Author Date


Degree Name





Family, Home, and Social Sciences

Defense Date


Publication Date


First Faculty Advisor

Dr. Daniel Olsen

First Faculty Reader

Dean Susan Rugh

Honors Coordinator

Dr. Sam Otterstrom


homesteaders, Native Americans, allotment, settlement, Duchesne County, land transfer


The Uinta Basin’s history differs from much of Utah. Its early explorer report as a “wasteland” meant Mormon settlers avoided the area, which made an expedient decision to put the land aside as the Uinta-Ouray Ute Indian Reservation. Native peoples were forced to the undesirable desert in the mid-1860s. In 1905, the United States Government opened the Reservation for White homesteading. Homesteading was difficult, and countless anecdotes show the difficulties—many settlers moved away, “selling out” (giving up on their homesteads and selling to another homesteader) their newly-acquired land and returning to greener pastures. There have been few academic studies related to this aspect of the Basin’s demography. This paper finds that land transfer was not a major indicator of these movements. Instead, most homesteaders retained their land titles, even if they didn’t live in the region. Analysis of census data shows the migratory status of many Basin settlers in the 20th Century’s earliest decades. Native and White land use is discussed. Basin settlement is typical of the Great Basin and arid West, creating a legacy that continues today.