“That They May Secure It and Hold It Forever”

Bluff’s Revival, 1885–1886



Editor’s note: This brief excerpt comes from a new BYU Studies publication titled Jens Nielson, Bishop of Bluff, pp. 111–32. Home to only a couple hundred people in 2011, Bluff is located in southeast Utah. The experiences of the hardy pioneers in this hostile and forbidding region have become legendary among Latter-day Saints.

The arduous Hole-in-the-Rock trek of 1879–80 was only the beginning of troubles for these pioneers. Uncertain of the intentions of their neighbors and hard-pressed each spring to excavate their irrigation lifeline to the San Juan River, the settlers were blindsided by an unexpected adversary in 1884: massive flooding. Most of the residents took this as the sign that it was time for them to reside somewhere else. A few remained to see what the next year might bring along with the inevitable wind and sand.


Few Saints assembled in Bluff’s log schoolhouse for their December conference in 1884. Out of the 245 who were in the Montezuma and Bluff settlements when the year started, only 79 remained. Bishop Jens Nielson’s family, along with those of his counselors, were there. Almost all of the Saints born in England had left, and the Nielsons were the lone remaining Danes. Bishop Nielson was the presiding authority on the stand as these relatively few Saints assembled for their December stake conference. In the way of good news, Thales Haskell reported that the Indians were causing the settlers less trouble. In fact, they hadn’t raided the stock at all that season.1 But as the members of the Bluff Ward left the conference, they saw most of the homes empty, most of the yards and fields untended.

There were two dozen men and older boys to repair the washed-out ditch, less than half the number they had had amid the optimism of the previous winter. But as the bishop and others surveyed the wreckage, they found the damage was less than they had expected. Repairs to the ditch would take months of labor, but they could be made by extending the head two more miles upstream. They also hoped to dig the channel two or three feet deeper than needed to allow sediment to settle. When the ditch was nearly full, they could cut open a bank and let the sediment sluice back into the river. The men set to work, hoping once again for fresh settlers to reinforce them. They received encouraging letters from some who had left in the fall that they intended to return once the high snows in the mountains had melted. But many of the others who had left spread discouraging words about the prospects on the San Juan.2

Most importantly, however, the Church was going to help. The General Authorities called a new stake president, Francis Asbury Hammond, to replace Platte Lyman. Those in Bluff hoped President Hammond, from Huntsville in northern Utah, would bring many new settlers when he came. He tried to visit Bluff in December, but the high snows did not let him get much closer than the end of the railroad line in Durango.3

Stymied by the season from visiting personally, Hammond began corresponding with Bishop Nielson. He fired off a series of questions about prospects and practices in Bluff. He reassured the settlers that there was no longer ambivalence about the mission among the leaders of the Church, who were “determined to strengthen your hands, and hold that mission from going into the hands of our enemies, and it is designed to call from 40 to 50 families to accompany me to settle in that vicinity.”4

The bishop wrote at least two buoyant letters to President Hammond, full of possibilities wrapped in his usual enthusiasm. “Our prospects for raising a crop have never been better since we came here.” There had been a lot of rain, the stock was good, and the residents of Bluff expected to have the ditch done by the end of February. There was an “excellent spirit” among the people, kept up by entertainments and theaters put on by the youth associations.5

The settlers knew by now that they could not become a completely independent agricultural village. The bishop related that they were contemplating a number of “home industries” that would make them more self-sustaining. They had already shown they could make molasses from sorghum cane. A dairy would be profitable, and the prospects for one looked good. The town needed a sawmill and gristmill, since there were none within a hundred miles. They had about five hundred head of cattle, but they were thinking of exchanging some of these for sheep. Fruit trees would do well if transported correctly.6 But the previous years proved they could not grow enough grain for themselves, and if they could not do that, they must depend on trade with Colorado Gentiles to survive. President Hammond urged them to grow corn, beans, and sweet potatoes for the market in Durango. This permanent reliance on outsiders was a blow to the town’s ideal, but the mission itself was more important than the methods. By the spring, the settlers could look forward to a vigorous new leader and the promised host of new settlers. The mission, however modified, would survive.

Whirlwind of Activity

In early May, just as the spring surges began to burst the banks of the ditch, Francis Hammond arrived to reconnoiter. Five dismayed men in his expedition had turned around before they had gotten close to Bluff, but others, including one of Hammond’s sons and two of his sons-in-law, pushed through with him. The new stake president brought news that Church leadership had plans to call as many as seventy more families, from all the stakes of Zion, to strengthen the San Juan Stake.

