James Z. Stewart

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James Zebulon Stewart, the son of Isaac and Matilda Jane Downs Stewart, was born on October 31, 1844. He walked all the way to the Salt Lake Valley driving his herd of seven sheep in his father’s pioneer company.

In Draper, his father built a large, sixteen-room brick house for his three wives, Matilda Jane Downs, Elizabeth White, and Emma Baynum Lloyd, and their twenty children. “In the fall of the year a band of fifty or more Indians would come from the Uintah Basin, pitch their tents on his land, and live there for weeks,” while Isaac Stewart provided them with food. “The Stewart boys particularly enjoyed those visits as they played at archery with the Indians boys, and became expert archers.”[1]

He attended a school in Draper that was taught by John R. Park. When Dr. Park became president of the University of Deseret in 1869, James took his place as head of the school in Draper. He also continued his studies at the University of Deseret.

Stewart attended the University of Deseret. He served four times as a missionary to Mexico and was one of the translators of the Book of Mormon into the Spanish language with the assistance of Elder Meliton G. Trejo.

He married Julia Fitzgerald in 1869 and continued to teach school in Draper until 1873 when he became principal of the Cache Seminary at Logan and later became president of the Brigham Young College at Logan.

In the summer of 1875, President Brigham Young asked James to accompany a number of men on an exploring expedition to Arizona, New Mexico, and Chihuahua in Old Mexico to seek out suitable sites for settlements of the Latter-day Saints. The group (consisting of Daniel W. Jones, Helaman Pratt, Robert H. Smith, A. W. Ivins, Ammon M. Tenney, and Wiley C. Jones) left southern Utah in September 1875, and returned the following June. James returned each time he was asked to go.

He was prominent in business and was one of the organizers of the Logan First National Bank. James Z. Stewart died in Logan on June 16, 1931.