His Vision Founded A State
American history is full of visionaries who dared to try great things, but of very few people can it be said that their work led to the founding of a state. Roger Williams, founder of Rhode Island, is one such man. Another is Joseph Smith, whose vision led to the settling and founding of Utah.
Today is the 200th anniversary of Joseph Smith's birth. Born Dec. 23, 1805, in Sharon, VT, Joseph went on to found the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. When it was clear that the Mormon community he led in Nauvoo, Illinois, was going to be forced out of the state in the mid-1840s, he started making plans to move the settlers to the northernmost Mexican lands to the west. Although Smith was martyred prior to making the move, his followers, led by Brigham Young, fulfilled Joseph's vision and established several viable colonies in what was basically unsettled desert (which was transferred from Mexico to the U.S. very soon thereafter). Utah became a territory three years after the colonists arrival, and a state in 1896.
All in all, not a bad legacy for a poor farmer's son...