President Hammond lodged near Bishop Nielson’s house, and soon the two patriarchs exchanged their stories. As they inspected the seven-mile ditch, the bishop and others recited what it had cost to hold this place, and while President Hammond feasted with almost every family in town, he told the experiences he had packed into his sixty-three years.7 His adventurous life, like that of the bishop, had started near the sea. In fact, the ocean had drawn him away from his father’s tannery on Long Island when he was fourteen, and young Francis circled the globe as a cook, cabin boy, and sailor. But somewhere in the Arctic Ocean, a falling barrel almost broke his back, and the invalid was later set ashore in Hawaii. After a surprising recovery, Francis Hammond made his way to San Francisco just in time to meet Mormons from the ship Brooklyn departing overland for Utah. He was quickly converted to their faith and joined the thinning stream of pioneers that trickled past the gold fields at Mormon Island in late 1848. Upon arriving in Utah, he threw himself to work in the Church with the same enthusiasm he had applied to everything.8

That energy was apparent as soon as President Hammond arrived. He immediately announced that he was impressed with the “most excellent spirit” of the people at Bluff and was “well pleased with the bishop and people of this stake.”9 Then he launched into perpetual motion. In two weeks, he cleared and planted his lot and also sowed some concerns in his mind about the ditch.10 With a half dozen other men, he explored the land to the north for the next two weeks, looking for resources, including “stock, dairy, and farming facilities, timber, water, power, etc. etc.”11 He found just what he was looking for: “saw nothing but a first class country for stock range for summer, and it [is] connected with a good winter range; the whole country is well-watered for stock purposes.”12 Elk Mountain looked especially promising, though the Indians they met there “did not like to have any white men intrude upon them.”13 Neither did the ranchers in the area, and President Hammond felt that the residents of Bluff would have to act swiftly to secure this outstanding range. Establishing a base closer to this pasture would help, and the expedition found good spots for settlements. White Mesa was “a fine place for a city and farms” once the water from nearby creeks could be brought onto it.14

President Hammond quickly started carrying out his plans. He and a few others almost immediately returned to White Mesa in mid-June to further study raising the water, and they dedicated that site “for the use of the Saints.”15 A week after they returned, it was time for stake conference, which was also an opportunity to begin wooing the Indians for the cattle lands Hammond’s party had just explored. About a hundred Navajos, Utes, and Paiutes came to feast and receive presents of “bread, coffee, beef, molasses, etc.”16 Many stayed to hear Bishop Nielson report the progress of the Bluff Ward, then listened to President Hammond expound on his plans for the future. “The Lord had sent us here to do them good and not to steal their land or to take away any of their rights but to teach them to work and be honest and live in peace.”17 Within a few weeks, a Ute chief accepted Bluff’s purchase of the rights to the land from Elk Mountain to the Colorado River.18 Whether the Utes agreed out of genuine friendship or a wary calculation that Mormons were safer than Gentiles, this agreement was a significant diplomatic victory for the new stake president.

The spirituality of the San Juan Stake was reinvigorated at the same time as its temporal prospects were revived. For the first time, the stake president had counselors: William Halls, a resident of Mancos, Colorado, and William Adams. All the stake organizations were staffed at this conference, mostly with Bluff residents. Home missionaries, including Joe Nielson, were called to travel around the stake and exhort the Saints to do their duty. During the conference, Bishop Nielson reviewed the history of the mission. Out of the roughly 150 men who had been called to the San Juan, only about 25 had stuck to it, verifying the words, in the bishop’s view, “Many are called but few are chosen.” But now the future looked bright. Stock raising would be important, but the bishop reminded the Saints they should not be reckless but rather take care “of that which the Lord had made us stewards over.”19

Soon after the conference ended, President Hammond rode the three-hundred-mile circuit around the stake, visiting Burnham, New Mexico, and the new branch in Mancos, Colorado, that Elders Snow, Smith, and Morgan had organized on their way to Bluff the previous year. Hammond even finished his initiation in San Juan County by arguing with the Mitchells at McElmo on his way back to Bluff.20 Within a week, he was en route to Huntsville once more so he could pack up his whole household and return to Bluff by Christmas. In the few stationary days before he departed, President Hammond experimented with tanning goatskins by using the extract of local brush and persuaded the board of the Bluff Co-op to finish financing a gristmill on which he had put down money in Mancos. He also encouraged the board to follow up on the negotiations started with the Indians over Elk Mountain. On the whole, the Indians felt “first rate towards us,” Hammond thought, but “they want some ponies for their good will.”21 When President Hammond left in early July, Bluff men were already working on a road to Elk Mountain and preparing to return to White Mesa to dig irrigation ditches up there.

