David Eccles photograph collection, 1850s-1910s

Overview of the Collection

David Eccles photograph collection
1850s-1910s (inclusive)
1.6 linear feet, (2 archives boxes)  :  68 prints and slides
Collection Number
The David Eccles photograph collection contains slides of the David Eccles collection range in subject matter from portraits, to sketches, and images of lumber mills and railroads. The slides are not labeled, so most of the images are without identification.
University of Utah Libraries, Special Collections
Special Collections, J. Willard Marriott Library
University of Utah
295 South 1500 East
Salt Lake City, UT

Telephone: 8015818863
Access Restrictions

Twenty-four hour advanced notice encouraged. Materials must be used on-site. Access to parts of this collection may be restricted under provisions of state or federal law.


Biographical NoteReturn to Top

David Eccles (1849-1912) was born 12 May 1849 at Paisley, Renfrew, Scotland, the son of William and Sarah Hutchinson Eccles. William Eccles was born on 6 April 1825 at Kilpatrick, Dumbarton, Scotland, and died on 4 December 1903 in Ogden, Utah. Sarah Hutchinson Eccles was born on 17 March 1820 at Donegal, Ireland and died on 11 June 1907 at Salt Lake City, Utah. William and Sarah were married on 3 May 1843 at High Church in Paisley. David was the second son.

William Eccles was a wood turner by trade, but was nearly blind which made support of the family difficult. David, along with his brothers and sisters, recieved a common school education. William became a convert to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and through the aid of the Church Immigration Fund was able to come to America. The family departed Glascow on 3 May 1863 and arrived in New York on 1 June 1963. After the transcontinental journey, the Eccles family arrived in Salt Lake City on 5 October 1863.

In the spring of 1864 following a difficult winter the family moved to Ogden Valley and staked out a homestead at Eden. In these days the family lived in near poverty. Their chief source of income was from wooden kitchen utensils that William would carve. With ropes tied around their waists, David and his brother would haul their father about town on a sledge to sell his creations.

In 1867 the family moved to Oregon returning to Eden in 1869. While in Oregon, David was the cheif support of the family. He entered the lumber industry as a laborer earning $3.00 a cord for chopped wood. In 1871 he went to Almy, Wyoming, where he worked in the Union Pacific Railroad's coal mine. After a further return to Eden, David began work for Bishop Daivd James, who owned a saw mill at Bear Lake Divide. David carefully saved from his income in hopes of going into business for himself. After saving $1500 David entered into a partnership with H. E. Gibson and W. T. Vannoy in 1873 to purchase a portable saw mill. The contract between these three was dissolved in 1877. David and Gibson retained the lumber yard at Ogden following the contract dissolution until 1881. At the time David set up a mill at Gray's Gultch, Idaho, four miles west of Hailey. By 1883 he owned three sawmills in the Scofield district and a retail lumber yard in Scofield. In the early days of his saw mill operation, David had difficulty attracting labor, largely on account of his youth. However, through hard work and a developing reputation for hard work and skill, in subsequent years there was no labor shortage.

By 1887 he was elected a director in the First National Bank at Ogden and mayor of the city of Ogden. After his election as mayor at the suggestion of friends David grew a substantial beard in order to provide a more "dignified" perspective to his youthful appearance. A portrait of David painted at this time still hangs in Ogden. In spite of his youth, David's importance as a Utah industrialist was growing rapidly. In these years, he either organized or held a substantial interest in a number of other firms in the region. In 1889 he organized the Oregon Lumber Company and became its president and general manager.

During the 1890s and the first decade of the twentieth century, David greatly expanded his position and has been referred to as a "frontier capitalist." Unquestionably, David Eccles is one of the most important industrial giants in Utah economic history. His fortune was based in the lumber industry but grew into banking, finance, sugar beets, mining, and transportation.

David Eccles, following a practice at that time propounded by his church, entered into plural marriage. His first wife was Bertha Maria Jensen who was born 30 January 1857 in Aarhus, Denmark. They were married on 27 December 1875. Berth and her twelve children formed David's "Ogden" family. David's second family in Logan, was the result of his marriage to Ellen Stoddard. Together they had nine children. While the Ogden family developed as an important force in Ogden society, the Logan family often lived in fear, particularly in its early years, for plural marriage was contrary to the territorial laws, even if Church sanctioned. In fact, that David Eccles had a second family did not become well known until much later. There may have been a third family with one child; this fact was not recognized by David in his life time.

