%> Nevada Riches: The Land and People of the Silver State
Nevada Government & Politics

The State of Deseret

In 1844, the leader of the Mormon church, Joseph Smith, was murdered by a mob in Illinois.  The new leader of the church, Brigham Young, began to move his followers west.  The Mormons settled in the Great Salt Lake Valley, in Utah, which was controlled by Mexico.  Young petitioned Congress for the creation of a new state, as did the leaders of California and New Mexico.  Only California became a state at that time, 1849.

At the end of the war with Mexico, with the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848, the land where the State of Deseret was located became of part of the United States.  Brigham Young established an independent republic, the state of Deseret in 1849.  In 1850 Utah Territory was created as a part of the Compromise of 1850.  There was conflict between the Mormons and the federal government for a number of years.  In 1857 that conflict almost erupted into war.  President Buchanan sent federal troops to Utah and Brigham Young called many Mormon settlers back to Utah to defend Salt Lake City.  Western Nevada was a part of Utah Territory at that time, and many of the settlers who returned left their farms and businesses, particularly in the Carson Valley.

Differences between Mormon controlled Utah Territory and the federal government were not settled until the 1890s.  In 1896 Utah became a state.

Photo Credit:
Library of Congress