Many people say that Virgin River Cotton Mission is Monument to Pioneer History, even though they know little to nothing about the life of people during that time. The Dixie mission that saw hundreds of families move to southwestern Utah with a goal to produce enough cotton for members of the church encountered many hardships that little people know about.

The goal of this mission was to end the reliance on eastern markets for the cotton as the southwest of Utah was perfect for its growth. This region had several communities, and the influx of new people strengthened them. This was a proof that pioneers were the solution for the development of America.

The trouble in the southern region

The mission didn’t find success in all part of Utah. History lessons forget to mention the disaster in the Southern region where pioneers encountered many hardships that prevented them from fulfilling their goals. Settlers had to work to survive, and that made it impossible for them to fulfill goals set at the beginning of the mission. The cruel environment was mostly to blame for this.

Many inhabitants from Dixie gave up on the hard life and moved elsewhere to seek their future. The problem was the untamable Virgin River that responded with floods to every attempt to tame it. Water was essential for survival, and yet the river was unpredictable which made it impossible to grow anything. Those that tried ended up losing their entire crop. The land around the river was susceptible to erosion because it was flooded on a regular basis.

The land of the floods

Virgin RiverThe year 1861 was particularly devastating due to heavy rain that struck the area. Virgin River, along with all of its tributaries had high floods that wiped out many small settlements. Flood took everything from crop to houses, and that meant the end of many small towns.

Following years were also harsh as constant flooding of the Virgin River made it impossible to grow anything at a large scale. The biggest issue was that floods swept away fertile land and left behind nothing but rocks and clay.

Those that survived floods had to deal with Indians. The troubles with Indians escalated in 1865 during the Black Hawk War. This three-year war resulted in the migration of many farmers that had to move from place to place to avoid the wrath of Indians.


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