The history behind Virgin River Cotton Mission

The history behind Virgin River Cotton Mission

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.

New flags fly over the Legion Hall

New flags fly over the Legion Hall

Last year a major storm knocked down several flagpoles that held banners of the American Legion. The damage was critical, and the organization had to change their home due to it. But the new house wasn’t complete without flying flags that would give it a historical look it deserves.

The organization issued a call for people that wanted to donate their historical flags to the organization so it could fly them high at their new home. “Hatch gives the new flag to Legion Hall” was the headline that captured the interest of many people who had an interest in preserving the history of the nation as well as allies of the USA.

When people unite everything is possible

The American Legion found a new home quite quickly, but the problem was the lack of flagpoles where they could fly their flags. Donations from individuals and various organizations took care of that. They were able to raise two big flagpoles thanks to the goodwill of other groups.

Donations weren’t just limited to money as people came and gave them items from various conflicts throughout the history. Flags were the part of contributions as well. It’s important to note that Vietnam Veterans Associations donated two large (25 and 30 foot) flagpoles to the American Legion.

Those two were set along the Lazy Jack’s flag that was flown on a flagpole that the Legion managed to salvage from their previous home. One of those two flagpoles became home to one big American flag that was donated by Jim Haskell. The flag belonged to one of his family members that served in the WW1. That family member received it from French military that honored all American veterans that took part in the World War One.

The night of the grand opening

Legion HallThe American flag that honored World War One was revealed on the night of the opening of the new home of the American Legion. It was accompanied by POW/MIA flag as well as Minnesota state flag. It’s sad to say that the American flag won’t spend a lot of time on the flagpole due to its wear. It will find its final resting place inside the building along with many other items that celebrate the rich history of the USA and its allies. Everyone that is interested in this flag and other war memorabilia can visit the new home of The American Legion and look at the collection they have in the display.

- Advertisement -