Augustus Calvin Behle: A Medical Pioneer

By Michael W. Cater With the driving of the last spike of the transcontinental railroad at Promontory, Utah, on May 10, 1869, life in this western territory was forever changed. Minerals were plentiful, and mining developed into an important industry in Utah in the final decades of the nineteenth century. Yet mining was rough and dangerous work, very often associated …

The Making of Latino Families in Utah

Armando Solorzano, Beehive History It was a cold morning in November of 1912. Thousands of Mexicans, most of them single men, got off the train in Bingham, Utah and were taken to Utah Copper Company, where they began to work that same afternoon. The “Mexican strikebreakers,” as they were known in town, had come to replace miners who were refusing …

Arthur Lloyd Thomas

Born in 1851 in Chicago, Thomas grew up in Pittsburgh and married Helena Reinberg. He filled staff positions in the U.S. House of Representatives before serving as territorial secretary under governors Emery, Murray, and West. A member of the Utah Commission, he was named governor in 1889 by Benjamin Harrison. Regarding the Mormons, Thomas seemed ambivalent, favoring first the harsh …

Caleb Walton West

Born in Cynthiana, Kentucky, in 1844, West attended Millersburg Academy and served in the Confederate Army, incarcerated most of the time as a prisoner of war. He married Nancy Frazer. A lawyer and a municipal judge, he was selected by Grover Cleveland to replace Eli Murray in 1886. A moderate Democrat—the first Democratic governor since Alfred Cumming—he visited imprisoned polygamists, …

Eli Houston Murray

A native of Cloverport, Kentucky, born in 1843, Murray attained the rank of brigadier general during the Civil War and also completed a law degree at the University of Louisville. He married Evelyn Neal and was a U.S. marshal and newspaper editor before Rutherford B. Hayes named him governor in 1880. Murray certified the election of Allen G. Campbell (who …

George W. Emery

Born in 1830 in Penobscot, Maine, Emery graduated from Dartmouth, studied law in Albany, New York, and was a federal tax collector in the South before Ulysses S. Grant named him governor of Utah Territory in 1875. Despite the bitter Mormon-Gentile feud of the late nineteenth century, Emery accomplished election reforms and expanded government services for a fast-growing population. When …

Samuel Beach Axtell

Born near Columbus, Ohio, in 1819, Axtell attended Oberlin and Western Reserve Colleges, married Adaline S. Williams, practiced law in Michigan and California, and served in Congress (1867-71) as both a Democrat and a Republican. Ulysses S. Grant named him governor of Utah Territory in 1875. More moderate than his immediate predecessors, he was harshly criticized by the growing anti-Mormon …

George Lemuel Woods

Born in Boone County, Missouri, in 1832, Woods moved with his family to Oregon, where he attended school. He prospected for gold and practiced law before entering politics. A founder of the Republican party in Oregon, he was named to the Idaho Territory Supreme Court in 1865 and ran successfully for governor of Oregon in 1866. When Woods failed to …

Vernon H. Vaughan

Born in Alabama, in 1838, Vaughan was Territorial Secretary in Utah when Governor Shaffer died. Ulysses S. Grant named him to fill the vacancy. The only event of consequence during his administration was the Wooden Gun Rebellion—an illegal (according to Shaffer’s proclamation) drill in November 1870 by members of the Nauvoo Legion. Undoubtedly a lark, the incident nevertheless resulted in …

John Wilson Shaffer

John Wilson Shaffer was born in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, in 1827, but little else is known of his early life. Brevetted brigadier general in the Union Army, he was active in Republican politics in Illinois before Ulysses S. Grant named him governor of Utah in 1870. He was determined to carry out Grant’s policy of crushing “rebellion” in the territory, a …