Guide to the Presbyterian Church in Utah collection. Series 3. Missionary records

Table of Contents

Collection Overview

Collection Inventory+/-

Biographical Note/Historical Note

Content Description

Collection Use

Administrative Information


Collection Overview +/-

Title: Presbyterian Church in Utah collection. Series 3. Missionary records
Dates: 1871-1969 (inclusive)
Collection Number: MSS-003C
Summary: This small collection consists of records dating 1871-1969 concerning four Presbyterian missionaries who worked in Utah in the late 19th century through the early 20th century, namely Frances R. Burke, George W. Martin, Duncan J. McMillan, and Samuel E. Wishard.
Repository: Westminster College, Giovale Library
1840 South 1300 East
Salt Lake City, Utah 84105
Phone: (801) 832-2250

Collection Inventory +/-

box 1, folder 1: Burke, Frances R.

1 oversized item removed to Box 2, Folder 1

box 1, folder 2: Martin, George W.
box 1, folder 3: McMillan, Duncan J.
box 1, folder 4: Wishard, Samuel E.
box 2 oversized, folder 1: Burke, Frances R.

Biographical Note/Historical Note +/-

It could be said that the Presbyterian Church's second greatest asset was its missionaries. These people were the backbone of the church, and they were the keepers of order throughout the widespread Utah Synod. Though all missionaries played an integral role in the perpetuation of the Presbyterian Church in the state of Utah, a handful of missionaries stand out among the rest. These missionaries were stewards of the Church like George W. Martin, anti-polygamy crusaders like W.M Paden, and educators like J.M. Coyner. Without people like them, the Presbyterian agenda in the State of Deseret would have ended in failure. Other Presbyterian missionaries working in Utah in the late 19th century and early 20th century include Frances R. Burke (Toquerville teacher, missionary, postmistess), Duncan McMillan (Mt. Pleasant educator and minister), and Samuel Wishard (missionary, superintendent, and minister).

Frances R. Burke (1846-1927), nicknamed Fannie, was a woman who was encouraged by the missionary efforts of the Presbyterians among the Mormons, and left her Ohio home in 1881 to come to Utah. She acted as a missionary teacher in Toquerville until her death in 1925. She strove to integrate her Presbyterian self into a Mormon community.

George W. Martin (1848-1919) played an active roll as the superintendent of missions. Though he worked primarily in Manti, he was relentless in his cause and duties throughout the state of Utah.

Duncan J. McMillan (1846-1939) was a man responsible for breathing new life into Utah's dismal educational system. He was the founder of many private Presbyterian schools, and built a reputation based on his excellence in education. McMillan also a preacher, centered in Mount Pleasant, Utah. One of the most lasting accomplishments he achieved was starting the predecessor school of the Wasatch Academy.

McMillan arrived in Mt. Pleasant, Utah, by the request of the Presbyterian Regional Superintendent Sheldon Jackson, in 1875. Upon his arrival, he and Jackson arranged for the purchase of Liberal Hall, a building constructed by disenfranchised Scandinavian ex-Mormons. Wasatch Academy, as McMillan named it, would soon have an enrollment of 54 students for its first year. Wasatch Academy and McMillan were dealt a potentially ruinous blow in 1875 by LDS President Brigham Young. Young called for McMillan's immediate expulsion from the area. Ironically, McMillan had no intention of leaving (though Young's order caused three-quarters of McMillan's students to withdraw). The information about McMillan that was generated as a result of Young's displeasure only served to promote McMillan as an educator; people from around the state appealed to McMillan to start schools in their towns. McMillan's further involvement also helped spread Presbyterian influence: the construction of a Presbyterian church typically followed the construction of a McMillan school in the area.

Samuel E. Wishard (1825-1915) stands out in Utah Presbyterian history as one of the few truly exceptional figures, serving the Presbyterian cause effectively as a missionary, superintendent and a preacher. His records indicate that he was influenced by the struggle women faced in Utah as well as education, and a strong supporter of creationism ("Adam, the Evolved Myth", an undated pamphlet).

