Category Archives: Tooele

Aunt Libby’s Dog Cemetery

Published / by Shannon Gebbia / Leave a Comment

write-up by Shannon Gebbia

Placed by: Utah Pioneer Trails and Landmarks Associations, No 95

GPS Coordinates: N 40° 07.123, W 112° 34.660

Historical Marker Text:

BURIAL PLOT

Enclosing graves (west side) of two men and a child emigrants of the early eighteen sixties.

Original wall erected in 1888, By Mrs. Horace (Aunt Libby) Rockwell to shelter graves of her beloved dogs. 1. Jenny Lind, 2. Josephine Bonaparte, 3. Bishop, 4. Toby Tyler, Companions in her lonely, childless vigils here about 1866 to 1890.

Erected by enrollees U.S. grazing division C.C.C camp g-154, company 2517.

Utah pioneer trails and landmarks association Tooele tourism tax grant

Sons of Utah pioneers

-settlement canyon chapter

SUP No. 239     Rededicated 2017

Extended Research:

Sometime between 1860 and 1870, Horace Rockwell and his wife Elizabeth “Libby” Rockwell moved to Skull Valley, a 40-mile long valley in what is now Tooele County, Utah. They operated the Pony Express station known as Point Lookout then continued living on the property in a log cabin built by stage workers after the station had closed.[1] They became horse and cattle ranchers and garnered a reputation as “rough frontiers folk” and “two strange characters.”[2], [3] Over time, the pair came to be known affectionately as Uncle Horace and Aunt Libby.

Uncle Horace and Aunt Libby owned one of the only sources of water along their stretch of the Overland Trail and charged travelers a fee to access it. Many riders and locals remembered Aunt Libby for smoking a pipe and treating her dogs better than her hired men.[4] Her “colony of dogs” were described as black and tan, short-haired, possibly of the “Fiste” breed (perhaps a misspelling of Feist, a small hunting terrier).[5] Aunt Libby liked to name some of her dogs after popular characters of the time, both fictional and real. Her variety of name choices reveals a wide range of interests in music, history, and popular literature: Jenny Lind, the “Swedish Nightingale” of the mid- to late-19th century opera scene; Josephine Bonaparte, the first Empress of France; and Toby Tyler, the 10-year-old protagonist of the children’s novel, Toby Tyler; or, Ten Weeks with a Circus.[6]

Photo of the site in August, 1941, prior to restoration by the UPTLA.

 As testament to her devotion for her dogs, Dr. W. M. Stookey, a member of the Utah Pioneer Trails and Landmarks association, recalls an instance when Aunt Libby called upon Tooele’s Dr. William Bovee Dods to tend to one of her dogs, which had fallen ill. When Dr. Dods refused, Libby forced one of her workers, Elijah Perkins, to play sick, thus tricking Dods into paying a visit to the cabin. Once there, he reluctantly tended to the dog, and she paid him $100. Aunt Libby’s trick only worked once—the next time a dog got sick, the Rockwells had to travel roughly 70 miles to Salt Lake City.[7]

Photo of the site in August, 1941, prior to restoration by the UPTLA.

When one dog died en route for treatment in Salt Lake City, Aunt Libby brought him back to Point Lookout and buried him near a collection of three graves belonging to immigrants who had died while passing through Skull Valley.[8] She then hired a stone worker, Gustave E. Johnson, to build a wall around the small graveyard.[9] As her beloved dogs passed on over the years, Aunt Libby buried each one in her cemetery.

The Rockwells moved to California sometime after May 25, 1890 and lived there for the remainder of their lives.[10] Aunt Libby’s Dog Cemetery is the only structure still standing on the property known as Point Lookout.

View from Hwy 36 Pony Express Road

The historical significance of this cemetery seems to be centered around its location among the Pony Express stations along Utah’s section of the Overland Trail. Unlike Horace’s brother, Orrin Porter Rockwell, Horace and Libby Rockwell were not major figures in Utah or Mormon history—monuments haven’t been built in their name, we don’t learn about them in history lessons. But one story about a rough, pipe-smoking woman who tricked a Tooele doctor into treating her sick dog has survived the test of time and given historical value to this cemetery. Dr. Stookey explains that the reason for including the cemetery as an “extra in the line, both in design and significance,” was due to a “growing increase in its unique history,” and perhaps because it is one of the only remaining structures along this section of the Overland Trail.[11] Regardless of the reasoning, by including the cemetery among Utah’s historical markers, the UPTLA created an avenue for Aunt Libby’s stories to be retold forever. Within the chasm between the details of each recollection, we find the personality of that “strange character” Aunt Libby. According to most of the people who described her over the years, she was a rough, childless, pipe-smoking woman, unafraid of outlaw Porter.[12] But by way of the legacy of pet cemetery and the stories about her dogs, we see a giving, loving, motherly woman whose cultural knowledge reached far beyond the secluded scope of the Wild West.

