"I Was Not Ready to Die Yet": William Stowell's Utah War Ordeal

Volume 56:4 Cover
Section and Issue


Log in or subscribe to download the PDF for free.

Learn about premium content here.

Product Attributes
PDF (Download)

"I Was Not Ready to Die Yet": William Stowell's Utah War Ordeal

Author R. Devan Jensen Author Kenneth L. Alford

In the fall of 1857, young wives Cynthia Jane Stowell and Sophronia Stowell bade fare­well to their husband, William R. R. Stowell, a lieutenant in the Utah militia working to hinder the US Army from entering Utah Territory. That winter they received word that William had been captured and was being held prisoner at Camp Scott, in present-day Wyoming. The Utah War arose from a complex web of causes and motivations: federal and Utah territorial authorities often clashed regarding Mormon authority and influence in the territorial court sys­tem, the mail service, policies regarding American-Indian relations, polygamy, and the moral character of territorial appointees. In October 1857, Lieutenant William Stowell was serving as an adju­tant in Major Joseph Taylor's Nauvoo Legion infantry battalion. He and Joseph Taylor were captured by Captain Marcy. Taylor escaped, but Stowell was held through a freezing winter and released in June 1858. There was a joyful reunion with his wives and many children, who had struggled through the Move South and dealt with poverty and sickness.