WASHINGTON COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY (Washington County, Utah)
DIXIE COTTON MISSION
HISTORYBy the mid-1850s, the reality of civil war hung over the United States. Brigham Young asked the Indian Missionaries in southern Utah to see if cotton could be grown in there. When they reported in the affirmative, President Young immediately made plans to colonize the Virgin River Basin. In 1857, the Samuel Adair and Robert Covington Companies were called to settle southern Utah and to grow cotton. Nearly 40 families, mostly with cotton growing experience (from Mississippi, Alabama, Virginia, Texas, and Tennessee), arrived in Washington Utah in April of 1857. The region was dubbed "Dixie".
The families endured the summer's blistering heat and were forced to continually rebuild their washed out dams on the Virgin River. Due to the alkali soil, the cotton crops did not completely germinate as expected, resulting in a limited harvest. A spirit of frustration and hopelessness overcame many of the early settlers. Any by the time the Civil War ended, the economics no longer justified growing cotton in Utah's Dixie.
REFERENCES"The Cotton Mission"
Article by Juanita Brooks
Utah Historical Quarterly (UHQ), Volume 29, Number 3 (Summer 1961)
"Utah's Dixie, The Cotton Mission"
Article edited by A R Mortensen
Utah Historical Quarterly, Volume 29, Number 3 (July 1961)
"Utah's Dixie: The Cotton Mission"
Book by A. Russell Mortensen
Salt Lake City: Utah State Historical Society, 1961
"The Dixie Cotton Mission"
VHS Video by Brigham Young University, 1996
SOUTHERN UTAH MEMORIES: The Washington City Cotton Mill Factory
by Loren R. Webb, August 12, 2012