Even away from Bluff, Francis Hammond continued to zestfully boost the region. To counter the negative reports that disgruntled ex-settlers had circulated, he maintained a letter-writing campaign to the Deseret News and other papers that was remarkable for its frequency and optimism. He meticulously kept the public posted on his travels, activities, and the advantages of the San Juan region. One of his reports was so enthusiastic that the editors of the paper tacked on the subtitle, “The San Juan Country Proves to Be a Genuine El Dorado,” something that would never have been inferred from the more measured reports of Platte Lyman.22 According to Hammond, the place needed hundreds more people and had only half the stock it could contain, and Jens Nielson “is a fine old gentleman, a father indeed to his people, and much beloved by the Saints of his ward.” The people themselves were “a first-class lot of Latter-day Saints, fully devoted to their mission.”23 With sufficient reinforcements, they would be “salt to save the country.”24

But Hammond was not satisfied lobbying the public at large. He also tried to influence authorities. He regularly requested money from the Utah legislature, usually for roads to get people into and products out of San Juan County.25 It did not hurt that his nephew, W. W. Riter, had become Speaker of the House. Hammond also peppered the First Presidency of the Church with so many requests for settlers that by January 1886 they reminded him, “It is best not to become too eager, and to run faster than our strength will allow.”26 The stake president tried to get a miller called to Mancos and looked into importing blacksmiths from the Southern States Mission.27 Some of his lobbying was effective. The First Presidency wrote to various stake presidents to recruit settlers and asked Wilford Woodruff, President of the Quorum of the Twelve, to have the Apostles speak with the Saints about the San Juan Mission as they traveled around the stakes of the Church.28

In many ways, President Hammond was like the bishop, which may have created a problem. Bishop Nielson had previously rallied his ward and accomplished his plans “mostly by the force of his strong personality.”29 And now President Hammond, in his tour de force, was doing the same. The bishop and the stake president agreed on the large principles of the Church and its settlement program. But Bishop Nielson had his reservations about some of President Hammond’s particulars, and he drew the line when it came to buying the Mancos Mill. According to President Hammond’s recollections of the meeting in which he proposed the venture, “All seemed to favor the matter except Bishop Nielson.”30 The bishop may have thought the investment too risky since the co-op had such limited capital after the floods. He probably disliked the regional approach that came with running a mill in Mancos instead of constructing one in Bluff. Perhaps he resented someone so new taking such decisive action. Whatever the reason, the bishop was unable to persuade a majority of the co-op to vote against it, and the deal went through.31

On the whole, though, as the summer days waned, the Saints in Bluff felt blessed. With their short manpower, it seemed miraculous that they brought in a crop. By the time they assembled for conference in early fall, they celebrated a “bountiful harvest,” making “the people feel quite encouraged.” Their improved log houses and the tracks they continued to beat through the weeds began to look almost like a small village again, and some orchards began to bear fruit. For the first time, the smell of drying peaches competed with that of ripe watermelons in August and September.32

When President Hammond returned in early December, he brought thirty-two people and five hundred head of cattle with him.33 He had been elected a selectman of the county while he was gone and was soon put on the board of directors for the Mancos grist- and sawmills.34 Even though the number of new settlers was not as high as promised, falling far short of the 134 families that Church leaders had assessed to the various stakes, thirty new settlers meant there would be more hands to work on the ditch and help hold Bluff that winter.35 Ward members spruced up the meetinghouse with a new roof and floor before the December conference and anticipated what was to come.

