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William Fawcett Journal

 Collection — Box: WASH-SC-2
Identifier: WASH-047

Scope and Contents

This collection documents William Fawcett’s life, as well as, the life of his family. The bulk of the material created by Fawcett is from 1855-1887. The collection contains an original handwritten journal, reproductions of two photographs, a C.D., and a typed manuscript.

Fawcett wrote his journal as a testimony of his faith to his family and prosperity. It was important to him that his family know how the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ had affected every segment of his life. His journal depicts the time he lived in Malton, Yorkshire, England, when he sailed to the United States, his immigration to Utah, and the settling of St. George.

The subject matter includes conversion and baptism in the Latter Day Saint church, the trek across the plains from Nauvoo, Illinois to Salt Lake City, Utah. He was then appointed Justice of the Peace and helped build the St. George Temple. William’s journal went missing and was found being stored in the St. George Temple.


  • Majority of material found within 1855 - 1887, 2015


Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open and freely available to researchers during Special Collection’s hours or by appointment.

The original journal is in fragile condition, so we request researchers use the typed transcript.

Conditions Governing Use

Reproduction and use of the materials in this collection are subject to copyright law. Dixie State University Library Special Collections and Archives holds the copyright to unpublished material in the collection that is not in the public domain. Permission to publish, quote, or reproduce must be obtained from the Special Collections Librarian and Archivist and a correct citation provided. A user may be asked to submit a "Request for one-time use of photocopies or reproductions" form in order to obtain reproductions.

Biographical / Historical

William Fawcett was born in Malton, Yorkshire, England in 1814, and passed away in 1904. He became a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saint’s religion on January 1, 1840, and served as a missionary that same year in Yorkshire England. On January 31, 1846 William and Jane were sealed in the Nauvoo Temple.

Fawcett and his wife, Jane, left England in 1848 on the ship Santon with their two children. They were a part of a group of 200 converted Saints being led by Lorenzo Snow. They made their way to Nauvoo, Illinois arriving on April 12, 1848. Two years later, he made the trek across the plains to Salt Lake City, Utah with his wife and three children. They arrived in Salt Lake City, Utah on September 15, 1850.

On February 17, 1853 Fawcett was appointed Trustee, and built the first school building in Salt Lake City that was in the 6th Ward boundaries. He served as counselor to Bishop Hickenlooper of the Salt Lake 6th Ward. March 2, 1855 Fawcett was sealed to his second wife Mary Olsen. He was appointed Captain of Nauvoo Legion. October 23, 1855 Fawcett was called to head east on the Overland Trail to meet migrating Saints. He was to help bring Milo Andrus Company over the big mountain, and return with Bishop Smoot to the Green River. November 21, 1855 a canal was built to float granite to build the Salt Lake Temple. Fawcett volunteered to go to Fort Bridger and help the handcart companies trapped by the snow. He returned with 16 loads of supplies for the church. January 1857, Fawcett was promoted as Captain and Adjunct of the Nauvoo Legion when the United States sent soldiers to Utah. He guarded Salt Lake City when Colonel Johnson and his army entered the Great Salt Lake Valley, which is now known as the Utah War. March 26, 1861 Fawcett served on a committee to build the Union Bridge.

The first two missionaries to arrive in the St. George valley were William Fawcett and Robert Thompson. They arrived on November 25, 1861. Fawcett was appointed to be on a committee of three to help choose a site for the city of St. George. Fawcett was chosen to be a camp authority and be in charge of a surplus herd established in Heberville. He donated $20.00 to help build the first school building in St. George. February 1862 he was called to serve as 1st counselor in the St. George 1st Ward, as well as clerk of the 1st and 2nd Ward. March 22, 1862 Fawcett was chosen and sustained as local president of the High Priests Quorum.

In 1862 he was made Water Master of the City of St. George. August 4, 1862 he was elected Justice of the Peace for the Washington Precinct. August 29, 1864 Fawcett was made Secretary of the St. George Rio Virgin Ditch and Tunnel. July 28, 1865 Fawcett was appointed 1st Lieutenant with William Cameron as the Captain. In 1865 Fawcett was on a small committee that investigated and suggested what lands should be cultivated.


4 Files (4 folders in the WASH Small Collections box 2) : Diary, C.D., Photographs-Reproductions, Typed transcript of Journal.

Language of Materials



This collection consists of William Fawcett’s personal writings in an original handwritten journal from 1855-1887. The journal was transcribed in 2015. The collection includes a digital transcript of the journal on C.D., reproduction photographs, and a print of the typed transcript journal.


The William Fawcett papers are arranged in chronological and alphabetical order.
Tammy Gentry
September 2018
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Dixie State University Special Collections and Archives Repository

330 Holland Centennial Commons
225 South 700 East
Saint George 84770 United States