History of Chief St. John, Utah

Chief St. John was the local leader of a band of Ute indians who occupied the area that Mormon missionary settlers called Moab. The area had been a gathering and trading place for Native Americans, primaraly the Utes and Navajos.

Initially the missionaries had some success and baptized over a dozen Utes. However disputes soon arose between the groups when one of the missionaries was killed near the fort by a Ute named Charles, a son of Chief St. John. A fierce gun battle ensued with both sides sustaining losses. The fort was abandoned as the missionaries returned to Salt Lake City.

A mining town by the name of "Uncompahgre City," was renamed "St. John" in honor of Ute Chief St. John. The Episcopal Church later erected an edifice which also caries his name.

G. William Wiersdorf

See: Moab Happenings; Ill Fated Elk Mountain Mission, St. John's Episcopal; History.

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