Merchants and Miners in Utah : The Walker Brothers and their Bank
Salt Lake City
Details the rise of the Walker Brothers from early beginning in England to head of a financial empire in the Mountain West. The father, Matthew Walker, made and lost a considerable fortune in England. After financial misfortunes, joined the Mormon church and decided to move to Salt Lake City. His family, whom he sent on ahead, sucessfully reached St. Louis but Matthew, immigrating at a later date, became ill and succumbed to tuberculosis in St. Louis. The book then describes trek and arrival of Walker family in Salt Lake City where the brothers found work with mercantile establishments. The brothers had an inclination for business, and established mercanitle store in Fairfield to provide Johnston's army with goods. Their refusal to pay tithing led to excommunication in 1861. They continued in various business ventures, including mining, in the region. The Walker Bank started only incidentally, beginning as a vault in the store where customers could keep gold dust. It had real beginnings with Matthew Walker and carried through under E.O. Howard, John Wallace and others until finally the present First Interstate Bank was built and functioning. The reviewer criticizes the book as not axciting reading, and not scholarly, and also that it tends to portray people as good guys or bad guys. The brothers seemed to have done everthing in order to spite Brigham, and helped to break the economic grasp of the Mormon cooperative movement. Bliss overlooked the cooperation on many things between Brigham Young and the Walker brothers. The reviewer also points to some factual erros, but says that in spite of the deficiencies it is a good book and explains a vital part of Utah's history.