David Eccles died on the evening of 5 December 1912 in Salt Lake City following a day of usual business in the city. At the time of his death his wealth was estimated to have been as high as $25 million, he was recognized by most as the richest man in Utah. David Eccles was buried in Ogden.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

This collection consists of slides from a presentation given on August 2, 1975 in commemoration of the life of "David Eccles, Pioneer Western Industrialist." David Eccles (1849-1912) was a prominent businessman who made successful ventures in lumber, sugar and railroads. He was a convert to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS/Mormons), and a polygamist. The slides of the David Eccles collection range in subject matter from portraits, to sketches, and images of lumber mills and railroads. The slides are not labeled, so most of the images are without identification.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Restrictions on Use

The library does not claim to control copyright for all materials in the collection. An individual depicted in a reproduction has privacy rights as outlined in Title 45 CFR, part 46 (Protection of Human Subjects). For further information, please review the J. Willard Marriott Library's Use Agreement and Reproduction Request forms.

Preferred Citation

Collection Name, Collection Number, Box Number, Folder Number. Special Collections, J. Willard Marriott Library, The University of Utah.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top


Slides were kept in the original presentation order.

Separated Materials

Audio-visual materials were transferred to the David Eccles audio-visual collection (A0187).

Manuscript materials were transferred to the David Eccles family papers (MS 0187).

Processing Note

Processed by Mary Ann Curtis in 2000.

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

Container(s) Description
Box Folder
1 1 David Eccles
Photograph number 1: Opening slide and title of David Eccles presentation. Photograph number 2: Sailing ship, presumably on its' way to the United States. Photograph number 3: Group of men, women and children. Photograph number 4: Painting of a harbor filled with ships and boats. Photograph number 5: Sketch of a large group of people standing in front of a building called "Castle Garden." Photograph number 6-7: Wagon trains heading westward. Photograph number 8: Portrait of an unidentified couple. Photograph number 9: Ink drawing of a shop owner selling goods to women. Photograph number 10: Long train of oxen pulling a wagon. Photograph number 11: David Eccles. Photograph number 12-13: Two men standing with their feet propped on wheelbarrows in a lumber yard. Photograph number 14-15: Unidentified lumber mill Photograph number 16: Sketch of women and men at a ball or fancy dress party. Photograph number 17-18: Unidentified portraits Photograph number 19: Wagon driving down an empty street. Photograph number 20-21: Men and horses working in a lumber mill. Photograph number 22: Men eating in a mess hall. Photograph number 23: Shops lining a street. Photograph number 24: David Eccles. Photograph number 25-31: Men and horses working in a lumber mill. Photograph number 32: David Eccles. Photograph number 33: Unidentified buildings Photograph number 34: Bertha Jensen, wife of David Eccles. Photograph number 35: David Eccles family. Photograph number 36: Home of David Eccles family Photograph number 37: Men cutting down large trees. Photograph number 38-39: David Eccles and C.W. Nibley Photograph number 40: Men loading a train in a lumber yard. Photograph number 41: Men working in a lumber mill. Photograph number 42: Train pushing cars loaded with men over a tall bridge. Photograph number 43-46: Men and horses working in a lumber mill. Photograph number 47: Cartoon of a train circling David Eccles. Photograph number 48-49: Unidentified buildings Photograph number 50: Sugarbeet stand at a market place. Photograph number 51: Unidentified factory Photograph number 52: Men on horses standing in a corral(?) Photograph number 53: Unidentified building Photograph number 54: Men sitting on a train engine. Photograph number 55: Horses and wagons parked in front of a store. Photograph number 56: Unidentified portrait. Photograph number 57: Unidentified building. Photograph number 58: David Eccles quote, "People need enterprise, not money, to achieve success." Photograph number 59: David Eccles. Photograph number 60: Construction of the towers on the Salt Lake Mormon temple. Photograph number 61: David Eccles Photograph number 62: Unidentified portrait Photograph number 63: People gathered in front of a house. Photograph number 64-66: Unidentified portraits Photograph number 67: Map of the western and northeastern United States. Photograph number 68: Unidentified portrait
2 1 Oversize
Photograph number 1-2: Portraits of the Eccles and Stoddard families

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

Personal Names

  • Eccles, David, 1849-1912

Form or Genre Terms

  • Color slides