Holding Their Own

What came in herds to San Juan County were many more four-legged residents. Before Bluff was founded, the area attracted those who had hoped to make themselves rich off livestock. In 1883, around fifteen thousand head of cattle roamed San Juan County, driven in by cowboys such as Tom Ray, “Spud” Hudson, and Preston Nutter. By 1885, however, bigger money was attracted to such profits, and most of the individual cattlemen had been bought out by larger companies. The Pittsburgh Cattle Company ascended the south slopes of the La Sal Mountains, the Kansas and New Mexico Land and Cattle Company, better known as the Carlisles after the English brothers who financed the operation, occupied the north and east drainages of the Blue Mountains, while the Widow Lacy moved her LC Company cattle onto the range near South Montezuma Creek. The Carlisles alone drove eleven thousand head to market in 1884 and branded fifty-three hundred calves the next year.36

The Mormons had recognized the potential of the range around them since they arrived. While traveling from Moab to Bluff in September 1880, Platte Lyman’s brother Marion reported, “The road lies through the finest range for cattle that I have seen for many years.”37 Francis Hammond’s observations in mid-1885 were at least as enthusiastic.38 But he also felt they had to act fast to secure this livelihood. Just as the Bluff Saints had been sent to occupy San Juan County in order to hold it against Gentiles, now they were impelled to hold its ranges against gentile cattle. Their mission gave the settlers a strong sense of entitlement. The Saints worried about holding “our range” against Navajo herders, who brought their flocks of sheep and goats across the San Juan River, as well as cattle companies and cowboys, alternately called “our enemies,” “outsiders,” and “strangers.”39

By the end of 1885, the residents of Bluff had already begun to stock the range themselves. Soon after President Hammond’s five hundred Durhams arrived with him in early December, Jens Nielson’s five hundred cattle came from Cedar City with his transplanted family members.40 Others, such as Lemuel Redd and Kumen Jones, made plans to buy more cattle in Utah. President Hammond appealed to his friends and to the Saints in general to come and help them stock up the range to secure it “from falling into the hands of cattle king monopolists.”41

Francis Hammond had met the two largest “cattle kings,” Edmund and Harold Carlisle, a few times already, and on the surface their relations were cordial. One of the brothers called on the Mormons’ White Mesa camp in June 1885. Francis Hammond remarked, “He is our friend [and] told me he was making a shelter for one of our brethren who are now hiding up from persecution. May the Lord bless him for his kindness to our people. He seems like a fine, liberal English jolly gentleman.”42 The Carlisles returned the compliments, expressing their preference for Mormons as neighbors, since they always returned strays.43 The “outside” cattle companies employed some of Bluff’s young men, such as Jens Peter Nielson, and provided a closer market than Colorado for Bluff’s trade.44 But both sides also moved to secure as much of the range as they could hold and perhaps more. Bluff’s White Mesa expedition was trying to establish an advanced outpost against the Carlisles’ expansion, while the “cattle kings” attempted to control “36,000 acres of the best cattle range” by digging small irrigation ditches all along the South Montezuma and claiming 640 acres around each trickle.45

The Mormons in Bluff felt they were moving just in time by the winter of 1885–86 because they were under siege from a number of other parties as well. Just as the Hammond and Nielson herds arrived in December, ten thousand “outside” sheep were set to graze on the Recapture Wash, which the Bluff residents hoped to use as a winter range. Early the next year, the LC Cattle Company turned a few hundred head loose, and even talked of stocking Elk Mountain. A cowboy named Wilson, then a pair named Eliot and Matthews stopped by Bluff, also on their way to scout Elk Mountain. This was especially threatening since the Mormons felt they had bought rights to this area from the Indians and were counting on it as their summer range. As with the cattle companies, the leaders in Bluff were hospitable to these interlopers, providing lodging and guides for them, but at the same time they developed plans to compete against them. It appeared providential when the cowboys’ plans changed. On April 6, 1886, President Hammond reported that Eliot and Matthews “did not think very much of the country. We are pleased that they did not.”46

Instead of approaching the cattle business as independent capitalists, Mormons entered as a cooperating community. While the cattle companies competed exclusively for profits, the Mormons, while not opposed to financial gain, were primarily hoping to find a way to subsist in the county and fulfill their mission. The importance of their mission along with their permanent residence in the county gave them their strong sense of entitlement to surrounding lands, even though legally the range was open to anyone.47 The deeper roots of Bluff gave its people an important advantage in the competition for this marginal land. If Mormons profited, so much the better, but all they had to do to succeed was subsist. Mere subsistence for the cowboys was failure. In a sense, the Mormons in Bluff and their cooperative tradition were competing with the cattle companies and their unbridled capitalism.

