Mission and Activities
The National Society of The Sons of Utah Pioneers was organized in 1933 for the purpose of keeping alive the history and memory of Mormon Pioneers and others who came to the Salt Lake Valley to help settle the West and find security from those who would destroy them and their beliefs. Click here for a timeline and more detailed history of the SUP.
Come to know our fathers, and turn our hearts to them.
Preserve the memory and heritage of the early pioneers of the Utah Territory and the western U.S.
Honor present-day pioneers worldwide who exemplify these same qualities of character.
Teach these same qualities to the youth who will be tomorrow’s pioneers.
The Pioneer Values
We honor the pioneers for their faith in God, devotion to family, loyalty to church and country, hard work and service to others, courage in adversity, personal integrity, and unyielding determination.
Membership in the SUP is open to all good men of every age and circumstance who have an interest in the early Utah Pioneers. It is not necessary to have Pioneer ancestry. You will join with others who wish to honor these early builders of the West, to perpetuate their memory and to preserve their heritage for our own posterity.
Chapters meet monthly, usually at a dinner meeting to which family and guests are invited. At these meetings, members fellowship with friends, plan activities, listen to interesting speakers about pioneer heritage, and enjoy musical programs.
Treks are a favorite activity where members travel to see important pioneer sites and participate with their chapters in erecting monuments that honor special places, events and people in pioneer history.
Historical Symposiums are held in Salt Lake City in May and in other communities from time to time that bring together several qualified and interesting speakers on topics of Utah, Pioneer and Mormon History. Usually held in two sessions, the evening session includes a dinner and well-known keynote speaker to make the Symposium a complete event.
The National Convention is held once a year, usually in August or September. It is sponsored by one of the chapters and held in that chapter’s community. The 2016 National Convention will be held September 22-24 in Hurricane, Utah. Area treks, banquets and guest speakers are key parts of the convention program. A business meeting and leadership election are also part of the Convention activities.
Scholarships for high school seniors planning to attend college are awarded by many chapters. Other chapters encourage elementary and middle school students to learn about a local pioneer historical subject or person and write essays, which are judged and recognized with awards or prizes.
Each chapter is governed by a president, officers and board members. The National Society is presided over by a rotating three-man Executive Council and a National Board of Area Vice Presidents. National Program Directors oversee major activity areas.
In 1900, Senator Reed Smoot made the first attempts to initiate the concept of The Sons of Utah Pioneers. Parley P. Jenson tried again in 1910. Neither attempt was successful, but these efforts kept the idea alive. In 1928, the forerunner to the George Albert Smith Chapter, called “The Sons,” was organized in Provo, Utah. The Sons of Utah Pioneerswas officially organized on March 29, 1933, as a state and local organization in a small office. The Constitution and Bylaws of the organization were published in 1934, and Lawrence T. Epperson of Salt Lake City, Utah, became the first president.
In 1935, under the direction of Nephi L. Morris, the idea of retracing the original pioneer trek from Nauvoo, Illinois, to Salt Lake City, Utah, during the 1947 Centennial observance was proposed. This early planning ultimately resulted in the spectacular cross-country re-enactment trek, spearheaded by then-national president Wendell Ashton. During the many years that have followed, each group of local and national officers has contributed their energies and talents to build this organization to its present status. The Sons of Utah Pioneers is now recognized as a venerable and respected contributor to the preservation of Pioneer history. Organized chapters are now found in Utah, Idaho, Arizona, California, Pennsylvania and Washington D.C.