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Making Space on the Western Frontier

Mormons, Miners, and Southern Paiutes

W. Paul Reeve

Publication Year: 2007

When Mormon ranchers and Anglo-American miners moved into centuries-old Southern Paiute space during the last half of the nineteenth century, a clash of cultures quickly ensued. W. Paul Reeve explores the dynamic nature of that clash as each group attempted to create sacred space on the southern rim of the Great Basin according to three very different worldviews._x000B_With a promising discovery of silver at stake, the U.S. Congress intervened in an effort to shore up Nevadas mining frontier while simultaneously addressing both the Mormon Question? and the Indian Problem.? Even though federal officials redrew the Utah/Nevada/Arizona borders and created a reservation for the Southern Paiutes, the three groups continued to fashion their own space, independent of the new boundaries that attempted to keep them apart. _x000B_When the dust on the southern rim of the Great Basin finally settled, a hierarchy of power emerged that disentangled the three groups according to prevailing standards of Americanism. As Reeve sees it, the frontier proved a bewildering mixing ground of peoples, places, and values that forced Mormons, miners, and Southern Paiutes to sort out their own identity and find new meaning in the mess.

Published by: University of Illinois Press

front cover

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Title Page

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Copyright Page

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Table of Contents

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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-x

I am grateful to a variety of individuals who helped with different aspects of this project. I had the good fortune of meeting Peter Kraus, the government-documents specialist at the University of Utah’s Marriott Library, early on in the project. ...

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1. Intersections

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pp. 1-9

In March 1866, the southwest fringe of Utah Territory simmered in a stew of mistrust and anxiety. Euro-American Mormons and non-Mormon miners had come to the southern edge of the Escalante Desert seeking very different gods through very different means. In the process they disrupted the region’s long-term inhabitants, the Southern Paiutes. ...

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2. Making Space

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pp. 10-32

Mormons, miners, and Southern Paiutes all tell stories about their coming to the land. Through those stories, we get a glimpse of the three different worldviews that brought competing meanings to the same geographic place. What follows is an exploration of those founding rituals— a Paiute origin story and settlement stories of the Mormons and miners.1 ...

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3. Power, Place, and Prejudice

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pp. 33-62

In March 1865, Thomas C. W. Sale, a Southern Paiute Indian agent turned prospector, set in motion a series of events that would forever redefine Mormon, mining, and Paiute space. Sale induced an “old Indian” to lead him to an outcropping of ore at what would soon become the Pahranagat Mining District. ...

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4. "Listen Not to a Stranger"

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pp. 63-84

The federal government’s attempts to draw lines of separation notwithstanding, the new political borders proved little more than strokes on official maps. Mormons, miners, and Southern Paiutes continued to mix with each other, their paths intersecting in time and space, but against a geographic backdrop of their own making. ...

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5. "To Hold in Check Outside Influences"

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pp. 85-112

The Mormon apostle Erastus Snow toured the fringe settlements of the Cotton Mission in southwestern Utah and southeastern Nevada in July 1869. His trip took him to Hebron, Clover Valley, Panaca, Eagle Valley, and Spring Valley, a string of ranching outposts that, in the words of Snow, formed a “frontier line” close to the mines of soon-to-be Pioche. ...

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6. "The Out-Post of Civilization"

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pp. 113-135

The “booming of anvil guns,” the “firing of bombs,” and other “demonstrations of joy” announced the Fourth of July festivities at Pioche in 1873. The swelling “throng” of people who gathered that day offered “forcible evidence” that “Pioche was determined not to be behind any of her neighbors in the display of patriotism on Independence Day.” ...

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7. "Dead and Dying in the Sagebrush"

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pp. 136-156

On one occasion during his explorations of Southern Paiute country, John Wesley Powell came upon “three old women” crouched around the fire of an otherwise deserted camp. The rest of the band had moved on, but the women remained behind. They sat stoically staring into the fire of what would become their death camp. ...

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8. Transformations

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pp. 157-168

The morning of 17 November 1902 dawned “clear and beautiful” at Hebron. It was unseasonably pleasant weather, and even the typically chilly north wind decided not to blow that day. Chris Ammon, a Norwegian stone mason, was eager to take advantage of the sunshine to finish work on Frank Hunt’s house. ...


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pp. 169-208

Selected Bibliography

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pp. 209-222


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pp. 223-231

back cover

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E-ISBN-13: 9780252092268
Print-ISBN-13: 9780252031267

Page Count: 248
Publication Year: 2007

OCLC Number: 867794166
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Making Space on the Western Frontier

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Frontier and pioneer life -- West (U.S.).
  • West (U.S.) -- Ethnic relations -- History -- 19th century.
  • West (U.S.) -- Social conditions -- 19th century.
  • Great Basin -- History -- 19th century.
  • Mormon pioneers -- West (U.S.) -- History -- 19th century.
  • Miners -- West (U.S.) -- History -- 19th century.
  • Southern Paiute Indians -- History -- 19th century.
  • Group identity -- West (U.S.) -- History -- 19th century.
  • Social conflict -- West (U.S.) -- History -- 19th century.
  • Intercultural communication -- West (U.S.) -- History -- 19th century.
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