The danger in all this was that Mormons might throw off their own bridles and become full capitalists themselves.48 Such a conversion would be harmful in at least two ways. First, in a purely practical sense, Mormons competing against Mormons would weaken their collective place in the contest for the range. But more importantly, if they practiced pure individualism, the settlers at Bluff would deny their mission and their faith. The leaders of the town had been raised on Brigham Young’s principles of self-sufficiency, home manufactures, and cooperation as touchstones of fidelity as long as they had been in Utah. If they denied these principles for individual pursuits, they would no longer be a united stake securing this corner of Zion. Instead, they would look far too much like the enterprising Gentiles they hoped to displace.

Conflict and Resolution

It was therefore imperative for Bluff’s cattlemen to cooperate among themselves. Many of them had been involved in cooperative cattle enterprises before. Jens Nielson had been president of the Cedar City Cooperative Cattle Company when it was organized in 1875, and Kumen Jones had worked for it for three years as well. But it had been very difficult to reconcile the members’ interests with the cooperative ideal, and the Cedar City Cooperative broke into its component herds in 1883.49 This experience led the bishop to move cautiously in putting together a similar undertaking in Bluff. In the last weeks of 1885, various residents formed a cooperative stock company after spirited discussions.50 But the names of Jens Nielson and Francis Hammond, probably the two largest stockholders in town, were conspicuously absent from the list of officers, and the venture fell apart within a month when its members could not agree on a constitution.51 In the meantime, the whole town almost came apart.

It was the ditch again. By the time the ward started planning for it in mid-January, many of the newer settlers had grown skittish about the place. Their land claims were too far from the established ditches to have hopes of getting enough water to grow crops. So the older residents offered to divide and redistribute the land to encourage as many as possible to stay and help labor on the ditch. This gesture seemed to be well received.52 But a more divisive problem still loomed: the older settlers, who already had built up stock in the ditch through their past labors, wanted to redeem some of that stock to reduce their share of labor this year. The newer settlers resented the prospect of bearing a disproportionate share of the dispiriting burden in the immediate future.

President Hammond was disturbed by the “lack of union in [the] temporal affairs” of the town. In the afternoon meeting on Sunday, January 17, he addressed the issue in his frank, energetic style, thereby making the divisions much worse. As Bishop Nielson listened to his priesthood leader speak, his indignation grew. Hammond dwelled on “Bluff being a hard place to maintain because of the difficulty of securing water.” This much was obvious to anyone who had been there, and these doubts were no greater than those Platte Lyman used to voice. But the bold, entrepreneurial spirit of President Hammond had already developed a program to wean the San Juan Stake off the settlement at Bluff. Many who had come with Hammond had already relocated to Mancos or other places in Colorado, and he himself had property there. Now the stake president said the purpose was to raise enough money to get water onto White Mesa, apparently to relocate the major settlement there. Bluff itself was not vital to President Hammond; it was the overall region that mattered.53

That was not how the bishop felt. He and others had invested years of toil in this town. They had been told by higher authorities that Bluff could not be abandoned, and they had been promised specific blessings for staying here. It was not hard for President Hammond to see that “my remarks gave offense to the Bishop Bro. Nielson and some others.”54 The 7:00 PM meeting became a referendum on the president’s remarks. Hammond himself did not feel well enough to attend, but his views were defended by some of those present and criticized by others. Bluff was again divided.

The question festered for a week. The next Sunday a priesthood meeting was held in the evening. After the assembled group sang “Come All Ye Sons of God,” President Hammond spoke on the duties of the priesthood. Then he warned against the “division liable to spring up in relation to our sentiments as regards Bluff City Ward, its building up and maintenance.” He then emphasized the necessity of unity. All present knew he was right. They had to be united or deny their mission. But united on what? The discussion continued until after midnight, with both sides weighing in on more particular issues such as ditch credits.

