A Search for Place: Eight Generations of Henrys and the Settlement of Utah’s Uintah Basin

LaMond Tullis, emeritus professor of political science at Brigham Young University and author of Mormons in Mexico and Lord and Peasant in Peru, among other works, tries in his latest book to put his ancestors in their rightful place. He tells the story of the Henrys, from the Scotch-Irish John Henry who settled in Rhode Island in the late 1600s down to the generation of his mother’s family, who settled in the Uintah Basin. Migrating from New England through New York to the Midwest and the Rocky Mountains, these westering Henrys are placed by Tullis into larger contexts, their stories woven into and symbolic of American life. The experiences of these “migratory risk takers” in the Uintah Basin of Utah clarify what it cost to settle in that stern and exacting locale.

As the title indicates, these ancestors are also studies in the human need and hope to find a place of their own. Tullis broadly defines this “sense of place” as the merging of a person’s internal and external landscapes, a situation where they feel right. The “place” framework is also enlightening in a story with so much movement. The term is loaded with enough meaning in the prologue to make the reader pause to consider how it is used when encountered, as it frequently is, in the text.

Published in BYU Studies Quarterly 50:2
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