For Further Reference:

Primary Sources

“Fatally Burned.”  Los Angeles Times. March 26, 1901. Accessed February 24, 2020. https://www.newspapers.com/image/380059910/?terms=Mrs%2BRockwell.

Sharp Manuscript: Stories published by James P. Sharp. Compiled by Shirley Sharp Pitchford and Susan Sharp Hutchinson. Utah State Division of History Archives.

Sharp, James P. “The Pony Express Stations.” Improvement Era (February 1945): 76–77.

https://archive.org/details/improvementera4802unse/page/n21/mode/2up

Stookey, W. M. “They Died But Lived Again! Aunt Libby Rockwell’s Doggone Dogs and Their Lonely Cemetery Beside the Historic Overland.” Salt Lake Tribune. August 31, 1941. Accessed February 24, 2020. https://www.newspapers.com/image/598747615/?terms=libby%2Brockwell

Utah Pioneer Trails and Landmarks Association marker records, ca. 1930–1990s. MSS B 1457, box 1. Utah State Division of History Archives.

Secondary Sources:

Bluth, John F. “The South Central Overland Trail in Western Utah, 1850- 1900.” U. S. Bureau of Land Management. https://ecos.fws.gov/ServCat/DownloadFile/101963?Reference=61466

Bluth, John F. “Supplementary Report on Pony Express Overland Stage Sites in Western Utah.” https://ecos.fws.gov/ServCat/DownloadFile/101965?Reference=61468.

Fike, Richard E. and John W. Headley. “The Pony Express Stations of Utah in Historical Perspective.” Cultural Resources Series Monograph 2. Bureau of Land Management of Utah, 1979.

https://archive.org/details/ponyexpressstati00fike/mode/2up

Jessop, J. D. “The Ghost of Aunt Libby May Be Nearby.” Tooele Transcript Bulletin, October 2, 2014. http://tooeleonline.com/the-ghost-of-aunt-libby-may-be-nearby/.


[1]Bluth, John F. “The South Central Overland Trail in Western Utah, 1850-1900” (U. S. Bureau of Land Management), p. 4. (accessed February 10, 2020) https://ecos.fws.gov/ServCat/DownloadFile/101963?Reference=61466; Jessop, J. D. “The Ghost of Aunt Libby May Be Nearby.” Tooele Transcript Bulletin – News in Tooele, Utah, October 2, 2014. (accessed January 29, 2020) http://tooeleonline.com/the-ghost-of-aunt-libby-may-be-nearby/; Stookey, W. M. “They Died But Lived Again! Aunt Libby Rockwell’s Doggone Dogs and Their Lonely Cemetery Beside the Historic Overland.” The Salt Lake Tribune, August 31, 1941. (accessed February 24, 2020). The exact date is unknown as several accounts differ, but they all agree the Rockwells lived at this location until sometime in 1890.

[2] Stookey.

[3] Sharp, James P., “The Pony Express Stations ,” Improvement Era, (February, 1945), 76-77. (accessed Feburay 10, 2020) https://archive.org/details/improvementera4802unse/page/n21/mode/2up

[4] Stookey.

[5] Sharp.

[6] Jessop, Stookey.

[7] Stookey, Jessop. Several newspaper stories reported this story, but the accounts differ as to which dog was ill, who called for Dods, and the amount he charged.

[8] Stookey, Bluth. Three unknown emigrating travelers died and were buried here.

[9] Stookey.

[10] Jessop; Stookey; Los Angeles Times, “Fatally Burned.” March 26, 1901. (accessed February 24, 2020) https://www.newspapers.com/image/380059910/?terms=Mrs%2BRockwell. Again, much is contested about the date, but one fact stands out: Aunt Libby burned in her house after falling asleep smoking her pipe.

