Women of Caliber, Women of Cache Valley
“O what a beautifull valley.”
-Mary Ann Weston Maughan
In July 1856, six men explored Cache Valley in search of an area to locate a group of settlers from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Brigham Young then instructed them to establish a permanent community in the valley. A small group of Mormon pioneers arrived in September 1856. At the head of the first wagon was a woman, Mary Ann Maughan. While singularly caring for her “little ones,” Maughan guided the team that pulled her wagon from Tooele into the valley. Since then, the continued development of Cache Valley communities has consistently relied upon the involvement of women. No strangers to controversy, Cache Valley women have a history of challenging popular definitions of “womanhood” while simultaneously venerating the “traditional” responsibilities of women.
Throughout American history, social expectations and professional opportunities for women have changed and evolved. This evolution is reflected in the historical narratives of women from Cache Valley, who for more than a century have faced social, cultural, and economic challenges to which they responded in various ways. Despite their differences, an emphasis on certain core values revealed commonalities among women across the decades. These include family, individuality, creativity, education, service, record keeping, leadership, women’s rights, and civic awareness. This exhibit explores how their contributions shaped Cache Valley history and reveals how women interpreted and understood their roles and responsibilities within their communities.
Emily Crumpton (exhibit creation)
Clint Pumphrey (manuscript curator)
Dan Davis (photograph curator)