began in 1847 with the arrival of the first Mormon wagon train, which
included three women and three blacks. The advance company planted the
first crops on 23 July, and the pioneers at Brigham Young's direction
explored nearby areas, built a fort, and surveyed Salt Lake City. In
October 1847 seventeen-year-old Mary Jane Dilworth opened the first
school in her tent. In the next two years a dozen towns were founded
in the county. With self-sufficiency a major goal, the settlers established
basic industries to supply everything from pottery to printing paper.
They experimented with mixed success in growing many different kinds
of plants, raising silkworms, and refining sugar. The county was temporarily
abandoned in 1858 during the Utah War. In 1862 U.S. troops established
Fort Douglas to protect overland communications and to watch the Mormons.
Tens of thousands
of Mormon immigrants funneled through Salt Lake City to outlying settlements,
and, additionally, the city was the last major supply point for thousands
of California-bound travelers. As the headquarters of the LDS Church and later the territorial and state capital, Salt Lake City and its
county have always been the center not only of Utah's population but
also of its political and economic power.
Political diversity came to the county in 1870 with the founding of the non-Mormon Liberal
party. Until statehood in 1896 the Mormon-Gentile conflict was intense.
Industrial development in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries
brought ethnic diversity with the arrival of many southern and eastern
Europeans, blacks, Chinese, Japanese, and Mexicans. The migration of
Native Americans to the larger cities and the recent immigration of
southeast Asians and others continue the trend.