From earliest days, Utah Territory was the scene of violent disagreement between federal officers and Mormon citizens. By 1857 returning officers reported that a rebellion existed in Utah. On the strength of these reports, President Buchanan appointed Alfred Cumming as Governor and dispatched Albert S. Johnston's army to install the new executive. Johnston's army started late and had not arrived in Salt Lake City by autumn. The Mormons further delayed the expedition until winter snows forced Johnston to encamp at Fort Bridger.
During the summer, Buchanan also appointed Secretary of State John Hartnett, Chief Justice Delano R. Eckles, Associate Justices Charles Sinclair and John Cradlebaugh, Indian Superintendent Jacob Forney, Marshal P. K. Dotson, and later, Attorney Alexander Wilson.
Arriving in the fall of 1857, Judge Eckles observed Mormon resistance and forumlated permanent and adverse opinions. Later, Cumming and other civil officers left Fort Leavenworth with Colonel Cooke's Second Dragoons and in November arrived at Johnston's encampment which had been renamed Camp Scott. During an uneasy winter, an abiding division of feelings developed between Cumming and Eckles. This was magnified by the arrival of Thomas L. Kane, who had travelled to Utah to aid in reconciliation. Cumming joined Kane in an unescorted trip to Salt Lake City where he was first received with reserve, although the Mormons shortly accepted him and gave grudging consent to the army's entry. While Cumming was in Salt lake City, Buchanan pardoned the Mormons and dispatched a Peace Commission to the territory.
College and Department
Family, Home, and Social Sciences; History
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Peterson, Charles S., "A Historical Analysis of Territorial Government in Utah Under Alfred Cumming, 1857-1861" (1958). All Theses and Dissertations. 5036.
Alfred Cumming, 1802-1873, Utah, Politics, government, 19th century