Henry William Bigler: soldier, gold miner, missionary, chronicler, 1815-1900

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Utah State University Press, Sep 1, 1998 - Biography & Autobiography - 208 pages
In 1998 Californians and others celebrated the sesquicentennial of James Marshall's discovery of gold, on January 24, 1848. Surprisingly, this date wasn't confirmed until many years later, when California historians contacted an obscure St. George, Utah, Mormon temple worker named Henry Bigler. He had been one of several Mormon Battalion veterans employed by John Sutter, under Marshall's supervision, to construct the mill that was the site of the gold discovery. And it turned out that Henry, diligent as he always was, had kept the most immediate and accurate record of that event, which stimulated the gold rush and dramatically affected the course of the American West. Bigler kept other journals and observed or participated in other significant events in early Mormon and western history, from the Nauvoo exodus through western trail-blazing with the Mormon Battalion to proselyting in mid-nineteenth century Hawaii. But with the exception of brief fame in California after his diary account became known - including an expenses-paid commemorative trip there - he led a life of obscurity and poverty.
Biographer Guy Bishop set out to recover the whole life of this unpretentious figure and thereby to see the context of such a modest westerner's participation in uncommon experiences.

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The Making of a Mormon 183638
On the Forge 183945
Marching to the Pacific 184648

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About the author (1998)

M. Guy Bishop teaches history at Salt Lake Community College.