The first entrepreneurs to try to make sugar from beets in Utah were the Mormon pioneers in the early 1850s, who used machinery shipped from Liverpool, England, but their attempts to produce granulated sugar failed because they could not overcome the problems created by growing beets in alkali soils.
Stayner studied the sugar industry in California. He was energetic, and using his property, he conducted experiments with sugar cane, sorghum cane, and sugar beets in Utah. In 1887, he produced the first 7,000 pounds of commercial sugar in Utah and received a $5000 award from the legislature for doing so. With the support of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) and other business leaders, he formed the Utah Sugar Company in 1889 with 20 stock holders. This company was ultimately instrumental in the building of a $400,000 beet sugar factory, constructed by E. H. Dyer in 1891 at Lehi. The company was so successful that it encouraged the building of other factories in Utah and Idaho that resulted in great economic growth in the two states from the research and the manufacturing of sugars and sugar syrups.
Death and legacy
Stayner became a prominent citizen of Salt Lake City. He died on 4 September 1899, from sepsis stemming from a lead pellet which became embedded in his heel. Although amputation of his limb was considered by a physician, the infection had permeated his body and it was too late to save him.
Although Stayner was not interested in financial gain from sugar manufacture, because of his energetic work he is regarded as the "father and founder of the movement that made the manufacture of sugar in Utah a success."
- Valerie Phillips (20 October 2009). "Can't 'beet' Utah sugar history". Deseret News. Retrieved 23 February 2010.
- Arrington, Leonard J. (1994), Powell, Allan Kent, ed., Utah History Encyclopedia, Salt Lake City, Utah: University of Utah Press, ISBN 0874804256, OCLC 30473917
- "Utah Idaho Sugar Factory". The Historical Marker Database. Retrieved 13 February 2010.
- "Blood Poisoning Causes Fatality". The Deseret News. 4 September 1899. Retrieved 13 February 2010.