Utah History Encyclopedia


By Doris F. Salmon
Don Byron Colton was born near Mona, Juab County, on 15 September 1876. He moved with his parents to Uintah County in 1879, attending public schools and the Uintah Academy in Vernal. He graduated from Brigham Young University in 1896 and was engaged in teaching in 1898, 1901, and 1902. In 1903 he was a member of the Utah State House of Representatives. Colton graduated from the law department of the University of Michigan in 1905. He was admitted to the Utah bar the same year and began his law practice in Vernal. In addition, he engaged in ranching, sheep raising, and other business enterprises.

From 1905 to 1914 Colton was receiver of the United States Land Office at Vernal. He served as a state senator from 1915 to 1917. An active Republican, he was elected to the United States House of Representatives in 1920 and served in Congress until 1932, being reelected to six consecutive terms. As chairman of the Public Lands Committee, he was a proponent of the silver base for United States currency. He also served on the road committee and the irrigation and reclamation committee, and he sponsored much legislation important to western interests.

After an unsuccessful bid for reelection in 1932, Colton resumed the practice of law in Vernal. He was an unsuccessful candidate for the United States Senate in 1934. In 1937 he moved to Salt Lake City, where he continued the practice of law. He also maintained his interests in farming and stock raising. Still actively interested in politics, Colton was an unsuccessful candidate for governor in 1940.

Colton was a former president of the Uintah LDS Stake and also served as president of the LDS Eastern States Mission from 1933 to 1937. He married Mazie Hall in 1900. Following her death, he married Grace Stringham in 1909. He was the father of four children. He died in Salt Lake City on 1 August 1952 and was buried in Wasatch Lawn Memorial Park in Salt Lake City. At the time of his death, he was the director of the LDS Missionary Home.