Wellington was founded by a group of Mormon pioneers in 1878. Their leader was Jefferson Tidwell, who later discovered coal in Whitmore Canyon outside Sunnyside. The town was named after Justus Wellington Seeley, Jr., a judge in the Emery County Court (Carbon County was carved out of Emery County in 1894). The growth of Wellington was fueled by the number of working coal mines in the area. That means the local economy was tied to the health and welfare of the coal industry for many years. Now the big thing in the area is oil and gas exploration.