The Colonization of Utah Utah
Taken from the Utah History Encyclopedia (Links Added)

In establishing these new settlements, much attention was paid to the contributions each could make toward territorial self-sufficiency. This is illustrated most strikingly in the Cotton Mission. A number of parties had been sent out from Parowan and Cedar City in the early 1850s to explore the Santa Clara and Virgin river basins and to determine their suitability for producing specialized agricultural products. The reports of these parties seemed to confirm the hope of Mormon leaders that the new region would be able to produce cotton, grapes, figs, flax, hemp, rice, sugar cane, and other much-needed semitropical products. Small colonies were sent to the area in 1857 and 1858, with the result that cotton was grown successfully on a small scale.

The self-sufficiency program which followed the Utah War and the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861 led Mormon leaders to greatly expand the southern colonies. In October 1861, 309 families were called to go south immediately to settle in what would now be called "Utah's Dixie." Representing a variety of occupations, they were instructed to go in an organized group and "cheerfully contribute their efforts to supply the Territory with cotton, sugar, grapes, tobacco, figs, almonds, olive oil, and such other useful articles as the Lord has given us, the places for garden spots in the south, to produce." They were joined in 1861 by thirty families of Swiss immigrants, who settled the "Big Bend" land at what is now Santa Clara. Their mission was to raise grapes and fruit to supply the cotton producers.

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