Adding local history to your ancestor’s timeline Part II

In the last post focusing on Thomas Sumner, we relied mostly on books. Today, we will explore some of the other resources mentioned in the post last week, primarily US GenWeb and other websites while searching for relevant local history for Levi Savage. We will focus on the time he lived in Toquerville (1868-1910).

I first went to US GenWeb to see what they had. I scrolled down to select Utah. After that page loaded, I selected UTGenWeb county sites and scrolled down to Washington County. The link took me to this beautiful website. While this website itself doesn’t have a lot of information, the links on it lead to some great information, including biographies, cemetery indices, manuscripts, postcards and histories.

The Pioneer Index 1852-1870 states that Levi and his family arrived in Dixie (southern Utah) in 1862 and in Toquerville by 1870. Other links on the page give access to a newspaper from 1908-1923, listings in the FHL catalog, and a history of Dixie. They also have Utah research links and local research help, including local libraries and historical societies.

One of the links was to the Utah History Encyclopedia, which contains an entry for Toquerville. The article talks about the cotton-growing and wine-making endeavors of the people who lived there. By 1867 a telegraph was installed and the town was incorporated in 1917 (after Levi’s death). The information about the geology, agriculture and geography of the area are useful for understanding what life was like, but didn’t offer much in the way of local historical events. We’ll come back to the geology, agriculture and geography in a future post though as they are an important part of social history.

I also tried the Utah page of Cyndi’s List and discovered this timeline of Utah history. Relevant events listed include:

1847: First Mormon pioneers enter Salt Lake Valley1848: Mexican War ends, and the Salt Lake Valley is now part of the United States
1849: Constitutional Convention to form state of Deseret (rejected by US Congress)
1850: Congress passes bill allowing formation of Utah Territory
1852: Mormon church leaders publicly acknowledge practice of polygamy
1853: Walker war with Ute Indians
1854: Crops threatened by grasshoppers
1857-8: Utah War (conflict with US government)
1861: Another Constitutional Convention to form state of Deseret
1865-8: Ute Black Hawk War–last major Indian war
1873: Poland Act passed in US Congress makes it legal to prosecute polygamists
1882: Edmunds Act passed in US Congress making cohabitation illegal
1887: Edmunds-Tucker Act passed in US Congress–another act against polygamy
1890: Mormon leader ends church-sanctioned polygamy
1896: Utah becomes 45th state (almost 50 years after Mormons first applied for statehood)

The 1865-8 Ute Black Hawk War caught my eye, as Levi’s son mentioned some Indian troubles during this time period and I have a newspaper article mentioning US government money given to Levi as restitution for Indian attacks. I read more on the Utah Encyclopedia Page and will devote a post to what I find out about this. The various acts in Congress against polygamy, and the constitutional conventions for statehood are also interesting to me and will be explored further.

I have introduced some of the places where I go to find local history to add to my timeline. Where are some of your favorite places to go?

6 thoughts on “Adding local history to your ancestor’s timeline Part II

  1. If you get this message twice I’m sorry. I’ve having trouble logging in. Welcome to Geneabloggers. I’m a fairly new member. What a great title and picture to go with it. I try to build history around the lives of my ancestors. Will look forward to the ideas you share to do this. Google Books has been a very valuable resource recently. I found a very valuable resource, and it was great to share it in “An Early Christmas Gift” which I wrote about on my blog.

    Regards, Grant

  2. A great idea. I’m a firm believer in the value of timelines in our research. To date I haven’t added “current events” to my timelines, but I think that adds another layer of understanding about our ancestors. Thanks for the idea!

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