The First Statewide Pioneer Day Celebration
UPTLA Marker #14 in Brighton, Utah
The first statewide Pioneer Day celebration was held in this basin July 23-24, 1857. Headed by Brigham Young, the company reaching here July 23rd numbered 2,587 persons, with 464 oxen and cows.
A program of addresses, six brass bands, singing, athletic events, drills by six companies of militia, and dancing, was punctuated by salutes from a brass howitzer. U.S. flags were flown from the two highest peaks and two highest trees, the flag-tree in front of Brigham Young’s campsite being 70 feet N.W. of here. At noon July 24, Judson Stoddard and A.O. Smoot, 20 days from the states, with Elias Smith and O.P. Rockwell, arrived with news of the advance of Johnston’s Army against the “Mormons.” The company returned in orderly formation July 25th.
William Stuart Brighton was born in Lanarkshire, Scotland in 1829. He married Catherine Bow (born in 1827 at Sterling, Scotland) in 1850. He was baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1844. They immigrated to Missouri in 1855 with two children, one of whom was a two-year old daughter, Mary, who was buried at sea during the passage. They came to Utah in 1857 by handcart company. They had four sons born in the United States – Robert, William, Thomas, Daniel, and Janet, born in Scotland.
In 1871 William S. Brighton claimed over 100 acres at the top of Big Cottonwood Canyon. William and Catherine built the first hotel there at “Brighton” in 1874. It was razed in 1945. Later they added cottages, the original Brighton store, a post office, a telephone service, a dairy service, freight haulage, a bakery and a sawmill.
Catherine Bow Brighton named the lakes around Brighton – “Mary” after her infant daughter, “Catherine” after herself, “Martha” after a friend, etc. About 1887 the Brighton sons built the first telephone line through Brighton to Alta. The world famous ski resort and area is now permanently called “Brighton” after this early family.
William Stuart Brighton died in 1895 and Catherine Bow in 1894. They are buried in the Salt Lake City Cemetery.