Oral Histories

Sam Taylor


Sam Taylor

Q: Were there conflicts with the churches? I know that Moab has a much wider variety of churches. Were they already in place when the newcomers arrived?

A: Pretty much were.

Q: So they just went to their own churches and there was no conflict of different religions coming in?

A: No, my theory is that when you’ve got not one single church comprising the majority of the population then religion does not become a factor in social and political life. Of course, I’m an ethnic Mormon. I’m really a Baptist. I’m a deacon in the Community Church. But I’m an ethnic Mormon and I think that’s one of the reasons that I got along so well in state politics. When I was in the state senate, there were 24 Mormons, many of whom were Bishops or Priests, one Roman Catholic, one Baptist, and one Greek Orthodox. And that was the State Senate, but all of those people knew what my ethnic background was. They knew Norman Taylor was one of the pioneers. He was one of the 18 scouts that were sent over Big Mountain into Salt Lake Valley before “he” came.

Q: Did I see his name on the This Is The Place Monument?

A: It is. It’s also on the Brigham Young Monument, because he was one of the 18 scouts that Brigham sent over to scout the valley before he brought the wagon train in. He also, later that same year, went back to Winter Quarters to bring the women back. He picked half a dozen young men (Norman was at that time 18 years old) to go with him to help bring the women out. As family folklore goes, they were camped out on their way back to Winter Quarters, and the around the fire one night, Brigham said to Norman, “Norman, you’re 18 years old and you’re not married. You’re a menace to my society. When we get to Winter Quarters you find yourself a wife.” So he did. He must have liked her quite a bit, because the next year he went back and married her sister.

Q: We have just a couple more things here. How did you or the newspaper interact with neighboring communities during the boom years? Monticello, Green River, Blanding.

A: Not any better than we ever interacted. We always had a fairly good bond with Green River because half of Green River was in Grand County. They took part in our politics and paid their taxes here. We always had a very close relationship. And that existed until just the last 5 or 6 years when they wanted to become Emery County and not part of Grand County. My roommate when I was a freshman in college was a Green River kid. I played basketball against him in high school. Great friend, he’s still a great friend.

Q: As far as the newspaper goes, do you have lots of subscriptions or do you get a lot of supplies from any of the other towns or do you get all of your supplies and such from Salt Lake?

A: Almost all out of Salt Lake. We have great relationships with the newspapers that are fairly close to us like Cortez, Richfield, that have printing plants. Hardly a month goes by that I don’t get a call from Cortez or Richfield saying, “We just broke a drive belt on our big press. Do you have an extra one?” Of course, when you are this isolated, you always have an extra thing. So we trade off. Zane came up to me today and he said, “ We’re out of dinky rolls of newsprint.” A dinky roll is a half roll. When you print a 6-page newspaper, you use one half-roll. H said, “we’re almost out of dinkies so I called Cortez and they’ve got some.” They weigh about 900 pounds apiece. He said, “I can get two of those in the back of my ¾ ton pickup so I’m going over in the next week or two and borrow a couple rolls of newsprint from them.” No big deal. Matter of fact, back in the 1920s,30s, the Monticello newspaper was owned by Marie Ogden who also owned the Home of Truth. Her plant burned down. So during the period of time when she could get relocated into a new building and get some new equipment purchased, Dad printed her paper down here. 

Q: Did you have any interaction with governmental entities – Arches, Canyonlands, Forest Service, BLM – during the boom years? How do you perceive them as growing in the neighborhood?

A: Well, during the boom years, all that the BLM had here was one guy with a rusty pair of pliers and an Army surplus jeep. That was it. Park Service had two full time employees: the custodian who was Bates Wilson, and his chief-everything-else, who was Lloyd Pierson. And then they would get some temporary people in the summer time to help. But that was the size of the Park Service staffing. Tremendous evolution there as there has been in all levels of government. It’s interesting when I get the monthly report from the department of Work Force Services. I see employment down in all sectors of the economy except for the government.

Q: Do you think they have been, overall, a good thing for the area?

A: Absolutely.

Q: The new policies of the BLM as far as film making and advertisements on their property, do you see that as detrimental?

A: There are some basic things that don’t change. Overall policy tends to fluctuate with the national administration. We went through the Clinton years, saw a lot of very green, liberal things happen. And this new administration is turning a lot of those around. It’s got the environmentalists howling. I think that both administrations have been too extreme in land management policy. But by and large we found dealing with the BLM and the Park Service to be a reasonable two-way street.

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