Sources of information for this biographical/historical note:

Content Description +/-

This small collection consists of records dating 1871-1969 concerning four Presbyterian missionaries who worked in Utah in the late 19th century through the early 20th century, namely Frances R. Burke, George W. Martin, Duncan J. McMillan, and Samuel E. Wishard. While the documents are varied, all information contained is biographical in nature. The most prominent types of materials in this collection are correspondence and publications.

Box 1, Folder 1 (Burke, Frances R.) contains: a photocopied catalog of the National Normal School, Lebanon, Ohio dated 1875 (which Burke attended); a photograph of Burke; two letters dated 1900, from her niece, which certify that Esther Young adopted Frances Burke at an unspecified date (the adoption records were destroyed by fire in 1884 in Cincinnati, Ohio); a photocopy of the Utah Historical Quarterly Spring 2004 article on Burke; photocopies of minutes of the Woman's Executive Committee of Home Missions meetings held Oct. 6, 1881 and Feb. 7, 1882 in New York City; photocopied pages of the Synod of Utah June 1927 minutes with an obituary article about Burke; photocopies of documents regarding the Fannie Burke estate in the minutes of the Presbytery of Southern Utah, April 1928.

Box 1, Folder 2 (Martin, George W.) contains: a letter dated Sept. 19, 1881 to Martin from D.J. McM. (presumably D.J. McMillan) "I enclose that Deed which was carefully laid away in the Presbytery's Records book."; text of a plaque at the First Presbyterian Church of Manti; photographs of Martin and Martin's grave; anon. notes dated April 1, 1980 with names and birth/death dates of "Rev. C.W. Martin, Tillawork his wife, daughter Ruth, Jane F. ... four sides to the Stone Monument. The above inscription is taken from the Rev. Martin stone monument in Manti, Utah".

Box 1, Folder 3 (McMillan, Duncan J.) contains a note from Florence McMillan dated July 16, 1939 acknowledging Dr. Reherds "kind letter" following her father's death; correspondence regarding a Duncan J. McMillan memorial scholarship (a typed letter, dated Nov. 24, 1939, from Westminster College President Robert D. Steele to Ralph Key of Harlem-New York Presbyterian Church, New York City regarding the scholarship, and a responding letter from Ralph Key; a letter from Hans P. Freece to Dr. Reherd, dated Sept. 21, 1939 regarding contributions to memorial scholarship, and several other letters); photocopies of 3 McMillan obituaries published in unidentified newspapers.

Box 1, Folder 4 (Wishard, Samuel E.) contains an undated pamphlet by Rev. S.E. Wishard, D.D. entitled "Adam, the evolved myth", another entitled "Some results of Presbyterian Missions in Utah", and "A reply by Elder William Budge to 'The Mormon purgatory' (a tract written by S.E. Wishard)"; a printed photograph of Wishard; a carbon copy of a 4-page undated statement from Wishard (signed as Superintendent of Home Missions in Utah) on Board of Home Missions stationery presenting "a few important facts that deeply conern every loyal American citizen; these statements concern darkest Utah ..." in which Wishard makes a case for supporting non-Mormon Christian education in Utah, namely Westminster College, the Salt Lake Collegiate Institute, and four academies, and monies to build a college campus for Westminster College; a note from S.E. Wishard, written on Sheldon Jackson College stationery, dated 1897. The stationery lists Gen'l John Eaton as President, Rev. R.G. McNiece, Rev. Josiah McClain, and Gill S. Peyton as officers of the Board of Trustees, along with Reverends Sheldon Jackson, S.E. Wishard, H.H. McCreery, G.W. Martin, A.C. Tood, C.M. Shepherd, N.E. Clemsen, Col. Wm. M. Ferry, A.S. Martin, Seth Tolls, H.G. McMillan, W.Q. Brown, E.B. Critchlow, and J.R. Walker. The final document in the file is a single handwritten sheet entitled "list of money and pledges secured for Westminster College during my visit East -- S.E. Wishard 1905".

