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William Horne Dame diaries

 File — Folder: 1
Identifier: MSS 820

Scope and Contents

Typewritten copies of personal diaries by Dame, kept from 1854 to 1855. Entries are short and mainly relate to Dame's various activities. Also included is the "Journal of Southern Exploring Company," an expedition led by Dame to areas of Iron County, Utah, to find suitable locations for Mormon settlements in 1858. Diary lists the members of the expedition. Dame describes the activities of the group including the surveying of lots and the planting of crops.


  • 1854-1858


Conditions Governing Access

Open for public research.

Conditions Governing Use

It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain any necessary copyright clearances. Permission to publish material from William Horne Dame diaries must be obtained from the Supervisor of Reference Services and/or the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Board of Curators.

Biographical History

William Horne Dame (1819-1884) was a Mormon pioneer, first mayor of Parowan, Colonel of the local Nauvoo Legion, representative in the Utah Territorial Legislature, and president of the Parowan Stake (1854-1880).

William Horne Dame, son of Jeremiah and Susan Horne Dame, was born in Farmington, New Hampshire, on July 15, 1819. As a young man, William was introduced to his aunt Dame's sister, Lovinna Andrews; they married in 1838, and were converted and baptised into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints three years later. In 1844, William was called by Joseph Smith to come to Nauvoo, where he was ordained to the Eighth Quorum of Seventy and helped to build the Nauvoo Temple. William and Lovinna crossed the plains to Salt Lake arriving in September 1848. In 1850, they were called to settle in southern Utah, during which journey William became Order Sergeant of the Iron County Militia. He was later named county surveyor, then Mayor of the newly-settled Parowan; he was also promoted to 1st Lieutenant in the militia. In September 1851, William and Lovinna were endowed and sealed together in the Salt Lake Endowment House. The following April (1852), William was called to establish a tannery at Red Creek (near Parowan); he and others also built Fort Dame there, and William was called as bishop of what would later become Paragonah. In May, he was called by Brigham Young to be part of the High Council of the Parowan Stake. Due to increasing difficulty with Indians, Paragonah was abandoned in 1853 and William and Lovinna moved back to Parowan; here William was called to embrace plural marriage. He took Virginia Lovina Newman as a second wife (May 18, 1854), and later Sarah Ann Carter (February 10, 1856) as a third; in September 1856 he was sealed to both Virginia and Sarah in the Endowment House. Shortly after his marriage to Virginia, Dame was unanimously elected as Colonel of the Zion Military District of the Nauvoo Legion (highest position in Iron County); in August of the same year, he was also elected as Representative in the Utah Territorial Legislature, and earlier in January called as President of the Parowan Stake. In 1857, Dame and 113 others accompanied Brigham Young to the Oregon Territory (Idaho) to negotiate and make peace with the northern tribes (Bannock, Shoshone, etc.).

In September of that year, the infamous Mountain Meadows Massacre took place southwest of Cedar City. As local Colonel of the Nauvoo Legion and regional Stake President, the extent of Dame's involvement in the actual event has been debated by scholars; but he was acquitted of all involvement in August 1858. Earlier that year, in February, Dame was asked by Elder George A. Smith to organize a company and scout out supplies and hiding places in the desert west of the county in anticipation of that necessity due to the ongoing Utah War (60-65 were gathered and sent; they found no hiding places, but many natural springs). In March 1860, William was called on a mission to England; he spent much of his two years there presiding over the Manchester Conference (sadly, after six months away, he received a letter from Sarah revealing that she was leaving him). He was released in April 1862 due to ill health, bringing back 8-year-old Rachel Pass with him to Utah. She lived with the Dame family until her marriage at the age of twenty (William and his wives also raised William Albert McBride and his sister Mable). In October 1862, William returned to Parowan and his duties as Stake President and Colonel. In 1866, he was appointed postmaster of Parowan, and called as Tithing Agent of Parowan Stake. In 1868, he was called to be President of the Parowan School of the Prophets. In December of that year, he took a fourth wife, Lydia Ann Killian, being sealed in the Salt Lake Endowment House. In 1874, Dame was again arrested over his 'involvement' with the Mountain Meadows Massacre and served time in both the Salt Lake Penitentiary and a prison in Beaver. Not long after a guarded visit home during his transfer from one to the other, Lydia also left him. William eventually went to trial in Beaver in May 1876, and was acquitted in October 1878; after which he was re-elected County Recorder, serving in this capacity for the rest of his life. In March 1880, after 24 years, he was released as Parowan Stake President. On August 15, 1884, while writing letters at home, William suffered paralysis of the brain; he died later that day, at the age of 65.


1 folder (0.08 linear ft.) : 15 p.

Language of Materials



19th Century Western and Mormon Manuscript.

Register of William Horne Dame diaries
Rose Frank
20 April 2011
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English in Latin script.

Repository Details

Part of the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Repository

1130 HBLL
Brigham Young University
Provo Utah 84602 United States