As the tired residents left the schoolhouse that night, a “good feeling prevailed.”55 Once again, both sides felt better after airing out their grievances and backtracking to principles in which they all believed. But this did not resolve everything, because the next morning Bishop Nielson, his counselor Lemuel Redd, as well as William Adams and James Decker called on President Hammond to discuss the “knotty problem” of resolving ditch credits. After further discussions, the older settlers gave in again. They agreed to tax everyone equally for this year’s ditch construction, “without reference to capital stock they have in the ditch.”56

Even with the immediate finances resolved, the larger issue still remained. President Hammond and Bishop Nielson surveyed the new and old ditches together, but they maintained different opinions on Bluff. At the quarterly stake conference in late March, both men emphasized the importance of cooperation and union, “notwithstanding the efforts of our enemies to the contrary.”57 If Mormons sometimes relieved internal tensions by transferring blame to outsiders, they were also quick to condemn themselves for not fully living up to the principles of the gospel.58 Their enemies would never triumph if the Saints were pure, and both Bishop Nielson and President Hammond felt the obligation to keep the commandments as fully as they could. Outwardly, the two men had appeared much more united since the controversy in January. In mid-March, for example, President Hammond had helped Bishop Nielson transport barley at his place, and they often had mixed pleasantly in Bluff’s endless social season.59 But each seemed to grow more convinced of his position in the following weeks. The bishop might have felt reassured by a couple of developments. First, the Mancos Mill project he had opposed the previous year lost money from the beginning, and the Bluff Co-op disassociated itself from the mess.60 Second, Bluff’s men and boys got water into the ditch for eight dollars an acre, significantly less than they had anticipated.61

But President Hammond still could not understand why the bishop and others chose to huddle by this fickle river when there were more promising locations so close. He often referred to the trouble and cost of maintaining an existence by fighting “this turgid stream.”62 And so he attempted to trump the convictions that Bishop Nielson and others held that Bluff was essential. The main pillar of these feelings seemed to be what President Joseph F. Smith had told the holdouts after their cathartic meetings following the floods in 1884. It just so happened that Joseph F. Smith was an old friend of Francis Hammond’s; they had served together as missionaries in Hawaii in the 1850s. So President Hammond wrote to President Smith soon after the disagreements erupted in January. Since Smith was in Hawaii again, a place less likely to be probed for polygamists by federal marshals, his answer took almost three months to arrive. But it came in early April, and President Hammond read parts of it in church.

President Smith wrote that in 1884 he felt the “Sahara of the San Juan” should be held and the key to holding it was the settlement at Bluff. But he also believed that “in the event of the proper development of the country that Bluff was destined to recede into the shade of better locations, if not eventually abandoned.” It would clearly have to be abandoned if the water could not be controlled. Still, he pointed out, “Sometimes a thing may cost more than it is worth, but having been purchased at that excessive price, it is too valuable to throw away.” President Smith concluded, “My counsel is to hang on to the San Juan Country and if possible make Bluff a ‘stronghold.’ But men need not ruin themselves in a hopeless cause. Bluff will doubtless some day be built up.”63 While President Hammond may have hoped the letter would tip the balance of the argument in his favor, it was far from conclusive.64 The two strong-willed leaders continued to co-exist as well as they could. The bishop would have heartily endorsed the sentiment President Hammond inscribed in his journal the night of Bluff’s sixth Founders’ Day: “May the Lord assist us to yet redeem and make this land lovely.”65

Share This Article With Someone

About the author(s)

David S. Carpenter teaches history at Mountain View High School in Orem, Utah.


1. “San Juan Stake Manuscript History,” December 21, 1884, Church History Library, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City; Jens Nielson, “The San Juan Country,” Deseret News, February 18, 1885, 69.

2. Nielson, “San Juan Country,” 69; Francis A. Hammond, Journal, May 9, 1885, Francis A. Hammond Papers, L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah.

3. See entries in Hammond, Journal, for late December 1884, Perry Special Collections. His journal entry for March 24, 1885, recollects that he was called by the First Presidency to be stake president in October 1884, not long after Platte Lyman was released.

4. Francis A. Hammond to Bishop Jens Nielson, January 27, 1885, in “Bishop Jens Nielson, History and Genealogy,” comp. Jay P. Nielson, 1965, typescript, Perry Special Collections.

5. Jens Nielson, “San Juan Country,” 69.

6. See Journal History of the Church (chronology of typed entries and newspaper clippings, 1830–present), February 28, March 13, and March 26, 1885, Church History Library, microfilm copy in Harold B. Lee Library, which cites the other letter written from Jens Nielson to Francis A. Hammond, February 28, 1885. Parts of the letter were published in Ogden Herald, March 3, 1885, and Deseret News, March 27, 1885.

