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Washington County

From Histropedia - Utah
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Washington County is a county located in Utah's southwest region. The county was the fifth-most populous in Utah as of the 2020 United States Census, with a population of 180,279 people. St. George is its largest city and county seat. The county was established in 1852 and formally constituted in 1856. It bears the name of George Washington, the nation's first president. Western Washington County is home to a portion of the Paiute Indian Reservation. The Washington County Metropolitan Statistical Area is a part of St. George, Utah.

History[edit | edit source]

This region was home to the Anasazi Indians from 200 B.C. until about 1300 A.D.

The Paiute Indians arrived between 1100 and 1200 A.D. and have remained there to this day.

In 1776, the Dominguez-Escalante exploring party traveled through the region. This was the initial interaction between Paiutes and Europeans.

Jedediah Smith traveled through what is now Washington County in 1826 with his group. Smith and his troops proceeded toward California by following the Virgin River via the Virgin River Narrows. Following Smith's path to California in later years were traders, trappers, and explorers such as John C. Fremont, who surveyed the region in 1844.

Brigham Young dispatched Parley P. Pratt and fifty men in 1849 to investigate and assess the potential for colonization in the Virgin River Basin. After being impressed, Elder Pratt recommended further settlement. Latter-day Saint Indian missionaries and farmers started to settle the area within a few years.

The county was established by a territory legislature act on March 3, 1852. It bears George Washington's name. Appointed as the initial county seat was Harmony, one of the few villages in the area at the time. Washington County's original borders covered the whole region, or around 600 miles. The county seat was eventually moved to St. George, and the county borders were altered multiple times as the area was inhabited. The county achieved its present shape and size in 1892.

The possibility of a civil war was hovering over the US by the middle of the 1850s. In southern Utah, Brigham Young requested the Indian Missionaries to investigate the possibility of growing cotton there. President Young promptly began preparations to settle the Virgin River Basin after they reported in the positive. The Samuel Adair and Robert Covington Companies were asked to establish and plant cotton in southern Utah in 1857. In April of 1857, about forty families—most of whom had experience growing cotton—arrived in Washington, Utah. It was called "Dixie" region.

By act of the Territorial Legislature, the town of Washington became the county seat in 1859. However, St. George was established as the county seat on January 14, 1863, and has stayed that way ever since.

Communities[edit | edit source]

See Also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Washington County - Washington County Historical Society
  2. Washington County - Wikipedia
  3. History & Facts of Utah -