In Our Lovely Deseret: Who were the first 3 women to enter the Salt Lake Valley?

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  • Tori Fruit Heights, UT
    July 26, 2014 12:23 p.m.

    The caption by the pictures of the three women reads: The three women who accompanied the first pioneer company to enter the Salt Lake Valley. That is obviously what is meant by this article. Some people are always looking to criticize anything having to do with the LDS church. I think there are a lot of unhappy, bitter people out there.

  • Lilalips Attleboro, MA
    July 26, 2014 5:06 a.m.

    I don't see the bitterness or anger here. Just people tossing their two cents in. It is interesting though how people classify things. DN wrote "First 3 Women", but what they should have written was, "First Mormon Pioneers", as many, many women from different Indian tribes had passed that way. Or maybe they could have titled it, "1st Women who helped to settle the modern Salt Lake region" or something like that. The many points made here are well taken though. And I don't think there is hate or vitriol intended. As a person greatly interested in History I appreciate reading all sides of the story including how the DN portrays the story. It's all part of the human life drama.

  • Gildas LOGAN, UT
    July 24, 2014 6:51 p.m.

    I'm loving these articles about the pioneers. Thank you DNews; today you are appreciated.

    It's always interesting to me to learn new things about the heritage of the Latter-Day Saints in the intermountain West. I gain in appreciation for that heritage which has also become part of the more comprehensive history of so many nations.

    I don't think Catholic "fathers" had any women though; one person talked about "their women". I would like a clarification of that, as I am also interested in their history. I also wish we knew more about the native Americans and am sade that they had not their own written record of the centuries just prior to the European colonisations. I love the writings and art of George Caitlan, and the art work of John White who gives us some knowledge of the traditions and appearance of many of their more immediate descendants.

  • lloydlewisjr Montrose, CO
    July 24, 2014 5:33 p.m.

    I think there are entirely too many people making mountains out of mole hills. First, yes there were probably thousands of native females that passed through the valley, although very few if any stayed in the valley, but in other areas. Second, to say they were the first women of the Mormon pioneers is and would be entirely correct. Third, I don't see why so such criticism has to be so angry and bitter. The valley, per many fur traders including Jim Bridger told them they would not survive as nothing would grow, and in fact he offered to buy the first grain at a predetermined price, which ultimately he ended up having to buy. Many indigenous groups including the spanish conquistadores travelled through there also, but obviously felt the same was as the trappers. The country was not worth stopping in. So, let's give credit where credit is due and give homage to those we "know" actually travelled through and/or stayed, instead of trying to create dissention. We should be proud of all those who settled this country, Native, Spanish, or other ethnic groups.

  • Happy Valley Heretic Orem, UT
    July 24, 2014 2:00 p.m.

    In the spring of the latter year, a party emigrating to Oregon or California offered to furnish passage to her and her children on the condition that she would cook and do the washing for the party.  Understanding California to be the final destination of the Saints and thinking this a good opportunity to emigrate without being a burden to the Church, she accepted the proposition.

    According to Brigham Henry (B.H.) Roberts, Wilford Woodruff said that he had baptized Mrs.Murphy while on his mission in Tennessee, but that “she apostatized and joined the mob.” Roberts indicates that by “joined the mob” President Woodruff meant “no more, perhaps than that she lived among those who were mobbing the saints in Illinois.”  Apparently the Murphy’s thought of themselves as Mormons, no matter what their situation was at various times.

  • Happy Valley Heretic Orem, UT
    July 24, 2014 2:00 p.m.

    Mrs. Murphy, who was a Latter-day Saint, was among the number that perished in that horrible scene of death.  The circumstances under which she became a member of that company were explained to us by her daughter, Mrs. Johnson.  The lady, being a widow with several children dependant on her for support, while residing at Nauvoo, heard of a chance to get employment at Warsaw. An anti-Mormon settlement 30 miles down the river. Thinking to better her condition, she accordingly moved to Warsaw and spent the winter of 1845-1846  there.