7. Francis A. Hammond, “Colorado River to San Juan,” Deseret News, June 10, 1885, 335; see also Hammond, Journal, May 11, 1885, Perry Special Collections, when he visited around town and was, in the preceding days, “fed by Adams, Waldron [Walton], Haskell, Allan, Perkins, & Bishop.” He was impressed enough by the fare to report the dinners were put on as well as “we could have done it in Huntsville in our palmiest days.”

8. See Nathan W. Adamson, Francis Asbury Hammond, Pioneer and Missionary (Salt Lake City: David H. Allred and West Hammond, 1993), for details on President Hammond’s life.

9. Hammond, Journal, May 10, 1885, Perry Special Collections; Hammond, “Colorado River to San Juan,” 335.

10. Hammond, Journal, May 12–May 24, 1885, Perry Special Collections.

11. Hammond, Journal, May 25, 1885, Perry Special Collections.

12. Hammond, Journal, May 28, 1885, Perry Special Collections.

13. Ogden Herald, June 22, 1885, in Journal History, June 4, 1885.

14. Hammond, Journal, June 3, 1885, Perry Special Collections.

15. Hammond, Journal, June 8–June 12, 1885, Perry Special Collections.

16. Hammond, Journal, June 20, 1885, Perry Special Collections.

17. Hammond, Journal, June 20, 1885, Perry Special Collections.

18. Francis A. Hammond, “More of the San Juan,” Deseret News, August 26, 1885, in Journal History, August 26, 1885, 3.

19. Charles E. Walton, “San Juan Stake Conference,” Deseret News, July 15, 1885, 415.

20. Hammond, Journal, July 8, 1885, Perry Special Collections.

21. Hammond, Journal, July 9, 1885, Perry Special Collections.

22. Francis A. Hammond, “A Fine Country,” Ogden Herald, June 22, 1885, in Journal History, June 4, 1885.

23. Hammond, “More of the San Juan,” 3.

24. Francis A. Hammond, Journal, December 13, 1885, Francis A. Hammond Collection, Church History Library.

25. Francis A. Hammond, “From Here to San Juan,” Deseret News, January 6, 1886, 814.

26. John Taylor and George Q. Cannon, letter to Francis A. Hammond, January 14, 1886, Francis A. Hammond Papers, Perry Special Collections.

27. John Morgan, letter to Francis A. Hammond, February 13, 1886.

28. John Taylor and George Q. Cannon, letters to Francis A. Hammond, September 7 and December 8, 1885, Hammond Papers.

29. Kumen Jones, “Bishop Jens Nielson Sketch,” in “Jens Nielson History” CD-ROM, ed. Mike Halliday and Donna Jensen, 21.

30. Hammond, Journal, July 8–July 9, 1885, Perry Special Collections.

31. The bishop or some others in Bluff might have previously expressed concerns about some of President Hammond’s regional plans. When the Hammond group of explorers was about to return to Bluff on June 3, 1885, they held a small meeting in which Hammond “gave some advice as to how we should report our trip.” See Hammond, Journal, June 3, 1885, Perry Special Collections.

32. See “Bluff Ward Manuscript History,” 1885, Church History Library; and Charles E. Walton, “Quarterly Conference of the San Juan Stake,” Deseret News, October 7, 1885, 596. The conference was held September 19 and 20, 1885.

33. Francis A. Hammond, letter to Deseret News, December 2, 1885, 723. The letter was written November 8, 1885, as he was making his way through Emery County back toward Huntsville.

34. Francis A. Hammond, Journal, December 8 and 12, 1885, Church History Library.

35. See note inserted into “San Juan Stake Manuscript History,” 1885, after page 33 for the assessment on the stakes.

36. See Charles S. Peterson, Look to the Mountains: Southeastern Utah and the La Sal National Forest (Provo, Utah: Brigham Young University Press, 1975), 80–85; Bryant L. Jensen, “An Historical Study of Bluff City, Utah, from 1878 to 1906” (master’s thesis, Brigham Young University, 1966), 58–59; and Don D. Walker, “The Carlisles: Cattle Barons of the Upper Basin,” Utah Historical Quarterly 32 (Summer 1964): 269–72.

37. Francis Marion Lyman, “On the Way: The Trip to San Juan,” Deseret News, September 29, 1880, 558–59.

38. Hammond, Journal, June 1, 1885, Perry Special Collections.

39. Hammond, Journal, January 27, February 26, March 9, March 21, 1886, Church History Library; Hammond, Journal, November 20, December 4, and December 17, 1886, Perry Special Collections; George Q. Cannon, letter to Francis A. Hammond, January 1, 1887, Hammond Papers, Perry Special Collections.