[11] Stookey’s article explains the UPTLA’s haste in using the nearby CCC camps to help place markers and monuments along the difficult terrain, and that most Pony Express stations had “little or nothing remaining of the originals.” The survival of this cemetery and its story provide a picture of life along the trail.

[12]Lloyd, Erin. “Colors of Life Paint Rich Past in Rush Valley.” Tooele Transcript-Bulletin, 9 Dec. 1998, pp. 25–27. The article states Porter Rockwell owed $500 to his brother Horace, and Libby vowed to cut off Porter’s hair if the debt remained. LDS history states Porter’s hair long hair held significance to his faith. https://www.newspapers.com/image/545721374/?terms=libby%2Brockwell

Tooele County Town Hall and Courthouse

Published / by Michael Anderson-McEwan / Leave a Comment

Write-up by Michael Anderson-McEwan

Placed by: Daughters of Utah Pioneers, No. 84, Utah American Revolution Bicentennial Commission and Tooele City Corporation, and The National Register of Historic Places

GPS coordinates: Latitude: 40.530757  Longitude: -112.297398

Photo Credit: picryl.com (Accessed 3.14.19)

Historical Marker Text (1):

Erected in 1867 as a county court house. Active in construction were James Hammond, William Broad, Isaac Lee, W.C. Collaher, John Gillespie, George Atkin and john Gordon. The building was used for court house, city hall and amusement center, until 1941, when the new city hall on Main Street was completed. Later the building was turned over to the daughters of Utah pioneers for use as an amusement and meeting hall. Rock used in building was taken from settlement canyon in Tooele County.

Historical Marker Text (2):

Dedicated to the Two Hundredth Anniversary of the United States of America and sponsored by the Utah American Revolution Bicentennial Commission and Tooele City Corporation. Built in 1867 as a meeting hall, this building also served as County Courthouse and City Hall, with a jail in the rear. In 1941, the building was given to the Daughters of Utah Pioneers who have maintained it as a museum. They and Tooele City have renovated the building.

 

Historical Marker Text (3):

This Greek Revival temple-form building was constructed in 1867 using local stone. The belfry, added sometime after 1874, is picturesque in style and has lathe-turned posts accentuated by scroll brackets, a distinctive spindle band, and a slightly bellcast pyramid roof. The hall was built, according to a newspaper article of the time, by the citizens of Tooele “for a dancing hall, for dramatic representations and other social and intellectual purposes.” It was leased to William C. Foster and Thomas Craft but was also used for holding court and other city and country business. Live entertainment, however, proved financially unsuccessful, and by 1871 the hall was utilized primarily as a courthouse. In 1899 a new courthouse was constructed, and the building became solely the city hall. In 1942, with the construction of a new city hall, it was authorized for use as a museum by the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers. Marker placed in 1991.

Extended research:

The Tooele County Courthouse and City Hall was constructed in 1867 thanks to the combined efforts and planning of James Hammond, William Broad, Isaac Lee, W.C. Collaher, John Gillespie, George Atkin, and John Gordon (Atkin and Gillespie would later serve on one of Tooele City’s first city councils; see image). Using stone sourced from nearby Settlement Canyon, they constructed the only extant temple-form city hall in Utah (and the oldest known to date)¹ with the total cost for the initial construction and furnishing of the hall adding up to $600² ($10,884.91 adjusted for the 2018 inflation rate).³

Tooele City council featuring George Atkin and John Gillespie (3rd and 6th from the right) (Photo credit: Utah State Historical Society)

The hall was meant to be used as both a social and governmental space, but due to the lack of money in the territory⁴, few Tooele residents were able to scrape together the necessary $400 to rent out the building. The hall’s managers soon found themselves unable to make ends meet and they were forced to use the building and its furnishings as collateral to pay off overdue rent to the city, in April of 1871. From then on, it was used predominantly as the county’s city hall, jail, and courthouse⁵ and was used as such until the county built a new courthouse in 1899 and a new city hall in 1941.⁶

After city officials moved to the new city hall in 1942, they granted the Daughters of Utah Pioneers a 50-year lease on the property, which they converted into a museum of local history.⁷ An addition to the building in 1975 connected it to the adjacent Sons of Utah Pioneers Museum (formerly Carnegie library), creating what is today known as Pioneer Plaza. These two museums possess a wide array of artifacts from local history, including an entire log cabin (originally built in 1855) which occupies the lot next door to the courthouse where a fire station formerly stood.⁸

[1]National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination Form page 2

[2]Information from an interview I conducted on site with one of the Hall’s current docents, Judy Schneider

[3]“The Inflation Calculator,” Morgan Friedman, accessed March 15, 2019

[4]George W. Tripp, Early Tooele A Documented Chronology 1867-1874. Vol. II, 5, Accessed April 5, 2019.