  • Happy Valley Heretic Orem, UT
    July 24, 2014 1:37 p.m.

    Several other families joined the wagon train along the way. Levinah Murphy, 37, a widow from Tennessee, headed a family of thirteen.

    By the time they had reached a point in the mountains where they could look down and see the Great Salt Lake, it was August 20 1846.

  • Happy Valley Heretic Orem, UT
    July 24, 2014 1:28 p.m.

    As someone pointed out, the first women through the Salt Lake Valley were in the Donner Party a few of which were LDS.

    The Thomaas Rhodes family passed through before Brigham too, although I don't believe they passed through SL Valley.

    Mary Murphy Was one of these women.

  • hockeymom Highland, UT
    July 24, 2014 11:45 a.m.

    Who named this the "Salt Lake Valley"? Was it the Mormons? If so, the title of the article is completely accurate. Of course many people may have "passed through" over the centuries, and gone right on through. I understand it was partly chosen because it was a salty water, tree-less desert and no one had previously ever wanted to settle here. The word "entered" in the title, infers they came to stay, so in that sense, these 3 women were absolutely the "first" women.

  • Lionheart West Jordan, Ut
    July 24, 2014 10:01 a.m.

    A fitting tribute to those three women, but also to the noble and brave women of any era. Every human being's life is enriched by the women around him/her. The article proffers some good thoughts for pondering on the 24th of July.

  • Uncle_Fester Niskayuna, NY
    July 24, 2014 8:56 a.m.

    I am pretty sure that those particular women were not even in the first thousand women to enter the valley. They just happened to be the first white ones.

  • CP Tooele, UT
    July 24, 2014 4:25 a.m.

    I enjoyed reading this and seeing the name of Patty Bartlett Sessions, she is my 3rd great grandmother. I have her diaries, she was an amazing woman.

  • Mrs George West Jordon, UT
    July 23, 2014 6:56 p.m.

    I found it very interesting to know who those first 3 women were, and to learn a little bit about each one. And I also enjoyed seeing how these women brought order and culture and dedication. An interesting article!

  • rlsintx Plano, TX
    July 23, 2014 1:35 p.m.

    @BYU Track Star - there was a group of sick battalion members who wintered in Pueblo, cut up into the trail across Wyoming, their group in whole entered Salt Lake a week after the 1st group. Some of their lead people had run into Brigham Young's lead group, maybe that's what you were referring to. They never went to California though. And there were women and children in this group.

  • rlsintx Plano, TX
    July 23, 2014 1:12 p.m.

    @BYU Track Star - the battallion was discharged 16 July 1847 in Los Angeles.

  • Florwood American Fork, UT
    July 23, 2014 12:20 p.m.


    The article was about women entering the Salt Lake Valley. The maps I see of the Escalante-Dominguez expedition show they didn't go north of Utah Valley. Hutterite's comment about the first women being Native Americans is much more accurate.

  • elisabeth American Fork, UT
    July 23, 2014 11:53 a.m.

    "Although home to Native Americans for many centuries, the first white men to set foot in what is now known as Utah County were most likely Father Escalante and Father Dominquez and their party of explorers on September 23, 1776." Their women are not women? i think this ethnocentric perspective is what gives some people this sense of "exceptionalism" which is really just arrogance and ignorance perpetuated by myths like these.

  • BYU Track Star Los Angeles, CA
    July 23, 2014 11:05 a.m.

    Russ, didn't some of the discharged veterans from Mormon Battalion in California pass through the Salt Lake area before they met up with the advance party of the Saints somewhere in Wyoming? I recollect the Donner Party passed through the Salt Lake area before the Saints arrived too.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    July 23, 2014 8:57 a.m.

    First nations people.

  • Russ Salt Lake City, UT
    July 23, 2014 8:53 a.m.

    Who were the first men? It certainly wasn't Brigham as he was sick in bed from Mountain Fever.