Dear 100 Hour Board,
I'm working on a biography about some of my ancestors, and I've come across something that I can't seem to find the answer to. I'm hoping you experienced researchers will have access to the answer.
I know that some of my pioneer ancestors were called to the Cotton Mission, and others to the Muddy Mission. Both missions seem to be about the same time period (1861/1863-1871), and in roughly the same area. Some people say the Cotton Mission was successful, but the Muddy Mission wasn't. It seems like these might be the same mission, or the maybe the Cotton Mission was started first, then extended down to what was then called the Muddy Mission. I'm having trouble finding some actual data on this issue. Can you help? Were they both the same or were they different and distinct? Maps would be wonderful if you can locate them, as well. My ancestors in the Cotton Mission were living in Harrisburg, UT and the ones in the Muddy Mission were in Santa Clara,UT.
-Sure Love My Ancestors
Dear Me Tooooo!,
As I was searching about these two missions, the takeaway that I've gotten is that these were two missions were for mostly settlement purposes, and to grow cotton.
The Cotton Mission is also called the Dixie Cotton Mission. I found this source at first, that had the Utah Historical Quarterly as one of their references. In one of their publications was an entire section on The Cotton Mission! (Click on "THE COTTON MISSION, by Juanita Brooks" under the Table of Contents on the left) and you'll be able to read all about the mission. It also had a map!
(Thank you whoever digitized this map and cut off some of it.)
The Dixie Cotton Mission was first established in 1854. The article talks a lot about how it was developed.
The Utah Historical Quarterly had a map of the Muddy Mission that was established in 1865. It's about 50 miles northeast of Las Vegas. (source)
The map is a little hard to read, but it's found here all the way at the bottom of this article. I apologize for not reading the entirety of this article, as it states it's a 35-minute read. As I learned more about this mission, it seems like no one really wanted to move here. But as I skimmed through some of it, it stated,
"The settlement on the Muddy River very likely had a twofold purpose. It was a part of the Southern Utah Cotton Mission; and the Muddy Valley, at a lower elevation, possessed ample water for irrigation, a warmer and much longer growing season, and was much better adapted for the cultivation of cotton than Utah's Dixie."
So there you have it, the Cotton Mission was established first, and then the Muddy Mission was created nine years later as part of the Cotton Mission. But they are two distinct areas.