Guide to the Presbyterian Church in Utah collection. Series 1. Utah Synod church and mission 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 1. Utah Synod church and mission records
Dates: 1877-1978 (inclusive)
Collection Number: MSS-003A
Summary: This collection consists of church and mission records of the Utah Synod of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. The materials, dating from 1877-1978, include reports, deeds, mortagages, correspondence, photographs, newspaper articles, and other publications.
Repository: Westminster College, Giovale Library
1840 South 1300 East
Salt Lake City, Utah 84105
Phone: (801) 832-2250

Collection Inventory +/-

box 1, folder 1: American Fork (1 item removed to Box 4:1)
box 1, folder 2: Benjamin
box 1, folder 3: Brigham City (2 items removed to Box 4:2)
box 1, folder 4: Box Elder
box 1, folder 5: Cedar City (5 items removed to Box 4:3)
box 1, folder 6: Clinton
box 1, folder 7: Corinne Methodist Church historical sermon
box 1, folder 8: Delta
box 1, folder 9: Ephraim
box 1, folder 10: Fairview (1 item removed to Box 4:5)
box 1, folder 11: Ferron
box 1, folder 12: Fillmore
box 1, folder 13: Fort Douglas (Salt Lake City)
box 1, folder 14: Green River
box 1, folder 15: Gunnison
box 1, folder 16: Hyrum
box 1, folder 17: Idaho (2 items removed to Box 4:6)
box 1, folder 18: Kaysville
box 1, folder 19: Logan
box 1, folder 20: Malad, Idaho
box 1, folder 21: Manti (2 items removed to Box 4:7)
box 2, folder 1: Mendon
box 2, folder 2: Millville>
box 2, folder 3: Monroe (1 item removed to Box 4:8)
box 2, folder 4: Montpelier, Idaho
box 2, folder 5: Moroni (3 items removed to Box 4:9)
box 2, folder 6: Mount Pleasant (3 items removed to Box 4:10)
box 2, folder 7: Myton
box 2, folder 8: Nephi
box 2, folder 9: Ogden
box 2, folder 10: Panguitch
box 2, folder 11: Parowan (15 items removed to Box 4:12)
box 2, folder 12: Payson
box 2, folder 13: Pleasant Grove
box 2, folder 14: Price
box 2, folder 15: Richfield (14 items removed to Box 4:13)
box 2, folder 16: Richmond
box 3, folder 1: St. George
box 3, folder 2: Salina
box 3, folder 3: Samaria
box 3, folder 4: Scipio (2 items removed to Box 4:14)
box 3, folder 5: Silver Reef
box 3, folder 6: Smithfield
box 3, folder 7: Spanish Fork (3 items removed to Box 4:15)
box 3, folder 8: Spring City
box 3, folder 9: Springville
box 3, folder 10: Sugar House (Salt Lake City)
box 3, folder 11: Sunnyside (Salt Lake City)
box 3, folder 12: Westminster Presbyterian Church (Salt Lake City)
box 3, folder 13: Wellsville
box 4, folder 1: American Fork
box 4, folder 2: Brigham City (1903-1904)
box 4, folder 3: Cedar City (1887)
box 4, folder 4: Echo
box 4, folder 5: Fairview (1882)
box 4, folder 6: Idaho
box 4, folder 7: Manti
box 4, folder 8: Monroe
box 4, folder 9: Moroni
box 4, folder 10: Mount Pleasant
box 4, folder 11: Paris, Idaho
box 4, folder 12: Parowan
box 4, folder 13: Richfield
box 4, folder 14: Scipio
box 4, folder 15: Spanish Fork
box 4, folder 16: Toquerville

Biographical Note/Historical Note +/-

The first Utah Presbyterian congregation was officially organized on July 14, 1870 by Edward Bayliss, at Corinne (Box Elder County) in northern Utah. A year later, the second congregation was organized in Salt Lake City by Rev. Josiah Welch. In 1873, the third congregation was organized by J.P. Schell in the mining city of Alta. A school was opened in this church building within the following months (this school was the first Presbyterian attempt at improving the quality of education). The Alta church burnt down in 1879, and was never rebuilt. The Synod of Utah was created in October 1908, composed of the Ogden, Southern Utah, and Salt Lake City presbyteries.

Undeniably, the area where the Presbyterians particularly excelled was in education. The decrepit condition of Utah's school system spurred many Presbyterian ventures into the arena of private elementary education. Though the Presbyterians were only one of several non-Mormon groups to begin Utah schools in the latter half of the 19th century, they would produce the only two surviving schools of the forty-one established beginning in 1873, namely Wasatch Academy of Mt. Pleasant and Westminster College of Salt Lake City.

