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one might say that they believe in God the eternal Father and in his Son Jesus Christ; that the kingdom of God will be brought to earth, when we have redeemed it, and made it beautiful and ready for God by our work and constant moral and intellectual progress.
It is, however, of the schools and libraries I wish to enlarge upon in this paper.
Utah has had a school system from the beginning of her history, and in 1851, the first school law was passed which provided for a uniform system of schools as far as possible, and provided in section 3 that every town and city support their schools by public taxation. Each county was divided into school districts, and this district became the political and ecclesiastical unit of government. It is interesting to follow the history of these districts and note the interest the people took in education by enforcing the law and supporting their public schools by taxes. The Territory of Utah extended over a vast area at that period; in fact from Colorado on the east to the crest of the Sierra Nevada Mountains on the west. Towns were far apart, and communication difficult. And yet we find the Chancelor and Board of Regents of the University of Deseret directing the schools through the county courts, and working for system and proper training in them all. The ecclesiastical district called the “ward” was always the unit, and in every ward, from its beginning, it was the rule to build the meeting and school house immediately after locating homes and planting crops. It appears from sources that the schools were in a thriving condition in 1850, three years after the advent of the “Mormon” pioneers, for the Deseret News, Nov. 27, of that year, has this to say:
"Common schools were beginning in all parts of the city for the winter; and plans for the construction of school houses in every ward were being made, with a view for a general system of school houses throughout the city. One plan had already been submitted, which comprised three large school rooms, a large hall for lecturing, a private study, reading room and library. A Parent or High School began on the 11th of November: terms, thirty shillings per quarter, under the direction of Chancelor Spencer. It is expected that teachers generally will have access to this school, and through them a system of uniformity will be established for conducting schools throughout the valleys. Elder Woodruff has arrived with nearly two tons of school books. Donations from the states are already arriving in the shape of scientific instruments, and other apparatus for the benefit of the University; also valuable books for the library. Mr. W. I. Appleby is the librarian.
“A committee was appointed to superintend the enclosing of the University grounds one mile square east of the city, and the erection of a good stone wall around them, as soon as possible. Our correspondent says that public meetings were being held in all parts of the city, attending to and providing for the interests of education; and that the present winter is expected to be one of intellectual advantage to the people, which they seemed determined to improve."
And in 1852, Robert L. Campbell, the Secretary of the Board of Regents of the University, says:
“We are happy to report that many select schools are in successful operation combining the languages and the higher branches of education generally. Still there is room for a more full development of the mental energies of our youth in their advancement in the classics, history, mathematics, and the polite literature of the ages, by which native talent and giant intellects of our young men who will shortly grace this stage of action may form a prominent phalanx of strength and wisdom in our nation's councils; who will guide the wheels of government of our rising territory in her glorious achievements for liberty, of universal empire over mind, and the blessings of her free and flourishing institutions."
In the same document, Mr. Campbell reports that the County Court was seeing to the building of new school houses and the proper equipment of them.
In 1855, Governor Brigham Young, in addressing the Territorial Legislature, says:
"Educational interests have flourished hitherto, with but little aid or encouragement from the Legislative Assembly. Should not this subject be taken under advisement by this Legislature, and some well organized system be adopted, which will confer the blessing of at least a common school education upon every child, rich or poor, bond or free, in the territory, and which will establish and keep in operation at least one school where the higher branches are taught?
"I am aware that much has already been done and great good effected by private enterprise throughout the settlements generally. Though I am sanguine that no territory, so young as this, can boast of so many or such good school houses and schools; still there is a lack, much remains to be done. The Legislature has appropriated comparatively nothing for this object, and the appropriations of land by the general Government are at present, and a great share always will be, entirely unavailable.
“None is so much interested in this matter as ourselves. It would therefore seem to be almost imperative upon this Assembly to extend their most reliable aid and influence for the promotion of learning. And now, while we have peace and quietness in all borders, is opportune time to lay a foundation for the instruction of our children which shall grow with our growth, and strengthen with our strength, and extend it's influence around the children of the poorest and humblest citizen, as well as the most opulent and wealthy.