[5]NRHP nomination form page 4

[6]Ouida Nuhn Blanthorn, A History of Tooele County (Salt Lake City, UT: Utah State Historical Society, 1998), 86-87, accessed March 14, 2019.

[7]NRHP Nomination form page 6

[8]Interview with Judy Schneider

For Further reference:

Primary sources:

Tooele City Council. 1850-1870. Utah State Historical Society Classified Photo Collection, Utah State Historical Society, Tooele. In Tooele City Council. UT: Utah State Historical Society, 2013. Accessed March 14, 2019.

Secondary sources:

Blanthorn, Ouida Nuhn. A History of Tooele County. Salt Lake City, UT: Utah State Historical Society, 1998. Accessed March 14, 2019.

Friedman, Morgan. The Inflation Calculator. Accessed March 15, 2019.

Schneider, Judy. “On the History of Tooele County Courthouse and City Hall.” Interview by author. March 1, 2019.

Tripp, George W. Early Tooele A Documented Chronology 1867-1874. Vol. II. Accessed April 5, 2019.

United States. United States Department of the Interior Heritage Conservation and Recreation Service. Tooele County Courthouse and City Hall. By UDSH Staff. National Park Service. 1-6. Accessed March 14, 2019.

Simpson Springs Pony Express Station

Published / by Paul McKnight / 1 Comment on Simpson Springs Pony Express Station

Simpson Springs Pony Express Station

Write up by Paul McKnight

Placed by enrollees U.S. grazing division C.C.C camp 8-184, Company 2517, No. 87

GPS coordinates: 40°2′16″N 112°47′11″W.

 

Historical Marker Text (1):

NO. 87

                        Erected AUG 23, 1940

Simpson’s Spring- Pony Express Station

            One of the important desert stations on the Pony Express and overland stage route between ST. Joseph, Missouri and Sacramento, California. From this point, water was carried for west-bound travelers and animals. The Spring was discovered by Captain J.H. Simpson, U.S. Army. In 1858, the first east-bound Pony Express courier halted here about 5 P.M. April 7, and west-bound about 2 A.M. April 10, 1860. The Last riders passed about October 22,1861. The coming of the overland telegram made it inadvisable to continue the Pony Express.

            This monument constructed by enrollees U.S. grazing division C.C.C camp 8-184, Company 2517.

 

Historical Marker Text (2):

The Station

A number of structures have been built and destroyed in the vicinity of Simpson Springs over the years, and it isn’t known for sure which served as the station for the mail route and the Pony Express. The nearby restored cabin is located at the approximate site of the original station and closely resembles the original.

George Chorpenning did not benefit from the effort and money spent in building the mail stations. In 1859 financial troubles struck. Chorpenning’s government mail contracts were suddenly reduced; no money reached route employees during the fall. Chorpenning’s animals were “attached” and sold for back wages. William Russel acquired the new mail contract. Chorpenning notes that Russel “stepped in, took possession of my stations, provisions, improvements…” Thanks to Chorpenning, the Pony Express was in business.

Historical Marker Text (3):

Stone Cabin

Alvin Anderson used stone from the abandoned Pony Express station when he built this cabin in 1893. It was intended for his wife, who died in childbirth before she could live in it.

Extended Research:

The Pony Express was established in April of 1860. The idea behind the Pony Express was to establish an overland mail route between Joseph Missouri and Sacramento California. During this time, transporting mail and information from one side of the U.S. to the other proved too time consuming. The mail and other information was placed on a boat which sailed around to California. This could take weeks if not months. By the time the news arrived, it was too old to even matter. Therefore, the Pony Express was considered to be a better alternative to a long voyage.

William H. Russel, Alexander Majors and William B. Waddell started what at the time was known as the Leavenworth & Pike’s Peak Express Company. The postmaster general, Joseph Holt requested their services. The people who rode the Pony Express could achieve 1800 miles between Joseph, Missouri and Sacramento, California in just ten days. This definitely cut down the time it took for a ship to sail around the world. While the information transported was still not very current, it sure was more up to date than the news which came to California by ship.

