Heritage Gateways

Official Sesquicentennial K-12 Education Project
sponsored by the Utah State Board of Education, the BYU-Public School Partnership and the Utah Education Network

Pioneer Student Work

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Pioneer: Orrin Porter Rockwell (Eric - 4th Grade)

Description: 4th Grade Eric's picture to accompany his report on pioneer Orrin Porter Rockwell.
Image courtesy of: Heritage Gateway Project Images, These images have been gathered to support the Sesquicentennial celebration of the immigration to Utah.

Porter Rockwell was born in Belcher, Hampshire County, Massachusetts in the year 1813. This Utah Pioneer was known as a frontiersman and a plainsman and was also reputed as the Mormon "Destroying Angel." He was known in many newspapers in his day as a gunman and religious zealot.

Porter Rockwell was a settler in Missouri about the time he was caught up in the Mormon War of 1838. People who lived in Missouri and who were Mormon had to leave Missouri by the order of Governor Lilburn W. Boggs. The order was called an "extermination order." Porter Rockwell at the time was with the "Danites" who were Mormon church members who defended theirselves against antagonists. Porter Rockwell was accused of trying to assassinate Governor Boggs in the year 1842. Boggs survived the shooting. Porter Rockwell was freed from jail after that with no indictment brought against him. Porter Rockwell was known for his long hair in which he never cut.

Porter Rockwell was a great lawman known for his reputation. He became a legend in his own time. He attracted all kinds of attention from newspapers and journalists to world travelers including Brigham Young. The Salt Lake Tribune states that he "participated in at least a hundred murders" and was known as one of the best known early Mormon settlers to Utah. He was well known as Brigham Young.

Orrin Porter Rockwell died in Salt Lake City, Utah on June 9, 1878 of natural causes. At the time he died, he was awaiting trial for the murder of John and William Aiken who were part of the Aiken party from California in November of 1857. Orrin Porter Rockwell's grave is located in the Salt Lake City Cemetery.