The Legislative Assembly receiving this message amended the school law, passed at the previous session, which divided the counties into new school districts, over which a board of trustees elected by the people should preside. A local tax should be levied, and teachers examined by the local board. Examples are numerous as to how the many different towns and settlements lived up to the law. The district of North Ogden was organized in 1851, in the autumn of which the first school was opened. The school house was built of pine logs, but this gave way to a much better and more commodious building, erected in 1856, by donation and local taxation. At this same time, the rooms were furnished with home-made desks, stoves, maps, and a small library. In the fall of 1851, a school house was built at the little town of Morgan on the main line of the Union Pacific Railroad, and this was superseded in 1855 by a far better building, erected by local taxation. Again in 1874, another school house was built, the people of the town paying for it by donation and taxes. One of the most interesting examples we have of the enthusiasm of the people for the maintenance of a school in their district is that of East Mill Creek in Salt Lake County. In the spring of 1848, several of the pioneers built cabins on Mill Creek, on the north side of the stream. Among the most prominent of the settlers was John Neff, who built the first flour mill in the Territory. In March, 1856, the district was organized for school purposes, and the first school house, erected by donation and local taxation, was built. The logs for it were hauled from the canyon nearby, and were dove-tailed and held together by wooden pegs. The furniture consisted of "rough slab benches," and a teacher's desk made of slabs from a neighboring saw-mill.
The reader naturally asks here as to the first school in Utah, and herein lies an interesting bit of western history.
The first school in Utah was opened in October, 1847. The teacher was Mary Jane Dilworth (Hammond), and an old military tent shaped like an ordinary Indian wigwam served as a school room. Rough logs were used for seats, and the teacher's desk was an old camp stool, which had been brought across the plains. Maria Dilworth Nebeker says in her autobiography:
“I attended the first school in Utah taught by my sister, Mary Jane, in a small round tent seated with logs. The school was opened just three weeks after our arrival in the valley. The first morning we gathered before the door of the tent, and in the midst of our play, my sister called us and said, 'Come children, come; we will begin now.' There were just a few of us, I think only nine or ten. One of the brethren came in, and opened the school with prayer. I remember one thing he said. It was to the effect that 'we be good children and he asked God that the school would be so blessed that we all should have his holy light to guide us into all truth.' The first day, Mary Jane taught us the twenty-third Psalm, and we sang much, and played more.
Mary Jane Dilworth (Hammond), Utah's first school teacher,
AS THE “MORMONS" FOUND UTAH Mas of Quaker parentage, and was born in Westchester County, Pennsylvania, July 29, 1831. Her parents were Caleb and Eliza Dilworth, devout in their religion and steadfast in the adherence to principle. Caleb Dilworth's ancestors had taken an active part in the settlement of Pennsylvania, and his father was soldier in the colonial army under George Washington. The family became independent, in fact had some means, and early in the forties, they emigrated to the “Mormon” centre of Nauvoo, Illinois. They went through many of the harrowing persecutions of their people, and with the main body of “Mormons” made their way to
Winter Quarters on the Missouri River, where they did their share in making preparation for the long journey of their people to the Rocky Mountains. While at Winter Quarters, Miss Dilworth taught a school in a little rock house. In 1847, she left with her people for “the promised land of the far West." There were some fifteen hundred souls in the company, under the personal direction and command of Jedediah M. Grant. Near Grand Island, the company was met by Brigham Young, who was returning to Winter Quarters. It was here that he "set Miss Dilworth apart to teach a school in the Old Fort.” While on the plains the “Mormon” emigrants taught their children, and we have accounts of how they were assembled at times for the purpose of learning from some good teacher, the leading facts of history and geography. In fact, education in Utah began on the plains, for the people had been admonished by Brigham Young to continue the spirit of education that had been developed in the beautiful city of Nauvoo in the State of Illinois.
They had maintained schools there, and had organized a university. The city had been pronounced by hundreds of travelers as one of the most moral cities in the Union, and far and wide was it noted for its civic life. In 1847, an epistle was issued to the people when they were encamped upon the banks of the Missouri River, in which Brigham Young said:
"It is very desirable that all the Saints should improve every opportunity of securing at least a copy of every valuable treatise on education—every book, map, chart, or diagram that may contain interesting, useful, and attractive matter, to gain the attention of children, and cause them to love to learn to read; and also every historical, mathematical, philosophical, geographical, geological, astronomical, scientific, practical, and all other
variety of useful and interesting writings, maps, etc., to present to the general church recorder, when they shall arrive at their destination, from which important and interesting matter may be gleaned to compile the most valuable works on every science and subject, for the benefit of the rising generation. We have a printing press, and any one who can take good printing or writing paper to the valley will be blessing themselves and the Church. We also want all kinds of mathematical instruments, together with all rare specimens of natural curiosities and works of art that can be gathered.”
Those early days in Utah not only saw primary schools, but in 1850 was opened the first university west of the Missouri River. The record of that “Parent school” has come down to us, and is a valuable document to show the State's early educational development. It tells us that the university “is for the training of teachers, and to bring our boys and girls in touch with the progressive. thought and educational activities of the age."
Down through the years before the advent of the railroad and telegraph, the people maintained their schools and those other