City Creek Nature Notes – Salt Lake City

July 27, 2017

July 24th Revised, Reposted

Filed under: History, People — canopus56 @ 10:17 pm


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Brigadier General Philippe Régis Denis de Keredern de Trobriand circa 1860 to 1870. United States Library of Congress.

5 p.m. Near milepost 0.6, someone has made a small memorial on the passing of a local pastor. It is a simple affair. A poem with his photo that was clipped from the newspaper has been inconspicuously pinned at the base of a small tree. It would go completely unnoticed but the bereaved also scattered a trail of white blue rose petals for a couple of hundred yards leading to the monument. At its base, four or five each of now faded white and red rose petals below the newspaper clipping. He was a clinical pastor and also on the board of directors of Saint Mark’s Hospital. His obituary hints at an even more complex personality. His undergraduate degree was in chemistry but then he switched and obtained a masters in divinity studies. He must have resolved the modern dichotomy between science and religion. This shows another use of the canyon: as scared and memorial space.

Sept. 26th. 5:30 p.m. New flower blooms have been placed at the base of this memorial tree.

November 14th, 4:30 p.m. The flower memorial has blown away and no trace of it can be found.

* * * *

On July 4th, 1871, Fort Douglas commander Brigadier General Philippe Régis Denis de Keredern de Trobriand averted a massacre by refusing to open fire on a July 4th parade led by Brigham Young. As part of preparations for the July 4th parade of 1871, Salt Lake City officials planned to have the City parade led by the Navuoo Legion and Brigham Young (Grandstaff 1996, Deseret News and Van Leer, Nov. 19th, 1996). At that time, Salt Lake City’s mayor was Daniel Wells who also an apostle of the LDS Church and a lieutenant general in the Navuoo Legion. The then federally-appointed Utah Territorial Secretary George A. Black had previously issued a proclamation prohibiting any local militia from mustering, drilling, or parading (Grandstaff at 217). In context, 1871 was still a few short years after the end of the Civil War, and during the era of Reconstruction, such proclamations were used in the South to prevent a return of the Confederacy. Black and Utah’s Territorial Governor George L. Woods desired to prevent the Mormon Legion from marching in the parade. de Trobiand refused to enforce the proclamation and requested to guidance from his supervising officer, Brevet Brigadier General Christopher Augur, of the Army’s Platte Department in Omaha, Nebraska. Auger directed de Trobriand to prevent the Legion from marching and to use force if needed (Grandstaff at 218). On the critical date of July 3rd, 1871, Black was the acting-Territorial Governor.

Woods was an Oregon attorney during the early 1860s and did not serve in the Civil War, and Black’s Civil War service is unknown. General deTrobriand was a French aristocrat who had served in the Civil War at the Battles of Williamsburg and Gettysburg, including at the bloody battle of the Wheatfield. Civil War photographer Timothy O’Sullivan, after whom O’Sullivan Peak in Big Cottonwood Canyon is named, gained national recognition for his photograph of war dead entitled the “Harvest of Death” taken at Gettysburg’s Wheatfield battleground.

Around July 3rd, Black met with de Trobriand (Grandstaff at 218). de Trobriand refused acting governor Black’s order to fire on any armed Navuoo Legion members in the parade, but stated that Black was free to personally issue the order to de Trobriand’s troops. On July 3rd, de Trobriand deployed armed troops carrying 40 rounds each of ammunition along the parade route near the existing Alta Club and on the delta of City Creek Canyon stream. Next, de Trobriand met with Brigham Young. Young took the position that the Navuoo Legion would march and stated that the Legion could easily defeat the federal troops if necessary. de Trobriand’s replied that, “[it] would not inconvenience the United States in the least, but would ensure the prompt and thorough destruction of Mormonism” (Grandstaff at 219).

The next day as the federal troops waited for the start of the July 4th parade, Brigham Young exited the parade marshalling area in what is now Memory Grove leading a group of young teen women crowned with flowers. The Legion did not march. de Trobriand deftly navigated a difficult domestic peace-keeping dispute between two opposing sets of civilian authorities and averted a public massacre in the streets of Salt Lake City.

Brigadier General de Trobriand is memorialized at Fort Douglas with De Trobriand Street, the street that runs in front of the Fort Douglas Commander’s House at 1965 De Tobriand St., University of Utah, Fort Douglas, Salt Lake City, Utah. The Commander’s House is now a reception and meeting center run by the University of Utah Guest House.

* * * *

On July 24th, 2006, the Deseret News reported on the history of the Lone Cedar Tree monument at 300 South and 500 East. The Lone Cedar Tree originally grew at a corner store at the intersection. In 1933, the dead tree was placed in its monument. In 1958, vandals cut the tree down. In 1960, the stump of the tree was installed in the monument, and then the stump was stolen. It was replaced with the present stone monument. On July 24th, 1905, Thomas Homer, the owner of new automobile, bet Dr. W. F. Beer, the owner of a horse drawn carriage, that Homer could take his car anywhere that Beer’s carriage could go (Salt Lake Telegram). On July 24th, 1897, the Salt Lake Tribune profiled four of the twenty-eight still living pioneers of 1847, and the paper reported that the first Euro-American death in the valley was the death of three-year old child of George Therikill. The child wandered off from the pioneer camp on August 11th and drown in City Creek Canyon (Salt Lake Tribune). The Tribune reported that it procured 91 photographs of the original 168 advance party pioneers. On July 24th, 1894, boys camping in City Creek Canyon set off a small brush fire (Salt Lake Tribune). On July 24th, 1886, the Salt Lake Herald endorsed a proposal to build a twenty-five mile road from Morgan County down City Creek Canyon so perishable dairy products could reach Salt Lake without longer trip through Parley’s Canyon (Salt Lake Herald).


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