40. See Francis A. Hammond, “Arrived,” Ogden Herald, January 8, 1886, in Journal History, January 8, 1886, 13; Myrna Kimmerle, “A Little Visit with Aunt Caroline Nielson Redd,” August 1957, in Halliday and Jensen, “Jens Nielson History” CD-ROM, 235.

41. Hammond, Journal, February 11, 1886, Church History Library; Francis A. Hammond, letter to Deseret News, October 28, 1885, 649.

42. Hammond, Journal, June 12, 1885, Perry Special Collections.

43. Hammond, “More of the San Juan,” 3.

44. See Hammond, Journal, July 14, 1885, Perry Special Collections, for Jens Peter’s employment building fences for the Carlisles and Nephi Bailey engaging in trade with the cowboys.

45. Hammond, Journal, June 1, 1885, Perry Special Collections.

46. Hammond, Journal, April 6, 1886, Perry Special Collections.

47. Levi S. Peterson, “The Development of Utah Livestock Law, 1848–1896,” Utah Historical Quarterly 32 (Summer 1964): 201–2.

48. See Peterson, Look to the Mountains, 45–46, 51, for a comparison of the Mormons and the cattle camps. See also Charles S. Peterson, “Imprint of Agricultural Systems on the Utah Landscape,” in The Mormon Role in the Settlement of the West, ed. Richard H. Jackson (Provo, Utah: Brigham Young University Press, 1978), 99–100; and Dean L. May, Three Frontiers: Family, Land, and Society in the American West, 1850–1900 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1994), 81.

49. See Janet Burton Seegmiller, A History of Iron County (Salt Lake City: Utah State Historical Society, 1998), 356; Kate B. Carter, comp., Our Pioneer Heritage, 20 vols. (Salt Lake City: Daughters of Utah Pioneers, 1958–77), 18:240; Jones, “Writings,” 157.

50. Hammond, Journal, December 21, 1885, Church History Library.

51. Hammond, Journal, March 23, 1886, Church History Library.

52. Hammond, Journal, January 13, 1887, Perry Special Collections.

53. Hammond, Journal, January 17, 1886, Church History Library.

54. Hammond, Journal, January 17, 1886, Church History Library, for all the quotations in this paragraph.

55. See Hammond, Journal, January 24, 1886, Church History Library, for what happened at the meeting.

56. Hammond, Journal, January 25, 29, 1886, Church History Library.

57. Charles E. Walton, “San Juan Conference,” Deseret News, April 21, 1886, 211. See also Dean L. May, “The Making of Saints: The Mormon Town as a Setting for the Study of Cultural Change,” Utah Historical Quarterly 45 (1977): 75–92, for a consideration of how internal frustrations in a Mormon town might have been vented on outsiders.

58. See Leonard J., Arrington, Feramorz Fox, and Dean L. May, Building the City of God: Community and Cooperation among the Mormons (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1976), 8.

59. Hammond, Journal, March 13, 1886, Church History Library; Hammond, Journal, April 6, 1886, Perry Special Collections.

60. Hammond, Journal, March 1 and 23, Church History Library; Hammond, Journal, May 30, June 19, 1886, Perry Special Collections. The mill resulted not only in financial loss but very hard feelings among the Saints in Mancos. Charges and countercharges were lobbed back and forth into the early 1890s.

61. Hammond, Journal, June 29, 1886, Perry Special Collections. Other settlements had severe difficulties with their irrigation, but usually not of the same magnitude as those in Bluff. The colonists on the Little Colorado in Arizona were upset about the “enormous” burden at Snowflake and other nearby settlements in 1889 from the three-dollar-per-acre ditch tax. See Peterson, Take Up Your Mission, 180, 185–91.

62. Hammond, Journal, April 6, 1886, Perry Special Collections.

63. Joseph F. Smith, letter to Francis A. Hammond, March 4, 1886, Hammond Papers, Perry Special Collections.

64. Francis Hammond recorded in his journal that night that the letter was about holding “not Bluff in particular but San Juan County and all the region round about.” See Hammond, Journal, April 4, 1886, Church History Library.

65. Hammond, Journal, April 6, 1886, Perry Special Collections.