An example of this dedication to education (and the beginning of Wasatch Academy) can be found within the history of missionary Duncan J. McMillan. 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 that year 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.

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.

Source of information for this biographical/historical note:

Content Description +/-

This collection consists of church and mission records of the Utah Synod of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. The materials, dating from 1877-1976, include reports, deeds, mortagages, correspondence, photographs, newspaper articles, and other publications. The reports (annual, statistical, financial, school, etc.), and property titles/deeds that make up the majority of this collection, all have specific relations to the Utah Synod. This collection best represents the overall structure of the Presbyterian Church in Utah (and nearby Idaho) including the private correspondences of ministers, member lists (including donation lists), articles of incorporation,and meeting minutes.

The records in this collection are organized by Presbyterian canvass (city). The records reflect this organizational plan, and may also contain marginal information about nearby communities. The most common records represented are those concerning church property (i.e., deeds), correspondence regarding loans, mortgages, property reports, plus the occasional general history or abstract of the property.

Some canvasses offer extensive historical detail (primary and secondary records). These canvasses are the following: American Fork (records book, 1877–1896, and documents detailing the 1976 church renovation ), Benjamin (a historical manuscript), Brigham City (a church history, 1878–1978, with biographical information on the founding minister, Rev. Samuel Lovejoy Gillespie), Cedar City (letter addressed to W.M. Paden), Fort Douglas (historical publication, 1960), Kaysville (historical pamphlet, 1986 and other historical documents), Logan (a 1928 issue of Arial>, Logan Academy's official publication), Montpelier, Idaho (historical and property reports, 1884–1885), Mount Pleasant (historical documentation on Liberal Hall), Ogden (history, 1879–1979), Panguitch (publication >Golden Nuggets of Pioneer Days), Pleasant Grove (church register 1893–1902), Richfield (a short history), Springville (details of the construction of the Hungerford Academy), and Sugar House (newspaper articles on its founding).

To illustrated the depth of historical detail, The Kaysville records (Box 1, Folder 18) contains a monthly rental contract, correspondences (some addressed to Rev. William Paden), a plumbing receipt, notice of assessment (for irrigation), and a publication entitled The Kaysville Presbyterian Church (ca. 1966), and the aforementioned historical pamphlet.

The following canvasses consist entirely of statistical records (reports, lists of donors, property issues and applications for aid): Clinton, Delta, Green River, Gunnison, Malad, Manti, Monroe, Myton, Parowan, Price, Richmond, St. George, Salt Lake City (one report for the Westminster Presbyterian Church and one for the Salt Lake Collegiate Institute), Samaria, Smithfield, Spanish Fork, Sunnyside, and the Westminster Presbyterian Church.

Other canvasses contain only a single record, typically a statistical report. These canvasses are the following: Box Elder, Ephraim, Fairview, Ferron, Fillmore, Hyrum, Mendon, Millville, Moroni, Nephi, Payson, Salina, Scipio, Silver Reef, Spring City, and Wellsville. These reports were all authored by the Rev. George W. Martin.

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 1. Utah Synod church and mission records, 1877-1978, MSS-003A, Giovale Library Archives, Westminster College, Salt Lake City, Utah.

Administrative Information +/-


Arranged alphabetically by canvass (name of city), and thereunder, chronologically.

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, 1871-1969 (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 1. Utah Synod church and mission records, 1877-1976 (MSS-003A): Due to their fragile condition, large original newspaper clippings were not included in the collection. Slightly-oversized items were removed to a separate box at the end of the file to accomodate their length.


Collection materials are in English.


1.0 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 8 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 image held by Utah State University:

Subjects +/-

Corporate Names:

Community Presbyterian Church (Brigham City, Utah)
Hungerford Academy--History--Sources
Logan Academy (Utah)--History--Sources
Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. Presbytery of Ogden--History--Sources
Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. Presbytery of Salt Lake--History--Sources
Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. Presbytery of Southern Utah--History--Sources
Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. Synod of Utah--History--Sources
Wasatch Academy (Mt. Pleasant, Utah)--History--Sources

Subject Terms:

Presbyterian Church--Idaho--History--Sources
Presbyterian Church--Utah--History--Sources
Utah--Church history--19th century
Utah--Church history--20th century

Form or Genre Terms:

Clippings (information artifacts)
Histories (literature genre)

Personal Names:

Gillespie, Samuel Lovejoy, 1838-1909
Paden, William Mitchell, 1854-1931
Martin, G. W. (George Washington), 1848-1919
Nyman, Emil, 1892-1982
Reherd, Herbert Ware, 1869-1952

Geographical Names: