The bed in the photo below shows another example of the process of faux graining discussed in the middle bedroom. Note that the headboard and footboard of this pine bed have been painted to look like an expensive birdseye maple, and the side rails mimic quarter-sawn oak--a time consuming process for a group of people who already seemed to have plenty to occupy their time.
As with the other rooms on this floor, the southeast bedroom was used variously by workers, family members, guests, and visitors to Winsor Castle. These rooms also played a role in Winsor Castle's use as a safe house to shelter polygamists.
Following the passage of the Edmunds Act in 1882 and the U.S. Supreme Court upholding the Act's constitutionality, the federal government began cracking down on polygamy (the practice of having multiple wives, a tenet of the early Mormon Church). Federal marshals were directed to track down and bring to court any men who were suspected of practicing polygamy. Those sentenced were handed stiff jail terms, and a number of church members did spend time in Utah and Arizona prisons.
It didn't take the Mormons very long to realize that if a polygamist couldn't be found he couldn't be convicted and sent to prison. Furthermore, it was difficult to convict a man of polygamy if the plural wife or wives could not be located.
Safe houses were established to shelter polygamists or their wives as they stayed ahead of the federal marshals. Pipe Spring became a refuge for wives of targeted Southern Utah men, since it was located across the territorial line in Arizona. One plural wife said of her move to Pipe Spring, "So about the year 1886, I moved to Pipe Spring. In other words, I went to prison to keep my husband out."
Among those hiding at Pipe Spring were often pregnant women with children in tow. At least nine babies were born to women "on the underground" at Pipe Spring. In 1890 and 1904 the Church issued official statements ending the practice of polygamy.
Last updated: December 19, 2016