NATIONAL SOCIETY OF THE SONS OF UTAH PIONEERS
Sons of Utah Pioneers caravan from Nauvoo, 1947
The concept of the SUP (Sons of Utah Pioneers) goes back to the turn of
the century. In 1900 Senator Reed Smoot put forth the first efforts to bring
the society into existence, and Parley P. Jensen tried again in 1910. Neither
effort was wholly successful, but the idea was kept alive.
Little more was done until 1928 when the forerunner of the George Albert
Smith Chapter in Provo was organized and sustained for five years. It was
called simply "Sons." This chapter helped provide the basis for
the later organization of the Sons of Utah Pioneers.
In 1933 Lawrence T. Epperson convened ten men and began formulating the
constitution and by laws of the organization. The national society was officially
organized at this meeting and officers were chosen. Epperson was elected
the first president. On 29 March 1933 the National Society of the Sons of
Utah Pioneers was incorporated as a state society in Salt Lake City, Utah.
The society was formed with the idea of keeping the memory of the Utah pioneers
alive. It was to be non-sectarian and non-political. Members could be of
any race or creed but would be brought together because of an interest in
perpetuating the ideals and history of the early pioneers. "Pioneer"
originally referred to those who came before the railroad on 10 May 1869,
but this concept, while predominantly the basis of the society, has grown
to include others who pioneered later.
Membership has grown to about 2,400 at the present time. Life memberships
or annual memberships may be purchased; the money collected helps run the
organization. The national headquarters building is in Salt Lake City at
3301 East 2920 South; it is located on the edge of the hollow coming out
of the mouth of Parley's Canyon. It is an appropriate location because it
was from Parley's Canyon that many pioneers came into the valley. The building
houses a growing research library where anyone can come to research their
ancestors. Donations of manuscript histories, genealogical information,
and other items of historical interest are welcomed. Building tours are
offered, and the building is open five days a week. The building also is
used for chapter dinner meetings, family gatherings, dinners, golden wedding
anniversaries, seminars, and other community activities.