Travel for many of the riders on the trail was often hazardous. As can be illustrated by this first-hand account by Buffalo Bill Cody, who was most famous for his Wild West Show. When Buffalo Bill joined the Pony Express, he was only 15 years old. This was not uncommon to see in the Pony Express at this time. Buffalo Bill shared his account of some of the events which happened to him while on the trail with these words:

 

“. . .The next day he [Mr Slade,the manger of Cody’s Pony Express station] assigned me to duty on the road from Red Buttes on the North Platte, to the Three Crossings of the Sweetwater – a distance of seventy-six miles – and I began riding at once.

One day when I galloped into Three Crossings, my home station, I found that the rider who was expected to take the trip out on my arrival had got into a drunken row the night before and had been killed; and that there was no one to fill his place. I did not hesitate for a moment to undertake an extra ride of eighty-five miles to Rocky Ridge, and I arrived at the latter place on time. I then turned back and rode to Red Buttes, my starting place, accomplishing on the round trip a distance of 322 miles.

Slade heard of this feat of mine, and one day as he was passing on a coach he sang out to me, ‘My boy, you’re a brick, and no mistake. That was a good run you made when you rode your own and Miller’s routes, and I’ll see that you get extra pay for it.’

Slade, although rough at times and always a dangerous character – having killed many a man – was always kind to me. During the two years that I worked for him as pony-express-rider and stage-driver, he never spoke an angry word to me.

As I was leaving Horse Creek one day, a party of fifteen Indians ‘jumped me’ in a sand ravine about a mile west of the station. They fired at me repeatedly, but missed their mark. I was mounted on a roan California horse – the fleetest steed I had. Putting spurs and whip to him, and lying flat on his back, I kept straight on for Sweetwater Bridge – eleven miles distant – instead of trying to turn back to Horse Creek. The Indians came on in hot pursuit, but my horse soon got away from them, and ran into the station two miles ahead of them. The stock-tender had been killed there that morning, and all the stock had been driven off by the Indians, and as I was therefore unable to change horses, I continued on to Ploutz’s Station – twelve miles further – thus making twenty-four miles straight run with one horse. I told the people at Ploutz’s what had happened at Sweetwater Bridge, and with a fresh horse went on and finished the trip without any further adventure.”

On June 16, 1860 congress approved the construction of a telegraph line which would connect the west coast with other lines in Missouri. Thus, in October of 1861 the Pony Express was deemed obsolete and unnecessary. The travel was dangerous, the rides were long. The Pony Express station at Simpson Springs was just one of many stations along the route to California. Riders would arrive at this station and either another rider would continue the ride or the same rider would switch horses and continue riding to the next station. The arrival of the telegraph put an end to the hazardous transfer of information. This station at Simpson Springs served as one of many stations used by members of the Pony Express such as Buffalo Bill. Such stations provided security, food, and fresh horses for incoming riders.

Primary Source:

  • “Pony Express Rider, 1861” EyeWitness to History, www.eyewitnesstohistory.com (2008).

Secondary source:

https://www.nps.gov/poex/learn/historyculture/index.htm

 

Garfield and Lake Point Resorts

Published / by Ben Kiser / 1 Comment on Garfield and Lake Point Resorts

Written by Benjamin Kiser, MA History Student, University of Utah

Placed By:  Daughters of Utah Pioneers Tooele County Company

GPS Coordinates:  40°42’57.0″N 112°14’21.9″W

Historical Marker Text:

Garfield and Lake Point Resorts Marker

DAUGHTERS OF UTAH PIONEERS No. 115

ERECTED 1954

GARFIELD & LAKE POINT RESORTS

            From 1881 to 1893 Garfield Beach was the most famous and finest recreation resort on the shores of the Great Salt Lake, with its railroad station, lunch stand, restaurant, bath houses and pier leading to the dance pavilion, and with the pioneer steamboat “City of Corinne” exhibited at anchor.  Lake Point was located 1 miles west.  A three story hotel erected there by Dr. Jeter Clinton became a stopping place for overland stages.  The boulder used for this shaft was taken from “Old Buffalo Ranch” one half mile west.

TOOELE COUNTY

Extended Research:

Marker with Great Salt Lake on Right, I-80 and Oquirrh Mountains on Left

From the beginning of Euro-American settlement in Utah, Utahns have enjoyed recreation.  Before the rise of Wasatch Mountain ski resorts, hiking, and biking trails, residents turned to the Great Salt Lake for their recreational pursuits.[1]  The late 1800s were the heyday of Great Salt Lake resorts.  Two of the earliest resorts were at Garfield Beach and Lake Point.  Dr. Jeter F. Clinton, Mormon physician and Salt Lake City alderman turned resort promoter, founded Lake Point resort, also known as Clinton’s Landing, in 1870, building a large “Lake House” near the beach at the northwest point of the Oquirrh Mountains.  The resort remained small until 1875 when the Utah Western railroad completed a branch out to the area.  Expansion began leading to the construction of a multitude of bathhouses along the beach.[2]  Bathers came to Lake Point to experience the Great Salt Lake’s saline water, described by one local booster as “so buoyant; never chilling, it is so warm, free from danger, recreating and invigorating, a tonic for all, a healing for many ills, health restoring and strength renewing.”[3]  Lake Point was also a hub for the renowned steamboat “City of Corinne” which would transport passengers across the lake to Corinne, a railroad town on the Bear River.  Eventually, Black Rock and Garfield Resorts would eclipse Lake Point in grandeur and visitation.[4]

Lake Point Illustration from the Great Salt Lake
Courtesy Utah State Historical Society

Lake Point also served as a backdrop to an interesting incidence in the Utah Territory.  A breakaway from Mormonism, a group called the Morrisites under leader Joseph Morris, formed in the early 1860s.  Conflict quickly ensued between the dominant Mormon population and the newly formed sect.  In 1862, the territorial militia was called out to subdue the Morrisites, ultimately leading to the death of Joseph Morris.  A member of the Morrisite presidency, John Banks, was mortally wounded in the skirmish.  Dr. Jeter Clinton attended to Banks but he ultimately succumbed to his injuries.  Shortly after Banks’s death, some Morrisites began spreading rumors that Clinton killed Banks while tending to him.  Authorities largely left the rumors unheeded until 1877 when they arrested Clinton at his Lake Point home, indicting him for the murder of John Banks.  While ultimately exonerated of the crime, the Deseret News reported the 1877 case as an example of “shameful abuse” of a “prominent Mormon” in which “the bigotry, intolerance and persecuting spirit of our opponents…have been among the bitterest and most unprincipled.”[5]  Taken in the context of increased federal weakening of Mormon control over the territory through the 1874 Poland Act, the Clinton case provides a curious commentary on how Mormons perceived one instance of judicial persecution in the territory.

Garfield Beach Resort Pavilion and Bathers
Courtesy Utah State Historical Society

Garfield Beach resort, located approximately 1.5 miles to the east of Lake Point, opened its doors in 1875, remaining the premier Great Salt Lake destination until the opening of Saltair in 1893.  A product of the Utah Western Railway’s expansion into Tooele County, Garfield Beach wowed visitors with a 165 by 62 feet dance pavilion over the lake.  The resort cost $70,000.  Six trains a day serviced Garfield bringing 80,000 people to the beach in 1888.  The “City of Corinne” docked at Garfield, as well, where it furnished steamboat rides on the lake for 25 cents.[6]  The great resort dwindled after Saltair’s opening, as it experienced a reduction in visitors and beach degradation due to the pesky nature of the Great Salt Lake’s fluctuating levels.  Garfield Beach resort ultimately succumbed to a fire in 1904.[7]

Garfield Beach Advertisement
Courtesy Utah State Historical Society

A 2017 trip to the southern shores of the Great Salt Lake reveals a landscape greatly changed from the high point of lake recreation from the 1870s to the 1890s.  An interstate highway runs where both resorts once stood.  Little evidence remains of the great pavilions, lunch bars, railroad stations, and dance halls that were the highlight of a trip to Utah in the late nineteenth century.  Though a reconstructed Saltair remains, the specters of Lake Point and Garfield are long gone, eclipsed in a recreational shift from the Great Salt Lake to the Wasatch Mountains.

Garfield Beach from the Foothills of the Oquirrh Mountains
Courtesy Utah State Historical Society

[1] Jared Farmer, On Zion’s Mount: Mormons, Indians, and the American Landscape (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2009).

[2] Dale L. Morgan, The Great Salt Lake (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1973 [1949]), 355-356.

[3] Ovando James Hollister, The Resources and Attractions of the Territory of Utah (Omaha: Omaha Republican Publishing House, 1879), 66, accessed March 29, 2017, https://archive.org/details/resourcesattract00holl.

[4] Tooele County Daughters of Utah Pioneers, History of Utah’s Tooele County: From the Edge of the Great Basin Frontier (Tooele, UT: Transcript Bulletin Publishing, 2012), 177-179.

[5] “The Infamous Proceedings against Dr. Clinton,” Deseret News, April 30, 1879, retrieved on February 16, 2017, https://newspapers.lib.utah.edu/details?id=2661652&q=jeter+clinton&page=3&rows=50&fd=title_t%2Cpaper_t%2Cdate_tdt%2Ctype_t&sort=date_tdt+asc&gallery=0&facet_paper=%22Deseret+News%22#t_2661652.

[6] Marcus E. Jones, Resources and Attractions of Salt Lake City (Salt Lake City: Salt Lake Real Estate Board, 1889), 46-48, accessed on March 29, 2017, https://archive.org/details/saltlakecity1889eng.

[7] Ouida Blanthorn, comp., A History of Tooele County (Salt Lake City: Utah State Historical Society, 1998), 154-158.

For Further Reference:

Primary Sources

Ovando James Hollister, The Resources and Attractions of the Territory of Utah (Omaha: Omaha Republican Publishing House, 1879), accessed March 29, 2017, https://archive.org/details/resourcesattract00holl.

“The Infamous Proceedings against Dr. Clinton,” Deseret News, April 30, 1879, retrieved on February 16, 2017, https://newspapers.lib.utah.edu/details?id=2661652&q=jeter+clinton&page=3&rows=50&fd=title_t%2Cpaper_t%2Cdate_tdt%2Ctype_t&sort=date_tdt+asc&gallery=0&facet_paper=%22Deseret+News%22#t_2661652.

Marcus E. Jones, Resources and Attractions of Salt Lake City (Salt Lake City: Salt Lake Real Estate Board, 1889), accessed on March 29, 2017, https://archive.org/details/saltlakecity1889eng.

Secondary Sources

Jared Farmer, On Zion’s Mount: Mormons, Indians, and the American Landscape (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2009.)

Dale L. Morgan, The Great Salt Lake (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1973 [1949].)

Tooele County Daughters of Utah Pioneers, History of Utah’s Tooele County: From the Edge of the Great Basin Frontier (Tooele, UT: Transcript Bulletin Publishing, 2012.)

Ouida Blanthorn, comp., A History of Tooele County (Salt Lake City: Utah State Historical Society, 1998.)

Adobe Rock

Published / by Ben Kiser / Leave a Comment

Written by Benjamin Kiser, MA History Student, University of Utah

Placed By:  Tooele County Company of the Daughters of Utah Pioneers

GPS Coordinates: 40°39’36.2″N 112°17’18.4″W

Historical Marker Text:

DUP Marker Jan 22, 2017

DAUGHTERS OF UTAH PIONEERS No 103

ERECTED JULY 27, 1947.

ADOBE ROCK

On July 27, 1847, three horsemen from the scouting party sent out by Brigham Young, obtained an excellent view of the surrounding valley, from the top of this rock.  In 1849, Captain Howard Stansbury of the United States Topographical Engineers built a small adobe house by this rock, for his herders, hence the name “Adobe Rock”.  The near by highway follows the same route as the old pioneer trail used by explorers, trappers, emigrants and gold seekers.A spring near by made this a favorite camp site.

Extended Research:

Adobe Rock Jan 22, 2017

Adobe Rock is a large stone promontory in the northeast corner of Tooele Valley.  Early explorers of the Great Basin, California-bound pioneers, and Mormon residents of the valley saw Adobe Rock, a collection of three individual boulders, as a prominent landmark.  According to the Daughters of Utah Pioneers historical marker that was placed on the rock in 1947, three men from Brigham Young’s scouting party surveyed the valley from atop the rock. [1]  Unfortunately, a written account of this much-referenced incidence is nowhere to be found. However, Mormons weren’t the first to distinguish the rock as a significant spot in the valley’s landscape.  Though no written record exists, Goshutes who occupied the Tooele area were well acquainted with the valley’s geologic landmarks.  The first Euro-Americans to describe Adobe Rock and the surrounding area were overland migrants who took Hastings Cutoff in 1846 on their way to California.  Edwin Bryant, a California immigrant with a book deal to publish his expedition’s journal, recounts that on July 31, 1846 “we passed several remarkable rocks rising in tower-like shapes from the plain, to the height of sixty or eighty feet.”[2]   A few short weeks later, Henrich Lienhard, a Swiss emigrant to California, recorded his entrance to the Tooele Valley, camping at a spring that modern historians interpret to be near Adobe Rock.[3]

Perhaps the most prolific character to venture near Adobe Rock was U.S. Army Captain Howard Stansbury.  In an 1849 expedition around the Great Salt Lake to study its environs and the geology of the mountains bordering it, Stansbury entered the Tooele Valley from the west, exiting toward Salt Lake to the east near Black Rock.[4]  A variety of secondary sources, including the DUP marker on Adobe Rock, reference the construction of an adobe hut near the rock for Stansbury’s herdsman to occupy while wintering cattle in the “Tuilla” Valley.[5]  However, in Stansbury’s report, no reference is made to Adobe Rock or the construction of a hut for his herdsman. In fact, Stansbury does not even include Adobe Rock on the map he attaches to his report.[6]  References are made to herds wintering in the valley, but there is no specific mention of the adobe hut.

Regardless of whether or not reports on the construction of a herdsman hut are accurate, Adobe Rock was a striking feature on the landscape for overland travelers who took Hastings Cutoff, government explorers, and Mormon pioneers.  The boulder remains an iconic Tooele County landmark as State Route 36, the main highway to Tooele, passes nearby to the west.

Howard Stansbury’s Map of the Great Salt Lake and Adjacent Country in the Territory of Utah
Courtesy of Utah State Historical Society

 

[1] Tooele County Daughters of Utah Pioneers, History of Utah’s Tooele County: From the Edge of the Great Basin Frontier (Tooele, UT: Transcript Bulletin Publishing, 2012), 169-170.

[2] Edwin Bryant, “The Journal of Edwin Bryant,” in Utah Historical Quarterly 19 (1951), ed. J. Roderic Korns, 78.

[3] Heinrich Lienhard “The Journal of Heinrich Lienhard,” in Utah Historical Quarterly 19 (1951), ed. J. Roderic Korns, 138.

[4] Howard Stansbury, Exploration and Survey of the Valley of the Great Salt Lake of Utah, Including a Reconnaissance of a New Route Through the Rocky Mountains (Washington, D.C.: Robert Armstrong, 1853), 117-199, accessed March 29, 2017, https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=mdp.39015073282918;view=1up;seq=146.

[5] Ouida Blanthorn, comp., A History of Tooele County (Salt Lake City: Utah State Historical Society, 1998), 55.

DUP, History of Utah’s Tooele County, 161-162.

[6]  Howard Stansbury, Exploration and Survey of the Valley of the Great Salt Lake of Utah, Including a Reconnaissance of a New Route Through the Rocky Mountains (Philadelphia: Lippincott, Grambo, and Co., 1852), 3, accessed March 29, 2017, https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=mdp.39015070221182;view=1up;seq=9;size=400.

For Further Reference:

Primary Sources

Edwin Bryant, “The Journal of Edwin Bryant,” in Utah Historical Quarterly 19 (1951), ed. J. Roderic Korns.

Heinrich Lienhard “The Journal of Heinrich Lienhard,” in Utah Historical Quarterly 19 (1951), ed. J. Roderic Korns.

Howard Stansbury, Exploration and Survey of the Valley of the Great Salt Lake of Utah, Including a Reconnaissance of a New Route Through the Rocky Mountains (Washington, D.C.: Robert Armstrong, 1853), accessed March 29, 2017, https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=mdp.39015073282918;view=1up;seq=146.

Howard Stansbury, Exploration and Survey of the Valley of the Great Salt Lake of Utah, Including a Reconnaissance of a New Route Through the Rocky Mountains (Philadelphia: Lippincott, Grambo, and Co., 1852), accessed March 29, 2017, https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=mdp.39015070221182;view=1up;seq=9;size=400.

Secondary Sources

Tooele County Daughters of Utah Pioneers, History of Utah’s Tooele County: From the Edge of the Great Basin Frontier (Tooele, UT: Transcript Bulletin Publishing, 2012.)

Ouida Blanthorn, comp., A History of Tooele County (Salt Lake City: Utah State Historical Society, 1998.)