story of Washington parallels the history of the Cotton Mission. There
was more cotton acreage planted in Washington than the other settlements.
The settlers struggled with nature: floods washed out their dams built
on quicksand bottoms year after year; and they suffered from chills
and fever (malaria spread by the mosquitoes which hatched in the springs
and along the edges of creeks), drought, grasshoppers and animals at
night. They also soon realized that man does not live by cotton alone.
They learned they would have to grow their own food and supply their
own goods to survive. Many quit the mission; by June 1861 only twenty
families remained in Washington. More calls were made by the church
leaders in Salt Lake City to serve in the mission, and by 1964 there
were 85 families with 413 people.
colonists were beset by poverty from the beginning. They succeeded in
growing cotton, but being far removed from the market, they could not
dispose of their lint. They tried freighting to California and to Omaha,
Nebraska. They sold some to Brigham Young in Salt Lake City. These measures
were temporary, however, and Brigham Young determined that a factory
was needed closer to the produce. He had a factory dismantled in Salt
Lake City and shipped to Washington where the supply of water was dependable
year round. The colonists provided the labor and material and completed
the one-story factory in 1866. They began operations January 1867 and
added two more stories in 1868. Labor at that time was two dollars a
day. Most employees received pay in factory goods, produce and factory
scrip. A store was operated in conjunction with the factory, which served
as a clearing house for most of the products of the area.