THE WENNER FAMILY ENJOYED LIFE ON FREMONT ISLAND
When Kate and Uriah James Wenner arrived in Salt Lake City in 1880 they expected to establish permanent residence in the city. The newlyweds built a home on East South Temple, and Wenner opened a law office. The couple soon became prominent members of Salt Lake society. In 1883 Wenner was appointed as a probate judge in Salt Lake County. Kate became involved in social functions and in raising the two children—George and Blanche.
All seemed to be going well for the family until Wenner became seriously ill with tuberculosis. Doctors suggested that a change of climate and exposure to open air would improve his health. After careful consideration the family decided to spend the entire summer on uninhabited Fremont Island in the Great Salt Lake. Though friends and relatives thought they were crazy, the isolated life and adventure appealed to the family. In 1886 the Wenners purchased part of the island from the Union Pacific and agreed to homestead the rest. Hearing that the island was perfect grazing land, the Wenners purchased sheep to be sent to Fremont Island. On the designated date of departure the family of four, two greyhound dogs, and a hired maid piled into an old sailboat to undertake the 20-mile journey. Kate later recorded that stormy weather made the voyage almost unbearable. It required almost three days to reach the island; and by then the crew was wet and exhausted. Kate spent an entire day ironing out heavy wrinkles in their salt-water-soaked clothes.