Box 2 (oversize), Folder 1 contains: a certificate naming Burke Toquerville postmistress.

Collection Use +/-

Restrictions on Access:

Open to public research.

Access to parts of this collection may be restricted under provisions of state or federal law.

Twenty-four hours advance notice is encouraged.

Restrictions on Use:

It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain any necessary copyright clearances.

Permission to publish material must be obtained from the director of the Giovale Library.

Preferred Citation:

Presbyterian Church in Utah collection. Series 3. Missionary records, 1871-1969, MSS-003C, Giovale Library Archives, Westminster College, Salt Lake City, Utah.

Administrative Information +/-


Arranged alphabetically by missionary surname.

Processing Note:

Note on processing of the full set of the Presbyterian Church in Utah collections (MSS-003A to MSS-003C): This collection was processed by Josh Ivie in April 2005. Both its origin and original order are unknown. While it is assumed that the records were collected by George W. Martin and William M. Paden, it cannot be confirmed. There is also a possibility that some of these records were collected by Westminster College Emeritus President Herbert W. Reherd during the 1940s and early 1950s while he was writing histories of the Presbyterian Church in Utah and a history of Westminster College. Later records were added by others (probably College Archivist Emil Nyman) in the 1970s. This collection was originally accessioned as ACC-009, later reassigned as ACC-025A-C, and in 2009 as MSS-003A-C.

A decision was made in 2015 to split the Presbyterian Church in Utah collection into three collections (one for each series) in line with the historical treatment of other multi-series collections held by the Giovale Library Archives. The resulting set of collections are:

  • Presbyterian Church in Utah collection. Series 1. Utah Synod church and mission records, 1877-1978 (MSS-003A)
  • Presbyterian Church in Utah collection. Series 2. Utah Synod subject files, 1871-1979 (MSS-003B)
  • Presbyterian Church in Utah collection. Series 3. Utah Presbyterian missionary records, 1871-1969 (MSS-003C)

Note on processing of the Presbyterian Church in Utah collection. Series 3. Missionary records, 1871-1969 (MSS-003C): The records concerning Frances R. Burke were largely collected by her biographers, David A. Hales and Sandra Dawn Brimhall. Photographs of Burke were removed and placed in the general (photograph) collection.


Collection materials are in English.


0.2 linear foot

Language of the Finding Aid:


Author of the Finding Aid:

Finding aid written April 2005 by Josh Ivie and expanded October 2015 by Sarah Shaw.

EAD Creation Date:

2015 October 29 by Sarah Shaw


Describing Archives : A Content Standard (DACS)



Related Material:

Related collections in Giovale Library Archives:

Related photographs in Giovale Library Archives:

The Giovale Library has many additional photographs and texts on the history of Presbyterianism in Utah and the Intermountain West available to researchers.

Related images held by Utah State Historical Society:

Subjects +/-

Corporate Names:

Wasatch Academy (Mt. Pleasant, Utah)--History--Sources
Westminster College (Salt Lake City, Utah : 1902-1983)--History--Sources

Subject Terms:

Missions to Mormons--Utah--History--Sources
Presbyterian Church--Utah--History--Sources
Utah--Church history--19th century
Utah--Church history--20th century
Women missionaries--Utah--History--Sources

Form or Genre Terms:

Catalogs (documents)
Clippings (information artifacts)
Lists (document genres)
Minutes (administrative records)
Publications (document genre)

Personal Names:

Burke, Frances Rosilla, 1846-1927
Martin, G. W. (George Washington), 1848-1919
McMillan, D. J. (Duncan James), 1846-1939
Wishard, S. E. (Samuel Ellis), 1825-1915

Geographical Names: