About Utah Westerners

Utah Westerners History

The idea of organizing a “Utah Westerners” organization was first suggested in September 1967 by C. Gregory Crampton, A.R. Mortensen and book dealer Sam Weller. Having chewed it over, they concluded that such an organization was long overdue in Utah. Using Sam Weller’s mailing list of Western Americana customers, they wrote a letter under date of October 5, 1967, spelling out their proposal:

We all know that in many another state, and in some other countries, there are Posses of Westerners who meet together in good fellowship to talk about western history, to publish and hear about western history to have a good time while doing it.

Here we are in the very heart of the West, with more history around us and more to talk about than a good many areas, and it seems to us that the time is here to organize a Utah Posse of Westerners.

We are addressing this letter to you as one who has demonstrated in a significant way your love of western history, and it is being sent to about fifty other prominent citizens.

We are inviting you to attend a meeting to discuss the matter further and to effect an organization of a Utah Posse of Westerners, this to be held on October 17 at 7:00 p.m. in the Men’s Grill at the Town House Athletic Club, 158 South Third East, Salt Lake City. One dollar will cover the refreshment costs. We would be pleased to see you there.


C. Gregory Crampton

Western History Center, Dir.

Sam Weller

Zion Book Store.

The letter flushed historians and history buffs into the open and filled the Men’s Grill. Before the night was over a search committee had been chosen to do the detail work.

Executive Board formed

In the weeks that followed, the committee sounded out prospective founding members and created a charter executive board consisting of: David L. Bigler, president; Harold Schindler, vice president; W. D. Aeschbacher, secretary; Everett L. Cooley, treasurer, with Crampton, Mortensen and Weller filling out the Board of Directors.

Through the corporate membership of U.S. Steel, his employer, Bigler arranged to have the Utah Westerners meet at Salt Lake City’s venerable Alta Club each month.

The next organizing letter announced that “Utah Westerners” had been born and that its first dinner meeting would convene December 7. 1967, in the Alta Club to hear University of Colorado professor of history Robert G. Athern, speak on “The Union Pacific Comes to Utah,” from a manuscript work in progress.

Attending the December 7, 1967 meeting were:

Weldon S. Abbott

W.D Aeschbacher

Leonard Arrington

David L. Bigler

Arthur T. Challis

Wallace L. Chambers

Everett L. Cooley

C. Gregory Crampton

S. George Ellsworth

Chad J. Flake

Hugh C. Garner

Roy Hudson

John James

Theron H. Luke

Jack Merrill

Brigham D. Madsen

Murray H. Moler

A. Russell Mortensen

Earl E. Olson

Aaron B. Ross

W.L. Rusho

Harold Schindler

J. Lewis Schricker, Jr.

John A. Shaw

Blaine Simons

George E. Stewart

Msgr. Jerome Stoffel

Hampton H. Trayner

Samuel Weller

Carl T. Woolsey

With few exceptions – the Alta Club has served as the UW headquarters since 1967.

From its inception, Utah Westerners opted to be associated with, but still independent of the Westerners International, and their usual cowboy type organizational structure. Since Utah is not considered to be a “cowboy” state, Utah Westerners would be neither a “corral” nor a “posse.” Furthermore, it would be led by a president, not a “sheriff,” and it would pursue factual rather than popular, myth-oriented history.

Today the general Utah Westerners membership votes for Board Members, whose terms are limited by the bylaws. The Board of Directors elects its own officers.

Utah Westerners 2015 Board of Directors

Robert Voyles, president

Brent Reber, vice president

Kent Tschanz, secretary

Laura Bayer, membership chair

Linda Thatcher, program chair

Steven Gallenson, field trip chair

Walter Jones,Treasurer

A. Oscar Olson

Ken Cannon


5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. brad westwood  |  August 3, 2009 at 11:20 pm

    Dear Westerners:

    Has anyone considered creating a “group” in the professional and social networking site LINKED-IN? If approved I would be happy to establish this group/association, perhaps with other Westerners (Utah or the broader group).

    Brad Westwood (member, Utah Westerners, 2008)

  • 2. Kristen Rogers-Iversen  |  August 9, 2009 at 9:19 pm

    Let’s talk about this! Can you call me? Or I’ll call you.

  • 3. Jack Hubbell  |  June 7, 2010 at 5:53 pm

    1. how do I join
    2. any interest in helping to fund a documentary on Pony express?
    3. any funds available for this type of stuff

    • 4. galico52  |  June 16, 2010 at 10:49 pm

      Jack, Thanks for your question. The Utah Westerners is a club whose members are as a nonprofit corporation for the following purpose:
      (a) to study , with a view of perpetuating, to the extent possible, all phases of the history and culture of the American West.
      Members are required to pay an annual membership fee of $25.00 and attend at least four club functions every year. These functions consist of monthly meetings featuring dinner and speakers at the Alta Club in Salt Lake City and the participation in the clubs annual field trip. New member applicants are required to have a member sponsor and to have attended 2 meetings prior to their application submittal as a guest of a member.
      We have aided in various projects of historic interest. You mention the pony express. We have a few members who are quite active in the events of the pony express association:Pat Hearty, Joseph Hatch and Jess Peterson.

      Our club is affiliated with Westerners International, however we do not organize ourselves in posse’s with sheriffs.

      We limit our membership to 75

      • 5. galico52  |  June 16, 2010 at 10:56 pm

        I forgot to ask you. Do you know Jana Smith (Craighead)? She is a pal of mine. I watched your video clips. very enjoyable.

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