's
The Myths and Legends of Butch Cassidy
Butch Cassidy
Would the New State of Utah Go Metric?
A Look at Working Women in the Early 20th Century
Jobs in 1900
Explosion of Pleasant Valley Coal Company
The Lucin Cutoff
Southern Utah's First High School
Life Was Precarious in Turn-of-the-Century Utah
Salt Lake City Had Its Typhoid Mary
Vaccinations in Wasatch County
Promoting Physical Fitness
Woman's Home Association Tried to Help the "Fallen"
Juvenile Delinquency Posed Problems For Utahns
Traveling Gypsies Brought an Exotic Lifestyle to Utah
The First Large Factory in Utah
The Rise and Fall of Ogden's Packing Industry
Newsboys Claimed Their Street Corners in Downtown
The Bamberger Electric Railway
The First Cars in Two Small Towns
A Bicyclist Challenges the Great Salt Lake Desert
Daredevils of the Sky-Early Aeronauts in Utah
Ogden Defeats Salt Lake City in a War of the Wheels
Utah's Immigrants at the Turn of the Century
Boys' Potato Growing Clubs
Joe Hill and the I.W.W.
Socialist Women and Joe Hill
A Bit of Polynesia Remains
Justice Zane and Antipolygamy
The Salt Lake Valley Smelter War

Becky Bartholomew
History Blazer, October 1996

Among the national endeavors of Methodist women was the Women's Home Missionary Society (WHMS) which trained female teachers, nurses, and missionaries whom it sent to the southern states, New Mexico, and other regions. From 1880 to 1890 the number one recipient of WHMS funds and woman power was Utah.

Methodist male missionaries first came to Corinne, Utah, in 1870, when the little community was still a major railroad junction and boomtown. From Corinne, Methodism spread throughout northern Utah and later the rest of the state.

The very winter of WHMS's founding two women missionaries arrived in Utah to teach at the Salt Lake Seminary. Soon others followed to assist ministers in Methodist churches and schools in Ogden, Tooele, and Park City. Over the next decade the Methodists established schools in Grantsville, Spanish Fork, Moroni, Mount Pleasant, Spring City, Ephraim, Richfield, and Elsinore. They usually built a single building that doubled as both chapel and school for, like the Presbyterians, they discovered that even tiny schools provided "open sesame" to Mormon homes and a community influence proselytizing could not produce.

Throughout the 1880s and 90s Utah Methodism's force of women missionaries varied between 10 and 15. Most of them assisted a male minister, but in smaller towns the ladies often worked by themselves, even holding Sunday services and delivering sermons. Most were single and thus able to devote their entire energies to one- to two-year missions. A few married while in the Utah mission field. And many developed trusting relationships with the Mormons among whom they worked. A Miss Baker, while teaching in Moroni, was asked on two separate occasions to give a talk at a Mormon funeral.

Obtaining converts in Mormon country was never easy. One approach used by Utah Methodists was to appeal to ethnic groups. They estimated, for instance, that one-third of the 46,000 Scandinavians who had immigrated to Utah were disaffected with Mormonism: "This indicates the possibilities which existed of attracting [them] to other Christian faiths." For a time, a separate Scandinavian Mission existed comprising Utah, Idaho, Montana, California, Oregon, and Washington. Richfield, said to be two-thirds Scandinavian, was an outpost of this mission.

Later WHMS workers served Utah's Italian and Chinese populations. They organized English classes for Chinese immigrants. For Salt Lake City Catholics in about 1917, Methodist women established a whole core of outreach programs: sewing and language classes, a kindergarten as well as "Kitchen garten," mother's conference, Red Cross office, and their own branch of the city public library. In this way Methodist emissaries made many friends and did much good, although they ultimately found that "Working with the Roman Catholic Italians was no less demanding that it had been to work with the Scandinavian Mormons and, in terms of conversions, was no more successful."

Although most of these missionaries went quietly about their work, a few were outspoken warriors for national Methodism's campaign against polygamy. Missionary Angie Newman wrote and lectured with some success against the appointment of a Mormon army chaplain and the seating of two Mormon polygamists in Congress. She was also the guiding force behind the Salt Lake Industrial Home for polygamous wives.

Other WHMS boarding houses were more successful than the Industrial Home. Boarding houses established in Utah included the Davis, Thompson, Philadelphia, East Ohio, Gurley, and Columbus homes located from Logan to Elsinore. Each was named either for a prominent Methodist worker or a donor or group of donors who had made the home possible.

Methodist women missionaries may have made few converts in Utah, but they succeeded in assisting many young women and immigrants and in paving the way for Utah's public school system and hastening the decline of Mormon polygamy.

methodist1 Methodist2

Methodist Church in Ephraim, Utah

First Central Methodist Church in Salt Lake City


Source: The First Century of the Methodist Church in Utah (Salt Lake City: Utah Methodism Centennial Committee, 1970).


The Land
American Indians
Trappers, Traders, & Explorers
Pioneers & Cowboys
Mining & Railroads
Statehood & the Progressive Era
From War to War
Utah Today