Category Archives: History of Pioneer Days

Why Do We Have A Celebration On July 24th

Pioneer Day is a state holiday in Utah. It is celebrated on July 24th each year to commemorate the entry of Brigham Young and the first group of Mormon pioneers into Utah’s Salt Lake Valley in 1847. The 24th celebration honors the bravery of the original settlers and their strength of character and physical endurance. Many families in St. Johns, Arizona have ancestors who were a part of this pioneer movement and were sent to settle St. Johns and the surrounding towns.

The First Pioneer Day Celebration: “The first statewide pioneer day celebration was held in this basin (Brighton, Utah) July 23-24, 1857. Headed by Brigham Young, the company reaching here (Brighton) July 23rd numbered 2,587 persons, with 464 carriages & wagons, 1,028 horses & mules, and 332 oxen & cows. A program of addresses, six brass bands, singing and dancing, was punctuated by salutes from a brass howitzer. U.S. flags were flown from two highest peaks and two highest trees . . .At noon July 24, Judson Stoddard . . . arrived with news of the advance of Johnson’s army against the “Mormons.” The company returned in orderly formation July 25th.”   (Inscription on a Monument in Brighton, Utah)


Early Baptismal Font

 2015-06-06 Old Mill in St. Johns (2) 4000x3000

“We reached St. Johns the evening of Monday, April 12, 1886. The thing I remember best was . . . the wonders of a Mexican town with its business signs in Spanish and a new flour mill that had just been running a few days.” (Excerpt of a journal entry found in the St. Johns Stake Centennial Book.) The main building of this old mill is still standing off of Water Street on Mill Street, just below Coronado Elementary. They could dam up the water in the mill stream to make it deep enough for baptisms, which is exactly what they did from the late 1880’s into the early 1900’s. You may have had an ancestor baptized there.

St. Johns in the Old Days

St. Johns street view of 1919.

Water Truck - Benjamin Richen hauling drnking water from McIntosh Spring, delivered to residents for 5 cents a bucket.

Water Truck – Benjamin Richen hauling drnking water from McIntosh Spring, delivered to residents for 5 cents a bucket.

St. Johns Drug

Blacksmith Shop owned by Marinns Christensen

Blacksmith Shop owned by Marinns Christensen


Covered wagons entering St. Johns.

Joseph Stradling, an early pioneer settler of St. Johns. He farmed all his life on a farm south of St. Johns.