The following is from the History of Brigham Young:

The eastern mail arrived, there was not much news. Congress has not been able to elect a speaker. The spirit of disunion appears to run very high in the political world.

In the evening the Regency met at the President’s Office. Those present of the quorum were Pres. Brigham Young, Erastus Snow and Capt. Gibson. Pres. Young announced his intention of hiring Orson Pratt Jr., and James Cobb as teachers of a Free High School to be kept in the Wilkin House on Union Square, to be called the Union Academy, Orson Pratt, Sr., to be superintendent. The president said he would lay the matter before the conference on April next for sanction. The Academy to be sustained from the tithing, if the conference approved of it. Chancellor Pratt concurred in the President’s remarks and spoke at length of the utility of high schools, for the development of the sciences, and the agricultural and mechanical resources of the country—illustrating the benefits accruing from a knowledge of mathematics, etc.

Illustrations on the back in the Deseret Alphabet and its applications to the languages of the inhabitants of Oceanica were given by Geo. D. Watt.

Pres. Young wished the Regency to magnify their callings, visit the schools throughout the territory, lecture on education and law, the sciences, etc. and call on others to lecture.

[Journal History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Feb. 20, 1860, 1]
[History of Brigham Young, 1860:39]

[transcribed and proofread by David Grow, May 2006]


By President Brigham Young, Tabernacle, April 8, 1860

Reported by G.D. Watt

Pertaining to the school that br. Hyde has been mentioning, we shall devote the large building on the east side of Union Square to school purposes. Tuition will be free, and the school will begin tomorrow morning, with Orson Pratt, jun., and James Cobb, teachers, under the supervision of Orson Pratt, sen. The Union Academy is designed exclusively for boys and young men. So soon as we have a suitable building we intend to open an academy for females, in which they will be taught the common branches of English education—music, and probably, some of the modern languages.

We wish those who attend the Union Academy to qualify themselves to be useful to themselves and this community, as speedily as possible. We shall urge the study of mathematics, and more particularly their practical application, that as many as have a taste and aptness may become familiar with surveying, which they can fit themselves for in a very short time. There are but few here who are practical surveyors, and we wish that number increased.

One of the teachers will probably attend to the rudiments of education, though we prefer to have scholars tolerably well advanced in arithmetic, writing, reading and grammar; still it may be requisite at the start to admit some in the elementary branches.

I gave it as my opinion, that you may go to any part of the United States, or of the world, where parents are not obliged by law to send their children to school, and you will find more schools in the midst of the people, notwithstanding their poverty, their drivings, sufferings, and persecutions, and more persons that can read and write, in proportion to our population, than in any other place on this earth. You may select any community, of the same number, and in this particular we will favorably compare with the best of them, and I think we are ahead of them. But this furnishes us no reason for keeping children from school.

There are many who are anxious to teach school, if the people will encourage them. The people have the privilege of sending their children to school, for there are plenty of teachers and plenty of rooms in every town and neighborhood. However, it is often the case that, when they have sent their children one or two quarters, they neglect paying the teacher.

Some say they are not able to send their children to school. In such a case, I think I would rise in the morning, wash myself, take a little composition, and try, if possible, to muster strength enough to send my children to school and pay their tuition like a man. When you have done this, if you are still unable, apply to some of your neighbors to assist you.

Men able to ride in their carriages and not able or unwilling to pay their children’s tuition ought, I think, to have a little composition, or catnip tea, and then, perhaps they will be able to send their children to school. I know such persons are weak and feeble, but the disease is in the brain and heart, not in the bones, flesh and blood. Send your children to school.

As I have before remarked, there will be no charge for tuition in the Union Academy, and we will learn whether the young men will go to school and qualify themselves for doing business and becoming useful in this world. Compare those who had their education before they came here with the boys who were born and brought up in this church, in the midst of our being driven, and I will furnish you ten gray-headed men who cannot reckon up the simplest account in figures, where you can find one of our boys fifteen years old that cannot. That is the difference between this people, with all the ignorance alleged against them pertaining to the learning of the day, and the professed learned world. I want them still to advance and increase….

[Journal History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Apr. 8, 1860, 1-2]
[Deseret News, 8:105]

[transcribed and proofread by David Grow, May 2006]


New Advertisements.
Union Academy.

The Union Academy will re-open on Monday, the 15th of October. There is still room for a number of pupils.

Orson Pratt, jr.,
James Cobb.

[Deseret News, Sept. 26, 1860]

[transcribed and proofread by David Grow, May 2006]


School Teachers’ Association.

G.S.L. City, Oct. 29, 1860.
Editor Des. News:–

Dear Sir:

Knowing the lively interest you have always felt in connexion with the work of education among this isolated community, induces me to report the recent organization of the Deseret School Teachers’ Assocation, which has for its object, to promote the advancement and concentrate the efforts of school teachers in this city; and, as opportunities offer, throughout the Territory; to correspond with societies of a similar character wherever established, and also to aim at the attainment of uniformity in connexion with the practice of school teaching, by means of lectures, lessons, essays, readings, illustrations and criticisms.

Constitution, Etc.

1st. This Association shall consist of a President, two Vice Presidents, Secretary and Treasurer, to be elected semi-annually on the 7th of April, and 7th of October; and an unlimited number of members, who are, or have been practical school teachers.

2d. The following shall be honorary members, viz:–The Chancellor, and Board of Regents of the Deseret University. The Superintendent of Common Schools, County Superintendents of Schools. The several Boards of Examination. The Public Reporters, and Members of the Press, with such others as the President and Vice Presidents shall deem proper.

3d. Each member of the association shall be entitled to vote, in relation to all questions pertaining to the control of its affairs, and be responsible for his quota of the expenses incurred.

4th. Ten members in rotation shall have the privilege of admitting a friend to the weekly meetings, by ticket.

5th. This association adopts the two-third rule in voting.


1. The association shall meet every Friday evening, at 7 o’clock.

2. A quorum shall consist of one-fourth of the ordinary members of the association.

3. The initiation fee shall be one dollar, for the benefit of the library.

4. The subject of all intended lessons, etc., shall be presented in writing, to the president for his consideration, selection, and presentation to the association.

Orson Pratt, Jr., President,
James Cobb,
G.W. Mousley, Vice Presidents,
W. Willes, Secretary,
H.W. Church, Treasurer.

Yours, faithfully,
W. Willes, Secretary.

[Deseret News, Oct. 31, 1860]

[transcribed and proofread by David Grow, May 2006]

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